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science is improving

Mar 21, 2002 12:58 PM
by Eldon B Tucker

Steve [writing to Leon]:

Actually, what is being taughy in universities todday
is that not everything can be demonstrated and tested
using empirical methods and that some objects of
intellectual interest are therefore outside the domain
of science. Science has therefore usurped some, but
not all, of the obsessions of the philosopher. That
is a bit different from what you said. It is a fact
and not a prejudice.
"Taughy" and "todday?" I detect a subtle allusion to
recent comments on the list regarding the humor found
in misspellings by people whose first language is not

Science used to be Natural Philosophy, until it dropped
metaphysics and philosophy and became physical
empiricism. Over time, it's been broadening its scope.

It still may have trouble with things that are real
but at the same time are unprovable and non-reproducible.
With such, it may turn a blind eye or limit itself to
after-the-fact observations.

A system in a chaotic state, under the influence of
a strange attractor, may be deterministic, but not
predictable. All possible states may be known and could
be graphed. But given a particular state, it may not
be possible to say which one would come next. This
may frustrate traditional experimenters if they expect
for a given input that they'll get a predictable output.
They may struggle with the idea that there could be
a deterministic system that does not yield predictable

Metaphysics deals with issues of life, spirit, soul,
the intangible something that is behind outward
appearances and can only be known by its effects.
These subtle causes of outward things are, I'd say,
immaterial, and originate from some higher form of

Different religions and philosophies try to
describe the details of what happens in this world,
each drawing upon analogies from life and society and
extrapolating them. We have a father and mother, so
the ruler and parent of the universe must be "God
the Father" in patriarchal societies. We have a code
of justice in society, so we have karma as justice in
the universe. We are born into the world, so when we
get initiated into the spiritual path, we are "born

Care must be taken when using analogies from
everyday life to describe the cosmic order of things.
A closer approximation may be reached by using
several analogies that apparently contradict each
other. Then we can point at something otherwise
intangible and not take any one description too

-- Eldon

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