2. Chris Schoen at underverse:
Which raises the question of whether a religion that is made up “only” of stories is really all that watered down, and whether these stories would be any more full-strength delivered as facts. Stories are (among other things) the vehicles that connect facts to our experience, which is why Plato considered learning as a form of remembering (Anamnesis). We know what we have observed and felt and seen, but this knowledge only takes on meaning when it is formalized, ordered, or re-membered. Logic is the rarefied form of this reassembly, abstract and generalized, but without incarnation in story it is sterile and without life, and because the truth is a living thing, a logical fact can never be really true. To become true, a fact needs depiction.
And yet such depictions are not themselves irrational. A story well told has nothing extraneous in it, and neither does a piece of music well played or a dance well choreographed. It takes a bit of training to see why Lear, or Endgame, or the Moonlight Sonata are “true” (or, to return to an earlier dispute with John Wilkins, why the parable of the talents is true.) Just as it takes training to see why Einstein’s field equations or Fermat’s last theorum are true (so I hear.) There is no shame in pointing out that to deny the truth value of great art is to deny reason itself, but such is the tenor of the age, that prefers the flat certainties of objectivity, to any real shot at depth.
3. From Julia Galef at Rationally Speaking:
But why would we expect literature to be a reliable source of knowledge about “the way things are”? After all, the narratives which are the most gripping and satisfying to read are not the most representative of how the world actually works. They have dramatic resolutions, foreshadowing, conflict, climax, and surprise. People tend to get their comeuppance after they misbehave. People who pursue their dream passionately tend to succeed. Disaster tends to strike when you least expect it. These narratives are over-represented in literature because they’re more gratifying to read; why would we expect to learn from them about “the way things are”?
4. Via John Wilkins at Evolving Thoughts:
I do not believe that science can disprove the existence of God; I think that is impossible. And if it is impossible, is not a belief in science and in a God – an ordinary God of religion — a consistent possibility?
5. From John Pieret at Thoughts in a Haystack in Back Toiling in the Philosophy Mines:
Similarly, not all of us in the “accommdationist” camp view it as simply a public relations ploy to suck “traditionally religious people” into accepting science … a rather unnuanced view of accommodationism. Some of us view it as a reasoned attempt to understand what science is and whether people of good will who value science, both theist and non-theist, can reach some understanding on that issue that both sides can live with.
6. From The Boston Globe, what science can tell us about how to spend our time off:
“How do we optimize our vacation?” asks Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist at Duke University and the author of the new book “The Upside of Irrationality.” “There are three elements to it — anticipating, experiencing, and remembering. They’re not the same, and there are different ways to change each.”
7. From Nature:
President Barack Obama says it. Francis Collins, director of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), says it. University and research leaders elsewhere are saying it, too. The number one current rationale for extra research investment is that it will generate badly needed economic growth.
… Beneath the rhetoric, however, there is considerable unease that the economic benefits of science spending are being oversold.