QIR: Science's Stories Forum


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Ordering and Re-Ordering the World
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: 2004-09-21 21:35:47
Link to this Comment: 10900

In this second section of the course, we'll be moving into reading (and writing) stories about the physical world, asking how "science" constructs stories that make sense of observations of the material which surrounds us. (I mentioned in class today a weekly brown bag session on this topic, to which all are invited: you'll find elsewhere on Serendip both a schedule of talks about "Science's Audiences" and a summary of the first of these.

Our more immediate task (i.e. by classtime on Thursday!) is to think about Brecht's drama of Galileo as a linchpin of this process: what was Galileo's incentive to replace one story of the universe with another? How was his revised story received? What were the consequences of his re-telling? Think about the historical era of both the play and of its writing--and think, too, about what might be emerging in our own era, as the current equivalent of Galileo's re-telling. What new story are we having trouble swallowing just now, and why?


Brecht's Galileo
Name: Kathleen
Date: 2004-09-22 21:57:08
Link to this Comment: 10913

Thanks, everyone, for a good class on Tuesday. I got a lot out of it. I dreamed of the Third Parent that night and s/he looked like Satan character from The Passion of the Christ!!! Egads!

Right now I'm enjoying an interesting "conversation"/conection between texts from two different classes- Brecht's Galileo and Plato's Apology of Socrates (for ancient philosophy). Galileo and Socrates both rejected their respective culture's knowledge claims in favor of knowledge gleaned by their own faculty of reason(and in Galileo's case, the evidence of his own senses). Both were found guilty of impiety and punished.

I have been thinking about why these men felt compelled to replace the old story about the world with new stories about the world. It's a difficult question. In (Brecht's) Galileo's case, I get the feeling that he was driven back to his REAL work (investigating the validity of a heliocentric model of the solar system) by a curious series intersecting events: a mathematician becoming Pope... his son-in-law speaking frankly about the church's use of theology in subordinating the peasantry and persuading them to accept the unacceptable (I love the dichotomy between this speech and the Little Pope's speech about his peasant parents. Is the church a comfort or a noose?)...close ties with colleagues/students who shared his passion for the work. Passionate, involved people oftentimes have the effect of inspiring one another to truth-telling. And there is something about discovering something that makes you want to share it with people! And, as Galileo said, when he announced that they were going to resume their work with the sun, it's not about being right...
I think it's more along these lines: a good discovery rather suddenly reveals the universe to be an infinitely more beautiful and interesting place than you previously suspected. It's like eating something wonderful, or passing by a beautiful tree while walking with a friend. Of course you're going to want to share a taste, or point out something spectacular.
Of course, it hurts when the other person doesn't think that your salsa or willow tree is anything to write home about.
Naturally the chuch wasn't enthusiastic about Galileo's discoveries, or his good opinion of his own capacity to discern truth. I guess he, and we, are lucky they didn't burn him, as they did the magnificent alchemist/scientist Giordano Bruno. Even without the influence of religion-based orthodoxy-crud, most human beings value custom and greet novel ideas with suspicion and/or contempt. I call these folks neophobes (unlike me, an unabashed neophile). It's as if invention/discovery/novelty implies criticism of the old ways. Perhaps it does.

In the play, I loved that Brecht has the craftsmen depicted as great lovers of progress. I think he atrributed this to their reliance on empiricism and their desire to make their work less taxing.

There is a terrific, colorful description of the scientific method on pg. 96. Solid but nuanced.

Soooooo many great lines. I want this one of my tombstone:

Galileo: (to Ludovico) Young man, I do not eat my cheese absentmindedly.

Anybody else have any favorite lines?




History Repeats
Name: Annabella
Date: 2004-09-22 22:19:01
Link to this Comment: 10914

Galeleo was fascinated with making sense of the world around him, and describing it acurately. He was simply compelled to do this, as the singer must sing, and the poet must write poetry. He had the unique ability to "think outside the box" and consider the possible validity of alternate explanations of the world.
He paid a very high price for his open minded curiosity. Those in positions of religious and political power wanted to maintain the status quo and used their power to discredit him and keep his theories from the public. They went so far as to call him a heretic for proposing that the Earth may revolve around the sun as opposed to the biblical explanation that the sun revolved around the Earth.
We are now quite sure that Galeleo was correct in his theory of the solar system. Yet for whatever reasons, the powers that be are still afraid of letting science take its course. Have we learned nothing from past mistakes?
Current situations where this is happening are many, but the most glaring one is in the field of fetal and stem cell research. The masses are afraid of stem cell research because of their ignorance of its possibilities, and the possiblity of man playing God. This is very similar to what was said about Galeleo in his day.
It may even be that the medical establishment is helping to shut down stem cell research. After all, where would they be if we really did find ways to cure the "incurables" which feed so much money into thier pockets. But the arguments against this research ring of religious fear, also known as ignorance.
Somehow, I think people will still believe in God and those who want to will still read the Bible, even if we began to explore the amazing possibilities of fetal and stem cell research. These people have nothing to fear but themselves...as always.


finally I know this Galileo
Name: Samantha
Date: 2004-09-22 22:24:31
Link to this Comment: 10915

I laughed at this

Galileo to Virginia

--You hang around church too much. And getting up at dawn is ruining your skin. Did you pray for me?--

Kathleen, you asked “I have been thinking about why these men felt compelled to replace the old story about the world with new stories about the world. It's a difficult question. In (Brecht's) Galileo's case, I get the feeling that he was driven back to his REAL work (investigating the validity of a heliocentric model of the solar system)” KM

and I think that it all boils down to people wanting to know the truth about their existence in this world. Philosophers like Socrates want us to examine our lives, and Galileo speaks to the difficulty of examining our lives particularly in scientific ways. We live in a world that believes in spirituality--an intangible, "unscientific" realm.

New ideas are most often criticized and discounted. People don't want to be challenged.


Looking for a GUT....also, quantum mechanics ....
Name: Kathleen
Date: 2004-09-22 22:30:04
Link to this Comment: 10917

Physicists are looking for a GUT- a grand unified field theory, that is. This is a theory that ties togther the laws of gravity, electromagnetism and weak and strong nuclear forces. If our knowledge about the physical laws of the universe was a human being, it would still be in her embryonic stage. Of course, that's just my opinion.

The models that science has been using for a very long time are growing progressively less and less effective at accurately describing the "worlds" that we are discovering on very large and very small scales. You geberally don't hear much about this.

I'd wager to guess that we're never going to find the "smallest" part of matter. We've gone from atoms- "INDIVISIBLE!"- to electrons, to hadrons, to quarks!!!! And so on and so on, I think. "Quarks"! Nuclear physicists named a subnuclear particle after a word that James Joyce invented! I just think this is so funny.

Once we get down to the really small stuff, all bets are off and science can no longer be deterministic- that is, predict stuff accurately. It becomes probabalistic- like a crapshoot! So on the most miniscule scale, the very "building blocks" of everything, we can't predict much accurately!
AND our observing the activity alters the outcome! Ha!

Maybe this stuff is boring to people, and that's why it's not talked about a lot. I just wonder why I wasn't taught this stuff in high school physics-why this info comes as a surprise to many people. The chunks of knowledge that make me feel the most free, the most delighted by the universe, are often the very chunks that were obscured from me by people who thought they wouldn't be good for me, that I wasn't ready for them.


couple more thoughts
Name: Samantha
Date: 2004-09-22 22:31:17
Link to this Comment: 10918

It is difficult to prove to the world that their belief in “whatever” is wrong according to science, and in Galileo, we see what moral and ethical dilemas arise from trying to come to the truth via science. According to Brecht, truth in the 17th century lay solely in the scriptures of the church, and anything else was heresy. Galileo, using science and the scientific method to explore what is beyond in the heavens causes great concern and disbelief among the people because they felt it was going against the church’s teachings. Where was there room for God in the heavens Galileo described? It gets to the point that he must hide his true intentions, deny what he believes to be true, and only writes the truth of his findings in secret. He even goes blind—and what can we ascertain from that?

The people did not accept his proof—those who professed to be clergy and men of some knowledge were threatened by this new knowledge. Those who were scientist were afraid to back him. They feared persecution.

This phenomenon is not new. Throughout history, people have not wanted to believe in scientific explanations for many things, including those who question the beginning of life. And I agree with Annabella--stem cell research is an excellent example of the fears of the religious "right" curtailing (or attempting to) advancements in science.



I read a different Galileo
Name: Patricia W
Date: 2004-09-23 00:42:53
Link to this Comment: 10921

I agree that for the most part, human beings are frightened of losing their belief system and in many ways science has been very good in shining its scientific light into the darkness and providing a theory which offers just enough tangible evidence to support their own arrogance, fear is an intense motivator.

I'm glad that I read the introduction to Brecht's play because it explained alot. Unfortunately, a couple of years ago I read Dava Sobel's,"Galileo's Daughter" (has anyone else?) and I loved the story. Reading Galileo's letters gave me a perspective of the man as well as the scientist. The most compelling aspect of the book has to do with his relationship with his daughter, Maria Celeste. I've been spoiled.


Say what you are Saying
Name: Annabella
Date: 2004-09-23 07:36:16
Link to this Comment: 10925

Patricia, I am interested in the Galeleo you read about. But you said very little about him. Would you elaborate on the Galeleo you read?


A Fairy Tale...About the Nature of the Universe?
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: 2004-09-27 22:24:58
Link to this Comment: 10971

Hi, guys. Thursday's reading is Edwin Abbot's Flatland, which extends the conversation we've been having about Brecht's Galileo beyond the range of a historically and geographically specific location. Flatland is a late 19th c. "fairy tale" in which the story of the nature of the physical world is altered. So...I'm posing again versions of the same questions I asked last week about Galileo


Flatland
Name:
Date: 2004-09-29 14:07:05
Link to this Comment: 10986


To answer the questions:
A. Sqaure revises his story about the world because he *experiences* the inadequacy of his old story. It was not enough for Lord Sphere to explain the space realm to him, he had to experience it for himself. When he is drawn/cast outward spatially from the plane of Flatland to a realm of 3 dimesional object by Lord Sphere, he can no longer doubt Lord Sphere's claims about the existence of an heretofore unimagined and UNIMAGINABLE realm.
It seems that there are some things we can "know" only by experiencing them. For instance, reading about a mystical state is one thing; experiencing one is entirely another. There are some sorts of knowing that we cannot turn our backs on, even when, like A. Square, we can't quite remember/think our way through/articulate in an intelligible way to others what happened when we were in that place. We are fundamentally changed by what we have experienced. A. Square is changed by what by what he witnesses.

( Along the same lines:"The ultimate truth cannot be given; it can only be received." or something like that, from some Tom Robbins book- Jitterbug Perfume I think.)

The arrival of Lord Sphere is precipitated by A. Square's comments about his grandson, the hexagon with a facility for mathematics, who asked about about the geometrical dimension that is implied by cubing a number. A. Square is bemoaning the boy's foolishness when Lord Sphere descends into his home, alarming both A. Square and his wife.
A. Square does not seem to me to be particularly open to this revelation, but Lord Sphere must think that he is- otherwise he would not waste a once-in-a-millenia visit on him. A. Square's interest in mathematics may be what recommends him to Lord Sphere. Also, given the way that A. Square described the time when color almost destroyed the hierarchy and social arrangements of Flatland, he seems to have a bit of a subversive, inquiring, curious streak. I imagine that a circle or many angled polygon would speak of this time in less admiring terms.
I think that he is compelled to share his new story with others because he finds the truth that he has experienced to be IMPORTANT and true awe-inspiring. As I said earlier, he is changed by it. There is a loneliness in feeling different than everyone, naturally. Everyone wants to be known, I think. And, hopefully, loved by someone who they are known by.
His new story is not well received by his grandson, who seems dissauded from his former curiosity by the threats of those in power.
The old story is critical to those who wish to remain in power. Information must be controlled. I think that the Big Poohbah Circle probably knows the truth. They are certainly ruthless in their pursuit of controlling what others "know".

This seems to me to be a document of immense metaphysical truth.
A. Square account of his experience of an unimagined dimension reminded me of the accounts of many mystics.


Sorry-forgot to put my name on the first post
Name: Kathleen
Date: 2004-09-29 14:10:02
Link to this Comment: 10987


To answer the questions:
A. Square revises his story about the world because he *experiences* the inadequacy of his old story. It was not enough for Lord Sphere to explain the space realm to him, he had to experience it for himself. When he is drawn/cast outward spatially from the plane of Flatland to a realm of 3 dimesional object by Lord Sphere, he can no longer doubt Lord Sphere's claims about the existence of an heretofore unimagined and UNIMAGINABLE realm.
It seems that there are some things we can "know" only by experiencing them. For instance, reading about a mystical state is one thing; experiencing one is entirely another. There are some sorts of knowing that we cannot turn our backs on, even when, like A. Square, we can't quite remember/think our way through/articulate in an intelligible way to others what happened when we were in that place. We are fundamentally changed by what we have experienced. A. Square is changed by what by what he witnesses.

( Along the same lines:"The ultimate truth cannot be given; it can only be received." or something like that, from some Tom Robbins book- Jitterbug Perfume I think.)

The arrival of Lord Sphere is precipitated by A. Square's comments about his grandson, the hexagon with a facility for mathematics, who asked about about the geometrical dimension that is implied by cubing a number. A. Square is bemoaning the boy's foolishness when Lord Sphere descends into his home, alarming both A. Square and his wife.
A. Square does not seem to me to be particularly open to this revelation, but Lord Sphere must think that he is- otherwise he would not waste a once-in-a-millenia visit on him. A. Square's interest in mathematics may be what recommends him to Lord Sphere. Also, given the way that A. Square described the time when color almost destroyed the hierarchy and social arrangements of Flatland, he seems to have a bit of a subversive, inquiring, curious streak. I imagine that a circle or many angled polygon would speak of this time in less admiring terms.
I think that he is compelled to share his new story with others because he finds the truth that he has experienced to be IMPORTANT and true awe-inspiring. As I said earlier, he is changed by it. There is a loneliness in feeling different than everyone, naturally. Everyone wants to be known, I think. And, hopefully, loved by someone who they are known by.
His new story is not well received by his grandson, who seems dissauded from his former curiosity by the threats of those in power.
The old story is critical to those who wish to remain in power. Information must be controlled. I think that the Big Poohbah Circle probably knows the truth. They are certainly ruthless in their pursuit of controlling what others "know".

This seems to me to be a document of immense metaphysical truth.
A. Square's account of his experience of an unimagined dimension reminded me of the accounts of many mystics.



Name: Anne Dalke
Date: 2004-09-29 18:22:15
Link to this Comment: 10990

I've been thinking lately, too, about mysticism; attended a wonderful lecture on the medieval mystic Margery Kempe last weekend (for an account see "There is another world, and it is this one." What that got me was a story about the "expansion" of time not unlike the expansion of spatial dimensions in Flatland....

Speaking of which... I wanted to add another dimension or two to y'day's conversation about Dadaism and writing. I mentioned the game called Exquisite Corpse; you can find an explanation of the origin of the term, and some additional information about the "Dada Manifesto," @ Exquisite Links. The work of Dadaists and other artists who tried to free up the expression of the unconscious is highly relevant to us, as we work on our own writing. Our workshop yesterday highlighted the conscious process of deliberately "squeezing" and "abstracting" and "extracting" a core concept or claim...but that activity is fed, first, by the undirected work of the unconscious. Liz McCormack of the Physics Dept. put a group of faculty members through a related exercise in the brown bag on The Trials and Tribulations of Academic Writing last week; the good reminder I got from her then/there was that

we can transform the sort of writing anxiety that is disabling into something productive, by thinking of it as the expression of a tension. We are nervous about "making a commitment to one narrative" (when we connect the dots between A and B, for instance, we are not connecting C to D). But the ability to construct such an account can also be the source of enjoyment in the process. Liz suggested that ...remembering that our brains are always at work "in the background," getting ideas, might help us relax, be less judgmental, open up and use ourselves as a source of data in our writing.

Paul then connected this observation to the interactive work of conscious and unconscious: I suspect there are clues to the forms and dynamics of exchange between the unconscious and the conscious in writing anxiety/tension.... If its only the conscious that can conceive things as other than they are then its only the conscious that could worry about having "closed off other stories, other options, other possibilities". So the "tension" might perhaps correspond to [something in the unconscious] surfacing that is inconsistent with some story that the conscious has and wants to preserve?


Non-Flatland related...I can't find the link! And
Name: Kathleen
Date: 2004-09-29 21:26:51
Link to this Comment: 10992

Anne-I'm trying to find the there us another world and it is this one link but it's directing to me to the Descartes-skepticism forum...I'm very interested.
Mysticism is my biggest, longest-lasting passion. I wish I could major in it.

With regards to the conversation Tues. and the thoughtful stuff you posted today:
I think that squeezing, extracting, abstracting a core claim is a very, very valuable activity. In fact, it is one of my favorite things to do with my brain... especially when I am able to do it with a text that is incomprehensible on first reading (like Foucault). It makes my brain feel clean, like completing a difficult crossword puzzle- only it is a much more valuable activity. I just don't think that *making* a core claim in *one sentence in the first paragraph of an essay* is very valuable.

Samantha suggested that I study science...
And I am tremendously interested in science...as I am in many things...
But the thing that turns me off about front-loading a claim into the first paragraph of an essay is the formulaic (quasi-scientific) nature of this. This is what I mean by phony. Many thoughts, many claims do not lend themselves to one word sentences. Many of my thoughts can be reduced to one sentence, but I don't think this is an adnirable thing, and I'm hoping that a liberal arts education will change this.

I know what it is- the very notion reminds me of sound-bytes! And I hate soundbytes and the people who quote them as if they are imparting *real* information!

Plus lots and lots of intriguing, valuable, brilliant pieces of writing claim to be doing one thing yet do another. The Apology of Socrates springs immediately to mind.

We students are expected to write essays, yet we are given them to read only infrequently in my experience. I have found that often we are given excerpts from larger works- or chapters.

When I think of the writing of my favorite essayist- Montaigne- I cannot recall him making use of a "theme" sentence... and in some cases, such as in "Of Cannibals", the theme itself is robustly disputed.


Descartes' Error (?)
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: 2004-09-29 23:01:01
Link to this Comment: 10993

Sorry. Try THIS link: "There is another world, and..." The posting does appear as the last one (currently) in the Descartes forum on profound skepticism (and you will have to wait a bit for it to load, because the conversation is an extensive one), but I made an error in my linking.

Descartes would approve: keep on testing. And doubting your results.
(NOT so different, by the way, from religious seekers, who are also always testing...)

Thanks to you all, for the continual tests you set me.
Keeps me on edge, keeps me thinking.

Til tomorrow--
A. (NOT Square)


dots, lines, spheres oh my
Name: Samantha
Date: 2004-09-29 23:18:19
Link to this Comment: 10994

Okay, so I sat here reading this Flatland with my brain filled with Philosophy and of course everything read like philosophy...

I have just finished this story, yet another attempt at delving into the difficulties of explaining the origin of being, of what the Truth is. I don't see right away why the narrator is open to the revelation of the visitor except perhaps that we are meant to assume that because he is of a higher status he is more open to accepting new knowledge.

What might provoke anyone to teach others about their version of reality...oh I don't know, people like to hear themselves talk. There is always someone, using evidence, theory, hypothesis, whatever, that wants to explain to the masses what they supposedly don't know. Perhaps I make no sense--

It was a challenge to imagine the world the narrator lived in, and as such I think Abbott is speaking of how hard it is to imagine something outside of what science, or your society, or religion, whatever has taught you. It requires an incredible amount of creativity, the ability to think that there are infinite possibilities.

This is not a fairytale in the same way that Galileo was not a fairytale--it reads as a moral, the moral being it takes more than mere words and speculation to convince the masses of anything that cannot be proven by means available to all.





I'm seeing religion everywhere
Name: Angela Joy
Date: 2004-09-30 07:32:54
Link to this Comment: 10995

When I read Galileo, all I could think of was Martin Luther. Now with Flatland, I see the Apostle Paul. Dad will be so proud...

This square fellow is so set in his ways that he can't see beyond his 2-dimensional world. He is an educated and rather arrogant individual. He becomes annoyed at the idea that the world as he knows it might be changing, that there might be something else more complex and wonderful out there for him. This reminds me of Paul persecuting the early Christians. Then Mr. Square has a road-to-Damascus moment when Mr. Sphere brings him to Spaceland. He is thoroughly and enthusiastically converted. He goes back to Flatland and tries to preach this new gospel, is imprisoned and sentenced to execution.

If this isn't doing it for you and you want further proof that Mr. Square is symbolic of the Apostle Paul,just look at his attitude towards women. That should convince you.


and now for a little philosophy....
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: 2004-10-05 07:40:23
Link to this Comment: 11023

and on to Week Three of Re-Telling Science's Stories--

...so, what does the philosopher have to add to the conversation? What's Daniel Dennett's take on why we (refuse to?) revise the stories we tell about the world (especially that little old story called "evolution..."?) And what's your take on Daniel Dennett's take? In what ways do you find his thinking useful to your own?


nothing can come from nothing?
Name: Samantha
Date: 2004-10-06 22:58:45
Link to this Comment: 11036

I have not finished the readings (I am not sure I will this evening) so I will provide my ideas of how philosophers help retell science stories--

From my limited readings in Philosophy, philosphers are concerned with finding out what the essence of matter is, so when speaking of evolution, for instance, they would have to decide whether they believed in a natural essense or a spiritual essence. Philosophers, scientist look for proof of a beginnig.

Ugh. Perhaps I will just highlight some things I underlined in the parts of the text I read:

"God is like Santa Claus, a myth of childhood, not anything a sane, undeluded adult could literally believe in..."

"debates about scientific matters are usually distorted by fears that the "wrong" answer would have intolerable moral implications. So great are these fears that they are carefully left unarticulated."

"Writers on evaluation usually steer clear of this apparent clash between science and religion. Fools rush in, Alexander Pope said, where angels fear to tread."



annabella's dangerous idea
Name: annabella
Date: 2004-10-06 23:09:58
Link to this Comment: 11037

Darwin’s Dangerous Idea?
10/06/04

I’ve never thought Darwin’s idea of evolution to be dangerous. It was presented to me as fact and I never questioned it or any of the deeper beliefs which are at stake here. I appreciate Daniel Dennett’s portrayal of why the theory of evolution is causing such an uproar even in today’s society.
I didn’t run into anyone who admitted to not believing in Darwin’s Theory until I was in my thirties, and I remember looking at them dumbfounded because I had, up until that moment, considered them to be intelligent.
It was hard for me to wrap my mind around the idea that anyone could ignore all the supporting evidence for the Theory of Evolution in favor of believing something from a book that was written so long ago. These people didn’t treat their neighbors as themselves, or honor any other aspects of religion. So why cling to this one?
My guess is that some people just don’t want to recognize how much we resemble other life forms on Earth. We really aren’t all that special. After all, the only thing distinguishing us from our ape ancestors is the fact that we changed and evolved, and the ape’s gene strain remained the same.
Perhaps it would be helpful to take those who are so terrified of the idea of change and put them face to face with an ape, and point out that the ape wasn’t willing to change either. That’s why he’s still an ape. If they still don’t get it, just throw them in the pen and forget them. Their genes won’t make the cut for the next mutation anyway.


Why that condescending b*****d...
Name: Angela Joy
Date: 2004-10-07 07:42:12
Link to this Comment: 11041

In this week's assigned reading I discovered that I am insane and deluded. Also, that I am exactly what I should not be, according to Dennett: indifferent to Darwin. Maybe Darwin was completely correct. Maybe he was entirely wrong. Maybe there is some truth in his theory. At any rate, Darwin is dead. I'll not abuse the man.

Dennett seems to me just another kind of evangelist. His version of the story is colder and less loving than the one I prefer.

"Everything sticks until it goes away. And the truth is we don't know anything."--They Might Be Giants.


Dennett's Ode to Darwin
Name: Andrylyn P
Date: 2004-10-07 09:44:47
Link to this Comment: 11043

Darwin should be lauded. It is almost impossible to think of where the whole study of genetics would be without his theory of evolution or where we would be, keeping in mind that it has proved so profitable to our lives. still it makes some people nervous. I agree that there are some revisions of Darwin that have made me uncomfortabe- need I say more? but what is appealing for me, within the context of the class, is how significant a revision the story of the world is. It puts us in the position of having to question what we know.
So Darwin's theory is revoultionary. I still see no need to give him an award for the single best idea ever had because it is just that; a SINGLE idea, a single version, important yes, but still only one. Idea's such as the one Darwin had may lead us to the path of discovery. He was able to explain what was unexplained not unexplainable.But there are still gaps as even his disciple will admit. There are still unexplained elements, which leaves me with a question. Could it be possible that "proof" which scientists so love, has just eluded us until now regarding the existence of God? This is perhaps what makes Darwin's idea so dangerous because it replaces a concept of God that was had with one that does not include him in explaining how we got to be here. i could ramble forever, but my final point is that perhaps for some of us Darwin's idea is not so dangerous because we realise that so many revisions of the world are possible and so the story of the existence of that Higher mind can coexist with Darwin's story. Perhaps we are just staying tuned waiting for someone to revise the story.



Name: andia
Date: 2004-10-07 11:12:35
Link to this Comment: 11045

Darwin's theory is a persuasive one, it resonates in a very logical way. The idea of evolution is one that every one has experienced if only in an indirect way when you look around you and see what appear to be gradations of the same species. I think there is a recognition in us when we look at other primates that whether we like it or not, there are similarities between us usually followed by the reassuance that we are on the higher scale of things. We are similar, but we, humans are better. The same thing happens with other animals as well, you look at a cat and a lion and you can make the connection. This experiential knowledge allows the standardisation of it in the theory of evolution to find fertile ground to grow. Of course there are people who will fight that idea, especially if it threatens other dearly held beliefs, religious beliefs and the belief of man as the elect of god, specially created, unique in all creation and having a personal relation ship with him. Then this is becomes a heresy. But the thing is, things that make sense just do. You can deny them out loud, but they still make sense, even to you.


so very late...
Name: angela joy
Date: 2004-10-21 14:56:17
Link to this Comment: 11167

...posting on Galileo....

The whole time we were reading and discussing that work, I was of course thinking of Martin Luther, but in addition, that Indigo Girls' song "Galileo" was running incessantly through my head. It bothered me that I couldn't see the connection between Emily's questions about reincarnation and Galileo's "crime of looking up the truth." She must be referring to another version of the Galileo story, because I don't ever recall Galileo's head being "on the block." Sounded like Emily was afraid her head might be on the block for looking up the truth of reincarnation. What am I fretting over? It's just a song. But why Galileo? Did she read the Brecht play? If so, it's very interesting how differently people interpret stories.





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