Field of Science

Are you a true scientist?

Philosopher and keyboard artist Ervin Laszlo can help you answer this question. According to a recent piece at the Huffington Post:
You aren't a "true" scientist if you "confound the record of a religious experience with the meaning of that experience". Hmmm. Whose meaning?
You aren't a "true" scientist if you "judge a religion by the literal veracity of the sayings, episodes, and injunctions contained in its doctrines". Hmmm. OK, we aren't to pay any attention to what the religion teaches.
A "true" scientist would be "reasonably certain...that there are aspects and planes of human experience that far transcend the limits of everyday experience, and they ["true" scientists] would seek to understand that experience". Ah, at last. Yes, the biology of hallucinations is fascinating and explains why hallucinogenic plants are involved with so many of the world's religions. In a pre-scientific world such experiences would be taken as absolute proof of the supernatural, but now we know it's brain chemistry. And have these experiences provided any profound insights into human nature and the natural world? Alas, no.
Well, by now you get the idea, you are not a "true" or "genuine" scientist if you don't simply accept the religious experience at face value rather than saying "your brain was deprived of oxygen".
But this is what really rubs my rhubarb. Any scientist who doesn't agree with Laszlo in neither a "true" or "genuine" scientist. It is to laugh. Only a desperately irrelevant philosopher would use such a rhetorical device and provide us with such a slipshod, second rate contribution to the problem of sorting out the science and religion problem. Stick with the keyboard Laszlo; you're giving philosophy a bad name.


mr_subjunctive said...

It was my understanding that no true scientist trusts HuffPo, given that it's been printing anti-vaccine garbage since it started. So I'm not sure who this is supposed to reach, or why Laszlo believes himself more qualified to define who counts as a scientist than people who, you know, do actual science.

In fairness, though, I didn't actually read the piece. Life is too short for obvious No True Scotsman arguments. And HuffPo in general.

Matt DiLeo said...

Hahaha I lost all respect for him when I saw he was summed up as a "philosopher and keyboard artist." trite AND self aggrandizing!

The Phytophactor said...

Well, let me be perfectly honest here, Laszlo was described as a concert pianist, and to me that sounded better as "keyboard artist" because you know no "true" pianist would also be a philosopher, or that sort of thing.

And how very true about HuffPo. You can argue with this article from a number of angles. Remarkable fluff to be called philosophy.