[ExI] No gods, no meaning?

Jason Resch jasonresch at gmail.com
Fri Apr 24 17:16:26 UTC 2020

On Fri, Apr 24, 2020 at 11:40 AM William Flynn Wallace via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> One thing about religion that may be incompatible with science is
> worship.  Where does a need to worship come from?  Why do people get
> together and say how God is great?  Sing hymns to God.  Doesn't God know
> that?  So that's irrelevant.  Can you see anyone in science worshipping
> Darwin or Galileo?  Tons of respect, all earned - yes.  Worship - no.
> Atheism cannot offer people for people to worship.

> How about prayer? I think that a study of prayer would show that it just
> doesn't work on any basis reliable enough to stand up to scientific
> standards.  But some people love to pray , so that's another thing science
> cannot offer the religious person.
> And I don't see how science can get along with metaphysics.  Science
> cannot deal with anything unobservable.

Our theories do. We have theories that describe the interiors of black
holes, other branches of the wave function, galaxies and radiation beyond
the cosmological horizon, etc. despite none of them being observable.

Science tests theories by checking their observable consequences. Often
these theories include phenomenon which themselves are not observable (like
the big bang/inflation implying the existence of matter beyond the horizon,
or the operation of a quantum computer implying the existence of other
unobserved parts of the wave function).

If we verify the parts of those theories we can observe, then we ought to
have confidence in those other parts of the theory that remain unobserved.

> It's going to take a lot for me to swallow any idea that science and
> religion can get together somehow.  Differen epistemologies, as I said.
The theory of energy underwent many reformulations as our understanding
improved. Cannot the same happen for our understanding of God, souls,
reality, afterlives, etc.? Can science not investigate these subjects
merely because some religion claimed them first?

The Baháʼí Faith, for instance, is very explicit in its belief that science
and religion must be united in harmony. As it's leader described:

"*The independent search after truth, unfettered by superstition or
tradition; *the oneness of the entire human race, the pivotal principle and
fundamental doctrine of the Faith; the basic unity of all religions; the
condemnation of all forms of prejudice, whether religious, racial, class or
national;* the harmony which must exist between religion and science; *the
equality of men and women, the two wings on which the bird of human kind is
able to soar; the introduction of compulsory education; the adoption of a
universal auxiliary language; the abolition of the extremes of wealth and
poverty; the institution of a world tribunal for the adjudication of
disputes between nations; the exaltation of work, performed in the spirit
of service, to the rank of worship; the glorification of justice as the
ruling principle in human society, and of religion as a bulwark for the
protection of all peoples and nations; and the establishment of a permanent
and universal peace as the supreme goal of all mankind—these stand out as
the essential elements [which Baháʼu'lláh proclaimed]."


> bill w
> On Fri, Apr 24, 2020 at 10:10 AM Jason Resch via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> On Thursday, April 23, 2020, Ben Zaiboc via extropy-chat <
>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>> Dammit, done it again!
>>> Reposted, with correct Subject line :(
>>> On 23/04/2020 00:18, Adrian Tymes wrote:
>>> On Wed, Apr 22, 2020 at 3:51 PM Ben Zaiboc via extropy-chat <
>>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>>> On 22/04/2020 18:39, Adrian Tymes wrote:
>>>> > agnosticism is a lack of belief in gods.  Atheism is a belief in the
>>>> > lack of gods.
>>>> This is patently false. Agnosticism has nothing at all to say about
>>>> belief, it's about knowledge (from the greek, 'Gnosis', meaning
>>>> knowledge). Agnosticism is the position that you don't/can't know.
>>> And thus, a lack of belief.
>>> Not necessarily.
>>> Many religious people will freely admit they have no definite knowledge
>>> about their particular god, but still choose to believe in it. I know
>>> that's a logically contradictory position, but belief knows no logic. In
>>> fact it rejects logic.
>>>> Atheism, in it's most common form, is the lack of belief in gods. Some
>>>> people define a 'strong', or 'hard' form of atheism that is an
>>>> assertion
>>>> that no gods exist, but that is a minority view.
>>>> These things are easy to look up.
>>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism
>>> "Atheism is, in the broadest sense, an absence of belief in the
>>> existence of deities.  Less broadly, atheism is a rejection of the belief
>>> that any deities exist.  In an even narrower sense, atheism is specifically
>>> the position that there are no deities."
>>> I guess both meanings are in use.
>>> Yes. And one is overwhelmingly more common than the other.
>>> When I say I'm an atheist, I don't want people to assume I subscribe to
>>> a minority interpretation of the term (mainly because, to me, it's not so
>>> much the non-existence of gods that is the important thing, but the not
>>> believing in things ('believing' as in accepting things as true without a
>>> shred of evidence, and even in the face of contradictory evidence).
>>> The narrowest sense is the one that needs qualification, not the
>>> broadest one. This is true of job titles and many other things, not just
>>> world-views.
>> They're also definitions of God held by different religions or different
>> believers which are scientifically consistent.
>> For example, God as the creator (consistent with the simulation
>> hypothesis), or God as the "world soul" -- the collection of all conscious
>> brings (consistent with open individualism), or God as Truth/Reality
>> (consistent with mathematical realism).
>> It's easy to forget that there's any different religions and God's out
>> there, as well as varying levels sophistications of belief, even within
>> those religions.
>> There's no reason I see that religious ideas cannot be extended and grow
>> together with advances in scientific understanding. To assume otherwise and
>> say religious ideas must stagnate perverts and restricts not only religion
>> but science as well.
>> Jason
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