In a study involving 275 atheist scientists from elite universities 72 said they had so called 'spiritual qualities' consistent with science.

Per the article:

"Ecklund and Long noted that the spiritual scientists saw boundaries between themselves and their nonspiritual colleagues because their spirituality facilitated engagement with the world around them. Such engagement, according to the spiritual scientists, generated a different approach to research and teaching: While nonspiritual colleagues might focus on their own research at the expense of student interaction, spiritual scientists' sense of spirituality provides nonnegotiable reasons for making sure that they help struggling students succeed."

The study was conducted by researchers from Rice university and is to be published in the June issue of the journal, Sociology of Religion.

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-05-percent-atheist-scientists-spir...

Tags: Jubinsky, Religion, Science, Secularism, Spiritualism

Views: 85

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Dr. Meaden:

My discussion of Descartes and p#45 of Hawking's book was meant to establish that from a purely rational perspective we cannot establish with complete certainty that DNA even exists. We can rationally establish that the perception of it exists. Due to our being nature we must jump to the conclusion that it actually exists. As Hawking pointed out in his scenario involving Dr. Samuel Johnson, insisting that an external objective reality exists cannot make it so.

Nevertheless, as Hawking suggested we would be off the deep end to not behave as though we could trust our senses so for the sake of discussion let us assume that we can.

I believe that life is sustained by energy or energies that stem from the most basic nature of existence that I do not believe science has fully explained yet. In my mind all of existence is sustained by such energy or energies. Certainly for example if protons and electrons stopped repelling each other (as other forces ceased) existence as we know it would stagnate. The question is whether we can rationally say that the energies sustaining sophisticated life involve no others than those sustaining non-life.

Because sophisticated life is so dissimilar from non-life I am not convinced that the energies sustaining it do not include some uninvolved in non-life. Scientifically, I see the jury as being out regarding this. However, my definition of spiritualism is the belief that extra-non-life energy or energies are required in sustaining sophisticated life.

Although I am agnostic regarding the matter I do not see the possible existence of them as inconsistent with science.

John wrote: "  . . However, my definition of spiritualism is the belief that extra-non-life energy or energies are required in sustaining sophisticated life."

 

So are you saying, on the basis of no evidence at all but upon a 'belief' instead, that human life and ape life and ant-eater life have something which unsophisticated amoeba life and bacterium life have not?  

But there is no need to introduce such an uncalled for belief. 

Whatever the trigger was  from the non-life of molecules to the self-replicating life that the concept of and practical knowledge of DNA explains  is what led me to mention Prof. Muller's adequate view that 

Life is a self-sustained chemical system capable of undergoing Darwinian evolution.

Per your reply that:

 

"So are you saying, on the basis of no evidence at all but upon a 'belief' instead, that human life and ape life and ant-eater life have something which unsophisticated amoeba life and bacterium life have not?"

 

I am not saying that. I used the term 'sophisticated life' to demonstrate and emphasize that life could be different enough from non-life to warrant an entertaining of the possibility that an energy not yet discovered by science (different from those that have been) might be involved in sustaining it. Allow me to add for the third time that I am agnostic regarding the possibility.

 

Nevertheless, I do not see it as inconsistent with science. In this, I do not think it should be shied away from for fear of ridicule nor what false notions might result from not rejecting it.

My point is that there's no need to complicate matters by inventing additional unknowns (like an undiscovered energy) when physics has already achieved so much in arriving at current understandings.

The physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology behind explanations of the origins of life are quite adequate without invoking some mysterious element called 'spiritualism'. I am as confident as physicist Vic Stenger in foreseeing that the known laws of physics can go on handling remaining problems as to the origins of the Universe and, I add, of Life on Earth. 

I thought my definition of spiritualism was very well defined rather than mysterious. I grant you your opinion. Nonetheless, throughout history science has had to reformulate its perspective. My opinion is it best to be open-minded enough to be ready for it to do so again.

John says, "Nevertheless, I do not see it as inconsistent with science."

 

I do consider it inconsistent with science.  It is like saying, "I suspect the existence of the tooth fairy. Science cannot prove me wrong, therefore my hypothesis is consistent with science." 

 

Science doesn't work that way. 

 

In science, hypotheses are created to explain as yet unexplained data, and there is as yet no data regarding the nature of life forms that an "energy not yet discovered" hypothesis explains which cannot be better explained by other, more mundane hypotheses.  Since energy is the ability to perform work, and known forms of energy as governed by thermodynamics are quite adequate to explain the data presently before us, it strikes me that the notion of "energy not yet discovered" is an entirely unnecessary one, and scientifically should be rejected on the basis of Occam's Razor. 

If one means by "energy," some metaphysical postulate, then we're into the realms of the tooth fairy example given above.  Equally unscientific, because it asserts an entirely unnecessary hypothesis.

Who said anything about a hypothesis Scott? When scientific questions are not completely answered being open-minded enough to acknowledge multiple possibilities is not the same as formulating a hypothesis. No less than three times I said I was agnostic regarding the matter. I can't help but feel that you have misunderstood me or are overreacting to my position.

dear john jubinsky -

i like your part of the discussion quite a bit, as i agree with you that there is a 'spirituality' out there.  to me it the energy of Gaia herself or itself really. and i don't call it a 'belief', it just is.

 

Does this have any meaning to you?  - alexa

 

 

Once again. Another nail in the coffin of the crystal healers association of ley-line bollocks.  I am sick and bereft of any new subtle ways of tackling believers in 'living energy fields'.  Kirleasn photography was believed to show 'energy fields' and the 'colour' of one's 'spirit'.   It is the usual canard of mind being separate from brain.  Which it isn't. We are redefining the meaning of words like Depak Chopra does.  Spirit definitely refers to the supernatural.

hi Dr.Meaden -  thanks so much for pointing me to this group - it's the best one yet.  i only wish i coud write as eruditely as you guys can.

 I love this discussion about spirituality.  I consider myself spiritual in the same sort of sense  that John Jubinsky  does:  " the belief that there is an energy involved in sustaining life that is different from any known to science. . ." except i don't think it's a "belief", but a feeling.  It also not an energy sustaining life to me, but the energy of Gaia. This connection was with me as a child growing up in the country.  It is not a belief.  I strongly do not 'believe' in the god who is 'your imaginary friend in the sky'.

 

Does this make any sense to you?    - alexa  (NYC)

(n.b. i won't be offended if you don't respond exactly to me :)

 Dear Dr. Meaden -

 Thank you so much for inviting me to this group - it is just what i have been looking for (for a loooong time).  I absolutely love this discussion!

  I am not as good at writing as all you 'guys' are, so i will be brief, as I usually am- brief, that is :).

 

I find what John Jubinsky says that "the belief that there is an energy involved in sustaining life that is different from any known to science. . ." to be a statement closer to my thoughts.  Only it's not a 'belief' but just a feeling of the energy of Gaia itself. I have felt connected to the earth since I was a child in the country.  I do not 'believe' in "our imaginary friend in the sky"!  I do feel that life/earth are somehow connected.  

I also agree with your definition of 'life'.  But it has always been a conundrum to me where the 'energy' of a brain comes - the chemistry/physics of the neurotransmitters?   Why are we 'electrical' - if I can put it that way?

 

Does this make any sense to you?

 

Thanks again,  alexa (NYC)  

(n.b. I will not feel slighted if you do not asnwer me specifically :)

dear john jubinsky -

i like your part of the discussion quite a bit, as i agree with you that there is a 'spirituality' out there.  to me it the energy of Gaia herself or itself really. and i don't call it a 'belief', it just is.

 

Does this have any meaning to you? 

 

 

 

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