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#21476 - 05/11/07 09:28 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Wolfman]
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: Wolfman
Revking wrote:

Keep in mind that many of the early scientists, including Copernicus, were also clergy. Galileo remained faithful to his spiritual beliefs, despite being persecuted by obscurants and bigots around him. Blame the bigots, not the church. Sir Isaac Newton was very devout in matters of religion. J.B. Priestly, the co-discoverer of oxygen was a minister. Gregroire Mendel, the founder of genetics, was a monk. And there are many others.

Granted, History remembers those who were able to overcome the adversity of the Church. But, for every Copernicus, how many Hypatia's did we lose? We can never know.

If we are to survive as a species, we need a major change on attitude. Religion, at least Western Religion, teaches that "all will be forgiven", the intimation being that you'll be alright, personally, just Pay The Lady. The facts, our burgeoning population, the massive loss of plant and animal species, and the current ruin of the biosphere, suggest otherwise. We must change our priorities.

I live in a very beautiful part of the World, the South Pacific. We get a lot of Cruise Ships coming here. In 2005, passengers around the World invested 14 Billion dollars on Sea Cruises. Last year, worldwide, 400 billion was spent on cigarettes and 80 billion on Beer. Since 1985 the World Wildlife Fund has donanted 1 billion dollars toward various projects.

Crisis? What Crisis?



Yes, Priorities! Depressing Numbers.

Everyone HAD to be religious back in those days (even if they thought they might have a choice). I s'pose I'm overstating that a little, but not much.

Interestingly, about Newton, if he hadn't been so religious and thus so obsessed with keeping his mind off of sex, he wouldn't have occupied his mind so completely with math and physics.
Is that a good effect or a bad effect of religion?

Certainly there are innumerable examples of religion's good and bad impact on individuals, communities, and societies throughout history.

So what about now, and the future, where we have more choice; what language do we use to change priorities?

I ran across this on PNAS, kind of as an example of "scientific understanding of religion," and it relates to language/communication issues.

We report a series of experiments carried out with Palestinian and Israeli participants showing that violent opposition to compromise over issues considered sacred is (i) increased by offering material incentives to compromise but (ii) decreased when the adversary makes symbolic compromises over their own sacred values. These results demonstrate some of the unique properties of reasoning and decision-making over sacred values. We show that the use of material incentives to promote the peaceful resolution of political and cultural conflicts may backfire when adversaries treat contested issues as sacred values.
PNAS | May 1, 2007 | vol. 104 | no. 18 | 7357-7360


So what about now, and the future, where we have more choice; what language do we use to change priorities?

~SA
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21477 - 05/11/07 12:29 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
redewenur Offline
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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Originally Posted By: samwik
Interestingly, about Newton, if he hadn't been so religious and thus so obsessed with keeping his mind off of sex, he wouldn't have occupied his mind so completely with math and physics.
Is that a good effect or a bad effect of religion?

Well, yes, Newton was religious, but I would doubt that his achievements had anything to do with religion:

"Until Hanna [his mother] returned to Woolsthorpe in 1653 after the death of her second husband, Newton was denied his mother's attention, a possible clue to his complex character. Newton's childhood was anything but happy, and throughout his life he verged on emotional collapse, occasionally falling into violent and vindictive attacks against friend and foe alike...In 1678, Newton suffered a serious emotional breakdown, and in the following year his mother died. Newton's response was to cut off contact with others and engross himself in alchemical research. These studies, once an embarrassment to Newton scholars, were not misguided musings but rigorous investigations into the hidden forces of nature. Newton's alchemical studies opened theoretical avenues not found in the mechanical philosophy, the world view that sustained his early work. While the mechanical philosophy reduced all phenomena to the impact of matter in motion, the alchemical tradition upheld the possibility of attraction and repulsion at the particulate level. Newton's later insights in celestial mechanics can be traced in part to his alchemical interests. By combining action-at-a-distance and mathematics, Newton transformed the mechanical philosophy by adding a mysterious but no less measurable quantity, gravitational force."

http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/rhatch/pages/01-Courses/current-courses/08sr-newton.htm

Originally Posted By: samwik
We report a series of experiments carried out with Palestinian and Israeli participants showing that violent opposition to compromise over issues considered sacred is (i) increased by offering material incentives to compromise but (ii) decreased when the adversary makes symbolic compromises over their own sacred values. These results demonstrate some of the unique properties of reasoning and decision-making over sacred values. We show that the use of material incentives to promote the peaceful resolution of political and cultural conflicts may backfire when adversaries treat contested issues as sacred values.
PNAS | May 1, 2007 | vol. 104 | no. 18 | 7357-7360

Yes, we can see there the contrast between the scientific objectivity in the report, and the religious subjectivity in the antagonists' position. The former is helpful and constructive, the latter divisive and destructive.

Originally Posted By: samwik
So what about now, and the future, where we have more choice; what language do we use to change priorities?

I predict that the language of religion will fail and the language of science, rooted in hamanitarian ethics, will succeed - because it's the universal language, the 'Red Cross' of languages, applicable to all.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#21512 - 05/12/07 09:37 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
Ready-when-you-are writes: "I predict that the language of religion will fail and the language of science, rooted in hamanitarian ethics, will succeed..."

If by "language of religion" you are referring to the language used by traditional theists to describe God and religion, I hope you are right when you say it "will fail". However, human nature, as a whole, being what it is, I will not hold my breath.

BTW, as a unitheist, I am all in favour of humanitarian ethics. For information on unitheism, check out:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unitheism

Check out the discussion section. It has created quite an interesting controversy. And so, like any creative idea, it should.


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#21516 - 05/13/07 02:02 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
Ellis Offline
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Registered: 01/08/07
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Loc: Australia
Rev wrote;
Would you prefer I spend my time telling people what I do NOT believe?

Rev, you just refuse to get the point. Noone here cares much about what you believe or don't believe. Religion is a founded on belief in something which cannot be proven.

Science isn't.

This is a forum that is about science topics.

So the science-types here don't care about your beliefs or lack of beliefs. They have (mostly), I think, been remarkably tolerant of your constant attempts to push your odd version of religion, I hesitate to call it Christianity. There are plenty of welcoming forums for you to spread your theories, there are relatively few forums devoted just to science.

Leave them alone.

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#21517 - 05/13/07 03:46 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Ellis]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
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Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
Originally Posted By: Ellis
... No one here cares much about what you believe or don't believe...
Are you scientifically sure fo this? Let's do a scientific poll: How many second Ellis' opinion? And this is not the first time I have made this suggestion.

BTW, Ellis, if you are are not interested, how come you and many others--check the, scientific, stats--keep on reading what I write in this section? laugh Forgive me, Ellis, I just couldn't resist! smile

"This is a forum that is about science topics." Really? Then why have a section with the title: Not Quite...?"
But seriously, when no one reads or writes to this section, I will fade away. 'til then, let's have fun.


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#21541 - 05/14/07 08:30 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Blacknad]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I believe science is when faith is proven. People had faith that the earth was once round now it is science. Science is only faith proven to be correct.



Edited by Amaranth Rose II (05/14/07 10:37 PM)

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#21547 - 05/14/07 09:50 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: ]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
Clint. I don't think people ever had "faith" the world was round. They had faith the earth was flat until it was proved otherwise.

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#21554 - 05/14/07 12:01 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
Blacknad Offline
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Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
Originally Posted By: Revlgking
BTW, Ellis, if you are are not interested, how come you and many others--check the, scientific, stats--keep on reading what I write in this section?


The stats simply prove that people view this thread - whether they view it specifically to read what you type is debatable - there are many contributing.

Blacknad.

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#21555 - 05/14/07 12:06 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Blacknad]
Blacknad Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
Clint,

While we appreciate your comments, Penis Enlargement is off-topic and is certainly nothing to do with the answer as mentioned in the thread title.

Your link seems to be here solely to increase traffic to that site.

Can a moderator possibly remove the link?

Blacknad.

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#21559 - 05/14/07 04:37 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
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Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
Clint. I don't think people ever had "faith" the world was round. They had faith the earth was flat until it was proved otherwise.


Terry:
Read about Aristarchus of Samos.
http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/biography/Aristarchus.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristarchus_of_Samos

The narrow scientists of his day accused him of insane.

This, by Nick Greene, is interesting:

It is said that Nicolaus Copernicus, himself, at first credited Aristarchus in his treatise, "De revolutionibus caelestibus," In it he wrote, "Philolaus believed in the mobility of the earth, and some even say that Aristarchus of Samos was of that opinion." This line was crossed out prior to its publication.

As with his birth and life, little is known of his death. A crater on the moon is named for him, in its center is a peak which is the brightest formation on the Moon.

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#21562 - 05/14/07 08:20 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 1940
Loc: http://thefalliblefiend.blogsp...
"The narrow scientists of his day accused him of insane."
Early science was not distinguished from philosophy - and the rejection of Aristarchus is one effect of that. People may have accused Aristarchus of being wrong, but none accused him of being an ignoramus. Aristarchus had good reasons for his opinions, but the scale of distances he was talking about were unbelievable to most people (infinity). Archimedes was one of those who disagreed with him - the same Archimedes who was one of the top 4 mathematicians of all time, and among the greatest scientists who ever lived. Hardly a "narrow" scientist. Nevertheless it's important to distinguish the scientists who disagreed from the philosophers and politicians who might have argued for some kind of suppression or punishment.

But even in that period, the world was known to be round - Eratosthenes was a contemporary of Archimedes and computed the circumference of the world.


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#21566 - 05/14/07 09:34 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
Wolfman Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 264
Loc: Pago Pago, American Samoa
Samwik wrote -
Everyone HAD to be religious back in those days (even if they thought they might have a choice). I s'pose I'm overstating that a little, but not much.

Good point, but not ALL Scientific Minds were religious back then.
Ever heard of Tycho Brahe? He was years ahead of his time. He didn't need to be associated with the Church because he was born of Noble Blood. In fact, at one point in his life it was said that he owned 1% of all the wealth of Denmark. Religious? Oh, far from it! His drunken parties were the stuff of legend. At one big drunk-up, he challenged somebody to a duel with Rapiers. He got his nose cut off. For the rest of his life he wore a gold prosthetic nose. He had a pet Moose. At one party the Moose got so drunk that it fell down a flight of stairs and died. Brahe had a pet Dwarf!! The dwarf's name was Jepp, I believe, and Brahe had him dressed up as a Court Jester.
But he had a brilliant mind. And, because he did not fear the Church, he could speak his mind. He reported a star going supernova in 1572. In fact, he is credited with coining the term "Nova". Other Astronomers must have seen it, it was in Cassiopeia. But, as it was an "Act of God", they didn't dare speak openly of it. Tycho, or "The Tyche-ster", published a book on it.
He was also an accomplished astrologer, and the most accurate meteorologist of his time. He was even an Alchemist. At the time of his death he was said to be working at finding a "cure" for Homosexuality! Ya gotta love this guy!


Edited by Wolfman (05/14/07 09:38 PM)

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#21584 - 05/15/07 08:01 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Wolfman]
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado

"At the time of his death he was said to be working at finding a "cure" for Homosexuality! Ya gotta love this guy!" -Wolfman

Maybe that was Newton's motive for delving so deeply into Alchemy (as well as his mental feats) also!
I wonder if this could have been a common, widespread "motive." I have previously wondered if that motive of "finding a cure" was what leads some people to become such advocates and leaders of religion. Just look at the news!

~SA
wink
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21733 - 05/21/07 02:11 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
redewenur Offline
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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
If you have a high speed connection, and some patience, you can download an excellent video from:-

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8133582867583552629&q=einstein+duration%3Along&hl=en

Its a 233 MB mp4 file (might be less in the alternative google video 'giv' format)

It's well worth it watching, and fits this thread topic beautifully!!!....

Details: -

Nobel Conference: The Legacy of Einstein. [Sep 2005], From Gustavus Adophus College

This is a lecture by George F.R. Ellis, Professor of Complex Systems, author of "Theology, Cosmology, and Ethics"


From his summary notes:

" It is the overall set of laws and initial conditions that make our own existence possible.

There is a considerable degree of fine-tuning of initial conditions and laws that underlies this existence.

The ultimate reason this is so is a metaphysical issue that is undecidable through any scientific experimentation.

Positive Ethics (sympathy/compassion) is crucial to our survival on a cosmological timescale, on our own and in a possible interstellar interaction:

- this is not attainable by science alone. We have to go to some other resources - philosophy, religion, spirituality - in order to be able to make the kind of ethical transition that is necessary."


There's something for us all in the lecture, and he says it much better than we can on the forum.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#21743 - 05/22/07 06:34 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
redewenur Offline
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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Sir Harry Kroto, Nobel laureate, is Francis Eppes Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Florida State University.

This is an abridged version of a chapter in his book 'Can the Prizes Still Glitter?':

http://education.guardian.co.uk/universitiesincrisis/story/0,,2084784,00.html

"...we desperately need a scientifically literate general population, capable of thinking rationally - and that includes lawyers, businesspeople, farmers, politicians, journalists and athletes. This is vital if we are to secure a sustainable world for our grandchildren".

"The scientific method is based on what I prefer to call the inquiring mindset. It includes all areas of human thoughtful activity that categorically eschew "belief", the enemy of rationality."

"Do I think there is any hope for UK? I am really not sure. It is beyond belief that in the 21st century, our prime minister and the Department for Education and Skills are diverting taxpayers' money to faith-based groups intent on propagating culturally divisive dogma that is antagonistic to the secular, enlightened philosophy that created the modern world."

"It is truly disturbing that a well-funded cohort of religious groups - aided, abetted and condoned by the Labour government - is undermining our science education."
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#21748 - 05/22/07 07:50 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
Wolfman Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 264
Loc: Pago Pago, American Samoa
A very good read, if somewhat depressing. I agree with this fellow though. I had two childhood acquaintabces who went on to become scientists. One, a Nuclear Physicist, had to live with his parents until he was 30. The other, a Geneticist, made his money through books and TV, not the actual "Science" itself. You need to have a passion if you want to get into Science for a living.

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#21750 - 05/22/07 11:26 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Wolfman]
redewenur Offline
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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Yes, I guess it's always been that way. My first job, at 16 yrs old, was as a lab technician. There were guys there with BSc, PhD in sight, earning less than my friend, a postman. Things are a little better now, but the research infrastructure is decaying. Still, let's look on the bright side - the UK should soon have more than enough psychologists and sociologists to figure out why the government is allowing it to happen. In the USA, the problem is different. There we see half the population, whilst avidly reaping the benefits of the worlds best applied science, claim that the universe was created 6000 yrs ago. Again, let's look on the bright side - that's about a thousand years after the Sumerians invented glue, so maybe they'll never make it stick.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#21761 - 05/23/07 09:15 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: redewenur
In the USA, the problem is different. There we see half the population, whilst avidly reaping the benefits of the worlds best applied science, claim that the universe was created 6000 yrs ago. Again, let's look on the bright side - that's about a thousand years after the Sumerians invented glue, so maybe they'll never make it stick.
Rede, thanks for the LOL.

Thanks for this "Lecture" link also. It's great to hear these ideas expressed so coherently.
It took me a while to get through it. The first 20 munites are basic BigBang, Evolution, and Cosmology; but finally, at 22:00 minutes, he gets into psychology and ethics.

...just a couple of technicalities (and a few things I learned):

It's an elegant presentation, but I don't think it is fair that he recapitulates his heirarchy and then adds on "faith and hope," quickly at the end of his list. That list had culminated with ethics. How did he add on...? (at ~26:20)
Am I wrong? Did he derive faith and hope somewhere, as he earlier derived ethics?

I liked his 'persuasion vs. coercion' points; but is he equating persuasion with "faith and hope?"

Deep, kenotic, or compassionate ethics.
kenotic?


kenosis: an emptying. Theology: as 'Jesus' humbling himself by taking on the form of man.' -my dictionary...
...or kenotic (self-emptying) ~link; 33:15.
...like 'empty yourself of desire to achieve nirvana,' I suppose.

I liked his "realistic universal ethic," but to say it'll be discovered by any spiritually advanced people ... or kind anywhere...," and then equate "spiritually advanced" with "ethically advanced, intellegent being anywhere...." is an example of his general thrust in equating religion with compassion. (~37:00)

Later....
All the string theory fans laughed when he asked "Why should those laws, -why should the Group (SO)10, have life written into it?

I liked the question about Einstein's sense of a "cosmic religion" and scientist's "difficulty communicating this sort of deep spirituality which pervades fundemental science."

The answer was focused mainly on people's reaction to the idea "that science contradicts religion." (i.e. Dawkins, et al.)

...and finally:
I'd like to hear Terry's take on Ellis' comments about Nationalism and Evolutionary Biology (the last Q & A; 56:00).

Thanks, smile

~SA

p.s. I've tried, but apologies if I misquoted anywhere as it's hard to hear in some places.

p.p.s. Redewenur, as you said, "...and fits this thread topic beautifully!!!...."

...and your excellent summary bears repeating:

"Positive Ethics (sympathy/compassion) is crucial to our survival on a cosmological timescale, on our own and in a possible interstellar interaction:

- this is not attainable by science alone. We have to go to some other resources - philosophy, religion, spirituality - in order to be able to make the kind of ethical transition that is necessary." -rede


_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21762 - 05/23/07 11:42 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
redewenur Offline
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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Originally Posted By: samwik
I don't think it is fair that he recapitulates his heirarchy and then adds on "faith and hope," quickly at the end of his list. That list had culminated with ethics. How did he add on...? (at ~26:20)
Am I wrong? Did he derive faith and hope somewhere, as he earlier derived ethics?

He refered to faith and hope on two previous occasions.
At 23:~
"In order for a brain to make sense it must first have a rationality function and the ability to take data, analyse it, and compare it with the evidence. But, there's never enough evidence...and in the end your rationality comes to an end, and always, in any real life situation - you've got a certain amount of evidence - you have to complete your basic choices on the basis of faith and hope - think about your choice of a life companion, or your job, or where your going to live."
At 24:5~,
"balance between rationality, and faith and hope".

His use of the words is not confined to the religious context.

Originally Posted By: samwik
I liked his 'persuasion vs. coercion' points; but is he equating persuasion with "faith and hope?"

I don't think so. I think he means that coercion is the less ethical. Like, "You look like a kind person. Would you mind helping me?", compared with, "Do as I say, or you're dead meat"

Originally Posted By: samwik
I liked his "realistic universal ethic," but to say it'll be discovered by any spiritually advanced people ... or kind anywhere...," and then equate "spiritually advanced" with "ethically advanced, intellegent being anywhere...." is an example of his general thrust in equating religion with compassion. (~37:00)

He says, "[True ethics] is recognised as the highest good by all the major world religions". However, I don't think he means that religion is a pre-requisite for spirituality. His 'spirituality' seems to be evidenced by ethics that, on our planet, happen to be found within religions. He doesn't say that they aren't also found elsewhere.

I agree with him.

Science doesn't actually contradict religion (per se) - but it does demonstrate that many religious beliefs are based on dogmatic and false assumptions about the physical universe. The spiritual aspects of religion - the vital and essential core of all the major religions - is untouchable by science; and it's profoundly ethical. I think he was saying that.

He's certainly right in saying that for us - for any civilization on any planet - to survive it's own technological development, such ethics and a corresponding spirituality must prevail.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#21775 - 05/24/07 07:52 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
Rede,

Quote:
He refered to faith and hope on two previous occasions.

Hey! Thanks for catching that.

I recalled hearing the part about where he talked about the limits of rationality, but....
Anyway, thanks again for your post. It's nice to have everything clear and fit together.

I hope to listen to several other lectures from that site. I noticed they had a Charlie Rose icon. I saw most of a show last Fall, with James Watson & E.O. Wilson talking together!

Cheers,
~Samwik
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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