Re: Bill Moyers: There is no tomorrow
----- Original Message -----
From: "Nick Arnett" <narnett@...>
To: "Killer Bs Discussion" <brin-l@...>
Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2005 12:08 PM
Subject: Re: Bill Moyers: There is no tomorrow
> Erik Reuter wrote:
> > * Nick Arnett (narnett@...) wrote:
> >>I don't think the answer can be "religion," as some would have it.
> > No doubt you have faith that religion isn't causing a lot of the
> > problems.
> > Of course, rational people would look at the evidence. William posted
> > some evidence just minutes before your post. Religion vs. Evolution and
> > Big Bang must not enter into your thoughts, eh, Nick? Just put your
> > in the sand and have faith that religion isn't causing problems
> I see "religion v. evolution" as an irrational comparison. God created
> evolution, I believe, so it's not an either-or choice. Rejection of the
> reality of evolution, which is happening right now inside us, as our
> immune systems evolve defenses against the ever-evolving pathogens, is
> irrational, I believe.
> Do you have an example of a religion-free culture to which we could
> compare? Otherwise, it seems to me that there's little evidence to be
We do have evidence of societies which were officially anti-religious.
Marxist societies have tried to stamp out religion for years. We could
contrast the attitude towards and the development of science in the Soviet
Union and the United States for example. We could look at which country
made decisions based on irrational assumptions, and what the outcome of
those decisions were.
- On Apr 19, 2005, at 12:03 AM, KZK wrote:
> Nick Arnett wrote:From the perspective of the microorganisms?
>> Warren Ockrassa wrote:
>>> That's a good point. I'd ask you to think about something else,
>>> though -- why do you consider yourself religious? I mean, if you
>>> have some kind of faith, *why* do you have that faith?
>> Well, there's the question. An honest answer has to include, "I
>> don't know." I choose to regard it as an undeserved gift. A
>> self-centered answer is, "I'm happier." A non-rational answer is,
>> "It feels true."
>> A quasi-evidentiary answer is that it has survived the millenia.
> So has malaria and the clap. Are they forces of "good" too?
Certainly from the human point of view such things are pestilence. But
from a survival, life-over-all perspective, they're working.
I think it was Carl Sagan who commented that yeast has been very
successful over the millennia -- it's taught the apex predators on
Earth how to replicate itself for myriad purposes, some of which
include intimate infections, some of which we regard as beneficent,
some of which are of debatable value.
Alfred Nobel was forever torn over his invention. Dynamite was -- and
is -- good for lots of positive applications, as well as more than a
few negative ones. Does that mean that dynamite was and is
incontrovertibly evil, or even arguably so? Or is it safer to suggest
that it's the human capacity for finding a cloud in virtually every
silver lining that's really to blame?
I can be very harsh on religion; I know that. But I also recognize that
*faith* -- not necessarily religion -- has been a source of solace for
untold millions, possibly billions, has given meaning to lives that
otherwise might have seemed unnecessarily nasty, short and brutish.
Nick and I have traded a few Buddhist ideas. I'm not officially
Buddhist -- never taken a refuge vow -- but I do like some of the
philosophies of the system; I like how it's non-theist and doesn't have
a specific doctrine of a soul. One of its major adherents has said more
than once that to the extent science uncovers new realities about the
world, it is Buddhism that will have to change to suit itself to our
The reason I bring it up is that a core tenet of Buddhism is that
suffering should be reduced. If someone's faith in a deity reduces that
person's suffering *and* does not contribute to the suffering of
others, I find it hard to see that faith as invalid, worthy of mockery
or something that needs to be "outgrown" or discarded.
Scientific findings have also been used to great evil over the
centuries. Should we argue for discarding the scientific method and its
fruits? In order to be consistent with the message that religion is a
source of evil and should be cast aside, that question becomes very
important, doesn't it?
Warren Ockrassa, Publisher/Editor, nightwares Books
Current work in progress "The Seven-Year Mirror"