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Faith, Science, Philosophy, etc.

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  • C. S. Wyatt
    The last time I read passages from any religious text was about a year ago when I went through the Q ran yet again, as well as much of the Hadith I could
    Message 1 of 5 , Dec 31, 2007
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      The last time I read passages from any religious text was about a year ago when I went
      through the Q'ran yet again, as well as much of the Hadith I could locate in languages I
      can read -- meaning other than Arabic, sadly.

      Recently, I decided I would like to order several of the texts omitted from early
      Christianity, especially those covering the lives of Jesus, Peter, and Paul. Nothing like a bit
      of heresy to remind us that what a faith is today is unlikely what it was during its formative
      years.

      But I read these texts not to believe them -- I read them to understand societies from a
      "social science" perspective.

      I am not going to argue with a Christian, Muslim, or practicing anything else that there is
      not Creator as they understand such a being. Why bother with a debate I cannot win?

      In my teaching post, I must not (by rule of the university) offend anyone of faith (one faith
      in particular, it seems), by suggesting that science is "right" about such matters as
      evolution. I must be careful not to discuss some philosophers, especially feminist
      philosophers, without allowing students to opt out of discussions.

      My view is that all religion, especially fundamental beliefs, is hard to reconcile with science
      and most contemporary philosophy of science. I've had students tell me what I teach about
      the mind cannot be true because (fill in the blank) made mankind in such-and-such a
      way. Whatever. I'll keep right on teaching that the human brain evolved, and certain traits
      are the results of that evolutionary process.

      I'll keep quoting Pinker when I talk about language, de Waal when I talk about morality,
      and even Dawkins when I discuss ethology.

      Philosophers generally value "reason" -- so at least I can discuss "knowledge" and all but
      the most radical philosophers accept the idea we can know some things about the
      universe and humanity. Most philosophers I work with don't question that the world's
      climate is shifting (for whatever reason) or that humans evolved.

      Faith, however, is certainly posing a problem for some students.

      My single worst review from a student was an angry tirade because I did not spend
      enough time letting her voice her ultra-traditional views on humanity in a technical class.

      Why do I react so strongly against "faith" at times, while still trying to force myself to
      respect religious men and women from the past? Because my students are not Kierkegaard
      or even Ayn Rand. They are ignorant young people clinging to religious traditions that
      limit knowledge and exploration.

      On this list, the opposition to faith can be heated. In part, it is likely because the people of
      faith we encounter today are not Pascal or Kierkegaard, Buber or Tillich -- they are
      Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, whatever-else, radicals that cling to ignorance and pull
      mankind backwards in one sense and forwards towards a cliff in another sense.
    • eduard at home
      eduard --- I have given up on religious texts ... at least for the time being. Although I suppose that God is still out there in some abstract form, such as
      Message 2 of 5 , Jan 1, 2008
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        eduard ---
        I have given up on religious texts ... at least for the time being.
        Although I suppose that God is still out there in some abstract form, such
        as representation of ourselves. Julian Jaynes suggested that he was
        actually our right brains talking to ourselves, at the time when humans had
        not yet developed the Corpus Callosum which directly links the right and
        left brains.

        Gods are what we make them.

        -----Original Message-----
        From: existlist@yahoogroups.com [mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
        Of C. S. Wyatt
        Sent: January-01-08 2:46 AM
        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [existlist] Faith, Science, Philosophy, etc.

        The last time I read passages from any religious text was about a year ago
        when I went
        through the Q'ran yet again, as well as much of the Hadith I could locate in
        languages I
        can read -- meaning other than Arabic, sadly.

        Recently, I decided I would like to order several of the texts omitted from
        early
        Christianity, especially those covering the lives of Jesus, Peter, and Paul.
        Nothing like a bit
        of heresy to remind us that what a faith is today is unlikely what it was
        during its formative
        years.

        But I read these texts not to believe them -- I read them to understand
        societies from a
        "social science" perspective.

        I am not going to argue with a Christian, Muslim, or practicing anything
        else that there is
        not Creator as they understand such a being. Why bother with a debate I
        cannot win?

        In my teaching post, I must not (by rule of the university) offend anyone of
        faith (one faith
        in particular, it seems), by suggesting that science is "right" about such
        matters as
        evolution. I must be careful not to discuss some philosophers, especially
        feminist
        philosophers, without allowing students to opt out of discussions.

        My view is that all religion, especially fundamental beliefs, is hard to
        reconcile with science
        and most contemporary philosophy of science. I've had students tell me what
        I teach about
        the mind cannot be true because (fill in the blank) made mankind in
        such-and-such a
        way. Whatever. I'll keep right on teaching that the human brain evolved, and
        certain traits
        are the results of that evolutionary process.

        I'll keep quoting Pinker when I talk about language, de Waal when I talk
        about morality,
        and even Dawkins when I discuss ethology.

        Philosophers generally value "reason" -- so at least I can discuss
        "knowledge" and all but
        the most radical philosophers accept the idea we can know some things about
        the
        universe and humanity. Most philosophers I work with don't question that the
        world's
        climate is shifting (for whatever reason) or that humans evolved.

        Faith, however, is certainly posing a problem for some students.

        My single worst review from a student was an angry tirade because I did not
        spend
        enough time letting her voice her ultra-traditional views on humanity in a
        technical class.

        Why do I react so strongly against "faith" at times, while still trying to
        force myself to
        respect religious men and women from the past? Because my students are not
        Kierkegaard
        or even Ayn Rand. They are ignorant young people clinging to religious
        traditions that
        limit knowledge and exploration.

        On this list, the opposition to faith can be heated. In part, it is likely
        because the people of
        faith we encounter today are not Pascal or Kierkegaard, Buber or Tillich --
        they are
        Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, whatever-else, radicals that cling to
        ignorance and pull
        mankind backwards in one sense and forwards towards a cliff in another
        sense.




        Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining nothing!

        Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist
        Yahoo! Groups Links
      • wot53_2000
        CS, Thanks for sharing your prespective from higher education. I assumed you guys had a little more freedom. This does not get better in later life except for
        Message 3 of 5 , Jan 1, 2008
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          CS, Thanks for sharing your prespective from higher education.
          I assumed you guys had a little more freedom.

          This does not get better in later life except for a precious
          few. All I can ask of the many who are struggling
          with religion is "how does it work out for you?"

          except for those who desire to grow in their thinking...
          you can't take their remenants of hope away..

          Warren Thompson
        • C. S. Wyatt
          ... One of our local community colleges, Normandale College in Bloomington, converted a room to a meditation center to meet the needs of Muslim students. A
          Message 4 of 5 , Jan 1, 2008
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            --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "wot53_2000" <wot53_2000@...> wrote:
            >
            > CS, Thanks for sharing your prespective from higher education.
            > I assumed you guys had a little more freedom.

            One of our local community colleges, Normandale College in Bloomington, converted a
            room to a "meditation center" to meet the needs of Muslim students. A reporter for the
            Minneapolis Star Tribune went into the room and she found it even had a wall to separate
            genders, no shoes were allowed, and foot baths were available -- all at taxpayer expense.

            Then, she found the anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, and even anti-Western (in general)
            handouts in both Somali and English.

            I am not supposed to say what I think in the classroom, since we've had some problems at
            the Univ. of Minnesota and our MnSCU campuses, but outside the university I can and will
            state the obvious:
            Radicals of any religion don't fit in with modern science!!!

            I'm sick of being "asked" (told) that pepperoni pizza shouldn't be in a class area, that I
            must excuse anyone asking for daily prayers, and that I need to respect "other views" on
            issues of science.

            The Tribune quoted a medical students from Somlia: "I refuse to believe in Darwin because
            the prophet, peace be upon him, tells us what we need to know about our creation."

            That's a medical student. Great attitude for a research university.

            Sorry, but I must admit that seeing how the Muslim and conservative Christian
            communities are trying to control education offends me. Thankfully, most Christians and
            Jews and not that fundamental anymore.

            If a Christian / Muslim / Hindu / Jewish student wants to think a book or two has all the
            answers and what we do in the lab is heresy, then that student should leave the university
            setting.

            Oh, and I'd close the prayer rooms Minnesota is building. They are really for one religion,
            especially with the gender dividers and foot baths. There is no reason for the state to pay
            for religious items.

            Yes, this is affecting what and how I am allowed to teach. It's "tolerance" run amok.

            - CSW
          • eduard at home
            eduard --- For the most part, the Christian community or rather western society has fallen for the guilt feeling that they have to apologize for everything.
            Message 5 of 5 , Jan 1, 2008
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              eduard ---
              For the most part, the Christian community or rather western society
              has fallen for the guilt feeling that they have to apologize for everything.
              And as a consequence, we have to bend over backwards for any group that says
              they are hurting.

              Of course, much of the reluctance in regard to Muslims is the fear
              that they will send a boy with an explosive vest into the newsroom, instead
              of sending a letter to the editor.

              As to the Qur'an, it is full of errors which are simply the views of
              600AD scribes ... just as the Bible is the view of 600BC scribes. The earth
              is flat. Mountains prevent the earth from moving. You are conceived first
              as a seed, then as a blot clot, then something that looks like chewed meat
              ... no mention of the "egg" provided by the woman. The Qur'an continues the
              same old idea of the Bible, that simply empty vessels into which the man
              places his seed. Biology is not a strong point of the Qur'an. It's amazing
              that a medical student could even reference the Qur'an.



              -----Original Message-----
              From: existlist@yahoogroups.com [mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
              Of C. S. Wyatt
              Sent: January-01-08 6:40 PM
              To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [existlist] Re: Faith, Science, Philosophy, etc.

              --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "wot53_2000" <wot53_2000@...> wrote:
              >
              > CS, Thanks for sharing your prespective from higher education.
              > I assumed you guys had a little more freedom.

              One of our local community colleges, Normandale College in Bloomington,
              converted a
              room to a "meditation center" to meet the needs of Muslim students. A
              reporter for the
              Minneapolis Star Tribune went into the room and she found it even had a wall
              to separate
              genders, no shoes were allowed, and foot baths were available -- all at
              taxpayer expense.

              Then, she found the anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, and even anti-Western (in
              general)
              handouts in both Somali and English.

              I am not supposed to say what I think in the classroom, since we've had some
              problems at
              the Univ. of Minnesota and our MnSCU campuses, but outside the university I
              can and will
              state the obvious:
              Radicals of any religion don't fit in with modern science!!!

              I'm sick of being "asked" (told) that pepperoni pizza shouldn't be in a
              class area, that I
              must excuse anyone asking for daily prayers, and that I need to respect
              "other views" on
              issues of science.

              The Tribune quoted a medical students from Somlia: "I refuse to believe in
              Darwin because
              the prophet, peace be upon him, tells us what we need to know about our
              creation."

              That's a medical student. Great attitude for a research university.

              Sorry, but I must admit that seeing how the Muslim and conservative
              Christian
              communities are trying to control education offends me. Thankfully, most
              Christians and
              Jews and not that fundamental anymore.

              If a Christian / Muslim / Hindu / Jewish student wants to think a book or
              two has all the
              answers and what we do in the lab is heresy, then that student should leave
              the university
              setting.

              Oh, and I'd close the prayer rooms Minnesota is building. They are really
              for one religion,
              especially with the gender dividers and foot baths. There is no reason for
              the state to pay
              for religious items.

              Yes, this is affecting what and how I am allowed to teach. It's "tolerance"
              run amok.

              - CSW



              Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining nothing!

              Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist
              Yahoo! Groups Links
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