Short comment on faith, science and Richard Dawkins

I’m an evolution fan, although quite convinced of that we don’t yet know how evolution works. It’s such a complex process, and many factors might still be unknown. But the basic idea is convincing to me, and it’s one of my favourite spare time research topics. In that journey I have read some of the work of for example Richard Dawkins, and seen many of the films in which he explains Darwin’s ideas, the theory of evolution, different ideas on altruistic behaviour, etc. He has made so many interesting findings and delivered many fascinating ideas and concepts to the world – like memes (see below). A great mind indeed! Besides, he seems like such a nice person, especially when he holds a lecture for kids.

But even if he seems a really nice person, he can at times come over as a bit too sarcastic and too sure of the truth of his own world view. His atheism is  just as much faith-based as any other faith to me, and his failure to see that (or at least communicate that he realizes that if he does), is sad to see.

As a film maker I once had the great honour of making an interview with the distinguished mathematician and theoretical physicist Sir Roger Penrose and he told me that “we are far, far away from a theory of everything”. As I see it, we are still stumbling around, trying of grasp the extent of the complexity of our existence and life itself. We do not (yet) understand the underlying functions of reality, and since we don’t, it is dangerous to assume that one knows anything at all. There are many things that seem “proven” which turns out to be utterly wrong in the end since we do not yet completely understand the forces of nature, and definitely not the nature of existence. One can get certain results and assume that the findings point to a certain underlying process. Yet eventually, it turns out that they had nothing or little to do with that process, but with something completely different, or at least a bit different, and then new questions arises. And that is the beautiful process of finding things out.

I love science and the scientific approach. But I think that there limits to how far one can use science to really understand reality. There are even respected theoretical physicists who argues that we might not even have nor be able to develop neither the mind capacity nor the computer strength to ever do so.

Facts can be deceiving, even more so our interpretation of those facts. Just the neurological discoveries in the last 20 years on how much our memories, emotions, beliefs, etc affects our perception of reality says much about our ability to be “objective” – and here again, we don’t yet really know how these processes affects our experience of existence. Statistics, the base of much (most) science, can be so deceiving – just how one asks a question influences the answer – no matter if one researches on human behaviour or the reactions between chemical components. Besides, we have the measurement problem – not only people but also objects, physical processes, etc could be effected by the measurement process itself.

And then where are we really?

WIKI on Memetics:

“Memetics is a theory of mental content based on an analogy with Darwinian evolution, originating from Richard Dawkins‘ 1976 book The Selfish Gene. It purports to be an approach to evolutionary models of cultural information transfer. A meme, analogous to a gene, is essentially a “unit of culture”—an idea, belief, pattern of behaviour, etc. which is “hosted” in one or more individual minds, and which can reproduce itself from mind to mind. Thus what would otherwise be regarded as one individual influencing another to adopt a belief is seen memetically as a meme reproducing itself. As with genetics, particularly under Dawkins’s interpretation, a meme’s success may be due to its contribution to the effectiveness of its host. Memetics is notable for sidestepping the traditional concern with the truth of ideas and beliefs.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memetics

 

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2 thoughts on “Short comment on faith, science and Richard Dawkins

    1. Thanks for your comment!

      I think it is all about attempting to understand the world and existence, from different perspectives. I don’t like when anyone implies that the “other” group(s) are not authentic, wrong, crazy etc. It’s just an expression of the great variation of the human condition, all the different states of being and expressing. I think our differences is one of our greatest assets, and I wish that more people would see it that way…

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