From SciAm Blog: NYT's Brooks Anti-Science?

This is a comment I just left on George Musser's SciAmBlog post, The Soul Reason

You may agree or disagree with Brooks' premises, but these are hardly "straw men".
I enjoyed (and am frankly humbled by) your comments for the way they clarified the orginal author's intent; his perspective on things we don't yet know how to do. Brooks was on the importance of something within the individual, something that we can't yet define, needing to be engaged in order for a person to truly be alive and have a full and healthy life. Then he said more.
This worldview, which denies the existence of the soul, of all the unmeasurable things that make human life messy and unpredictable, is eternally attractive to scientists and social scientists for one very good reason: It gives them an excuse to play God. If human behavior is controllable, then who better to control it than the technicians who understand how the mechanism works?
That is definitively a "straw man". God or Not has nothing to do with wanting to control another person's intellect. It has everything to do with the variable definition of the soul Brooks mentions, which is simply non-materialistic and not fundamentally debatable. Most scientists want to give control back to the individual. How is that immoral, or playing at God?

Reading Brooks piece made me see some gruesome human activities in both good and foul causes. His pinning the sickness of many a historic scientist on ALL scientists - somewhat ineffect blaming Science as a methodology - is no more rational than pinning the same on ALL preachers, shaman and Imam. Is Billy Graham a Pat Robertson? Albert Schweizter just another Jerry Fallwell or worse, is GW Bush a bin Laden with a relatively enormous throne and a different manner of playing God?

Brooks inability to objectively agree on what a soul may be in material terms is not science though. It's one man's incredulity because of all man's ignorance which flies in the face of material objective reality. I appreciate your engagement with some more of the facts at this point Mr Abrams. I sometimes run hot in my expressions of dismay at what many of my friends and family think about science and material evidence and I need to remember to cool down and take it slower. When a respected pub like the NYTimes publishes a mixed-up explanation of science and gross accusations of Godlessness as if it is the cause of evil, that gets me a little scared about what people with real power might think and do if they can use God to cow their enemies.

The hot fear comes when I realize that such a chance to slow down is fleeing politically thanks to the current 5 Year Plan from this ostensibly Democratic but, in points of thier activities, religiously capitalistic and pathetically paternalistic Administration.

I'm quite surprised that more theists aren't devout supporters of material science. How else will we ever determine what Created the universe? If God is? There may yet be ways to test for It that aren't individually dependant within each human.

Just because they won't be discovered in our life-times is no reason to discount materialism or blame god.


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