ChatterSquare Extra: How science intersects with politics, religion and the humanities
26 June 2017
Is science political? Does it actually have something in common with religion? And how do the humanities enhance scientific endeavour? We tackle these questions with @realscientists co-founder, science communicator and nanotech researcher Upulie Divisekera.
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Fatima Measham is a Eureka Street consulting editor. She co-hosts the ChatterSquare podcast, tweets as @foomeister and blogs on Medium.
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28 June 2017
Interesting discussion. But, I would have drawn the boundaries between science and politics in terms of practice. That is, the purest practice of science is not political and the purest practice of politics is not scientific. Inevitably, because these practices are performed by people, in whom science and politics are not separate, they can become corrupted. I would argue that one cannot implement successful policies if one ignores the appropriate science (e.g. ignoring global warming) nor can one do successful science if it is driven by policy (e.g. Lysenkoism). Both the scientist and politician must keep an open mind. Similarly, science has clearly drawn a boundary around itself about what it can decide and what it cannot decide. This is Gödel's proof of the "undecidability of certain mathematical propositions" - that is some propositions such as "This sentence is false" cannot be proven right or wrong. So, I would mistrust proofs of the existence of God almost as much as I would mistrust proofs of his non-existence. (Note, evidence and proof are not the same thing). Mathematics, and therefore science, is agnostic (without knowledge), not theistic or atheistic. So, I can happily accept belief in God alongside belief in Science. Life experience leads to God, not proofs.
29 June 2017
In the beginning, there was no distinction between Science and Religion. The were part of one essential thrust to find out just 'What is out there'. Religion, response to God, was based on what passed for Science at that time. The response to what we still call 'Acts of God', was 'God did it'. It was left to science to determine HOW God did it; and it is only now that we are realising that it is through Constant and Universal Laws, not through arbitrary partisan acts. The response of early religions was to try to manipulate God, to bribe or appease God, instead of trying to become in tune with God. Science is progressive; Religion is conservative. Conservatism is an enemy of progress. Ancient 'Status quo' needs aggiornament when situations change. Those favoured by a Status quo resist updating lest they 'lose face', or privileges; or because it seems too hard.
29 June 2017
my brother Dr. Kevin Treston has written a number of books canvassing the Cosmic Christian Story in this area--latest is Who do you Say I Am--well worth reading