A thin layer of mist clung to the nooks and crannies of the pasture and pooled into a distant lake when Koko and I went walking this morning. I nearly missed the moon, which was hanging on by a fingernail just a shade or two whiter than the brightening sky.
Then the sun fired up behind the Giant, setting off a chain reaction that caused all the clouds to turn pink and the summit of Makaleha to blush and Waialeale to appear as a giant mound of rose and blue.
Another glorious day on a planet that is, like it or not, warming because of man’s activities. Yes, those who reveled in the prospect of “climate gate” discrediting the science will have to lay those foolish hopes, and their excuses for inaction, to rest now that the Associated Press has completed its own “exhaustive review” of 1,073 emails stolen from climate scientists. AP’s take on the matter, after five journalists read and re-read some 1 million words contained in the emails:
[T]hey stonewalled skeptics and discussed hiding data — but the messages don't support claims that the science of global warming was faked….
The messages were also viewed by Mark Frankel, director of scientific freedom, responsibility and law at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. According to AP:
Frankel saw "no evidence of falsification or fabrication of data, although concerns could be raised about some instances of very 'generous interpretations.'"
So while the “scandal” was seized upon as reason to nix carbon-reducing initiatives by those who would prefer to see no shift in the energy-guzzling, carbon-emitting BAU (business as usual) world as we know it, the people who actually read each and every one of those emails in context say the facts just don’t bear out that kind of conclusion.
But then, the facts never bore out Iraq as having weapons of mass destruction, and look at how many people still believe that.
What’s most interesting to me about “climate gate” is that it does successfully challenge the notion of science as so objective, rational and pure that it somehow transcends human limitations like greed, ego, power-lust and fear and thus can be trusted to not only explain every aspect of the universe, but guide our experience of it.
According to Dan Sarewitz, a science policy professor at Arizona State University:
"We talk about science as this pure ideal and the scientific method as if it is something out of a cookbook, but research is a social and human activity full of all the failings of society and humans, and this reality gets totally magnified by the high political stakes here."
Don’t get me wrong. I think scientific inquiry is a good thing. But I do object when it is held out as some ultimate truth, to the exclusion of all other ways of knowing and being in the world.
Of course, just as I don’t expect climate deniers to change their thinking in light of the AP article and other evidence, neither do I expect those who embrace Rationalism to stop expressing their disdainful contempt for spirituality, intuition and other ideas and experiences that are too big to fit through the tight little window on the world allowed by the scientific process.
Open up, man! There’s a great big beautiful mysterious world out there that science will never be able to understand until it loosens some of its bonds — and maybe not even then.
That’s why I’m so interested in the work being done by scientists like Bruce Lipton, who are really thinking outside the box by bridging science and spirit and showing yes, the twain can meet, and we’ll be better for it.
Getting back to the topic of scientific fallibility, Bayer CropScience LP has admitted that it is unable to control the spread of its genetically modified organisms, despite the use of “best practices.” This resulted in a jury awarding nearly $2 million in compensatory damages to two Missouri farmers because their rice crops were contaminated by an experimental rice variety that Bayer was testing in outdoor field trials there.
You know, the same kind of outdoor field trials that are being conducted throughout Hawaii, the ones that are supposedly no big deal so don't worry your pretty little head about environmental contamination. Kinda makes you wonder if all the corn and papaya here have been similarly contaminated by GMO strains — and helps explain why coffee growers and many taro farmers are reticent about GM forays into those two crops.
Anyway, Bayer is apparently facing some 3,000 claims in Missouri alone, so they’re likely to be feeling it in the only place that really matters to corporations: the pocketbook.
But what I especially liked about the case was the way Bayer, which joins other GMO proponents in dissing opponents because of their supposedly unscientific approach to the issue, claimed the contamination was due to ”Acts of God.
Now there’s a convenient new twist on bridging spirituality and science.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Musings: Science and Spirituality
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"That’s why I’m so interested in the work being done by scientists like Bruce Lipton, who are really thinking outside the box by bridging science and spirit and showing yes, the twain can meet, and we’ll be better for it."
-- that lipton guy got blasted here:
...neither do I expect those who embrace Rationalism to stop expressing their disdainful contempt for spirituality, intuition and other ideas and experiences that are too big to fit through the tight little window on the world allowed by the scientific process.
Many Americans, narrow of spiritual scope and shallow of cultural roots, co-opt Rationalism as a cover for cultural smugness, as candy for their egos, and as authority to deride Others.
Or, as an Anonymous American wrote:
MAD SCIENTISTS AND CRACKED POTS
Joan wrote: "Don’t get me wrong. I think scientific inquiry is a good thing. But I do object when it is held out as some ultimate truth, to the exclusion of all other ways of knowing and being in the world."
And to do so is not scientific. Science cannot reveal "ultimate truth" because science can only "disprove" but NEVER provide ultimate truth. It can only offer "the most likely answer" until a more likely answer replaces it.
and Joan continued,
"Open up, man! There’s a great big beautiful mysterious world out there that science will never be able to understand until it loosens some of its bonds — and maybe not even then."
Very true esp. the "not even then" part. But if it is beyond the understanding of science what other way of understanding exists? Not everything is subject 2 scientific observation and there are other ways of "knowing", but they are as you say "mysterious" as in beyond explanation therefore such idiosyncratic "knowledge" is incapable of being articulated to anyone else who has not had that direct experiential knowledge themselves and those who have ha such experience are not in need of such explanation (preaching to the choir).
Scientist that over-reach are not acting as scientists. Those that try to explain the unexplainable are likewise over-reaching.
Sure the scientific method has limitations, but other ways of knowing, the knowing that comes from meditation for example, cannot be explained to another whose own meditation has not revealed it. That is also a limitation. Many yoga practitioners can gain amazing control over what are commonly regarded as autonomic body responses but cannot explain how beyond advising the enlightened to "meditate on it". Inspiration, insight and revelation have come to as many (perhaps more) people who have no teacher, master, pope or preacher, as those who do.
Good to keep an open mind but not so open that your brain falls out.
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