Friday Roundup

Modern atheism probably exists for two reasons: Theological decisions made in the 1200’s along with certain streams of thought opened up by the Protestant Reformation; second, capitalism.  The first provided the philosophical opening for a plausible, rational atheism; the second provided the cultural and economic environment as noted here:

“Soon I saw my atheism for what it is: an intellectual belief most accessible to those who have done well… I also see Richard Dawkins differently. I see him as a grown up version of that 16-year-old kid, proud of being smart, unable to understand why anyone would believe or think differently from himself. I see a person so removed from humanity and so removed from the ambiguity of life that he finds himself judging those who think differently.  I see someone doing what he claims to hate in others. Preaching from a selfish vantage point.”
-As I actually know such people and rub elbows with them, I have always found this to be the case

-Fudging the numbers

-The designation “atheist” is probably not as clear-cut as many think…the same with “believer”…
Pretending is exactly what it is…

“At a time when neuroscience enthusiasts often pretend to have answered these fundamental questions through a new (and improved) synthesis based in brain imaging and genomic sciences, Makari’s study is a powerful reminder of how many seemingly novel intellectual paths return us to long-standing thoroughfares of thought about how consciousness is related to other living beings and the environment.”
“Perhaps we are now at a point at which we can recognize that there is no final “fact of the matter” answer to our questions about human nature, body, soul, and brain. Brain imaging, like phrenology before it, won’t offer satisfying answers to key philosophical questions. Human beings “navigate between competing notions of their own being,” and Soul Machine is a very fine guide to that modern and ongoing effort.”
No final “fact of the matter” is exactly right.
Amen to this:

“I would never dismiss atheism as ridiculous, or atheists as fools. I used to be an atheist myself – and that leads me to respect atheism, not to treat it with contempt. Sure, there are some very strange atheists, mirroring the weirdness of some religious people. But you can’t treat mavericks on the fringe as if they’re the mainstream. We need a principled, respectful dialogue which actively seeks out the best representatives of a position, and engages them constructively and critically.”
God, let’s hope so…
Rest in peace and God speed…

-More here…the world has lost a great voice, an incredible insight…

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2 Responses to Friday Roundup

  1. Burk says:

    Hi, Darrell-

    That is interesting that religious people tend to not think their ideas conflict with science. Is that possibly because they are biassed, or don't know what they are talking about? Simply asserting that you are not athwart the major reality-adjudicating scheme of the moment does seem awfully attractive, I would have to say. But obviously, I hope, that does not make it true.

    For all that Huxley says about it, science currently has content, not just methods. The content of current theories conflict fatally with the theological theories of miracles. For example, do you believe in the miracles of other religions? The Catholic saints and their healings, the Mormon identity and trajectory towards god, Muhammed's night flight, the pollen path, or Hades? Does all this this beg belief? If it all were true, then it would perforce be consistent with a science once that science had wrenched itself around from its current theories, to its new miracle-friendly corpus.

    But the point is … we are not assuming that miracles are true, but rather deciding whether they are, based on evidence, and the degree to which they clash with the content of science at the moment, which involves a lot of other evidence. You seem to have a hard time taking that evaluative position.

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  2. Darrell says:

    “That is interesting that religious people tend to not think their ideas conflict with science. Is that possibly because they are biassed, or don't know what they are talking about?”

    Good question: Why don’t you ask Andrew Pisent, Stephen Barr, or Francis Collins? Or why not even try and engage the sources I cite? And you might want to reflect upon the irony of your question given your obvious bias. Is noting the difference between the equations of physics and causal closure difficult because you don’t know what you are talking about? Is that possible? It certainly is interesting. By the way, except for the New Atheists and other fundamentalists like them, most reasonable people (including scientists) do not see a conflict between science and religion.

    P.S. Not sure why this comment is here since it mostly pertains to the causal closure post???

    “But the point is … we are not assuming that miracles are true, but rather deciding whether they are, based on evidence, and the degree to which they clash with the content of science at the moment, which involves a lot of other evidence. You seem to have a hard time taking that evaluative position.”

    You seem to have a hard time following a conversation. None of what we have been talking about has had anything to do with proving miracles, the evidence for miracles, or any such aspect, but that is simply what you “heard” because of…well…bias. There is no clash with the “content” of science unless you think the content includes the metaphysical belief of causal closure. If you do, then your view clashes with the Stanford and other sources.

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