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Science + God = ?, You decide.

Wingmaster05
post Mar 26 2009, 01:53 AM
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Aleister Crowley is known to have conjured up this intriguing quip: The method of science, the aim of religion.

Wouldn't that be something? The application of the scientific method, constantly renewing and reviewing your accepted knowledge, coupled with the reverence and grace that comes with religions...my extremities tingle and twitch at the possibilities for humankind!

Anyway, this post is a lobby/religion hybrid, i could have gone either way. A lot of our discussion across the board has considered this very question. We have two distinct camps in human thought, that of science and that of religion. Who is right? Who is wrong? Wouldn't it be the cats pajamas if they were BOTH right and wrong at the same time?

blink.gif

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7955846.stm

Question: What do you get if you divide science by God?

(one) Answer: "Being"

Note: he isn't the first physicist to get all philosophizer with us...

(from the link)

QUOTE
A prize-winning quantum physicist says a spiritual reality is veiled from us, and science offers a glimpse behind that veil. So how do scientists investigating the fundamental nature of the universe assess any role of God, asks Mark Vernon.

The Templeton Prize, awarded for contributions to "affirming life's spiritual dimension", has been won by French physicist Bernard d'Espagnat, who has worked on quantum physics with some of the most famous names in modern science.

Quantum physics is a hugely successful theory: the predictions it makes about the behaviour of subatomic particles are extraordinarily accurate. And yet, it raises profound puzzles about reality that remain as yet to be understood.

WHAT IS QUANTUM PHYSICS?
Originated in work conducted by Max Planck and Albert Einstein at start of 20th Century
They discovered that light comes in discrete packets, or quanta, which we call photons
The Heisenberg Uncertainty principle says certain features of subatomic particles like momentum and position cannot be known precisely at the same time
Gaps remain, like attempts to find the 'God Particle' that scientists hope to spot in the Large Hadron Collider. It is required to give other particles mass

The bizarre nature of quantum physics has attracted some speculations that are wacky but the theory suggests to some serious scientists that reality, at its most basic, is perfectly compatible with what might be called a spiritual view of things.

Some suggest that observers play a key part in determining the nature of things. Legendary physicist John Wheeler said the cosmos "has not really happened, it is not a phenomenon, until it has been observed to happen."

D'Espagnat worked with Wheeler, though he himself reckons quantum theory suggests something different. For him, quantum physics shows us that reality is ultimately "veiled" from us.

The equations and predictions of the science, super-accurate though they are, offer us only a glimpse behind that veil. Moreover, that hidden reality is, in some sense, divine. Along with some philosophers, he has called it "Being".

In an effort to seek the answers to the "meaning of physics", I spoke to five leading scientists.

1. THE ATHEIST

Nobel-prize winning physicist Steven Weinberg is well-known as an atheist. For him, physics reflects the "chilling impersonality" of the universe.

He would be thinking here of, say, the vast tracts of empty space, billions of light years across, that mock human meaning.

He says: "The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it seems pointless."

So for Weinberg, the notion that there might be an overlap between science and spirituality is entirely mistaken.

2. THE SCEPTIC

The Astronomer Royal and President of the Royal Society, Martin Rees, shows a distinct reserve when speculating about what physics might mean, whether that be pointlessness or meaningfulness.

He has "no strong opinions" on the interpretation of quantum theory: only time will tell whether the theory becomes better understood.

"The implications of cosmology for these realms of thought may be profound, but diffidence prevents me from venturing into them," he has written.

In short, it is good to be humble in the face of the mysteries that physics throws up.

3. THE PLATONIST

Oxford physicist Roger Penrose differs again. He believes that mathematics suggests there is a world beyond the immediate, material one.
Spider in moonlight
Can science explain all of life's meaning?

Ask yourself this question: would one plus one equal two even if I didn't think it? The answer is yes.

Would it equal two even if no-one thought it? Again, presumably, yes.

Would it equal two even if the universe didn't exist? That is more tricky to contemplate, but again, there are good grounds for a positive response.

Penrose, therefore, argues that there is what can be called a Platonic world beyond the material world that "contains" mathematics and other abstractions.

4. THE BELIEVER

John Polkinghorne worked on quantum physics in the first part of his career, but then took up a different line of work: he was ordained an Anglican priest. For him, science and religion are entirely compatible.

The ordered universe science reveals is only what you'd expect if it was made by an orderly God. However, the two disciplines are different. He calls them "intellectual cousins".

"Physics is showing the world to be both more supple and subtle, but you need to be careful," he says.

If you want to understand the meaning of things you have to go beyond science, and the religious direction is, he argues, the best.

5. THE PANTHEIST

Brian Swimme is a cosmologist, and with the theologian Thomas Berry, wrote a book called The Universe Story: From the Primordial Flaring Forth to the Ecozoic Era.

It is avidly read by individuals in New Age and ecological circles, and tells the scientific story of the universe, from the Big Bang to the emergence of human consciousness, but does so as a new sacred myth.

Swimme believes that "the universe is attempting to be felt", which makes him a pantheist, someone who believes the cosmos in its entirety can be called God.

Mark Vernon is author of After Atheism: Science, Religion and the Meaning of Life
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Willow
post Mar 26 2009, 02:28 PM
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QUOTE (Wingmaster05 @ Mar 26 2009, 05:53 AM) *
Wouldn't that be something? The application of the scientific method, constantly renewing and reviewing your accepted knowledge, coupled with the reverence and grace that comes with religions...my extremities tingle and twitch at the possibilities for humankind!

Anyway, this post is a lobby/religion hybrid, i could have gone either way. A lot of our discussion across the board has considered this very question. We have two distinct camps in human thought, that of science and that of religion. Who is right? Who is wrong? Wouldn't it be the cats pajamas if they were BOTH right and wrong at the same time?


Good link, thanks. thumbsup.gif

This is pretty much where my enquiries have led me to, eventually.

Ironic really, as when I was very young, on overhearing a heated debate about whether the universe was created by 'God' or 'The Big Bang', I did not understand the reason for the discord, stating simply: "but that's silly. They're both right!" (Just makes you wonder what else we know before it's all 'educated' out of us. rolleyes.gif )

These are a few of my thoughts from a few years back, following on from the 'blind men and the elephant' story we've both posted elsewhere!

"Is it not possible that throughout human history we have, in fact, discovered many different aspects of All-That-Is, a bit like the blind men’s discoveries of different aspects of the elephant? Instead of arguing that we are ‘right’ and they are ‘wrong’, could we not put it all together and see what we’ve got? Could we not try and find truth and common ground within different paths and searches, instead of wasting time and knowledge on trying to defend our interpretation of the elephant?
I believe we could – I believe there is common ground, probably a lot more that we realise. Does it matter if we ask, ‘Who is {God}?’ as the theologians do, ‘What is {God}?’ as the scientists do, or even, ‘Is {God}?’ as the philosophers do?

It would only seem to matter in so far as we have spent several ages in bitter dispute with one another over whether the elephant should be used to water the garden or tie up a parcel! A little knowledge is a dangerous thing indeed."

Embrace the Elephant! wink.gif

Willow

This post has been edited by Willow: Mar 26 2009, 03:30 PM
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painter
post Mar 26 2009, 03:42 PM
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There is, of course, a problem with the word "God". Everyone acts as if what the word means to them is what it means to everyone else -- which is demonstrably false. Go back couple thousand years and "Gods" were more plentiful -- possibly making matters even worse -- or not.

I'm not sure about embracing elephants. Certainly if one is blind (and we are), one needs to "lay on hands" over the vast terrain if one is going to develop some sense of the whole. But even if one did that, could one envision one ever standing on its head?



Or rearing precariously on a small platform?



The problem is the human brain has been conditioned to mistake symbols for that which they represent. We don't at all understand the experience of the world we're having RIGHT NOW is largely symbolic. We do not see the world as it is -- but rather as we've been programmed to see it. We don't understand how it is that the symbols trigger us into states of consciousness. And what I'm pointing to is nothing particularly esoteric. This "phasing" in and out of a variety of mental/emotional states so subliminally that we don't even notice can actually be studied scientifically.

Or, as I've quoted Jacob Needleman elsewhere:
QUOTE
At the same time, this distinction also communicates that the search for consciousness is a constant necessity for man. It is telling us that anything in ourselves, no matter how fine, subtle or intelligent, no matter how virtuous or close to reality, no matter how still or violent--any action, any thought, any intuition or experience--immediately absorbs all our attention and automatically becomes transformed into contents around which gather all the opinions, feelings and distorted sensations that are the supports of our secondhand sense of identity. In short, we are told that the evolution of consciousness is always "vertical" to the constant (horizontal or time bound) stream of mental, emotional and sensory associations within the human organism, and comprehensive of them (somewhat like a "fourth dimension"). And, seen in this light, it is not really a question of concentric layers of awareness embedded like the skins of an onion within the self, but only one skin, one veil, that constantly forms regardless of the quality or intensity of the psychic field at any given moment.


Again, from my angle, the problem is we don't understand all this from the inside out. We're quite "happy" to accept a "symbolic representation of knowledge" rather than engage in the direct work necessary to actually know ourselves from the inside out. It is difficult work that requires interest, patience and dedication over a long period of time. In an age of "instant gratification" and "continual distraction" this doesn't bode well. We suffer needlessly from all our gross errors, not understanding ourselves or the universe we live in -- but this needless suffering just drives the spiral onward as we seek to avoid the inevitable stress our ignorance causes.

How can we "escape" a prison that is constantly reforming itself from within our own minds?
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Omega892R09
post Mar 27 2009, 08:33 AM
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QUOTE (Wingmaster05 @ Mar 24 2009, 03:53 AM) *
Aleister Crowley

Somebody best forgotten IMHO.

QUOTE
Question: What do you get if you divide science by God?

(one) Answer: "Being"

Not sure about that.

Answer: An error.

i.e. Answer: Being confused.

Invoking an entity called god raises the awkward search that turns into an infinite regression and it is that that causes the error as much as it does by dividing any 'quantity' by zero. I take it that we are all familiar with that latter concept. But here we dip our toes into Penrose's (another author on my book shelves) view of things.

John Polkinghorne is a name well known by those of us who have discussed religion, belief systems such as those that encompass Intelligent Design which is the latest suite of clothes in which creationism dresses itself.

Polkinghorne was also a Templeton Prize winner and it should come as no surprise that The Templeton Foundation is viewed with deep distrust and not a little incredulity by those who understand the truths of evolution, amongst them atheists.

As for mixing science and god, even Stephen Jay Gould would have gasped in horror at such a concept, Gould being the developer of the concept of non-overlapping magesteria in this respect.

Thus even Gould failed to grasp that science and god were like oil and water, where attempts at mixing produce only an emulsion and the thinking that tries to support such a concept is as cloudy and murky as that emulsion.

On Polkinghorne see:

Book Review: Questions of Truth: God, Science and Belief by John Polkinghorne and Nicholas Beale

Alternatively at:

Book Review: Questions of Truth: God, Science and Belief by John Polkinghorne and Nicholas Beale

More on the science/religion dichotomy:

Jerry Coyne's 'Seeing and Believing' with responses

It is worth reading Coynes' latest book:

Why Evolution Is True

which having been read has joined others on my book shelf.

As an adjunct to that link to The School of Living I will once again recommend:

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond

which will provide much food for thought on sustainable living.

EDIT: Coyne links added.

This post has been edited by Omega892R09: Mar 27 2009, 08:42 AM
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lunk
post Mar 27 2009, 09:43 AM
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Trying to design something by trial and error is time consuming,
compared with intelligently designing it, in the first place.
However, something can be intelligently designed,
and still fail the test of time.

But, if time is not an issue,
the most intelligent designing method,
would be trial and error.

imho, lunk
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painter
post Mar 27 2009, 12:16 PM
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QUOTE (lunk @ Mar 27 2009, 06:43 AM) *
But, if time is not an issue,
the most intelligent designing method,
would be trial and error.


Uh, but evolution isn't "trial and error" -- it is adaptation because existence in more than three dimensions requires it. IOW, it is a dynamic, synergistic system that is "complete" unto itself at any given point; but, precisely because it is dynamic and synergistic, it is different at each point.

Looked at from the point of view of conscious awareness, light was always available but the evolution of sight -- of sensitivity to light beyond reaction to thermal difference -- came about through a very long process but it would be inaccurate to call that "trial and error". Human sight is as it is, given the range of light our eyes are sensitive to (which is actually a very narrow band of the spectrum), with our ability to differentiate line, form, shape, space and so forth actually being more a product of brain function than the physical eye itself.

But now we've gotten to a point where we can devise tools that amplify or extend the range of our biological evolution. Because there is intentionality behind our efforts WE can speak of "trial and error" -- it is a process of learning for US -- but it is anthropomorphizing to project this intent upon the workings of nature.

But my larger point is that this kind of discussion gets us nowhere because we are only looking at nature as if it only existed or primarily existed external to our own bodies. This is false. We are NOT separate from nature -- on the contrary we are beings through whom intentionality comes into the natural evolutionary process. Humanity at this moment in its history sits upon the razor edge of its own self-extinction because it has not yet learned the greater lessons that nature has to teach -- and these lessons are not only about survival within the extremely complex and dynamic synergistic system that is life on this planet -- but the even more interesting and far less understood dynamic system of energies that we are transforming into "our lives" moment by moment. For example, how is it that "awareness" is transformed into "fear" -- and from that point transformed into behaviors that are self-defeating? Do I have any awareness from the inside out about how this happens? If not, it isn't because we lack the ability or sensitivity to know in this way. The human organism itself is a far more precise, intelligent, sensitive and potentially conscious mechanism than most of the tools we've devised by whatever process -- certainly with far greater capacities than we allow ourselves to know.
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Willow
post Mar 27 2009, 04:19 PM
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By ‘embrace the elephant’ I simply mean, we must be careful not to automatically dismiss potential knowledge, understanding, and particularly, the awarenesses of our own experience, just because they do not ‘fit’ the prescribed tenets of the belief system we may have been indoctrinated into (the most obvious of those being the science ‘v’ religion debate).

I completely agree that true understanding comes from beyond any words or symbols, but until we can find the level of awareness that allows for this to be revealed, external information can be a useful pointer… otherwise why are we all bothering sharing words and symbols at all?

But when we dismiss something… or someone… completely out of hand, we are in grave danger of throwing babies out with bath water again.

I, for one, would not consider anyone ‘best forgotten’, for that would be denying part of what is.

I also agree that we are most certainly not separate from nature, and by that criteria, we are not separate from each other either… or our words… or our symbolism… or our belief systems. And as such, do not all things, and people, hold some potential truths – if we can view them with conscious awareness as opposed to stagnant, entrenched positions?

If we only accept one side of the story (science or religion) are we getting a true picture of the sum of human understanding to date? And however flawed that may be, we have to start from where we are.

Why do we have to assume things are either / or? Would it not be more productive to realise that nothing is entirely right or entirely wrong?

For Wingmaster, the ‘answer’ to the issue he proposed is ‘being’… but he did express that this was just ‘one’ answer. Omega, you state the ‘answer’ is ‘an error’. This may be true for you, but it is also only ‘one’ answer.

I fully understand the problem with the word ‘God’ (which is why I typed it as: {God} in my extract, as an attempt to show I was merely using a convenient word for a much broader concept), but I think the word is a classic example of the point I’m trying to make here. Straight away, people hear the word and assume a meaning based not on any attempt at mutual understanding, but only on their own preconceived interpretation. It would be wonderful to be able to get beyond language and symbols completely – and ultimately, that is a possibility, if not a probability – but until we can, is there not a need for us NOT to react in this conditioned manner, but to be open to finding shared meaning?
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lunk
post Mar 27 2009, 05:09 PM
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I was thinking of the method of design of anything.
If time is a constraint, then it is good to design something intelligently.
If time is not of a concern, then designing something by trial and error,
would be a better technique.

People intelligently design things.
Nature works by trial and error.
Trying to say that nature works by intelligent design is, I think, misleading.

There is a lot more design in us, through trial an error, than through all the
selective breeding ever done by our ancestors, on our livestock, and ourselves.

imo, lunk
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Willow
post Mar 28 2009, 04:17 PM
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Something else I’ve been pondering in relation to responses here:

Is confusion an error?

I guess it all depends on individual experience (as everything does!), but I would like to suggest that this is not always the case, based upon my own experiences, both in observations of myself and those I teach.

Confusion is a challenge to one’s preconceived thinking and understanding, and as such, with sufficient conscious questioning, can lead to deeper levels of understanding… in fact, with my students, it is the only real way to foster genuine, personal understanding, as opposed to knowledge that is imposed from outside.

An example, taken from a theory propounded by British educationalist James Nottingham, is ‘The Learning Pit’. This involves deliberately challenging children’s accepted thinking then allowing them to come to more cohesive cognition via thrashing out their ideas and theories until a solution / definition / theory that is acceptable to the whole group can be agreed upon. The initial confusion ultimately leads to deeper, truer understanding.

An example of this can be found here, along with an educational research paper, which concludes that challenge is amongst the top three factors contributing to effective learning (the other two being deep representation of concepts and feedback).

I have also found this to be true within my own experience. The times when I have experienced those ‘ah-ha!’ moments, when things I have intellectually grasped suddenly become 'real’ (i.e. I, at least momentarily, actually ‘know’ something, for myself) have usually followed periods of intense confusion and frustration. I take in new knowledge, experience new thoughts, regardless of their source (I know some would say too regardless, but hey, it works for me whistle.gif ) or how outside of my ‘comfort zone’ they may put me. All I can say is that I have come to where I am, wherever that may be, through a willingness to search into all schools of thought, running each piece of potential knowledge past my own ‘inner compass’ of what I ‘know’ through experience.

I’m not too sure how this fits in with the fact that the answers don’t lie externally in the first place! (I think I’m in the ‘learning pit’ right now rolleyes.gif ) I think, as I mentioned in my previous post, it may be something to do with starting from where we are – externally, information based awareness? Or acceptance of the totality of what we are? Or maybe the confusion forces one to look elsewhere (i.e. inside)?

I don’t know.

But perhaps the way to ‘"escape" a prison that is constantly reforming itself from within our own minds’ is to constantly challenge what is within our own minds?

But I don’t know that either! laugh.gif
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lunk
post Mar 28 2009, 10:53 PM
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My uncle used to always land on his feet, no matter what happened.
For instance, near the end of world war two,
he was old enough to join the army, and did.

They gave him his training and sent him off to India,
but before he saw any combat, he fell down a well,
and broke both his legs, infirmed, he married his nurse,
and became a biologist.

I don't know what this has to do with god and science,
but it somehow seems to fit in with the confusion...

...sort of.

imo, lunk
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Willow
post Apr 6 2009, 03:26 PM
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QUOTE (lunk @ Mar 29 2009, 02:53 AM) *
My uncle used to always land on his feet, no matter what happened.
For instance, near the end of world war two,
he was old enough to join the army, and did.

They gave him his training and sent him off to India,
but before he saw any combat, he fell down a well,
and broke both his legs, infirmed, he married his nurse,
and became a biologist.

I don't know what this has to do with god and science,
but it somehow seems to fit in with the confusion...

...sort of.

imo, lunk


Hmm... maybe it does.

Reminds me a lot of a Taoist story (versions of which can be found here) showing that what is, is. We cannot really judge anything to be 'good' or 'bad' due to our limited perspective.

I guess same can be said of 'God' and 'Science'. They are both different, yet not unrelated, sources of information... information which may be a 'map' to truth, but is not truth in and of itself.
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Omega892R09
post Apr 7 2009, 01:08 PM
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QUOTE (Willow @ Mar 26 2009, 06:17 PM) *
But I don’t know that either! laugh.gif

Ah! Yes! You see.

Confusion.

My idea of God was implicit in my original reply where it should have been clear that I was indicating some 'entity' that does not exist but is believed to exist, on no evidence whatsoever, by established religions from a variety of cultures.

Thus if the god does not exist it equates to zero and dividing any quantity by zero returns an error.

ASCII 165 Symbol
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Willow
post Apr 8 2009, 06:35 AM
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QUOTE (Omega892R09 @ Apr 7 2009, 06:08 PM) *
Ah! Yes! You see.

Confusion.


Indeed... but as you will see from my earlier posts, I do not see this 'confusion' as a 'bad' thing. wink.gif


QUOTE
...dividing any quantity by zero returns an error.


Mathematically, it is described as being "undefined."

Sure, this can be translated to mean "does not make sense", and a calculator / computer will indeed return an 'error' message, but I suppose it depends on whether one makes the assumption that we already know, or have the facility or 'tools' to know, everything.

If something is 'undefined' does this mean that it does not exist, or simply that we have no definition for it?

Is there nothing beyond that which is currently measurable by external implements?
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Omega892R09
post Apr 8 2009, 07:47 AM
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QUOTE (Willow @ Apr 6 2009, 09:35 AM) *
Is there nothing beyond that which is currently measurable by external implements?

That is not what I mean, but then I think you know that.
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bsbray
post Apr 15 2009, 03:55 PM
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QUOTE (Omega892R09 @ Apr 8 2009, 11:47 AM) *
That is not what I mean, but then I think you know that.


Then do you still cling to what you said earlier? Are you one of those people who thinks science has already figured everything out and new ways of looking at things are now unnecessary? Or one of those people for whom science has replaced religion, and you seek to find any answers to life's mysteries solely in technical studies?
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lunk
post Apr 15 2009, 10:40 PM
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QUOTE (bsbray @ Apr 15 2009, 12:55 PM) *
Then do you still cling to what you said earlier? Are you one of those people who thinks science has already figured everything out and new ways of looking at things are now unnecessary? Or one of those people for whom science has replaced religion, and you seek to find any answers to life's mysteries solely in technical studies?


I would say that religion has infiltrated science, so much so,
that religion is now, accepting science, as part of its' gospel.


...as if, "nothing is real".
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Nunyabiz
post Sep 21 2009, 07:54 AM
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Science & god/religion go together like hot oil does to cold water.

There is no place what so ever in the field of science for mythical magical imaginary invisible beings or the "beliefs" that support such nonsense.
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brokensticks
post Sep 21 2009, 10:22 AM
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lol

science + god = trouble + denial
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Omega892R09
post Sep 21 2009, 11:56 AM
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QUOTE (bsbray @ Apr 13 2009, 05:55 PM) *
Then do you still cling to what you said earlier?

In which statement?
QUOTE
Are you one of those people who thinks science has already figured everything out...

Nope, that is a common misapprehension of those who wish to annoy non-believers.

QUOTE
and new ways of looking at things are now unnecessary?

True searchers for the truth are always considering new ways of looking at things, that is how progress is made. Such methodology will probably always be required for it is a very difficult task for the microbe crawling across the skin of a balloon to figure out the form of that balloon.

QUOTE
Or one of those people for whom science has replaced religion,

In a sense I am one of those people, because I had a fairly intense religious upbringing as would be expected of the grandson of a Baptist minister and having a mother who did, and still does, consider the Bible gospel, but have since seen that nonsense for what it is.

But on the other hand, As for science replacing religion well that depends. Science can stand on its own without any need for religion. Stephen Jay Gould was quite wrong about, 'non-overlapping magesteria'.

QUOTE
and you seek to find any answers to life's mysteries solely in technical studies?

Technical studies, a bit more than such involved methinks.
Religion, in the Judeo/Christian tradition, is simply the impoverished POV of those who consider that:

'The Bible is the truth...

because all the works of Science cannot equal the wisdom of cattle-sacrificing primitives who thought every animal species in the world lived within walking distance of Noah's house.'
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CJEAN
post Sep 21 2009, 02:29 PM
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Hi, philosophy fans.

In a parallel way of thinking, if you want to see a VERY fun way
of seeing science and spirituality, see/buy/rent the second line of my
signature. It is a 3 DVD kit.

You will discover the magic of QUANTUM science !
And remember the next: **The double slit experiment ! ! **
We could start a thread on this. . . the slits.. . B-)

You will NOT see [ science + god ]
!! You will see [ matter + consciousness ] !!

Blue skies.
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RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 12th November 2019 - 07:42 AM