Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Science v Spirituality

I have discussed the dispute between Caltech physicist Leonard Mlodinow and New Age spiritualist Deepak Chopra. Now I learn that they have just jointly written a new book, War of the Worldviews: Science Vs. Spirituality. They appear to disagree on everything.

You can see a similar dispute in Chopra'a scathing review of the The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True, a new children's book by Richard Dawkins and Dave McKean. Chopra says:
What is obnoxious about Dawkins' version is his tone of absolute authority about matters that he shows complete ignorance of. Respected physicists like John Archibald Wheeler, Sir Arthur Eddington, Freeman Dyson, Hans-Peter Dürr, Henry Stapp, Sir Roger Penrose, Eugene Wigner, Erwin Schrodinger, and Werner Heisenberg suggest a fundamental role for consciousness in quantum theory and a mental component at the level of biological organisms and the universe itself. ....

I have no interest in defending the God that Dawkins disbelieves in. The real tragedy is that the possibility of an expanded science, one that can answer the most difficult questions, isn't suggested by The Magic of Reality.
What these guys have in common is that they accept hard science and reject traditional religion. They differ in the inferences that they draw from the science. They all firmly believe that science points to a magic reality that can be extrapolated from the data.

I am more of a logical positivist. I think that they are all making claims about reality that cannot be substantiated. They are realists who disagree about what reality is.

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