Sunday, October 26, 2014

Re: [Yasmin_discussions] Instrumentalist Art-Science?

Dear Stephen,

Thanks for your reply. The universe and everything within it operate on principles that a Newton or an Einstein could understand because the universe is a natural system and not supernatural at all. If there is a God, one explanation for the absence of the supernatural is that God governs the universe through natural law. The principles built into universe are sufficient. This is a the difference between Der Alte and Zeus hurling thunderbolts.

Working scientists don't care whether art-science people say anything about the supernatural. It is as irrelevant to art-science as the religious views of any one scientist are to another. All that counts is the work. No one cares that Georges Lemaitre was a Jesuit — what counts is his contribution to physics. Many Nobel Laureates are religious, a higher percentage than the number of American scientists who see themselves as atheist. This makes little difference the quality of science, and it is irrelevant to art-science.

No serious scientist will think more of us or less of us based on our belief in or opposition to God. As an aside, God may not be supernatural. If God operates only through natural law, one can't speak of the divine as supernatural from our perspective. But natural scientists have no reason to listen to artist-scientists acting as amateur theologians. Any scientist interested in theology and its implications for science would spend time with real theologians such as the new Archbishop of Sweden, Dr. Antje Jackelen, or the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams. If I were interested in science and religion, I'd be reading their work, rather than reading Yasmin or Leonardo.

Neither atheism or theism makes any difference to art-science. Our views on God or the supernatural make no difference to how scientists think of us. If anything, I'd imagine scientists would wonder why we are saying anything at all about God. That is the province or philosophy, philosophy of science, and theology. Most art-science people draw on applied science rather than basic science, and that makes these issues irrelevant.



Ken Friedman

On 2014Oct26, at 04:25, Stephen Nowlin <> wrote:

> A null result repeatedly, e.g., the absence of evidence for any supernatural element taking place in the operations of a waterfall or the cosmos, can logically be construed as evidence against the persistent claim that such an element nonetheless exists and interacts robustly with the natural world. The fundamental principles of science and the layers of knowledge they have created over time, in contrast to the creation and existence stories embodied in supernatural belief systems, do offer an argument for atheism.
> Art and science employ different methodologies, and I think it is important for artists to engage science with an understanding of it that scientists will respect -- no fuzzy science, no new-age pseudoscience. On the other hand, it is important for scientists to know that art has a tenuous grasp on theory, employs sometimes rigorous but entirely subjective methodologies, and is by its nature an intuitive grasp and expression of knowledge. It is always interpretive, always a statement of personal belief, and is slippery prey for a logician. That's not just a difference, it's torque power for reaching deeply and affecting how people think. A difficulty for art-science and for a list discussion such as this one on Yasmin, is that, to paraphrase Barnett Newman, some of us are ornithologists and some of us are birds. With no judgement intended or implied as to being either of those -- the true kinship of art and science is the spark of insight that can result when each discipline is allowed and encouraged to ignite the other . . .

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