virus: Fwd: Re: [evolphil] Factual lacks or conceptual locks?

Dan Plante (
Wed, 26 May 1999 01:56:24 -0700

Forwarded from the Evolutionary Philosophy list. Uncommonly perceptive, IMO.

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>From: "Rosanne" <>
>Date: Tue, 25 May 99 10:13:04 PDT
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>Subject: Re: [evolphil] Factual lacks or conceptual locks?
>From: "Rosanne" <>
>Nicola wrote:
>> Ne'er understood why in the 20th century people have to mix faith and
>> science...
>People have always mixed up the things that are important to them and not
>only in the 20th century. The fact that time has passed does not make us
>any less human in the way we try to sort out our lives, physically,
>practically and meaningfully.
>People tend to mix the practicality of running a family, for instance, with
>marital compatibility, although the two can be treated separately. People
>tend to mix up workplace relations with colleagues with their intrinsic
>ability to carry out their profession. It has ever been thus.
>Faith and science are confused in the minds of some because they tend to
>treat two very important questions.
>1. Our welfare and treatment during life within the known environment, and
>2. Not knowing what happens when we die.
>Both can be argued in a scientific light, and both can be argued within the
>realms of faith, belief or religion. They are very closely related, these
>human questions. We all try to give them the meaning and explanations we
>can from the store of knowledge we have and the philosophical tools at our
>individual personal disposal.
>Some find it very hard to ingest scientific fact, because it requires a
>certain level of intellectual discipline and commitment. Let's face it -
>not all have the educational background for it. We either studied other
>things or did not study at all!
>Some find it hard to abandon the culturally-laden belief-systems handed
>down by previous generations, because they encompass not only religion and
>belief, but a whole way of being within a certain community. Fear of losing
>"belonging" is very strong.
>But it is possible, even without a vast store of scientific knowledge, to
>open one's mind and explore possibilities, to entertain the theories of
>those who have indeed studied, to question and re-think personally-held
>views and those views imposed on us by others.
>One does not need a PhD in science to achieve understanding of basic facts,
>but it is not facts that stand in the way of some!
>Stephen Jay Gould, in his article "Glow, big glowworm", says very succintly
>and clearly that "Most impediments to scientific understanding are
>conceptual locks, not factual lacks."
>There are enough layers of fact laid down, like geological strata if you
>like, to satisfy even the most ardent seekers. But those seekers have to
>free themselves of conceptual locks, of secondhand generational loyalty to
>systems they do not bother to question, systems they take on in blind faith.
>The most difficult locks to break are those we do not even know we have in
>our minds, because they have been taken for granted by previous generations
>and woven into our very personae. But we must take stock and look at what
>it is we are repeating. We must be cautious of acting as the mouthpieces of
>those whose systems are at best unscientific and at worst fundamentally
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