[ExI] No gods, no meaning?
jasonresch at gmail.com
Fri Apr 24 23:43:38 UTC 2020
On Fri, Apr 24, 2020 at 6:37 PM William Flynn Wallace via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> To presume the supernatural is not real is to assume we currently
> possesses a complete understanding of nature, which I am sure we don't have
> This is a non sequitur and hence false. bill w
How would you recognize something as supernatural if you saw it? How do
you define supernatural?
If it's something that by definition can't exist, then it's simply
inconsistent to assert it exists.
If it's something that goes beyond the contemporary understanding of
nature, then the supernatural exists (unless the contemporary understanding
of nature is complete.)
Though perhaps you have a better definition that avoids this.
> On Fri, Apr 24, 2020 at 6:31 PM Jason Resch via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> On Fri, Apr 24, 2020 at 1:03 PM Ben Zaiboc via extropy-chat <
>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>> On 24/04/2020 18:16, Jason Resch wrote:
>>> Various things.
>>> The problem is, the very nature of religion is about control, not
>>> figuring things out.
>> I would say that depends on the religion. What about Bahai Faith
>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bah%C3%A1%CA%BC%C3%AD_Faith#Summary>, Unitarian
>> Universalism <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unitarian_Universalism>, the Universal Life
>> Church <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Life_Church>, and
>> countless others?
>>> Religions are about prescriptions and proscriptions. You have to do
>>> this, you can't do that. You must believe this, you can't question that.
>>> That's one problem, rather. Another one is that science is about *finding
>>> out*. Religion is about *believing*.
>> In my view, both religion and science are about believing. You can say
>> religion is the set of beliefs one holds. Science is a tool by which we can
>> refine, deepen and correct errors in our beliefs.
>>> In science, evidence is king. In religion, evidence is the enemy.
>> Again, this is highly dependent on the particular religion. Take these
>> words, from the son of the founder of the Bahai Faith:
>> "If religion were contrary to logical reason then it would cease to be a
>> religion and be merely a tradition. Religion and science are the two wings
>> upon which man's intelligence can soar into the heights, with which the
>> human soul can progress. It is not possible to fly with one wing alone!
>> Should a man try to fly with the wing of religion alone he would quickly
>> fall into the quagmire of superstition, whilst on the other hand, with the
>> wing of science alone he would also make no progress, but fall into the
>> despairing slough of materialism."
>> According to Carl Sagan,
>> "[Science] works. It is not perfect. It can be misused. It is only a
>> tool. But it is by far the best tool we have, self-correcting, ongoing,
>> applicable to everything. It has two rules. First: there are no sacred
>> truths; all assumptions must be critically examined; arguments from
>> authority are worthless. Second: whatever is inconsistent with the facts
>> must be discarded or revised. We must understand the Cosmos as it is and
>> not confuse how it is with how we wish it to be. The obvious is sometimes
>> false; the unexpected is sometimes true."
>> Could we say that Carl Sagan's belief in science his "religion"? Why or
>> why not? What elements of belief are necessary for something to be labeled
>> a religion in your view?
>> How does it square with what these scientists have said about the nature
>> of the relation between religion and science?
>> "Science and religion are both still close to their beginnings, with no
>> ends in sight. Science and religion are both destined to grow and change in
>> the millennia that lie ahead of us, perhaps solving some old mysteries,
>> certainly discovering new mysteries of which we yet have no inkling."
>> -- Freeman Dyson
>> "Science can now offer precisely the consolations in facing death that
>> religion once offered. Religion is now part of science." -- Frank Tippler
>> "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." --
>> Albert Einstein
>>> You can say that the word 'god' can mean a lot of different things.
>>> Fine. Sell that to the religious folks, see how far you get.
>> I don't need to. All of those examples of different concepts of God I
>> provided are core elements of existing religions. Creator, Truth, Reality,
>> and Consciousness, are the most common descriptions of God across most of
>> the major religions today. For example, just sticking to God as Truth, you
>> *Judaism/Christianity:* “Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me,
>> O LORD, the God of truth.” -- Psalm 31:5
>> The mathematician Hilda Phoebe Hudson said “To all of us who hold the
>> Christian belief that God is truth, anything that is true is a fact about
>> God, and mathematics is a branch of theology.”
>> *Islam*: "Al-Ḥaqq (The Truth, The Real)" -- One of the 99 names of God
>> given in the Koran
>> The Muslim polymath Ibn al-Haytham described his theology saying, “I
>> constantly sought knowledge and truth, and it became my belief that for
>> gaining access to the effulgence and closeness to God, there is no better
>> way than that of searching for truth and knowledge.”
>> *Hinduism*: "Parabrahmana (The Supreme Absolute Truth)" -- One of the
>> 108 names of Krishna
>> “I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, whose effulgence is the source of
>> the nondifferentiated Brahman mentioned in the Upanishads, being
>> differentiated from the infinity of glories of the mundane universe appears
>> as the indivisible, infinite, limitless, truth.” -- Hymn to the Absolute
>> Truth in the Brahma Saṁhitā
>> Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi said "If it is possible for the human tongue to
>> give the fullest description of God, I have come to the conclusion that God
>> is Truth.”
>> *Sikhism*: “There is one creator, whose name is truth" -- The Mul Mantar
>> (Root Mantra)
>> These religions account for about half the world's population. It shows
>> that when you get past the fables and mythology, and into the theology of
>> various religions, the concepts of God become much more nuanced. If you
>> want more examples, such as the idea of God as a Creator or God as
>> Consciousness, I can provide those as well.
>>> All the things you mention might (or might not) be reasonable, but none
>>> of them are any reason to worship, obey a set of commandments, or otherwise
>>> bow down and accept unquestioningly what some priest or ancient book tells
>>> you. And *that* is what religion is about.
>> That perhaps is what it is about to you and perhaps others. But it
>> doesn't have to be that way. There are sets of beliefs compatible with
>> science, and there are ways of believing that incorporate scientific
>> understanding to evolve one's beliefs over time.
>> I agree with you that a static belief system is not as good as one that
>> can adapt in response to new evidence and understanding. I am not arguing
>> for a static belief system, only pointing out that there are frameworks of
>> belief (what you might call religious systems) that transcend the
>> definition of religion that you provide.
>> Interesting thought: Is Sagan's definition of science itself a static
>> belief? How could it ever change?
>>> If you, or anyone else, wants to start a religion that's not about power
>>> and control, doesn't assert that magic (the supernatural) is real,
>> To presume the supernatural is not real is to assume we currently
>> possesses a complete understanding of nature, which I am sure we don't have.
>>> that doesn't care who you have sex with or what you eat or wear, and
>>> doesn't tell you that you must believe certain things without question,
>>> great. Go ahead. I might even join it (of course, I'm already a member, on
>>> account of being an Omnitheist :D ). But I'd have to ask, what makes it a
>> A religion, in my definition, is just a set of beliefs. Perhaps more
>> specifically, a set of basic or fundamental beliefs about reality.
>>> PS Please don't CC your replies to the list, to my email address.
>>> There's no need, and it's annoying. Thanks.
>> My apologies.
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