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Science-ology

#1 User is offline   cerveza_fiesta 

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 06:27 PM

What do y'awl think about science itself becoming a form of religion? I was pondering this to keep myself awake during a very long car ride that my GF refused to stay awake for.

What I'm talking about is worshipping the ideals of science, logic and reason. Kind of a la Vulcans from star trek, but not so pointy-eared or boring.

What I pretty much got stuck on were where science and religion tend to clash. Science is my domain for sure and I've never been a church-goer or otherwise religious as defined by any mainstream religion. For instance:

  1. is it 100% necessary to have a component of blind faith to your religion or some kind of unconditional acceptance of a universal truth? This of course goes against the very basis of science and logic and is the major impasse in the evolution vs. creation argument. Is it possible to worship just the idea and method without having some kind of omnipitence behind it.
  2. Who would be the revered saints of science-ology. Famous scientists
  3. I suppose you could treat scientific books like Newton's Principia and Einstein's theory of realativity as your holy texts, but science requires that such things can be modified, changed or thrown out entirely at any time. Would that jive with the other book-having (bible/qu'uran) religions where the holy texts are infallible and created by god?
  4. Ritual practices like meditation, prayer and such are pretty common in many religions. Is it necessary to have that ritual for something to be a religion. Would such a ritual just be a properly conducted scientific experiment?


I guess what I'm getting at is how far would we have to modify science and its methods before they could be considered a religion? How would the followers of science-ology run or change their lives? Would you need holy structures or icons for people to relate to? Any thoughts?
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#2 User is offline   Drunkard of High House Decay 

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 06:47 PM

I believe you will receive two extremely different answers here. Many faith-minded people already see scientists and the belief in the scientific process as religious.

Part 4: the scientific process, from observation to hypothesis to experimentation to observation is, errrrr, per se ritualistic.
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#3 User is offline   Adjutant Stormy~ 

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 07:05 PM

QUOTE (HoosierDaddy;366197)
I believe you will receive two extremely different answers here. Many faith-minded people already see scientists and the belief in the scientific process as religious.


That's because so many see their belief system as not a factual basis for reality, but THE factual basis for reality, and so the methodology in opposition becomes the mechanism taken on faith, held in high regard with such apparent warrantless fervor.

I take no sides in the religion debate, but perhaps that's the wrong tack. Whatever ranks highest for you is going to compose more of your 'reality' and so be self-validating. Self-validating because any evidence put forward to you, encountered in the world, is immediately interpreted by you, and your brain. You innately try to structure the world, and your observations of it to the best of your ability.

So the most powerful interpretive method instilled in your person (be that one of scientific inquiriy) is more likely than not to be the filter through which the evidence is viewed, even BEFORE it is filed into evidence.

In short, you see what you want to see. People who see what you do not are people YOU see as operating under a system that is flawed, at worst, and misguided, at best.
<!--quoteo(post=462161:date=Nov 1 2008, 06:13 PM:name=Aptorian)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Aptorian @ Nov 1 2008, 06:13 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=462161"><{POST_SNAPBACK}></a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->God damn. Mighty drunk. Must ... what is the english movement movement movement for drunk... with out you seemimg drunk?

bla bla bla

Peopleare harrasing me... grrrrrh.

Also people with big noses aren't jews, they're just french

EDIT: We has editted so mucj that5 we're not quite sure... also, leave britney alone.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->
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#4 User is offline   cerveza_fiesta 

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 07:25 PM

sorry mods, meant to put this in religion and didn't realize I wasn't in the sub forum. If you could kindly move it It'd be awesome.

@Adjutant

So do you mean somebody coming from a religious background would see science and it's various practices as lacking something fundamental, like a supreme being or infallible truths?

I'm just trying to see if science could ever become and end unto itself via it's turning into a religion. If people could be motivated to do certain things for no other reason than for advancing science itself and take solace in having done so. Much like how a missionary devotes his life to converting other peoples in the name of God, or the crusaders fought for the holy land in the name of the church, or mideval chinese conducted military campaigns in the name of the emperor.

I'm not just talking about motivating a couple of devoted scientists, I mean using science-ology to massively spread and induce the kind of conviction and belief in the cause that you see in (for instance) muslims conducting a jihad.
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#5 User is offline   Raymond Luxury Yacht 

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 08:04 PM

I say yes, it could happen. Look at scientology. That's basically what they're doing.
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#6 User is offline   Cause 

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 08:10 PM

QUOTE (Raymond Luxury Yacht;366267)
I say yes, it could happen. Look at scientology. That's basically what they're doing.


Not at all. Scientlogy is not based on science at all. They believe in souls which cant be proven. They take it on faith that an evil alien overlord exists called Xenu, based on no proof. They use E-meters which have no scientific grounding. The publish no papers, have no peer review.

The founder of their religeon is a science fiction writer and considering their religeon reads like a science fiction novel, sceintists would call that questionable data
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#7 User is offline   Adjutant Stormy~ 

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 08:10 PM

As to science becoming something like religion, not likely. Why? Many reasons.
Because science costs money. Prayer, spiritual mediation, and the like are (aside from subsistence) basically free.

Also, many religions are highly efficient in the production of answers. In many religions today, there exists some ultimate body of knowledge, (i.e. holy scripture) from which all the answers are supposedly derivable. People who haven't the patience to study mountain locust breeding patterns, migration habits, and natural habitats are considerably more likely to accept the divine as a reason for the plague on their crops.

Unlike science, these derivations are highly anti-normative. They diverge, nearly invariably, and are nigh-on impossible to reconcile, merge, or defeat. In scientific inquiry, on the scale of a hundred years, a couple conflicting theories may arise, but they are, by force of more inquiry, nearly always reconciled. The body of knowledge, as a fluid body, seeks a center, a norm.

As to the science-jihad, or the cult-of-science, have you read Asimov's Foundation series? You should, you might find it interesting.

Please, no need for officiousness, call me stormy. smile.gif
<!--quoteo(post=462161:date=Nov 1 2008, 06:13 PM:name=Aptorian)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Aptorian @ Nov 1 2008, 06:13 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=462161"><{POST_SNAPBACK}></a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->God damn. Mighty drunk. Must ... what is the english movement movement movement for drunk... with out you seemimg drunk?

bla bla bla

Peopleare harrasing me... grrrrrh.

Also people with big noses aren't jews, they're just french

EDIT: We has editted so mucj that5 we're not quite sure... also, leave britney alone.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->
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#8 User is offline   Dolorous Menhir 

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 08:43 PM

The effort make science into "just another religion" is a dishonest tactic intended to muddy the distinction between faith and reason. The two systems have different premises, and cannot be treated as equivalent.
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#9 User is offline   Aimless 

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 11:27 AM

Scientists aren't immune to dogmatism. In that sense, science can certainly be a part of something that is akin to religious belief.

Just not religious belief as we usually think of it.

But then again, it's not like religious beliefs don't change either :-O
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#10 User is offline   cerveza_fiesta 

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 12:15 PM

QUOTE
Also, many religions are highly efficient in the production of answers. In many religions today, there exists some ultimate body of knowledge, (i.e. holy scripture) from which all the answers are supposedly derivable. People who haven't the patience to study mountain locust breeding patterns, migration habits, and natural habitats are considerably more likely to accept the divine as a reason for the plague on their crops.



Sir Adjutant Stormy the IIIrd Esq,

Dear sir, I do believe....biggrin.gif

Ok, in seriousness Stormface, that got me thinking. Specifically your point about the holy and all-explaining scripture or doctrine. At the moment, science does lack such a thing because there is no ultimate theory that describes everything scientifically...but couldn't something such as the Grand Unification Theory be just such a scripture? You know...the thing that Hawking and about 10 other guys at his IQ level have been working on their whole adult lives that unites the theories of electromagnetism, nuclear forces and gravity into one equation. An equation with that kind of predicting power could generate far-reaching solutions to everyday occurrences perfectly logically through a string of mathematics.

So say they did achieve the GUT and it is taken as holy and the basis for science-ology. Anything derived from that holy equation would have to be interpreted mathematically and thus logically. There would be no room for a "well that's just my interpretation" bullshit explanation of your interpretation. Either it makes logical, mathematical sense or it doesn't and you get laughed out of the church (or lab or whatever a science-ology religious center is)...plus it can be peer reviewed by anybody that feels like challenging it (which is a fundamental of academic science).

This makes me wonder then, is it possible to have a religion whose core concepts can be only be interpreted logically or does there absolutely need to be a measure of faith and emotion in the interpretation. I think it would require a different kind of faith entirely to steer away from blind acceptance of "fundamental truths" and move toward a critical scientific view of the church's teachings. Hard to explain what I mean without an example, and please catholics, don't take this as a feather ruffling...I don't mean to be obtuse, just going by my non-religious impression of your church.

Catholicism

Hey, here's our view and commandments. Accept them or go to hell for eternity. Don't like it? Too bad. Our leaders communicate with GOD and he's always right no matter what. Oh, and if you happen to lapse, you can still convert back at any time before you die if you beg forgiveness.

Science-Ology:

Hey here's our theory, but you think about it and get back to us and our resident scholar and scientist here will try to explain why this makes logical sense to us. Don't accept it? That's cool, but please try to present an alternate theory to advance the body of knowledge. We'll review it and help you with your analysis. Who knows...you might be right!

See what I mean? It takes a different view of your religion entirely to adhere to the church of Science-ology. Critical views, logical thinking, mathematics, experimentation, observation...no simple acceptance without evidence.
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#11 User is offline   Bent 

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 01:54 PM

So CF wants to start his own religion. Frankly this doesn't suprise me. Seriously, I don't believe it will ever happen, or could ever happen, due to the sheer magnitude. Every scientist has different theories, getting them all together and trying to get group a to believe or consider group b's theories would me nigh impossible.
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#12 User is offline   Terez 

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 02:33 PM

Well, every theist has a different definition of god, and they seem to get along fine for the most part...beyond the fact that there are a billion different denominations of religions....

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#13 User is offline   Adjutant Stormy~ 

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 01:16 AM

Science-ology:
DEATH TO THE INFIDELS!
<!--quoteo(post=462161:date=Nov 1 2008, 06:13 PM:name=Aptorian)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Aptorian @ Nov 1 2008, 06:13 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=462161"><{POST_SNAPBACK}></a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->God damn. Mighty drunk. Must ... what is the english movement movement movement for drunk... with out you seemimg drunk?

bla bla bla

Peopleare harrasing me... grrrrrh.

Also people with big noses aren't jews, they're just french

EDIT: We has editted so mucj that5 we're not quite sure... also, leave britney alone.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->
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#14 User is offline   caladanbrood 

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 01:27 AM

QUOTE (Terez;366864)
they seem to get along fine for the most part

What?? :lachen70:


Science is not a religion. Some people try and play the two off against each other for various reasons... none of them have it right. I'm an engineer and a theist. Oh my, how can that work :eek:
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#15 User is offline   Adjutant Stormy~ 

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 02:53 AM

You're obviously a multidimensional being lost in our 3 (4) dimensional world...

But seriously, most people see science and religion at odds in one of two places: biology (through evolution) or physics (in universal origins), but beyond that chemistry, archaeology, geology, astronomy, etc, etc are all seen as totally meshing with nearly all religious tenets. But, like I said, people see what they want. Some people want there to be a contradiction.
<!--quoteo(post=462161:date=Nov 1 2008, 06:13 PM:name=Aptorian)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Aptorian @ Nov 1 2008, 06:13 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=462161"><{POST_SNAPBACK}></a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->God damn. Mighty drunk. Must ... what is the english movement movement movement for drunk... with out you seemimg drunk?

bla bla bla

Peopleare harrasing me... grrrrrh.

Also people with big noses aren't jews, they're just french

EDIT: We has editted so mucj that5 we're not quite sure... also, leave britney alone.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->
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#16 User is offline   Gwynn ap Nudd 

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 03:56 AM

QUOTE (Adjutant Stormy;367195)
You're obviously a multidimensional being lost in our 3 (4) dimensional world...

But seriously, most people see science and religion at odds in one of two places: biology (through evolution) or physics (in universal origins), but beyond that chemistry, archaeology, geology, astronomy, etc, etc are all seen as totally meshing with nearly all religious tenets. But, like I said, people see what they want. Some people want there to be a contradiction.



Which branches of science agree with religion depend on which interpretation of religious texts are taken. Neither geology nor archaeology agree with the interpretations of young earth creationism. Astronomy does agree now, but Galileo had a hard time back in his day.
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#17 User is offline   Jump Around 

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 05:35 AM

QUOTE (caladanbrood;367175)
Science is not a religion. Some people try and play the two off against each other for various reasons... none of them have it right. I'm an engineer and a theist. Oh my, how can that work :eek:


Same here (although I'm a molecular biologist).

I don't believe science can ever be a religion because they deal with different objectives.

For me, science wants to understand the mechanisms of life while religion wants to understand meaning. The goal of science is to discover the frontier of where that limit is, and I believe that no matter how far that limit will be pushed, it will always be there.

People used to worship lightning and earthquakes as being of religious origin. Understanding their mechanisms, a while ago, did not kill religion, nor made meteorology/geology a religion, it just pushed the limit of where religion begins.
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#18 User is offline   Cougar 

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 08:48 AM

For my money there is almost a three fold argument here (three, yes count 'em, pah to you with your paltry 2 view points)

Religion Vs Science is a gross over simplification; science doesn't set itself up against religion, nor does it set itself up as a system at all, science is not an all encompasing philosophy but a collective name given to a variety of processes which range from the most mundane of data collecting tasks to grand theory from explanations of matter to hair gel production.

There are of course areas where certain relgions feel threatened by scientific explantion of previously inexplicable phonomena etc which until that point had been explained by a tenet of the religion. This goes right back to the first time someone pointed out that Apollo didn't ride a golden chariot across the sky or that a dung beetle doesn't roll the sun, the adherents of these religions must have been just as pissed as when the pope first read Darwin.

Science and mathematics is not an end in itself it is a tool to understand existence any rules are simply ways of explaining the random rules that govern the universe. Where religion comes into conflict is where someone is able to demonstrate or postulate that that which they beleive to be the truth as given by god/gods is in fact false or doubtful.

I would say then you have 3 positions:

The religious -which requires dogma and faith because religion seeks to give one catch all explanation for everything, ie: god created it don't worry about it. Since in almost all cases the religion has a set text which explains everything it is problematic when doubt is cast on this.

The Science-ologists: Science in itself is the religion, nothing else can be right but that which is accepted in the scientific community as generally correct, non-believers are fools and those who doubt Science are too unintelligent to understand. At this point the Science-ologist is holding up an abstract concept of 'science' as a religion.

Scientists: do not hold to science as a religion, understand that dogmatic belief in science predjudices results, approach experiments and data collection with an open mind and do not see science as an all encompasing system but a series of loosely related disciplines. Each experiment or hypothesis is (relatively) discrete not part of a cannon of knowledge. I think most scientists fall in this category

I've heard religious zealots accuse Dawkins of being a Science-ologist but I think this is false. Whilst it is manifest that he believes fervently in the 'hard-evidence' or fuck off school, I'd say he's most ferevent belief is in the stupidity of religion, his weakness if one could call it that is that he focuses on negative aspects of religion and sometimes mistakes historical information on general human evil as being the fault of religion but since he's a scientist I'll let him off for being crap at history.
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#19 User is offline   chill 

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 10:51 AM

Alright, here's my opinion...

The definition of religion, as I learned last year in my sociology class and now try to recollect and translate... religion is a set of beliefs, norms and values coded into rituals that involves a group of believers, and create a feeling of excitement and religious zeal (apologies for possible incorrect information or translation... It was awhile ago and I hate sociology:D)

Several important points:
- it does not mention God. God is not necessary for a religion, for example taoism or confucionism.
- it does not say that norms and beliefs cannot change.
- it does not specify rituals at all, which means that ritual can be anything that creates above mentioned feelings.

So, science can be a religion if it fulfills these criteria.

It is a wrong and unnecessary to try reform science into a religion that would resemble Catholicism. Besides, religion (from now on I will speak of Christianity, cause I'm a Christian) does not exclude science - as long as you acknowledge God as the ultimate creator who made all mechanics that science is discovering. The Act of Creation, as described in the Bible, is now mostly interpreted as an allegory, and most people I know (90% of Croats declare themselves as Catholics) accept Darwin's theory, rather than biblical interpretation.

So there:)
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#20 User is offline   cerveza_fiesta 

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 11:20 AM

QUOTE
The religious -which requires dogma and faith because religion seeks to give one catch all explanation for everything, ie: god created it don't worry about it. Since in almost all cases the religion has a set text which explains everything it is problematic when doubt is cast on this.

The Science-ologists: Science in itself is the religion, nothing else can be right but that which is accepted in the scientific community as generally correct, non-believers are fools and those who doubt Science are too unintelligent to understand. At this point the Science-ologist is holding up an abstract concept of 'science' as a religion.

Scientists: do not hold to science as a religion, understand that dogmatic belief in science predjudices results, approach experiments and data collection with an open mind and do not see science as an all encompasing system but a series of loosely related disciplines. Each experiment or hypothesis is (relatively) discrete not part of a cannon of knowledge. I think most scientists fall in this category


As in so many other posts Cougar, you've put it into words very nicely. This is pretty much exactly my view of what science-ology would be like. Some middle ground between the current practice of science and the current practice of religion. The achievement of scientific advancement becomes the holy goal of science-ology. The scientific method becomes the ritual.

Also, Chill's definition fits nicely with your description of science-ology.

So I guess the question now is "would anybody buy it?"

Could humans be converted to a vulcan-like society where the achievement of pure logic and mathematical proof would produce the same religious fervor as seeing a vague Mother Mary shaped burn mark on a piece of toast?

IMO the human race needs to come a LONG way before that happens. Plus, I'm not really sure that the human psyche could really handle that. Suppression of emotional response in favour of logical response??...certainly credit card companies and money lenders would go out of business. The success of modern organized religion (and please argue if you believe I'm wrong here), IMO requires emotional attachment. If fear of going to hell or eternal happiness in heaven weren't sure-things for catholics, would anybody give a shit about being a catholic anymore?

The Ah HA! moment works for guys like me that are dorky and derive happiness from pure scientific achievement...but I think the general populace is waaaay too retarded to give a damn.
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BEERS!

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