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Everything posted by dakota

  1. Done that, been there. So -- what is the false dichotomy that I am upholding? I'm curious to find out. Again, the initial questions had to do with the peaceful coexistence of science and theology. I observed that, for many scientists, they hold their religious beliefs to be consistent or at least not in conflict with science. This could be for a number of reasons, of which I gave two and another poster gave one. I "keep stating" that, do I? I have merely asked for someone to give me testable, measurable proof of, for example, why it is or is not wrong for the parents of an unwanted mentally-retarded year-old child to kill it. Why or why not should we not make use of corpses, and either eat them or otherwise put them to profitable use. And so on...and no one has answered my questions. Please prove to me, in a measurable, verifiable manner, why or why not a father should have sexual intercourse with his daughter or step-daughter, if she is of age and she agrees to it. Telling me "go read this book", is not an adequate answer. I have taught for a number of years, and am convinced that people may think they know or have incorporated a body of knowledge, but the act of explaining or teaching someone else will expose just how superficial this can be. Therefore, answer the questions I asked about the specific situations.
  2. I did not deny it. I observed that, for many scientists, they hold their religious beliefs to be consistent or at least not in conflict with science. This could be for a number of reasons, of which I gave two and another poster gave one. Science deals with measurable, verifiable facts -- philosophy (theology being a sub-set) deals with morality and ethics, among other subjects. Science unconnected from morality and ethics can be quite destructive. The application of ethics may indeed properly intrude upon the applications of science -- do you deny that?
  3. Cognitively, probably not much. At 18 you are very young, and have never had to provide for yourself -- being the means of your own support imposes a certain discipline as well as confronting choices as to how best to accomplish your goals. On a purely practical level, turning 18 means becoming of legal age -- your parents are no longer obliged to support you. They can toss you out on your behind if that furthers their own happiness. You would be wise to prepare yourself for this emancipation by figuring out now how you will support yourself. If you remain a parasite on your parents after your coming of age, then you have no grounds to rebel against their authority.
  4. Then why are you bothering to comment on a thread regarding the peaceful coexistence of science and religion, wherein the subject is quite connected to people's beliefs? No, nothing I said could be boiled down to "it's all a matter of opinion". You might want to brush up on your reading comprehension skills. Well, then that seems to be in direct contradiction to the assertion (and I quote...), "All "theological" question about human values can be answered scientifically". Or is the person who made that assertion merely broadening the meaning of the term "science"? I am looking for evidence that is testable, measurable, repeatable, and conclusive.
  5. Go for it....and give me some concrete examples: for example, give me scientific proof that killing an unwanted, mentally retarded year-old child is wrong. Does science support or condemn the eating of dead humans? (Not killing them, mind you...) What is the conclusive proof, either way? Does science prove that Mozart is beautiful, and if so, how? Does science demonstrate that rap music is inferior, and if so, what is the scientific proof?
  6. Unless and until you are paying for your own room and board, the answer is "not very far at all". Your parents are responsible for you, and you ought to be respectful and obedient. When you pay your own way, then you can ignore them and go after what you want.
  7. I never suggested that people's existence tells us of the truth or falsehood of their beliefs. Again, it does tell us that your opinions are not universal, and so perhaps you have failed to demonstrate them in a scientifically conclusive manner. Agreed. And it is true of your opinions as well. If, as you say, "All "theological" question about human values can be answered scientifically, and all other questions commonly thought to be "theological" refer to things which do not exist", then scientifically verifiable proof of this must exist. However, despite my years of acquaintance with scientists of various disciplines (many of whom were quite interested in philosophy and questions of this nature), and with the scientific community in general, I have yet to see this utterly conclusive, world-changing scientific fact demonstrated, and the consenus that it has been demonstrated is remarkably absent.
  8. That's a rather far-fetched conclusion to draw from what I wrote. I suggest you use your reason, not your emotion, when responding. I never suggested that you ought to believe in a god at all, which would be an amazing thing for me to suggest to anyone, given that I am not a theist. But to use the well-worn case of Galileo to showcase religious persecution of scientists simply isn't an effective argument, because atheist persecution dwarfs it. It doesn't demonstrate what you would like to demonstrate, namely, that religion and science can't coexist. By that standard, sceince is far less able to coexist with atheism. It is not a relic of the past: one of my Physics professors was a Catholic priest as well as a brilliant physicist. I have worked with astronomers and biochemists who were also clergymen. Why do you imagine that this is something that occured only in the past? Since theologians currently exist, clearly your opinion is not universal. Perhaps you've failed to demonstrate this in a scientifically verifiable manner.
  9. Galileo's main detractors were his fellow scientists, many of whom he had ticked off. But your point is well taken....However, someone here took me to task and clarified that the discussion was about intellectual coexistence ("The discussion is about intellectual peace, not physical peace" was the statement). So you're changing back to the physical realm? In that case, you don't have a whole lot of Galileos to rest your outrage on, whereas the atheist persecution and slaughter of religious scientists, artists, writers and teachers has a very extensive body count. Just on a personal level, I had grandparents and great-grandparents who were research scientists and teachers in the Soviet Union who were stripped of their positions and shipped to camps where they died or were killed -- because they were also devout Orthodox Church members. I wouldn't use that argument, if I were you, as it doesn't serve you well.
  10. Not necessarily -- why do you jump to that conclusion? There are a few possibilities that make possible a peaceful coexistence between science and theology. Someone here posited that religious scientists compartmentalize their thinking, which I suppose is possible. Another view would posit that science and theology are separate, unrelated spheres of knowledge. Another view is that all knowledge is one, and that science and theology are areas within that unified body of knowledge, but with distinct and separate modalities. Obviously I can't know what approach individual religious scientists, past and present, take or have taken, but those are possibilities that make for peaceful coexistence between the two. See above. I don't know what particular approach individual religious scientists take. Nor do you.
  11. Guilty as charged -- I did not read the link. In answer to your question, then, yes -- there are scientific questions that cannot be addressed by theology, and theological questions that cannot be addressed by science. That this is so is demonstrated by religious scientists, past and present, who see no conflict in pursuing both.
  12. Good examples -- thanks. Yes, science unconnected from ethics is indeed a frightening thing. Well, I would have thought that the second question -- is peaceful coexistence desirable -- would have been answered by my response to the first: since we have a history -- and a present -- of religious scientists and scientific advances made by those religious scientists, then of course continued peaceful coexistence is desirable. And, if you think it is not, then what is your alternative to peaceful coexistence? Would you want to disregard any new scientific advances made by religious scientists? Do you want to install a kind of "intellectual purity" test, like the Nazis' "racial purity" standards?? Ship off religious scientists to concentration camps for a bit of re-education? Regarding your question, "I think we're all aware that many scientific discoveries have been made by religious people; the question is, is this optimal? Does their being religious aid in scientific discovery, or hinder it, or what?", doesn't that answer lie in the scientific advances themselves, which can be judged on their own merits, regardless of the religiousity of those who discover them? Can you prove to me, for example, that Georges LemaƮtre's theory of the Big Bang was somehow not "optimized", due to him being a Catholic priest? Can you show how it was hindered? I doubt it...so what about "peaceful coexistence" gets your undies in a bunch? As for your statement that "pretty much everyone was religious back when some of these earlier scientific discoveries were being made", are you unaware that, in the United States at least, the vast majority of people still self-identify as theists?
  13. I never suggested causality, nor even correlation. I simply made the observation that, as religious scientists demonstrate, there can be peaceful coexistence between sceince and theology. I don't think anyone has suggested that it would be better. I don't think it has made any difference. So you don't admire the scientists mentioned, despite their very admirable acheivements?
  14. Are you reading a different thread than I am? The initial poster asked about the possibility of peaceful coexistence of science and theology. The existence throughout history of scientists who were also deeply religious demonstrates that peaceful coexistence is indeed possible. Regardless if that coexistence comes from compartmentalization on the part of those scientists (as you suggest), or the idea that the two fields are separate and distinct, the coexistence can and does exist. Question answered. What, are you claiming that those scientists didn't exist, and that none exist now?
  15. Thanks for the honest post. I doubt you're going to like what I have to say, but here it is: unless and until you are supporting yourself with your own income, you are your parents' responsibility. THEY have the authority, not you. Your boyfriend sounds like a real jerk to be pushing you towards conflict. If you want to spend more time with him (and what a creep he is to be jerking you around like this), then you go out and get a job, and get your own apartment or home. As long as you are living off of your parents, they have the right and authority to set the rules.
  16. Agreed. I have an acquaintance who has decided she wants a baby at all costs, and so has gotten pregnant and plans to go on the New York welfare system as a means of support (currently she is on unemployment, which she's been on, on and off, for most of the last five years). She considers herself an Objectivist still, though she's no longer an active member of the club there. Now there's some mixed premises... Agreed. I don't agree that they represent ideas that are "fundamentally and diametrically opposed" -- they are different areas that are unrelated. When science strays into philosophy, it goes out of its legitimate realm (what can be measured and demonstrated). When theology strays into science, it goes out of its legitimate realm (purpose of life, morality, etc). Regardless of whether a scientist who is also a member of a religious order is compartmentalizing his life and fighting an "inner war of ideas", or whether he simply sees the two fields as separate, distinct fields, the intial question was -- is peaceful coexistence possible? The answer is yes.
  17. I don't understand your first sentence. Are you saying that the scientific contributions of the the people I mentioned should be tossed aside? If so, how is that to be done? For example, should we toss out the science of genetics because its "father" or founder was a Catholic monk? And can you give me a REAL figure for your second assertion, instead of a fictional character in a novel?
  18. I initially came here because the topic appeared to be pornography and masturbation, but it appears the subject has morphed into the topic of a loved one's death - whether by one's own hands or not -- shzeesh! Just how hypothetical do you want to get here? What intrigued me initially was the comment by a poster that Rand thought that pornography (and maybe masturbation? Not sure...) reflected a very base and degraded sense of life. Well, my question was (and still is, despite the turn the topic has taken) WHY does a life of pornography reflect a degraded sense of life? If a person possesses a good body, and it's a saleable item, why is that degraded? Isn't that an individual producing something, a product that others derive satisfaction from? What is degraded about that? Not everyone possesses the physical traits necessary to provide enjoyment for others, nor knows how to market them even if they possess them. It's no different than a person having a fantastic sense of architectural design. Rand seems to be reacting from a past religious Jewish upbringing here, and it makes no sense to me. As for masturbation, why is there even a question? Is this not a question of individual rights? Who is harmed? One could posit that the person who masturbates loses touch with real human beings, but if that person can't handle or doesn't like real human beings, SO WHAT?! As long as that person produces and is content as an individual, what harm is done?
  19. Many scientists have been theologians, or at least members of religious orders: the physicist who proposed the Big Bang theory was a Catholic priest; the father of genetics, Gregor Mendel, was a monk; Leo the Mathematician was an Catholic archbishop; Roger Bacon was a member of a Catholic religious order, Copernicus was a Catholic clergyman; Max Planck was a Lutheran church elder; and so on. So obviously "peaceful coexistence" is possible.
  20. As someone else has already noted, being presented with a fact is not the same as being convinced of the truth of that fact (that it is a fact at all). If an individual can give reasonable and reasoned explanations as to why he is not convinced, I don't see it as either immoral or evasion. I do see it as a dead end conversation, wherein one ends up merely agreeing to disagree. It may simply not be possible to demonstrate, with 100% measurable and convincing proof, the truth of a particular disputed fact or premise. Since I'm the one who said that, I will give two examples: years ago I had lengthy discussions about Objectivism with my philosophy professor. I respected him greatly: quite a brilliant man, and no fan of subjectivist and relativist philosophies. His contention was that the atheism of Objectivism made the philosophy inherently subjectivist. I debated this quite extensively with him. Since I was concerned that I was not presenting the argument correctly, I also enlisted the help of another Objectivist with better credentials than myself (via e-mail), but in the end it was simply acknowledged that no agrement was possible. The second involved a similar discussion with my Physics prof, who also had a lively interest in philosophy. Same problem, ultimately, though as I recall the discussion had more to do with the nature of existence and the origins of the universe. No proof was possible....Another very intelligent, rational individual -- to say that either of these two men were "immoral" or "evading" seems ludicrous.
  21. " Eventually, with consistent embracement and application of Ayn's principles, ameliorated as necessary with your own experience and the principles of other good thinkers past and present, you WILL become enlightened. At that point, your sense of life will be HAPPY overall, and you won't be depressed anymore." Sorry, but this seems just silly. This is a sort of quai-religious, happy-think nonsense. Get professional help, and do something with your life. Stop wasting your time with video games and using a girlfriend that you don't even like that much. Don't be a parasite, and don't use people. Talk to a doctor.
  22. "Death does just happen, you don't need to do anything. You can indeed simply do things to end your life, but you are unable to live without making choices towards that end. " Well, life just happens too -- you don't need to have done anything to be born. Nor do I see much of a procedural difference between "You can indeed simply do things to end your life" and "you are unable to live without making choices towards that end", in the sense that both involve choices. You can choose actions that either hasten your ultimate and inevitable death, or merely postpone it (i.e., one can choose to drink excessively and do drugs, or choose to live in a manner that promotes physical well-being). All of the other choices that one makes have a particular but subjective ideal of a well-lived KIND or QUALITY of life in mind, not life (biological life) in mind.
  23. To answer the question -- yes, it's possible. I know a few individuals that I have discussed Objectivism with who can give reasonable objections to the philosophy. I think it is also true that most do not understand the philosophy or have not studied it sufficiently to have reasoned objections.
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