Re: MD Philosophy and Theology

From: Valence (
Date: Sun Apr 06 2003 - 19:26:53 BST

  • Next message: David Buchanan: "RE: MD Philosophy and Theology"

    Hey there Sam,

    > I don't see the fruits of science as necessarily separate to a religious
    > perspective. To say that it is requires putting a religious perspective
    > a static box, which does violence to the nature of the religion itself. If
    > science is allowed to change over time as our understandings evolve, why
    > can't religions?

    The way you tell it, apatheia evolved into objectivity which evolved into
    science. So if religion has evolved overtime into science and objectivity,
    why insist upon maintaining a belief in the pre-evolved version? I think
    this is what Campbell was alluding to when he wrote: "In fact, the famous
    conflict of science and religion has actually nothing to do with religion,
    but is simply of two sciences: that of 4000 B.C. and that of A.D. 2000."

     (The things which a particular religion has to hold to, in
    > order to maintain recognisable continuity of identity, we can debate

    I'd sincerely love to hear you talk about this.

    RICK (from last time)
    > > To borrow a phrase from one of favorite professional magicians, Mr.
    > Penn
    > > Gillette (of Penn & Teller), "God lives in the margins of science,
    > > why the believers like to keep those margins wide and blurry." Granted,
    > > Gillette is no theologian, but he is an expert on the ways in which
    > > are fooled and fool themselves. You say that the philosophical
    > is
    > > just another religion. But when you say that, it sounds to me like
    > > trying to blur the distinctions between knowledge derived from reason
    > > and knowledge derived from faith.

    > I don't believe in a 'god of the gaps' - in fact, that's rejected by most
    > theologians as a confused reaction to Modernism.

        I don't know Sam... Sometimes it sounds to me very much like you do
    believe in a god of the gaps. First, I see you creating the gaps in
    statements like..."Science is tremendously powerful in certain restricted
    areas. In other areas, it is worse than useless"... "Science has nothing to
    say about 'shoulds'"..." soon as we get away from questions of
    'physics', and into all the areas that we find humanly interesting... then
    science has nothing to say". Those are the gaps where your god lives.

    RICK (from last time)
    > > You object to the notion that "there is 'neutral ground' from which
    > > is possible to impartially assess the truth claims of different
    > > beliefs (ie 'objectively')." But do you really think some sort of
    > > 'neutrality' is necessary to refute the proposition that a man can be
    > > resurrected and that therefore if one is to believe that Christ came
    > > from the dead it must be believed *entirely on faith* and in the face of
    > the
    > > mountains of evidence to the contrary?

    > What are the 'mountains of evidence to the contrary'? Just that nobody
    > has?

    That's a good place to start. After all, that is the same ground you
    indicted Pons and Fleischmann on when you wrote: "Their experiments were not
    able to be replicated by anyone else - it appears that their desires to make
    the intellectual breakthrough distorted their perceptions of what their
    experiments proved." This is identical to the way in which the Christian's
    desire to believe that Christ was resurrected distorts their perceptions of
    what the bible proves...
    Oh yeah, does this mean you do think Christ was literally resurrected from
    the dead? Or are you just defending the literal fundamentalist reading that
    you asked me not to force you to defend?

    Yet Christians would say that 'nobody else was the Son of God' - so why
    > shouldn't Jesus be different?

    Well, that's fine so long as one is willing to believe that Jesus was the
    son of God (or even that there even is a 'God' for that matter). I admit I
    can't prove that there is no god or that Jesus was not his son, but I also
    can't disprove the existence of unicorns, goblins, batman, or the
    tooth-fairy. Homer's Odyssey and Iliad contain countless fantastic
    elements I can't disprove (ie. that a cyclops existed who was killed by
    Ulysses). Should I believe that the Odyssey also really happened for this

    > What do you make of this quotation, from Alan Watts, which DMB provided
    > (I'll make my own reactions to him):
    > There is no more telling symptom of the confusion of 'modern thought' than
    > the very suggestion that poetry or mythology can be 'mere'. This arises
    > the notion that poetry and myth belong to the realm of fancy as distinct
    > from fact, and that since fact equal Truth, myth and poetry have no
    > content. Yet this is a mistake for which no one is more responsible than
    > theologians, who, as we have seen, resolutely confounded scientific fact
    > with truth and reality.

    Campbell is saying the mistake is to be defending the myths as if they were
    literal. From my perspective, this is precisely what you appear to be doing
    when you question the evidence against a man rising from the dead. You
    insist that your god doesn't live in the gaps of science, you insist, "It's
    the ideology that says such things *need* to be 'backed up' that is in
    question." Yet, you don't hesitate to defend the literal possibility that
    there was a man named Jesus who was resurrected from the dead by virtue of
    his relationship to a divine being. What am I to make of this?

    (quote continued)
    ....Having degraded God to a mere 'thing', they should
    > not be surprized when scientists doubt the veracity of this 'thing' - for
    > the significant reason thatit seems an unnecessary and meaningless
    > hypothesis.

    Exactly. It's an unnecessary and meaningless hypothesis. I can think of no
    aspect of reality which requires the assumption of the existence of god.

    (quote continued)
     Certainly the poets and myth-makers have little to tell us
    > facts, for they make no hypotheses. Yet for this very reason they alone
    > something really important to say; they alone have news of the living
    > of reality. By contrast, the historians, the chroniclers, and the analysts
    > of fact record only the news of death.

    If you are putting your theological beliefs in with the myths and poems that
    Campbell is talking about then I have no quarrel with you. That's exactly
    how I see religion, as mythology; As metaphorical stories that a culture
    makes up about itself for its own good. Perhaps in the same way Pirsig
    talks of science inventing a myth of independence from the social world for
    its own good, religion has invented a myth of compatibility with science for
    its own benefit.

    > > RICK
    > > The MoQ, as I understand it, rejects the notion of Subject/Object
    > > being transformed into a complete metaphysics. That is, it objects to
    > > view that nothing exists except subjects and objects (since such a view
    > > leaves out DQ entirely and blurs the lines between the 4 levels). The
    > > has no objection to using the subject/object dichotomy as a tool for
    > > understanding, so long as it is acknowledged to be just one high-quality
    > > intellectual pattern. The mistaken value-assumptions of SOM are avoided
    > (or
    > > at least minimized) by the increased clarity provided by the 4 levels
    > > the acknowledgment of Dynamic Quality as an influence.

    > Agreed.

    Nice. There's another one.

    > Hope you're still having fun....

    Oh yeah. I hope you are too.

    thanks for your time

    take care

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