The Tribe of Science

This is an expanded and improved version of my comment to the article There is only one dogma of science: truth is better than fantasy. The term “tribe of science” is taken from that blog’s author reply to my comment, as I found his term to be more descriptive and poetic than my original term.

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Science exists in two forms. There is the concept of science itself, and there is science as a group belief – the tribe of science. Like one has Christianity as in the bible, and Christianity as a group belief that often has little relation to the bible. There is science as a method or idea, and science as a symbol; a group ideal that one feels connected to.

There are Christians who react with violence to “heathen” behaviour, though the new testament  never allows violence, not even as a reaction to violence – one should turn the other cheek! This is Christianity as the group symbol – the reaction does not stem from the belief in Christ, but from the group attachment. Similarly, there are scientists and “Believers in Science” who not only discard but ridicule statements, ideas, experiences and thoughts without as much as considering the possibility of their “truth”, much less trying to disprove them. This is far from how conclusions are reached by scientific means, exactly like the violence and warmongering of many christian groups is far from the teachings of Jesus. There are also those who seem to deny the possibility that current scientific theories may have overlooked/misunderstood something – who in words may say that “according to current knowledge there is no indication that…” while obviously believing and behaving as “there is no possibility that…”.

The kind of behaviour as described above explains why some call atheism and “science” for beliefs: many who profess their conviction in either of these (usually both) display the same type of behaviour, reasoning and closed-mindedness that is often, especially by these people themselves, connected to religiousness. Religious people’s behaviour towards their religion does not, in general, come from the fact that they believe in a God, but because the religion is, as I have called it here, the group ideal. This type of behaviour and attitude comes from humans group behaviour – our tribal nature -, and it is only natural (and reasonable) that such behaviour should occur within “science” as well when it becomes a group ideal. (To be fair though, some concepts/ideals/beliefs are more easily abused by our tribal nature than others).

Religions and political movements have wrongfully been blamed for actions that are generally thought of as a result of the content of a religious/political belief itself, or the nature of religious beliefs. The true culprit is the tribal nature of humans. As discussed in Categorizing Beliefs, if one is concerned about people’s behaviour, beliefs should be classified according to the relevant properties – making the psychological attachment more important than philosophical content. According to internal, psychological criteria, “science” or “evolution” can be a belief equally well as Islam.

Reason: Personal Excuse or Social guidance

This article is a follow-up to the article Weighing Without a Scale: Duty, Honour and Dignity, and though this article stands on its own it is recommended to read the linked article first. Here we attempt taking a step down on the abstractness scale and discuss more concretely the problems connected to duty raised in the above mentioned article in the context of modern society. We ask the question: is it reasonable to think that uniform social norms can be arrived at and obeyed by appealing solely to the individual’s reason?Quotation-George-Bernard-Shaw-funny-people-Meetville-Quotes-34937 Continue reading

Weighing Without a Scale: Duty, Honour and Dignity

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What is duty? – A dictionary will let us know it is a moral or legal obligation. Legal obligations we can make unambiguous sense of. One is obligated in the sense that failure to comply will lead to persecution in a clearly defined manner. The obligation of law is not an invisible bond, but a simple statement of consequences – do this, or else…

Moral duty, on the other hand, is a mystery. Indeed, we have done legal duty a disservice, for the law is not in truth meant as a statement of consequences; if it were, what then when there are no observers, no one to enact the promised consequences! The law states, as the moral duty does, that one should. Here the moral duty sets a period while law, perhaps in admittance of should’s obscurity, adds a tangible motivation; a because. You should; if you do not, then… Law made the astute observation that handcuffs are more certain to be binding than should.
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Human Cognition 101

Ad-hoc explanations out of the air

We publish the parts of a bigger article which is being in elaboration now. As everything else posted at M&M, this text is going to consider several absolutely non-related issues, the only common point of which is human consciousness. Maximus&Magnus           

Tradition

“Gammel vane er vond å vende” [1] 

Norwegian proverb

One always hears about how valuable tradition is, but how detrimental it can be is often forgotten. If something has been thought about – and maybe also taught about! – a particular way for years and even generations, how difficult is it not to think about it differently! Not only must one’s own habit be combated, but a certain way of doing things is often accompanied by a belief that this is how it should be done. And beliefs are not something we easily trade… Continue reading

Social Mythology

Why does there not exist individuals who deeply believes in certain Gods, with a complete mythology around it about creation, traits, morality and so on, that is completely detached from the beliefs of any other person on earth? Religion does not exist without society.

Viewing religion only as the belief in a supernatural being begs the question why all religions say something about why’s and what’s. Christianity is not the belief “God exists and Jesus is his son”, and Islam is much more than “There is only one God, and Muhammed is his prophet”; they are ways of life and ways of thinking; they are law, philosophy and community.

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Omveltning av alle verdier del I – De-evaluation

There is no wrong morality. Philosophy of morality has to deal with life and not reason – with the real and not the ideal. As mentioned in Morality and Reason, a purely abstract philosophy of morality that is interested in absolute truth (not just relative to some assumptions) will always be stillborn. Only by our belief in truth have we been able to prove it, but, in such a secular world, most agree: belief is no proof. For the abstract philosophy, I can say: to call a morality wrong is to make a moral judgment, and so one needs a morality to comment on the rightness of morality, but no morality can comment on itself.

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Observations on “Secular Morality”

In the video a system of morality called “secular morality” is presented. This conception has as its foundation the dialectical pair “well-being/harm” – and the object is to maximize well-being and avoid harm. To label actions as “moral” and “immoral” (good/bad) according to this morality, a “moral triangle” is presented, consisting of the points “intent”, “well-being/harm” and (moral) “rights/values”. An action is given the label moral if the intent is to cause well-being, the consequence is well-being, and no moral rights or values are violated. An immoral action is just the opposite.

There are three points to the critique I give here: intent, rights/values and well-being. Given that the whole basis of the morality is well-being/harm, we have some objections and questions to how and why intent and rights/values make their way into a system of labelling actions according to this morality. Lastly, such a system will have to rely on a clear and specific understanding of well-being, but such an understanding seems so far to be lacking.

The presentation deserves one’s attention because of the healthy consistency in its framework. It has a wider scope than presented here, making clearer a lot of points on morality issues in general. Continue reading