Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Mar 3, 2013 - 12:23pm PT
Don,

There are hucksters everywhere. From what I know about Yoga, meaning best friends who practice it, it is quite healthy.

Con artists are everywhere, even in science. Science is structured to find them, though.

It is difficult to be a con artist in math, physics, or the hard (quantitative) sciences.

It is easier in the soft sciences such as psychology and sociology. That doesn't mean that the "soft sciences" are wrong.

Just look at the last election. Since your average American isn't very critical, they are fairly easy to decieve. The study of how humans react is now very refined and of great value. Politics and many businesses run on those sciences. They are very powerful. They may be the most powerful and useful sciences when it comes to everyday life.

During W's first primary race, he was up against John McCain.

Bush had a secret weapon, Karl Rove. He was an incarnation of Lee Atwater during Bush 1's campaigns.

South Carolina was the key state. Just before the primary there, the W campaign ran "push polls."

The push poll went like this. They had people manning the phones, perhaps robo calls, and they said,

"Would you vote for McCain if you knew that he had fathered a black child?"

(McCain had an adopted child from Bangladesh, who was dark skinned)

Wiki mentions it on their Push Poll page, which everyone of you should read:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Push_poll

Perhaps the most famous use of push polls is in the 2000 United States Republican Party primaries, when it was alleged that George W. Bush's campaign used push polling to torpedo the campaign of Senator John McCain. Voters in South Carolina reportedly were asked "Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain for president if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?" The poll's allegation had no substance, but was heard by thousands of primary voters.[5] McCain and his wife had in fact adopted a Bengali girl. Bush had previously used push polls in his 1994 bid for Texas Governor against incumbent Ann Richards. Callers asked voters "whether they would be more or less likely to vote for Governor Richards if they knew that lesbians dominated on her staff."[6]

In the 2008 general election, Jewish voters in Florida and Pittsburgh were targeted by a push poll attempting to disparage Barack Obama by linking him with the Palestinian Liberation Organization. The Jewish Council for Education & Research, an organization that has endorsed Obama, denounced the push-poll as misinformation and lies.[7][8]

Political consultant Lee Atwater was also well known for using push-polling among his aggressive campaign tactics (though he repented in later life when terminally ill).[citation needed] The main advantage of push polls is that they are an effective way of maligning an opponent ("pushing" voters towards a predetermined point of view) while avoiding direct responsibility for the distorted or false information used in the push poll. They are risky for this same reason: if credible evidence emerges that the polls were directly ordered by a campaign or candidate, it could do serious damage to that campaign. Push polls are also relatively expensive, having a far higher cost per voter than radio or television commercials. Thus, push polls are most used in elections with fewer voters, such as party primaries, or in close elections where a relatively small change in votes can mean victory or defeat.

I say it all of the time. Racism is alive and well in the south.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Mar 3, 2013 - 12:28pm PT
If you want to understand modern political campaigns, which run these idiotic ads all of the time, it is because Americans do not know how to think critically.

The guy may not have invented it, but he damn sure perfected it:

Lee Atwater

Please read the wiki page about him and all will become clear.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Atwater

Now, every campaing needs a Lee Atwater. At least the bastard apologized on his deathbed.

America right now is on a wicked race to be the dumbest.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Mar 3, 2013 - 01:28pm PT
You guys are asking a social scientist what societal outcomes has to do with belief?

I like that. Well said, Jan. Along those lines, but in more general terms:

Emergence Theory
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Mar 3, 2013 - 05:09pm PT
Every resultant is either a sum or a difference of the co-operant forces; their sum, when their directions are the same -- their difference, when their directions are contrary. Further, every resultant is clearly traceable in its components, because these are homogeneous and commensurable. It is otherwise with emergents, when, instead of adding measurable motion to measurable motion, or things of one kind to other individuals of their kind, there is a co-operation of things of unlike kinds. The emergent is unlike its components insofar as these are incommensurable, and it cannot be reduced to their sum or their difference. (Lewes 1875, p. 412) (Blitz 1992)
-------


Of course a reductionist can never cotton to the idea that anything is ever more than it's component parts, being that in this view, any emergence was produced entirely by said parts - or in it's most extreme distortion, the parts ARE the emergent function (map = territory). the son IS the father, and so on.

JL
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Mar 3, 2013 - 05:23pm PT
Bertrand Russell weighs in on (the lack of) God.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQJ3sqkdCRE&sns=em

[youtube=HQJ3sqkdCRE&sns]
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 3, 2013 - 05:30pm PT
I haven't heard about Hilbert Space either,
and my intuition tells me I don't need to.


I'm with Base on this subject, I don't need to know everything, I would rather specialise on some subjects, and have a comfortable grasp on the rest (of what's available)


I may never understand Dark Matter, and apparently I'm in good company
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Mar 3, 2013 - 05:35pm PT
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilbert_space

I bow to Ed and John Gill over this. It is wild.

-----------------------------------------


Dr., There is so much to know. There are probably 50 different types of "geologist."

Each one has its own niche. The principles and discoveries can be shared, but you have to be a specialist instead of a generalist to get much done.

You still have to keep up with your reading or you will be left in the dust.

Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Mar 3, 2013 - 05:41pm PT
"There can't be a practical value in believing in something that isn't true ..." - I understand what Bertrand Russell is saying, but I think its at least possible that believing in religions can motivate people and give them hope, however false, that gives them a survival advantage. Have you ever noticed how motivated born again believers are? It's hard to miss. That kind of motivation must be a good thing on many levels, in fact I am sure their lives are the better for it.

But is it really good to delude yourself like this? American society is fake enough as it is with most of the population staring at a TV for an average of something like 5 hours a day. Approaching the brave new world at lightspeed.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Mar 3, 2013 - 05:43pm PT
It appears that scientists are more interested in "weak" emergence, and have their doubts about "strong" emergence which would I suppose appeal to JL and his colleagues.


;>)
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 3, 2013 - 05:55pm PT
I'm professional Mineralogist, since I collect and sell Minerals, as my side business.
I get 4 different Mineralogy Journals, my favorite being the Mineralogical Record, me and my wife call it Rock Porn, and it is.

I collect in the field and buy at the shows, I have one of the top 5 collections in OC, and my cactus collection is top of the field.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Mar 3, 2013 - 06:24pm PT
well put Don Paul.

I'm still hoping that Jan would expand on this a bit. It is of course the nut of the problem on a number of counts. If religions certainty of authority is ever cast in doubt, its ability to contribute benefit to societal outcomes is compromised, and if there is no other force to replace it....

The most significant doubt is not the authenticity of various dieties, especially as any way of authentification isn't exactly handy any time soon. The real hazard is how increasingly the validity of various moral dogmas is being eroded by empirical proof that is resisted by nothing more than faith and meek deference to authority. Sure, most of this nonsense originates with the extreme fundamentalists but the rank and file typically facilitate with some form of tribal allegiance.

Its like what is happening with the modern day Republican Party. When your values and belief system are built on "creating your own reality" it can only travel so far on sheer certainty of faith.
The story they sold us on the american Dream is proving a fraud. Their real goal may still yet win but its going to take a whole new strategy - the old one has run its course under an onslaught of contrary evidence. If they can't reform then it becomes clear that allegiance to ideology is more important than societal outcomes - at least the ones that involve us.

BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Mar 3, 2013 - 06:59pm PT
If there is an advantage to believing something that is false, then anything is up for grabs.

Some may be of help to humans, but there are many terrible alternatives.

I see no advantage in believing anything that is false unless it makes you, as an individual, happier, and you do no harm to others.

That is why I'm not as hard on religion as, say, HFCS was. I am surrounded by the faithful, and most of them are pretty decent people.

One guy I do some work with is big in the first baptist church, which is a pretty big church. They raised some money and bought all kinds of helpful things for a secret homeless community that was living along the banks of a river 2 miles from my house. I didn't even know they were there, and homeless people have a soft spot in my heart.

They took them all kinds of stuff. Food, fuel, shelter items, blankets, whatever they could think of.

This is called altruism. It can be observed in other primates and I'm aware of a recent paper that showed the evolution of altruism.

It is one of the finest qualities a human can have, IMO.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Mar 3, 2013 - 07:30pm PT
Drf
[quoteI'm with Base on this subject, I don't need to know everything, I would rather specialise on some subjects, and have a comfortable grasp on the rest (of what's available)][/quote]

That's a lot said!

But, Come-on; Can't you imagine there is a way, somewhere, something is keeping a talley
on everything going-on?

Some sort of memory of yesterday. That's here today. Thus able to predict things in tomorrow

Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Mar 3, 2013 - 07:33pm PT
Interesting jogill mentioned emergence theory as I was all excited about it back in June of 2012 and was immediately shot down by Ed and others with talk of chaos and entropy. I thought it could well be the basis for a more biologically based understanding of the universe which would be inspirational to people, and what I got back was talk about the meaninglessness of it all.

To me, that response was one more illustration that science has its own dogmas, despite claims of total objectivity. Perhaps emergence theory as related to life and evolution will become the prevailing paradigm at some time in the future but not while mechanistic reductionists prevail. Then again, many think that we are indeed transitioning from the age of physics to the age of biology.

And finally, the easy dismissal of it showed one more time a lack of concern for the societal effects of belief systems.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Mar 3, 2013 - 07:48pm PT

[quoteThere are eastern religions that will not eat meat. I think that the logic is, that that cow may indeed be a person's soul.][/quote]

So if you eat the meat, your eating the soul too?
Sounds materialistic to me...

I've NEVER heard God promoting reincarnation.
Who is THIS God?
Is this a "Wernerism"?

Jus Catch'in Up (I havnt had the intrnet)
BB
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Mar 3, 2013 - 07:57pm PT
To me, that response was one more illustration that science has its own dogmas


I think Dogma is endemic to all processes or systems don't you think? But wouldn't you say that the scientific process requires that no dogma is immune from destruction if evidence and theory supports it? I don't think dogma is a problem anywhere unless it cannot be justified. Moral Dogma for instance must be justified on moral terms using relevant knowledge we have. If morality is determined by severe limits set by some arbitrary book of rules written centuries ago you really gotta wonder - no?
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Mar 3, 2013 - 08:02pm PT
Ed, you said that in reference to my take on reductionism, I didn't understand the complexity of it and was instead offering a cartoon version of same.

Actually, I'm sticking to the basic definition when I said "a reductionist can never cotton to the idea that anything is ever more than it's component parts." Otherwise you couldn't "reduce" or reverse engineer the complex down to simpler, more fundamental parts = reductionism by any known definition.

If I am entirely wrong on this count, kindly offer an example illustrating something greater than it's parts which, if you had sufficient data, you could not, in theory, mechanically reverse engineer back to antecedent parts.

JL



Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 3, 2013 - 08:07pm PT
But, Come-on; Can't you imagine there is a way, somewhere, something is keeping a talley
on everything going-on?

Some sort of memory of yesterday. That's here today. Thus able to predict things in tomorrow

No, there is no Tally, none of any sort other than your own

and no memory, except what those with brains decide to memorize, or write down
which in turn means no predictions, other than those done at random that come true by chance

I can make predictions that will come true, only because they are so vague and bound to come true by just knowing that they are certain to happen, like earthquakes and volcanos will kill people!!!
and the clash of religions will escalate!!
and we're all going die!!!
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Mar 3, 2013 - 08:18pm PT

[quoNo, there is no Tally, none of any sort other than your ownte][/quote]

Well.. Even DNA has memory. My eyes are blue, not by chance.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 3, 2013 - 08:18pm PT
DNA is not a tally, nor a memory

it is a genetic code that came from your parents
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