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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
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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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