SCIENCE VS RELIGION

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

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RocRizzo
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby RocRizzo » Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:49 pm

Frank,
I don't find it unfair. Some morals are simply common sense. Don't harm others, and they'll have no reason to harm you. Take care of others, because at some point in time, you may need them to take care of you. There are others. Many appear in all religions. That does not mean that they are necessarily religious beliefs. They are just beliefs that help us all get along with each other.
If you look at the formation of ancient religions, you'll find that, along with trying to explain that which cannot be explained without scientific knowledge, it was a basis to set up a civilization. To that means, there needs to be a group, or even just one person who has to control the rest of the masses. Often this leader gets too cocky, and believes that s/he is superior to the rest of the group. Then the group splits, and you end up with pointless conflict.

Perhaps this statement describes it well. I like it anyway.
"All life, every life...we are all born as molecules in the hearts of a billion stars. Molecules that do not understand politics or policies or differences. Over a billion years, we foolish molecules forget who we are and where we came from. In desperate acts of ego, we give ourselves names, fight over lines on maps, and pretend that our light is better than everyone else's. The flame reminds us of the piece of those stars that lives on inside us. The spark that tells us: "You should know better." The flame also reminds us that life is precious as each flame is unique. When it goes out, it's gone forever. And there will never be another quite like it. So many candles will got out tonight. I wonder some days if we can see anything at all."

DELENN, Babylon 5, "And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder" (1998)
"Understanding is a three-edged sword."

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Ezra Lb. » Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:07 pm

Steve B it was not my intention to smack you, merely to point out that all truth claims automatically exclude their opposites. All roads do not lead to Rome.

I cannot demand that anyone agree with me but I do insist that you not distort the real distinction that exists between personal expressions of religion and state sanctioned expressions.

I wish everyone did look at Jesus like they do Apollo. Then you were hear nothing from me. But ask your conservative evangelical friend what he thinks about Jesus as "mythology".

If you don't believe, why does it offend you so?

You don't believe either so why are you offended on the behalf of those who do?

Steve Evil wrote:
Ezra Lb. wrote:Steve E, the citizens of England still pay taxes to support the Church of England. This is part of what our Founders were rebelling against.


Indeed. The shackles of nativity scenes and Santas were onerous indeed.


True the C of E is a bit of a toothless old biddy at this point but it was not always so. Consider the situation in Jefferson's day when a religious dissenter was forced to pay taxes to support a church and then be persecuted by that same church (supported I might add by the civil authorities).

FrankChurch wrote:Roc, a very unfair slam at religious people. We think that you base your moral base on religious values. Atheists have no moral basis, so they have to make it up, but if there's no God than how do we know what is moral?

I certainly don't want to know that someone like Kissinger will never find punishment in the afterlife.

Peace and brotherhood on earth. Jesus sounds pretty rational to me.


I get my morality the same way you do, the same way anyone does. It springs out of our biological bond with each other as members of the same species. As products of the same evolution.

Cringing before a sky Daddy and doing what you're told (or else!) is not morality. If you think Jesus taught "peace and brotherhood" then its obvious you haven't actually read the Bible. That's ok, few believers get around to it.
“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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FrankChurch
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby FrankChurch » Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:15 pm

What about more complex views like giving to the poor or being against greed? Then you have the atheists come out with their human nature bunkem and how the poor need to work harder and quit taking handouts, blah, blah.

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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Lori Koonce » Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:55 pm

You don't need religion to be a moral person. I don't kill people because I don't wanna run the risk of being killed. Some people don't kill because they believe God dosen't want them to do so.

I'm of the opinion that as long as you and I can agree on what moral behaviour should be, it really dosen't matter WHY you believe what you do.

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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Moderator » Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:12 pm

Ezra Lb. wrote: But ask your conservative evangelical friend what he thinks about Jesus as "mythology".


He would object as strenuously as someone in 200BC would have objected to Apollo being a myth. That's not the point however. You believe his Christ is a myth and since I'm dealing with this from your perspective, not Jim's, then I will refer to it in a way you will recognize. You admit to considering Christ to be a myth, I presume?

Ezra Lb. wrote:If you don't believe, why does it offend you so?
You don't believe either so why are you offended on the behalf of those who do?


I consider it a matter of respect for another person's belief system. If I demand respect for my own spiritual thoughts, then I must be willing to respect those of others. This is an unfortunately all-too-rare attitude, but I do what I must for my own moral code. If I demand that your belief in the non-existance of God be given respect, I am a hypocrite if I don't also expect that you will respect another persons theological beliefs.

As noted, it doesn't happen often, but in conversations I've reached the point that someone disrespecting other belief systems is a hypocrite if they expect me to respect their own at the expense of the ones they choose not to follow.

Ezra Lb. wrote:True the C of E is a bit of a toothless old biddy at this point but it was not always so. Consider the situation in Jefferson's day when a religious dissenter was forced to pay taxes to support a church and then be persecuted by that same church (supported I might add by the civil authorities).


Wow. "Toothless old biddy"? This is gonna come as quite a shock to my friend Lindsay Meader. See, she's a priest for the old biddy in London. Piccadilly Circus, to be precise.

Lori Koonce wrote:You don't need religion to be a moral person.


Absolutely correct -- and I'll go a stage further and assert that religion can at times work against morality. A good example is the abject fear of "homosexshuls" taught in some churches -- using gay people as examples of immorality themselves, the church absolves itself of its own immorality, that of discrimination against the LGBT communities.
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Lori Koonce
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Lori Koonce » Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:38 pm

Two definitions that have helped me come to terms with this :

Morality: That which defines behavior and has an external impetus like religion or society.

Ethics: That which defines behavior and has an internal impetus.

Therefore one can be Morally superior and ethically bankrupt, which I think is the state of a hell of a lot of humanity!

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Ezra Lb. » Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:15 pm

The Grinch that Stole Christmas, part IV
:twisted:

You admit to considering Christ to be a myth, I presume?

I think that Jesus actually existed and was an apocalyptic prophet completely understandable within the context of 1st century Judaism. After he died a religion developed around his memory that incorporated ideas drawn from the cultures of the believers participating in the religion. Jesus was real but the "idea of Christ" with all its cultural associations is a myth, yes.

I consider it a matter of respect for another person's belief system. If I demand respect for my own spiritual thoughts, then I must be willing to respect those of others. This is an unfortunately all-too-rare attitude, but I do what I must for my own moral code. If I demand that your belief in the non-existance of God be given respect, I am a hypocrite if I don't also expect that you will respect another persons theological beliefs.

As noted, it doesn't happen often, but in conversations I've reached the point that someone disrespecting other belief systems is a hypocrite if they expect me to respect their own at the expense of the ones they choose not to follow.


And this is the nub. No I don't respect these folk's beliefs anymore than I expect them to respect mine. What we should insist upon is respect for our RIGHT to have our own beliefs. We each have a right to our own beliefs, to associate with likeminded folks, to agitate for our beliefs. But what we absolutely do NOT have is a right to be respected or privileged in our beliefs.


Should I respect this?
http://outerbrightness.com/?p=197

Or this?
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101220/ap_ ... urch_abuse

Or this?
http://cofcc.org/2010/12/marval-studios ... mythology/

And Steve amongst the clergy the jokes told about the Church of England are somewhat similar in ambiance to the jokes told amongst musicians about drummers. Sad but true.
“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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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby RocRizzo » Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:16 pm

FrankChurch wrote:What about more complex views like giving to the poor or being against greed? Then you have the atheists come out with their human nature bunkem and how the poor need to work harder and quit taking handouts, blah, blah.


Not necessarily. One could rationalize giving to the poor as the right thing to do, because you could, at some point in time be poor, and need help, so helping someone might stimulate that poor person to give to you when you need help.

The people who come out with the bunk that the poor need to work harder, have never been, nor could they ever see themselves in that situation, and are reacting as such.
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Moderator » Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:26 am

Ezra -
In other words, you insist upon respect for your right to have a belief system, but you don't want to have to respect the actual systems of anyone else?

Or, to use more words: "You have to allow me to believe what I will, and that includes the right to tell you what an ignorant rube you are."

Well. You've already got that, and have proven it numerous times. What's your point then?

If you're not going to respect our differences, what possible gain is there to talking? To allow you to insult and berate me? And, whoopee, I get to insult and berate you right back???

Helluva discourse.
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Ezra Lb. » Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:54 am

In other words, you insist upon respect for your right to have a belief system, but you don't want to have to respect the actual systems of anyone else?

I respect the right of anyone to have their own belief system. Demanding more than that is demanding too much.

Or, to use more words: "You have to allow me to believe what I will, and that includes the right to tell you what an ignorant rube you are."

Well. You've already got that, and have proven it numerous times. What's your point then?


You and I have had this discussion without either of us calling the other an "ignorant rube". My "point" is that for the state to privilege one religious point of view over all the rest violates the spirit and letter of the Constitution.

If you're not going to respect our differences, what possible gain is there to talking?

I respect your right to be different. If you use reason and logic you might be able to change my mind.
“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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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Moderator » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:07 pm

Ezra Lb. wrote:If you use reason and logic you might be able to change my mind.


Reason and logic for something that requires neither? The phrase "leap of faith" has meaning to many people. Not to you.

I'll respond to that with a comment of equal validity: If you can demonstrate the absolute lack of anything supernatural in the universe, you can change my mind.

See? Nonstarter.
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby FrankChurch » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:13 pm

I BELIEVE that there are vast mysteries, things that cannot be explained. Complexity governs the universe, which means intelligence may, MAY govern it: just the complexity of the human eye alone. I believe that that intelligence may be God or whomever is in charge. My mind is open but I also trust Jesus to govern my soul.lol

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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Moderator » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:48 pm

I think the issue is the individualized definition of God.

In my personal philosophy, the universe was created and is governed by the laws of physics. No being snapped their fingers and said "aha!". There is no deity which runs things -- but the universe itself is a creation of wonder and magnitude I cannot understand and must therefore ascribe to some form of divinity. More Gaian than Godhood.
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby swp » Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:45 pm

Barber wrote:
Ezra Lb. wrote:If you use reason and logic you might be able to change my mind.


Reason and logic for something that requires neither? The phrase "leap of faith" has meaning to many people. Not to you.

I'll respond to that with a comment of equal validity: If you can demonstrate the absolute lack of anything supernatural in the universe, you can change my mind.


an anonymous internet poster from long ago, don't shoot me if I misquote here wrote:First Law of Thermodynamcis is "ENERGY can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only change form."

And one of those forms is MATTER, according to the equation E = em cee-squared. MATTER is created from energy all the time (growth) and destroyed (change back into energy) through decomposition.

IF the theories about the Big Bang are true, the first ENERGY was released into the universe. That energy coalesced (condensed) first into sub-atomic particle (quarks, muons, etc), then protons, electrons, and neutrons, and finally into atoms, dust clouds, stars, and solar systems.

While there was MATTER being made, there was also ANTIMATTER being made, in ALMOST equal amounts. But when matter encounters antimatter, they annihilate each other, giving off energy according to Einstein's formula.

According to theory, the amount of matter and antimatter was not EXACTLY equal. What we see today -- the stars and planets and dust and asteroids, etc -- is what is left over, after all the matter/antimatter conversions are finished.

Of course, the question is -- where did that first energy come from? Fact is, no one knows. That is a HUGE question. IF the Big Bang is true, including the new theories on a cyclical set of big bangs and crunches which by necessity still need a starting point, then all that energy came from nothing (ex nihilo). But then some would have you believe that it came from a "quantum fluxuation in a vacuum". Which side you reconcile internally as being true defines if you are an atheist or a theist.

When you get to this level, it makes far more sense that the energy was supplied by a Supreme Being outside the influence of our 3-dimensional universe. In this case, "God said, let there be light!" is an exact representation of the first influx of energy into this universe, and describes a "Big Bang" event as accurately as men 15000 years ago (and many still today) could understand.
swp

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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby FrankChurch » Wed Dec 22, 2010 4:54 pm

It all comes back to my black matter.


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