Wrong formula

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Tiffany Jenkins (Perspective, 22 March) is absolutely right to question the idea that all our emotions can be explained by our biochemistry, according to the latest attempt by scientists to reduce everything in creation to the physical world.

It’s a pity that the human race never seems to have learned not to put all its eggs in one basket, or as the 
scientists would say, reduce all its explanations to the one paradigm. Science is just that – a 
paradigm, or a way of seeing the world.

When it first challenged the then dominant religious paradigm it must have appeared a fresh and exciting new hope, but as with many revolutions, the challenger of the bully has now become the bully itself.

In many ways, science is the new religion, and when you hear ethologist and author Richard Dawkins discussing our “selfish genes” as “the immortals which created us” (for example) he is using the language of mythology rather than science.

The tendency of some scientists to promote a fundamentalist view of their field may well have added to the current development of fundamentalist religious attitudes, as the two fight it out for supremacy.

The truth, however, is that science and metaphysics are two views of the world which should be complementary rather than antagonistic.

One of the greatest humanist thinkers, Erasmus, wrote in the 16th century: “Strange as it may seem, there are men who believe that the soul dies with the body. Mankind are great fools, and will believe anything.”

(Dr) Mary Brown

Dalvenie Road