SCIENCE VS RELIGION

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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Steve Barber
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Steve Barber » Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:26 pm

Ezra Lb. wrote:3. Barber I can't criticize your view. I wish more religious believers actually thought the way you do. My only question is, since what you are doing, essentially, is reverencing the conditions of the reality in which we find ourselves; it's mysterious origins, our ability to think and consider these conditions, the awe and wonder associated with such consideration, why bring the god concept into it at all? It seems to me the image of god brings with it a whole host of unnecessary and irrelevant associations that might actually blind us to this reality. Do we need all that baggage?


It's a good question, but the core assumption is wrong. You're assuming baggage where none is intended. The concept of God is what we bring to it, not the other way around. The baggage is your own based upon the preconception of what God is. There is no formality, nor expectation. It simply is what it is.

You bring up the image of god, which is the fallacy here. God is creation, and therefore has only the definition of God is that which is in front of your eyes. Anything else is baggage.

(Damn. Screw Hubbard, I may be onto something.)
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Ezra Lb.
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Ezra Lb. » Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:37 pm

Steve Barber wrote:
Ezra Lb. wrote:3. Barber I can't criticize your view. I wish more religious believers actually thought the way you do. My only question is, since what you are doing, essentially, is reverencing the conditions of the reality in which we find ourselves; it's mysterious origins, our ability to think and consider these conditions, the awe and wonder associated with such consideration, why bring the god concept into it at all? It seems to me the image of god brings with it a whole host of unnecessary and irrelevant associations that might actually blind us to this reality. Do we need all that baggage?


It's a good question, but the core assumption is wrong. You're assuming baggage where none is intended. The concept of God is what we bring to it, not the other way around. The baggage is your own based upon the preconception of what God is. There is no formality, nor expectation. It simply is what it is.

You bring up the image of god, which is the fallacy here. God is creation, and therefore has only the definition of God is that which is in front of your eyes. Anything else is baggage.

(Damn. Screw Hubbard, I may be onto something.)


Let me elaborate. When you say that you have a concept of god, 90% of the people you might say that to are not going to think of Spinoza, they're going to think of Jehovah. Not your fault of course but you will have to clarify what you mean. They'll simply assume they already know what you mean. That's the baggage of which I speak.

Of course nothing wrong with us having to clarify our thoughts. Having our ideas challenged forces us to do this. A lot of believers don't seem to get that challenging their beliefs is the highest compliment they can receive - to take their ideas seriously enough to criticize them.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
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Ezra Lb.
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Ezra Lb. » Fri Nov 07, 2014 9:05 am

And of course "Creation" might be something other than "God" and calling it that might prevent you from seeing it for what it really is.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Fri Nov 07, 2014 10:51 am

All this, while philosophically fascinating, really skirts the central question, doesn't it? Is it really the crux of any matter how we define god or whether or not we profess a belief in one? The point of this has long been the argument that without this god thing we cannot function as a moral society or even as moral individuals. Since the evidence of history has shown that belief or nonbelief seems to make little if any difference in that regard, shouldn't we be discussing instead how to live according to principles both believers and nonbelievers largely agree upon?

Something goes wrong, a bad thing happens, it would seem absurd to start talking about how it wouldn't have happened if people embraced religion more. There simply is no justification in that assertion, since by simple statistical probability the people involved in the bad thing are likely to be believers. So why do we keep going around and around over this question of proving or disproving the existence of something which has not made that much practical difference in any society, other than providing an organizational target for accusations of abuse? Whether god exists or not is immaterial to the work of improving our lives as a society.

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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby FrankChurch » Fri Nov 07, 2014 11:53 am

The election proves that there is a lack of ethics. Fear and ignorance, religion or not fuels bad thinking.

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Ben W.
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Ben W. » Fri Nov 07, 2014 11:56 am

May I respectfully ask if Ben and Frank will tell what kind of god they do believe in?


I've placed my personal faith in the God of the Roman Catholic Church, if you really want to know where I stand.

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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby FrankChurch » Fri Nov 07, 2014 12:33 pm

You should look for God outside of religion, Ben.

Hitchens actually admits something here; the one argument about God that is hard to answer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5lfIw-88E0

He even pissed off Dawkins when he said he would not stop all belief in God even if he could. He is basically admitting he enjoys the arguing. Kinda odd.

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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby FrankChurch » Fri Nov 07, 2014 12:34 pm

It kinda reminds me of my own hopes for democracy--the excitement of life in a messed up world would cease. Could we survive being bored and content every moment?

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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Lori Koonce » Fri Nov 07, 2014 12:55 pm

FrankChurch wrote:You should look for God outside of religion, Ben.

Hitchens actually admits something here; the one argument about God that is hard to answer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5lfIw-88E0

He even pissed off Dawkins when he said he would not stop all belief in God even if he could. He is basically admitting he enjoys the arguing. Kinda odd.


What's odd about it Frank. If the person I'm dealing with can hold their own and are willing to talk reasonable I love a good argument.

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Ben W.
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Ben W. » Fri Nov 07, 2014 8:08 pm

FrankChurch wrote:You should look for God outside of religion, Ben.


I already have. But the time came when I still had to make a choice.

Besides, the man asked. So I told him.

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Ezra Lb. » Sat Nov 08, 2014 12:15 pm

Mark Tiedemann wrote:All this, while philosophically fascinating, really skirts the central question, doesn't it? Is it really the crux of any matter how we define god or whether or not we profess a belief in one? The point of this has long been the argument that without this god thing we cannot function as a moral society or even as moral individuals. Since the evidence of history has shown that belief or nonbelief seems to make little if any difference in that regard, shouldn't we be discussing instead how to live according to principles both believers and nonbelievers largely agree upon?

Something goes wrong, a bad thing happens, it would seem absurd to start talking about how it wouldn't have happened if people embraced religion more. There simply is no justification in that assertion, since by simple statistical probability the people involved in the bad thing are likely to be believers. So why do we keep going around and around over this question of proving or disproving the existence of something which has not made that much practical difference in any society, other than providing an organizational target for accusations of abuse? Whether god exists or not is immaterial to the work of improving our lives as a society.


No argument from me. But you're going to have a helluva time convincing the religious believers.


Ben W. wrote:
May I respectfully ask if Ben and Frank will tell what kind of god they do believe in?


I've placed my personal faith in the God of the Roman Catholic Church, if you really want to know where I stand.


Care to discuss why Roman Catholicism rather than one of its myriad of competitors?


Frank wrote

You should look for God outside of religion, Ben.

This advice assumes a god exists as something other than a culturally time bound concept, which has yet to be demonstrated. We know religion exists. We know a person's beliefs about god exist.

Hitchens actually admits something here; the one argument about God that is hard to answer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5lfIw-88E0


The idea of "fine tuning" is interesting. However you should be aware that there are many physicists and cosmologists who question it's validity. For one thing it sounds awfully like a circular argument.

He is basically admitting he enjoys the arguing. Kinda odd.

Not if you knew Hitchens. I understand the impulse completely. I have some of it myself.* Or haven't you noticed? :lol:


* My mother once told me she thought I would argue with a stop sign.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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FrankChurch
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby FrankChurch » Sat Nov 08, 2014 4:31 pm

The guy I saw last night at church may make even our Ezra smile:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmlw8swrt-w

This will shock some but even I thought Spong was a bit too radical last night. I think Christ is God, not just a son of God. I agree that the Bible is full of awful things, but even the awful things can be explained. The time the Bible was written was not a period of open minds, so it makes sense much of the Bible has bad cultural things. I go to church to be edified, not to feel bad about my beliefs.

Spong is mostly right but I think there is sin and there are sinners--us. Our human nature is sin. We need a spiritual transformation to resist the bad parts of our natures.

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Steve Evil
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Steve Evil » Sat Nov 08, 2014 4:46 pm

Ben W. wrote:
Here's the problem: If we're going by the conception of God being manifested as an old man with a giant white beard furrowing his brow at us from the clouds, then you can absolutely disprove His existence. Without a shadow of a doubt. But even the most literal-minded creationist out there doesn't abide by that version of God.



I think that's important. What is being invoked, and what is being denied? At the very least, our modern understanding of the world demands a much more complicated concept of God than was accepted by previous generations.

There are some people who define God as nothing more than a metaphor for the laws of nature, which is all fine and good, but is really not what the Great Religions are getting at. That's pretty much atheism in all but name.

Then there are those who speak of "higher powers", which could mean almost anything. Who's going to assert with any confidence that there are definitely no "higher powers"? Not something more than what is immediately apparent? I would wager most people leave themselves open to the possibility. But that does not lend any credibility to the claims of the holy-men: their guesses are as good as ours.

And when people start ascribing to these powers qualities which nicely coincide with values they've already established for themselves, well, they may as well claim to have made it all up.

(Which I suppose is why I tend to have more patience with Catholicism than Wiccanism. . .)

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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Douglas Harrison » Sat Nov 08, 2014 6:40 pm

Speaking of old men with white beards, here is a profile in The New York Times of an atheist whose stance on science vs. religion reminds me of Ezra's: "The Unbelievable Skepticism of the Amazing Randi."

Be forewarned that Randi does not mince words:
Although many modern skeptics continue to hold religious beliefs, and see no contradiction in embracing critical thinking and faith in God, Randi is not one of them. “I have always been an atheist,” he told me. “I think that religion is a very damaging philosophy — because it’s such a retreat from reality.”


D.

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Ezra Lb. » Mon Nov 10, 2014 8:48 am

Speaking of old men with white beards, here is a profile in The New York Times of an atheist whose stance on science vs. religion reminds me of Ezra's: "The Unbelievable Skepticism of the Amazing Randi."

Yep, taught him everything he knows. :D To be associated in any way with Randi is an amazing honor (pardon the pun). He's been fighting the good fight for decades.


An astonishing photograph.

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap141110.html

No need to belabor the implications. Planetary formation is the result of purely physical processes. There is no reason to think that the formation of our solar system occurred any differently. From the scientific point of view the really exciting conclusion we can draw is that planetary formation seems to be a natural consequence of star formation. Is the development of life a natural consequence of planetary formation? Stay tuned.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter


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