what an excellent mind and reasoning you have. I truly enjo...
You have been far too kind, but don’t think I don’t appreciate the compliment.
>religion is a system of organized structures designed to explain and or communicate with what is perceived to be God. In and of itself, religion is harmless, its application leaves a lot to be desired and has proven to be dangerous in many cases.
Religion is divisive because it sets one group of 'believers' against another and against those who don't subscribe to one system or another. Some religions group themselves into 'categories' so that they don't have to go to war with everybody.
religions are like nations. They have borders and boundaries, rules and laws, even capitols and cities and states (holy places)as well as governing bodies and leaders. And, I would add, the system is easily corrupted and has been for a long time. <
The reason that my definition of religion is so compact is that it is only the common denominator. You could say it is only the essence of religion. What you have said is widely true, but the details of various religions vary so greatly that one could pick at each of them and that is part of the reason for schismatic disagreement and hatred. The reason for a definition based on doctrine vs no doctrine, rather doctrine vs doctrine, is that the latter sets religion against religion (My doctrine is better than yours so God HATES you and I’ll be laughing at your screams as you roast in hell ha ha -- in loving sorrow of course!) In contrast, the nearest that I believe you could find to an exception to the former, would be when the doctrine is too incoherent to be characterised at all.
(As you see, I used the term “doctrine” rather than dogma, but that is just a word with less baggage. Dogma is just as correct and means the same thing for most purposes. Check it out in a few philosophy or theology forums on line, or in a few dictionaries.)
“So,” you might well ask, “just having made out a list of things that I must believe makes it a religion does it? That doesn’t tell me much. It is not much help in making sense of religion, is it Mr Smarty Pants? In fact, aren’t you being seriously self-referential, if believing in a list of things to believe is the religion?”
Well, yes, to a point. It would be more to the point if I said that this characterised religious behaviour, rather than religion as such. I cannot think of any religion that does not have such a list in some form or equivalent. Please shoot me down if you see a hole in my idea, because I really need to know. (If we get too deep into this we’ll have to exchange email addresses, because part of what I say is not for publication at present.)
Now, what in fact does it matter if that is all there is to it? Quite a lot really. For one thing, where does that list come from? Is it meaningful? What does it mean? How true are the items in the list? If not true, how correctable? Why should I have faith in them?
Every religious schism, and nearly every religious conflict is based on conflicting dogma. Practically every religious pratfall is based on nonsensical dogma and nonsensical attempts to justify or rationalise dogma.
NB: Atheism is religion by this definition because it states that there is no God(s). Agnosticism of the major sorts need NOT be religion because the agnostic NEED not assert anything about God’s existence or otherwise. Is that a virtue? It might be, or it might not, in one context or another. I never said that religion or any particular religion is bad or good. All I did was to suggest a criterion for classification.
>now faith is freedom. I have no religion. I am completely free to consider anything I want, make decisions based on evidence, think, react, love etc however I want. What I get up to is between me and what I have faith in. Period. <
Please understand that whatever I say about this is in a context of my uncertainty about what you mean. As I read it, it seems to me you suggest that “faith” means that you believe what you please and change your mind about it as you please.
If that is so, then sure, but I am not sure whether that is supposed to be necessarily good. What happens if members of a belief system disagree about the tenets or the meaning of the tenets of their religion? Are there no limits to what one can believe in faith? Is what one believes supposed to be a basis for ethical decisions etc? How long does one have to believe in an article of faith before one is allowed to change one’s mind? Etc. If I am correct in my understanding, then I don’t see where it gets you. If I am wrong, then could you please clarify?
>Dogma, as it applies to all systems of human interaction, is inflexibility. Science of all kinds has dogma too...oh yes it does...some things are sacred to scientists, depending on their specialization of course... <
Here we diverge. Just as I described insistence on dogma as religious behaviour, so I describe scientific behaviour as: questioning any article of assertion, and conditionally altering one’s assessment of the relative merit of conflicting working hypotheses in the light of available evidence, such as the outcome of analysis and experiment. No matter who says it, I am free to believe it, or disbelieve it, but if I wish to convert you, then I have no recourse but to evidence and logic that you are free in principle to test for yourself.
Does a “scientist” behave scientifically? One hopes so, but not necessarily, any more than a priest behaves religiously. (Ask certain persons in certain holy cities about abuses, and see which “religion” has been abuse-free, and for how long!) I have seen no end of “scientists” who wouldn’t know the difference between dogma and science, no matter how loud they are on the subject. (Most of them are not even interested, especially when young!) I have seen other “scientists” who were furiously, vindictively dogmatic about their own views of their field, and would be happy to kill anyone suggesting that they might be wrong, if only they dared. Certainly they would expel any student who questioned them!
That does not mean that dogma is a part of science, any more than that Catholic dogma permits priests to ravish members of their congregation.
>the free(est) thinkers and doers in science(s) are generally theoretical ones, my favorite kind.<
Likely enough, but does that have anything to do with faith? And if their thought is too free, ranging so freely that it begins to diverge systematically from prediction and observation, is their thought still worthy of respect or even attention? The scientist is not interested in theirfaith or otherwise, only in the logic of their theories and the falsifiability of their predictions.
>Theories are wonderful things; they are the ability in science to end one school of thought at the first hint of it being wrong and begin a new school of thought based on the new evidence. <
That sounds great, but it has precious little to do with science at the coal face. There is always a first hint for attacking any accepted fact or theory. Most often those hints simply are wrong, so quite sensibly a lot of people are very chary of accepting every (or any) new observation or every new idea. And some people not so sensibly. But by and large, if you put on your bulldog face and refuse to accept ANY new divergence from orthodoxy *you will nearly always be right!!!* New ideas that work are rare. New ideas that work better than old ideas and upset the applecart are very, very rare indeed. Remember, that old ideas have had to survive a lot more flack than the new ideas!
Effective scientists note new ideas and, unless they are working directly in the field, they either decide whether they believe it or not (I for example, accepted the idea that mitochondria were endosymbionts, but rejected the idea that arthropods and chordates had the same basic organisation, only mutually inverted, and I am of the opinion that the black death was caused by a viral disease, not Yersinia, and I have no idea what the hell is going on with dark matter), or they note the idea and remain agnostic till other people have established some theory as the clear favourite (which they might accept or not according to preference). Often it hardly matters. You can navigate with flat-earth maps and have great results if you stick to local geography! (Seriously! )
What competent scientists do NOT do, is to say: “Hey! A new idea! Bye-bye to last year’s model!”
>This is how I see my faith...it is highly theoretical. I don't KNOW anything...I look at the evidence and make the most logical assumption based on what facts I can glean. It changes constantly, as I think it should. I find people locked into one way of thought to be completely...boring.<
Locked-in sounds suspiciously like dogma. Not scientific according to definition. Usually correct anyway (assuming it began with well-established ideas).
“Boring”? What does “boring” or “interesting” have to do with it? IMO scientific ideas and developments and even observations in the perspective of established science, generally are interesting, even fascinating, but just try telling most people more than thirty seconds about it and see how soon the hoot of “boooring!” starts! Boredom has no cogent force. It is in the mind of the beholder. Or perhaps more often in the lack of mind…
>now, regarding my experiment of faith and intelligence and cloning...you raise some interesting points. When I proposed this, I wasn't considering the morality involved, it was a simple science experiment; (a+f) vs (b-f) = I to what factor? (a and b being the twins)
this whole premise falls apart if we propose morality, as well it should perhaps...I'm unclear on that, I'll have to think about it.<
Well, for a start, it does not seem to me that morality has anything to do with the TRUTH or CORRECTNESS of the hypothesis. It has to do with what one might be willing, or permitted, to do about investigating it.
>Generally it is considered immoral to experiment on human beings (in anyway considered cruel or unusual) but then the question of "are clones human beings" rises and we are back where we started. <
Um… well lately such reservations are more and more extended to experiments on animals too, and I rather approve of caution in such matters, though I don’t wish to outlaw all research as some nut cases would love to do.
Just how one could logically could exclude any functional clone from recognition as a human escapes me. What is more I don’t see how one could consider the “clone status” of a subject, human or not, in assessing the ethical status of an experiment. If there is evidence suggesting suffering, there had better be sufficient cogent incentive to justify proceeding with the research.
>However, I think the issue in this case would be...is the experiment cruel and, if it is, which way is the cruelty skewed?
Is it cruel to raise them with or without faith?<
This to my mind is a more relevant question. Lots of people carry on about cruelty when I cannot imagine what they think are sounding off about. To my mind if there is no suffering I don’t know how cruelty comes into it.
>or is it cruel to create them in the first place..especially for a specific purpose<
Dunno. I am as far as I can imagine without faith, and I don’t feel a thing. As long as no one forces me to toe the line of their faith, I couldn’t care less. As I see it, faith is belief without evidence, whether internal or external. If you have enough personal evidence for your belief, but no evidence to offer me, then as I see it, you have reason to believe and I have not. Big deal. Until you decide that my unbelief is evil and I need a good bombing, shooting, threatening or torture to do me the favour of giving me faith. Until that happens I don’t know why we shouldn’t be friends.
Does that suit your views?