Re: Eliezer on Science versus Religion

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Thu Mar 08 2001 - 20:27:54 MST

At 06:56 PM 8/03/01 -0800, Franklin Wayne Poley wrote:

>This is probably the best online discussion on the sense and nonsense of
>religion that I have read in 5 years.

>On Thu, 8 Mar 2001, Samantha Atkins wrote:
>>> "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
>> > Damien Broderick wrote:

>> > > There might be
>> > > certain kinds of truths, even the most important, which are
inaccessible to
>> > > scientific approaches, let alone to falsification tests.

I should probably stress that I was *not* especially concerned with
*religious* claims or experiences, although that was the context in which
Eliezer's own claims arose. I was worried that a scientistic framework
seemed to be advocated by Eliezer (and others), that is, a metaphysical
framework which appeared to claim that truth is identifiable with
falsifiable (a.k.a. publicly testable) knowledge. In its extreme form, this
doctrine is logical positivism, a view in eclipse for some half a century
after being beaten to a bloody pulp. Eliezer stated in response that he was
*not* proposing such an equation, but then went on as if he were.

Some people, of course, will say rather that `truth' is a term appropriate
only to deductions from premises which themselves are simply
asserted--although perhaps grounded in experience--which would make `true'
isomorphic with `valid'. I find this, too, absurdly constricting.

Damien Broderick

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