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Does the scientific community treat materialism/physicalism as absolute truth?


Mallic
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Sigh....alright. So i just joined this forum mostly because i wanted answers, and this place doesn't have a psychology category but since what i wanna know is based heavily on the religion vs science thing I figured i might as well put it here. Feel free to move it wherever its appropriate....now where to start?

I guess the easiest place to start is to point out my religious affiliation, and let me just say right now....I do not consider myself a christian not even close. In fact I don't consider myself aligned with any of the abrehemic religions. Instead i borrowed most of my philosophy from Daoism, Hinduism, Buddhism and paganism. Basically I believe in balance of body, mind and spirit, self improvement and the concept that all living things possess a soul.(That should give you a good idea which angle i'm coming from with this) This of course led me to have an interest in Parapsychology, Quantum mechanics and Panpsychism.

And as you can probably guess, all of them are considered pseudo scientific woo by strict materialists despite the fact that panpsychism is actually gaining academic credibility, as it fills in the gaps that materialism can't answer(Even more to the dismay of strict materialists considering panpsychism is basically a rebranding of animism) And if you're thinking none of those have shown proof, well actually they have it's just the proof isn't good enough. Because apparently anecdotal evidence is all but useless ,because normal humans aren't intelligent enough to understand what they saw and are just deluded fools, despite the fact that there have been studies to support various things such as Dr Ian Stevensons Theory of reincarnation, which people will insist is a hoax despite no one being able to disprove it yet.

The point i'm trying to make is it feels like there's this mindset that If you are an atheist your IQ goes up by like 30 points and anyone who is religious or spiritual is automatically inferior to you and should be treated as such. Which brings us to scientific materialism. This idea that everything is made purely of matter and all other prospects are impossible just doesn't make sense to me. Even from a scientific standpoint this just seems illogical and frankly depressing. Like when asked what made the universe we get the big bang theory. Fine. But how it came to be, you get some very interesting answers. My favorite is richard dawkins famous quote stating that we and the universe we live in are some "Happy little accident". An accident like we were the result of a drunk night at a bar or something. I mean the chances of the universe we living being purely by accident are so astronomically low, that in my opinion to even suggest such a thing is an insult to science. And yet there are plenty"Wannabe smart guys" who just lap it all up. Which in turn leads people to believe that when we die we simply cease to exist, despite the fact that....well lets take a basic law. It's impossible to create something out of nothing right? Very basic law of everything. Which means the reverse should be true as well. Something can't become nothing, and that includes consciousness. Which makes the very idea feel like something an edgy teenager would say.

Anyway...point what is it? What i want to know is....is this mindset prevalent in the scientific community and if not, then why does it seem to common among those who detests religious people to the point where they go one step further and deny spirituality as a whole? It almost seems spiteful really.

Sorry if this was long, but I've had A LOT on my mind. In fact I'm pretty sure i didn't get everything down.

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1 hour ago, Mallic said:

apparently anecdotal evidence is all but useless ,because normal humans aren't intelligent enough to understand what they saw and are just deluded fools

We are all biased. We all make mistakes. Our brains are easily tricked.

It is only proper to seek ways to eliminate that noise from the signal and maximize our chances of accurately modeling the cosmos around and within us. Anecdotes can’t do that. Evidence methodically obtained can help.

Only a deluded fool would argue otherwise. 

1 hour ago, Mallic said:

there have been studies to support various things such as Dr Ian Stevensons Theory of reincarnation

Theory has a very specific meaning in science. This idea you reference isn’t one. Better to call it a conjecture, one that unfortunately is unable to be falsified due to its very structure. 

1 hour ago, Mallic said:

This idea that everything is made purely of matter and all other prospects are impossible just doesn't make sense to me.

It doesn’t make sense to most scientists either. You’re arguing a straw man. It’s unlikely, but not impossible, that other explanations unrelated to matter exist. We just have no reason (yet) to assume they do. 

1 hour ago, Mallic said:

leads people to believe that when we die we simply cease to exist

Our conscious selves surely go away, but our atoms and molecules simply recycle into other things. It all depends on how we define our terms. What is it to exist? What is we or me? Answer those first and the conversation becomes far less edgy and insulting. 

1 hour ago, Mallic said:

is this mindset prevalent in the scientific community and if not, then why does it seem to common among those who detests religious people to the point where they go one step further and deny spirituality as a whole? It almost seems spiteful really.

One is fiction. One is nonfiction. Stories are interesting and narratives often emotional. They even help us to define ourselves and feel a sense of belonging, but they’re not science. 

You’re welcome to your opinions, but so is everyone else. If you move forward with no objective way to see which is valid and reject those which are not, then you’re doing a disservice to yourself and those around you. 

Edited by iNow
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1 minute ago, iNow said:

We are all biased. We all make mistakes. Our brains are easily tricked.

It is only proper to seek ways to eliminate that noise from the signal and maximize our chances of accurately modeling the cosmos around and within us. Anecdotes can’t do that. Evidence methodically obtained can help.

Only a deluded fool would argue otherwise. 

I don't know....at a certain point you have to trust that what you see is the truth don't you? I refer back to the reincarnation work of dr Ian stevenson. If you were to say that like 10 people saw something they shouldn't have and can prove it was something else that's one thing.

But this guy took 3000+ kids from all over the world,who claimed they were some other people in a past life and were able to pinpoint certain things despite never seeing them before, and had information that only the person in question knew.(Without being prodded or jeered into claiming something I might add)I mean even if it is all anecdotal,  you can't really say that all 3k kids were deluded and didn't know what they were talking about can you? There comes a certain point where being a skeptic turns into denial.....OH I just remembered another study that came out just recently.

https://phe.rockefeller.edu/news/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Stoeckle-Thaler-Final-reduced.pdf

I haven't had time to read the whole thing, but in a nutshell apparently the study concluded that 9 out of 10 species on the planet came into being 100,000 to 200,000 years ago....in other words roughly the same time. It was so startling that david thaler said and I quote "This conclusion is very surprising, and I fought against it as hard as I could." In a world where it feels like scientists are claiming to have all the answers, theories like this that can potentially turn everything we know on its head is exciting to me.

 

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Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

4 minutes ago, Mallic said:

In a world where it feels like scientists are claiming to have all the answer

This is unfortunately just another straw man. Science is our best currently available method of obtaining accurate answers, but only an idiot would argue that it’s already provided all answers. 

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7 minutes ago, iNow said:

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.. 

Uh...the claim that the earth was round was extraordinary. The theory of relativity was extraordinary. And lets not forget quantum mechanics. Seriously You are kinda taking a lot of this for granted, to the point where I'm starting to think many are just shut off to the idea of souls and reincarnation being a thing, just because of its association with religion and nothing else.

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This is unfortunately just another straw man. Science is our best currently available method of obtaining accurate answers, but only an idiot would argue that it’s already provided all answers.

Then we must live in a world full of idiots, cause there is a crap ton of people who believe exactly that. To the point where you would actually be sad...
In fact I actually had someone cut all ties with me because i called him out in his veneration of science, believing it will bring us to some sort of golden age of humanity. When i told him that science should be treated as a tool and not much more then that, he called me a quack and blocked me.

And I suppose i should clarify, the stance is usually science has provided all the answers and is now just filling in the details, or it eventually will provide all the answers and we just don't know it yet. (But it's gonna involve strict materialism, that much we are absolutely 100% sure of)

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10 minutes ago, Mallic said:

I'm starting to think many are just shut off to the idea of souls and reincarnation being a thing, just because of its association with religion and nothing else.

Start then by defining soul. Explain to us how it can be measured. Once done, please do the same for the term reincarnation. Perhaps then a productive dialog can be had, but not before. 

10 minutes ago, Mallic said:

Then we must live in a world full of idiots, cause there is a crap ton of people who believe exactly that.

Tell me about it. Have you seen our elected officials lately? Just think... tens of millions of people did the electing. Sad. 

10 minutes ago, Mallic said:

When i told him that science should be treated as a tool and not much more then that, he called me a quack and blocked me.

Thanks for sharing your anecdote about this one experience you had this one time with this one person. It’s not relevant, though... at least not until you get a few more thousand into your dataset.

10 minutes ago, Mallic said:

But it's gonna involve strict materialism, that much we are absolutely 100% sure of

It wasn’t spiritual woo or religious mumbo jumbo that cured polio, allows us to treat diabetes, or type on these computers and send satellites to space. There’s good reason for that. 

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2 minutes ago, iNow said:

Start then by defining soul. Explain to us how it can be measured. Once done, please do the same for the term reincarnation. Perhaps then a productive dialog can be had, but not before. 

Tell me about it. Have you seen our elected officials lately? Just think... tens of millions of people did the electing. Sad. 

Maybe we could do that if parapsychology wasn't de-funded to hell and back, but again I'm convinced quantum mechanics holds the key.

Eh i'm still convinced trump is the lesser of 2 evils seriously the democratic party has gone absolutely off the deep end.

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2 minutes ago, Mallic said:

Maybe we could do that if parapsychology wasn't de-funded to hell and back, but again I'm convinced quantum mechanics holds the key.

How is this relevant? Seems like little more than evasion. I asked YOU to define soul and reincarnation and discuss ways it might be measured. Are you suggesting you cannot do this without being paid?

Just because quantum mechanics defies common sense and is hard to comprehend doesn’t mean it can be used as a catch all explanation for any silly or ridiculous thing we want. 

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4 hours ago, Mallic said:

And if you're thinking none of those have shown proof, well actually they have it's just the proof isn't good enough.

The concept of "proof" doesn't really exist in science. 

4 hours ago, Mallic said:

This of course led me to have an interest in Parapsychology, Quantum mechanics and Panpsychism.

Quantum mechanics doesn't really belong in there. (I don't know what panpsychism is, but I'm guessing it is nothing to do with physics.)

4 hours ago, Mallic said:

Because apparently anecdotal evidence is all but useless ,because normal humans aren't intelligent enough to understand what they saw and are just deluded fools

That is not the reason that anecdotal evidence is, by itself, insufficient.

4 hours ago, Mallic said:

The point i'm trying to make is it feels like there's this mindset that If you are an atheist your IQ goes up by like 30 points and anyone who is religious or spiritual is automatically inferior to you and should be treated as such.

Only a bigoted moron would believe such things.

4 hours ago, Mallic said:

This idea that everything is made purely of matter and all other prospects are impossible just doesn't make sense to me.

Fine. But "what makes sense to you" has little or nothing to do with science (or even materialisim).

4 hours ago, Mallic said:

Even from a scientific standpoint this just seems illogical and frankly depressing.

From a scientific standpoint, it would require objective evidence to be logical. (Not sure why it should be depressing, but whatever...)

4 hours ago, Mallic said:

What i want to know is....is this mindset prevalent in the scientific community

There is a huge variety of people and mindsets in the scientific community. There are religious people and atheists (of varying degrees). There are monotheists, polytheists and pantheists. There are theists and deists. There are materialists and idealists. The proportions might differ among scientists than the more general population, but the diversity is just as wide.

3 hours ago, Mallic said:

I don't know....at a certain point you have to trust that what you see is the truth don't you?

That is a very dangerous approach. It is so easy to fool people (look at optical illusion and stage magicians, for example). The whole point of the scientific method is to avoid the various ways our sense can be fooled (and the sort of psychological biases we are prone to).

3 hours ago, Mallic said:

In a world where it feels like scientists are claiming to have all the answers

Scientists certainly don't have all the answers, and they know it. Someone described science as the processes of being continuously wrong.

Quote

Then we must live in a world full of idiots, cause there is a crap ton of people who believe exactly that. 

There are a lot of people who know little of science, so that isn't too surprising. (Nothing special about that. There are a lot of people who know little about agriculture, accountancy, art and most other subjects.)

3 hours ago, Mallic said:

Uh...the claim that the earth was round was extraordinary.

No it wasn't. People have always known this (with a few exceptions) because it is fairly obvious from the evidence.

Even if it had been a revolutionary idea, it would have been accepted because the evidence is overwhelming.

3 hours ago, Mallic said:

The theory of relativity was extraordinary. And lets not forget quantum mechanics.

And they were accepted, sometimes reluctantly, because there was extraordinary evidence for them. Even so, Einstein never really accepted all of quantum theory.

 

Edited by Strange
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6 hours ago, Mallic said:

My favorite is richard dawkins famous quote stating that we and the universe we live in are some "Happy little accident". An accident like we were the result of a drunk night at a bar or something.

Well, at least your specific existence is an accident. When you were conceived, the sperm that made it was one of about 1 Billion. If another one had made it, you would not have existed. Is that depressing? If not why would it be depressing for the universe as a whole?

6 hours ago, Mallic said:

[Panpsychism] fills in the gaps that materialism can't answer

I think panpsychism is nothing more than the statement that 'all matter is also conscious'. I have no idea how you can make science of that. If you accept that the more complex a system is, the chances increase that the system can be conscious (our brain is a very complex structure), what does the addition that 'all matter is conscious to some degree' helps? Or do you think every corn of sand is just as conscious as we are? On what would such a belief be based?

6 hours ago, Mallic said:

Something can't become nothing, and that includes consciousness

Consciousness is not a thing, it is a process, and it is normal for processes that they can stop. Where is the wave, when it has broken on the shore? Where is the clock, if you hammer it to pieces? Where is your proof of the law of conservation of consciousness? 'I cannot imagine', or 'it does not make sense to me' are not very strong arguments. 

6 hours ago, Mallic said:

they go one step further and deny spirituality as a whole

Spirituality is not some kind of (meta)physics, i.e. there are no spiritual entities. 'Spirituality' is a way to relate to the world, whatever this world really is like. So there is no contradiction between leading a spiritual life, and having a materialistic world view. As a counter-example: take the big religions. Most believers have no spiritual attitude at all. They just have a set of beliefs. But it is interesting to see that nearly every religion, has its spiritual corners, i.e. those people that want to experience what they take as true as intense as possible. Same is true for a materialistic world view. You can just believe it (in contrast with religions however there are very good grounds to believe in the results of science), which I think the majority of science minded people does, but you can also try to deeply feel this, and stand in awe for what science discovers: the working of the universe at the grand or micro scale.

Let me just add that many mystics, if you look at their life stories, went through a crisis, before they could accept what they took for true, and found a way to live a happy life with what they accepted as truths. 

Bending the truth, based on how the universe needs to be so that you feel comforted ('it does not make sense to me') is wagging the dog, and means you have left the spiritual path.

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5 hours ago, Mallic said:

Uh...the claim that the earth was round was extraordinary. The theory of relativity was extraordinary. And lets not forget quantum mechanics. Seriously You are kinda taking a lot of this for granted, to the point where I'm starting to think many are just shut off to the idea of souls and reincarnation being a thing, just because of its association with religion and nothing else.

There is tons of evidence that that the earth is spherical, for relativity and for QM. The latter are very well-developed theories.

 

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6 hours ago, Mallic said:

My favorite is richard dawkins famous quote stating that we and the universe we live in are some "Happy little accident". An accident like we were the result of a drunk night at a bar or something. I mean the chances of the universe we living being purely by accident are so astronomically low, that in my opinion to even suggest such a thing is an insult to science.

...but Richard Dawkins is an Evolutionary Biologist - the big bang is far from his field. He claims this himself when people start to argue against the BB with him. I have even heard him say himself - "why ask me about the big bang? I'm a biologist". 

It is far more complicated than you are making out...  these 'seemingly' zero probability events MUST happen eventually when you are looking over such a large timescale. For evolution, for example, a subject upon which Dawkins is highly knowledgeable, he talks about these very low chances in probability which become far from zero when you take into account the billions of years that the earth has had to evolve. Who even knows what timescales we could be facing when looking at the vast expanse of time before the BB even happened....  it may have taken (and probably did) timescales many many many orders of magnitude higher than what the age of the universe is. Unfathomable periods of pretty much absolute nothing but quantum fluctuations before whatever the spark was that was needed happened... (I am guessing now - not my field either). 

 

 

5 hours ago, Mallic said:

 

I haven't had time to read the whole thing, but in a nutshell apparently the study concluded that 9 out of 10 species on the planet came into being 100,000 to 200,000 years ago....in other words roughly the same time. It was so startling that david thaler said and I quote "This conclusion is very surprising......"

Why is this surprising? over 99% of species that have ever existed have gone extinct. What we are left with are the ones that evolved to fit the most recent conditions....  which are changing...  which is why we are going through yet another mass extinction right now.   Although - Dawkins would be a far better person to talk to about this than me...  I am not an evolutionary biologist and he IS.

 

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7 hours ago, Mallic said:

I mean the chances of the universe we living being purely by accident are so astronomically low, that in my opinion to even suggest such a thing is an insult to science.

It is an insult to science to suggest that what seems plausible or improbably to you, personally, outweighs vast amounts of evidence, and the time and money spent to gather and understand said evidence.

 

6 hours ago, Mallic said:

OH I just remembered another study that came out just recently.

https://phe.rockefeller.edu/news/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Stoeckle-Thaler-Final-reduced.pdf

I haven't had time to read the whole thing, but in a nutshell apparently the study concluded that 9 out of 10 species on the planet came into being 100,000 to 200,000 years ago....in other words roughly the same time.

I have only skimmed the paper (it is long and much of it is over my head) but I can't see anything there that implies what you claim.

6 hours ago, Mallic said:

In a world where it feels like scientists are claiming to have all the answers, theories like this that can potentially turn everything we know on its head is exciting to me.

It is the fact that science DOESN'T have all the answers and so there is always the possibility of paradigm-breaking new discoveries that makes science so exciting. (So we kind of agree, but apparently for different reasons.)

(Whether this paper points the way to anything like that is another question: maybe it deserves its own thread...)

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7 hours ago, Mallic said:

It's impossible to create something out of nothing right? Very basic law of everything. Which means the reverse should be true as well. Something can't become nothing, and that includes consciousness.

Just wanted to add something to this from a pretty spiritual book: the Mahabharata. The Yaksha questions Yudhishthira. One of the questions, and Yudhishthira's answer:

Quote

Yaksha: What is the greatest wonder?
Yudhishthira: Every man knows that death is the ultimate truth of life. However, he wishes otherwise.

 

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8 hours ago, Mallic said:

well lets take a basic law. It's impossible to create something out of nothing right? Very basic law of everything.

Is it a basic law? 

8 hours ago, Mallic said:

Which means the reverse should be true as well.

Does it? Why?

Quote

Something can't become nothing, and that includes consciousness. 

Does "something" include consciousness? Why? What sort of "thing" is consciousness? What is it made of? How do you know there is a conservation law for it?

Does "something" include a heartbeat? If not, why not? If so, where does the heartbeat go if it can't become nothing?

What about when a candle burns out? Is the flame "something? It is more visible and tangible than this thing called consciousness (which may not even exist). So where does the fallen go, if it can't become nothing?

Maybe before you get all tired and emotional about the role of science and materialism, you should do an introductory course in philosophy, logic and critical thinking. It might help you get some of these vague ideas sorted out in your head. 

5 minutes ago, ALine said:

Better yet why am I here.

Why are any of us here?

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6 hours ago, Mallic said:

Eh i'm still convinced trump is the lesser of 2 evils seriously the democratic party has gone absolutely off the deep end.

A republican who denies science? Why I never.... 
Your car wasn't built on the built on the principles of Christianity, and the knowledge to build the computer that you are using wasn't taken from the Torah, Bible,Mahabharata....

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Why are any of us here.....this requires more thinking.

Your right strange, it is STRANGE that any of us were even born. I mean just think about that level of improbability. If I can exist then anything is possible. Well except god, that's a rabbit hole that I do not want to go down and get bigger and smaller in.

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1 hour ago, ALine said:

Why are any of us here.....this requires more thinking.

!

Moderator Note

In a different thread. The topic of this one is whether or not scientists treat materialism/physicalism as absolute truth.

 
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5 hours ago, Eise said:

Consciousness is not a thing, it is a process, and it is normal for processes that they can stop. Where is the wave, when it has broken on the shore? Where is the clock, if you hammer it to pieces?

Beautiful analogy / visual. Thank you for sharing. 

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