Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Dec 2, 2012 - 07:18am PT
If one adopts a strictly Darwinian point of view, then I think healyje's life as a biomass rather than individual species is the more accurate understanding.

However, I can't see that the average person will ever be able to live with the idea that they are just a vessel for DNA and their sole purpose is to reproduce. I think that philosophy is potentially dangerous also, as it so easily lends itself to adoption by the rich and powerful as an excuse to further favor their genes at the expense of others. One of the functions of religions in the past was to hold the powerful to some set of ethical standards so that human society did not descend to social Darwinism.

I would even argue that religion has been to human society what genes are to biology, and that both are necessary for human survival. The real challenge is the need for a new belief system and ethics that are based on the needs of the human race today rather than as it was during the early agricultural era. Whether any of the traditional religions mirror a spiritual reality is of course a separate question.

The pressing question for the survival of the human race and any semblance of the current biosphere is whether the best strategy is reforming the current religions towards a more universal, naturalistic, biologically oriented view, evolving totally new religions that are humanistic, global and science oriented, or becoming rationalistic atheists as so many of the highly educated individuals on this thread are content with.

As an anthropologist, I'm sure that new belief systems will be developed and old religions will change if only because that has been the pattern for thousands of years. Much less certain is how many people will be converted to the atheistic, no purpose in the universe point of view. More likely is that Dawkins and Harris will come to be regarded as the founders of yet another American sect.



go-B

climber
Hebrews 1:3
Dec 2, 2012 - 08:35am PT
Matthew 17:1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. 4 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. 7 But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” 8 When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

9 Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.”

Luke 24:34 saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread.

36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”

40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. 43 And He took it and ate in their presence.

44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things.

1 John 3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Revelation 1:12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. 17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

Revelation 5:1 And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2 Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.

4 So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. 5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”

6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.

8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”

11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice:

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:

“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

14 Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.

By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone!

MH2

climber
Dec 2, 2012 - 11:54am PT
you say your "thinking mind" is only on-line 15% of the time. I know many meditators would would be happy to be able to achieve that metric.


I'm a retiree who doesn't do much. Maybe the meditators should give up trying to achieve and just take what comes along. I'd be happy to get up above 15% thinking time but tying my shoelaces and other such routine daily activities aren't noticeably taxing to my analytic capabilities.


I know I swore off consciousness only recently but if you send me something to read I'd be flattered.


BASE:

No doubt there are computer scientists who have an ambition to create a silicon frankenstein but that probably does not show up in their funding proposals. Artificial intelligence research tries to find ways to understand and/or implement subsets of what humans can do, such as recognizing faces or objects in images, as you are well aware. Do you expect to be replaced by software soon?
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Dec 2, 2012 - 11:58am PT
Hey you guys will like this little quote I just found:


“This is a Christian company,” Mr. Brown announced. “We are all believing in the good Lord. But, as my brother-in-law says, ‘Not so much in Jesus, ‘cause he’s Jewish.’ ”


That pretty much sums up the Red States huh?
Dr. F.

Ice climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 2, 2012 - 12:05pm PT
Credit: Dr. F.
BB
No, I don't eat the flowers, nor any other part
They are my pets and part of a grand scientific experiment
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Dec 2, 2012 - 12:17pm PT
I think it's a sophomore's mistake in logic and in articulation to say that survival is a purpose that's engineered by DNA. It's a sign of an analytical muddle.

If you want to honor the tenets of science and its objective approach (and use a strict mental-rational point of view), I can certainly appreciate causal functionalism as "purpose." (Then you'll have to wrestle with notions of free will.)

If you want to use intention as the idea of "purpose," then it makes absolutely no sense to talk about an aggregated level of analysis for specie or "global gene pools." If you are arguing that gene pools have autonomy and intentions, then you don't understand the theory of evolution. Environments "select" variations.

If you think that variations adapt to changing environmental conditions, then you've left the theory of evolution and moved into a mythical point of view on reality where the universe has an anthropomorphic consciousness and intentions.

I personally know of no scientist who argues that the universe or any specie has a purpose. It's a weird idea. Specie are aggregated objects, categories, and signal a level of analysis.

It's strange to me that a bunch of so-called scientific people who want to argue with people of religion are very concerned about purpose. You can call natural selection "a fancy vessel," but you've used an anthropomorphic allegory for something that is a very strict scientific concept.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Dec 2, 2012 - 12:24pm PT
Well...

it's kind of depressing - we're into the last month now... another year shot, another year closer to death.

Happy Holidays everyone!
Dr. F.

Ice climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 2, 2012 - 12:30pm PT
I think it's a sophomore's mistake in logic and in articulation to say that survival is a purpose that's engineered by DNA. It's a sign of an analytical muddle.

I think it's the exact opposite

NOTHING is more important than the propagation of the species.

The first billion years in the evolution were devoted to that purpose, the slow process of refining all the little cellular processes and genetic code so that life forms can survive their environment and procreate,
only after those long years of refinement, was life ready evolve into new complex live forms that we see now.

If fact, the very need to procreate over all other things, the desire to live, the mandate to survive, to fight against death, that was the evolutionary guideline.

Why?
Because if you didn't have the intense instinctual need to live and procreate, then you were a dead end as a species, and other life forms that were better at it took over.
moosedrool

Trad climber
lost, far away from Poland
Dec 2, 2012 - 12:45pm PT
Jan,
You are saying that we need religion to survive. I can't see it. There are two types of religins, one that provides etical guidance (i.e. christian) and the other that "explains" our world (i.e. greek). Those are complelely different phylosophies.
Could you elaborate?

Dr. F. +1 for DNA.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Dec 2, 2012 - 01:24pm PT
Moosedrool-

I'm not sure I understand your question? For one thing there are way more than two kinds of religion and most religions do more than just one thing. That's why they are so enduring. Personal belief systems for example, provide answers that may be more satisfying than current religious ones, but they do not provide the fellowship and social services that religion does. They don't provide the same great artwork either.
moosedrool

Trad climber
lost, far away from Poland
Dec 2, 2012 - 01:36pm PT
Jan,
My point is that different religions have different objectives. How can every one of them be necessary for our survival? IMHO, for society to survive it needs laws. No religion necessary.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Dec 2, 2012 - 01:47pm PT
Drf
" Because if you didn't have the intense instinctual need to live and procreate, then you were a dead end as a species, and other life forms that were better at it took over"

I just want to "see" what you "see".Please show me where you see Algee,a billion years ago having this "intense instinctual need to live and procreate".Or in the Cactti you have today. Is this "need" written in the
"meat" of the DNA? Or is it constituted from the external forces of the Solar System? Or?
moosedrool

Trad climber
lost, far away from Poland
Dec 2, 2012 - 01:57pm PT
Blueblocr,
It is not a difficult concept, but you need some background in biochemistry and probability.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Dec 2, 2012 - 02:14pm PT
Moosedrool-

For a society to survive it needs a belief system that gives it a purpose and a set of norms. Traditionally religion has served that function. While I concede that science does a better job of explaining how we got here than traditional religions I would disagree with your conclusions about laws.

To view everything in legal terms is typical of the American belief system however. In Japan where I live, people operate on the basis of custom and face saving based on Confucian principles. They have very low crime, very few police and only 1% of the lawyers we do. When I lived with the Sherpas they were two days' walk from the nearest police outpost and wouldn't think of calling Nepali police to a Sherpa community anyway. They had no law or lawyers and almost no crime (with the exception of one rogue community member) but based their behavior on Buddhism.

Internalized group norms are far more effective than police, security systems or lawyers in creating a safe and functioning society. With our diverse population and many different religions we are forced to fall back on the law but it is a poor substitute for shared values and normative behavior.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Dec 2, 2012 - 02:41pm PT
So is the Sun "Alive"?
Is Water "Alive"?
moosedrool

Trad climber
lost, far away from Poland
Dec 2, 2012 - 03:33pm PT
Jan,

Sure, religion and tradition can serve a society well. But there are many examples where it didn't. Look what was happening in Europe for several hundred years. The crime rate was much higher than today, not to mention the wars between different religious groups. As you said, America is a mix of many religions. The only way for them to coexist is to obey the law.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Dec 2, 2012 - 03:54pm PT
Jan, I whole heartedly agree with your observations of religion providing social mores and structural cohesion for society. the fact that it provides for a spiritual philosophy in order to do so is secondary, at least to me, but I'm sure we can all agree on the first function as vital and if religion is the only institution that can provide it then I'd say lets have it. However I'd say there's plenty of proof now that that isn't the case and to top it off, religions typically demonstrate an allegiance to traditional dogma that is increasingly at odds with our understanding of the natural world (the most important world) and unable to provide a required ability to adjust thier ethics to new understandings of morality.

Religion used to dominate every aspect of society and generally to good effect. That was before any age of enlightenment. Whether secular philosophies can replace it as the foundation of civilization is no gimme I'm sure but one thing is sure - If Religion can provide nothing but blind dumb dogma to a blind dumb loyal xenophobic tribe surrounded by other blind dumb xenophobic tribes then the end game isn't good

Unless of course you have an easy out to heaven (they think of everything don't they?)
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Dec 2, 2012 - 03:56pm PT
Ed U jus said;

" doesn't requite an "intense instinct to survive"
it's just a part of the chemical reaction... "

Doesn't this pertain to "life" ^^^

So what are the Sun and Water, but emergence of Matter through chemical reaction?

i,m not argueing jus ask'in.My statements are 99% question.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Dec 2, 2012 - 04:11pm PT
Bruce, well put.

On the lighter side...

Muse, you have her on the ropes, don't let up!

P.S. If you have a background in biochemistry esp and you like philosophizing on where this whole shebang is heading (up another pitch or two; or over a cliff), then let me welcome you to the thread. (As it's been pretty stale, elementary, pedantic, embarrassing, etc., and all the above, lately; so some fresh blood could certainly be reinvigorating.)

.....

re: the subjectivity and contingency of ‘telling the truth’ (vis a vis the presence of traditional Abrahamic theology)

Highly recommended: A Separation (2011)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1832382/

Best Foreign Film, 2012

Among many insights, highlights how literalist belief in traditional Abrahamic theology (swearing on the Quran - as a social device; cf: swearing on the Bible) among devout believers of a tribe -esp bitd - greatly facilitated truth telling - which is of course an invaluable quality in the interest of the tribe and its cohesion.

Also highlighted another motif exceptionally well: how through no intention of our own we can get caught up in things. Going grand one moment, in the fire the next.

Life is trouble, only death is not.

.....

re: The American Ministry of Culture and Abrahamic Guidance

Imagine, if in America we had an analog to... The Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance (which prohibited the production of the aforementioned film early on) just how stifled our "ascent" in cultural evolution would be. The irreligious, post-religious ideation that's been soaring nowadays in unprecedented levels - and that's now a staple (a tradition-in-progress) of our 21st century zeitgeist (that's eventually going to lead to the development of a new discipline beyond "religion" and "philosophy" that concerns the practice of living, "what matters" in addition to "what is," and social cohesion) would never had had a chance to get to the surface to take wing. Gratitude!

The trundling is now at full-scale, and there's no stopping it.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Dec 2, 2012 - 06:18pm PT
bruce

"Religion used to dominate every aspect of society and generally to good effect. That was before any age of enlightenment. Whether secular philosophies can replace it as the foundation of civilization is no gimme I'm sure but one thing is sure - If Religion can provide nothing but blind dumb dogma to a blind dumb loyal xenophobic tribe surrounded by other blind dumb xenophobic tribes then the end game isn't good"

These are "materialistic" Religions that where born since Christ.
They drive Nations and Governments around Europe and the rest of he world.
As Moosedrool pointed out.

THIS is the Beautiful thing about America, that i was trying to point at to Jan earlier!
THe Christian conscienceness learned over time and through experience, It cannot be a voice through mans Governments. Because Governments want to tell them how to live.
"America" stands for FREEDOM for the individual! The Declaration of Independance was undoughtedly forged from the Bible. Which demands the seperation of church and state! Which decares the individual freedom of choice. An honest free choice to beleive the Bible or not. Without the force from cultural governments. This is what Christians want!
American Christians invite the opportunity to open the Bible and dissect
its Truths. Jus keep It out of the courts!

THIS is what i Love about America, We CAN voice our criticism of all the Religions of the World. And point at them. And dissect them.
you couldnt do that right now in Russia or China or Iran etc!
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