Science and Religion PREFLIGHT

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The following questions refer to the material you were to read in preparation for the lesson.

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Abstraction and Existence

Davies is trying to show the failure of scientific reductionism to comprehend "existence". That is, people have suggested that the mind exists the same way as a chair exists. He ends suggesting that there are 2 levels of existence, "hardware and software". This reminds of a joke about which asks, "how many legs does it take to make a table stable?" The mathematician answers "I can prove that one leg is unstable, and infinite legs are stable, but inbetween is just conjecture." So my question is, "How many levels of existence are there?" One, two, many? Is this a problem with science, trying to measure things that are immeasurable, or is this a problem with language, with too few words to describe the many sorts of things around us?
Apply your analysis to the following kinds of things:

honors extra

In Davies chapter 8, he talks about "the quantum factor", the bizarre world of quantum mechanics. Just this week, Science magazine carried an account of a Swiss experiment that showed two wavefunctions (particles) were "correlated" over spacetime distances separated by "elsewhere". (The famous Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox.) Yet when one particle was disturbed, the other was also. Thus violating special relativity, and suggesting that the universe is "tangled" and not "separable". Discuss what this implies for reductionism vs holism, mind vs soul, and physics vs religion.

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