Science and Beyond
Toward Greater Sanity through Science, Philosophy, Art, and Spirituality
This is a new book that is available as paperback and ebook. The paperback can be purchased at Amazon, FriesenPress, and other outlets, the ebook is available on Kindle and other ebook platforms.
This book is "one of the most important works ever written" (Daniel Ananda Alexander).
"Very important work, especially in these times" (Brian McGlade).
"I have been reading (and re-reading) Dr. Sattler's "Science and Beyond"…Every time I re-read a chapter I see something different in the world" (James Sheffer).
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“I have argued for the need for and the possibility of a worldview grounded in science, yet one that does not deny the richness of human nature and the validity of modes of knowing other than the scientific…the union of wisdom and compassion.”
- Dalai Lama
Science, coupled with technology, has become the dominant force in most parts of the world. Thus, it affects our lives and society in many ways. Yet, misconceptions about science are widespread in governments, the general public, and even among many scientists. Science and Beyond explores these misconceptions that may have grave and even disastrous consequences for individuals and society as was evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, where they led to much unnecessary suffering, sickness, and death.
The misconceptions also obscure the limitations of science. Not seeing these limitations prevents us from seeing and going beyond them, which leads to a crippled life and an impoverished society. But reaching beyond the limitations of science, as outlined in this book, can open the doors to a more fulfilled, saner, healthier, happier, and more peaceful life and society, to deeper insight, wisdom, and compassion.
Why have I written this book?
So many books have been written on science. Why yet another one? I have worked as a scientist during my whole professional life, and I have taught the history and philosophy of biology that explores the most basic aspects of biology and science. This way I have gained a deeper insight into science and have seen misconceptions that are held by many scientists and are widespread in the general public and governments. These misconceptions can be extremely harmful; but as we become aware of them, the harm can be reduced or avoided. Thus, one of my major motivations in writing this book has been to mitigate the harmful consequences of the widespread misunderstanding of science. This can lead to a saner science and a healthier, saner, happier, and more peaceful life and society.
I have been very concerned about health. Thus, throughout the book, I provide examples that illustrate how an awareness of misconceptions can lead to a healthier life and society. One example of a misconception: a virus is the "cause" of the disease that it is often said to "cause." But if it were the cause that determines the disease, then everybody who becomes infected should succumb to the disease. But this is clearly not the case. Therefore, the virus is not the cause but only a factor. Recognizing this is of utmost importance and relevance because if the virus is only a factor, then we have to include all the other factors such as the physical condition of the infected person and the feelings, emotions, thoughts, spiritual life, and the environment of that person. In other words, we need an epiviral medicine. "Epi" means around and above. Hence, we need to consider and investigate what is around and above the virus, which means the context of the virus. As we understand the context, we can find out how changes in the context can inhibit the action of the virus. Such understanding could have much reduced the suffering, sickness, and mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How does an awareness of the misconceptions lead to a saner life and society? One fundamental misconception is the widespread belief that science will be able to reveal the Truth, the absolute Truth. But science can reveal at best aspects of the Truth, other aspects are revealed in the arts and spirituality. One reason why science cannot reveal the absolute Truth, the whole Truth, is because it uses language and mathematics, a form of language and logic. Language is like a map, and a map is not the territory to which it refers. There is always much more in the territory of reality as portrayed though language. Therefore, science, using language, is limited. Beyond these limitations are the arts, such as music, and spirituality. Recognizing this can lead to greater sanity, more profound happiness and peace in our lives and society.
1 Chapter 1: The Power of Science and Its Limitations
4 Chapter 2: Uncertainty and Beyond
10 Chapter 3: Replicability and Uniqueness
15 Chapter 4: Objectivity and Subjectivity
21 Chapter 5: Logic and the Indescribable
29 Chapter 6: Language and the Unnamable
38 Chapter 7: Empiricism and Just Sensing
48 Chapter 8: Mechanistic Materialist Science, Holistic Science,
59 Chapter 9: Science, Society, and Culture
73 Chapter 10: Science and the Arts
77 Chapter 11: Science and Spirituality
89 Appendix 1: From Plant Morphology to Infinite Issues
96 Appendix 2: Health and Sanity of Body, Speech, and Mind
110 Appendix 3: The Human Condition and Its Transcendence
149 About the Author
"This is a text that seeks to explain the practical, theoretical, and philosophical applications of science, as well as to issue a warning that evading comprehensiveness can lead to limited, misleading, or dangerous interpretations. It also philosophizes on what is involved in accurate and comprehensive understandings of life, going beyond the purview of “science” itself to take a broader, deeper view—one that leads into mystery and transcendence, stating that, “If we cannot see and go beyond science, our lives and society will remain impoverished.” Insights from spiritual luminaries and the musings of scientists including Albert Einstein and ecological philosopher Elisabet Sahtouris are invoked in support of the book’s arguments, and the text is enhanced with bright, clear illustrations, many of them reproductions of the work of visionary artists.
While giving science its due, the book looks beyond it to examine and honor modes of knowing other than the scientific. Gesturing to values like spirituality, wisdom, and love, the book’s arguments in their favor are clear, pointed, and logical, as is its warning that failure to recognize the limitations of science will lead to global catastrophe. Using what it calls the “widespread virus mania” around Covid-19 as a practical example, the book argues that distorted views of science have resulted in unnecessary deaths, economic disasters, and the loss of civil liberties.
Organized so that each topic addressed builds upon what came before it, the book’s arguments are backed up with extensive references to information garnered from reputable sources. Several appendices amplify and further refine its discussions, bringing its work to a provocative conclusion.
The book reintroduces familiar concepts and terms to develop new meanings; for example, the terms sanity and insanity are taken beyond medical and psychiatric uses to describe “understanding and being in tune with life and reality,” or conversely, being subject to “any misconception or delusion about reality,” making these strong terms applicable to a wider range of issues."
- Foreword Clarion Book Review
“Sattler proposes a more holistic and spiritual view of the universe that transcends not only the categories of science, but also duality as well as the experience of space and time. In this ambitious and timely book, the author furnishes thoughtful objections to the current hegemony of the scientific worldview, offering many rich and captivating details.” – Kirkus Review
"Rolf Sattler's book Science and Beyond will be inspiring reading for all human beings concerned about the meaning of their existence, the welfare of humanity and the preservation of life on the planet Earth. For many human beings science itself has become a sort of dogmatic religion with an attitude that extra scientia nulla veritas, thus reducing the grandeur of Truth which according to the great sages is intimately intertwined with Love and Beauty. Scientific research is important and necessary but it has its limitations. A connection with other levels of Reality is necessary for nourishing the human spirit as is rigorously pointed out in this book."
- Ravi Ravindra, Professor Emeritus of Physics, Philosophy, and Comparative Religion, author of Science and Spirituality and Science and the Sacred.
“Science and Beyond is a powerful claim for integrating the limitations of science in our overall perception of reality, for recovering the fullness of life experience from the abstraction of scientific modelling, the unnamable from the named, wisdom and sanity from the infatuation with technological power. Such a return to balance and wholeness is crucially important not just for the survival and well-being of the human species, but also for the blossoming of life in all its forms.”
- Shantena Augusto Sabbadini, author of Tao Te Ching: A Guide to the Interpretation of the Foundational Book of Taoism and Pilgrimages to Emptiness: Rethinking Reality through Quantum Physics.
"Key to our future is the overall direction taken by science and technology and the relative emphasis on transcendence or on transhumanism potentially leading to digital dictatorship. We have a narrow navigational window, and the distilled wisdom of this book can provide much reliable guidance in this respect"
- David Lorimer in Paradigm Explorer. Journal of the Scientific and Medical Network, No 136, 2021/2, p. 41.