The Long Reach of Reason

http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_and_rebecca_newberger_goldstein_the_long_reach_of_reason?language=en

Watch on Ted

The long reach of reason. http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_and_rebecca_newberger_goldstein_the_long_reach_of_reason?language=en

Comments on the above follow:-

 Julia Tyack

Ideal points for a thrash out discussion.  On Ted’s videos is a cartoon  by Rebecca Goldstein.  Great little recap of dark human history and the role reason plays in moving to the humane.  Now Rebecca made the point on BBC last week,  that science and scientists have a function, not as the priests of society which they are trying to be in global warming and many other areas, not to tell us what the science means or how we should act upon it, but simply to observe and put the findings out there to be debated.  True science relishes the challenges to theory or observation, in debate, counter observations and even knock out.  The enlightenment declared that every citizen  is born with the innate ability for rational thinking.  Reason  can transform muddled  thinking to rationality.  Rebecca says that the pre-requisite for rational thinking is freedom, free from being dictated to by authorities on how to live and think.  So what do you think?  Is it the case that science is an observation of the natural world, (even when the natural seems extraordinary) a documentation and dissemination of facts and figures.  Yes science will bump up against the source of all but could this be in the incarnation which is every human’s birth gift.  Then in human individual and or collective rationality  science is a tool.  The observation of Galileo was a scientific proposition which became accepted fact.  The science observation butted up against religious dogma.  In so doing it (the science) become a tributary in the stream that washed away slavery, medieval tortures, suppression of women and so many other irrational  inhuman practices.  A pure scientific observation un-dogmatized moved humans forward to the humane.  There might be better examples but I think you will find Rebecca Goldstein worth reviewing.  Rebecca, as I posted last week but still unsure if my comments go to the whole group, said what the enlightenment was and the danger today of its demise with scientists being put on such a pedestal that they become the new high priests of society I’m going to post on both my emails to make sure.

 Wendell Krossa

Hasker in The Triumph of God over Evil goes over a variety of points to argue that this world, with all its imperfection, is still the best possible world.  And why the “built-in” imperfection?  A good Creator had good reasons whatever the conclusions from our millennia long endeavor to sort it all out to our satisfaction (that fundamental Jesus logic- if you being imperfect know how to be good, how much more God is good).  And in all this there is a huge element of free choice…to see a glass half empty or half full.

Take this from another angle.  Theorists and practical types both contribute valuable input.  In Quantum, Kumar goes over the history of Bohr as he moved into physics as a young man.  He was a theorist, and he ended up studying under Rutherford who was very practically oriented and had no time for theorists.  He was  all about reality as it was.  Fortunately, he had the sense to take Bohr in as a student and hence that led to one of the great breakthroughs in quantum mechanics.  All sorts of input are necessary to get the full picture and full breakthroughs.  The theorists provided the full picture so the practical types like Rutherford could continue their breakthroughs.  Rutherford had stalled completely on the nature of the atom until Bohr helped break some logjams.

You will be hard pressed to find anywhere in history human beings who are not thinking as they act and thinking about how they act, and following ideals or authorities to guide how they act.  Such has been the essential nature of human progress toward something better.