SCIENCE VS RELIGION

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

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Ezra Lb. » Sat Nov 15, 2014 9:31 am

Chuck Messer wrote:
You do realize that's the equivalent of me saying the complete absence of faith invariably leads to oppressive totalitarian regimes and rampant sociopathic deviancy that would put Stalin and Jeffrey Dahmer to shame, right?


No Ben, that's a false equivalency. Closer would be if Ezra said, "Belief without evidence, i.e., "faith", invariably leads to oppressive theocratic regimes and rampant mass murder that would put Hitler to shame." THAT would be equivalent. Whatever one might think about Ezra's position, that is not at all what he meant. You may have encountered people who jump, like Superman leaping a tall building with a single bound, to that kind of extreme conclusion, but that was not the case here.

Chuck


Thank you Chuck. True enough, but my assertion is not evidence either. Ben was at least right to call me on that part of it.

Sooo...Ben, I am more than willing if you wish to give examples of instances where belief without evidence led to a bad result. (It would be interesting to see how much text one of these post fields would absorb before it blew its top.)

Can you give me a single example where belief without evidence led to a good result?
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Mark Tiedemann
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Sat Nov 15, 2014 10:52 am

One need look no further than people who believe prayer will "fix" their dying children and refuse to take them to a hospital because their "faith" tells them they don't need to. That's an unmitigated bad result.

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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Tim Raven » Sat Nov 15, 2014 12:13 pm

My uncle was diagnosed with routine, treatable colon cancer back in the late eighties and he refused treatment because that would interfere with God's will. He died a relatively young faithful man. I'm sure my aunt and their children missed him. I remember wondering then, why wouldn't it have been possible to interpret it AS God's will that he GET the readily available medical treatment and recover? I get the impression that fundamentalists accept the level of technology that existed during Jesus's time, such as using plows, but anything discovered since that time is godless and suspect. Even in the nonsensical world of religion this seems illogical.

For a religion to maintain its sway over an intelligent person it must not be examined too closely.

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FrankChurch
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby FrankChurch » Sat Nov 15, 2014 2:27 pm

People use faith without evidence all the time. You eat dinner, never thinking maybe the food may kill you. You have faith that the meat or veggies were well regulated. How do you know someone with coodies didn't touch your pork?

When you jump off a cliff you have faith you will hit the ocean water, not a big rock. So much more.

When you marry someone, you have faith your spouse will not cheat. Shall I go on?

Faith is a natural part of human life. You have to use faith since so much is not known.

Mark Tiedemann
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Sat Nov 15, 2014 5:22 pm

There's a qualitative difference between taking reasonable risks and "having faith." You're being disingenuous in your assessment of equivalencies.

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Steve Evil
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Steve Evil » Sat Nov 15, 2014 7:12 pm

FrankChurch wrote:
One scientific fact our side does use is the fact that perfect alignment of our planet led to it surviving and giving life to humans. Any small change would either burn us to cinders or freeze us blue and dead.



This is why life is so incredibly rare in this large universe. Conditions are hardly ever right; it doesn't happen very often. But it doesn't have to happen often: like lottery wins or sperms hitting eggs, it only has to work once.

You'd think it'd be more common with a hand behind it all?

When we were the centre of the universe, that was god's special plan. Now, when we're a very insignificant speck somewhere on the fringes, that's also god's special plan. Go figure. . .

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Ezra Lb. » Mon Nov 17, 2014 8:52 am

Like a lot of folks I've watched the Philae Comet Lander with a great deal of interest. One point not much commented on in the media is that this mission is entirely a production of the European Space Agency without any contribution from the US space program. Get used to it folks. NASA severed its relationship with the ESA a while back and has put all its moonrocks in one basket, producing a new space tugboat to replace the shuttle. Oh the next few years will be interesting; the New Horizons probe fly-by of Pluto will be next summer and there is another Mars Rover scheduled to be deployed in the next three to five years. But those missions were bought and paid for years ago. We're making noises about a human mission to Mars but that will cost trillions and is decades away at best.

The sobering truth is that the cutting edge of science is moving away from the US to Europe. First the Hadron Collider and now the unhumanned space program. Now don't get me wrong. I'm not against humanned spaceflight. It's just that I'm primarily interested in the science. And these robot probes are where the action is, not flying people up to the ISS, a huge cash cow that has produced little if any science whatsoever. I want to see what if anything is swimming in those underground oceans on the icy outer moons of the solar system and if it's a choice between that and sending humans to Mars, well I know which choice I would make.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
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AndrewR
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby AndrewR » Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:46 am

Ezra Lb. wrote:Like a lot of folks I've watched the Philae Comet Lander with a great deal of interest. One point not much commented on in the media is that this mission is entirely a production of the European Space Agency without any contribution from the US space program. Get used to it folks. NASA severed its relationship with the ESA a while back and has put all its moonrocks in one basket, producing a new space tugboat to replace the shuttle. Oh the next few years will be interesting; the New Horizons probe fly-by of Pluto will be next summer and there is another Mars Rover scheduled to be deployed in the next three to five years. But those missions were bought and paid for years ago. We're making noises about a human mission to Mars but that will cost trillions and is decades away at best.

The sobering truth is that the cutting edge of science is moving away from the US to Europe. First the Hadron Collider and now the unhumanned space program. Now don't get me wrong. I'm not against humanned spaceflight. It's just that I'm primarily interested in the science. And these robot probes are where the action is, not flying people up to the ISS, a huge cash cow that has produced little if any science whatsoever. I want to see what if anything is swimming in those underground oceans on the icy outer moons of the solar system and if it's a choice between that and sending humans to Mars, well I know which choice I would make.


I'm going to disagree a bit here.

First, the notion that ESA "severed ties" with NASA is incorrect. They share data and collaborate on missions often.
Future ESA-NASA joint projects include the James Webb Space Telescope and the proposed Laser Interferometer Space Antenna. NASA has committed to provide support to ESA's proposed MarcoPolo-R mission to return an asteroid sample to Earth for further analysis. NASA and ESA will also likely join together for a Mars Sample Return Mission.


Second, as far as manned space exploration is concerned, the ESA contributes and partners but has neither the budget nor the infrastructure to compete. NASA is still top dog and I don't think that the ESA has any intention to be competitive in this arena.

Third, JPL/NASA's experience and ability with regard to robotic exploration is unmatched. One need only look to the recent successes with the Mars rovers (all of them) to see it. Opportunity is still doing good science after how many years? Curiosity continues to perform well and is a marvel. While NASA has had a few setbacks over the years, their success rate is pretty astounding considering the budgetary table scraps they are given.

Lastly, CERN deserves all of the accolades they receive regarding the LHA. They were able to get something accomplished that the US was unable to. Kudos to them. There are, however, a lot of questions right now about the Higg's Boson "discovery" and the jury is now out as to whether or not they actually found it. Also, the LHA has proven to be a balky and troublesome bit of kit and it's going to take large sums of money to keep it running and make repairs/upgrades. Fingers crossed, but I have my doubts.

Also, let's not forget that the Philae lander may not be able to complete the mission it was designed for. The harpoons designed to reel it in and fix it to the comet's surface did not deploy, leaving the lander in a location that makes it difficult for the solar panels to generate the necessary power. I'm not suggesting that it's dead, but it is on life support. Ten years in deep space will do that to you.
Andrew Rogers

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Ezra Lb. » Mon Nov 17, 2014 1:27 pm

Andrew I'm more than happy to be corrected and my imprecise language tightened up. However I'm not sure your information is up to date. When I used the word "severed" I was referring to the fact that NASA has withdrawn support for several important space projects that had been planned in tandem with the ESA. For example, the NASA contribution to the planned Europa Orbiter has been withdrawn. The NASA contribution to LISA, which you mentioned, has been withdrawn. And the NASA contribution to the MarcoPolo-R mission has also been withdrawn. In every case ESA is looking at a downsized mission on their own. They propose a Ganymede orbiter. LISA has become the New Gravitational Wave Observatory. MarcoPolo-R has become PLATO.

You're right the Europeans don't have the budgetary resources to complete missions on the scale NASA would. But in the absence of our support they will do the best they can with what they have. But there's no doubt this will put a crimp in future planetary exploration.

As I said NASA has given top priority to building a new orbiter. Everything else is scaled back or off the table. Most of the projects we'll see for the next decade, including the James Webb telescope, have already been budgeted.

My point remains. The cutting edge of planetary research in the future is moving away from NASA.

I'm not against humanned space flight. In the fullness of time human beings will become a planetary species. I have no doubt about it. But that's NOT where we should be putting our focus now. We should be mapping and probing and poking in every nook and cranny of our solar system with these marvelous robot explorers all the way from the Sun's heliosphere out to the Oort cloud. Getting the lay of the land. THEN we make some choices about where to go and what we do when we get there.

We should be investing in energy research. We can't go to the stars in a horse and buggy. But with our environmental and resource problems this is what we should be doing anyway. There is a confluence of needs here. Before we can live on Mars we will have to learn to live on Earth. Only an infinitesimal portion of the human race will ever be able to live in space. For the vast majority of us, our place is here. Our life is here. Our future is here. It is almost immoral to offer the idea of outer space as some sort of escape from the problems we face on earth.

There's nothing in space that we can do that our robots can't do and in some cases do better. I am as full of the romance of exploration as anybody. But these robots aren't substitutes for our eyes and our hands they ARE our eyes and our hands. Through them we all explore space.
“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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Chuck Messer
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Chuck Messer » Mon Nov 17, 2014 1:50 pm

Let's not forget the Orion spacecraft is now a NASA/ESA project, with ESA providing the Service Module based on their ATV robot freighter.

We've got a bunch of short-bus lackwits in charge of the house science and space panel, and soon the same situation in the senate. It doesn't help that too many politicos don't like science because of its propensity to tell us things we don't always want to hear.

Chuck
Some people are wedded to their ideology the way nuns are wed to God.

Mark Tiedemann
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Mon Nov 17, 2014 1:54 pm

Chuck Messer wrote: It doesn't help that too many politicos don't like science because of its propensity to tell us things we don't always want to hear.

Chuck


Actually, I think it's more grounded than that. Science doesn't bring jobs to their states the same way war materiel production does.

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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby AndrewR » Mon Nov 17, 2014 2:10 pm

I don't disagree that robotic missions are key tools to space exploration. I'm all for it, especially when the technology improves continually. We can now accomplish more using fewer resources than at any time in our history. Where I disagree is in your suggestion that so much of this is shifting to Europe. They just don't have the track record or the resources. NASA may be operating on table scraps, but the ESA is operating on the crumbs. I think there's still a lot of fuel in NASA's tanks, and until the ESA starts using more robust engineering on their craft I don't think that the shift you're suggesting is really going to go anywhere. Of course just because I don't see it, doesn't mean it's not happening, but I think it's a little early to make a sweeping pronouncement at this point.

I sifted through several resources and failed to find an indication that we "severed ties" or withdrew support (I'm willing to admit that I could still be wrong though). The projects mentioned were proposals mostly and several lost out to competing projects. LISA for example is still a joint project with ESA leadership and it's now known as eLISA. I'm going to guess that a lot of projects that were in the pipeline were killed due to either better proposals coming forward or budget cuts, (special thanks to austerity measures in several EU member states). Happens here too. :-)

I suspect that this is going to be one of those agree to disagree situations. :mrgreen:
Andrew Rogers

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AndrewR
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby AndrewR » Mon Nov 17, 2014 2:14 pm

I'd personally love to see the budget expand for NASA. Shave 1% off the defense budget and throw it at NASA and you could see some major improvements.
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FrankChurch
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby FrankChurch » Mon Nov 17, 2014 2:27 pm

This is where I squarely side with my atheist peeps. This actually pissed me off:

http://www.dennismillerradio.com/b/Athe ... 18642.html

I will say the military is full of potty mouths, maybe this asshole should care more about that. I'm more offended that our country kills innocents using the flag and cross.

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FrankChurch
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby FrankChurch » Mon Nov 17, 2014 2:29 pm

Ezra, can there be such a thing as an atheist Chaplin?


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