Saturday, February 26, 2011

Blinded with science!

One thing I'm always amused of in the usual religious debates: How "science" is constantly anthropomorphized, and is said to give us different - even conflicting - orders as human beings.

Science shows us how reality truly is!
Science has nothing to say about reality as reality, it's just useful for predictive models!
Science says we should always be skeptical and accept nothing without qualification!
Science says X is true and we are duty-bound to accept it without question!
Science never allows unobservables in, for that would taint its holy power!
Science tells us multiverses very likely exist, because they would explain so much!

Etc, etc.

And of course there's also that move to make "science" mean "scientists", engaging in full-blown personification of a method. Which leads to gems like: "Scientists are totally skeptical and spend all their waking hours trying to disprove their most cherished and beloved theories." Which usually means I'm either in the presence of a bullshitter, or someone whose entire knowledge of scientists and the history of science comes from that idiotic Golgi Apparatus bit from Dawkin's book.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

In Praise of Pagans

Vox recently ran this quote, and I admit, I love it.

"As for those who go in for self-indulgence and are slaves of their own bodies - people who measure everything they should seek and avoid in life by the yardstick of pleasure and pain - even if they are right (and there is no need to take issue with them here) let us tell them to preach in their own little gardens and let us ask them to keep away for a little while from any participation in public life, an area of which they know nothing and have never wished to know anything....

What can be more certain than this, that no one should be so stupid and arrogant as to believe that reason and intelligence are present in him but not in the heavens and the world? Or that those things which are barely understood by the highest intellectual reasoning are kept in motion without any intelligence at all? As for the person who is not impelled to give thanks for the procession of the stars, the alternation of day and night, the regular succession of the seasons, and the fruits which are produced for our enjoyment - how can such a person be counted as human at all?"

Cicero, one of the 'virtuous pagans'. And quotes like these help to illustrate why I have utter disdain for atheists and materialists, but feel more at home with sincere pagans, pantheists, panentheists, and more despite important disagreements. Being able to appreciate the world as the workings of a mind - even with greater particular metaphysics put aside - is central. It's not a rigorous argument that Cicero is laying out, but it has both its place and its power.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Post-Grad Degrees Not Harming Belief in God

Apparently, belief in God remains high even among the most highly educated in the US.

Somewhat surprising to me, I admit. I'm not that impressed either way, since I have a pretty negative view of higher education in general (at least in the sense of pursuing a degree, not the actual process of learning, particularly autodidactism.) But, there you go.

I'm sure more interesting observations could be wrung out of this data, such as it is, but for now I'll just let it speak for itself.

Monday, February 14, 2011

All Paths Lead to God?

If all religions are 'valid ways of approaching God', then it doesn't matter if I discriminate against every other path but my own, right? My way is as good as any of the others, thus those other paths are obviated.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Catholics Proselytizing?

I wonder if there any any Catholic organizations devoted to proselytizing in the West? Specifically targeting inactive catholics and agnostics, even.

In fact, does ANYone bother targeting the 'none's in the US? Not the radically smaller 'atheist' group, but those generally 'religiously nothing' sorts.