Should science replace religion?

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

  1. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    And the religions at hand now don't work for a scientific culture (at least, not the theistic Western ones that happen to be at hand).
    If along with the labels "we" removed the ritual or signatory behavior the labels labeled, their behavior would change. Political example: The fundies probably would not have voted en masse for W in 2004, or Trump in 2016, if left to themselves as individuals.
    Simply refusing to label stuff might not make any difference - for one thing, they will label themselves. The only people trying to deal with stuff without naming it would be the "we".
    The consequences of relying on philosophy and ethics to incorporate an intellectual field into human life are well illustrated by the current practice of law and medicine in the US.
    Medicine and law are also in need of an adequate religion.
    (Philosophy and ethics do not suffice, because they are limited by rationality rather than simply answering to it. Illustration: a philosopher or an ethicist dealing with poetry and music.)
    You invent any such "dichotomy". There is none in my posts.

    The benefits I listed - and several others - are not "gaps left by science", and they are not "emotional needs". They are critically important benefits to human communities and individuals not available without deep and community established organization of human spiritual/aesthetic/"intuitive" life: religion. It's not just science that can't provide them.
    That needs rethinking in light of the benefits of religion that science does not enjoy, and the consequences of not having them. Science is once again near taking a bad turn, getting lost - and rationality will not save it.
    Currently available religions, to Western science. We have agreed they won't do.

    So we have progress: no deity, no superstition, and no providing excuses for bogus exceptionality and bad behavior (since our religion is to incorporate rationality and scientific approaches, we may get the last two for free in a sense). It begins to take form.
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  3. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    And the way things are screwed up in the US is the standard for all human organization --- Why?
    For that matter, I strongly question the idea that science - or any other intellectual pursuit - needs a mechanism to incorporate it into human life. Thinking, questioning, speculating, tinkering, pattern-making and self-examination have always been a part of human life. All we have to do is stop alienating and sequestering each discipline, and mystifying any of them.
    What's there to "answer to"? Science and law are not music or poetry, but people have a tendency to create a special philosophy and framework of rules for any endeavour they undertake. Illustration: chess doesn't need a religion; it already has rules.
    I see no reason why any of those things need an irrational guidance system.
    I didn't invent it. It runs through the last 25 pages. However, why ignore community, work, family, art, sport and fun - none of which are exclusively rational or spiritual.
    I remain unconvinced. Social organization doesn't need a "higher" level of organization; it doesn't need so much over-thinking.
    Which are? And how will a religion change that? I mean, in practical terms: what, exactly should happen next, and what is the role of religion of making it happen?
    What kind of bad turn? Turn from which to what? religion
    That leaves room for some harmless ritual, but none of the accoutrements that religious appreciate in their opiate of choice.
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
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  5. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    It does not appear in my posts, including the one you responded to with your bullshit "false dichotomy" accusation.
    Such activities involve aesthetics, spirituality, "intuition", and so forth - in the human mental hierarchy, a level "higher" than rationality, which they properly regulate and oversee.
    If they don't, rationality can turn very ugly very fast, and without self-awareness. Rationality will not rescue science.
    ? You don't know?
    Of the dozens of examples, and carefully avoiding Godwin or Cold War complications: From research into sound and sustainable agriculture to the regime Monsanto's co-opted scientists have come up with - that's a handy thread end we could pull on. It connects directly to what has happened to the agricultural research at the public land grant universities in the US - under the rubric of "rationality".
    Nonsense. Many hopeful and suggestive examples exist to be drawn from - from Zen to Navajo.
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  7. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    No accusation intended. The distinction, nevertheless, remains bogus.

    Where do you get this notion of a hierarchy of mental activities?Or any of them 'overseeing' or regulating any others? The Freudian structure is just a graphic interpretation, not a literal description.
    Humans turn ugly very fast; the ugly is in every human, all the time. Rationally, emotionally, with an without self-awareness, with and without leadership and direction, people do ugly things, and use all available devices to carry out their ugly intention.
    If it's in danger, rationality is more likely to "rescue" it than irrationality.
    Also when Galileo researched ballistics for the Medici family, and whoever it was invented all those nifty torture devices for the Inquisition, and all the wonderful uses of Fluorine gas. Neither rationality nor spirituality determines who pays for what research, who puts it to what use. However, rationally, I would make all scientific funding in a blind trust.I have no idea what a religion would do with it.
    Develop them, by all means. Can't imagine how they'll apply to anything that needs fixing in the modern world.
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
  8. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    There was no such distinction.
    Description of observations.
    Brain studies as reported in the literature - including of meditation, music composition, sleep and dreaming, athletic performance, etc.
    Studies of stroke victims - the effects of strokes in the right vs left hemispheres, in particular.
    The experience of artistic creation, and its description by knowledgable people.
    The experience of rationality - reasoning logically from premises, from evidence; symbolic representation of same; writing mathematical proofs vs intuitively "seeing" what is to be proved, writing clearly vs grasping the idea one wishes to communicate, etc etc etc.
    It's a long list, and a frankly obvious feature of the human mind as described from that viewpoint.
    Rationality is not merely separate from aesthetics/spirituality/etc, but subsidiary to it - a shallower, dependent, lower level mental activity. The fact that this is even questioned, that it is not an immediate and obvious cliche taken for granted in all such discussions, is key evidence that the Western scientific world is in trouble.
    That is completely beyond the scope of rationality's powers. You might as well try to pick yourself up by your shoelaces.
    Rationality did. All that stuff was justified and paid for as a rational means to a rational end. Nobody invented gas weaponry out of idle curiosity, or a sense of beauty, or a guide to enlightenment, or an intuitive grasp of balance and fitness in the universe they would express and exemplify.
    One would first have to identify the broken and malperforming.
    Then try.
    Exactly. Rationality will not save them.

    The benefits of religion are not small.
  9. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    It is just that: a list. Not a hierarchy, not a controlling-controlled relationship.
    Lower on what scale?
    I have no problem accepting that imagination comes later in the evolution of brains than practical problem-solving, but so does mental illness and delusion: these are the products of complexity. I don't see them as superior - or capable of functioning without those 'inferior' processes that supposedly depend on them. I don't see profound appreciation of beauty directing me to a superficial meal, but I can definitely see the inability to find a meal putting a full stop to my appreciation of beauty.
    Maybe so, but articles of faith have caused their own share of trouble.
    irrationality would have to do it by picking a barefoot pixie up by its shoelaces. So, I guess it won't get rescued.
    No. Men did. Humans did, and do, employ rationality, and emotion, and faith, and wealth, and whatever is available, to further their ends - which neither purely rational nor purely emotional nor purely spiritual.
    Curiosity is rarely idle. The invention of things comes out of the discovery of relationships, causes and effects, properties of matter, reactions and processes - and the discovery of those principles are the result of curiosity, or a sense of beauty, or a guide to enlightenment, or an intuitive grasp of balance and fitness in the universe - yes. They are products of the human mind, using all its faculties to gratify all its cravings. How those products then translate to practical application is the result of a whole other set of desires by a whole other set of humans.

    If you don't know what needs fixing, how can you know that religion is the appropriate fix?

    Then nothing will.
    You say so.
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
  10. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    And list a couple of examples. A solution to the Tragedy Of The Commons, say. All those game theory setups where two players acting rationally reach a suboptimal equilibrium (Prisoner's Dilemma, etc). Sustainable agriculture in a monetary or scarcity ridden economy. Maximal long term return to hunting and gathering efforts on a given landscape.
    One of the characteristics of the modern inadequacy of available religions is that in the attempt to adapt they have lost most of the major functions of their forerunners - modern Christianity includes no regulation of agricultural practice, for example. Hence the dust bowl, and debt peonage for farmers. No Jubilee, no customary fallowing and windbreak and set-aside for wildlife, for the modern Christian farming community.
    If enough people insist. That's how we got where we are, I think.
    You are confusing fantasy with spirituality, irrationality with childishness.
    It's a list of some major sources of supporting evidence for an obvious hierarchy, for those who willfully refuse to look at what's in front of them.
    And the relationship between the levels is not "controller/controlled" - that's a typical mistake of rational thought.
    Metaphorical. I would prefer "comprehensive/subsidiary", "central/outer", "encompassing/partial", etc, but I'm talking to a techno guy on a science forum.
    But not the invention of gas weaponry. That's more or less purely rational - means to an end.
    It's completely dependent on the deeper stuff, of course - not vice versa.
    All that stuff was justified and paid for as a rational means to a rational end. None of it was motivated by aesthetic, artistic, spiritual, etc, goals or encompassing emotions or the like.
    You wouldn't. So I sympathize with your position here. But the situation is getting kind of bad.
  11. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    It plainly makes otherwise good people do bad things.
  12. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Lots of disparate stuff piled into a basket. People do stupid things for what they think are smart reasons, and people do stupid things without worrying about reasons. None of this is relevant to the roles of religion and science in human organizations.
    It's not supposed to. Christianity was the religion of choice of conquerors, not farmers. It has been adapted to farming communities in various parts of non-USA world, without disrupting their accustomed agricultural models.
    That's not down to christianity; that's down to capitalism. Neither invented the other; they just got in bed together when christianity ran out of monarchies to support. It was a robust institution: it adapted.
    No; comparing rationality with irrationality.
    Then how is the hierarchy supposed to work?
    a metaphor for what? I'm still looking for some reality.
    Fine. How do any of those relationships work?
    So is the invention of toothpaste, vaccines, popsicles, windmills, incense, lightbulbs, acrylic paint, trumpets. All of the applications, good, bad, frivolous, exalted, decorative, amusing, practical, life-saving, annoying, time-wasting - all the applications are done by rational process for rational reasons, and many of them serve the "aesthetic, artistic, spiritual, etc, goals or encompassing emotions or the like", simply because they serve humans, and those are human pursuits.

    What is dependent on what? What is deeper stuff than what other stuff?

    We die and most of everything else lives. Or we dies and everything dies. Or most of us die and some of everything else lives.
    No religion is going to fix this - especially if "this" isn't even as well defined as "What do we kill to make the drought end?"
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
  13. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    Speaking in terms of organized religions, do you feel that this is due to the hope they have of gaining God’s favor? (Example: they seek to marginalize a particular group whom they deem “sinful,” but believe that it’s God’s will - so they see their actions as “righteous.”)

    [*Note: “They” meaning anyone who falls into the category you describe of “an otherwise good person doing bad things.”]
  14. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    Random thought: I've started thinking about the implications and potential ramifications of those who follow organized religions, yet only do so as a response to possible family and social stigmas. It could be a powerful reason why people go through the motions of seeming outwardly ''religious.'' I've witnessed quite a few people go through so much unnecessary stress, in trying to find the courage to leave a religion that they no longer believe in, or perhaps never did, but didn't want to betray their family, lose their social identity, etc.

    Christianity is still leading as the dominant global religion, but if those aforementioned factors are taken into account, and Christians aren't in it for deep theological and metaphysical reasons, then it's not an accurate portrayal of reality.
  15. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    *edit - meant to add organized/theistic religions, which I think is an important distinction because in the west, they tend to dominate
  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Childish irrationality only. There is childish rationality - such as a preference for nickels over dimes because they are bigger - but serious discussion does not rest on that representing rationality itself.
    Then consider the mental endeavor of improvising music. People actually do that, right on stage.
    I doubt anyone knows, yet. Current hot topic of research. Between Zen Buddhism and the brain scans, we may be getting an idea.
    The book I linked compiles some of the progress.
    Yeah, it is. Check out the historical religious practices and rules for agricultural land management, almost universal on this planet until recently, for example.
    So there are reasons for its inadequacy as a religion of scientists and scientific cultures.
    The colonial disruptions of their accustomed agricultural models met less opposition, in consequence. If you wish to regard that as multiple coincidences, your choice.
    Exactly. Hold that thought.
    You posted it, I quoted your post right there in order to refer to it directly - reading comprehension problems?
    Breathe. It's a discussion. You don't have to take it seriously, but you might want to stay minimally connected.
  17. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

  18. river

    Neither should replace either .

    Both are based on an attitude towards information known and information in the future , discovered .

    We are too dogma oriented .

    All understandings change with new information discovered . For example FRB ( fast radio bursts ) .
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
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  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Ok -
    Every single item in that basket is an example of situations in which a local religion can, and historically has, provided benefits unavailable via rationality or anything limited to rational analysis (such as science). They illustrated the point.
    It's down to absence of an adequate religion. With an adequate religion, capitalism - a system limited to rationality - is curbed and regulated in its behavior. So is farming. Historically, for example, interest rates are often controlled and debt peonage is limited in time and scope (usually, compound interest is forbidden), purchased or commercial slavery is heavily curbed if not outright forbidden, and ownership is granted only limited privileges in dealing with landscape resources.

    Many other examples of ongoing Game Theoretic and Hardin Tragedies of similar kinds could be listed: self-destructive antibiotic and pesticide/herbicide employment, the common GMO deployments, the separation of animal husbandry from crop farming (leading to animal cruelty and abuse, degradation of the landscape, and problems of waste management), and so forth. But these modern ones have never been addressed via religion. The ones in the basket are some for which we have examples of religious address and amelioration - more suggestive, I thought.
  20. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    An none of those things can be forbidden by law? Or simple intelligent husbandry?
    I just don't see that .
    Nor, having witnessed an inordinate amount of sinning in the shadow of powerful, punitive religions, with great big all-seeing gods, do I see why you think a religious law would be obeyed more generally than a secular law, or why either one would have more effect than informed self-interest.
    And, let's face it, I'm too reality- and rational- oriented to take suggestion for evidence.
  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Now all you have to do is get that law passed and enforced despite the sacrifices it imposes, that intelligent husbandry practiced by the greedy and stupid at their own expense.
    Historical example and observation.
    Secular law in these matters might of course be obeyed with similar diligence if similarly enforced - it's just less likely to exist without religious influence, and far more difficult to enforce without religious backing within a culture. That explains its almost complete absence in the absence of religion, and the observed role of religion in such matters throughout human history.

    "Informed self interest" of course does not work - the uninformed will take advantage, and justify their behavior as rational self-interest. The rational will take advantage, justified by rational consideration of the existence of the uninformed. That's how the Tragedy of the Commons works, how Prisoner's Dilemma traps the rational in a suboptimal equilibrium, and so forth.
  22. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Now, all you have to do is create the religion that would have all those edicts you desire, establish it as the dominant one, beating out all the others that are already established, and convert the world.

    ... shows that religious laws are broken all the time, first by the prelates, then by the nobility, then by the clergy, then by the laity. Which is why they have all those atonement and forgiveness rituals.
    But in case anybody adheres to them, there is the expedient of "interpretation" .
    One can't help but wonder why, if religious law worked the way you say, Christianity as practiced by self-professed Christians is, and has always been, so unlike anything their founder supposedly preached.... in the book edited by the committee set up for the purpose by its early, powerful backers, who clearly had the authority and clout to enforce their rules.

    It doesn't bloody matter what the rules are!! Most people do what they're expected to, unless it runs counter to their nature, their needs or some overwhelming desire.
    The powerful do what they want.
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
  23. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    Hope, fear, praise, who cares?

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