Just was on a retreat...

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by Manus Domini, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

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    Vatican believes aliens may exist you know
     
  2. maverick66

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    You cant be pro science and anti-evolution at the same time. It just doesnt work that way.

    I have seen the Vatican Observatory on the Bill Maher Religous movie and thought the Priest that represented them was one of the smartest men in the movie. However even he said there is zero science in scriptures. So its tough for people to believe that a group that pushes the Bible as truth and fact are pro science.

    So I think that to say people who feel the Church is anti-science are just propaganda pushers is a very incorrect way to put things.
     
  3. Polaris

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    We'll have to agree to disagree there, max. No one is claiming for a fact that Galileo was tortured, but it is a fact that he was tried in court for his heretical claims.

    As has been hinted at before, the world can either be 6000 years old, or 13.7 billion. The Church clearly mentions 6000, unless you are willing to accept that the 6000 number is allegorical and comes built-in with some conversion factor. The Church has been forced, by the sheer evidence to acknowledge that it cannot continue opposing scientific facts like evolution if it has to continue to remain relevant among many people today.

    The actions of a few scientifically minded priests don't count significantly when we speak of the general view of the Church, just as the actions of a few immoral priests ought not to be used to defame the entire Church with a broad brush.

    Yes, there is indeed a lot of anti-religious propaganda and ignorance out there. There is also a whole lot of religious propaganda out there. You can either pick your poison from those two options, or choose to be rational and accept that the issue is complicated. There are instances in which the Church is definitely anti-science. There are other instances in which it is pro-science. There are yet other instances in which it has grudgingly acknowledged the primacy of science.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
  4. max

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    "grudgingly"? that's bias there, my friend. Those who say the Church is anti-science have their own emotional agendas and supply their own varied and colorful interpretations of things. This we know.

    It's very tough for the old Protestant Reformation (and subsequent Protestant) propaganda to be set aside (e.g., "horrors" of inquisition, Galileo tortured).

    Unfortunately, I find the "pro-science" people to be woefully informed on religion, even as they feel in a privileged (and high! and mighty!) position to somehow make deep and profound Pronouncements. I DO think anyone interested in science should read more about the history of Christian thought before proclaiming some kind of epistemological supremacy.
     
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  5. Polaris

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    "Grudgingly" is a kind term. Observe:
    1500s: Religious authorities burn Giordano Bruno at the stake for positing an infinite universe, and in general, holding wrong opinions of Christ.
    1600s: Religious authorities try Galileo in a court of law for positing a heliocentric view contrary to the prevailing religious dogma.
    1750s: Church removes heliocentric books from its list of forbidden books.
    1820s: Pope finally approves publication of heliocentric works.

    Yes. Several people were murdered in cold blood before we were enlightened. Can you deny this? Can you say that religious authorities killed nobody for their beliefs? How many revisionist histories will it take to acknowledge that people were killed for heresy. "Grudgingly", my friend, is an excessively kind and civil term. If anything, my bias is favorable to the Church.

    I correct your statement as follows. Tell me which is more accurate and less emotional.
    Some of those who say the Church is anti-science have their own emotional agendas and supply their own varied and colorful interpretations of things.

    Possibly. This does not concern my argument. I don't believe that Galileo was tortured. I do believe that Bruno (and many others) were murdered by religious institutions for going against prevalent dogma. Do you deny this?

    Again, an incorrect generalization. I correct it below:
    Unfortunately, I find many "pro-science" people to be woefully informed on religion, even as they feel in a privileged (and high! and mighty!) position to somehow make deep and profound Pronouncements.

    On that, we agree. In tarnishing the Church (the institution) with a broad brush, we are guilty of discounting the efforts of a great many Christian scientists and thinkers who actually pursued science in the name of God. Unfortunately, good theological and epistemological studies of Christian thought, just like good scientific works, are exceedingly rare.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
  6. Polaris

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    "Grudgingly" is a kind term. Observe:
    1500s: Religious authorities burn Giordano Bruno at the stake for positing an infinite universe.

    1600s: Religious authorities try Galileo in a court of law for positing a view contrary to the prevailing religious dogma.

    1750s: Church removes heliocentric books from its list of forbidden books.

    1820s: Pope finally approves publication of heliocentric works.

    Yes. Several people were murdered in cold blood before we were enlightened. Can you deny this? Can you say that religious authorities killed nobody for their beliefs? How many revisionist histories will it take to acknowledge that people were killed for heresy. "Grudgingly", my friend, is an excessively kind and civil term..

    I correct your statement as follows. Tell me which is more accurate.
    Some of those who say the Church is anti-science have their own emotional agendas and supply their own varied and colorful interpretations of things.

    Possibly. This does not concern my argument. I don't believe that Galileo was tortured. I do believe that Bruno (and many others) were murdered.

    Again, an incorrect generalization. I correct it below:
    Unfortunately, I find many "pro-science" people to be woefully informed on religion, even as they feel in a privileged (and high! and mighty!) position to somehow make deep and profound Pronouncements.

    On that, we agree. Unfortunately, good theological and epistemological studies of Christian thought, just like good scientific works are exceedingly rare.

    Today, the Church is a relatively benign institution, which is fortunate. Even the Church's denizens are aware and frank about its checkered history.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
  7. max

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    Check the mirror. Read more. You need to study history as well as science. You might find a bit of tarnish on scientists, too; humans are humans, and even human institutions (universities as well as churches) are subject to error and mistake. Cold fusion? Atomic BOMBS?

    Just sayin' . . .

    PS: I object to "denizens". That's clearly loaded language. . . and unscientific, to boot!
     
  8. Polaris

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    As a practicing scientist, I study (a tiny sliver of) the latter on a daily basis. As an interested reader, I study the former as well, though in less detail.

    Of course. Science is, by no means, devoid of error. No one ever claimed it to be. I never claimed it in this thread. I never claimed that science is morally better than the church.

    I'm afraid you are now becoming both defensive and patronizing. I suggest that we both take a break.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
  9. max

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    It is worth pointing out that Christianity was enormously civilizing to the western world. We no longer draw and quarter thieves. While posters here have cited egregious mistakes and flaws, the overall record for Christianity has been superlative. Rather than magically expect that the people and governments of 1411 or 911 or 211 held the same values as the people of 2011, it is better historical thinking to observe how revolutionary the Christian idea of love was to the situation of these times. Certainly the idea of love thy neighbor was a shock to the old Romans!

    It is an error in historical thinking to delineate a separation of religion and science, for medieval scientists, the two went together and were inseparable. It was Bacon who began sketching out the scientific method toward the end of the middle ages, and much work went into much of what we today take for granted about the scientific method.

    I think it erroneous for scientists to claim a moral superiority, when clearly in so many instances even basic research has been driven by immoral aims, and much technology has resulted in great pain and death. Carpet bombing, napalm, scientific torture, and so forth are a blot on science's escutcheon.

    It is, moreover, disheartening to see that there are many scientists willing to work on behalf of government programs that are morally bankrupt. The grant dollars are there.

    It is also erroneous to claim the Catholic Church is against, or was against, scientific inquiry in any substantive fashion. The Church was the founder of the idea of research universities, and the guiding spirit is the classic Christian idea that, in short, "to know the Creator's world is one way to better know of the Creator." This is why more scientists are religious than the average public. In a world once characterized by the notion that the world was unordered, illogical and irrational, the Church was the first organization to assert that there is order in the universe, moreover, an order that man can learn and know! Stunning.

    With such topics, it's important to have some historical background and awareness of the cultural context.
     
  10. Polaris

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    Yes, indeed.

    "Superlative" is your opinion. A Muslim could make the same statement of Islam, a Hindu about Hinduism, and so on.

    This is an emotional statement.

    Went together, sure. "Were inseparable" is a logical impossibility, because it cannot explain non-believing scientists across the ages.

    In one breath, you pardon the Church because it is composed of humans. In the next breath, you take the worst elements of political action, and ascribe them to scientists. Why this cognitive dissonance?

    We'll disagree there.

    Easy to say. Hard to do. Clearly, the creationists persist in not knowing the Creator's world better :) .

    I am inclined to laugh at this statement, but I will still find out where this information comes from.

    Nobody is denying that.

    Yes, I agree.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
  11. Chopin

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    Max,

    I have no desire to get too deep into Manus' failed thread (you guys did a good job ruining it already), but you're wrong about your claim that "scientists are more religious than the general public." You're just wrong. End of story:

    http://articles.latimes.com/2009/nov/24/opinion/la-oe-masci24-2009nov24

    "The scientific community is, however, much less religious than the general public. In Pew surveys, 95% of American adults say they believe in some form of deity or higher power."

    "According to a survey of members of the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science, conducted by the Pew Research Center in May and June this year, a majority of scientists (51%) say they believe in God or a higher power, while 41% say they do not"

    Oh, and one more thing:

    [​IMG]
     
  12. mightyrick

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    To me, religion is about control. Which is why I basically disdain religion in the literal sense. Religion has explanations for some things not adequately explained by science (yet). But those explanations come intertwined in a book of rules, regulations, and moral postulates. That is where religion goes south.

    I have no issue with anybody or any group trying to explain the (seemingly) unexplainable. However, when the explanation comes along with a bunch of moral platitudes, that is where I put it in the "nonsensical" bucket.
     
  13. Manus Domini

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    I'm confused. So we shouldn't try to do what we think God wants us too and what we believe is right?

    BTW, religion often is more lenient than some philosophies not necessariily religious
     
  14. max

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    We have a natural drive to understand our world and our place in it. We have a natural desire to develop well. I don't see the "control" aspect here: this is 2011, and in western cultures, religious organizations have no police power. You can walk away.

    There are occasional situations in which ministers or pastors exploit people's religious concerns for their personal gains, and to me, this is as bad as any kind of exploitation. But in the great majority of religious institutions in western culture, and other cultures, religion is a shared experience. Worship is a positive good performed jointly.

    My observation is that many of us, likely most of us. do have some kind of spiritual nagging or awareness. So we can appreciate that humans have a spiritual side. For some, the problem comes in filling out the picture: if humans have a spiritual side, then what must we do?

    As Manus points out, we should try to do what is in accord with God.

    How this is understood in our culture is generally sought by reading the Bible and its serious interpreters. (Everybody and his brother can interpret the Bible for you, but I'd prefer someone more knowledgeable than my brother, to tell you the truth. Or me).

    I'd point out that rules can be valuable in themselves, as useful tools for our guidance. They can incorporate, in a brief space, a great deal of long-won human experience. They can incorporate wisdom. The proper application of rules can be done harshly, of course, or kindly; the proper analysis of a situation involving rules requires acumen and experience.

    I don't know what to make of the idea of moral platitudes. These are generalities, and like all generalities, can be mismatched to a situation. . . or they may be very valuable to it.

    My chief difficulty with religion has been its flowery and poetic language, which for a long time, was very obfuscating to me. As I've gotten older, I think I've got a better feel for it, mainly, I think, because I'm more experienced at dealing with people.

    Religions, to actually answer people's concerns, need a theology. They need to answer serious questions.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011
  15. max

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    Chopin; I won't dispute the survey you cite, but I did run across a contrary finding. It would be interesting to compare the actual groups surveyed; mine may have merely been Nobel winners.
     
  16. mightyrick

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    I'm saying that doing what God wants has nothing to do with proving anything in this world. It has nothing to do with proving or disproving anything. You don't need me or anyone else to validate your own spiritual preference and/or expression.

    Just go with your God and be happy. But debating about whether or not God exists is a straight waste of everyone's time. Spirituality is about finding the meaning of life. And the meaning of life has nothing to do with science. It is entirely orthogonal.
     
  17. Polaris

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    I still think it is philosophically important to investigate the existence or non-existence of God as an entity. However, I heartily agree with you about debates regarding the existence of a personal (religion-specific) God. In that particular debate, the sides are so stiffly drawn that all one gets is people becoming defensive, feeling hurt and hurting one another.

    There is still the caveat that the meaning one finds (or doesn't find) for oneself may be based on one's acceptance or rejection of science/pseudoscience/faith.
     

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