Canine Mysticism?

I have exposed the fallacy of Fritjof Capra’s reasoning for the alleged parallelism between modern physics and Eastern mysticism in my earlier posts (see here and here, for example).  These kinds of reasoning, which run throughout The Tao of Physics, consist of

  • taking advantage of the scientific stature of famous physicists to give credence to their faulty philosophical statements, especially when those statement resemble quotes by Eastern mystics;
  • saying something and changing it later (e.g., attributing rationality to science and intuition to religion, and later erasing this distinction);
  • inventing concepts (e.g., his “third stage” of the scientific process);
  • using different words as if they were the same (e.g., experience and experiment); and
  • giving misinformation bordering outright lies (e.g., mathematics is detached from reality and needs to be supplemented by words).

mystic_eyesHowever, time and space do not allow a page by page refutation of his reasoning. The core of his arguments is presented in the first few dozen pages of his book anyway. Nevertheless, one last “parallel” from his book is irresistibly amusing. Here is a quote from page 36 of The Tao of Physics:

Anybody who wants to repeat an experiment in modern subatomic physics has to undergo many years of training. Only then will he or she be able to ask nature a specific question through the experiment and to understand the answer. Similarly, a deep mystical experience requires, generally, many years of training under an experienced master, and, as in the scientific training, the dedicated time does not alone guarantee success. If the student is successful, however, he or she will be able to ‘repeat the experiment.’ The repeatability of the experience is, in fact, essential to every mystical training and is the very aim of the mystics’ spiritual instruction.

To see how ridiculous this argument is, I’ll repeat it with some minor changes:

Anybody who wants to repeat an experiment in modern subatomic physics has to undergo many years of training. Only then will he or she be able to ask nature a specific question through the experiment and to understand the answer. Similarly, a sophisticated canine trick requires, generally, many years of training under an experienced master, and, as in the scientific training, the dedicated time does not alone guarantee success. If the dog is successful, however, it will be able to ‘repeat the trick.’ The repeatability of the trick is, in fact, essential to every canine training and is the very aim of the dog’s physical instruction.

Should we conclude from this passage that dog tricks are “parallel” to the mystic’s enlightenment and modern physics?

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