標籤彙整: Richard Dawkins

悼:Philip Seymour Hoffman

(「新正頭」,本不宜寫如此題材,倒不是本站主人迷信,不過此事總跟新年喜慶之氣不合襯,但失去此出色演員,實是影迷之痛,又難避而不寫,與其令感覺淡了才寫,倒不如刻下就寫吧,反正是百無禁忌。另,雖然是有點突兀,仍祝諸君萬事如意、身壯力健。)

Philip Seymour Hoffman是極為出色的演員,我不說是「這年代的」,因為我相信其出色實能跨越年代,那四個字是多餘的。我不打算寫他究竟多出色、拍過甚麼戲、演過甚麼角色… 等等。這些資料,維基上都有(段首已放了link。);另外,也可讀報上的訃文,例如這篇,都有寫這個人各個方面。

這也不寫,那也不寫,我打算寫甚麼呢?

就不久之前,經過一家夜冷舖,有點獵奇之意,入內逛逛,看有甚麼怪東西,不意竟有書店清出來的貨尾,也就翻了一陣子,也檢了一兩本回家。其中一本,是Arthur Miller的《A View from the Bridge》。

千萬別誤會,你不是在看「文青」博客,除了偶爾寫一點科學和宅,我保證本站文字都是簡單易懂的,我接著也不打算談Arthur Miller,我也沒甚麼能談得上的,因為我沒讀過他寫的劇本,連《Death of a Salesman》也未拜讀過。

我買那一本劇本,不過是因為裡面有一篇Philip Seymour Hoffman寫的前言;從那一篇短短的文字,或許能一窺這個演員的另一面。

他是以自己的一個小習慣起首的--

“Sometimes when I’m with friends, or when I’m at work, I’ll ask if anyone knows the first line of Death of a Salesman. … I always hope … that I’ll inspire someone to understand why it’s the saddest of sad moments."
Philip Seymour Hoffman. Foreword to A View from the Bridge, by Arthur Miller, vii-ix. New York: Penguin Group (USA), 2009.

那一句究竟是甚麼對白,且留待諸君自行搜索。

為甚麼會經常提起那一句對白呢?或許,那句對白對他而言實在深刻非常。或許,因為那句對白已在他心中迴盪多年了--

“I was .. fifteen when I lay on the living room couch in the house where I was raised and read Death of a Salesman…"
Ibid.

那正好是中學、高中,感情豐富,無處宣洩的時候吧。若跟上文提過那一篇訃文的內容互相印證,甚至正好就在Philip Seymour Hoffman弄傷頸項,要放棄打摔角那段時間。那就剛好對上了:失落目標的人,碰上一齣悲劇。那一句對白,那一抹色彩,也許就在那時候種下了。

這麼一想,我在那年歲又種下了甚麼呢?似乎看了不少武俠小說、奇幻小說、推理小說、歷史小說,也讀了一點科普書、法律書、政治書,也有一陣子很迷犯罪學、鑑證、驗屍的東西,好像也有讀過幾本日本史、蒙古史。這麼想來,似乎也足可反映當下的我!可能也真有不少影響吧。

那篇文中的一句,或許正堪為他的寫照--

“Miller is also writing about that part of us that cannot help itself, that brings us down every day, and eventually for good…"
Ibid.

人就是這樣吧,多少都帶著自毀的因子,問題不過是--

我們先將自己拖垮,還是外在的環境先將我們壓倒。

而他,正如他寫的,是自己先拖垮了。

不過,我總在想,演員是比較幸運的。

有一句我很喜歡的說話--

“When we die there are two things we can leave behind us: genes and memes."
Richard Dawkins. The Selfish Gene. 30th Anniversary Edition 2006. Reprint. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. p. 199.

(正如上述嘛,中學那段時間影響很大,這本書我正是那時候讀的。)

演員死了,可以再留下多一樣,是兩者的混合。

「基因」,傳幾代已經完全走樣了;而「meme」,也可能只得一個名字、一個概念;但演員卻可以將表演留下來,將音容保存下來,歷經多年,後人仍如親睹其人,實在是得到特殊對待,非常幸運的一群。

多年後,應該仍會有人在看Philip Seymour Hoffman吧。

小考:張五常沒有讀過《自私的基因(The Selfish Gene)》?

不怕諸君見笑,我大學本科是讀經濟的。
引發我讀經濟,而且是到薄扶林讀經濟者--張五常是也。

中五時成績欠佳,轉到一所新學校(名副其實的新學校,是當年剛剛開校的!)讀預科。空堂不少,遂到圖書館打發時間。不知何故,圖書館的張五常著作所藏甚豐,開始讀了覺得有趣,就一本接一本的讀。當時,圖書館有的(大概兩尺厚吧)都讀了一遍。(回想起來,當時還真是清閒得很。依稀記得,黃仁宇系列也是那時候讀的。)

「經濟學真有趣!」當時這麼想。當然,現在也是這麼想的。

我記得,他好像有提過Richard Dawkins《自私的基因(The Selfish Gene)》--大概中四、五時有看過中譯本,但當時應該半懂不懂的吧,我想。

當時看到的文章,他究竟是提過那本書的甚麼呢?他是怎麼說的呢?實在想不起來。不過,提這點往事,當然不是毫無理由的。

最近,隨手翻開張五常新修的《經濟解釋(神州增訂版)》,忽地發現他筆下簡述的《自私的基因》,完全不是那一回事!簡直錯得離譜!

(不用亂估了,我認,很多時買了書,未有時間細讀,只是擱在一旁;
 引發此文的那一段落,也是這樣才走漏眼的吧。)

關於經濟的問題,在此不討論,實在只是對他曲解Richard Dawkins的名作看不過眼。

我懷疑,其實他根本沒有讀過《自私的基因》吧!(我不想說他沒有「讀通」。以我看了他的書多年,也讀過一點他的論文,對他的能力絕無懷疑;疑中留情,我寧可相信他只是沒有讀過、道聽塗說。)

我讀到的段落,是這樣的:

「一九七六年,生物學家道金斯發表了《自私的基因》(R. Dawkins, The Selfish Gene),旁徵博引,用了數之不盡的例子證明「自私」是動物與生俱來,是遺傳的,不可更改。這本重要的書啟發了一門新的學問--「生物經濟學」。我的另一位老師赫舒拉發(J. Hirshleifer)是這門新學問的一個主要倡導者。十多年前他來信說,這門學問的發展大有看頭。」
(下劃線及粗體為筆者所加。)
張五常,《經濟解釋 神州增訂版‧卷一:科學說需求》。香港:花千樹,二○一一年(初版:二○○一年;神州增訂版:二○一○年),頁79。

再翻看舊書,原來舊版已經有這一段:

「一九七六年,生物學家道更斯發表了《自私的基因》(R. Dawkins, The Selfish Gene),旁徵博引,用了數之不盡的例子證明「自私」是動物與生俱來,是遺傳的,不可更改。這本重要的書啟發了一門新的學問--「生物經濟學」。我的另一位老師赫舒拉發(J. Hirshleifer)是這門新學問的一個主要倡導者。最近他來信說,這門學問的發展大有看頭。」
(下劃線及粗體為筆者所加。)
張五常,《經濟解釋‧卷一:科學說需求》,第二版。香港:花千樹,二○○二年(初版:二○○一年),頁75。

(記憶中,我是有買初版的,但一時找不到,只好用後來另買,打算放在案頭研讀那一套--原來是第二版,但內容應該大致相同的。)

除了Richard Dawkins的譯名由「道更斯」改成「道金斯」,赫舒拉發(Jack Hirshleifer)來信的日子據印刷時間相應調整,兩處;整段的內容是完全一樣的。

也就是說,由二○○一年至二○一○年,張五常對《自私的基因》這本書的看法應該是一樣的:「旁徵博引,用了數之不盡的例子證明「自私」是動物與生俱來,是遺傳的,不可更改。」

上述引文並非孤例:

「我老是想,是人體細胞內的哪些基因促成那希望傳世的意圖呢?其它動物有沒有這樣的傾向?一九七五年Richard Dawkins發表了重要的《自私的基因》(The Selfish Gene那本書,說自私是遺傳的,人類與其它動物沒有兩樣。我想,人類喜歡作品傳世與要生養後代也沒有兩樣吧。其它動物也生養後代。是因為自私的基因而生養後代嗎?還是因為生養後代是天生的機能,所以動物不能不自私了。我取後者。這樣看,人類不是因為自私而存在,而是存在的本身含意在自私的基因。由此引申,我們希望自己的作品可以傳世,不是因為自私,而是從生物本身的生養機能帶過來。讀者看得懂嗎?還是我有點老糊塗了?」
(原文為殘體中文,由筆者人手轉換作正體中文;文中別字,一字未改;而且他連《自私的基因》的出版年份都搞錯了;下劃線及粗體為筆者所加。)
張五常,<(2008.04.08)传世的基因(创作闲话,之一)>,張五常新浪博客。最後修改日期:2008年04月08日。http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_47841af7010090wd.html

認真讀過《自私的基因》者,絕不會這麼說。

張五常經濟常說,學經濟要把握好「概念」;讀《自私的基因》,或許也需要如此。回想一下,經濟、生物、邏輯、科學… 我真的從《自私的基因》中學了不少。

首先要搞清楚書的題目,所謂「自私」(這概念)其實只是應用於「基因」。不過,兩個詞都要解釋一下。

先來說「自私」。

「自私」是有意識的東西才會有的,「基因」不過是一串重複、簡單的分子--一串DNA;說一段DNA有意識、有意圖,似乎太天馬行空了吧!

如果你這樣去理解,真的很天馬行空,但這根本不是書中的意思。就跟經濟學假設人是「自私」一樣,其實人是否都如此「自私」,不知道,也不重要。那不過是一項方便分析的假設而已。事實上,應該說是:無論任何生物(或類生物的東西?),只要被放在一個資源稀缺的環境,就會展現出「如同自私」一般的行為;當然會有例外,但例外就會被淘汰;那剩下來可以看到的,當然就是看起來是「自私」,或曰展現出「自私行為」那些了。

經濟學和生物學的相似之處,我不只是我說的:

“Consider, first, the simplest type of biological evolution. Plants “grow" to the sunny side of buildings not because they “want to" in awareness of the fact that optimum or better conditions prevail there but rather because the leaves that happen to have more sunlight grow 8 Also suggested is another way to divide the general problem discussed here. The process and rationale by which a unit chooses its actions so as to optimize its situation is one part of the problem. The other is the relationship between changes in the environment and the consequent observable results, i.e., the decision process of the economic society. The classification used in the text is closely related to this but differs in emphasizing the degree of knowledge and foresight. faster and their feeding systems become stronger. Similarly, animals with configurations and habits more appropriate for survival under prevailing conditions have an enhanced viability and will with higher probability be typical survivors. Less appropriately acting organisms of the same general class having lower probabilities of survival will find survival difficult. More common types, the survivors, may appear to be those having adapted themselves to the environment, whereas the truth may well be that the environment has adopted them. There may have been no motivated individual adapting but, instead, only environmental adopting."
Armen A. Alchian. “Uncertainty, Evolution, and Economic Theory." Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 58, No. 3 (Jun., 1950), pp. 211-221

這麼有趣的段落,是張五常的老師艾智仁(Armen A. Alchian)寫的。

回到《自私的基因》,說基因「自私」,是甚麼意思呢?基因本身有沒有意識?不知道,多半沒有,應該沒有,但不重要。基因有「複製」的能力,但世界只得這麼大,資源必然是稀缺的,故此會有競爭,而競爭的結果是:能存活下來的,必然是展現出「自利」、「自私」行為那些「基因」。

我一直都含糊其辭,只說「基因是一段DNA」,又是否真的符合書中意思呢?其實我是刻意為之,因為書中本就如此,最初是定義得含糊一點,後來才再說清楚。我相信這是Dawkins寫故事的方式,我當時也覺得他說得很清楚,就跟隨他的做法了。

“The definition I want to use comes from G. C. Williams. A gene is defined as any portion of chromosomal material that potentially lasts for enough generations to serve as a unit of natural selection."
Richard Dawkins. The Selfish Gene. 30th Anniversary Edition 2006. Reprint. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. p. 28.

其實眼尖的讀者會發覺,更深層的含意已經隱含其中;但吾也愚魯,是讀到後來才越來越清楚的:

“What is the selfish gene? It is not just one single physical bit of DNA. Just as in the primeval soup, it is all replicas of a particular bit of DNA, distributed throughout the world. If we allow ourselves the licence of talking about genes as if they had conscious aims, always reassuring ourselves that we could translate our sloppy language back into respectable terms if we wanted to, we can ask the question, what is a single selfish gene trying to do? It is trying to get more numerous in the gene pool. Basically it does this by helping to program the bodies in which it finds itself to survive and to reproduce. But now we are emphasizing that ‘it’ is a distributed agency, existing in many different individuals at once. The key point of this chapter is that a gene might be able to assist replicas of itself that are sitting in other bodies. If so, this would appear as individual altruism but it would be brought about by gene selfishness."
Richard Dawkins. The Selfish Gene. 30th Anniversary Edition 2006. Reprint. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. p. 88.

其實整本書最重要的概念,即在其中。

是,這本書是以「基因是自私的」為出發點,但實際上是要解釋:「自私的基因」怎樣推導出生物「利他」、「合作」的行為!跟張五常提到,說「自私」是「與生俱來,是遺傳的,不可更改」,大相逕庭!

而若然他有認真讀過《自私的基因》,也不會因為這本書而問:「人體細胞內的哪些基因促成那希望傳世的意圖呢?」

Dawkins的書中,有一章是說這回事的:

“But do we have to go to distant worlds to find other kinds of replicator and other, consequent, kinds of evolution? I think that a new kind of replicator has recently emerged on this very planet. It is staring us in the face. It is still in its infancy, still drifting clumsily about in its primeval soup, but already it is achieving evolutionary change at a rate that leaves the old gene panting far behind.
The new soup is the soup of human culture. We need a name for the new replicator, a noun that conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation. ‘Mimeme’ comes from a suitable Greek root, but I want a monosyllable that sounds a bit like ‘gene’. I hope my classicist friends will forgive me if I abbreviate mimeme to meme If it is any consolation, it could alternatively be thought of as being related to ‘memory’, or to the French word même. It should be pronounced to rhyme with ‘cream’."
Richard Dawkins. The Selfish Gene. 30th Anniversary Edition 2006. Reprint. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. p. 192.

這就是「meme」的起源。

在同一章,他更這麼說:

“When we die there are two things we can leave behind us: genes and memes. We were built as gene machines, created to pass on our genes. But that aspect of us will be forgotten in three generations.

But if you contribute to the world’s culture, if you have a good idea, compose a tune, invent a sparking plug, write a poem, it may live on, intact, long after your genes have dissolved in the common pool. Socrates may or may not have a gene or two alive in the world today, as G. C. Williams has remarked, but who cares? The meme-complexes of Socrates, Leonardo, Copernicus and Marconi are still going strong."
Richard Dawkins. The Selfish Gene. 30th Anniversary Edition 2006. Reprint. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. p. 199.

所以,如果認真地讀過,而同意Dawkins的說法,或許會說:「受腦內的meme所驅使,希望其可廣為流佈,以傳後世。」

或許也是我無聊寫blog的原因吧。

破:"John Lennox – God is Irrelevant: Discuss"

聞說有「名人」到港大講學,內容「修理」Richard Dawkins。本來覺得,反正都是欺世盜名之輩,還是不要找來看了,免得又想撰文回應,太費事。不過,思來想去,還是覺得應該再給對方一次申辯的機會,可能真有一兩點可供思考,就找來看了。

講座資料:
God is Irrelevant: Discuss – Prof. John Lennox (Oxford University, UK)
Big Idea Lecture at HKU
7pm, Monday 9 September 2013.
http://www.faith.hku.hk/god_is_irrelevant.html

連結內有錄像,我就是在那裡看的。先旨聲明,我只看了「正文」部份,問答沒有看。原因很簡單,我看了不一會已覺得無聊透頂,只是硬著頭皮捱過去,最終更覺得浪費了一小時生命!

為了令那一小時生命不致完全浪費掉,我決定再花點時間,好好整理回應一下,起碼算有點貢獻。

本文的計劃是這樣的:

一小時長的演說,大大小小的論點,說多不是極多,但也不少,全部一一回應太費事。(而且沒有謄本,很難處理。)我只會選擇我認為是其論說重心的部份,及另一些我特別在意(主要是覺得可笑、或其說法不公道)的部份。另外,有一些論點他在演說中或未有完整闡述,為表公道,我也會以其文章作準,以確定其意,再行破之。

===

其之一:

Lennox:「無神論者宣稱『神』是『不相關(irrelevant)』的,但『○○是不相關』這陳述本身是無意義的,因為『不相關(irrelevant)』必然要是『跟XX不相關(irrelevant to xx)』。」

這是明顯的誤導,嘗試抹黑對手犯了低級錯誤。我找到一篇文章,他是寫得比較好、比較完整,我下文會再處理,但他在演說中如此宣稱,則完全是無聊的抹黑。我找到的那篇文章,他有提過Lawrence Krauss,我假設他仍是在回應Krauss,現在就來Krauss實際上是怎麼說的:

“J.B.S. Haldane, an evolutionary biologist and a founder of population genetics, understood that science is by necessity an atheistic discipline. As Haldane so aptly described it, one cannot proceed with the process of scientific discovery if one assumes a “god, angel, or devil" will interfere with one’s experiments. God is, of necessity, irrelevant in science." (emphasis added.)
Lawrence Krauss, “God and Science Don’t Mix." The Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2009, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124597314928257169.html.

Krauss實際上有沒有犯Lennox宣稱的低級錯誤,可謂彰彰明甚,我相信無須多說。

其之二:

Lennox:「無神論者宣稱『神』只是人創造的概念,所以是『不相關』的、是『危險』的。」

引力」是人類創造的概念,不過是一個經驗證、可靠、可觀察、有用、可解釋現象的概念。認為「因為『引力』只是人創造的概念,所以是『不相關』的、是『危險』的。」的無神論者,我沒有見過。

其實他不過是偷換概念,打稻草人

無人反對「人創造的概念」,但對於「並非基於邏輯、證據,而宣稱為事實」的概念,就有反對的理由。

科學其實完全不神秘。

我們日常生活、或討論任何事情,都建基於邏輯、證據;科學,不過是以同一樣的態度,用更規範的方式,應用於觀察、描述、解釋自然。而科學的理論,亦需要經過實驗,搜集證據,以驗證其是否可靠。從方法論而言,科學不能「證實」任何事,但如果一套理論經多番驗證,而仍未被證據推翻,那就表示其可靠可信。

這是為甚麼「神」這個概念,是「不相關」的。

而其「危險」,則在於對超自然的「信仰」,並非基於邏輯和證據,變相鼓吹一種「非理性」的思考,危害科學的發展、人類的進步。

我可能不夠代表性。既然Lennox是針對無神論者放話,又幾次點名提到Richard Dawkins,我就引用Dawkins:

“As a scientist, I am hostile to fundamentalist religion because it actively debauches the scientific enterprise. It teaches us not to change our minds, and not to want to know exciting things that are available to be known. It subverts science and saps the intellect.

Fundamentalist religion is hell-bent on ruining the scientific education of countless thousands of innocent, well-meaning, eager young minds. Non-fundamentalists, ‘sensible’ religion may not be doing that. But it is making the world safe for fundamentalism by teaching children, from their earliest years, that unquestioning faith is a virtue."
Richard Dawkins. The God Delusion. 2006. Reprint. London: Black Swan, 2007. pp. 321-323.

Dawkins在《The God Delusion》書中,也提到Kurt Wise作例子。此例極佳,我也「無恥」地照樣引用,以顯示迷信對科學的禍害:

“Although there are scientific reasons for accepting a young earth, I am a young-age creationist because that is my understanding of the Scripture. As I shared with my professors years ago when I was in college, if all the evidence in the universe turned against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate. Here I must stand."
John Ashton, ed. In Six Days: Why 50 Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation. Sydney: New Holland.
原本應該是一本文章結集的內容,這一篇應該是由Kurt Wise寫的,但我沒有書在手,所以不能指出頁數;剛剛寫的出處,是轉引自《The God Delusion》;而引文內容,則引自網頁:
http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/isd/kurt-wise

其之三:

Lennox:「無神論者宣稱『神』跟『聖誕老人』都只是童話,但我只見過有成年人公開宣稱相信『神』,但從沒見過有成年人公開宣稱相信『聖誕老人』的。」

乍看,他今次似乎沒有刻意誤導,無神論者的確是有將「神」歸類於「童話」、「神話」。

Richard Dawkins:

“A beautiful child close to me, six and the apple of her father’s eye, believes that Thomas the Tank Engine really exists. She believes in Father Christmas, and when she grows up her ambition is to be a tooth fairy. She and her schoolfriends believe the solemn word of respected adults that tooth fairies and Father Christmas really exist. This little girl is of an age to believe whatever you tell her. If you tell her about witches changing princes into frogs, she will believe you. If you tell her that bad children roast forever in hell, she will have nightmares. I have just discovered that without her father’s consent this sweet, trusting, gullible six-year-old is being sent, for weekly instruction, to a Roman Catholic nun. What chance has she?

If religious arguments are actually better than Russell’s teapot, let us hear the case. Otherwise, let those who call themselves agnostic with respect to religion add that they are equally agnostic about orbiting teapots. At the same time, modern theists might acknowledge that, when it comes to Baal and the Golden Calf, Thor and Wotan, Poseidon and Apollo, Mithras and Ammon Ra, they are actually atheists. We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further."
Richard Dawkins. A Devil’s Chaplain: Selected Essays. 2003. Reprint. London: Phoenix, 2004. pp. 151-178.

Daniel Dennett

“Belief in belief in God makes people reluctant to acknowledge the obvious: that much of the traditional lore about God is no more worthy of belief than the lore about Santa Claus or Wonder Woman."
Daniel Dennett. Breaking the Spell. 2006. Reprint. London: Penguin Books, 2007. p. 210.

同樣是並非基於證據、邏輯的迷信,「神」、「聖誕老人」、「牙仙」,的確是同一類別。

咦?不過說了一堆,難道他只是單純地陳述一下無神論者的意見而已嗎?前半句的確是這樣,問題出在後半句。

他說了自己觀察到的現象:「有成年人宣稱信『神』,沒有成年人宣稱信『聖誕老人』。」雖然他沒有進一步闡釋,但很明顯,他是想聽眾自己得出如下的印象及推論:

「聖誕老人」是童話,所以成年人不信;
然則,成年人都相信的「神」,自然不是童話。

甚至可能推論:

既然成年人相信「神」,不相信「聖誕老人」,
正表示「神」比「聖誕老人」可信。

這是謬論。

其實,是否「童話」根本不相干。Dawkins和Dennett其實是指出,「神」、「聖誕老人」、「童話」,都不過是虛構的迷信--在這一點,這幾件事的本質相同。

而成年人為甚麼會敢於宣稱「相信神」,而不會宣稱「相信聖誕老人」,其實有更簡單合理的解釋:因為同樣迷信前者的人很多。如果你深信一樣,只有你自己相信的迷信,說出來不過惹人恥笑,甚至被認為是精神病患;但如果你相信的迷信,原來有很多同道,被嘲弄的機會自然低得多,也就敢於承認了。

例子有很多,比如:風水、星相、占卜…

或者,我可模仿其說法,以示其謬。

假如我說:「Richard Dawkins宣稱,『順勢療法(Homeopathy)』和『飲符水』都只是迷信,但我只見過有成年人公開宣稱相信『順勢療法』,但從沒見過有成年人公開宣稱相信『飲符水』的。」

我是否已「證明」:

一、 「順勢療法」不是迷信;及,
二、 「順勢療法」比「飲符水」可信。

當然不能!我頂多是觀察到一個社會現實,原來相信「順勢療法」的人,比相信「飲符水」的人多,但這現象本身不能支持哪一個說法比較可信!

請讀者自行參閱有關「順勢療法」的維基頁,當中有引述不少科學研究結果。舉其重要者:一,「順勢療法」所開的「藥劑」,經測試跟清水毫無分別;二,所謂「療效」,很可能不過是「安慰劑效果(Placebo Effect)」。

也就是說,跟「飲符水」無甚差別。
(噢!當然,符水可能有灰,可能是有害的;但也有些做法,不過是唸個咒,將燒著的符在一碗水上繞幾圈,實際上只是一碗清水。)

將「順勢療法」類比於「飲符水」,是講其「迷信」的本質,及根本無可驗證效用而言,是一樣的。指出相信前者的成年人比後者多,根本不是恰當的論證。

其之四:

Lennox:「根據一項綜合分析(Meta Analysis),調查發現,信『神』/有『信仰』的人,比較開心、較健康、患抑鬱症機會較低、自殺率較低… 這不正正能夠證明,有『神』在看顧這些信徒嗎?」

不能。

我夠膽猜想:「如果進行調查,應該會發現自稱『樂觀』的人,較自稱『悲觀』的人開心、健康、患抑鬱症機會較低、自殺率較低…」

問題是,這樣的研究結果,能不能夠證明:「自稱『樂觀』的人,其『樂觀』的看法是有根據的?」不能!為甚麼不能?

很簡單,那研究不過是揭示「A跟B」有相關性,但沒有解釋為甚麼會出現這種相關性,更沒有任何證據支持「A」那種想法是真實的。

且容我再舉一個誇張、荒誕的說法:「如果進行調查,應該會發現相信『養黑狗可以驅鬼逐邪』的人,比較少遭遇入屋爆竊。這不正正能夠證明,養黑狗可以驅鬼、可以驅走厄運嗎?」

就算前半隨口說對了,也引申不出後半句。很可能,不過是因為相信「養黑狗可以驅鬼逐邪」的人,不少都真是養了狗,而養了狗,就阻嚇了一些匪徒,如此而已。跟「養黑狗可以驅鬼逐邪」是否為真,毫不相干。

其之五:

Lennox:「妄想(Delusion),是一個精神科名詞。Richard Dawkins根本不是精神科專家,他宣稱『相信神』是妄想,根本毫不科學。我曾求教於一位著名精神科專家,該專家認為『相信神』不是妄想。」

隨意訴諸權威,不是理性討論的方法,倒不如實際行動,去了解一下甚麼是「妄想(Delusion)」。

第一站,是維基

那頁的若干討論很有趣,但引用的資料多是要到圖書館才能找到,現在一時之間要找可有點困難,唯有用其他資料重構一次相近的討論。(其實都是從那一頁找到的相關資料。)

“F22.0 Delusional disorder
A disorder characterized by the development either of a single delusion or of a set of related delusions that are usually persistent and sometimes lifelong. The content of the delusion or delusions is very variable. Clear and persistent auditory hallucinations (voices), schizophrenic symptoms such as delusions of control and marked blunting of affect, and definite evidence of brain disease are all incompatible with this diagnosis. However, the presence of occasional or transitory auditory hallucinations, particularly in elderly patients, does not rule out this diagnosis, provided that they are not typically schizophrenic and form only a small part of the overall clinical picture."
World Health Organization. “F22.0 Delusional disorder" International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision (ICD-10). 2010. rel="nofollow"http://apps.who.int/classifications/icd10/browse/2010/en#/F22

似乎無甚幫助,比「妄想症就是有妄想」的套套邏輯(Tautology)好不了多少。

試試看另一份資料:

“MeSH Heading Delusions
Tree Number F01.145.126.200
Annotation this is the French “délire"; do not confuse with ILLUSIONS
Scope Note A false belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that persists despite the facts, and is not considered tenable by one’s associates."
United States National Library of Medicine. Medical Subject Headings. 2013. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/cgi/mesh/2013/MB_cgi?field=uid&term=D003702

這個似乎定義得清楚一點。其中兩點元素值得留意:
 一、 錯誤/不真實/假的信念(False Belief)
 二、 朋輩並不認為該信念站得住腳(Not considered tenable by one’s associates)

顯然,一種信念/信仰是否「妄想(Delusion)」,其實很視乎作評估者本身的主觀信念/信仰,及社會/社區的普遍看法。

如果作評估者本身就是「信神」的,他/她當然不會認為「信神」是錯誤的信念,自然不會得出「信神」是「妄想」的結論!甚至,如果受評估者身處普遍「信神」的社會,其朋輩當然亦不會認為其信念站不住腳,自然不會得出「信神」是「妄想」的結論!

然則,Dawkins的書題--《The God Delusion》--就很容易理解了。他正是要論證:「信神」是錯誤的信念,該信念是站不住腳的。而如果能成功證明該兩者,(及證明信者即使面對相反的證據,仍然堅信其錯誤的信念,)則可證其符合「妄想」的定義。

Lennox的指控根本無稽至極。

又,Richard Dawkins其實在《The God Delusion》的序,已經拆解了這個問題,Lennox顯然是有意無意的忽視了。

“The word ‘delusion’ in my title has disquieted some psychiatrists who regard it as a technical term, not to be bandied about. Three of them wrote to me to propose a special technical term for religious delusion: ‘relusion’. Maybe it’ll catch on. But for now I am going to stick with ‘delusion’, and I need to justify my use of it. The Penguin English Dictionary defines a delusion as ‘a false belief or impression’. Surprisingly, the illustrative quotation the dictionary gives is from Phillip E. Johnson: ‘Darwinism is the story of humanity’s liberation from the delusion that its destiny is controlled by a power higher than itself.’ Can that be the same Phillip E. Johnson who leads the creationist charge against Darwinism in America today? Indeed it is, and the quotation is, as we might guess, taken out of context. I hope the fact that I have stated as much will be noted, since the same courtesy has not been extended to me in numerous creationist quotations of my works, deliberately and misleadingly taken out of context. Whatever Johnson’s own meaning, his sentence as it stands is one that I would be happy to endorse. The dictionary supplied with Microsoft Word defines a delusion as ‘a persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence, especially as a symptom of psychiatric disorder’. The first part captures religious faith perfectly. As to whether it is a symptom of a psychiatric disorder, I am inclined to follow Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: ‘When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called Religion.'"
Richard Dawkins. The God Delusion. 2006. Reprint. London: Black Swan, 2007. pp. 27-28.

其之六:

Lennox:「無神論者宣稱的『神』,只是『用以解釋人類知識空白的神(God of the gaps)』,我同樣不相信這樣的『神』,我相信的『神』是『主宰全局的神(God of the whole show)』。」

的確,在我的眼中,所謂「神」或「超自然」,不過是用以填補知識空白的迷信;我正是認為,科學、理性能逐步解開自然的奧秘,根本就不需要任何迷信。從這方面而言,他頗忠實地把握到要點。

問題,同樣出在下半句。他口中的「主宰全局的神(God of the whole show)」究竟是甚麼東西?隨便拋一個聽起來厲害、宏大、但內容空洞的名詞,不能代替論證。

我嘗試過找他其他文章或演講謄本,這是其中一段:

“And what do we mean by God? What I have discovered, for many of my scientific colleagues is they think I believe in a God, who is a God of the gaps. That is: I can’t explain it, therefore God did it. Now, if you believe in a God of the gaps, like that, it’s clear you have to choose between science and God. Because God, by definition, is the explanation for the things that science hasn’t yet explained. So, in the ancient world, when they didn’t understand atmospheric physics, they thought the thunder was a roaring of the gods. If you believe that simply: I can’t explain it; God did it- then you must choose between God and science. God is the God of the whole show: the bits we understand and the bits we don’t understand. And of course, that kind of argument does not apply to the God who is revealed to us in the Bible." (emphasis added.)
“Is God Relevant? Oxford Professor John Lennox at Tulane University," last modified May 16, 2013. http://rodiagnusdei.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/45254/

原來他口中的「主宰全局的神」,據他自己的說法,是包括:「我們明白的部份(the bits we understand),及我們不明白的部份(the bits we don’t understand)。」

我仍然不明白,因為:「我們明白的部份」,就是我們現知、已知,用科學能解釋的部份;而「我們不明白的部份」,不就正正是「用以解釋人類知識空白的神」,不就正正是科學暫未能解釋,但可以用科學方法繼續探求,將來或許能解釋的部份嗎?

結果,「科學」都是成功的擠走了「神」!

可能他在演說中的表現不好?這次,不再用演講謄本,只用書面文章吧。結果,我找到另一段文字,跟他另一個論點相關,也跟我在「其之一」答應過,要給他一個機會翻案那一點相關。

其之七:

Lennox:「無神論者宣稱『科學』能夠給一個『解釋』,但其實那只是其中一個面向的『解釋』。『工程學』能夠解釋一部『福特汽車』為甚麼存在/怎樣運作;但『亨利福特(Henry Ford)』同樣能解釋一部『福特汽車』為甚麼存在。這是兩種不同的『解釋』,前者說明其『機理』,後者說明其『起因』。」

我在「其之一」說過,他其實有寫得比較清楚的文章,我答應過會引用,給他一個機會翻案,我現在就來引用了。

“What does Krauss mean by “more relevant than God?" Relevant to what? Clearly the Higgs particle is more relevant than God to the question of how the universe works. But not to the question why there is a universe in which particle physics can be done. The internal combustion engine is arguably more relevant than Henry Ford to the question of how a car works, but not for why it exists in the first place. Confusing mechanism and/or law on the one hand and agency on the other, as Krauss does here, is a category mistake easily made by ignoring metaphysics.
Krauss does not seem to realize that his concept of God is one that no intelligent monotheist would accept. His “God" is the soft-target “God of the gaps" of the “I can’t understand it, therefore God did it" variety. As a result, Krauss, like Dawkins and Hawking, regards God as an explanation in competition with scientific explanation. That is as wrong-headed as thinking that an explanation of a Ford car in terms of Henry Ford as inventor and designer competes with an explanation in terms of mechanism and law. God is not a “God of the gaps", he is God of the whole show."
John Lennox. “Not the God of the Gaps, But the Whole Show," The Christian Post, August 20, 2012, http://www.christianpost.com/news/the-god-particle-not-the-god-of-the-gaps-but-the-whole-show-80307/

他不止一次用這個論點,另一次是批評Stephen Hawking。

“What Hawking appears to have done is to confuse law with agency. His call on us to choose between God and physics is a bit like someone demanding that we choose between aeronautical engineer Sir Frank Whittle and the laws of physics to explain the jet engine.
That is a confusion of category. The laws of physics can explain how the jet engine works, but someone had to build the thing, put in the fuel and start it up. The jet could not have been created without the laws of physics on their own – but the task of development and creation needed the genius of Whittle as its agent.
Similarly, the laws of physics could never have actually built the universe. Some agency must have been involved."
John Lennox. “As a scientist I’m certain Stephen Hawking is wrong. You can’t explain the universe without God," Daily Mail, September 3, 2010, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1308599/Stephen-Hawking-wrong-You-explain-universe-God.html

多番循環再用的論點,估計是他自信很有力、很強的論點吧。

我先簡單拆解一下他的論證過程:

一、 科學解釋了事物的運作機理;但,
二、 科學沒有解釋創造事物的起因/創造者;而,
三、 事物必然有起因/創造者;故,
四、 「神」就是事物的起因/創造者。

且容我重申一次,從無神論者的角度看,從現代科學的角度看,我們的說法正正就是:宇宙(及其規律)是可以由無到有,自發自生,不需要有「創造者」;而無機的事物,也可由自然的規律,自行演變,不需要有「設計者」。

而他的所謂「論證」,就先行假設以下兩個前提:
 一、 事物必然有起因/創造者;及,
 二、 「神」必然就是事物的起因/創造者。
但這兩點,根本就是爭論的焦點!

這是典型的丐題/乞題(Begging the Question)謬誤」

(順帶一提,其實他論說:「科學不能解釋起因/創造者,所以要以『神』去解釋」,不正正是他早前說他也不相信的「用以解釋人類知識空白的神[God of the gaps]」嗎?真諷刺。)

又,他所謂要以「神」去解釋事物的起源,是老掉牙的舊招數;更伴以神論者最喜歡的「機械必需要有設計者/創造者」論。同樣的招數,已不知被拆解多少次了。

經典的例子是「鐘錶匠類比(Watchmaker Analogy)」,可歸結為兩點:
 一、 如鐘錶般複雜的事物,必然有設計者;及,
 二、 同樣(或更)複雜的事物,如生物、如宇宙,則必然有設計者(暗示為「神」)。

甚至,可以濃縮為一句:
 「有相當複雜程度的事物,
  如鐘錶、如生物、如宇宙,
  必然有一智慧設計者--『神』。」
其實根本同樣有「丐題/乞題謬誤」。

關於這一類招數,Richard Dawkins寫了一整本書,以生物學作回應(當然,其實「回應」只是配菜,講解演化論才是主角)--《The Blind Watchmaker》。我將會抽取這本書結尾的其中幾段作回應:

“We have dealt with all the alleged alternatives to the theory of natural selection except the oldest one. This is the theory that life was created, or its evolution master-minded, by a conscious designer. It would obviously be unfairly easy to demolish some particular version of this theory such as the one (or it may be two) spelled out in Genesis. Nearly all peoples have developed their own creation myth, and the Genesis story is just the one that happened to have been adopted by one particular tribe of Middle Eastern herders. It has no more special status than the belief of a particular West African tribe that the world was created from the excrement of ants. All these myths have in common that they depend upon the deliberate intentions of some kinds of supernatural being.
At first sight there is an important distinction to be made between what might be called ‘instantaneous creation’ and ‘guided evolution’. Modern theologians of any sophistication have given up believing in instantaneous creation. The evidence for some sort of evolution has become too overwhelming. But many theologians who call themselves evolutionists, for instance the Bishop of Birmingham quoted in Chapter 2, smuggle God in by the back door: they allow him some sort of supervisory role over the course that evolution has taken, either influencing key moments in evolutionary history (especially, of course, human evolutoinary history), or even meddling more comprehensively in the day-to-day events that add up to evolutionary change.
We cannot disprove beliefs like these, especially if it is assumed that God took care that his interventions always closely mimicked what would be expected from evolution by natural selection. All that we can say about such beliefs is, firstly, that they are superfluous and, secondly, that they assume the existence of the main thing we want to explain namely organized complexity. The one thing that makes evolution such a neat theory is that it explains how organized complexity can arise out of primeval simplicity.
If we want to postulate a deity capable of engineering all the organized complexity in the world, either instantaneously or by guiding evolution, that deity must already have been vastly complex in the first place. The creationist, whether a naive Bible-thumper or an educated bishop, simply postulates an already existing being of prodigious intelligence and complexity. If we are going to allow ourselves the luxury of postulating organized complexity without offering an explanation, we might as well make a job of it and simply postulate the existence of life as we know it!"
Richard Dawkins. The Blind Watchmaker. 1986. Reissue. London: Penguin Books, 2006. p. 316.

其之八:

Lennox:「無神論者宣稱『科學』能夠給一個『解釋』,但其實那只是其中一個面向的『解釋』。『科學』能夠解釋『引力』怎樣運作(How gravity works.),但不能『解釋』到底『引力』是『甚麼』(What gravity is.)。」

出到這一招,我相信他已經露了底牌。

這一點,或許用一段想像的對話會比較容易處理--

神論者: 你說科學解釋了「引力」,那到底「引力」是甚麼?
科學迷: 「引力」就是兩樣,或多樣,有質量的物體會互相吸引。質量越大,吸引力越大,反之亦然。距離越遠,吸引力則越弱,反之亦然。
神論者: 那只是「引力」怎樣「運作」,但到底「引力」是甚麼?
科學迷: 以廣義相對論(General Relativity)的角度看,「引力」其實可以看成是「時空」彎曲而引致的現象。有質量的物體,會令「時空」彎曲;而「時空」被彎曲後,物體順著最短路徑運動,就形成「被吸引」的表象。
神論者: 你仍然只是說明了「引力」是怎樣「運作」,但到底「引力」是甚麼?「引力」的「本質」是甚麼?

一來,我的科學知識也差不多見底了(謎之聲:「差不多個屁,根本就是見底了,別自吹自擂了!」),很難繼續寫下去。二來,再寫下去其實也沒有意義。

所謂「是甚麼」、「本質」,其實不過是一個空洞無物的問題。這個問題,是可以持續不停地問下去的,可以繼續追問任何陳述,但實際上根本不會有任何答案。

且以其人之道,還治其人之身--

神論者: 科學不能解釋宇宙到底是甚麼,但「神」可以。
好事者: 那「神」到底是甚麼?
神論者: 「神」就是創造萬物者。
好事者: 你不過又拋出一個又一個空洞的名詞,那「神」到底是甚麼?「神」的「本質」是甚麼?

追問「是甚麼」、追問「本質」的人,其實從來不是真誠的要得到解答,而只是想聽到「某一個答案」、那人「心目中的答案」,聽到那個答案,就自然會停;但其實,那絕不是終點,因為根本沒有終點,這是可以無窮盡地追問下去、無聊空洞的詰問。

其之九:

Lennox:「無神論者宣稱我們(人類)不過是由『無意識的宇宙運作(mindless cosmic process)』所形成。然則,『人類的價值(human value)』、『人類的尊嚴(human dignity)』、『道德』到底可從何而來?」

這一點經常出現,不少神論者經常重複這一論點,他自己本身也在其他文章寫過:

“Just as strong is the obvious reality that we are moral beings, capable of understanding the difference between right and wrong. There is no scientific route to such ethics.
Physics cannot inspire our concern for others, or the spirit of altruism that has existed in human societies since the dawn of time.
The existence of a common pool of moral values points to the existence of transcendent force beyond mere scientific laws. Indeed, the message of atheism has always been a curiously depressing one, portraying us as selfish creatures bent on nothing more than survival and self-gratification."
John Lennox. “As a scientist I’m certain Stephen Hawking is wrong. You can’t explain the universe without God," Daily Mail, September 3, 2010, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1308599/Stephen-Hawking-wrong-You-explain-universe-God.html

他是錯的。

「人類的價值」、「人類的尊嚴」、「道德」等概念的發展、演變,有很多因素(甚至有一些隨機、武斷的成份,未必能夠解釋;能不能解釋,並不代表「超自然力量」就是可接受的替代理論。),要一一用科學完整地解釋,可能超乎人力所及,這是執行上的困難。

不過,建構「道德」的基礎,正是生物學有能力解釋的。

請注意,我絕不是說「基因(gene)」可以完整地解釋「道德」--起碼,還要考慮「meme」,及其他偶然的因素。

且引一段Dennett:

“It must be true that there is an evolutionary explanation of how our memes and genes interacted to create the policies of human cooperation that we enjoy in civilization–we haven’t figured our all the details yet, but it must be true unless there are skyhooks in the offing–but this would not show that the result was for the benefit of the genes (as principal beneficiaries). Once memes are on the scene, they, and the persons they help create, are also potential beneficiaries."
Daniel Dennett. Darwin’s Dangerous Idea. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995. p. 470.

我只是說,「基因」及「演化」,可以解釋「道德的雛型」,而這個「雛型」,理論上也可以完全「自然」的方式,演化成今日的樣子。

生物學的解釋,我就斗膽嘗試用三言兩語述明:

生物的個體,是承載其基因的機器;但純粹對個體本身最有利的「自利」行為,未必最符合基因複製、繁衍的目的。如果一個基因,可導致該個體作某些行為,而那行為能有利於該基因複製、繁衍,則該基因就能繁盛;舉例如有「甲基因」,可令携此基因的個體,作出有利其他同樣携有「甲基因」個體的「利他」行為,則有助「甲基因」複製、繁衍。而最明顯的狀況,就是血親之間,正是適合這種基因生存的環境。

我只是作個粗略的概述,更詳盡的解釋,我還是推薦Richard Dawkins的《The Selfish Gene》。或者,也可嘗試讀W. D. Hamilton,雖然有一般人比較難讀的數學部份,但整體而言也是非常好讀、有趣的。其實,我剛剛寫好了上一段之後,再翻看Hamilton的文章,就發現他以更清晰的文字,寫過這樣的概述。我幾乎想立刻刪去自己那段拙劣的文字。但再想,還是留著吧,待我下文引用Hamilton時,讀者就能更清楚看到他寫得多好(比我好太多):

“As a simply but admittedly crude model we may imagine a pair of genes g and G such that G tends to cause some kind of altruistic behavior while g is null. Despite the principle of ‘survival of the fittest’ the ultimate criterion which determines whether G will spread is not whether the behavior is to the benefit of the behaver but whether it is to the benefit of the gene G; and this will be the case if the average net result of the behavior is to add to the gene-pool a handful of genes containing G in higher concentration than does the gene-pool itself. With altruism this will happen only if the affected individual is a relative of the altruist, therefore having an increased chance of carrying the gene, and if the advantage conferred is large enough compared to the personal disadvantage to offset the regression, or ‘dilution,’ of the altruist’s genotype in the relative in question."
W. D. Hamilton. “The Evolution of Altruistic Behavior." The American Naturalist Vol. 97, No. 896 (Sep. – Oct., 1963), pp. 354-356.

「利他」的行為,正是「道德」之源,而這個起源,生物學是能夠解釋的。

其之十:

Lennox:「無神論者宣稱科學是基於『理性』、『邏輯』,但其實更重要的一點--是『信念』,相信自然必然有一套可供發現的規律。而創制這套規律的,只能是『神』。」

後半句跟前文部份相似,不再重複了。

前半句,其實頗有趣,倒真的是值得回應。

我有兩款回應:一款,是我常用的,但可能不少人認為是瑣屑無聊,甚至是「套套邏輯」;另一款,是剛想到的,我自覺比較有趣,也是本文最有新意的一點,令我覺得寫本文不致毫無意義。

先來第一款。

我稱之為「買六合彩原則」。

誰都知道,「買六合彩」是很難中的。(至於有多難中,截至本文撰寫時,六合彩有四十九個號碼,每期抽六個號碼,故共有13,983,816個可能組合。如果只買一注,中獎的機會就是1/13,983,816。形象化一點想像,如果全香港7,154,600人(2012年年中數字)每人買一注,每一注都是不同的組合。有人中獎的機會也只得五成多一點。)

不過,你買六合彩的時候,總得假設自己可能會中獎;否則,就不會買了。換個說法,如果我告訴你(而你知道我說的會成真)你買六合彩,是一定不會中獎的。那你還會買嗎?當然不會吧!買來有甚麼意思?

我們來想像一下,宇宙可能有甚麼特性。

宇宙可能是:
 一、 根據某種規律/邏輯運行;或,
 二、 沒有任何規律/邏輯可言。

如果是第二種宇宙,這樣的宇宙本身沒有任何不妥,更可能頗為有趣(當然也可能很令人困擾)也未可知;但一個宇宙,如果根本沒有任何可供理解、可供發現的規律,那任何探究、任何思考,都是徒勞無功的,那又何用花氣力?就等如「一定不會中獎的六合彩」,根本沒有意義。

我們的宇宙究竟是第一種,還是第二種?我不知道,這是可供研究的題目。不過,如果我們不假設我們身處第一種宇宙,那任何解釋都無從談起,所以那是必要的假設,我們根本只有這個選擇。

第二款。

其實可以說是「第一款回應」的延伸版,我稱之為「終極大科學實驗」

科學是甚麼?

科學,是嘗試以理性、邏輯,建基於觀察、證據,去探求宇宙的規律(如有)。

整個科學系統,其實可以看成是一次極大型的科學研究、實驗。我們研究的課題,正是要知道我們的宇宙,究竟是「第一種」還是「第二種」!正如前述,如果我們假設我們的宇宙是「第二種」,那根本無從入手;唯一可選擇的起點,是假設我們的宇宙是「第一種」。

科學家不斷地嘗試以理性、邏輯,探求宇宙的規律,尋找各種現象背後的規律,其實等如一次又一次地嘗試證偽「我們的宇宙根據某種規律/邏輯運行」這項假設。每一次,當科學家提出一項假說,以某種規律解釋現象,而未被實驗/觀察推翻,也等如「我們的宇宙根據某種規律/邏輯運行」這項假設又一次通過考驗,未被實驗/觀察推翻。

科學不能「證實」科學的方法本身,但如果「科學的方法」經多番驗證,而仍未被證據推翻,那就表示其可靠可信。

科學本身,沒有任何神秘,不需要依靠任何「信念」,只不過是一套經得起考驗,我們認為是可靠可信的理論而已。但除此之外,我見不到有任何更好的理論。

文抄:"Don’t turn your back on science: An open letter from biologist Richard Dawkins to Prince Charles", The Observer, 21 May, 2000.

“Next, Sir, I think you may have an exaggerated idea of the natural ness of ‘traditional’ or ‘organic’ agriculture. Agriculture has always been unnatural. Our species began to depart from our natural hunter-gatherer lifestyle as recently as 10,000 years ago – too short to measure on the evolutionary timescale.
Wheat, be it ever so wholemeal and stoneground, is not a natural food for Homo sapiens. Nor is milk, except for children. Almost every morsel of our food is genetically modified – admittedly by artificial selection not artificial mutation, but the end result is the same. A wheat grain is a genetically modified grass seed, just as a pekinese is a genetically modified wolf. Playing God? We’ve been playing God for centuries!
The large, anonymous crowds in which we now teem began with the agricultural revolution, and without agriculture we could survive in only a tiny fraction of our current numbers. Our high population is an agricultural (and technological and medical) artifact. It is far more unnatural than the population-limiting methods condemned as unnatural by the Pope. Like it or not, we are stuck with agriculture, and agriculture – all agriculture – is unnatural. We sold that pass 10,000 years ago."
Dawkins, Richard, “Don’t turn your back on science: An open letter from biologist Richard Dawkins to Prince Charles", The Observer, 21 May, 2000. retrieved from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2000/may/21/gm.food1

早陣子看到消委會說基因改造食物(GM food),隨手寫了一篇。
(請參看舊文:<科學怪粟(?)>

今日剛好看到一篇文,題為<Richard Dawkins談基因改造作物(Richard Dawkins talks about GMO crops)>。一讀,原來是引用一篇十三年前的舊文!

有幾樣重大發現:
 一、 我之前肯定沒有讀過這篇文。
    (肯定我上一篇說GM food時沒有「抄考」。)
 二、 我的看法很相似。
    (雖然我寫得沒那麼好。)
    (這是新聞嗎?)
 三、 輿論在十三年間沒進步過!
    (失望。不過也不是新聞了。)

十三年前,應該還是中學時候。那時候,我應該剛看過《自私的基因(The Selfish Gene》,究竟懂得多少?不好說。肯定不算透徹吧。

後來,他的書也越看越多。(說「多」,其實總共也不是很多本。)究竟受到多少影響?不知道。很多罷。對我思想影響最深者,Richard Dawkins必入三甲。

《Fashionable Nonsense(知識的騙局)》

Fashionable Nonsense Cover
(from Wikipedia;公平使用/公平處理)

Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science
作者: Alan SokalJean Bricmont
出版: New York: Picador
版本: 美國版(US Edition)
原書: Impostures Intellectuelles(法文)

這本書的中譯本叫《知識的騙局》,相信譯名是對應英國版(Intellectual Impostures)或法文版(Impostures Intellectuelles)書名。我看的是美國版;如果要譯,或許我會譯作《時髦廢話/屁話》。

諸君還記得《射鵰英雄傳》中,銅屍鐵屍是怎樣練內功的嗎?書中提過,他們會服食少量砒霜,再運功逼出,以練內力。這本書,就有此奇效。服毒練功雖能速成,卻萬分凶險。底子不好,可能練功不成丟小命。這本書,也一樣。兩個作者以自身深厚的科學功夫,拆解一班後現代學棍亂抛科學名詞的廢話;讀者底子好,或可大進功力;普普通通,如在下,若能亦步亦趨、小心細讀,也可略長見識;但如底子差,又或心急求成、囫圇吞棗,則恐有走火入魔之虞。

為了拆解毒經,Sokal和Bricmont大量引述該學派原文,而且經常是好幾段、一整頁、或更大篇幅引述,以免予人口實,謂其斷章取義。且錄書中兩處引述,實在是有夠好笑的:

“If you’ll permit me to use one of those formulas which come to me as I write my notes, human life could be defined as a calculus in which zero was irrational. This formula is just as image, a mathematical metaphor. When I say “irrational," I’m referring not to some unfathomable emotional state but precisely to what is called an imaginary number. The square root of minus one doesn’t correspond to anything that is subject to our intuition, anything real–in the mathematical sense of the term–and yet, it must be conserved, along with its full function. (Lacan 1977a, pp. 28-29, seminar held originally in 1959)"
original citation: Lacan, Jacques. 1977a. “Desire and the interpretation of desire in Hamlet“. Translated by James Hulbert. Yale French Studies 55/56: 11-52.
Sokal, Alan D., and J. Bricmont. 1998. Fashionable nonsense: postmodern intellectuals’ abuse of science. New York: Picador USA, p. 25.

(我相信,任何中學生都能指出問題。「無理數」和「虛數」,是完全不同的概念。而「0(〇/零)」,其實應該是「整數」;既不「無理」,也不「虛」。另外,「將人生定義為微積分」是可解通的語句嗎?)

“Is E=Mc2 a sexed equation? Perhaps it is. Let us make the hypothesis that it is insofar as it privileges the speed of light over other speeds that are vitally necessary to us. What seems to me to indicate the possibly sexed nature of the equation is not directly its uses by nuclear weapons, rather it is having privileged what goes the fastest… (Irigaray 1987b, p.110)"
original citation: Irigaray, Luce. 1987b. “Sujet de la science, sujet sexué?" In Sens et place des connaissances dans la société, pp. 95-121. Paris: Centre National de Recherche Scientifique.
Sokal, Alan D., and J. Bricmont. 1998. Fashionable nonsense: postmodern intellectuals’ abuse of science. New York: Picador USA, p. 109.

(這一段,完全是想像力飛馳的笑料吧…?能認真看待嗎?筆桿多是又直又硬的,是不是代表陽具?不如用海綿寫字?不是旗在動,不是風在動:是心在動。不是「E=mc2」有男尊思想:是說廢話的人戴了有色眼鏡而已。)

在下似乎又扯得太遠了,還是說一下這本書的背景吧。

故事要由1996年說起。(原來已經十七年了!)物理學家Alan Sokal得到一本書的啟發,決定要搞個「小實驗」,揭破一班學棍的騙局。他參考那門派的風格,大量引用他們的招式,寫了一篇完全胡扯惡搞的文章:<Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity(可到Sokal的網頁欣賞此奇文。此文也收錄在這本書,為附錄一;但看了一整部正文,已經笑到悶,這一篇奇文我只大略翻了一下;緊隨其後解釋此文的附錄二和三,我倒是讀了。)(又,其實手頭上還有一本Alan Sokal的《Beyond the Hoax: Science, Philosophy, and Culture》;未讀,有機會讀完或談談。開卷第一篇,就是註解版惡搞文;那時候當可再詳談此奇文。)

而最精彩的,是Sokal投稿到這學派的學報,竟然獲接納刊登了!後來Sokal當然是揭破此事,那學派的人被搞得灰頭土臉,但也繼續負隅頑抗。詳情可上維基自己看,這就是有名的Sokal affair(中文維基譯作「索卡事件」,我幾乎以為是「索K事件」… 還是用英文算吧。)

如果我已引起你的興趣,想買這本書、想看他們怎樣一一揭破後現代學棍的騙局,我要適時潑一下冷水:期望不要太大。其實這本書的副題已清楚指出,書的內容只包括「後現代學者的[偽]科學妄語(Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science)」。

兩位作者非常自覺物理學家的身份和知識,而他們攻擊後現代學棍也只限於亂用科學概念、名詞的章節。純粹從讀者角度看,實在不夠精彩。而為免有任何漏洞、把柄落入人手,他們行文論理也非常小心,甚至有點拘謹,步步為營。不過這態度實在是可以理解的。且看作者怎樣形容其中一位學棍的文章:

“This passage contains the most brilliant mélange of scientific, pseudo-scientific, and philosophical jargon that we have ever encountered; only a genius could have written it."
Sokal, Alan D., and J. Bricmont. 1998. Fashionable nonsense: postmodern intellectuals’ abuse of science. New York: Picador USA, p. 166.

雖然他們只是指其中一位學棍,但其實適用於整個學派。那門派的專長正是語言偽術:將一堆空洞無聊的廢話,寫得天花亂墜。(真應景,又熟悉。對嗎?)如果要跟這一伙人纏鬥、堆身肉搏,一定像泥漿摔角,痛苦不堪。要清脆俐落,不能拖泥帶水,所以只能以最拿手的絕招,攻敵罩門,一招斃命。

雖然兩位高手出招克制謹慎,但如仔細琢磨,仍是獲益良多。

學的,倒不一定是如何拆人西洋鏡。學的,是不要妄語。有時口快手快,將話說過了頭、將類比推過了界,不知不覺就走上了歪路。奔放想像無妨,但要分清楚哪些是臆想、哪些是猜想、哪些是踏實的推論。胡思亂想,偶爾說點廢話,不打緊:誠實地說明是胡思亂想、是廢話就好。

坦白說,那一堆所謂後現代「大師」,我全沒讀過。(除了書中引用的。)那我怎麼整篇文都毫不客氣的稱他們為「學棍」?就算完全同意這本書的分析,不也只是他們作品的一部份嗎?那不是以偏概全嗎?正如我剛剛說的:胡思亂想、說說廢話,不打緊,但要誠實。若然亂抛自己不懂的詞語、概念,目的只在掩飾內容的空洞貧乏,這不就是招搖撞騙嗎?這樣不折不扣的就是學棍了吧!而如果說的人也不知自己在說廢話,雖然沒有惡意,但結果不也是說廢話嗎?而說了這樣的廢話竟然也不自覺,實在愚笨得到家。不也都是學棍嗎?

我是真小人,也就不避嫌的開罵。而兩個作者,倒是寬宏得多。他們只集中攻擊一小部份,也明說了不是針對整個思潮。到整本書的結尾,他們再重申只是想促成學界溝通。當然,你信不信他們擺出來的姿勢又是另一回事。就像比武之後向人拱手說:「承讓,承讓。」那樣子吧?

--

雖然上文說像比武,但其實不是武比,只是文比而已。整件事,其實就像這樣:

有跑江湖的藝人在街頭賣武,表演些中看不中用的花拳繡腿。不少街坊鄉里見表演精彩,都駐足圍觀。那藝人見聲勢大了,竟妄言自己是高手。鄉下人沒見過世面,信以為真,那騙子居然也收了不少徒弟。當然,也有徒弟其實知道實情,不過是聚眾招搖撞騙而已。有會家子經過,不屑其所為,假意拜師,其實是去踼館。高人出手,不見血,不傷人。那班騙子每出一招,高人都將摺扇指向要害破綻處,就像他們自個兒撞上去的。這下子,連鄉下人都看得出來他們是吃了虧。

而旁觀的人,是想看熱鬧,還是想偷學點拳理,悉隨尊便。

--

怎麼還繼續寫?一些有趣資料,文中找不到地方安放,就隨便擱在這裡吧。

- 偶像Richard Dawkins曾在《Nature》撰書評。從他提的書名看,他讀的應該是英國版:‘Postmodernism Disrobed’, Nature 394, pp. 141-143, 9th July 1998. http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/824

- Alan Sokal自己的網頁上,收集了更多書評

- 憎厭後現代學派狗屁文字的人似乎很多,多得有人寫了一款Postmodernism Generator,可自動生成一篇似模似樣的惡搞文章。我也去試了這個,每次到訪時都會自動編寫一篇新文章,但也可以找回舊的:我剛剛製作的是這一篇

- 另外,有一個叫Chip Morningstar的電腦人,他寫了一篇叫<How to Deconstruct Almost Anything>的文章。(或可譯作「解構一點通」/「解構速成」/「傻瓜解構手冊」/「解構五步曲」之類,文題明顯是惡搞自學速成書書名的。)此文以所謂「解構主義」為笑柄,幽默非常。跟隨他的五步曲,你也能成為解構大師!

文抄:Unweaving the rainbow, p. 121.

“The London Daily Telegraph of 18 November 1997 reported that a self-styled exorcist who had persuaded a gullible teenage girl to have sex with him on the pretext of driving evil spirits from her body had been jailed for 18 months the day before. The man had shown the young woman some books on palmistry and magic, then told her that she was ‘jinxed: someone had put bad luck on her’. In order to exorcise her, he explained, he needed to anoint her all over with special oils. She agreed to take all her clothes off for this purpose. Finally, she copulated with the man when he told her that this was necessary ‘to get rid of the spirits’. Now, it seems to me that society cannot have it both ways. If it was right to jail this man for exploiting a gullible young woman (she was above the legal age of consent), why do we not similarly prosecute astrologers who take money off equally gullible people; or ‘psychic’ diviners who con oil companies into parting with shareholders’ money for expensive ‘consultations’ on where to drill? Conversely, if it be protested that fools should be free to hand over their money to charlatans if they choose, why shouldn’t the sexual ‘exorcist’ claim a similar defence, invoking the young woman’s freedom to give her body for the sake of a ritual ceremoney in which, at the time, she genuinely believed?"
Dawkins, Richard. 1998. Unweaving the rainbow: science, delusion and the appetite for wonder. London: Allen Lane/The Penguin Press, p. 121.

剛好讀到這一段,真感快慰。不敢說「英雄所見略同」,若如此高攀,徒貽笑大方。只能說,偶像的看法恰巧跟自己相似,實在令人高興、自豪。

請參看舊文:
<大仙有求不應,「苦主」何處申「冤」?>

《少年Pi的奇幻漂流(Life of Pi)》

(from Wikipedia;Fair Use/Fair Dealing)

我知道,我沒甚麼說服力,這套電影好評如潮,還有個屁好說呢?所以我不打算花太多篇幅,簡單說一下就算:不怎麼樣。對,我不覺得差,也不覺得好。就是普普通通,不怎麼樣。誠然,有幾幕很美,也有一兩幕頗特別;但整體來說,就是普普通通的遇難獨腳戲。(3D效果又不見得好;說是《阿凡達(Avatar》第二,絕對是過譽。)真要選的話,我寧可重看《Cast Away》。

故事很普通,談訪的結構也很平凡。(上Wikipedia吧。反正沒甚麼特別,看了也無損。)總的來說,我是覺得有點悶的。

不過,上述統統不是這部電影(甚至原著小說)的重點。這作品(很明顯地、很露骨地)要說的:是信仰、宗教。

主人公Pi自稱天主-印度教徒(Catholic-Hindu);電影初段,也花了極多篇幅描述Pi的印度教天主教回教信仰;甚至有提過他有在大學教卡巴拉(Kabbalah)

這樣過份濃重地點題,簡直叫人吃不消,也是我對此作評價不高的原因之一。

話說回來,這部小說有段趣聞。奧巴馬跟女兒讀完這部小說,寫了封信給作者:

“My daughter and I just finished reading Life of Pi together. Both of us agreed we prefer the story with animals. It is a lovely book — an elegant proof of God, and the power of storytelling. Thank you."
– “Life of Pi author Martel hears from Obama“. Saskatoon StarPhoenix (Winnipeg Free Press). 8 April 2010. Retrieved 1 December 2012.

引用這段話,是因為我跟總統先生的看法剛好相反:其實,這故事隱含無神論的觀點。

故事尾段,成年Pi將另一個版本娓娓道出,問作者問題時,已很清楚。他毫不含糊的指出,整艘船只死剩Pi一個,而所有證據已經失落,只有他一口之辭;無論是「老虎版」還是「人版」,兩方都是不能證偽(也不能證明)的。他最終問作者較喜歡哪一個版本。作者選了他認為較「壯麗」的「老虎版」。

很明顯,這不是一個「證明」,只是一個「選擇」。而選擇的基準,不過是個人喜好。這實在充滿不可知論的味道。Pi其實從沒嘗試「證明神」;相反,他只是指出「神」是「不能證偽」的。這其實已經是不可知論者的觀點。

再說回Pi本身,他的問題與其說是問作者選擇哪一個版本,倒不如說他在問自己選擇哪一個版本。這很奇怪。Pi應該是身歷其境、知道真相的人,何須選擇?這意味Pi其實知道有一個版本是虛構的。接著的問題是:哪一個版本是虛構的?為甚麼他要虛構一個版本?

神論者當然會說「人版」是虛構的,而原因是為了應付兩個日本人。這看法有一個大缺憾:事隔多年,為甚麼他要向作者覆述這個虛構版本?作者不是他要「應付」的人,他當初虛構故事的誘因已不存在。

另一個看法,自然是「老虎版」才是虛構的。為甚麼他要虛構「老虎版」?合理的解釋是他不能接受殘酷的現實,不能接受人的動物性,更不能接受自己的動物性(所以抵岸後,老虎就離他而去);而虛構「老虎版」故事,正是他用來令自己能夠生活下去、令自己可面對自己的方法。之所以他始終揮不去真相、揮不去「人版」的故事;之所以他要問作者、要再問自己:要確認自己想選擇哪一個版本的故事。

所以Pi其實不是「相信神(Believe in God)」的神論者,他不過是「相信『信神』這回事(Believe in the Belief in God)」無神論者

正因為他心底裡其實明白自己是無神論者,才可以無所不包的聲稱自己相信多個宗教,而不理會各宗教教義之間的矛盾。正如Pi的父親所說:「甚麼都相信,其實等如甚麼都不相信。」聲稱感激父親教導的Pi,應該沒有忘記這句說話。

(我認為Pi其實是無神論基督徒無神論印度教徒無神論猶太教徒的混合體。)

我是死硬派的無神論者,當然不認同他的看法:我不覺得「老虎版」比較壯麗,也不認為我們需要虛假的慰藉。(話說回來,故事當中真正精彩的,是Pi的求生意志,這是兩個版本的共通點,也是故事真正能憾動人心之處。而「人版」更能突顯這一點。)

就算「有神論」不能證偽,也不代表「有神」和「無神」的可能性是均等的,這是「不可知論」的罩門。細節且免,建議讀者看Richard Dawkins的《The God Delusion》。

那Pi的「信仰」又是怎麼回事呢?其實並不罕見。這是Daniel Dennett稱為「Belief in Belief」的現象。(對,正是我剛剛用的說法。)我也只建議各位看他寫的《Breaking the Spell》,特別是第八章<Belief in Belief>,且引用其中一小段:

“It is entirely possible to be an atheist and believe in belief in God. Such a person doesn’t believe in God but nevertheless thinks that believing in God would be a wonderful state of mind to be in, if only that could be arranged. People who believe in belief in God try to get others to believe in God and, whenever they find their own belief in God flagging, do whatever they can to restore it."
– Dennett, Daniel C., 2006, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. New York: Penguin Books, pp. 221.

熟口熟面?對,正是Pi做的事情。每次想起/說起他的故事,他都要再問自己選擇哪一個版本,因為他要維持他的信仰--他明知是虛構的信仰。

或許我應該「見好就收」,但我始終想講多兩句。

首先,不想買書,但想多看一點Dan Dennett的話,可看這篇登載於《Guardian》的文章--<The folly of pretence>。

以科學、理性的眼光看世界,其實一點也不灰暗。對,我們直面生命殘酷、生命的存在本無意義/無目的的現實,但不代表宇宙並不奇妙、並不有趣,也不代表你的生命沒有意義,更不代表你不能享受生命。我承認我有點硬銷,但實在推薦Dawkins的《Unweaving the Rainbow》和《The Magic of Reality》。科學和理性,非但不沉悶,還很有詩意。

==

簡單評分:

C+(☆☆☆)

科學如詩:The Poetry of Science

The Poetry of Science: Richard Dawkins and Neil deGrasse Tyson

這是Richard Dawkins和Neil Tyson於2010年9月28日的對談錄影。

我看過很多Richard Dawkins的演講、對談、電視節目,這一段對談肯定不是最出色的;尤其是Richard Dawkins和Neil Tyson兩人的風格太南轅北轍,根本不調和,Neil Tyson好像過度活躍一般,經常打斷Richard Dawkins的話。

雖然如此,我還是想推介這段錄影-
因為Neil Tyson在問答環節時的一段說話。

當時已近問答環節尾聲,有一個耶教小白Troll)問台上講者,如果他們要被行刑,他們在行刑前有何要求、有何話說。(為甚麼他們無緣無故要被行刑?是因為他們在原教旨主義國家宣揚科學、宣揚理性、宣揚邏輯嗎?)

面對如此無聊的問題,Richard Dawkins當然貫徹立場,不自貶身價,決不回應。
(他在2011年曾發表文章,解釋他為何不跟某人辯論,可茲參考。[richarddawkins.netguardian.co.uk])

但多嘴的Neil Tyson則認真、詩意地回應,贏得全場掌聲:

“I would request, that, my body, in death, be buried, not cremated.  So that the energy content contained within it, gets returned to the Earth, so that flora and fauna can dine upon it, just as I have dined upon flora and fauna throughout my life." ~Neil deGrasse Tyson

以下為此精華片段:

==

又。

雖然Richard Dawkins今次的表現普通,但他的說話一如既往,可啟發思考。

例如他猜想:
蝙蝠的視力不佳,但能以迴聲定位(Echolocation);
我們會將不同波長的光線感受為不同顏色的光;
那蝙蝠的腦,也可能會將不同質感的表面的回音,感受為不同的「顏色」。
(其實不是新的觀點,他應該在1986年的The Blind Watchmaker已提出此猜想。)