Thursday, April 21, 2011

Does Science Suck the Meaning Out of Life? III continued

  Now it has to be admitted that science, in its application (technology), has been used for destructive purposes. Surely, though, that is not the fault of science. In Literature and Science, Aidous Huxley wrote: "Science, it seems hardly necessary to remark, provides no justification for slaughter and oppressions. Hand in hand with progressive technology, it merely provides the means for implementing the old insanities in a novel and more effective way." Science, of course, is not a being that can make decisions-it can be used for good or ill. The problem is with man. But look at the many beneficial uses of technology. Our lives have become much easier and more comfortable. Of course, the comforts and conveniences of the modern age are not ultimately able to resolve our psychological dilemmas (e.g. give life meaning), but I don't see the critics of science giving up technology (the Unabomber being a rare exception) The ancients may have had their beliefs, but they didn't have air conditioners, airplanes, or iPods.
   The stereotype of Science is that it is cold and mechanistic. However, the developments in 20th century science (namely, Quantum Physics and Relativity) have opened the door for a science that is more dynamic and mysterious. For another thing, one does not have to go to the logical extreme (as in section II of this essay) in order to appreciate and accept science. See, for instance, the Dalai Lama's book The Universe in a Singe Atom (see my book review). And, of course, there is no sure way to know whether any scientific concept is entirely true. A good scientist has a healthy doubt and skepticism. However, dogmatic scientific thinkers seem to be, there is room for criticism and change (though it may take some time).
   Finally, however cold or empty the world may be, what I consider much more significant is the Inner Experience of man. Whether it's just brain matter or a "soul" doesn't seem that important; no outside reality or set of facts can touch this "spiritual" realm.

1 comment:

  1. I don't pretend to really understand some of the ideas you are discussing but I am glad you are thinking about deep issues. I have been doing my "skim reading" of the Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku; I listed to him on TED and frankly didn't appreciate his talk as much as I like at least parts of his book. If you get a chance to review this book, let me know your thoughts.