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Thread: Two Earths

  1. #1 Two Earths 
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Imagine if you would an Earthlike planet on the other side of the Sun sharing the same orbital path. Planet X develops the same way as Earth. Humans come along on both planets at the same time and likewise start the technical revolution. However Planet X has never developed a religion, in fact they wouldn't know what you were talking about if you were to converse with them about it.

    At this crucial juncture, the technological revolution, would the fact that religion exists on one Earth and not the other make a specific difference? Does religion hinder or encourage technical development? Would one planet become more advanced than the other because of the presence or lack of religion?

    Personally I get the feeling from reading my religious friends comments that any civilization without God or religion would develop like Star Trek's Borg. Similar to the the way Western society once thought of the communists, emotionless brainwashed militaristic subservients bent on forcing their ideology upon the rest of the world at all costs. Anyway, something like that. I tend to think of religion as a hindrance to technological advancement especially if it is contrary to their beliefs. (i.e. stem cell R&D).

    Whether this means Planet X , because of its non religious society, surpasses Earth in intelligence is debatable. Not sure if technology is the measuring stick for intelligence but I would wager that Planet X because it is unencumbered by religious ideology would be visiting us before we visit them.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Isotope Zelos's Avatar
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    they will develop much faster than we have on earth because religion pushes back technological/scientific development. And this is because it goes against the religion and in the end proves that the god(s) is just an imaginary friend people make up to explain things, this imaginary friend need a companion to survive and its friend is called lazyness. God(s) is just a lazy persons way to explain things, but it also fills the empty wholes a human may contain but isnt really a big issue if u think after.

    id say they would have invaded us with ST technology while we were spreading christianity to muslim parts.


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  4. #3 Re: Two Earths 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Suppositional questions like this are poorly defined. It is like the question, "what if you were Tom Cruise?" How can you answer such a question meaningfully. How could I be Tom Cruise? If I were Tom Cruise, then it would not be me and only Tom Cruise would be Tom Cruise, but Tom Cruise is already Tom Cruise, so the question is meaningless. To make sense of the question you would have to change it to questions like, "What if your name was Tom Cruise?" "What if you were famous like Tom Cruise?" "What if you had his job?" But are these what are meant by the original question?"

    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    At this crucial juncture, the technological revolution, would the fact that religion exists on one Earth and not the other make a specific difference? Does religion hinder or encourage technical development? Would one planet become more advanced than the other because of the presence or lack of religion?
    The most sensible answer would be simply that, the people of such an earth would not be human but some unknown alien species and it would be hard to predict what such a species would or would not do. It is clear from the universality of religion that religion is a part of human nature and a part of human cultural development.

    So I guess that the real question is not obscure "what if" that has been described, but rather whether religion plays any essential role in the development of man. Well the answer is an emphatic YES! The most essential and fundamental role of religion in human cultural development is the creation of our very sense of humanity. Ok now calm down. I am not saying that our sense of humanity depends on religion at this time, but only that religion played an indispensible role in the formation of that sense of humanity. In other words, it was religion that brought different family/tribes into the recognition of commonality with other family-tribes. Without this commonality other family-tribes are never considered anything but prey and competitors for the same resources.

    It is true that Humanism has now enshrined a sense of humanity quite apart and independent of religion, but the truth is that Humanism has its roots in religious thought. It is largely an attempt to squeeze out the drop of good that many can see in religion divorcing it from what is seen by them as illogical superstition.

    But frankly this is only one role of religion that is impossible to clearly seperate from many other aspects of human cultural development. Today we have a culture of specialized topics and aspects of human society: religion, government, law, science, education, entertainment, etc... But all of these have roots in a single aspect of human behavior, deriving from the human capacity to imagine, to abstract and to rationalize. The very first human science was the stories which were told to explain aspects of the world around us. But the same stories served as religion, and entertainment. As religion they gave people a sense of identity by explaining where they came from and what was expected of them. As entertainment the stories were received joyfully and retold repeatedly. As science they created a rationality for the world around them which gave them a way of using their mind in dealing with the world around them. In many ways the development of human culture and civilization is merely the successive elaboration of these stories which made them more and more complex and detailed.

    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    Personally I get the feeling from reading my religious friends comments that any civilization without God or religion would develop like Star Trek's Borg. Similar to the the way Western society once thought of the communists, emotionless brainwashed militaristic subservients bent on forcing their ideology upon the rest of the world at all costs. Anyway, something like that. I tend to think of religion as a hindrance to technological advancement especially if it is contrary to their beliefs. (i.e. stem cell R&D).
    Well I think that is rather silly. I am more inclined to think that humanity would have remained in state like the North American Indians in small nomadic communities. Fixed farming communities would be rare because such would too often be sitting ducks for the raids by other tribes. But this is difficult to justify very well because the North American Indians like humans everywhere had religion too.

    But the I think your friends did have it right in this one sense, and that is the fact that to imagine man without religion is to imagine an alien race. Personally I am not sure that it is even possible in any intellegent species. Though it is quite conceivable that an intellengent species could abandon its religious outlook for a purely logical and scientific one, for many human beings and human nations have tried to do this. And yet the nations which did this merely replaced religion with ideology which was very similar to religion and in the end had rather questionable results.
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    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    MM...I do realize that the odds of humans developing on both planets are zero or infinitely small at best and that it is totally irrelevant to the main question as you so aptly surmised. Does religion slow down our technical progress here on Earth?

    I believe it is a hindrance as I mentioned earlier but I also think that it also helps. Why? I can answer that in one word.....WAR. The machines of death and destruction may have been a long time coming if not for war. If we eliminate the religious based conflicts of history then technology would not be at the stage it is today. Nothing breaks a technological stalement like trying to kill our fellow man. Weaponry has surely benefitted. Of course in peacetime we all are aided by the scientific byproducts of warfare.

    I don't think religion likes the association with war. A lot of people think it but are reluctant to make the claim. I'm not saying there would be no war if there was no religion. Disputes will happen but if religious war was non-existent at least we could cut down on the number of skirmishes.
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    There's plenty of evidence of religious beliefs in pre-human cultures. The fact that most (if not all cultures) exhibit some religious beliefs indicates that these types of beliefs are likely encoded in our genes. In fact, a number of patients with temporal lobe epilepsy have profoundly spiritual experiences after seizures. This indicates that even a certain part of the cerebral cortex may be encode these type of thoughts.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    Does religion slow down our technical progress here on Earth?
    I am sorry but I think this question is meaningless too. We can also ask if science slows down our technical progress. When Einstein published the special theory of relativity, it was not immediately accepted because of the clash with the previously accepted ideas of physics. The same happened in the beginning of quantum physics. The idea that the clash with previously accepted religious ideas slows down technical progress is just as nonsensical.

    Religion and science both derive from the same source: the human capacity to imagine, to abstract and to rationalize. You cannot even remove one without the other by forbiding certain questions, because half the search for knowledge is the search for the right questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    I believe it is a hindrance as I mentioned earlier but I also think that it also helps. Why? I can answer that in one word.....WAR. The machines of death and destruction may have been a long time coming if not for war. If we eliminate the religious based conflicts of history then technology would not be at the stage it is today. Nothing breaks a technological stalement like trying to kill our fellow man. Weaponry has surely benefitted. Of course in peacetime we all are aided by the scientific byproducts of warfare.

    I don't think religion likes the association with war. A lot of people think it but are reluctant to make the claim. I'm not saying there would be no war if there was no religion. Disputes will happen but if religious war was non-existent at least we could cut down on the number of skirmishes.
    The role of war in technological development has long been accepted and understood. However I refute your idea of the role of religion in war even to the extent of the last statement. I do not believe that the non-existence of religion will reduce the "number of skirmishes" at all. Religion like everything else is merely a handy excuse for war and a poor one at that because vast majority of religious literature praises peace not war. Take the current difficulty in Palestine. This is not and never has been an issue between Islam and Judaism. Islam has recognized Christianity and Judaism as bretheren "religions of the book" upholding monotheism. The issue in Palestine has always been about the control of land and nothing more.

    The issue between Christians and Jews, likewise has been about money and wealth. But one of the first steps in waging war is vilifying the enemy - looking for ways to dehumanize them so you can kill them. Calling the Jews "Christ-killers", for example, has no legitimate basis in the Bible, instead it was concocted as a counter to the clear message of the Bible that the Jews are God's chosen people. The truth is that religion must be twisted and distorted to support war because by nature religion actually opposes war.
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    Forum Professor wallaby's Avatar
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    does religion slow down technilogical progress?

    depends on the religion.

    christianity retained dominance in europe during the middle ages because of an uneducated lower class society that would not challenge the idea of a person, who could read when they could not, telling them that such an idea was true. this lack of education did indeed slow scientific progress.

    on the other hand the people who followed islam made tremendous scientific, mathematical medical and technological breakthroughs.
    not all of this was through war as i don't know what use of astronomy is in war but hey for the most part i guess it was.
    so whether it was the religion, the high ranking members of it or the way it was preached. who knows.

    if you had a planet that was without religion then perhaps there 1000 years ahead of us, in which case we should have been contacted, which could also mean they wiped each other out in a catastrophic war or experiment gone wrong 1000 years earlier. religion or not they would still make war, in fact probably more so. (tribalism perhaps?)
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  9. #8  
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    One thing you wouldn't have on Planet X is the oppression of women and lower classes as per religious doctrine and text. Having half your brain power subjected to rules that favor one sex or class cannot ever be considered as a positive step technologically speaking.

    No denying that you don't need a religion to oppress some people but this thread is about the effect religion has on technology's advance. Planet X is hypothetical, what we have is real. Easy to say that technical progress could also be roadblocked in a non religious society but at least religion's influence is missing.
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  10. #9  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    One thing you wouldn't have on Planet X is the oppression of women and lower classes as per religious doctrine and text. Having half your brain power subjected to rules that favor one sex or class cannot ever be considered as a positive step technologically speaking.

    No denying that you don't need a religion to oppress some people but this thread is about the effect religion has on technology's advance. Planet X is hypothetical, what we have is real. Easy to say that technical progress could also be roadblocked in a non religious society but at least religion's influence is missing.
    Again I have to disagree. Science has proven just as effective a tool for the denigration of women as religion has. Once men had the language of biology it took little time for them to come up with biological reasons for the supposed inferiority of women. The problem with such things is that such attitudes can so easily become self-fulfilling and self-justifying. If society refuses to acknowledge and train the potentiality of women then there is a measurable "inferiority" in women. For a long time attitudes held that women had less aptitude in mathematics and the sciences and "surprise" there did seem to be a measurable difference.

    The culprit here is culture and social attitudes not religion. There is no doubt that religious groups have strong ideas about the role of women that are rather oppressive. Judaism, Islam and Hinduism are all particularly striking examples. But I believe a closer look will show that these are attitudes and practices carried by tradition rather than religious literature and even when religious literature does support such attitudes and practices, it is more of an impact of culture on religion rather than religion on culture. Religion does seem to enshrine the cultural roles of women to some degree because of this, but it also invariable speaks against abuses.

    Lets look at the most troublesome verses in the Bible. Sure these passages have been misused to support the oppression of women, but this is just the kind of selective reading of the Bible that is used to justify just about anything. These few "bad" examples are more than balanced by passages supporting the rights and respect due to women.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1 Corinthians 14:34-35
    "As in all Churches of the saints, the woman should be subordinate as even the law says...for it is shameful for a woman to speak in church."
    Churches rather routinely explain that this was addressing a problem of women chattering in church at the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1 Timothy 2:11
    "Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or have authority over men. She is to keep silent, for Adam was formed first then Eve, and Adam was not deceived but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor."
    So Timothy was a MCP but this is contradicted by examples of women in positions of leadership in the early church.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1 Corinthians 11:6
    " For if a woman will not veil herself then she should cut off her hair, but if it is disgraceful for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her wear a veil...for man was not created from woman but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman but woman for man."
    This seems largely a product of culture at the time for these customs of veils and hair have not been taken seriously in Christendom for a long time.

    Now let us consider the most troublesome verse in the Koran.

    Quote Originally Posted by Koran 4:34
    "Men are the protectors of women, because God has given preference to some over others. And because men spend of their property on women. So good women are obedient, guarding even unnoticed that what Allah has asked them to guard. As for those from whom you fear rebellion in this, i) talk to them, ii) leave them alone in their beds, iii) strike them. If they then obey you, look not for any way against them.. ."
    Now I have little motivation to defend the Koran, but I understand that "rebellion" in this passage is usually understood to refer to sexual promiscuity. Furthermore I am given to understand that the Koran speaks of an important issue where the Bible is silent, that of child support in the case of divorce (Koran 2:233), something which women in Christian society had a long battle to win for themselves. This and other passages supporting the rights and equality of women in Islam, suggest to me that the oppression of women in Islam is due to culture rather than religion.

    The oppression of women derives not from religion but from the oldest animalistic philosophy of man that "might makes right." Those with the strength and power use it to lord it over those who are weaker. So though there is cultural influence on religion, the main impact of religion has been to stand in opposition to this nature of man in defense of those who are weaker. "The meek shall inherit the earth." Furthermore I think that women instictively know this for they are the ususally the strongest supporters of religion. Logic dictates that this, however, could undoubtedly change as society and culture changes to become a greater champion of the rights and equality of women than religion. However I don't see this happening and it could be because laws, the justice system, and even education are not necessarily more effective at improving the behavior of men than religion.

    In conclusion, it is just as easy for you to imagine some ideal society without religion as it is for religious people to imagine a society without religion that is far more oppressive and inhumane. I must repeat again that this other earth without religion is populated by a completely alien species, which is beyond our knowlege and understanding, for religion is most definitely a part of the nature of man.
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  11. #10  
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    There is no doubt that religious groups have strong ideas about the role of women that are rather oppressive. Judaism, Islam and Hinduism are all particularly striking examples. But I believe a closer look will show that these are attitudes and practices carried by tradition rather than religious literature and even when religious literature does support such attitudes and practices,
    Then God and his boys missed a great opportunity to fix it. Religious literature hasn't exactly made it easy for women. God is ultimately to blame, they're His words so it appears. Doesn't tradition have its roots in religion on this planet?

    What came first , tradition or religion? If you go by Genesis' rendition then A&E didn't really have enough time to pick themselves up before being introduced to God.

    When did Christian traditions start? I find it hard to believe that oppressing women is a Christianlike tradition. Why didn't NT authors change the Word? Why doesn't any of the female oppressing religions change this part of their scripture.

    Surely it would be beneficial to the human race. Technology should improve at a faster rate if this were to occur, I can't understand how it wouldn't.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    Imagine if you would an Earthlike planet on the other side of the Sun sharing the same orbital path. Planet X develops the same way as Earth. Humans come along on both planets at the same time and likewise start the technical revolution. However Planet X has never developed a religion,
    I will answer, I just want to point out that it might not be humans the become the dominant species, and even more wide of the mark is that they would not adopt a religious stance, and thats not to say there anything in the human genome, just that with the same outside influences and the same growth in intelligence and education. ie sun, rain, eathquakes, death, etc etc...
    however if you meant the started of like us with religious mythology, but went the way of the wise, in their evolutional infancy.

    however my answer, if it was not for the dark ages, and the way the church halted or killed scientist(wizards witches alcamist etc etc) this planet , would now be exploring the stars, not just starting out, we would be at least 300 yrs more advanced, try to think what life would be like in 300 yrs time. and you get the picture.
    religious is the most evil and dangerous disease, known to man.
    planet x would probably visit earth, find us wanting, find us dangerous, and leave us, to get on with it.
    when we become more sensible they would probably come back, if ever, would you.

    ashley what a crock of shit, some evidence would not go amiss, or could you show us how these could not be deemed imaginary. what is there qualifying factor.
    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense - Buddha"
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    God is ultimately to blame, they're His words so it appears.

    What came first , tradition or religion? If you go by Genesis' rendition then A&E didn't really have enough time to pick themselves up before being introduced to God.
    In the Christian world view, all the problems of our societies and culture derive from an event in the distant past where mankind deviated from the will of God. Putting it back together has been a long and difficult process. The changes from the Old Testament to the New Testament shows some small progress (from a national consciousness to a world consciousness for example).

    Yes religion and tradition are tightly intertwined but it is you that are suggesting that religion can be extracted or absent from some imagined version of humanity. It is only in your mind that you equate all cultural inequities with religion and thus think if you could just get this idea of God or the supernatural out of the picture then all our problems would be solved, and that is the point of view which I am criticizing. For I affirm that all these problems derive from the flaws in human nature quite apart from any idea of God or the supernatural.

    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    I find it hard to believe that oppressing women is a Christianlike tradition.

    Religious literature hasn't exactly made it easy for women.
    It isn't Christian tradition at all. It is human tradition.

    In the bigger picture, one of the greatest oppressors of women was niether religion nor culture but simple biology. The site http://www.mum.org/pastgerm.htm tells an interesting story in which one of the most common ways for women to handle the inconveniences of menstration in the past was simply to constantly be either pregnant or nursing all of the time. Monthly bleeding was associated with illness and contributed to poor hygene. Both pregnancy and menstration along with the lack of medical technology probably greatly reduced the average lifespan of women. So the greatest liberation of women was probably due to the conveniences of pad and birth control liberating them from the tyranny of their own biology.

    It is easy to rant today about the illogic and immorality of the inequality of women in the distant past when it is clear today that women can do anythng a man can do. But in the time you are so naively speaking of, without the machines and coveniences of modern technology, the equality of women was far from obvious and more than likely rather impractical for most people.

    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    Why didn't NT authors change the Word? Why doesn't any of the female oppressing religions change this part of their scripture.
    People often try to change rules to suit themselves but the results are rarely of benefit, so religions have learned to be rather conservative and distrustful of the changes that men think is best.

    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    Then God and his boys missed a great opportunity to fix it. Doesn't tradition have its roots in religion on this planet?
    It is typical of liberalism that it often thinks the problems of culture and society can be fixed easily and in a day. I have great admiration for liberalism and the progress that has been made in the last 500 years because of it. But the sucess of liberalism in the west largely derives from its measured pace. Revolutionary change is a recipe for disaster and it represeents the dark side of liberalism. The French revolution is the primary example followed by communist revoutions of the last century.

    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    Surely it would be beneficial to the human race. Technology should improve at a faster rate if this were to occur, I can't understand how it wouldn't.
    But I don't see it as beneficial at all. You take too many things for granted. There have been many people like Hitler and Lenin who thought that the solutions to human problems were obvious, but they were wrong.

    Technology isn't a purely good thing in its own right. Technology is reponsible for greatest threats to the survival of the human race (and the rest of life on this planet). We will be really quite lucky to survive ourselves for another century. If we can just keep people with overly simplistic views of the world (like Bush) from positions of power, it might be possible.
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    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    MM...where did I suggest that all of mankind's foibles could be fixed in a day? I think I explaned that this was only a hypothetical situation, how that counts as being naive I don't know. Obviously it strikes a chord with you only because you jump to conclusions about me as easy as you say I do about religion. But that's ok. I just threw the topic out there, not to be a smart ass but to hear points of view. It's easier to get opinions if you lean one way. Anyway, I have respect for your answers. You're obviously quite learned and passionate about protecting religion.

    Whether Planet X 's dominate intelligent life form is human is irrelevant. Religion may not be a characteristic, solely of humanity. Who knows? If I had a million Earthlike planets then the odds are not all are religious. I said the probability is there, not that I actual know this to be fact.

    There is a lot of us who believe religion to be a curse we've managed to put on ourselves. Show me how religion is solving our problems, its had more than a day. Thousands of years have past since man first quilled, chiseled or penned God's words and we are better off??? Perhaps, but could technological advances happened sooner without religion?

    Time consumed by faith, scientific research delayed by interfering religions, the religiously correct, hate spawned by religion, religious war, doctrine critical and dehumanizing of half the world's population are factors that would not have roots on a non-religious planet. Surely they can arise other ways but at least religion is not there to influence.

    How long to you think it will take before the church gives God credit for Stem Cells and their healing potential?......Answer: as soon as its evident that stem cells can work miracles. Why wait for it, get behind it, endorse it, don't pretend right now that its a tool of the devil. Let potentially beneficial research happen unhindered, if it doesn't work then move on.
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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    One can make a definitive argument for the positive role of religion in the advance of science at many times in the past. (Do I really need to remind anyone what Gregor Mendel's vocation was?) What is equally clear is that this beneficial role is not the dominant one in most cultures today.

    I suspect that many of the arguments for and against the role of religion are unduly influenced by the perception of its currentrole. This seems to force apologists to dwell on former glories and antis to zero in on current controversies such as creationism.

    As a complete aside (and I know it is not relevant to the hypothetical nature of the opening question) a planet could not exist in a stable orbit on the othere side of the sun. Don't ask me to do the maths - that's more Mitchell's department.
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    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    How long did Galileo wait before informing the pope that the Earth orbited the Sun? Wasn't he near death before he finally mustered the courage? How many women in Mendel's time had the same opportunity, how many poor, how many atheists? It helped to be a religious male to get into the monastery in the first place.

    Little does it matter what religion sees because when fact becomes certainty the church is quick to give God credit, no matter how much they protested or interfered.
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    If I say to a naive person, 'santa clause told me you should give me your money' and he does so, the same person is not less naive if I choose not to swindle him and walk on by without abusing his naivite. The masses of the world would not suddently become analytical or intelligent if religion ceased to exist, the same people would probably phone the phychic hotlines to quell their mental/spiritual void.

    Religion is in my opinion a tool to control the masses. The end result, be it justifying wars(Crussades), eleminating political enemies(burning at the stakes), justifying oppression for the many and the opulence of the few(I'm the king/guru, you poor will go in heaven first), or when the leaders that use this tool are delusional themselves and beleive their own BS (pyramids, mass suicide), depends on what the rulers do with this power.

    Because reilgion is just a tool, its hinderance or benefit to technological development depends on the views and objectives of those that proclaim what the invisible man in the sky wishes. And second, the same masses can also be manipulated with other tools so that even without religion you could have had ended up with similar results.

    Without religion, there might not have been piramids, and the whole history may have change in such ways that its too difficult to make prediction. Indeed in some cases(chrsitianity in middle ages) religion hindered scientific progress. Who knows, without religion perhaps technology whould indeed have advanced by a decade, perhaps nazi germany would have had atomic bombs and the missiles to launch them in 1939 (instead of the US in 1945)...

    In the end, without religion maybe we would have bombed ourselves back to the stoneage by now, so its tough to say the impact of a world without religion.
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    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    "The Earth is firmly fixed, it shall not be moved'. How long did this verse (Psalms 104.5) prevent scientific progress?
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo
    If I say to a naive person, 'santa clause told me you should give me your money' and he does so, the same person is not less naive if I choose not to swindle him and walk on by without abusing his naivite. The masses of the world would not suddently become analytical or intelligent if religion ceased to exist, the same people would probably phone the phychic hotlines to quell their mental/spiritual void.

    Religion is in my opinion a tool to control the masses. The end result, be it justifying wars(Crussades), eleminating political enemies(burning at the stakes), justifying oppression for the many and the opulence of the few(I'm the king/guru, you poor will go in heaven first), or when the leaders that use this tool are delusional themselves and beleive their own BS (pyramids, mass suicide), depends on what the rulers do with this power.

    Because reilgion is just a tool, its hinderance or benefit to technological development depends on the views and objectives of those that proclaim what the invisible man in the sky wishes. And second, the same masses can also be manipulated with other tools so that even without religion you could have had ended up with similar results.
    Indeed all words can be a tool to manipulate others. In fact the words "religion is just a tool to manipulate the masses" were used by Lenin and his ilk to manipulate the masses in order to enslave millions of people in communist dictatorships. But I have great hope that the world has now matured enough to see through this type of manipulative rhetoric so that even non-religious people will not be taken in by it.

    Many people find that the relationships between men and women are just battles of manipulation to get what they want. Children are the supreme manipulators of all. Advertising is just a tool of manipulating the masses. Politics is just a tool for manipulating the masses. It is all "just" manipulation. This is the human reality. Personally I hate to be manipulated and find great joy in foiling such attempts by saying and doing the unexpected. The fact of the matter is, that many people see their religion as a way to escape this endless cycle of manipulation and the fact that the Marxist scheme for world domination and enslavement saw religion as its number one enemy is rather excellent support for this claim.

    I recall that we already discussed of this kind of flattening of reality into overly simplistic terms:
    http://www.thescienceforum.com/viewt...r=asc&start=15

    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo
    In the end, without religion maybe we would have bombed ourselves back to the stoneage by now, so its tough to say the impact of a world without religion.
    That is a pretty doubtful one but who knows. All we know is the result of what did happen. And suppositions like the one at the start of this thread are a real shot in the dark. We just do not know. And so it makes more sense to me to discover the value in what is.

    That is not to say that I do not find alternate histories interesting. They make very interesting science ficiton. "The Redemption of Christopher Columbus" by Orson Scott Card is my favorite explorations of alternate history.
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    A vast majority of the Earth's population wakes up every day in fear of a being they have never seen, never heard, or never really proven to exist. They spend their entire day feeling they are being watched, their actions recorded and that they are being judged. They abide by a code of rules that they believe are guidelines for conduct, what actions are not permitted and the morals by which all of us must adhere to. They also believe that to stray from their beliefs will only cause them eternal damnation, pain and suffering.

    With this kind of incentive I think it is quite reasonable to assume that without this religion, without this doctrine and the interpretations(edicts) from its leadership that technology's pace would increase. Does production's rate improve in an autocratic-bureaucratic environment? Studies show that in business the answer is no. I don't think it is much different with religion affecting our progress.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    A vast majority of the Earth's population wakes up every day in fear of a being they have never seen, never heard, or never really proven to exist.
    This is a highly contentious statement. Please provide some evidence to substantiate it. I would strongly suggest, based upon personal observation of Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Bhuddist and Hindu devotees, over many years, that a vanishingly small percentage live with this fear.

    I suggest that this is a perception you have arrived at based upon a misinterpretation of the role of religion in the lives of followers. Why this misinterpretation should have arisen is something you would be best placed to answer, but in the absence of any evidence to the contrary misinterpretation is what we must call it.
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    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    A vast majority of the Earth's population wakes up every day in fear of a being they have never seen, never heard, or never really proven to exist.
    This is a highly contentious statement. Please provide some evidence to substantiate it. I would strongly suggest, based upon personal observation of Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Bhuddist and Hindu devotees, over many years, that a vanishingly small percentage live with this fear.

    I suggest that this is a perception you have arrived at based upon a misinterpretation of the role of religion in the lives of followers. Why this misinterpretation should have arisen is something you would be best placed to answer, but in the absence of any evidence to the contrary misinterpretation is what we must call it.
    Why do people worship? If I felt my God would not show an act of reprisal for my not worshipping, I could live without fear of him/her/it. If you think I was referring to the boogey-man-in-the-closet fear then that was not my intent. I could ask every god worshipping person on Earth if they feared God and a great majority of them would probably answer no. No is a politically correct answer under that circumstance.

    If one is being judged by their actions then there is a certain amount of apprehension, its human nature...did I do the right thing, did I say the right thing, am I dressed properly, etc. You mean to tell me that no one fears the almighty's decision making based on their adherence to the criteria. Maybe none of your friends exhibit an outward fear of their god but you can't tell me they don't fear wrath. God's wrath in itself is enough to be frightened of. People may think they're leading the proper life but when push comes to shove there is always nagging doubt. In the end your actions will be judged. Have you ever stood before a judge? Tell me that hardly anybody fears what's coming next.

    Maybe fear was too strong a word, apprehension will suffice if you wish to substitute it. No way I could ever get into somebody's head to really know what they're thinking and neither can you. Your friends are not afraid, in what context was the question asked? I really don't see how one cannot be afraid of god, his decisions, his actions. People generally don't wish to die, suffer, starve, burn in hell, or endure whatever punishment god can mete out.

    If I was religious and someone asked me if I feared god, there is only one answer..... no! because you know who is probably listening.
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    I agree with some of what yours saying mitchellmckain and although I dont agree with many points I find them nonetheless entertaining and in some case foood for thought.

    Advertising is just a tool of manipulating the masses.
    Indeed as for religion which as many aspects beyond manipulation, Advertising also has many aspects. Ads can be informative, hillarious, provide an emotional (or spiritual :wink: ) outlet, be entertaining and so on. It supports an industry and pays for media, etc. All these aspects are fine and dandy, but the aspect that I find more intersting is the reason the ads are made in the first place.

    The funny ad is not made to make you laugh, making you laugh is a means to achive an end, the reason for the funny ad is that although the mass of individuals will experience 'entertaining laughter', the overall and unseen effect is to (they hope) increase sales. Those who pull the strings are those who pay for the ads and what they want is more money and brand recognition, its the reason they put money on the table and start the process. That individuals see the add as funny(cool/informative/whatever) is to me not as interesting. Even If 1 million people experience the ad as something funny and only a handful of people see it as a means to manipulate people, Im more intersted in those that cause the whole thing to be. The million people who see the ad as funny entertainement did not make the add.

    The means to the end are overt, thats what people see. Like war, millions will invoke the official salespitch to explain why the're going to war, but even if millions of people think their going to war for reason X, the reason that really matters for my curiosity is the one that truly motivated those that lauched the war (who also dont go to war and usually profit from the war). That thousands of people think their going to war because of WMD for example is not that interesting even if its their vision of reality. Advertising will use the various overt aspects (funny, cool, informative, emotional, etc) that will help them influence the masses, they seldom will use the reason for the ad overtly ("Yes, buy coca-cola cause we want to boost our quaterly earnings")

    Religions dont say thou shall be manipulated, they use the aspects spirituality, communal bonding, fullfulment, etc that will work with their target audience. It does a lot of good in some cases because it provides for needs, but all these good overt aspects are easier to observe(sometimes not so good when thinking of integrists, religious wars, etc) but I find the covert aspects more interesting, which is why to me, who does not belong to those who benefit from the overt goodness, Religion (like many other activities) is a tool to manipulate the masses.

    Rael is a guru I find very interesting, I will simplify his message "I was contacted by Ets, give to me so I can build a suitably lavish spaceport to welcome them, and follow me if you want to be save and brought on the UFOs". I find he is just as legitimate as other religions. Im not interested in the shape the UFO are said to have or that thousands that follow him see many fine aspects to the cult that are not manipulation related.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo
    Those who pull the strings are those who pay for the ads and what they want is more money and brand recognition, its the reason they put money on the table and start the process. That individuals see the add as funny(cool/informative/whatever) is to me not as interesting. Even If 1 million people experience the ad as something funny and only a handful of people see it as a means to manipulate people, Im more intersted in those that cause the whole thing to be. The million people who see the ad as funny entertainement did not make the add.

    The means to the end are overt, thats what people see. Like war, millions will invoke the official salespitch to explain why the're going to war, but even if millions of people think their going to war for reason X, the reason that really matters for my curiosity is the one that truly motivated those that lauched the war (who also dont go to war and usually profit from the war). That thousands of people think their going to war because of WMD for example is not that interesting even if its their vision of reality. Advertising will use the various overt aspects (funny, cool, informative, emotional, etc) that will help them influence the masses, they seldom will use the reason for the ad overtly ("Yes, buy coca-cola cause we want to boost our quaterly earnings")

    Religions dont say thou shall be manipulated, they use the aspects spirituality, communal bonding, fullfulment, etc that will work with their target audience. It does a lot of good in some cases because it provides for needs, but all these good overt aspects are easier to observe(sometimes not so good when thinking of integrists, religious wars, etc) but I find the covert aspects more interesting, which is why to me, who does not belong to those who benefit from the overt goodness, Religion (like many other activities) is a tool to manipulate the masses.
    Your distinction between overt and covert is logical and analytical, but it is also, however, quite subjective. Who is to say that the founder of a company is out to serve or out to milk the public? The same goes for the politician and the founder of a religion. This question is further clouded by the fact that those who are most effective are the ones who believe their own spiel. Do the delusions of the con artist make his activity any less an act of fraud? Does his sincerity validate his efforts or simply make him a victim of his own crime? Furthermore, there is the distinction between the "prophet" or madman and true believer who starts the thing and the opportunists who jump on the bandwagon for the harvest. Jesus and Paul may have been the real thing but what about Constantine and the rest of the Roman Empire? In the end, the deciding factor in what constitutes fraud is, in general, simply the number of satisfied customers.

    The real contention between the defenders of religon and its detractors seems to be how they react to the unusual cost vs. benefit comparison in religion. Does religion have an easy sell because because it never has to deliver, and what could possibly be worth the appalling price of life devotion? Yet these are clearly two sides of a coin. For from a different point of view, this unusual cost vs. benefit comparison would actually make religion the hardest sell of all. The detractor of religion must assume that the religious are complete imbeciles with no sense or intellegence whatsoever. But the person who makes this kind of assumption is usually the greatest fool of all, stubbornly refusing to see what is right in front of them. For it is also possible that the detractor simply cannot see the forest for the trees and that the great price exacted by religion is actually its greatest reward.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    The real contention between the defenders of religon and its detractors seems to be how they react to the unusual cost vs. benefit comparison in religion. Does religion have an easy sell because because it never has to deliver, and what could possibly be worth the appalling price of life devotion? Yet these are clearly two sides of a coin. For from a different point of view, this unusual cost vs. benefit comparison would actually make religion the hardest sell of all. The detractor of religion must assume that the religious are complete imbeciles with no sense or intellegence whatsoever. But the person who makes this kind of assumption is usually the greatest fool of all, stubbornly refusing to see what is right in front of them.
    Your argument started out well. Then you claim that detractors of religion MUST come to an assumption that is obviously not mandatory. You then make the exact same poor quality assumption in the last sentence cited above. Perhaps I misunderstand what you really mean. What could such people fail to see? What is this that is physically visible right in front of them?
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    The real contention between the defenders of religon and its detractors seems to be how they react to the unusual cost vs. benefit comparison in religion. Does religion have an easy sell because because it never has to deliver, and what could possibly be worth the appalling price of life devotion? Yet these are clearly two sides of a coin. For from a different point of view, this unusual cost vs. benefit comparison would actually make religion the hardest sell of all. The detractor of religion must assume that the religious are complete imbeciles with no sense or intellegence whatsoever. But the person who makes this kind of assumption is usually the greatest fool of all, stubbornly refusing to see what is right in front of them.
    Your argument started out well. Then you claim that detractors of religion MUST come to an assumption that is obviously not mandatory. You then make the exact same poor quality assumption in the last sentence cited above. Perhaps I misunderstand what you really mean. What could such people fail to see? What is this that is physically visible right in front of them?
    Sorry, it was not my intention to denigrate all detractors of religion universally but only those who make the foolish assumption that religious people must be imbeciles. I am the first to admit that the idea of God has sound arguments for its improbability. So my point was simply that the cost vs. benefit comparison is not a sound basis for coming to that particular conclusion. And the reason I was giving for that, was that their division between cost and benefit may not be valid. It is, in fact, my experience that the so called cost of life devotion is, in fact, the greatest reward that the religous receive, according to the experience of believers. The "joy of service to the lord" is a common topic at churches for example.

    It is largely a question of identity and self-image. And this is probably why the religious have such a difficulty with evolution, for whether or not it is an accurate account of the theory, the self-image afforded by evolution is that of a talking ape. The most realistic self-image is not provided by only words (rhetoric) but also by actions and lifestyle. The immediate reward of religion is value and meaning for self and life, and an escape from banality of a life which is reduced to the elements of self-service, power, manipulation, economics, or materialism. You may choose to see this as self-delusion if you wish, but the religious mostly see it as matter of choice and self-determination. The rewards of such a positive outlook on life and self also accrue to mental and physical health as well as to a more functional and cooperative society.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    Who is to say that the founder of a company is out to serve or out to milk the public?
    me
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo
    Who is to say that the founder of a company is out to serve or out to milk the public?
    me
    Ok, your honor, what do you think of Bill Gates, that most ruthless and coniving of business practitioners who is now getting into the business of seeking a solution to the problem of world health?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Sorry, it was not my intention to denigrate all detractors of religion universally but only those who make the foolish assumption that religious people must be imbeciles.
    I see. Although I have no personal interest in religion, I recognize that it is a valid force in the world. It is not reasonable, in my mind, as some have proposed, to consider a world of humankind completely devoid of followers of religion. In other words, I consider it a valid model of nature that is symmetrical to the model of science. It has its strengths and its weaknesses. I believe that its primary weakness is its tendency to proclaim an exclusive lock on truth. It is quite natural that many followers of science would look with disdain on followers of religion. Why not. It is quite common for followers of religion to look with disdain on followers of science, and the same forces are in play. Just because I cannot recognize any truths of religion is no reason for me to consider it worthless as a model of nature. I can still pass judgment on the quality of people who follow that path, without worrying about the truth of the model of nature that guides them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    what do you think of Bill Gates, that most ruthless and coniving of business practitioners who is now getting into the business of seeking a solution to the problem of world health?
    I think that he has the opportunity to redeem himself. I will watch with an open mind.
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    I see your Microsoft (which along with Cisco, Google, and Yahoo supply all the information to the chinese regime needed to facilitate repression, censorship, and arrests of dissidents such as Chi Tow[unsure spelling] which can be tortutered or excecuted, Cisco also helping the chinese to build the 'golden shield' a virtual orwellian big brother :? ),
    as I wa saying I see your Microsoft with Enron, Arthur Anderson, and similar cronies,
    and raise it with Philip Morris, Monsanto , who in addition to suppling cancer causing products they know about, manouver to prevent the public from knowing about it (although cigarette makers have pretty much lost that battle some time ago, Monsanto is better at controling the media), and raise on top of that with Ford, GE, GM, IBM which collaborated Nazi germany along with Bush senior's father (W's grand father) before and during the war (and to add insult to injury Ford and GM even had the balls to ask to be compensated for the bombing of their german factories that were helping the Nazis and In 1967, GM was compensated with $33 million from the U.S. government for the American bombing of its Russelsheim plant. ) When companies are willing to kill people, men, women, children by the thousands for profit, rob people directly or through the government by the billions, mortage the planet's viability, forster the assasination or coup d'etats against democratically elected governement because they dont play ball, I will not hesitate to think that many others are out for profit.

    Baring the occasional Gates charity which is good and brings a tear to my eye
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo
    I see your Microsoft (which along with Cisco, Google, and Yahoo supply all the information to the chinese regime needed to facilitate repression, censorship, and arrests of dissidents such as Chi Tow[unsure spelling] which can be tortutered or excecuted, Cisco also helping the chinese to build the 'golden shield' a virtual orwellian big brother :? ),
    as I wa saying I see your Microsoft with Enron, Arthur Anderson, and similar cronies,
    and raise it with Philip Morris, Monsanto , who in addition to suppling cancer causing products they know about, manouver to prevent the public from knowing about it (although cigarette makers have pretty much lost that battle some time ago, Monsanto is better at controling the media), and raise on top of that with Ford, GE, GM, IBM which collaborated Nazi germany along with Bush senior's father (W's grand father) before and during the war (and to add insult to injury Ford and GM even had the balls to ask to be compensated for the bombing of their german factories that were helping the Nazis and In 1967, GM was compensated with $33 million from the U.S. government for the American bombing of its Russelsheim plant. ) When companies are willing to kill people, men, women, children by the thousands for profit, rob people directly or through the government by the billions, mortage the planet's viability, forster the assasination or coup d'etats against democratically elected governement because they dont play ball, I will not hesitate to think that many others are out for profit.
    Ah yes the conspiracy of greed. That is the one conspiracy theory that I can believe in because it is so consistent with human nature. Even without consulting each other these people can act cooperatively for the destruction of freedom, humanity, and the earth, simply because of they share this rather common human failing.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Well back to the original topic, sort of.

    After my impassioned defense of religion in general I thought that I should point out that modern born-again style Christianity has developed some anti-religious aspects that I thought I should mention. This is not unique, for Bhuddism also started out with a strongly anti-religious aspect as well. Of-course since these are technically religions themselves, from an objective viewpoint, these anti-religious sentiments could easily be interpreted as merely reformative rather than truly anti-religious.

    Bhuddism, for example, first founded by Sidharta Gautama spoke strongly against the idea of deity and appeasement in reaction against Hinduism in particular, and therefore laid out quite a different path toward the understood goals of religion which was enlightenment and the escape from the endless cycle of rebirth in a world of illusion and suffering.

    Likewise, in modern born-again style Christianity, the word "religion" has attained considerable negative connotations refering to the same idea of appeasing God. Certainly no form of Christianity could be anti-religious in the same sense of Bhuddism because the belief in a single deity is vigorously upheld. But according to this modern born-again style Christianity, all the religions, which tell you what you have to do in order to please God so that you can make it into heaven, are a cheat and a deception (in fact no more than human manipulation). For this type of Christianity emphatically declares that there is NOTHING that you can do to restore your relationship to God or to qualify for redemption. So in modern Christianity the religion is usually associated with organizations with some idea of working your way into heaven.

    This is part of the Protestant trend away from an organization like the Catholic church which thinks it holds the keys to heaven and controls access to God. Thus, accordingly, this "new Christianity" recognizes that no denomination, church, or organization of men have any ultimate authority, but that all the authority rests in the written word and the living Jesus with whom anyone can have a personal relationship without any human mediator. In this brand of Christianity, the real Church refered to in the Bible as the bride of Christ is no human organization but a spiritual one administered by Christ himself uniting all people with a personal relationship with Christ.

    Now certainly from an objective non-Christian point of view this can be seen as merely making the Christian church an "organization" based on shared ideas and language rather than money and human administration. But even from this objective perspective it is easy to see the advantages (not claiming it is foolproof) in forstalling the human tendency to abuse power. This does not mean that it is not susceptible to any sort of manipulation for if someone (like Bush) sings the right tune he is still quite able to gain considerable support from them.
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