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Some Religious history has helped propel mondern day understanding

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As crazy as some people's belief in god is, i think we should not discount that everything that comes out of religion's teachings is all that nuts, or those that study religion.

I am a PhD geneticist. An atheist. Pragmatic, but not dogmatic. If someone could prove a god exists, I'm all ears (and brain).

I was reminded this evening that Gregor Mendle was a priest. Sure, some of his data has been questioned (not in the results, but in the actual sample size), but the findings remain valid and reliable.

Perhaps much of the time spent learning about the world by religious zealots could unearth something not noticed by practicing scientists, and be able to stand up to the scientific tests. If "wiki" can be considered gospel (haha), there is a long list of religous individuals who made significant scientific contributions and established foundations for modern day science and understanding.

This is why I feel I want to read a plethora of material and objectively think if it makes sense or requires further investigation. But to dismiss anything coming out of a church's writings may mean i may miss the discovery of cold fusion one day, no?

Heck, I'll read some of yaron brooke's stuff, like it, until there is either no real solution provided, or preaching of objectivists views are written out. I don't personally like the ending of some of the literature that goes down the path that the "only" way to approach an issue is to use objectivist or Rand philosophy.

I guess this is the case because, I don't consider myself an Oist. I like the readings though. I feel I want to put things through my filter, not directed down a path that stipulates that the "Rand Philosophy" is the best. It comes across a bit preachy to me - For example, with respect to religion, I was reading how to help someone through a life altering situation, the list of 10 had 9 things I thought were pretty rational, reasonable and applicable to the situation, number 10, however, was something along the lines of Pray, or give money to the catholic church for salvation. I kind of see a bit of parallel sometimes. Plus, on the ayrand.org website, there is an article on the "Morality of Money Lending".... It is a nice historical essay on how money lending in today's economy got to where it is, the problems through history as influenced by religious groups, etc. At the end of the article, Brooke goes on to say that the morality lies in the philosophy of Rand. I don't mean to sound anti-Oism, but I would have walked away from the essay feeling a lot more enriched without the Rand promotion.

Edited by watson
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But to dismiss anything coming out of a church's writings may mean i may miss the discovery of cold fusion one day, no?
No, not really.

It appears like the standard you're setting for yourself is that you cannot make any type of choice at all in what you read: i.e. you have to read every word ever written because the discovery of cold fusion may be hidden somewhere, and you wouldn't want to miss it, no?

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As crazy as some people's belief in god is, i think we should not discount that everything that comes out of religion's teachings is all that nuts, or those that study religion.
I disagree.
But to dismiss anything coming out of a church's writings may mean i may miss the discovery of cold fusion one day, no?
Or the second coming, either is equally plausible.

How about this: assemble a squad of chimpanzees banging on computer keyboards. You wouldn't want to just dismiss anything coming out of these chimps because that may mean you'd miss the equation that is the Key To The Universe. Do now understand why religious babbling should be ignored?

I feel I want to put things through my filter, not directed down a path that stipulates that the "Rand Philosophy" is the best.
How does your filter work? Do you recognise that the universe is in fact non-contradictory? Do you believe that it is possible for man to comprehend reality? If not, then I can see why you reject Objectivism. If you do agree with these premises, then what is this "filter" that you're talking about -- is it just an emotional reaction that keeps you from accepting something that is true; is that because you believe that man should not know the truth? You've got a lot of explaining to do. I haven't seen you justify your position based on fact, which leads me to conclude that you are being driven by pure emotion.
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As crazy as some people's belief in god is, i think we should not discount that everything that comes out of religion's teachings is all that nuts, or those that study religion.

This statement is so poorly written that it is difficult to discern its meaning.

Are you saying that we should try to remain open-minded with respect to intellectual thought that originates in religion, or has religion at its base in some significant manner?

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I would say that the only useful scientific knowledge to gain would be from when the church monopolized western education a couple hundred years ago. Historically that is useful but I highly doubt much is useful to science or "cold fusion" at this point.

I'm saying to be open minded about what you read, and use your ability to find the truth within.

Do you believe the US landed a man on the moon, or was there a conspiracy?

Do you believe that DNA is the blueprint of life?

How have you drawn those conclusions in your mind? I don't think you were around the Apollo space crafts, or are involved with molecular genetic research. Although, if you are, I'll have to come up with other examples.

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I do remain open minded and dedicated to truth. But religion places truth below the might of a God who can alter reality and truth by his nature. Also there are very few scientific texts from religious origins other than older texts when churches were the only schools and some small sources, but the chances of any of these being beneficial or more beneficial that scientific sources is very slim. Generally its a waste of time but hey if you discover cold fusion more power to you

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I was reminded this evening that Gregor Mendle was a priest. Sure, some of his data has been questioned (not in the results, but in the actual sample size), but the findings remain valid and reliable.

This is the only reason you give as to why "Religious history has helped propel modern day understanding"(the title), as far as I can tell.

But was Mendel's work encouraged by the church, done out of religious fervor, or is the opposite true? Didn't the church in fact put him in charge of administrative duties, so later in life he completely gave up his studies in order to attend to whatever his duties were? Didn't in fact his successor burn all his papers after his death?

What out of that story gives the impression that religion and the Church propelled science? If anything, he did his research in spite of his religion.

Sure, there are plenty of religious scientists (Newton was the biggest). But there are also plenty of ethnically Jewish scientists, Nazi scientists or redheaded scientists, etc.

Did redheadedness help propel modern science, or is this just an argument by association you are making?

There's plenty of evidence that religion hindered the progress of science. Religion caused its followers to threaten and murder scientists, specifically based on the teachings of these religions, throughout the ages.

Is there any argument at all that suggests religion caused scientific progress? What specific elements in religion (which is a system of thought, just like philosophy) caused what specific scientific discovery?

If you ask me what in my philosophy promotes science, or what in Aristotelean thought lead to specific scientific discoveries, I'd have no problem naming them and bringing some major arguments to bear. And I'm not a PhD. Can you do the same with any religion from the past 1500 years?

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Any conclusion of a proof that is based on false premises is a false conclusion, even if the conclusion reached is actually correct.

Example:

If the streets are wet, is has rained recently. (Premise)

The streets are wet. (Premise)

Therefore it has rained recently. (Conclusion)

Even if it has rained recently, the first premise is false - the streets could be wet because the street cleaner drove by, or because the fire hydrant was opened.

Even though some - even *many* conclusions of more than a few religious systems are in agreement with rational conclusions, they still must be examined rationally, with valid premises.

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I'm saying to be open minded about what you read, and use your ability to find the truth within.

So, you are essentially saying that if you accept things to be true that can be demonstrated and appear to be within the realm of reality and the laws of physics, that you must also accept things can be true even if they are not demonstrable or possible under our current understanding of the laws of physics? Is that it in a nutshell?

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So, you are essentially saying that if you accept things to be true that can be demonstrated and appear to be within the realm of reality and the laws of physics, that you must also accept things can be true even if they are not demonstrable or possible under our current understanding of the laws of physics? Is that it in a nutshell?

I was actually responding to a post.

My question then turned to ask how others you can conclude that there is just one type of rock on the moon, or that the DNA of chimps are similar to humans. How are you interpreting scientific findings without being able to, yourself, view the data emperically?

We can use reason as to why the streets are wet, you can touch it, cause it.

You can prove matematical and geometrical equations, and apply it to build a building, bridge, etc.

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Ah, so in a way what you are trying to get at is the idea that unless you personally studied the data or specialize in a subject, you are just taking the conclusions on "faith." This is a common ploy used by subjectivists to argue that faith in science is not really different than faith in religion. At first blush it might take, in fact I have had several christians try to use this very arguement on me. But there is a basic problem -- credibility. I can take the laws of Archimedes or Newton and try them out myself and, as is no suprise, they come out 100% perfectly true every time. When I pray that god will heal my mother's cancer, the results are embarrassingly poor.

Everyone who proposes to offer up ideas is not equal. Some are WAY more credible than others. Is it possible that a man of faith might come up with an idea that is true? Sure, but his batting average is in the cellar. So since you are human, and by virtue of that have a limited amount of time, you must choose whom you read. Even if you had unlimited time you would still have to choose whom you read; reading the most credible thinkers works first, and then working your way down the ladder.

For this reason I think you would be better served, in your search for cold fusion, to read those who believe in reality first.

To use a personal example from another field, I study esoteric martial arts. A substaintial amount of good stuff is commonly explained using mystical terminology, and ascribed to mystical forces. I am forever having to take the truth, strip out the mysticism and, as should be no suprise, link these truths back to real science. I have yet to find a demonstrable martial arts feat that is not really just correct anatomical structural allignment (anatomy), basic uses of leverage and momentum (Nutonian physics), and simple manipulation of autonomic nervous system's responses (physiology).

Did these mystical martial artists come up with some valuable stuff? Yes, of course. But they almost never succeed in teaching it to even their best students because the mystical crap gets in the way. They insist that the mystical route to the discovery is the only means, when in fact they stumbled upon the truth in spite of their mysticism, and would have found it much sooner if they had been looking for the right thing (principles of physiological movement) in the right place (science).

Edited by wilicyote
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