A Scientific Religion

Is there a God? If so, what is She like?

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philosopher
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A Scientific Religion

Post by philosopher »

Science and religion often clash because religious teachings has some statements about the world which scientists cannot observe, actually scientists can tell that a lot of the claims in the religious teachings are false.

There are a lot of problems with religious teachings:

First of all, there is the scientific problem:

The Bible states the world is 6000 years old and was created in three days. A year 2000 years ago still meant a year - 365 days and a day is still the same today as when the Bible was written.

That means you cannot argue why a year in biblical terms maybe equivalent to billions years.
A year is a year and a day is a day. They are aproximately the same today as in ancient times.

Secondly, there is the logical problem:

God is said to be omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. Yet, disease and earthquakes has always made life a hell on earth - even for good people of faith in God.

And the omnipotence would create a logical paradox: God should be able to create a rock so heavy He cannot carry it.
If God cannot carry the rock, He is not omnipotent.

Thirdly there is the scriptural problem:

Religious teachings have been written over decades and centuries by many different scribes.
It is important to keep in mind when reading the Bible that the scribes are not only choosing which scriptures or teachings to write, but they also choose which to edit.

Less than 2 % of people could write 2000 years ago. It was a privilege of the elite, and they are telling the stories from the perspective of that elite of the community ie. ancient israelites who would later become the jews.

When you get to the secdond and third century AD, more people could read and write, which is also reflected in the religious teachings, speaking more to the common people (ie. Jesus' teachings begins to get written down and copied into various gospels).

But still, people are choosing which gospels to copy and which to edit - and which to burn.

In other words, we cannot trust the religious teachings to be the words of God. Rather, they are the words of men.

Yet, there is some truth to their teachings nonetheless, philosophically speaking.
For example caring for the weak, sick and poor. It's not a unique thing for religious people, but if true rationality and atheism were to run wild, we would exterminate the weak, and spend all ressources colonizing space leaving no room for weakness, disabilities or any kind of leisure time at all, because there are no rational or scientific reasons why we should keep people alive who are more a burden to society and it's aim to Colonize The Universe. Neither is there any scientific arguments why we should produce music, art or watch fictional movies.

Irrationality is what created religion. But irrationality also made life worth living. Of course, everything in moderation...

Perhaps it is time to view God not as an omnipotent being, but rather as a personification of everything good about humankind, which we should strive to achieve one day. Instead of placing God above the universe/multiverse, maybe God should simply be a collection of all the good virtues that makes society and life worth living?
Walker
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Re: A Scientific Religion

Post by Walker »

Patañjali’s Yoga Sutras describe a science pursued with detached, religious fervor.

But, that may be beside your point.
seeds
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Re: A Scientific Religion

Post by seeds »

philosopher wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 6:42 pm Perhaps it is time to view God not as an omnipotent being, but rather as a personification of everything good about humankind, which we should strive to achieve one day. Instead of placing God above the universe/multiverse, maybe God should simply be a collection of all the good virtues that makes society and life worth living?
Okay.

Now all you have to do...

(without relying on the absurd notion that the blind and mindless processes of “chance’ did it)

...is explain how “...a collection of all the good virtues that makes society and life worth living...” was somehow able to grasp the fabric of reality and shape it into the unfathomable order of the billions of galaxies of the universe.
_______
philosopher
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Re: A Scientific Religion

Post by philosopher »

seeds wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 7:22 pm
philosopher wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 6:42 pm Perhaps it is time to view God not as an omnipotent being, but rather as a personification of everything good about humankind, which we should strive to achieve one day. Instead of placing God above the universe/multiverse, maybe God should simply be a collection of all the good virtues that makes society and life worth living?
Okay.

Now all you have to do...

(without relying on the absurd notion that the blind and mindless processes of “chance’ did it)

...is explain how “...a collection of all the good virtues that makes society and life worth living...” was somehow able to grasp the fabric of reality and shape it into the unfathomable order of the billions of galaxies of the universe.
_______
Either the blind and mindless processes of "chance" did it - it's not an absurd notion.

Or:

The fabric of reality shaped it into the order of billions of galaxies of the universe we see today, and we just happen to have the collection of the good virtues because they are a product of cause-and-effect in a single universe.

In either option, there's a blind and mindless process of it. Whether it be "chance" - or determinism.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: A Scientific Religion

Post by Immanuel Can »

philosopher wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 6:42 pm
First of all, there is the scientific problem:

The Bible states the world is 6000 years old and was created in three days. A year 2000 years ago still meant a year - 365 days and a day is still the same today as when the Bible was written.
Well, that's controversial. It's by no means clear that "days" means "24-hour periods," particularly when there was no Sun, Moon or Stars to assess such a thing by. So you'd have be not just a strict literalist, but beyond that, a willful readier-into the narrative to insist on that.
Secondly, there is the logical problem:
God is said to be omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. Yet, disease and earthquakes has always made life a hell on earth - even for good people of faith in God.
That's actually not a significant problem. The objection assumes that God can have no sufficient reason for the allowing of the possibility of evil. That's been show to be a dubious proposition, to say the least. In fact, it seems impossible to conceive how a world without any evil could include things like humans with their own volition.
And the omnipotence would create a logical paradox: God should be able to create a rock so heavy He cannot carry it.
If God cannot carry the rock, He is not omnipotent.
Well, sorry, but that one's actually silly, and has been asked-and-answered repeatedly. To summarize briefly, your there premise is self-contradicting, and nonsensical. As C.S. Lewis pointed out in his longer refutation of this old saw, "Nonsense is still nonsense, even when you try to apply it to God."
Thirdly there is the scriptural problem:

Less than 2 % of people could write 2000 years ago.

However, literacy was much higher among the Jews, who had a long-standing tradition of very rigorous scribing, actually. Literacy rates in "barbarian" regions, in contrast, were often 0%.

The neat thing about written documents is that they remain what they are. When you write something down, it doesn't move. And it can be compared to other manuscripts, which can be analyzed for antiquity and stability, so any redactions can be detected. All you need is a significant manuscript tradition, which we do, in fact, have in the case of the Bible. It's the most-studied book in human history. The manuscript tradition of just the New Testament, not including the Old, includes: 5,800 complete or fragmented Greek manuscripts catalogued, 10,000 Latin manuscripts and 9,300 manuscripts in various other ancient languages including Syriac, Slavic, Gothic, Ethiopic, Coptic and Armenian. That's a pretty good starting point for comparative analysis, wouldn't you say?
Yet, there is some truth to their teachings nonetheless, philosophically speaking. For example caring for the weak, sick and poor.
I'm interested: how do you determine that this is so? As you point out, plenty of people have thought it's not. Nietzsche had contempt for the weak. If we take Darwin seriously, the weak need to die in order for the strong to triumph. And certainly Rand had no pity on the weak. Even today, plenty of people have a devil-take-the-hindmost attitude to others.

So what line of reasoning has brought you to the conclusion that they were all wrong, and we still owe it to "care for the weak, sick and poor"?
Belinda
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Re: A Scientific Religion

Post by Belinda »

Immanuel Can wrote:
That's actually not a significant problem. The objection assumes that God can have no sufficient reason for the allowing of the possibility of evil. That's been show to be a dubious proposition, to say the least. In fact, it seems impossible to conceive how a world without any evil could include things like humans with their own volition.
According to your reasoning, God is justified in causing /permitting atrocities.
It is impossible for me to worship such a bloodstained deity.
What will He do when the Apocalypse comes? Laugh, or say "I warned you!" ?
Last edited by Belinda on Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
philosopher
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Re: A Scientific Religion

Post by philosopher »

Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:59 pm Well, that's controversial. It's by no means clear that "days" means "24-hour periods," particularly when there was no Sun, Moon or Stars to assess such a thing by. So you'd have be not just a strict literalist, but beyond that, a willful readier-into the narrative to insist on that.
As I said, the Bible is written by humans. When Humans record something by "days" or "years", there's no reason to suggest they meant something else than "24 hour periods" - they would've said so in the texts they were about to write, whether the words came from "god" or what else.
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:59 pm That's actually not a significant problem. The objection assumes that God can have no sufficient reason for the allowing of the possibility of evil. That's been show to be a dubious proposition, to say the least. In fact, it seems impossible to conceive how a world without any evil could include things like humans with their own volition.
I know of the free-will argument as a case for a benevolent deity who - because said deity allows for free will must also allow for evil committed by free-will-beings.

(Though - I disagree we have any free will, but that's for another topic already discussed).

But you're missing the point. I deliberately chose earthquakes and diseases exactly because I wanted to avoid free-will-caused evil.
Earthquakes is something we have no control of whatsoever. Why would an omnibenevolent deity allow for such an evil?
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:59 pm
And the omnipotence would create a logical paradox: God should be able to create a rock so heavy He cannot carry it.
If God cannot carry the rock, He is not omnipotent.
Well, sorry, but that one's actually silly, and has been asked-and-answered repeatedly. To summarize briefly, your there premise is self-contradicting, and nonsensical. As C.S. Lewis pointed out in his longer refutation of this old saw, "Nonsense is still nonsense, even when you try to apply it to God."
But then God cannot make a rock so heavy He cannot carry it.
That's the limit of his omnipotence. And hence, God is not omnipotent.
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:59 pm The neat thing about written documents is that they remain what they are. When you write something down, it doesn't move. And it can be compared to other manuscripts, which can be analyzed for antiquity and stability, so any redactions can be detected. All you need is a significant manuscript tradition, which we do, in fact, have in the case of the Bible. It's the most-studied book in human history. The manuscript tradition of just the New Testament, not including the Old, includes: 5,800 complete or fragmented Greek manuscripts catalogued, 10,000 Latin manuscripts and 9,300 manuscripts in various other ancient languages including Syriac, Slavic, Gothic, Ethiopic, Coptic and Armenian. That's a pretty good starting point for comparative analysis, wouldn't you say?
Scholars have found vast amounts of editing and censorship amongst those manuscripts.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Documentary_hypothesis
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:59 pm I'm interested: how do you determine that this is so? As you point out, plenty of people have thought it's not. Nietzsche had contempt for the weak. If we take Darwin seriously, the weak need to die in order for the strong to triumph. And certainly Rand had no pity on the weak. Even today, plenty of people have a devil-take-the-hindmost attitude to others.

So what line of reasoning has brought you to the conclusion that they were all wrong, and we still owe it to "care for the weak, sick and poor"?
Because of personal experience of being weak and in need for help.

I'm selfish. So are you and every other living creature. We all want help when we need it. So better take the position of helping those in need, because - one day - some way or the other - you too and everyone else for that matter - will experience being weak and in need for help. It's a lot easier to get help if the society we live in steps in as a matter of course to help those in need.

Think of it as a kind of buying an insurance coverage.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: A Scientific Religion

Post by Immanuel Can »

philosopher wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:26 pm As I said, the Bible is written by humans. When Humans record something by "days" or "years", there's no reason to suggest they meant something else than "24 hour periods" - they would've said so in the texts they were about to write, whether the words came from "god" or what else.
Again, controversial. Nobody denies that the Bible was written by humans, of course. But it's quite another thing to insist it was made up by humans. It's the question of the origin of the revelation that really matters, not the hand that put it to paper.
I know of the free-will argument as a case for a benevolent deity who - because said deity allows for free will must also allow for evil committed by free-will-beings.
Then I'm surprised you went with so obviously refutable an objection.
I deliberately chose earthquakes and diseases exactly because I wanted to avoid free-will-caused evil.
Earthquakes is something we have no control of whatsoever. Why would an omnibenevolent deity allow for such an evil?
There's an answer to that, as well. But I was already developing that line of thought at some length, in conversation with Bahman, and it would be long to repeat. Suffice to say, that's barely a speed-bump. Once you have free will humans, you have to have a morally unpredictable environment within which they can live, or Determinism returns.

But Determinism is so utterly implausible I think we can leave it here. Determinism doesn't even allow that this discussion between you and I can be rationally arbitrated.
But then God cannot make a rock so heavy He cannot carry it.
It's a fallacy to say that God "can do anything." There are actually a variety of things He cannot do.

First, you should know that the term "omnipotence" is entirely outside of the Bible. The Bible says God never does anything that is not consonant with His character -- lie, break promises, fail, betray, and so on. But secondly, your question has a self-contradiction in it, as Lewis points out. And another thing God does not do is the nonsensical.

Sorry: you shot a straw man. Or rather, a kind of "god" not claimed by the Bible.
Scholars have found vast amounts of editing and censorship amongst those manuscripts.
Actually, you're swallowing the camel of the massive agreement among the manuscripts, and choking on the gnat of minor redactions. Manuscript criticism is far too big and complex a subject for us to undertake here, but let me give you a short idea.

Manuscripts can be evaluated a number of ways. Antiquity is one. Attestation is another. Coordination would be a third...and so on. The list is considerable. But any copying errors and redactions are often very easily detectable and eliminable, if you know how to sort. For example, a redaction that appears in a 6th Century manuscript, but did not occur before, is likely a scribing error. Or a change that occurs in one manuscript only, whereas several do not contain it is easy to judge. Or you can see when a manuscript variation is not repeated in requotations. Or you can see where the manuscript itself has been scraped and revised. There are lots of ways to tell when, and how, any minor variances appear.

That's the sort of process involved. So the upshot is that the variances are actually quite small and none of them really matters a hill of beans to the overall reliability of the whole tradition.

There's lots more to say about that, but that's enough for now.
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:59 pm I'm interested: how do you determine that this is so? As you point out, plenty of people have thought it's not. Nietzsche had contempt for the weak. If we take Darwin seriously, the weak need to die in order for the strong to triumph. And certainly Rand had no pity on the weak. Even today, plenty of people have a devil-take-the-hindmost attitude to others.

So what line of reasoning has brought you to the conclusion that they were all wrong, and we still owe it to "care for the weak, sick and poor"?
Because of personal experience of being weak and in need for help.
So you were in need. Okay.

What told you that other people were morally duty-bound to fix your problem for you? What made you confident that if they had not, then they'd be "bad" people?
We all want help when we need it.
:D Well, I want a pony, but nobody will buy me one
So better take the position of helping those in need, because - one day - some way or the other - you too and everyone else for that matter - will experience being weak and in need for help. It's a lot easier to get help if the society we live in steps in as a matter of course to help those in need. Think of it as a kind of buying an insurance coverage.
Oh. So you think of it merely as a practical strategy, not a moral imperative -- just as a handy way for getting something for yourself? :shock:

But if somebody said to you, "I don't feel like helping you," that wouldn't make them a bad or immoral person? They don't actually have a duty to care about you; they only may see it as in their interest to do...and if they don't, then you have no judgment about that?

Just asking.
seeds
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Re: A Scientific Religion

Post by seeds »

philosopher wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:28 pm
seeds wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 7:22 pm
philosopher wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 6:42 pm Perhaps it is time to view God not as an omnipotent being, but rather as a personification of everything good about humankind, which we should strive to achieve one day. Instead of placing God above the universe/multiverse, maybe God should simply be a collection of all the good virtues that makes society and life worth living?
Okay.

Now all you have to do...

(without relying on the absurd notion that the blind and mindless processes of “chance’ did it)

...is explain how “...a collection of all the good virtues that makes society and life worth living...” was somehow able to grasp the fabric of reality and shape it into the unfathomable order of the billions of galaxies of the universe.
_______
Either the blind and mindless processes of "chance" did it - it's not an absurd notion.

Or:

The fabric of reality shaped it into the order of billions of galaxies of the universe we see today, and we just happen to have the collection of the good virtues because they are a product of cause-and-effect in a single universe.

In either option, there's a blind and mindless process of it. Whether it be "chance" - or determinism.
Your response makes no sense, especially this:

“The fabric of reality shaped it into the order of billions of galaxies...”

Did you mean to say:

“The fabric of reality shaped ‘itself’ into the order of billions of galaxies...”?

Also, please explain what you mean by “determinism,” along with an explanation of how a universe is initially endowed with such a thing?
_______
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Immanuel Can
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Re: A Scientific Religion

Post by Immanuel Can »

seeds wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:43 pm “The fabric of reality shaped it into the order of billions of galaxies...”

Did you mean to say:

“The fabric of reality shaped ‘itself’ into the order of billions of galaxies...”?
More like: "The fabric of reality, (which didn't exist yet and thus didn't have any "fabric"), accidentally happened to have a shape (though being random and having as of yet no physical laws associated with it, should not have taken any particular "shape") and magically specified the forms of billions of galaxies, and eventually, of the entire panoply of life as well."

Hmmm...Lucy has some 'splainin' to do. :wink:
Belinda
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Re: A Scientific Religion

Post by Belinda »

Some scholars think The Bible is full of numerological symbols. Biblical "years" do not refer to precise durations, but to numerological information about events and people.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gematria# ... ematria%20
philosopher
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Re: A Scientific Religion

Post by philosopher »

Immanuel Can - I'm interested in knowing why it is controversial claiming the Bible is the revelation by humans, not the revelation from God?

How do you know it is the revelation from God, rather than the mind playing tricks on the scribes (or worse, the scribes were simply good at manipulating their readers)?
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Re: A Scientific Religion

Post by philosopher »

Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:57 pm Oh. So you think of it merely as a practical strategy, not a moral imperative -- just as a handy way for getting something for yourself? :shock:

But if somebody said to you, "I don't feel like helping you," that wouldn't make them a bad or immoral person? They don't actually have a duty to care about you; they only may see it as in their interest to do...and if they don't, then you have no judgment about that?

Just asking.
Let me put it this way:

How is it any better to only feel a call to morality, because of obligation (divine or not)?

I mean, are you only a good person because God is forcing you?

I think it's time to realize that the vast majority of humans are bad and selfish by nature. Some few are not, but they are by far outnumbered by the large majority of people who are bad - or should I say: Evil.
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Re: A Scientific Religion

Post by Terrapin Station »

Normatives, at least at a foundational level, are not rational period. So rationality neither tells you that you should nor that you should not create artworks. Rationality neither tells you that you should nor that you should not help "the weak" etc. It doesn't tell you anything about what you should or shouldn't do. What you should or shouldn't do, again, at least at a foundational level, is instead fueled by one's dispositions, one's preferences, one's desires.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: A Scientific Religion

Post by Immanuel Can »

philosopher wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:17 pm
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:57 pm Oh. So you think of it merely as a practical strategy, not a moral imperative -- just as a handy way for getting something for yourself? :shock:

But if somebody said to you, "I don't feel like helping you," that wouldn't make them a bad or immoral person? They don't actually have a duty to care about you; they only may see it as in their interest to do...and if they don't, then you have no judgment about that?

Just asking.
Let me put it this way:

How is it any better to only feel a call to morality, because of obligation (divine or not)?
Well, all morality is obligation. The word "ought" is actually a contraction of the expression "owe it." So to say somebody (morally) "ought" to do something is to say they morally "owe it" to do it.

You say that people may "help" each other. But you want to say they don't "owe it" to do that. It's merely a strategic move, a hoping that one may get back some reciprocation from others, a reciprocation, though, that they do not objectively "owe" you anyway. They may, they may not; and if they don't think they "owe" you anything in return, they simply don't "owe" it.

I'm just trying to see if you really believe that. Do you?
I mean, are you only a good person because God is forcing you?
"Force"? No word of mine suggested that.

To morally "owe" somebody is not to be forced. If somebody is already being "forced," then the statement that they "ought" to do it is simply redundant: they're going to be forced to do it anyway, whether they ought to or not. So morality does not presume force: it presumes volition. It assumes that people can make choices, and that some choices are what they "ought" to choose, and some are not.
I think it's time to realize that the vast majority of humans are bad and selfish by nature. Some few are not, but they are by far outnumbered by the large majority of people who are bad - or should I say: Evil.
"Bad and selfish"? Where do you get these moral judgments from, if you don't believe in "oughtness"? :shock: They "ought" not to be anything other than they are -- and if that means "selfish," then that's not in any sense you've explained "bad." It's just what IS. And what makes these "some few" any better than the selfish ones, since, according to your reckoning, "oughtness," or moral obligation, simply does not exist?

It seems to me also evident that to calculate that you will only "help" people in the expectation they may (but are not obliged to) later "help" you is the very paradigm of "selfishness." Indeed, it makes "selfishness" the basic motive of reckoning. So are you now calling your own manner of reckoning "evil"? :shock:

There's a bit of sorting out necessary there, no?
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