(split) Atheism and acceptance of science

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by S.A.M., Jul 10, 2009.

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  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I regard this as yet another expression of human hubris. Of course the religionists are the worst offenders, with their insistence on the existence of a "soul" supported only by their (archetypal instinctive) conviction that these aggregations of atoms that comprise our bodies are somehow qualitatively different and more special than all the other aggregations of atoms in the universe.

    However, scientists are not immune to the impulse. We see perfection in DNA, photosynthesis, the unique characteristics of water molecules that make life possible, etc., because we barely understand how any of it works, and can't possibly imagine an alternative paradigm... a universe with entirely different natural laws that would work just as "perfectly" as this one.

    Of course this universe is perfect. If it were not perfect, we would not be here discussing it! That doesn't mean that there have not been a googolplex (10^10^10^2) other "Big Bangs" in the infinite space-time continuum resulting in "stillborn" universes, or perhaps a universe with the cosmological analog of Down Syndrome.

    We think it's amazing that the cosmological constants are all exactly what they need to be in order for the universe to work, and furthermore... what they need to be in order for life to have arisen on at least one planet. The unique ability of solid water to float on top of liquid water is just one example: If ice sank, all the seas and rivers would freeze over during our periodic ice ages and geeze would that ever interfere with evolution!

    But we don't know how many other universes have come and gone, in which life never evolved, or in which there weren't even any stars and planets for it to evolve on.
    Indeed. We can't imagine a universe in which the physical laws didn't coincidentally align to make this particular universe possible.

    Human hubris. We're so damn special we must have been designed deliberately!
    Yes. The per-capita GDP in the Third World has been rising for several generations. In fact once in a while a country manages to graduate out of the Third World. (Of course the occasional backsliding occurs, e.g. pitiful post-Perestroika Tajikistan, but it would take quite a few Tajikistans to outweigh the improvements in China, with one-sixth of the human population.)
    You folks (even you biologists) need to recognize that all species do not play by the same rules. In a pack-social species, like ours, the elders are a resource for the rest of the pack. They pass on their experience and wisdom to the young so that everyone benefits--not to mention their sheer maintenance of order. We earn our keep.

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    All German nouns must be accompanied by an article (the, a) or a correlative that serves in its place (some, this), with only a handful of exceptions. Therefore:

    Die Gendanken sind frei.
    We beat them once, we'll beat them this time. The Religious Redneck Retard Revival is so anachronistic that the entire developed world is laughing at us.

    Of course, for the sake of the argument, if they succeed, then the USA will simply be one of the backsliders I was talking about, and take its place in the Third World.
    Theism is supernaturalism by definition, since gods are external to the natural universe yet are able to perturb its functioning. People who believe in the supernatural are going to invoke the supernatural anytime they disagree with a natural explanation for something. That's the beauty of religion: You've always got a trump card.

    BTW, most Christians accept Mormonism as an offbeat sect of Christianity and virtually all Mormons consider themselves Christians. The differences are pretty arcane and fall more into doctrine than theology.
    Joseph Campbell asserted that many human beings lack the capacity to understand metaphors. He recounted meeting one of these people who insisted that every statement was either true or false. So he said, "What if I told you that the moon is a bright jewel shining in the heavens?"

    The fellow said, "I would tell you that's a lie."

    "No it's not, it's a metaphor!"

    " 'Metaphor' is just a fancy word for a pretty lie, but it's still a lie."

    Most Christians, even the Pope as well as the leaders of other denominations, understand that much of the Bible is metaphor. Fundamentalists don't have the ability to understand the concept.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2009
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  3. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Or maybe thats the way they think. All existing stories in history seem to come from those who think/write in metaphor. All the rest write opinions or treatises.

    It also seems to be the most effective way to transmit any knowledge to the widest swathe of people. People seem to remember metaphors more than they remember anything else.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2009
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