new photo blog

i started this blog in 2006, and it's shifted along with my interests through the years. it's been witness to a lot of learning for me...

still, i feel that i need a home for my photography -- so from now on, i'll be posting my pictures on the journal on my reworked website. if you like my photos, you might decide to follow me there!

my first post is here -- check it out!

as for this blog, i'm not sure what will happen. i don't think i'm willing to let it go, and certainly i'll keep it as an archive, but i need some time to figure it out.

for those of you that pop in from time to time, thanks for the visits and encouragement.

Monday, July 27, 2009

science is in the details

sam harris discusses the recent nomination of francis collins to be the next director of the national institutes of health in the united states.

'as someone who believes that our understanding of human nature can be derived from neuroscience, psychology, cognitive science and behavioral economics, among others, i am troubled by dr. collins’s line of thinking. i also believe it would seriously undercut fields like neuroscience and our growing understanding of the human mind. if we must look to religion to explain our moral sense, what should we make of the deficits of moral reasoning associated with conditions like frontal lobe syndrome and psychopathy? are these disorders best addressed by theology?

dr. collins has written that “science offers no answers to the most pressing questions of human existence” and that “the claims of atheistic materialism must be steadfastly resisted.”

one can only hope that these convictions will not affect his judgment at the institutes of health. after all, understanding human well-being at the level of the brain might very well offer some “answers to the most pressing questions of human existence” — questions like, why do we suffer? or, indeed, is it possible to love one’s neighbor as oneself? and wouldn’t any effort to explain human nature without reference to a soul, and to explain morality without reference to god, necessarily constitute “atheistic materialism”?

francis collins is an accomplished scientist and a man who is sincere in his beliefs. and that is precisely what makes me so uncomfortable about his nomination. must we really entrust the future of biomedical research in the united states to a man who sincerely believes that a scientific understanding of human nature is impossible?'

the entire piece is here.

No comments:

Post a Comment