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Re: Bill Moyers: There is no tomorrow

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  • Dan Minette
    ... From: Nick Arnett To: Killer Bs Discussion Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2005 12:08 PM Subject: Re: Bill
    Message 1 of 79 , Feb 1, 2005
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      ----- 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
      > considered.

      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.

      Dan M.

    • Warren Ockrassa
      ... From the perspective of the microorganisms? Certainly from the human point of view such things are pestilence. But from a survival, life-over-all
      Message 79 of 79 , Apr 19, 2005
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        On Apr 19, 2005, at 12:03 AM, KZK wrote:

        > Nick Arnett wrote:
        >> 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?

        From the perspective of the microorganisms?

        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
        increased understandings.

        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"

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