Politics, God and Religion vs. Science


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Feb 1, 2013 - 03:19pm PT
"A wave is what the ocean is doing, in the same way that you is what the whole universe is doing"
Alan Watts

Saying that, do we have a handle on the universe? On consciousness? Not even close. This thought coupled with personal experience within the reality of the spiritual "dimension" is enough for me

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 1, 2013 - 03:20pm PT
^^^exactly, man^^^
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Feb 1, 2013 - 06:29pm PT
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?

check that. You certainly have to wonder if the mid east countries can handle it as democracies. I'm out of my depth and can only guess. My understanding of Afghanistan was that a " liberalization" in mid century was enacted against the wishes and in repudiation of the theocracy and their loyal subjects who lived everywhere but the big cities, directly resulting in the hard core Taliban backlash.

If it was just a phenomena of Afghanistan it wouldn't be so big a deal and maybe its wrong to lever them so abruptly out of their cultural norms no matter how justified it seems. Problem is much the same is happening right in the USA. The world cannot afford a backward trending leader of the free world. Such a "theocracy" dominated politic would be not just be bad for the USA it would be devastating as a beacon of morality to the world. If the US folds who have we got? Russia? China? The only intelligent way to lead is by example.

Which reminds me of another favorite complaint of mine. The people leading the charge against the morally backward christian fundamentalists are all the other christians - but they sit there meekly shaking a finger at best, silently accommodating or even cheering on their fellow "tribesmen" at worst. Of course its the same with the muslims - they should be attacking the Taliban more ruthlessly than anybody, and the risk of letting them win is sure no joke either.

It seems to me we're running out of centuries for tinkering and fiddling around. And no I don't find any comfort in some stupid armageddon scenario.

Jan I really appreciate your take on it through your professional eyes. It shows the right appreciation for the lessons of history as well as an understanding of the value of diversity, which is pretty much what is lacking.

Feb 2, 2013 - 08:18am PT
The only intelligent way to lead is by example.

And a good example of that is what Jan does, here.

Turning people away from their religious convictions is not something that can be forced. Religious belief is usually passed down from the parents to the children and early childhood experiences are a strong influence not easily overcome later. As the twig is bent, so the tree is inclined.

For the future, though, against the age-old hand-me-down systems of belief, we now have this nearly world-wide way to communicate. Children everywhere may be picking up ideas from outside the family and even from outside the equally important network of other kids.

I don't have any idea what difference, if any, the internet might make to the beliefs of impressionable youths exposed to it, but if you are trying to convert people away from religion you should consider your audience; who is going to listen and what message will have meaning for them? Jan and other anthropologists have looked into that.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Feb 2, 2013 - 08:45am PT
For the future, though, against the age-old hand-me-down systems of belief, we now have this nearly world-wide way to communicate. Children everywhere may be picking up ideas from outside the family and even from outside the equally important network of other kids.

The risk being that anarchy that Jan mentioned? This idea make me think of the music industry and the "threat" posed to its existence by internet. Same deal - an entrenched system, largely a force of "good" - is completely flipped upsidedown by an "enlightenment". The risk is anarchy. The only way forward with any hope of a good outcome is a radical reconfiguration of the institution to accommodate the new "realities" . Alternately, you must destroy the threat.

Thats where I see institutional religion. Unfortunately (fortunately?) because religion has pigeon holed itself as a bastion of morality and not merely a system of governance, it must justify its actions on moral terms. The only choice in moral terms is to evolve under the pressure of new knowledge. The fundamentalists identify themselves as immoral.

This notion is a giant stretch for institutional religion which is in the habit of considering their fundamentalists as the final arbiters and guardians of their faith. Just look at how the basket cases are placed on a pedestal in Israel, and the result.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Feb 2, 2013 - 09:03am PT
"A wave is what the ocean is doing, in the same way that you is what the whole universe is doing" -Alan Watts

You are what the universe is doing.

Note this fits very nicely with causality, in other words, a mechanistic nature, in other words, a deterministic universe.

You are a fully caused being. So am I. So are ALL living things. Through and through, top to bottom.

What's more... Soon will come a structured belief discipline (as opposed to an unstructured belief disarray) with its own language and operating principles (apart from any religion, apart from any bronze age superstitions, apart from any theism or theistic nonsense; last but not least, apart from any new-age mormonisms or scientologies) to serve as support for the growing millions of this and related beliefs. Finally at long last, I can't wait. Will it be, in the beginning, for an ignorant majority? no. Will it be, in the beginning, for the educated "elite"? Yes. And what an excitement also breath of fresh air that will be. I hope it last 100 years at least before the ugnostic majority "sheeple" finally get around to it themselves.

There are different leadership styles. Thank goodness.



Psilo wrote,
Saying that, do we have a handle on the universe? On consciousness? Not even close.

I'm alright with this proclamation. (After all, we're just "above average apes.") But note too many in the world's subcultures use it as a basis or excuse for not learning. Not cool.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Feb 2, 2013 - 09:29am PT
BASE, perhaps you need to be reminded that Dawkins was more than "just" an evolutionary biologist.

Dawkins was the University of Oxford's Professor for Public Understanding of Science for 13 years. From 1995 until 2008.

Perhaps you should've taken account of this FACT before heading to his lecture then? (Just as you take into account the risk factor, I presume, before you BASE jump.)

Dawkins and those following in his wake, from Krauss to Pinker to deGrasse to Bill Nye and others - who are finding their voice and courage finally at long last to speak out - are my examples of great leadership - esp taking into consideration the circumstances we currently face in the world.

Also, you were hardly the first to refer to Dawkins, Harris and their clique as "militant." My criticism concerned the tendentious use of this word. Last I checked, "militant" means relating to military or militia and by extension, violence. Hardly an accurate term in today's climate to describe the "new atheists." Shame on science folk for taking up this term of art proudly used by propagandists from the other side.


Then again, this is a climbing forum. Say what you want. My attitude's changed. In matters apart from climbing (from the dangers of electricity and car batteries to causality to evolutionary theory and their implications), I've come to realize this site is little different from standard youtube commentary meaning little if anything can be discussed above an 8th grade level for the most part. Like F notes, it's all just shooting sh!t for fun, and for me something of a personal journal, my only angles here anymore.

Ice climber
the ghost
Feb 2, 2013 - 09:33am PT
"And then there are even the things you think about in the present. ... You can look at the sun, and that's the present, right? No, it's not. ... Do you know how long it takes for the light to get from the center of the sun to the outside? From the time that the energy's released from a nuclear reaction to get to the outside of the sun? A million years. So first of all, if the sun were 10,000 years old it wouldn't be shining. It means when we're taking the data up now, and deriving an explanation of how the sun is built, we're looking at million-year-old data. But now we use it to predict the density profile of the sun, and we do seismology, and it's exactly right. So that's the prediction.

Feb 2, 2013 - 09:34am PT
I would look at this as a far more pressing current problem in our world today right now.

This doesn't look good at all.

High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Feb 2, 2013 - 10:45am PT
I know that you HFCS don't live an examined, introspective life

You've said that twice now. In as many months thereabouts.

A little presumptuous on your part, perhaps. Do you know me?


your attitude change is not for the better

My attitude change reflects what I've learned is all. I've learned. Three years ago, I was an utter nOOb when it came to posting on an internet forum. It is fair to say, I am no nOOb any more.


the shortfall is usually with the explainer.

The shortfall can be with the explainer. Of course it can also be with the student or the listener. Depends on how you look at it. Also depends or the goal or objective. Regarding teaching, I never once imagined myself in the role of teacher or explainer. How do you like them apples? ;)
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Feb 2, 2013 - 10:46am PT
I think its worth pointing out that a moral principle central to what that guy in that video is talking about is humility. The aknowledgement of the limits of our understanding. One cannot proceed with science without humility. Central to how much of religion is presented is the certainty of its truth, which by its very nature engenders a lack of humility in its adherants. They mask this by claiming they are humble before the authority of god... in other words they release themselves of the responsibility to figure things out for themselves.

High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Feb 2, 2013 - 10:54am PT
Bruce, what is your background in science?


There is a great deal more to religion than politics. You reference politics a lot in your posts on religion. My grandmother was deeply religious. To take just one case. Her religion was the center of her life. Her model for how the world worked came straight from the bible stories. Her religious life had little to do with politics.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Feb 2, 2013 - 11:05am PT
you should try to up your game a bit

Ditto. Perhaps you should try to up your game a bit.

Start by reading Dawkins works. Then you might know where these guys and others of their ilk are coming from.

How you can spend so much time on these threads having read nothing of these classics or next to nothing of comparative religions is a strange thing.

Bears repeating,
you should try to up your game a bit

At base, what an obnoxious thing to say. You want to make this personal, I could tear into some of your posts as being incommunicable to many folks. You want to make this personal? If so, I'm game.

It's your call.


Oh yeah,
a lot less histrionics...

What bullsh!t is this. It is as if... you haven't seen other threads on this site, lol!

Perhaps you are confusing passion for histrionics or vice versa.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Feb 2, 2013 - 11:14am PT
yes I do focus on the politic of religion as that is where is see a problem. I don't see any problems with any individuals faith, unless it provides an irrational leverage on politics.

I'm just operating within the realm of the original topic title!

My back ground? totally squat! I'm a nail pounding bomb chucking blue collar shmuck. Please fell free one and all to criticize whatever I oppionate on. I'm not in this game to be right but I wouldn't mind travelling in the direction of right.

Somewhere out there
Feb 2, 2013 - 11:24am PT
Any evolutionary biologists out there?

I heard a podcast (Dogma Debate) last week that peaked my interest in the subject. The speaker is named Rachel Nanon Brown and she does a really good job of breaking down anything on the subject of evolution in a way that a dummy layman like me can understand.

Last weeks show she talked about chromosomal fusion and the differences between great apes and humans.

Very interesting post on the Dogma Debate website:

The post pulls information from several papers that have been published on the subject:



The evidence that human chromosome 2 is a fusion of two of the common ancestor's chromosomes is overwhelming."
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Feb 2, 2013 - 11:24am PT
Well, I just had a full page directed at some of the nonsense above, and just like that - Gone. Accidentally deleted. (A laptop keyboard on the fly sucks!) So I'll take this as a sign it wasn't meant to be, at least for right here right now. Thank your lucky stars, EH, it was hardball, starting with your peculiar views** on certainty, provision, truth and belief and ending point for point with an encouragement to raise your game. :)

Oh well...

**From the narrow perspective of a high-energy physicist, presumably.

Feb 2, 2013 - 11:41am PT
HfCS has knee jerk mental breakdown?

Anyways where has God gone.

God never left.

In the "Modern Science" they study the inferior external energy of God thru the scientific method.

In bonafide spiritual discipline both the inferior external energy of God and his Superior internal energies are studied thru the scientific process.

God has not been eliminated in either disciplines.

Just only one is more complete than the other.

Most here will automatically misunderstand and disagree only due to poor fund of knowledge of the ultimate conclusion what God really is.

OM TAT SAT ......


Trad climber
lost, far away from Poland
Feb 2, 2013 - 12:03pm PT
I'm a nail pounding bomb chucking blue collar shmuck.

LOL. If it's true, you remind me ofsomebody from 20 years ago, myself. I self schooled myself most of my life. Eventually I became a scientist. I worked too long hanging from a rope or pounding nails. At the age of 40 I decided to become a scientist. It is easier than you think to do. A lot of fun and pays well too! A hint: never let anybody tell you what is possible,, speak your mind, question authorities, and do so without insulting anybody. Worked for me!

Edit: Sent from the Red Cliffs lodge at Kirkwod Ski Resort. Drinking overpriced Modelo.

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Feb 2, 2013 - 12:18pm PT
I think the common complaint and oveservation of a Fruityesque world-view and mindset is that what he proclaims and professes simply does not square with life as it is seen and experienced by others. Dawkins and his camp are no kind of leaders because they spend far too much time in sophmoric rants attacking superstitions, believing as they do that all spiritual pursuits are at their core, circular paths revolving around illusions - in this sense, a set of beliefs that are not accurate or true. Put differently, spirituality is first, a task of collecting a special kind of facts and figures - call it wampum - and as it were, their facts and figures are fundamentally false, and have been usurped by recent scientific discoveries. The fundamental mistake here is that the Golden Fleece of spirituality is accruing facts and figures about the spirit, or the Holy Ghost, or whatever, when this is not the case across the board. At all.

Cutting to the chase - Fruit's flaw here is that he has basically sided with a linear take as the exclusive mode of true and honest reality. He's basically cut the human brain in two and said, only the left brain (linear/logical) is real and worth serious consideration. What's more, spirituality is just a screwy way of trying to negotiate the left brain, when in fact spirituality almost certainly represents the vast and boundless playing field of the right brain, which every schoolboy knows is not linear. If you don't like traversing this ground, where the landmarks are entirely different than those found across the Great Divide, fair enough. That's your business. But when all or your arguments are based on mistaking left for right, and ranting from a truncated perspective whereby the right IS the left, just a screwy version of it, then part of the crowd is going to wonder if you are even aware of your blind spot - which is NOT Abrahamic superstitions full of bogus facts, but something altogether different, having nothing to do with linear "things" as such. Does this make much "sense" to the left brain. No.

High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Feb 2, 2013 - 12:28pm PT
Hey Werner,

wet your fingers with vinegar, touch them to your car battery and report back. Thanks.


In a round about way, Largo's proclamations remind me of Laura Ingraham or that other one, Ann Coulter. You guys ever watch em, observe em? Well spoken, a way with words, for starters...

Incredible to watch, how they can spin stuff. Last night was particularly incredible watching Laura spin down on defense nominee, hagel.



Sam Harris must be saying a few things that resonate w people. He was, after all, sitting next to Eva Longoria on Real Time with Bill Maher last night. Anyone catch the show?

Imagine that, a spiritual-less, right-brain-dead atheist getting THAT kind of attention. Oh the horror!
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