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Re: Reuters Survey on Beliefs

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  • George Thomas
    Hey, I ll help draft the letter! It might help quell the fallout from the recent letter condemning the Turkish government of about two governments ago, for
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 4, 2007
      Hey, I'll help draft the letter!
      It might help quell the fallout from the recent letter condemning the Turkish government of about two governments ago, for Armenian genocide.
      The tasks of US governance keep multiplying!
      I ran the survey article by some historian and political-junkie friends and got a long, long thread out of it. The historian commented by questioning why the survey result should surprise anyone. He continued: "BTW, science has nothing to do with god(s). I would suspect it is a surface piety--the fact that the figures have not changed in 2 years indicates nothing. Does anyone think that 2 years is a really long time?"
      The material (familiar to us) on science having no relevance to "belief" or questions about the supernatural got kicked around vigorously. Where "belief" enters the picture, we seem to be struggling over a very human and/or societal tendency to strive for consensus on what people in a community believe. With the separation of eclesiastical from civic powers (arguably one major reason why the USA has survived), this tendency to consensus gets modified. As long as people within that society agree to let individuals alone vis-a-vis their "personal beliefs," the arrangement works.
      Now this survey (repeated in some form or other by journalists to maintain the flow of feature stories toward some kind of quota?) reiterates the long-understood notion that our society is gradually sloughing off that enthusiasm for "logical positivism" inherited from the Renaissance -- itself a phenomenon attributable to our complex Western culture.
      That's too bad. Historians remind us of things like the "Protestant Reformation," from which we've inherited a whole lot of counters to Renaissance values of science and efforts at objectivity. It's a complex world out there as, Wakantonka (among others) knows, we anthros like to think we recognize.

      Re: Reuters Survey on Beliefs
      Posted by: "Lloyd Miller" lloyd.miller@...
      Date: Mon Dec 3, 2007 1:09 pm ((PST))

      Great idea, Dianne! I can see it now: "Dear Gentle Folk of Turkey,
      let us come together in peaceful harmony. We share much in common,
      as, like you, we also disavow Darwin and all that he stands for."

      Brian, thanks for forwarding the Reuters article and the others
      you've posted recently.

      Unfortunately, the press insists on using the language of belief,
      i.e., "Do you believe in evolution/Darwin, etc.?" thus begging the
      question of what respondents know about evolution or science (which
      obviously is not much). Once professional journalists, with their
      implied authority, frame the issue as a comparison of beliefs, then
      the typically uninformed citizen justifiably asks why they teach [the
      belief system of] evolution in biology classes but not [the belief
      system of] intelligent design? Or, phrased another way, if [the
      belief system of] evolution is science, why isn't [the belief system
      of] intelligent design also science?

      Oh well, I guess we still have some challenges in anthropology


      On Dec 3, 2007, at 9:05 AM, Dianne Chidester wrote:

      > Last year it was noted that the U.S. ranks very close to Turkey (99%
      > muslim) in its "denial" of evolutionary theory. Maybe we could use
      > this
      > as a point of agreement to start making peace? -- Dianne
      > I've forwarded the link to the story:
      > http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/08/060810-evolution.html
      > ________________________________

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