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BS: Science without Religion..............

Big Mick 10 Sep 06 - 03:31 PM
Stilly River Sage 10 Sep 06 - 03:57 PM
Big Mick 10 Sep 06 - 04:13 PM
Roughyed 10 Sep 06 - 04:26 PM
GUEST 10 Sep 06 - 04:32 PM
Big Mick 10 Sep 06 - 04:44 PM
GUEST 10 Sep 06 - 04:48 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 10 Sep 06 - 04:57 PM
Big Mick 10 Sep 06 - 05:04 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 10 Sep 06 - 05:16 PM
GUEST 10 Sep 06 - 05:25 PM
Big Mick 10 Sep 06 - 05:29 PM
Rumncoke 10 Sep 06 - 05:40 PM
dick greenhaus 10 Sep 06 - 05:45 PM
Big Mick 10 Sep 06 - 05:45 PM
katlaughing 10 Sep 06 - 06:09 PM
Clinton Hammond 10 Sep 06 - 06:12 PM
GUEST 10 Sep 06 - 06:13 PM
Big Mick 10 Sep 06 - 06:23 PM
katlaughing 10 Sep 06 - 06:27 PM
Big Mick 10 Sep 06 - 06:37 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Sep 06 - 06:49 PM
Mooh 10 Sep 06 - 06:51 PM
Bill D 10 Sep 06 - 06:54 PM
Big Mick 10 Sep 06 - 06:56 PM
Don Firth 10 Sep 06 - 07:06 PM
Mooh 10 Sep 06 - 07:09 PM
Mrrzy 10 Sep 06 - 07:17 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Sep 06 - 07:19 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Sep 06 - 07:20 PM
Mrrzy 10 Sep 06 - 07:24 PM
Big Mick 10 Sep 06 - 07:24 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Sep 06 - 07:24 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Sep 06 - 07:29 PM
GUEST 10 Sep 06 - 07:39 PM
GUEST 10 Sep 06 - 07:41 PM
Amos 10 Sep 06 - 07:44 PM
Grab 10 Sep 06 - 07:49 PM
katlaughing 10 Sep 06 - 07:58 PM
Big Mick 10 Sep 06 - 08:23 PM
GUEST 10 Sep 06 - 08:38 PM
katlaughing 10 Sep 06 - 08:39 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 10 Sep 06 - 08:40 PM
katlaughing 10 Sep 06 - 08:47 PM
Big Mick 10 Sep 06 - 08:50 PM
Big Mick 10 Sep 06 - 08:52 PM
katlaughing 10 Sep 06 - 09:02 PM
BuckMulligan 10 Sep 06 - 09:04 PM
mack/misophist 10 Sep 06 - 09:14 PM
Amos 10 Sep 06 - 09:29 PM
Ebbie 10 Sep 06 - 09:33 PM
Big Mick 10 Sep 06 - 09:44 PM
katlaughing 10 Sep 06 - 10:12 PM
Big Mick 10 Sep 06 - 10:15 PM
Clinton Hammond 10 Sep 06 - 10:26 PM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 10 Sep 06 - 10:31 PM
Don Firth 10 Sep 06 - 10:47 PM
GUEST,Bee 10 Sep 06 - 10:52 PM
GUEST 10 Sep 06 - 11:51 PM
Stilly River Sage 11 Sep 06 - 12:00 AM
katlaughing 11 Sep 06 - 12:40 AM
GUEST 11 Sep 06 - 01:08 AM
Richard Bridge 11 Sep 06 - 04:05 AM
Stu 11 Sep 06 - 06:17 AM
Grab 11 Sep 06 - 06:40 AM
Paul Burke 11 Sep 06 - 06:48 AM
GUEST 11 Sep 06 - 06:56 AM
Wolfgang 11 Sep 06 - 09:48 AM
Stu 11 Sep 06 - 10:06 AM
Big Mick 11 Sep 06 - 10:16 AM
GUEST,Bee 11 Sep 06 - 10:17 AM
katlaughing 11 Sep 06 - 10:30 AM
Amos 11 Sep 06 - 10:35 AM
Big Mick 11 Sep 06 - 10:46 AM
Mooh 11 Sep 06 - 10:52 AM
Paul Burke 11 Sep 06 - 11:08 AM
GUEST 11 Sep 06 - 11:32 AM
GUEST 11 Sep 06 - 11:33 AM
Donuel 11 Sep 06 - 11:39 AM
Amos 11 Sep 06 - 11:47 AM
GUEST 11 Sep 06 - 11:48 AM
Paul Burke 11 Sep 06 - 12:08 PM
GUEST,Mrr 11 Sep 06 - 01:07 PM
Big Mick 11 Sep 06 - 01:17 PM
GUEST,Mrr 11 Sep 06 - 01:32 PM
TIA 11 Sep 06 - 01:32 PM
Amos 11 Sep 06 - 01:43 PM
GUEST 11 Sep 06 - 01:44 PM
Amos 11 Sep 06 - 01:57 PM
GUEST,Mrrzy 11 Sep 06 - 02:00 PM
Big Mick 11 Sep 06 - 02:07 PM
Big Mick 11 Sep 06 - 02:18 PM
TIA 11 Sep 06 - 02:28 PM
Grab 11 Sep 06 - 02:38 PM
GUEST 11 Sep 06 - 02:41 PM
Big Mick 11 Sep 06 - 02:55 PM
Big Mick 11 Sep 06 - 02:59 PM
Big Mick 11 Sep 06 - 03:05 PM
Mrrzy 11 Sep 06 - 03:15 PM
GUEST 11 Sep 06 - 03:26 PM
Big Mick 11 Sep 06 - 03:34 PM
katlaughing 11 Sep 06 - 03:58 PM
Mrrzy 11 Sep 06 - 04:07 PM
Amos 11 Sep 06 - 04:16 PM
GUEST 11 Sep 06 - 04:35 PM
Jeri 11 Sep 06 - 04:39 PM
Amos 11 Sep 06 - 04:52 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 11 Sep 06 - 05:05 PM
Big Mick 11 Sep 06 - 05:08 PM
dick greenhaus 11 Sep 06 - 05:13 PM
Richard Bridge 11 Sep 06 - 05:25 PM
Big Mick 11 Sep 06 - 05:48 PM
Amos 11 Sep 06 - 07:18 PM
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Grab 11 Sep 06 - 08:37 PM
Big Mick 11 Sep 06 - 08:41 PM
Richard Bridge 11 Sep 06 - 08:42 PM
Amos 11 Sep 06 - 10:52 PM
Richard Bridge 12 Sep 06 - 03:40 AM
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Grab 12 Sep 06 - 05:41 AM
Big Mick 12 Sep 06 - 06:29 AM
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Subject: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 03:31 PM

.......is lame. Religion without Science is blind.   Albert Einstein

I am starting this thread as a place to have a discussion. I understand the secular position, I get what atheists say and believe to be true, but I have been disturbed by the need of these folks to attack those of us who have religious beliefs and faith, at every opportunity. I have seen this most graphically in Rabbi Sol's thread about a fraud perpetrated on his religious community. I would ask those that are going to participate in this discussion to first read Jennifer Michael Hecht's excellent essay titled Believer or not, we can coexist. This is not a pro religious essay, and it not terribly lengthy, but sets a great frame for the discussion. I must admit that Hecht answered a number of questions for me regarding the current intolerance on the part of secular folks. I found it interesting that the earlier times of "enlightenment" were a backlash against the Catholic Church, and this current one seems to be a backlash against the fundamentalist groups. But please read it first and then let's go. There is a lot of room for agreement, and a lot of room for spirited discourse.

I will insist on civility in this thread, and in that sense it will be moderated. Moderated, in this instance will have a very limited definition. It will be limited to any type of personal attack. It will not include vehement disagreement with a position, or defense of one's arguments. Thanks, in advance, for complying with this request.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 03:57 PM

Science was co-opted by religion years ago, actually. Science is a component of each of the Industrial Religions (christian, jew, muslim). It just depends on what branch of science you're talking about, to get into the arguing.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 04:13 PM

Maggie, did you read the linked article? If so, your thoughts, please.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Roughyed
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 04:26 PM

A very intelligent and interesting article, Big Mick. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. I think there is a sense among some rationalists that we are in danger of a religious revival that could ultimately lead to a loss of freedoms for atheists. I understand that this can happen in the US although not usally on this side of the puddle. I read about someone being thrown out of a Vietnam vets organisation when he revealed he was an atheist - I think you would be OK in the British Legion. Strange to me that it was OK to kill people but not believing in god put you beyond the pale.

Also I think that amongst those of us who had a repressive religious childhood (Roman Catholic in my case) there is often a lot of understandable anger about what was done to us as children which doesn't always make for a balanced argument.

My personal dislike is for 'Thought for the day' which is a religious slot in BBC's main radio news programme. It should usually be renamed 'Woolly thought of the day' but having said that I do like Rabbi Lionel Blue (one of the contributors). On most mornings I can be found shouting at the radio. If you're wondering why I don't switch it off, my wife likes it and I think she enjoys winding me up first thing if the truth be told. I think this is probably less to do with dislike of religion and more to do with me being a grumpy old man

I don't agree with excessive proseletysing on either side, but I think it is valuable for both sides to have their beliefs challenged. You do have to be careful though. There are worse things in people's lives than believing nonsense and I would hate to persuade someone to give up any religion if it was the only thing holding them back from alcoholism or drugs for example.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 04:32 PM

"I will insist on civility in this thread, and in that sense it will be moderated."

This statement (and twice before) you have said words to the effect that if you don't like the tone or what's said you will close the thread. Tell me then, do other people who start threads have this right even though they may not have an edit button? If so, to whom do they address the request that the thread be closed? And if not, why?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 04:44 PM

Perhaps you could extend the courtesty of using the whole statement so folks get the context:

I will insist on civility in this thread, and in that sense it will be moderated. Moderated, in this instance will have a very limited definition. It will be limited to any type of personal attack. It will not include vehement disagreement with a position, or defense of one's arguments.

You show your intent by taking the quote out of context, and then using it to shift the premise. Nowhere does my post suggest that I will moderate on the basis of tone. I say quite clearly that it is moderated only to control personal attacks.

You will not be allowed to try shifting the premise again. Please stay on topic, or do not participate. I am after a civil, yet spirited, discussion of the topic and article I have layed out.

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 04:48 PM

Then make sure even you keep to those rules, and best of luck with the thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 04:57 PM

One is not necessarily exclusive of the other, as you know, Mick. No, I haven't read the article, but I'll do it right now...

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 05:04 PM

My view exactly, Jerry. I think you will find the article very interesting and the basis for a very solid discussion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 05:16 PM

Just read the article, Mick and it is a good foundation for a discussion. Being a believer, I guess I found it a little bit condescending... like a pat on the head. But, that's alright. I wait to see if this thread really can remain respectful. I'd just add a few things.

It's not just atheists who find religious fundamentalists obnoxious and disgustingly judgmental. Many, many more liberal Christians (no that is not an oxymoron) find them equally so. A basic tenant of Christianity is not to be judmental. Better it would be to have a millstone tied around your neck and be cast into the sea.

I have a great respect for the Unitarian Church. One of my sons, who is an Agnostic is a member of a Unitarian Church, and I am very happy about that. Funny thing is, there are times when in discussions groups people start knocking Christians, and my son leaps to their defense, not being one himself.

When my wife were at the Grand Canyon a week ago, an Indian chief gave us a tour. He spoke feelingly about his Gods and how they reveal themselves in the rock formations of the cliffs, and I felt fine with that. As a Geologist, I could as easily give a lecture on the formation of the Grand Canyon with no reference to God.

I don't blame atheists for attacking the excesses of the religious right. I think that if Christ were here, he'd overturn their tables quicker than a wink...

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 05:25 PM

Fundamentalist of any sort are a pain. Basically, they tend to carry their brand of it (fundamental thought) to such an excess that little else is allowed inside the framework of their thinking, and everything is seen in the light of that thinking. Science has had and has its moments like that, too. Sad really.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 05:29 PM

Yes, Jerry, I was a little put off by the condescension as well. But in the main, if that is all we faced from the secular community, I would be very happy. There is an intolerance germinating out there that concerns me greatly. It is called polarization, and it results in witch hunts, Inquisition, and misery. Both sides are very vulnerable to it. If we could but foster a more tolerant view of things, I would be much more comfortable.

By the way, this polarization is intertwined into many aspects of society, not just the secular/religious argument.

By the way, I believe that were Christ about today, he would be in the streets and very radical.

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Rumncoke
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 05:40 PM

I found just reading the article is difficult - right from the first words it shows a woollyness of thought.

Who is the 'we' and in which world are they living?

Perhaps it is the style of writing but I was left unsure of what or who the article is actually about. Maybe I'll try to read it again tomorrow - things often look clearer on a second look after sleeping.

Anne


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 05:45 PM

There's certainly nothing preventing a scientist from beleiving. When those beliefs get in the way of the science, however, the result is simply bad science.
    Faith-based science is a ludicrous concept.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 05:45 PM

Agreed, Dick. Did you read the article? Your observations on it, please?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 06:09 PM

I read it. It seemed a little out-dated to me and presumptive. For instance, the Episcopal Church is having a great deal of trouble right now, with large congregations wanting to split because of the liberal stance on gay and lesbian members.

This, I found presumptive: Even if you don't care about any of that, you probably have to admit that when the big things happen in your life - births, deaths, the transition to adulthood, marriage - you end up in a church or temple. The question of what human work gets done there is your business.

In all of my life, each time I have been married, had a child, or lost a loved one, never have I found myself inside a human-made temple or church. Like traditional Native Americans, pagans, etc. I find my spirituality best by honouring what I think of as the god/dess in all things. Churches and temples, to me, seem to set us apart from the spirituality of creation. Yes, they are beautiful and can be uplifting, but I dislike the notion that to speak with "God" or be spiritual one must do so in a building.

A really good organisation which addresses science and religion is at Templeton dot org Here is their mission statement:

The mission of the John Templeton Foundation is to serve as a philanthropic catalyst for scientific discovery on what scientists and philosophers call the 'Big Questions.' Ranging from questions about the laws of nature to the nature of creativity and consciousness, the Foundation's philanthropic vision is derived from Sir John's resolute belief that rigorous research and cutting-edge scholarship is at the very heart of new discoveries and human progress.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 06:12 PM

"did you read the linked article? If so, your thoughts, please"

A fence is an uncomfortable place to sit


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 06:13 PM

Even if you don't care about any of that, you probably have to admit that when the big things happen in your life - births, deaths, the transition to adulthood, marriage - you end up in a church or temple. The question of what human work gets done there is your business.

Can a temple not be one that we make in our minds? It could have trees for walls and sky for roof. If that isn't what was meant then I agree that it is condescending and patronising.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 06:23 PM

I am not aware of any major religion that advocates or insists on the need to experience spirituality in a church, temple, whatever. These are just meeting places. There is nothing wrong with finding spirituality in or out of a church. I don't believe pagans, native spiritualists, or anyone has a corner on finding God (or whatever you choose to name) in the beauty of creation.

Clinton, you apparently have no intent of decent discussion. I didn't see Dick or myself on the fence on this. I agree with Dick's statement, and I further would like his observations on the article, just as katlaughing did. I've met you, you are a fairly smart fella, why don't you make a comment on the subject at hand instead of just trying to provoke. Please stay on topic. Thanks, I will appreciate it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 06:27 PM

Not to be picky, but do any of the religions which expect confessions, offer them anywhere else but in church, unless on someone's deathbed? Would they, for instance, say "come out to the park on Sunday and father so & so will hear your confession?"

I also do not believe any one whatever has a corner on "god," but there are plenty fundies out there who DO think they do and will have at anyone who does not go to their certain church, etc. I agree with her take on those being the types who throw out the test tubes, etc.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 06:37 PM

Of course a confession can be heard anywhere. In my own religion it is not even referred to as confession anymore. There has never been a prohibition on where it can happen.   It is just scheduled in the gathering place as one would expect. This is no different from any other practice, and I am not sure what relevance it has.

Ever heard of the ecumenical movement? With the exception of the extreme fundamentalists, most don't accept the notion that anyone has a corner on God. And how is that any different from the fundie pagans who insist on theirs as being the only way that makes sense? Or the secular fundamentalists who speak so condescendingly to those of us who follow a path different than theirs?

I used to love to eavesdrop on a Jesuit friend of mine when he and another friend, an avowed atheist, used to heatedly debate concepts and ideologies. I think there is a lot of merit in this. My favorite was when they debated faith. You think "What is the definition of folk Music?" is hard. LOL.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 06:49 PM

I think there are three problems here:

First the thread is not related to basic questioning premise of the chicken thread, namely should religious commands be logical or sensible.

Second, the article linked to starts from such a silly basis that it arouses (in me) nothing but a desire to shout and possibly throw a Molotov cocktail.

Third, I am seriously concerned for the Mudcat that a person may both start a thread for discussion and insist on his personal right to moderate it. A bit like Fox news. Mick I think you should recuse yourself from moderating this thread and leave it to be moderated ONLY by those who do not have an axe to grind.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Mooh
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 06:51 PM

Politics without pricnciple
Wealth without work
Commerce without mortality
Pleasure without conscience
Education without character
Science without humanity
Worship without sacrifice

Gandhi, I think, and not sure if it's accurate.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 06:54 PM

Well, I just read the entire article, and I must say there's far too much there to address briefly. (I have company tonight, so I will attempt to get back to it tomorrow)

I will say that the opening sentence jarred me a bit. "We live in a profoundly secular world, ..." Oh, really? Could'a fooled me.
I know that's not the point of the article, but it set the tone for some valuble insights interspersed with bad examples and just plain shaky reasoning about some points.
The overall notion....that we should be able to coexist, is not terribly profound, but as she says, certain forces are testing it these days....

Well, anyway...more later as I work thru the embedded assumptions and slightly questionable intermediate conclusions.

(BTW...I just attended a festival where the American Atheists had a booth set up, and I wasted a bit of breath trying to tell them that literature praising Madeline Murray O'Haire was counterproductive)


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 06:56 PM

Noted, Councillor. Please note the only condition for moderation. Personal attacks not allowed. Spirited debate on all that is entailed in this subject is fine and encouraged. If I violate that, feel free to call me on it. Let's carry on with the discussion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 07:06 PM

Beware! Another one of my massive screeds.

In the interests of full disclosure:   I don't attend very regularly these days, but I am a member of Central Lutheran Church in Seattle.

I grew up in a family that was not especially religious. We attended church occasionally, but not always the same one. My father was of a somewhat philosophical bent, and my mother was a seeker. She investigated a number of belief systems, including Eastern religions, and eventually settled on Unity. Not Unitarian, but Unity (in the interest of brevity [!], I won't try to explain, I'll just link to information in case anyone is interested). I often went with her. Suffice it to say that it was not fundamentalist in any way, accepted the idea that much of the Bible is allegory and metaphor rather than historical fact, and emphasized the teachings of Jesus as a practical approach to living. I considered myself a philosophical atheist and went with my mother mostly to humor her, but found that the minister said a lot of good things about life in general. Among other things, I think the only time he ever mentioned the word "sin," he defined it as "falling short of our own potential as human beings." This ties in very nicely with one of my favorite quotes by Rabbi Zusya: "When I die, I know God will not ask me, 'Why were you not Moses? God will look upon me ask, 'Why were you not Zusya?'"

Then I got married. Barbara was raised in the Lutheran church and was fairly involved in church activities. I sometimes wondered, because we had learned that we both believe pretty much alike:   neither of us believes in an anthropomorphic God and generally figure that man created God in man's image—which, unfortunately included all the potential human weaknesses and pettiness that the creators themselves embodied. Our (Barbara's and my) concept of God is that God should, perhaps, be spelled with two "o's"—as in "Good." A concept of truth, love, fairness, and all the many things that enhance life and harmony. Not some all-powerful physical entity residing in some other dimension, and definitely not some stern, vengeful, easily offended "Father Figure" on steroids. Interestingly enough, it turns out that many members of the congregation at Central seem to believe pretty much as we do.

Central Lutheran Church has had a couple three or four pastors since I began attending with Barbara. The first seemed to be more of a philosopher than a minister (he often took parts of his sermons from passages in Lord of the Rings and from "Prairie Home Companion." He and I had many good philosophical discussions. Then came The Activist. He managed to get himself thrown in jail a couple of times for things like standing on the railroad tracks to block the train that was bringing nuclear warheads to the Trident submarine base at Bangor, Washington and taking part in sit-ins when tenants were being evicted from low rent housing so some developer could build high priced town-houses and condominiums on the site. I admired Pastor Jon immensely. Lots of people did. He practiced what he preached. Now, we have two pastors:   a young woman (who once held up a Bible and said, "This is not the Boy Scout Manual. It does not contain answers;   it contains questions!") and a very large black man who wears an ear ring, and who cruises the city informing the homeless and indigent that they can get a good meal at the Central Lutheran Church parish house, and fear not, no one is going to try to shove a sermon down their throats while they're eating. This church emphasizes community service. It also provides space for things like AA meetings and various other kinds of support groups, and it houses the offices of the national director of the Lutheran Peace Fellowship. I like what this church does, and I have no problem supporting it.

Am I a Christian? I have no idea. Do I believe in the divinity of Jesus? In the sense that we all have a "divine spark" (whatever that is), yes. Do I believe in the miracles that Jesus is supposed to have wrought? I don't know. I kinda doubt it. It's part of the standard hype that gets included in stories about all important religious figures. His main massage was that we shouldn't fight, and we should try to be a whole lot nicer to each other—take care of each other. I find that hard to quarrel with.

Science. I love it! I've had very little formal scientific training (chemistry in high school, a couple of astronomy and general science courses at university), but I read avidly and have a bookshelf full of books like Michio Kaku's Hyperspace and Parallel Worlds, writings by Hawking, Gribbin, Feynman, and others, along with Isaac Asimov's, both fiction and non-fiction, and Carl Sagan's books. Do I believe that the earth was created in seven literal days in 4004 B.C., and that Adam and Eve are actual historical figures? Not hardly. Do I believe that the universe came into existence with the mysterious "Big Bang" some 12 billion years ago? I find it hard to grasp, but it looks at this point that that's the way it happened. Do I believe in evolution? Of course! How can one not? The evidence is overwhelming!

On the one hand, I think that there can be no reasonable quarrel between religion and science. For the True Believer, science explains how God did it. Carl Sagan once said, "God is in the process of being born. Life is the Universe's way of knowing itself." Now this may sound like I'm doing a brief for "intelligent design." Not so. If challenged, I think I can produce plenty of evidence indicating that, rather than intelligently designed, the universe was quite conceivably designed by an Idiot!

On the other hand, for the non-True Believer—the secularist (and when it comes down to it, Barbara and I probably classify as a secular humanists more than anything else)—with one exception, I can see no real reason for animosity toward religion, and it's a pity and a shame that many liberal and progressive people of a secular bent refuse to work with or otherwise have anything to do with equally liberal or progressive religious groups who, politically anyway, believe exactly as they do. Some time back, religious and political conservatives put aside their many differences, turned their attention toward their common goals, and began working together, and that's why the political / religious Right are in the cat-bird seat right now. Would that secular and religious progressives could realize just how smart that tactic was, and join forces as the Right did!

The exception is when particular religious groups try to gain secular / political power so they can force others to abide by their rituals and beliefs. And this is very much on the agenda of the religious Right right now ("America is a Christian country!"), just as much as it is on the agenda of groups such as the Taliban. THIS is why secular progressives and religious progressives had better set their differences aside and start working together, otherwise they may find themselves forced to bow before someone else's concept of God.

To both the religious fundamentalists who feel they need to have all the answers laid out for them, all cut and dried, with no uncertainties, and for the secularists who believe they know all they need to know and that religion and everything about it is pure hog-wash, I would say that if you can't handle a little mystery and ambiguity in your life, you're in pretty sad shape.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Mooh
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 07:09 PM

I double checked the Gandhi quotation above and it appears accurate but that I slipped a "t" into morality, hope that wasn't Freudian. Commerce could be business and morality could be ethics (according to the source I Googled), I suppose depending on translation?

I, as others, don't agree with the "profoundly secular world" statement, so much that flows from it is also suspect.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Mrrzy
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 07:17 PM

I guess I just don't see the point, in today's already divided world, of putting up with grownups who still believe in fairy tales - and base additional differences on differences among their various invisible friends. I especially don't see the point of following the suggestion in the article that atheists join specific religions that allow free-thinking -why not just be a freethinker?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 07:19 PM

Mick, that should be "counsellor" in the USA and something entirely different in teh UK but I am now about to read the bible according to Don FIrth (joke) and revert.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 07:20 PM

Mrrzy, belief in fairytales need not be a capital offence.

Back soon


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Mrrzy
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 07:24 PM

I didn't say I wanted them dead, I just don't see the point of humoring them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 07:24 PM

I know I don't have a bit of problem with the second sentence of Mrrzy's post. But the first one is exactly what I worry about. It is so intolerant as to be disgusting. A tolerant view would be to say that folks have a right to their belief system, whether it is based on a Supreme Being, Nature, or nothing at all. When one uses rhetoric like "I just don't see the point, in today's already divided world, of putting up with grownups who still believe in fairy tales" , it leads me to wonder what would happen if folks that thought like that were in power. What would constitute not putting up with us? Isolation? Purity of thought training? Would we use some sort of Revolutionary Guard to purge the offenders? One needs only look into history about 60 years to see a number of scenario's where these things occur.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 07:24 PM

Thank you Don - I've read it now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 07:29 PM

I have re-read the article. The argument (at least mine) on the chicken thread was about whether religion should not somehow be limited when asking us to belive or do the irrational? Does it not then become contrary to the public interest? The article does not address this.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 07:39 PM

When one uses rhetoric like "I just don't see the point, in today's already divided world, of putting up with grownups who still believe in fairy tales" , it leads me to wonder what would happen if folks that thought like that were in power.

You only need look at the US where folks who think the reverse ARE in power. If their lack of faith hasn't made them make an almighty fuck up of the world then it must be their faith (following your logic mick.)

I don't fing mrzzy's post disgusting.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 07:41 PM

I also don't FIND it disgusting even.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Amos
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 07:44 PM

Kat, I believe you mean "presumptuous" rather than "presumptive" which is applied to evidence or propositions which appear true or reasonable on their face.

Definitions of presumptive on the Web:

having a reasonable basis for belief or acceptance; "the presumptive heir (or heir apparent)"
affording reasonable grounds for belief or acceptance; "presumptive evidence"; "a strong presumptive case is made out"
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn


As to the article, I think it was a noble effort and not badly written. Since it is an essay in a humanistic proposition, I guess it can be granted some slack if it seems wooly in places. I agree that people like Dawkins would much rather be writing more about evolution and biology (he has written five books on it, I think) than on writing books refuting superstitions about scientific subjects. And therein is the key to the thing.

There is no reason to mix physics and metaphysics, nor to mix any other scientific endeavour with religous issues. It is rational to keep religious beliefs as a private matter between oneself, one's DIvinity (in whatever form) and one's co-religionists.

The minute this boundary is broken by seeking to make religious doctrine or religiously derived moral propositions into a justification for controlling the lives of other people over whom one has no natural authority to dictate, a breach of the social contract has occurred and the doctrine of mutual forebearance has been violated. Thus extremism of the Muslim flavor and extremism of the Christian flavor are both candidates ofr being pilloried because of this violation of boundaries.

In a workable social contract no citizen has or should have the right to impose religous thought on another.

Scientific thought is entirely a different matter. It is not imposed, it is reported and to be valid requires repeatability of observations. It is OPEN to disproveability in its nature and in fact SEEKS it. That's the core difference.

There is no contradiction between being devout as an individual and being scientific as a thinker, and the quote in the article from Carl Sagan offers one view of why.

As to whether the world is profoundly secular or not, I would offger as bet, if ity could be counted up, that the number of secular dialogues (what to eat, how much money, how machines should or do work, employment, organisms, politics health, other species, sciences and their topics) probably outnumbers the religious dialogues of all stripes in any given 24-hour cycle on planet Earth, among humans of all nations and races, by a factor of at least 10 to 1. Probably much more. To put it another way, hundreds of billions of people discuss secular matters from dawn to dusk, while the number who discuss religious issues from dawn to dusk are in the hundred-thousands at best. I would submit this qualifies the world as profoundly secular.

But every one of those people ALSO has some religious thoughts or concerns (even if atheistic). And the wisdom of the Founding Fathers in keeping Congress the hell out of religious practices is well-founded and based on good lessons hard learned from history -- the government of practical affairs among humans should be clearly kept free of religious practices or principles because these topics are too divisive. Therefore they should be strongly encouraged as private practices or the practices of private groups, and strongly discouraged from trying to step across that boundary.

Them's my two bits worth, podnuh.



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Grab
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 07:49 PM

"We" is "humans". Yes, it's fairly woolly. But then, religion is (or should be) a deeply personal experience.

If you had to ask me my religious beliefs, I guess it'd be "God is good". And as far as I can see, any religion that goes further than that is limiting the power of God. If your religion claims to have some list of God's "responsibilities" like a contract for a job, then you're not really believing in much, are you? And nor are you believing in any particular powers for God.

I've heard the phrase "God of the gaps" used where religious people are worried that the more science finds out, the less unexplained stuff there'll be to attribute to Divine Provenance. Oh no! They've found that they've hired a God to do all this work personally, and then it turns out he's worked out some physical processes that'll do the job for him! Sue the lazy bastard! And never mind the infinite wonder of what he dreamed up to make it all happen...

That's the whole problem for me with fundamentalists, "born-again" Christians and anyone else who believes in the literal truth of some book. *Humans* write books. They might say it was divinely inspired, but they might not have been listening at the right time, or they might have used the wrong word, or the word might have changed meaning since then. For the last one, the word "virgin" in the New Testament describing Mary is a particularly good example, since research suggests the Hebrew word used merely meant "young/unmarried woman". Oops! And the Jewish insistance that the Torah must never be changed, even down to the style of handwriting used - sorry, but that's just daft.

And that's also where organised religion gets me down. As a coming-together of a group of people who believe the same thing, I can't imagine anything better. Sadly, I also can't imagine anything *rarer* in organised religion. Again, the bloke (or occasionally woman) doing the talking is a fallible human being, no matter how far up the religious organisation they are. As a result, every last utterance must be assessed for whether it fits what *you* believe. If you get the feeling that they're digging deeper into the results of your beliefs, then that's great. But if they're saying "you must do this under penalty of being thrown out of here" - that's the furthest thing from God that I could possibly imagine.

Most lower-rank ministers/priests/whatever that I've met or seen on TV have fallen into the first category, of talking about what it means to be a fallible human being and still trying to do the best you can. But most of the higher-ranking ones seem to fall into the second category - they're making rules without any contact with the individuals who'll be following them and without any thought as to whether the rules really lead to goodness in the world. The Catholic church's ban on condoms is a classic example of this kind of attitude, which I can only say is the purest form of evil imaginable, not because of the specific issue of birth control but because of the ivory-tower way in which this ruling was put together without caring about its impact.

I guess I've followed her advice about "If you like religion and you don't strictly believe in God, it may be time to attend a church or temple that doesn't either." Music and outdoor activities are my church. Literally. For one example, there's a particular place in the Scottish Highlands which for me is more holy than all the churches, synagogues, mosques and temples you're ever likely to find. And I have little time for the anaemic hymns in the Christian church, but the joy from singing with other people or experiencing performances with them is pure goodness. As I said to start with, "God is good", and if the world is to have any spiritual meaning at all then the reverse also has to apply - "Good is God".

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 07:58 PM

Beautifully put, Graham. Thank you, for that last bit, esp.

Don, I was in Unity for years. Loved the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary and the practical application.

Amos, thanks for the clarification.

At first, fundie pagans sounded like an oxymoron, then I went looking for such a thing on google. I have no knowledge of this person, but this is what a so-called Neo-Pagan Fundamentalist has to say about tolerance:

5. A Pagan fundamentalist is rabidly tolerant, on principle. By that I mean that we do not criticize people for their religious choices, or criticize other religions for the acts of some of their followers. That means no indulging in that fave Wiccan hobby, Christian-bashing. Nope, none of that. Yes, there are obnoxious and vicious people in the world. But a Pagan fundamentalist knows three things about other people's religious choices, and s/he knows them down to the bone. They are: Click to read more.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 08:23 PM

I am not sure what qualifies this person as an authority, but I will take your word for it. For what it is worth, I was using the term in a purely personal way, meaning I just used to denote a pagan who would be intolerant of others views. I have met pagans such as these who literally mocked my beliefs, even though they are a melding of Catholic and some views that I would describe as nature based.

Perhaps the use of the term "disgusting" crossed the line, but I do find the statement made by Mrzzy to be very troubling. I would take issue with GUEST. I didn't say Mrrzy's post was troubling. I was very clear that I found a statement within that post troubling. My rhetoric wasn't the best, but the essence of my concern remains.   I agree totally that one only needs look at the intolerance of certain Fundamentalist Christians in the US, the North of Ireland, the Taliban in Afganistan, the Red Guard of China, the Nazi's in Germany, the Cambodian Killing Fields, and on and on, to see the effects of folks with a "shouldn't have to put up with......" attitude taken to an improper degree. It's the old purity of thought bullshit we experienced in the 60's and early 70's.

What I am saying, and it is based on rhetoric I see on Mudcat, is that I am troubled by the intolerant views I see expressed by many in the secular community. History is full of examples of it in religious communities, but it is also full of liberal religious people that reject this type of philosophy. What I really want to foster is a respect for one another's views.

Polarization, in the form of Red State/Blue State, Nationalist/Loyalist, Secular/Religious, Pro Life/Pro Choice, seems to me to be the enemy. It is causing a stratification in my own country that is worrying this old street activist.

How's that for a rambling post?

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 08:38 PM

mick would you be 'troubled' by a leader who did not believe in an unseen higher being and if so why?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 08:39 PM

I did say, I have no knowledge of this person.. for what it is worth. I, personally, have not met any pagans whom I would classify as fundamentalist, so I went looking. I do know pagans who will refute, vociferously at times, claims of fundie Christians, as to what pagans believe and practise. I don't consider that defense to be fundamentalist, though, just an attempt to enlighten/get the record straight, so to speak.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 08:40 PM

I'm with you, Mick: I get tired of the us Versus them crap.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 08:47 PM

What I really want to foster is a respect for one another's views.

That's the crux, isn't it? The fundies of any religion have no motivation to bring that to bear. Many progressives have goals of Good and tolerance. How do they convince the fundies to embrace such a concept when the latter's religions preach hellfire and damnation if they don't tow the line?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 08:50 PM

mick would you be 'troubled' by a leader who did not believe in an unseen higher being and if so why?

Fair question.

I would not be troubled by a leader who did not believe in a higher being. That is not my criteria for who I follow. My criteria is the value system of that person with regard to civic life, economic views, International diplomacy, etc. Quite frankly, I care less if they are religious, secular, or anything else. What I want to know is that they share certain values that I have. These would include a respect for the working classes that are the basis of society and the foundation of a sound economy, a belief that anytime the pendulum of power swings too far in either direction our world is in peril, a desire to live within the community of nations with respect for the value of all peoples, and so on. I believe that the basis for my values lies in my own spirituality, but I do not require that others believe the same.

In short, what one is speaks louder than what one says s/he is.

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 08:52 PM

The fundies of any religion have no motivation to bring that to bear

I would agree with that statement if it were directed at the anti religionists as well. I have seen just as much intolerance on their part as on the part of the religionists.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 09:02 PM

I am not speaking of intolerance as much as motivation. Presumably the anti-religionists do not believe they will burn in hell if they don't destroy every semblance of religion etc.? What end do they desire and how do they wish to achieve it? I would appreciate it if you would include examples/links etc. Yes, there is much intolerance, I agree, but I don't think the fervour is quite so rabid, at least I haven't known of any examples of such. It is important to note, imo, we are talking of extremists no matter the "side." In the US, the Christian extremists are more noted than any other, imo, which makes them a greater force.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 09:04 PM

What is "intolerance" on the part of "anti religionists?" I don't know of any atheists/agnostics, or "non religious" folk who want to prevent anyone else from believing/practicing whatever they like - until said practice involves others. Which is where "church & state" issues arise. Arguing against religious points of view is not intolerance; punishing or preventing the practices arising from those points of view is, and I don't know of anyone seriously attempting to ban religious practice. Would be grateful for correction, of course.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: mack/misophist
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 09:14 PM

Our European friends seem to have missed a few things about the fundamentalists. They more or less control large stretches of this country. They are well organized. They are very well funded, both by the rank and file and by a group of wealthy businessmen. Their religious status often allows them to violate election law with impunity. They virtually own the ruling political party. They take the biblical advice to be 'cunning as serpents' to excess; see 'stealth candidates'. Several of their groups are openly working towards a theocracy with biblical (same as Islamic) justice. Now add to this the fact that their policies tend to destroy the environment and create poverty. Is it no wonder we fear them? Christians are OK. But I classify these people as Satanists. The bad kind.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Amos
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 09:29 PM

I think this is the critical issue in focus: extremism requires intolerance, whether the extremism is that of a materialist, an atheist, a fascist, a religionist or even a physicist.

And the only sane position under the law where religion is concerned (I believe) is one of tolerance -- within the boundaries of not harming others by tolerating, for exampole, religous cannibalism or some such whacky practice.

In dialogues on civic matters, I guess the same is true -- the minute religious issues are injected for reference, the game collapses in a shattering of factions and divisions.

One good question to raise, perhaps elsewhere is why it is that religion is so divisive. I think the reason is that by its nature it CANNOT be objective, and cannot be genuinely shared (although it can be agreed upon in words, or not). It is by nature a highly personal, unique contemplation. To even organize it is risky and to try and make it into some objective standard (i.e. that should be accepted by the whople group AND those outside it) is unworkable.

Even fuzzy secular topics, conversely, can be objectivized to some degree -- economics, for example, in that anyone can see if prosperity is increasing or bankruptcy is looming.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Ebbie
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 09:33 PM

One point the writer of the article made is that one reason (perhaps the primary one?) that the rhetoric gets so heated nowadays is because of the public stance taken by our US government. I suspect that if, as Guest 8:38 implies, our government today were "profoundly secular" instead of being 'Christian' - and worse, not the kind of Christian secular people can respect - the religous right would be agitating in the same way and louder.

I think, in other words, if our government made a point of dismissing all religious input and was contemptuous of 'believers' there would be an uproar greater than there is today.

If our government, on the other hand, were balanced as I think it has been in the past, i.e., some government officials articulated religious beliefs and others made a point of telling us that their private beliefs were just that - private - I don't think it would become an issue.

Interesting comment about the Episcopals. Since January I have been the part time secretary of a local Episcopal church. Since I'm not a 'churched' person I haven't attended a church other than to hear some friends of mine sng (Think KT!)in a good 40 years or more. I found it surprising to learn that the Episcopals make a point of admitting they don't have the snswers and indeed distrust easy answers. In fact, I have heard the rector aver something and then add, But that's heresy so I'm not supposed to say that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 09:44 PM

I am not suggesting for a minute that it isn't the Christian fundies that are in power in this country, nor am I suggesting that the secular/anti religionists have the same power. What I am troubled by is the type of rhetoric I hear out of the secular folks here abouts, that lead me to believe that if they held the power, they would do the very same thing. It seems to me that people of good faith and honorable intent, without regard to how they view each others personal beliefs, can build bridges and become powerful within society. How I worship should not be the object of derision, if I worship should not be the object of mockery, I shouldn't be held accountable for the practices of some Christians. Imagine if I held all Pagans accountable for those that practice animal sacrifice?

I guess what spawned this thread was the condescending, and sometime derisive, attitudes that many of you who see religion as something for weak minds. When I read the Hecht article, flawed though it is, it seemed a very good jumping off place for a decent discussion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 10:12 PM

Am I understanding you right, in that you wanted a discussion about/with Mudcatters who are secular and derisive, etc.? I thought you meant society in general.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 10:15 PM

I want a discussion with Mudcatters with regard to society in general, which includes their attitudes. I presume they are reflective of society. But you knew that. Parse it anyway you want, katlaughing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 10:26 PM

That is my comment Mick... The article is fence-sitter blather....

It says nothing useful.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 10:31 PM

My favourite Einstein quote.

"It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure." -- Albert Einstein


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 10:47 PM

As a secular humanist who is sufficiently "tolerant" of religion to actually belong to a church so I can support the work it does in the community, thus maximizing my own efforts, I would say that anyone who equates religious people with those who believe in "fairly tales" hasn't a clue as to what religion is all about. This, I feel, is the sort of unthinking intolerance that feeds the kind of decisiveness that is further weakening the already fractured progressive movement in this country and leaving us all vulnerable to a total take-over by the most power-hungry fundamentalist faction of those people they scoff at.   

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: GUEST,Bee
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 10:52 PM

Out of curiousity, I just read the 'chicken' discussion, and didn't really see very many comments I would call 'derisive' or 'condescending'. Perhaps some of the comments might be described as 'irreverent'. And there, I think, is where conflict arises often between the religious and the agnnostic/atheist individuals. Common politeness requires one to be respectful towards others, and that includes their beliefs, of course. But I don't think unbelievers should be expected to hold others' beliefs 'in reverence', and that may mean questioning practices we see as foolish, harmful or intolerant.

Deities in their multitudes have seldom been good for women: I think I have reason to question their followers. Note that even in the situation that spawned this discussion, it is the women of the households who will be most inconvenienced.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 11:51 PM

Oy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 12:00 AM

Mick,

I'll jump in here--I haven't time to read the thread since I first posted, or the article. But I did all but the thesis in a MA in philosophy--I feel well enough acquainted with the subject of religion and science (I was studying environmental philosophy) to make the remark I made without the context of a specific talking point you started with.

A little flexibility, please, Mr. Moderator, to allow for the material that people already possess in their heads. You'll find it adds to the richness of the discussion.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 12:40 AM

But you knew that

No, I did not. It was a fair question based on your postings. I have been as respectful and non-devisive as possible. Choosing to hold a grudge will not contribute much to what promises to be a good discussion. If you cannot put aside our differences, how do you expect others to put aside intolerance?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 01:08 AM

Oy vey!


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 04:05 AM

I think there is a consensus that the conduct of religions must be regulated by society to ensure that they do not harm (particularly out of irrational beliefs) those who are not their followers.

I would go further: the conduct of religions should also be policed by society to ensure that they do not harm (particularly out of irrational beliefs) those who are their followers.

Further, religions should not rely on pure dogma to purport to justify irrational requirements of their adherents. Religions should be prepared to be debated, should be prepared to hear the voices of their followers as well as of their priests and authorities. Heresy and apostasy should not be punshable as such.

On this scale the irrationalities involved in keeping kosher cause less suffering, but Judaism like any other religion should be prepared to have its rules exposed to reason, and should be prepared for them to change according to reason.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Stu
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 06:17 AM

Interesting article, but in my opinon it's conclusions were totally wrong.

I do not believe in God, Yaweh or Allah. I believe that religious fundamentalism whether practiced by Osama Bin Laden or George W. Bush is in the process of destroying our world. I do believe in science and art as manifestations of the spirituality of man - part of the quest to find our place in the universe.

"I just think it is silly to believe the universe thinks.
Well, I'm of the opinion it does think, and humans have long recognised the fact it thinks. It's just they have trouble articulating how it thinks; some put this down to God or pixies or whatever supernatural being they choose to believe in, some dogmatically pursue theories that rely on empirical evidence only.

We know the universe thinks because we think. Our very being is made from the raw materials the rest of the cosmos is made from - the same molecules and elements that make stars, comets, planets and galaxies. If at the most basic level we are simply the result of self-replicating molecular chains coalesing together to form complex biological machines, if our thoughts and emotions are simple a series of electrical impulses firing neurons and jumping synapses, we can think, see and feel.

We and life on our planet are the universe made conscious - and we can contemplate ourselves and our environment. This thought in itself is quite awesome in the truest sense of the word (as opposed to Bill and Ted's sense). It doesn't require a divine being to create us, it provides a far more sound basis for a moral and ethical framework than any religion which by it's very nature is trying to forward it's own agenda. It respects the sanctity of all life whilst acknowledging the role of science and the arts in our development.

This whole idea is based on what many would call cold, hard science, but the spiritual dimension to the concept is evident, and far more powerful that anything you could be told to believe by an priest or vicar or imam or rabbi - it is self-revelation in it's purest form. It provides a context for everything that has occured since mankind first contemplated the moon and sun and wondered what it all meant. This concept provides a context to our place in the great scheme of things that religion struggles to provide but strangely enough, sounds very religious in it's own right.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Grab
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 06:40 AM

Thanks for that, Kat.

There *are* atheists and agnostics who wish to prevent people following a religion (or to persuade them not to) because they truly believe that religion damages a person's ability to make rational decisions. Richard Dawkins is maybe the best-known example.

I have to say that on many levels they're right. Morality is basically the situation of avoiding harm to others (by action or inaction). If your religion follows that rule, and you know every tenet of that religion, then you're fine. Trouble is that remembering every corner of a religion is *hard*. But if you have the reasoning power to think "what decision will have the best outcome for other people?" then you should be fine.

And this also assumes that absence of harm is the cornerstone of the religion. That's where organised religion all too often falls down - the Catholic church's "every sperm is sacred" policy on birth control is a classic example of that. I'm with Richard Bridge on this one - if a religion can't open its doors to rational discussion and admit errors by the (all-too-human) clerics who make up its rules, then it's not deserving of followers. It then lays itself open to the charges of "fairy tales" - and that accusation is *valid* at that point, because the basis for the religion then has about as much basis in truth as Little Red Riding Hood.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Paul Burke
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 06:48 AM

It's taken all that time to get to the core of the matter- you DON'T need religion to have spirituality. Einstein's religious beliefs in any case were probably Spinozan- that is, God is indistinguishable from the sum total of the universe, and has none of the characteristics of the Abrahamic personal God.

My own feeling is very close to Stigweard's in that I see the human (or animal) soul as a process of the mind. This has great explanatory power- things like what happens to you before you were born (you existed, but YOU didn't exist) and what happens when you die (YOU cease to exist, but the elements that underlay that consciousness are still there), why my friend John hasn't got a personality (soul) any more, even though "he" walks and breathes (his mind (soul) was damaged irretrievably by oxygen starvation), why simple chemicals can alter the personality (soul).

As for religious observances, no problem (see kosher chicken thread) as long as they impinge upon the believer only, and they don't try to impose them on society at large (see under Intelligent Design, Moslem dress codes, abortion laws, Israeli marriage rules, Oner Nation Under Bush etc.).


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 06:56 AM

By the way, I believe that were Christ about today, he would be in the streets and very radical.

Interesting. If he were to start walking this earth I think he would be ostracised and ridiculed by the majority of those who have spent a lifetime believing in him. They unfortunately are the very people who do not take kindly to having their beliefs questioned. They may fully expect to meet him one day when they are dead but the thought of bumping into him flipping burgers is not part of their teachings.

They have not been brought up believing that is a possibility so they do not look for him. The irrationality attached to meeting him in an afterlife does not extend to the irrationality that he could pop down whenever he chooses.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Wolfgang
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 09:48 AM

It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.

I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own -- a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms.
   

(Both quotes from Albert E. as well of course)

I live in a culture in which there is much less quarrel between believers of a supernatural force and unbelievers. Religious fundamentalists among the Christians are a fringe phenomenon with no political power whatsoever. Atheists are much more frequent than in the USA. Both groups rarely proselytize.

I think twice in my long life Christians have come to my door to bring me the word of God as they understand it. Atheist too are quite tolerant and mostly silent about their unbelief. In my daughter's class of 20odd pupils there are at least 6 atheist parents I know of (including me) and we all send our kids to religious instruction at school.

The agressiveness of (some) secular humanists in the USA I could never understand. The Dawkins of the target article is not my man (though I like all his other books). My man is rather the S. J. Gould speaking of the non-overlapping magisteria of religion and science. Religion (or just as well a nonreligious worldview) deals with 'ought' and science deals with 'is'.

Like Dick says, religion has no place in science (though, but that is something completely different, it has a place in an individual scientist). Newton was one of the last men to introduce God's action into physics. His equations did not lead to stable planetary motions in the long run, so he had to introduce the concept of God pushing the planets every couple of centuries back into the right places. That is 'the God of the gaps' in its worst form.

A scientist has to work (whatever she privately believes) as if there was no God but just nature and its laws. To fill one of the many remaining gaps in the knowledge with supernatural action or interference is doomed from the beginning.

On the level of 'ought' (what should we do or better not do) I tend to agree close to 100% with a liberal Christian. There is therefore no reason at all to quarrel with him about his differing worldview. The only problem I encounter are believers who cross into the 'is' (or 'was') level of statements about the world. Statements of fact about the world coming from a religious point of view have no place in a rational discussion. I cannot take serious believers who cross that line and argue for/against one theory (let's say evolution) starting from what is written in some book.

Wolfgang

(Mick, how many posts have you had to take out to keep this debate so civil and interesting, or was it the mere threat of doing it that has so far made this one of the best threads in a long time?)


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Stu
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 10:06 AM

"Religious fundamentalists among the Christians are a fringe phenomenon with no political power whatsoever."

These days Christian fundamentalists in the USA call themselves 'Evangelical' and they were largely responsible for voting in GWB, a Christian fundamentalist who was told by God to invade Iraq.

A new thread called Government without religion might be appropriate. Government without religion is what we need right now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 10:16 AM

I agree Wolfgang. The thread is maturing just as I hoped it would. There have been some excellent posts. And some real thought provocation. It is exactly what I desired it should be. Excellent post, BTW. You beat me to the punch on those further Einstein quotes. I was saving them for a lull in the discussion.

I have not had to delete even one post. When a subject as potentially divisive as this one is being discussed in a rational, edgy way, yet remains civil, it kind of makes the case for very limited moderation, eh?

Maggie, I simply wanted to know if you read the article. Seeing as it was one of the predicates for the discussion, I had hoped you had, but it seemed as though you didn't. So I asked. Not sure why that would be considered inflexibility. It was simply a question.


kat, our current disagreement has nothing to do with the subject at hand. I would like to stay on topic, so this will be the last reference to it in this thread. Sorry you took offense to the remark.

All the best,


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: GUEST,Bee
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 10:17 AM

Christians in the form of Jehovah's Witnesses come to my door about twice a year. I'm polite, they are members of our small community. Two men came once when I was stacking firewood. I said I'd be happy to talk if they'd help me with the wood while we spoke. They left forthwith and speedily. More recently, a woman and her children came. She said "Can I speak to you about - oh look! What kind of ducks are those?" And we proceeded to have a lovely talk about wildlife in the area. Much better!


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 10:30 AM

Fair enough, Mick.

Stigweard, I agree, government without religion would be much better than what we have now.

An idea of what it might be like if Jesus were to walk our streets, comes by way of an Episcopal priest, from back in 1975. He wrote a little book, which, imo, makes a big impact, called "The Alleluia Affair." In it, every Jesus on crosses everywhere, came to life, pull themselves off of the crosses, go out into the world and come to some very sad conclusions about the state of humankind. Despite the sadness, it is a very uplifting and, in some ways, prophetic book. I highly recommend it. If your local library doesn't have a copy, there are inexpensive copies available on line at AddAll.

There is a parphrased version of it at click


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Amos
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 10:35 AM

I think there are TWO core points to this issue.

One is that (as so beautifully expressed by Wolfgang) religion and science have different magistera, and so, too do those who work in social inventions and religion; because religion begins to corrupt when it becomes a social phenomena seeking to expand its boundaries. Many religious groups with clear cognizance of those boundaries do wonderful well and help each other.

The recognition of these non-overlapping magistera is critical to the success of science AND critical to the success of a society that is not uniformly of some religious belief.

There is another side of it, which is essential and is reflected in one of the EInstein quotes here, which is the question of "ethical insight" and to what degree it must inform scientific progress -- not the experimental or analytical conduct, but the choice of paths.

There are three choices in looking for guidelines which can steer the movement into unknown areas (for example, into nanotechnology or genetic science). One is the purely mechanistic scheme of pursuing anything that seems to have importance, although that still doesn;t answer how you choose direction. From this perspective, if you could find a research path leading to a thermonuclear device the size of a watch fob, you should do so.

A second choice is the convention of moral judgement, trying to live by agreements about the general nature of things that should and should not be done. Mostly these are moral codes of agreements about conduct and often they aren't very informative about how to deal with brand-new situations.

The third one is to develop a keen sensitivity to the ramifications of choice, learning to project consequences as well as possible and simultaneously develop your own keen sense of "right action".

This may mean staying open to spiritual ideas without any religious overtones to them -- ideas like "knowing" or "intuition" or "aesthetics" or "ethics" as innate and spiritual values.

These are nowhere near as easy as simply espousing moral codes that someone else handed down through time.    But although they are much mor edifficult they often end up being richer, and certainly more rewarding, because they require that the scientist who uses them be willing to always take a new look at what he is doing. This, it seems to me, is an attitude a lot more closely aligned with truth and the nature of existence then any set of static solutions being brought forward "because it was".

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 10:46 AM

Stigweard, Wolfgang, and Amos all provoke a lot of pondering in one of the great dilemmas of our time, IMO. The dilemma is fetal stem cell research. Hang with me for a moment on this before anyone lapses into their stock responses. In the main, this technology, IMO, holds the potential for the greatest advances in medical science and human health and longevity in history. But it also poses, IMO, a conundrum of classic proportion. Ultimately, when talking fetal stem cells, one must create life to destroy it, to save life. I don't take the classic Roman Catholic line on this, but at its core, isn't this what we are talking about? For what it is worth, I want us to pursue this technology, but the Science/Religion/Ethics piece fits here well.

One cautionary note. I don't want this to be a thread about stem cell research. I introduce it into the conversation to be used as an example of one such problem that fits within the topic. Others are welcome to introduce other examples.

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Mooh
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 10:52 AM

Stig...God did not tell Shrub to invade Iraq. That's a lie anyone can see, but the Shrub garden been skilled at blinding people.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Paul Burke
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 11:08 AM

The idea of "non-overlapping magisteria" sounds very grand, but I don't think it holds water. You must first establish that there are any real phenomena that science can not discuss, and that religion can. The works of Oliver Sacks show that science can study many phenomena that spome people would describe as spiritual. So, like the "God of the gaps", the religious magisterium is doomed to create its territory from the leftover bits not YET covered by science.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 11:32 AM

The article has moments. I do not quite accept the premise because religion is based on belief and science is or ain't, and unless one IS a scientist, there isn't too much to argue about. (True, we can say that the gene count is wrong or that the REAL distance to some fading star in the cosmos is not what people think or that this or that should be possible (other dimensions that have innhabitants)), but the truth is that very few people will have any idea what they themselves are talking about. I think in many ways religion is similar. People talk about it without any real way of puuting into words what they think of their religious beliefs. I suppose that then makes the 'Reader's Digest' versions (Bible, Koran, etc) such hot sellers. Policy as set by those books mean people don't have to think. Just follow the policy. Similarly, we all accept that light travels about 300,000 km/sec, and then having said that don't know where to go with the info. That statemnet BTW is a belief for most of us, because most of us would have no way to design a method of proving it. God is much like that, IMO. Good thread, Mick.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 11:33 AM

Sorry for the misspellings (which I prefer to call typos).


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Donuel
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 11:39 AM

I know evangelicals who are proud to say they believe the Earth is older than 6,000 years. One was quick to add however that he insists upon "correct" science.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Amos
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 11:47 AM

You must first establish that there are any real phenomena that science can not discuss, and that religion can.

"The Lord, thy God, is a just God."

"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."

"The Kingdom of Heaven is within you."

"Look you unto the lilies of the field. They neither toil, neither do they strain. Yet verily, Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."

Just a few off the top of my head, apologies for any misquotes.

Of course you inserted the word "real" in there which is a complete weasel, because of course, religion and science can go to the barricades about real issues like evolution versus young-Earth creationism, so th e non-overlapping part does not have to apply, really; but it is my opinion they SHOULD be non-overlapping. People get uncomfortable with non-coherent or contradictory data, though. If a person holds simultaneously in his mind the belief that the principles of Darwinism are correct AND that the species were created on the nth day by the hand of an Almighty, does he suffer from dissonance? Or does he find some higher plane from which to view the contradictions comfortably? Or does he just subdivide, holding belief (a) on Monday through Friday, belief (b) on Sunday, and on Saturday concentrate on sports?

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 11:48 AM

This thing is only the idea. The reality is yet to come. There is NO proof that Earth exists, let alone proof that it was created.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Paul Burke
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 12:08 PM

"The Lord, thy God, is a just God."

Presumably irrefutable if you apply somebody's idea of justice, which of course is a sociological, not a religious, concept, and is relative and varies from time to time and place to place.

"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."

Game theory. Beware of defaulters.

"The Kingdom of Heaven is within you."

Which is why you can blow it out and send a dozen of the non- believers to hell at the same time.

"Look you unto the lilies of the field. They neither toil, neither do they strain. Yet verily, Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."

Archaeology might be able to throw some light on Solomon's raiment for direct comparison with lilies using a gloriometer. Physical measurements can be carried out to evaluate work done (=force x distance moved) by lilies. It is anticipated that this study may lead in the longer term to significant improvements in the efficiency of the genus Liliaceae.

But seriously. If you regard the religious magisterium as the field of the ethics of human interrelationships, you have to have some mechanism to enable different interpretations of correct relationships to achieve a working agreement. Is this mechanism religious or not, or is there a separate ethical magisterium? In other words, has religion (= the posit of a non- physical external rationale for human existence) got anything to say that is both true (reference required for truth) and a consequence only of itself?


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 01:07 PM

Mick - I am also intolerant of bullying, violence in most forms, and many other harmful things.

It bothers me that people still believe that people are special, other than animals (we may be interesting animals, but animals just the same).

It bothers me that while the Constitution says No religious test for office, atheists cannot hope to be elected.

It bothers me that atheism is widely believed to be incompatible with morals.

It bothers me that faililng to continue putting up with such outdated (hmm - I shouldn't say "nonsense" but what is the right word?) is viewed as intolerant.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 01:17 PM

Mrr, I would like you to put all that into the context of the thread. I am not sure how I am also intolerant of bullying, violence in most forms, and many other harmful things fits into this discussion. The same can be said about the rest of your points, with the exception of the last one.

As to the last one, it is completely intolerant and contains a gratuitous assertion, namely your reference to personally held religious beliefs as outdated nonsense. When one uses gratuitous assertions, they can be just as gratuitously rejected, hence they offer nothing to the discussion.

So please try to give us context on these things, in order that they can add to the discussion.

I assume you got my PM?

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 01:32 PM

I'm at work - no cookies. Will check tonight.

The references were to things that ought not to be tolerated. It is my opinion that belief in the supernatural nowadays causes so much harm that it ought no longer to be tolerated, the way bullying is no longer seen as Boys will be boys.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: TIA
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 01:32 PM

I've just read the article, but don't know quite how to comment on this thread since I completely disagree with the premises of both:

This thread:
"...the need of these {secular} folks to attack those of us who have religious beliefs and faith at every opportunity..."

I just don't see this as a remotely valid description of the current world.

The article:
"We live in a profoundly secular world..."

Again, does not describe this world.

So, where to take a discussion that starts with these??????

As one who refuses any label that describes my worldview on matters outside of the realm of science (specifically to avoid the "us versus them crap" that JR rightly denounces), I have found that it is only the self-avowed religious who ever have a problem with this stance (and are wont to call me a "nonbeliever" or "atheist" in denigrating tones). The atheists never have a problem with my position. In fairness, I must point out that the vast majority of religious persons also respect my stance. I'm simply pointing out that among the few who object, it is ALWAYS the religious. Hence my bafflement at, and rejection of, the premises above.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Amos
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 01:43 PM

Wal, it's a tough question Paul.

It is my personal belief that humans have an inherent spiritual side, and that concepts like justice, ethics, aesthetics, and truth have an innate individual source, not some external paternalistic one. But that's just me and my own opinions.

I do not, in fact, consider religion has any sole claim over ethics in human relationships, because I have found in experience that wherever religion falls back on doctrine, it does a poor job of ethics, and ordinary human compassion often does a much better job -- individual responsibility and compassion are far better guides, in my view, than the dictates of ancient shepherds or even ancient Creators.

Thus, Einstein made a very hard call when he wrote FDR about the possibility of an atomic bomb; and Truman made a very hard call when he chose to use it. These were (as far as I know) not decisions made by some manifestation of the Almighty, or by dowsing the New Testament, although they may have been aided by general prayer, who knows. These men acted on their own sense of right action and consequences, and I am sure their sense of compassion also caused them to mourn the decision or at least the necessity for it.,. As I understand it, the invasion of Iraq, on the other hand, was attributed directly to the Almighty's voice, by GWB, and I have heard no genuine-sounding statements of compassion or regret from any of his devout camp. (Stop me before I thread drift!).

To put this another way, again referring to the notion of keeping religiosity off the commons where civic issues are debated, an individual has to take responsibility for believing what he believes. If he is not willing to be responsible for his decision to believe certain things, then he is to that degree abrogating his responsibility to act in keeping with his own inherent sense of ethics and compassion, and this quandary has provided much great literature as well as real melodrama in life. (E.g., Aquinas, Becket, and the Salem trials for random examples).

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 01:44 PM

Mick it is your right to say god is god and the maker of all things.

It is equally someone elses right to say god is a fairytale/outdated/irrational/unbelievable.

Because the person who says the latter is not god fearing and is stating their belief.

Your premise for a discussion won't wash while you continue to take objection to the latter.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Amos
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 01:57 PM

I would suggest to Mrrzy that it is not belief per se in supernatural elements, but the use of those beliefs to justify unethical acts, which defines where religiosity often becomes a problem. Why would you care what an individual's internal dialogues consisted of, whether between himself and himself, himself and a God, or himself and his sainted mother (may she rest in peace and why is she still talking to me in my head?). It is what he, as the gatekeeper, allows to come out of those dialogues into the external world populated by others that defines whether he is responsible for right action or not.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: GUEST,Mrrzy
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 02:00 PM

Well said, Amos. However, I believe that attacking the root of the problem would yield better results than the constant pruning of the many individual outcroppings.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 02:07 PM

Then, TIA, your experience is different than mine. I, too, am put off by any kind of fundamentalist that seems to think that only they have the answer. But I am just as put off when a discussion is going on, and the non religionists speak as if I am not there in very condescending tones. Happens all the time. I too eschew labels. My beliefs and personal code are based on much reflection. My religious community is just that.

I would disagree with you on the statement re: living in a profoundly secular world. I think it is apparent that the world is more and more secular.

Finally, your statement with regard to being spoken to in denigrating tones is exactly what I often get when I simply indicate that I have a faith based perspective. Before we can even get into the discussion of my decidedly non traditional Christian/Pagan views, I am relegated to the corner.

Richard Bridge, you speak of consensus, yet I don't see a consensus at all. It's an old debaters trick. Your "policing" idea has been tried already. It is part of the reason there was an American Revolution. The idea that anyone should be able to protect me from myself with regard to religious beliefs, based on your idea of what harms me seems ludicrous. Are you suggesting that the only religions that should be allowed are those that meet criteria established by some governing body?

Grab, you speak of faith communities being "not deserving of followers". Are you suggesting that you or some body should have the right to determine that?

The best of this thread, IMO only, so far, seems to be found in the comments of Amos, Paul Burke, Stigweard, Wolfgang, and a few others. They have given me much to ponder, and I appreciate that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 02:18 PM

Mick it is your right to say god is god and the maker of all things. GUEST 1:44 PM

Where was it I said that? This isn't about what I believe, other than my opinion in a discussion.

Nor did I say I objected to others beliefs. What I said was that I resent the very same treatment that agnostics, atheists, pagans, et al resent. My concern is for tolerance of these various views.

We won't be swinging this debate to just my views. It isn't about my philosophy. You don't know what that is, and we don't have time to try and put that together here. LOL.

Amos and Mrrzy, I would agree that religion has certainly spawned its share of heinous acts in this world. I would also postulate that ones faith based values has spawned much good. I would wager that one finds much more of that.

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: TIA
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 02:28 PM

Hmmm. Big Mick, perhaps we inhabitat different parts of the world. Central PA is decidedly more religious than secular. Every public gathering of any type seems to involve prayer or some statement about God Bless ______. And, BTW, I have never objected. I can only imagine the reaction if I were actually to ask that we leave God out of this meeting.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Grab
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 02:38 PM

Are you suggesting that you or some body should have the right to determine that?

Depends. I'd really like to see it enforced by "people power", where informed people make a choice. But it's sadly all too common that you get what you don't deserve. Every boy-band has a following which they don't deserve based on any musical talent, whilst some fantastic musicians are in obscurity which they definitely don't deserve. :-) And various religions enjoy a level of popularity which by any measure (especially that most important measure, happiness) is out of any proportion to the benefits they provide versus the artificial strictures and impediments they place on people.

I would see no problem at all with an organisation (maybe a newspaper or suchlike, but possibly governmental) which created a "rationality league table" for the various sects of the various religions, in the same way as schools have performance league tables. In fact I'd say that this is long overdue. Maybe this could provide a basis for "informed consent" on the part of people who join various organised religions?

Ultimately though, as Richard suggests, some kind of line in the sand to say "this behaviour is unacceptable in this country's society, regardless of religious belief" would not be unacceptable to me. I don't see any fundamental problem in a law which prevents future Jonestowns, IF AND ONLY IF it is constructed in such a way that no reasonable belief system can be compromised. I don't think that's unachievable - there are plenty of other crimes with substantial grey areas (for killing it's legendary) and the world seems to manage to solve them. And there really aren't many worse crimes than the manipulation of people for your own ends.

Sure, politicians do it all the time, but they have natural checks and balances in the form of the media and general public being able to see what they're doing and vote them out. Religion has no such checks. Maybe it's time it did?

Incidentally Mick, quit tossing "issue grenades" like stem cells to stir the pot! ;-) Things are going fine without that one... Anyway, since you mention it, what *are* your beliefs, Mick?

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 02:41 PM

"Religion has no such checks"

That's right. They can afford to pay cash.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 02:55 PM

TIA, knowing your location helps me understand better. I currently live in the Philadelphia metroplex, but come from an area of West Michigan that is very much the same as you describe. Interesting that as a Catholic kid in a very conservative and Protestant area, I suffered at the hands of those folks as well. That is probably why I am so sensitive to the issue of tolerance. Where or whether someone prays isn't the point, is it? It is their actions. It is no crime for a public figure to base their decisions on their moral and religious convictions, so long as they made those convictions known as they sought office. I do agree with the non religious that if they make that a tenet of their seeking office, it would probably predestine their loss. I don't think that is fair, but it is what it is. Personally, when a politician wears their religion on their sleeve, it almost always precludes my vote for them.

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 02:59 PM

My beliefs aren't the subject of this thread, Grab, except as I inject them into the debate. Stay on topic.

Stem cell isn't tossed as a grenade. I made it very clear why I put it in. No one is interested in this, fair enough. It was used as an example only. Stay on topic.

I have participated in this from the beginning. Stay on topic.

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 03:05 PM

Grab, your suggestion that somehow folks aren't smart enough to figure out what is proper and what is not smacks, with all due respect, of the same arrogance that the conservative Christians and the Taliban exhibit. I don't understand how it is that you feel that you or anybody can make these determinations.

This is a pretty good example of what the thread is really about, isn't it? Call it yin and yang or whatever, but when competing values get out of balance you get some mighty righteous folks who believe they can make the choices for others. They are very convinced that theirs is the sole path to enlightenment.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Mrrzy
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 03:15 PM

I would note that while religion/faith has done a lot of good, none of that good required faith; it could all have been accomplished through human interaction. Only the harm that faith brings requires faith, and that is why I have lost tolerance for it.

And getting back to the main issue of science, religion, especially in the US, is getting in the way of real advances. Again, this is a bad thing. I heard on NPR somebody saying that while there were religious reasons to be anti-abortion, there were secular reasons against it too, but none were proferred. I wonder what they are...


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 03:26 PM

Part of the problem is 'rules'. People join religions--or grow up within them--and religions are not smorgasbords. Within the 'confines' of any given religion there are rules. People are expected to take the 'whole nine yards' and there is seldom room for non-acceptance of given items. Catholicism (for example) faced a real schism in both the hierarchy of the church and the membership of the church. Abortion was such an issue as were the issues and moralities to do with wars and even capital punishment. Many of the Church's decrees interpret or explain based on study of the main Book, but occasionally that flies in the face of social realities or beliefs that are not specific to the Church. And people wonder. Fundamentalism appeals to many folks because most of the debatable topics are presented as a "this is the way it is and if you don't agree the door's over there, have a nice day" kinda choice, which is really no choice at all.

We can see with Islam that some people can use it to generate hatred. The same can be said of many religions, because of course if one's Diety has spoken directly to one's Oracle, how do you argue with that?

Secularism today is not the result of a non-caring non-spiritual public. It is the result of people thinking for themselves, asking questions of their church representatives, receiving answers that aren't answers at all, and boom, Billy walks out the door because no one gave him an honest answer. Or, maybe the honest answer is such that the interpretation doesn't jive with the belief and poof, Billy keeps on walking.

The 'angry God' of the Old Testament hasn't done much lately that cannot be ascribed to pandemics, human activity or science. Take away the Deity-cause of an earthquake and science gains power at the expense of the Diety's power.

It was the Church in general that fought and continues to fight science. BUT, maybe that's a good thing in a way, because in the mad rush to solve all the world's ill with science, we have failed as a human race to temper the clinical aspect with spirituality or sense of caring for ourselves and others.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 03:34 PM

Fair enough, Mrrzy, but I am not sure what your assertion none of that good required faith means. Neither did it require a lack of faith. Faith may or may not have inspired these acts. What it did require was a desire to do good. I agree that in these modern times, religion is not required to do good. I have many more friends that don't share my religious beliefs than do. But I wonder, at its core, where these universal concepts came from. Sure, they developed over the millenia. Sure, most cultures have common beliefs in a lot of areas. But I find myself wondering what it is that spawned it in humankind.

To your second point, is it really such a bad thing to question medical and scientific advance in light of ones ethics, morals or religious beliefs? If my respect for life is born of my religion or just intellectual questioning, is it not right to ask "At what cost?"? My example of fetal stem cell research, which I believe to be an exciting area of research, still asks the critical ethical question. Is it right to create a life, to destroy it, in order to save another? This is not a question to be answered with a simple affirmative or negative. It has huge implications. No matter what a person's morality is based on, this is legitimate and important stuff. To dismiss my questions because you object to the base from which it came, strikes me as intellectually intolerant and counter productive.

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 03:58 PM

Grab, you said, Sure, politicians do it all the time, but they have natural checks and balances in the form of the media and general public being able to see what they're doing and vote them out. Religion has no such checks. Maybe it's time it did?

Keeping government/laws apart from religion works both ways. If we expect the government to step in and create "checks" and balances for religions, we would probably wind up with a State Religion and might as well throw out the Constitution.

We have free will and as such we ought to be able to make up our own minds as to what we do and do not believe in. Yes, it would be wonderful to prevent any more Jonestowns or David Kuresh followers, but it is not for the government to do so. Expose them in the media, yes; inform the citizenry of the positives and negatives, when they are interested, but do not try to force some official "take" on each religion/sect/etc.

Church and state must be kept separate, imo.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Mrrzy
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 04:07 PM

What I meant, Big Mick, is that only the evil that religion does requires faith. The good it accomplishes doesn't. Not that it requires a lack of faith, just that faith is unnecessary to the good that people can do for each other.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Amos
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 04:16 PM

There is one aspect in which some kinds of faith do seem to me to be a pre-requisite for the wholesom eexercise of ethics and other spiritual values. And that is, as a shield against the compression of one's spiritual center that is commonly dealt out by too much interaction with the rough edges of the physical universe (in the form of loss, pain, unconsciousness, trauma, and the creeping undermining of energy that often accompanies an aging body) OR the same compression often dealt out by the half-blinded or wholly insane members of our species who resort to violence, verbal and emotional abuse, obsession, extremes of control, extremes of antagonsim or other forms of human madness as a way of getting on in a world that has treated them too harshly or overwhelmed them entirely.

(Sorry for the long winded description).

When the basic postulates of faith are re-generated by group support, one can be helped to rediscover his own spiritual strength, restore his confidence in the face of adversity, re-connect with his or her own sourcehood in life, and shake off the blows. Left entirely on his or her own, this can prove to be much more difficult, and the individual whose trials have grown too great can just let go of any impulse to be himself and give in to being an asshole or worse.

My opinion, FWIW, is that this is what lies behind those who abuse their own species and families, and is also the equation that lies behind those who abuse spirituality itself by turning it into an authroitarian, dogmatic or hyper-controlling machine instead of a source of refreshment and renewal of life-force.

So it doesn't much matter to me if one finds this renewal by reaching for an iconic figure like Christ or Buddha, or by reaching out into some corner where they keep their own communication line to God, or by meditating on T.S. Elliot or Blake or R.P. Warren to find that center from which things get renewed. The ability to find that center at all is priceless, and that is why, to me, religion is so valuable to people and the main reason why it should not be cast out no matter how "superstitious" it may seem to others.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 04:35 PM

Humans lean towards doing good more than bad because we are animals that need to survive. We have the brain power to know that if two men fight to death over a cow, one will win and one will eat. That is bad.

But if those two men work together and buy a bull and breed the animals, they will both eat and for longer. That is good.

Survival is in my opinion borne from the instinct to continue breathing. If a good or a bad decision influences the ability to survive the majority will opt for the good decision.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Jeri
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 04:39 PM

The good requires as much faith as the evil, and faith isn't only found in religions. People have to at least have faith that what they're doing is the right thing.

Mick, I do have to comment that no one is doing 'fetal' stem cell research. It's a prejudicial term being used by those against embryonic stem cell research to make it sound more like abortion. The embryos used are days' old clumps of cells. Now, you can argue whether a fertilized egg had a soul or not, but in no way is it a fetus. Whether it's right to combine zygotes to produce what, in an ideal situation, might develop into a baby, is a valid question though.

As to the subject, of course we can co-exist. We just have to refrain from bludgeoning people into agreeing with us, no matter what our beliefs are. We all need human interaction, but if I join a club, it's not going to be one based on beliefs, only similarities. I think sharing music, laughter, food and drink covers that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Amos
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 04:52 PM

I'll drink to that, Jeri./ Spoken with your usual incisive and bright style.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 05:05 PM

Having read the article it seems, to me, at odds with my visualisation of the world, and has little relevance to the way I choose to live my life.

There is IMHO a huge difference between faith and religion.

I perceive religion to be the interpretation of the words of various exceptionally good men, by other men who tend to interpret according to certain religio-political or financial agendas. I further feel that the messages have changed over the centuries to reflect the customs and mores of different times.

Faith, on the other hand, is what a man constructs through life experience, as a belief system which enables him to make sense of the world around him. If that construct includes adherence to a religious order, I see nothing wrong in that, nor do I see anything wrong if it does not.

I would venture to state that all of us have faith, whether it be in a divine being, science, or ourselves. Not all of us have a religion, because not all of us need one to teach us how to live. I do not subscribe to any church or creed, though I tend to believe in a divine being.

Faith to me is a purely personal matter, which is unfortunately not acceptable to those who firmly believe in one "true" religion, so I am bombarded with calls to repent and join the ranks.

In sixty five years, I don't recall one single case of an atheist, or a pagan knocking on my door to invite me to embrace his way of life.

I do not mock the beliefs of others, nor do I seek to convert them to mine. There is room in this world for all shades of opinion and belief.

I do, however, have serious issues with the existence of any organisation if the result is damage to persons who do not wish to embrace its ways. I would submit that, with certain notable exceptions, most organised religions either fall into this category, or have done so in the past, entirely due to the presence therein of a few fanatical fundamentalists.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 05:08 PM

Fair enough on the correction, Jeri. I was not aware of that, in fact, at first I just wrote stem cell, and added the clarifier to make it clear. I will use embryonic in the future. You aren't going to ground me, are you? LOL.

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 05:13 PM

"Another future for religion is that it keeps its special status, but serves us better. For that, atheists might consider joining rationalist branches of established religions."

To which I can only say "Wha?"
Look, fellers, if you have a need that can't be satisfied my the material world, go ahead an believe. In whatever you choose to believe in. Those beliefs, though, don't seem to be a particularly sound basis for a system of ethics--there's a spate of historical evidence to the contrary. What keeps me from killing you for your cow (assuming that I want your cow) is a recognition of written and unwritten understandings that if I do, I'll duffer for it. "Social contract", anyone? When that system of understandings break down (see Croatia, Russia, Afghanistan, etc.) and people's innate ethical standards don't seem to prevent thaem from doing the unspeakable.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 05:25 PM

Mick you are not listening, and you are not checking. I did not construct the agreement I reported. I found it. Look.

In many things society protects people from their own folly - but I spoke only of restraining those who might cash in on yours.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 05:48 PM

Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Richard Bridge - PM
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 04:05 AM

I think there is a consensus that the conduct of religions must be regulated by society to ensure that they do not harm (particularly out of irrational beliefs) those who are not their followers.

I would go further: the conduct of religions should also be policed by society to ensure that they do not harm (particularly out of irrational beliefs) those who are their followers.

Further, religions should not rely on pure dogma to purport to justify irrational requirements of their adherents. Religions should be prepared to be debated, should be prepared to hear the voices of their followers as well as of their priests and authorities. Heresy and apostasy should not be punshable as such.

On this scale the irrationalities involved in keeping kosher cause less suffering, but Judaism like any other religion should be prepared to have its rules exposed to reason, and should be prepared for them to change according to reason.


Did I miss something? Please correct me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Amos
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 07:18 PM

Well, Richard, just for example, it is long tradition amongst Jewish families to hae a bris on the 8th day of a boy-child's life. The reason why is just that it has always been done that way. Although there are some arguments for circumcision, there is none except tradition to make it occur on a special day. On the other hand it does no harm to anyone to observe the tradition.

But there is a lot to be said for tradition, voluntarily perpetuated, whether it "stands to reason" or does not, and that is surely part of the respect that humans must learn for each other -- to allow them to take on (or to cast off) traditions that are not harmful. There are other traditions or decrees which are more contrary to the general good, such as the stance of the Vatican on birth control -- established when the population of families was vital to the prosperity of farms, and therefore towns, at a time when the planet had 1/10th as many humans as it does today. Today, the policy is far less meet than it was once, IMHO and arguably harmful.

A

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Grab
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 08:18 PM

Grab, your suggestion that somehow folks aren't smart enough to figure out what is proper and what is not smacks, with all due respect, of the same arrogance that the conservative Christians and the Taliban exhibit. I don't understand how it is that you feel that you or anybody can make these determinations.

Smart I *didn't* say. What I *did* say is that in too many cases they aren't making an informed choice. If you choose your religion, then fine. If it's chosen for you (by parents or country of origin) then you're basically going to get brainwashed with that religion throughout childhood. And yes, I do use the emotive term "brainwashing" deliberately. The better ones won't, but the bad ones will. And the bad ones are almost universally the "fundamentalist" ones who hold that they're the only true path to Heaven and everyone else will burn in Hell forever, so they're the ones that really we need to be worried about.

If you want to call me righteous in making a choice for others, then fine. In case I didn't make it clear enough above, my "righteous" attitude to what I insist should be the case is: everyone must be free to make their own choice when it comes to religious observance; and no religious rules must be imposed on anyone for any reason unless they choose to accept those rules. If that's a "righteous" attitude then I can live with that. In fact, I'd *really* like to see you argue against that position, Mick.

My beliefs aren't the subject of this thread, Grab, except as I inject them into the debate... I have participated in this from the beginning.

No, you haven't yet participated in the debate on this thread, Mick. Various people (including me) have stated our base positions/opinions, and discussion's gone on from there, in the collision of these belief spaces. But with the exception of a few lines in reply to TIA at 02:55, you've yet to state any kind of position, even though you've been very free in critiquing other people's positions. That's OK - we're all big boys and girls - but to call what you're doing "participating" is incorrect, because you haven't provided enough information about your position in order for any debate with you to take place.

If you want a more formal debate between other people with yourself as the chairman, that's fine. The role of chairman is a valid way of participating in a debate - *but* it requires the chairman to take no active role in applying criticism. If you want to be one of the debaters, then you need to state your position in order that other people can apply the same kind of criticism to your beliefs that you do to theirs. Since you seem to want to be a debater, your beliefs *are* therefore essential to the topic of the thread, in the same way as mine, Kat's, Mrrr's or anyone else's.

Let's make it clearer. Without stating your beliefs, you are merely point-scoring in arguing over semantics - you are *not* in any way carrying out a debate.

Is that on topic enough...?

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Grab
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 08:37 PM

Expose them in the media, yes; inform the citizenry of the positives and negatives, when they are interested, but do not try to force some official "take" on each religion/sect/etc.

Yeah, that's where the problem of the "if and only if" comes in. In the real world it's probably not achievable, sadly, but it'd be nice if it were. In a lot of cases the media provides some checks and balances, but in a lot of others it doesn't. Jim Bakker fell from favour because of affairs and embezzlement, not because he was a lying toad. And Pat Robertson is still around in spite of inciting violence against non-believers.

What gets me annoyed is that all schools and employers go through the whole equality thing, and breaking that gets you into big legal trouble. But the moment you say "it's religion" then some zealot can go round telling kiddies they're going to burn in Hell if they don't /// - delete as appropriate - and they must actively discriminate against anyone who doesn't do that. That's where enforcing rationality comes in.

A good start would maybe be to apply the same standards of equality to religion as religion itself expects in other fields? Dunno how that'd work, but it's an idea for starters.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 08:41 PM

Well it is slightly more on topic. But you throw so many incorrect premises out there, it is hard to know where to begin. Lets try this.

First off, you betray an arrogance that is hard to take. You have every person of faith neatly packaged up into a box, ignorant folks who were brainwashed from youth and now are trapped in a prison of brainwashed bliss. Who would make these informed choices for folks that you advocate? Who would be the one to attach value to this religion and no value to that? Where is the problem with parents, good parents, teaching their children their value system? As to your contention that no one should have any religious rules imposed on them unless they choose them, please tell me where that isn't the case. Think about the number of friends you have that consider themselves lapsed Catholic, or non practicing Jews. Your whole argument is based on the false premise that somehow people in this world will be so brainwashed by growing up in a religious family that they are powerless to change their lives. Factually that is wrong, and philosophically you have no right to suggest that anyone should choose the tenets that I wish to follow. The only thing a progressive society should do is to make sure that the laws for the common good aren't violated.

As to the rest of your post, this is the last time I will say it. I have taken positions, such as the one I just posted. I will respond to the opinions stated by others. I am learning a great deal from the informed opinions of a number of folks here. I had hoped to be challenged and to be provoked to thought. That has occurred because I am not in this for the debate as much as for the discussion. You seem hung up on the fact that I am moderating this thread for abusive behaviour or attempts to hijack it off topic. I don't care if you like that, and I am not going to debate those things. And we are not turning this thread into a debate on that. This is the last I will say on the subject. If you don't like that, write someone a letter. But that is how it is on this thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 08:42 PM

Er - my mistake. Not Amos, but Little Hawk.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Amos
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 10:52 PM

...??? Not Amos, but Little Hawk....what? Has been certified?

:D

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Sep 06 - 03:40 AM

That's odd. Either I posted to the wrong thread or I've been moderated for no reason that I can see.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Grab
Date: 12 Sep 06 - 05:37 AM

You have every person of faith neatly packaged up into a box, ignorant folks who were brainwashed from youth and now are trapped in a prison of brainwashed bliss.

Nope - check my previous posts. You're putting words into my mouth that I didn't say. Again.

Where is the problem with parents, good parents, teaching their children their value system?

Absolutely no problem, so long as the children have the option to decide for themselves when they're old enough to make a judgement on that value system.

As to your contention that no one should have any religious rules imposed on them unless they choose them, please tell me where that isn't the case.

Moonies. Some branches of the Church of Latter-day Saints (and especially the Fundamental branch of same, the boss of which is currently in jail for enforced marriage of children). David Koresh's crew, until the Waco screw-up. Various schools of Islam, especially the ones which approve of transporting their kids back to Pakistan for arranged marriages. Various African religions practising female genital mutilation. Those are a few I can remember from the news - I'm sure I can find some more with a bit of research, if you'd like.

Think about the number of friends you have that consider themselves lapsed Catholic, or non practicing Jews.

Yep. On that score, I have complete respect for those people's families and religious teachers, in accepting that not everyone will choose the same path to spiritual fulfillment.

Who would make these informed choices for folks that you advocate?

Eh? Having said that people must have the right to make informed choices about their religious observance, you've somehow confused this with me telling other people what to do and making that choice for them. You're putting words into my mouth that I didn't say. Again.

philosophically you have no right to suggest that anyone should choose the tenets that I wish to follow.

Eh? Did you not read any of my previous posts, in which I stated the exact opposite? You're putting words into my mouth that I didn't say. Again.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Grab
Date: 12 Sep 06 - 05:41 AM

(Split to avoid possible complete deletion of post if moderated as personal.)

You seem hung up on the fact that I am moderating this thread for abusive behaviour or attempts to hijack it off topic.

Eh? Check my posting history on Shambles' threads about my views on moderation (summary: as a mod myself in other places, I've got no problem trusting moderators not to make personally-biased decisions, and to be smart enough not use their moderation ability to squash things they don't like hearing). I just suggested that as a moderator, you might feel that you're acting as the chairman of a debate, but you weren't behaving as a chairman. If that's all you're moderating on, that's fine by me, and that's the last I'll say on this topic. But you're putting words into my mouth that I didn't say. Again.

I have taken positions, such as the one I just posted.

You've taken a position, sure. But in the course of this thread, you have *never* stated that position. The most you've done is a one-paragraph response to TIA, and the original post in which you quoted someone else's essay without stating your own opinion on the topic, except by criticising the essay. If you're prepared to debate, please start debating - the first step in debating is to state your position, and the second step is to accurately read what other people have said, rather than just what you want them to have said. I'm sorry if this sounds patronising, but your complete misrepresentation of what I've said has really left me with no choice other than waving it in your face. And yes, that's the last I'll say on this.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Science without Religion..............
From: Big Mick
Date: 12 Sep 06 - 06:29 AM

Richard, no post of yours has been deleted. You must have posted in the wrong thread.

I am going to leave Graham's posts as the last word in our debate. I think his words make the point better than I can.

Back to the matter at hand, please.


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