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Narrow-minded viewpoints (materialism)
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Posted 4/7/16
They will never understand. They're machine puppets.
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Posted 4/7/16

Sarah_Blight wrote:
As an aspiring buddhist, and an atheist, I see it as a cultish reactionary movement in the scientific community against anything other than what they know. They make science a religion, and try to use their finitely acquired knowledge . Science works for no one, but for everyone , science and religion (not all religion) are not yet proven to be mutually exclusive.


Based on your post, the applicable definition of materialism is a belief that only material things exist. Science is, broadly speaking, the rigorous study of the natural world; it is neither a religion nor a cult. As other posters have pointed out, not all scientists are atheists or agnostic and all people are certainly free to have their own spiritual beliefs. But many of the ideas common in eastern religions--concepts like spiritual energy, chakras, and reincarnation--are things for which there is either no evidence or no good evidence. For example, save for a choice few studies where the data was massaged to give a positive looking result, all inquiry into energy healing has been negative. Anecdotal evidence for energy healing abounds, but when rigorous study fails to find any good evidence for its effectiveness, what then? The explanation that positive results are psychosomatic and not any better than a placebo is not what people want to hear or believe in many cases, but it fits in the evidence that can be found.

You didn't mention what nonphysical things you believe in so I picked spiritual energy because that is a fairly common one. But the same basic reasoning works for any spiritual concept. What evidence is there for its reality? That's always the key question. Except for occasional dishonesty and overzealous bids for funding, all scientific work is about seeking objective truth. When you hear about a thing that contradicts all understood laws of nature and then collect a body of evidence that fails to suggest the reality of the thing, what are you supposed to say as a honest investigator? The burden of proof is on the person making a claim. Again, look at energy healing. People claim it exists and so it gets studied. The results are negative and our understanding of psychology adequately explains what people subjectively experience as a result of "healing". If you then want to say, "well, you haven't proved that it hasn't ever worked for anyone anywhere so it might still be true!" you've confused the issue entirely.

Saying that science and religion are not yet proven to be mutually exclusive is meaningless without more precise definitions. What science and which religious beliefs are you talking about? A young creationist's belief that the Earth is 6000 years old and that humans lived alongside dinosaurs directly contradicts what we know about the history and age of our world. In such a case, the reality that we have come to understand through decades of rigorous scientific study and this fellow's beliefs are quite mutually exclusive. Science and religion clash when religion makes claims about the physical world that can be tested and examined, and for which data can be gathered. Science makes no moral or personal judgements, and so that aspect of religion never overlaps with it.

In my experience, dislike for science and scientists usually comes about in one of four ways:
1. A person is only exposed to scientific ideas through horrible, inaccurate garbage like what they put on the History channel or in New Age books. Much of what is shown and said about science on TV is utterly ridiculous and only serves to undermine the seriousness and rigor that real researchers possess. Nobody hosting the 1000th documentary on how aliens built the pyramids is a real historian or scientist. If he or she actually earned a degree in a related field, they long ago gave up any claim to professionalism. Some of the people interviewed are real historians or scientists, but they are asked leading questions and quotes are taken out of context.

2. A person has read some popular science books on a subject--say physics--and now believes he or she really understands the subject. Having gained such a perceived understanding, he or she then finds what seem to be obvious flaws in accepted science and lose confidence in science as a whole. Popular science books are important because they give lay people a glimpse into exciting fields of human knowledge. But that's all they do. Understanding modern science in any detail requires advanced mathematics that very few people ever learn. On top of that, even if you have the mathematical background to understand the reality of the material, the ideas are still really hard to understand. And reading a book and thinking you understand it is very different from actually understanding it and being able to apply the material. I read part of book on electrical circuits before taking physics 2, and I was blown away and embarrassed by how many things I had misunderstood when I went through the book.

3. A fact arrived at through scientific study is personally or politically inconvenient. My Dad grew up believing that humans were literally made in the Garden of Eden and that we all descend from Adam and Eve. Every time the fossil record is mentioned or evolution is brought up. he gets angry because it contradicts what he was taught to believe. Even dinosaurs sometimes make him edgy.

4. People distrust science because of what we don't know or can't do. People look around at cellphones, computers, and other modern technology and wonder, "if we can make all this, why can't we cure cancer? Why isn't there a cheap and easy way to replace fossil fuels? If we understand how things really work, we should be able to do it!". I actually got into an argument once with a friend who was certain that if the laws of nature were fixed chemists should be able to cure cancer easily. I never did get an explanation of how he thought nature worked at all if the laws kept changing
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21 / F / Canada
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Posted 4/7/16 , edited 4/7/16
I have no idea what scientist you're talking. But most scientists attempt to question or try to dethrone pre existing laws. It's not attack religion. It's really scientists attacking each other.

If you don't understand science, using that claim then is it an attack on religion.
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Posted 4/7/16 , edited 4/7/16

EarthLight22 wrote:


Sarah_Blight wrote:
As an aspiring buddhist, and an atheist, I see it as a cultish reactionary movement in the scientific community against anything other than what they know. They make science a religion, and try to use their finitely acquired knowledge . Science works for no one, but for everyone , science and religion (not all religion) are not yet proven to be mutually exclusive.


Based on your post, the applicable definition of materialism is a belief that only material things exist.


And even then seems to be thrown about by someone who just now embraced the abstract promises of Buddhism, and similarly, tosses the M-word around like lyrics in a George Harrison song.

Materialism in the Judeo-Christian sense is the spirit of "You can't take it with you" in terms of the pursuit of monetary wealth or earthly real-estate.
So, if there's no longterm point in spending it on yourself, why not spend it on someone else, like the poor and needy?


You didn't mention what nonphysical things you believe in so I picked spiritual energy because that is a fairly common one. But the same basic reasoning works for any spiritual concept. What evidence is there for its reality? That's always the key question. Except for occasional dishonesty and overzealous bids for funding, all scientific work is about seeking objective truth. When you hear about a thing that contradicts all understood laws of nature and then collect a body of evidence that fails to suggest the reality of the thing, what are you supposed to say as a honest investigator? The burden of proof is on the person making a claim. Again, look at energy healing. People claim it exists and so it gets studied. The results are negative and our understanding of psychology adequately explains what people subjectively experience as a result of "healing". If you then want to say, "well, you haven't proved that it hasn't ever worked for anyone anywhere so it might still be true!" you've confused the issue entirely.


The problem with adopting Science-ism (not to be confused with Scientology or Christian Scientist) as a theological concept is that it comes up against the same fallacy: You can't prove a negative, and you can't use the lack of proof to prove a positive.

The problem with New Age and other Eastern religions is that they're buried in their own terminology--Concepts can only be explained with other concepts, until they "make sense" in the wishful mind the listener who hopes to achieve neat things with them.
The New Testament, OTOH, explained Christian ethics in plain real-world terms, and encouraged you to understand if you didn't get it, rather than awe you if you didn't--If you want to explain forgiveness, talk about the servant who owed his employer money.
Which sort of comes up about that old saying of whether you understand something enough yourself to explain it to a ten-yo.
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Posted 4/7/16



He's an agnostic, which means he isn't sure, but like most agnostics, he latched onto the word "Atheist", and then found out he doesn't want to be like those boorish misanthropic jerks who keep campaigning to put an Einstein statue next to the town's Christmas display because they're paranoiacally thinking the entire town is "against" their way of thinking, like Trump talking about Bernie and Cruz supporters.

It's okay not to be sure, as it's better to be a quiet questioner, than a loud asshat.


I believe you are being quite the loud asshat yourself honey.

Also, for the Christian religions, their decorations should be nowhere near any sort of Government building. Separation of State and Religion. On private property, put it everywhere. I don't mind. If it is owned by the government, it shouldn't be there. Now, onto the OP.

I believe that materialism is both good and bad. It has it's own sort of Yin and Yang going on. For example, war. Without war, humanity would not have advanced as far as it has now. However, much life was lost in this pursuit of the goal of attaining land, resources, or spreading your belief system. Be that what it may, it still increased our knowledge of the world around us and helped spread culture from each land. It makes me think of the commissaries on any military base. They have all sorts of imported Asian/European/etc. foods and items as culture has spread where war did.

Back to Ejanss: Someday you will know the true god is the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I hope you are touched with his noodly appendage soon.
-Alma
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Posted 4/7/16

Sarah_Blight wrote:
science and religion (not all religion) are not yet proven to be mutually exclusive.



I've gone through the thread twice, but I still can't quite figure out what you actually meant when you said this.

That a scientist can have religion, but only until it is proven mutually exclusive? And exactly what does "proven mutually exclusive" mean anyway?

Of course this is bollocks, as scientists certainly can have religion while still doing good science. Take Newton for example. Look into his later life. He believed some crazy shit, but that didn't make his laws of motion or the theory of gravity any less viable, moreover his work was solid enough that even though Einstein's relativity surpasses it, Newton's equations are still used when the precision of relativity isn't required.

If you are trying to say religion is required to understand the universe, or that religion somehow has similar explanatory power to methodological naturalism (which is the term you should use instead of materialism, btw) then this too is crap. You can't put god(s) in a test tube and no supernatural model has ever had any predictive power.
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Posted 4/7/16
I love Terence McKenna's stance on this. He was a complete rationalist who ventured into the world of DMT and psychedelics. He points out the problems of modern science.

If modern quantum physics is showing us anything, it's showing us how much we don't know about this universe. And any atheist or religious person who claims that they know how it works are just feeding their ego's. If you look at the atheism subreddit you'll see that the atheists are just as closed minded as the religious folks.

I'll just leave this quote by Terence McKenna


My take on science, I mean, just, I might as well couch it as a comment to you, but it will come out in some other form anyway, is...science is excellent at doing what it was designed to do, but it has expanded its province into all reality and seeks to pass judgment in areas where it has no real business going. It's a very limited method that achieves its claim to universality by wildly exaggerating its accomplishments.
For example, science, to do its work--I mean, modern science, post-Newton-- depends on probability theory, but probability theory has a built-in assumption that has never been thoroughly looked at, and that is the assumption of what Newton called 'pure duration.' Meaning that, science, if you describe a scientific procedure to someone, they don't ask whether you did it on a Wednesday or a Saturday. Science seeks to be time independant, and in order to do that it has to make the assumption that time is invariant. There's no, this is just a first try with Occam's razor. In fact, in our own lives, what we experience is endless variation. In other words, it may be that the hydrogen bond when it breaks always breaks the same way, but love affairs, investment strategies, political campaigns, the building of empires, these things are always characterized by a kind of uniqueness, and science, by invading these domains with probabilistic conceptions, gives us the science of statistics, polling, and hands to us mythical entities like the citizen or the average white male or--I mean, these are just absurd abstractions that are generated by a particular kind of world view that is not really examining its first premesis.

So I would propose a modified definition of science that would then let it do its work in peace, which is, science is the study of those phenomena which are time independant, but that in many realms of nature, a new theory to replace probability theory and flat duration is necessary. The power of probability is simply based on its success in these very very limited domains, and now there's no way back from that. Modern science is thoroughgoingly probabalistic. If you were to try and remake--I mean, they're always raving about the new paradigm in science, and it's always usually some tiny diddling of what they've already got. If you were to really try and remake science, then you would have to replace the assumption of invariability in time with a mathematical statement about its variability. And we'll talk more about that tomorrow, because there is room for that.

I mean, science is not reason. Reason is a different domain, and I think anything which is unreasonable, ultimately unreasonable, is just patently absurd. That's why I don't feel great affinity with most of the marching hordes of the New Age, because, you know, the fact of the matter is, they don't possess any razors for separating the nuts from the berries. But nevertheless, our intellectual choices are not between the channellers of Lazares and the American scientific establishment. There's a vast set of possibilities in between there and beyond those poles of discourse that can be worked out.

Every society that's always existed has had the built-in assumption that they only needed to find out five percent more about reality, and then it would all fall into place, and that they had the right tools for doing that. But we look back then with this great sense of superiority on the naivete of the ancient Egyptians, the ancient Greeks, the Maya, the 17th century English--everybody we look back on their naivete. But in fact our own cultural enterprise is obviously fraught with a peculiar illogic and childishness and naivete. I mean we're a culture that, you know, robs our children to create a pot luck culture in the present. This will look fairly, this would look fairly pathological from any cultural perspective outside our own.

The thing--I mean, this is a segueway but it makes sense--the thing that I think psychedelics do that addresses this problem and many many problems or choke points in our ideological effort to understand what's going on, is, the contribution that they make is that they dissolve boundaries. And culture-- I mean, the word 'virtual reality' was used as we went around the circle. Culture IS the sanctioned virtual reality. And it is put place by the machinery of local language, you see. And so then you're born into this circumstance, and you're told, you know, 'You are a male child. You are a citizen. You are a citizen of the United States. You are a Christian. You are a Jew. You will go to college. You will do this...' And this you never question. It's called the social contract. It hasn't gone unnoticed by Western philosophers. It's just, it's gone unnoticed by those of us who are its foremost victims. They try to tell you that you're in a social contract, but when you ask to see your signature on the document, they tell you that you were born into this contract. Well, what the hell kind of contract is that? It means that you were born into a kind of enslavement to a linguistically empowered paradigm, a virtual reality within which you will walk around your entire life, you know, congratulating yourself on its accomplishments and ignoring its contradictions and weaknesses.
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Posted 4/7/16
No time invarience, seems to hold up, we've never seen physics change, or at least it seems to always change in ways that manage not kill you. I,m really not sure how you're suppose to do better than that. And even if was true probability would still mostly hold up.
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Posted 4/7/16 , edited 4/7/16

evilotakuneko wrote:


Sarah_Blight wrote:
science and religion (not all religion) are not yet proven to be mutually exclusive.


I've gone through the thread twice, but I still can't quite figure out what you actually meant when you said this.

That a scientist can have religion, but only until it is proven mutually exclusive?


Not quite--It means a scientist is not "forbidden" to have a religious belief, as a real trained and experienced scientist would know that it was not Science's job to prove or disprove it one way or the other.
It's all the overzealous Wannabes who think they have to choose up sides on the playground.
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Posted 4/7/16
The penguins look nice this time of year.
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Posted 4/7/16 , edited 4/7/16
I'm an engineer (use science on a daily basis) and I guess I am a deist. I believe in a God that doesn't directly interact with our daily lives, but I cannot prove there is a God, nor can I say for certain that one doesn't exist? Does that actually make me agnostic? ugh, now I'm confused
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Posted 4/9/16
Closed because OP nuked
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