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Old 12-30-2011, 12:43 AM
 
Location: Metromess
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One can become acquainted with "the universal virtues taught by religions" in secular ways. He need not be religious to acquire a sense of ethics and morality. Leaving the God baggage behind is a good idea.
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:29 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EinsteinsGhost View Post
I was in India in October and came across this...
That's good as far as it goes but does not go far enough. It sees religion as the origin of the moralities, but it can be argued that the moralities came first and religions hi-jacked them rather as..let's be blunt...a control mechanism.

The problem is, that if you don't take it out of religion it can be controlled by religion, and that can mean saying that actions regarded by consensus as bad become Good if they ere the will of the God involved.

If there is no God involved, then one has to wonder why a religion is considered necessary.

As to 'danger of materialism' that strikes me as using a rather blunderbuss term and may be equivocation. Materialism as a scientific theory is nothing to be regarded with disquiet while materialism meaning (so it seems) a sort of nihilist disregard for morality is simply not justified.

Again we get this misrepresentation of 'scientific atheism' which is very common in religious thought and is a fallacy. This seems to be the old problem of a religious group lecturing when it is clear that they have something to learn from us rather than decrying and warning against us.

While they can come to the social and economic table and debate with science about the way to deal with our problems, that is acceptable only if they don't appeal to unvalidated religious claims as authority. As soon as they do they are falling into the trap that notice warns against -superstition.
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:52 AM
 
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Well said, Arequipa.
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Old 12-30-2011, 07:34 AM
 
Location: Golden, CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
That's good as far as it goes but does not go far enough. It sees religion as the origin of the moralities, but it can be argued that the moralities came first and religions hi-jacked them rather as..let's be blunt...a control mechanism.
Gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos behave as if they have a morality. They seem to recognize fairness and get angry or frustrated by unfairness. They can be seen performing altruistic acts, even for the benefit of humans, with no direct external reward or immediate payback coming their way for the effort they expended to benefit another. They have respect for their elders in a way that is unique from how they treat their peers. They have even been known to look like they feel guilt and are quite happy when they appear to be forgiven and the relationship is restored to normal with the one they treated unfairly.

I believe a strong argument can be made that morality existed before religion, because these pri-mates appear to have morality without religion.
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Old 12-30-2011, 07:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Hueffenhardt View Post
Gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos behave as if they have a morality. They seem to recognize fairness and get angry or frustrated by unfairness. They can be seen performing altruistic acts, even for the benefit of humans, with no direct external reward or immediate payback coming their way for the effort they expended to benefit another. They have respect for their elders in a way that is unique from how they treat their peers. They have even been known to look like they feel guilt and are quite happy when they appear to be forgiven and the relationship is restored to normal with the one they treated unfairly.

I believe a strong argument can be made that morality existed before religion, because these pri-mates appear to have morality without religion.
Correct. I am prepared to give credit to evidence that basic social behaviour (which in a reasoning animal becomes morality) is a better explanation of morals than getting them engraved on stone from On High, especially when they seem to come in several editions and with a facility for regular changes in the messages.

While there is evidently a lt of research to be done, it seems persuasive to me that an evolutionary basis for morality is supported by certain evidence while the divine origin of morality seems to be more denied by the evidence.
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
31,777 posts, read 25,061,012 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
That's good as far as it goes but does not go far enough. It sees religion as the origin of the moralities, but it can be argued that the moralities came first and religions hi-jacked them rather as..let's be blunt...a control mechanism.
That's true. In fact, I would argue that even animals exhibit morals without having a clue of any religious system. The problem though may be, that many humans have a tendency of being worse than those animals. So, if religion can help them keep in check... or as James Madison said of governments:

"If men were angels, there would be no need for government".

In this case, the government is "religion" for those who couldn't be moral without some kind of fear.

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Originally Posted by looking4answers12 View Post
The pictures are beautiful. Thanks for sharing that.
Thank you!
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:01 PM
 
Location: La Cañada
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Science CAN be reconciled with faith.

"Religion without science is blind; Science without religion is lame" ~ Albert Einstein. He also recognized that a shocking truth: the universe is very ordered and understandable. Our planet is in a prime location for discovery. We are in a safe zone in our own system and galaxy, devoid of extreme heat/cold or asteroids in large numbers. All of the scientific laws of the Universe are extremely finely tuned.
Our universe and our existence is so well-ordered that it seems odd to consider it coincidence.

Many bad Christians and adherents to other faiths may have trouble explaining their beliefs, but when it comes down to it, there are mathematical probabilities that I have seen from dozens of labs and scientists that seem to prove my point.

Now, I don't mean to make anyone angry--I have some atheist friends that I regularly talk with about these matters and we get into some fine debates...I can definitely understand your collective standpoint.
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Old 01-02-2012, 11:17 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
Correct. I am prepared to give credit to evidence that basic social behaviour (which in a reasoning animal becomes morality) is a better explanation of morals than getting them engraved on stone from On High, especially when they seem to come in several editions and with a facility for regular changes in the messages.

While there is evidently a lt of research to be done, it seems persuasive to me that an evolutionary basis for morality is supported by certain evidence while the divine origin of morality seems to be more denied by the evidence.
True. Some valid evidence of altruism in animals. Those "lesser" animals....

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCalifornianWriter View Post
Science CAN be reconciled with faith.

"Religion without science is blind; Science without religion is lame" ~ Albert Einstein. He also recognized that a shocking truth: the universe is very ordered and understandable. Our planet is in a prime location for discovery. We are in a safe zone in our own system and galaxy, devoid of extreme heat/cold or asteroids in large numbers. All of the scientific laws of the Universe are extremely finely tuned.
Our universe and our existence is so well-ordered that it seems odd to consider it coincidence.

Many bad Christians and adherents to other faiths may have trouble explaining their beliefs, but when it comes down to it, there are mathematical probabilities that I have seen from dozens of labs and scientists that seem to prove my point.

Now, I don't mean to make anyone angry--I have some atheist friends that I regularly talk with about these matters and we get into some fine debates...I can definitely understand your collective standpoint.
But see, if our planet was not in such a favorable locale, we hominids would likely not have evolved here in the first place! Or, we'd have nice polar bear fur, or a jungle monkey's built-in high-capacity thermal regulation system!

That old scary-tale flaunted by the über-religious, to wit: "Why... if we were just 2% closer to the sun... oh Whoa is Me/Us!" pseudo-point, why... it's probably true that we wouldn't have had the exact same development of life as we find it now. It'd obviously have arisen in some other form, right? We do, after all, have well-organized life down in the v. cold Antarctic, but also in the Amazonian jungles, and at least one of those places' ecologies' is significantly altered by season, and both have hugely different total environments.

And so that "mathematically unique Universal constants" argument is not so easily made at a convincing nor reasonable level! What is, is!
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Old 01-03-2012, 06:09 AM
 
40,127 posts, read 11,246,158 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCalifornianWriter View Post
Science CAN be reconciled with faith.

"Religion without science is blind; Science without religion is lame" ~ Albert Einstein. He also recognized that a shocking truth: the universe is very ordered and understandable. Our planet is in a prime location for discovery. We are in a safe zone in our own system and galaxy, devoid of extreme heat/cold or asteroids in large numbers. All of the scientific laws of the Universe are extremely finely tuned.
Our universe and our existence is so well-ordered that it seems odd to consider it coincidence.

Many bad Christians and adherents to other faiths may have trouble explaining their beliefs, but when it comes down to it, there are mathematical probabilities that I have seen from dozens of labs and scientists that seem to prove my point.

Now, I don't mean to make anyone angry--I have some atheist friends that I regularly talk with about these matters and we get into some fine debates...I can definitely understand your collective standpoint.
I will go so far as to agree that this 'fine tuning' is the better argument for a 'Cosmic mind' aka 'God' with First cause coming a bit behind and the question of Abiogenesis in third place. None of those do more than suggest a possible 'sortagod', or Cosmic Mind or the God of Einstein - the computer that runs the universe.

I actually don't object to such an idea as it has nothing to do with any of the man - made religions, though again it is possible that religious thought in general might be connected with it.

But I am not persuaded. Something from Nothing looks a lot more feasible now than anyone could have thought ten years ago, the building blocks of life are found in abundance in nebulae and working models of abiogenesis at least provides a better theory than a cosmic mind just Did it.

While it looks lucky to an almost statistically unlikely degree that things turned out just to suit us, we have to recall that it was at least 50% that we turned out as we are to suit the conditions, and also that a number of catastrophes and extinctions were necessary to give us our chance.

That looks to me unplanned rather than planned and so, despite appearances, I have to favour that we actually have been lucky. Thus, I remain atheist - without a belief in a 'god'.

As to Einstein, "Religion without science is blind; Science without religion is lame" has to be placed in context - Einstein's religion was not based on a personal god. He had no time for organized religion. I have commented before that he did indeed believe in an intelligence which ordered the universe and which 'did not play dice', as he said when dismissing quantum mechanics. He was wrong.

That said, I do take his point in a way. Science is the best way of discovering facts - it is the only reliable way of doing it. Logic is a valuable mental toolset which is necessary to avoid fallacious modes of reasoning. But that is all they are. They do not and cannot replace emotions, appreciation of beauty, morals or concern for our fellows, though they can be invaluable for finding out where those impulses came from and how we should use them or not as befits a reasoning animal.

While science and those who use it as a preferred mental tool, must reasonably allow room for personal preferences, 'Faith' - especially religious Faith - can be a problem. While we can have our preferences about art, music or the way to run a society, we must accept that others have different ideas. While we might argue the merits, 'Faith' is a hindrance, not a help. It is, succinctly, assuming something to be fact without sound evidence. 'Faith' has no place in a rational society. That some people might want to believe without sound evidence, can be tolerated so long as they keep it to themselves. Such faith cannot be reconciled with science. It can co -exist in a scientist's mind and they can do valuable work - until that work conflicts with their faith and then the science suffers.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 01-03-2012 at 06:22 AM..
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Old 01-03-2012, 06:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCalifornianWriter View Post
Science CAN be reconciled with faith.
Not in my experiences... and certainly not by quote mining out of context the words of dead scientists who are house hold names.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCalifornianWriter View Post
Our universe and our existence is so well-ordered that it seems odd to consider it coincidence.
Not a good argument at all given how "odd" much of proven science is. The fact is that - to us - the universe is very "odd". The "oddness" in now way mandates us to assume the existence of a creator or the religions established in it's name.
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