Monday, 29 June 2009

Darwin, Humanism and Science - A C Grayling

Darwin, Humanism and Science - A C Grayling, 3 June 2009 conference.

my Random notes: Relationship between Science and Humanism
  • What can science do for an understanding of  the central humanist concerns? (1’25”)
  • humanism tries to get a good understanding of human nature - natural sciences and social sciences (psychology and sociology) should help us (3' 30")
  • science is the best epistemology (4' 05")
  • don't base your thinking on authority, ancient texts or priests (5')
  • CP Snow - the 2 cultures - science could solve population increase, nuclear bombs problems, scientific literacy and applications of science via technology, widening gulf in 1950s between arts / humanities and science. (6'-10')
  • among the best and most important things that have said are the scientific things (12'15")
  • there should not be just two cultures (humanities and arts) - there should be just one (12'30")
  • the general population has become even for distant from the scientific outlook - the gap in 2009 between science and the arts and humanities is even wider than it was 50 years ago in CP Snows (16'45")
  • as humanists we should be alert to is that the scientific way of thinking, this mindset is of the greatest importance for society (17')
  • scientific attitude for humanists - science does not give us proof and certainty  not one thing in Nature magazine is absolutely right (John Maddox) - contrasts with neat stories of Christianity 19'
  • new evidence refines understanding, open ended, adjusted, refuted, mindset - commitment to rationality (21')
  • different methodology with religions - authority, closed (22')
  • evolution of religions - were 'science' and technology millennia ago eg winds, tides, sacrifice virgins (23')
  • its an evolutionary advantage that children should be credulous (26')
  • better empirical evidence for the tooth fairy than god! (26')
  • rational proportioning (hence rationality) of the claims you make to the supporting evidence (28')
  • so few religions are left (but noisy and dangerous) - 1000s of gods have vaporised in the light of knowledge and reasoning (28')
  • scientific styles of thought as happened in The Enlightenment - we today are the phenotype of the 18th century Enlightenment  - help us to think about the good things in society (29')
  • human nature and human understanding - evolutionary theory & psychology (30')
  • neurosciences - philosophy of mind - oxytocin - Patricia Churchland (31')
  • reductionism - emotions - need for love (33')
  • relation of science to humanism - sciences can give info on human nature - natural science is the greatest achievement of humanity - how to think better, not a reductive enterprise, will not take away aethestics (34')
  • greater chance of progress than with our religious history (36')

1 comment:

crabsallover said...

read book by Prof. Jerry Coyne:
Why Evolution is true.