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Mon Apr 6, 2015, 08:00 PM

Is religion a science?

Since some people believe that other people treat science as their religion then does it also follow that religion is a science?

81 replies, 3638 views

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Arrow 81 replies Author Time Post
Reply Is religion a science? (Original post)
Fumesucker Apr 2015 OP
Agnosticsherbet Apr 2015 #1
okasha Apr 2015 #2
NYC_SKP Apr 2015 #3
guillaumeb Apr 2015 #7
NYC_SKP Apr 2015 #13
guillaumeb Apr 2015 #14
NYC_SKP Apr 2015 #15
Fumesucker Apr 2015 #22
phil89 Apr 2015 #27
cbayer Apr 2015 #4
guillaumeb Apr 2015 #8
cbayer Apr 2015 #10
guillaumeb Apr 2015 #11
longship Apr 2015 #35
guillaumeb Apr 2015 #39
longship Apr 2015 #42
guillaumeb Apr 2015 #43
longship Apr 2015 #44
guillaumeb Apr 2015 #45
longship Apr 2015 #33
cbayer Apr 2015 #36
longship Apr 2015 #37
cbayer Apr 2015 #46
LTX Apr 2015 #70
longship Apr 2015 #73
stone space Apr 2015 #5
Fumesucker Apr 2015 #23
RandySF Apr 2015 #6
bvf Apr 2015 #19
LineLineLineReply !
beam me up scottie Apr 2015 #20
handmade34 Apr 2015 #9
onecaliberal Apr 2015 #12
pinto Apr 2015 #16
Fumesucker Apr 2015 #21
cbayer Apr 2015 #24
Fumesucker Apr 2015 #25
cbayer Apr 2015 #29
skepticscott Apr 2015 #47
bvf Apr 2015 #17
ret5hd Apr 2015 #28
cbayer Apr 2015 #30
bvf Apr 2015 #34
stone space Apr 2015 #40
uriel1972 Apr 2015 #18
LTX Apr 2015 #71
DetlefK Apr 2015 #26
Maedhros Apr 2015 #31
bvf Apr 2015 #38
nil desperandum Apr 2015 #41
cbayer Apr 2015 #48
bvf Apr 2015 #49
okasha Apr 2015 #50
rug Apr 2015 #51
okasha Apr 2015 #54
bvf Apr 2015 #52
okasha Apr 2015 #55
bvf Apr 2015 #56
okasha Apr 2015 #57
bvf Apr 2015 #58
okasha Apr 2015 #59
cbayer Apr 2015 #60
bvf Apr 2015 #61
cbayer Apr 2015 #62
bvf Apr 2015 #63
cbayer Apr 2015 #64
bvf Apr 2015 #65
cbayer Apr 2015 #66
bvf Apr 2015 #67
cbayer Apr 2015 #68
okasha Apr 2015 #69
LTX Apr 2015 #72
Maedhros Apr 2015 #74
LTX Apr 2015 #75
Maedhros Apr 2015 #76
cbayer Apr 2015 #77
Maedhros Apr 2015 #79
cbayer Apr 2015 #81
LTX Apr 2015 #78
Binkie The Clown Apr 2015 #32
rug Apr 2015 #53
immoderate Apr 2015 #80

Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Apr 6, 2015, 08:04 PM

1. Are you talking about Theology, the study of religon, or Catholicism, Islam, Baptists, Budhism?

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Apr 6, 2015, 08:06 PM

2. The folks who keep announcing

that they've located Noah's Ark sure seem to think so.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Apr 6, 2015, 08:08 PM

3. Well, there are really too many different religions and definitions for "religion" to answer this...

 

But I think it's fair to say that religion can be addressed in a scientific manner and that some religions can be practiced in a scientific manner.

Others would seem to be quite resistant to treatment or practice following scientific principles.

For me, the most interesting observation is that religion and science share so many characteristics:

-- Both try to explain phenomena
-- Both seek order from seeming chaos
-- Both have different schools of thought, sometimes adverse to one another
-- Both depend upon faith, in different ways but the fact remains
-- Both seem to be uniquely human affairs

Religion and Science, a Love Story. So opposite yet so similar!

I love them both!

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #3)

Mon Apr 6, 2015, 08:18 PM

7. Is it allowed to love them both?

Some here would argue that point with all the ferocity of theologians arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #7)

Mon Apr 6, 2015, 08:31 PM

13. No Kidding! I'm a lover not a hater and you know what they say....

 

Haters gonna hate.

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #13)

Mon Apr 6, 2015, 08:33 PM

14. but many haters hate it when you do not reciprocate the hate

leading to hate echoes and hate squared.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #14)

Mon Apr 6, 2015, 08:37 PM

15. I KNOW!!!

 

My kindness and understanding seems to slay them, but it's just my nature.

There's really no reason to not at least TRY to find common ground.

We're people. We are an odd species!


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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #3)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 04:05 AM

22. Hmm... I see somewhat less hypocrisy in science than religion...

Rarely is a scientist for instance observed violating Newton's first law.



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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #3)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 01:41 PM

27. Incorrect

 

Science doesn't work on faith it is concerned with evidence. Religious claims have no explanatory power, it's made up nonsense.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Apr 6, 2015, 08:10 PM

4. Several things I would ask that you clarify.

How do you define religion?

How do you define science?

What do you think it means when people say that some "treat" science as their religion?

If I said that some people treat sports like their religion, would it logically follow that religion is then a sport?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #4)

Mon Apr 6, 2015, 08:20 PM

8. easy one

What I believe is logical, therefore what I believe must be science.

If you disagree with me, you are being illogical. Thus your beliefs are religion.

Or do I have that backwards?

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #8)

Mon Apr 6, 2015, 08:22 PM

10. You have it correctly and backwards.

It is those on the fringes that can not grasp the idea of embracing them both.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #10)

Mon Apr 6, 2015, 08:24 PM

11. thank you, I think

And because I think, therefore I am.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #11)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 02:10 PM

35. Which was Descartes' argument for the existence of God.

I wrote a paper on Descates in Intro to Philosophy stating so. Got an A+ on it. That was decades ago. But that was his basic argument.

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Response to longship (Reply #35)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 03:10 PM

39. That was my intent.

to reference Descartes.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #39)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 03:19 PM

42. I was merely attempting to frame the quote in its context.

...for those who might not be aware of its intent. Sometimes a response here is intended for other readers, not the poster to whom the responder is posting.

I intended no insult if you took it that way.

My best regards.

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Response to longship (Reply #42)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 03:26 PM

43. I took no insult

and I like when people comment and offer other takes here. Makes the discussion more interesting.

In the context of the post, I was going to say: confusa est,igitur ego sum, but I thought the reference and the play on Descartes would be too strange.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #43)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 03:40 PM

44. Plus my Latin is mostly limited to "cogito ergo sum"

So that would have whizzed by me like a Nolan Ryan fast ball.

Sorry for the baseball metaphor, but it's opening day and I still have fond memories of taking the bus to the corner of Michigan and Trumbull to witness the Tigers play.





Red Hots here! Get yer Red Hots! (No ketchup or relish! Just lots of mustard and/or fresh onions.) One of the best dogs in town, especially if the Tigers were winning.

Sorry for the diversion.

My best to you.

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Response to longship (Reply #44)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 04:33 PM

45. nice picture

the Latin translates as:
I am confused, therefor I exist.

Best to you also

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Response to cbayer (Reply #4)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 02:06 PM

33. A great statement of the demarkation problem.

It has been stated in other contexts, but one thing is for sure. The artificial dichotomy fallacy is in play.


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Response to longship (Reply #33)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 02:19 PM

36. This comparison always seems to boil down to some kind of dog fight as

to which is better. The problem is that "better" becomes meaningless in this context.

Both words "science" and "religion" can be used in loose and colloquial ways. There are people who treat religion as a science and science as a religion. That is a comment on their approach, not on what the thing actually is.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #36)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 02:48 PM

37. Yup. Science is not about belief.

It is about methodology. Self-checking; self-correcting; no authority except the data.

Religion is something other than those things. Not sure quite what, except that it seems to include none of them.

And I am not an advocate of Gould's NOMA (non-overlapping magisteria). That argument is rubbish, given religion's centuries old trampling down of science. Witness Galileo, Ken Ham, and today's GOP.

But there are grey zones where the demarcation becomes blurred. E.G., so-called string theory which has decades of advancement in mathematics that I cannot even grasp (in spite of my years of math and physics education) but has next to nothing to show for itself in physics after all that rather intense study.

I leave it to believers to argue their side. There are some who I rather like. But somehow those people seem to never claim that they know the mind of the god that they believe in. I am fine with that because those same people seem to not want to push their beliefs on others. That is the crux of the religion problem, IMHO.

I don't give a fuck what people believe or not believe. Just let me believe or not believe what I want, or not. That is one lesson which would make this whole world an awesomely better place. However, the extent to which pushing ones religious beliefs on others is an essential characteristic of religion, I must proudly and militantly stand up against it all.

Sadly, in the 21st century, this seems to be the case. I wish it was not so.

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Response to longship (Reply #37)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 04:41 PM

46. They are completely different things.

The competition comes up, and rightfully so, when people's religious beliefs are allowed to trump science. Otherwise, they are not incompatible and shouldn't even been compared.

There has been an interesting relationship. While there is no question that religion has stood in the way of science at times, religion has also underwritten much of it.

I have come to believe that some science has to be taken on faith, at least by me. Your example of string theory and some of the cosmological theories really seem beyond my ability (or willingness) to understand. I have to trust that those who understand these things have come to understand them with open minds, good faith and no hidden agenda.

But that I have to base on faith in them as individuals and the scientific community in general.

I don't give a fuck what people believe or not either, as long as it doesn't impinge on the rights of others. I feel strongly that there is great risk in the ideal that religion should be abandoned and that those that promote it are very short sighted. I will proudly and militantly stand with you not just against those who push their individual beliefs but also against those who would malign anyone who holds them.

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Response to longship (Reply #37)

Wed Apr 8, 2015, 06:57 PM

70. For what it's worth, I think you are overstating the historic conflict between science and religion,

and too cavalierly discounting Gould's point. Gould's last book, The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magister's Pox, does a rather good job of exploring the symbiosis between science and religion during the early phases of the scientific revolution, and makes a persuasive case that the contemporary, continuing animosity between science and both philosophy and theology is not grounded in historical reality. It is a very good read, and makes his case much better (I think) than his previous books. It has its flaws (repetition of made points being one, a habit of Gould's that could get quite annoying). But it is also a perceptive analysis by a rarity in contemporary academia -- a scholar as well versed in classical studies as in the sciences.

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Response to LTX (Reply #70)

Wed Apr 8, 2015, 10:08 PM

73. Thanks LTX.

I generally like Gould. He was a pretty good writer. But I still don't buy NOMA because religion steps over the line all the time.

I will put that book on my list.


Much obliged.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Apr 6, 2015, 08:11 PM

5. Science enables technonogy that allows for the creation of entities with powers...

 

...often attributed to Gods.

Vast powers of Omnipotence and Omniscience.

It allows humans to turn myth into reality.

Does that count?

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Response to stone space (Reply #5)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 04:08 AM

23. Good point...

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Apr 6, 2015, 08:12 PM

6. Some people are idiots.

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Response to RandySF (Reply #6)

Mon Apr 6, 2015, 11:43 PM

19. Yes, and proximate, to boot. n/t.

 

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Response to bvf (Reply #19)

Mon Apr 6, 2015, 11:59 PM

20. !




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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Apr 6, 2015, 08:20 PM

9. no n/t

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Apr 6, 2015, 08:28 PM

12. No!!!

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Apr 6, 2015, 08:37 PM

16. Awkward proposition.

"Since some people believe that other people treat science as their religion then does it also follow that religion is a science?"

Not sure what you're getting at.

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Response to pinto (Reply #16)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 04:00 AM

21. There is a thread about "is science a religion?", some posters on that thread seem to think so..

Of course the ones who think so all evidently believe that certain other people treat science as their religion.

It just occurred to me that if A=B then logically B=A, if science is a religion then religion is a science.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #21)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 08:30 AM

24. Ah, your logical equation has a weak point.

While it is true that if A = B then B = A, but that is not your proposition.

Your proposition is: if A is a part of the set B, then B is a part of the set A. In other words, if bread is food, then food is bread or if women are people, then people are women.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #24)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 01:29 PM

25. I just wanted to see people deny that religion was a science

Didn't come away disappointed.

Maybe now we can stop with the "science is a religion" stupidity although somehow I doubt it.

Does it make any difference in your life that the world is round rather than flat?

It wasn't religion that told us the world is round, that was science.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #25)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 01:47 PM

29. Can you point me to where someone has said that science is a religion?

I think the point may had been made that some people treat science like a religion, as you put it in your OP. To me, the word "treat" makes that much more of a metaphorical statement, similar to how some people treat their favorite sport like a religion.

Why the constant competition between these two things? Of course science has given us some things and religion has given us some things.

Personally, I value them both and don't really have anything invested in whether one is "better" than the other.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #29)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 04:50 PM

47. Seriously?

 

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Apr 6, 2015, 08:40 PM

17. Good question.

 

To which I would answer, explain the "religious method."

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Response to bvf (Reply #17)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 01:42 PM

28. "God did it."

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Response to bvf (Reply #17)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 01:51 PM

30. There is no religious method. Explain scientific faith?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #30)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 02:09 PM

34. Cute.

 

Obtuse, but cute.

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Response to bvf (Reply #17)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 03:14 PM

40. Like science, religion probably has lots of methods.

 

Math has lots of methods, too.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Apr 6, 2015, 10:58 PM

18. No...

In the same way that a person believing the sky is green with purple polka dots does not make the sky green with purple polka dots.

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Response to uriel1972 (Reply #18)

Wed Apr 8, 2015, 07:21 PM

71. Not to be unnecessarily obstreperous, but

color itself is a subjective phenomenon. Wavelengths themselves have no color. My perception of the color of the sky is not yours, and not a porcupine's. How wavelengths are "interpreted" by a given optical system does not change the wavelength, but it certainly changes the perception of the wavelength.

A green sky (given the ubiquity of blue/green optical confusion) with purple polka dots (given the widely varying perceptions of cloud refractions, from white to grey to green to purple to red to yellow) is not beyond the "pale" (ha-ha).

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 01:40 PM

26. In most cases, No.

Science is defined by the cycle: You switch back-and-forth between hypothesis and experiment. The experiment decides whether the hypothesis is valid.

It is possible, though I think unlikely, that a person would switch from religion to religion because they are looking for explanations for natural phenomena.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 01:57 PM

31. Science is a method.

 

Observe, hypothesize, experiment, evaluate, repeat. Answers are subject to change.

Religion is acceptance of revealed truth, which is not subject to change.

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Response to Maedhros (Reply #31)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 03:02 PM

38. Yet we have religious "scholars" who

 

spend entire lives rehashing the same old crap, and seem to make a decent, tax-free living from it.

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Response to bvf (Reply #38)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 03:17 PM

41. Indeed

right alongside those scholars are some well known charlatans...scientology quickly comes to mind.

I never understood how a guy who was twice relieved from command and lied about being wounded could create a religion and people would flock to it as though he was more than a liar, a fraud, and a crappy sci-fi writer.

But he sure did make a decent living from the concept.

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Response to bvf (Reply #38)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 04:58 PM

48. Religious "scholars" do not live tax-free.

They pay taxes just like everyone else. So do your everyday ministers, rabbis and priests, but they may be entitled to a parsonage exemption.

Religious organizations are entitled to a certain degree of tax exemption when they file as non-profits, just like any other non-profit.

This "tax-free" meme is quite old and a very, very easy straw man to blow down.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #48)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 07:44 PM

49. Okey dokey.

 

Last edited Tue Apr 7, 2015, 09:02 PM - Edit history (1)

Yet we have religious "scholars" who spend entire lives rehashing the same old crap, get tax breaks on housing, and seem to make a decent living from it. 

Better?

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Response to bvf (Reply #49)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 08:33 PM

50. No.

Let's try this: Science "scholars" spend entire lives rehashing the same crap, get breaks on housing, and seem to make a decent living from it."

Find the problem in both statements.

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Response to okasha (Reply #50)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 08:43 PM

51. There may be more truth in that statement.

 

Endowed chairs are a plush reward.

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Response to rug (Reply #51)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 08:49 PM

54. Oh, indeed.

And some universities offer free plush housing to go with them.

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Response to okasha (Reply #50)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 08:44 PM

52. I see the problem.

 

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Response to bvf (Reply #52)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 08:50 PM

55. Now find the other one.

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Response to okasha (Reply #55)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 09:05 PM

56. Ah! Thanks.

 

I've removed the errant comma from #49.

Good eye!

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Response to bvf (Reply #56)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 09:23 PM

57. Keep trying.

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Response to okasha (Reply #57)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 09:42 PM

58. Um, your elision of an opening quotation mark

 

in #50?

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Response to bvf (Reply #58)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 09:44 PM

59. Keep trying.

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Response to bvf (Reply #49)

Wed Apr 8, 2015, 10:25 AM

60. That pretty much can be applied to everyone in academia.

The housing tax breaks are not for "scholars" though, they are for clergy members who are associated with specific religious groups that operate as non-profits.

But I'm glad to have clarified the other bits for you.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #60)

Wed Apr 8, 2015, 11:42 AM

61. Glad you are able to distinguish

 

between scholars and clerics, because that's exactly what you just did.

You're learning.

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Response to bvf (Reply #61)

Wed Apr 8, 2015, 11:45 AM

62. Yes, I did exactly that because they are distinct things which you

appear to be unclear on.

One can certainly be a religious scholar and not personally religious at all.

One can certainly be a religious cleric and not at all scholarly.

One is generally employed by a religious group which may or may not have a tax exempt status.

The other is generally employed by an educational group or earning a living by writing and/or lecturing.



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Response to cbayer (Reply #62)

Wed Apr 8, 2015, 12:08 PM

63. Get thee a fucking dictionary, will you?

 

Sheesh.

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Response to bvf (Reply #63)

Wed Apr 8, 2015, 12:16 PM

64. Do you disagree with my definitions? What are yours?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #64)

Wed Apr 8, 2015, 12:50 PM

65. Yes, to you, words mean whatever you want them to.

 

That's been pointed out here previously, IIRC, and is clearly just as true now.

Yet more willful ignorance masquerading as argument.



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Response to bvf (Reply #65)

Wed Apr 8, 2015, 12:52 PM

66. So what are your definitions of cleric and religious scholar and how do they differ from mine?

Are you going to answer the question or just continue with your white-flag ad homs?

If I were a betting person, I would definitely go with the second option, so why don't you surprise me?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #66)

Wed Apr 8, 2015, 01:15 PM

67. You lose.

 

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Response to bvf (Reply #67)

Wed Apr 8, 2015, 01:24 PM

68. Okay, congratulations! See you around.

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Response to bvf (Reply #65)

Wed Apr 8, 2015, 02:28 PM

69. That's exactly what you've posted.

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Response to Maedhros (Reply #31)

Wed Apr 8, 2015, 07:36 PM

72. If religious beliefs are "not subject to change,"

what explains the vastly varying religious beliefs that have drifted around throughout humanity's existence? (The "not subject to change" bromide, in case it escaped you, is one I find particularly odd.)

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Response to LTX (Reply #72)

Thu Apr 9, 2015, 11:57 AM

74. Jesus is the Son of God, who died for our sins so that we may have everlasting life in Heaven.

 

That is a "revealed truth" that will not change.

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Response to Maedhros (Reply #74)

Fri Apr 10, 2015, 12:46 PM

75. So in your world, everyone is a trinitarian christian?

And indeed, no sects of christianity throughout history have deviated in any way from your selected dogma, and none will going forward? Revealed truths are highly mutable, for rather obvious reasons.

Adherents.com claims to have 43,940 adherent records for 4,351 different religious groups, and by one estimate, there have been 63,000 religious groups throughout human history. Of course, it is highly likely that there have been religions during the course of history that were never documented and left no trace, and arguably each individual believer has a discrete idea or image of god (a concept codified in the Hindu Ishvaras, and surprisingly common in the "personal" god-man relationships of monotheistic theologies).

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Response to LTX (Reply #75)

Fri Apr 10, 2015, 01:04 PM

76. Religions interpret the world to match their tenets.

 

They don't change their tenets to match what they observe in the world.

Bye, now.

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Response to Maedhros (Reply #76)

Fri Apr 10, 2015, 01:06 PM

77. Then why have so many religious groups changed their position on GLBT rights?

And that's just one thing.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #77)

Fri Apr 10, 2015, 01:22 PM

79. I wouldn't consider that to be a fundamental tenet.

 

Religions may change their stance on issues based upon (re-)interpretation of their fundamental tenets, but they do not engage in anything resembling the scientific method.

As in my earlier post: will Christian churches ever change their belief that Jesus died for our sins? Even in the face of evidence that Jesus never existed?

Some churches blatantly ignore evidence in favor of their dogma (e.g. young earth creationists). In those cases in which their ideas have evolved, it's because they are accepting scientific interpretations not because their religion led them to new truth.

I think we're conflating two separate issues: religions as monolithic entities insulated from outside thought, and the nature of religious dogma.

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Response to Maedhros (Reply #79)

Fri Apr 10, 2015, 01:31 PM

81. Well, no, they wouldn't engage in the scientific method when it comes to fundamental tenets.

That wouldn't make a lot of sense.

That's true for many aspects of human life - art, music, philosophy, literature, religion. Utilizing the scientific method would probably be a bad idea, though one could use it to study all of those things.

IMHO, there will never be compelling evidence to support that jesus either existed or didn't exist. It's not even worth discussing.

I do have serious issues with churches and individuals that reject accepted science because it conflicts with their understanding of scripture. Scientific discovery does and should change our perspective and understanding of the world.

I think many things are being conflated here. It's important to distinguish between subgroups.

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Response to Maedhros (Reply #76)

Fri Apr 10, 2015, 01:20 PM

78. It appears that you've developed your own set of "revealed truths."

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 02:01 PM

32. I have a purple crayon. n/t

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Response to Binkie The Clown (Reply #32)

Tue Apr 7, 2015, 08:48 PM

53. Be careful.

 

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Fri Apr 10, 2015, 01:29 PM

80. No. They are opposites.

 

Only the most acrobatic maneuvers would indicate any convergence.

--imm

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