Re: constructs, science and religion

Gary Blanchard (
Mon, 17 Jun 1996 08:56:31 -0700

Dear Lois-

Thanks for your latest post.

In reacting and reflecting on it, I speculate I may have come across a
subtle but highly significant distinction.

A distinction in the way we are using, or being used by, our
learned patterns of language, or languaging.

A disinction that underlies, and accounts for, some of the discussion and
disagreement transpiring in the conversation about science vs.

It is simply this: I believe that most if not all of you are
speaking/writing/thinking from within a traditional paradigm of language
that can be called 'representational.' This school holds that the sound
or icon ('word') of a language, or tongue, is somehow directly connected
with the items which it represents. Hence to talk about the matter in
conversation is to refer to it as a defined, clear-cut entity in being.

What do you think, Lois and all. Does this make sense to you?

Because I am NOT operating from that school. That doesn't make me, or
you, necessarily better, or worse. Just different. And, thus, operating
from a different perspective than you via the process of language.

Be that as it may, please let me know if the above seems to describe
reality as you know it, regarding the relationship of language to
'reality.' Then, maybe, I can explain myself better to you...or you to
me. This IS what progress looks like, isn't it?

Best, Gary
> Gary,
> I suspect you are trying to make a point in this note to me and that I
> missed it somehow because I am looking at something else. I'm not
> arguing that I am right here so much as trying to show you what
> objections come to mind as I read your note. Maybe if you can see those,
> and deal with them, I can come to understand where you're coming form a
> little better.
> You said:
> > .. I continue to be amazed that some people find it
> > invalid to distinguish between gravity and God.
> And I'm still puzzled. I say to myself: What could he possibly be
> thinking here. Of course, it's valid to distinguish between gravity and
> God, but that doesn't mean that everything is either one or the other.
> What is so unclear here?
> > I don't get it. Gravity IS, and everything works in concert with its
> > predictable presence. 'God' is a term that is meaningful to some people
> > and not to others, but can be shown not to have the same status as the
> > gravity principle.
> > That's all I'm saying. If you disagree, then I guess you're the kind of
> > person who creates their own private standards and universe, and lives
> > according to them, with proof assumed.
> I think your way of putting it makes it sound like Newtonian science
> wasn't challenged by relativity theory, quantum mechanics. The fact that
> it was leaves us thinking that science not not establish fact in the
> unambiguous way we use to think. Bohr's concept of the planetary atom,
> with electrons in orbit, no longer seems right. Instead we are left with
> wave/particle duality and Heiseberg's Uncertainty Principle. It no
> longer seems like science establishes unambiguous fact. But that doesn't
> mean that science is now a kind of religion. The dichotomy just seems
> too simple.
> > I personally don't care what people base their life on. But as one who
> > aspires to a rational, science-oriented life, and wants to learn from
> > what others have, authentically, found out, I need to be able to tell the
> > difference between claims, in language, that are grounded in myth/belief
> > and those which are grounded in paradigm/fact.
> Well, to say it is grounded in a paradigm is a long way from saying it is
> grounded in "fact". are you treating the concepts as identical?
> Then I am free to choose
> > which ones to go with. But when the nature of the claim's grounding is
> > hidden from me, or misrepresented (however unintentionally), I feel
> > disrespected, disempowered, and angry. It just doesn't make sense.
> Yes, I think there is some miscommunication, and I may be contributing to
> it. The task, I think, is to adapt to each other's way of thinking
> enough to see where the communication problem is. As I said, I'm not
> arguing that I am correct and you are wrong. I'm just trying to show you
> the objections that come to mind that keep me from making sense of what
> you're saying. Maybe you could keep that in mind when you revise it so I
> can understand it.
> ..Lois Shawver