Quantum teleportation, FTL, and causality; was Re: Cat 5 extended run?

Levi Pearson levipearson at gmail.com
Fri Mar 15 15:03:17 MDT 2013


On Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 6:16 PM, S. Dale Morrey <sdalemorrey at gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> For the Mormons here - how does this square with your religious beliefs?
>>
>> -Dan
>
> Religion and Science are methods of seeking answers to different questions.
> One cannot correctly substitute for the other.
>
> Put another way,
> Science asks HOW.
> Religion asks WHY.
>
> Science by definition cannot answer WHY, since the underlaying
> assumption of all science is that there really is no why, there is
> only how.
> Conversely religion is incapable of answering how, religion concerns
> itself only with the why of a thing.

I think this is a false dichotomy.  Science and Religion will both
answer different aspects of 'how' and 'why' questions.  The difference
is that science, in essence, deals with understanding that which is
repeatably observable.  You could call this 'material reality', I
suppose.

You can use it to answer a 'why' question in terms of strictly
mechanistic processes; i.e. why does a rock fall to the ground when I
drop it?  Answer would explain with reference to gravity.  Why does
the sky appear blue?  Answer would explain with reference to optics--
wavelengths of visible colors and diffraction.  Why did the computer
give an apparently incorrect response to my query?  Answer with
respect to grammars, programming languages, boolean logic, etc.  Why
did the animal get sick after eating certain food? Answer with respect
to biological processes, toxicity, disease vectors, etc.

Religion would typically answer these in an entirely different way,
and would usually make reference to some moral principle either
directly or metaphorically.  When religion answers "Why did the city
burn?" with an explanation about wickedness, it is essentially making
a cautionary statement that you ought not follow the example set by
the residents of the city.  Of course, I think this a very modern and
limited view of religion; in the past, it would also provide answers
similar to those we now turn to science for.  Worship of elemental
deities, fertility deities, etc. often produced a mechanistic kind of
answer.  Why did the volcano erupt in flames?  The flame-god was
angry, and pushed flame up out of his home beneath the earth.  Of
course, if you ask why the flame god was angry in the first place, you
just might get a moral-oriented answer to that one.

So, religion has provided answers to pretty much any question you
might care to ask in its various incarnations throughout human
history.  Science, on the other hand, can give you highly detailed
answers about what exists within material reality and how it works,
but it is utterly powerless to tell you what you ought to do.  I don't
mean to say that the non-religious don't have places to turn for moral
guidance; I just don't think those branches of moral philosophy
properly fall under the umbrella of science.  On the other hand, as
science of the mind advances, we may learn more about why we think and
react to things the way we do, which could give insight to why we tend
to approach religion the way we do. This doesn't tell us whether we
ought to be religious or not, though it might make some religious
answers seem more or less sensible than others.

        --Levi


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