SCIENCE VS RELIGION

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Tue Jul 03, 2007 11:17 am

Onlooker:

I agree that "argument" is pointless. Assuming you can change anyone's mind is asinine and vain. But I do not conclude from this that the subject should not be visited at all.

Often what is happening when I talk (and write), is that I am trying to figure out what I think, not convince anyone else. If I sat inert with my beliefs -- borrowed and inherited from parents, peers, an educational system, the media; all with their biases, agendas, blind spots, and faults -- then I'm not getting anywhere.

Also, the exercise of my mouth and mind in public should, I would hope, be beneficial to other folks who have not worked out all the details of their beliefs and values, whether they are inclined to disagree with me or not . . . as long as they're willing to listen without rushing to judgment.

Sometimes, I like to think, that actually happens. I don't recall quite how, but I know that my attitudes toward a number of subjects -- sex, marriage, homosexuality, the death penalty -- have shifted significantly over the years.

I have contributed little to this particular thread because the subject is of little concern or interest to me, and almost never comes up as an issue in my daily life. Also, my attitudes on the topic have changed not a whit since I was at most five years old, when my mother explained to me who this being was that I heard other kids talking about, and I said, "Well, that's magic, and I don't believe in magic." A bit crude, perhaps, and lacking much depth, but it still pretty much encapsulates the matter for me.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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Well ya know...

Postby Onlooker » Tue Jul 03, 2007 1:14 pm

"Also, the exercise of my mouth and mind in public should, I would hope, be beneficial to other folks who have not worked out all the details of their beliefs and values, whether they are inclined to disagree with me or not . . . as long as they're willing to listen without rushing to judgment."

I think you're basically preaching to the choir here, on this site. People congregate at sites, or they like certain artists, because the beliefs of the artist echo the beliefs of the person who plugs into them; nobody wants to have their beliefs challenged 24/7, or likes artists whom they don't agree with - unless they had some sort of weird masochistic trip going on.

I find it highly unlikely you'd find a hardcore Republican right-wing Jesus nut on this board; they'd read a few paragraphs of Ellison and expire in rage and confusion. So you'll convince nobody.

Only my opinion.

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David Loftus
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Re: Well ya know...

Postby David Loftus » Tue Jul 03, 2007 2:07 pm

Onlooker wrote:"Also, the exercise of my mouth and mind in public should, I would hope, be beneficial to other folks who have not worked out all the details of their beliefs and values, whether they are inclined to disagree with me or not . . . as long as they're willing to listen without rushing to judgment."

I think you're basically preaching to the choir here, on this site. People congregate at sites, or they like certain artists, because the beliefs of the artist echo the beliefs of the person who plugs into them; nobody wants to have their beliefs challenged 24/7, or likes artists whom they don't agree with - unless they had some sort of weird masochistic trip going on.

I find it highly unlikely you'd find a hardcore Republican right-wing Jesus nut on this board; they'd read a few paragraphs of Ellison and expire in rage and confusion. So you'll convince nobody.

Only my opinion.

G.



Are you reading my posts? I explicitly said it was asinine and vain to believe one could "convince" anybody of anything, and that discussion could be validated for other reasons.

Perhaps I could have been more explicit, but the passage your quoting was intended to refer not so much to people who disagree, or even to people who have not taken a position in their own minds, but to people who are inclined to agree, but don't know why, exactly, because they haven' t worked out the details.

My post also observed that I had contributed little to this particular thread, and that I had little to contribute.

So of COURSE I'll "convince nobody."

Especially if he or she can't be bothered to read what I write.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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Postby JohnPacer » Thu Jul 05, 2007 9:56 am

This is off-topic from the particular discussion in the here and now, but on-topic to the general heading of "Religion vs. Science." Anyhoo, for awhile now, I've been of the opinion that the bible SHOULD be taught in public schools. NOT for any religious purpose and not in a way that would compromise the science department (that's the real trick, isn't it?). I think the Bible should be taught in school for the simple reason that a good 75 percent of all western art, music, literature, and poetry is based on it. My thinking comes from my years in art school. You see, I had 12 years of Catholic school so I'm fairly well versed in the Bible. But in college, I was amazed by how many public school kids were simply unaware of stories like the "Book of Job" or Isaac sacrificing his son, etc. Without any knowledge of the Bible, I think one would seriously miss a big part of Shakespeare or Leonardo or even the freakin' Smasing Pumpkins of all people. Just my thoughts.

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Postby David Loftus » Thu Jul 05, 2007 10:24 am

I think it should be taught in public schools so that interest in it gets definitively killed by the system, in just the way my high school effectively murdered any curiosity and respect I might have toward Fitzgerald and Hemingway for many years thereafter.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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Postby JohnPacer » Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:51 am

That's funny. My curiosity for Fitzgerald and Hemingway is STILL dead because of high school. Although, it was high school where I first discovered and fell in love with Camus, Kafka, and Vonnegut. You can imagine, after 12 years of required theology classes I clung to those writers like a crackhead.

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Postby David Loftus » Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:59 pm

JohnPacer wrote:That's funny. My curiosity for Fitzgerald and Hemingway is STILL dead because of high school.


Well, it is for me too, but I didn't want to admit that right up front. I have read a little Hemingway since -- In Our Time, which I rather liked, and A Farewell to Arms because my book group chose it, and I sorta like that too -- but nothing else. And I haven't read anything of Fitzgerald's, although I feel genuinely sheepish about that.

Just about the only thing I was required to read in high school that I still love unreservedly is Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes. And Shakespeare, of course, but I knew and loved (and could even quote) him long before freshman and sophomore English.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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Postby Chuck Messer » Thu Jul 05, 2007 10:19 pm

Actually, I took a high school course on comparative religions and it didn't kill my interest in any of them. Of course, having Art Hauser as the instructor practically guaranteed it was going to be interesting. We had Christians, Bhuddists, Krishnas, TM people, etc. visit the class.

We even went to the planetarium to see their version of Isaac Asimov's The Final Question and discussed its implications. The part where AC does his "LET THERE BE LIGHT" thing surpassed the stargate sequence from 2001. And that's saying a lot.


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Postby Ezra Lb. » Tue Jul 10, 2007 8:30 am

Onlooker, your idea of an "argument" seems rather anemic to me. True, there is little value in "yes it is/no it isn't" shouting matches, but this is only a tiny portion of what argument can be. And this is most assuredly NOT the level on which Dawkins, et al are operating.

And yes they are trying to change minds. And minds do change. Mine did. I was a thoroughgoing religious fanatic until I was in my 20s. No one argument or conversation did the trick but years of living and thinking and reading and study and more thinking did.

It's entirely possible that someone out there in the midst of their own interior struggle might come across these books and find in them a kernel of an argument that might guide them in the right direction.

Anyway, "shut up" doesn't seem to be much of a reponse to this matter.


No one who pretends to literacy can be ignorant of the Bible. Preferably the King James Version, since this was the zenith of English language and expression, whatever its deficiencies as a translation. I'm not saying it's easy. It was only after I abandoned the silliness of confusing it with history that it began to reveal its secrets.

And lest I be accused of chauvinism, you should know the Upanishads and the Koran as well. And the Bhagavad Gita and the Tao de Ching. Not to mention the Dhammapada, the Zend Avesta, the Elder Edda, and the Necronomicon...
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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Postby Moderator » Tue Jul 10, 2007 10:20 am

Actually, here in Long Beach there was a course in "The Bible as Literature" at one of the High Schools (possibly more, I just know of this one course). It was taught by an extraordinary teacher who knew precisely the balance to strike -- but unfortunately he left the District at the end of the 2006-2007 term.

From all accounts, the course was terrific.

On the other hand, my niece teaches science at a large university. This year she was asked to teach Evolution (at a college level). She reports that roughly a full quarter of the class is dismissive and argumentative about the theory (it's a mandatory class for bio students), basing their responses from a religious standpoint. She's reminds them, repeatedly, to leave theology at the door, but that hasn't been well received.

She's told me that it's disturbing (to her) that these people want to base a career in biological sciences on creationism -- which fatally flaws their approach as well as conclusions.

Again, a situation in which certain aspects of religion are doing a grave disservice to our youth.
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Postby Ezra Lb. » Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:30 am

What a relief that's settled!

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19692094/


Jeez how can anybody take this nonsense seriously?

Everybody is wrong except me and the people who agree with me!

The essence of science is doubt and questioning.

The essence of religion is credulity and gullibility.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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Postby Moderator » Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:44 am

Ezra - Can you double check that link. It's coming up "not found".
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Postby Davey C » Thu Jul 12, 2007 1:45 pm

Works just fine for me.

I can never see a picture of Benedict without having to do a double-take; it always seems to me on first glance that he's got red, demonically glowing eyes.
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Postby markabaddon » Thu Jul 12, 2007 1:49 pm

Showing as link not found for me too.
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Postby Ezra Lb. » Thu Jul 12, 2007 3:34 pm

Hmmmmm...I'm mystified why you can't access it.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19692094/

But, just in case and hopefully not too much a violation of fair usage...



Pope: Other denominations not true churches
Benedict issues statement asserting that Jesus established ‘only one church’

MSNBC News Services
Updated: 9:52 a.m. ET July 10, 2007

LORENZAGO DI CADORE, Italy - Pope Benedict XVI has reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations were not true churches...

Unable to paste the picture of HIS LORDSHIP, alas...
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter


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