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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    Lol

    I think they’d tell science to lay off because by most accounts, God exists out of the natural world.

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  3. river

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    Advanced Intelligent Beings would say that to advance your understanding of energy and matter , intelligence matters .
     
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  5. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Who said anything about understanding? We were talking about manipulation.
     
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  7. river

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    Sooooooooo...
     
  8. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    I was just pointing out that your statement was dead wrong.
     
  9. river

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    Okay . But why do you think so .
     
  10. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    It's obvious on the face of it that intelligence is not required to manipulate matter or energy. Gravity maniplulates matter. Heat manipulates matter. Matter had to be manipulated to produce intelligence.
     
  11. river

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    Intelligence controls the manipulation of matter and energy , into a form that it wants .

    To your last statement ; By Life .
     
  12. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    The Buddha says on several occasions in the discourses that he isn't concerned with answering metaphysical or cosmological questions. I'm sure that if he lived today, that would extend to science as well. He was concerned with something else.

    He says on countless occasions that his purpose is explaining dukkha, the arising of dukkha, the subsiding of dukkha, and the path to the elimination of dukkha. (Often formulized as "The Four Noble Truths".) Dukkha is a Pali word with no direct word-for-word equivalent in English. It's often translated as 'suffering'. But while suffering is certainly part of it, it is probably closer to 'unsatisfactory' or 'insufficient'. In Buddhism, even pleasure (sukha) is dukkha. People need to keep that in mind when they read things like "Life is suffering" and think that Buddhism is awfully negative and joy-denying.

    Perhaps, since the dividing line between philosophy and religion is kind of vague. (And culturally specific to Western intellectual history.) The dividing line between philosophy and science is at least equally vague.

    But I'd say that Buddhism qualifies as a religion since it is essentially soteriological. Its primary purpose is salvation. Buddhism has a hugely evolved and elaborate tradition of monasticism with its associated contemplative practices. Another association with religion is how Buddhism is inseparable from ethics. You achieve salvation by changing your cognition, your head. You change your head by changing your behavior. (Given the 'no-self' doctrine and the idea of life as an on-going process, you are what you do.) Buddhism is often highly ritualistic (again largely as a means to foster mindfulness). It can even be highly devotional as can be seen when lay Buddhists bow before monks and Buddha images. Buddhism inspires elaborate artistic traditions in a way that science never has.

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    But... maybe things like SLAC (a few miles from my home) are works of scientific art in some way... especially when you factor in the gnostic 'uncovering the secrets of the universe' aspect which lends transcendental significance to the architecture in much the same way that the idea of God lent transcendental significance to medieval cathedrals.

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    Of course, many forms of philosophy have had ideas, goals and even methods similar to early Buddhism. I'm thinking of many forms of Hellenistic philosophy that flourished in the last few centuries BCE and the first 300 years CE in the Mediterranean area such as the Stoics, Epicureans, even the Skeptics (who may or may not have been influenced by roughly contemporary early Buddhism in their emphasis on severing attachment to views in which agnosticism unexpectedly becomes a religious/philosophical path). We see the ethical emphasis, philosophy as a form of life, and even a hint of soteriology. Then Neoplatonism arrived in the third century CE and philosophy merged more obviously with the mystery religions and explicitly became a search for saving knowledge (gnosis) of higher metaphysical realities. (Perhaps not unlike theoretical physics of today, but with far more emphasis on mystical experience and mathematics understood differently.)

    I should probably add that some forms of Buddhism, particularly the sorts of "Pure Land" Buddhism prevalent in China and Japan, have many other elements that we would probably call "religious". They have prayer, believe that prayer is answered (by cosmic Bodhisattvas), hope for rebirth in a heaven or "pure land" of one of these Bodhisattvas. In Japan there are even priesthoods and ritual stylistically reminiscent of the Catholic church.

    That's one reason why I'm attracted to early Buddhism (as illustrated in the Pali canon). Many of its essentials seem to me to be consistent with modern science. Anatta (the denial of metaphysical souls), anicca (universal flux - everything is constantly changing), and its idea that even if gods exist, they are irrelevant to the goal that Buddhism seeks. The idea that everyone must walk his or her path for themselves and can't be saved by another. The idea that the truth of Buddhism must ultimately be known experientially (empirically? It's not exactly sensory, it's more like how we are aware of our own mental states like memory), through one's own experience.

    But other traditional ideas like reincarnation seem less consistent with science. Reincarnation isn't entirely consistent with the no-self doctrine either and the Buddha seems to have embraced the reincarnation idea because karma was the basis of the ethics of the time in India and he feared that to throw out karma would seem to most people to be throwing out ethics.

    There's a modernist form of Buddhism that's widespread in the West and is becoming increasingly widespread among educated Asians that has no trouble embracing both Buddhism (understood as outlined above) and science.

    I agree.

    But sometimes I wonder about avowed atheists like Carl Sagan with his famous "Billions and Billions" as the music swelled in the background. What motivated him to be an astronomer in the first place? What value did he think there was in learning more about the wider cosmos? (How would he answer the obvious objection: 'Who cares?') He obviously seems to have thought that embracing the scale and majesty of the universe had some emotional payoff. Knowledge as a self-justifying value in itself? Beauty?

    What is it about evolutionary biology that originally attracted Dawkins before he abandoned science for (anti)religion? What did Krauss see in theoretical physics?

    They were after something.... there's still some implicit idea of gnosis deep in the heart of science, some idea that scientific knowledge is worth seeking. Some idea that whatever it is, it can somehow give their lives meaning.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2019
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  13. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    It can - but it is not needed.

    No.

    Matter was manipulated long before there was life. Matter was manipulated to make life.
     
  14. river

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    To your last statement , wow , Agreed . By Life .

    So Life and the material world of this Universe exists together , at the same moment.

    If not which came first ?
     
  15. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Matter and energy came first.
     
  16. river

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    Neither came first .

    All energy states of energy and matter , matter and energy . Have always existed .
     
  17. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Not according to science.
     
  18. river

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    Yes I know .

    The science of mathematics .

    The mathematics of something from nothing . Which is the wrong .
     
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Buddhism is a (or several) religion, by definition, in the English language.

    It is a very sophisticated organization of those aspects of human life and mind we call "aesthetic", "spiritual", "emotional", etc, - that brings it into the realm of possibility and value for a scientific community, currently lacking such organization.

    Also, it is significantly visual in its approach, ritual, etc. It has no "Book", relying less on verbal or written material, more on iconographic, pictorial, and other visual modes, for transmission of insight: https://www.amazon.com/Single-Glance-Buddhist-Mikkyo-Vision/dp/0295989203
    https://kyushu-u.academia.edu/CyntheaBogel
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dainichi_Nyorai_(Enjō-ji)
    This also recommends it to a scientific community

    Meanwhile, it lacks some of the features of other religions that seem to render them unsuitable for a scientific community - such as a controlling deity, or a dogmatic set of beliefs about the nature and origin of the physical universe.
     
  20. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    It is interesting to know stuff

    Does it give my life meaning NO

    but it remains interesting

    I always try to KISS knowledge

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  21. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    No. The science of physics. Mathematics only describes the physics; it can not constrain the physics.
     
  22. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    ...

    Deleted, I'm not feeling this topic right now, and my post seemed rushed.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2019
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  23. river

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    Indeed .

    Yet at the sametime , the mathematics of physics , constrains the thinking upon physical objects .
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2019

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