Resistance to Vacuum
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16-11-2010, 11:51 AM
 
Resistance to Vacuum
Idea Are there truly grown men and women who see space exploration as 'storming the gates of heaven’; do they really see NASA as the contractor for the Tower of Babel?

If you'd asked me forty years ago if the famous Scopes trial of the early twentieth century had settled the matter of science over bible-lore, my fourteen year-old self would have chirped, "Of course! They made a play about it, "Inherit the Wind", then a movie of the play (1960- Directed by Stanley Kramer. Starring Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gene Kelly. Based on a real-life case in 1925, two great lawyers argue the case for and against a science teacher accused of the crime of teaching evolution -credit:IMDB)". I would also add, "Besides, it's just like the flap over astronomy vs. Papal decree, or like the struggle between medical research by dissection vs. the religious laws on burial rites, or like the old saying "If God wanted man to fly, He would have given us wings."

I forget when the first nuts were mobilized behind the Florida Orange Juice lady to rise up against the wave of birth control, inclusion, enlightenment, and marginalization of unquestioned, biblical truth. The late 60's, maybe? Or early 70's? Anyhow, some big-cheese types must have jumped up one day and shouted, "Hey, if we don't get these people back under the thrall of piety who knows what threats to our comfortable superiority may result!"

The Old Guard probably also noticed all the millions going to the coffers of the new, 'born-again' televangelists, that should rightfully have gone into the offering plates of established, world-wide religions.

Anyhow, the 'born again' craze was a weird time in my life--my siblings, my schoolmates, most of the people I knew then were all being mesmerized by this exciting new twist on religion--to me, it was a scene straight out "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"! My friends and brothers all lit up inside by fervor, pointing at me in accusation--the ultimate in peer-pressure (and mind control). When they told me they weren't going to hang with me anymore, I thought they were joking--but, no, they really meant it. Had I not turned atheist at age 10, that time in my life would have certainly done the trick.

When Jim Jones' followers were led to mass suicide (and the hunting down and execution of a visiting congressional inquiry panel) it took some of the shine off the whole 'born again' fad. Plus, Lincoln's warning against trying to fool all the people, all the time, became a factor and a lot of these spiritual emperors got caught with no pants on. The fire of inspiration slammed up against the passage of time and the rust that never sleeps--many newborn Christians 'awoke' a few years in and found themselves cold, hungry, and a little resentful--exit: 'born-again's glory days.

With all of that as prologue, I assumed that common sense had won the day--but I don't make that mistake anymore. Expecting sensible behavior from people is a waste of time. Plus, to too many people, I am the nonsensical one--and they are correct, if we assume Einstein was correct in theorizing that all is relative. It's a funny axiom, so simple and yet so weird: nothing has scale or mass or speed, except in relation to something (or everything) else. Nothing is absolute in and of itself--just as nothing can be taken from its existential context to be a 'thing apart' from the universe.

Such thoughts can be easily chuckled at and shrugged off by some--like the ancients (before flight) were safe in assuming that heaven was above. Now that we've been to 'above' and back several times, it's harder to laugh at scientists who believe in outer space. Now that the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been incinerated, it's harder to laugh at Einstein and his friends. His absent-minded silliness isn't so silly looking any more.

Our present is full of computer simulations, sonograms, chaos theory, and Mandelbrot equations. We can measure anthropological artifacts with electron microscopes. We can study the formation of the Earth, the activity of the Sun, the galaxies that are as far from our Milky Way, proportionately, as our star Sol is from it's nearest neighboring star. Using quantum entanglement, experimenters have transmitted matter instantaneously across a distance (but only on the sub-atomic scale).

Some religious zealots will insist that all those things are poppycock, that science itself is a scam. Here in the USA, they are entitled to their opinions. But every time they take a flight to Europe, or log into a network, or warm their food with a microwave oven, they make hypocrites of themselves. Science, like religion, insists that it has its own logic and cannot therefore be believed in one textbook but ignored (or denied) in another. If the fundamentalists of today want to be taken seriously by intelligent people, they'll all have to move in with the Mennonites or the Amish, eschewing all the science that is interconnected with their pet peeves.

Today's 'Intelligent Design' fooforrah is a blatant example of this--to deny evolution brings in its interconnections with archaeology and geography, math and chemistry, physics and logic. Following this track, the fundamentalists must add a codicil to 'intelligent design' stating that the fossil records, and earth science in general, are all elaborate ruses created by God (a coupla thousand years ago, mind you) to test the faith of the faithful. That makes me almost embarrassed for them--blind faith is one thing, telling people that fossils are fakes that God put here to test our belief is just plain Looney Tunes. When, exactly, does Faith cross the line into Insanity? And if everyone believes in his or her own way, how can we substitute belief for knowledge?
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17-11-2010, 02:08 AM
RE: Resistance to Vacuum
(16-11-2010 11:51 AM)xperdunn Wrote:  When, exactly, does Faith cross the line into Insanity? And if everyone believes in his or her own way, how can we substitute belief for knowledge?
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As soon as one starts substituting belief for knowledge, then faith HAS crossed the line into insanity. The greater the substituting, the greater the insanity. What I find most amazing is that some people can act sanely in many respects, but on certain subjects they cannot think or act on a sane level at all.

It just occured to me that all forms of faith may be examples of insane thinking.
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17-11-2010, 10:24 AM
 
RE: Resistance to Vacuum
It just occured to me that all forms of faith may be examples of insane thinking.
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Welcome to the party, No J!
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18-11-2010, 12:10 AM
RE: Resistance to Vacuum
Hey, No. J.

Quote:As soon as one starts substituting belief for knowledge, then faith HAS crossed the line into insanity. The greater the substituting, the greater the insanity. What I find most amazing is that some people can act sanely in many respects, but on certain subjects they cannot think or act on a sane level at all.

It just occured to me that all forms of faith may be examples of insane thinking.

That's one of the most ludicrous things I've ever read. There is no such relationship between belief and mental health.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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18-11-2010, 12:23 AM
RE: Resistance to Vacuum
in·sane /ɪnˈseɪn/ Show Spelled
[in-seyn] Show IPA

–adjective
1. not sane; not of sound mind; mentally deranged.
2. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a person who is mentally deranged: insane actions; an insane asylum.
3. utterly senseless: an insane plan.


insane (ɪnˈseɪn)

— adj
1. a. mentally deranged; crazy; of unsound mind
b. ( as collective noun; preceded by the ): the insane
2. characteristic of a person of unsound mind: an insane stare
3. irresponsible; very foolish; stupid

According to the dictionary descriptions, insane does not always have to be a product of diagnosible mental health.
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18-11-2010, 08:02 AM
 
RE: Resistance to Vacuum
(18-11-2010 12:10 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, No. J.

Quote:As soon as one starts substituting belief for knowledge, then faith HAS crossed the line into insanity. The greater the substituting, the greater the insanity. What I find most amazing is that some people can act sanely in many respects, but on certain subjects they cannot think or act on a sane level at all.

It just occured to me that all forms of faith may be examples of insane thinking.

That's one of the most ludicrous things I've ever read. There is no such relationship between belief and mental health.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

You raise an interesting point, Matt. In a society where belief is the norm, it is the atheist who is the insane one. Sanity is relative--when one acts and thinks just like most people do, they are sane. If I accuse society of being insane because they all have faith in intangibles, and everyone does 'crazy' things based on the traditions of their religion, I am indeed incorrect.
But that is a sociological perspective. When I compare faith to insanity, I am only making a point: the beliefs and behaviors of the faithful cannot be explained by rational reason.
Still, the relativity is not so cut and dried. I see our society as one where most people don't have the time or energy to debate theology. Many people belong to their parents' religion because it is a part of their community, NOT because they have a strong belief in the supernatural.
And as time passes, we may come to a point where the majority of people are non-practicing atheists who maintain their 'faith' out of allegiance to their community and a desire to keep up the traditions of their youth.
I am guilty of this myself--we celebrate Xmas at our house because Atheism does not require us to be cruel to our kids.
But the only people who debate these things are religious zealots and atheists, like myself, who fear the negative impact religion can sometimes have, especially on the young.
People say 'there are no atheists in foxholes' but what they really mean is 'isn't it convenient to believe in an afterlife when you're about to lose the life you have'.
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