Subject: Re: Religions vs Science Keywords: religion, secular humanism, anarchy In article

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From: rpjday@violet.waterloo.edu (Rob Day) Subject: Re: Religions vs Science Keywords: religion, secular humanism, anarchy In article <283@cbnewsm.ATT.COM> mls@cbnewsm.ATT.COM (michael.l.siemon) writes: >In article <12905@watdragon.waterloo.edu>, rpjday@violet.waterloo.edu (Rob Day) writes: >> I contend that science has already rendered the >> majority of past religious teachings moot, but they are still (unfortunately) >> with us. Why? Quite simply, the implications of science are irrelevant to > >Since the principle ways in which religion has observable effects are social >(ethical, in the largest sense of "regulation of interpersonal conduct") and >psychological (emotional, again in a relatively broad sense) your remark seems >to me to be preposterous. Any sort of "science" that purports to "teach" us >in these realms strikes me as worthy of as much skepticism as religious claims. This has nothing to do with "science" attempting to "teach" us in these realms whatsoever. We are discussing mainstream science, no more. Secondly, I contend that mass anti-intellectualism is most definitely a social issue, and my statement is not preposterous at all. >> those who do not learn any science, particularly to those whose religious >> beliefs seem to suggest that they SHOULD NOT learn any science as it >> is evil, deluded, misguided, Satanic, etc. As long as there is no real >> penalty for scientific illiteracy, there will be scientific illiterates >> and religion will continue on its merry way. > >This is insulting to me, possibly to Mary Kuhner as well, and I suspect to a >fair number of other participants in this group (let alone to the majority of >Christians in this country and elsewhere who are in no way supportive of the >creationism nonsense. let completely alone the non-Christian religions for >whom the issue is almost totally irrelevant.) All right, I can see that this is going to degenerate in a hurry, so let's get a few things straight right up front. If you are insulted because you didn't understand the posting, you can make some attempt at trying to clarify before going bananas. Regarding Ms. Kuhner, my admiration for the lady is a matter of public record; check it if you like. If you don't keep copies of old postings, I'll be happy to send them to you. But wait, you say, that's not the point, you say. You bet it is. In the first place, I don't think anyone who has been reading this group for any period of time can argue that there is an annoying correlation between some of the posters' overwhelming scientific ignorance and the fervor of their religious beliefs. The anti-intellectualism is there, Mr. Siemon, and it doesn't take a wonder bunny to start to see the trend after a while. I don't think I really have to name names, do I? Second point (and pay attention to this one, OK?). If Mr. Siemon wishes to exempt the non-Christian religions from this discussion, that's fine with me. I admit I should not have said "religion," I should have restricted this to Christianity. Whoa, you say, this is even worse, now he's going after one particular group. If you check the original wording, you will find that I accused "religion," not its followers, of promoting scientific ignorance. Restricting this to Christianity, I do not accuse CHRISTIANS of this, I accuse CHRISTIANITY of this. I am quite convinced that there are very-well educated Christians out there, many of whom, as Mr. Siemon points out, oppose the sham of creation science. That's not the point. The point is that it is not hard to find quite unambiguous passages in the Bible that promote profound ignorance and that have been used for precisely that purpose. In 1981, the Rev. Jerry Falwell exhorted his followers to read no book other than the Bible (leading one to conclude that he would have to stoop to hiring secular humanists to run the technical end of his TV empire). In the 1920s, a Georgia legislator proclaimed that one needed only three books: the Bible, since it was the greatest story ever told; the hymn book, as it contained the most beautiful poetry ever written, and the almanac, to tell when to plant crops. As such, this legislator was opposed to libraries. Shall we get into the letters of Paul, and debate just what he thinks of learning and philosophy? (Are we aware that, in Paul's own words, the message of the Lord is "moronic", and that this too has been used to promote ignorance?) Regardless of what some of the Christians on this group may think, their religion has a rather poor track record in the promotion of higher education, depending on how it is interpreted. And it's not hard to interpret it as above. >If you really expect support >(as you requested in soc.religion.christian) from mainstream Christians, it >behooves you to not accept from the start the fundie-creationists claim to be >"the only true Christians." I have never made that claim, and my previous posting to soc.religion.christian should have made that perfectly clear. How many times do I have to say it? The point is that, as long as Christianity uses the same literal source it has for the last 2000 years, it will be used to defend a lack of education. The passages are there, they have been used for exactly that purpose, and they will CONTINUE to be used for exactly that purpose, as they are being used today. Whether these people are interpreting scripture fairly is not relevant; what is relevant is that others are accepting that interpretation because the words are there and they're in the right order. >Why do you think I participate here except as a >Christian witness against creationism? Did you not notice the impressive list >of Christian "authorities" (not all Christians operate under the assumption >that there *are* authorities, by the way) that Jim Meritt posted? THAT is the >standard Christian comment on the matter, not Duane Gish! Excuse me for not being convinced. I accept that that is one of many Christian comments on the matter, I do not buy that that is the "standard" Christian comment, for the simple reason that I can turn on the TV almost any time of the day or night and find someone who calls himself a Christian polluting the airwaves, railing on about secular humanism and the like. Why not spend a few weeks in Auburn, Alabama, like I did, then try to tell me what the "standard" Christian comment is on the subject? >I don't expect you to buy into my religion, but I won't simply turn away >when you spout ignorant, vitriolic drivel concerning matters in which you >are self-evidently ignorant. Well, you could always make a serious attempt to understand what I was trying to say and read the posting carefully. >I have some considerable difficulties, as an >American citizen, with issues of e.g. state funding to parochial schools as >ways of improving the quality of elementary and secondary education. But >I have no hesitation saying that a significant number of friends, including >a fair number of scientists, are "products" of parochial schools (Catholic >or Anglican.) This sometimes gives them amusing anecdotes about "religious" >education, but I can't see that it has impaired their scientific capabilities. Again, that wasn't the point, as I hope I have made clear by now. >If your only intent is to condemn bible-thumping know-nothingism, fine; That was PRECISELY the intent. >but you have buried your disclaimer ("particularly those ... Satanic" above) >pretty deep in your diatribe, which advertises itself as a direct attack on ALL >religion as "scientific illiteracy." You are correct, this was a poor choice of words. I hope that this has cleared things up just a tad. ------------------------------------------------ "Birds, like most mammals, especially lawyers, evolved from reptiles." ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Robert P. J. Day // rpjday@violet.waterloo.{edu|cdn} Dept. of Comp. Sci. // rpjday@violet.uwaterloo.ca University of Waterloo // uunet!watmath!violet!rpjday _______________________________________________________________________

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