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March 12th, 2008

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04:49 pm - Science and Religion
While I believe in gods and spirits, and similar oddness, I don't think any of them had a hand in creating the universe or are anything more than somewhat wiser and more powerful inhabitants of it. However, proof (on either side of this issue) is difficult to come be, and here's a short interview with cosmologist and Catholic priest Michael Heller, whose views are definitely interesting. It's a pleasure to see someone who is clearly deeply religious who isn't (like far too many Christians, and a disturbing number of pagans) both ignorant of and hostile to science. There's a whole lot that I don't approve of about the Catholic church, but Catholic scientists and theologians at least have the virtue of largely being intelligent people who are interested in the world, even if their conclusions are often very different from mine. I see the all too common opposition to science by religius people are both idiotic and doomed, just as I'm none to pleased with the blanket dismissals of religion by many devout materialists. I am always pleased to see someone who is interested in alternatives to this opposition.
Current Mood: pleasedpleased

(3 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:March 13th, 2008 10:14 am (UTC)
I think you'll find there are few people (religious or not) hostile to science when they have to travel a great distance or get medical treatment or talk to a relative who lives far away or buy safe food or cook a meal or be entertained. There are ways of doing all of these things that don't involve science at all, but few and far between are people who don't use scientifically achieved methods for all of them on a regular basis.
It's probably safe to say that most of those who are hostile to science for specific areas where they (for personal reasons) think science doesn't belong could reasonably be described as hypocrites.

I'd be interested to know what you found interesting about about Michael Heller's views. I've not read anything else by him except that interview, but all he seemed to say about God was that:
[Everything has a cause] therefore [the Universe must have a cause] and [the cause of the Universe is differrent to any other cause because it involves the creation of the Universe]
The idea that the Universe's cause must be somehow different to all other causes is very presumptive. The usual next statement involves that cause not needing a cause despite the first statement in this logic being [Everything has a cause]. A painfully weak argument and not worth £820,000 to my mind.
[User Picture]
Date:March 17th, 2008 04:48 am (UTC)
For the other side of the story, Sean Caroll (author of the most widely used General Relativity textbook for graduate students) has a well-written explanation as to why nearly all cosmologists are atheists and materialists:

Why (Almost) All Cosmologists are Atheists
[User Picture]
Date:March 17th, 2008 08:44 am (UTC)
Definitely an interesting article, thank you for the link. Interestingly, by the definitions therein, I'd be a materialist. However, given that I believe that the universe is considerably more complex than we imagine, and likely more complex than we can imagine, and thus there's a whole lot we don't know or notice and possibly even can't understand w/o significant intelligence enhancement (or at least modification), there's room for a whole lot of oddness in my worldview. Of course, I have in the past referred to my overall worldview as somewhat lovecraftian.

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