Sunday, December 10, 2006

science and religion

there was a comprehensive conference in california recently called "beyond belief" which brought together people to discuss... science and religion... and how they fit together, or not. if you do a quick youtube search, you'll find many video clips of various presenters.

my personal opinion is that spirituality is a good thing, and unique for each individual, but *religion* is not always a good thing in that most ask their followers to abide by certain rules and belief systems, teaching that all other religions are bad and wrong. this black and white picture has caused many many a war to be fought and lives to be lost. this is only one problem i have with "religion" but i will not write any further about my opinions now, and instead give an excerpt from an article i enjoyed about the conference!

"Maybe the pivotal moment came when Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in physics, warned that ..the world needs to wake up from its long nightmare of religious belief,.. or when a Nobelist in chemistry, Sir Harold Kroto, called for the John Templeton Foundation to give its next $1.5 million prize for ..progress in spiritual discoveries.. to an atheist .. Richard Dawkins, the Oxford evolutionary biologist whose book ..The God Delusion.. is a national best-seller.

Or perhaps the turning point occurred at a more solemn moment, when Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City and an adviser to the Bush administration on space exploration, hushed the audience with heartbreaking photographs of newborns misshapen by birth defects .. testimony, he suggested, that blind nature, not an intelligent overseer, is in control.

Somewhere along the way, a forum this month at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., which might have been one more polite dialogue between science and religion, began to resemble the founding convention for a political party built on a single plank: in a world dangerously charged with ideology, science needs to take on an evangelical role, vying with religion as teller of the greatest story ever told.

Carolyn Porco, a senior research scientist at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo., called, half in jest, for the establishment of an alternative church, with Dr. Tyson, whose powerful celebration of scientific discovery had the force and cadence of a good sermon, as its first minister.

She was not entirely kidding. ..We should let the success of the religious formula guide us,.. Dr. Porco said. ..Let..s teach our children from a very young age about the story of the universe and its incredible richness and beauty. It is already so much more glorious and awesome .. and even comforting .. than anything offered by any scripture or God concept I know...

She displayed a picture taken by the Cassini spacecraft of Saturn and its glowing rings eclipsing the Sun, revealing in the shadow a barely noticeable speck called Earth."

read more ... a free-for-all on science and religion


Anonymous said...

I'm not quite sure you can be against religion whilst being in favor of spirituality (with out being inconsistent or possibly oppressive). What you are saying is that it is okay for people to believe anything they want. Yet, they are not allowed to talk about. But if they do, they cannot agree to meet again, especially if they have similar beliefs. And they definitely cannot appeal to a more knowledgeable person if they have questions. I'm not sure religion is much more than this, sometimes organization is inevitable.

Hate the playa' not the game.

Unknown said...

interesting point.

i encourage spirituality in that i think it's inevitable as conscious beings that we seek a "meaning" and an "understanding" at some point in our lives. the justification for our consciousness is what i call spirituality. its natural to seek other opinions and experiences and it's natural to talk about how we feel and think. i have no problem with those things because of course we all want to feel a part of something... we dont want to be completely excluded... but when one or more of these organizations decides that all others are wrong and teaches against the other organizations to the extreme level of war and death.... then there is a problem!

and when the reason for condemning other organizations is something as intangible, artificial and synthetic (clearly, i'm biased) as a *god*, then i'm definitely against it!

anyway.... thanks for your thoughts!