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View Diary: Thank god for evolution!: Religion may become extinct (112 comments)

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  •  Science vs. religion (18+ / 0-)

    It's often said that science and religion don't need to be opposed, but that's pollyannish.  History shows that every advance in science just pushes religion back, making its sphere of claims ever more circumscribed. Creation myths have been pushed back from the garden of Eden 6000 years ago to the first nanosecond of the Big Bang 15 billion years ago. Religionists are now free to theorize anything they want about that first nanosecond--until the next advance in cosmology scales it back another order of magnitude.

    Religion is right to see science as an antagonist.

    •  Its certainly not pollayannish historically (10+ / 0-)

      (maybe in its current form). Historically many very religious people have embraced science and in many cases have been ground breaking scientists.

      "I smoke. If this bothers anyone, I suggest you look around at the world in which we live and shut your fuckin' mouth." --- Bill Hicks

      by voroki on Tue Mar 22, 2011 at 05:40:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why don't we talk about Galileo.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Sorry I don't have time to look up the whole story right now,
        but check out what "the church" did to Galileo.

        And they didn't let him out of purgatory or whatever
        until 1990 something!

        Stonewall was a RIOT!

        by ExStr8 on Tue Mar 22, 2011 at 05:55:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Glad he wasn't in Limbo (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and glad limbo became a!

          I was always worried as a kid about going to limbo- can't make this stuff

          "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones."

          by roseeriter on Tue Mar 22, 2011 at 06:01:33 AM PDT

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        •  Why don't we talk about... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gerald 1969, CherryTheTart, voroki

          ...the many, many scientists whose religiosity did not impede their inquiry?

          If the above commenter's case is that personal religiosity is not incompatible with scientific inquiry, then Galileo proves a poor counterexample—and you still have many, many other religious scientists to contend with.

          In fact, proving the above commenter wrong would require that you demonstrate that each and every scientist who claimed to also be religious was either (a) not a real scientist, or (b) lying about his/her religiosity.

          •  "the many, many scientists whose religiosity" (5+ / 0-)

            It's not the scientists' religiosity that impeded their inquiry.

            It was the organized authoritarians who fought like wildcats to prevent the basis of their unquestioned control over society from being eroded by scientific inquisition.

            One day I feel I'm ahead of the wheel / the next it's rolling over me / I can get back on / I can get back on

            by slippytoad on Tue Mar 22, 2011 at 07:18:06 AM PDT

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          •  Cognitive dissonance or the scaling back of (0+ / 0-)

            their religious beliefs.

            Compare the "scientists" at the Discovery Institute, who make their "science" fit their religion, to the credible scientists who set their religious beliefs aside when they step into the lab.  Or those whose religious beliefs are the more "liberal" forms of religion, allowing them to set aside and ignore those parts of their religion that are contradicted by science.

            Reality has a liberal bias.

            by Hayate Yagami on Tue Mar 22, 2011 at 01:34:03 PM PDT

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        •  why dont we talk about Darwin (6+ / 0-)

          or Max Planck both big belivers.
          see the church is about power over other people or countrys
          religous belives are a personal way to try to understand the world . especially for scientist's
          because for many it is the simple elegance and near perfection they find when they study nature that let them belive in something bigger.
          like einstein said god does not roll the dice

          •  Einstein... (9+ / 0-)

            ...was talking about determinism, not religion, and he appears to have been wrong on that score.  Darwin did believe, but not by the time he died, when he more or less slid into agnosticism, or what we would call a form of "weak atheism," which is to say he was no longer a Christian, affirmatively denying revelation.  

             There are scientists who are believers, of course; just not those two, really.  Not sure about Planck.  


            "...after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."

            by Alec82 on Tue Mar 22, 2011 at 06:28:07 AM PDT

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            •  what ever you belive in (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              personaly i have to admit i did not meet one of them personaly so all i know is at best second hand information
              but i guess the same is true for your sources of info.

            •  Darwin's an interesting case (7+ / 0-)

              because it all depends on how you define "Christian."

              Darwin did deny revelation, and wasn't a "believer" in the conventional sense.  However, he never left the Church of England, and donated to Anglican missionary endeavors for the last fifteen years of his life.  

              If religion is simply "believing in supernatural causes," Darwin was not a Christian, no way, no how.

              If religion is primarily participation in a tradition, Darwin was a Christian all the way.

              Because religion is really a combination of factors, one can pull Darwin in different directions for different polemical purposes.  I try to pull him in the direction of showing that the categories are a bit more complicated than they appear on the surface.

              •  This is true (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dirkster42, roseeriter, CherryTheTart

                However, because of Christianity's historical insistence on orthodoxy as opposed to orthopraxy, we generally associate the loss of faith as the deciding factor.  There are universal religions that are more concerned with proper conduct, of course, the primary example that I would use being Buddhism.  Another example is something like Hinduism, Judaism or the other closed, ethnic religions.  

                 In large part it is cultural.  We also separate religion from science and philosophy in a way that is not very typical of other traditions (I'm thinking primarily of Eastern religions here).  


                "...after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."

                by Alec82 on Tue Mar 22, 2011 at 06:49:17 AM PDT

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                •  That's all basically right - (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  roseeriter, Alec82, gerald 1969, voroki

                  and "the loss of faith" was a huge topic in the literature of Darwin's time.

                  The Church of England, however, isn't primarily a credal church - or hasn't been since it was reconstituted after the restoration of the monarchy after Cromwell.  It never put Darwin on a heresy trial, and in fact buried him in Westminster Abbey, which is not something they do lightly.

                •  Hot damn. I love comments so good I have to look (4+ / 0-)

                  . . . up words used, namely "orthopraxy."

                  I think it would be a good idea here to point to the letter of a Lutheran pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer who in his living and dying and thought transformed Christianity for me profoundly and forever.

                  Christians range themselves with God in his suffering; that is what distinguishes them . . .   As Jesus asked in Gethsemane,” Could ye not watch with me one hour?” That is the exact opposite of what the religious man expects from God. Man is challenged to participate in the sufferings of God at the hands of a godless world.

                  He must therefore plunge himself into the life of a godless world, without attempting to gloss over its ungodliness with a veneer of religion or try to transfigure it. He must live a ‘Worldly” life and so participate in the suffering of God. He may live a worldly life as one emancipated from all false religions and obligations. To be a Christian does not mean to be religious in a particular way, to cultivate some particular form of ascetism (as a sinner, a penitent or a saint), but to be a man. It is not some religious act which makes a Christian what he is, but participation in the suffering of God in the life of the world.

                  . . . That is their faith. There is nothing of religious asceticism here. The religious act is always something partial, faith is always something whole involving the whole life. Jesus does not call men to a new religion, but to life.

                  . . . Just one more point for to-day. When we speak of God in a non-religious way, we must not gloss over the ungodliness of the world, but expose it in a new light. Now that it has come of age, the world is more godless, and perhaps it is for that very reason nearer to God than ever before.

                  I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

                  by CherryTheTart on Tue Mar 22, 2011 at 07:25:07 AM PDT

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          •  God may not play (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nookular, gerald 1969

            dice, but he apparently does play a mean game of billiards.

            Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

            by Joieau on Tue Mar 22, 2011 at 08:12:19 AM PDT

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        •  Why don't we talk about (5+ / 0-)

          the fact that for the five hundred years before Galileo, the Roman Catholic church was the main promoter of scientific inquiry in Europe.  The medieval university was not a secular institution.

          •  This book makes your point as well. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            roseeriter, dirkster42, JDsg, DruidQueen

            How The Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe is a non-fiction historical book written by Thomas Cahill.

            Monks saved our history and culture.

            I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

            by CherryTheTart on Tue Mar 22, 2011 at 06:51:28 AM PDT

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          •  And what did they discover? (0+ / 0-)

            Let's see:

            CROWD:  A witch!  A witch!  A witch!  We've got a witch!  A witch!
              VILLAGER #1:  We have found a witch, might we burn her?
              CROWD:  Burn her!  Burn!
              BEDEMIR:  How do you know she is a witch?
              VILLAGER #2:  She looks like one.
              BEDEMIR:  Bring her forward.
              WITCH:  I'm not a witch.  I'm not a witch.
              BEDEMIR:  But you are dressed as one.
              WITCH:  They dressed me up like this.
              CROWD:  No, we didn't... no.
              WITCH:  And this isn't my nose, it's a false one.
              BEDEMIR:  Well?
              VILLAGER #1:  Well, we did do the nose.
              BEDEMIR:  The nose?
              VILLAGER #1:  And the hat -- but she is a witch!
              CROWD:  Burn her!  Witch!  Witch!  Burn her!
              BEDEMIR:  Did you dress her up like this?
              CROWD:  No, no... no ... yes.  Yes, yes, a bit, a bit.
              VILLAGER #1:  She has got a wart.
              BEDEMIR:  What makes you think she is a witch?
              VILLAGER #3:  Well, she turned me into a newt.
              BEDEMIR:  A newt?
              VILLAGER #3:  I got better.
              VILLAGER #2:  Burn her anyway!
              CROWD:  Burn!  Burn her!
              BEDEMIR:  Quiet, quiet.  Quiet!  There are ways of telling whether
                  she is a witch.
              CROWD:  Are there?  What are they?
              BEDEMIR:  Tell me, what do you do with witches?
              VILLAGER #2:  Burn!
              CROWD:  Burn, burn them up!
              BEDEMIR:  And what do you burn apart from witches?
              VILLAGER #1:  More witches!
              VILLAGER #2:  Wood!
              BEDEMIR:  So, why do witches burn?
              VILLAGER #3:  B--... 'cause they're made of wood...?
              BEDEMIR:  Good!
              CROWD:  Oh yeah, yeah...
              BEDEMIR:  So, how do we tell whether she is made of wood?
              VILLAGER #1:  Build a bridge out of her.
              BEDEMIR:  Aah, but can you not also build bridges out of stone?
              VILLAGER #2:  Oh, yeah.
              BEDEMIR:  Does wood sink in water?
              VILLAGER #1:  No, no.
              VILLAGER #2:  It floats!  It floats!
              VILLAGER #1:  Throw her into the pond!
              CROWD:  The pond!
              BEDEMIR:  What also floats in water?
              VILLAGER #1:  Bread!
              VILLAGER #2:  Apples!
              VILLAGER #3:  Very small rocks!
              VILLAGER #1:  Cider!
              VILLAGER #2:  Great gravy!
              VILLAGER #1:  Cherries!
              VILLAGER #2:  Mud!
              VILLAGER #3:  Churches -- churches!
              VILLAGER #2:  Lead -- lead!
              ARTHUR:  A duck.
              CROWD:  Oooh.
              BEDEMIR:  Exactly!  So, logically...,
              VILLAGER #1:  If... she.. weighs the same as a duck, she's made of wood.
              BEDEMIR:  And therefore--?
              VILLAGER #1:  A witch!
              CROWD:  A witch!
              BEDEMIR:  We shall use my larger scales!
              BEDEMIR:  Right, remove the supports!
              CROWD:  A witch!  A witch!
              WITCH:  It's a fair cop.
              CROWD:  Burn her!  Burn!  [yelling]
              BEDEMIR:  Who are you who are so wise in the ways of science?

            One day I feel I'm ahead of the wheel / the next it's rolling over me / I can get back on / I can get back on

            by slippytoad on Tue Mar 22, 2011 at 07:19:20 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I love Monty Python. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              roseeriter, Alec82

              It's not a contemporary historical source, though.

              Witch-hunting actually spiked in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the age of the Renaissance, not during the middle ages.  Furthermore, one of the most vehement arguments against witch-hunting in the sixteenth century was by Johann Weyer, who argued that witchcraft is a contract between a mere human and the Devil, which is null and void because the parties are so unequally matched.  And, the Basque inquisition, which was charged with rooting out heresy and did all sorts of indefensible things on that front, did a great deal to prevent witch trials from going forward.

            •  This proves only that you can quote Monty Python (0+ / 0-)

              Monks (and nuns) not only preserved classical manuscripts, they translated numerous Arabic scientific and medical treatises into Latin.  Roger Bacon and Hildegarde von Bingen are only two of the many who kept the light of science alive during the Middle Ages.

        •  Who was a devout Catholic (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Had a daughter who was a nun, and  was friends with several cardinals.  There's a recent biography that treats this very subject - I'd look it up for a somewhat different take on this issue.

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