SCIENCE VS RELIGION

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

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Carstonio
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Postby Carstonio » Wed Nov 01, 2006 3:45 pm

Carstonio wrote:There have been times when I was just like the Christian in the last panel, except that I was...


...both sad and angry that people were judging me based on their beliefs and not on my actions.

david_n_scott
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Postby david_n_scott » Fri Nov 03, 2006 3:42 pm

Hmmm.

I've started this post about three times, and each time I've come off overly peevish.

Taking a deep breath and going on number four.

I don't know exactly why I've gotten so peevish... I guess it's just the perceived tone and the apparent claiming of knowledge 'edge of the universe and back to within seconds of the singularity that produced our universe at the beginning of time', maybe.

Regardless of what seems to be the claiming of a sum of knowledge that you'd need a list of PHDs as long as my arm to have (and maybe I'm misinterpreting), I have this question.

Why is it that so many atheists feel this obligation to go on message boards and post stuff like this? You're not trying to save souls for God or get accolades in the afterlife or anything.

I could get won over to your viewpoint and go on message boards and post a bunch of black or white, divisive rhetoric about Science OR religion, the fate of the world in a thousand years and all that... or what?

You said you want to be understood, but I don't understand at all. What are you trying to accomplish? You seem to already have all of the answers about everything in the world and be convinved people that don't 100% agree with you need to be taken to the woodshed. What else do you want out of life that this topic will give you?

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robochrist
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Postby robochrist » Fri Nov 03, 2006 4:11 pm

David,

"It's the difference between telling your wife that you love her based on a long period of shared experience versus going up to a stranger in a bar and telling her that you love her."

Unfortunately, the latter has been more often MY scenario.

"I luv ya, baby. Youuuuuuuuuu are what I've been lookin' for ALL my life"

And that's within 5 minutes of meeting her.

**David N Scott,

Do we HAVE to necessarily be trying to accomplish something to state our thoughts, reactions, and reasoning to the endless tides of superstitions out there?

I'd say each among us has his or her OWN reasons for wanting to vocalize. Some may be trying to "accomplish something", others just like to spout off.

david_n_scott
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Postby david_n_scott » Fri Nov 03, 2006 4:33 pm

robochrist wrote:
**David N Scott,

Do we HAVE to necessarily be trying to accomplish something to state our thoughts, reactions, and reasoning to the endless tides of superstitions out there?

I'd say each among us has his or her OWN reasons for wanting to vocalize. Some may be trying to "accomplish something", others just like to spout off.


This is true. I guess I was just reacting to what seemed to be an intention to start a dialogue on the OP's part. I probably just should've stayed quiet... I work at home and I have visitors today as well as the usual, well, work. Makes it hard to really follow things.

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Postby Moderator » Fri Nov 03, 2006 6:03 pm

david_n_scott wrote:I guess I was just reacting to what seemed to be an intention to start a dialogue on the OP's part. I probably just should've stayed quiet... I work at home and I have visitors today as well as the usual, well, work. Makes it hard to really follow things.


Actually, if you have an opinion, voice it. Dialogue endorsed.

In other words, don't stay quiet, always ask and always participate.

Despite repeated rumors to the contrary (and as Rob will attest), contrary opinions are usually welcome -- provided they don't tell us we're effing idiots or sycophants simply for disagreeing with them.

(Sore subject 'round these parts lately.)

Oh -- and BTW -- welcome to the Monkey House David!!!

Steve B
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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Postby david_n_scott » Fri Nov 03, 2006 6:06 pm

Thanks! :D

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Ezra Lb.
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Postby Ezra Lb. » Mon Nov 06, 2006 11:38 am

david_n_scott wrote

Hmmm.

I've started this post about three times, and each time I've come off overly peevish.

Taking a deep breath and going on number four.

I don't know exactly why I've gotten so peevish... I guess it's just the perceived tone and the apparent claiming of knowledge 'edge of the universe and back to within seconds of the singularity that produced our universe at the beginning of time', maybe.

Regardless of what seems to be the claiming of a sum of knowledge that you'd need a list of PHDs as long as my arm to have (and maybe I'm misinterpreting), I have this question.

Why is it that so many atheists feel this obligation to go on message boards and post stuff like this? You're not trying to save souls for God or get accolades in the afterlife or anything.

I could get won over to your viewpoint and go on message boards and post a bunch of black or white, divisive rhetoric about Science OR religion, the fate of the world in a thousand years and all that... or what?

You said you want to be understood, but I don't understand at all. What are you trying to accomplish? You seem to already have all of the answers about everything in the world and be convinved people that don't 100% agree with you need to be taken to the woodshed. What else do you want out of life that this topic will give you?


First of all David, welcome. I'm glad you posted. And I'm sorry because I almost overlooked your first post (which is why I quoted it in its entirety) not realizing it was addressed in large part to me.

What am I trying to accomplish?

I suppose from one point of view I’m not trying to accomplish anything really. Just taking the opportunity presented by the existence of this forum to vent and indulge my ego.

But from another point of view it’s possible I have several goals.

To articulate a point of view that is much disparaged and much misunderstood.

To clarify my own thinking for myself in the act of trying to express it to somebody else.

To try to begin a conversation about a subject that has been very important in my own biography, about which I feel very strongly. A subject that seems important to a lot of people these days.

In the end I guess I’m arguing for ideas that I support and criticizing ideas that I think are destructive.

But what about you, David, are you suggesting that there is something illegitimate about my posts? That religion is above critique or cannot be expected to respond to criticism of its claims? If so, you would not be alone.

Divisive? Well yes, of course. Is that a sin?

You wrote

You seem to already have all of the answers about everything in the world and be convinced people that don't 100% agree with you need to be taken to the woodshed. What else do you want out of life that this topic will give you?

How about not projecting your own insecurities and doubts onto me and responding to my actual points? If you disagree then tell me why. You may not believe it but I can be made to change my mind if presented with good reason to do so.

I have no string of PHDs nor are any required. An afternoon’s googling will reveal to anyone with an interest about recent scientific discoveries about the early history of the universe. Do a search for HUBBLE ULTRA DEEP FIELD. You might find it very interesting.

The beauty of science is that its results are available to anyone who wishes to take the time and spend the effort. No revelation required. .
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

Carstonio
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Postby Carstonio » Mon Nov 06, 2006 12:24 pm

david_n_scott wrote:I don't know exactly why I've gotten so peevish... I guess it's just the perceived tone and the apparent claiming of knowledge 'edge of the universe and back to within seconds of the singularity that produced our universe at the beginning of time', maybe.

Regardless of what seems to be the claiming of a sum of knowledge that you'd need a list of PHDs as long as my arm to have (and maybe I'm misinterpreting), I have this question.


David, I don't know if your post was directed at me. Still, I think I can answer some of your questions. I don't define my beliefs as atheism, although I have a lot of empathy with atheists. Maybe I'm an atheism-sympathizer who would be forced by fundamentalist McCarthyites to testify before an imaginary House UnChristian Activities Committee.

In my view, the real problem is evangelism. That "perceived tone and the apparent claiming of knowledge" that you mentioned - I perceive those things from evangelists in all belief systems. In my view, all evangelism, even secular evangelism as practiced by groups like PETA, is an inherent threat to the idea of freedom of conscience. Evangelism assumes that individuals are wrong for holding their own beliefs, that those beliefs must be changed.

tend to obsess more about Christian evangelists because they have so much political influence. I'm thinking about how they hijacked the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives and the Air Force Academy to use government to push their religious beliefs on other people.

david_n_scott wrote:Why is it that so many atheists feel this obligation to go on message boards and post stuff like this? You're not trying to save souls for God or get accolades in the afterlife or anything.


While I can't speak for the atheists here, I imagine that they often feel defensive. (Ezra, would that be accurate?) Despite the principle of freedom of government, American culture still regards non-Christians as abnormal. And if you're an atheist, people often regard you as some freako-devo-pervo-twisto who tortures little kids in dank basements. So the defensiveness is not about the beliefs themselves, it's about being constantly harassed about the beliefs.

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Postby Douglas Harrison » Mon Nov 06, 2006 1:47 pm

Carstonio wrote:
david_n_scott wrote:Why is it that so many atheists feel this obligation to go on message boards and post stuff like this? You're not trying to save souls for God or get accolades in the afterlife or anything.


While I can't speak for the atheists here, I imagine that they often feel defensive. (Ezra, would that be accurate?) Despite the principle of freedom of government, American culture still regards non-Christians as abnormal. And if you're an atheist, people often regard you as some freako-devo-pervo-twisto who tortures little kids in dank basements. So the defensiveness is not about the beliefs themselves, it's about being constantly harassed about the beliefs.


While I'm sure some atheists are defensive about their absence of belief because they perceive a bias against them for it, I think the source of the conflict is even more basic: atheists contend there is no god, and this challenges the faith of those who do believe. Conversely--and this is a point I think David should note--religious faith, with its claims to truth and salvation, challenges atheists to explain their unbelief. In an open society, athiests have every right to respond to that which they understand to be wrong. Just as theists do.

D.

Carstonio
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Postby Carstonio » Mon Nov 06, 2006 2:32 pm

Douglas Harrison wrote:I think the source of the conflict is even more basic: atheists contend there is no god, and this challenges the faith of those who do believe. Conversely--and this is a point I think David should note--religious faith, with its claims to truth and salvation, challenges atheists to explain their unbelief.


I disagree. If someone's religious beliefs contradict mine, I don't necessarily take that as a challenge. And I wouldn't expect other people to take my own beliefs as a challenge to theirs. Other people's religious beliefs aren't intrinsically about me, and my beliefs aren't intrinsically about them.

Now, I do feel challenged when other people want me to believe what they believe, or pass judgment on me when I don't share their beliefs, or insist that their beliefs are the only "right" ones for everyone. But that kind of controlling behavior can be found among adherents of all systems of thought, including the secular ones.

What's wrong with an "every man is an island" approach to spirituality, where the individual creates his or her own meaning and purpose for life?

Douglas Harrison
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Postby Douglas Harrison » Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:28 pm

Carstonio wrote:
Douglas Harrison wrote:I think the source of the conflict is even more basic: atheists contend there is no god, and this challenges the faith of those who do believe. Conversely--and this is a point I think David should note--religious faith, with its claims to truth and salvation, challenges atheists to explain their unbelief.


I disagree. If someone's religious beliefs contradict mine, I don't necessarily take that as a challenge. And I wouldn't expect other people to take my own beliefs as a challenge to theirs. Other people's religious beliefs aren't intrinsically about me, and my beliefs aren't intrinsically about them.


You may choose not to respond to the challenge, but that doesn't mean the challenge is not there. One may tolerate and respect another's belief, but if one believes a deity exists and another says that is not true, then a challenge is implied, whether or not a direct conflict arises.

My intent was to examine what prompts individuals to make their arguments for or against religion. Certainly one may elect to make no argument, many do--and often to avoid causing offence--but clearly others feel they must answer the challenge of an opposite understanding in order to promote and protect what they believe to be true.

D.

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Ezra Lb.
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Postby Ezra Lb. » Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:29 pm

Carstonio asked

While I can't speak for the atheists here, I imagine that they often feel defensive. (Ezra, would that be accurate?)

I suppose there was a time when I might have described myself as defensive about my lack of belief. But with the rise of the religious right as an effective national political force in this country, and the rise of militant Islam, Nationalist Hinduism, etc. etc., it's way to late to sit back and pretend it'll all go away if I just turn the volume up on my CD player.

The entire basis of our civilization is under assault from within and without. Really, how much courage does it take to speak out? I had an Uncle who was at the battle of the Bulge. Nothing I've ever experienced compares to the sacrifice he made.

What's wrong with an "every man is an island" approach to spirituality, where the individual creates his or her own meaning and purpose for life?

Nothing at all. But the religionists aren't going to let you have it if they can help it.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

Carstonio
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Postby Carstonio » Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:38 pm

Douglas Harrison wrote:but clearly others feel they must answer the challenge of an opposite understanding in order to promote and protect what they believe to be true.


I suspect that probably comes from their own insecurities.

Here's a comparable situation from my own life - my wife kept her name when we got married. I would have done the same if our positions were reversed. We've encountered quite a few women who seemed almost offended by our decision, like their own decision to take their husbands' names was somehow devalued. But some other women told us they wished they could have kept their last names.

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Postby Douglas Harrison » Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:39 pm

I should add that I think one's religious beliefs are intrinsically about others--and all things, for that matter. How could they be otherwise, unless one lived in a universe all one's own?

D.

Carstonio
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Postby Carstonio » Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:50 pm

Ezra Lb. wrote:But with the rise of the religious right as an effective national political force in this country, and the rise of militant Islam, Nationalist Hinduism, etc. etc., it's way to late to sit back and pretend it'll all go away if I just turn the volume up on my CD player.


I agree completely. Still, most Christians oppose the theocratic agenda of the religious right. The problem is that not enough of them openly challenge that agenda, because the theocrats use fear and devotion to emotionally manipulate the moderates. How do we enlist their help in fighting the theocrats?

Ezra Lb. wrote:Nothing at all. But the religionists aren't going to let you have it if they can help it.


Again, I believe that it's not all believers in Christianity or Islam that are the problem, but vocal fanatical minorities in those religions. Moderates in Islam are even more reticent to criticize the fanatics in their own religion, because the fanatics use violence to silence critics.


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