Skip to main content

View Diary: The God Channel (55 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Oh, Compound F! I so wanted to recommend this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Compound F, elie

    diary, but once again a scientist writes a diary that goes a bridge too far. Really, it's not the diary so much as the comments it is generating. Look at the nonsense being spouted as scientific gospel!

    "It is my experience that the religious folk... [paraphrased]?" This is scientific? It is my experience based on my time here in New England that all Americans are liberal Democrats. Anecdotes are telling, but when did they become fact?

    Who is this man in the flowing robe so many mock? How does this take into account other non-theistic or multi-theistic religious systems? Who said science and religion were either/or propositions?

    I had a chemistry set as a child. I refrain from making sweeping statements about chemistry based upon my childhood experiences, however. I do love asking respectful questions, however ignorant they may be. At least then I am learning something.

    The absolute theological ignorance (excuse me, I must say it as it is) I read in these scientific threads over and over and over astonishes me. I have to say, if these sweeping, arrogant, contemptuous dismissals of other people based on pre-ordained assumptions are a glimpse of a future under science, then evolution appears to have failed us this time.

    Sorry, Compound F. I loved the pictures, and I liked the ideas behind the words. I guess I've seen too many scientist-analyzes-religion diaries with these comments about the religion they are analyzing that reflect nothing of the reality I have known. I feel the need to be vocal in the face of these stereotypes, and there are too many of them in these comments to respond individually. Your diary was quite nice, and I will tip accordingly.

    Anyway, long live science! I voted no for the "holiday." When any holiday already designated actually reflects its purpose, I'll be willing to work for more. MLK Day has been a big disappointment so far. In stating my position in what I hope is a non-combative but forthright way, I hope I am doing my best to further the intent behind that day (among some others I can think of).

    The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

    by vox humana on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 06:41:37 PM PST

    •  I don't feel the least bit contemptuous of anyone (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vox humana

      It was more like awe and wonder (at many parenthetical levels) I felt after watching segments of the conference that seemed worth sharing, the idea that the greatest story ever told might be about nature itself.

      I'm a pretty strong "believer" in human universals, including aesthetic and emotional epiphanies, however they are provoked, i.e., I believe they exist, whether provoked by natural wonders or human stories.

      I do think that natural science has some features that appear to be improvements over idiosyncratic belief systems.  Francis Collins is a Christian who also believes that the scientific method is the way to go, the best way to "understand the mind of god," who I am sure he feels is the source of all natural wonders.  He is not the only religious scientist on the planet, to be sure.  I certainly haven't claimed that science and religion are either/or propositions.

      I don't see the level of scorn for or derision of religion that you seem to see, nor do I see too many statements actually posing as scientific.  I noted where I thought Dawkins was possibly going over-board, and where I was interpreting his other statements, perhaps incorrectly.  Maybe I should re-read the thread.  

       

      We don't have time for short-term thinking.

      by Compound F on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 07:17:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm sorry, C F. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Compound F

        I think I stated my comments were not directed at you. Science diaries that mix religion and then bring out cranks and frauds (to put it kindly) seem to bring out the worst in me.

        Of course I know there are other options. That's my point. I view the comments here in the context of other comments by some of the same posters who posted here.

        Please know, it's not you! I say again, this is a great diary! I just resent some of the contemptuous, dismissive and uninformed comments I see here. I don't expect you to see them as such, and my comments aren't aimed at you. Thank you for all you have posted.

        Sincerely,

        The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

        by vox humana on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 07:23:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  it would appear that you may be referring to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        vox humana

        the specific sub-thread on the topic of imprinting.  I suggest re-reading it to see what is actually being said.  

        We don't have time for short-term thinking.

        by Compound F on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 07:26:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Pretty simple answers to your 'big questions' (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      truthbetold, Compound F, vox humana

      "How does this take into account other non-theistic or multi-theistic religious systems?"
      Well, since all religious systems sprouted whole from superstition and myth, then proceeded to make things up as they went along, the science based approach accounts for them as...wait for it...myth.  Or show me one religious system that didn't start from superstition and I'll recant.

      "Who said science and religion were either/or propositions?"
      Factual frames of reference are seperated from non-factual frames of reference by definition.  See "myth" above.  That's as either or as it gets.  You either drank the koolaid, or you didn't.  If your a scientist, and claim religion, you have to deny some aspect of scientific fact in order to do so.  Pick a religion, any religion, and I'll show you what I mean.

      What cracks me up is your use of 'theological ignorance', ya see, all theology is dogmatic, and all dogma must necessarily remain static.  Nothing is more ignorant than stasis, nothing.

      So whats the bridge too far?  Gallileo?  Watson and Crick? S.J. Gould?  What demonstrable truths did your dogma get tweaked over today?  Cuuse thats the way it is.  Scientific discoveries invalidating dogma for over 500 years now.

      You can't support the Constitution and the GOP at the same time!

      by Arsenic on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 07:30:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hi, Arsenic! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Arsenic

        Who's denying science?

        Dare I bring up scientific skepticism over the source of yellow fever? Fortunately, it did not take as long to recognize the mistake - though it did cost lives, in that case.

        I would be interested in your definition of "fact." Then we can talk there.

        What is your evidence for the statements in your first two paragraphs?

        I will get back to you as soon as I can.

        The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

        by vox humana on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 07:42:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, thats not what I said (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          truthbetold, Compound F, vox humana

          Hey Vox,

          I never said that you were denying science, or scientific facts.  I said that religions do.  Pick one, any organized one you want, and I'll show you how someone that subscribes to those views has to deny the observable.  Its really not hard to do that, and it becomes easier to do with every passing day.  And I don't deny that science evolves, its self correcting, it is inherent to the design.

          First paragraph.  The evidence I have is that every religion I have ever heard of, and most certainly the big three that can be traced back to the origins of Judism, are indeed founded on priest-based cosmologies that offered to explain the then unexplainable observations to the masses.  They were explained in mystical rather than observeable frames of reference.  There are huge tretesies on this, most of them theological in origin. Are you seriously going to argue that any god-belief did not have it origin in superstition?  I would suggest that the burden of proof would lie on you.  

          Second Paragraph.  In 10 years of asking this question I have yet to run across a religion that didn't have issue with a factual demonstration of science.  And I have yet to have anyone show me a religion that is completely compatable with science.  Lets go to the yellow fever question, because it works here too!   If we go into the wayback machine, all religions ascribed disease to the displeasures of the gods, God, sprits etc.  That was stated as dogmatic fact.  The science fact was different. It took a few tries. Claiming otherwise in the wrong place, prior to say the 1700's would have gotten me what, water boarding followed by burning at the stake?  Now we know what fact?  That no religion ever explained the origin of Yellow Fever correctly, or ever developed a cure.  

          Facts are those things that are repeatedly demonstrable or observable.  

          You can't support the Constitution and the GOP at the same time!

          by Arsenic on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 08:04:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for your response. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Arsenic

            I have chosen (quite deliberately) the religion of Quakerism. I wish I could give science the credit for the abolition of slavery; but the record remains less than stellar. Slavery can be demonstrated in the natural lives of many species, after all. Of course that has nothing to do with current practitioners of science, but would you believe, there are skeptics yet? Alas.

            I have no issue with a factual demonstration of science. Human science and its practitioners might be the top of the reality chain - or they might not. I welcome that which will enlighten me.

            The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

            by vox humana on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 08:18:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Quakers are pretty cool in my book. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              vox humana

              Science only gets credit for things, and rightfully so, because our best is merely descriptions of why things do what they do.  Quakers get credit for peace, something science doesn't do so well, IMHO.

              You can't support the Constitution and the GOP at the same time!

              by Arsenic on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 08:23:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  And so with science in mine. (0+ / 0-)

                In fact, the Inner Light which I feel has no issue with fact. I hope you will pardon me temporarily if I wish (pray) that "fact" has no issue with the Inner Light.

                I really believe Truth lies deeper than both. Best wishes to you and your side of the equation! Please remember there are others on the other side of the "equal sign" who are as committed to ultimate truth as you are.

                Let's find it together!

                The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

                by vox humana on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 08:28:41 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  the "either/or" question is complex. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        vox humana

        from a logical perspective, the epistemologies would appear to be minimally orthogonal, based as they are on  faith versus evidence.  "You either drank the kool-aid, or you did not."

        However, the human mind is not designed specifically as a logical device, and can in fact hold two opposite views simultaneously.  For example, one split-brain patient denied the existence of god when the question was presented to the left brain, but asserted the existence of god when presented to the right brain. Kool-aid can be registered in half the brain only.  Interesting stuff, to say the least.  Possibly, this person was a Doubting Thomas prior to commissurotomy.  

        Dogmatic belief, too, is probably a universal expression, as no one can hold all the necessary proofs in their mind at once to support all of their beliefs, i.e., I assert that there is a certain amount of faith in the conduct of science.   I would also assert that scientists mythologize themselves as much as anyone.  Many of these issues are correctable by others, however, if faith and myth-making go south, which is a distinct advantage of science over the much more slowly adapting views of, say, the Catholic Church, which do change and adapt.

        So, while I agree with the gist of the comments, I do believe there are fundamental and non-trivial human facts that need to be taken into consideration, including the inherently irrational nature and limited capacities of humans that are shared by all.

        We don't have time for short-term thinking.

        by Compound F on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 07:54:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh I agree on the 'human state' questions! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Compound F

          As soon as we became self-cognizant, a probable first question is "why, why am I here?"
          The answer "No reason, no purpose, nothing after you die." is really really disconcerting to most of humanking.  I would suggest that is why most humankind will strive to find a reason.  Even if they have to make one up, which is exactly what I am suggesting that we have done.
          Reason for existance vs. no reason for existance.  Neither of these findings is more right than the other based on what we have observed, one answer is just more comfortable to our frail phyches, thats all.  Religion is based on a comfortable explanation.
          I would disagree, as a scientist, that I have to have some level of faith, faith being the beliefe in absence of evidence.  I have to have trust, trust that the work done before mine was carefull and accurate, because I will rely on that previous work to conduct my new work.  But that trust is based on personal experience, and personal; validation, not someone telling me to trust the unverifiable.

          Tell me how scientists "mythologize" themselves?

          You can't support the Constitution and the GOP at the same time!

          by Arsenic on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 08:16:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  actual mythologizing may be too strong a claim, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            vox humana

            but I have personally noted its cousin, laudatory hero-worship, in both myself and others, even in others having considerable prestige themselves; it's not unlike the way people idolize sports figures or rock stars, for example.

            I guess my main point was that if there is a trait in the general population, scientists have that trait as well.  It is the method, more than the actual humans that is corrective in science.

            We don't have time for short-term thinking.

            by Compound F on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 09:16:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  How kind. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Compound F

          What if it could be proven that ants could conceive of a life form higher than themselves? Alas, the experiments designed to prove such a hypothesis might be designed from a human point of view for us to believe or even understand them.

          What if a higher being (not myself or any other human) could design an experiment proving that there were those who could understand their higher being and others could not? What proof would be required on the human side? How would that reconcile with the idea of a potential "higher" intelligence?

          The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

          by vox humana on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 08:43:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  My friend ( a higher being) might hypothesize (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            vox humana

            that he is not a "higher being" than me.  We run a foot race; he wins.  We take cognitive tests; he scores higher.  According to those tests, we disprove that I am as high as he, leaving the alternative hypothesis that he is higher.  While I may never know exactly what it is like to be a higher being, I can still understand   on some basis that he is a higher being.  

            We don't have time for short-term thinking.

            by Compound F on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 09:45:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry for the late reply, and I really should (0+ / 0-)

              stop. I love these types of discussions, and they almost never get done here at dKos because of the "man in the flowing robe" and "child abuse" garbage.

              Your experiments, of course, assume that the possession of feet and/or human cognition would be the realms in which this higher being could participate. Poor science, stuck in its anthropomorphic assumptions about reality (I jest - sort of).

              I have similar objections to many scientists' narrow definition of the possibility of life on other planets. The supposed necessity of certain elements or their equivalents be present in order to even bother looking for life automatically negates the possibility of discovering other life forms based on say, energy or gas. Human scientists seem unable to imagine how such life would behave (at least in the narrow set of books and articles I have read), and I imagine that partly has to do with the inability to design an experiment that could prove such were life forms. That has more to do with the failure of human scientific method than with the possibility that there is a reality out there that we simply can't capture with our limited imaginations and the limits of the materials of which we consist. I maintain there will always be things that cannot be proven that might exist. Indeed, that is one of the incredible powers of the human mind - not one of its failings!

              To my mind at this point, science is involved in pushing human thought to the highest limits of its ability to understand the natural world. Religion's concern is the ability to imagine that there might be phenomena outside that realm. Those could not be proven with science (indeed, that would counter the whole point), so the constant argument back and forth is pointless in my mind.

              Anyhow, thanks for listening. The way some people wrap up so many distinct concepts into handy ideological packages would try the patience of Job. Not that I could prove that.

              ;8)  ~

              The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

              by vox humana on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 04:32:05 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  one day later... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                vox humana

                We can imagine other forms of life and consciousness.      Don't underestimate scientists unnecessarily.

                My answer was the simplest I could manage in short space.  It does answer your rather complex question in short space, though possibly not in the way you wanted.

                We don't have time for short-term thinking.

                by Compound F on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 11:43:27 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Maybe. (0+ / 0-)

                  I understand Brian Greene at Columbia (among others) is working on the math and physics behind the very real possibility of creating man-made universes in the future.

                  Perhaps much to our mutual astonishment, this would confirm one of the basic tenets of Mormon theology. Who knew?

                  The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

                  by vox humana on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 04:02:44 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site