[iDC] reading list // religious mediated spaces

Simon Biggs simon at littlepig.org.uk
Sat Sep 9 14:37:00 EDT 2006

I agree completely that a scientist can have faith in a religious or
mystical idea. I also accept that a scientist can have faith in science.

I would suggest that in both cases this is a poor scientist. To me it seems
a given that science depends on an eternally sceptical view of data of any
kind. In such a context belief must be absent.



On 09.09.06 17:31, "Saul Ostrow" <sostrow at gate.cia.edu> wrote:

> Technology is from this perspective the systematic application and replication
> of
> standardized knowledge  resulting in a mode of tool (tool being either
> intellectual or
> physical) - the development of such technologies have internal logics that
> exist or are
> circumscribed - to reify internal relationships result in an institutional and
> often an
> essentialist/ determinist (self-affirming) view of the object under discussion
> -- in the
> present case enforcing a readymade dualist opposition that does not from my
> perspective
> does is not fruitful to our understanding of the object under discussion  -- I
> would
> suggest that the path least taken is some times more profitable and sometimes
> disconnects have to be investigated - this is not because the system we live
> in is
> totalizing despite its drive to become such) it is only meant that it is
> necessary to
> view things in terms of what they exclude not just what they claim is
> inclusive and
> these must looked at in terms of their own a priori and posterior conditions -
> this way
> we may resist the linearity of creating causal chains that form their own
> context --
> after all we are born into an always already made world -
> Such a approach might allow you to see religious faith as something other than
> mystical
> - though it may be metaphysical - a scientist can have fervent religious faith
> in
> science - yet not even be a deist
> --
> Open WebMail Project (http://openwebmail.org)
> ---------- Original Message -----------
> From: Simon Biggs <simon at babar.demon.co.uk>
> To: Saul Ostrow <sostrow at gate.cia.edu>, idc <idc at bbs.thing.net>
> Sent: Sat, 09 Sep 2006 16:00:57  0100
> Subject: Re: [iDC] reading list // religious mediated spaces
>> Of course things are interconnected. However, it might be that you are
>> ascribing causality where it is not especially strong and employing a
>> definition of technology that is too broad to be useful in this debate. I
>> would accept that language can be portrayed as a technology but wonder
>> whether an entire belief system can be regarded as one. Yes, a belief system
>> is, in its formation, an aparatus and is concerned with systems of control
>> but does that make it a technology? Conversely, I would agree that belief
>> systems employ technologies of knowledge (such as how language becomes
>> belief dependent) but again, this does not suggest that belief and its means
>> are the same thing. The very concept of belief, of faith, whether in a
>> mystical idea or in scientific rationalism, should always be held up for
>> sceptical analysis.
>> I was not suggesting that technology evolves separate to culture. It is of
>> course produced within cultural contexts and in that sense is expressive of
>> those contexts. I have written essays on just that point.
>> My original post was focused very much on the distinction between praxis
>> (technology) and ethics (science/mysticism). These things are different
>> modalities. I was not seeking to critique the Marxist view of history (I
>> broadly agree with it in its purer forms) and was quite tongue in cheek when
>> I referred to Zizek's "confusion". My feeling is that Charlie was being
>> ironic as well when he referred to Zizek's Marxist concern with preserving
>> the Christian legacy. It is likely Zisek himself was being ironic!
>> I was seeking to open out the sources for Modernity. It is often claimed as
>> a Western product, but that can be shown to be only part of the story.
>> Regards
>> Simon
>> On 09.09.06 16:03, "Saul Ostrow" <sostrow at gate.cia.edu> wrote:
>>> You miss my point which may be thought of as straight forward Marxist view
>>> of
>>> base and
>>> supra-structure in the sense their is no autonomy or disconnected discourses
>>> -
>>> technologies - everything from language  through to the digital (and beyond
>>> can not) be
>>> decontextualized (made into things in themselves circumscribed by a history
>>> of
>>> practice)
>>> - they exist within (are embedded within) cultural networks which
>>> effectively
>>> generate
>>> both the demand (prioritize the development) for their development and their
>>> application
>>> (the two are not inseperable except with in bourgeois (sectarian) ideologies
>>> -- the
>>> resultng techologies (inclusive of their theory and mechanics) in turn
>>> effect
>>> (potentially challenge or re-enforce) those cultural values that give rise
>>> to
>>> them --
>>> the judea- christian belief system (which is also may be viewed as a
>>> technology)  has
>>> had in the west a significant effect on how we organize both scientific
>>> thought and the
>>> objects upon which it chooses to focus - rationalist thought (whcih is not
>>> antthetical
>>> to religious thought) is merely an attempt to regulate religious doctrine
>>> and
>>> practice -
>>> My point being that each society 9from huner gathers to ourselves) produce
>>> both systems
>>> of thought in accord with their operating systems - and while these in time
>>> my
>>> may
>>> over-write that program, they  do not merely delete sections of the program
>>> in
>>> the 
>>> believe that their is no residue of it in the operable in other words we are
>>> dealing
>>> with an integrated system, rather than a system of parallel constructs
>>> Saul
>> Simon Biggs
>> simon at littlepig.org.uk
>> http://www.littlepig.org.uk/
>> AIM: simonbiggsuk
>> Research Professor, Edinburgh College of Art
>> s.biggs at eca.ac.uk
>> http://www.eca.ac.uk/
> ------- End of Original Message -------

Simon Biggs

simon at littlepig.org.uk
AIM: simonbiggsuk

Research Professor, Edinburgh College of Art

s.biggs at eca.ac.uk

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