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Re: Singularities As Scientific Mysticism

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Posted by Thed/">Thed on May 13, 1998 17:25:23 UTC

: I'm attempting to ascertain whether the theories : and models physics presents may be likened to : mysticism

I am sure some people see things this way. Certainly a lot of alternative thinkers refer to the scientific cabal or scientific priesthood.

I for one do not think that there is even a vague connection. Physics attmepts to model the real world. It makes mistakes, goes off at a tangent and generally argues about what is right and what is wrong. When the evidence is gathered and analysed the truth is taken for what it is. If that truth is, we need more information, then that is what is accepted. Attempt to tell a mystic that they are wrong, incorrect or are misinformed and you will probably be told that they have been told the truth from a higher power and that you are not worthy to question the mystic.

Carl Sagan addresses this in his excellent work, "The Demon-Haunted World, Science as a candle in the dark". To paraphrase him badly. If some one went to a witch doctor and asked them to teach them the deeper secrets of his craft the witch doctor would respond - "It takes fifteen years of hard study and you have to unlearn much of what you know". If you where to go to a Physicist and ask them the same, you would get a similar answer. The difference, the witch doctor could not make one reliable real world prediction of how something behaves or how something will behave given a known starting position. A Physicist though can make a prediction about how a physical system works. If it does not behave as expected they will systematically found out. If this means that all previously held truths have to be thrown out in light of a new and better understanding, so be it. A witch doctor could not accept this.

:i.e. some form of exerience of 'God', and my : focus is primarily on the Black Hole and :Singularity

There is nothing special or mystical about black holes. They are inpressive, yes, they fire the imagination, they inspire awe at the forces involved. They are still real world objects that can be analysed studied and understood. God does not come into this.

: models. I propose that there may be a relationship : between science and theistic religious traditions : insofar as they relate a normal position (religious : practice or science) to an extraordinary one : (so-called mystical experiences or in this case : singularities).

This statement assumes that Black holes are extraordinary - they are not. Extreme yes but not extraordinary. The evidence that black holes exist is now 99% certain, or better. The same can not be said for any sort of extraordinary event, religious apparition, manifestation or otherwise.

Relating Science and Religion is also incorrect. Science depends on analysing a problem and attempting to model what is happening. If that model fails to predict or explain what has been experimentally determined then the model is summarily thrown out. Granted there are some people who still cling to their beliefs that they are right (their perception of reality) and everyone else is wrong but the truth will always out.

Religion on the other hand simply requires you to believe that what you are told is true, absolutely, completely, according to the word of whatever God, true. No argument is brooked, no dissent against the perceived truth is allowed. It is a case of "I am right everyhting else must be wrong" irregardless of physical evidnce for or against that standpoint.

:Further, the common reference to : unity has inspired my inquiry.

In a word, huh!

: Please post comments that address my comments and : particularly from the viewpoint of science. If you : think my viewpoint mistaken please explain why.

I hope I did, please respond as to why you think I am wrong.


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