Thursday, March 26, 2009

Its not about metaphysics

Quick thoughts about some responses ala the Bloggingheads piece.

In trying to chart a different path in thinking about science and its context with what happens in the domains of human spiritual endeavor many people who advocate for one of the poles want an instant movement towards a metaphysical commitment -

Its only god that exists!
No its only hard little spheres!
One must by hyper-rational in all approaches!
No one must rely on scripture!

I am not a believer and I am in love the world science reveals but what is missed in this polarized debate is a discussion about our response to the world – including the world revealed by science. There is no need to go straight to some kind of metaphysics. It is not only about a commitment to a belief about what "is". It is that internal response that I am interested in. Even if you want to hold to some kind of absolute reductionism there is still lots of room to ask about how our response to the world’s beauty and order as revealed by science speaks to those aspects of human being referred to as “religious”.

Beware orthodoxies of ultimacy of any kind. In the name of purity they tend to lead their proponents to strange positions that often have little relevance to world we all actually inhabit. Once again, science is not a philosophy, its an approach to the world. That is what makes it so much fun.


  1. Amazing, for the first time I feel that I understand your central message
    "...a discussion about our response to the world"
    "...It is that internal response that I am interested in"

    It seems that you want to avoid classifying or explaining this response in terms of some prevailing belief system because that immediately confines it to some pre-ordained form. You want to avoid the situation where the label defines the experience.

    This response is valid and important in its own right.

    But implicit in your posts is the argument that the response has a consequence and while I can guess at it I am eager so see where you lead the discussion.

  2. That is true. I think that people will naturally find this response within their traditions but that is a choice. Many others will find it outside any particular traditions (with the response to science being one aspect) and we will have to develop a language that can accommodate this.

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