The New "Religion Vs Science" Thread

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High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Dec 6, 2017 - 09:06am PT
Dingus,

1. There was no need to call out Malemute as a "shill", I think we all know the term, like "atheist", has a stink to it. How would you like it if one were to call out your best friend or a loved one a "shill"? (Say, instead of, simply, an "advocate" or "promoter"?)

2. Instead of ad hominem, why not ad ideam (to the idea)? It's amazing to me we still have this popular notion otherwise attitude or habit in our pop culture that it's acceptable to get angry, to ridicule, to call names in response to another merely critiquing an idea or a set of ideas. We never hear a biologist calling another "Stooopid" because he is proposing the phosphate backbone resides at the center of the DNA molecule instead of the outside; or a physicist telling another physicist he's got a cold, dead heart because the latter claims the universe is not fine-tuned for life and living process.

3. Months ago, Hartouni mentioned in a post the concept of iconoclastic or a iconoclast, implying, if I recall correctly, that there is some measure of virtue or goodness to being "iconoclastic" in some cases. In my view, today’s non-theist (aka “atheist”), certainly different in some ways from yestercentury’s, plays a valuable, iconoclastic role in the worlds of belief and life guidance, pressuring religions of old (tradition) to adapt and upgrade, to step up their game, to bridge to science, to work with scientific understanding as opposed to combating it. Under such changes, there is a hope, among other hopes, that the world, currently globalizing but also quite fractured, a result of historical effects, might congeal begetting benefits, enormous benefits, else even better relations, relating, to pick just one example, to war and peace on a global scale.

4. So I would challenge you to question this attitude, bias (not all biases are something to override, by the way; I have a bias toward females, a bias toward climbing, a bias toward pumpkin pie over sweet potato pie), sensibility, whatever you want to call it: ”I will add I have a soft spot for the Faithful, not that I am one of them. It irritates me when I see the blame for an entire religion being heaped on some poor soul simply because they dare profess their faith on this board. So the claim that some particular person is not a good christian or a good muslim or a good hindu, or whatever; does not resonate with me.” The reason: You are putting religion in a special class, giving it an (unjustified) exemption. Not hard to do as that’s been the long standing tradition. I am of the bent/bias that times are changing and this position needs to change given current understanding, circumstances, many global and historical. To remind us both, this is the science vs religion thread. As you know, religions are systems of ideas as much as they are anything else (faith, community gathering, support). That being the case we should be able to critique this system or some component of it – or else promote some alternative idea or set of ideas - (a) in the interest of best practices, best ideas for living and life-guidance, both personal and social, etc; (b) without sides lapsing into ad hominem attacks (cold dead hearts, atheists worse than queers, shills, etc) like back in the day. I’m suggesting to you that this ad hominem approach or style is old-school, it needs to be questioned and ultimately rejected (all the more so where the argument or debate concerns truth claims) This, in my opinion, is how civilization or culture or even politics, if you’re into these things as I am, advances, progresses.

5. ”Really he has no business on this thread if the aim is meaningful discussion.” Note I was careful to include reference to an aim: Meaningful discussion. Personally my bent/bias in this regard is this. It would be cool if this portion of the Taco fire could have meaningful discussion concerning the latest and greatest aspects of the science, religion, belief relationship in current 21st century times as seen through the lens of climbers and the ST climbing community. In my view, Werner’s posts, by and large insubstantial and ad hominem, subtract from this aim. This is regrettable because there are scores of ideas out there now more than ever relating to this relationship, which is also my passion, and I for one would love to have THAT meaningful discussion were it possible (even taking into acct its public nature).

6. “This isn't a 'Science TOPS Religion' thread.” Of course not. We agree. And yet, back to the point, or points, that I think are most important: We should be able to challenge ideas, practices, customs and traditions and such of any area, venue, study, field, subject matter of the human condition (incl religious systems) on the merits of those items and have super interesting and wholesome discussion perhaps providing new ideas and insights to some; and concurrently, in regards to this post, we should be able to do so, most importantly, in the absence of ad hominem attacks. Personally I think many of us have been exemplars of patience (including, I like to imagine, occasionally some lurkers) in dealing with this, all the more so because at least one here is as passionate about science and culture and civilization and future and where it’s all heading as he is about climbing the high sierra. Most sincerely I hope you get this.


7. "It's not a science class nor a lecture hall. Its just some folks who have a common interest in a discussion thread, that's all. It's nothing more than that, either.” So again I’m going to return to what I consider a principal theme and principal point. We should be able to have these dialogs without the insubstantial, baseless shitposting and ad hominems. Given the fact that you’re a good storyteller and writer, it’s rather hard to believe that you do not share in this sentiment or perhaps even understand where I am coming from. A couple of points: I have spent a lifetime in the sciences, both physical and life; and in belief, for lack of a better word. I care as much about science, science and its relationship to belief, as you do about getting away to the back country of Alpine Co or wherever. So to your comment: “It’s nothing more than that” – that’s one point that probably divides us. This thread concerns heavier subjects, intellectual topics and issues, the so-called Big Questions; and today’s higher (elitist) education and its doings in conjunction with this phenom called the internet, it turns out, has a lot to say about these – this is not one of the more frivolous threads here (eg., "What beer are you drinking now?") – and I guess I’m just imagining how nice, interesting, thought-provoking, if not profound, such discussions of such interesting subject matter could be in the absence of some ad hominem somebody dropping in and peeing on the setting.

8. I’ve concluded this is an important subject esp worthwhile to have, to elaborate on, but unfortunately I have to get to work. But I hope in this little piece, you at least have a stronger sense of how things look around here from MY perspective. I love the subject matter of science and belief as much as I love climbing and other adventure sports. Indeed, in part, this is what keeps me coming back. ST is always just a click away and it never fails to provide me some insight into how at least one nook of pop culture thinks and feels re misc issues and topics of the human enterprise.

Perhaps I’ll add more later, after thinking more on these specific points. I do have an interest in them and think they are important. You said: “I will add I am interested in folks genuine opinions on this general topic.” Me too. For sure. In regards to us, you and me, you should know I STILL think we have a lot more in interests and attitudes – and not just in regards to outdoors, climbing or hunting either - that unites us than divides us. Thanks for the reply. Cheers.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Dec 6, 2017 - 09:23am PT
There was no need to call out Malemute as a "shill"

Quick response: I'll be the judge of that.

Cheers
DMT
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Dec 6, 2017 - 09:28am PT
Another quick response (sorry)

The reason: You are putting religion in a special class, giving it an (unjustified) exemption

Nope. This is a long running line of discussion between you and I; years old I believe.

I put faith in a special class. Reworded, I hold that a person's religious faith is not the religion.

If I tried to heap all the ills of climbing upon you because you have a bias for climbing, it would be the same. It's not fair to you for me to make that argument; it's not fair for anyone, imo.

Cheers
DMT
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Dec 6, 2017 - 09:44am PT
Okay, my quick response. First, I forgot to add this part in 4b, which I was going to do for clarity sake. So here goes.

The points from my pov are these: (1) I'm a bit confused by your post. Where is anyone dumping on any individual the OFFENSES of his religion? I certainly didn't dump on Werner for the OFFENSES of Hinduism, as an example. (2) My issue with Werner is specifically his shitposting. That is what drew me into this latest dust-up - following your reply. My issue with Werner is specifically his shitposting. There, said it twice. I cannot be clearer or more succinct than that. (3) My interest is discussing the relevant ideas and attitudes, not personalizing anything. Hope that makes my pov and my most salient points more clear.

I dumped on Werner because, here on this thread and others, he seems to be living and breathing while posting on "the outside", shall we say, of a major principal theme of his Eastern religion. That is decisively different from dumping on a person for the OFFENSES of his religion.

Btw, I respond to YOU because (unlike some others) YOU are worth responding to and dialoging with. I get value from it. (That is a compliment. lol)

...

EDIT: In this post, I stated "offenses" of a religion where I was responding to Dingus. Dingus in his post spoke of "blame for an entire religion" not "offenses" of a religion. This is probably not that important, all things considered, but I wanted to clarify.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Dec 6, 2017 - 09:55am PT
OK I finished reading through your post in more detail.

We should be able to have these dialogs

I agree. I'd place the emphasis on dialogue. A dialogue is not a http link. A dialogue is not a singular reference to a youtube vid. It takes two to tango.

Now overall response to your thread - ok, I hear you. I'd ask you to hold yourself to your own standards of course. That is not a measurement on my part nor a judgement but your repeated references to the Mind thread are irritating, my friend. I'd say dismount the high horse if you want a dialogue with us walkers. If the folks here participating in this thread aren't keep up to your lofty aims then perhaps your time is better spent with those who will engage in a manner more suited to your liking?

I'm not suggesting that you should, or would want to. But you can't control the conversation and you can't set the rules of engagement no matter how many times you state your desires in this regard, obliquely or otherwise. I like your participation. I like to read your ideas. I like understanding your objections.

But I'll carry on as I choose. I'm guessing you and WBraun and Malemute will continue on as before as well. I'm not interested in the links any of you post though because they are the opposite of dialogue.

That's it.

Cheers
DMT

ps. I see we were writing at the same time. The dialogue part is something we agree on :)
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Dec 6, 2017 - 10:10am PT
I dumped on Werner because, here on this thread and others, he seems to be living and breathing while posting on "the outside", shall we say, of a major principal theme of his Eastern religion. That is decisively different from dumping on a person for the OFFENSES of his religion.

Ok I'm provoked into responding one more time (provoked in the positive sense)

Dump on Werner all you wish. However you were challenging me to specific action and I was responding to that challenge. Basically, "it's not my job, man." I don't even know if Werner is a good auto mechanic or electronic technician, much less a good hindu.

Cheers
DMT
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Dec 6, 2017 - 10:16am PT
You know, just after posting, I had a different thought. There is a higher category that includes both religion and Zen Buddhism, which is still not science. Communism would also fall under this category IMO.

Maybe the unifying principle is “altruism” ?

I think humans made religions because not everybody is equipped to ponder ways of being, and then decide which lead to the best outcomes for all involved. Some people need a more clear set of instructions and rules, and fear or reward-based incentives, and specific anchoring of identity in a group, for acting in a manner that supports our collective well being. Religions perfectly addressed this, while also generating good stories for the campfire from the days before TV and internet and addicting smartphone games. And then there is also the dark side of religion as a means of exercising power over others... but this is a side effect rather than an organizing principle. The main long-term baggage of religion is the fostering of communities that work in a uniform environment but fail when “us and them” conflicts emerge in the increasingly small and heterogenous world.

Still, the unifying theme across all religions, and the ideals of socialism and communism, I believe, is altruism. It is not an innate behavior for many humans, and yet we seem to hold it in high regard as an ideal. Perhaps it is because we recognize at a deep level that it would lead to the best outcome for all, but it is so fragile, so ethereal, so unstable as a large scale system subject to spoiling by a few minds. We almost laugh at altruism because it seems like a naive pipe dream in comparison to the ugly realities we experience. Maybe this is why we embrace capitalism so heartily, because we can trust more people to be greedy and self-serving than we can trust them to be altruistic. As a system accounting for people as they are, it is a better fit. And yet we still collectively strive for more goodness and rightness and the things that come from altruism. We are just too tempted by greed and short-term payoffs to embrace it. One embodiment of these ideas is the power dance between corporations and regulatory governments.

I try to find my peace in my own actions, judging them against what I think is right and sustainable for a global community, rather than letting my peace be marred by the actions of others I can’t control. In a way, science and engineering and systems analysis was my path to this belief. It is a simple optimization problem to maximize the benefit for the system as a whole. Why I value that goal above others is not clear to me. My path to altruism as an ideal and guiding principle (which I often fall short of) didn’t require religion, and I don’t begrudge those who are attached to religion as a path toward this ideal.
xCon

Social climber
909
Dec 6, 2017 - 11:56am PT
"You don't have the slightest idea what you're talking about."

got that from alan watts
did that entertainer steer me wrong again?!?!
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Dec 6, 2017 - 02:21pm PT
re: YouTube posts, links without dialog, hfcs' view.

1. My own interest to post is not always about dialog or dialoging (or “meaningful dialog”). Sometimes it IS, quite to the contrary in function, just about posting up an interesting image, link or YouTube video – actually not unlike posting up a picture to Guido’s Every Picture… thread. Sometimes my interest is just that and nothing more. Maybe this signifies to the world I found the content interesting or maybe it’s to remind me where I was surfing (an hour ago, a day ago, a week ago) and might enjoy it again when I return. I sometimes get a kick out of seeing a video clip or a quote, whatever, a few days later. In addition this might contribute to my own learning experience (and remembering experience).

2. Regarding the criticism against cut n paste, it seems this is yet another item where – for aesthetic reasons, general interest reasons, whatever – sides disagree. Personally I love the cut n paste functionality – especially when done appropriately in the right style (yes, matter of opinion, interest and taste). Personally, I think it’s one of the greatest tools – without exaggeration – to emerge in that other greatest tool –without exaggeration - in civilization – that being the internet of course. For this reason, its power blows my mind (whenever I think about it) and I’m thankful it exists and I intend to harness it fully whether elsewhere or here on ST. It’s taught me an immeasurable amount just over the few years I’ve been able to use it.

To illustrate by example, the other day I posted a link to a Victor Stenger YouTube. Main reasons were: a) I had known Stenger’s name for many years, I had known he had died recently, but I had never seen him in video before. Now I have seen him - thanks to the power and functionality of Youtube. I linked this video to the S vs R thread because some of his lectures concerned S vs R and I enjoyed them. YouTube is such a powerful tool; together with the internet it is literally a window into other times and places in history and around the world at a finger's touch. b) what’s also a powerful functionality - that exists now in this decade that’s really never existed before in the history of our species - is the ability to share such videos and links if not with everybody then with like-minded folks. I imagine a few like-minded types might visit a religion/science thread.

Personally, maybe I’m repeating here, I am grateful to see the emergence of the internet, the emergence of this tremendous audio video world within a world, the emergence of all this “high functionality” currently expressed, in large part, by Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and perhaps some of my motivation for my links, videos, etc.. is merely my own way of participating in all this goodness and personally celebrating these extraordinary powers that our generations now have access to.

But I get it, I do. Different strokes for different folks, as they say. Posters have remarked over the years: Take what you want and leave the rest. I am 100 per cent in agreement with this. Really, no click, no offense. Really.

3. I do not gauge thread success as a general matter. To the (small) degree I might, it certainly is NOT in regards to how often a thread is bumped to the forum first page. Rather it would be in regards to how much substantive and personally interesting content it contains. In conjunction with this, it is fine with me, totally fine with me, if (a) a thread such as this one were to get bumped on average only every third day or once a week; or (b) a post of mine garnered no response or follow-up at all.

4. One more point about the cut n paste; or the posting of a link; or the YouTube or TED videos - while recalling that, for me at least, it is NOT, NOT, always about the dialog - even though this dialog or dialoging was emphasized earlier this morning. I think such posts ala links, videos, etc. build on the “ad ideam” “to the idea” interest or notion: Sometimes, oftentimes actually, somebody on the internet has an experience, shares a sentiment, or articulates an idea or insight better, even way way better, than I could in any given subject matter or venue. So the cut n paste, link, whatever, serves me and my interests, if nobody else's, as either a powerful teaching tool or else as a powerful articulating tool.

Basta!
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Dec 6, 2017 - 02:59pm PT
I, for one, appreciate both Malemute's and HFCS's links. I find them interesting and informative something like 90% of the time. It's not my style of posting, but that's fine. "Shill"? I don't think so. Not even close.
Malemute

Ice climber
great white north
Dec 6, 2017 - 03:06pm PT
Why do I cut and paste?
To give an idea of what you will find at the attached url.

Why do I rarely post my own opinion?
Unlike most of my detractors, I recognize that my opinions mean nothing.
I defer to the experts.
Those that think highly of their inexpert opinion suffer from the Dunning Kruger effect.

I see no experts on Religion posting to this thread.
But there are a handful of experts on Science.
The majority of you "self attributed experts" are full of hot air.
Norton

climber
The Wastelands
Dec 6, 2017 - 03:13pm PT

it is COPY and paste, not CUT and paste

just saying
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Dec 6, 2017 - 03:38pm PT
Nice last post, NutAgain! I've been an avid reader on the subject of altruism since I first read, the Selfish Gene (1976), by Richard Dawkins maybe 12 years ago. If you haven't read this book, do yourself a favor and read it. It makes that case that altruism makes sense in tribal groups purely from the standpoint of gene propagation. From the gene's standpoint, which just "wants" to be propagated, you (the host organism) sacrificing yourself for, say, three of your siblings would totally make sense. It's a simple equation. The gene would be better off if you could pull off the saving of your three siblings at your own expense. Evolution, always sifting, picks up this signal and propagates it through the downstream gene pool.

Anyhow, as far as I'm concerned, that's just the playing field that we have inherited, and the really interesting stuff starts here. Humans have risen to prominence over other animals mainly because of their cooperative skills and the actual cooperation of many individuals in solving problems. This suggests that humans have somehow managed to leverage that "instinct" for altruism to something that breaks out of the solely instinctual altruism. How the non-genetic component plays out against the genetic component with respect to altruism will continue to be a fascinating subject.

WBraun

climber
Dec 6, 2017 - 04:39pm PT
altruism is the mode of goodness but still completely material.

Even in the mode of goodness, one will still not be able to see science and religion in its full completeness.

It will never be a unifying theme because real religion is completely on the spiritual platform transcendental to the material plane as "pure goodness".

This platform is impossible for a materialist to understand with their logic and reason rooted in the materialism of beginning and end.

Thus they rigidly hold onto the incomplete gross material scientific claims.

The spiritual platform has no beginning nor end like the so called gross materialists constantly proclaim due to their poor fund of knowledge of both material and what to speak of the spiritual realm.

A heavy biased atheist such as Malemute making claims he knows whether one is an expert on religion or not is insane.

He couldn't recognize one for the life of him in his present state of mind ...... just keep copying and pasting your so-called experts.

Rolls eyes .....
im kin

Social climber
one step ahead of ruin
Dec 6, 2017 - 04:46pm PT
werner you remind me of my teenage daughters.
MikeL

Social climber
Southern Arizona
Dec 6, 2017 - 06:25pm PT
jgill: Largo says that Zen Buddhism is not a religion. What do you experts say? If over a period of time masters guide your meditative efforts toward a specific result, is this similar to a priest guiding one to God?

Any discipline does this. Meditation occurs almost hourly for most people, and they are oriented to specific results.

Your writing is getting sloppy and over-generalized, IMO.

Malemute: . . . instead of a rational, factual argument, . . .


Hey, show me some data--not just what people think. Cite an peer-reviewed empirical study.

I see no experts on Religion posting to this thread.

Hey, for a fellow that does nothing (seemingly) but post URLs and almost endless diatribe about the evils of religion, you sure seem to put yourself out as a knowledgeable editor or gatekeeper of understanding about the subject.

Get a grip on your behaviors, man. You’re a little obsessed and out-of-control here on this subject. Take a step back and take a break. You’re in the thick of your own obsessions. Breathe.
Mark Force

Trad climber
Ashland, Oregon
Dec 6, 2017 - 08:59pm PT
Mark Force, I've said this before more or less, but I would posit that science is more than a methodology. It's the methodology along with the great body of interdisciplinary knowledge that was acquired using this methodology. I think that scientism is a derogatory term that means nothing.

Eeyonkee,

Science is a methodology, mentally and physically. It is a pursuit of determining what is real as closely as can be determined upon current vetted data from following as closely as possible the scientific method. Those dedicated to science who I have known and worked with are quite clear of the usefulness and value of mechanisn, reductionism, modeling, theory, and other facets of the chase that is science.

It is useful to be clear that a map is not the actual terrrain.

When the limitations of these methods are overlooked, meaning is commonly superimposed upon the observations and data that is beyond the reach of the science itself. This is scientism.

I'm a lover and defender of science. I love the "beginner's mind" -soshin - that appears innate to the lover of pure and unadulturated science. Research in it's pure form isn't about proving your suppositions and prejudices - it's about discovery and challenging what you (think) you know! And, if the results shatter the integrity of something fundamental you've believed to be true about reality, so much the better! That's the juice! It's also about being critical and being clear that all about and even in science that agendas can pervert the observation of what is.

Scientism - the belief that the investigative methods of the physical sciences are applicable or justifiable in all fields of inquiry - diminishes, rather than respects, the scientific method and resultant science.

I'll take science over scientism any day.
jgill

Boulder climber
The high prairie of southern Colorado
Dec 6, 2017 - 09:08pm PT
Me:If over a period of time masters guide your meditative efforts toward a specific result, is this similar to a priest guiding one to God?

MikeL:Your writing is getting sloppy and over-generalized, IMO.



Meant to be a joke. You're just so darn serious. Relax.
Byran

climber
Half Dome Village
Dec 7, 2017 - 05:27am PT
Scientism - the belief that the investigative methods of the physical sciences are applicable or justifiable in all fields of inquiry

Would you mind giving an example of a "field of inquiry" which isn't suitable for science?

I don't mean cases where direct experimentation would be unethical or impossible. I mean a situation where it would be preferable to approach the unknown with wild, irrational guesswork and dogmatic stubbornness, rather than something like "science" in the broad sense of the term.
MikeL

Social climber
Southern Arizona
Dec 7, 2017 - 07:25am PT
Jgill: Meant to be a joke. 

This medium needs more cues. Subtlety is not easily rendered in 25 words or less. I guess that’s why there is “conversation.”

Bryan: I mean a situation where it would be preferable to approach the unknown with wild, irrational guesswork and dogmatic stubbornness, rather than something like "science" in the broad sense of the term.

A biased characterization, at best. At worst, outright prejudice. (Why don’t you tell us what you really think?)

It’s been argued that all insight is self-arising and not the result of rational, analytical thought. I think it was Bohr who said that the starting point for every discovery was a wild guess. Those so-called “wild irrational guesses” and a will of dogged determination more often looks like scientific practice than sitting in a church being quiet and contemplative.

Direct apprehension for any insight and understanding are essentially unexplainable. Where do thoughts come from? Where do they go when one is finished with them? What are thoughts, anyway. No one apparently can say. Hell, it could be either one hemisphere of the mind “talking” to the other in the authoritative voice of “God” (cf: Julian Jaynes’ “bicameral mind”), or it could be a direct communication from the unconscious. Apparently no one knows. It seems relatively clear, however, that it is not from some little man inside the brain who is little but a computer prioritizing scripts and agendas from a given repetoire in an established database.


Mark,

Impressive explanation. I especially like that you are clear about your position in addition to the explanation.
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