SCIENCE VS RELIGION

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

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Tue Jan 08, 2008 9:49 am

Steve Evil wrote:I just finished reading The Golden Compass. It's one of they most wonderful books I've ever read.


You WILL read the other two books, won't you? I promise that number two, The Subtle Knife, is even better. The third volume gets a little cluttered with sorting out the plot threads, but it has its own terrific elements (an ex-nun who's become a physicist and voices the most explicit anti-Christian comments, and a dynamite depiction of Hell, or Limbo, or Purgatory, or whateverthehell it is. . . .) which put it beyond just about anything else in its genre.


Steve Evil wrote:Coincidentally enough, I have also recently complete God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens.


Oddly enough, I am just finishing On God, a series of interviews with Norman Mailer -- of all people -- on theological subjects, that I just thought I'd pick off the library shelf because my book group is doing The Naked and the Dead, and it's diverting. Don't know why it didn't make more of a splash (pub date is 2007, not long before he died); he talks about God's imperfection and evolution, reincarnation, and how the Holocaust may have gummed up the processing of dead souls.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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Postby Moderator » Tue Jan 08, 2008 11:09 am

Steve Evil wrote:The Catholic School Board in my community has recently voted to remove all of Pullman's books from their libraries. This despite the recomendations of a review comittee (on which my mother sat) who enthusiastically endorsed the book.

"We were disapointed with the committee's decision" said one Board member, as they voted to ban the book anyway.


I suppose I should be jaded enough not to be saddened by this sort of hypocrisy. If the Board was "Disappointed" does this suggest they really only wanted a rubber stamp approval to their agenda, and not an honest opinion?

Maybe I'm beginning to see where Dubya got his attitudes toward free speech.
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Ezra Lb.
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Postby Ezra Lb. » Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:13 pm

rich, I've always been uncomfortable with atttacks on other people's traditions (however wacko). I mostly confine myself to speaking out about the tradtion in which I myself was raised. However it is clear the central cultural event that seperates the west from the Islamic world is a little episode called the Enlightenment.

Does this mean we're perfect? Of course not. But there is a certain threshhold beyond which our crop of religionists can't go, simply because of our secular enlightened traditions. We have wife-beaters aplenty but it would be unthinkable here for a commentator to write an op-ed piece in say, the WashPost, advocating what the gentlemen does in the Yemeni paper.

This is what bothers me most about the right wing attacks on secularism and the seperation of church and state. In doing this they open us up to the return of the sort of nightmare we are slowly, clumsily but surely climbing out of.

Note that the Yemeni misogynist is NOT a Jihadi or a terrorist but a perfectly reasonable (by his own lights) commentator defending what he sees as his own traditions. Good people do good things. Bad people do bad things. But for good people to do bad things requires...

religion.

And this leads us to our friends, the Holy Roman Catholic Church. It will be a long goddamn time before anyone can go to them for any sort of moral authority after they just spent 30 some odd years hiding and enabling a reign of terror by perverts and child molestors. (Jesus said that it would be better to have a millstone around the neck and be cast into the sea than to harm one of these little ones!)

The church should take the beam out of its own eye before plucking the speck out of the eyes of others. They could start by taking all their riches and giving them to the poor as commanded by their master.

Hypocrites! Whited sepulchres! Beautiful on the outside but inside full of dead mens' bones.

(Mercy I love the Bible! Kinda takes the religionist aback to get quoted to from their own holy book. My reward for being raised in the church is an extensive knowledge of the GOOD BOOK and I can use it like Machine Gun Kelly used a tommy gun.)
“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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Steve Evil
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Postby Steve Evil » Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:47 am

rich wrote:It's never too late. I'm a little surprised, though. I thought Canada deported all the rednecks and inbreeds to their southern neighbor, America. Don't tell me there's pockets of Canada that are irrational??

I simply cannot believe that the country that gave us chewing gum, lacrosse, and Michael J Fox would ban books. Won't believe it. Nope.


Alas, I'm afraid irrationality is universal.

I was taken aback because I went through the Catholic system and never encountered this kind of fundamentalism. Sure there was bible talk, an the school was unabashedly pro-life, but I never heard about helfire or brimstone, was taught evolution, had no problem finding Marx or Nietzche in the libraries, and was never discouraged from thinking or asking questions. Nobdy ever tried to keep me from reading something. Book banning belonged to another time and place altogether.

Apparently there are still enough old-school Catholics about (those who think it's the 12th century) to occasionally worm their way into School boards and PTAs and form powerful reactionary voting blocks.

Their "disapointment" with the committee's recomendation came, I think, from genuine surprise that their myopic vision was not universally shared. Obviously they had no intention of listening to the committee, which speaks of their mind-numbing hubris.

(funny enough, the only priest on the board voted against the ban. Apparently they know better when it comes to spiritual matters).

All comes back to the scoreboard: on the one side, free inquiry, artistic achievement and intellectual honesty. On the other: willful ignorance and the desire to force it on others. No contest

And David, YOU BET I'm reading the others! I've already started the second one. It's been a long time since I've been this excited about a long trilogy. Maybe not since Catholic school. I was always a timid kid, but heaven help the schmuck who got between me and my books.

(I'm even reading the School Board's old copies. They won't be needing them. . .)

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Postby David Loftus » Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:10 am

rich wrote:I simply cannot believe that the country that gave us chewing gum, lacrosse, and Michael J Fox would ban books. Won't believe it. Nope.



Not to mention Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Timothy Findley.

What, you guys STILL haven't read Not Wanted on the Voyage???!!! Get moving!

Yes, I know it's long out of print and really hard to find, but it's worth it -- go find a copy!


[Coincidentally enough, I got to sing the Canadian national anthem, along with the "Star Spangled Banner" at a minor-league hockey game (Portland Winterhawks) on short notice Sunday afternoon. . . .]
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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Steve Evil
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Postby Steve Evil » Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:19 am

And in this mornings paper, what do I see but a letter to the editor supporting the School Board's decision. Enough already! I'm posting my own response! Where the hell do I begin?


I'm sure you did a bang up job David. At least our anthem's shorter than yours ;p

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Postby FrankChurch » Fri Jan 11, 2008 3:08 pm

Either YouTube is slow or it is just me. lol

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Steve Evil
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Postby Steve Evil » Sun Jan 13, 2008 4:11 pm

And the Facebook group "Richard Dawkins is Wrong" sports a photograph of a mushroom cloud with the caption "Imagine No Scientists".

:shock:

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Postby FrankChurch » Mon Jan 14, 2008 3:57 pm

With no scientists these dweebs would have no post-it notes that they could write "Jesus loves my cat" to hang on their fridge doors.

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Ezra Lb.
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Postby Ezra Lb. » Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:23 am

More from Mike Huckabee...

http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Huckabee_ ... _0115.html


Those of you who are TV news junkies, is any of this stuff being reported?

"I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution," Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. "But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that's what we need to do -- to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view."

He has denied acceptence of the theory of evolution. Well, ok but he continually makes statements that can only be interpreted as calls for a religious government, a veritable theocracy. He describes himself as the Christian candidate.

And Cthulhu forbid we should subscribe to a "contemporary view"!

But wait a minute...aren't evangelicals always telling us that the USA was established with Judeo-Christian principles? If so why would we need to change the Constitution to God's standards? Could it be that the Founders intended a secular state? Ya think?
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

rich

Postby rich » Thu Jan 17, 2008 9:36 am

It's pretty much accepted that Huckabee won't win the nomination. We'll see if that's true or not (I happen to think he won't win the GOP nomination), but the media is looking at Huckabee as the breath of fresh air in an otherwise staid process. He jokes around with Colbert, and he's personable, but he hasn't got a snowball's chance of winning the nomination so (the thinking goes) why worry about what he says or does since it won't matter in the long run?

I'm not saying that the concerns noted by Ezra aren't warranted, but Huckabee doesn't have the influence of an Obama or a Clinton that would warrant the media focusing on him other than to pigeonhole him as a "preacher" and that's what preachers say, right? I mean, his views on evolutionary theory hasn't made him a pariah to the media because no one believes he'll really have an impact on the general election, but I would guarantee you that if Obama or Clinton or Romney said they don't believe in evolutionary theory that it would make front page news.

Bush gets a pass 'cause it's generally accepted that he's an idiot, and he hasn't made any overt gestures of changing how evolutionary theory is taught.

All of the above is supposition with a slight edge to being optimistic about the way things work. That is subject to change depending on what actually happens in the coming months.

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Steve Evil
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Postby Steve Evil » Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:28 am

I dunno. . .

In this crazy world anything can happen. The very fact he got this far means that he could theoretically get in, if not this time, then someone just like him next time.

Be on guard ladies and gentlemen. . .

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A slight change of course!

Postby Lori Koonce » Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:40 pm

I probably amd adding oil to an all ready burning debate... but has anyone ever thought of this...

In the book God: A Biography the author Jack Myles preposes that God evolved along with everything he created. He looks at the bible as nothing more than a piece of litrature, and bases his opinion on that.

Just another thought, isn't it possible that the bible describes certian things in the termonology the people had at that time? I mean there was no way the people of the bible could describe the big bang in scientific terms, but "God flung the stars from his fingertips" is as good a way as any to do the job.

And if Psalms can state the "A day is as unto a thousand to the Lord" prehaps the Genisis acount of things could be describing Evloution in the only way perons could understand at the time.

And then you get christians like me who believe that god just got real tired at some point and said "OK gang, I gave you the basics, now it's up to you to do something with 'em"
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Postby Steve Evil » Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:17 am

You sound like a Deist Lori. Many thoughtful people belong to this school of thought.

We can take it all as metaphor, but they were taken quite literally at the time.

Of course the Genesis story was an attempt to understand the world and explain how it all came about. That's what creation stories are.

But I don't think the writers understood evolutionary theory or the Big Bag and tried to describe it in metaphor. These are relatively recent discoveries, based on centuries of accumulating knowlege. It is not folk wisdom passed down through the ages.

The old texts can still be consulted for deeper truths, if one so chooses, but they cannot be taken at face value anymore. The trouble with todays world is that many people INSIST on doing so.

rich

Postby rich » Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:43 am

I look at the Bible this way:

It's an interesting read, but it's like reading The Weekly World News (sadly, gone now). The Weekly World News uses names and places that do exist, but I don't believe that Bat Boy actually bit Al Gore, or that an alien rode in George Bush's motorcade.


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