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Artist Builds Temple of Science - Comments

Pony's Avatar Comment 1 by Pony

Ugh, artists making pronouncements about science. I'm glad he found science creatively inspiring, and that he was able to develop this current events issue into an art installation. But that doesn't qualify him to make sweeping statements about how he thinks science should work.

Is anybody really suggesting that science should become a religion? I thought the point was that science should eliminate the need for a religious placebo, not that it should replace it.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 00:01:00 UTC | #243628

CJ22's Avatar Comment 2 by CJ22

Lame. Bloody installation artists, it's all tosh. It's like how to spend a lot of time and effort spectacularly missing the point in public.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 00:08:00 UTC | #243634

dochmbi's Avatar Comment 3 by dochmbi

" Can science replace religion without falling into the trap of, say, Nazi science or social Darwinism? "

Can religion replace science without falling into the trap of, say, book burnings and persecutions?

Nazism and social darwinism are ideologys which have nothing to do with science.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 00:16:00 UTC | #243638

sunbeamforjesus's Avatar Comment 4 by sunbeamforjesus

What a twat,why is there a need to 'worship' anything.Why not see the world and it's processess as the natural phenomena they are.He is as bad as the fuckwits!

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 00:21:00 UTC | #243643

literarydeadkittens's Avatar Comment 5 by literarydeadkittens

I think it needs to be considered that such distasteful misrepresentations ARE a part of science and its misapplication; hence the need for public understanding.

Or perhaps we should make that media understanding. Maybe some scientists and lecturers would be willing to run workshops for reporters.

I don't see the problem with the temple however, it's a question that has arisen, though I'm not saying it was forwarded by scientists, and art should be free to explore such ideas, fallacious or not.

If I could, I'd go to the discussion. I think it may be very interesting.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 00:36:00 UTC | #243650

atp's Avatar Comment 6 by atp

"Science has two cultures within it. One is interested in questions, and the other in answers. I'm much more attracted to science for its questioning quality, ..."

What does that mean?

Does it actually have meaning, or is it just something said in order to sound profound and to appear like he sees a broader picture?

To me it sounds like he should be more interested in philosophy than in science. Because science is a method to gain increased understanding of the world and its interactions. It can draw on philosophy in order to find good questions, but without the pursuit of answers/increased understanding, I don't think you have science any more.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 00:37:00 UTC | #243652

JemyM's Avatar Comment 7 by JemyM

How you define the world "religion" seem to be unique to each individual.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 00:38:00 UTC | #243653

Diacanu's Avatar Comment 8 by Diacanu


"Science has two cultures within it. One is interested in questions, and the other in answers. I'm much more attracted to science for its questioning quality, ..."

What does that mean?

And how would one put that into practice?

Aspiring inventor- I wonder what would happen if I passed a magnet across a copper wire...

Smirking guru idiot- That's a good question.
Questions are good. Let's think of more questions....what color is joy? what flavor is the wind?

*Electricity is never discovered and harnessed, dark ages trudge on for another 500 years*

Bleary eyed peasant- Why is life such utter shit??

New smirking guru idiot- That's a good question...

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 00:45:00 UTC | #243655

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 9 by Quetzalcoatl

Science has two cultures within it. One is interested in questions, and the other in answers.

That's wrong. Science asks questions and attempts to find the answers. There are no separate cultures.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 00:52:00 UTC | #243658

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 10 by Quetzalcoatl

The artist is off-track when he talks about science as being some kind of replacement to religion. He's missed the point- it isn't (or at least it shouldn't be) the intention of scientists and atheists to replace today's religions with a new religion based on science.

Science, rationalism and critical thinking doesn't replace religion; it renders it obsolete and removes the need for it. There are no temples of science and nor should there be.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 01:08:00 UTC | #243660

Saerain's Avatar Comment 11 by Saerain

Many people don't understand that science isn't a school of thought: it is an activity that produces bodies of knowledge, not a body of knowledge that mandates activities. That is a fundamental difference. A difference between the dogmatism of religion and the investigativism (call Oxford and Webster, I want this word in) of science.

Science seeks to replace religion about as much as sentience seeks to replace instinct. Not all that is obsolete warrants replacement.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 02:11:00 UTC | #243673

Apemanblues's Avatar Comment 12 by Apemanblues

He's trying to be profound, when in fact he's just talking bollocks.

It's the Deepak Chopra effect.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 02:24:00 UTC | #243676

mmfwmc's Avatar Comment 13 by mmfwmc

The idea of a church of science makes me slightly sick. I mean, that's why the creationists keep calling evolution Darwinism - they want the world to think that we worship ideologies like they do.

It's not a religion - it questions everything and has no tenets of faith. Most importantly, it questions everything, and then tries to answer those questions.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 02:53:00 UTC | #243687

Apeseed's Avatar Comment 14 by Apeseed

Science seeks to replace religion about as much as sentience seeks to replace instinct. Not all that is obsolete warrants replacement.

Instinct depends upon sentience in that its an inherited response to stimuli. Without some perception or feeling there isn't a response.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 03:09:00 UTC | #243694

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 15 by NewEnglandBob

I'm just the cheapest labor available to myself, so I end up enacting this

One get what one pays for - in this case, nothing.

This is just an artist trying to drum up interest via a perceived controversy. He is marketing himself, nothing more.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 03:36:00 UTC | #243709

flying goose's Avatar Comment 16 by flying goose

Saerain and Apeseed

'Science seeks to replace religion about as much as sentience seeks to replace instinct. Not all that is obsolete warrants replacement.'

'Instinct depends upon sentience in that its an inherited response to stimuli. Without some perception or feeling there isn't a response.'

This is interesting, maybe the former could be put another way.

'Science seeks to replace religion about as much as rational reflection seeks to replace instinct.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 03:49:00 UTC | #243717

Ex~'s Avatar Comment 17 by Ex~

The TED talks hall is my chapel, and TED talks are my sermons.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 03:49:00 UTC | #243719

beanson's Avatar Comment 18 by beanson

Keats: I'm deeply sympathetic to both sides of a schism that doesn't need to be

Heard all I need to know- dismiss the twanner

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 03:53:00 UTC | #243720

adrianpatrick's Avatar Comment 19 by adrianpatrick

Wow - in this era of mediocre Turner Prize entrants its great that an artist is addressing such a relevant thought experiment in this way - I fail to see how criticising this endeavour adds anything of value to forwarding our shared aims.

He is exploring ways that science can appeal to those who look to religion for its transcendant promises, and the consequences that such a system might have.

Freethinkers should support any lay person who seeks to generate public debate between science and religion, rather than belittle him for simply not being as clever as you.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 04:00:00 UTC | #243724

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 20 by Dr. Strangegod

I'm deeply ambivalent about this one. I like the general idea, would probably like the work of art, yet every word out of this guy's mouth makes me want to slap him. He's just uninformed or misinformed though. I mean, he's an artist. He did his best. I'd like to see the thing, as I have often designed such a place in my mind. But he's lost on science, atheism, and the science/religion divide. He really should have read up some more before going along with the project. In fact, it slightly pisses me off that someone who didn't think deeply enough about the idea got to before me. Ah well. I am consoled by the fact that after sending hundreds of articles to over the last year or so, they finally put one of them up. Thanks fellas!

By the way, I knew the folks here would tear him a new asshole for the utter crap he spewed, but let's be more specific. Where exactly did he go wrong and what were the fallacious assumptions he made?

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 04:19:00 UTC | #243732

Apeseed's Avatar Comment 21 by Apeseed

flying goose

'Science seeks to replace religion about as much as rational reflection seeks to replace instinct.

I don't know how you would replace instinct or even that it is necessarily desirable. Rather rational reflection might deem it wiser to modify how one responds or resist altogether.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 04:26:00 UTC | #243736

Gamma ut's Avatar Comment 22 by Gamma ut


I can't speak for anyone here, but I feel much the same as most of the previous posts. If this were a satirical piece, it would be great; but since the artist specifically states that he thinks science and religion are compatible, or are somehow equal ideologies (which science isn't, as Saerain and others have pointed out above), it is definitely NOT one of my "shared aims" to promote or even tacitly agree with the artist.

I do think that this is a topic worth discussing, but I think South Park did it much better, and more in the vein of what I would consider one of "our shared aims."

Edited for grammar

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 04:29:00 UTC | #243739

Daydream Believer's Avatar Comment 23 by Daydream Believer

I like the graphics, but its a bit bollocks really

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 04:52:00 UTC | #243745

paceetrate's Avatar Comment 24 by paceetrate

"He's trying to be profound, when in fact he's just talking bollocks."

Every artist I've ever met who made something like this and tried to justify it did that. They all have physics envy, they want to be complex but their subject is actually very shallow or they have no real understanding of it whatsoever. So they bullshit, and all their sycophantic colleagues nod and go "ah ha" at them when they do it. I went through 4 years of an art college and that's pretty much what it felt like. I didn't do very well in my fine arts core classes for the simple reason that I -didn't- like to talk bullshit. Now despite having a BFA, I refuse to call myself a "fine artist."

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 05:22:00 UTC | #243755

severalspeciesof's Avatar Comment 25 by severalspeciesof

As a person who has taught art and has a B.A. in art, I'm ambivalent about this. My 'BS counter' is in the moderate zone with this. But I can appreciate art even when my 'BS counter' is in the danger zone. That's the fun part actually (to me), figuring out where the actual art starts and the BS begins. And anything to promote science as a positive is good in my book, though the word worship IS troubling.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 05:47:00 UTC | #243763

Swordmaiden's Avatar Comment 26 by Swordmaiden

Well we have the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum in London. I remember visiting them with my primary school and being bored by the science and upset by all the dead, stuffed animals in the Natural History.
Haven't been since (but ought to I guess) but I hope they're better presented nowdays.
I can imagine a wonderful combination of the 2, under one roof, (make good use of the Millenium Dome thing), Like a combination of both museums and the Planetarium all rolled into one...laser lights and dinosaurs...not for arts sake but as a huge celebration of our world and life....not as a place of worship but a place of wonder and awe...for real!

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 06:02:00 UTC | #243771

photonfan's Avatar Comment 27 by photonfan

Jonathon Keats own words:

'Sometimes people call my work absurd - I don't know if they mean it as a compliment but I take it as one.'

At least he has a sense of humour. Possibly.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 06:07:00 UTC | #243775

David-in-Toronto's Avatar Comment 28 by David-in-Toronto

"A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths."

Perhaps Keats (as an artist, not a theologian or scientist) is simply exploring the intersection of the spiritual and rational suggested in Sagan's quote.


Tue, 30 Sep 2008 06:10:00 UTC | #243776

Oromasdes1978's Avatar Comment 29 by Oromasdes1978

I much prefer the other John Keats

Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,"that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'

This Jonathan Keats is wrong when he says:

On the other hand, I understand and appreciate the way in which religion can experience mystery, and can be a source of strength. In those broad terms, I have deep respect and sympathy for religion.

He has basically stood up and said he deeply respects people for being weird, mystical and lacking proper understanding of the world around them.

Sorry, this guy wants to worship science?

Please don't, for it is silly and unscientific!

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 06:20:00 UTC | #243779

liberalartist's Avatar Comment 30 by liberalartist

Regardless of what he says, I do like his art, or at least what is pictured. What he gets wrong is trying to equate religion with science, as if one is a substitute or replacement for the other. I think he is an atheist or at least a non-dogmatist. He likes the artistic and happy qualities of religion and he ignores all the rest. He doesn't get that religion is a bad thing. That what we should be doing is leaving religion behind. Let us be artistic and expressive and be amazed by the mysteries in the universe. We don't need religion for any of that, and the last thing we need to do is start to worship something new. We are a part of nature, we are not subservient to it and we are not masters of it. And that is enough for art.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 06:25:00 UTC | #243782