Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Practical Physics

  1. May 2, 2012 #1
    Just an observation that I find interesting;

    I normally only participate in engineering threads, but I read threads from all these forums.

    I've also studied many mystical traditions, and am currently studying under a master in the Christian Kabbalah. I've noticed from these physics discussions that many of you are engaged in very similar contemplations as are the esoteric masters, and that many of these contemplations seem to be heading in similar directions.

    This is especially true concerning relativity, quantum mechanics, and the recent renewed interest in dark energy or dark matter.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 2, 2012 #2
    They may both want fundamental answers to fundamental questions, but I would say they are no where near being in the same direction. If they are borrowing facts and ideas from physics, they are only using it in a pseudoscience sort of way at best.
     
  4. May 2, 2012 #3

    ZapperZ

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2016 Award

    That's crackpottery. That's like saying from very far, a cow looks like a sphere, so they both must be the same.

    It is only similar if you are ignorant of what physics is, and if you only look at it SUPERFICIALLY. You are forgetting one very important aspect about physics - it is a QUANTITATIVE science. This means that it doesn't just say "what goes up must come down", it also says when and where it comes down, i.e. there is a quantitative aspect of it that allows for it to be checked very carefully. It is falsifiable!

    Last time I checked, there are no mathematical formula nor formalism in "Christian kabbalah". Any attempt at pointing out similarities ends right there!

    Zz.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
  5. May 2, 2012 #4

    micromass

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2016 Award

    Let me add something to what ZapperZ specified. The problem with saying that the Kabbalah talks about science is that it's an interpretation which began after science took off. That is: first we discover science, and then we interpret the Kabbalah as a scientific text. This is of course totally the wrong way of doing things. If the Kabbalah really contains science, then these things should have been discovered before science took off. That is, using the Kabbalah we should be able to make accurate predictions. If one can not make accurate predictions, then you are not doing science.

    Saying that something contains science afterwards is a logical fallacy and proves nothing.

    This criteria is surprisingly useful in discovering crackpottery and pseudoscience. If people say that things really happen the way they are written, then one should ask himself if the association was made before the event (as a prediction) or after the event. Only the former should be accepted as proof.

    Things which fall under this category are:
    - Kabbalah, bible, quran, etc. contain science
    - Nostradamus prophecys
    - bible codes

    See http://www.skepdic.com/retroactiveclairvoyance.html for more information.
     
  6. May 2, 2012 #5

    Ryan_m_b

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    +1 x 1,000,000

    Far too often people confuse vague semantic similarities with identical traits. Start diving into the actual science and you will see a far more objective and quantitative body of knowledge, dive the other way and you tend to end up with even more vague mysticism that practitioners use to derive their own metaphorical interpretations from.
     
  7. May 2, 2012 #6

    AlephZero

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Historically, it woudl be fairer to say that it talks about Aristotelian science - which is still being used to support some branches of crackpottery, of course.
     
  8. May 2, 2012 #7
  9. May 16, 2012 #8
    I very strongly suspect that the negative remarks concerning the views in the OP are wholly correct. However, I think it is ironic that each naysayer seems to have assumed that the Kabbalah does not meet any of the criteria that would make it science.

    Perhaps these members have a reasonable direct knowledge of the Kabbalah, but none of them make any implicit reference to this. They seem rather to have made a series of assumptions based on second hand, or more likely third or fourth hand information. This is not weak science, this is pseudoscience.

    The danger here is that the seemingly automatic rejection of ideas such as this, without a proper scientific critique, leads to justifiable accusations of dogma by 'believers'. If we wish to educate such out of their (probably) faulty beliefs then we have to apply the same standards to ourselves.

    So, what direct knowledge do you have of the Kabbalah that lets you assert so confidently it is not science?
     
  10. May 16, 2012 #9

    micromass

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2016 Award

    None. But the burden of proof is not on me. I don't have to go through every single religious text to see if it has merits. It is the burden of the one who believes that the kabbalah contains science to give me an example of an actual scientific statement.

    While I don't have direct knowledge, I still can be confident about it. So far, none of the studies done by other scientists and historians show any actual science. So I trust that it indeed does not contain such things.
    It might be considered a logical fallacy to trust other people, but this is just a matter of practicality. If I want to understand a subject, I ask to other people what I should study. They are correct most of the time. Reading every single text because it might be of use is simply a waste of time.
     
  11. May 16, 2012 #10

    Ryan_m_b

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Simple, science is a specific method and Kabbalah is not it. I'm not sure if you are confusing science with facts, whether or not Kabbalah holds some things to be true that science also does is irrelevant to whether or not it "is science". I could go on but I'd rather address this first.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook