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At Mind Matters News: Science’s Limitations According to a Futurist

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Caitlin Bassett notes that Canadian futurist Nikola Danaylov rightly warns against a blind embrace of science

Danaylov spends the first several chapters of his online series discussing the power and importance of story. He argues that storytelling is our greatest technology, dating back tens of thousands of years in the early days of the Homo Sapiens species.

According to Danaylov, we have reached a point in history in which the story needs to change – much like it has changed through time:

“The human story has been written and rewritten several times already. The last time was somewhere between the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution when we dethroned God as the central authority in the Universe and took his place instead. Since then our story has spread the myth of the supremacy and centrality of the human being… – Nikola Danaylov, “Chapter 6: the Biology of Story” at Singularity Weblog”

This story is beginning to crumble, says Danaylov, and a rewriting is necessary. But that comes with a warning:

“…we ought to be very careful in rewriting our story. Because if we end up destroying it without offering a better alternative we can end up destroying our civilization.”

Caitlin Bassett, “Science’s Limitations According to a Futurist” at Mind Matters News

Takehome: Science is not supreme. That’s an excellent point made. The problem here is that Danaylov fails to tell us what IS supreme.

You may also wish to read: What’s wrong with a popular theory of the evolution of religion. Generally, monotheism is favorable to a high level of organization, including complex theologies that don’t just morph a lot but are only changed with much deliberation or controversy. But did that state of affairs evolve so as to foster “cohesive unity,” as Harari suggests? Hard to say. Religion — especially propositional religion, like the monotheisms — can foster either unity or disunity. Monotheism has not been a force for unity in Northern Ireland or the Middle East.

4 Replies to “At Mind Matters News: Science’s Limitations According to a Futurist

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Danaylov spends the first several chapters of his online series discussing the power and importance of story. He argues that storytelling is our greatest technology, dating back tens of thousands of years in the early days of the Homo Sapiens species.

    Yes, we are inveterate storytellers. Stories, narratives, hypotheses and theories are how we try to make sense of this world. We can create any number of stories about it, some which contradict others and not all of which can be true. Put simply, you could say science has arisen from a need to try and find out which of the many stories are more likely to be true than others.

    “The human story has been written and rewritten several times already. The last time was somewhere between the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution when we dethroned God as the central authority in the Universe and took his place instead. Since then our story has spread the myth of the supremacy and centrality of the human being… – Nikola Danaylov, “Chapter 6: the Biology of Story” at Singularity Weblog

    This is just wrong, in my view. Science did not dethrone God as the central authority in the Universe but it did find it could explain things without having to invoke Him as a causal entity. Nor did it replace him with the human being. We know full well we are not the central authority of anything. Science has never claimed we have the knowledge and power to create universes but it is the best toolbox we have for investigating bit by bit the one we find ourselves in.

  2. 2
    ET says:

    Evolutionism is one long, science-free narrative. It is nothing more than a set of stories penned to rival the Bible.

    Science can’t dethrone God. Science is unable to show that nature produced itself. Science doesn’t know how the laws that govern nature came to be. Science doesn’t have any idea how nature produced life. And science doesn’t have any idea what produced life’s diversity. Heck thanks to the ineptitude of evolutionary biologists no one knows what determines biological form! The most basic question in biology remains unanswered.

    That means seversky is blowing smoke, again, as usual.

  3. 3
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    Science did not dethrone God as the central authority in the Universe but it did find it could explain things without having to invoke Him as a causal entity.

    Yes, but your statement leaves open the problem. You say “it could explain things”. That’s fine if you mean “it could explain some things”. But what happened is that it was meant as “science can explain all things” without needing a reference to God. That’s scientism and it’s absurd, self-refuting, illogical etc.

  4. 4
    Fasteddious says:

    While science is important to understanding the physical world, it is not very important in day-to-day life for most people. Yes, we use technology, based on science, but most of our day does not involve science as such. Pick up a newspaper and see how much of its content is science or scientifically determined: baseball scores, municipal schedules, politics, news reports, editorials, advertisements, opinion columns, regular updates, puzzles, personal items, want-ads, etc. None of those are “science” per se, although they may refer to or use some scientific understandings. Science is rarely part of everyday conversations about where you are going, what you or someone else is doing, your plans for the week, most TV shows and Facebook posts, and so on. Indeed, science cannot tell you what you should do with your day, week, year or life. That is up to you, based on your own – largely unscientific – priorities, worldview, constraints, wishes, etc. Unless one expands “science” way beyond what most people understand it to mean, “science” is actually a rather small part of most people’s realities.

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