Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Can a religious person be a “good” scientist?

May 28, 2015

Can a religious person be a “good” scientist?

I find this to be rather a simple question to address and one which does not need to be unnecessarily complexified*. I find diagrams simpler and more powerful than jargon which revels in its own complexity.

What is outside of knowledge – by definition –  is ignorance.

Beliefs – by definition – lie in the space of ignorance.

Faith and Religions lie in the space of beliefs, and

therefore within the space of ignorance.

Science is the rigorous process by which we reduce ignorance and gain knowledge.

knowledge in the space of ignorance

knowledge in the space of ignorance

Science is a process

Science is a process

Science is in conflict with religion only if the religion contains a belief which is falsified as science converts some ignorance to knowledge.

There is no reason why a religious person cannot be a “good” scientist except if he maintains a belief in a piece of ignorance which has been falsified.

A religious person who declines to subject some belief to the scientific process for conversion into knowledge can not be a scientist (let alone a “good” scientist) with regard to that piece of ignorance. But he could still be a scientist, and a “good” scientist in areas which are not impinged by his beliefs.


* I use complexify to mean “complicate unnecessarily”


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Warm snow

April 17, 2015

Protesting Global Warming at the University of Colorado.

ffcu facebook page

ffcu facebook page

Daily Caller:

Global warming activists should probably start planning their protests for the summer because the second climate rally — within just days of a major one in Canada — has been buried in snow.

Student activists with Fossil Free CU have camped out the University of Colorado, staging a “sit in” meant to show the Board of Regents the group’s commitment to getting the school to divest its endowment of fossil fuel holdings.

The group’s Facebook page shows students braving the elements to convince the Board of Regents to ditch fossil fuels to fight global warming. Unfortunately for them, the “Gore effect” has kicked in and may blunt their arguments that the world is catastrophically warming.

The “Gore effect” has made its mark this year on several protests, including a major one last week in Quebec City where thousands of demonstrators marched through snow and frigid weather. Earlier this year, a divestment protest at Yale University was cancelled due to “unfavorable weather conditions and other logistical issues,” according to organizers.

That AGW is a religion and a matter of faith – which ignores reality – is apparent. Alarmism and the antics of the unthinking acolytes indicates that there is something to be said for the notion that evolution is causing the dumbing-down of the human race. Alarmism is quite simply the subordination of actions to fear – which is my definition of cowardice. We probably reached peak intelligence as hunter-gatherers and the modern “welfare state” is most likely accelerating the decline.

If “intelligence” is an inherited characteristic – as it seems at least partially to be –  then it is only a matter of simple arithmetic that unless the “more intelligent” reproduce at a higher rate than those of “less intelligence” then the “average intelligence” of the population will inevitably decrease.

Every religious state has practised apartheid

April 29, 2014

I note that John Kerry is backing away from his (self-evident) statement that without a two-state solution, Israel would become an apartheid state.

Daily Beast: John Kerry apologized Monday for warning last week that the lack of a two-state solution in the Middle East could lead to Israel becoming an “apartheid state.” Kerry’s remarks, made in a closed door meeting of the Trilateral Commission and first reported by The Daily Beast Sunday night, provoked strong reactions from across the political spectrum. 

In a statement issued Monday evening, Kerry defended his record as a supporter of Israel but also said, “if I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two state solution.” 

But Israel is already an apartheid state.

The simple reality is that all states which have or have had an official state religion have practiced apartheid. They inevitably created different classes of citizenship. Some countries (UK, Scandinavia) have now softened their positions and have legislation to protect those of other religions while still maintaining an “official religion”. In the UK the top 25 servants of the Church of England still have an automatic place in Parliament. Many states still give strong preference to those following the official religion and in such states – whether they admit it or not – a form of religious apartheid is in place. Many of these are Muslim countries (Iraq, Pakistan, Palestine, Malaysia, Indonesia, Iran, Afghanistan and the Muslim countries of the Middle East and Africa).To be a non-Jew in Israel is to be a second-class citizen. Israel still has no provisions for civil marriage or for marriage between people who do not belong to one of the 9 recognised religions. To be a Hindu in Sri Lanka is currently a distinct disadvantage. To be a non-Buddhist in Cambodia has its difficulties.

Religious discrimination is much more widespread and is practiced at community level and at the level of individuals all over the globe. In most of Europe it is a clear disadvantage to be visibly a Muslim. Most of the right-wing, nationalistic parties would like to return to a “Christian” state religion – but that is not because they wish to be Christian but because they want to give their anti-Islamic views a cloak of “officious”  respectability.

Politics and religion make a heady mix and nationalistic and religious fanaticism will continue as long as religions continue and nation-states continue.

I won’t live to see it but there will come a time when individual faith takes precedence and organised religions and their brainwashing will be abandoned. And nation-states could – hopefully – have become obsolete by then.

In India religion is more destructive than natural “disasters”

October 14, 2013

The headlines tell the tale.

Religion and caste and all that follows from them are more debilitating in Modern India than any “natural disaster”.

It is time to do away with the majority of temples and mosques and churches and shrines – and it would not be wrong to replace them with toilets!

1. 113 dead in Madhya Pradesh temple stampede, toll likely to rise

Hindustan Times  – ‎12 minutes ago‎
At least 113 people were killed and more than 100 injured in a stampede on a crowded bridge across Sindh river leading to Ratangarh temple in Datia district of northern Madhya Pradesh on Sunday.

2. Death toll rises to 21, floods affect thousands in Odisha

Firstpost  – ‎7 minutes ago‎
The death toll due to pre and post cyclone Phailin devastations has gone up to 21. One more death was reported late Sunday night, a senior government official told IANS. “The latest death took place in Balasore, where two people were drowning in flood …

3. Sexual assault case: Asaram to be taken to Ahmedabad today

IBNLive  – ‎1 hour ago‎
Jodhpur: Self-styled godman Asaram will be brought to Ahmedabad on Monday for questioning in another sexual assault case. The Jodhpur court has given permission to the Gujarat police to take him in custody for interrogation in the case filed by two sisters …

4. UP govt suspends senior IAS officer Mishra

indiatvnews.com  – ‎12 hours ago‎
Lucknow: A day after his transfer, senior IAS officer Sarvesh Chandra Mishra was today suspended and a departmental probe initiated against him over a controversial letter convening a meeting to discuss “reconstruction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya on lines …
 

5. No untouchability in politics, says Pawar

Indian Express  – ‎1 hour ago‎
NCP chief and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, speaking at a programme organised by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari’s Purti Group here on Saturday, said “there should be no untouchability in social and political spheres of life”.

Religion, democracies and the “restraint” which kept the death-toll to only 275

August 15, 2013

The numbers killed in Egypt were well over 250 yesterday. According to the Muslim Brotherhood the number could be as high as in the thousands. But half of Egypt approves of the actions of the security forces.

The US and Europe don’t really know how to react to the chaos in Egypt. The US  will still not acknowledge that they are dealing with a “military coup”. They have all “deplored” the violence but are secretly relieved that the Muslim Brotherhood was removed from power.  A strange view of democracy prevails – a blend of wishful thinking and a very flexible definition of what constitutes democracy and the values to be upheld. The West is willing to go along with the military actions – which of course they publicly deplore – if it can ensure that the Muslim Brotherhood is not voted into power again. So if it is mainly members of the Muslim Brotherhood who have been killed then perhaps it is time to express one’s regrets and just move on.

What nobody wishes to acknowledge is that Religions and Democracies do not – can not –  mix. With all the failings and weaknesses of democracies, “religious parties” still lead to a fundamental clash between the supremacy of the laws of the majority and the supremacy of the perceived – or proclaimed – laws of god (or gods). As long as any country permits political parties which are religious in nature, then any kind of real supremacy of the laws of the majority is not feasible. The fanatics of any religious political party always claim the over-riding demands of their gods and the supremacy of such demands whether to conduct jihad or to burn down mosques. And this applies to Egypt as well as to Israel or Indonesia or Malaysia or India or Sri Lanka.  Around the world, there are many more Islamist political parties than there are for other religions but there are plenty of “Christian Democratic” parties in Europe and in other countries. All of these religious parties – without exception –  are fundamentally opposed to – and have values inconsistent with –  the supremacy of the laws of man (only the majority of course) over the laws of their gods.

The Arab Springs will not lead to any real “democracies” in the Middle East and North Africa as long as inherently self-contradictory “religious, democratic parties” are around. For there is no religious party – in any country – which would accept that the laws of man could override the imaginary laws of their imaginary gods.

According to Reuters,

Egypt’s interim prime minister defended the government decision to storm pro-Mursi demonstrations on Wednesday. He says they had no choice after attempts at mediation with Mursi supporters failed. 

”When freedom of expression becomes terrorizing the public, carrying arms, blocking roads and violating public property — it is not freedom of expression. It becomes aviolation of the people and the people. For the government to continue to operate, it has to be respected. That’s why we had to take a stand and say this cannot continue. It should be stopped.”

Security forces shot and killed scores of people. By evening the death toll was well over 200 and the number injured was around 2,000. Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi praised the way forces handled the operation.

“I have to take this opportunity to thank the police because it has behaved with high levels of self-restraint. There were human rights observers and everything was publicized and there was filming. And it turned out that there were weapons and ammunition and other illegal material.”

Now under curfew Cairo’s streets were markedly different from earlier in the day. Asked how long the situaton could last el-Beblawi offered no specific dates, saying the state of emergency would go on for as short a period as possible. would go on for as short a period as possible, adding that the government is eager to restore democracy.

Croatia joins the EU: “Muslim nations need not apply”

July 1, 2013

Croatia joined the EU today as the 28th member state.

(But I can’t help concluding that both Croatia and the EU are consequently disadvantaged. At least Croatia is not joining the Euro which it can ill afford to do).

After Slovenia it is the second of the former Yugoslavia countries to enter. In the meantime the “negotiations” for Turkey’s membership are proceeding at a glacial pace. Any possible excuse is used to slow down progress whenever possible. The opposition to Turkey’s membership is not restricted to Germany, Austria and France where it is particularly obvious.

Considering the other states deriving from Yugoslavia, Bosnia applied for membership in 2003 but has not yet been officially accepted as a candidate nation. Macedonia applied in 2005 and is accepted as a candidate country. Serbia applied for EU membership in 2009 and is accepted as a candidate nation. Negotiations with Montenegro started in 2012. Kosovo has not yet been allowed to apply.

While EU membership is ostensibly judged on economic and civil rights criteria there is an unspoken undercurrent which is undoubtedly connected to religion and perceptions of religious groups. (more…)


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