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Are Science and Religion Compatible?
Posted: 05 July 2007 06:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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“religion” as thot of in modern western culture is almost exclusively the result of Levantine scriptures, and yes, trying to reconcile that tradition with science has been a challenge. But Taoism dont have a problem with it. Confucianism is more concerned with whatever belief results in good civil order. Buddhism with internal peace, regardless of civil order, or the lack thereof. None of which has a problem with science.

But when it comes to disempowering the alpha male instinct to dominate and use the resources of the modern state to impose a mind frame on everyone else, nothing is so effective in being accepted by the mass of uneducated, neurotic, and intellectually challenged as a faith in the Great Mother Goddess.

One example of that emotional response is seen in the veneration of the Virgin Mary. People dont go to war, much less commit genocide in the name of the virgin Mary. And when you track back the iconography, you see that her figure was simply taken from that of Demeter, Hera, or the other ancient, and often prime, goddesses and simply labeled by the artist now as ‘Mary’.

Whether you choose to believe in Gaia or not, you can see that if She was the generally accepted concept of the divine, the environmental movement would have made much more progress. Its also abundantly clear how that faith leads to the disempowerment of the warrior class and universal peace. All you have to do is consider the problem a demagogue has trying to rile up a mob or an army by claiming that *he* speaks in *HER* name. Its a no brainer.

When I challenge a fundy spouting scripture, this invariably sends them away without a rebuttal. I dont havta tell them to shut up and go away, but that is what they tend to do.

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Posted: 05 July 2007 10:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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daybrown - 05 July 2007 06:41 AM

“religion” as thot of in modern western culture is almost exclusively the result of Levantine scriptures, and yes, trying to reconcile that tradition with science has been a challenge. But Taoism dont have a problem with it. Confucianism is more concerned with whatever belief results in good civil order. Buddhism with internal peace, regardless of civil order, or the lack thereof. None of which has a problem with science.

But when it comes to disempowering the alpha male instinct to dominate and use the resources of the modern state to impose a mind frame on everyone else, nothing is so effective in being accepted by the mass of uneducated, neurotic, and intellectually challenged as a faith in the Great Mother Goddess.
....
When I challenge a fundy spouting scripture, this invariably sends them away without a rebuttal. I dont havta tell them to shut up and go away, but that is what they tend to do.

What a privilege to read your concatention of the femine mystique through the ages, particularly Momma’s. You might further extend this to the “mother church”, which I view as Mother to Man. By this I mean the church edifice, and your Confucian perspective that it’s not her flights of fancy, or supernatural vanities, but her permanence through the ages and dominion over her offspring that warm us.

Theists may claim to do their deeds in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, but we know better.  grin

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Posted: 24 July 2007 12:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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Dwight if I understand what you are saying, I like your warning call to not let down our skepticism and put science up on a pedestal as a supernatural like authority.  The balance between what some would call spiritual responces towards the triumphs of science and upholding the checks and balances within the system, is a tough one.  Especially now, when the age of information exchange makes scientific findings & misfindings front page.  This is why I love Ann Druyen’s point that some of the most prestigeous scientific awards are those that disprove old assumptions.  As many have already pointed out, I too think the best way to quell the many conflicts religion imposses on societies is by teaching critical thinking & awareness in schools.  This is the real conflict that needs to be taught.


One of the few gaps religion has been able to hold onto is in psychology.  Science may know more about why we act and how we should act than religion, but the psychology field hasn’t been able to lump it into a revolutionary concept like “the origin of the species” or “the law of gravity” that has the ability to be digested by the masses.  You have to axcept that you are mentally sick on some level and go to a doctor called a psychiatrist to get secular help.  Not to mention this costs you money.  In religion you can find a group of people atleast once a week in a matter of minutes that will offer to help you with any of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs that you might be struggling with at the time.  Secular Humanists, Atheists, etc. - are really just people who managed to not outsource their problems.  When Secular organizations have setup infrastructure to satisfy human needs, there will be no need for religion.  I motion to put the humanism in Secular Humanism.

[ Edited: 24 July 2007 02:20 PM by retrospy ]
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Posted: 24 July 2007 02:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Is Methodological Naturalism Science?

Isn’t it circular to start with the idea that everything which occurs in nature is natural and come to the conclusion that everything which has occurred in nature has been natural? Why is this not a problem?


Also, religions make truth claims. Whereas science is a process and scientific knowledge is always changing or could change. Even if current scientific knowledge contradicts a religious claim, how does that make science incompatible with religion?

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Posted: 24 July 2007 03:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Back to the original question.  I see it as sort of equivalent to, “Are vitamin A and jelly beans compatible?”  Possibly a more relevent question would be, “Are science and/or religion both necessary and useful?”

Occam

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Posted: 24 July 2007 04:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Well, I do think the question of compatibility is a valid one. Some people feel science disproves the possibility of god (though I don’t agree), and if true that makes religion at leats rationally incompatible, though people can ignore reason as they wish.

As for both being useful, I think science certainly is, and I think a strong argument for religion being of use to people can be made. It has stuck around for a long time, and probably part of the reason why is that it fills a need.

Now necessary, well that’s tougher. We lived without what we would today call science for most of our species’ history, so it can’t be said to be necessary, though I think our lives are far better and richer with it. I firmly believe religion is not necessary, since so many people live perfectly fine lives without it, but of course most believers would disagree with me about that.

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Posted: 24 July 2007 05:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Well their compatibility is tolerable more so in a secular government than a non secular.  The chances that all religions will miraculously be understood by all their followers in a coexistent format is about as likely as everyone in the world intrinsically realizing Mary Cassatt’s - the Bath is the single greatest work of art in the history of the universe.  Not very likely, and I don’t plan to discover the universal principle that makes it true.  Now it is more likely that someone will think this is the best painting in the universe and dedicate their life to persuading others.  Some times we need to stop looking at small models - i.e. religion makes my mom happy, there fore it must be worth preserving - and look at larger issues - i.e. people are saying we can live in a society that doesn’t have the negative problems religion brings with it , lets gather a body of evidence and see if this infact can be the case.

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Posted: 24 July 2007 08:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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[quote =“Brennen”]We lived without what we would today call science for most of our species’ history. . .

I think that’s a common misconception.  If one defines science in its most fundamental terms, we have been doing science since well before our species evolved.  Any animal that is capable of learning from experience is behaving based on the tenets of science.  What we think of when “we call [it] science [today]” are really the technological frills.

The idea that religion makes some people happier is related to the idea that believing in Santa Claus makes some children happier.  If it does, then wouldn’t it be better for us to never disabuse the children of that belief?  We recognize that as they mature and have to function as adults, they would be handicapped in the real world if they based part of their behavior on the myth of Santa Claus.  I believe that religion decreases the person’s ability to function to the best of his/her ability.  As such, I think it is a negative.

Occam

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Posted: 24 July 2007 10:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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I disagree as far as science. Science is not just learning, it’s not just seeing two things happen and labeling the first as the cause for the second. It’s a much more specific method of determining what is real and what just seems real. Not technology so much as an approach. Many people still don’t employ it, and though it has roots much older it didn’t really mature until the last 400 years or so. I think a major misconception is that anything people do to figure stuff out is science. Hypothesis, controlled experiment, statistical analysis, revision of hypothesis, peer review, all of that is part of the methodology of science, and much of that did not exist for most of our history as a species.

As for religion making people happy, it’s oversimplifying and patronizing to keep saying it’s just like kids and Santa. God may be no more real than Santa, but religion and the Santa myth are radically different in scale, in influence, in sophistication, and in emotional and psychological relevance. I don’t think people need religion and the world might be better off without it, but I think if it were as trivial as the Santa myth it would have died out long ago.

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Posted: 25 July 2007 09:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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mckenzievmd - 24 July 2007 10:02 PM

I disagree as far as science. Science is not just learning, it’s not just seeing two things happen and labeling the first as the cause for the second. It’s a much more specific method of determining what is real and what just seems real. Not technology so much as an approach. Many people still don’t employ it, and though it has roots much older it didn’t really mature until the last 400 years or so. I think a major misconception is that anything people do to figure stuff out is science. Hypothesis, controlled experiment, statistical analysis, revision of hypothesis, peer review, all of that is part of the methodology of science, and much of that did not exist for most of our history as a species.

A discrepancy on the definition of science is a major roadblock.  I concider the rudimentary forms of simple machines and even the measurable steps that lead up to them science.  It’s the system for aquiring knowledge using the scientific method whether that method had been labeled as such, or not.  The earth didn’t become round the day the majority of humans agreed it was so.  The monkey that first used a stick to assist a task was just as much a breakthrough scientist of its time as Newton was for his time.  To call it otherwise would require evidence discrediting the science of Darwin & Dawkins and many others.

At these early stages the scientific methods you listed are more difficult to recognize.  For instance before language was invented the peer review for a monkey using a stick was the observation by other monkeys, and if the science proved beneficial it was adopted by others.  The vast metanarrative behind the science of today that allows us to stand on the shoulders of those who came befor us is marvelous indeed, and I can see how easy it is to get disconnected from our roots.

mckenzievmd - 24 July 2007 10:02 PM

I think a major misconception is that anything people do to figure stuff out is science.

I am not conviced this is true.  It appears to me to be more of a product of not standing on the shoulders of those who came before us.  A person can observe another experience great joy as a gift from God and declair it truth.  This may work for monkeys with sticks because it was the best science of it’s time, but it should not be acceptable by the vast progress we have made in our scientific methods since then.  I would say they were using science, and if they believe this, then it is the best science they understand.  This is a gap of intelligence & critical thinking.

I want to take this a step further though.  It isn’t always economical to use every advancment in our scientific method in our daily lives.  For instance, when I cook a caserol I don’t take the effort to take samples to the nearest college and write paperso on why the onions & tomatoes didn’t turn out as well as last time for peer review.  It’s much easier to use my own experiences to perfect this art.  I can even go to the library, subscribe to cooking magazines or watch cooking shows to expand this knowledge.  I choose not to do any of these things and tolerate medeocre caserol or more likely to make easier recipes and spend more of my energy on reading about topics similair to those on POI.  You might say I am acognitive miser towards the realm of cooking.  Likewise, it is common practice for people to be cognitive misers in the realm of “big picture” concepts such as the cosmos, economics & polotics to name a few.  God is an excellent method for minimizing the effort spent inquiring about these “big picture” concepts.  I won’t hold their economy of effort against them, but when they use their lack of information, understanding & critical thinking to shape the cosmos, economics & politics It concerns me very much.  This is why Science & Religion are incompatible.  Religion can be tolerated in a secular society, so long as they don’t step out of thier reservations.

Ignorance masquerading as science is very dangerous indeed.

[ Edited: 25 July 2007 10:44 AM by retrospy ]
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Posted: 25 July 2007 09:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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“Are Science and Religion Compatible?”

Personally, I dont think so. It would be a lousy marriage. Plus, divorce lawyers make enough money as it is.

Seriously though, you cant grow an orange tree with apple seeds. Science literally means “to know” and religion, well… I’m sure you get the point.

Though, another way of answering the question is: YES! Religion conjectures and Science proves it wrong.

What Im getting it is, to answer the question we need to clarify what we mean by compatible? What kind of relationship are we talking about?

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Posted: 25 July 2007 11:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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I’m not sure there is a way to argue for or against particular definitions of science. I think it is excessively broad to call any learning process science. If planaria do science just as much as humans do, then the word is diluted to near meaningnlessness. I prefer what I think is the conventional understanding of the word as exemplified by the Wikipedia Article on Science, which I think represents what the word is commonly understood to mean. I think to call any kind of epistemology science is almost post-modern in assuming all approaches to knowledge are equally valid, and I don’t buy it. Of course, everyone is free to use a word to mean what they wish, but I don’t see such broad definitions as useful or representative of the common understanding of the word, which is ultimately important if it is to have communicative value.

The fact that people learned and fiigured stuff out before the scientific method was developed, doesn’t mean they did science. The fact that knowledge is, to some extent, cumulative, doesn’t mean that all knowledge has been acquired by methods that could or should be called scientific. And certainly distinguishing science from monkeys learning to use sticks doesn’t discredit Darwin, Dawkins, or any established scientific theory (I don’t really understand that assertion at all).

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Posted: 25 July 2007 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Using religious words this question could be restated as “are general revelation and special revelation compatible?”

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Posted: 25 July 2007 11:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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mckenzievmd,

i completely agree. couldnt have said it better

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Posted: 25 July 2007 12:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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Does God have anything to do with religion?

How much of religion is just some people believing, or at least pretending, they know more about God than everybody else?  Are they just using God’s name to serve their own purposes?  We are told that the commandment:

Thou shalt not use the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

Means not to swear with His name.  But it is higher on the list than:

Thou shalt not kill.

Does that make any sense?  What if it is actually a commandment against organized religion?  What if there is no, and can be no, conflict between correct science and God?

I try to separate what I call religious power games from the God concept.

psikey

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