Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Jan 31, 2013 - 07:51pm PT
Jan, with all due respect, on both issues, you missed the point. Shucks.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Jan 31, 2013 - 08:17pm PT
Both science and Abrahamic religions are dead set against astrology and witchcraft. You could say they have both seen the light or you could say they both condemn that which they can not control and which provides alternative advice for living which bypasses them.


I can understand science taking a dim view of "Witch craft", there being no testable theory or evidence but what does abrahamic religions have a problem with? The above criterea means nothing to them so I assume the witchcraft magic does not accommodate their own magic? Sounds simply like incompatible dogma. Science would have no problem at all with any religions, witchcraft or otherwise, if the theory held any amount of crediblity beyond thousands of years of faithful allegience by zillions of followers. Unless you mean to say that that is all that is required to give it credibility?

If it is then so is voodoo and astrology or scientology or mormonism. None of it is less credible than the other by any definition except power politics.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Feb 1, 2013 - 03:57am PT
beyond thousands of years of faithful allegience by zillions of followers. Unless you mean to say that that is all that is required to give it credibility?

If it is then so is voodoo and astrology or scientology or mormonism. None of it is less credible than the other by any definition except power politics.


The disconnect we have over and over, is the use of science as the only criteria for credibility in regard to human belief and behavior. You may choose it as yourcriteria to be that in your own life, but human behavior in general is much more complex than that.

Another way of looking at belief systems is through the lens of social science which observes and records such belief and then tries to understand the deeper and more complex social, cultural, historical, psychological and often ecological reasons such belief systems exist. We then look to see if it is a one off occurrance or more likely, fits into a category of behavior and belief that is similar across similar cultures.

Personally, I don't accept everything I observe or record as credible, but that doesn't stop me observing and describing and afterward analyzing why such phenomenon exist.

We wouldn't iknow anything about indigenous cultures or many now extinct cultures and languages if every anthropologist had decided to belittle and argue with their informants instead of just recording what they said.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Feb 1, 2013 - 06:45am PT
instead of just recording

So stick to your recording then. Take your data. Record to your heart's content. Have at it.

Just don't tell us non-recorders, us non-surveyors, us non-anthropologists that we can't move on, that we can't evolve; or most importantly that we can't have our own beliefs or that we can't express them. Because that's how you come off post after post on these threads. Or that we are "militant" about it in writing or in posting - or that we are "militant" in our disagreements - which is the height of absurdity.

Just get the fact that we don't desire to have the same beliefs - in regard to how the world works or how life works or how we should live our lives - as our grandparents and their grandparents - let alone tribal desert dwellers of the iron age or medieval European catholics or protestants who never imagined physics or chemistry or neuroscience.

We don't want to record, we don't want to take more surveys; we want to change. And since we are also taking part in a democracy, last I checked, most of us want it to change, too. We don't want it to devolve, we don't want it to stay the same; we want it to evolve.

the use of science as the only criteria for credibility

We wouldn't know anything ... if every anthropologist had decided to belittle and argue with their informants...

You caricature these matters almost as much as Largo.



I'm going to innovate today.

You are going to record or survey. Or teach.

It's all good. :)
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Feb 1, 2013 - 07:09am PT
Just don't tell us...

Actually, what was I thinking?! Since this is the internet, a climbing and climbers forum, people can post whatever they want. Valid or not. Accurate or not.

That's what I've learned here.
WBraun

climber
Feb 1, 2013 - 07:59am PT
HFCS -- "Actually, what was I thinking?!"

You over think too much and observe too little.

You're a slave of your own runaway mind and not a master of it ......
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Feb 1, 2013 - 08:02am PT
You're a slave, I'm a slave, we're all slaves.
Better an over-thinking slave, better an under-thinking slave?
I could argue either side. ;)

"They think too much."
An anonymous Yanomamo Indian, describing the white man
WBraun

climber
Feb 1, 2013 - 08:07am PT
See ...

You have no control over your mind as it continually is flipping back and forth accepting and rejecting on the plane of duality.

The intelligent man takes firm hold of the reins of the horse ......
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Feb 1, 2013 - 08:19am PT

re: observing

Have you "observed" graffiti in one of the Great Pyramids of Egypt? Have you "observed" hieroglyphics at the Valley of the Kings? Have you "observed" day to day life in Luxor (and perhaps eaten meals west of the Nile with a contemporary middle-class Egyptian family)?

Observation is good.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Feb 1, 2013 - 08:22am PT
I'm going to innovate today.

You are going to record or survey. Or teach.

It's all good. :)



I think we may have reached an equilibrium at last.

I understand your position better, especially in light of some of the culture wars observed recently on ST and I even find myself using phrases now like "evidence based" and "reality based" ....

So I won't try to convert you to an anthropologist and please don't try to convert me to an engineer and it's all good. :)
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Feb 1, 2013 - 08:32am PT
And actually, given all the people and threads that have been nuked on this website lately, we're doing ok here.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Feb 1, 2013 - 08:36am PT
Darn it jan - why do you have to be on the other side of the world?

Look I know it seems I'm totally anti religion but that isn't true. I've said before that there is much in the way of social order, social justice, and social altruism that is not only admirable but clearly responsible for driving civilization in a moral direction to where we are now. Also, although I am agnostic or something, I don't have any beef with any individuals faith per se. In fact it is the construct of morality that generally I admire about certainly the individuals and also to an extent the institutions

I totally get that in many cultures religion is the fabric that knits their society together into a functioning unit under a moral code. I also recognize that the wide range of societies that we are talking about. My criticisms are essentially twofold:

1) Religions attempts at explaining our natural world fail, Not just a bit but entirely. This has been no real big deal for thousands of years but now our environmental effects are reaching critical mass with global warming breaking way out in the lead over misc other generally localized poisionings or specie exterminations etc. Meanwhile science demonstrates consistently that it can explain our natural world yet it recieves nothing but at best a short leash served up with poorly disguised contempt and resistence. See below for why.

2) Religions presume to be the final arbiter of morality. Authoritarianism has its uses and is even perhaps an imperative under certain environmental / cultural regimes but if we as a spieces aspire to any moral code that includes a sustainable egalitarianism we know that authoritarianism not only resists but actively opposes it. Religion insists on tribal allegience and cultural conformity. Religion insists on the existence of "inferior people" and "superior people" based on a moral code that always defaults (after much feigned accommodation to reason) to "our book /god says so". The conflict between Voodoo and Catholicism or whatever is based entirely on assertion of political power, not any rational assessment of morality. This also explains the above conflict with science. Religions default position is humans are flawed and must be ruled by an authority. Maybe so but we all know the risks of that.

I realize these are generalizations but in describing the most powerful religions ( the ones that matter most) it is accurate more than not. As a political force - and in a nut shell that is religions sole purpose on this earth - religion is losing its moral authority because its logic on all counts is flawed. Rather than evolve it consistently choses regression and aggression for the purpose of retaining political power.

In other words, while there is much lip service to morality, it does not demonstrate that it is the final authority by a long stretch. In the cultures where it does demonstrate dominion of moral authority it is because any challenge is extinguished. It cannot be tested.

So would certain societies / cultures / whole civilizations collapse without religion? I think that is a fair question that could be true. But if it is true it offers only a temporary fix if its contradictions and irrationalities cannot be confronted and changed to reflect our best understanding.

It is completely fair to say it is a house of cards if that is what the evidence suggests. The only fall back is faith and wishes. We apply testing and confirmation to everything in our universe with good reason - why would religion get a pass? If faith and wishes can only exist in a "parallel universe" which has yet to be explained convincingly, why the certainty?
WBraun

climber
Feb 1, 2013 - 08:47am PT
A bonafide spiritual process applies testing and confirmation to everything.

What makes you project the idea that this isn't happening.

Without the process of testing and confirmation no bonifide system would be successful.

Stupid people who have no clear clue of the true spiritual process project their runaway foolish ideas made up in their minds onto the world outside of themselves,
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Feb 1, 2013 - 08:54am PT
Thanks werner. Once again you have explained everything with perfect certainty...

oops - I meant "clarity". Obviously if you subscribe to testing and confirmation there is never total certainty in the mobius strip of life.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Feb 1, 2013 - 09:19am PT
The disconnect we have over and over,

Jan - this is the nut of it. We all know (even that basket case werner) that our existence on this earth (and possibly the next one) is holistic in nature. Religion at this point in time is isolated from science by their inherent dogmas. Politics demands that when two entities are seperate one must be inferior and the other superior. Religion has always been the political superior of science. Science has only been allowed to exist at the whim of religion and only if it does not present an undue threat to its political position.

And thus it will remain like the dogmas of capitalism and communism with no possibility of aknowledging that both contain benefit that could be realized through a process of evolution guided by our best understanding of morality in the context of reality.

The only thing I would add is that science allows for change in dogma, while religion does not.
WBraun

climber
Feb 1, 2013 - 11:51am PT
Real bonafide religion has no dogma.

Dogma is material.

And you are full of dogma .......
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Feb 1, 2013 - 01:13pm PT
WBraun: Wasn't that very dogmatically expressed?
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Feb 1, 2013 - 02:35pm PT
Bruce-

I just woke up to your posts. You ask some really interesting questions for an age when American society is clearly going through a major change.

Given all the drama on ST lately, I've been thinking a lot about how we form tolerant modes of behavior in an individualistic society steeped in personal "rights" but no unifying standard of what is acceptable and what is not. Only 50 years ago our society had those standards and now it doesn't. Formerly they found their foundation in a common religious code and later, for probably half a century, they continued on out of custom.

All that is gone now, so now we argue over what is pornography, what is the proper response to perceived insults to a particular individual or group, individual rights vs mob rule, how to sort out principle from personality disorder, and how to control those who insist they are right and try to sabotage authority whether online or with a semi automatic. And then there are the issues of no common code of civility or common taste, which on a forum like this will always degenerate in the direction of the loudest adolescent males (and occasional female in this case).

It's all well and good to say that highly educated and more mature individuals can be ethical atheists operating at the same or higher standards than the average religious person. The question which should be obvious to all is what about the masses?

From the East Asian point of view it seems that a well functioning society will feature a great deal of control over individual humans, whatever the source. In America the source was a hell fire and damnation, scare- the- wits- out- of- people religion for a long time. In East Asia it's an oppressive secular, maintain- face- for the- family- and community unspoken presence, in which the group is always more important than the individual. In Europe which has the best balance I've seen, there is less geographic mobility than America, and enough family and social pressure, so that western Abrahamic religion could wither away and order is maintained - at least as long as the economy flourishes and the social safety net survives. The history of 20th century European wars does not give much confidence otherwise.

Social anarchy can go on for centuries - the collapse of Chinese dynasties is instructive in that regard, but in the end they are always replaced with a loss of freedom in favor of restoring order. In the East, solutions included political repression and internalized family based morality (Confucianism is being taught again even in mainland and supposedly Communist China) and in the West it was a combination of political repression and Abrahamic religions. Ancient Greece enjoyed but a brief flowering of individual secularized rationalism for the privileged male half of the population, supported by a slave base, but even that didn't last long.

Science explains how the material world works and religious dogma oppresses, but eventually yields to science and its more attractive cousin, technology. However, neither religion nor science have yet solved the riddle of human nature, or how to maintain individual freedom while producing a smoothly functioning, fair and just society. To me, arguing religious dogma is just a side show.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 1, 2013 - 03:00pm PT
HFCS,

I was the one who called Dawkins a Militant Atheist.

You took it quite harshly, comparing it to militant muslims and whatever. That was not what I meant.

All I meant was that I walked two miles to his lecture which consisted almost entirely of slamming religion. He didn't do it in any serious way. He made fun of people. The crowd laughed along. I saw no purpose in this. I came to hear him speak because it was the 150th anniversary of On The Origin Of Species.

For some reason, I thought he was going to talk about Darwin. All he did was give a 90 minute power point presentation of how silly and stupid theists are. Then there was about ten minutes of actual discussion about evolution. I don't even remember the topic.

When I used the word "Militant," I didn't mean military. I just meant that he went way out of his way to kick people. I'm more of a freedom march type of guy.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 1, 2013 - 03:18pm PT
I like this thread most of the time. It has gotten a little boring since Largo took to healing.

Being a geologist, I have quite the rock collection. Now I must explain that what a cool rock is to me will usually look like just a rock to you, but I could nab a polished amethyst crystal or something. I could send it to him and tell him that it is a healing stone.

My buds and I would always stop in Taos, NM when coming to and from Colorado or Utah. There is a fantastic rock shop there. Really cool stuff that a geologist will lather over. The real reason is a fantastic little dive with fer real Mexican food, which can only be found around mexicans.

Taos being Taos, there are also several groovy stores that sell stuff for witchcraft and healing herbs and what not.

Since all three of us were geologists, we would play these tricks on the poor shopowners.

My favorite was to ask for something to help my prostate, or piles, or whatever body part that sounded the worst at the time. They sold healing crystals and the lot.

OK. As an aside, Taos, or particularly Santa Fe, is full of expensive art galleries. We would go in there all shabby and stinky. My foot stink alone is legendary. So we would bop into these galleries which were watched by these Andy Warhol looking women who never hid their disgust.

So one of us, a guy who came from a fantastically wealthy family, looked at this one abstract painting and said in his finest Midland, TX accent:

"THAT'S TWO PEOPLE F*#KIN!!"

Priceless.

I'll find a healing stone. I know how to get his address.
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