"In the South Seas there is a cargo cult of people. During the war they saw airplanes with lots of good materials, and they want the same thing to happen now. So they've arranged to make things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head like headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas -- he's the controller -- and they wait for the airplanes to land. They're doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the way it looked before. But it doesn't work. No airplanes land. So I call these things cargo cult science, because they follow all the apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, but they're missing something essential, because the planes don't land."
"Cargo Cult Science", by Richard Feynman
included in 'Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!' :
Adventures of a Curious Character, page 308
or online here or here
"Metaphysics is the name given to a branch of philosophical thought that deals with issues of the fundamental nature of reality and what is beyond experience. ... It is defined in the 1994 Webster's Dictionary (Brittanica CD edition) as "a division of philosophy that is concerned with the fundamental nature of reality and being and that includes ontology, cosmology, and often epistemology: ontology: abstract philosophical studies: a study of what is outside objective experience".
Evolution and Philosophy --
Is evolution just another religion?
Copyright © 1997 by John Wilkins
(my emphasis -- ed.)
"The word "agnostic" (derived from the Greek agnostos, unknown, or not knowing) was coined by the late Professor T.H. Huxley ... 'Agnosticism is not a creed, but a method, having a single principle of great antiquity.
It simply means that a man (sic) shall not say that he knows or believes that which he has no scientific grounds for professing to know or believe ... Agnosticism says that we know nothing of what may be beyond phenomena.' "
RATIONALISM, by M. D. Aletheia in The Rationalist's Manual
"In his 1937 book Ends and Means, (Aldous) Huxley said this: 'It is impossible to live without a metaphysic.
The choice that is given us is not between some kind of metaphysic and no metaphysic; it is always between a good metaphysic and a bad metaphysic, a metaphysic that corresponds reasonably closely with observed and inferred reality and one that doesn’t.' "
Our Crisis of Foundations
by John Derbyshire
National Review, 13 DEC 2004
Attributed to Elbert Hubbard
(I'd say many mystics have been just fine with the "obvious" or everyday,
but that the belief that one understands the nonexistent is the salient characteristic.)
Each of these ideas is an aspect of the view that there is something beyond our universe -- its components and their interactions.
In and of itself such a view might be nothing more than a charming eccentricity, but the danger lies in the human willingness to set real-world policy, and most crucially to sin against one's neighbor, based on these sorts of unverifiable ideas.
In my view, far better that we should have a society of kindness without metaphysics , than metaphysics without kindness.
"Promise me this, dear reader. If you ever write or translate a book which makes key points based on the distinction between the infinitive "Being" = "to be" / Sein / Esse and the present participle "being" / seindes / ens, please hit your head with the nearest brick if you get the following idea ..."Heck, as far as I'm concerned, if you ever originate a philosophical system based on the distinction --
" ... Neo's learning to control the Matrix is very like Luke's attempts to master the Force -- Neo may only be shifting around ones and zeroes while Luke's battle is mind over matter... but then, as the film asks, "What is real? How do you define real?" Matter is only atoms and electrical fields bopping against one another anyway. And therein lies the second part of The Matrix's appeal. The film's metaphysics are the stuff of late-night dorm-room debates, mixed with literary allusions to Alice in Wonderland and Kakfa and everything in between. Not so mindblowing if you've read a few books, but then, not everybody has read a few books."
Ho, ho, ho --
I actually haven't seen the film yet as of 14 DEC 00 (sorry).
I'm sure I'd love it.
Finally saw it. I wasn't as impressed as I'd hoped to be.
I thought Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was much better.
Update: And I'd give Matrix Reloaded even a star less than The Matrix.
bk 2, ch 119