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You said you hadn't said they were irrelevant.

Irrelevant to science? They are. Irrelevant to philosophy? Not necessarily. Irrelevant to your personal experience of the human condition? That is for you to decide.

Macroeconomics do not consider the father's love for his daughter, except in the most tangential and contrived way. But we do not lambaste macroeconomics for failing to describe love, because it is outside the remit of macroeconomics.

Why, then, do so many people insist that science must describe their emotional life, or validate their philosophical convictions? Science can tell us that the Earth is quite definitely round. It can tell us that Bell's inequality is most certainly broken at the quantum level. It can inform the design of transistors. But it does not - indeed cannot - speak to your subjective experience or your personal belief, except to say that it is not universally and generally true, and that it has little or no predictive power.

I do not care whether the rest of the world shares my love for my family (in fact, I would be a little bit disturbed if it did...). That does not, however, make it less real. So the fact that science does not describe it can affect no more than a shrug and a "so what?" from me.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 04:59:41 AM EST
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