Should science replace religion?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by wegs, May 7, 2019.

  1. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    I'll be back later, to share. I want to have one long post, replying to those who took the time to reply. I'm really impressed with the thoughts that have been shared. Sometimes, these types of topics derail into ad homs and garbage like that.
     
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  3. river

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    Does it have to be a long post ?
     
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  5. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    It's good for you to be open minded enough to considered that there could be a bearded man in the sky.

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    The interesting way that some threads go is to say, "that's not my religion, I'm just thinking that there is something out there. I believe in science}. The concept becomes so nebulous that they are basically talking about a spirit that pushed the switch that started the Universe.

    At that point, why require a spirit to push a switch? It adds nothing. At that point you are really looking at religion as a philosophy, which is what I think it is.

    Read the Bible as a crazy long adventure series. Take a few good passages from it to live by. Don't invoke the supernatural or get involved in trying to take a book that is inconsistent and trying to make it consistent. That's a losing battle and it serves no purposes and redirects all energy in a useless way.

    The worst, to me, is to say "I accept all scientific results including evolution" and then say "but when I look at nature it is so complex and well-designed that I just know there is a God" (this makes no sense at all).

    If you believe in evolution it isn't so complex because it was designed by God.

    Most "enlightened" ways of looking at God, diminish the concept to the point where it's really not doing anything. Why hold on to a "God" when you really aren't describing a God anymore.

    The Bible isn't describing such a God. At this point you are really talking about a philosophy such as that of Gandhi, for example. Why don't just call it that?

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    Last edited: May 8, 2019
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  7. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    You mean you will delude yourself into thinking that you understand the universe.
     
  8. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    i strongly suspect creating concepts of magic, make-believe & story telling to children enables synaptic extension to better facilitate diverse intellectual co-existent concepts of thought
    e.g different languages
    variant forms of scientific frame works
    differing types of reason
    etc

    however, this is vastly different to institutionalized religion used & applied as a form of dumbing down the human intellect to gain power and force conformity of thought.
     
  9. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    ?

    from my previous reading religion seems to have started around 45,000 years ago possibly.
    with the discovery of cave drawings depicting different types of status symbology around figures of people who were shown to be flying in the air.
    hindu scripts date back many thousands of years and many oral historys suggest easily 20,000 years
    egyptian religion dates back fairly substantially to around 8,000 to 15,000 years ago whilst having anecdotal reference to pre dating storys of religious concepts.

    Celtic & pagan religion dates back many thousands of years pre dating concepts of Christianity by thousands of years so many anecdotal archeological findings suggest.

    loading a number concept on to religion then branding it with a age origin seems a little careless and pandering to an audience who lack their own personal ambition to study into the discussions they say they are interested in having.
     
  10. kx000 Valued Senior Member

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    Science can't be omniscient without learning.
     
  11. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    What is your point. Don't learn, it's pointless?
     
  12. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    raising children without magic, art & creativity is like throwing all small children into a deep swimming pool and saying, as long as some can swim thats just the way it is, you need to be practical !

    like a rounded non pointy point ?
    maybe like a ball...
    a ball-point, to pen a phrase.
    pointedly non directional yet functionally conformative
    absolutely normative
    its all very non pointed
     
  13. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    I've read through all of your responses, and appreciate you taking the time to post them. I'll come back to them, but it's been a long trying day at work, and they deserve at least my best effort. But for now, here are a few points that come to mind, as to why I ask the question of the OP, in the first place.

    If we had enough time, the right technology, a surplus of geniuses, and we could answer all of the currently unanswered questions about our universe - would that be enough? I ask that because a friend of mine answered ''yes,'' to this question. He is an atheist, and continued by saying ''we need science, we don't need religion. We don't need gods.'' We went back and forth for a bit, and I said that science has limits. Even from a secular viewpoint, science can't provide you with a moral compass, or instruct you how to use scientific facts or knowledge. He responded that science is the purest morality that one can have. Scientists have to be objective, transparent and honest with their findings, otherwise it would fail to be science_it would just be opinion.

    Science is the purest morality.

    I asked him where does science come from, though? He insists that science simply is. My friend is somewhat of a nihilist, with a disdain towards believing that we all have a purpose-driven life; we just need to figure out our purpose. He jokes that if more people used their brain to figure out the mysteries of the universe, that would serve as a pretty damn good purpose.

    I'm paraphrasing, but this is the gist of what he said to me, recently.

    ''Your problem is that you feel the universe should take care of you. So you search for answers about that. Science gives you answers, but that's not enough. You don't like that science tells you a story, you need a mystical story.''

    For the record, I replied to him that I don't ''need'' a mystical story. Or do I. Or do I just find comfort in believing that there is something grander happening here, and I'll never know everything. For me, science can coexist with faith/religion/spiritual belief systems. It doesn't have to be either/or. But, for him, it does.

    For some here, I wonder if you are like my friend? If you feel that life has enough mystery without concocting legends, myths and religions to spice it up. He'd be thrilled if religion died out, and suddenly, everyone woke up with a firm grasp on physical reality _ and only cared about that.

    Personally, I can't (won't?) imagine not having the freedom to follow any religion I choose, or none at all. This is what makes us human, to me. The ability to be a seeker, of anything I wish.

    Besides, religion doesn't need to be at odds with science. There shouldn't be lines drawn in the sand, where we can't at least respect each other's ideas, without walking away with bruised egos.

    But, I can't help but wonder, if we could know everything about the universe, would we seek to know if a god exists at all? Would religion die out because there would be no further mysteries to unravel, or would I still wonder ...
     
  14. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Interesting, because this is exactly what I've been pondering.

    Do you think that most people ''create'' their own gods? Since we like creating stories and all.
     
  15. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    So I'm clear, when you think of ''religion,'' do you think of merely believing in God(gods) or a labeled, organized type of church-affiliated religion?

    How do you know that I don't think this way? I'm not rigid in my views.

    Are you rigid in your views, would you say? My friend who I've mentioned above - I'd classify him as not your average passive atheist. Passive meaning, he keeps to himself about his ''unbelief.''
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
  16. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    In stride with the OP - Since natural laws are imperative for the order of the universe; is spirituality/religion essential for the order and peace of humanity? If religion never existed, would society be more or less dysfunctional, do you think?
     
  17. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    I dunno, the Bible is a complex book, filled with many contradictions and plot holes, but I happen to think it was meant to be taken literally, at least during that time period. The prophets, etc didn't have any scientific knowledge of the universe, so perhaps it was a way of making sense of all that they didn't know. We view it now through a skeptical lens, because we're fortunate enough to have scientific knowledge at our fingertips. They turned to God for answers, we turn to science - some of us turn to both.
     
  18. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    When I think about "religion" in a general, generic sense, I'm thinking about whether one thinks there is a God. All the rest follows, for better or worse, from there. I think it's a "silly" idea but I think it's even "sillier" to think that you could know there was a God even if there was one.

    I'm not rigid. If it turned out tomorrow that there were no black holes, I'd yawn and go back to sleep.

    Am I open to ghosts, gobblins, etc., only if there is real evidence and we (and I'm including you) "know" there won't be. If there is, sure, introduce me to the new found goblins.

    I don't talk about atheism or God except on a forum like this. I know some people who are religious and go to church. I had to go to Sunday School until about age 15. I think there are some good "messages" hidden in the Bible. You could take that large book, leave out the woo, inconsistencies and horribly messages and have a nice little book with reminders of how to lead a better life.
     
  19. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    7,759
    It's already more or less dysfunctional (joke). Hard to say, it would probably be about the same given that we would still be humans and we would still be bickering about something.

    I've heard people say, when (fill in the name) died, I don't know how I would have coped were it not for my religion. I think (but don't say) you would have done exactly what you did.

    If I have a hard decision I think "should I move for a better job" or "no, I don't think I should leave where I like living for a job". If I stay and later that ends up being the best choice, I met a great person here, I end up making more money, the other job turned out to be with a company going out of business...I either think "Hey, I made the right decision" or I could think "I listened to God and it turned out for the best".

    Call it what you will, things turn out the same. You can either call it listening to yourself or a debate between the Devil and God in your head. You really have to have drunken the Kool Aid to seriously think it's the latter IMO.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
  20. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    Science is not a replacement for religion. Other things might be; fiction, music, art, theater, dance, sports...
     
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  21. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Well, the bit about morality is a gem. There are procedural guidelines like any discipline, but classifying and elevating that to such in reverent tones could only be rescued by explaining that it was poetic metaphor. (He's actually performing art, and using science as a prop in the drama.) It was philosophy of science which extravagantly idealized "method", and practicing scientists themselves of the past, like physicist Percy Bridgman, have criticized that. The supposed "objectivity" of scientists can be compromised in all manner of ways from being employed by industries to scandals of faking data to the replication crisis in social, biomedical, and psychological fields to the lack of peer review in predatory journals.

    Your friend (but not necessary the original one, just what I'm construing from this snapshot description and thereby unavoidably superficial representation) does sound like a promoter of science as an ideology. The kind of "scientism" zealotry which some everyday atheists take up without consciously espousing a label for it. And which Alex Rosenberg finally clarified, established, or whatever with the publication of An Atheist's Guide To Reality.

    Review of "An Atheist's Guide To Reality": [Rosenberg's] aim is to enlighten the converted by arguing for what an atheist should believe, since there's more to atheism than simply "there is no God". He begins by rebranding atheism as "scientism" so as to better describe what atheists "do believe". First, an atheist has to understand the science, then accept its "irrefutably correct answers to the persistent questions". What is the nature of reality? What physics says it is. What is the purpose of the universe? There is none. What is the meaning of life? Ditto.

    Rosenberg's scientism is built on accepting well-established laws of physics as the basic description of reality. He argues that the physics tells us just about everything we need to know about how the universe works. We can extend this to chemistry and biology, and then, with an appeal to Darwinian processes, everything else. For Rosenberg, almost everything we think of as having inherent value or meaning, from morality to the idea of a self, does not [have value or meaning]. He wants us to let go of our many illusions, such as the concept of free will. Being "scientistic" means treating science as the "exclusive guide to reality" and accepting that it "enables atheism to answer life's universal and relentless questions".

    Review by Massimo Pigliucci: I am therefore glad that Alex Rosenberg has written an entire book to make the case for scientism – the idea, he says, that “the methods of science are the only reliable ways to secure knowledge of anything” – as the only rational ideology one could possibly hold in the face of what science tells us about the way the world is. Thanks to him, I can no longer be accused of fighting a straw man. Rosenberg’s attempt is valiant and will give people much to think about. Except, of course, that according to Rosenberg we cannot really think such things because scientism “says” that chunks of matter cannot possibly produce thoughts about anything at all, on penalty of violating physicalism.

    For Rosenberg there are simple, science-driven answers to all of life’s persistent questions, and he gives the short version right at the beginning of his book: Is there a God? No. What is the nature of reality? Whatever physics says it is. What is the meaning of life? Nope. Why am I here? Dumb luck. Is there free will? Not a chance. What is love? The solution to a strategic interaction problem. Does morality exist? No. And so on.

    In some cases I agree with Rosenberg’s answers, though I think his reasoning relies far too much on what after all are science’s provisional findings [...] while in other cases I think he is either wrong or at least does not come close to providing a satisfactory argument for his positions. Then again, that’s the problem with scientism: it starts with a kernel of truth and in "inflates it into a cosmic nihilism (Rosenberg’s word, which he uses proudly) of increasingly uncertain grounding....
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
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  22. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    Where did I say anything like that.
     
  23. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    You're right on your assessment of my friend. He nearly treats science as a religion, and doesn't like when I suggest that. But, anywho. There are ''passive'' atheists, who really aren't outspoken about their unbelief, and then there's ''new atheism.'' What do you think about activists for atheism, such as the likes of Sam Harris, etc?
     

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