Thursday, July 2, 2009

What is the meaning of curiosity in scientific attitude?

Curiosity involves an inquiry outside oneself. The scientific “attitude” is based on the assumption that the truth may be known through observation and experiment. The nonscientific attitude is the belief that truth already is known or that it may be known in ways that do not involve interacting with the external world. The scientific attitude is inherently progressive—and dangerous. The statement “Curiosity killed the cat” is not without wisdom. On the other hand, without interacting with the outside world, nothing gets done. Each step, each bite of food, is an “ex”-periment. The upshot: We are all scientists.

Pope Francis provides the opposing, indeterministic viewpoint:

Slide courtesy of Jerry Coyne ( ) from: Pope Francis, 2013, The spirit of curiosity distances one from God, Accessed June 16, 2014,

The “confusion” alluded to here is an enduring problem for immaterialists who nonetheless must live in the material world. Would be solipsists expect contact with the world to produce contradictions and paradoxes. Like those who still believe that the universe exploded out of nothing, they have learned to live with the cognitive dissonance triggered by curiosity. The alternative is to stifle the engine of science at an early age. Joyce Meyer leads the battle:


Anonymous said...

China and Russia put the blame on some screwed up experiments of US for the earthquake that happened in Haiti.
Chinese and Russian Military scientists, these reports say, are concurring with Canadian researcher, and former Asia-Pacific Bureau Chief of Forbes Magazine, Benjamin Fulford, who in a very disturbing video released from his Japanese offices to the American public, details how the United States attacked China by the firing of a 90 Million Volt Shockwave from the Americans High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) facilities in Alaska
If we can recollect a previous news when US blamed Russia for the earthquake in Georgio. What do you guys think? Is it really possible to create an earthquake by humans?
I came across this [url=]article about Haiti Earthquake[/url] in some blog it seems very interesting, but conspiracy theories have always been there.

Glenn Borchardt said...

No, it is not possible for us to trigger major earthquakes at this time. We produce small events all the time by removing or injecting fluids into the subsurface. Quarrying and mining also can cause events to occur by removal of confining materials. Most of these are non-destructive.

The Haiti earthquake definitely was not human-caused. That area around the Caribbean plate has had at least a dozen major events during historical times.

Your link to conspiracy nevertheless is instructive. As determinists, all of us want to determine the causes for events ("We are all scientists," as the book says.) Conspiracy theory, however, is an age-old method of scapegoating sociological problems. The problem is, that any such problem has an infinite number of causes. Those who believe in conspiracy hope to find a bad guy or a few bad guys, annihilate them, and return to a former paradise. It is a tale told over and over again in the superhero myths. Superman, James Bond, Obama, or some other "Great Man" will rescue us from those who seek to harm us. It is a simple and attractive theory for adolescents and adolescent societies, but it isn't, by any chance, the way the world really works. Scapegoating simply is a rejection of responsibility. Paradise never will be achieved, but an improved society always is possible. Blaming folks is part of this (that's what the justice system is for), but ultimately it is the job of each and everyone of us.

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