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Passions in Poetry

Logic 101

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serenity blaze
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0 posted 01-07-2007 08:09 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I've been keeping myself amused lately with a free online course offered from:
http://atheism.about.com/c/ec/6.htm

This week's lesson included a quote from Bertrand Russell--

When two men of science disagree, they do not invoke the secular arm; they wait for further evidence to decide the issue, because, as men of science, they know that neither is infallible. But when two theologians differ, since there is no criteria to which either can appeal, there is nothing for it but mutual hatred and an open or covert appeal to force.
- Bertrand Russell Can Religion Cure our Troubles, 1954.



Hmm. I thought about it, and realize that I tend to vascillate between the two. I also thought that this might be the source of some of our less productive discussions in this particular forum.

So, does anyone have any thoughts on Bertrand Russell's thought? Agreement? Disagreement?

Anything at all to add?

And oh. Howdy.


Larry C
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1 posted 01-08-2007 01:16 AM       View Profile for Larry C   Email Larry C   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Larry C's Home Page   View IP for Larry C

Serenity,
Are you just brewin' trouble? Just confirming I think you make an excellent point though I'm not good at all at the grudge part so I find it easier to observe. Enough said I'm outa here.

If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane,
I'd walk right up to heaven and bring you home again.

Stephanos
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2 posted 01-08-2007 01:25 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Karen:
quote:
Hmm. I thought about it, and realize that I tend to vascillate between the two. I also thought that this might be the source of some of our less productive discussions in this particular forum.


Do you mean that you vascillate between atheism and theism?  Or between science and theology?

Because, while a strict antithesis between atheism and theism is necessary, I don't think the same kind of antithesis is necessary between science and theology.  There's no reason why a believer in God should reject good science (the scientific pedigree holds many Christians).  Nor is there any reason that I can see why a good scientist should reject theism on account of his science.  


Though Kirkegaard (and others inclined to his way of thinking) saw a strict divide between faith and natural observation, I think it is a less than desirable, and extremely problematic view ... creating a stark dualism where there need not be one.


Of course, I may be totally misunderstanding what you meant.

quote:
when two theologians differ, since there is no criteria to which either can appeal, there is nothing for it but mutual hatred and an open or covert appeal to force.


Since when did ad hominem become "logic 101"?     

We easily forget that atrocities have been committed in the name of science (hijacked though it may be).  

So why merely focus on bad religious examples to disprove the whole?

And the assertion that theology involves "no criteria" is just a bald opinion and nothing more.  Where did Russell get that idea?


Stephen.  
rwood
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3 posted 01-08-2007 10:18 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

"When two men of science disagree, they do not invoke the secular arm; they wait for further evidence to decide the issue, because, as men of science, they know that neither is infallible."

Einstein certainly disagreed and expressed failure.

quote:
All my attempts to adapt the theoretical foundation of physics to this new type of knowledge (Quantum Theory) failed completely. It was as if the ground had been pulled out from under one, with no firm foundation to be seen anywhere, upon which one could have built.
(P. A Schlipp, Albert Einstein: Philosopher Scientist, On Quantum Theory, 1949)


on the nature of God.

quote:
Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. Quantum theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the Old One. I, at any rate, am convinced that He (God) does not throw dice. (Albert Einstein, On Quantum Physics, Letter to Max Born, December 12, 1926)


It's anguishing, whether hatred is applied or affecting, and illogical to me, for Einstein to feel he failed at anything, as extraordinary as he was, which solidifies for me that
criteria can be personal and applied, among other things according. This can also make me feel hopeless at times, in trying to understand any arena of understanding. Sighs
serenity blaze
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4 posted 01-08-2007 10:33 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I assure you, I did not post this to start trouble. sigh

I also realize my reputation may suggest otherwise.

As I said a few times before, I dropped Philosophy after one or two classes, and this forum has prompted me to go back and try again. When I found that course online, I was delighted, but I realized quickly that something was lacking--discussion.

I know many others here at Pip are at times intimidated by this forum because of terminology and references to works they have never read, much less studied. Many people are afraid of looking stupid.

I don't happen to have a problem with confessing my ignorance. Good thing, eh?

(For example, I had to look up "ad hominem".)

Here's what I found:

An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: "argument to the person", "argument against the man") is a logical fallacy consisting of replying to an argument by attacking or appealing to the person making the argument, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument. It is most commonly used to refer specifically to the ad hominem abusive, or argumentum ad personam, which consists of criticizing or personally attacking an argument's proponent in an attempt to discredit that argument.

Other common subtypes of the ad hominem include the ad hominem circumstantial, or ad hominem circumstantiae, an attack which is directed at the circumstances or situation of the arguer; and the ad hominem tu quoque, which objects to an argument by characterizing the arguer as being guilty of the same thing that he is arguing against.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

There's a very helpful chart there as well.

If this post is construed as a personal attack, I have no problem with watching it go "poof".

I thought when I admitted that I vascillate between science and religion, I was expressing neutrality.

Stephan, I realize I have more to address in your answer Stephan, but I hope to do so more thoughtfully than I have in the past.

In other words, I'm trying to apply what I learn, k?

Oh.

And I have no idea where Bertrand Russell got his ideas. Prolly wasn't the internet though.

OH, and Logic 101 was just the name of the course. Sheesh. I just wanted to talk.

And shrug, if somebody out there had a good argument that marries science and religion, that's what I was hoping for. I tried other message boards, but I got kicked out of one, just for calling myself "soliwitch". Egads, if this created a problem, we can just forget about it.

Again.

serenity blaze
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5 posted 01-08-2007 10:38 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Hey Reggie!

Good to see you here.

Right now I'm having some trouble staying online, but I assure you I'm delighted that you've joined us.

I'll be back. I need to read a bit.
Brad
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6 posted 01-08-2007 05:29 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

This is an idealization of science, the idea being that it works over the long run. I think it goes without saying that scientists, in order to be called scientists, share the same set of assumptions -- at least when working on the same problems.

It's unclear to me that religions or theologians have those kind of shared assumptions.

Maybe we could put it this way: Scientists tend to agree with whatever the mainstream thought is whenever something is scientifically outside their field and tend to debate, discuss the minutiae of their own (I'm not talking politics,only science).

That is, scientists tend to trust each other as long as it's not a threat to their own work. Within their own field there is no trust, only experiment.

Theologians tend to work the other way around. The further away it is from their own expertise the more they are inclined to disagree with it.

That should start some fireworks, no?

By the way, I don't like the quote. I don't think science and religion are at odds with each other. I think they are doing two different things. You should never try to replace religion with science and, I hope this is clear, you should never replace science with religion.

Stephanos
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7 posted 01-08-2007 06:01 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Karen,

By "ad hominem" I wasn't referring to you but to Bertrand Russell, who was an amazing thinker and writer ... and yet his ideas on the nature of religion were too vehement to attribute to a neutral rationality.  I was just pointing out that his arguments against theism have often been more about calling character into question than anything else.  I wasn't even implying that you shared his views, just discussing the quotes you provided.


I certainly don't consider this thread as a trouble starter.  I just wanted you to know that.  You know I like these kinds of posts.        


And I guess what I meant by "where'd he get that idea", is not literally where, but how is that idea really defended.  It's not unusual for those who do not care for theology to doubt that it has any objectivity, by which things can be measured.  But my understanding of Theology (in the meager degree that I do, for which I'm thankful) makes me wonder what is the basis for this kind of criticism.  


I guess the difference between science and Theology is due to the personal nature of God and revelation, coupled with freedom to discover.  Wherever Divine authority and will is combined with human freedom, we are bound to get something stranger than calculation and statistics ... something which involves seeming pardox.  But that struggle is supposed to be there I think.


Stephen.
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8 posted 01-08-2007 07:41 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Russell was obviously making an over-simplified generalization to try to illustrate a point.

His view of 'men of science' may hold to some extent -- but only in an arena where money isn't involved.  When there are large stakes there will be many heated discussions over what the problem is and what the solution should be.

Russell never had to fill out an appropriation request -- apparently.
rwood
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9 posted 01-08-2007 09:50 PM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

Karen~ My pleasure, and no, I don't think there's any probs with your post. Post, post, post.

I also want to think that Russell's quote is a great example of bias. Most tend to "lean" toward one's preference in a comparison, glaringly so in his case, as he is stated as saying that "Mathematics kept him from suicide." So he is definitely scientifically minded, because math makes me want to commit suicide, joke. So yeah, I feel he paints science in a kinder light, while religion was probably a source of great contention within himself, though he can surely be right in certain instances between certain people.

I know he admired Einstein, and maybe he met Falwell, which might make anyone say what Bertrand said.

jbouder
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10 posted 01-09-2007 09:19 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

quote:
Theologians tend to work the other way around. The further away it is from their own expertise the more they are inclined to disagree with it.


Brad:

I agree with you.  What is so appealing about religious fundamentalism?  It offers definitive answers without requiring the fundamentalist to do any real investigating.  But I think the same can be said for secularists.  At Penn State, I cannot count for you how many people have read everything Merleau-Ponty or Derrida have written, but have never cracked a book of Plato's, Aristotles, Augustine's, or Calvin's writings.  If they think those writings are dull, then they can always try Luther (whose intellect was a match for any of the above but his wit was not above body humor).

I know you've read "Mere Christianity" and I know that you know that all theists do not see reason as the enemy.  To the contrary, I think for those of us Doubting Thomases of this world, the reasonability of the Judeo-Christian worldview is precisely what leads us to our decision to take that small step of faith.  And also precisely what compels we Thomases to correct the mistaken notions of those who say, "If you can't beat them, join them" or "If you can't beat them, isolate."

Jim
serenity blaze
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11 posted 01-09-2007 10:02 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Okay.

This is good.

I might add that this is the fourth course offered in the series and it was titled, "Why Do People Argue?" But I'm enjoying the commentary, although alot of it references stuff I have yet to read. (Stephan--should I be referring to Blake's Marriage of Heaven & Hell before I read The Great Divorce, and j.? Should Mere Christianity be read before that one, or does it matter? Um, this is how I end up screaming for help buried under books. )

But this guy Austin Cline explains Russell's comment with the scientific premise of "falsifiability"--which I take to mean that unless something can be proven absolutely correct, it must considered false. This, he adds here, cannot be done with theology.

Here's the link (which I hope works)
http://atheism.about.com/od/weeklyquotes/a/russell01.htm

And I feel compelled to add a disclaimer about the nature of Stephan and I's relationship. WE ARE FRIENDS, and actually, it's sorta brother-sisterish, so if we get feisty with each other, it is in that spirit, and nothing more. That's just so nobody gets upset and thinks I'm picking on my buddy. (I can do that privately in e mail--besides Larry, he can take care of himself. *chuckle*)

Thanks you guys, (and Dame Regina) for helping me out.

I doubt seriously I'll ever "test out" of Philosophy, but what the heck? This is keeping me off the streets.
Stephanos
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12 posted 01-09-2007 11:51 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Karen:
quote:
Stephan--should I be referring to Blake's Marriage of Heaven & Hell before I read The Great Divorce, and j.? Should Mere Christianity be read before that one, or does it matter? Um, this is how I end up screaming for help buried under books.

William Blake's "The Marriage..." is easily accessible online.  I myself didn't read it in its entirety before I read "The Great Divorce", but I've read excerpts and am familiar with the thoughts that it presents.


One thing that Lewis does a good job at is challenging Blake's (and many other's) description of Hell as poetic and passionate and Heaven as prosaic and static.  

Douglas Beyer put it this way:

"... books addressing this subject often make Hell more interesting than Heaven. There's just so much more going on there.(Not that you'd want to live there, of course, but the Inferno has always been more popular with the tourist trade.) "Great to visit, hate to live there"--isn't that what people say about Los Angeles?

One of Lewis' remarkable achievements is that his writing reverses this. His vivid imagination pictures Hell with less fire and torture and more dreariness, boredom, and grayness. He makes us see it as not only a place suitable for the Hitlers and Charles Mansons of this world, but a distinct possibility for "respectable" people like us. He does this without making Hell the least bit interesting. Heaven, on the other hand, is a place of rich variety in contrast with the dull monotony of Hell.
"


Anyway, they're both short works so ... what'r ya waitin' for??         


And though I'm not the Great Jim, I'll presume to answer your question to him, so he can come and correct me later.  "Mere Christianity" is Lewis' most lay-friendly book.  It was taken from several BBC radio addresses he made during the War.  Multi-syllabic words are fewer, and the outline is simple.  The style is arm-chair converstational.  It is not written for dummies, but rather for those not yet familiar with all the philosophical and theological jargon that we can accumulate.  It is very good.  I think it would be a great starting place for you since it lays the foundation, as it were, of all his other works.


But whatever you do, don't stop there.  You must also read "The Space Trilogy", and "The abolition of Man", and "Miracles", and "The Screwtape Letter", and "Til We Have Faces" and ...


Okay I'll shut up now.      



Stephen.
jbouder
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13 posted 01-09-2007 12:35 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Karen:

Perhaps before "Mere Christianity", you might want to try to get your hands on a copy of Lewis' "God in the Dock" ("in the Dock" is the English equivalent to "on Trial").  I is a collection of essays on a large number of issues that demonstrate the breadth of Lewis' thinking without jumping straight into the depth of his more well-known works.  "Mere Christianity" isn't too challenging of a read, but is on the intermediate side of basic (in my opinion).  Since the essays are arranged topically, I think that makes "God in the Dock" the better intro to Lewis than "Mere Christianity."

Jim
Stephanos
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14 posted 01-09-2007 12:46 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Jim,

I actually think that Lewis' fiction is a much better doorway into his works, than his essays.  But I guess that all depends upon taste and temperment.  

I only suggested "MC" as an intro, because you can see that simple foundation of faith in all his other works ... kind of like a template.  

At any rate, on this we can agree ...It doesn't matter so much what you read first, as long as you read.

Stephen.
jbouder
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15 posted 01-09-2007 12:56 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Stephen:

I must admit, I really don't like the Narnia series.  If you are looking for an EXCELLENT example of Lewis' literary ability, read "Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold."  Lewis retells the myth of Cupid and Psyche masterfully.

Jim
Stephanos
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16 posted 01-09-2007 03:36 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Jim, Yes, I wasn't referring to Narnia specifically.  You must remember that he was writing to children though, which could account for the difference.

I enjoyed Narnia very much reading it to my kids, but there are better stories by Lewis, for sure.    

Stephen
Brad
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17 posted 01-09-2007 05:03 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

The problem with fundamentalism of all stripes is that it forgets a fundamental tenet: humility.

If we get away from the science v. religion thesis and read it again, isn't Russel arguing that scientists are more humble than theists?

What's the phrase? "Respect those seeking the truth, beware those claiming to know it."

serenity blaze
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18 posted 01-09-2007 07:40 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

ooooooooooooh. *grin*

Point to Brad.

(See, Stephen, this is where I vascillate, as I'm sure yer gonna come in and I'll go "ooooooooooh" to you too. It's like watching tennis sometimes.)

But thank you all at for straitening out my reading queue, although it was pretty much decided for me anyhow, as I have to read what I have. (Thanks again Stephen. )

I've got a lotta reading to do apparently.

But um, blush, there's this two hour episode of "House" tonight and...

(I'm not dropping the class again, though, I swear! )

Thanks good philosopher pholk!

I'll be back.

mind munch munch munch
jbouder
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19 posted 01-09-2007 07:47 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

quote:
If we get away from the science v. religion thesis and read it again, isn't Russel arguing that scientists are more humble than theists?

What's the phrase? "Respect those seeking the truth, beware those claiming to know it."


Cuts both ways, Brad.  Russell's statement, as you seem to be reading it, appears to presume that theists are not seekers after knowledge and that scientists are never opportunists seeking to make a buck off their theories.

In my field, it is not uncommon for M.D.'s, Ph.D.'s, Ed.D.'s, and any other assortment of "Doctors" to make outlandish claims that have no scientific support and get rich by doing so.  Presumption is a human problem, Brad.  Not a religious one.  Scientists can be just as dispicable a fraud as any health, wealth, and prosperity televangelist.

Jim
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20 posted 01-09-2007 08:20 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant


Science is the worm as a worm

Religion is the worm as a butterfly.

Brad
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21 posted 01-09-2007 10:14 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
they wait for further evidence to decide the issue, because, as men of science, they know that neither is infallible.


I'm not sure what you mean, Jim. To me, this is at least a tacit admission of your point. To the degree that they no longer follow this, they are no longer men of science. On the other hand, theists, by definition, are in possession of absolute knowledge.

I have no problems if you want to argue that in order for a theist to be a theist, doubt is integral to that role, but I don't see it.

And Essorant,

How can worms ever be seen as butterflies?

Thanks, Karen. I thought it was a good point too.

Essorant
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22 posted 01-09-2007 10:44 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

quote:
How can worms ever be seen as butterflies?


With the eyes.        

The worm is in the butterfly, but the distinction is that the worm now has wings.  We are referring to the same thing in a different state with a different name, not a different thing in a different state and a different name.  The "worm" and the "butterfly" are both the worm, but the "worm" is the worm when it doesn't have wings, and the "butterfly" the worm when it does have wings. Or you could go the other way: the "worm" is the butterfly when it doesn't have wings, and the "butterfly" is the butterfly when it does have wings.  
 

Brad
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23 posted 01-09-2007 11:15 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

When does a worm turn into a butterfly?

Worms don't turn into anything except other worms.

Essorant
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24 posted 01-09-2007 11:19 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Are not flying worms butterflies?
 
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