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Isn't Rational More Important Than Pragmatic?

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Posted by Aurino Souza on July 26, 2001 16:15:17 UTC


Since Dick invited me to participate here, I want to give a small contribution. Keep in mind that these are only my opinions, I'm not a spokesperson for Dick.

Have you read Dick's paper? If not, I suggest you take a look at the first chapter only. It is, for me anyway, the most lucid thing I ever read on the internet. Dick makes a lot of points but the central issue he seems to be advocating is the end of irrationality. Irrationality takes many forms, when it comes to science the two most important ones from my point of view are, the habit of making unwarranted assumptions, and a complete disdain towards any efforts to understand what science really is.

Anyone who advocates that we should keep doing science without a single clue as to what it is cannot possibly claim to be thinking rationally. The consequences of that are not as harmful to scientists themselves as they are to society in general, and that is the reason nobody wants to deal with the problem, let alone solve it.

In particular, the God and science debate is an unavoidable consequence of that state of affairs. Theists think atheists are unenlightened, atheists think theists are stupid, the world keeps turning and we will never understand each other until we understand where our knowledge comes from. Dick is not the first person to deal with that problem, and he won't be the last, but if we are as rational as we think we are we should at least recognize that the problem exists and do something about it. Anything less and we are just fooling ourselves.

That's all I wanted to say.

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