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View Full Version : Debate Topic What doesn't science do for you?



Roknrol
07 Mar 2011, 15:48
So I was talking to some coworkers about an article that was posted to Slashdot, and it occurred to me that perhaps the Atheists of the world are missing something :)

So what is it that you (anyone) get from your religion that Science cannot or does not give you?

DanieMarie
07 Mar 2011, 16:00
I don't really feel I'm missing anything from science, and I believe in science very much and still think it's the most effective way to make new discoveries about the world around us. I really do hate the "science vs. religion" debate, because I feel that they're just different things. Science is the study of the world around me, that I can observe and see (at least maybe with a powerful microscope or telescope or something at least), and religion and spirituality are what I feel inside me and around me that isn't visible (or whatever...you get the idea).

Medusa
07 Mar 2011, 16:06
How do us Atheists get to participate in this?

Corvus
07 Mar 2011, 17:09
I don't think science and religion are exclusive to one another. To me they are two sides of the same coin.

Ophidia
07 Mar 2011, 18:42
I'm another who doesn't feel that science is at odds with religion. Science tells me how stuff happens, religion tells me that stuff happens and it is awe-full. Knowing how lightning works does not prevent me from beholding it with a sense of wonder, knowing that the air I breathe and the water I drink have been here since the dinosaurs roamed only makes me feel even more connected to life around me.

Just because the world around me is made up of atoms, electrons, neutrons and bits of other stuff does not make it any less Divine, any less a part of the Great Mystery.

Dumuzi
07 Mar 2011, 19:11
Science is the tool to try to answer anything. When people think of science, they think of labs and white coats. However, we tend to use the scientific method in our daily life, more than we think we do. Often, we just call it common sense.

To gain any kind of knowledge, you need to go about it in an academic way. And that includes religious knowledge. You have to apply that scholarly kind of thinking when seeking any kind of knowledge. We need to apply that to religion in order to reach the truth.

So that's to answer your question.

Off topic rant: I'm tired of Atheists claiming they have exclusive copy rights on science.

Caelia
07 Mar 2011, 19:43
I hate to be this person, but I feel the question is too vague. "Does not give" in terms of what? Gratification? Answers? And if answers, answers to what questions?

While ultimately I have to join the cries of "meh, I don't see the two at odds", I don't think we're going to get far in answering the question if we leave it in terms of generalities.

AzazelEblis
07 Mar 2011, 20:17
Science is the tool to try to answer anything. When people think of science, they think of labs and white coats. However, we tend to use the scientific method in our daily life, more than we think we do. Often, we just call it common sense.

To gain any kind of knowledge, you need to go about it in an academic way. And that includes religious knowledge. You have to apply that scholarly kind of thinking when seeking any kind of knowledge. We need to apply that to religion in order to reach the truth.

So that's to answer your question.
Agreed.


Off topic rant: I'm tired of Atheists claiming they have exclusive copy rights on science.

Ibn al-Haytham, for the win! ;)

As for the theories that come out of science - they explain what they will, when confirmed by enough experimentation.

I'm tired of String theory being called "Science". For all the science that confirms it, it should be in the New Age section of bookstores. It's an elegant theory, but we just can't tie it down to anything observable.

---------- Post added at 04:17 AM ---------- Previous post was at 03:44 AM ----------

Atheism doesn't give me access to that whole other realm of reality that Chaos magic does. Sometimes, I even acknowledge that other level as simply a mental device for self-therapy; other times, very strange results come about.

Religion is in the realm of the subjective. Genuine Scientists often have a religion, but even they put it on a shelf to discover deeper truths about the world around us. Chaos magic is all about playing with that subjectivity. From exercises in that, I discovered my favorite bible verse is contained in my favorite bible chapter. By wearing another's perspective for a while to understand it, I grow. A part of that growth is the ability to communicate to the values that person holds, deeper so than simply remembering a list of their values.

Talking about whether objective results came from a subjective phenomenon tends to lead to all sorts of bickering and one-up-manship. Therefore, I don't see the point in sidetracking the discussion with that branch of thought.

DanieMarie
07 Mar 2011, 23:55
I'm another who doesn't feel that science is at odds with religion. Science tells me how stuff happens, religion tells me that stuff happens and it is awe-full. Knowing how lightning works does not prevent me from beholding it with a sense of wonder, knowing that the air I breathe and the water I drink have been here since the dinosaurs roamed only makes me feel even more connected to life around me.

Just because the world around me is made up of atoms, electrons, neutrons and bits of other stuff does not make it any less Divine, any less a part of the Great Mystery.

Yeah that's exactly what I meant too!

B. de Corbin
08 Mar 2011, 05:26
My religion gives me a way to think about things and find ou about them before science gets around to collecting info on it. Almost everything I've learned through my particular religion has been demonstrated correct by science, it's just that my religion got there first, but without the benefit of hard/objective data to back it up. Science has been providing that.

I agree with those who point out that they're not mutually exclusive - at least they shouldn't be - but, for some reason, there are people who love to treat them as if they are. A meaningful question is: Why?

DanieMarie
08 Mar 2011, 05:39
It kind of bugs me actually (when people assume they're mutually exclusive). When I first brought up that I had religious beliefs some of my atheist friends (fans of science) assumed that I wouldn't be logical or believe in science. Luckily some of the criticism died down....I don't talk about my religious beliefs and they don't talk about religion being silly. I have one friend who I'm kind of distancing myself from (luckily he's in Canada)...we're very close friends and I've never actually told him any of my beliefs or that I'm even spiritual at all because he takes everything to be an invitation to debate. If I disagree with someone I might voice my disagreement but don't always want to debate it out until there's a clear "winner" and "loser"...I think it's possible for people to agree to disagree. Likewise if he disagrees with something you say, that's also an invitation to debate to him and there also has to be a "winner" or "loser." Basically, it comes down to the fact that he thinks he's right, and he'll go through whatever lengths to prove it, and if you even bother defending your argument, he'll ignore your sources anyway if it's something that doesn't fit in with what he believes (no matter how academic). He thinks religion is closed-minded and illogical, and that religious people deny science. I don't bother arguing with him because, given the above, there's no point. It'll just end up with him still believing what he wants and me being really pissed off.

On the flip side of that, I have a friend who is both a scientist and religious. He doesn't feel they're mutually exclusive either.

B. de Corbin
08 Mar 2011, 06:33
I was listening to an interview on the radio with a guy who had written a biography of Darwin. One of the things he brought up is that prior to Darwin, the view that "God" had literally created the world in 7 days was a minority viewpoint - by a vast amount (Darwin himself was a Chrisitan, and didn't see his work as antithetical to Christianity).

For some reason, following Darwin, claims for a literal interpretation of the Bible went up - at least in the public forum... currently, at least according to my daughter, you can't be a real Christian unless you believe that fairytale.

Things like this always make me wonder who stood to gain by making a non-issue into an issue? Or was it was just a quirk in the zeitgeist?

thalassa
08 Mar 2011, 07:04
So what is it that you get from your religion that Science cannot or does not give you?


Science offers very compelling explanations of how things happen...but science by its very nature fails to offer reasons for why they happen and what should be done about it. Whether your "religion" is Catholicism or secular humanism, whether you believe in one god/no god/many gods/the force/Elvis, those answers don't come from science, but rather from humanity. Belief in *something* (whether that something is science, or nothing, or one's self, or god/s) is what makes us human, and how humans should act and interact with one another and the world around us (whether that include the "supernatural" or not) is what religion is ultimately about (for better or worse).

Roknrol
08 Mar 2011, 07:42
How do us Atheists get to participate in this?

See, I knew you were smart...

---------- Post added at 03:42 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:40 PM ----------


I hate to be this person, but I feel the question is too vague. "Does not give" in terms of what? Gratification? Answers? And if answers, answers to what questions?That was intentional, as I did not want to presuppose what some people may get from their religion.


While ultimately I have to join the cries of "meh, I don't see the two at odds", I don't think we're going to get far in answering the question if we leave it in terms of generalities.
I'll try to rephrase in awhile - gotta get to work, so I don't have time ATM :(

Dez
08 Mar 2011, 08:10
Science explains to me how the world works.

Religion give me a way to handle my day-to-day life...to feel comforted when sad, spurred to action when despondent, and like I can have some form of control over things when I am, in fact, powerless.

Short of learning how to shoot various endorphin cocktails into your arm, it's apples and oranges.

Rowanwood
08 Mar 2011, 10:41
For me, science doesn't quite cover everything I have experienced, no matter how hard I've tried.

Also, in another direction -- science is not always truth either. See autism/vaccine study debunked for example. This was touted as science and was completely false. Also see http://www.junkscience.com for some more.

DanieMarie
08 Mar 2011, 10:50
Most scientists don't find the findings of every study to be absolute truth though. Theories are never set in stone, that's why they're called "theories" and not "laws." Even the details of a lot of pretty sound theories are still under question. And there's lots out there that hasn't been explained by science at all but that doesn't mean there isn't a scientific explanation...it's just that no one has found one yet :)

I have a lot of scientist friends, and the above is the exact reason they have a passion for science. I also think it's a big reason why artists and scientists make great friends a lot of the time...there's a lot of discovery and thinking outside the box in both, just in different ways and applied to different things. Both sets need to be able to see something and not only see it for what it is but also what it might be.

Hawkfeathers
08 Mar 2011, 11:13
It's easy for science to be false - the autism/vaccine thing for example - take a hypothesis and set out to prove it, and it either proves true or false. Religion has no significant arena of tangible proof, nor is one desired by most participants. "Faith-based" is just that - based on one's belief in something intangible and unprovable. It's emotion-driven as opposed to logic-driven. I believe we need both. It's the yin/yang thing that keeps us balanced.

thalassa
08 Mar 2011, 11:45
...the problem with the autism study was that it was bad science--and was promulgated as such almost from the get-go by the medical and scientific communities, the anti-vaccine community just couldn't give it up and continued to bandy it about as if it were good, quality, clinical research..and since the media only reports things that are controversial, never bothered with correcting their original stories until it was discovered that not only was the original researcher a bad scientist, but was also a flat out unethical fraud.

Really, in this sense, I don't think its a good indication of anything other than the fact that people will use whatever tools they have at their disposal of whatever POV they are espousing, whether that tool happens to be Christian Scientists, or Jenny McCarthy.

Hawkfeathers
08 Mar 2011, 11:54
And of course, there's big money in big pharma. The FDA approves things that they shouldn't. Research is often incomplete or skewed toward the dollar sign. Then, years later, you have all these lawyers making money off the fact that Darvon caused heart trouble, etc., etc.

KashakuTatsu
09 Mar 2011, 01:25
I tend to find one augments the other. Studying into quantum physics there is a black hole explanation that almost "proves" how my path teaches how the universe runs. The string theory when squished is the nanogram/tree-of-life. Tried to disprove magickal squares, failed. New drugs/treatments show old time alchemy right even if it's a different reason (have a decent example of that I found while treating my thyroid). It gets in and shows the "how" of things that have been taught on a spiritual level, but doesn't answer the "why". Dare to say we need the two together.

Roknrol
09 Mar 2011, 11:05
I've read the posts - but I don't feel like quoting each person, so please, if I neglect to address a comment, please restate it - I'll try to do better about returning to the thread when I've got time :p

First, a few erroneous assumptions have been made regarding the question: It was neither stated nor implied that science is "better" than religion, or that every scientist knows what in the fuck they're doing - any more than every priest(ess) knows what in the fuck they're doing.

Judging by what I'm seeing here, Deseret is the only one that answered the question without assuming that I've had an agenda.

Now. To restate, and hopefully clear up some of the bullshit confusion:

From science, I get the knowledge that my life is progressing "normally". I do not assume that I am somehow more "special" than my fellow human beings, and Science does not pull any punches when it lets me know that. I appreciate science, and adhere to it, because it tends to be a whole fuck of a lot smarter than myself, as long as I take some precautions to ensure that the information I'm getting is valid.

Religion has no such stopgaps in place - if an "expert" tells you something, your options are to believe or to not believe. Whether that person is right or wrong will never be made clear. I read, recently, a line that I thought was interesting (and please, this is not intended to offend): When asked about the bible, a response that I had heard was, "Are the authors smarter than you?" That question had a profound effect on my perception of religion, and after a couple of weeks of mulling it over, I thought I would ask some real believers.

So, once again, what do you get out of religion? Some of you have rituals and holidays that you participate in, under the auspices of accomplishing something. That accomplishement IS what you're getting out of your religion. Some of you simply hold beliefs. Some of you pray. Some of you probably masterbate to pictures of goats. The question still stands: What do you get out of religion that you do not get from science?

Can we please move on past the "What's he up to?" bullshit? There's no hidden agenda - I'm simply curious.

Wednesday
09 Mar 2011, 12:50
So, once again, what do you get out of religion? Some of you have rituals and holidays that you participate in, under the auspices of accomplishing something. That accomplishement IS what you're getting out of your religion. Some of you simply hold beliefs. Some of you pray. Some of you probably masterbate to pictures of goats. The question still stands: What do you get out of religion that you do not get from science?

As in, why doesn't science fulfill our needs for answers and comfort?

In heathenry there isn't a contradiction between science and myth. The gods didn't create the universe, they're a product of it. Any answers that science gives me doesn't invalidate my religion but deepens the layers. What religion does is give me a code of conduct. Sure, most of my actions and reactions can be explained away as biological urges but heathenry allows me to be responsible for who I am as a product of nature and scientific fact in a way that ensures my happiness.

Even atheists live by some code. They choose to follow society's code, the legal system, the local laws as a matter of survival and for personal happiness. God tells him to go to church on Sunday and the DPS tells her to drive 15 miles per hour in a school zone. There isn't a huge difference. You follow the laws so that you can be happy in other areas, or because being a law-abiding citizen makes you happy.


From science, I get the knowledge that my life is progressing "normally". I do not assume that I am somehow more "special" than my fellow human beings, and Science does not pull any punches when it lets me know that. I appreciate science, and adhere to it, because it tends to be a whole fuck of a lot smarter than myself, as long as I take some precautions to ensure that the information I'm getting is valid.

I find in heathenry that the message isn't eally that dissimilar to the one you're providing here. This is the world; we live in it, other people live in it, try not to be a total sh*thead. There isn't an eternal reward, there's no personal salvation. It is what it is. There's no plan, no god who created us for some special purpose, there's just life so try to live it with a little dignity. It's a way of taking...science, really, and just making the best of it. The universe was created from the Big Bang, fine...how can I just live decently and take care of mine?


Religion has no such stopgaps in place - if an "expert" tells you something, your options are to believe or to not believe. Whether that person is right or wrong will never be made clear. I read, recently, a line that I thought was interesting (and please, this is not intended to offend): When asked about the bible, a response that I had heard was, "Are the authors smarter than you?" That question had a profound effect on my perception of religion, and after a couple of weeks of mulling it over, I thought I would ask some real believers.

I guess I'm not looking for my religion to be right. I don't need answers to any big questions. I'm not worried about where I'll go. That's not the point. Heathenry basically says you build your future, your choices affect those who will come after you. What I do today will influence the lives of my descendants two thousand years from now. That's not a belief, that's fact. I'm intimately tied to the future, I create it, it's my life continuining on and my life is the life story of my first ancestor. There's no right or wrong.

Science is just a part of it, not an enemy to it, basically. Science tells me my choices, heatherny is the philosophy that enables me to pick the most responsible one.

Gardenia
09 Mar 2011, 13:00
It's a hard question for me to answer, because it's not really that science is failing to give me something, it's just that I see it as one tool to know and explore the world around me while my spirituality is another. One isn't better than the other, they both give me similar things - just in different ways. Take either away, and I would feel as if something was missing.
(I want to stress that "I" there, because I don't feel that the "Atheists of the world are missing something" or any other group who doesn't think the exact same way that I do...)

I'm not sure if that makes sense, so let's take one example of something I would say my religion gives me - a connection to/understanding of/appreciation of nature. Well, it's not that science doesn't give me that, I certainly get all that about nature when I study it from a scientific standpoint. So perhaps it's better to say religion gives me a deeper understanding and connection to nature. If the question were put in reverse (what doesn't religion do for you?) the answer would be the same.
Then again, it's not just those two things - as another example, art can give me those three things as well...

It's the same for anything else I can think of - for whatever I think religion gives me, science seems to as well, just in different ways usually. Likewise, it's not just those two which provide me with (whatever).
So, what doesn't science do for me? It only gives me the scientific way to look at things (which makes sense!), it only gives me one tool out of several that I like to use.


Now as to all this...

From science, I get the knowledge that my life is progressing "normally". I do not assume that I am somehow more "special" than my fellow human beings, and Science does not pull any punches when it lets me know that.
I can agree with this - but both on the level of science and spirituality. Neither makes me "special" and both provide me with a way of judging my life's progress, so to speak.


Religion has no such stopgaps in place - if an "expert" tells you something, your options are to believe or to not believe.
In the end, yes, you will have to accept or reject the information, but it doesn't have to be done on blind faith. I find religion provides tools with which to judge such things. Yep, it's certainly more subjective - but I guess I don't see that as necessarily a bad thing.


When asked about the bible, a response that I had heard was, "Are the authors smarter than you?"
Obviously I am not a Christian, but you know, wouldn't most Christians say that the Bible is the word of God and of course God is smarter? :p

DanieMarie
09 Mar 2011, 14:20
Sorry Rok....I can't speak for others but my rant wasn't about you at all. It's just that I have some atheist, science fan friends who get a bit judgmental about religion and every time the subject comes up that comes up too. Didn't mean to imply that everyone was the same.

I guess, one thing I can say that science definitely doesn't give me given the criteria you posted is that sometimes, I'm so lonely. I mean, I have friends and family, but the majority of my time, I'm really alone. I can't really do things spontaneously unless I'm prepared to go alone, can only really travel alone, etc. But when I pray, or do rituals, or meditate, I feel like I'm not so alone.

Roknrol
09 Mar 2011, 15:51
As in, why doesn't science fulfill our needs for answers and comfort?Could be - it's a very broad question. If you get comfort and answers from religion, and that's why you believe, I'm curious as to the failings of science that do not provide those things.


In heathenry there isn't a contradiction between science and myth. The gods didn't create the universe, they're a product of it. Any answers that science gives me doesn't invalidate my religion but deepens the layers. I follow...


What religion does is give me a code of conduct. Sure, most of my actions and reactions can be explained away as biological urges but heathenry allows me to be responsible for who I am as a product of nature and scientific fact in a way that ensures my happiness. I'm not sure if I have this straight, so please don't take this offensively: Do you feel that science neglects things like morality and ethics? Do you feel that religion gives you a better "moral compass" than the standard "treat others as you'd like to be treated" that most of us are raised believing (regardless of religious beliefs)?


Even atheists live by some code. They choose to follow society's code, the legal system, the local laws as a matter of survival and for personal happiness. Unless you're an Atheist, I don't think you're particularly qualified to make that determination :) For the record, I follow the laws that I choose to follow, and my "moral compass" is primarily a result of my experiences and the realization that if I treat someone in a manner that I don't want to be treated, I've lost the right to bitch when someone else treats me the same way. It has nothing to do with societal norms, since most of society is locked into their little circle and for them, nothing else exists (or matters). My personal happiness is largely determined by what goes on inside of my own head, and also has little to no bearing on science.


God tells him to go to church on Sunday and the DPS tells her to drive 15 miles per hour in a school zone. There isn't a huge difference. You follow the laws so that you can be happy in other areas, or because being a law-abiding citizen makes you happy. Actually, there IS a huge difference, since religion isn't held accountable for what they teach. Science is, as is evidenced by the earlier links about Autism. As a counterexample, it took the Catholic church 2,000 years to actually SAY that the Jews aren't responsible for Jesus' death. 2,000 years vs. what...10?


I find in heathenry that the message isn't eally that dissimilar to the one you're providing here. This is the world; we live in it, other people live in it, try not to be a total sh*thead. There isn't an eternal reward, there's no personal salvation. It is what it is. There's no plan, no god who created us for some special purpose, there's just life so try to live it with a little dignity. It's a way of taking...science, really, and just making the best of it. The universe was created from the Big Bang, fine...how can I just live decently and take care of mine? I have no complaint with this, but I fail to see how it ties to religion. I don't want to try to put words into your mouth, so I'll stop there :P


I guess I'm not looking for my religion to be right. I don't need answers to any big questions. I'm not worried about where I'll go. That's not the point. Heathenry basically says you build your future, your choices affect those who will come after you.I guess what I'm missing here: Why is this a "heathen" belief, as opposed to just "the way it is"? What part of it being Heathen is important to you?

Dammit...I'm not explaining very well. I'll try again...sorry for the disjointedness, I'm at work :p

Obviously you associate that level of morality and ethics to be Heathen in nature - if that's what you're getting from the religion. I'm curious as to why those same ideals, how to treat people, etc, need to come from a religion instead of just drawing a conclusion...does that make sense? (I know, I sound like a total douchbag...I'm not trying to :p )


What I do today will influence the lives of my descendants two thousand years from now. That's not a belief, that's fact. I'm intimately tied to the future, I create it, it's my life continuining on and my life is the life story of my first ancestor. There's no right or wrong.
I agree wholeheartedly :)

Science is just a part of it, not an enemy to it, basically. Science tells me my choices, heatherny is the philosophy that enables me to pick the most responsible one.
I don't believe that Science and Religion have to be at odds with each other, but I *do* believe that they are both playing very different games.

---------- Post added at 11:51 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:41 PM ----------


It's a hard question for me to answer, because it's not really that science is failing to give me something, it's just that I see it as one tool to know and explore the world around me while my spirituality is another. One isn't better than the other, they both give me similar things - just in different ways. Take either away, and I would feel as if something was missing.
(I want to stress that "I" there, because I don't feel that the "Atheists of the world are missing something" or any other group who doesn't think the exact same way that I do...)

I'm not sure if that makes sense, so let's take one example of something I would say my religion gives me - a connection to/understanding of/appreciation of nature. Well, it's not that science doesn't give me that, I certainly get all that about nature when I study it from a scientific standpoint. So perhaps it's better to say religion gives me a deeper understanding and connection to nature. If the question were put in reverse (what doesn't religion do for you?) the answer would be the same.
Then again, it's not just those two things - as another example, art can give me those three things as well...

It's the same for anything else I can think of - for whatever I think religion gives me, science seems to as well, just in different ways usually. Likewise, it's not just those two which provide me with (whatever).
So, what doesn't science do for me? It only gives me the scientific way to look at things (which makes sense!), it only gives me one tool out of several that I like to use.Now we're cooking with grease - what tools does religion give you access to?


Now as to all this...

I can agree with this - but both on the level of science and spirituality. Neither makes me "special" and both provide me with a way of judging my life's progress, so to speak.


In the end, yes, you will have to accept or reject the information, but it doesn't have to be done on blind faith. I have to interject here - at what point are you given the opportunity to validate or invalidate what you have learned with religion? By what gauge is the "fact" or "fiction" measured?


I find religion provides tools with which to judge such things. Yep, it's certainly more subjective - but I guess I don't see that as necessarily a bad thing. Subjective information is not invalid information - I don't believe for an instant that subjective reasoning is useless. I will say, however, that I know enough about how our bodies and brains flat-out LIE to us (either with our senses, ignorance in a variety of different areas, misunderstandings, what I ate for breakfast, etc) to not trust it so much.



Obviously I am not a Christian, but you know, wouldn't most Christians say that the Bible is the word of God and of course God is smarter? :p;) So's Sherlock Holmes. Which do you think I believe has more of a foundation in reality? :)

But this actually allows me to elaborate on the point (just in case someone missed it). In the case of the Bible, the assumption is that the Word comes from God, to Man, and Man records God's Word for Mankind. So we have God --> Man --> Print. Now, this is just for illustrative purposes, but the expectation is that I trust what's on paper because it came from God...but I don't know who wrote it. They may have been insane, rich, eccentric, or just a fiction author. Nobody knows. And even if we could go back and meet these people, the original SOURCE is questionable, since we have no proof of the existence of God. So for someone to believe the Bible, they are actually reading (and trusting) 3rd, 4th, or 5th-person heresay. Oftentimes these same people won't believe you if you tell them a fantastic story that happened directly to YOU...but they find it easy to trust someone that died 1500+ years ago. </ramble>

thalassa
09 Mar 2011, 15:56
Religion quite simply answers questions and poses ways of looking at the world that science can't, by its every nature, possibly hope to do--much less meaningfully. Though, I suspect that my conception of religion is fairly broad, and well beyond that of a belief in deity and the practices centered around it.

Roknrol
09 Mar 2011, 15:57
Sorry Rok....I can't speak for others but my rant wasn't about you at all. It's just that I have some atheist, science fan friends who get a bit judgmental about religion and every time the subject comes up that comes up too. Didn't mean to imply that everyone was the same.I understand, Danie - I just wanted to nip things in the bud before the thread became an anti-Atheist rant (in general)...especially since that wasn't the intent of my initial post ;)


I guess, one thing I can say that science definitely doesn't give me given the criteria you posted is that sometimes, I'm so lonely. I mean, I have friends and family, but the majority of my time, I'm really alone. I can't really do things spontaneously unless I'm prepared to go alone, can only really travel alone, etc. But when I pray, or do rituals, or meditate, I feel like I'm not so alone.Perfect! And this, IMNSHO, is probably true for a good number of spiritual believers. I know that solitude and lonliness played a big part in Christianity and Paganism both for me. Being alone is tough...it's REALLY tough. It's hard to not feel locked into your own head when other people have the key.

Science...you're right...can't do a whole lot to change that. We all know that personal change has to happen personally ;) If you're interested, I DO (believe it or not) have access to some scientific studies/articles that may help you, but probably not in the way that you'd like them to - but they could go some way to explaining the biology/chemistry behind your approach, and could offer some directions to go in to "fix" them. Unfortunately, the only way you can really avoid being alone is to be with someone else (that's the part that *I* always hated about not being alone :p )

Wednesday
09 Mar 2011, 17:57
I'm not sure if I have this straight, so please don't take this offensively: Do you feel that science neglects things like morality and ethics?

Science, by nature, isn't ethical or moral. To imply it is, one would have to recognize an initial judgement made of what was good and bad. That would imply rational thought and that would be against the very basis of atheism. Good and bad are relative value judgements informed by culture which in turn is informed by that past, which itself is steeped in religion. Scientists/people apply the morals and ethics to what they learn and these morals and ethics are reflective of their worldview...a worldview that is a relative value judgement informed by culture. And so on and so forth.

Science doesn't care if you murder someone. Science doesn't care if a young pregnant mother is killed in a car crash. People care, and people care because they have some sense of right and wrong. The only true atheist, then, would maybe be the sociopath.


Do you feel that religion gives you a better "moral compass" than the standard "treat others as you'd like to be treated" that most of us are raised believing (regardless of religious beliefs)?

Even the atheist who says you should treat others as you'd like to be treated is, in some way, an expression of a worldview/religion. The general reasoning behind that saying is so that people will treat each other right, so that we have peace, fairness etc etc. Science would tell you to evolve to be the strongest and to take out any threats to your resources and only band together to assist survival until survival isn't an option in numbers. It's only urge is survival. There's no grand plan, no sense of justice, no right and no wrong. My moral compass isn't better, it's just an inevitable part of the human experience.


Unless you're an Atheist, I don't think you're particularly qualified to make that determination :)

Heh. Well, since not ALL atheists are in prison I think it's a fair assumption that atheists, to some degree, generally follow the social codes of their culture (i.e murder, rape), without me going to OTT with semantic qualifiers. ;)



For the record, I follow the laws that I choose to follow, and my "moral compass" is primarily a result of my experiences and the realization that if I treat someone in a manner that I don't want to be treated, I've lost the right to bitch when someone else treats me the same way.

*snip*

Actually, there IS a huge difference, since religion isn't held accountable for what they teach. Science is, as is evidenced by the earlier links about Autism. As a counterexample, it took the Catholic church 2,000 years to actually SAY that the Jews aren't responsible for Jesus' death. 2,000 years vs. what...10?




*Shrug* You could just kill them. Most people won't, though, because it's wrong and morally incorrect. But why is it morally incorrect? If science didn't want you to kill people then why is it possible? My point about following laws is that we each chose to navigate our existence in this world in the best way possible while maintaining some degree of happiness. Science gives us the options to do this while a cultural worldview directs our moral responsibility. Our current culture is, by majority, Christian. Any atheist currently existing in America, responsibly, is adhereing to a religious worldview regardless. Their decisions are generally informed by this religious culture. I, personally, cannot destroy my moral compass and live solely by science, disregarding all cultural laws, so I chose a religion that informs my choices within a different worldview. And I think that moral compass is, for the most part, inherent in us. It generally goes against the rational science.





I guess what I'm missing here: Why is this a "heathen" belief, as opposed to just "the way it is"? What part of it being Heathen is important to you?

It doesn't matter if it's heathen or not, really. I could give a thousand examples as to why I believe Heimdallr (in some metaphysical, metaphorical way) will blow his horn at Ragnarok and be told there's no proof. But yet, most atheists won't go shoot an infant in the head (ignoring laws for the time) even though there's no proof that science says one shouldn't. It just is. And I like to color that "just is" with a worldview that I find especially pleasing. Because science isn't enough.

calfhill
09 Mar 2011, 18:16
So many long answers, so short in my opinion. Science and religion are the same. Some things just haven't been proven, yet.

Roknrol
09 Mar 2011, 19:45
Science, by nature, isn't ethical or moral. My bad - I mis-stated what I had intended...I can see where you got this from, and I agree with you.


To imply it is, one would have to recognize an initial judgement made of what was good and bad.One can use scientific methodology to assist in making those decisions - which was my point. Far better, IMO, than religion can.


That would imply rational thought and that would be against the very basis of atheism. Good and bad are relative value judgements informed by culture which in turn is informed by that past, which itself is steeped in religion. Scientists/people apply the morals and ethics to what they learn and these morals and ethics are reflective of their worldview...a worldview that is a relative value judgement informed by culture. And so on and so forth. I understand what you're saying here - but to me, this argument basically says that ethics and morality are largely determined by factors that are neither scientific, nor religious in nature. Thoughts?


Science doesn't care if you murder someone. Science doesn't care if a young pregnant mother is killed in a car crash. People care, and people care because they have some sense of right and wrong. What says that religion is the only way to determine that?

The only true atheist, then, would maybe be the sociopath. I can only judge by myself, of course, but I would say that you're not far off of the mark. Then again, the term "sociopath" (or rather, sociopathic tendencies, is quite vague (as most psychology is), and I don't think that one can immediately leap to the conclusion that sociopathic tendencies are "bad".


Even the atheist who says you should treat others as you'd like to be treated is, in some way, an expression of a worldview/religion. No offense, but the implication that morality has to stem from religion is (probably) flat-out wrong. From what I've studied, it comes from the nature of humanity having to rely on each other in social structures to survive...religion came later. (various asteroid strikes, volcanos, and other natural disasters before humans became, well, the humans that we have now, forced our more animal-like ancestors to work together for sheer survival. What wasn't tolerated, was eliminated, so people learned to both tolerate more, and to be more amiable to behaving in an acceptable manner)


The general reasoning behind that saying is so that people will treat each other right, so that we have peace, fairness etc etc. Science would tell you to evolve to be the strongest and to take out any threats to your resources and only band together to assist survival until survival isn't an option in numbers. It's only urge is survival. There's no grand plan, no sense of justice, no right and no wrong. My moral compass isn't better, it's just an inevitable part of the human experience. As I said, I was more referring to the Scientific Method, rather than science itself - and that was my mistake in my phrasing.


Heh. Well, since not ALL atheists are in prison I think it's a fair assumption that atheists, to some degree, generally follow the social codes of their culture (i.e murder, rape), without me going to OTT with semantic qualifiers. ;) ;) I'd be willing to bet that if you polled prison inmates, you'd find far more claiming religion than not...I haven't looked at any numbers, but I'd be curious as to how they stack up against general society. Of course, you still have to account for prisoners that broke "stupid" laws...you know, the guy that got busted smoking some pot, or the guy that jaywalked just a few too many times...you know what I mean :)


*Shrug* You could just kill them. Most people won't, though, because it's wrong and morally incorrect. But why is it morally incorrect? Only because we don't want to grant people the same right to kill us for the same reasons ;)


If science didn't want you to kill people then why is it possible? As you said, Science is neither one nor t'other - Science doesn't "care". But as I should have said initially, the scientific process can be applied to most situations, and it does it better (IMO, at any rate) than religion.


My point about following laws is that we each chose to navigate our existence in this world in the best way possible while maintaining some degree of happiness. Agreed.


Science gives us the options to do this while a cultural worldview directs our moral responsibility. Our current culture is, by majority, Christian. Any atheist currently existing in America, responsibly, is adhereing to a religious worldview regardless. I'm not sure I agree with this. While many of our laws are considered to have been brought forth due to the Puritans and Christians founding our nation, they were taken more from Hammurabi's laws than anything else - and THOSE "laws" are just common sense for anyone living in a social climate (don't steal, don't fuck with people, etc). IMO, if this really *were* a "Christian" nation, there would be far more infringements on our freedoms, and far more expectations of us to support the Christian church. As it is now, we just hear a lot of gum-flapping and occasionally we have to shake our heads when some school thinks that their better off dumping their science classes because they can't grasp Evolution. But I digress :p


Their decisions are generally informed by this religious culture. I, personally, cannot destroy my moral compass and live solely by science, disregarding all cultural laws, so I chose a religion that informs my choices within a different worldview. And I think that moral compass is, for the most part, inherent in us. It generally goes against the rational science.Ok...now we're getting to some meat :)

Why do you feel that your moral compass would change as a result of not having religion? I mean, I know we have all heard the anti-Atheist movements, talking about how the streets will run red with blood and all of that...but I think that in this day and age, it's pretty patently clear that morality and ethics have very little to do with a given belief system. That's why we end up with immoral preachers, and moral Atheists - I don't believe that morality has to come from "somewhere else"...I think that if people just took a fraction of a second to say, "How would I feel if someone did this to me in this situation?" the world would be a far better place. Problem is, it seems that the vast majority of "true believers" really only believe that as long as they SAY they believe it, it makes it true (which is not very far from how religion is promoted already).


It doesn't matter if it's heathen or not, really. I could give a thousand examples as to why I believe Heimdallr (in some metaphysical, metaphorical way) will blow his horn at Ragnarok and be told there's no proof. But yet, most atheists won't go shoot an infant in the head (ignoring laws for the time) even though there's no proof that science says one shouldn't. It just is. And I like to color that "just is" with a worldview that I find especially pleasing. Because science isn't enough.Ok...let's try to approach this from the other side: Heathenry came from somewhere...someone came up with the idea (whether man or god, for the purposes here it doesn't really matter :p ). I'm guessing that you haven't met the people that decided "This is Heathenry". So the rules and beliefs that you're following stem largely from people that you don't know (and can't possibly trust as a result of simply not knowing them). It logically follows that some event or something occurred at a particular time that convinced you of it's efficacy. I know that when I became Pagan, it was in part due to a phenomenally accurate cold-reading...it convinced me that there might be some truth to it. Of course, over time I started acknowledging when my religion *didn't* work, as well as when it did...and I found that it was wrong more than it was right.

Interesting read over at http://www.whywontgodhealamputees.com ...I'll dig up the quote - my memory sucks :p

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/god5.htm <-- It's a little long, feel free to skim...you'll get the gist of it :)

Roknrol
09 Mar 2011, 20:03
So many long answers, so short in my opinion. Science and religion are the same. Some things just haven't been proven, yet.Can you elaborate? There are plenty of artifacts of religion (by artifacts I mean the trappings of the belief system itself, not a physical artifact that Indy would steal from someone before destroying an ancient archaeological find :) ) that have been either disproven or have been relegated to the "not fucking likely" pile.

While I don't disagree with you in that there are plenty of things out there that we have not scientifically learned yet, I do have to say that I view religion and science to be vastly different from each other, in virtually every significant way. I'll elaborate, although like I said, I didn't want to make this a science vs religion argument...I'm simply curious.

Science: Provides testable ideas that can change as soon as someone discovers a better approach
Religion: Rarely (if ever) changes, even if what is stated is laughably impossible (Noah's Ark, for example).

Science: Allows anyone with the inclination and determination to learn, retest, and challenge currently held "facts/beliefs"
Religion: Answers challenges with such wonderful lines as, "It's part of God's Plan" or "If it's meant to be, it's meant to be" or simply killing anyone that argues with them.

Etc etc etc...I had intended this to be longer, but just got a phone call so gotta motor :(

DanieMarie
09 Mar 2011, 22:29
I understand, Danie - I just wanted to nip things in the bud before the thread became an anti-Atheist rant (in general)...especially since that wasn't the intent of my initial post ;)

Perfect! And this, IMNSHO, is probably true for a good number of spiritual believers. I know that solitude and lonliness played a big part in Christianity and Paganism both for me. Being alone is tough...it's REALLY tough. It's hard to not feel locked into your own head when other people have the key.

Science...you're right...can't do a whole lot to change that. We all know that personal change has to happen personally ;) If you're interested, I DO (believe it or not) have access to some scientific studies/articles that may help you, but probably not in the way that you'd like them to - but they could go some way to explaining the biology/chemistry behind your approach, and could offer some directions to go in to "fix" them. Unfortunately, the only way you can really avoid being alone is to be with someone else (that's the part that *I* always hated about not being alone :p )

Yeah I've read quite a few of them and I've also read quite a few articles about the health risks of being lonely. I'm trying to get out there more and I got a part time job and I take a French class so I'm getting out of the house more other than just the times I socialize, and some self-employed friends and I meet for coffee once or twice a week to keep each other sane, but I do still live alone (and as much as it doesn't make sense, I don't want roommates because they don't really fulfill the gap in the right way), and I do most of my working and studying from home. Sometimes, I'm good, and sometimes I'm bummed about it. Religion just helps me get through those times a bit better :)

Wednesday
09 Mar 2011, 22:58
One can use scientific methodology to assist in making those decisions - which was my point. Far better, IMO, than religion can.

Using a scientific method to rationalize ethical choices still doesn't explain why we have ethics and morals, which:


I understand what you're saying here - but to me, this argument basically says that ethics and morality are largely determined by factors that are neither scientific, nor religious in nature. Thoughts?

The philosophies on where ethics come from and why are too varied. Plato asserts that- like mathematics, ethics are fixed entities and thus exist on a spiritual realm. Others say that ethics exist purely from selfish needs. Science is one to reach a decision on how to live ones life but it doesn't answer the question of why there is a right or wrong way.


What says that religion is the only way to determine that?
I can only judge by myself, of course, but I would say that you're not far off of the mark. Then again, the term "sociopath" (or rather, sociopathic tendencies, is quite vague (as most psychology is), and I don't think that one can immediately leap to the conclusion that sociopathic tendencies are "bad".

Exactly. There isn't a good or bad. I don't think that ethics are fixed but are more relative. The Aesir fight the Jutons because they are Others, but the Jutons don't see themselves as Others, they see themselves as good. And for their purposes they are.

What you're trying to do with science is answer questions--at least as I see it, sorry if this is an incorrect assumption. The reason I don't need science (which is your question) is because I'm not looking for answers. Not entirely, anyhow. Why doesn't Odin heal amputees? Because it's not his job. Why do people die? Because all of the events and choices in their life led up to that time. Where will I go when I die? It doesn't really matter. My family will remember and honor me and my life will continue on it's path of influence into eternity. I don't need to know why the earth orbits the sun for some mystical reason and deeper understanding of the universe, because it's just the sun and even in heathenry? It's sole purpose? Was to mark time and seasons. I won't turn away from the answers science gives me about the sun or nature or physics but in the end it's just explains or highlights ways we can use those to a more productive advantage.


No offense, but the implication that morality has to stem from religion is (probably) flat-out wrong. From what I've studied, it comes from the nature of humanity having to rely on each other in social structures to survive...religion came later. (various asteroid strikes, volcanos, and other natural disasters before humans became, well, the humans that we have now, forced our more animal-like ancestors to work together for sheer survival. What wasn't tolerated, was eliminated, so people learned to both tolerate more, and to be more amiable to behaving in an acceptable manner)

To clarify;currently, most of modern morality exist within a socio-political-religious worldview.


;) I'd be willing to bet that if you polled prison inmates, you'd find far more claiming religion than not...I haven't looked at any numbers, but I'd be curious as to how they stack up against general society.

And then poll how many found religion after being incarcerated. ;)



As you said, Science is neither one nor t'other - Science doesn't "care". But as I should have said initially, the scientific process can be applied to most situations, and it does it better (IMO, at any rate) than religion.

Science has it's place and I'm not denying that. I like for science to explain most things, I like to use rational thought, I like to be pragmatic. But it isn't enough. It doesn't tell me what to do with the answers to my satisfaction.


Why do you feel that your moral compass would change as a result of not having religion?

Because I find it to be relative. You build your ethics from your experiences and those experiences are perceived from a worldview. I could chose not to be heathen and think that honoring my ancestors wasn't a traditional obligation and I could stop doing that. But I enjoy the process and connection, just as I enjoy knowing-from what science has told me-that I'm related to every blue-eyed person on the planet. Science has now informed me on my ancestry and those connections even more, and heathenry gives me a way in which to honor that.


I mean, I know we have all heard the anti-Atheist movements, talking about how the streets will run red with blood and all of that...but I think that in this day and age, it's pretty patently clear that morality and ethics have very little to do with a given belief system.

I don't think that, I just think that atheism is it's own belief system.


Heathenry came from somewhere...someone came up with the idea (whether man or god, for the purposes here it doesn't really matter :p ). I'm guessing that you haven't met the people that decided "This is Heathenry". So the rules and beliefs that you're following stem largely from people that you don't know (and can't possibly trust as a result of simply not knowing them).

Well, I may not know them but they are my blood. They're lives and deaths, their joys and fears, brought me here. Each and every one. And they knew-maybe not of me-but that their lives mattered and shaped someone. And that is one of the core beliefs. Why did they sacrifice to the gods for better crops and victory in battle? For the good of the family. Science/scientific method lacks, imo, that heart and beauty.


Interesting read over at http://www.whywontgodhealamputees.com ...I'll dig up the quote - my memory sucks :p

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/god5.htm <-- It's a little long, feel free to skim...you'll get the gist of it :)

It was an interesting read, but completely irrelevant to me and my religion. God and the gods aren't comparable in their themes. It's just...different.. :)


[It's late and I have no idea if this last reply has made much sense and I think the ethics portion is drifting too far away from your originally re-worded question. :) ]

Tylluan Penry
09 Mar 2011, 23:40
Maybe I'm a little off target here (I usually am in the debate section ;)) but one of the biggest problems I have with science is that I lack the requisite vocabulary to put my point across as I would like. Sometimes I admit that I also lack the vocabulary to ask the right questions, or even to understand the answers. IMHO science and religion have drifted so far apart that it is very difficult to put together a glossary of common terms - or at least, a glossary that will encompass enough to make the sort of discussions I would very much like to have possible.

Now I would say that, with my interest in humanities generally I have a pretty good vocabularly. I can read most (non scientific) texts without reaching for a dictionary. But when I speak to someone who I know lacks that type of grasp of the English language, I do my best to put what I'm trying to say into simpler terms so that we can have a conversation. A lack of vocab doesn't necessarily equate (in my view) with a lack of intelligence. Likewise I've met a lot of people who bandy around long words in the hope of impressing others without much clue what they really mean.

But whenever I get into a discussion with someone over science, I quickly feel lost. And very rarely do they simplify for me as I would for them if the boot were on the other foot. So one of the biggest problems I have with science is that it doesn't allow me to engage with it as I would like. I do study it. My botany, for example, is pretty good. I'm not afraid to look things up if I have to. And I'm sure I'm not the only person on the planet who feels this way. :)

B. de Corbin
10 Mar 2011, 03:15
My religion gives me a way to think about things and find out about them before science gets around to collecting info on it. Almost everything I've learned through my particular religion has been demonstrated correct by science, it's just that my religion got there first, but without the benefit of hard/objective data to back it up. Science has been providing that.

Still the same answer, Rok.

My religion allows me to go where I want to go, before science has cleared the way.

The major theoretical difference between science and Alchemy is that science isn't really equipped to deal with subjective experience, except by quantifying it (generally by using some sort of questionnaire where responses are scored and a "diagnosis" arrived at) - making it objective. The Alchemist, however, devotes a lot of time to subjective research in mental function.

If you want to understand how your mind works, the mechanics are important, and science can discover and describe that. However, the mechanics of the mind are not the same as the way in which one experiences the mind at work. To understand that, there is only one way - to go into it, and look around; and, until somebody builds a mind transfer device, this is always going to be subjective. This is what I get from Alchemy.

Hawkfeathers
10 Mar 2011, 03:58
I didn't think anyone was looking for an agenda - just trying to nail down their individual take on the subject. Science is simply there - we all learn the same things in math class. We find it. Religion finds us (at least it found me.) I mean, I was taught some specific religious things as a child but later found them not to apply to me, whereas 2+2=4 still applies to me.

KashakuTatsu
10 Mar 2011, 08:10
I can't personally say what one gives and the other doesn't. My path is heavily scientific in nature with belief thrown in for a connection to the science. If that makes sense... had a 13 hr gauntlet at ucla hospital with 30 hr of no sleep and no food, slept two hrs and back awake... don't know how coherent I am lol

Basically I think what I really get out of a religious view with the scientific measures I use already is a connection with the energies I'm working with or thing I'm working towards. Transmuting incense by scientific process with intent energy charging during the process makes the incense really connect with me instead of picking it up from the store or just throwing incense together. Probably a bad example, tired brain.

I don't really have a punishment/reward thing, nor a true moral code in the path like most do (no real "sin" or "karma" concepts). I do follow social code cause I happen to like not being in jail, but that's not part of the argument lol.

---------- Post added at 04:10 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:09 PM ----------

Corbin was more more eloquent with it... lol WHAT HE SAID!

spartacandream
16 Mar 2011, 06:57
Science doesn't promise me that I'll get rewarded for my good deeds in the afterlife, that bad people will be punished with eternal damnation nor recieve negative karma. It says nothing of that sort.

But for me, that's alright, as I don't need that anyway. For me, its about learning how the universe is.

Roknrol
16 Mar 2011, 09:30
Science doesn't promise me that I'll get rewarded for my good deeds in the afterlife, that bad people will be punished with eternal damnation nor recieve negative karma. It says nothing of that sort. True, but if all people are looking for is someone to tell them "everything will be ok", there are therapists that can do just that :p


But for me, that's alright, as I don't need that anyway. For me, its about learning how the universe is.You know, I feel exactly the same way :) You don't have a religion listed, so I'm not sure what faith you follow...but that's exactly the reason why Science has replaced religion for me. While there's questionable information on both sides of the fence, Science makes it a lot easier to separate the beef from the bullshit.

Roknrol
16 Mar 2011, 09:30
Science doesn't promise me that I'll get rewarded for my good deeds in the afterlife, that bad people will be punished with eternal damnation nor recieve negative karma. It says nothing of that sort. True, but if all people are looking for is someone to tell them "everything will be ok", there are therapists that can do just that :p


But for me, that's alright, as I don't need that anyway. For me, its about learning how the universe is.You know, I feel exactly the same way :) You don't have a religion listed, so I'm not sure what faith you follow...but that's exactly the reason why Science has replaced religion for me. While there's questionable information on both sides of the fence, Science makes it a lot easier to separate the beef from the bullshit.

cesara
20 Mar 2011, 20:13
This may sound corny.....and the idea behind it is coming from a tv show I just finished watching....but.....

What you call 'bullshit', may not have physical proofs, but that doesn't mean it doesn't serve a purpose. It can change us. Like, understanding Plato changes us -- just like understanding the workings of the human body can change us. It allows us to interpret the world in a way that makes allowance for the experiences that don't fall within the realm of science -- things like thoughts and feelings -- love....and I'm not talking about the clinical side of these things -- Im talking about the experiential side....

'Real' or not real -- it's really irrelevant -- these things change us....and that makes them 'real' in a sense that matters most, imho.

What that means? For me, that means that these things are just as potent a tool for understanding and changing your life as any science experiment.

Bjorn
22 Mar 2011, 11:33
Science fails to make me comprehend the magnitude of just what is happening in even one speck of the universe, let alone all the others.

It cannot explain successfully to me how the dance of nature is kept so perfectly in balance to maintain life as a whole on our selfish little speck. Sure, it explains what happens to ensure it (food chain, evolution, weather, etc) but not why those things exist.

Roknrol
22 Mar 2011, 15:01
Science fails to make me comprehend the magnitude of just what is happening in even one speck of the universe, let alone all the others.

It cannot explain successfully to me how the dance of nature is kept so perfectly in balance to maintain life as a whole on our selfish little speck. Sure, it explains what happens to ensure it (food chain, evolution, weather, etc) but not why those things exist.
Does religion/spirituality answer these questions better than science? How so? Do you find that the spiritual information is more complete that the scientific information, easier to understand, or is "an answer" better than "no answer", regardless of how "correct" it is?

(Sorry if that sounds brash...it's so difficult to have discussions like this without implying offense :( )

Bjorn
22 Mar 2011, 16:48
Does religion/spirituality answer these questions better than science? How so? Do you find that the spiritual information is more complete that the scientific information, easier to understand, or is "an answer" better than "no answer", regardless of how "correct" it is?

(Sorry if that sounds brash...it's so difficult to have discussions like this without implying offense :( )

Disclaimer unnecessary. I know you're an atheist, ;)

Religion and spirituality answer no questions at all. They can't. It is not their nature to provide concrete explanations for things because, well, that's what we have science for. If anything it makes me ask more questions about things and begs me to pay closer attention.

That being said, there is then no 'information' to be processed spiritually. Do I really know that I encountered a certain critter on a day because the Great Spirit is speaking to me as per my request? No. I'm not meditating on math equations or the origin of species, so 'information' doesn't even begin to explain what I think the spirit deals with. It would be like trying to read a particularly moving poem to your old crusty physics professor: ineffective, misunderstood, and unappreciated.

LiadanWillows
22 Mar 2011, 19:00
I'm another who doesn't feel that science is at odds with religion. Science tells me how stuff happens, religion tells me that stuff happens and it is awe-full. Knowing how lightning works does not prevent me from beholding it with a sense of wonder, knowing that the air I breathe and the water I drink have been here since the dinosaurs roamed only makes me feel even more connected to life around me.

Just because the world around me is made up of atoms, electrons, neutrons and bits of other stuff does not make it any less Divine, any less a part of the Great Mystery.

I second this, said very well perze!

cesara
23 Mar 2011, 06:46
In the end, at least for me...it comes down to this....

Science has it's limits. Not all truths can be discovered through double-blind studies. It's really that simple.

thalassa
23 Mar 2011, 13:05
from Dostoevsky's Notes from the Underground (http://etext.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=DosNote.sgm&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=1&division=div1):

You see, gentlemen, reason is an excellent thing, there's no disputing that, but reason is nothing but reason and satisfies only the rational side of man's nature, while will is a manifestation of the whole life, that is, of the whole human life including reason and all the impulses. And although our life, in this manifestation of it, is often worthless, yet it is life and not simply extracting square roots. Here I, for instance, quite naturally want to live, in order to satisfy all my capacities for life, and not simply my capacity for reasoning, that is, not simply one twentieth of my capacity for life. What does reason know? Reason only knows what it has succeeded in learning (some things, perhaps, it will never learn; this is a poor comfort, but why not say so frankly?) and human nature acts as a whole, with everything that is in it, consciously or unconsciously, and, even it if goes wrong, it lives.

Roknrol
23 Mar 2011, 14:36
In the end, at least for me...it comes down to this....

Science has it's limits. Not all truths can be discovered through double-blind studies. It's really that simple.
Erm...I don't want to put words into your mouth or anything, but the implication in this statement is that religion/spirituality does not, in fact, have limits when it comes to discovering a truth...am I understanding you correctly?

---------- Post added at 10:36 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:33 PM ----------

Thalassa: I'm going to have to think on that a bit. While I don't disagree with the statement, it's lack of context leaves a bit to be desired for me :p (for example, the statements made I can completely agree with, however because he doesn't explicitly state (or imply) religion/spirituality, it may or may not have applied from his perspective. Sorry...busy fucking day...

DanieMarie
23 Mar 2011, 14:39
Rok, I think the problem with parts of this thread is that, it's like comparing apples to oranges. You as an atheist take things at face value and feel science answers what you want to know. But some others also accept what science has to offer, but also want to know more of a qualitative meaning behind that and religion or spirituality helps in this respect. What that is exactly isn't easy to explain because it's different for every person and not really something that's measurable, but either you have these beliefs or you don't and I think they're just two very different ways of seeing the world.

Roknrol
23 Mar 2011, 14:52
I don't disagree with you Danie :)

I think the real puzzler for me is that I *used* to feel the same religious/spiritual feelings. It would be wrong of me to say that I get the same feeling from science, because it IS different than it used to be.

But then again - when I was a "believer" there were *reasons* for my belief. I felt the need to believe in an afterlife because I couldn't cope with the idea of my sense of "self" disappearing after I'm dead...and I suspect that's where my beliefs were "rooted" so to speak. Once those beliefs are adopted (even just a little), it's much easier for your brain to accept other "truths" that may be just as much speculation. For me, personally, it was fear of nonexistence that prompted a belief in spirituality (although don't get me wrong - being raised in a semi-religious household with religious family members probably contributed significantly).

The reason for the thread (I know it says "Debate", but that was more of an expectation than a desire ::) ) was morbid curiosity on my part, really...just seeing what reasons people had for believing. Of course, that statement in itself requires a bit of explanation - I don't mean to imply that there *must* be a reason...only that in my experience, for most people (Christians, especially, but mainly because that's where I've gotten the most conversation on the topic).

So why do I think that there probably IS a reason (even if many people haven't thought that deeply about it)?

Because religion is work. BELIEF is work. It takes effort - both for the rationalisation processes (that everyone does - myself included), not counting the costs and time involved with practising their religion. I managed to circumvent that a bit by not really practising all that much :p I mean, basically it boils down to some pretty simple questions (at least from my perspective, of course I wouldn't think to speak for anyone else ;) )

We have a planet full of people that spend time, money, and effort on believing what they want to believe. Personally? I feel that way too much of my time is "wasted" already. I don't want to put time/money into something that I'm not going to reap a reasonable benefit from. Religion, I learned, did not give me much of a return on my "investment", so to speak.

After 20+ years of being a firm believer, what I managed to "walk away with" are a few friends, a bit of historical information, a curiosity for history, and a whole lot of wasted hours/days/months/years of attempting to explain (what I believe to be) unsubstantiated opinions.

Honestly? I have the same question for people that watch sports :p

DanieMarie
23 Mar 2011, 15:16
Don't forget though that the return on time investment isn't like a financial investment....it's different for everyone ;)

I get a lot out of prayer and meditation and the odd ritual I do, because it relaxes me and relaxation helps me become more productive, because I'm a highly strung person. I actually waste a lot of my time on the net to try to cope with some of the loneliness and stress I feel built up sometimes, but it's not very productive and when I do stuff like meditate, that's a shorter amount of time that leaves me feeling more rejuvenated and motivated. I guess that's something science doesn't give me because I can read that stuff for an hour and it's interesting and I feel that I learned something but I don't feel any less stress than when I studied accounting or human resources.

And I do know what you mean. for me I ask those questions about people who watch sports that aren't hockey, or play video games for hours (I do get the fun of playing for a little bit, but hours on end? really? I'd feel I wasted half my day). But to each their own....maybe for those people it's their way of winding down.

As for the whole "when you die" thing, I actually never gave a lot of thought to what happens to me personally after I die. I do believe in reincarnation but I've never really thought of my own life after I die and move on. I'm actually terrified of dying at the moment (I've almost died something over 10 times...I have to look at my list. Yes, I'm VERY lucky), and thoughts of an after life or another living one don't really help with that. I'm really mostly concerned with THIS life and living it, and accomplishing as much as I possibly can and living a long and happy one. If I can manage to do that I don't much care if I just rot in the ground, go to heaven or reincarnate....So for me personally I don't really feel that my spirituality is about my afterlife...it's all about my current one. Of course that's different for everyone.

cesara
23 Mar 2011, 17:46
Erm...I don't want to put words into your mouth or anything, but the implication in this statement is that religion/spirituality does not, in fact, have limits when it comes to discovering a truth...am I understanding you correctly

Nope. Sorry you got that idea.

Your question was, What doesn't science do for you? And I answered, it doesn't reveal all truths.....


This is where the whole "science/spirituality work together, not exclusively" thing comes in to play.....both have their limits, eh?


[invisible ink]
who brought all this straw in here? *wink*
[/invisible ink]

thalassa
11 Apr 2011, 09:08
This doesn't pertain to the subject precisely...but I think it offers some insight as to why some people choose (enter name of) religion (not necessarily over science, but at least in addition to it), despite the inaccuracies, inconsistencies, etc...

The actual story is on a recent episode of This American Life on NPR (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/432/know-when-to-fold-em), its the second story (about 8 min in) and lasts about 11 min, and its from a memoir titled House of Cards by David Dickerson (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1594488819/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=thiamelif-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1594488819). The whole story is pretty good, but the pertinent part that I am going to attempt to paraphrase comes at the end (starts around 19 min)...


The thing about the bible is, its huge.

I could poke at it because I could pick at anything I wanted--talking snakes, virgin birth.

But eventually I came around to thinking---maybe religion doesn't have to be consistent, maybe you can just like it enough for it to be good.

Maybe religion can be...like Star Trek.

I'm a big Star Trek fan, but if you asked me to defend individual episodes, I'd be at a loss because I can't go to bat for everything that Star Trek did.

I just love the concept. And maybe religion can be like that.

Roknrol
11 Apr 2011, 14:33
Excellent point Thalassa - religion doesn't "have" to be the be-all-end-all of everything. It's just unfortunate that so many people rely on something written or invented a few hundred/thousand years ago as though it holds relevance for things that are only recent additions to civilisation.

Hell, the simple fact that our Presidential Faiths are as known as they are, and that they're brought up more frequently than the actual issues with our government should illustrate very well what I'm talking about. I don't give a shit if my President is Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Pagan, or Pastafarian (although I would prefer the latter :p )...can he do his fucking job? THAT is the only line of questioning that makes sense, yet it's the same one that we're kept in the dark about until it's far far too late.