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It is in the prosecution of some single object, and in striving to reach its accomplishment by the combined application of his moral and physical energies, that the true happiness of man, in his full vigour and development, consists. Possession, it is true, crowns exertion with repose; but it is only in the illusions of fancy that it has power to charm our eyes. If we consider the position of man in the universe,—if we remember the constant tendency of his energies towards some definite activity, and recognize the influence of surrounding nature, which is ever provoking him to exertion, we shall be ready to acknowledge that repose and possession do not indeed exist but in imagination. - Wilhelm von Humboldt, The Sphere and Duties of Government (The Limits of State Action) (1854 ed.)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Dinesh D'Souza is an idiot.

D'Souza, in the King's College debate, really has no clue what science is.

He says:

... Modern science itself is based on three Christian assumptions that are at root metaphysical.

Assumption number one: The universe as a whole is rational. The universe embodies rationality. ... that matter and objects and planets embody a certain kind of rationality they follow rational principles.

. . .

Number two: The universe obeys laws that are comprehensible in the language of mathematics. ... How does matter obey laws? How does the electron know what to do? ... It follows the laws of Newton's inverse square law, it obeys Einstein's laws.

. . .

A third one: The laws out there in nature are mirrored by the goings-on in my minds. We can apprehnd and understand the laws. Very odd. Why should the goingson within our head match the goings-on in the universe?

Now if you are ...

a scientist or have any knowledge about science, the statements: "How does matter obey laws?" or "matter ... follow[s] rational principles" are at best meaningless, perhaps only ignorant, but more likely stupid.

Matter - electrons - do NOT "obey" Einstein's laws! (And even better, they did not stop obeying Newton's laws once Einstein formulated his!) Scientific laws, theories, etc. are simply our predictive descriptions in a way we can understand, ie.&eg. mathematics. They are not reality! At most, scientists will admit, at times (see Popper), that hypotheses are at best our guess at reality. But in reality, a theory or law is simply our model that seems to work. Nothing more.

What a maroon!

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