Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Monday, November 24, 2014

The scientific creed

Science prides itself of objectivity and empiricism. When I was in school I always questioned how science made some base assumptions. However, at that time I could not quite articulate my doubts in words. I knew something did not sit very well with me whenever some ideas were taught in the name of science.

For example, when I was introduced to the concept of evolution in middle school, it stated that species evolved to complex organisms over time due to natural selection and only the fittest survive the onslaughts of nature. I thought that if we all evolved in that way, then how come our ancestors still exist in their primitive forms? Because if they survived the struggles of nature, then there is no need to evolve and i wont be sitting here typing on a computer? So did only few our ancestors struggle to evolve through natural selection while others remained without evolution? Perhaps there is an answer, i do not know?

Another glaring thought that bothered me in physics class in high school was the understanding of outer space? I wondered how light, sound etc behaved the same way across the entire cosmos? Scientists assumed that the red and violet frequencies in the light spectrum behaved the same way in outer space millions of light years away as it did on the earth paradigm. Something I could not easily accept from science!

Anyways, i am not a scientist but reading these ten dogmas written by a thoroughbred scientist helped me articulate my own doubts and also shed light onto other assumptions science makes.

Below are the ten core beliefs (or dogmas) that most scientists take for granted. Together, these beliefs make up the philosophy or ideology of scientific materialism.

  1. Everything is essentially mechanical. Dogs, for example, are complex mechanisms, rather than living organisms with goals of their own. Even people are machines, ‘lumbering robots’, in Richard Dawkins’s vivid phrase, with brains that are like genetically programmed computers.
  2. All matter is unconscious. It has no inner life or subjectivity or point of view. Even human consciousness is an illusion produced by the material activities of brains.
  3. The total amount of matter and energy is always the same (with the exception of the Big Bang, when all the matter and energy of the universe suddenly appeared).
  4. The laws of nature are fixed. They are the same today as they were at the beginning, and they will stay the same for ever.
  5. Nature is purposeless, and evolution has no goal or direction.
  6. All biological inheritance is material, carried in the genetic material, DNA, and in other material structures.
  7. Minds are inside heads and are nothing but the activities of brains. When you look at a tree, the image of the tree you are seeing is not ‘out there’, where it seems to be, but inside your brain.
  8. Memories are stored as material traces in brains and are wiped out at death.
  9. Unexplained phenomena like telepathy are illusory.
  10. Mechanistic medicine is the only kind that really works.
- By Rupert Sheldrake - Phd Cambridge and Harvard

The argument I have heard for these dogmas is that science "will" in the long run prove these assumptions. In the words of Karl Popper (a scientist philosohper) such future promises are akin to "promissory materialism" meaning making promises for a future discovery or invention that has yet to take place. Srila Prabhupada called it "post-dated" check. Giving the benefit of the doubt to the scientists, even if they do solve these assumptions in the future, it still does not account for the present theories? 

Long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead
- John Keynes an  Economist

You be the judge!

Hare Krishna

No comments: