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Tag Archives: reductionism
One sad aspect of the lawsuit recently filed against Josh Timonen by Richard Dawkins is the way that it has inadvertently played out the atheist script generally: reduce an ontological mystery (a mystery of being) to a mere problem or function for rational … Continue reading
Atheist spirituality? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Below is biologist and complexity theorist Stuart Kauffman speaking to the Centre for Inquiry in Ontario. In the talk, Kauffman is laying out some of the arguments that he makes in his book Reinventing the Sacred … Continue reading
During meditation or prayer, have you ever had what Freud called (picking up the term from Romain Rolland) an “oceanic feeling“? In other words, have you felt your “little self” (the shrew of your ego) submerging harmoniously into the “Big Self”—the Atman—or the universe? Well, … Continue reading
. . . . . . . . Beneath a dormant tree in brown eggshell crisp leaves a child found a white branch with a red blossom. . The branch bent at its middle and the child, to hold … Continue reading
My favorite line in the gnostic Gospel of Thomas goes like this: If matter emerged from mind, it is a wonder. But if mind emerged from matter, it is a greater wonder. In the recent dead tree edition of Free Inquiry (Dec. 2009/Jan. 2010) is a … Continue reading
Before philosopher Thomas Nagel wrote this in the most current edition of the Times Literary Supplement about Stephen Meyer’s new book (ticking off a lot of atheists), he wrote this, in the New Republic, in late 2006, concerning philosophical naturalism’s reductionist project: I … Continue reading
When looking at the above video today, I thought of Allen Ginsberg’s “Sunflower Sutra” (in which Ginsberg eulogizes a soot covered dead sunflower). And it made me think: what makes this UFO-like cloud (seen last Wednesday over Moscow) beguiling? And … Continue reading
What do we really know about clouds and rainbows, let alone love and free will? To speak of them, scientifically or otherwise (including poetically), is like using chopsticks to drink the ocean. Our instruments seem inadequate to the scale of our task, and somehow … Continue reading
John Searle splits the difference by saying that consciousness is, in relation to matter, “ontologically irreducible but causally reducible.” Here’s parts 1 and 2 of a longer talk. If you don’t want to hear the biographical introduction to Searle, you … Continue reading
If you are an atheist, and you think that free will, ultimately, does not exist, but you nevertheless act in your day-to-day life as if free will does in fact exist, aren’t you like someone who doesn’t believe in God, but under … Continue reading
This is the confident theist position, which as an agnostic I am not committed to, but I nevertheless think it might well be right. Here’s why: Science is a tool for the study of matter, and it must study matter in … Continue reading
Who will speak from the insistent vantage of the ontological mystery? Against the best efforts of our contemporary advocates of scientism, positivism, and reductionism, below is a succinct explanation for why religion, poetry, Dostoevsky’s “underground man,” and Camus’s “Sisyphian hero” cannot just cede the … Continue reading
Richard Dawkins v. John Keats: Does Science “Conquer all mysteries by rule and line” and “Unweave a rainbow”?
In John Keats’s “Lamia” are these lines (231-238), cautioning against a too-eager reductionism, and recalls Wordsworth’s assertion that “we murder to dissect”: There was an awful rainbow once in heaven: We know her woof, her texture; she is given In the dull … Continue reading