Editorial

"Zen teaches nothing; it merely enables us to wake up and become aware. It does not teach, it points." ~D.T. Suzuki

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Agnostic Science

Agnostic Science

‘I cannot believe in a God
who wants to be
praised all the time.’
Mark Twain
It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.
Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts.
Arthur Conan Doyle
Science is Agnostic

I am a scientist. What I use to discern things is the scientific method for arriving at facts and testable theories that make sense of these facts. As a guide, The Carl Sagan Baloney Toolkit is very handy in this regard.

I'm also a zen buddhist. It's not a religion.
There is no god to be worshiped. Nor is there a doctrine or scripture. Zen is a way of life.

As to the argument of if there is a god, that is between Theists and Atheists, I am part of neither camp. I neither believe nor disbelieve in the proposition.

I'm an Agnostic on this question.


"The scientist is not a person
 who gives the right answers, 
he is one who asks the right questions."
Claude Lévi-Strauss
It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble.
It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.
Mark Twain
"Ignorance
is preferable to error;
and he is less remote from the truth
who believes nothing
than he who believes what is wrong." 
Thomas Jefferson
Do not condemn the judgment of another because it differs from your own.
You may both be wrong. 
Dandemis
A Damn Good Argument
But
You may still both be wrong. 

Here's why I'm an agnostic. And it is because of the rigor of science that I have come to this conclusion. I won't make many arguments, only one question. Sagan's Toolkit provides one that should be asked.

- "Ask whether the hypothesis can, at least in principle, be falsified (shown to be false by some unambiguous test). In other words, it is testable? Can others duplicate the experiment and get the same result?"

So now, the hypothesis on the existence of god.
A great deal of logic and philosophy and blind faith have gone into these debates from both sides. Both are based on belief. Yes, belief.
Belief in the meaning of  "confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof".

Theists have yet to demonstrate any empirical evidence. But then neither have the Atheists any conclusive proof of the contrary. And while religion is definitely not value-free, many forget that atheists too, are not value-free.

Strictly speaking, there is no data one way or the other. Based on science, that demands facts, the conclusion I come to is agnostism. I border between being a strong or a weak one. I'm open to any empirical proof but haven't seen any yet. Skeptical, I don't think there is one.


"To kill an error is as good a service as,
and sometimes even better than,
the establishing of a new truth or fact."
Charles Darwin
"The question [Do you believe in God?]
has a peculiar structure.
If I say no,
do I mean I'm convinced God doesn't exist,
or do I mean I'm not convinced he does exist? 
Those are two very different questions."
Dr. Arroway in Carl Sagan's Contact

Historically,
throughout many
ages and cultures,
alchemy was a union of protoscience and spirituality.
Alchemy sought the purification and transmutation of both matter and spirit. Noble intent maybe, but it's not objective science.



"Skeptical scrutiny is the means,
in both science and religion, 
by which deep thoughts
can be winnowed
from deep nonsense."
Carl Sagan
We should be teaching our children the scientific method and the reasons for a Bill of Rights. 
With it comes a certain decency, humility and community spirit.
Carl Sagan
"The mystery of the beginning of all things
is insoluble by us;
and I for one must be content
to remain an agnostic."
Charles Darwin
Enjoy
© 2014 MU-Peter Shimon

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