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BS: Science and Religion

wysiwyg 08 Jun 09 - 01:23 PM
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Subject: BS: Science and Religion
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 01:23 PM

I had in mind a poll/survey, not a debate, tho I am sure a debate will develop. (Please know in advance that I will probably not participate in the "debate" aspect, beyond stating my own rather integrated view, once, as clearly as I can.)


But here's the poll:

1. Do you see it as
Science AND Religion?
Or Science VS Religion?
Or what?

And the survey:

2. If you see it as Science AND Religion, where do you see them intersecting in a positive way, from your view?


I'll start.

1. I see it as Science AND Religion.

2. I see them interesecting in a positive way (because of checks and balances) in a field I know as Medical Ethics.


You?


~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: GUEST,TIA
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 02:18 PM

Science AND Religion.

There are certain propositions that are not objectively testable - belief (or not) in these is religion.

All assertions that are testable should be tested. This is science.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 02:23 PM

1. AND
2. Metaphysics, ethics, psychology, philosophy, ontology, epistemology, physics, technology, marketing, sociology, medicine, political theory, economics...and about a dozen others.



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Paul Burke
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 02:30 PM

Science and literature. Religion is just old literature, sometimes taken too literally.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Rapparee
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 02:31 PM

I see no inherent conflict in them. Such is only in people's minds.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: gnu
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 02:35 PM

And.

They are two different things/thinks. Both have merit. Both have otherwise.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 02:35 PM

GREAT stuff, folks, keep 'em coming, please.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Goose Gander
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 02:41 PM

Science deals with phenomena that can be quantified; religion deals with matters that can not. There have been brilliant scientists who were religionists, and others who were athiests. One does not negate the other. Anyway, many so-called athiests believe in a spirit world (ghosts, etc.) . . . I haven't met many hard-core athiests who believe in absolutely nothing beyond a random universe created out of nothing, but I know they are out there.

A useful religion can founded upon lies; a purely rational, athiestic scientist can create a monstrosity. See Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Paul Burke
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 02:43 PM

I haven't met many hard-core athiests who believe in absolutely nothing beyond a random universe created out of nothing

Hi.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 02:52 PM

Paul Burk, you beat me to it by about nine minutes.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: GUEST,Ian cookieless
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 02:59 PM

1. Do you see it as
Science AND Religion?
Or Science VS Religion?
Or what?

And the survey:

2. If you see it as Science AND Religion, where do you see them intersecting in a positive way, from your view?


I am really not trying to be awkward when I say it depends what you mean by "it". This needs to be qualified if the survey is to be meaningful. If "it" is knowledge, but it also depends on what type of knowledge for a debate to ensue. If "it" is ethics, then one would have to ask where the scientists gain their ethical inferences, and which 'brand' of religion's ethics we are discussing: fundamentalists or liberals?

For 2., I find myself agreeing with what many religious people say on medical ethics - that life should be considered to begin very early, perhaps even conception, that life itself is extremely precious (I cannot say 'sacred' as I am not religious). However, I hold these views without reference to God or religious concepts, and I cannot see anything of substance that is added to an ethical debate by inserting God into an argument.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Goose Gander
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 03:14 PM

Paul and DaveO -

Pleased to meet you both. But that is quite a leap of faith, you know.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 03:23 PM

As Rapaire said. I see no inherent conflict between science and religion/spirituality. To the contrary, I see the two working together ultimately toward a shared understanding of reality.

Science AND religion/spirituality, that is.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 03:43 PM

If it's about the pursuit of positive, life-enhancing ideas, actions and discoveries, then either or both or neither, depending! Some terrible things have been created/discovered by scientists and done/decreed by religionists. Some wonderful things have been created/discovered by scientists and done/decreed by religionists. We are an odd species, truly.

By the way, I'm personally inclined towards atheism and keen on evidence-based science. However I'm not some atheist fundamentalist: I can see and accept that there are plenty of good things done by religious people in the name of their religion, including many amazing acts of altruism, heroism and charity. Whether these people would still do the same if they were not religious, but just because they are good people, is largely irrelevant if in fact they do ascribe their actions to their beliefs. I also recognise that there are scientists with strongly held religious beliefs out there who don't necessarily allow their religion to blunt their sense of curiosity. There are also atheists with a very unscientific, gut-instinct-led basis to their atheism. Takes all sorts.

Finally, my partner's great uncle made an interesting comment just the other night when he said he happily believed in both god and evolution and didn't have a problem incorporating them both into his worldview.

Just some bits 'n' pieces for the pot...


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 04:47 PM

Having spent 55 years thinking about 'it', I don't have time to write a short answer.

But essentially, it boils down to whether we are asking whether both are 'true', or 'useful', or 'compatible'...or maybe whether the whole issue is a matter of language trying to encompass our DNA programming.

Me? I 'suspect' that both can co-exist, no matter what "ultimate truth" is, but because so much (all?) of religion is cultural and subjective, it can (and does) take many paths which are in conflict with both science and other religions.

(sorry, Susan...I'm not sure if that fits any of the parameters of a survey *weak smile*)


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 04:50 PM

God said "let there be light" and e equalled mc2


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: fretless
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 05:20 PM

The John Templeton Foundation in the US has been investing lots of energy and money recently in an exploration of this and related questions about the intersections of science and religion. Lots of interesting reading on their website.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Gervase
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 05:28 PM

Put me down as a 'random agglomeration of matter' sort of bloke.
Science for me every time. Religion, to me, is just a superstitious way of trying to explain stuff that science hasn't yet revealed.
The world is so much more wonderful if you don't have to think of a creator.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 05:45 PM

First define "religion". Impossible to answer otherwise.

Templeton is full of interesting ideas - Farewell to God is an interesting book.

Religion does not need to include God at all, any sort, or gods either. Spiritual Naturalism.

Jung could "not help anyone who did not believe in a superior force."

Loren Eiseley doubted one could be a scientist and not believe in God.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 05:46 PM

Religion at its best is not a collection of superstitions and rituals, it's a very positive philosophy and set of ethics. Religion also does not necessarily require you to believe in "a creator". Some types of religion do require that, but not all types by any means.

Religion is often entirely compatible with science...but goes into further areas which science is not inclined to even comment upon...those areas having to do mostly with philosophical and ethical viewpoints on life and inquiries into the meaning of life.

That is to say, science is primarily concerned with the objective, while religion is primarily concerned with the subjective. Since a person needs to understand and experience both objectivity and subjectivity to be a complete personality, it would seem wise to look at the world through both viewpoints, and in a way that can harmonize them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 06:10 PM

Religion that denies scientific evidence is mere superstition. Clinging to a set of ancient folk tales as factual truth when confronted with contrary explanations which are supported by scientific fact is a particularly foolish form of tunnel-vision.

On the other hand, science that denies religion is blind reductionism. For science to say it has all the answers and that there is no room for anything which can't be empirically verified is an equally foolish form of tunnel-vision. Those ancient folk tales may not have much factual truth in them, but they have a tremendous amount of metaphysical truth. A lot of scientists seem to have never learned the meaning of the word "transcendent". In their search for the roots of things, they've forgotten that the reason things have roots in the first place is so they can reach for the sky.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Ebbie
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 06:46 PM

AND

I see the two as being not only compatible but both being subject to further development.

In other words, I think of science as being testable to the extent of its knowledge. And I say, Bless it and the horse it rode in on.

I think of religion, or more to the point, the inanimate, as being in the realm typified by love and altruism, consisting of more than the five senses that science recognizes (Who has not "felt" eyes upon themselves? Who has not had the inexplicable urge to call home? Who has not produced a creative something that seemingly came out of nowhere? Who has not relied on an unseen force to see to it that s/he is in the right spot at the right time?).

It is my belief that science some day will "see" things very differently from what it has in the past. I think that religion/the intangible will someday come to realize that there are physical, even if invisible, forces at work in the most arcane.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 06:56 PM

LH: so religion IYO, is a spectrum of possibilities? One chooses how to view it? There is no definition? Final paragraph open to discussion.

Bee...: Is scientific "fact" always correct??? Who determines what is "empirically verified"?
Love your last sentence! But- "things" do not all have roots nor do all "things" reach.... - Or do they? How would we know??

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcendence_(philosophy)


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 07:00 PM

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/religion


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: michaelr
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 07:05 PM

Do I see WHAT as
Science AND Religion?
Or Science VS Religion?

You really should ask a more concise question if you want clear answers.

But then, you probably won't want to hear from me anyway, as I've stated here before that I see religious faith as a sort of mental illness.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: frogprince
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 07:11 PM

Religion AND science, for me, so long as religion doesn't mean any form of fundamentalism. I wouldn't even want to imagine living in a world without the benefits of science; A substantial share of us wouldn't even be here if medical science hadn't begun to make real progress before our parents time. But science has an overwhelming inclination to do anything it makes possible. Religious values can bring at least some counter-pressure to bare, as well as help motivate some people to pursue their science specifically for the sake of the general wellfare.
                         Dean


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Rowan
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 07:17 PM

Having been brought up in a context where traditions were strong I came to an understanding that scientific methodology was based on answering the "What, When, How, (and to a lesser extent, the Who) questions; it was also good at answering the more trivial aspects of the Why question.

Religion, according to many, started off with a bent that could be described as scientific in the sense that it tried to explain the Why in terms that might have been rather simplistic (to some) but delved into the depths of what it was that made us human; for me, its best aspects still attempt to address the existential aspects of "Why".

To me, any deity (monotheistic or not, Mosaic/Abrahamic or not) shows considerable evidence consistent with it being a human creation.

Does this make me an "And"?

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Slag
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 07:25 PM

The object defines the subject. The quest? Reality, the ultimate reality. To some science is the religion of logic.

If you drew a Venn diagram, any point of overlap would be points of agreement and depending on who was drawing, the overlap would vary greatly. The absolute advocate of human reason would see no point of contact between the two except in a clinical sort of way. The absolute religionist would see no point of contact either but for different reasons. They would be in polar agreement about no contact!

On the practical side, the proof is in the tasting. Science works. From proven theories, the modern world has emerged and provided us with things beyond the imagination of folks of just 100 years ago. On the religion side, well some make certain unprovable assertions about healings and finding things but it is largely personal and experiential to the individual.

Religion is Man seeking God and that gets into an entirely different debate which has had plenty of "woodshed" at this site. Briefly and broadly "God" is what ever an individual hold as the focus and in highest esteem in their life (with apologies to Paul Tillich). Defined thus, science can indeed, be a religion.

It is my belief that the assertion of most religions are statements of faith or belief in a metaphysical realm. In the practical and scientific world faith and religion are bubbles (not Venn circles, as each has multi-dimensional aspects) that really just kind of bounce around off each other. They are both concerned with reality but the realities are almost mutually exclusive.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 07:52 PM

Susan,
1. Definitely AND, but not religion!......SCIENCE AND FAITH!
2. They intersect in all forms of moral and ethical compass, which should rein in the likely excesses of a purely scientific viewpoint, while recognising the realities of life.


""Finally, my partner's great uncle made an interesting comment just the other night when he said he happily believed in both god and evolution and didn't have a problem incorporating them both into his worldview....Spleen Cringe

He is absolutely correct. There is NO conflict between God and Science.

There is NO conflict between faith in God and Science.

The missing question Susan, is this:-    Is religion synonymous with faith?

IMO, NO! IT'S NOT!

Religion is man's interpretation of God's intent and purpose. If that interpretation, as so often is the case, denies science, denies logic, and ignores fact, then it becomes Science VERSUS Religion.

I've made this point so often in the past, and I can't quite see why it should be so difficult to grasp for all but the most rabid bible belt fundamentalist.

FAITH is purely personal belief, in whatever an individual may think is true. It requires NO teaching, but is based on personal understanding of environment and events which affect that individual.

Religion is what somebody else tries to teach an individual to believe in. At best it provides a moral and ethical framework which can result in truly saintly behaviour, self sacrifice, and utter goodness.    At worst it can give rise to the basest of all human interaction, murder, genocide, and utter evil.

When dealing with religion, it is wise to examine the likely motives of the hierarchy. Not all are concerned with the welfare of adherents, in fact many are more interested in adherents' bank accounts, while others seek power over their fellow man.

Those which ARE genuine in their intent, will be concerned with neither, and MOST of those WILL recognise and welcome scientific knowledge.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 08:05 PM

Science has become a religion. Spirituality has become more inclusive.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Fergie
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 08:25 PM

Religion presupposes the existance of a god/creator. Can anybody produce one piece of scientific (or otherwise) evidence that such a thing/being exists?

Fergus


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 09:21 PM

Religion does not need to presuppose; simply finding a series of spiritual truths is quite enough religion for some.

Here's a perspective on the whole subject under the rubric of "quantum mysticism".


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: John P
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 09:32 PM

Depending on the definition of religion, I could go with AND. If religion involves "faith" or "deity", then I have no use for it. It just sounds like wishful thinking that doesn't really make any sense.

While science may fulfill the same role in one person's life that religion fulfills in another's, calling science a religion is disingenuous. Religion usually involves faith and deity; a person who rejects them should not be called religious, at least not without a lot of qualifiers.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Don Firth
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 09:52 PM

Science AND religion.

I have a very fuzzy concept of what "God" is and it keeps changing all the time. I don't really know for sure if some Supreme Intelligence actually does exist, or if this is merely a human attempt to explain things that has simply hung on since our primitive ancestors cowered in their caves. I most definitely do not believe in the cranky (but all-loving) bearded old man up on Arcturus 12 who marks the fall of every sparrow and hurls lightning bolts at sinners.

I agree with the late Joseph Campbell. He said that where many religious folks go off the rails is when they assume that religious myth and metaphor (a standard part of all religious beliefs) is historical fact.

But—assuming that All Of This was cobble together by a Supreme Intelligence that is beyond our comprehension and whom we attempt to personify by calling "God," I would say that there is no real conflict between science and religion. Whenever there is, it is due to a lack of understanding of either one or the other—or both.

Science endeavors to describe how God did it.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 11:36 PM

Dorothy - Yes, religion/spirituality is a simply vast spectrum of possibilities which also can include all the investigatory processes of science...and ought to. If you don't believe me, read some of the books written by Sri Aurobindo who started out as an atheist in the sciences...a brilliant honor student who disbelieved in anything spiritual when he was young...and who ended up as a spiritual philosopher who still believed in science as much as he had at the beginning. There is no vaster spectrum than that covered by religion/spirituality/science/philosopy...and it's all one spectrum . It is the spectrum of Life itself. Religion and spirituality are attempts to understand Life, its meaning, its purposes, and its processes. Science is mainly an attempt to observe and understand Life's processes, how they come about, and why. I capitalize Life because it is sacred. No, not the magazine! ;-)

Fergie - Religion does NOT necessarily presuppose the existence of a god/creator. I'll grant that some religions do that. The 3 great religions that came out of the Middle East (Muslim/Christian/Judaic) do. There are a number of important Eastern religions and spiritual philosophies, however, which do not. Read a bit about Taoism and Buddhism if you don't believe it. Check out the higher mystical teachings of Hinduism. You will be surprised at what you find there if you bother to look far enough.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 11:58 PM

Well, I now have all the answers! I asked my pendulum and:

superior force = inner wisdom

There is no such thing as God, or a Supreme Power or Intelligence, or creator.

Mysticism is based on inner wisdom which is the same as original wisdom and makes sense. Quantum mysticism does not make sense.

Inner wisdom is consistent.

Science is not always correct. Religion has as many definitions as there are people defining it.

That's it for me. I have my answers, based on inner wisdom which is that place from which the pendulum draws its answers, and from which we each need to draw our own answers. Now I am almost ready to write about down to earth, everyday mysticism. We each have it if we only give ourselves a chance to listen. Little kids listen until it is knocked out of them by the damaged adults around them. We each need to get back to where we can acknowledge and feel/listen to the original wisdom we have within. That is NOT religion.

Have fun! You are welcome to tell me I'm crazy. I KNOW I stand on firm ground. This thread triggered this process for me. I have never been more clear on anything.

Now you can have fun and I will not even need to look in on this thread


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 12:10 AM

Cool. I've done some pendulum work myself. It's quite interesting. I'm not 100% sure, however, that it's always reliable, depending on who does it and what they're thinking and why, but that's for each person to find out for themselves. For certain people it may be 100% reliable. Perhaps not for certain others. I've seen people who were very adept at that sort of thing (pendulum, dowsing, etc).

What do you mean by "superior force"? Have you read the book "Power Versus Force"?

And....what do you mean by "Quantum mysticism"?

Can you have all the answers? That would presuppose, for one thing, that you have already asked all the questions. ;-) There are some questions that a person might never even think to ask.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 12:15 AM

"Science is not always correct."

No one (especially scientists) ever said that it was. Science is constantly revising, improving, and expanding. The same cannot always be said for many bodies of religious belief.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 12:28 AM

True, Don. It's unfortunate when people's thinking becomes rigidly tied to any past body of either scientific or religious dogma...and they are unwilling to revise, improve, and expand their thinking. If this is so, it's because they are afraid to (at some level).


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: GUEST,Slag
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 01:20 AM

Fergie, et al, for some, science presupposes the NON-existence of God. So there you have it. Loggerheads. The Mills method of scientific reasoning does not allow for the introduction of non-provable categories. And science IS a method of applied human reason. The hypothesis must be testable and repeatable.

The hypothetical aspect of science, though is most interesting, especially what is going on in cosmology, cosmogony and physics these days. It is amazing to me that from observable data and the tools of science that some of these bastions of human reason can postulate parallel universes where every conceivable and even inconceivable scenarios may take place, INFINITELY! But let there be no mention of a God! Which is harder to swallow? That right now there are herds of blue and orange polka dotted elephants and twenty headed dinosaurs stampeding through you house and super nova exploding all around you just a dimension away or that God may indeed exist?

That science makes mistakes is entirely true. In fact if there were no mistakes science could never progress for it is by our mistakes and failures that we learn and narrow our investigative focus. Until we got away from the Aristotelian didactic of absolute truth and irrefutable logic did we begin to progress. This was Aquinas's realm and that of the old RCC. Rather science uses the inductive method over the deductive method of reasoning. Deduction has its place but the premises are ALWAYS subject to inspection and revision. And if that is true (look Ma, no hands!), then you must allow for the possibility of a God.

Just the same, you must allow for the possiblity of a human mind with the ablitiy to comprehend the universe, for without it, the universe does not exist.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 05:46 AM

"On the other hand, science that denies religion is blind reductionism. For science to say it has all the answers and that there is no room for anything which can't be empirically verified is an equally foolish form of tunnel-vision."

This is what non-scientists tend to think about science. In fact it is religious people who think that they have "all the answers" whereas scientists only know what they don't know.

A religious person tends to believe that all of the 'answers' are contained within an ancient, sacred text whereas a scientist can only attach probability statements to the outcomes of even the most well-designed and careful of experiments.

To sum up: religious people are certain, scientists are uncertain.

And to be really contentious: religious people are often full of pride in their certainty whereas scientists tend to be humble in their uncertainty.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: wysiwyg
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 08:53 AM

Back to the questions I asked, to calrify:

"It" = "your" worldview/paradigm/concept of the essential relationship between "your" concept of science and "your" concept of religion, and whether you generally see them as a compatible combination or as mutually exclusive. Not the absolute definitions of these, but "yours." Because, remember, I'm not looking for debating-type thinking. I'm looking for a collection of individual views in terms that allow a rough summary in numbers I can count up.

The COMMENTARY also is interesting, but without the numbers I'm left to summarize what I think I hope I understood-- that would amount to me, speaking for "you," and "you," and "you," and "you,"-- and I'd rather not.

I know-- it's not a scientific approach. :~) It's not a religious approach, either. :~)

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 09:10 AM

Read the article linked to upthread on the topic of Quantum Mysticism--it is just a descriptor of the kind of thinking that some major physicists in the early era of quantum mechanics held.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 09:27 AM

Science is the study of the real, and religion is belief in the supernatural. I see them as AND, not VS, but I don't see an intersection in the real world. I do see people trying to make them intersect, but that's square peggery to me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Stu
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 09:56 AM

1. Science is a search for the truth based on empirical evidence. It relies on observation, deduction and reproducibility, along with an ability to analyse and interpret. By it's very nature, science questions everything and it formulates theories based on the available evidence to try to explain it's findings. When new data presents itself, theories are altered, amended, abandoned and re-formulated, and so our understanding of us and the universe develops slowly over the ages. Religion and spirituality are not the same. I believe science is the way forward, as it more enough awe and wonder any religion could ever offer. If I had my time again, I would be a scientist and I study palaeontology, geology and other disciplines in an amateur capacity to help me understand the world. Science vs Religion.

2. I was walking in the woods near my home (here in the UK) one hot summer's day. The footpath I was on runs parallel to a small stream that is now channelled by a dyke built years ago and becomes a feeder for the local reservoir used to top up the canal. At one point, a small wooden bridge crosses a tributary of this small stream and some of the water tumbles of a few stones under the bridge; it's overflow from the runoff pipe from some field drains on the hillside. As I crossed the bridge I heard a woman's voice talking; the sound seemed to be coming from the stream itself as it ran over the stones. I backed up thinking I was listening to a distant tannoy announcement, but everything went quiet again. On re-approaching the bridge the voice started again, and although I could hear it speaking clearly I couldn't quite make out the words. I listened to the voice (it was quite musical) for a while before I carried on over the bridge and continued on with my walk. I realised I couldn't make out the words not matter how hard I listened so moved on.

After thinking about this for a while I decided I heard a genius loci; a spirit of place I was able to actually hear in the material world. Perhaps if my spirit had been less troubled, my mind more open or more connected with my ancestors then I could have understood the voice. I have passed that bridge many, many times since that warm summer's day but have never heard the voice again. Hopefully, one day I will be allowed hear the spirit of place again, my music and my art are part of my journey towards achieving this through a clear mind and a calm, quiet spirit.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 10:18 AM

There's a great deal of unanswered mystery about existence which, since time beyond measuring we have dumped in the laps of supernatural or superhuman entities, gigantic metaphors for our own ignorance or poor memories.

Material science has assured us that, for example, volcanos are not the side-effect of psychopathic gods having a bad hair day. We have learned the world is not flat. But in my opinion there is a set of purely spiritual questions of a different class-ones that will not go away in the advance of material science. Knowing, perceiving, modes of being, and the core nature of space and the viewpoint "in" space are probably, ultimately, questions that will be answered in a spiritual model rather than a material one.

None of this has anything to do with the kind of toxic iconology that is typical of our more primitive religions. These, I think, are no more durable than the flat-earth or caloric models in natural science.

But the questions are.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 10:29 AM

Susan, as you probably know, I think it's Science vrs. Religion today. ID and other corrupt mythologies have muddied the waters. I see religion as something irrelevant to ethics and ethical behavior.

I believe that science should investigate religion as to its validity.

I respect many religious people but not for their beliefs but for who they are as ethical
human beings.

Science and dogma is an oxymoron. Science is continuously debunking itself whereas
religion offers strict unchanging platitudes.

I see religion as an umbrella for unethical behavior that condones murdering abortion doctors to child abuse in the Catholic church, the rise of fascistic hate groups, and the forcing of religion down the throats through a national day of prayer.

Susan, I respect you and think that you are a good person and asking a legitimate question.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: wysiwyg
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 10:45 AM

Thank you, Frank.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: john f weldon
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 11:21 AM

A little filmlet I made a few years ago. Pictures and more fun than words, eH?

Science, Religion & Decorum


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 11:29 AM

"I'm looking for a collection of individual views in terms that allow a rough summary in numbers I can count up.

Ok then... The bet I can never collect on is:There is No supreme creative consciousness that 'ordered' the Universe, therefore - the pure, basic notion of Science will always versus the pure, basic notion of religion.
(I use the adjectives because of all the linguistic, metaphorical definitions of religion noted above)

*end of direct answer*
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thus, I suggest that when folks who use 'Science' most of the time, but admit to a 'religious' feeling/belief/attitude/concept, they are doing the very human thing of harboring an internal logical inconsistency. We are capable of using poetic language to create concepts that we can only explain with more poetic, metaphorical concepts. It's what MAKES us human, and I don't doubt it will always be with us, with the continuity of religious beliefs assured. The real goal, then, should be to get wider recognition OF this dichotomy and to get people to process their 'religious' concepts as purely subjective, and to limit attempts to ***impose*** any of them on others as "truth" which should affect and/or control the laws, morals, etc., of the basic structures of society.

(explication of that condensed bit of philosophy is about 20 pages long...)


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: frogprince
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 11:38 AM

Susan: the thread may be more interesting than it would have been if you had clarified your original question more. : )

Don Firth: as a one-time student of Moody Bible Institute...may I have a key to your club-house? I may still be just a little more biased toward a "creationism" that the creation museum people would never recognise, but I'm very close to absolute agreement with everything you said.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Goose Gander
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 04:23 PM

"Religion presupposes the existance of a god/creator. Can anybody produce one piece of scientific (or otherwise) evidence that such a thing/being exists?"

Look for a First Cause. What created the universe? The Big Bang? What was there before the Big Bang? How to explain a universe created out of nothing without some recourse to a First Cause? I don't mean some guy with a flowing beard sitting on a cloud listening to harp music. Just an explanation for why there is 'something' rather than 'nothing'.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 04:31 PM

Religion does not necessarily presuppose the existence of a god/creator. It does, however, presuppose the existence of a meaningful Universe and a meaningful life, as opposed to a meaningless or accidental Universe and a meaningless life.

That's what is vital about religion/spirituality, and that is its greatest strength.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 04:44 PM

"What was there before the Big Bang? How to explain a universe created out of nothing without some recourse to a First Cause? "

It's a personal thing as to whether one even tries. I don't need that explanation. I sincerely doubt it CAN be answered, so I don't think inserting premises, anthropomorphic OR metaphysical, gets me anywhere. All *I* can do is look and follow what can be learned from what we can study thru science. I do not believe anyone can even tell me what it means to "create something out of nothing" without recourse to poetry and linguistic juggling.

(if you see those symbols, they makes as much sense as 'something out of nothing')


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 05:03 PM

Science is a recursively self-verifying method of explaining what we can experience.

Religion is non-verifiable by definition as it is a belief.

If you accept these definitions which would you trust?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 05:08 PM

I trust things I experience. They are personally verifiable. They may not be quantitatively verifiable, however, because they are not all physical in nature.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 05:15 PM

There may have been universes before this one, the implosion of one of which was the Big Bang. Depends on how you conceive of space. But ignoring all that, there is no reason to elect "a" First Cause.

For all you know we might all be First Causes, taking a tea break. After all if you can posit One, you can posit Many of the same nature. makes a good deal of sense from this perspective. Where, after all, is the "Kingdom of Heaven", if not "within" You?


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 05:24 PM

Little Hawk,
If I experience something that is not physical, or not currently explainable, that moves it out of belief into personally verifiable, such as the fact that the clock at home stopped at the time that my first wife died.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Goose Gander
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 05:25 PM

Remarkable answer, Bill. Your incuriosity seems to me to be the antithesis of science!

1st Law of Thermodynamics – energy can neither be created nor destroyed (and matter is another form of energy).

2nd Law of Thermodynamics – all energy is moving toward a less usable form: Entropy. In other words, the universe is winding down slowly, inexorably . . .

. . . though not all the way to absolute zero – 3rd Law of Thermodynamics.

So if science is the empirical study of the universe, then the question of origins cannot be avoided. I'll rephrase my question: minus a First Cause, from whence came all this 'stuff'?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 05:28 PM

I suspect it's Science ANDReligion, much in the same sense that it's Bananas AND Volcanoes. I don't really see any intersection (ethics, medical or otherwise, don't necessarily derive from religion).


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Goose Gander
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 05:32 PM

"There may have been universes before this one, the implosion of one of which was the Big Bang."

Rightly so, Amos. If I'm not mistaken, Hindu philosophy/religion deals with this question. But what preceeded these possible previous universes?

In another tradition, it is put this way: I Am That Which Am.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Goose Gander
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 05:33 PM

"I don't really see any intersection (ethics, medical or otherwise, don't necessarily derive from religion)."

Dick, you really need to study the history of ethics.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 05:34 PM

BBCP - Uh-huh. Well, I'm just telling you what I trust. I trust direct personal experience. I also trust things that I can reason out and which seem through my process of reasoning to be "reasonable" to me. Everyone does that.

I also tend to trust information I get from people I deem trustworthy...but that doesn't mean I trust it absolutely. The only things I trust absolutely are those I know by direct experience or by my own powers of reason.

Again, everybody does that.

I tend to trust both scientific things AND spiritual things, provided they make sense to me. I don't tend to trust them if they don't make sense to me.

I see no reason why I have to deny the one (science or religion) in order to accept the other. They are not necessarily in conflict. There isn't just ONE way of being "religious" and there isn't just ONE set of rules, beliefs, etc...similarly, there isn't just ONE set of scientific theories. There are many.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 05:38 PM

""Religion presupposes the existance of a god/creator. Can anybody produce one piece of scientific (or otherwise) evidence that such a thing/being exists?""

Is there any reason why anyone should NEED to produce proof.

Just over one hundred years ago the concept of talking to someone in America by wireless transmission, the concept of travelling in a vehicle without a horse in front, and the concept of reaching America in three hours in a flying machine would have been equally matters of blind faith for believers, and objects of ridicule for those of a scientific mindset.

Yet some DID believe, and have since been proved right. The concept of a deity may be similarly unbelievable to many, but it would be UNSCIENTIFIC to say that such an entity is IMPOSSIBLE, unless of course YOU can PROVE it to be true.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Paul Burke
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 05:38 PM

So if science is the empirical study of the universe, then the question of origins cannot be avoided. I'll rephrase my question: minus a First Cause, from whence came all this 'stuff'?

You missed out the all important qualifier "in a closed system".

The Universe could be infinite in time and space, in which case there's an infinite amount of entropy to draw on, and the observable Universe could draw on energy from elsewhere (i.e. the Universe may be closed, but the onservable part is not so) without any violation.

Pah! Postulate an infinite Universe? Let's postulate an infinite God instead! Universes don't set Rules of Behaviour, Dress Codes, Dietary Rules, and Laws of Sexual Behaviour, or any other useful levers of power.

So where did it all come from?

Science don't know. Science is trying to find out.
Religion don't know. Is Religion trying to find out?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 05:48 PM

"I trust things I experience. They are personally verifiable. They may not be quantitatively verifiable, however, because they are not all physical in nature."

LH - can you explain to me how a thing or force, or even an experience (leaving aside hallucinations or other tricks of the mind/brain) can be something other than physical in nature? Surely, something that is not physical has little chance of interacting with physical phenomena such as you and I? Please give me an example (not just a personal, unverifiable anecdote - but something that I can experience myself) of a 'non-physical' phenomenon.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 06:19 PM

I would deem it impossible to prove that something does not exist. Therefore I depend on being able to prove that a particular thing does exist.

What can be problematic is proving the necessity of a thing that you cannot prove to exist. Why do you need to assume that there was something before time started. That does not make sense. It shows that we do not accept limits.

On another tack how can you ultimately prove that what you experience is not an illusion. You have to make some assumptions or else we could all equally well be hooked up to a machine in the 35th century experiencing the virtual reality equivalent of a historical documentary video!

I thinh it was Robert Heinlein who invented pan-dimentional multi-person solipsism.(spelling?)


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Goose Gander
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 06:31 PM

"Pah! Postulate an infinite Universe? Let's postulate an infinite God instead! Universes don't set Rules of Behaviour, Dress Codes, Dietary Rules, and Laws of Sexual Behaviour, or any other useful levers of power."

You still need an ultimate source, Paul. Energy is neither created nor destroyed, only transformed. Some folks might see an equation between an Infinite Universe and God. That's what I lean towards, anyway.

"Rules of Behavior," etc. are normative in all human societies, so why the tired, marxist phraseology about "useful levers of power"?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 06:47 PM

Michael Morris: "Your incuriosity seems to me to be the antithesis of science!"

Oh no! I have no lack of curiosity. I am abundantly curious....about things where there is any coherent way to investigate. I am perfectly willing to consider "First causes" if anyone can explain how.
I studied 'first cause. as part of 130+ hours of college Philosophy. I understand the **concept** of 1st cause (and 'remote cause' and 'final cause' and 'formal cause' etc..) Much of this is why I see the 'investigation' of first cause as something like infinity to the infinityth... *grin*
Thus...IF someone claims "the universe MUST have a cause, as I can't imagine anything coming into being from nothing.", I reply..."Well, *I* can't imagine what might BE 'something' that existed before what exists, and 'created' it all!"
What might that even mean? This is where I claim that any attempt, no matter how emotionally desirable, resorts to poetry and linguistic Gerrymandering. It is perfectly natural that folks would try to make sense out of such ultimate questions....I just can't comprehend how it can be done...except personally and subjectively.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 06:50 PM

"You still need an ultimate source,,,"

Need? In what sense?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Goose Gander
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 07:01 PM

Bill, the 'something' I reference is energy. Energy is neither created, nor destroyed. I tried to express this as simply as possible.

"Need? In what sense?" I was responding directly to a statement from Paul Burke. The context and meaning of my statement should be clear enough.

Some quotes from Albert Einstein, one of many great scientists who were not athiests:

"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

"I want to know how God created this world, I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details."


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: gnu
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 07:05 PM

Oh wow man. Pass it over here.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: bobad
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 07:16 PM

"Some quotes from Albert Einstein, one of many great scientists who were not athiests:"

Albert Einstein is sometimes claimed by religious theists seeking the authority of a famous scientist for their theistic views, but Einstein denied the existence of the traditional concept of a personal god. Was Albert Einstein therefore an atheist? From some perspectives his position would be seen as atheism or no different from atheism. He admitted to being a freethinker, which in a German context is much the same as atheism, but it's not clear that Einstein disbelieved in all god concepts.

http://atheism.about.com/od/einsteingodreligion/tp/Was-Einstein-an-Atheist-.htm


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 07:23 PM

If you read ALL of Albert's quotes, it is a bit ambiguous whether he did or didn't thing religion was relevant. He seems to have wavered form one interview to another.

Yes, I understand about mass & energy and the relevance of the **hypothesis** about energy being ...ummm... 'eternal'. But IF you assume that "eternal energy" therfore implies a 'creator', you merely reduce the question to "why, or how, could an 'infinite creator' exist in the first place? And what is IT's cause?"
Maybe one does....it is not something I can investigate or 'know'. That is where I say "I do not 'need' to try to answer that. Those who claim 'the answer' tend to do some very awkward things with it and to each other.
I have read Kierkegaard, Kant, the Bible..(several of them).. and attended 5-6 different churches. They all purported to have some sort of answer... I'm waiting for the clouds to part and the 'right' answer to appear in the sky. I'm not holding my breath, 'cause I don't look good in blue.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 07:25 PM

Thanks, bobad... that's the ambiguity I referred to about Einstein.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 08:10 PM

LH speaks my mind except for "everyone does that". That part I doubt.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 08:14 PM

Apparently you didn't read the second half of my post, michael. The notion that there MUST be a prior First Cause is not binding in any sense and depends on a very fixed view of space-time and being.

There is no more reason to postulate ONE first causation point than there is to postulate four quintillion, which is a figure I think closer to the truth.



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: TIA
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 08:28 PM

"Science has become a religion."
Oh goodness no. Disproving what everyone has believed for a long time, and which is taught by the great masters, is the surest route to fame in science.

"Science is not always correct."
science is *never* correct. The "state-of-the-art" in any science is simply the current best hypothesis which is waiting to be killed by the coming better one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 09:29 PM

Do we have a tally of answers, e.g. ands vs. vs's?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: TIA
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 09:47 PM

A tally would be too scientific! What do you believe the results to be?   :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Riginslinger
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 09:50 PM

Well, Mrrzy, I'll give you mine.
          Science makes sense, it explains what happened in the past, what might happen in the future, and gives us all kinds of answers to complex questions.
          Religion is a mental disease. The sooner the victims of religion recover, the happier the world will be.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Slag
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 09:52 PM

WYSIWYG (Susan):

1. Do you see it as
Science AND Religion?
Or Science VS Religion?
Or what?


Silly you, asking that a simple "either/or" question be answered here. What WERE you thinking?

I'm not really sure what you mean by it (not "is" but "it"). Is "it" a category? A reality? A cultural inclusion? A personal view point? "Verses"? Do you mean as in "contrast" in "compare and contrast"? I really do not know what it is YOU are asking.

If it were two books sitting side by side, you might see it as "Science" and "Religion". If it were a single volume you might see it as "Science and Religion". If it were a history of conflicts between science and religion, then I could go for the title of "Science vs Religion".

Religion is pretty much a category of human behavior about certain notions or reactions to certain experiences or unexplained phenomena whereas science is a method of reasoning, thought. Each has its own history and culture and points of intersections and interactions. There have been mighty conflicts between some proponents of either faction and some amazing points of agreement. Each category has had certain language develop around subcategories in each vast field.

I could go on but you were just seeking a simple answer, therefore, my answer (which I regrettably did not give in my first reply) is "Yes".


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 10:00 PM

A general observation: I think it is really interesting that this theme--in this thread and a dozen similar ones, differently phrased but touching on the same questions--is one that can be guaranteed to get folks energized and conversing enthusiastically (and occasionally, antagonistically). But because it speaks to such deep-seated ways of knowing AND being, it is fascinating to watch how much energy it generates.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: wysiwyg
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 10:45 PM

Too soon for a tally.

and

"It" was defined a post or two of mine ago.

Carry on, folks.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: GUEST,Michael Morris
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 12:59 AM

As I said, my own views tend towards an equation of Infinite Universe with God. Hence, the Creation and the Creator are, somehow, one. These are verbal devices that, however clumsy, help me to define my beliefs.

Bill, I'm sorry that you spent so much of your time in churches, classrooms and libraries and didn't find any answers. Others haven't been quite so frustrated. I fully understand that Einstein didn't believe in a personal god, but that doesn't make him an atheist. He was one of a great many scientists who held religious beliefs of one sort or another. Science or Religion? That is a false dichotomy. At best, they complement each other.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Paul Burke
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 02:01 AM

OK Michael, if science needs to explain where stuff came from, religion needs to explain where God came from.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 03:19 AM

Shimrod - "LH - can you explain to me how a thing or force, or even an experience (leaving aside hallucinations or other tricks of the mind/brain) can be something other than physical in nature? Surely, something that is not physical has little chance of interacting with physical phenomena such as you and I? Please give me an example (not just a personal, unverifiable anecdote - but something that I can experience myself) of a 'non-physical' phenomenon."


Sure thing. When I experience great respect for someone or something, that is an experience I have which is real, and it's important to me, but it's not physical. It's a perception of something not physical. It's a real experience.

When I experience joy or calmness or excitement or depression, those are all perceptions of something that are real experiences I'm having...but they're not physical. They can have effects ON the physical system to some extent, but they are not themselves physical events. They're mental/emotional/spiritual events or movements in consciousness.

When I experience love for a person, an ideal, or a concept, it's a real experience for me, but it's not physical.

When I experience the thrill of a new idea it's real, but it's not physical.

You can say if you wish that I am physical, and that without my physical self I would not have those experiences. You might be right about that. You might not be. In any case, I experience all kinds of things in consciousness that are not physical, and they are among the most important things in my life. Life would be pretty meaningless without them, seems to me.

Spirituality concerns consciousness. Consciousness is not based on the physical, it simply passes through the physical and uses it as a device the way a radio signal passes through a radio receiver and uses it to play music or to steer a radio control sailboat.

The radio signal is not physical either. It's a form of coherently organized and purposeful energy, as is consciousness.

Without consciousness, you wouldn't even be reading this. Without your eyes you wouldn't be either. We need both a physical body and a non-physical consciousness to do all the wonderful things we do here during our physical lives.

I think the non-physical consciousness continues after the body is dead and gone. I expect you think it doesn't. Well, we'll find out after we die, won't we? Or else we won't. If I turn out to be right about this I will have a chance to say to you, "Surprised?" if I run into you in the afterlife. ;-D If not, well, it won't matter anyway, will it? Cos we'll both be gone.

It's okay with me either way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 04:46 AM

"The radio signal is not physical either."

That's a new one on me! As I understand it radio signals are physical phenomena (amenable to study and measurement by physicists) - it's just that we can't perceive them directly with our senses. And, yes, there may be other things out there that we can't perceive directly with our senses - 'absence of evidence is not evidence of absence' - but if we do discover them I would be prepared to bet heavily on them having some sort of physical reality.

As for what happens after we die - I don't know ... absence of evidence etc.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Slag
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 05:57 AM

Shimrod, no honest scientist would begin to give you definition with an ironclad guarantee for light, or any other part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Truth is, they really don't know what it is. They can tell you some of the ways it behaves in our four dimensional existence but on the quantum level it get verrrrry strange. Throw in a few measures of dark energy, dark matter, the essence of string theory, what the limit of the universe may be, what precipitated the Big Bang, if indeed there was one (it has come under doubt of late!) and a few other conundrums, the enigma, wrapped in a riddle (the original description of a Quasar) and then tell me what you mean by physical.

In the nuts and bolts "soulless" universe, when you die your basic chemical composition assumes a random and inert (other than chemically) form, sans efforts of those beauticians of the dead---morticians. Your conscious mind ceases to to exist as the electrical energies in your brains become random (whatever that really means). From your perspective, the universe ceases to exist and the unknown and unknowing infinity from whence you came reclaims your temporary consciousness.

Have you had a night when you did not dream? Where were you? Who or what are you during that time? How is it that you are still you when you awake? No, that is not true. You are ALMOST the same person who went to sleep the night before, but you have changed, physically, mentally. Some changes are big and some little. For most folks death is a big change, or at least a surprising one but for others it is only a slight shift from their present mode. For many, it is a welcome relief from a lifetime of pain and if you have ever lived you know that life IS pain.

If you have lived right, after you die you are missed by some. You don't have a heart unless you have loved someone other than yourself. If you managed to get outside yourself and touch someone else you have done a good thing and you will be remembered for one generation only; then you are gone from living memory. If you have made a significant contribution to mankind then your secondhand memory will persist for a little longer. If you have slaughtered millions during your time on this planet, you may be remembered for even longer as a great leader like Julius Caesar or as the embodiment of evil like Adolf Hitler. Who knows? and to you it will make absolutely no difference, at least not in THIS dimension.

Sweet dreams.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 07:29 AM

I have always prefered "I think therfore I think that I am" to "I think therfore I am".


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 09:31 AM

BBCW:

I submit that is because you missed the concept.

Radio signals are certainly physical, LH.

The core nature of awareness in non-local, meaning it has no location in space or time except to the degree it decides to generate one. Life has the ability to decree--to say things will be so, and have them exist. If you don't believe me, I decree you will think of a purple onion.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 09:41 AM

I think it was Michael Morris who asked:

What was there before the Big Bang?

That's not a meaningful question. "Before" depends on time, and the concept of "Big Bang" is that spacetime was begun by it. There wasn't a "before", because there was no time for "before" to exist in.

Yes, this sounds contrary to all our everyday experience, but so is all of quantum theory, and string theory too. And those concepts, although not "common sense" and not fully understood, are useful, operable concepts.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 10:12 AM

"Shimrod, no honest scientist would begin to give you definition with an ironclad guarantee for light, or any other part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Truth is, they really don't know what it is." Slag

I agree with that ... and your point is? The fact is, though, radio waves have enough of a physical reality to allow my radio to pick up Radio 4 (UK radio station) broadcasts in the morning.

I can have lots of 'deep thoughts' about life after death too. Those thoughts don't tell me what's going to happen though. I don't know and, 'deep thoughts' notwithstanding, neither do you!


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: John P
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 10:47 AM

Human beings are, through meditation/prayer/fasting/spell-casting/etcetera, capable of an ecstatic blissful experience that is identified by many of us as spiritual. Common experiences are a feeling of connection with the rest of the universe, a temporary suppression of our sense of self, and internal "visual" effects such as a light shining within us. Lots of people from all of history and all over the world have reported these experiences. I have had them myself, and see no reason to doubt the reality of this experience. Many people attribute this to a god, ignoring the fact that other people have the same experience and attribute it to a completely different god, or to no god at all. Saying that this is a manifestation of a god makes as much sense as saying that last night's lightening storm means that Zeus was angry with Hera, or that life is so complex that it must have had a creator. That is to say, none at all.

I remember when I was a kid going to Sunday School at church. There I was, an innocent five year old, being fed stories that simply did not make sense. I knew they didn't make sense at the time, and I sat around wondering why all the adults were such idiots, and why they were lying to me.

Why do so many people have to ascribe anything they don't understand, and anything that happens to them that isn't a physical phenomenon, to the intervention of some being that no one has ever seen or heard from? In this sense, religion is the exact opposite of science. The willingness to believe in something for which there is no proof, or even any evidence, places most religious people in a position of being shockingly unscientific at their cores.

I know that the word religion has as many meanings as it does gods, so having this conversation without a clear statement of what is meant by religion is a sure way of having people use the same word for many different concepts. Susan, I have to say that expecting any useful information or meaningful discussion when you want everyone to define the terms in their own way seems a bit silly. It's made for some interesting reading, however, so thank you!

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 10:53 AM

There is no reason to iden6tify a spiritual experience by association with "god", especially an anthropomorphic, gender-embodying, icon whose godliness is highly dubitable. Why not just continue to observe the spiritual experience, and see where it leads? I am sure of one thing--it does not lead to a cranky old man.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: John P
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 12:00 PM

If you define religion as an experience of The Universe and don't go for deism or faith, then there isn't any conflict -- maybe no difference -- between religion and science. If you define religion as in a deistic way that requires believing things on faith, then religion is the exact opposite of science.

JP


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 12:06 PM

"Bill, I'm sorry that you spent so much of your time in churches, classrooms and libraries and didn't find any answers. Others haven't been quite so frustrated. "

Did you ever hear the story of the guy who prayed for something and was disappointed? His friend said: "I told you religion & prayer were useless. All that praying and you got no answer."
The guy replied: "God answered...he said "No"."

That's the religious form of the answer *I* got from all those studies. Because I found no consistent, testable answers in some areas, or any answers which were not based on 'wishful thinking' or linguistic equivocation, the answer I got was that certain questions do not have answers we can be sure of, (or possibly, that we have framed questions improperly.) This is what I call learning. I do not assume in my questioning that the answer MUST take some pre-determined form, or that there IS a religious answer entwined in all the confusion.

   I am not "frustrated" that I didn't 'find' certain answers - I put such things into the category of 'stuff humans can't seem to get a handle on'. (If you want to add "yet" to that, be my guest). Just as we can't really answer "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?", we can't answer "What is the nature and origin of all reality?"

When someone tells me, "I can't imagine how anything can exist without a First Cause.", I reply, "I can't imagine what a First Cause might imply or how IT got there."

You can't say that something **EXISTS** or happened, just because we have words for it. Are there Unicorns? or Elves? or Ghosts?

So, "frustrated", for me, applies to other things....like being told I "haven't opened my mind" to the 'truth'.....

Am I taking my chances with my eternal life? *shrug*... sadly, If I'm right, I don't get to say "I told you so."


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 12:19 PM

But if you're wrong, you DO get to say "I told you so"!!!


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 12:26 PM

You said something quite interesting, Amos, when you said:

"The core nature of awareness is non-local, meaning it has no location in space or time except to the degree it decides to generate one. Life has the ability to decree--to say things will be so, and have them exist."

I think you're probably quite right about that.

****

When I say that a radio signal is not "physical", I mean that it's not a solid, a liquid or a gas. It has no physicality in the normal sense and you can't grab hold of it with your hand....or pour it into a glass...or blow it around with a fan. It will pass seamlessly through the solid wall of a building. But, we can observe it using certain instruments we have invented in fairly recent times, and we can use to to control a machine.

Prior to the invention of those instruments which can detect or generate radio waves, people didn't believe there was anything such as a radio wave. Why? Well, their physical senses could not detect it.

Because their physical senses do not (generally) detect the presense of spirits, souls, and such spiritual phenomena, they tend to not believe those exist either. Some people, however, do detect the presence of spirits, souls, ghosts, whatever.....but it's easy for someone who hasn't done so to just dismiss their reports and say, "Oh, they were having a hallucination." or "They're not telling the truth."

Such is the arrogance of those who are absolutely sure that they already know what is and what isn't real... ;-)

Well, I think that one day science may well invent instruments that DO confirm the presence of spirits and can, for instance, photograph them and measure their energy signature. And then the skeptics will probably change their tune, since they will have what they term "verifiable evidence".

For me, my direct experience IS verifiable evidence...but just for me...not for someone else who wasn't there at the time. I am willing to show a good deal of respect for other people's accounts of their direct experience of the unusual, even if it doesn't fit my expectations. That doesn't mean I will categorically accept their explanations as being true and accurate. Neither does it mean I will categorically deny them. I'm in no position to. I wasn't there.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 12:31 PM

100! Oh joy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 12:56 PM

(sadly, If I'm right, I don't get to say "I told you so."

That's OK. With universal salvation, I can just come fetch you when it's time.

~S~

Ongoing jokes with my good friend Bill)


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 01:07 PM

LH:

You can't use words any old which way. If you don't think EMF is physical, try standing in front of a microwave tower dish some cold afternoon and see if you can sense any physical experience, or put one of your dachshunds in the microwave for 45 seconds on high, and see if he reports anything physical.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 01:11 PM

hah, Now it is getting interesting. However:
at 3:19 am - LH: All those experiences generate feelings which are accompanied by measurable changes in one's physiology. They are, in fact, physical. So how can they not be "physical events"? As radio waves are also - that we feel them without recognizing it does not make them non-physical.
at 5:57 am - Slag: great ideas. What is the "you" who needs to be remembered? If I help one family raise one child better, that will continue to carry "me" into who knows how many generations of improved parenthood. Will the 10th generation remember "me". "I" do not give a flying fish cake.
at 10:12 am - Shimrod: I would not be surprised to learn there are people who do KNOW what will happen after death. Would we believe them? Who would believe whom? How would we know whom to believe? The one whom our own inner wisdom believes, if we listen to it.at 10:53 am - Amos speaks my mind, precisely.
Noon - I tried to get folks to define religion days ago! They, apparently, have more fun waffling.
12:26 pm - LH: Just as "feelings are not unlike the wind... neither can be touched and with neither is it necessary". Nice lines and I hesitate to argue with genius but I strongly question these lines. I believe both can be touched and, with feelings at least, it is
necessary. Clearly, my concept of "touching" may differ but, then, many of my concepts differ! Ain't life fun!
(You all have probably moved on while I tried to catch up. Oh well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 01:30 PM

Yes, the non-physical and the various forms of energy can affect the physical in various ways. No doubt about it. And why wouldn't they? Everything is interconnected.

Does our civilization not define physical things as existing in 3 specific states? Solids, liquids, and gases? That's what they taught me when I was in science class back in high school.

Amos, my dachshund will indeed suffer a physical effect from the microwaves. That doesn't mean microwaves are themselves physical. They are a form of energy. A thought is also a form of energy. An emotion is a form of energy. If my dachshund experiences the emotion of excitement or irritation then his heartbeat will accelerate, his little furry head will get hot, his eyes will open wider, and he will salivate. He will also bark or growl. All this just on the basis of a shift in consciousness! That's why consciousness is king.

The study of spirituality, I think, is primarily the study of how to manage and govern one's own consciousness in such a way as to enhance the experience of life to the fullest. Consciousness is what it's all about. Consciousness is not a physical thing...but it profoundly affects the physical in both obvious and subtle ways. Consciousness decides...and the physical then responds.

If I were, for instance, to burst into your house and start throwing yellow paint all over your furnishings and walls....you would probably get red in the face and start yelling at me, and your whole body would tense up. I would have altered your consciousness, without any direct physical contact with you, and the conditions in your body would change dramatically. That's the power of consciousness.

If, however, you were already unconscious when I burst in, then your bodily state would not change one iota, no matter how much I trashed your house.

Consciousness is what makes life real to you, me, or anyone else.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 01:44 PM

Amos, I should really have said, "If, however, you were already unconscious when I burst in, due to Chongo having bopped you over the head with his trusty sap a minute or so previously, then your bodily state would not change one iota, no matter how much I trashed your house. It would change later...when you regained consciousness."


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 01:57 PM

LH:

THey are not non-physical. That is a totally misleading description. Physical does not mean made ofparticles greater than some preferred minimum. The physical range of phenomena includes space and energy, time and solid accretions thereof such as atoms.

Your three-state description is a simplistic description of the states of matter only. It ignores the peculiarities of transition states, and the interesting range of phenomena of energy itself.

As to your example, why is it any different if your exertions transmit from you to your body to yellow paint to my house to my eyes, than if they transferred from you to your hand to a sharp stick to my eyeball? The contact is quite direct even though the coupling, I grant you, is a bit less solid. But it is still perferctly physical.

# "Of or relating to matter and energy or the sciences dealing with them" according to one of the AmHEr definitions of "physical".

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 02:25 PM

LH: I suspect that even unconscious there would be a physical reaction. But, not being a neurologist. We do know that children are affected in the womb and that persons who are in a coma are also.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 02:50 PM

Possibly, Dorothy.

Okay, Amos, I shall expand the definition of "physical" as you wish, to include energy waveforms as well as matter. (though matter may itself be an energy waveform that is at quite a low oscillating vibrational state)

Now what about consciousness? It is the nature of consciousness that really concerns me here. What would you say about that? Does consciousness mysteriously arise out of physical phenomena somehow (as materialists and reductionists would seem to see it)...and if so, how? Or is it the other way around and physicality arises out of consciousness? What do you think?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Paul Burke
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 03:33 PM

Does consciousness mysteriously arise out of physical phenomena somehow (as materialists and reductionists would seem to see it)...and if so, how?

Does consciousness mysteriously arise out of spiritual phenomena somehow (as mystics and religionists would seem to see it)...and if so, how?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 03:40 PM

As far as I can see, the general pattern of life forms I have dealt with is that structure is subordinate to function.

Once you differentiate between S=>R chains (Pavlov and Skinner) and actual awareness, it seems highly likely to me that consciousness has far more effect on structure than structure has on consciousness, even though in some cases the individual consciousness pretends to be wholly fixated on S=>R inputs from a physical nervous system, for example.    Furthermore I have never seen evidence that a purely physical aggregate can make a postulated state begin to come about, the way life does every day.

So I am inclined toward the probability that attention and consciousness actually bring about postulated spaces which then get left on automatic and accruing and solidifying, gradually form the kind of spacetime we are so accustomed to.

But the truth is these are simply preferred hypotheses, until such time as I can figure out how to walk through walls and such.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 03:41 PM

Paul:

Consciousness, if there is any spirituality to the universe, seems to be an innate attribute of spiritual existence, not something that rises out of it.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Paul Burke
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 03:43 PM

What evidence have you for that?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 03:54 PM

"structure subordinate to function" As in Selye's work showing the effect of stress factors on the internal organs of rats? And the fact that the functioning of our organs is dependent on the stress factors/feelings we have, "positive" or "negative"?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 04:01 PM

(No, Amos...if I'm wrong, THEY get to say "I told you so!"...if Susan hasn't 'spirited' me away first...*grin*)

My Mother-in-law was convinced that some sort of salvation would be forthcoming for 'leading a good life', no matter what I believe now. Nice attitude... I hope to earn it, whether it happens or not.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 04:29 PM

"Prior to the invention of those instruments which can detect or generate radio waves, people didn't believe there was anything such as a radio wave. Why? Well, their physical senses could not detect it.

Because their physical senses do not (generally) detect the presense of spirits, souls, and such spiritual phenomena, they tend to not believe those exist either. Some people, however, do detect the presence of spirits, souls, ghosts, whatever.....but it's easy for someone who hasn't done so to just dismiss their reports and say, "Oh, they were having a hallucination." or "They're not telling the truth.""

LH I think you're pushing analogies a bit too far here: At one time people couldn't detect radio waves, just as, at the present time, people can't detect 'spirits', 'souls' and ghosts'. We now know that radio waves exist, therefore 'spirits', 'souls' and 'ghosts' must exist ... uuuummm ... give me a minute ... sorry, LH, but it sounds like very bad logic to me.

The fact is I'm not an unbeliever - I'm a sceptic - there is a big difference!


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Mrrzy
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 04:48 PM

Life is biochemistry. Consciousness is electrochemistry. Very little mystery there. We don't know exactly how it works, but then nobody understands quantum physics, either. Doesn't stop us from using it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 05:00 PM

Seems to me there is a great deal of mystery everywhere. Otherwise what is this thread about?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 05:19 PM

I'm not saying that spirit MUST exist, Shimrod. I'm saying that it very well may exist. I think it probable. You don't. Neither one of us is in a position to state that it MUST or MUST NOT exist.

Paul Burke - Amos's last 2 posts will do fine for me to answer your question.

Mrrzy - I think you're imaginging that the cart is pulling the horse or that the tail is wagging the dog when you say "onsciousness is electrochemistry". ;-) Consciousness affects our electrochemistry. An outside intervention in our electrochemistry (by drugs, alcohol, etc) can also affect our consciousness as it attempts to function through the mechanism of the physical body.

Likewise, the horse pulls the cart...and an outside intervention (such as breaking one of the wheels on the cart or getting several men to attempt to impede the progress of the cart) can affect the horse (he'll struggle against the impediment)...but it is still the horse which pulls the cart, not the cart which pulls the horse. The cart is passive and without purpose. The horse is active and purposeful. Electrochemistry is passive and without purpose. Consciousness is active and purposeful.

You are surrendering your own recognition of your own freedom of will if you think your consciousness is just the result of some electrochemical processes. You're denying, in effect, your own intelligence. This would be rather like a god(dess) denying her own godhood and saying, "I'm a rock." or "I'm a worm."

If you have freedom of will...and you do...you can even use it to assert or deny that you have freedom of will. As you believe, so shall it be. You have the power.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Paul Burke
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 06:11 PM

What, LH, you're happy with a straw man, and a bald assertion? Nobody surely thinks feeling is behaviourist in origin- in fact behaviourism is based on feelings, otherwise there wouldn't be anything to choose between reward and punishment. And his statement "Consciousness, if there is any spirituality to the universe, seems to be an innate attribute of spiritual existence, not something that rises out of it" is merely begging the question.

Consciousness seems to be an innate attribute of organisation of material networks, not something that rises out of an external cause. How is that statement inferior to Amos's, without evidence?

But back to the original question. If it had been "Stories or facts", no one would have hesitated to answer BOTH OF COURSE.

There are many things and assertions that can't be proven. That doesn't mean that they are unexplorable, just that the method of exploration is metaphor rather than method. And that you should be aware of the limits of the metaphor, just as you should be aware of the fact that evidential proof is limited in scope. No conflict there.

But how do you assess one metaphor as against another? If you reject seeking for evidence (i.e. striving to make it scientific- for science is itself only a search for better metaphors), one assertion is as good as another, and if you base action on the metaphor, one action is as good as another.

When you oppose science to religion, you are introducing- especially on the religious side- emotionally loaded terms. It amazes me how, when pressed, religious people will deny the realities of religion as it has been practiced for most of human existence, and take refuge in some idealisation that reflects only their own, often admirable, construct. No real Scotsman....


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 06:18 PM

""Just over one hundred years ago the concept of talking to someone in America by wireless transmission, the concept of travelling in a vehicle without a horse in front, and the concept of reaching America in three hours in a flying machine would have been equally matters of blind faith for believers, and objects of ridicule for those of a scientific mindset.

Yet some DID believe, and have since been proved right. The concept of a deity may be similarly unbelievable to many, but it would be UNSCIENTIFIC to say that such an entity is IMPOSSIBLE.
""

Come on all you scientific geniuses, which of you is going to take my final sentence and refute it so that you may be justified in your statement that "There is NO God"?

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 06:21 PM

JUST one condition.

I ASKED THE QUESTION, so will NOT accept any answer based on a requirement for ME to prove there is a God.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Paul Burke
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 06:24 PM

It's virtually impossible to prove a negative that doesn't involve a logical contradiction. It's possible to believe in all sorts of unprovable things. Whether such beliefs are socially useful is another matter.

However, it has long ago been shown that if a god exists, it can not have the traditional attributes of the Abrahamic God of infinite power, infinite knowledge and infinite goodness.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 06:31 PM

I'm happy with admitting that I don't know everything or have all the answers, Paul.

How about you?

I do not oppose science to religion/spirituality. I unite them into a single path of knowledge. I do oppose science AND rational spirituality, however, to the old traditions and superstitions that are clearly in violation of known scientific facts...as does any rationally objective human being. The spirituality that interests me has nothing to do with those archaic traditions and superstitions. It has to do with mastering my own consciousness and making it more positive. It has to do with becoming more forgiving, less reactive, more loving, less condemnatory. I'm not out to convert anyone to anything. I belong to no religious order or tradition or structure. I'm out to improve myself. Period.

Why do I talk about religion/science/spirituality here? Because I find the subject very interesting.

You said, " religion as it has been practiced for most of human existence "

Now, there's a glittering generality! ;-D What you really mean is "religion that fits the very pejorative definitions I like to give to religion".

Have you ever studied Taoism or Buddhism? Have you ever studied the spiritual traditions that are not built around a surrogate human-like god-deity? There are several such traditions in existence.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 07:02 PM

Here's the problem, Don. Religion poses a social problem today with the advent of "just wars", reproductive rights advocates being murdered, Catholic priests abusing children,
Rumsfeld's memos to Bush about the battlefield, denial of global warming and adherence
to a false doctrine of geological time, the evangelizing of the American military by right-wing religious Christians, the forcing of ID and Creationism into the science curriculum of American education, the censoring of reputedly anti-religious speech, the violation of the Separation of Church and State by the enforcement of tax money for religious social programs supported by the Obama Administration (Madison would turn over in his grave),
a national day of prayer which should be outlawed as promoted as a government edict,
the violence in religious disputes all over the world by adherents......religion has become dangerous.

As to the powers of imagination, the Acquinas argument can be expelled by imagining that there is no god and that would be true for the foreseeable future. There were many scientists who did not pooh pooh new tech developments that were shown to be empirically viable. Even today, new ideas in space travel, quantum mechanics, and other ideas which may at present be improbable next week are not rejected out of hand because there is scientific methodology being used to support these innovations. This was also true during Galileo's time but we know the real "enemy" toward the realization of scientific breakthroughs.

Radio waves, space travel, flying etc. were not that far-fetched by many of the scientific
community. If you reason that the bible is an index to clairvoyance, as many of the Christian persuasion do, it is untenable. This can also be said to be true of any of the "holy" books.

It is your right to believe as you wish (whether anyone can accept it reasonably) and I respect that you have studied the bible and have some scholarship chops. I commend to you Bart Ehrman from N.C. University as a person who debunks biblical historical accuracy.

With respect,

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 07:05 PM

American fundamentalist religion has become dangerous all right. No doubt about that. So has Islamic fundamentalist religion.

That doesn't mean "religion" in general has become dangerous. It means that 2 specific forms of fundamentalist religion have become dangerous.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 07:21 PM

LH, wish it were only 2. AIPAC represents another threat. Hinduism is rife with violence in India. There are instances of extremist Buddhist groups and Shinto and ....and...
the list goes on. Scientology proclaims itself as a religion. Catholics and Proddies in Northern Ireland. (Both claim to be Christian). Sectarian violence based on religious principles in Iraq show that there are many forms of being Muslim.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 07:22 PM

That list Stringsinger posted is a pretty good set of reasons to at least find ways to limit religion's direct influence in governmental affairs and the educational system. Although, some 'believers' already are reasonable, others very belief system commands them to interfere and try to impose their values on the rest of society!
THIS is the crux of the problem.... now we need to maintain 'freedom OF religion', while allowing those who wish to have 'freedom FROM religion.'
   It will never be easy to juggle those conflicting views.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 07:32 PM

Yes, Strinsinger, wherever people unite political extremism with religion one has a dangerous situation. Wherever they unite other forms of extremism with politics, one has a dangerous situation.

The problem is not religion itself. The problem is not politics or race or culture. The problem is extremism.

I know people of all religions (or not), races, and cultures among my circle of friends and acquaintances, and none of them has shown any inclination to hurt anyone.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 07:35 PM

Sadly, Little Hawk, it only takes a tiny fraction of a %....none of whom YOU are likely to know... to cause a great deal of problems.


You wanna sit down with me and overhaul the entire educational system to weed out all these folks early? How far do you think we'd get?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Slag
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 08:42 PM

Uncle_DaveO, re post @ 9:41AM, Huh, the Big Bullet? The Big Fuse? The Big Interstitial Brat with a cosmic hammer? Perhaps.

A real good discussion, again, as usual, here at the 'cat. It is noteworthy that this is pretty much the same discussion that has been going on for thousands of years with no clear winner as yet.

Some ancients noticed that there is always a little puff of air going in and out of living things, as they understood them. This "pneuma" or "spirit" must be the life force (they thought) that animates all living things (they thought). Whether it is still a popular idea today, I don't know, but we still use the term and mean, pretty much, the same thing.

So where did this breath of life come from...? ...and on it goes. We approach these things with the thought tools (words) and understandings that have been conveyed to us over the centuries.

Perhaps the better question is the one of consciousness. What is the body/mind connection? After all, it is the human consciousness that asks and then attempts to answer these questions. The galaxies don't ask and don't tell. Right in there is the Existential Question too. How we answer them or attempt to answer them, or even ignore them tells us who and what we are.

In the final analysis and in answer to Dorothy Parshall's 1:11AM post about who cares and flying fish cakes: The only mind you truly inhabit is your own. True, whether we are remembered or not, has little to do with on-going life on this planet. Without a theological perspective and an eye toward eternity, a "who cares" is really the RIGHT question. If it matters not then, it matters not now. In fact, life on Earth matters not at all. It is simply a minor anomaly, infinitesimal, in the scope of the space time continuum. Shakespeare's "...tale told by an idiot..." sums it up pretty well.

What I was trying to convey was that, for the preservation of life and our species, the one who reaches beyond himself or herself, the one who effects others positively and promotes the good that we assert life is, they have truly lived and have a heart, which in this age, seems to be a little more rare than in the past.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Riginslinger
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 09:59 PM

"Come on all you scientific geniuses, which of you is going to take my final sentence and refute it so that you may be justified in your statement that "There is NO God"?"

            With every hour that passes, science finds more evidence that there is no god. It's just a matter of time. More and more people everyday turn away from religion. When religion is finally determined to be a mental illness, we'll be on our way to a peaceful world.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 10:10 PM

I feel for what you're saying, Bill! ;-) Alas, I think it's too big a problem for you and me to tackle. Anyway, the fact is, the world will never be entirely safe, no matter what we do.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 11:06 PM

Slag, 10:42 What I was trying to convey was that, for the preservation of life and our species, the one who reaches beyond himself or herself, the one who effects others positively and promotes the good that we assert life is, they have truly lived and have a heart, which in this age, seems to be a little more rare than in the past.

I believe that this and LH's latter comment are more pessimistic than my take on the subject. I believe the world is getting smaller and people becoming more aware of this and of each other. Our young people - teens and 20s, at least - are connecting with people around the world (thanks to the wonders of science!) and learning more than any previous generation about their contemporaries and the way others think and view the world, hence will be more compassionate, knowledgeable and understanding of those differences which have separated people. My hope/dream - whatever anyone chooses to call it - is that this will bring about a more peaceful world. The young people will have the power before long and a very different, broader world view than ever was possible before this internet on which we have so much fun - and gain so much.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 11:30 PM

Well, there are many instances of consciousness surviving without a body. There are many narratives of consciousness being able to take over inanimate forms or at least permeate them with perception.

The logic of insisting that all the consciousness a body is aware of comes from other bodies or parts of them, therefore consciousness must be a product of matter and energy, is (as I have said many times before) very similar to believing that cellphones can hold conversations. Such a belief would require that you steadfastly and completely ignore the presence of connected, remote elements (the owners or operators of cellphones). You could insist, two, that the life forms of planet Earth were boxy things with round rubber feet that lived on petroleum, occasionally infested by small bipedal parasites, but which had the innate ability (hidden somewhere in their internal-combustion systems) to navigate and manage themselves in traffic.

Attributing function inaccurately to structure is an easy, but very incapacitating error.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 12:17 AM

Rig: "With every hour that passes, science finds more evidence that there is no god. "

and THAT is as flawed an argument as those FOR a god. Science does not do that! That is not something 'evidence' is used for. Science studies what it can, and posits theories about the connections. If individuals wish to draw conclusions from 'what Science has 'not found', they are sorta free to do so, but you do not prove a negative!

Whether there is or is not any 'spirit' in the universe is not a direct CONCERN of Science.

It is important to keep such issues straight.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 12:53 AM

Thanks, Bill. You are quite correct.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 04:44 AM

"Well, there are many instances of consciousness surviving without a body. There are many narratives of consciousness being able to take over inanimate forms or at least permeate them with perception."

What!? Just run that past me again, Amos!

I'm trying to think of an 'instance' of "consciousness surviving without a body." ... Nope, can't come up with a single one.

So, let's try "narratives of consciousness being able to take over inanimate forms ..."? According to you there are "many" - so you should be able to supply me with several examples ... ?

Help!


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 07:52 AM

To me the concept of a God/Creator figure ranks with several science fiction stories that present an equally valid scenario.

Take "The Tunnel Under The World" by Frederik Pohl as an example.
This is based upon the premis that using computers and robotics of a sufficiently advanced nature a town is recreated and run over and over again, groundhog day fashion, to test out commercials and marketing advertisments. The inhabitants do not know that they are mechanical constructs that have been given the memories of real people.
When it was written this was very far-fetched but the concept cme nearer reality every day.

Another story that I don't remember the title or author of concerns a person who spots a flaw in reality and realises that his entire world experience is being staged in order to distract him from what is the actual reality (cities are dismantled when he is not there etc.). It is implied that a group of aliens have been contracted to do this by some unexplained method.

There is no way to say that either of these concepts is any less likely than the usual God myths.

Now, I have had experiences that I cannot explain with science, but I expect that one day science will be able to advance to the point where they can be explained, even if it does involve some other form of conciousness. The fact that such phenomena can be observed by the human eye/brain implies a physical element that should eventually be able to be detected.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Riginslinger
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 10:24 AM

Bill D - I would agree, god is a negative!


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 10:34 AM

Bill D, the problem is that religion unwittingly at times enables extremism. Well-meaning religious folk are really part of the problem without realizing it. Whenever the lack of reality is glorified for whatever reason there will be consequences. I, too, know a lot of religious folk who I like very much but I attribute their character not to religious belief but to a rational morality and ethical behavior. I have learned to separate their propensity for attributions to a god from the way they treat others.

Religion in the future may find itself obsolete as a moral compass. I have reason to believe that it will be vestigial in the process of human evolution.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Mrrzy
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 10:36 AM

"The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion." Arthur C. Clarke


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: wysiwyg
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 10:40 AM

Whether there is or is not any 'spirit' in the universe is not a direct CONCERN of Science.

At the moment, or necessarily so? Say more.....

Bill-- what is "Science"? The whole ultimate concept? The practitioners' collective work? The "results"? I know, I am asking a lot out of your old head, and a lot of thinkig and writing time-- no hurry-- it's such a GOD head-- say on. Submit it to some turning time and let me know what comes out. (A lot like my dish-washing time, I bet.)

Aaargh, I'm only asking BILL, but I know the rest of you will chime in too.... OK....

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 10:44 AM

Shimrod:

Read up on OBEs, NDEs, and the small handful of well-documented reincarnation tales that have some substantiating evidence. Read up on "mystic" experiences. The literature is not usually in the form of peer-reviewed scientific journals. Read Ingo Swann's reports. Examine reports from Raymond Moody. Read up on Kubler-Ross. Read the research reports of Ian Stephenson.

The "model" of life as essentially a spiritual being having a physical experience, rather than the other way around, has been the preferred model for hundreds of millions of people through centuries--Buddhists, Taoists, Shintoists, and many other lesser knows groups. This alone is not an argument for its rightness, but it means as a student of human thought you might want to familiarize yourself with that side of things.

You'll find lots of chaff, but you will also find a handful of serious wheat.

A


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: wysiwyg
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 11:10 AM

PS for Bill-- and is that statement a fact you are reporting, or an opinion, and if so, whose?

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 11:11 AM

As far as God is concerned, the obvious error is that the not quite bright insist on thinking of it as a noun, a thing or entity with attributes, about which one can properly make declarative statements with predicates just as you can about "My car..." or "The sky....".
THerein lies a cosmic mis-step.

God is a verb.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 12:34 PM

Now I have Frank and Amos and Susan I need to reply to.... mercy! (not Rig...he is just being silly)

Frank: yes...sure, I am so VERY much aware of religion & well-meaning 'religious folk' being part of a pervasive set of problems. This comes directly from the logical/philosophic principle that from false premises, anything follows. This means that IF a religious belief, no matter how sincere, is based on incorrect information, it is possible to derive any sort of conclusions and support any sort of behavior. This is WHY we get much 'good' done in the name of religion, as well as much silliness and just plain evil. You make a good point that basically good people will channel their religious beliefs into basic goodness....and we see every day what basically bad or confused or disturbed people will do.
   But... I also understand why religion came about and why it persists in the world. Just 200-300 years ago, almost everyone still attributed supernatural origins to what they saw... (insert 12 paragraphs of explication here)

------------------------------------------------------------
Amos is sorta easy: "..There are many narratives of consciousness being able to take over inanimate forms or at least permeate them with perception."

Yes indeed...but narratives are easy. *I* can make up a narrative..(you wouldn't believe me...but....)
Even when a narrative comes from someone totally honest & sincere, there are always alternative explanations for the belief/experience/memory.
What sort of explanations? Ummm...scientific ones.


That means answering Susan/WSY IS harder and more convoluted.
I may indeed have to contemplate my answer, Susan...at least the long form. The short form is that 'science' means the 'scientific method'...and there are reams of stuff written on that, and more cogently than I might do it.
   Those who 'practice' science are like practitioners of any field...they can do it well, with a full understanding of its principles, or poorly- inserting personal, subjective interpretations of data. It isn't easy, or we'd not have quite so many disputes.

"At the moment, or necessarily so?" .... ummm...both, I'd say. If, by definition, religious, spiritual, psychic and various superstitions are not subject to any known scientific test, they must remain in the realm of conjecture and..... well...narrative. (yeah, I know...some think it may be possible someday to 'measure' certain psychic stuff....but....)

And, the hardest part of all, Susan, is explaining about "...and is that statement a fact you are reporting, or an opinion, and if so, whose?"....

Some aspects of it are very like math & logic, in that it IS possible to determine the internal consistency of claims and to show whether or not basic scientific method is being followed correctly.....but some formulations of what is said is quite personal and tainted with careless language. What IS totally 'opinion' is which basic premises one accepts. Humans are strange in that **they are ABLE to ignore, deny, and reject** any data or contrary opinions they decide doesn't fit their pre-concieved opinions!...(including logic & math! remember attempts to legislate that pi=3?) I can barely contain myself sometimes when someone smugly asserts. "well, it's true for ME!"...arrgghhh. This is a basic misunderstanding of just what *true* means; and unlike Humpty-Dumpty, words do NOT "...mean just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

I often refer to the fallacy of 'equivocation'...and various other "informal fallacies". It is well worth reading thru them.........


(see....I really don't have time to write a short answer)

ah, well......


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 12:56 PM

Bill:

Go on with you. We have been around this fire hydrant over and over, and yet you keep coming up and peeing on it as though you have never seen it before!! What breed of pup did you say you were? And aireheadale? (Just kiddin', my old amigo.)

The problem you are up against is using a map of New York to find your way around in the wilds of Nome. There is a rigid criteria for hard science involving replicability, peer-review, and "falsifiability" (an awful word), among other things. Within this environment, anecdotal is disallowed, or at best, looked highly askance.

However, if you are trying to achieve some scientific approach to the study of viewpoint, and are testing a model which says there is, in fact, a viewer independent of, seperable from, and qualitiatively different from the meshwork of mechanics involved in steering a body around, then you simply must find a way to take individual perception, self-determination, and creative acts into accout within the experimental framework. Absent an experimental framework, within the dataset being used for deduction.

It is completely understandable to want to discount subjective effects from completely non-agreed on realms -- fairy dust and pink ponies on the moon or some such.

But when a five-year old describes in details the connections and manner of death of a person who lived miles away, down to his name, with whom none of his present family has any traceable connection, you have to weigh the possibilities with a more open mind than the purely materialistic one or you doing yourself the extrenme disservice of prejudicial thinking.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Mrrzy
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 01:22 PM

Aren't "The literature is not usually in the form of peer-reviewed scientific journals" and "the small handful of well-documented reincarnation tales that have some substantiating evidence" rather contradictory? I mean, if it isn't in a scientific journal, how an it be WELL-documented?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: wysiwyg
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 01:24 PM

(Keep mulling, Bill. Keep billing, Mull?)

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 01:40 PM

The only kind of documentation on this Earth that's worth anything is that in scientific journals, Mrrzy???

Wow. Where did you come from anyway? Out of a test tube? ;-) Are you employed by Professor Bunsen Honeywell?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 01:49 PM

The priestly hierarchy of "approved thought" that shows up in scientific journals is not infallible, and there are many instances of trustworthy documentation of facts outside the scientific world. Business, law, individual agreements, friendships which involve property transactions and marriages are a few simple examples where adequate and sufficient documentation of fact occurs and proves reliable in the actual event.

I think we need to differentiate between the analytical rigor of scientific thought, and the formalization into institutions and habits. Organized science is no more impeccable (compared to basic scientific thinking) than organized religion is compared to basic spiritual insight. The question that must be answered in both cases is what constitutes valid data, and given a set of data, whether validated or partially validated or simply raw, how can one draw meaningful approximations of truth from it?

And I DID bill Mull, but the lazy so-and-so just stiffed me...



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 03:37 PM

"..., if you are trying to achieve some scientific approach to the study of viewpoint...etc.."

But that is the point...I'm not. I'm not remotely suggesting that those anecdotes and narratives can be subject to anything except, perhaps, statistics. They are highly personal, subjective and often dependent on the vocabulary of the person reporting them.

As with religion, I make no attempt to deny or DISprove them.... I just know that within realms where 'science' can operate, there are physical phenomena which seem to approximate such experiences. This is what tells me that there might BE alternatives....and my inclination is to bring in old Willie-O (Occam) to adjudicate the possibilites. Others stand firmly on "I felt it/saw it/remember it, and you'll never convince me it isn't real." Fine...nothing I can say to them, any more than I can say the little girls at Lourdes didn't see what THEY claimed.
Science is in the business...mostly.. of studying what everyone can see...stuff that can be replicated and measured. I say 'mostly', because it IS smart to keep an eye out for ways to see, test or measure stuff they hadn't before.

(Every now & then I note that I LIKE the idea of stuff like psychic phenomena being real... I have read Sci-Fi for years, and I'd hate buying into presumed wonderful experiences, only to have them prove fleeting and will-o-the-wisps. I will wait..)


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 03:54 PM

Stringsinger: Some of us believe that humans may be vestigial in the evolution of planet earth.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 04:15 PM

Ya' know, Amos....this: "The priestly hierarchy of "approved thought" that shows up in scientific journals is not infallible, ..." reads a bit like a sarcastic straw man would phase it. . Who do you know that actually claims that scientific journal articles are infallible?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Riginslinger
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 04:25 PM

"...I need to reply to.... mercy! (not Rig...he is just being silly)"


                  No I'm not, and I think Little Hawk was really trying to cite Professor Bunsen Burner...


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 04:38 PM

Bill:

As I hope to persuade you some day, context is everything. You will note just upthread from my "strawman" a remark from Mrzy: I mean, if it isn't in a scientific journal, how an it be WELL-documented? . My answer, given that context, was no Strawman, unless you have the Tin Woodman's ear and see it as a Cowardly Line. To me it was a cogent response to Mrzy's question.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 05:24 PM

You most certainly are being silly, Rig. ;-) I don't blame you, though. This world could use more silliness, I think, to cheer people up.

Now, I got the name slightly wrong when I said "Professor Bunsen Honeywell". No, it is Professor Bunsen Honeydew I'm referring to. It's this guy:


Science! Making the world safe for everyone!


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 05:30 PM

And here's a nice short showing the good professor with his faithful assistant, "Beaker", whom I feel sure is actually Mrzzy posing under a professional stage name.



Science solves the problem of germs!


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 05:34 PM

""With every hour that passes, science finds more evidence that there is no god. It's just a matter of time. More and more people everyday turn away from religion. When religion is finally determined to be a mental illness, we'll be on our way to a peaceful world.""

That may just be the single most inane comment in the history of discussions about Science and Religion.

1. Where is this massive body of evidence located.
2. How precisely does it achieve the impossible task of proving a negative.
3. Who are the learned scientific geniuses who produced and tested this evidence.
4. What credentials can they produce to back up the credibility of their research and conclusions.

If there are no credible answers to ALL of these questions, then there can be NO SCIENTIFIC VALUE in your statement.

Finally, please explain HOW that statement refutes my contention that to deny the existence of ANYTHING, without a vestige of objective, knowledge of its existence, OR non-existence, is BY DEFINITION UNSCIENTIFIC. And THAT would include denying the existence of a Deity.

You don't have to believe in it, but to deny its reality without evidential backing is unscientific.

Discuss.

Don T.

P.S. I thought I had made it clear in my first post that I speak, not of religion, but of FAITH.

I don't much care for the bible, it being, IMHO a collection of anecdotes by men who are separated from the events described by many years, or even centuries, and who, in any case had their own agendas to pursue in the way they slanted the message.

IMHO the Old Testament is a collection of parables designed to instil a system of morals and ethics, and I very much doubt that Jesus would recognise his teachings as portrayed in the New Testament.

My faith is in God, not in men who wear reversed collars and black frocks.

DT.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 05:34 PM

One LAST correction! It's Doctor Bunsen Honeydew. My apologies for the poor memory. I blame it on all those boring damned science courses that I was forced to take in high school...some of the least competent teachers I ever had, I must say, with the notable exception of the chemistry teacher, Mr Antonacci...he was brilliant...so much so that he gave me some good appreciation for a subject that would otherwise have left me cold. But that's a story for another day.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Riginslinger
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 06:31 PM

"P.S. I thought I had made it clear in my first post that I speak, not of religion, but of FAITH."

                Does that mean you have faith that there is a god, and I have faith that there is no god, so we both have faith and therefore we are both right?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 06:43 PM

Actually, that's what's generally the case, Rig. Some people have faith that there is a God. Others, like yourself, have faith that there is NO God. In both cases that's pure faith, not backed up by any conclusive evidence. Still others don't fit into either of those 2 categories of faith, but everyone has faith in something all their own. Stay around them for a bit, observe their behaviour, and you will find out what they have faith in.

Most people, for example, have a simply tremendous faith in the value and power of money, and they'll do really bizarre things now and then on the strength of that faith.

Others have a tremedous faith in some political party they support. I regard that as one of the most foolish forms of faith possible, and it's led whole nations into utter catastrophe.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 07:29 PM

Ok, Amos... context wins...this time. I admit to NOT evaluating your remark as it relates to some of those 'other' posts. I do get too serious about it all at times.... it sure is easier when I get body language and vocal tone to help me decide whether to bring my intellect to bear on miscreants....


giggle


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: John P
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 07:45 PM

Faith is antithetical to rational thought. There is a big difference of type between having faith in the existence of God and disbelieving in the existence of God, since there is no shred of evidence for the existence of God. Disbelief is not the same as negative faith. If there were something like a God bouncing around the universe, surely there would be some evidence of it. I myself disbelieve in the existence of forty-foot tall apes in Africa, even though I can't conclusively prove that they don't exist. The lack of any evidence, however, causes my disbelief to make a lot more sense than the faith of someone who believes that King Kong was a documentary.

Put another way, there is no reason to try to disprove the existence of God, since there is no evidence of any such existence. A complete lack of evidence goes a lot farther toward being able to say something doesn't exist than it does toward saying it does exist.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: John Hardly
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 08:03 PM

I'd say science AND religion.

But I see both as broken up into subsets that create most of the controversy. That is:

Religion is not monolithic. To be perfectly honest, I was taught growing up that, though there's little value in trying to make the distinctions to those who don't see the Christian faith as I was taught it, I was taught that religion was at it's best, merely a lame expression of the human end of the God/man relationship -- and that true Christianity was not a religion in the sense that religion is generally understood -- as a MEANS toward achieving the goals that the Christian believes God already accomplished (which is the worst of religion).

The science side of things is just as adulterated. Too many think they are talking science when they are merely delving in philosophy.

Ultimately, I believe that whatever scientific discovery -- true scientific discovery --- leads us to will also coincide with true "religion". I personally don't think that when we get there we will think of it as "religion". I don't think we'll have a problem viewing the science part that got us there as science, though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Fergie
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 08:06 PM

Very well put John P.
As I said in my earlier post "Religion presupposes the existance of a god/creator. Can anybody produce one piece of scientific (or otherwise) evidence that such a thing/being exists?"
Nobody here has seriously addressed the essence of that assertion.

Fergus


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 08:56 PM

No, John P, faith is not antithetical to rational thought. Faith is simply a form of trust in someone or something. Faith is also something you may go on when you haven't YET got any definite proof for or against something...so you go on your gut feeling.   It may well move in concert WITH rational thought and it usually does.

It is only when faith in someone or something contradicts rational thought (which is based on logic and evidence) that faith is antithetical to rational thought. Such blind faith can be seen in certain kinds of extremists, fundamentalists, political fanatics, and fanatics of very kind.

Most spiritually inclined people are just as capable of rational thought as you are, John P, they use it just as much as you do, and your inability to grasp that indicates that your own uses of rational thought are far more limited by your prejudices than you imagine they are.

Your definition of the word "faith" is also far too narrow. I suspect you think that it ONLY applies to religious beliefs. It doesn't. It applies to anything whatsoever that a person has confidence in, and that confidence is usually a result of a number of things:

- familiarity
- past experience
- rational thought
- emotional habits
- social customs
- what your parents told you
- what your teachers told you
- what your government told you
- what the books you read told you
- what your friends told you
- what your culture told you
- what your doctor told you
- what "the news" told you
- what your psychiatrist told you
- what your pastor told you
- AND what you figured out for yourself

In short, John, your definition of the word "faith" is so utterly narrow that it could probably be fit through the eye of a needle. But a camel can't. ;-) Nor can your predudices. They're too broad.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: John P
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 09:58 PM

Sorry, Little Hawk, but you're barking up the wrong tree again. I know, of course, that there are lots of definitions for the word "faith", and I agree that many of the examples you give are not antithetical to rational thought. In this context, however, and considering that I was replying to specific posts about religion, I think it is easy to figure out what I meant by faith. Perhaps you ought to think about what's really being said before you broaden a definition beyond its easily identifiable context and start accusing me of being prejudiced. Had you considered actually replying to what you actually know I was actually saying?

You seem to be saying that I'm not a spiritually inclined person. This theory is based on what? As it happens, I very much am spiritually inclined. Perhaps you ought to inspect your own prejudices, where "prejudice" means jumping to conclusions without any evidence.

Just in case you are actually having trouble keeping up, I was offended by you, once again, saying that the "faith" in "faith in god" is the same as a "faith" in the disbelief that something exists for which there is no evidence. "Some people make science their religion" is bullshit if "religion" includes faith. And, yes, before you start spouting off again, I know that the word "religion" doesn't automatically include faith. You'll just have to have faith that it does in the context in which I'm using it.

But, nice guy that I am, I'll digress with you and reply to your list with what I have "faith" in.

- familiarity
As in, experience has indicated that something is true? Reasonable amounts of faith.

- past experience
Ditto.

- rational thought
Some, but not complete faith.

- emotional habits
As in, if I feel like something once, I will feel the same way in a similar circumstance? Very little faith. The issue is WAY too complex.

- social customs
Unclear. Faith that most people will follow them? Little. Faith in their usefulness? 80%. Faith that I will follow them? None at all. I try to decide such things on a case-by-case basis.

- what your parents told you
Some yes, some no. I'm not a robot.

- what your teachers told you
Some yes, some no. Teachers have a habit (not necessarily bad) of inserting all sorts of other thoughts along with the hard data. And faith in what they say depends totally on the teacher. Case-by-case basis.

- what your government told you
None at all.

- what the books you read told you
Case-by-case basis.

- what your friends told you
Ditto.

- what your culture told you
None at all.

- what your doctor told you
Case-by-case basis.

- what "the news" told you
Ditto.

- what your psychiatrist told you
Hee hee hee.

- what your pastor told you
Case-by-case basis.

- AND what you figured out for yourself
Ditto.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 11:02 PM

Fergy:

Only some religions make that presupposition. They are called theistic religions, and there are plenty of others.

While spirituality is widely experienced in one way or another, but not universally recognized, it is not the case that God is as widely directly experienced. I suspect, likewise, that many people run into their own spirituality and have been so long estranged from it that they call it God as it is surprising enough to strike them that way. These are just my own speculations. There's more than enough such to go around, to be sure!

The kind of evidence that WOULD support such an encounter is surely not evidence that would belong in the class of what people can experience in common, anyway. This assumption--that the rules of "objective" evidence must be the rules of spiritual evidence, which is not an objective phenomenology--is the mistake that makes Bill Day so frustrated (not to say occasionally tiresome). :>) Explaining the difference in the vocabulary we developed from heuristic science is what makes me so frustrated and tiresome.


A


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Slag
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 11:05 PM

Dorothy, you're right. The world IS getting smaller. Here I am having a dialog with you in a manner that 30 years ago was almost inconceivable except to a few forward thinkers. But, is it getting better? Lot's a debate on that one. Too much thread drift involved.

Faith was NOT the question and for the most part it is an entirely different subject. You can have faith without being religious and you can have a religion without any faith.

Did I mention earlier that religion is a very broad category of human behavior? Much of it boarders on the superstitious and much of it crosses that border. In fact, I would maintain that "religion" is a substitution FOR faith. It involves ignorance, fear of the unknown and magical thinking in many instances. Most ritualized behaviour is intended to influence events and natural processes beyond our control. At best it is an act designed to pay homage to the one or the object held in highest esteem; to attribute worthiness to the same.

Science too, has some ritualized behavior attached to it, necessarily so, It is the ritual of repeating conditions under which certain predictable things will happen. Similar to religion born of faith or hope but for different reasons.

re "God". Yup Amos. God IS a verb, at least the Jewish God is. YWHW translated "I am" or "I am Who I will be". Well, its a subject and a verb. And also God is nothing, that is, no thing. If such a being is outside of the experiential universe, ie, transcendent, then He is not subject to the routine sensual and factual analysis we can give objects of scientific interest. One of those unprovable categories.

I feel that this thread is becoming helical if not circular. Maybe you should all just cast your votes for the question at hand and let it go at that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 11:28 PM

"...the mistake that makes Bill Day so frustrated (not to say occasionally tiresome). :>)"

gee, I'm glad you're not gonna say that. ;>))

At least we sort of agree that the criteria for evaluating those different type of experience ARE different....and at least there's not so much directly at stake in favoring one interpretation over the other....as there IS in debates over religious views. The two views are phenomenologically related, but one is not 'quite' so loaded with emotional & cultural angst as the other. "Eternal Life" is a pretty hot topic compared with the status of thought patterns in the brain/mind.

(Now, I'm going to bed...and I'll look in the morning to see if I think I really said much there.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 11:36 PM

1. I requested that the terms be defined right at the get-go. and gave the wiki sites. I consider it untenable to try to determine anything without first defining it. However, others were more interested in playing around with their own definitions and having fun going off in all directions at the same time. So be it.

2. I do believe I stated why I believe this shrinking of the world through the internet is a positive. (Or was that on a different thread?)

3. Some of youse guys do have fun pontificating.

4. Science and Religion - each are concerns and/or interests, and mysteries to most people (probably all people if the truth were told). There can be no vs. Eventually, when/if human beings evolve to an appropriate state of being/intelligence/spirtuality, it will all become clear. In the meantime, y'all can continue pontificating. It intrigues and amuses me.

5. I guess that sounds a bit arrogant. I know some of you have differently functioning brains than I do; That does not make any of us more or less intelligent. Just different. That's what makes life interesting.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 12:22 AM

Very good, John P. ;-)

However, I don't believe for a moment that you have no faith in what your culture has told you. All people take for granted much of the stuff that is passed on to them by their culture. It begins as soon as they can hear, walk, and talk, and they're unaware of a great deal of it, but take it on just as a bird "patterns" on its surrogate parents, whatever they may be.

I also think you must have faith in much of what your government has told you during your life..certainly not all of it...but much of it. You just like to think you're completely independent of them, because that appeals to your sense of your own independence.

We all like to think such things. ;-)

Other than that, your answers make good sense, and they sound much like the answers that I would give.

****

Now, let's see about this paraqraph you wrote: "Just in case you are actually having trouble keeping up, I was offended by you, once again, saying that the "faith" in "faith in god" is the same as a "faith" in the disbelief that something exists for which there is no evidence. "Some people make science their religion" is bullshit if "religion" includes faith. And, yes, before you start spouting off again, I know that the word "religion" doesn't automatically include faith. You'll just have to have faith that it does in the context in which I'm using it."

Hmmm.

"The disbelief that something exists for which there is no evidence" (?)

John, how can there be evidence for something that is, by definition, not part of the physical time-space continuum as we know it? One is not obliged to prove the existence of something which exists outside of time and space by looking within time and space FOR it. One cannot either prove or disprove it by looking for it in a "room" (so to speak) which it is not contained in.

One can only state: "It's not in this room."

Similarly, some scientists have proposed theories of parallel universes...not as a religious proposition...as a scientific proposition. You can't find evidence for those HERE either, because they are, by definition, NOT manifesting HERE. Yet they may indeed exist...just not here.

Most traditional ideas about the Spirit world are based on a rather similar idea...that it's real...but it doesn't exist here in this time-space continuum.

To say that some people make science their religion is not bullshit, and I'll tell you why. Many people know relatively little about science, yet they have absolute faith in it...that is, in the latest scientific statements and theories they've heard from the media and popular culture around them. They may be almost completely ignorant of what is actually contained in those theories...and those theories may yet turn out to be utterly wrong...and yet they have absolute faith in it merely because it came authoritatively, through the media, from the world of science.

Their faith is based, like the faith of any religious fundamentalist, on a set of vague assumptions they take for granted, but they're basically ignorant.

For such people, science is their religion, and they trust it without question.

I understand your concern about people's unquestioning faith in God...but before you judge them you must know what they think "God" is, and why they think so. They don't all envision the same kind of "God". Furthermore, you should recognize that the world is full of people who have equally questionable faith in all kinds of other things for which they have no real knowledge or evidence...not just "God".

What is it that actually concerns you here?

****

Dorothy - Yes! Must of us love pontificating. It's a way of passing the time and excercising our verbal skills, as it were. It also helps us reinforce our fickle sense of our own identity, and that's probably the main reason why we do it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 01:42 AM

And now...Doctor Bunsen Honeydew shows us how to warm up our noses on a cold day!

The electric nose warmer - brought to you by Science!


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 07:39 AM

""Does that mean you have faith that there is a god, and I have faith that there is no god, so we both have faith and therefore we are both right?""

Thats a straw man argument, and you know it. Both of us are equally entitled to our beliefs. That does not make either, neither, or both of our beliefs true.

My point was, and still is, that since we cannot KNOW that there is or is not a God, it is by definition UNSCIENTIFIC to flatly state that either is the truth.

So for scientists to say "There is no God", is to throw away all the scientific principles on which they base their claim to knowledge.

Equally, all I am entitled to say is "I believe there is a God". To go further would again be unscientific.


There is not, and cannot be, any objectively verifiable evidence either way.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Riginslinger
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 08:40 AM

Let's put it this way--and we'll call it a theory: The evidence is overwhelming that there is no god, and the evidence to support this grows stronger with every day that passes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: John P
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 10:54 AM

Little Hawk, to be more precise: I'm talking about faith in the existence of a God, where "God" is defined the way that most of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam define it -- a god with a personality, who bothers with the affairs of humans, listens to prayers, etc. Not the spirit world, of which there is sufficient evidence to put it in the "unknown" camp. Not anything outside of the space-time continuum, which, as you say, we can't possibly know anything about. I have no problem postulating the existence of alternate universes -- the theories make sense and mostly derive from known phenomena, even if there is as yet no way to really test them. Anyone who has ever experienced the effects of deep meditation knows that there is something going on outside of the "normal" physical world -- at the least, rationally unexplainable connections between points of energy. This could, of course, be brain chemistry and not taking place anywhere but inside our heads, but that doesn't really matter in day-to-day living.

I see what you mean about people who don't know anything about science having faith in it. I thought you were talking about scientists and other scientifically educated people, who would consider faith in an untested conclusion exactly the opposite of science. I suppose the difference is that someone who doesn't know anything about science in a real sense can still have some rational confidence that if a scientist is saying something it might well be true, or at least possible. Unlike a church-goer sitting in a pew listening to their pastor tell them that God will listen to their prayers, that Jesus rose from the dead, and that this wine is now blood. No evidence, but complete faith. The two really are different -- the faith doesn't come from the same place, and is not of the same type.

You're probably right that I shouldn't say I have no faith in what my culture told me. I will say, however, that whenever I become aware of something in myself that I'm taking on faith, I pull it out and examine it in whatever way I can. I try to stay aware that faith can be problematic to self-knowledge. So I guess maybe this still isn't faith, but rather untested and unconscious assumptions. Again, not the same thing.

You say you can understand my "concern" about people having unreasoning faith in God, and that I shouldn't "judge" them without more knowledge. The reality is that I'm not at all concerned about it, and the only judgment I make is that they are willing to believe things that don't make any sense and for which there is no evidence. It doesn't have anything to do with how I perceive them as people -- the factor that is most important to me in judging people is whether or not they are good-hearted. That's not something that is determined by whether or not they are able to carry conflicting concepts around with them.

Of course I have to know what people mean by religion before I can know what they mean by faith. But when I hear someone in our culture say, without further explanation, that they have faith in God, I think I can draw a reasonable conclusion as to what they are talking about. So can you, of course, but one of your functions around here is to take conversations off on tangents, so that's OK.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Mrrzy
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 12:12 PM

It doesn't take faith to conclude, from existing evidence, that there are no gods. It's the most logical conclusion.

And when you're talking about science, which we were, then yes, if it isn't in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, it isn't well-documented.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 12:28 PM

Excellent post, John P! I find myself in agreement with you on every point.

I'm not a Christian, a believer in the Judaic faith, or a Muslim, and, yes, I understand exactly what you mean about the anthropomorphic idea of "God" (a god with a personality, who bothers with the affairs of humans, listens to prayers, etc) that is typically held by people in these faiths.

I have no idea if such a God exists...but I doubt it.

I'm not anything specific in the sense of "belonging to a religion", I'm just a human being who is quite interested in spirituality. I'm also interested in religion in a general sense. I'm interested in anything that has absorbed the thoughts of billions of human beings over thousands of years. So...I'm interested in religion, history, politics, culture, art, architecture, shipbuilding, etc.

The attitude toward science that troubles me, as I explained before, is that a vast number of unscientific people in the general public who know little or nothing about science will automatically believe anything they hear if it purports to be coming from a "scientific source", or if a man in a white lab coat says it to them.

Those people are behaving in the same thoughtless and ignorant fashion as a group of religious people who believe anything a priest or pastor or mullah tells them. In both cases they have surrendered their own judgement to an external human authority figure who does their thinking for them. That can lead to serious problems if the authority figure is not a reliable person or is pushing some hidden political agenda! ;-)

I have no objection, on the other hand, to experienced science people themselves who actually KNOW what they're talking about and who ARE reliable people, and I'd be delighted to talk to them about anything in their field of expertise. Likewise, I'm delighted to talk to an experienced meditator or yoga instructor about techniques for relaxing the body and quieting the mind during meditation.

I regard spirituality as an inner search and discipline, not an attempt to negotiate terms and conditions with an outer "God" figure.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Donuel
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 02:11 PM

Amos, you may have accidently overlooked Phenomenology

The new Tom Hanks movie is about science and religion.
I watched the History channel's two hour show entitled angels and demons. The in depth look at Galileo, Newton and others was enthralling... well it was at least engrossing.


If you believe in relativity, you might concede that other life forms may have god like power compared to us.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 02:23 PM

Excerpt from an interview in der Spiegel with a scientist discussing the possibility of extra-terrestrial contact:

"Drake: A civilization may remain detectable through radio-waves only for a short time, maybe 100 or 200 years. That means that primitive civilizations like ours are the easiest to detect. We are wasteful. Almost all the energy that we send out with radio-transmitters, for example for our television systems, does not go to earth. It does not even arrive on earth just goes off into space.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: That means that the first thing that extraterrestrials get to see from us could be the daily soaps.

Drake: That is very scary. Particularly at night there are so many crime programs on television, violence and blood and all that. That is a really inaccurate picture of our civilization.


SPIEGEL ONLINE: And last year, we even sent a commercial for tortilla-chips.

Drake: Oh, we did? I didn't know that! I think that's a stupid waste of resources. It doesn't make sense in any way. How should extraterrestrials buy our tortilla-chips?

SPIEGEL ONLINE: And what if the first extraterrestrial signal that we receive on earth is a cosmic commercial?

Drake: Actually, one of my worst nightmares is that we find a signal and it will be an advertisement for a religious cult.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Why would that be a nightmare?

Drake: I want to learn more about a civilization than just its belief in the supernatural. Religion is an important part of the culture but may not help to improve the quality of life in a civilization. Maybe their religion is a really good one, but I doubt it."


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 02:44 PM

If extra-terrestrials judged us on the basis of our TV shows, they would certainly not have much encouragement to visit us, would they? I think it more likely that they would attempt to quarantine this planet.

A religion is as good as the ideals which drive it. If the religion puts forth such ideals as love, kindness, justice, fairness, tolerance, and generosity, then it's quite useful to humanity. If it puts forth ideals such as exclusivity, hardheartedness, vengefullness, retribution, punishment, and domination, then it's very bad for humanity.

There are elements in the Judaic, Christian, and Muslim faiths who have espoused the former (positive) ideals. There are elements who have espoused the latter (negative) ideals. The ones espousing the negative ideals have usually been the ones who exercised the most political control. Why? Because politics is usually devoted to various forms of brutal competition between groups to secure land, money, and resources for someone at the expense of someone else.

I think, therefore, that the essential problem is more with politics than it is with religion. They certainly make nasty bedfellows.

Furthermore, you don't need a conventional religion to drive a vicious political agenda. Pol Pot, Mao, and Stalin have already proven that beyond any shadow of a doubt. Watch out for aggressive political causes. They'll use religion or not use it...as they please...and they will wreak havoc upon the world, either in the name of God or in the name of atheism.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 02:50 PM

Bravo, Donuel. THis is exactly the point I was groping for, and a quick search for definitions brings this statement forward which is highly germane to the current discussion:

"In psychology, phenomenology is used to refer to subjective experiences or their study. The experiencing subject can be considered to be the person or self, for purposes of convenience. In phenomenological philosophy (and particularly in the work of Husserl, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty) 'experience' is a considerably more complex concept than it is usually taken to be in everyday use. Instead, experience (or Being, or existence itself) is an 'in-relation-to' phenomena, and it is defined by qualities of directedness, embodiment and worldliness which are evoked by the term 'Being-in-the-World' [1].

Nevertheless, one abiding feature of 'experiences' is that, in principle, they are not directly observable by any external observer. The quality or nature of a given experience is often referred to by the term qualia, whose archetypical exemplar is "redness". For example, we might ask, "Is my experience of redness the same as yours?" While it is difficult to answer such a question in any concrete way, the concept of intersubjectivity [2] is often used as a mechanism for understanding how it is that humans are able to empathise with one another's experiences, and indeed to engage in meaningful communication about them. The phenomenological formulation of Being-in-the-World, where person and world are mutually constitutive, is central here."



The interesting thing is that a degree of heuristic balance can be arrived at even though one is dealing with phenomenological data, by (a)comparing a significantly large set of such data for patterns and (b) weighing the data for importance, and other qualities, to sort the wheat from the chaff, as it were.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: TIA
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 03:47 PM

LH says:

"Many people know relatively little about science, yet they have absolute faith in it...that is, in the latest scientific statements and theories they've heard from the media and popular culture around them. They may be almost completely ignorant of what is actually contained in those theories...and those theories may yet turn out to be utterly wrong...and yet they have absolute faith in it merely because it came authoritatively, through the media, from the world of science."

LH is quite correct. These people absolutely do exist. But they are absolutely not doing science. Furthermore, the existence of persons having uninformed faith in the products of science does not at all imply that science itself relies in any way upon faith. In fact the method of science involves the destruction (by experimentation and measurement) of articles of faith (hypotheses).


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Slag
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 03:53 PM

Now we're on to E.T.s! Wow! Yes, Dorothy, there IS pontification below the line here at the 'cat. that's what we DO! (I'm tempted to say "that is ALL we do", but, well, that just isn't factual and, besides, I think that line may be copyrighted!) And Yes LH, we get to show off our verbal skills, intellect, sophistry and the God given ability to BS thru just about any subject! Don't ya just love it?


Did the Creator God have Theomorphic ideas concerning man? That is asserted in Genesis. It's Man without the familiar presence of God who came up with the anthropomorphic argument concerning the nature of God. That God created Man for a personal relationship with Himself is consistent with the hermeneutic integrity of the Bible.

I would contend that scientists ARE of a faith, albeit a knowledge-based faith, in the method. The ultimate tautology is that reason is reasonable. The sensual world and whatever extensions of those senses we can manage are the exclusive realm of scientific thought. It cannot acknowledge anything beyond our ability to sense and extrapolate. That is the limit of scientific endeavor. The common man may be ignorant (for whatever reason) about the scientific process but he sees and experiences the successes of science and therefore he DOES have some basis for his belief. Even so, he may have an over-inflated belief on the ability of science to do all he expects it to do.

I don't quite remember the exact limit but such a limit does exist and it is depressingly small in terms of the immensity of the universe in regards to the most powerful electromagnetic signal mankind could reasonably be expected to generate. At the distance of about 20 light years any radio signals thus far generated by humankind will have been absorbed or have become meaningless radiation. I think it is at about 40 lys that our most powerful beam imaginable will have evaporated.

Isaac Asimov proposed that our search for a truly advanced extraterrestrial civilization might include looking for a star that winks or dims off and on in a non cyclical manner. Such civilization, recognizing the limitations of artificially generated signals may attempt to orbit shielding material about a star in a pattern that would be mathematically identifiable. Who knows?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 04:04 PM

The ultimate tautology is that reason is reasonable. The sensual world and whatever extensions of those senses we can manage are the exclusive realm of scientific thought. It cannot acknowledge anything beyond our ability to sense and extrapolate. That is the limit of scientific endeavor.

I just love the first sentence. However scientific thought can be applied to any data set, because in addition to material replicability it also uses imagination and analytic skills of several kinds. And it can (in the right mind) be used to find new ways to acquire data and then test and evaluate the data so acquired. Phenomenological data is not, strictly speaking, part of the sensual world in any shared sense of the word. There is no sure way to know if one perception of intense affection is just like another's even though they both say it is love.:D

But there are ways to group and compare such data.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 05:55 PM

""Let's put it this way--and we'll call it a theory: The evidence is overwhelming that there is no god, and the evidence to support this grows stronger with every day that passes.""

WHAT EVIDENCE!

If you have it, PRODUCE IT, with proper attributions. Elsewise, stop making a fool of yourself.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Slag
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 06:41 PM

Thanks Amos! Put another way might be to ask why something is thus or thus. Through reduction one finally has to make the appeal to reason, ie, "because it is reasonable to think so." When dealing with children, you can go one step further and appeal to authority "Because I said so!" That seems reasonable to me!

Your second paragraph is essentially what is meant by "extrapolation".

Phenomenology is better described as a way of viewing the world, an exercise, if you will. It is laying aside "words" and measurements, etc. and viewing the object or phenomena as "a thing in itself". It is interesting to do this for a while. Painters and media artist pretty much make this their way of seeing most things most of the time. If nothing else, it teaches one to really see the world as it is, not as we may think it is.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 07:00 PM

TIA - My problem isn't with people who are doing science. Not at all. I applaud their efforts.

My problem is with chauvinistic but ill-informed individuals who simply hate religion on principle for some reason (generally due to some kind of negative experiences they've had with it...or just due to the fact that they're not themselves inclined to BE religious), and who insist on regarding it as the antithesis of science...but whose own knowledge of science is so fragmentary and incomplete that they don't have much business quoting it as their supposed authority.

It seems to me like the ignorant attacking the ignorant for being ignorant...or the pot calling the kettle black. ;-)

The people I am most impressed by are those who understand and respect and appreciate BOTH science AND spiritual philosophy and have found a way to integrate the two so that knowledge can be found through combining both of them.

And there are a good many such people. Instead of wasting their time trying to find the stupidest and most prejudiced people on the OTHER side of the supposed divide in order to justify their own prejudice, they are doing something productive by realizing that there IS no real divide between science and spirituality when you take them to the higher levels of understanding. That's the path of wisdom, seems to me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 07:37 PM

"...no real divide between science and spirituality when you take them to the higher levels of understanding."

And that high level of understanding....you will be sure to point it out for those of us who can't 'quite' manage the path on our own?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 07:53 PM

I don't know about LH but I do not believe anyone can point out that path for another person. I believe we each must find our own. Of course there are plenty of people out there who, for an exorbitant fee, will offer to help. "Nobody else can do it for you" but the odd hint or example might be helpful. "This I know experientially" is, for me, about all that counts - after all the reading and talking, etc. That is where I stand.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 07:57 PM

Of course, Dorothy... I am merely tweaking LH about our differences over whether there IS such a place and the language used to discuss it.

(we have been at this for 6-8 years.. *grin*)


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 09:34 PM

Hey--I taught LH everything he knows!! I'll do the same for you if you can pass the qualifications exam. His was a book of blank checks, but it varies with your figure aura.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Riginslinger
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 09:45 PM

"Elsewise, stop making a fool of yourself."


                  What, and let you have the stage all to yourself?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Slag
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 10:13 PM

It has been said that experience is not only the BEST teacher, it's the ONLY teacher.

LH, isn't it amazing how we usually fit our own paradigm for wizdom? All those who agree with me on that point, I salute you as ALSO being very wize.

PS I HAVE Spellcheck


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Mrrzy
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 12:19 AM

If people would just work together, we would be AS gods!


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 12:56 AM

A wonderful wonderful Wiz he is,
If ever a wiz there was, he is
Because because because because becaaaauuuuse
Because of the wonder woz he haz!

Yatatatatatatummmmm!



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Riginslinger
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 08:49 AM

That's it! God was uncloaked in 1935.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Mrrzy
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 09:52 AM

OK, then, since nobody's voting any more, who wants to do the tally? I gotta go see Mom (managed to break the femur in her "good" leg and the shoulder blade in her "good" arm right after her 80th birthday...) but I'll check back...


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 10:22 AM

""Elsewise, stop making a fool of yourself."


                  What, and let you have the stage all to yourself?
""


No SENSIBLE answer then? I thought not.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 01:12 PM

Hi Don,

You ask:

"1. Where is this massive body of evidence located.
2. How precisely does it achieve the impossible task of proving a negative.
3. Who are the learned scientific geniuses who produced and tested this evidence.
4. What credentials can they produce to back up the credibility of their research and conclusions."

1. The massive body of evidence is that there is no evidence for a god at all. Only cultural delusion.
2. As you say, negatives can't be proven. It's a logical fallacy.
3. There are some scientists today who are testing the legitimacy of a god. This is what the Dover trials were about as well as was the Scopes Trial.
4. I think that in the scientific community, there is a consensus that among the more
educated and well-developed scientists, since there is no evidence to support a god,
there is a general lack of belief.

Since as you say, there is no proof of a negative, skepticism is healthy here. Otherwise
you enter the realm of delusion. You can will the earth to be flat if you are so inclined but
this flies in the face of the perception of scientific data.

Now here is one of the reasons that religion is dangerous.


http://crooksandliars.com/john-amato/pastor-drake-prays-obamas-death-im-not


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 01:24 PM

Religion, metaphysics, new-age ideas, and even certain political philosophies enter into
the realm of untested, unscientific speculation. In my opinion, Stalin, Pol Pot and Hitler
were religious in the application of their belief systems. They were not true atheists.
The subscribed to a "religious" ideology, each in their various beliefs.

Faith is used to justify abominable acts of humans one to another. Does this disqualify
faith as an agency for good? I think that the overwhelming evidence that faith has been used to perpetrate atrocities at worst and bullying ideologies at best indicates that the damage done by religious faith outweighs the good it purports to have.

The question to be answered is faith useful to being a good person, a moral person,
and a socially-conscious one. Not if the preponderance of its use is to outweigh the
good behavior of mankind.

I was for some reason unable to make a blue clicky of <
http://crooksandliars.com/john-amato/pastor-drake-prays-obamas-death-im-not>
but it bears looking at.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 02:25 PM

Here's the blue clicky to the evil Pastor.

I think it would be wise in our secular haste to differentiate between genuine and perverted variants of religion.

Buddha's advices qualify as religious script, as do Lao-Tze's, and many other writers on matters of the human spirit.

The Pope's opinion on condoms, on the other hand, is a small sample of the perversion of what is a natural human approach to mystery. And while there is a great deal of mystery still to uncover in the realm of space, energy and the cosmos and microcosmos, there is even more to be uncovered in the realm of thought, being, and the delicate web of energies involved in making dreams and data and understandings. Right, Horatio?

Let us not drink bathwater, but let us not throw out babies, either.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 03:16 PM

Got that right, Mrzzy! We would definitely be AS gods if we could all find a way to work together in harmony.

Slag - Well, yeah. ;-) But I have met people whom I considered to be wiser than myself. Not too many, admittedly, but a few here and there.

(I might add as a caveat that I have met a simply vast number of people who have knowledge or information or practical experience or various types of skills that I do not...and even some who were better looking than me! (joke)...but only a few whom I definitely felt were a good deal wiser than I am.)

What I have learned from Amos is...umm...well, I learned about the word "frisson" from Amos. And a couple of other rare and sophisticated words too. He has frequently reminded me of the old phrase "I swan!" (which is not about the bird) What a guy that Amos is, eh? He's like a walking thesaurus. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 03:23 PM

"And while there is a great deal of mystery still to uncover in the realm of space, energy and the cosmos and microcosmos, there is even more to be uncovered in the realm of thought, being, and the delicate web of energies involved in making dreams and data and understandings." Wow, something that makes sense to me!

But who is determining what is or is not "religious" writings.

LH: Please define "wisdom".


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 03:24 PM

If all you have learned from me, you varlet, is a few worn old words, you have been sadly lacking in proper attention, and are a poor study indeed.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 03:40 PM

Noun
religion (plural religions)

A collection of practices, based on beliefs and teachings that are highly valued or sacred.
Rather than being diligent and mindful of the way he practiced religion, he chose to stir up quarels by ridiculing the manner in which others do.

Any practice that someone or some group is seriously devoted to.
At this point, Star Trek has really become a religion.

Any ongoing practice one engages in, in order to shape their character or improve traits of their personality.
Our ideological and traditional heritage.
If you examine various churches throughout the world, you will find religion expressed in diverse ways.

[edit]Usage notes

Generally speaking, certain groups that do not acknowledge the existence of one or more deities, such as Buddhism, are still religious, though some people prefer a definition of religion that discourages non-theistic groups from identifying as religious. Others are in favor of a more inclusive definition of religion that recognizes that everyone has their own set of religious beliefs. Avoid calling religious institutions that should be called churches, religions.




The pursuit of spiritual truth, IMHO, is the common denominator of all definitions of religion, whether theistic or not.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Slag
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 04:50 PM

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom." BTW that's not original with me. "Those who have ears to hear, let them hear." Also not original with me. "Fear" in this case means having the respect for a ruling monarch who has the power of life and death over you.

OK. That's one take on the subject. A word to the wise is sufficient.

There are computers and people who have stores of knowledge much greater than I but that does not make them wiser than I. Wisdom really begins with knowing one's self. It involves absolute honesty with yourself, knowing what your strengths and limitations are, not biting off more than you can chew and not taking the backseat to anyone when it matters the most. It involves being able to assess the reality of any given situation. It involves having a firm foundation under you, a good roof over you and more than one escape plan. It's knowing how to play poker and win and it's knowing how to leave the game alone. It's knowing that you don't swim against the rip tide but in a right angle to it.

It 's being able to understand what a metaphor is and what it is telling you, as above.

It is about keeping your own counsel but also recognizing that no one lives unto himself (Usage Panel?).

It's knowing that Spellcheck is not always right.

With regards to science it's knowing that ego is not part of the method; that when you are wrong, you are wrong. Science may hold the key to much knowledge but not ALL knowledge.

The word "know" gets heavy usage in trying to describe wisdom. A wise person is knowledgeable but a knowledgeable person is not necessarily wise.

I could go on but those with wisdom are probably bored by now and those without, well, they were lost from the beginning.

Lastly, a wise person does not go on at length about THEIR wisdom. Sometimes the wisest thing to do is show yourself the fool.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Riginslinger
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 05:39 PM

"No SENSIBLE answer then? I thought not."


                That's right! You didn't!


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 05:46 PM

We all have our own definitions, Dorothy. I guess my defintion for wisdom would be:

* great knowledge of life, combined with great love and compassion * (and that goes with emotional maturity)

Great knowledge in the absence of great love and compassion can be quite dangerous.

In regards to those people I've met who I felt were wiser than I, they usually had greater knowledge, greater love, and greater compassion than I have, and I could see that in them. This made them people I naturally wanted to be around and learn from.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 07:42 PM

LH: OK, but I do not believe worldly knowledge enters into what I would term wisdom, or does it?
As per Slag who went on about it but finally came to:
"A wise person is knowledgeable but a knowledgeable person is not necessarily wise." THAT I can accept. To me, the most real knowledge is that which is eternal and comes from the inner depths of a "wise" person.

Religion/religious- Amos: That is, of course, a long way around and, I believe begs the question in the end. But at least I understood your words! Not sure, at this point, I care anymore. I am about to dump "religion" and "the American Way of Life" in the same basket - myriad definitions, too numerous to be meaningful?

Back to your pontificating, folks. I recognize the fun you are having. Endless and circular - almost.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 07:57 PM

Slag has expressed it beautifully. No, I wasn't talking much of worldly knowledge (memorizing a great many facts), but of inner knowledge about life itself...knowledge of, as you say, "that which is eternal".


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: robomatic
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 08:41 AM

Enjoying reading "The God Delusion" by Dawkins.

Just sayin....


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 08:55 AM

I did enjoy reading 'The God Delusion', 'robomatic'. A bit 'extreme' perhaps (?) - but then it was countering thousands of years of extremism!

I think that the most valuable lesson that it teaches is that religion is not above criticism.

I was accosted in the street, the other day, by some evangelicals. In the course of my debate with them I suddenly realised that what had prompted this particular 'crusade' was writers like Dawkins and Hitchens (author of 'God is not Great' ... if you thought Dawkins was extreme, just try that!). They even appeared to have softened their position on evolution. I suspect that at least one of those books was 'bang on target'!


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 11:44 AM

Hitchens in particular does more harm than good with his "hit 'em over the head with sarcastic disparagement of religion until they see reason" type of approach.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 12:11 PM

Well, people who are intent on hectoring everyone else in the world into believing the same as they do about something often cause more harm than good, don't they?

This is true of religious prosyletizers. It's true of anti-religious prosyletizers. What would happen if you put Pol Pot and 1500 of his most faithful atheistic followers on an island with the Ayatollah Khameini and 1500 of his most faithful Shiite followers? ;-) A lively old time, I should think.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 12:28 PM

Amos, I think it's important to show how so-called "moderate" religion enables extremism.Sometimes it's difficult to separate them.

Dawkins is not Hitchens. Hitchens likes to fight whereas Dawkins is a humanitarian who
is interested in reason. Hitchens would prefer to keep religion as something he could bat around through argument but Dawkin's goal is to enlighten the public as to the ethics of science and the contribution of Darwin and to lessen the need for religion.

L.H., Pol Pot had his own "religion" going so I think you would be hard put to find much of a difference in oblations between him and the Ayatollah at least in their obeisance to dogma. The same "dogma" could be applied to Stalin and Bush. All this dogma resulted in human atrocities.

I think what could be written on US currency is "In Dogma We Trust". (It would be an improvement over the 1954 edict by a minister).

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: robomatic
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 01:04 PM

More of a book about mathematics and religion:

Naming Infinity


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 01:13 PM

Strinsinger - You are dead right about Pol Pot having his own dogma and "religion" (an atheistic and materialistic religion in his case). I myself have made that point many times in threads here.

It is my opinion that all fanatical political credos ARE in fact forms of secular religion. They follow the same psychological patterns of unquestioned authority, hierarchical command structure, and strict obedience to dogma that fundamentalist religions do.

As for the motto on the US dollar "In God We Trust", it's totally appropriate, because the dollar IS God in the USA. Think about it. What do people devote the most loyalty and attention to? What lies behind every big political iniative? What is the strength of every effective lobby and power group? The dollar. It IS the dollar that America trusts and serves and the dollar is America's ruling God.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: robomatic
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 03:07 PM

Communism was certainly a state religion in the now defunct USSR. I visited Leningrad and will never forget the heroic depictions of Lenin and Marx, including a small iconic 'shrine' of Lenin, backlit, at the end of the hotel corridor, exactly like a depiction of Christ. Not to mention his wax-like body on display next to the Kremlin, similar to gilded saints in the Vatican.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 03:13 PM

LH: LOVE that last post! Such a good laugh. Thank you!


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 03:19 PM

Little Hawk said, in part:

there IS no real divide between science and spirituality when you take them to the higher levels of understanding.

Please explain what is meant by "the higher levels of understanding". Agreeing with your viewpoint?

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: GUEST,Paul Cookieless Burke
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 04:15 PM

Nothing you'd understand Dave.Or me, or anyone else blinkered by the need for some sort of supporting "evidence".


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 05:49 PM

Uncle DaveO, I'm always hoping to meet someone who is at a higher level of understanding (about anything at all) than I am...and I do meet such people. If I met Mark Knopfler, for example, I believe he would be at a much higher level of understanding about guitar playing than I am, and I would pay close attention to anything he could show me.

If you want an airtight definition of "higher level of understanding" that will automatically identify it at ALL possible levels, I can't provide it. I'm not at at high enough level of understanding myself to be capable of that. ;-)

Just find your own definition of the concept and I'm sure it will work for you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 08:01 PM

"Just find your own definition of the concept and I'm sure it will work for you. "

Kinda like Humpty Dumpty?

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor less."

It's very comfy to have everything so vague and subjective, but it's the philosophical equivalent of cotton candy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 08:03 PM

""1. The massive body of evidence is that there is no evidence for a god at all. Only cultural delusion.""

Come on String. I expect that level of incompetence from Rig, not from you.

Find me one reputable scientist who will state that absence of evidence FOR a theory is objective evidence against it.


""4. I think that in the scientific community, there is a consensus that among the more
educated and well-developed scientists, since there is no evidence to support a god,
there is a general lack of belief.
""

So they decide that in view of the lack of evidence FOR such a being they don't BELIEVE in its existence.

They do NOT say it doesn't exist. To do so WOULD be UNSCIENTIFIC, which has been my point all along.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Slag
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 08:49 PM

I hate to pick up String's cause but wasn't "ether" postulated because scientists of the day could not imagine a wave being propagated without a medium? It is what wasn't there that they finally discovered, thanks to the Michelson/Morley experiment. From there, physics took a quantum leap, you might say.

By way of analogy an artist will often use negative space to imply the object of the work. It's everything around the subject and what is NOT there that defines the object. Alas, I can use this same analogy to portray God, so grains of salt all around.

And Stringsinger, any extremist for any cause will attempt to use moderates as patsies or buffers or promoters or whatever they feel will advance their ideology. Marxs called them "useful idiots". It seems that extremists of every stripe have both contempt and plans for someone of more moderate views.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Riginslinger
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 09:39 PM

Let's see, a few posts back I tried to make the case that science can be supported by fact, and religion cannot. I was told that the cat who started this thread "wasn't talking about religion, he was talking about god." But the name of the thread is Science and Religion, so how about this:


    "'1. The massive body of evidence is that there is no evidence for a god at all. Only cultural delusion.'""
    "Come on String. I expect that level of incompetence from Rig, not from you."

                  There's a massive body of evidence that religion is only cultural delusion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 09:53 PM

Well, there is no question that myths, legends and icons are cultural delusions, or at least cultural artifacts trying to symbolize something a bit beyond words.

But there may be a baby still in that bathwater. Let us keep looking, at least. It is probably just as harmful to say ther eis nothing there than it is to say there is somethign there and give it false names, attributes, and attachments not natural to it.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 11:21 PM

Bill, you are mistaking my goodwill toward Dave for fuzzy thinking. ;-) Uncle Dave-O decided to be nasty and sarcastic to me and imply that I respect only ideas and opinions which are identical to my own. I decided to be friendly and noncombative in return rather than hurling a similar barb back at him. And that's really all there is to it. I like a world with many different ideas and opinions being expressed.

If, however, you want a deeply serious dissertation from me on what I mean when I use the phrase "higher levels of understanding" in regards to science and spirituality ....and I really doubt that you do...well but if you do, just say "please, pretty please", and I'll do my best to try and come up with one for you.

But keep in mind, Bill... My knowledge and abilities are necessarily limited. I may not be able to totally satisfy your requirements or your expectations.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Riginslinger
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 12:20 AM

"But there may be a baby still in that bathwater. Let us keep looking, at least. It is probably just as harmful to say ther eis nothing there than it is to say there is somethign there and give it false names, attributes, and attachments not natural to it."


                   I would be willing to go along with a continued resolution to determine if there is, or is not, a god, if the people who are so completely deluded into thinking that there is one would keep it (him/her) out of public policy decisions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 12:44 AM

But, Rig...divide and conquer is the name of the game! Surely you don't expect the mass media and the great partisan powers that be to resist golden opportunities to set the public at each other's throat over divisive stuff like this? Surely you don't expect them to be reasonable and seek mutual understanding and look for ways to get people to agree with each other on much more important matters! How else could they generate the vicious process called "multi-party elections" without crap like this to fight over? And how could they get their supporters all excited and mindlessly partisan without crap like this to fight over?

I ask you... ;-) You must be opposed to the $ySStem as we know it!!!

If so....hey!...I can relate to that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Riginslinger
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 12:52 AM

Yes, Little Hawk, I do oppose the system you talk about. But an informed people would not be so easily duped--in my opinion--so those of us who consider ourselves to be responsible citizens must do something to get the truth to the people. Having only two parties to deal with, however, makes things very easy for the manipulators-and-the-users.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Slag
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 03:32 AM

Rig, would you consider it evidence that throughout the entire history of modern man he has been a religious creature? Everywhere he has been he has left evidence that he worshipped something greater than himself. Idols, icons, pyramids, temples, music, scripture, grave markers, on and on, all evidence of a god.

So if religion or god or God is a delusion then perhaps Mankind is delusional from the get go. Or maybe you it's you, who is in a minority, that is delusional.

The fact that there are those who come along and deceive believers and manipulate them through their religious practices is NOT evidence that there is no God. That is only evidence that there are deceivers and gullible folks among us. If money is your religion what, then, is Bernie Madoff? If love is your religion what is the streetwalker? The examples are endless but it remains that there is a vast preponderance of evidence that people everywhere worship that which amounts to a supreme being.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 04:50 AM

""I was told that the cat who started this thread "wasn't talking about religion, he was talking about god.""

I had an idea that you were so sure of your own rightness that you hadn't even bothered to read the whole of this thread.

Now you've confirmed that.

I DIDN'T START THIS THREAD!

So much for YOUR cleverness.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 05:01 AM

""But an informed people would not be so easily duped--in my opinion--so those of us who consider ourselves to be responsible citizens must do something to get the truth to the people.""

Whose truth?.....YOURS?

Your carefully thought out and considered opinion that anyone who disagrees with your theories is deluded and in need of education?

What proof can you offer of your capabilities which would support your assumption of intellectual superiority over a bunch of people about whom you know next to nothing?

The only thing that stands out in your responses on this and other threads is your supreme arrogance.

When I feel the need to learn, I will choose someone who is Qualified to teach, and learn from him/her. Meanwhile my opinion is as valid as yours, or anyone else's.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: John Hardly
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 07:12 AM

I think DonT has put his finger on, and done a good job of exposing the memes that what passes for "science" these days has used to build a tremendously seductive, but also terribly illogical thesis.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Slag
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 07:21 AM

Excellent Don T.! Opinion passing as fact is sometimes rampant in these threads. I Love Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's line in One Sherlock Holmes story. To paraphrase, as I don't have the work before me, "mediocrity recognizes nothing but itself: talent instantly recognizes genius!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Riginslinger
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 08:40 AM

"I had an idea that you were so sure of your own rightness that you hadn't even bothered to read the whole of this thread."


                            I see. You just use the same call letters.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 10:02 AM

Slag commented:

Rig, would you consider it evidence that throughout the entire history of modern man he has been a religious creature? Everywhere he has been he has left evidence that he worshipped something greater than himself. Idols, icons, pyramids, temples, music, scripture, grave markers, on and on, all evidence of a god.

I would point out that it is equally true that throughout the entire history of modern and ancient man there have been powerfully persuasive and highly influential doubters.

I recommend to you a wonderful book called Doubt: A History, 1965, by Jennifer Michael Hecht. She goes back to ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, India, China, and brings it up to date. I learned a great deal about the history of philosophy and religion in both ancient and modern times, including and cross-referencing such fields of thought as the Cynics, Stoics, Hinduism, the history of Judaism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Christianity, and coming up to very modern thought, such as that of Tillich, Buber, and countless others.
An enthusiastic recommendation!

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 10:14 AM

Throughout human history, and apparently human pre-history, there have been many examples of individuals who, confronting a contest of wills, emotions, or resources with another human, found the solution of choice to be violent eradication of the other.

From the pre-historic skulls with ax marks in them to the ashes of the Federal Building in Oklahoma and the fried corpses of 9-11, we as humans have a long and glorious record of returning to the truth that nothing solves a problem quite like killing other humans.

To argue that this is not the case is to fly in the fast of millennia of human thought and dispute the consensus of millions over the centuries. How could anyone,t herefore, be so wrong-headed as to argue against the selective use of violence against your own species?


(Pardon the sarcasm, but the opportunity was irresistible.)

The popularity of theism (mono-, poly- and pan-)is no argument in its favor in a tribunal of truth. Neither is the popularity of pure materialism a supportive argument for its correctness. Authority (scientist or priest) is not an argument. The thing must be decided on its merits, and because of its highly phenomenological nature, probably by each individual for himself.

Ain't nobody else gonna walk it for you.
You gotta walk the lonesome valley for yourself.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: wysiwyg
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 10:36 AM

I started this thread. It's about curiosity-- something I am sure God and Science share, but in this case, my own. :~)

The instructions for my request for individual responses to my questions are contained/clarified in my first several posts. Altho I find the "debate" of some interest, my time to follow all the brilliant thinking is quite limited, and I am still eagerly hoping to see more responses in the form I outlined in my posts.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 10:38 AM

Bossy broad, you, Sooze!! :D



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 10:43 AM

"How could anyone,therefore, be so wrong-headed as to argue against the selective use of violence against your own species?"

Virtually every government on Earth seems to be in agreement with that proposition, Amos! ;-) What else are they building armies, navies, and air forces for?


Quite aside from that, however, your closing statements are quite correct, and deserve to be repeated, I think:

The popularity of theism (mono-, poly- and pan-)is no argument in its favor in a tribunal of truth. Neither is the popularity of pure materialism a supportive argument for its correctness. Authority (scientist or priest) is not an argument. The thing must be decided on its (own) merits, and because of its highly phenomenological nature, probably by each individual for himself.

Ain't nobody else gonna walk it for you.
You gotta walk the lonesome valley for yourself.

****

I am in complete agreement with that. Each individual must decide for himself whether he wants to be a materialist or a person with spiritual beliefs or someone who embraces both materialism AND spiritual philosophy. He must decide for himself whether he defines himself as an atheist or a Christian or a Muslim or a Buddhist or a Taoist or a Jane or a Parsee or a Jew (religiously speaking) or a Wiccan or a Satanist or a free thinker or someone who believes absolutely nothing at all (strictly theoretical concept...I've never encountered anyone who believes nothing at all).

And once he does decide it, whatever it is...fine. He has decided it for himself. Not for anybody else. Not to force upon anybody else. Just for himself. Period. And that's okay.

As I've said again and again, I enjoy living in a world of many beliefs and viewpoints. I much prefer it to a world where everyone thinks in lockstep according to a single creed. Such a world would be stultifying, paralyzed in its thinking, and probably quite oppressive.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: John P
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 10:48 AM

Don T: Find me one reputable scientist who will state that absence of evidence FOR a theory is objective evidence against it.

Uh, Don, find me a scientist that would call something a theory that has absolutely no supporting evidence. In order for a theory to be proved wrong it has to rise to the level of being a theory in the first place. Go back to the King Kong analogy. You can spend all day saying that that King Kong exists, and pointing out that lots of other people think he exists, but until there is some actual evidence you won't get much traction. What you are saying is that anyone could dream up any idea at all and claim it as a theory. Fortunately, the real world doesn't work that way. The idea that someone saying something is true and then calling it a theory has the same logical content as someone creating a controversy over Intelligent Design and then saying that since there is a controversy over over it we ought to teach it in the public schools. Stuff and nonsense!


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 11:16 AM

Susan: It seems to me that much of this pontificating could have been avoided if you had defined what you mean by religion. You did not do so; you left the field wide open for all these guys to have fun.

I, broadly, cast my vote for science AND religion - whatever that is - based on the idea that each has a place. Most humans (probably all, by the broad definitions of religion given herein), regardless of their view of religion, have some form of "religion" even as they participate in work/research which is clearly and honestly absolute science.

Using the broad definitions of "religion" given in this thread and the most absolute definition of science, there is a meeting place for most if not all people - a place where the two intersect. For those who have that intersection, wherever it may be, it is a positive for each individual. I refuse to bend my mind around anything more specific than that.

"this is my simple religion. there is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness."
hh dalai lama


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 11:32 AM

A parallel dualism could be drawn up pitting kindness against insight, with equally senseless results.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Mrrzy
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 11:41 AM

What I prefer to say than "evidence that there are no gods" is "evidence that anything you might think was done by gods, wasn't." Like evolution instead of creation, the historical record that the "golden rule" was around looong before the bible or any of its current manifestations, etc.

But I'm with WYSIWYG - let's go back to the voting, or at least tally what we've gotten. The other stuff is really thread creep, of which I am also guilty.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 01:29 PM

Well of course the golden rule was around long before the Bible ever was, Mrzzy! ;-) Moral concepts and other ideals pre-exist any specific book that is written about them...

And as for things being "done by gods"....well, that can be anything at all. It does not pre-suppose having to choose between 2 stark alternatives such as creationism and evolution. One can just as well suppose that evolution itself is a mechanism of natural selection created in the first place BY a god as one can suppose anything else about it. It's strictly a matter of opinion...and conjecture.

Things (theoretically) created by a god do not have to happen in one minute or seven days or with a blast of heavenly trumpets. They do not have to violate what we think of as the "natural laws". They do not have to be in the nature of what people usually call "miracles" (extremely unusual or inexplicable events). They can just as well be normal natural events happening over a period of a trillion years. It all depends on how they go about happening, doesn't it?

And it's a matter of opinion whether or not a god or gods were involved.

I understand, Mrzzy, that you are objecting to seemingly quite unscientific Bible stories like that of the Great Flood and Noah and the Ark (although that could be a greatly exaggerated tale of one man and his family who rode out a very large flood that killed everyone else in their locality, and who saved a few animals with them on a boat or raft they had built...such stories are found in other ancient cultures too...not just in the Christian Bible...and they're obviously about some other "Noah" in some other part of the world...maybe at the same time period...maybe not.).

Yes, I understand your objection to the literal beliefs of fundamentalists in unlikely tales. For sure.

But so what? It doesn't prove anything one way or another about what a hypothetical "god" may have done...since a hypothetical god can theoretically put in place things like evolution and natural selection.

I do see much evidence which suggests that some of the old religious tales are either fabrications....or parables...or metaphors...or exaggerations of natural events that occurred. I don't see any evidence that conclusively stands as proof that there is no god. It's not possible to secure such evidence unless you INSIST that the "god" you are speaking of must meet the stringent limitations of your or someone's specific definition of "god"...period. And why must that be?

Just because there are some superstitious people out there who have a primitive idea of "god"...it doesn't necessarily follow that an actual "god" has to match their primitive idea, does it?

But it would be convenient for you if it did...because then you could be all the much more certain that "there is no god!" ;-) And that's what you want. It would give you satisfaction.

Note: I'm not arguing for or against the notion that there IS a god. I don't know if there is such a being or not. I have no final opinion about it. I sort of doubt it, frankly, but I have no final opinion about it.

I do tend to believe in Spirit (that there is a spiritual reality and an afterlife for all living beings)...I just don't necessarily believe in a "theos" (meaning a separate creator-God-being who rules over it all). That seems unlikely to me. However, I'm in no position to categorically deny it...because I don't know.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: plnelson
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 01:51 PM

It's science -VS- religion because they are epistemological opposites.

I'm a member of the American Assoociation for the Advancement of Science and I've been a science geek all my life.

Science is truth with a lower-case "t". It's PROVISIONAL truth. It's the best truth we can come up with at the moment based on our best data and models.   But it could CHANGE. A better theory, or a new observation, or a clever experiment might upset the applecart.   

And that's OKAY.   It's happened countless times throughout scientific history.   It's how science advances.   It's why we can do quantum encryption and quantum tunneling now even though Einstein pooh-poohed God playing dice, and spooky action at a distance.   It's why physicists today are all excited about "dark matter" even though that might upset LOTS of applecarts!   Scientists think new ideas are cool and exciting.   No intellectually-honest scientist can fail to acknowledge that some core belief he has MIGHT turn out to be wrong. And that's OK.

Not so much religion.   The basic premises of the world's major religions have not changed in centuries.   The idea that some test or experiment might disprove some basic religious truth fills them with horror because religions think of truth with a capital "t" - not subject to change or disproof.   If a Christian believes that Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected a few days later and will return again, this is NOT subject to debate or experimentation.

A scientist can convince the rest of the scientific community that he's right if he has good data and a solid theory.   But put a Christian, a Muslim, and Jew together in a room and there's nothing any of them can say or do to convince the others.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: plnelson
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 02:16 PM

Just a follow-up on my last comment.   One way to think about why science and religion are epistemological opposites is that good scientific theories have to be falsifiable; the major religions have no concept of falsifiability.

Even really basic "laws" such as the laws of thermodynamics or of motion are falsifiable.   But things like the resurrection of Jesus or the writing of the Qur'an, or the tablets on Mt Sinai are not falsifiable, or at least no authority in those religions would say they are.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 02:24 PM

PN:

Thanks for your lucid commentary.

However there is nothing inherent in religion in principle that makes it an epistemological antonym to science. If one were to begin to explore spiritual phenomena with a firm grasp of heuristic logic, the results would be complementary to the usual intellectual efforts that fall under the rubric of science. But this is not the case with authoritarian religion anymore than authoritarian science, such as that which ran Semmelweiss out of town in disgrace or rejected Harveys lectures to the academy on circulation (to name two famous examples) constitutes good science.

Unfortunately, most religions, certainly in the west, belive in getting organized, freezing their doctrine and becoming dogmatic as soon as they can (usually within the first generation after the death of the visionary who starts the discussion). This, IMHO, is a sorry state of affairs. But it is not a reflection on the subject itself per se as much as reflection on the foibles of man as an inept social engineer.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 02:31 PM

Excellent contributions, if I may say so, 'plnelson'!

I think that I may have put it a bit more crudely further up the thread:

"A religious person tends to believe that all of the 'answers' are contained within an ancient, sacred text whereas a scientist can only attach probability statements to the outcomes of even the most well-designed and careful of experiments.

To sum up: religious people are certain, scientists are uncertain.

And to be really contentious: religious people are often full of pride in their certainty whereas scientists tend to be humble in their uncertainty."


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 02:39 PM

This is another example of confusing babies and bathwater, though. Your understandable reaction against religious mugwumpery -- authoritarian smugness, doctrinaire certainties, unwillingness to sustain a dialogue--is not (as I said above) a reaction aginst the general basic nature of religious thought, but against what happens to it after it falls into the hand of manipulators and advantage seekers.

THis is like declaiming against the subject of statistics because the local numbers racket has been cooked by Mafiosi miscreants.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: plnelson
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 03:39 PM

Unfortunately, most religions, certainly in the west, belive in getting organized, freezing their doctrine and becoming dogmatic as soon as they can

I don't think it's an east -vs- west thing.   I'm not aware that the major eastern religions have a body of knowledge that has shown any particular progress over recent centuries.    Like the Protestants in the west, eastern religions such as Hinduisn and Buddhism have a propensity to divide up into new sects when they disagree over doctrine, rather than settling it by deciding which doctrine is better by some test they agree on.

One point about science is that, because it welcomes ideas and data that undermine the status quo, as long is it can be shown that those ideas do a better job of explaining whatever the issue at hand is, it demonstrates continued progress.   So science today can describe and model stuff with far greater precision and completeness than science of 50 years ago. And likewise science of 50 years ago was way better than science of 100 years ago. Etc.   And this progress has been across the board - physics, chemistry, the life sciences, environmental science, astrophysics, etc.

Are there any religions that can demonstrate that they have their theological domain more right today than 100 years ago?   I'm willing to accept the idea that what I'm saying only applies to the large organized religions if you can show us even a small organized religion that can demonstrate objective progress in a theological or spiritual domain (e.g., a more accurate description of their deity/-ies, more predictive prayer, better spiritual powers, etc).


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: GUEST,Paul Burke Cookieless
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 03:46 PM

pl has a point there, all you cognsent of the transcendent- how DO you decide if your version of uber-religion is better than, say, a cracker fundie's?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 03:58 PM

Fundamentally, a piece of information is as valuable as it can lend evaluation, weight, alignment, etc. to other data. If someone comes up and asserts that God is a gigantic turnip, the datum has very little value. It sheds no light on anything. Some other datum, such as the idea that all life forms have certain common denominators to their behavior such as self-determination and the achievement of survival, (assuming such a datum matched individual experience) would have a lot more value.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: plnelson
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 04:08 PM

THis is like declaiming against the subject of statistics because the local numbers racket has been cooked by Mafiosi miscreants.

If the only examples we had of statistics were criminally-cooked numbers then that might be understandable.    But it's easy to find. statistical data that are accurate and useful.   Which is why I asked for a good demonstrable real-world counterexample on this topic.

I'm an old hand at this debate and I've taken on tougher crowds than this, so I'll tell you what the canonical counterargument to my position is (just to keep this interesting)   The pro-science argument is based on the premise that, given two theories about reality, the theory that can be shown to be more accurate, or have better predictive power, and which is more consistent with other data and models, is to be preferred, i.e., it is the one that represents progress.

The counterargument is that there is no basis for that assumption. That it's biased on my part to assume that just because a theory works better by accounting for the data and making better predictions, that we should prefer it.   Stephen Colbert once said that "reality has a liberal bias", and one might paraphrase here by saying that "reality has a scientific bias".   But there are serious thinkers who take the position that such a bias is just that: a bias, a value judgement.    A lay person might call this "ignorance is bliss", but there are some pretty serious thinkers who given that serious consideration.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 04:28 PM

plnelson....

re: " But there are serious thinkers who take the position that such a bias is just that: a bias, a value judgement."

We have had exactly that claim made here in some of these discussions over the years. I have been *told* that my 'favoring' of logic & science was "just as subjective" as their favoring of some metaphysical or religious or 'extra-sensory' explanation of various phenomena.

It has gotten so you can almost predict who will show up with a certain viewpoint as soon as certain issues arise.
(And we do have a real mixture of viewpoints....some of whom accept 'X' but deny 'Y'...and most of the other capital letters.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 04:55 PM

plnelson, you said: "The basic premises of the world's major religions have not changed in centuries.   The idea that some test or experiment might disprove some basic religious truth fills them with horror because religions think of truth with a capital "t" - not subject to change or disproof.   If a Christian believes that Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected a few days later and will return again, this is NOT subject to debate or experimentation.

A scientist can convince the rest of the scientific community that he's right if he has good data and a solid theory.   But put a Christian, a Muslim, and Jew together in a room and there's nothing any of them can say or do to convince the others."

You are absolutely correct IF you are referring to fundamentalist and dogmatic individuals IN the various major religions. However, not everyone in the major religions is of that mindset. A great many are not...and they ARE willing to debate all of the above assumptions and beliefs you mentioned, and they do have the humility of the scientist, and they ARE open to new ideas.

So your objection to religious thought is based primarily on an objection to the most hidebound and rigid forms of religious thought...and I object to it also...but not to religious thought as a general subject.

Then there are the millions of free thinkers who do NOT belong to any specific religion and yet they do believe in something spiritual. They also do not fit your definition regarding a dichotomy between religion/spirituality and science.

It would again be convenient for the purposes of your argument if everyone who was religious fit your expectations of what "religious" people are supposedly like, but they do not. Many of them are just as willing to embrace change as are the scientifically minded. In fact, THAT is why religions change over the centuries...the reformers in the religions insist upon change, and part of the reason they do insist on it is that they believe it ought to be in accord with known science, known evidence, and reason.

This is not (in my opinion) a debate in which to secure victory for one side or the other, plnelson. It's a discussion. So let's see what we can discover together through discussion rather than fighting a battle for exclusive supremacy here. What say to that?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Slag
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 06:03 PM

As stated much earlier (by me, I think) science has a good argument going for it because it works! However some use the same argument for their religion or God. What is sad in both cases is that many, a vast many, use such a view of science or religion or UFOs as a basis to STOP THINKING! Or to not begin thinking in the first place.

pln hit a big nail on the head when he said that many religions can't wait to set in stone (I paraphrase) their doctrine upon the demise of the founder. There are some, though much fewer examples, of those who will not let go a defunct scientific theory.

I am a believer but I have never stopped learning and thinking. It amazes me that so many so-called believers cannot perceive (conceive?) of their God having a greater understanding than they. Their God is only large enough to fit their particular view point on things. To me, science is the discovery or the attempt to discover HOW God did it; how it all works together.

This seems to be a perennial "hot topic" below the line, here at the 'cat and I have comptemplated beginning a thread with an interesting point of view. The only problem is, that it will readily lend itself to humor and the serious aspect would never emerge. I'm working on it. It would be something along the lines of "What would you do if you were God?" After all, we are the most god-like beings of which we know within time and space. In Psalms 82:6 (YWHW speaking)"I have said 'Ye are gods; and all of you (are) children of the most High." Jesus cites this in John 10:34 and states that the Scripture cannot be broken. Whether you are a believer, doubter or antagonist go with it for a little serious thought. In what way are we gods, or god-like?

In a similar vein, Oscar Wilde said (again I paraphrase for the same lazy reason) We are all born kings but most of us live out our lives in exile.

In regards to doubters and especially doubters who have suffered at the hands of "believers" let me say this. True faith cannot exist without doubt. That is precisely why Kierkegaard described faith as a leap (into darkness/unknowing). I would submit that those who become militant about their religion or "faith" have little or no faith to begin with...only religion. They do not have enough understanding or their god is so limited that the only way they/He can cope with the opposition is to do violence. It is all about THEIR power and ego. This makes them and their God, or at least their understanding of their God, very limited.

Some scientists have suffered ridicule and shunning from their own colleagues also. Doubters. Some were so far advanced in their understanding that they were ostracized by the mundane hacks who had power and position. This is one of the reasons why I said earlier, that ego really has no place in science. That's true for religion also and virtually anyone who has every had an awe-inspiring religious experience will tell you that ego was the farthest thing from their minds at the time.

Well, I DO go on, don't I? I try to stay out of it and just read, but I seem to be afflicted with the same bug as the rest of you. Fortunately, with dial-up it keeps taking longer to load the thread and eventually the weight (WAIT) of time will tip the balance in favor of other threads, other pursuits.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Mrrzy
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 06:45 PM

Actually, that is a gross oversimplification of my state of knowledge, Little Hawk, as you well know from prior conversations. You don't have to have a primitive idea of the supernatural to notice that all the actual evidence from science demonstrates that the natural suffices to explain any phenomenon once assumed to be mythical. It is not even slightly a matter of opinion. But again, I think in *this* thread we should go back to tallying.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: plnelson
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 06:47 PM

So your objection to religious thought is based primarily on an objection to the most hidebound and rigid forms of religious thought

But as I said to Amos - show me an example of where some religion has changed its core theology because someone convinced them that there was a better theological model.   

N.B. that I'm talking here about something core to the theology, like the nature of the deity (-ies), life after death and other bedrock stuff.   Religions change all kinds of other things - liturgy, ordaining women, positions on slavery, gay marriage, etc, in accordance with social conventions of the time.   But the core tenets of the major religions haven't changed in a thousand years.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 06:48 PM

"A parallel dualism could be drawn up pitting kindness against insight, with equally senseless results."

I was not setting up any dualism, nor pitting anything against anything. Science has parameters which change as new information arises. Religion is totally individualistic in my estimation. And, frankly, Scarlet, I no longer give a damn. I know where I stand - at the moment and for most of my life, basically. The rest of you can pontificate for the rest of your lives for all I care. Words are poor substitutes for... I won't go there. Those who are there understand; those who are not are probably content where they are. No one is right or wrong, IMO. I respect where each person is BUT I am tired of the words, words, words!!!! I shall try very hard not to even look here again, even in curiosity to see "what they are up to today."

I appreciate that some people love this kind of word play. For me, endlessly playing with semantics gets to be a bore. Go for it!


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 06:52 PM

The counterargument is wholly anthropomorphic; while it is true that science is biased toward reality (it hinges on an agreement about pervception of results, and agreement about logic in making conclusions from results) reality is biased toward neither science nor religion. If anything it is biased toward survival in a broad sense, as far as life-forms are concerned.

It is odd, but I believe there is some scientific evidence that self-selected religious beliefs (not those shoved down one's throat) correlate with longer survival, statisically. I would have to hunt around to find the paper from which I recall this, and memory could be wrong.

Let me add, PnL, that I appreciate your clarity and articulateness, but I don't give a hoot if this is your first or one thousandth foray into this discussion. We've had them a dozen times on this site alone. There is no more force in an ad meum argument than there is in an ad hominem one.

Little Hawk has argued that money is a religion-like subject, and elsewhere has argued that the logic of science is religion-like in its adherents, but I think this is just slipshod semantic foolery. The differences, in terms of what we do to get information, how we evaluate data, and how we accept data, are quite palpable.

I suppose you could run up a case like this: religion is the pursuit of truth about spiritual matters; all beings at some level are spiritual entities; therefore anything that grabs there attention is a spiritual quest. It was on such a line of reaosning that I founded the Temple of the Golden Globes, for those whose Quests led them to meditate on mammary glands. It is entirely a specious line of reasoning, as far as the topic is concerned. It might have some ultimate Truth hidden in it but not one that would stand up to logic.

Which brings us to Bill's point about science. Within the perception-and-reasoning machine of the human perspective, certain process of seeing and thinking are pretty much thought of as common to anyone using a normal language system.

Science has built on this accepted mode of transaction since the day of Galileo's first lens and E pur si muove." But I think anyone who has even begun to master Godel, Escher, and Bach will perhaps acknowledge that there is a self-referential aspect to the dialogue. Phenomenology which stands outside the vocabulary is easily said to stand, also, outside the realm of those things which can be sensed, measured or experienced by skeptics practicing hard science, and this, in turn, is a self-fulfilling assertion. To conclude from this neat barrier that the phenomenological events often described (enlightenment, out-of-body experiences, telepathy of various degrees, remote viewing, non-local perception and so on) are outside the range of possibility, to be dismissed because their communication is of the wrong hue, is close-minded in the extreme. Scientists of one sort kind of relish that condemnation because they think they need to be close-minded in the skeptical sense in order to be true to their epistemological creed. This is comfortable, if self-serving, for them.

It is not, however, a step toward truth, as such; it is only a step toward scientism. It makes of science a kind of categorical imperative which, in an amusing twist, can be said to betray its own highest goals.

To put it more simply, science is a way of knowing, but it can become rootbound and undermine its own purpose by rejecting alternative ways of knowing.

I am reminded of the story of Mark Twain whose wife decided to teach him to stop cussing so much. She walked into his billard room and let out a stream of the foulest cussing she could muster. He looked at her with great amaze until she finished and then told her calmly, "The words are all there, my sweet, but the music is missing." (Or words to that effect).

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: John Hardly
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 07:08 PM

heh. Amos said "articulateness".   heh.

::nods::


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 07:16 PM

DOrothy:

I don't believe my remark was aimed at you; more towards those who insist on making an inusperable division between these highly semantic distinctions.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Slag
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 09:37 PM

OK Susan, I answered the first part "Yes" because in reality it IS both "and/vs".

The points of contact are that these strange bedfellows, along with philosophy are attempting to answer what are commonly called the ultimate questions: existence, origins, destination and what is the unseen part? Religion, in part, fills the gaps of unknowing and often attempts to calm the fears of those frightened of the unknown. It also helps serve as crowd control. It ALL involves reaching beyond our given sensual limitations and discovery.

The language we receive from our progenitors tends to reflect the spiritual and religious. Some of this language gets modified or recast to fit improvements in our collective understanding about the nature of things and the world.

Sciences, hard sciences, are devoid of ethical consideration. Anthropology, philosophy and religion do a much better job at establishing moralities and ethics. Medicine is described both as a science and an art. As a science it might be interested in preserving life if understanding life were the focus. The motive of easing pain and life preservation draws from a sense of community, love and the needs and rights of society's individuals. Russia and Germany in WWII demonstrated that medicine does not necessarily HAVE to have the ethics which we most value today. It got along fine ( for a while) without such emcumberance where the Jews and Gypsies, Blacks and other minorities were concerned.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 06:08 AM

I have already stated that my vote is for AND.

Sorry to perpetuate the unwanted drift, but I really can't let the following pass unanswered.

""Uh, Don, find me a scientist that would call something a theory that has absolutely no supporting evidence. In order for a theory to be proved wrong it has to rise to the level of being a theory in the first place""

There is exactly the same amount of evidence FOR as there is AGAINST.

In a universe which tends toward entropy, the degree of order which surrounds us is sufficiently curious to validate the concept of a guiding hand, and therefore I would claim that my suspicion that there MAY be a God constitutes a viable scientific "theory", until such time as SCIENCE is able to PROVE an alternative.

That, we are constantly told by self proclaimed (sometimes genuine, sometimes far from it) scientists, is the way science works. Unless of course the results conflict with their desired outcome.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Riginslinger
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 10:17 AM

So, if one were to have a vote, how would it be conducted? How would it be counted?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: John P
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 10:49 AM

Gosh, Don T, you are actually postulating Intelligent Design and putting it forth as a scientific theory! Wow! You really don't get science, do you? Or logic, either, with your statement that proving a negative is desirable or possible.

Here's the thing: there doesn't have to be any evidence against the existence of God, anymore than there has to be evidence for or against the existence of anything anyone could dream up. An example: given the degree of order that exists in the universe, I postulate the existence of a giant computer located in the center of the moon. It keeps gravity working. Please show me the evidence against this. Another: given that the universe is composed mostly of big balls of flame floating around, it seems obvious that Satan punched a bunch of holes in the cosmos so the flames of hell could leak into our reality. Again, please disprove this or admit it might well be true.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 11:02 AM

Of all the possible explanations for anti-entropic vectors in the universe, I would submit that a giant Hand in the Sky is probably more improbable in discovery and useless in explanation than many others, right up there with the notion the universe as a cheaply-made hologramic projection being run in some two-bit pleasure dome on a back street of the Xenigorbian city-ship of Ban'driangeroffian for the entertainment of substance-abusing octopods who are the real denizens of the real Universe. But, wait!! If that's so then....oh, wow, man....


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 11:23 AM

plnelson said, in part:

But as I said to Amos - show me an example of where some religion has changed its core theology because someone convinced them that there was a better theological model.

No surprise there. Those who become convinced of a "better theological model" don't get along (again, no surprise) with the conservatives of the religion, so they move out (in a group or singly), leaving the conservatives in possession of the group identity as "Church of the Pluperfect God" or whatever. The ones who changed join someone else or found their own church/religion under another name. So the perception is that the church hasn't changed, and indeed it hasn't; it has exported the change, as it were.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 11:48 AM

Not to put to harsh a slant on it, it must be acknowledged that life shows highly ordered, anti-entropic structure, while matter that is not involved with life, shows a fondness for entropic decomposition. I fully appreciate the temptation to view this as an indication that there is an additional life-force element (call it God, call it elan vital, call it phlogiston) but this is a temptation, not a theory.

There is a lot of literature in the last few years on the subject of self-organizing systems and how new orders of complex order can emerge from a group of elements who are operating only on a small set of rules and a very large number of transactions. THere are also some interesting studies on the emergence of amino acids from combinations of pre-biotic life.

So even though the idea seems very counter-intuitive to me, I am interested in seeing how the physical science boyos do at filling in the bits of this puzzle. They are not there yet, and bear in mind they are only explaining the most primitive stages, hoping the Grand Complexity of Evolution will take care of all subsequent stages.

Life forms from clay and gas seems a bit of a stretch, but then I think about some of the people I have met, and it doesn't seem all that far-fetched... ;>)


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 12:11 PM

"pre-biotic life" should read "pre-biotic chemistry", since pre-biotic life is a self-contradiction. That's life for ya!


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 12:37 PM

Many of the scientific advances in the last 1000 years were "counter-intuitive" in their day. ;>))

And even when some 'scientists' are SHOWN results that differ from their pet theories, they resist change. Fred Hoyle never did give up on the "steady state universe".

It's .....ummm.... not surprising that those who espouse certain theories outside the realm of most modern physics can hold on to THEIR pet ideas with less fear of being 'formally' shot down.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 01:18 PM

Excellent point, Bill. Yes, even some of those in the science community will sometimes cling to their own pet theory in the face of evidence which strongly (even conclusively) suggest they are mistaken...and they will go on clinging to it one way or another...because they will put a different interpretation on the evidence.

Why do they do this? Well, for the same reason that people cling to their own viewpoint in any theatre of human thought: they have grown emotionally attached to their own viewpoint, that's why. ;-) To ever change it would be to admit they had been WRONG! (gasp!) This they will not do.

One finds this attitude even more, needless to say, among religious fundamentalists of all kinds since they are free of having to deal with any actual evidence of a verifiable sort. Their "evidence" is normally the text of some ancient books or the past traditions they are attached to. That's not really evidence for much of anything at all (though it is interesting in its own right)...but it does carry a powerful emotional charge for those who are attached to it, that's for sure.

And it's the degree of emotional charge that determines how tenaciously the person will cling to his favorite viewpoint, in my opinion.

Then too, it also depends on how insecure he is. If he (or she) is quite insecure, then all the more tenaciously will he or she defend a favorite viewpoint and refuse to alter it no matter what. He may also presently stoop to the pointless tactic of personally insulting and attacking those who have another viewpoint. At the deepest emotional level of insecurity, he may even begin to want to humiliate or destroy them in order to hammer home the fact that he is RIGHT and they are WRONG!

That is the unpleasant engine driving the most contentious threads on this forum and it will drive them to literally thousands of posts... ;-)

Anyway, it can be fun if you like to talk, and most of us do...and if you don't lose your temper or your sense of humor about it while you talk.

Everyone would do well to ask themselves now and then: Am I talking here in order to communicate with others? Or am I merely srguing in order to conquer and win? And which would yield a better result? And why?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 01:22 PM

"srguing"??? Well, I meant to type "arguing".


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 01:52 PM

"...and if you don't lose your temper or your sense of humor about it while you talk.

I've heard that's true....


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 03:03 PM

Yup. ;-) It is.

You should see how short-tempered the dachshund gets over differences in doctrine.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 03:03 PM

WHen William Harvey took to dissecting circulation systems and lectured to the London Academy that the system was pump, valve and tube in nature, he was flying in the face of accepted wisdom --decreed many centuries before by the Greek Galen -- that circulation occurred in tides which were flavored by humors. Harvey caused a huge controversy and one old stalwart of the academy (possibly Theodore Baronius) is reported to have exclaimed "I would rather err with Galen than be right with Harvey!".

I don't know if this story is apocryphal or true, but it loudly illustrates the point about new paradigms looming up in the face of entrenched ones. Truth is much harder to swallow when it requires you to give up what you already believe.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 03:15 PM

I think it was Russell who described "The eternal tragedy of science--the slaying of a beautiful theory by an ugly fact"
Religion, essentially, is a belief system. Science, essentially, is a technique for learning. Peaches and Pomegranates.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 03:16 PM

The remark about preferring to err with Galen than to "believe with Harvey" is attributed by Amita Lal Sircar, writing in the Calcutta Journal of Medicine in 1908, to one Riolan, a follower of Hippocrates and Trousseau. Presumably this is Jean Riolan II (1580-1657), a Court Official to the French Queen Mother and physician to Henry IV and Louis XIII.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 03:54 PM

One of my less explicit points in this thread is that discarding religious phenomenology as merely "beliefs" is to ignore the range of experiences included among them, some of which are potentially of great human value. Categorical dismissal is arguably a disservice to the world of ideas. The problem, of course, is weeding out the kinds and degrees of such phenomena.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Riginslinger
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 05:19 PM

One of the advantages, of course, is religion serves to congregate most of the child molesters in one place, so they can be rounded up with fewer paddy wagons.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 05:34 PM

I think you will find the MAJORITY of child molesters are non-attenders, Rig. It's just the most shocking ones that appear in the clergy because of the expectations they promote for themselves.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 05:54 PM

Ah, yes, those terrible RELIGIOUS people! They're sooooo awful! It's also handy, Rig, to know that all Irishmen are drunks, all Jews are greedy degenerates, all women are illogical hysterics, all Blacks are dead lazy and want nothing more than to sit in the sun and eat watermelon all day, all Republicans masturbate while watching old John Wayne movies, all Shriners are pedophiles, and all Indians walk in single file and say "Ugh!" and "How!"...

It makes it so easy to decide who the undesirables in society are! ;-)

*(I trust that the above post will be taken in the very sarcastic spirit in which it is intended and not quoted later out of context by various unscrupulous heathens who have no shame whatsoever...)


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: frogprince
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 06:43 PM

In one place? That doesn't quite make sense, Rig; I know there are lots of churchs around, but the world is nowhere near so covered with churches as to force all the non-believers, who do all the child molesting, into one single place to be gathered up.

Of course that statement is scurilous and totally unreasonable. And of course your statement wasn't.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Riginslinger
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 06:50 PM

"I think you will find the MAJORITY of child molesters are non-attenders..."


                      Maybe non-attenders, but non-believers? I wonder!


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 06:56 PM

""Everyone would do well to ask themselves now and then: Am I talking here in order to communicate with others? Or am I merely srguing in order to conquer and win? And which would yield a better result? And why?""

OK pal, After you.

Try asking yourself "Am I talking here to communicate with others? Or am I merely pontificating to express my feelings of superiority, and my disdain for the lesser denizens of this domain, who seem unable to grasp the wisdom of my deathless prose?

Don T


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: frogprince
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 07:01 PM

Were there any realistic way to check the percentages, I would be willing to make a substantial bet; I don't think you would find anyting close to a significant correlation with belief or unbelief. I don't think that sickness like that is any respector of nominal beliefs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 07:12 PM

"...discarding religious phenomenology as merely "beliefs" is to ignore the range of experiences included among them, some of which are potentially of great human value."

Sure, Amos... but there is so much buried in the corollaries to that 'truth' that we could spend days drawing out the threads.
I think the main point *I* would make is to note the tendency of many to see everything as black or white--- and thus to accept or reject every idea instead of just pondering some. And of course, there are experiences which are of "human value" which are neither true nor false, but simply .... experience... something that expands our 'consciousness' (which some of us define a bit differently)


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: John Hardly
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 07:27 PM

"Religion, essentially, is a belief system. Science, essentially, is a technique for learning. Peaches and Pomegranates."

And there are SO many belief systems who sincerely believe that they are science, express this mistaken belief in their disdain for religion and other belief systems, all the while oblivious to their own unscientific nature(s).


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 07:42 PM

Amos-
I'm not "dismissing" belief systems--I think that some belief system or other is essentiol to human existance, even if it's a belief in a purely mechanistic world.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 08:02 PM

The odd thing is that science always occur within a set of beliefs; but at least in principle they are beliefs subject to review and re-evaluation under the right conditions.

A simple example is the belief in the qualities of space. At one point it was a vapor from the gods; at another, an aether-rich box in which the Creator cast the universe; at another an elastic vacuum torqued by mass. There really is not yet in existence a bottom-line satisfactory characterization of it. Most of us are happy to work with the version we get from our habits of perception and our bodily filters, which makes it appear more or less boundless, contiguous, permeable and so on. A different approach might argue that (as some of the ancient Greeks speculated) it was a projection of viewpoints. You would think such a deep question would have been more directly contested over the centuries. I raise it just as an example of a sort of bounding belief within which all sorts of science can proceed without examining it.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: John Hardly
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 09:17 PM

I think we like to systematize knowledge for two basic reasons.

1. so that we can learn more and remember more of what we learn.
2. so that we can feel better about the stuff we don't know.

As to the second: We seem to take comfort in the feeling that if something was important enough to be worth our time to learn, it would or could have already been systematized so that we could learn it. This notion itself is (somewhat comically) circular. In other words, implicit in the probability that something worth knowing would already be systematized is the notion that even systematizing is systematized. And it is. But some systems are more accepted than other systems.

And systems sometimes seem to be sort of like a project of assembling a multiple part puzzle. Often we work for a very long time, can tell we're nearing the end, and then we realize there's a piece or two left over that can't be made to fit externally, but rather might require starting over. But the project LOOKS complete (if we can but find a way of hiding or destroying the evidence of incompleteness – those leftover pieces).

And in real life, when it's not just a puzzle, but rather, a real bit of evidence that just maybe the system under which we've assembled all of our knowledge, such as to hold it all conveniently usable, has a weak spot or two, we may be under even greater pressure to hide, or hide from that evidence.

Maybe it's professional pressure. Maybe our employment is with a system manager (so to speak) and further investigation of weak spots may not just rock the boat, but throw us overboard.

Maybe it's age with its alternating smugness and weariness. One day we're pretty content with our choice of system, and quite comforted by our surety that our system is better than their system (carefully making such comparative assessments while purposely avoiding the alternative systems that MIGHT challenge our smugness). And the next day, we're just too tired to even think about starting over with a new set of assumptions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Riginslinger
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 09:41 PM

Spoken like a true Asperger's candidate!


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: 3refs
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 12:53 AM

I listened to an interesting program recently that discussed the soul. What was it, where did it reside and so on. The usual suspects all had their opinions, including those who professed it did not exist at all, and that it was invented by those who believed(or hoped)in something beyond our earthly existence.
One of the more insightful commentaries came from a neurosurgeon who had operated on a woman. The procedure included dropping the patients body temperature and stopping the heart to repair a torn blood vessel deep in her brain. She had no brain activity and was clinically dead. One of the attending nurses in the theatre, discussed at length her impending wedding. After all was said and done, and quite some time later, the patient, after recovery, asked about the nurse and her wedding. What is important here is she had no contact with this nurse before or after the operation. She was able to retell much of what was discussed during her operation. The doctor explained that as she had no brain activity(flat line), and her core body temperature was much below normal, this was impossible.
Now as much as I understand the brain and how it works, this makes perfect sense to me! What was left out of the conversation was the chemical interactions that go on in the brain. Dopamine, adrenaline and so on.
I don't know where my soul is. I certainly hope I have one. So until I know different, it will be in my heart!


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 01:24 AM

Rig's an old friend of mine, Don, and we've shared some good laughs over stuff here on the forum. We often agree, and sometimes we disagree. I think he can take a little satire from me without taking it too seriously and getting bent out of shape over it. He knows perfectly well that I think he has an emotional hangup regarding his unrelenting hostility to religion...and that doesn't throw him off balance one bit. We've discussed it numerous times before, and it hasn't caused either one of us to think ill of the other.

When it's from me to Rig, Don, it's banter. If it was from me to someone else, it might not be, but from me to Rig, it's banter.

I put in the disclaimer about the sarcasm at the end mainly to fend off the odd very literal-minded visitor here who might imagine that I actually mean the things I said there about various groups of people. You never can tell what people will think.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 01:26 AM

And..................300!


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Riginslinger
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 09:58 AM

"You never can tell what people will think."

                   But if you're gunna have a meaningful discussion, folks gotta be able to say what they think.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Mrrzy
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 10:17 AM

Tally - ho?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 01:26 PM

THe story you report supports the model that a soul is not something one has, while being a body+mind machine. Rather, the soul is who you are while having a body+mind machine.   My own opinion is that this model goes a great deal further in explaining a lot of fringe phenomena (such as the experience of the woman in your story). Her story, BTW, is fairly typical of the class. The ones that are really appealing are the "sneaker on the window ledge" variety, in which a patient had an OOB experience under surgery and reported floating up outside the window and seeing an old sneaker (trainer) on the ledge above the window in a place she could never have seen it physically. The existence of the sneaker as well as the fact that she had never been on the upper stories or the roof of the building were included in the story.

A story of this sort does not lend itself to hard-core scientism, in that it cannot be readily replicated, and the variables are too many and subtle to make for good control.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Paul Burke
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 02:14 PM

She had no brain activity and was clinically dead.

She clearly wasn't dead, as proven by the fact that she recovered. Hence her "death" is irrelevant to any concept of "soul".


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 03:00 PM

The term "clinically" may have escaped your attention, Paul.

It reflects the fact, I suppose,that the boundary conditions between life and death are probably not completely understood.

I have known other cases where death was medically declared and thought to be indisputable, but was reversed anyway. The ones I have heard of all include an act of will or consciousness taken indepently of the body, often while watching the body from an exterior position with clarity.

You might also pursue some of the evidence ccollected by Moody and Kubler-Ross on the subject.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: John Hardly
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 03:02 PM

I never metaphysical
I couldn't be


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 03:31 PM

I never drank a metaphysic,
Never hope to drink one.
But I can tell you right enough,
It's easier to think one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Paul Burke
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 04:14 PM

The point I made is that all experiences which have been interpreted of presagements of an afterlife were made by living- often seriously ill, but not dead- people. Dying is NOT dead. It's only to be expected that a seriously disrupted system will give strange interpretations; hell, my DREAMS are queer enough. It's interesting that there may be some consistency between different people's expoeriences, but again, there are strong cultural reasons why this should be so- you are bombarded with instructions about what to expect from childhood onwards. Similarly, different cultures give people different expectations concerning a ghost's appearance and behaviour- and they see the ghosts they expect.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 04:59 PM

Well, your argument seems to be that regardless of all clinical criteria adopted by specialists, any instance of reversal hinges only on a misdefinition of the term.

This semantic loop, of course, completely closes the door on whether life outside the body can ever be demonstrated since by your argument the only real case of death is one in which no such evidence appears. Neat loop. But not rigorous.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Paul Burke
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 05:36 PM

I wish I had your time and stamina to post, but with limited time available, it's you who is settling for an arbitrary definition of death- whatever the best clinical practice of the moment says- and making it an absolute. I doubt if you'll find a medical professional who will be prepared to say that a clinical estimate of death is anything but a provisional statement- at least before more obvious signs, like decay, become apparent. People diagnosed as brain- dead sometimes recover after being kept in suspended animation on life- support for years. It's surprising, and a challenge to diagnostic procedures, but not to philosophy.

No, if they recover, whatever a diagnosis said, they weren't dead. Doctors can be wrong, you know.

Incidentally, it's why in my old age I tend to prefer funerals to weddings- the protagonist doesn't come back a couple of years later, saying it was all a mistake, they've changed their mind...


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: 3refs
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 05:43 PM

Thanks for your comments and enlightening me somewhat.
As I have said many times, I'd like think I'm a spiritual person, but I do have a bit of a problem with organized religion and some of the doctrine. The literal meaning of Muslim is "one who surrenders" or "submits" to the will of God. According to the Quran, those who submit to one God are Muslims. The Old Testament books of the Bible describe numerous struggles of the Jewish people and they're belief they are God's chosen ones. Buddhism has the four basic truths which kind of takes the fun out of a lot of things. The core of Hinduism is the belief in Brahman, the underlying universal life force that encompasses and embodies existence, but if you don't believe your reincarnated for eternity. Animism kind of gives life and souls to everything and connects the birds with the stones, which confirms what most people say that we're all made of the same basic stuff. I'll admit that if I was to be labeled, it would in all likelihood, be that of a Christian. I happen to like a lot of what Jesus had to say! I celebrate the holidays. I have no desire to delve into the dark side of things. To be honest, it scares the shit out of me!


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 07:39 PM

ROFLMAO!

Well, if you define the word as "irreversible" rather than clinical, obviously the whole subject is closed until someone comes back discarnate and starts borrowing your keyboard to type "You won't believe what happened to me today....".


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 10:53 PM

The Ontological Argument has been around for a long time. I don't personally see the importance of a "soul". It has no bearing on behavior or value systems. It is always assumed that a "soul" is a good thing. Why? You don't need one to be a compassionate and considerate human being. A "soul" is a reference to a theological concept that has no concrete basis in fact. It is Descarte's homunculus.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Paul Burke
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 01:55 AM

You're being either obtuse or deliberately so, Amos, which is dishonest. You can't take refuge in clinical judgement- which at best is state-of-the-art- to make a claim about the structure of the Universe- which is what a claim about a dual body/ soul complex is. As I've stated far above, the concept of soul-as-process does not violate any physical or biological concepts, and fits the phenomena at least as well as does the soul-as-separate-object model- though it also raises intriguing questions that science does not yet answer, or sometimes even address. There's s research opportunity for you.

If you want a separate soul, you need clear cases of separation. Near death won't do- it isn't death, infinitely less even than near-beer is beer. Yes- you really need the kind of communication with the dead- with a soul clearly separated from a body- that the Spiritualists claim, and whose claims have been so often and so thoroughly debunked.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 10:27 AM

Paul:

The definition of death used in medical practice is not disingenuous. It's the best they can come with for a definition.

"Soul as process" is a nice phrase. The implications of it are that the chemical and electrical ingredients of the nervous system are the entire source of thought, and awareness. Pull the battery and it all goes black.

There are some phenomena which it doesn't cover, though. Childhood memories of prior identities, remote viewing (where it has been validated), are a couple of items in the bin of relevant anomalies.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Mrrzy
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 01:16 PM

um, tally-ho?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Paul Burke
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 01:46 PM

If there were any validated childhood memories of prior existence, or validated remote viewings, I would not have any problem. There aren't.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 02:03 PM

Ah. But, I submit, indeed there are.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 02:10 PM

When you have such an experience personally, it's validated. But only for you, not for a skeptic. When a child clearly remembers a whole bunch of stuff he or she can't possibly know about a prior life and other people hear that info from the child and check it out, and it turns out to be correct, it's validated. But not for a skeptic. When someone dies on the operating table, has a spiritual experience out of their body, then comes back to life and tells people in the operating chamber things that the person saw from spirit...and those things are accurate and correct...it's validated. But not for a skeptic.

A skeptic already BELIEVES things like that simply can't be true. A skeptic has ironclad faith that such things can't be true. A skeptic is not impressed by anyone else's experiences or anyone else's testimony, because a skeptic already knows what is possible and what isn't.   (grin)

How does the skeptic know? Well, that's the question, isn't it? Godlike ominscience? Papal infallibility? Sheer brilliance?    Goodness knows, when you're as smart and well-informed as the average skeptic knows he is, the last thing you would ever question is your own absolute certainty, right?

That, baby....THAT is faith! Religions can only dare to hope that their own adherents will show faith of a similar level to that of the confirmed skeptic. The confirmed skeptic's faith is harder than a diamond. It is as a solid rock. It cannot be moved.

This is also true of the religious fanatic. I regard both the confirmed skeptic and the religious fanatic as being cut from the same cloth, psychologically speaking. They are an impediment to human progress, and they deserve to be pestered by each other.

The rest of us don't deserve to be pestered by either one of them...


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: John P
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 02:39 PM

Ah, yes, the confirmed skeptic. When I have been badgered into describing experiences I've had that can't (yet) be measured in a scientific sense, I've been asked to prove the reality of the experience to the skeptic. I've come up with a good response: "I don't feel any need to do so. I don't care if you believe me or not." They usually laugh and move on. The fact is, I don't even feel any need to prove it to myself. It doesn't really matter if the experience is "real" or just a artifact of brain chemistry. If it has an effect on my perceptions and understanding, it has it's own reality. Besides, artifacts of brain chemistry are real . . . .


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 05:29 PM

That's right, JohnP. Well said. One cannot "prove" the reality of an experience that does not leave behind any physically observable data nor should one be expected to prove it. Yet we all have many such experiences. We have them every day of our lives. We have inner mental and emotional and, quite possibly, spiritual experiences that ARE real experiences, but that do not leave behind any physically observable data.

As you say, it isn't about proving anything.

It's about not prejudging reality strictly on the basis of your own prejudices...and not prejudging others' experiences and perceptions of their experiences strictly on the basis of your own prejudices.

And that sort of pre-judgment of others is exactly what is done by both the religious fanatic and the anti-religious fanatic or the confirmed skeptic. They prejudge on the basis of their own prejudice.

My reaction to such an attitude is the same as yours: "When I have been badgered into describing experiences I've had that can't (yet) be measured in a scientific sense, I've been asked to prove the reality of the experience to the skeptic. I've come up with a good response: "I don't feel any need to do so. I don't care if you believe me or not."

Exactly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: 3refs
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 05:29 PM

All I want the skeptics to do is convice me, and you can!

The other side of the coin is, show me a miracle, and they have!


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 05:36 PM

Amos.. Paul Burke asked for validated instances of "childhood memories of prior existence, or validated remote viewings".

You state that there are.

I am sure there is equivocation on the idea of validated involved. There are 'unexplained' instances of such things, but when you accurately describe all the conditions, including who did the reporting and whether there was corroborating testimony and controlled environment, I doubt most of the stories would pass any severe scrutiny.
When we can design a test and control what is 'viewed remotely', and have something like two or more subjects pass the test, AS we monitor their condition...etc...etc...then we might get some data to seriously investigate.
There is so often this 'mysterious' element in reports, such as
'near death' and stories from children whose reports may be not only vaguely worded, but reported inaccurately by others.

So VERY many reports are hyped with the generalized - "Well, *I* can't think of any other explanation for such a strange occurance!"
Perhaps not....but often I can. It is not a matter of dis-proving strange experiences, but rather of them being totally convincing to the mass of us who seem to be excluded from actually having them.
(As Paul said above,"...my DREAMS are queer enough!". I'm sure 'almost' dying can do strange things to the synapses in the brain that make simple 'dreaming' seem tame.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 06:00 PM

Why is scepticism suspect? Is it because those who have had unusual experiences crave affirmation, the one thing the sceptic cannot provide? As a sceptic I can respect your understanding of your experience, but not necessarily share it. Surely no problem?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 06:00 PM

As to the reasonable concern:

"When I have been badgered into describing experiences I've had that can't (yet) be measured in a scientific sense, I've been asked to prove the reality of the experience to the skeptic. "

It's all in HOW you report these things. If you simply say "I had this strange experience and I wonder about it and what it means..", even *I* won't harass you! But when you suggest that it must BE true and that NO other explanation is possible...and often, that others who have NOT had such experiences should accept it and act in some way as a result, you do get resistance.

I would never assert that someone did not 'seem' to have the experience they report. But I am not willing to agree that you are the reinacarnation of Ghenghis Khan or that you were abducted by aliens or that we should evacuate Schenectady because you 'saw' it burning in your dreams. Yet...many believe everything Nostradamus and others said...

If it ain't the sort of thing that can be proved, be aware of how you present it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Mrrzy
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 06:38 PM

"When a child clearly remembers a whole bunch of stuff he or she can't possibly know about a prior life and other people hear that info from the child and check it out, and it turns out to be correct, it's validated. But not for a skeptic." Says a skeptic, if it were truly checked out and correct, there would be a publication about it, and I could believe the publication. I have no reason to believe anything unbelievable when somebody just says so.

"When someone dies on the operating table, has a spiritual experience out of their body, then comes back to life and tells people in the operating chamber things that the person saw from spirit...and those things are accurate and correct...it's validated. But not for a skeptic." Again, there are plenty of valid publications about people perceiving things they ought not to have been able to perceive, but which were indeed happening, and thus COULD HAVE BEEN perceived. I have no problem with that, all it means is that they weren't as dead as it was thought. People often lose their body perception but continue to perceive, and those perceptions appear to come from outside the body since they have lost the perception OF their body. No biggie, nothing to disbelieve. Nothing spiritual about it, either. It's just biology, again.

I am going to try to take the time this weekend and do the tallying.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: John P
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 06:53 PM

Bill, that's why I said "badgered" into talking about it. I generally don't talk about it at all, and never present it as anything other than a subjective experience. Skeptics that are easy about it are no problem. The problem is the ones who seem to take glee in somehow "proving" that these experiences didn't really happen. Oh, and I'm not talking about being the reincarnation of Ghenghis Khan or being abducted by aliens. I'm talking about mental states, visual effects, and spiritual realizations that come as a result of meditation. All that other stuff is just plain CRAZY! ;^)


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 07:01 PM

JohnP...even I KNOW that things like meditation can allow interesting mental states. I know that some Hindu & other practitioners can control even heartbeat & respiration with elements related to bio-feedback. I know that, with effort, calmness and heightened awareness can be achieved.....but these ARE natural occurrences and not the things really at issue...for me, at least... *smile*


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: John P
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 07:45 PM

Well, that's always been my point: these are natural occurrences that have been reported by people from all over the world and throughout history. The mental states can now be scientifically measured somewhat, but not the inner light or universal connectedness. Oh well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 07:46 PM

BillD:

You say "when we can" without researching what exists in the literature. It is easy to assert "no evidence" when what is meant is "I have seen no evidence, and I ain't lookin, either!"

I have posted various sources in the many discussions we have had about these border territories and what has and has not been observed there in.

One of the problems with the excessive skeptic approach is this line of reasoning: any report of evidence must be flawless, because if I can find some way in which it COULD be flawed, that proves that it WAS so!" This of course is nonsense, just as much as accepting purely anecdotal superstition is.    In matters of this sort, the actual probabilities have to be assessed even-handedly.

The girl with the sneaker is a case in point. It did not occur under clinical conditions. But the report was confirmed by independent observation. Go figger.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 08:07 PM

"...confirmed by independent observation."

I know....and that, to me, makes it "more unexplained" and interesting. The myriad of questions that can be asked are why I remain a skeptic... Has this person done anything like this before or since? If not..why not? Why a sneaker 'out there' and not a broken light bulb in the closet?

When we can have replicable instances, we can begin to sort things out.

"Go figger"... I went... I figgered... I wonder...I wait....

The phrase I prefer is "...if I can find some way in which it COULD be flawed, it needs more investigation."

It remains the case that the type of assumptions I would have to make about the very nature of reality in order to accept these concepts are way beyond what I can manage.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 09:58 PM

"I have seen no evidence, and I ain't lookin, either!"

That's it in a nutshell, Amos. ;-) That sums up the pigheaded attitude embraced by religious fanatics, anti-religious fanatics, professional skeptics, and stiff-necked, stubborn, prejudiced people the world over.

Every belief system contains some such people, sadly, and they make life unpleasant for the rest of us.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: TIA
Date: 19 Jun 09 - 01:47 AM

Actually, a true skeptic truly *is* still looking - always. Skeptics do not accept "it's a miracle', or "it's unexplainable". Skeptics keep looking for the undiscovered answer. That is not faith. It is a total rejection of faith. Why accept that we cannot understand some phenomenon? Why not keep on looking (lifelong even) for the explanations?

Refusing to accept "a miracle!" is not "faith" in science, it is the goll darn scientific method top to bottom. "Faith Free".

Now, I will completely accede that there are some people who won't or can't keep looking. But they are not true skeptics, and certainly not scientists. They are just bullhead stoopids.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Peace
Date: 19 Jun 09 - 01:52 AM

I can't find the joke thread. Figured maybe you folks could use a break.

A teacher was doing a study testing the senses (taste)



The children began to identify the flavors by their color:

Red........................Cherry
Yellow................Lemon
Green.................Lime
Orange...............Orange

Finally the teacher gave them all HONEY lifesavers. None of the children
could
identify the taste.

The teacher said, 'I will give you all a clue. It's what your mother may
sometimes call your father.'

One little girl looked up in horror, spit her lifesaver out and yelled,
'Oh my
God! They're ass holes!

The teacher had to leave the room!


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Jun 09 - 08:00 AM

Agreed, TIA. All intelligent (and unarrogant) people are eager to find the explanation for something and they will look for it.

This is because they have faith in their own powers of observation, intelligence, and perception.

It was the "bullhead stoopids" you allude to that I was referring to as being a problem in the world. Some skeptics ARE bullhead stoopids...and so are some religious people.

Then you have the intelligent skeptic and the intelligent religious person...both of whom are eager to find the explanation for a phenomenon and both of whom will look hard for the explanation, using their powers of observation, intelligence, and perception. Those people should be able to find much in common, and they should get along fine with one another. They have not been blinded by their own arrogance into thinking that they already know it ALL.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: robomatic
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 01:31 PM

My father, the nuclear physicist, had a succinct definition:

"Religion is the awe in which we hold our ignorance"

This comes off sounding like a put-down. BUT, I would add, it is actually a good way to approach a fluid phenomenon, as science peals away at certain areas, it allows religion to find itself in better places.

What business does The Church have with cosmology once Brahe, Copernicus, Kepler, and Newton has established the laws of Gravitation?

What business do the Fundys have with evolution once Darwin, Watson & Crick have made such progress with Natural Selection and DNA?

There are plenty of unknowns left for everybody to tackle, the reason we still have problems are not truly religious in nature, they are due to self serving and lazy people in power who don't want to shift themselves out of their comfy chairs!

The world needs iconoclasts in both the scientific and the religious spheres.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 02:28 PM

One of those still-to-be-understood zones is the nature of observation and awareness. How it seems to happen that observation effects quantum-scale events is a bit of a deep mystery. Even more so is how particles and energy could be held to account for awareness at all, at any but the most shallow stimulus-response level. And S==>R is not actually awareness, although it is used as a substitute when programming mindless systems to respond to circumstances the way an aware entity might.

The universe of thought, consideration, awareness, and intentionality has not been scratched by material science. There are several reasons, one of which is that material science is by its own premises, well, material. Another reason is that the majority of consciousness in this sector of existence has been so over-whumped by physical forms and the concomitant pains and overwhelms of force that it is pretty shaky on its own feet anymore. Thus, individuals who may have inklings of telepathic ability when safe and private become frozen lumps in the face of equipment and skeptical laboratory investigators. Thirdly, the substantive differences--the qualitative differences--between thought and objects have not been accounted for in most investigative procedures. THis makes it extremely tricky to set up any method of proof.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 02:53 PM

You know,,,I oughta be ashamed for doing this, but I really think everyone ought to know that all conflicts between science & religion have been resolved:
   I post here ONE part of hundreds of revelations by one "George Hammond", who fills a Usenet group with these for the benefit of all who are willing to listen....Enlightenment for all!

(yes- his website, mentioned at the end, will fill you in on the details.)



--------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, as a physicist, your WORST FEARS have been realized.

Yes, a scientific proof of God has been discovered.

You've always known that there was something "suspicious"
about Relativity... and you know that it has produced
more controversy than any discovery in history...
including A-Bombs, Black Holes and the Big Bang!

However.... these are mere "cheap thrills" touted by ignorant
physicists and astronomers to keep men from confirming their
more BASIC SUSPICIONS about Einstein's theory..... yes....
that Einstein's theory is actually the world's first proof of God!

In an amazing experimental discovery (Hammond 2003)
a US physicist has discovered that subjective reality is a
"curved version" of objective reality and this curvature
is what we call "God".... and not only that..... that the
experimentally measured curvature is EXACTLY described
by Einstein's curvature tensor G_uv...... in other words:

                         GOD = G_uv

Amazingly, this is due to the fact that the human skeleton
(as pointed out by Sir Richard Owen many years ago) is a
"Cartesian Machine". This causes the Cartesian cleavage
of the brain and thus links the curvature of subjective space
to the curvature of real space, and thus God to G_uv.
At any rate, the existence of "God" has finally been proven,
(and published in the peer reviewed literature) and soon the
insufferable ignorance of the scientists will finally be mooted
by the recognition that a scientific proof of God has been
found, and Science put back in uniform where it belongs.

You can read all about it here:
--
========================================
    SCIENTIFIC PROOF OF GOD WEBSITE
http://geocities.com/scientific_proof_of_god
   mirror site:
http://proof-of-god.freewebsitehosting.com
========================================


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 02:59 PM

..and if George ain't enough for you,this fellow can clear up all the rest!

He begins one Usenet post this way: "Dear citizens of England!
If you want to live, lock sir Hawking into a prison immediately. He
took part in the preparations of the global terrorist act."


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 03:44 PM

Invidious comparison as a form of logic? Dear Gawd, Bill, surely that is below you!!!

"These nutballs have wild ideas about God. These nutballs are loony. I have ideas about God. Therefore....I must be loony, too!"

That's a pathetically fallacious algorithm, old son.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 03:48 PM

Bill, it is a somewhat disingenous form of argumentation to sieze upon a few of the silliest possible statements you can find on one extreme side of an argument to imply that your side (the other side) is therefore the only side with something worthwhile to say about it... ;-)

I see people doing that here all the time.

Why not look for some common ground instead? Why not seek agreement on matters in common rather than pertuating old divisions and disagreements by quoting the most extreme positions you can find?

Note: Most politicians follow that same approach...they seek out the dumbest and most inflammatory and most unlikely statments of their political opponents with an eye toward stirring up controversy, ridiculing others, and giving people a chance to sling mud at each other. They figure that in this way they can "win".

Obama doesn't do that. He stays calm. He stays reasonable. He looks for common ground. He listens to both sides. He considers their viewpoint. He seeks compromise. He negotiates. He seeks win/win scenarios, not win/lose scenarios.

Obams acts like a grownup! How refreshing and how unusual!

That's why I like Mr Obama.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Riginslinger
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 03:53 PM

Sometimes Obama acts like a grownup, but the other day he said he is driven to his knees, at times, in order to grovel, mumble and search for non-existent answers.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 03:55 PM

I can't speak for his every moment... ;-) I can only say that his general level of behaviour is far better than what I usually see in politicians.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 03:55 PM

I take it that in this formless void of a forum, you cannot see my tongue placed so firmly in my cheek that I can barely pronounce my Welsh consonants.

ah, well.. I SAID I oughta be ashamed.....but now maybe I'm not.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 04:07 PM

To the contrary!!! Wallow in your shame, Bill. Suffer the torments of the damned in your mortification! (grin) I expect you to dress in sackcloth and ashes for the next 14 days and fast between sunset and sundown. Some self-flagellation wouldn't hurt either. Perhaps a hair shirt...


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 06:28 PM

...tried some of that. Hair shirt wouldn't fit over the sackcloth. But it did soften some of the self-flagellation.

(Can't wear all that to the benefit for Severn tomorrow anyway...may have to start that 14 days right afterwards.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: frogprince
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 09:01 PM

FertheluvaPete; I'm trying to believe that everyone didn't immediately realize that Bill D. posted that purely for a hoot.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 09:10 PM

I knew perfectly well that he posted it for a hoot. ;-) I've been sparring and bantering back and forth with Bill forever about this stuff, so I just thought I'd pretend like he was dead serious and keep the joke rolling along for a bit.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 12:28 AM

BEsides, it's a treat to catch him off his own base--let alone off ours--even if he did it on purpose!!


A


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Subject: Abrazos: Science and Religion
From: wysiwyg
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 01:35 PM

I said I would post my own thoughts about this, once, and this is that post. If anything in it is not clear enough to suit, please PM.

My interest in this topic was piqued by a "Cosmos" episode I saw a few months ago. When that US TV series was new, I only saw a tiny fraction of it. It is seldom re-run, but with the new DVR I thought I'd catch one when I saw it come along.

To paraphrase and summarize quite a bit, in that episode the host Carl Sagan vividly described his NYC growing-up experiences and how, as a boy one day in school, he found himself wondering about some things. That wondering sparked a lifelong interest in science.

The episode goes on to present his sense of the history of the development of the discipline we know, today, as "science," and how it is based upon wondering about things.

As he described it, though, it wasn't "wondering" in a cultural vacuum. He said that the beginning of scientific thought was totally a response to the corrupt, state-mandated spirituality of the time.

Then he traced scientific development through time. Pioneer by pioneer, he described the religious milieu of their times, and how their science rigorously set a direction-- in the opposite direction to any kind of spirituality.

And I thought, as I listened to a series of moving and evocative descriptions from an articulate and intensely curiosity-driven man, how sad it was that science had been born not of wonder alone, but out of wonder wounded.

I reflected for a long time how different our world's cultures might be if, instead of being anti-Anything, science had simply arisen without that need to first discard something else. I thought about how the development of science had, at its birth, discarded a whole LOT of areas to wonder about and investigate-- including its own prejudices and biases. I thought about how that is true of any discipline, because we are, after all, human beans.

I thought about how this particular set of biases had pepetuated themselves, as biases do.

I thought about the loneliness of the statistically few who reject the limits of biases and whose curiosity pushes them past the biases and the loneliness and the nay-sayers whose rigidity gives their own, innate curiosity a narrower field within to work.

Science.... Religion.... I thought about how, to many thinking people, there is no need to discard one for the other, and how much more interesting it can be to pursue one's curiosity without closing one door in order to open another. Doglike, I reveled in how great it is to stand in the crossbreeze, sniff the air, explore the clues to the source of the scent.... roll around in a good scent sometimes.

In that series of reflections as I washed dishes, ministered to many people in the normal course of daily clergy-family life, studied and welcomed an unfolding sense of faith-driven vocation, and continued learning about other things of intense interest-- somewhere, I lost any defensiveness about religion.

I regained a tremendous amount of curiosity and, as this thread reflects, one of the first things I was curious about was how a bunch of miscellaneous people might or might not still see science and religion as mutually-exclusive, rigidly-defined concepts.


This thread has satisfied that curiosity, pretty much.

It presents a wide variety of view and feeling. It demonstrates what happens when the question is asked. It offers a glimpse of the amount of competition such questions appear to provoke. I really had hoped for just a long, LONG series of answers to questions 1 & 2, but I knew, I think, how the thread would go, and it has gone pretty much as expected.

I thank you all for your posts. I plan to print it out and use a highlighter to grab the points that jump out at me for further reflection.


Abrazos,

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 03:03 PM

Good stuff, Susan.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: GUEST,TIA
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 04:18 PM

Nice that you came back and gave context. Very interesting. One comment (of course...)

I understand your point about science developing as an antidote to whatever dogmatic religious thought prevailed at a given time. One phrase caught my eye:

"...if, instead of being anti-Anything, science had simply arisen without that need to first discard something else..."

I think I know what you are saying, but as a matter of course, science is the very process of discarding previous ideas. In the old days, there was no difference between a priest (or some other rare learned person) and a scientist. So, the progress of science involved discarding previous ideas that were (at the time) thought of as inherently religious. Only very recently (couple hundred years?) have we separated scientists from religious people.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Paul Burke
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 05:12 PM

Much less than a couple of humdred years. Particularly in the biological sciences, right up to tyhe end of the 19th century, the clergy were predominant, as one of the few groups of people who had the time and independent means to study science. Gregor Mendel was a monk.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: robomatic
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 05:48 PM

I don't see any of this as a problem, Susan.

Before there were doctors, there were blood letters and shamans.

Before there was astronomy, there was astrology.

Before there was chemistry, there was alchemy.

The better part of nonsense is sense.


"When I became a man, I put away childish things."
Elmer Gantry, quoting something or other


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 06:15 PM

He was quoting a line out of the Bible, robomatic... ;-)

You're mistaken to assume that human progress has been a straight line climbing upward from ignorance to knowledge. It's had its hollows, troughs, and major setbacks. The Romans, Greeks, ancient Chinese, and ancient Egyptians were just as brilliant in their own way as anyone is now, and they came up with a lot of things that have not been improved upon since...plus some philosophical ideas that haven't been improved upon either. The main thing they lacked which we have was a powered engine (such as a steam engine, internal combustion engine, jet engine, etc...). This meant they had to do things with muscle power, pulleys and levers, and water power only. With those, they accomplished wonders.

We with our powered engines have polluted the Earth. Are we the wiser?

As for medicine, I regard the medical system of ancient China as considerably superior to the high tech witch doctors and drug-pushing practitioners that are in sway nowadays, but that's just my personal opinion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Mr Happy
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 10:15 AM

' Gregor Mendel was a monk. '

Yep, he definitely had his finger on the pulse!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 10:34 AM

In ancient times the science people and the spiritual philosophers WERE the same people. This was true in ancient Greece and in China, to give two great examples. They were the best educated people of their time, the most enlightened people of their time, and they made many great discoveries in the realm of practical science as well as being at the forefront of spiritual thought.

The main reason that religion later acquired such a bad name for being "unscientific" and irrational was the general decline in western civilization that followed the collapse of the Roman Empire. The Dark Ages were dominated by a Christian church that became mired in ignorance, authoritarianism, and gross superstition and that hurled itself into a lengthy war with an equally fanatical Muslim society.

There was eventually a reaction against all that in what is termed the Reformation, and the emerging science community in Europe saw themselves as in opposition to organized religion from that point forward.

And that is why we have the present disputes between people who imagine that science and spirituality are mutually exclusive...not because spiritual thought and science are naturally opposed to one another, but because we are still emerging from a particularly stupid and ignorant and bitter historical phase of 3 specific organized religions: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

They took it way too far one way with their ignorant authoritarianism. People attempting to exorcise the demons of our collective past are now taking it way too far the other way with their gross materialism and are throwing the baby out with the bathwater, as the saying goes. Man does NOT live by bread alone, and a civilization with no sense of spirituality is one that prepares its own demise, in my opinion.

People like Mao, Pol Pot, and Stalin are typical of the monsters that arise out of such a civilization. They are just as bad...or worse...than any religious fanatic that ever existed, because they have a religion all their own: gross materialism. Gross materialism leads eventually to a complete collapse in morality, because it is utterly devoid of compassion or mercy. It seeks only victory...at any cost.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: wysiwyg
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 11:04 AM

With my foregoing thoughts in mind, Hardi and I watched several more "Cosmos" episodes last night. I was so sad to see the number of definitive statements made that have, since it was made, become obsolete concepts. I was sad to see the continuing contamination of anti-religious thinking, even as the more generic term "mysticism" was uplifted.

I wish I could take Carl Sagan to lunch and ask him what's up with some of the internal inconsistencies he perpetuated in his own fascination with the wonder of our cosmos. I bet he'd laugh at how crazy science can get, because, like me, his curiosity probably kept him growing as his hair continued to fall out. :~)

I want to know it ALL. I don't want ANY biases in my way. Anytime I spot one holding me back I root it out as quick as I can.


That makes a Question Number Three: Does curiosity drive you like that, too, or are you more "fact"-driven, or both?


3. More curiosity-driven than fact-driven


~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Mrrzy
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 11:10 AM

Sorry, no time to do the tally yet, Mom is better but not enough for me to spend enough time at a computer. Will try for it again, though...


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 12:09 PM

3. More curiosity-driven than fact-driven

Definitely, within the context of the question. Facts, however, are only an intermediary convenience--they depend on frameworks, on how you leave out aspects of reality and what fits; they depend, also, on the way you choose to perceive or measure. Data structures are necessarily distorted because they reflect a partial slice of a moment and take it out of its full context in time. But withal, they arte useful tools to pose and solve problems with.

But the truly curious mind is always looking for the next paradigm or the new framework in which to built a more embrasive model of existence, and this is true of scientific people, philosophical people, technical folks, artists, and religious people. It is probably true, though, that you find fewer truly curious minds among those self-qualifying as religious people, I would guess.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 12:34 PM

TIA, at 4:18 PM above makes essentially the point I would make.

I would add a few things though.

It seems that there are different emotional/psychological responses to 'new information', whether the new stuff is cultural, scientific, linguistic, philosophical...etc.

When Copernicus said that movement of the 'heavenly bodies' could be explained without having the Earth at the center of everything, it took many years for that idea to gain any foothold, as it was clearly against church doctrine. Even when Galileo showed how it all made sense, he was roundly condemned and subjected to house arrest by church heirarchy.
   We can only guess at the reasoning (or lack therof) applied by the various individuals IN the authority. Some may have been totally unable to comprehend Galileo's points, and just assumed he was contradicting God's word for some nefarious purpose. Others may have seen exactly what it all meant and perceived a simple but serious challenge to their power. Gradually, the evidence grew too strong to ignore, and all but a few learned to adjust their Theological principles to make the new ideas 'fit'.

   This basic pattern continued...right thru ideas like Darwin presented and continuing to today with the complex theories of advanced physics.
    All thru history we have those (both scientists & theologians) who retain a basic principle that there was a "First Cause" for the Universe, and that this first cause was, in some way, sentient and controlled the process. Others were bothered by apparent contradictions and/or awkwardness in reconciling certain aspects of science & religion, and opted for a 'finer filter' for what they would accept as fact or truth....and usually, they also defined fact & truth as something that would be forever changing & evolving.

Religion, by its own basic nature, cannot allow certain basic precepts to change...else it becomes merely some odd brance of Philosophy.

So....as I said, TIA's point is about the only answer one can easily make to Susan's concern about "...if, instead of being anti-Anything, science had simply arisen without that need to first discard something else..."

Carl Sagan makes a strong point about " a response to the corrupt, state-mandated spirituality of the time."

What we...at least here in the USA... are dealing with is a situation in which Science is largely free to go about its 'business', without direct interference by some church authority, and churches which are largely free to pursue religious freedom without State interference.

(you note the term largely in both clauses? OBVIOUSLY, it is still the case that various forces in each camp try, with varying success, to affect the processes of the other!)

There are several points to be made:

It is certainly possible, with no flawed logic that I am aware of, for those of religious persuasion to say: "All these advances in science are wonderful...but I still can't wrap my head around the idea of 'existence' at all without assuming God as a 1st cause for it all."

It is also possible for those who have moved, emotionally & psychologically, away from 'needing' a religious explanation to say: "Just because there was at one time a " ... corrupt, state-mandated spirituality....", and that part of the world has now moved away from that, it does NOT follow that non-corrupt, non state-mandated religion is correct and free from errors of fact & logic."

   I totally understand the lure and power of thousands of years of Spiritual concerns as we finite and fallible humans try to fathom our existence by positing a relationship to something INfinite an INfallible.
I also understand those who wish to totally reject what they see as superstition and misguided foolishness and rely on personal and subjective 'rules' coupled with scientific explanations for existence.

   BECAUSE I understand the driving forces of BOTH camps, I keep writing, talking and suggesting that we MUST find a practical solution for the controversies that will allow everyone to proceed...within a defined set of rules.... in ways that (mostly) satisfy their needs.

Now....with that ambitious theory, what are the flaws? Well...it is still the case that it is essentially impossible to elect mnay major public officials who do not...at least formally.... subscribe to some religious doctrine, and usually a form of mainstream Christianity. Since adherents of such doctrine differ widely in their views and their tendency to insert their views into their political lives, we simply do NOT have any 'real' separation of Church & State....which means that we do not even have a separation of Science & Religion. No matter what 'science' advocates about certain issues...(you know many of them)... there are and will be politicians disputing them based on their desire to keep various religious concerns embedded in the regulations & statutes.

   and here we stand.... religion, if it follows its own beliefs & demands developed for thousands of years, must strive to influence various aspects of society, with some working harder at this then others....while Science, with its "follow where testable facts & hypotheses lead us" mandate tries to ....I have to say it....'discard' some things which it feels do not help.

I posted, on another thread, a picture of a squirrel trying to 'straddle' a fence, a very difficult thing to do. I guess one even has to make up his/her own interpretation of what the metaphor means...if anything...


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 12:39 PM

Susan....I missed 4-5 post writing that long screed. Do you remember me posting some links to books by Walter Kaufmann once?
It would be fascinating to go to lunch with you, me, Kaufmann & Sagan.....


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: wysiwyg
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 12:44 PM

(Bill,

It's a date!

Do we gotta do it in Heaven though? :~)

Please add your #3 answer.)


Is Mrrzy doing a tally sometime? Kewl!

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: open mike
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 12:48 PM

my cousin sent me this today..pharyngula

this compares scientific and religious responses to an accident
among other things...


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: open mike
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 12:59 PM

from the Baha'i Faith one of the main tenets of the faith
is the essential unity and harmony of science and religion.
http://news.bahai.org/story/387
http://www.planetbahai.org/cgi-bin/articles.pl?article=193
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bah%C3%A1%27%C3%AD_Faith_and_science


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 01:23 PM

One of the main tenets of any relatively mature spiritual faith is the essential unity and harmony of science and religion.

It has to be. Truth cannot be in conflict with truth. If you find truth therefore in one area or aspect of life, it must agree with truth in another area, and there is no way around that.

Yes, the Bahais are one of the most enlightened religious groups in their understanding of the essential unity and harmony of science and religion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 01:45 PM

Bill:

You must be conceiving of a narrow definition of religion if you believe that "it" "must strive to influence various aspects of society". It is perfectly possible, I think, to have a religious doctrine whose sole interest is making what it conceives to be "data" available to its students, solely to let them use it as they see fit as an aid to discovery.

It is also arguably contradictory to refer to organized religious groups as "religion". But I am sure these points are peripheral to what you were trying to say!


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Paul Burke
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 02:17 PM

One of the main tenets of any relatively mature spiritual faith is the essential unity and harmony of science and religion.


The "No real Scotsman" argument.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 02:30 PM

"Do we gotta do it in Heaven though? :~)"

well, ummm.. I'll go along with whatever you can arrange. Sagan and Kaufmann...and I.. will likely be surprised. ;>))

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Little Hawk: "One of the main tenets of any relatively mature spiritual faith is the essential unity and harmony of science and religion."

*sigh*..yeah, sure..**tenets**... THEY say they are in harmony. Scholars differ.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Amos: re: "...a narrow definition of religion ..."

... I am mostly dealing with a practical definition/view. I am sure it is possible to have a religious doctrine as you describe, and some standard doctrines are quite non-confrontational and self-referential in their beliefs. Many religious individuals also are content to 'believe' without attempting to convert & proselytize, but like Catholics who practice birth control, they are usually just ignoring or 'gently interpreting' certain awkward 'tenets' of their faith. (" And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19)


-------------------------------------------------------

So, Susan: re: "Please add your #3 answer.)

Remember...I started as a Methodist, then became a Unitarian...then a card-carrying philosopher. When I reflect, as I often do, of my path to 'reasonably congenial skeptic', I remember each step as "reason driven", usually as a reaction to some generalized claim that I couldn't reconcile with fact OR curiousity. I tried, at every point, to base my decisions on where some combination of logic, common sense and attempting to avoid linguistic equivocation led me. Even my partailly done Master's thesis was along this lines of "This paradox may not BE resolvable, but if it is, it must be along lines X, Y or Z."

What this led me to was no deep expertise in ANY disipline...not Metaphysics or Phenomenology or Logic or Religion. I can't argue arcane points in any of those...certainly not after all these years.

I remain a Generalist, who resorts, when I must, to Pragmatism or Utilitarianism for basic guidelines.

A Congenial Skeptic...(wonder if I can found a cult based on that?)... needs only to be able to say..."Hmmm.. that seems pretty hard to swallow. I think I'll wait....and think."


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: wysiwyg
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 02:39 PM

Bill.

BILL. (Hi Bill)


ARE THEY DEAD YET?


THAT at least ought to be a yes or no question......???

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 02:41 PM

QUestion is not whether they are dead, but whether they survived it! :>P


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: wysiwyg
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 02:45 PM

Yeah, I woke up this AM too dumb to frame my own questions and speak for myself. nyah nyah

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 03:42 PM

yep...both dead. (I saw Kaufmann live..in 1959. He was maybe 60 then.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 03:46 PM

I will say, there was probably NO other influence as strong on me back then as listening to Walter Kaufmann and reading his books. First, "Critique of Philosophy and Religion", then "The Faith of a Heretic"

He also wrote extensively on Nietzsche.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 03:51 PM

Sagan died about 12 years ago

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Sagan

He made famous a quote.

from that article: "Sagan is also widely regarded as a freethinker or skeptic; one of his most famous quotations, in Cosmos, was, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." This was actually based on a nearly identical earlier quote by fellow CSICOP founder Marcello Truzzi, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof."[30] In turn, those quotes originated with Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749-1827), a French mathematician and astronomer who said, "The weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness."[31] Sagan was, however, not an atheist, expressing that, "An atheist has to know a lot more than I know."[32] In reply to a direct question in 1996 about his religious beliefs, Sagan gave a direct answer: "I'm agnostic."[33] Sagan argued that the idea of a Creator of the Universe was difficult to prove or disprove and that the only conceivable scientific discovery that could challenge it would be an infinitely old universe.[34]"


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: wysiwyg
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 03:59 PM

If I could find Kaufman on audiobook, now, there'd be a good deal.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 05:54 PM

Well, it is possible to read "The Faith of a Heretic" online, or download it in PDF.

I have a tattered hardback copy, but I lent my copy of "Critique.." many years ago, and she moved....


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 06:35 PM

I do see it is is possible to read large swaths of "Critique of Religion and Philosophy" at Google books. It says there are reprints available from Amazon & others. I may have to finally replace my copy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: wysiwyg
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 07:44 PM

No, not reading these days-- audiobooks. I looked-- zip.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 05:33 PM

Atheism is not the cause of moral degradation, materialism (used in the sense of worshipping money and things), bad behavior, Pol Pot, Stalin or Hitler, or any other so-called "sin" that you can come up with.

It simply means lack of belief in a god. That's all. There are different types. Agnostic/atheists, anti-theist/atheists, and even some atheists who attend church because they like the social/cultural aspects of it.

I don't in any way think that Carl Sagan was wounded. He realized the tyranny of religion in our public life and decided that it wasn't for him. As a scientist, he preferred to spend his time profitably investigating known facts rather than speculative meanderings based on unsubstantiated structural ideas that are imposed on others.

The term Skeptic is from the Greek word "Skepticos" which means to investigate or inquire.

Science might be reconciled with religion if the latter wasn't so pervasive and evangelized
to the point where it disses science. If a person had a private belief, that would be OK if others didn't have to honor it. It would be OK if it weren't institutionalized and others were made to accept it. I see no reason to be involved in it other than as a culturally mythological reference in its use in society. I hold no animosity to anyone who believes in sky gods or any other fairy tale as long as that belief doesn't become forced upon others. I don't care to be in obeisance to anyone who calls himself/herself a reverend, guru, priest, bishop, pope, or Grand Inquisitor. I reserve the right to treat them as human beings and not exalted figures regardless of their beliefs or titles. I also think that children have the basic "inalienable" right to accept or reject religion as they mature.

There is no fundamental atheism because there are no specific governing rules to follow.
The use of "fundamentalist atheism" is evangelistic right-wing propaganda and in itself
oxymoronic.

I don't see much tolerance that religious folk have for atheists. They are convinced that something is wrong with them, that they are scarred or cynical, somehow corrupt or anti-human. Even the benevolence they bestow on what they consider "wrong ideas" is patronizing.

I think a great solution to the problem would be if scientists would undertake a thorough
empirical investigation (testing etc.) of religion. In the meantime I do not subscribe to the theory of "No Overlapping Magisteria" (NOMA).

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Paul Burke
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 02:00 AM

As Dawkins pointed out, the problem with NOMA is that while even theists can agree to ascribe the magisterium of the demonstrable to science, it doesn't automatically follow that that of the non- demonstrable, the intuitive, should fall to religion. There are many other possible modes of exploring this area- and personally I'd ascribe it to the arts in general.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 10:13 AM

""I don't see much tolerance that religious folk have for atheists. They are convinced that something is wrong with them, that they are scarred or cynical, somehow corrupt or anti-human. Even the benevolence they bestow on what they consider "wrong ideas" is patronizing.""

Whereas of course the scientists and atheists are much more tolerant, referring to believers as "DELUDED", or perhaps "LOONY", and many other pejoratives which cast doubt on their sanity.

Sounds to me as though the atheists, and the scientists,are EVERY BIT as religious as the believers, but in a diametrically opposed direction.

WHAT, pray is the exact difference between a fanatic who insists that there is a God, and another fanatic who insists there is not?

Neither has ANY objective proof for his point of view.
Neither has ANY respect for the other.
Each is UTTERLY convinced that HE, and only HE, is INDISPUTABLY RIGHT.

ME? I DON'T KNOW! The difference is that I am prepared to ADMIT that I don't know.

Neither of the two I mentioned above will EVER do THAT.

I have my beliefs, which are personal, and I NEVER ASK anyone to subscribe to them, much less INSIST! You may all believe whatever your hearts desire, but DON'T ever come to me and tell me you KNOW my beliefs are intrinsically wrong, because YOU DON'T.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Mrrzy
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 10:44 AM

Atheists don't usually insist that there are no gods, but rather that there is no convincing evidence that would lead them to believe in anything supernatural. And there is, as you know, a huge amount of evidence for the natural world. Atheism is quite well-grounded in reality, unlike faith in the supernatural.
I have plenty of respect for people who understand that their faith is faith-based and not rational. Those of my friends who are believers all fall into that category. However, most of my friends are atheists, and have no god beliefs at all.
Your use of caps, though, leads me to believe that you DO have faith and you really, really wish it were rational, but you realize it isn't, and that bothers you. My personal take on that is why be bothered, faith is faith-based, go ahead and have it if you want to. But you're right that you can't claim any *evidence* for your faith.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 11:04 AM

Stephen Gould's proposition that science and religion should be considered two distinct fields, or "magisteria," whose authority does not overlap -- called NOMA-- does not include the assertion that the two form the complete set of existence between them. I would argue that it is perfectly possible to espouse a rational form of spiritual awareness that is in neither magisterium.

Gould's argument, if I understand it correctly, is that the two should be separate, much as should church and state, because it complicates things unnecessarily to try to blend them.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 11:46 AM

"Whereas of course the scientists and atheists are much more tolerant, referring to believers as "DELUDED", or perhaps "LOONY", and many other pejoratives which cast doubt on their sanity."

So, religion is the answer to intolerance?

"Sounds to me as though the atheists, and the scientists,are EVERY BIT as religious as the believers, but in a diametrically opposed direction."

No, they are just suspicious of those who purport that they have answers. They are not religious in the slightest. It's difficult for people who are religious to have an understanding of those who are not. It's like smokers who just don't understand that
non-smokers don't want it and hence accuse them of being somehow prudish.

"WHAT, pray is the exact difference between a fanatic who insists that there is a God, and another fanatic who insists there is not?"

In my experience, I have not found most atheists to be fanatic about their point of view.
It usually works the other way around. Most atheists I know insist on proof of a god which seems reasonable to me. I don't think most atheists are adamantly opposed in a fanatical way to those who believe in a flat earth or Santa Claus.

"Neither has ANY objective proof for his point of view."

If you discount scientific proof, then you would be correct. So far, scientific proof has not revealed any god. The anger of those who are religious belies their objectivity.
I don't think most atheists that I've met are fanatically opposed to religious people as people.


"Neither has ANY respect for the other."

No this is not true. You can have respect for other humans beings without buying into
their ideology or belief system.

Each is UTTERLY convinced that HE, and only HE, is INDISPUTABLY RIGHT.

No, it's just that the burden of proof is on the believer, not the skeptic.

"ME? I DON'T KNOW! The difference is that I am prepared to ADMIT that I don't know."

I'm prepared to accept an empirical view based on scientific methodology that shows conclusively that there is a god.

"Neither of the two I mentioned above will EVER do THAT."

Not true. Atheists that I know are open to the idea that science may show something like this some day in a unified field theory (TOE) although this doesn't imply any divine deity.

"I have my beliefs, which are personal, and I NEVER ASK anyone to subscribe to them, much less INSIST! You may all believe whatever your hearts desire, but DON'T ever come to me and tell me you KNOW my beliefs are intrinsically wrong, because YOU DON'T."

Your beliefs are of course your own business. I can't really evaluate them because you haven't made them known. But religious people do all the time. We know too much about religion proportional to its value. Most atheists, for example, that I know have more knowledge about scriptures than those who purport to believe in them.

This topic reveals anger rather than rational discourse, usually.

As to a spiritual awareness, I see no scientific basis for that assertion. It falls into the
category of a belief system which is subjective and thereby unverifiable.

I have to say that I respect religious people as people and not because of what they purport to believe.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: robomatic
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 12:10 PM

The problem ( which is not really a problem ) with NOMA is that science keeps chipping away at the boundries of the other side.

AND DAWKINS IS STILL BREATHING


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 12:18 PM

As to a spiritual awareness, I see no scientific basis for that assertion. It falls into the category of a belief system which is subjective and thereby unverifiable.

Then you have missed my point altogether, Frank, in your haste to express a point of view you have probably expressed hundreds of times over the years. The phenomenological set of events which, while not material, are nevertheless actual, include individual insight, for example (not the brain waves, but the insight itself), and many others. My point is that at least a third magisterium is perfectly conceivable covering this class of events.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 01:24 PM

""Sounds to me as though the atheists, and the scientists,are EVERY BIT as religious as the believers, ...."...etc. ad nausuem

I have posted & explained maybe 20 times here that such assertions are careless and self-serving equivocations on the concept of 'religious'!!

Those who keep saying similar things need to look up 'equivocation' and take it to heart. If you muddy a useful word by stretching its meaning to cover everything YOU wish it to mean, you end up with useless language which defines little....(sorta like 'folk' has been treated)

Pretending to criticize something by sticking in YOUR definition, then showing it's 'weak', is simply bad reasoning. This is closely related to the 'straw man' fallacy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 01:37 PM

and Amos...

"...phenomenological set of events which, while not material, are nevertheless actual, include individual insight, for example (not the brain waves, but the insight itself)

Can you guess that this reasoning gets, from me, a similar complaint?

"Not material, but still actual" is close to a paradigm example of what I am getting at. Calling 'insight'--the concept-- part of one class of 'actuality' is just Plato revisited, and not taken seriously in Philosophy these days....it is a linguistic class, and when restricted to this, is perfectly relevant to certain discussions.
Used as you suggest, it clouds....not clarifies... the attempt to discuss what can be studied & investigated by anything resembling 'scientific method'.

(I'm struggling to remember and construct the argument as my old professor, Gerald Paske, would say it.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: robomatic
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 01:41 PM

According to the Dawkins book, actual surveys of scientists reveal that most are in fact atheists, the 'in fact' covering a point that, still according to Dawkiins, he has scientific friends and associates who are titular church or synagogue goers, but have told him they do not believe.

He also says that belief is inversely proportional to education and income class.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 01:50 PM

"...belief is inversely proportional to education and income class."

I think the general graph goes that way, but it ain't a smooth line.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 02:23 PM

Amos, I think to establish your case you will have to prove it scientifically. Otherwise
it's just speculation. "Insight" is up for grabs these days. Everyone claims it including our former president that thought with his gut.

There is no reasonable "third way" at this point. The polarity between religion and science is too vast. One dictionary definition describes religion as a cult, church or denomination.
You might want to try to redefine it but I don't think it will be an agent for clarity.

"Religious" could be loosely defined as an adherence to a principle on "faith". I tend to think of that faith as being misty. I think there is a historical precedence for the idea that if mankind matures, the preservation of the species could take place through a kind of enlightenment but I wouldn't characterize that in any way as religion.

I have heard the phenomenological argument many times and it is circular. You can't prove it because it can't be seen. It's a concept only. Therefore who is to say it exists?
The only verification can come through one's personal experience which may be counted or discounted depending on how reasonable you think it is. Back to the drawing board,
you have to prove it exists.

Richard Dawkins may be the natural heir to Charles Darwin.

I think there might be a trend toward moral evolution through evolutionary psychology but
I can't prove it. I can only speculate. The fact that we as a species have not yet destroyed each other I offer as some kind of proof but it seems as though countries, politicans,
authoritarians (including preachers et. al.) are working hard to disprove this.

What the hell are we doing in Afghanistan, Iraq or Pakistan? (Fanning the flames of Jihad,
which once again shows the futility of religion.)

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 03:51 PM

Actually, I think it can be demonstrated fairly rigorously, but not proven scientifically. There's a big gap between the two, you are right. The problem is that the burden of scientific proof can be just as circular as the phenomenological angle, because in practice if not in theory, the discipline of scientific experiment is geared around intentional falsification, and the durable replicability that is to be taken for granted in material systems. Six molecules of the same element will behave as they should in a test setup no matter whether they were originally mined in Nevada or Siberia or Punjab. They won't have any creative responses to the test setup. They won't care if they pass or do not, whether they are admired or not, or viewed skeptically or not. THey certainly won't decide to be a certain way on the spur of the moment.

To require consciousness to conform to such testing standards requires the presumption that conscious will likewise have no considerations, creative responses, decisions, etc. about the test conditions--yet thew very nature of life in conscious form is to have such considerations and percpetions. So the demand for "scientific" proof becomes self defeating by ignoring the nature of the subject. The consideration of an electron or molecule does not mnatter in the smallest degree in an experiemnt, while the consideration of awareness in an experiment on consciousness makes every difference in the world.

THis is just one of the reasons why I suggest that a third realm is in fact in play, and being hobson-jobsoned to force-fit one or the other pigeonhole while actually belonging to neither, being its on non-overlapping magisterium.



A.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 04:28 PM

"To require consciousness to conform to such testing standard..."

That is not really the issue. No one...(well, not I).. am asking 'consciousness' to be tested in the same way as in a chemistry experiment. I know that the defining characteristics og being human include the ability to 'imagine' and create concepts that are not susceptible to 'measurement' in the same way the decay of Cesium atoms are. The error is in losing track of what they ARE in our assumptions when we try to discuss them. It is a subtle, but pervasive thing we do when we assume that if we have words for something, it sort of magically acquires its own 'reality'.
   Much of this tendency is driven by the natural reluctance to 'demote' certain personal 'experience' to 'mere' dreams or flawed memory or drugs..(whether naturally produced or ingested).

Note...I said "natural" reluctance! Of course people want their memories to be reliable and reflect reality! We know that sometimes memories are flawed...but we accept some and reject others based on feeling and intensity and....well, times when they 'seem' to be similar to others' reports.

Skeptics are those who shrug and say..."maybe so, maybe not..."


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 05:41 PM

The real point is not what you do with the content of someone's experience, but how you treat the fact that it was perceived at all! This point never ceases to amaze me--people using analytical skill, imagination, and intelligence to disprove the existence of analytical or imaginative ability. I know the rebuttal that they are only arguing that these things are biochemical--extensions of physics only--not that they didn't exist.

But the point is still amusing to watch creative powers used to disallow the existence of creativity.

At the center of all the noise, where signal becomes perception and perception becomes understanding, you are still facing a different range of event than any particle displacement or charge distribution can cause.

But I also appreciate that when you are firmly locked int he big sandbox, everything looks like sand to you.



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 06:26 PM

(thanks for fixing my italic error)

"...people using analytical skill, imagination, and intelligence to disprove the existence of analytical or imaginative ability.

And who is doing this? That's a pretty heavy accusation of 'people'. It may be a bit of an exaggeration of what is really being done by those who recommend care in these issues.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 08:20 PM

You want names? Really?

I could go on at length. Crick comes to mind, as does Sachs, and Holmes Rolston, Skinner, and a half-dozen others who have bent over backwards to explain with great understanding how mechanism produces non-understanding mentality. I do not have the time at this moment to reconstruct a list for you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 09:32 PM

Skinner? Not exactly a current practitioner of psychobabble... the others I will have to read about.

In fact, I will have to re-read your comment to see if I even get the gist of the assertion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Riginslinger
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 09:52 PM

I think that's Big Fuckin' Skinner!


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 11:04 PM

Skinner, who is dead now, was the Father of Stimulus-Response Behavioral psychology.

But the individual names are not the point. The point is the bizarre loop of ability being put to the task of proving that there is no ability but mechanism.

I don;'t know how much more simply I can put it.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 11:06 PM

...which was post # 400!



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 11:21 PM

"...proving that there is no ability but mechanism."

but... MY point was that no one I know, and no one in this thread that I can remember, is making such a assertion. Are we discussing these ideas among ourselves, or do I have to answer for 'someone who takes the most extreme view' about them?

*I* am not asserting that level of claim, but merely asking for restraint in degree & nomenclature from those who assert the opposite.

I am not playing Hitchens to your Pope Benedict, but trying to show where & why care needs to be taken.

(if my metaphor is weak, blame the lateness of the hour and Obama being on ABC discussing health care... *grin*)


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: wysiwyg
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 11:09 AM

Really asking:

4. Are you guys getting anything out of all this?

5. If so, is it measurable?

6. Can you say what you got out of the last round (thread on the topic)?

7. Has any of it enlarged your view?

8. If so, how and what?


Please use the numbers-- help me out.


Thanks,

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 12:12 PM

I should think it would be clear that if I were not enjoying this discussion, I would not continue it.

Bill, your point is well made, and I plead guilty to asserting a generality. However, just for example, if you look at Skinnerian reasoning, his effort to reduce all mental processes to S==>R complexes is a classic example. Marvin Minsky is another, although he is less dedicated to S-R than he is to software subroutines. To me, looking at this torturous analyses, the simple use of ability and perception is like the elephant in the parlor that no-one talks about. Very Victorian.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 12:14 PM

Here's a classic example from Marvin Minsky's "The Emotion Machine". In it he asserts that every aspect of thought and emotion is the reuslt of turning certain "resources" in the brain on or off in different combinations.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Mrrzy
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 12:40 PM

WYSIWYG, I think either you or i will have to take the time to get the numbers - I might have some (time, that is), this weekend...


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: wysiwyg
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 12:47 PM

That would be great, Mrrzy, thanks.

Amos-- those new numbers were not qualitative-type questions, but quantitative.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 01:49 PM

Well, then :
4. Are you guys getting anything out of all this? YEs

5. If so, is it measurable? No

6. Can you say what you got out of the last round (thread on the topic)? YEs

7. Has any of it enlarged your view? Yes

8. If so, how and what? Unquantifiably.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 04:21 PM

4. Are you guys getting anything out of all this?
Sure... a clearer idea of the issues...and it helps ME to focus & express my own thoughts.

5. If so, is it measurable?
ummm... not is specific units.

6. Can you say what you got out of the last round (thread on the topic)?
More of the same... it never ends, as human thinking never ends (and sometimes an 'insight', physical OR metaphysical, sits & burbles for awhile before it takes clear form.

7. Has any of it enlarged your view?
Indubitably...(when talking to Amos, I even learn new words for concepts)... I am currently making sure I have 'heuristic' properly embedded, and taking in "magisterium".
But I suspect that's not the type of answer your question was looking for.

8. If so, how and what?

The link and names posted just above (and others in previous threads) help clarify just what is involved in 'formal' discussions in the literature.
A GREAT deal of these discussions involve making sure we are even using the same definitions of the issues, and not just continuously talking past one another. It is a bit easier in real time, as one can stop & check in a few minutes rather than hours or days apart...but on the other hand, it is possible to stop & think and look up stuff rather than tossing off a quick remark. (I am always suspicious of an answer 3 minutes after I take 30 minutes to compose 4 paragraphs of explanation... )


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 04:24 PM

(Oh...and I'm reading some of Minsky before I comment...I see the whole book is there))


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: wysiwyg
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 05:22 PM

...sometimes an 'insight', physical OR metaphysical, sits & burbles for awhile before it takes clear form...

BILL! Say on! Tell me a few?

:~)

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 05:50 PM

""I have posted & explained maybe 20 times here that such assertions are careless and self-serving equivocations on the concept of 'religious'!!""

I absolutely refute the suggestion of intellectual laziness, and equivocation.

The characterisation of people with a faith as deluded, foolish, etc. IS exactly analogous to the characterisation of scientists and atheists as infidels, or lacking moral compass etc.

Both generalisations ARE pursued with equal fervour, and both are hard wired into the psyche of their adherents, so a description of them as "religious" fits one side equally well as the other.

It may not be the dictionary definition, but usage is a less certain thing. How many times have you heard someone say he cleans his teeth religiously after every meal?

I would contend that my use of the word in THIS context is both apposite, and accurate.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 05:53 PM

You ask a lot, Susan....(quick generalizations are much easier than specificity..) I'll have to reflect upon my cogitations on my insights! (Oh..yeah...that IS meta-cogitation....it may require a beer.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 06:40 PM

Back when I was a student in a Catholic seminary in the 1960's, I heard a quote that really struck me - but I haven't been able to find it since. It might have come from Galileo; but then again, maybe not. Anyhow, it went something like this:
    There are God's works, and there are God's words. If they contradict each other, then perhaps we do not understand God's words correctly.
I see God as the creator of the rules of science - and I believe that creation took place through wonderful, miraculous, NATURAL processes. When preachers attempt to deny the well-proven findings of science, I tend not to believe the preachers.

But I would think that thinking religious people and thinking scientific people should be able to get along quite well - it's the mindless ideologues on both sides that cause the conflict.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 07:24 PM

Hi Amos, you have hypothesized that:

"The problem is that the burden of scientific proof can be just as circular as the phenomenological angle, because in practice if not in theory, the discipline of scientific experiment is geared around intentional falsification, and the durable replicability that is to be taken for granted in material systems."

I don't agree about the notion of intentional falsification. This is certainly not a scientist's goal. As to being circular, scientific proof is verifiable whereas notions of phenomenology are in no way materially viable.


"To require consciousness to conform to such testing standards requires the presumption that conscious will likewise have no considerations, creative responses, decisions, etc. about the test conditions"

Again, I must disagree. Einstein and Newton had creative responses to the solutions of problems which lead to testing and verification. Much of these responses were based on a conscious knowledge of their subject from the rigors of scientific training and work.


"--yet thew very nature of life in conscious form is to have such considerations and percpetions. So the demand for "scientific" proof becomes self defeating by ignoring the nature of the subject. The consideration of an electron or molecule does not mnatter in the smallest degree in an experiemnt, while the consideration of awareness in an experiment on consciousness makes every difference in the world."


Again, I must disagree. The consideration of an electron or molecule in how it behaves makes every difference in the science of quantum mechanics. Earth shattering information comes from this discipline which disturbed even Albert Einstein. The nature of any subject can be established through scientific discipline even when it involves the
modes of perception or how we think. If it's not scientific in practice it becomes mere
conjecture. We know more today of how the brain functions due to science and its application to psychology. This intimates how our "awareness" functions and as the study of the brain progresses, we know more about how we perceive and the implications of
that.

A "third realm" is still a speculative theory which has not been tested yet. When it has,
then we will see that there is not a point where it divorces itself from science.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 08:05 PM

Don(Wyziwyg) said, in part:

I absolutely refute the suggestion of intellectual laziness, and equivocation.

No, you deny the suggestion, and you rebut or attempt to rebut it. "Refute" is a much higher standard, which has to be assessed by someone else.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 09:23 PM

Durn, Dave...if you hadn't been a court reporter, you could have been a great Philosopher....


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: GUEST,TIA
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 11:43 PM

Hate to be over-simplistic. But, when the words get big, and the sentences long, I get very nervous. Scientifically testable assertions can be stated with in simple words, and simple sentences. As soon as I have to diagram a sentence, and look up the words to repsond to a post or an assertion, I think we have entered the realm of religion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Paul Burke
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 01:58 AM

You can't have looked at a lot of serious science, TIA. It's often tedious to read and packed with long words and convoluted sentences and diagrams. Literary genii like Darwin, Asimov, Stephen Gould and so on are sadly few and far between. That doesn't invalidate the science, just distances it from the informed public.

As for testing consciousness, in fact there's a lot of work going on in that, that shows (unsurprisingly perhaps) that it's a very strange beast- it is discontinuous (so in fact you or I are not conscious for much of the time, even when awake), it keeps changing- what you perceive is a bit like a story that you tell yourself, and it changes in the telling, that it isn't instantaneous, but takes time to develop, and so on. Much of this can be measured and quantified, in seconds, units of change etc. So, as a science, it's definitely started.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 06:33 AM

""No, you deny the suggestion, and you rebut or attempt to rebut it. "Refute" is a much higher standard, which has to be assessed by someone else.

Thanks for the English lesson, Dave.

Kind of fits in with standard Mudcat operating procedure.

When you don't have an answer to WHAT someone says, lecture him on the minor errors he may have made in saying it.

I thought this was about science and religion, not grammar and syntax.

Silly me, I'll go look for something that more befits my meagre command of my NATIVE language.

Bye Now.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 10:55 AM

Frank:

Good points. But letme clarify a coupleof my views.

Falsifiability is the standard approach for assessing a model or hypothesis. Scientists don't mess with theistic explanations, for example, because they are not falsifiable, in other words testable in such a way that they can be proven false. If they can be so tested, and the test supports the hypothesis, then that's a point for the truth of the hypothesis. Butif you can't conceive of a test which COULD falsify the proposition, then you have an unfalsifiable assertion and no way to test it. My use of "intentional falsification" was a bad choice of words. The intent is to test, and in order to test, the proposition must be capable of failing (or passing) the test.

As regards EInstein, etc., having creative responses in solving problems, I have no disagreement. But they were not testing consciousness. They were testing mass, energy, inertia, and such. I don't know for certain what tests Einstein did actually. My point was a different one: creating test scenarios for consciousness itself must take into account that it is not the constant, mindless cooperative stuff that moleculart compounds are. It is quite a challenge, therefore, to meet a standard of replicabililty in applying science to consciousness. It does not matter what the tritium in a table-top fusion experiment thinks, if there is any. IF you are testing a subject for remote viewing, itmatters a great deal.

The quantum phenomena youo refer to seem to reflect (as far as I have read) the consciousness of the experimenter as an unwitting influence int he experiment. If this is a problem in particle behaviour, it seems to me it would be a much greater one in studying consciousness.

I do not by any means think that consciousness cannot be addressed by science, but the science involved would require an understanding of the difference between insensate object study and dealing with living thought itself, THis is not beyond the broad intellectual principles of good science, but it is hopelessly out of reach of the crude material protocols most scientists are used to.

As to the brain being the origin of thought, I think this is about as likely (as I have said before) as discovering that cellphones have infinite numbers of stories hidden inside them somewhere, as an explanation as to why every time you talk on one, a new and different conversation comes out. It makes a lot of sense, because otherwise you would have to postulate some remote unseen entity connected to the phone by some invisible means, sending an invisible flow of information to it, which is really silly. The answer must be in the wires, capacitors and PCBs of the phone.

;>)

Warm regards,


Amos


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: freda underhill
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 11:45 AM

Meditation can be a very structured and analytical process. Pursuing steps, going through a process, peeling away layers to find out what's inside. developing huge focus and intense concentration to the point where the mind sort of turns itself inside out and doesn't exist anymore. it's only at that point that a wider awareness, consciousness, whatever is experienced. this becomes like a cosmic mind navel gazing at itself. it's a completely paradoxical process.

this is not achieved by projecting a vision or fantasy, it's more by an initial mental elimination of distraction followed by a disciplined almost mathematical process of concentration.

This process does not have any relation to a concept of a God being as a moral leader with a gender and personality. It's like the universe, or life, is a big, breathing, vibrating conscious organism, and for some moments of indefinable time, an eggshell is peeled off and you're part of it, and perceiving out of the universe instead of out of that brain that lies behind your eyes inside your skull.

until someone can figure out how to put a receptor in the brain to observe and measure such and experience, it is a story. unless enough people learn how to do it, so that it becomes accepted, just like everyone knows what eating a custard tart is like, and don't need a laboratory to prove that it really is vanilla.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Mrrzy
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 12:09 PM

Interesting article here - something about how a scientist can be a believer but professionally, better not act like one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: wysiwyg
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 12:44 PM

God and Science Don't Mix
A scientist can be a believer. But professionally, at least, he can't act like one.


By LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS

My practice as a scientist is atheistic. That is to say, when I set up an experiment I assume that no god, angel or devil is going to interfere with its course; and this assumption has been justified by such success as I have achieved in my professional career. I should therefore be intellectually dishonest if I were not also atheistic in the affairs of the world.

-- J.B.S. Haldane

"Fact and Faith" (1934)



Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in several exciting panel discussions at the World Science Festival in New York City. But the most dramatic encounter took place at the panel strangely titled "Science, Faith and Religion." I had been conscripted to join the panel after telling one of the organizers that I saw no reason to have it. After all, there was no panel on science and astrology, or science and witchcraft. So why one on science and religion?

I ended up being one of two panelists labeled "atheists." The other was philosopher Colin McGinn. On the other side of the debate were two devoutly Catholic scientists, biologist Kenneth Miller and Vatican astronomer Guy Consolmagno. Mr. McGinn began by commenting that it was eminently rational to suppose that Santa Claus doesn't exist even if one cannot definitively prove that he doesn't. Likewise, he argued, we can apply the same logic to the supposed existence of God. The moderator of the session, Bill Blakemore, a reporter with some religious inclination, surprised me by bursting out in response, "Then I guess you are a rational atheist."

Our host was presumably responding to all those so-called fundamentalist atheists who have recently borne the brunt of intense attacks following the success of books like Sam Harris's "The End of Faith," and Richard Dawkins's "The God Delusion."

These scientists have been castigated by believers for claiming that science is incompatible with a belief in God. On the one hand, this is a claim that appears manifestly false -- witness the two Catholic scientists on my panel. And on the other hand, the argument that science suggests God is a delusion only bolsters the view of the of the fundamentalist religious right that science is an atheist enemy that must either be vanquished or assimilated into religion.

Coincidentally, I have appeared numerous times alongside Ken Miller to defend evolutionary biology from the efforts of those on various state school boards who view evolution as the poster child for "science as the enemy." These fundamentalists are unwilling to risk the possibility that science might undermine their faith, and so they work to shield children from this knowledge at all costs. To these audiences I have argued that one does not have to be an atheist to accept evolutionary biology as a reality. And I have pointed to my friend Ken as an example.

This statement of fact appears to separate me from my other friends, Messrs. Harris and Dawkins. Yet this separation is illusory. It reflects the misperception that the recent crop of vocal atheist-scientist-writers are somehow "atheist absolutists" who remain in a "cultural and historical vacuum" -- in the words of a recent Nature magazine editorial.

But this accusation is unfair. Messrs. Harris and Dawkins are simply being honest when they point out the inconsistency of belief in an activist god with modern science.

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.

Faced with the remarkable success of science to explain the workings of the physical world, many, indeed probably most, scientists understandably react as Haldane did. Namely, they extrapolate the atheism of science to a more general atheism.

While such a leap may not be unimpeachable it is certainly rational, as Mr. McGinn pointed out at the World Science Festival. Though the scientific process may be compatible with the vague idea of some relaxed deity who merely established the universe and let it proceed from there, it is in fact rationally incompatible with the detailed tenets of most of the world's organized religions. As Sam Harris recently wrote in a letter responding to the Nature editorial that called him an "atheist absolutist," a "reconciliation between science and Christianity would mean squaring physics, chemistry, biology, and a basic understanding of probabilistic reasoning with a raft of patently ridiculous, Iron Age convictions."

When I confronted my two Catholic colleagues on the panel with the apparent miracle of the virgin birth and asked how they could reconcile this with basic biology, I was ultimately told that perhaps this biblical claim merely meant to emphasize what an important event the birth was. Neither came to the explicit defense of what is undeniably one of the central tenets of Catholic theology.

Science is only truly consistent with an atheistic worldview with regards to the claimed miracles of the gods of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Moreover, the true believers in each of these faiths are atheists regarding the specific sacred tenets of all other faiths. Christianity rejects the proposition that the Quran contains the infallible words of the creator of the universe. Muslims and Jews reject the divinity of Jesus.

So while scientific rationality does not require atheism, it is by no means irrational to use it as the basis for arguing against the existence of God, and thus to conclude that claimed miracles like the virgin birth are incompatible with our scientific understanding of nature.

Finally, it is worth pointing out that these issues are not purely academic. The current crisis in Iran has laid bare the striking inconsistency between a world built on reason and a world built on religious dogma.

Perhaps the most important contribution an honest assessment of the incompatibility between science and religious doctrine can provide is to make it starkly clear that in human affairs -- as well as in the rest of the physical world -- reason is the better guide.

===

Mr. Krauss, a cosmologist, is director of the Origins Initiative at Arizona State University. His most recent book is "Hiding in the Mirror" (Viking, 2005).


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 01:03 PM

Amos, I like your answers because they are thoughtful. But I must respectfully disagree with some of the premises.

". Butif you can't conceive of a test which COULD falsify the proposition, then you have an unfalsifiable assertion and no way to test it. My use of "intentional falsification" was a bad choice of words. The intent is to test, and in order to test, the proposition must be capable of failing (or passing) the test."

this is true. In short, you can't prove a negative. (Logical fallacy)

As regards EInstein, etc., having creative responses in solving problems, I have no disagreement. But they were not testing consciousness. They were testing mass, energy, inertia, and such. I don't know for certain what tests Einstein did actually."

They are finding in evolutionary psychology and neuroscience that "consciousness"
can be measured by "mass,energy, inertia and such" as applied to the brain.


"My point was a different one: creating test scenarios for consciousness itself must take into account that it is not the constant, mindless cooperative stuff that moleculart compounds are."

In quantum mechanics they are finding that the laws of the universe are not constant,
cooperative and the molecular compounds on the quantum level are unpredictable
and fly in the face of assumptions of Relativity.


" It is quite a challenge, therefore, to meet a standard of replicabililty in applying science to consciousness. It does not matter what the tritium in a table-top fusion experiment thinks, if there is any. IF you are testing a subject for remote viewing, itmatters a great deal."

Science is not just limited to testing "tritium in a table-top fusion". It is today about testing the assumptions of the human brain and how it operates. It's a lot closer
to measuring "human experience and consciousness" than is usually supposed.



"The quantum phenomena youo refer to seem to reflect (as far as I have read) the consciousness of the experimenter as an unwitting influence int he experiment. If this is a problem in particle behaviour, it seems to me it would be a much greater one in studying consciousness."

Here, I agree. But that "consciousness" in the experimenter can be tested and that is the exact role of science. That "consciousness" may be accurate or inaccurate but without the
tools of science, this can't be determined. I maintain that with the tools of science these assumptions can be tested as to what "consciousness" is.

"I do not by any means think that consciousness cannot be addressed by science, but the science involved would require an understanding of the difference between insensate object study and dealing with living thought itself, THis is not beyond the broad intellectual principles of good science, but it is hopelessly out of reach of the crude material protocols most scientists are used to."

I think this is less and less true as we learn more about the brain. Living thought, we find, can be manipulated by scientific tools. Today, a study of oxytocsin or dopamine can explain certain feelings of love in human beings. The ethical consideration here is that this can be manipulated by stimulating brain centers or using drugs.

"As to the brain being the origin of thought, I think this is about as likely (as I have said before) as discovering that cellphones have infinite numbers of stories hidden inside them somewhere, as an explanation as to why every time you talk on one, a new and different conversation comes out. It makes a lot of sense, because otherwise you would have to postulate some remote unseen entity connected to the phone by some invisible means, sending an invisible flow of information to it, which is really silly. The answer must be in the wires, capacitors and PCBs of the phone."

I think that the analogy breaks down because it dismisses the human interaction with the machine. There are reasons why certain conversations take place regardless of the transmitting machine. No scientist would accept that the answer is in the wires, capictors and PCB's. Here we enter the realm of sociobiology, neurobiology, evolutionary psychology and related sciences.

Good conversation. Enjoy talking with you.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 01:22 PM

Susan, I need to thank you for bringing this discussion as a thread. It is really important for atheism to get a fair hearing not based on blind intolerance or a "how-dare-you" attitude on the part of "believers".

As I have stated earlier, there are different kinds of atheists. One thing they seem to have in common, however, is the idea that religion needs to be tested for its validity as a positive social force in society. This assumption has always been asserted for many years as a kind of social "law" and I think it needs to be tested.

If you apply scientific testing to religion, you find that the premises with all of the world's religions are incompatible with a relativist scientific view. Absolutes are a part of "faith" or belief. None of them can be scientifically proven.

The accusation of "intolerance" given to atheism shows that the adoption of any new idea is met with this, such as racial equality, women's equality, gay rights or the futility of war. Any new idea that runs counter to a popular belief is always going to be challenged by this charge. And yet when the charge is reversed, cries of unfair are raised.

I think it's time for atheists to be allowed to express what they believe and not be suppressed by the religious community. The burden of proof still lies with the believer and if and when a plausible one is offered, I am open-minded enough to consider it.
So far, that hasn't happened and history is not on its side.

The irreconcilable problem is that the adoption of absolute religious principles is inversely proportional to the means used in the relativistic exploration of science.

Respectfully,

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 01:32 PM

"But they were not testing consciousness. They were testing mass, energy, inertia, and such. I don't know for certain what tests Einstein did actually. My point was a different one: creating test scenarios for consciousness itself must take into account that it is not the constant, mindless cooperative stuff that moleculart compounds are."

I think, Amos, as I have tried to suggest before, that we have a basic difference in application of language TO concepts here. In your sentences I read a couple of embedded assumptions and premises that begin with the assertion that consciousness IS a separate 'entity' from 'molecular compounds reacting to chemistry & tiny electrical impulses'.
   That is a question, not an unquestioned beginning point. It is one of the curiosities of experience that we find it difficult to approach.
   In Phenomenology, the metaphor often used (well..often in the 2 classes *I* took in Phenomenology) was "trying to run around behind yourself and remotely observe yourself acting & thinking, so as to objectively analyze your behavior & motivations."

The thing is, everyday we see more & more research and papers written showing how chemistry, at the level of DNA, does partly determine how we think and act. Simple things like testosterone levels and certain gene patterns can be statistically connected with various behavior patterns. (Just as smoking cigarettes was connected to lung cancer long before we understood the exact mechanisms).

We DO have ways...more & more... to study that "...mindless cooperative stuff that moleculart compounds are." Even those who work with the manifestations of 'consciousness' (Psychologists, sleep therapists..etc..) are finding they need to keep up on the latest science in order to advance.

   If as you suggest, "The intent is to test, and in order to test, the proposition must be capable of failing (or passing) the test.", then the very step of giving consciousness BOTH a 'status' independent from molecules AND exemption from testing (by definition), seems to me to be a linguistic form of "affirmative action". It gets its promotion apart from any firm standard for qualification.
....as I said above somewhere, it resembles "Platonic Forms" resurrected (and dressed up in the Emperor's 'spare' new clothes.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Bill D
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 01:51 PM

And Susan... the article you quote exemplifies my view of how religious views can coexist with science.

It has many layers, as suggested in the article, but at bottom it says: "Since we currently have no way of formally approaching what happened at the very beginning of **everything**, there is no way to contradict someone who simply chooses to accept the idea that some 'metaphysical entity' said "Let there BE..."."

I have problems with that approach, and I can argue that it raises as many qustions as it answers, but it allows one to say:"Well, it simply 'feels' right & better to me, and I like the comfort and institutions following it allow me to pursue."

   It is vaguely similar to liking pie instead of cake...with many more implications.

(I could go on and suggest that I suspect that the very complex workings of DNA & genetic variations in brain chemistry I refer to above actually influence which path folks take......but that is subject to great ..ummmm...research.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 02:04 PM

Theism is about as non-falsifiable as can be, since it usually posits omnipresence, omniscience, and/or omnipotence in the entity, which places it close to identity with the universe itself, leaving no place from which to test it.

Frank: my iPhone, if stimulated in certain ways by test devices, will tell stories and flash pictures, sing songs, and bring up old traces of past conversations. That is no proof that it is, itself, the source of those pictures and communications, of course. The notion is too ridiculous. My humorous metaphor was intended to make the point that ruling out a separate source of ability and perception, in a nontheistic but spiritually inclusive model, leaves you with a greatly complex task of finding the ghost in the machine's components. And it requires that you reject a good deal of circumstantial evidence and experiential description in order to cleave to your model. Amongst all that experience are a few "white crows" that (it seems to me) are sufficiently robust to refute the proposition that "all crows are blacK" (i.e., all thought stems from chemicals).

Bill: I quite agree that there is a major question at the front end of the whole subject, namely whether human physical structure monitors and causes functions (including thoughts, hopes, imaginings, etc. and the rich matrix of thought in all its forms) or whether there is something to the "separate I" model which informs all belief systems that touch on reincarnation, separation of self from body, and also offers an explanation for some other border phenomena such as apparent telepathic bonds, for example.

Your quibble about affirmative action, Bill, is just grumpy. I did not say that consciousness was exempt from any testing. I said, and have said often before, and say now again, that testing would have to take into account the fact that repetitive behavior is not a characteristic of consciousness and that unlike moilecules, consciousness can self-define, and plastically self-form in ways that no molecular structure can do. Such testing would also have to take into account the phenomena found in thought that include such things as images of the past (correct ones) and self-imposed delusions of the past, both of which are found aplenty in any mind; intention and its impact on perception; imaginary forms and postulated scenarios and their influence on awareness; ability (as distinguished from reactive response to stimuli) and what, if anythihng, increases or decreases it. Not to mention the whole field of "data" and what constitutes mind-data, what sorts or kinds there are, how they work and why they go awry and produce self-destructive or dramatically dysfunctional computations.

SOME of these things will, I suppose, be found to be strongly coupled with biochemical phenomena, as surely as eating lead paint can mess up your brain and make you feel crazy. THe assertion I have a strong inclination to reject is that that "some" is the whole set.

So far as I have seen, no scientific process to date has offered a convincing argument that the wetware complex governs the whole set of "thought", and my sense so far is there is a lot of evidence to the effect that it does not, by a long shot.

For example, the many many cases of suggested healing (placebo effect) where nothing was done to the wetware but the insertion of an idea which nevertheless seemed to stimulate self-correction in the organism, sometimes from major symptoms. Such phenomena clearly militate for a model which includes the seniority of function over structure in ways not yet much addressed by science.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 02:20 PM

I still have a problem that the two can be reconciled because of the effects that religion has on society. To exist it must reach beyond the bounds of science to assert itself. I see that without science, many of us would not enjoy the capacity to think and function with an ethical framework, but I don't see religion as a requisite for this.

I of course am not convinced of the importance of an "event" described by the priest since it seems mythology. It well may be important in a negative way because it engendered such adamant violence and authoritarian abuse by its practitioners.

I think the next foray into the realm of science is to determine why religion is needed at all. If scientific testing is done in this capacity, then there is a religion vrs. science because the goal would be to question religion as to its efficacy.

Until this is done, I see no possibility of any "third way" becoming viable. Even then,
this might be tilting at windmills.

Respectfully,

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Amos
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 03:16 PM

I still have a problem that the two can be reconciled because of the effects that religion has on society. To exist it must reach beyond the bounds of science to assert itself. I see that without science, many of us would not enjoy the capacity to think and function with an ethical framework, but I don't see religion as a requisite for this.

Those who seek to reconcile them, and I think Joe might be oen of those, often approach theproblem with the postulate that the Infinite lies behind the whole theater of measurable things, like the air that surrounds and permeates a theater building butis no part of the show. Not to overstrain a metaphor. My own sense, a bit different, is that the Infinite is quite capable of taking care of itself, and one may contact it if one is able to do; and that ability depends not on forms and rituals and pictures and words, but on the clear center of one's own spiritual nature and personal integrity.

I of course am not convinced of the importance of an "event" described by the priest since it seems mythology. It well may be important in a negative way because it engendered such adamant violence and authoritarian abuse by its practitioners.

Priests and parents and many other people make a grievous error when they mistake their iconic forms for substance and try to enforce them in order to bring another to some version of the good. It has never worked very well. Myths, reams of ponderings by men long past, incantations and invocations are no substitute for owning your own truth and seeing clearly from it.

I think the next foray into the realm of science is to determine why religion is needed at all. If scientific testing is done in this capacity, then there is a religion vrs. science because the goal would be to question religion as to its efficacy. Until this is done, I see no possibility of any "third way" becoming viable. Even then,this might be tilting at windmills.

It might, but I think a truly open enquiry would find that behind all the foofara and yammerjammer of our louder religions, and the complexity of almost all of them, there may turn out to be discovered some much simpler and clearer thread that (in some way not identified) does bridge individuals to something more embracing than individuals (at least those involved in navigating bodies around) can usually be. That's just what my "nose" tells me, so to speak, and isn't enough to go to church on!!! :D

Thanks to you, too, Frank, for the thoughtful discussion.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 05:41 PM

THANK YOU, AMOS! Concise, no monster words. and, of course to me - sensible totally.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 05:44 PM

And for you guys:

'The Evolution of God'
By ROBERT WRIGHT
Reviewed by PAUL BLOOM
In his careful yet provocative contemplation of religious history, Robert Wright sees continuous positive moral change over time but denies the specialness of any individual faith.

Sunday Magazine: Questions for Robert Wright


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Subject: RE: BS: Science and Religion
From: Mrrzy
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 05:54 PM

I think the next foray into the realm of science is to determine why religion is needed at all. If scientific testing is done in this capacity, then there is a religion vs. science because the goal would be to question religion as to its efficacy. The existing anthropological studies show that the evolutionary benefit of organized religion accrue to the priests/practitioners/intercessors between their personification of the unknown ("god(s)"), rather than to the believers, and that such benefits are large. Evolutionary psychology sees personification as a normal developmental stage in human cognition, so the institutionalizing of such inevitable beliefs as our intelligence grew up, so to speak, to the levels we now consider average for adults, was advantageous compared to societies where such beliefs weren't institutionalized. Thus it allowed for the development of the large city-state we now also call average for humans, despite its relative novelty. The problem is, we really aren't city folk, and we do much better in far less crowded conditions, but then nobody would make any real money.


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