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Sociology of scientific knowledge

Essays on SSK, science wars and science versus religion


Feud between Science and Religion
'Many (most?) scientists believe religions to be irrational, obscurantist and anti-scientific  The problem goes back to Galileo, who discovered that the earth goes round the sun, rather than vice-versa as stated in the Bible.'

Science of the mind?
Science will never be able to analyse such phenomena... because these 'things' do not have any structure - they do not have any nuts and bolts for the dismantling tools of science to get a grip on. 
The phrase 'Science of Consciousness' is thus a self-contradiction.

Sociology of Scientific Knowledge
'...According to SSK, the natural world has a small or non-existent role in the construction of scientific knowledge.   Science is just another social practice, producing ``narrations'' and ``myths'' with no more validity than the myths of backward and pre-scientific peoples.... The ideas were variously known as Deconstructionism, Sociology of Scientific Knowledge, (SSK), Social Constructivism, or Science and Technology Studies (STS)..'

Laws of physics - their anthropic origin
'.....as soon as an observer's mind makes contact with a superposed system, all the numerous possibilities collapse into one actuality. At some instant one of these possible alternative universes produced an observing lifeform. The first act of observation by this mind caused the entire superposed multiverse to collapse immediately into one of its numerous alternatives'

Mathematics - Its unreasonable effectiveness in science and engineering
' So we are left with something of a mystery. According to the physicalist worldview, the mind (including mathematicians' minds) is an epiphenomenon of matter which has evolved solely to ensure the survival of the selfish genes which code for it. Why should this 'top-level' phenomenon have such intimate access to the 'bottom level' phenomena such as quantum physics? After all, the two levels are supposedly separated by less well-understood (in some cases) explanatory layers such as evolutionary psychology,   neurology, cell biology, genetics, molecular biology, and chemistry.'

Materialism
'...The version of materialism prevalent nowadays is more accurately known as physicalism. Physicalism has grown out of advances during the second half of the twentieth century in the fields of genetics, evolution and computer technology. Modern physicalism takes as its subject matter DNA codes, computer instruction sets and datastructures, rather than the bouncing billiard balls of the nineteenth and early twentieth century materialists..'

Wicca - an intuitive reaction against materialism?
'
There is no place for the feminine aspects of spirituality in standard patriarchal monotheism.  However Wicca celebrates the divine feminine with colorful ceremonies, symbolism and rituals. (Many Wiccans are accomplished artists and designers). The non-macho nature of Wicca extends to welcoming gays and lesbians, who are still treated as abominations unto the Lord by some of the traditional patriarchal religions.'

Evolutionary Psychology
'Our genes drive us along paths of action which appear to minimise suffering, but in many cases increase it. Greed and acquisitiveness are natural reactions designed to increase the survival of our genes, and decrease the chances of our competitors. After a certain point, the more you've got the more you've got to lose, and so the more you've got to worry about.'

Gender
' When you put maleness in plain biological terms, (DNA, chromosomes, sperm, eggs and all that stuff) there seems to be something nonsensical about a male God in the absence of a female...God is defined in terms of superlatives. He's the greatest in all respects. Omnipotent, omniscient, almighty, eternal, highest in the highest, supremely good. All these are definitions of exalted status - high versus low - powerful versus weak - wise versus stupid - permanent versus temporary - good versus evil, and of course male versus female...'

Arguments against Buddhism
- the best way to understand the strengths of a philosophy is to attempt to refute it!

God
'For in Him we live, and move, and have our being'

Marxism
'In Marxist countries most religions were suppressed to a greater or lesser extent, Buddhism being a particular object of persecution. The reason for this is fairly clear, for unlike the other belief-systems that Marxism encountered, Buddhism was the only one which offered a rational, logically coherent philosophy, and thus presented a real ideological threat to the Marxist materialist worldview'.

Sentient beings
What make a sentient being different from an automaton?

The Three Poisons
Hatred,  Ignorance and Desirous attachment.

Tibetan Death Chart

Transpersonal Psychology
Transpersonal Psychology grew out of the rejection of the mechanistic or behaviorist model of the mind which was the orthodoxy of the mid-twentieth century academic establishment .   Charles T. Tart refers to this orthodoxy when describing his college experience in the 1960's: 'As to things like mystical experiences, if they were mentioned at all, which was rare, they were relegated to the fringes of psychiatry as being undoubtedly schizophrenic in nature and just showed how sick religions were to be associated with superstitious nonsense like that'

Paradigm Shifts, New Paradigms and other cromulent words and paradigmatic phrases.

RATIONAL BUDDHISM
If we regard Buddhism as a combination of a philosophy, psychology and religion, then how much mileage can we get from the first two aspects before we have to start invoking religious faith?

Christian versus Buddhist worldviews

Buddhism in Everyday Life
The Daily Meditation