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Mitchell_Porter comments on Explain/Worship/Ignore? - Less Wrong

34 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 02 September 2007 08:01PM

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Comment author: Mitchell_Porter 19 January 2010 04:39:40AM 14 points [-]

there are many myths that have turned out to be pretty good intuitions of real phenomenon.

That might be true ...

for instance, the Hindu belief in "divine vibration" sounds uncannily like string theory- then there is an African tribe known as the Dogon that was aware of the fact that Sirius is a binary system hundreds of years ago.

... but all that is not true. There is a long list of distinctively modern concepts and discoveries - DNA, the Big Bang, black holes... - which are constantly being linked in spurious ways to ancient myth and scripture. It is actually a type of modern superstition that shamans already know all this, that God or aliens already told us about it in code, etc - in short, that the pre-scientific world already knew about what science has discovered.

Hinduism has nothing to do with string theory. A hundred years ago, you had spiritualists trying to link divine vibrations with the electromagnetic spectrum. In a few years they'll be trying to link it with cortical brain rhythms. These connections are completely superficial. As for the Dogon, the match between myth and astronomy is far more equivocal than you might have thought.