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Pause Switch to Standard View Analytic thinking threatens beliefs
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Flag SeraphimR April 29, 2012 2:59 PM EDT

You know, after meditating on this subject, I think the experiment demonstrates that analytical thinking makes people stupid.


The article says something to the effect that there is a growing consensus among researchers that religious belief is founded on intuitive thinking.


Ya' think?


I mean isn't it obvious?  Isn't it intuitively obvious?  Hasn't this idea been current for hundreds of years?  Didn't St. Paul note that the gospel was folly to the Greeks?


Only analytical thinkers could possibly harbor doubts on this point.  I've got to believe that they aren't that stupid and are just finding ways to use up some grant money to give employment to some feckless graduate students.  (And I am more interested in the experiment that claims that staring at The Thinker promotes analytical thinking more than staring at The Discus Thrower.  I am skeptical.  Leads me to think the data was fudged.  Scientists have become much less honest, recently.)


  I am amazed and appalled that it actually got published and some readers think it is significant.

Flag newsjunkie April 29, 2012 3:31 PM EDT

Apr 29, 2012 -- 2:59PM, SeraphimR wrote:


You know, after meditating on this subject, I think the experiment demonstrates that analytical thinking makes people stupid.


The article says something to the effect that there is a growing consensus among researchers that religious belief is founded on intuitive thinking.


Ya' think?


I mean isn't it obvious?  Isn't it intuitively obvious?  Hasn't this idea been current for hundreds of years?  Didn't St. Paul note that the gospel was folly to the Greeks?


Only analytical thinkers could possibly harbor doubts on this point.  I've got to believe that they aren't that stupid and are just finding ways to use up some grant money to give employment to some feckless graduate students.  (And I am more interested in the experiment that claims that staring at The Thinker promotes analytical thinking more than staring at The Discus Thrower.  I am skeptical.  Leads me to think the data was fudged.  Scientists have become much less honest, recently.)


  I am amazed and appalled that it actually got published and some readers think it is significant.



The research seemed to be asking the question, what effect does analytical thinking have on religious belief, rather than, is religious belief due to intuitive thinking. 


But what you've written here is very interesting. You're saying "it's obvious" that religious beliefs are based on intuitive thinking (feelings). Does analytical thinking, then, have any positive role in religious belief, or is it simply problematic, in your view? 


Just wanted to add that I think intuitive thinking is appropriate in certain settings or situations, just as analytical thinking is appropriate in certain settings or situations.

Flag newsjunkie April 29, 2012 3:32 PM EDT

Apr 29, 2012 -- 1:49PM, Buggsy wrote:


OK I'll leave. Thanks for the laughs


Do I get an F too or an F you?




I just didn't want the thread deralied. Sorry.

Flag SeraphimR April 29, 2012 4:19 PM EDT

Apr 29, 2012 -- 3:31PM, newsjunkie wrote:


Apr 29, 2012 -- 2:59PM, SeraphimR wrote:


You know, after meditating on this subject, I think the experiment demonstrates that analytical thinking makes people stupid.


The article says something to the effect that there is a growing consensus among researchers that religious belief is founded on intuitive thinking.


Ya' think?


I mean isn't it obvious?  Isn't it intuitively obvious?  Hasn't this idea been current for hundreds of years?  Didn't St. Paul note that the gospel was folly to the Greeks?


Only analytical thinkers could possibly harbor doubts on this point.  I've got to believe that they aren't that stupid and are just finding ways to use up some grant money to give employment to some feckless graduate students.  (And I am more interested in the experiment that claims that staring at The Thinker promotes analytical thinking more than staring at The Discus Thrower.  I am skeptical.  Leads me to think the data was fudged.  Scientists have become much less honest, recently.)


  I am amazed and appalled that it actually got published and some readers think it is significant.



The research seemed to be asking the question, what effect does analytical thinking have on religious belief, rather than, is religious belief due to intuitive thinking. 


Then the researcher shouldn't have written:


" "Recently there's been an emerging consensus among [researchers] … that a lot of religious beliefs are grounded in intuitive processes,"


But what you've written here is very interesting. You're saying "it's obvious" that religious beliefs are based on intuitive thinking (feelings). Does analytical thinking, then, have any positive role in religious belief, or is it simply problematic, in your view? 


Just wanted to add that I think intuitive thinking is appropriate in certain settings or situations, just as analytical thinking is appropriate in certain settings or situations.




Intuitive thinking is not feelings.  It is getting from point A to point B without plodding the ground in between.  It is a way of knowing without reasoning.  Look up the biography of the mathematician Ramanujan.  He was a prodigy of intuition, most mathematicians have to develop their intuition.  It is kind of like how an infant must learn to see or learn language.  After a while they just pick up the knack.


I personally don't have much use for analytical thinking, but that might be just an Orthodox thing.  I understand that Catholics are much more attuned to reasoning; there will never be an Orthodox St. Thomas Aquinas.  I do have an admiration for the best of Catholic thinkers, both progressive and conservative, and whether I agree with them or not.  But such thinking is not very relevant to my faith journey.


Other Catholics seem to be more attuned to emotional reasoning.  My position is that emotional reasoning is different from intuition.  We Orthodox are also warned against emotional reasoning, against the use of imagination such as rehearsing the crucifixion in the mind.


There is an article floating around on the net about Orthodox Epistomolgy which asserts that faith is a way of knowing not blind belief in the unknowable as described by vulgar materialists.  I could try to find it and post a link if anyone here is interested.




Flag newsjunkie April 29, 2012 4:46 PM EDT

Apr 29, 2012 -- 4:19PM, SeraphimR wrote:


Apr 29, 2012 -- 3:31PM, newsjunkie wrote:

The research seemed to be asking the question, what effect does analytical thinking have on religious belief, rather than, is religious belief due to intuitive thinking. 


Then the researcher shouldn't have written:


" "Recently there's been an emerging consensus among [researchers] … that a lot of religious beliefs are grounded in intuitive processes,"


But what you've written here is very interesting. You're saying "it's obvious" that religious beliefs are based on intuitive thinking (feelings). Does analytical thinking, then, have any positive role in religious belief, or is it simply problematic, in your view? 


Just wanted to add that I think intuitive thinking is appropriate in certain settings or situations, just as analytical thinking is appropriate in certain settings or situations.




Intuitive thinking is not feelings.  It is getting from point A to point B without plodding the ground in between.  It is a way of knowing without reasoning.  Look up the biography of the mathematician Ramanujan.  He was a prodigy of intuition, most mathematicians have to develop their intuition.  It is kind of like how an infant must learn to see or learn language.  After a while they just pick up the knack.


I personally don't have much use for analytical thinking, but that might be just an Orthodox thing.  I understand that Catholics are much more attuned to reasoning; there will never be an Orthodox St. Thomas Aquinas.  I do have an admiration for the best of Catholic thinkers, both progressive and conservative, and whether I agree with them or not.  But such thinking is not very relevant to my faith journey.


Other Catholics seem to be more attuned to emotional reasoning.  My position is that emotional reasoning is different from intuition.  We Orthodox are also warned against emotional reasoning, against the use of imagination such as rehearsing the crucifixion in the mind.


There is an article floating around on the net about Orthodox Epistomolgy which asserts that faith is a way of knowing not blind belief in the unknowable as described by vulgar materialists.  I could try to find it and post a link if anyone here is interested.




Thank you for your detailed reply. I would like to make some responses, mostly based on intuitive thinking because I'm heading out the door in a few minutes!


I appreciate your thoughts on what intuitive thinking is. Yes, it is more than a feeling; as I see it, it is often based on one's past experiences as well. I'm not sure what the difference is between "emotional reasoning" and intuitive thinking, however. Is emotional reasoning something like, "if it makes me feel good emotionally it must be good or right"? If so, wouldn't analytical thinking be better? Not sure I understand how imagination is involved. Anyway, maybe there's a website you could refer me to that explains it.


Your last paragraph is very interesting. Many religions say there is a mystical way of knowing.It is certainly not analytical; I think it is intuitive, don't you? It sounds like that's what you're referring to in that paragraph. I happened to read your tagline recently, and I'm sure I can't recall it exactly, but it gave me the impression that you think "The kingdom is within you" is a very dangerous phrase. Yet isn't that at the heart of Christian mysticism, trying to get in touch with the kingdom within? 


So I wonder how you feel about mysticism and intuition and orthodoxy (not in the sense of EO, but in the sense of "right beliefs"). That is something I hope others would comment on as well. What is the relationship between intuition and mysticism? How does one assess which are "right beliefs" is it by intuitive thinking, analytical thinking, or simple obedience without questioning, or something else?


I also wonder what people think about intuitive thinking and our conscience. Is hearing the voice of our conscience intuitive thinking? Surely our conscience comes into play when we think analytically about a moral question. I guess I'm asking to hear what people think intuition is.

Flag cherubino April 29, 2012 5:17 PM EDT

After winning several archery contests, a young and rather boastful champion challenged a Zen master who was renowned for his skill as an archer. The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull's eye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot.

"There," he said triumphantly to the old man, "see if you can match that!"

Undisturbed, the master did not draw his bow, but rather motioned for the young archer to follow him up the mountain. Curious about the old fellow's intentions, the rookie champion followed him high into the mountain until they reached a deep chasm spanned by a very flimsy and shaky log. Calmly stepping out onto the middle of the unsteady and perilous bridge, the old master picked a far away tree as a target, drew his bow and fired a clean, direct hit.

"Now it is your turn," he said, as he gracefully stepped back onto the safe ground.

Staring frozen with terror into the seemingly bottomless and beckoning abyss, the young man could not force himself to step out onto the log, much less shoot at a target.

"You have great skill with your bow," the master said, sensing his challenger's predicament, "but very limited discipline with the mind that lets loose the shot."

Flag hewy1952 April 29, 2012 11:17 PM EDT

Apr 29, 2012 -- 12:57PM, Buggsy wrote:


Apr 29, 2012 -- 12:25PM, hewy1952 wrote:


Many of my Business students used 'intuitive thinking' to develop their business plans.  They all got "F's", to date.




Pretty funny.  I've been writing business plans for decades and the best strategic thinking comes from insight and intuition.  Especially thinking outside the box - which is standard text book for creative and novel thinking.  Creativity is rarely achieved with linear thinking however the application of analytical / conceptual tools to new ideas is helpful in developing risk management and resources requirments in biz planning itself.


Do you discourage intuitive thinking in your classes or do you work with your students to direct them in the proper paths to good business planning.  Giving an F to a student is rare and sometimes a reflection on the teacher.





Thank God you're intuitive.  But you had to learn about business plans somewhere. 

Flag Buggsy April 30, 2012 10:58 AM EDT

Not a lot of critical thinking is taught in business schools

Flag gilg April 30, 2012 11:41 AM EDT

Apr 29, 2012 -- 1:49PM, Buggsy wrote:


OK I'll leave. Thanks for the laughs


Do I get an F too or an F you?





You get both Buggsy, and an A for effort!


I like that Chomsky guy and as far as types of thinking, both are valuable, and the study is intereting, I wonder if they have done the same for politics? Do you think the fanatics would score differently if given the same conditions? I do.


Personally, I do think some people of faith are afraid of questioning and it is because they really don['t understand what they think they believe..... another problem here is people don't walk the talk and so questioning makes them uncomfortable because it brings out the contradiction between belief and deed.


Good study Newsjunkie, thanks


 

Flag TemplarS April 30, 2012 2:08 PM EDT

This is one of these either-or propositions to which the proper answer is "both."  Analytical thinking can of course impact what one believes.  But there is much more to belief than that.


There is a place for analytical thinking; and if one allows for such thinking one must allow for the logical changes it may require to one's beliefs. But, at least part of the religious experience is subjective.  Now, what is objective can be subjected to analytical reasoning; what is subjective cannot.


I think on the constant bickering (in the west) about the nature of the Eucharist, about transubstantiation or consubstantiation or trans-signification, which is exactly symptomatic of trying to think and explain rationally something which is experiential and thus subjective.  To my mind, those who engage in such are asking the wrong question.  It is not "How exactly is Jesus present in the Eucharist?" but "If Jesus is present in the Eucharist, what does that mean to me?" 


Another point can be made about the analysis of "divine" events which occured in history.  One can analyze the historical event, but not the divine meaning.   As an act which occurred at a point in history to a real woman living in a real town called Nazareth, the virginal conception of Jesus is in principle as fit a subject for historical analysis as any other historical event (the main problem is the lack of data, not the method itself).  But one cannot analyze the incarnation in the same way.  As one modern Christian scholar puts it: "I do not accept the divine conception of either Jesus or Augustus as factual history. But I believe God is incarnate in the Jewish peasant and not in the Roman imperial power of Augustus."


Therefore, if one decides that things such as the precise nature of the Eucharist, or the historicity of everything in the Bible, are key to one's faith, then I suppose analytical thinking might be a threat to that faith.  Which is why various Evangelicals are so adamant about insisting on a six-day creation in 4000 BC.


But there is more to faith  than that.


 


 

Flag Buggsy April 30, 2012 6:43 PM EDT

Apr 30, 2012 -- 2:08PM, TemplarS wrote:


This is one of these either-or propositions to which the proper answer is "both."  Analytical thinking can of course impact what one believes.  But there is much more to belief than that.



The sense of wonder and connection to it all.  You just can't analyse that

Flag newsjunkie April 30, 2012 10:35 PM EDT

Apr 30, 2012 -- 2:08PM, TemplarS wrote:


This is one of these either-or propositions to which the proper answer is "both."  Analytical thinking can of course impact what one believes.  But there is much more to belief than that.


There is a place for analytical thinking; and if one allows for such thinking one must allow for the logical changes it may require to one's beliefs. But, at least part of the religious experience is subjective.  Now, what is objective can be subjected to analytical reasoning; what is subjective cannot.


I think on the constant bickering (in the west) about the nature of the Eucharist, about transubstantiation or consubstantiation or trans-signification, which is exactly symptomatic of trying to think and explain rationally something which is experiential and thus subjective.  To my mind, those who engage in such are asking the wrong question.  It is not "How exactly is Jesus present in the Eucharist?" but "If Jesus is present in the Eucharist, what does that mean to me?" 


Another point can be made about the analysis of "divine" events which occured in history.  One can analyze the historical event, but not the divine meaning.   As an act which occurred at a point in history to a real woman living in a real town called Nazareth, the virginal conception of Jesus is in principle as fit a subject for historical analysis as any other historical event (the main problem is the lack of data, not the method itself).  But one cannot analyze the incarnation in the same way.  As one modern Christian scholar puts it: "I do not accept the divine conception of either Jesus or Augustus as factual history. But I believe God is incarnate in the Jewish peasant and not in the Roman imperial power of Augustus."


Therefore, if one decides that things such as the precise nature of the Eucharist, or the historicity of everything in the Bible, are key to one's faith, then I suppose analytical thinking might be a threat to that faith.  Which is why various Evangelicals are so adamant about insisting on a six-day creation in 4000 BC.


But there is more to faith  than that.




I agree that both intuitive thinking and analytical thinking are important, and one is more important than the other, depending on the situation. 


I think the examples you discuss show that when certain religious claims are scrutinized analytically, people come up with the conclusion that they don't believe the claims. They may view the claims as myths with an important underlying meaning, fine, but that's different than a belief in the claim.


Flag newsjunkie May 1, 2012 8:09 AM EDT

Here is one example of what can happen when a person analyzes their religious beliefs.



MacBain, 44, was raised a conservative Southern Baptist. Her dad was a pastor and she felt the call of God when she was 6. She had questions, of course, about conflicts in the Bible, for example, or the role of women. She says she sometimes felt she was serving a taskmaster of a God, whose standards she never quite met.


For years, MacBain set her concerns aside. But when she became a United Methodist pastor nine years ago, she started asking sharper questions. She thought they'd make her faith stronger.


"In reality," she says, "as I worked through them, I found that religion had so many holes in it, that I just progressed through stages where I couldn't believe it."


Flag TemplarS May 1, 2012 9:03 AM EDT

Apr 30, 2012 -- 10:35PM, newsjunkie wrote:


I think the examples you discuss show that when certain religious claims are scrutinized analytically, people come up with the conclusion that they don't believe the claims. They may view the claims as myths with an important underlying meaning, fine, but that's different than a belief in the claim.




That is certainly true; but you really need to decide what is the significant point: the story or the meaning.  The point is, the story may in fact be historically true; or it may not be; often (in my view), it makes no difference- in terms of the moral of the story it makes no difference whether Job was a real man or not.  But the key is how much significance you assign to the historical factuality of the claim.


Properly taken, again, it is a balance.


If you go in stating that your faith hinges entirely on everything in the Bible (or other traditions) being absolutely accurate, your faith will be able to stand very little analytical reasoning- so most people in this category refuse to engage in this activity, or if they do they invent new myths (creationism) to back up the old myths.


On the other hand, surely there must be some factual basis supporting your beliefs, even if you do not insist on everything being literally true.  If your analysis leads you to believe that Jesus never existed at all, or that the resurrection was a hoax perpetrated by the apostles,  or if your studies into cosmology or biology lead you to think that God cannot exist at all- then, you will be left with no basis whatsoever for Christian belief.  But this is an extreme position in the sense that there is really little evidence to support such claims- in truth, if you believe these claims it is as much a matter of faith as the opposite.

Flag SeraphimR May 1, 2012 9:50 AM EDT

Apr 29, 2012 -- 4:46PM, newsjunkie wrote:


Apr 29, 2012 -- 4:19PM, SeraphimR wrote:


Apr 29, 2012 -- 3:31PM, newsjunkie wrote:

The research seemed to be asking the question, what effect does analytical thinking have on religious belief, rather than, is religious belief due to intuitive thinking. 


Then the researcher shouldn't have written:


" "Recently there's been an emerging consensus among [researchers] … that a lot of religious beliefs are grounded in intuitive processes,"


But what you've written here is very interesting. You're saying "it's obvious" that religious beliefs are based on intuitive thinking (feelings). Does analytical thinking, then, have any positive role in religious belief, or is it simply problematic, in your view? 


Just wanted to add that I think intuitive thinking is appropriate in certain settings or situations, just as analytical thinking is appropriate in certain settings or situations.




Intuitive thinking is not feelings.  It is getting from point A to point B without plodding the ground in between.  It is a way of knowing without reasoning.  Look up the biography of the mathematician Ramanujan.  He was a prodigy of intuition, most mathematicians have to develop their intuition.  It is kind of like how an infant must learn to see or learn language.  After a while they just pick up the knack.


I personally don't have much use for analytical thinking, but that might be just an Orthodox thing.  I understand that Catholics are much more attuned to reasoning; there will never be an Orthodox St. Thomas Aquinas.  I do have an admiration for the best of Catholic thinkers, both progressive and conservative, and whether I agree with them or not.  But such thinking is not very relevant to my faith journey.


Other Catholics seem to be more attuned to emotional reasoning.  My position is that emotional reasoning is different from intuition.  We Orthodox are also warned against emotional reasoning, against the use of imagination such as rehearsing the crucifixion in the mind.


There is an article floating around on the net about Orthodox Epistomolgy which asserts that faith is a way of knowing not blind belief in the unknowable as described by vulgar materialists.  I could try to find it and post a link if anyone here is interested.




Thank you for your detailed reply. I would like to make some responses, mostly based on intuitive thinking because I'm heading out the door in a few minutes!


I appreciate your thoughts on what intuitive thinking is. Yes, it is more than a feeling; as I see it, it is often based on one's past experiences as well. I'm not sure what the difference is between "emotional reasoning" and intuitive thinking, however. Is emotional reasoning something like, "if it makes me feel good emotionally it must be good or right"? If so, wouldn't analytical thinking be better? Not sure I understand how imagination is involved. Anyway, maybe there's a website you could refer me to that explains it.


Your last paragraph is very interesting. Many religions say there is a mystical way of knowing.It is certainly not analytical; I think it is intuitive, don't you? It sounds like that's what you're referring to in that paragraph. I happened to read your tagline recently, and I'm sure I can't recall it exactly, but it gave me the impression that you think "The kingdom is within you" is a very dangerous phrase. Yet isn't that at the heart of Christian mysticism, trying to get in touch with the kingdom within? 


So I wonder how you feel about mysticism and intuition and orthodoxy (not in the sense of EO, but in the sense of "right beliefs"). That is something I hope others would comment on as well. What is the relationship between intuition and mysticism? How does one assess which are "right beliefs" is it by intuitive thinking, analytical thinking, or simple obedience without questioning, or something else?


I also wonder what people think about intuitive thinking and our conscience. Is hearing the voice of our conscience intuitive thinking? Surely our conscience comes into play when we think analytically about a moral question. I guess I'm asking to hear what people think intuition is.




You ask a lot of very interesting questions.


With regard to mysticism and dogma.  Dogma is an epitome of religious experience which serves as a guide to our own prayers and meditations.  Vladimir Lossky, in his book Mystical Theology writes that the Orthodox Church doesn't make a fine distinction between theology and mysticism.


Just as you have to learn to think analytically, you have to learn how to think intuitively.


As far as the Kingdom of God being within you, I'll give you a quote from Chesterton.


Let Jones worship the sun or moon, anything rather than the Inner Light; let Jones worship cats or crocodiles, if he can find any in his street, but not the god within. Christianity came into the world firstly in order to assert with violence that a man had not only to look inwards, but to look outwards, to behold with astonishment and enthusiasm a divine company and a divine captain. The only fun of being a Christian was that a man was not left alone with the Inner Light, but definitely recognized an outer light, fair as the sun, clear as the moon, terrible as an army with banners.




Flag Buggsy May 1, 2012 11:11 AM EDT

I think when Jesus said ' the kingdom of God is within you' he was referring to his disciples - within YOU people - the people he was talking to.  He didn't say the kingdom of God is within everybody - being some amorphous blob of homo sapiens, past, present and future - but within those who accepted him.  And that was the people he was speaking to.


Some translations say 'among you' rather than 'within you'.


Flag SeraphimR May 1, 2012 11:19 AM EDT

May 1, 2012 -- 11:11AM, Buggsy wrote:


I think when Jesus said ' the kingdom of God is within you' he was referring to his disciples - within YOU people - the people he was talking to.  He didn't say the kingdom of God is within everybody - being some nebulous blob of human sapiens, past, present and future - but within those who accepted him.  And that was the people he was speaking to.




I remember hearing it suggested that "within you" was a poor translation and that "among you" is better.

Flag Buggsy May 1, 2012 11:23 AM EDT

I remember watching Shirley MacLaine's movie 'Out on a Limb' where she stands on the beach, arms outstretched saying 'I Am God . . .  I Am God'


After seeing that I thought what a load of shyte the new age movement is/was- taking a page right out of Genesis' original temptation to be 'like God' and packaging it up for the gullible and the naive.


Here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccb2GsnOoBM

Flag newsjunkie May 1, 2012 12:51 PM EDT

some fascinating stuff in the last several posts- very interesting.  I'm super busy today, but hope to catch up with you tonight. 

Flag SeraphimR May 1, 2012 7:01 PM EDT

Here is another interesting result on the same lines:


A simple reminder of the fact that we do not always control life's outcomes reduced people's belief in Darwin's Theory of Evolution. This control-threat resulted in a relative preference for theories of life that thwart randomness, either by stressing the role of a controlling God (Intelligent Design) or by presenting the Theory of Evolution in terms of predictable and orderly processes. Moreover, increased preference for Intelligent Design over evolutionary theory disappeared when the latter was framed in terms of an orderly process with inevitable outcomes. Thus, psychological threat enhances belief in God, but only in the absence of other options that help to create order in the world.



home.medewerker.uva.nl/b.t.rutjens/besta...

Flag newsjunkie May 1, 2012 7:42 PM EDT

May 1, 2012 -- 7:01PM, SeraphimR wrote:


Here is another interesting result on the same lines:


A simple reminder of the fact that we do not always control life's outcomes reduced people's belief in Darwin's Theory of Evolution. This control-threat resulted in a relative preference for theories of life that thwart randomness, either by stressing the role of a controlling God (Intelligent Design) or by presenting the Theory of Evolution in terms of predictable and orderly processes. Moreover, increased preference for Intelligent Design over evolutionary theory disappeared when the latter was framed in terms of an orderly process with inevitable outcomes. Thus, psychological threat enhances belief in God, but only in the absence of other options that help to create order in the world.



home.medewerker.uva.nl/b.t.rutjens/besta...




Well, gee, it's unfortunate that the study got the Theory of Evolution wrong. Here is how the theory was presented to participants from the study (and I'm quoting directly from the appendix of the paper).



“Evolutionary theory posits that the way our world and the
universe work springs from evolution; a process in which
inheritance, procreation, and natural selection play an important
role. Natural selection, the basis of this theory, is generally an
unstructured and random process in which unpredictable features
of the natural environment determine how life evolves. A wide
array of circumstances determines how life evolves, and coincidence
plays a large part in this process.”



That is a wholly wrong view of the TOE!


1) The TOE does not say they way world and the universe works springs from evolution. That is utter nonsense. 


2) Evolution is NOT random BECAUSE OF natural selection. So to say that natural selection is "generally an unstructured and random process in which unpredictable features of the environment determine how life evolves" is not an honest assessment or definition of natural selection and its role in evolution. It's completely wrong, and a common MISCONCEPTION about evolution and natural selection.


Nobody should "believe in" evolution, and nobody should "believe in" or ACCEPT that characterization of the TOE. That's not what the TOE says. Presenting the TOE incorrectly results in bias in the study. So the results can just as well reflect that inherent bias in the study and nothing more.


The Journal of Social Psychology needs to find reviewers who understand evolutionary theory who would have seen the bias in the study's misrepresentation (whether intentional or unintentional) of the TOE.

Flag newsjunkie May 1, 2012 7:51 PM EDT

May 1, 2012 -- 9:50AM, SeraphimR wrote:


You ask a lot of very interesting questions.


With regard to mysticism and dogma.  Dogma is an epitome of religious experience which serves as a guide to our own prayers and meditations.  Vladimir Lossky, in his book Mystical Theology writes that the Orthodox Church doesn't make a fine distinction between theology and mysticism.


Just as you have to learn to think analytically, you have to learn how to think intuitively.


As far as the Kingdom of God being within you, I'll give you a quote from Chesterton.


Let Jones worship the sun or moon, anything rather than the Inner Light; let Jones worship cats or crocodiles, if he can find any in his street, but not the god within. Christianity came into the world firstly in order to assert with violence that a man had not only to look inwards, but to look outwards, to behold with astonishment and enthusiasm a divine company and a divine captain. The only fun of being a Christian was that a man was not left alone with the Inner Light, but definitely recognized an outer light, fair as the sun, clear as the moon, terrible as an army with banners.







How does a person "learn to think intuitively"? Does it involve trying to shut down, suppress, or ignore analytical thought? And if so, is that critical to maintaining religious belief?

Flag SeraphimR May 1, 2012 8:49 PM EDT

May 1, 2012 -- 7:51PM, newsjunkie wrote:


May 1, 2012 -- 9:50AM, SeraphimR wrote:


You ask a lot of very interesting questions.


With regard to mysticism and dogma.  Dogma is an epitome of religious experience which serves as a guide to our own prayers and meditations.  Vladimir Lossky, in his book Mystical Theology writes that the Orthodox Church doesn't make a fine distinction between theology and mysticism.


Just as you have to learn to think analytically, you have to learn how to think intuitively.


As far as the Kingdom of God being within you, I'll give you a quote from Chesterton.


Let Jones worship the sun or moon, anything rather than the Inner Light; let Jones worship cats or crocodiles, if he can find any in his street, but not the god within. Christianity came into the world firstly in order to assert with violence that a man had not only to look inwards, but to look outwards, to behold with astonishment and enthusiasm a divine company and a divine captain. The only fun of being a Christian was that a man was not left alone with the Inner Light, but definitely recognized an outer light, fair as the sun, clear as the moon, terrible as an army with banners.







How does a person "learn to think intuitively"? Does it involve trying to shut down, suppress, or ignore analytical thought? And if so, is that critical to maintaining religious belief?




How does one learn to think intuitively?


Some people think it is an inborn talent, and it may be, but I think it can be nutured and developed.


For a given field, you have to be exposed to lots of examples and shown how apparently different things are in fact similar.  You have to think analogically.  You have to come to understand why things are the way they are.  You have to think teleologically.


You have to see how things can be fit together into a whole, you have to think synthetically.


Why should analytic thought be applied to religious belief?


One might as well use a spreadsheet to compose an aria.




Flag Buggsy May 1, 2012 9:10 PM EDT

I don't know if people can learn intuition but certainly they can remove the barriers to clear thinking.  A lot of it is related to jargon, confusing terminology and puffed up religious concepts. 

Flag newsjunkie May 1, 2012 9:11 PM EDT

May 1, 2012 -- 8:49PM, SeraphimR wrote:

How does one learn to think intuitively?


Some people think it is an inborn talent, and it may be, but I think it can be nutured and developed.


For a given field, you have to be exposed to lots of examples and shown how apparently different things are in fact similar.  You have to think analogically.  You have to come to understand why things are the way they are.  You have to think teleologically.


You have to see how things can be fit together into a whole, you have to think synthetically.


Why should analytic thought be applied to religious belief?


One might as well use a spreadsheet to compose an aria.




"Why should analytic thought be applied to religious belief?"


Lots of reasons. Let me list a few.


To see if the belief is warranted. Why belive in it?


When a person challenges you about your belief, maybe you would want to think about why you believe as you do, and why your beliefs differ from those of others. 


Sometimes one comes across information or evidence that is contrary to ones' belief. At that point you might want to look at your belief in light of the new information. 


Those are just a few reasons off the top of my head.


My question is why would you NOT want to apply analytical thought to belief. I suspect it's because a person might have a fear of examining their beliefs. It makes some people uncomfortable. There are other people who don't have a problem with analyzing their religious beliefs, as TemplarS' post demonstrates. 


Regarding intuition, I use it a lot, but I don't think it was learned, but comes naturally. That's how it is for me, anyway.

Flag SeraphimR May 1, 2012 9:25 PM EDT

May 1, 2012 -- 9:11PM, newsjunkie wrote:


May 1, 2012 -- 8:49PM, SeraphimR wrote:

How does one learn to think intuitively?


Some people think it is an inborn talent, and it may be, but I think it can be nutured and developed.


For a given field, you have to be exposed to lots of examples and shown how apparently different things are in fact similar.  You have to think analogically.  You have to come to understand why things are the way they are.  You have to think teleologically.


You have to see how things can be fit together into a whole, you have to think synthetically.


Why should analytic thought be applied to religious belief?


One might as well use a spreadsheet to compose an aria.




"Why should analytic thought be applied to religious belief?"


Lots of reasons. Let me list a few.


To see if the belief is warranted. Why belive in it?


When a person challenges you about your belief, maybe you would want to think about why you believe as you do, and why your beliefs differ from those of others. 


Sometimes one comes across information or evidence that is contrary to ones' belief. At that point you might want to look at your belief in light of the new information. 


Those are just a few reasons off the top of my head.


My question is why would you NOT want to apply analytical thought to belief. I suspect it's because a person might have a fear of examining their beliefs. It makes some people uncomfortable. There are other people who don't have a problem with analyzing their religious beliefs, as TemplarS' post demonstrates. 


Regarding intuition, I use it a lot, but I don't think it was learned, but comes naturally. That's how it is for me, anyway.




I don't find analytical thought to touchstone of correct belief.  Analytical thought has generated lots of bogus conclusions in the past.  When analytical thought contradicts my intuitions I am motivated to find the flaw in the analysis.  It is often easy to find.


I know why I believe as I do, but didn't arrive at my beliefs by analytical thought.


I am sure you use intuition a lot, otherwise you wouldn't really understand anything.  A lot of people feel it comes naturally, but I found my intuitions improved in depth and accuracy as I was exposed to more mathematics and feel (intuitively, perhaps) intuitions can be developed.


------------------------------


I reread TemplarS's post to refresh my memory.


The fundamentalist who insists on the 100% accuracy of the Bible or who invents creation science is not engaging in intuitive thinking.


Instead the fundamentalist is trying to use analytical thinking in situations where intuitive thinking should be applied in a pointless attempt to justify his beliefs according to secular standards.  (Hat tip to Marcus Borg for pointing this out.)


To me it demonstrates the wrongheadedness of analytical thinking in religious belief, for both the fundamentalist and the atheist.



Flag newsjunkie May 1, 2012 9:36 PM EDT

May 1, 2012 -- 9:25PM, SeraphimR wrote:

\


I don't find analytical thought to touchstone of correct belief.  Analytical thought has generated lots of bogus conclusions in the past.  When analytical though contradicts my intuitions I am motivated to find the flaw in the analysis.


I know why I believe as I do, but didn't arrive at my beliefs by analytical thought.


I am sure you use intuition a lot, otherwise you wouldn't really understand anything.  A lot of people feel it comes naturally, but I found my intuitions improved in depth and accuracy as I was exposed to more mathematics and feel intuitions can be developed.




So do you think you'll ever find yourself open to looking analytically at your own beliefs, or have you decided that you won't do that?

Flag Buggsy May 1, 2012 9:40 PM EDT

newsjunkie


I don't think you can apply analytical thought to belief


Belief is a state of mind.  If you're referring to religious concepts then okay anaytical thought (i.e. critical thinking) can be used to examine the elements of ideas and concepts.  When I say I believe in God I'm referring to a state of mind concerning a thought but I'm not referring to the thought itself.  Critical thinking is a discursive method of thought - a methodology.  But belief is a frame of mind.


Are you saying that analytical thought should be used to examine religious concepts?  If so then I agree.


Let me put it another way . . . when I say I agree with Obama on health care, I am talking about my state of mind - agree. Obama's view on health care is the object of my agreement

Flag SeraphimR May 1, 2012 10:17 PM EDT

May 1, 2012 -- 9:36PM, newsjunkie wrote:


May 1, 2012 -- 9:25PM, SeraphimR wrote:

\


I don't find analytical thought to touchstone of correct belief.  Analytical thought has generated lots of bogus conclusions in the past.  When analytical though contradicts my intuitions I am motivated to find the flaw in the analysis.


I know why I believe as I do, but didn't arrive at my beliefs by analytical thought.


I am sure you use intuition a lot, otherwise you wouldn't really understand anything.  A lot of people feel it comes naturally, but I found my intuitions improved in depth and accuracy as I was exposed to more mathematics and feel intuitions can be developed.




So do you think you'll ever find yourself open to looking analytically at your own beliefs, or have you decided that you won't do that?




The question is too abstract for me. 


How should I analytically question my belief in, say, the Resurrection?  I know that it violates the laws of physics, but I am comfortable believing in miracles.  They seem intuitively plausible to me.  If you find them intuitively implausible, well, then you do.  I don't know how to analyze the question as to whether they are miracles or not.  If you claim that science has never seen a miracle, that is useless.  Miracles are, by definition, unique events.  If one were to occur in the laboratory it would be discounted as an equipment failure, or something.  It cannot, by definition, be reproduced and so cannot be recognized by science.


I came to my faith after mature reflection.  I am comfortable with my decision and don't need to reflect on it any more than I need to reprove the binomial theorem. 





Flag Buggsy May 1, 2012 10:22 PM EDT

May 1, 2012 -- 10:17PM, SeraphimR wrote:


How should I analytically question my belief in, say, the Resurrection?  I know that it violates the laws of physics, but I am comfortable believing in miracles. 



But these are two differrent things - (1) belief and (2) the resurrection itself - or at the very least the theological idea of the resurrection which you believe.


In my view you can't analyse belief.  It would be like analysing love.  It's the objects of belief that may be analysed.  Personally I think these should always be questioned and analysed.  But belief itself is a feeling state of a person.


Let's say I believe in the Trinity.  I feel the Trinity best captures the events I read in the New Testament.  It complements the notion of family - the basic building block of civilisation and other things.  Now when I analyse the concept of 3-in-1 it's nonsensical and illogical.  Yet I believe it because it provides something that can't be explained otherwise


Many people who question their beliefs either lose confidence in an institution formed around the theology, become aware of problems inherent in certain ideas or have a personal tragedy that causes them to question whether the belief is providing comfort when they look to it for solace.

Flag SeraphimR May 1, 2012 10:35 PM EDT

May 1, 2012 -- 10:22PM, Buggsy wrote:


May 1, 2012 -- 10:17PM, SeraphimR wrote:


How should I analytically question my belief in, say, the Resurrection?  I know that it violates the laws of physics, but I am comfortable believing in miracles. 



But these are two differrent things - (1) belief and (2) the resurrection itself - or at the very least the theological idea of the resurrection which you believe.


In my view you can't analyse belief.  It would be like analysing love.  It's the objects of belief that may be analysed.  Personally I think these should always be questioned and analysed.  But belief itself is a feeling state of a person




I am content to follow the theological ideas about the resurrection analyzed for me by the Church.  They've mulled it over for a long time and I don't think I could have much to add.


---------------------------


You probably know that there are scientists who think they can analyze love via brain scans.


www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/news/201...

Flag Buggsy May 1, 2012 10:39 PM EDT

May 1, 2012 -- 10:35PM, SeraphimR wrote:


You probably know that there are scientists who think they can analyze love via brain scans.


www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/news/201...



Yeah I know it's pretty funny.  It's like analysing the car engine to determine where you'll go on vacation

Flag Buggsy May 1, 2012 11:35 PM EDT

May 1, 2012 -- 10:17PM, SeraphimR wrote:

I am comfortable believing in miracles. . . .   I don't know how to analyze the question as to whether they are miracles or not. 



Think about it this way . . . It's argued by some that if miracles happen, there must be a God who performs them.  A religious believer considers miracles to be the direct result of God's mind acting on matter.    But if a divine mind can act directly on matter to produce miracles, then there's no reason to assume the human mind cannot do so.  In both cases, minds would be involved. The believer usually claims that God's mind is different from the human mind so that only God can perform miracles. But to make that claim would be to assume the very thing you are attempting to prove. But the presence of miracles can be used as evidence that some human minds have the power to perform miracles.


It's just as reasonable to assume that human minds can perform miracles.  Afterall, we don't see any person performing miracles the way we see people throwing footballs. But then again we don't see God performing miracles either.  In fact no one sees God at all.  In the argument for divine miracles God's existence is always inferred merely from the presence of what appears to be miracles.


Now, whether someone believes in divine miracles as an adequate explanation is another matter altogether.  However adequate explanations should never be assumed to be the correct and factual explanation.


I also think 'miracles' are being re-packaged in secular ways.  You hear about the miracle of life, the miracle of birth, etc.  People are expressing a sense of wonder not invoking a deity

Flag SeraphimR May 2, 2012 12:47 AM EDT

May 1, 2012 -- 11:35PM, Buggsy wrote:


May 1, 2012 -- 10:17PM, SeraphimR wrote:

I am comfortable believing in miracles. . . .   I don't know how to analyze the question as to whether they are miracles or not. 



Think about it this way . . . It's argued by some that if miracles have happened, there must be a God who performed them.  A religious believer considers the presence of miracles to be the direct result of God's mind acting on matter.    But if a divine mind can act directly on matter to produce miracles, then there's no reason to assume the human mind cannot do so.  In both cases, minds would be involved. The believer usually claims that God's mind is totally differnt from the human mind so that only God can perform miracles. But to make that claim would be to assume the very thing you are attempting to prove. And the presence of miracles (as they are assumed) can be used as evidence that some human minds have the power to perform miracles.


It's just as reasonable to assume that human minds can perform miracles.  Afterall, we don't see any person performing miracles the way we see people throwing footballs. But then again we don't see God performing miracles either.  In fact no one sees God at all.  In the argument for divine miracles God's existence is always inferred merely from the presence of what appears to be miracles.


Now, whether someone believes in divine miracles as an adequate explanation is another matter altogether.  However adequate explanations should never be assumed to be the correct and factual explanation.


I also think 'miracles' are being re-packaged in secular ways.  You hear about the miracle of life, the miracle of birth, etc.  People are expressing a sense of wonder not invoking a deity




I can't follow that analysis at all.  First off, I think human minds perform miracles all the time, and throwing footballs is one of them.  Aleister Crowley defined magic as the production of change in conformaty to the will.  If a man intends to throw a football, and the football indeeds get thrown than that is a miracle.  To deny miracles is to deny mind at all,  and some materialists have asserted as much.  I am baffled by the assertion of such an absurdity, but such is the result of a slavish devotion to analytical thinking.


The miracles of God are a difference of degree, not kind, I suspect.  The human mind has only a limited amount of matter under its perview.  God has all of creation.  If we measure mind by the amount of matter it might directly affect, then we can suppose God's mind to be infinite while man's is finite.


I don't know that we ever go beyond adequate explanations for anything.  Certainly we are willing to sentence a man to prison, or even death, so long as we are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt.

Flag newsjunkie May 2, 2012 7:03 AM EDT

May 1, 2012 -- 9:40PM, Buggsy wrote:


newsjunkie


I don't think you can apply analytical thought to belief


Belief is a state of mind.  If you're referring to religious concepts then okay anaytical thought (i.e. critical thinking) can be used to examine the elements of ideas and concepts.  When I say I believe in God I'm referring to a state of mind concerning a thought but I'm not referring to the thought itself.  Critical thinking is a discursive method of thought - a methodology.  But belief is a frame of mind.


Are you saying that analytical thought should be used to examine religious concepts?  If so then I agree.


Let me put it another way . . . when I say I agree with Obama on health care, I am talking about my state of mind - agree. Obama's view on health care is the object of my agreement




If you're called to serve on a jury, the question is whether you believe the prosecution (or plaitiff in a civil suit) or the defense. Often both side's accounts have some truth to them, and can both sides can make claims that you may doubt. You will likely use your intuition in your deliberations, but you will analyze the evidence and arguments made by both sides also (one hopes).


Maybe it's because I grew up in a household where my dad was Catholic and my grandmother was a non-practicing Methodist, and because I went to a Catholic grade school but also attended my Evangelical neighbor's "Good News Club," but I knew about the different claims of religion at a young age, and I thought about them. Regarding God, as a young child of course I simply believed! But when I got a little bit older, I began to wonder why God could let so many bad things happen (I had a dysfunctional family). That's analytical thinking. By age 12 I didn't believe the major dogmas of the RCC. By the time I graduated in high school I considered myself agnostic/atheist. It was intuitively obvious to me that both my Evangelical neighbor who thought praying to Mary was idolatry and the sisters teaching religion at my school couldn't both be right. My intuition was (and still is) that people's claims about God say more about the person than about God. I did think about the claims of various religions. I took religious studies courses in college and learned about Hinduism and Buddhism.


I went back to RCism in my early 40s because I had a feeling I should. I knew I would have trouble with some of the beliefs, but I told myself to keep an open mind. Initially, I did try to simply accept the miraculous claims as miraculous, that God maybe didn't have to obey the rules of physics that He set up. I went along like that for 2 or 3 years. I also put rules of the RCC that I couldn't follow, because I didn't think (intuitively or analytiaclly) that they were right, aside. But that only worked for a time. Whether it was primarily my intuition or primarily my analytical thinking (clearly it was both), I had to figure out what I believed and what I didn't, and the conclusion was I not only can't be Catholic, but I can't be Christian either. 


So I surely do think religious beliefs can be examined analytically; I've done it a few times! And intuition has much to do with all of our thinking. Sometimes our intuition is right, other times it isn't. Same with the analytical thinking.

Flag newsjunkie May 2, 2012 7:23 AM EDT

May 2, 2012 -- 12:47AM, SeraphimR wrote:


I can't follow that analysis at all.  First off, I think human minds perform miracles all the time, and throwing footballs is one of them.  Aleister Crowley defined magic as the production of change in conformaty to the will.  If a man intends to throw a football, and the football indeeds get thrown than that is a miracle.  To deny miracles is to deny mind at all,  and some materialists have asserted as much.  I am baffled by the assertion of such an absurdity, but such is the result of a slavish devotion to analytical thinking.


The miracles of God are a difference of degree, not kind, I suspect.  The human mind has only a limited amount of matter under its perview.  God has all of creation.  If we measure mind by the amount of matter it might directly affect, then we can suppose God's mind to be infinite while man's is finite.


I don't know that we ever go beyond adequate explanations for anything.  Certainly we are willing to sentence a man to prison, or even death, so long as we are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt.




The miracle of birth, that's one thing. The miracle of a virgin conceiving and giving birth is one of an entirely different order. Sure I believe in the "miracle" of birth and of human achievement, and other "miracles" of nature as well. It's a miracle we're here at all! The sense of wonder and awe I feel when experiencing nature or the fine arts is profound and very important.


But that doesn't mean that every claim is real and that I should believe it. That's where the analytical thinking comes in.


Your last paragraph is important. Humans certainly have limitations in what they can detect with their senses and conjure up in their minds (through intuition or analysis). Science seeks explanations, not merely adequate ones, but its methods are applied to find the best explanation from what may be many competing adequate explanations. If new information comes along that shows a long-held scientific theory is incorrect and there is a better one, science has to abandon the old theory and accept the new one.


But relgions, at least the dogmatic ones, claim they have the Absolute Truth. Religious people may admit they don't know everything about God and the various claims of their religion, but they also are reluctant to say that if new information comes to light they will change their beliefs accordingly. I think it's better to change in light of new evidence.

Flag newsjunkie May 2, 2012 7:53 AM EDT

Quick question: 


What is the difference between intuitive thinking and magical thinking?


Flag TemplarS May 2, 2012 9:54 AM EDT

How are we to define miracles in a scientific age?


The definition used by many people, an event unexplainable by natural law and hence attributable only to a divine act, is no longer suitable.  Because our understanding of natural law is changing day by day.


Let us say that next week a biologist someplace discovers a "natural" mechanism whereby a woman could give birth to a male child without intercourse (I understand that this premise goes contrary to current thinking- but so have many other novel discoveries).


Where would this leave the traditional Christian belief in the virginal conception of Jesus?  Some might be delighted that a traditional belief has been vindicated by science; others might be disappointed that another cherished "miracle" has been shown to be nothing but another natural occurrence.


But maybe it makes little difference; maybe the miracle is all in the context- that child, in that time and place.  God created the laws that underpin the universe; is it necessary that he violate those laws to make his point?  Who is to say he does not work his"miracles" through and not contrary to natural law. 

Flag Paladinsf May 2, 2012 9:54 AM EDT

May 2, 2012 -- 7:53AM, newsjunkie wrote:

Quick question: 


What is the difference between intuitive thinking and magical thinking?



For some of us - none at all.


And for these who can't (or won't) see the difference it doesn't matter.


They are more comfortable with they want to believe that dealing with a reality that is shows how wrong they are.

Flag SeraphimR May 2, 2012 10:39 AM EDT

May 2, 2012 -- 7:23AM, newsjunkie wrote:


The miracle of birth, that's one thing. The miracle of a virgin conceiving and giving birth is one of an entirely different order. Sure I believe in the "miracle" of birth and of human achievement, and other "miracles" of nature as well. It's a miracle we're here at all! The sense of wonder and awe I feel when experiencing nature or the fine arts is profound and very important.



Sure, the virgin birth violates everything you know about science.  Science must needs reject anything that is not reproducible and so is limited in what it can know about the world.


When you feel that wonder and awe, don't you feel that there is something more going on?  Something that cannot be analyzed?  Something that cannot be subject to scientific investigation?



But that doesn't mean that every claim is real and that I should believe it. That's where the analytical thinking comes in.



But analytical thinking is liable to reject real claims.



Your last paragraph is important. Humans certainly have limitations in what they can detect with their senses and conjure up in their minds (through intuition or analysis). Science seeks explanations, not merely adequate ones, but its methods are applied to find the best explanation from what may be many competing adequate explanations. If new information comes along that shows a long-held scientific theory is incorrect and there is a better one, science has to abandon the old theory and accept the new one.



But what does science do when new information comes along which shows the current theory incorrect and there isn't a better one to replace it.  From what I see, it staunchly defends the old theory and ignores the new information.



But relgions, at least the dogmatic ones, claim they have the Absolute Truth. Religious people may admit they don't know everything about God and the various claims of their religion, but they also are reluctant to say that if new information comes to light they will change their beliefs accordingly. I think it's better to change in light of new evidence.




That is a matter of taste.

Flag Buggsy May 2, 2012 11:27 AM EDT

May 2, 2012 -- 9:54AM, TemplarS wrote:


God created the laws that underpin the universe; is it necessary that he violate those laws to make his point?  Who is to say he does not work his"miracles" through and not contrary to natural law. 




The simple fact is that the so-called 'laws of nature' or 'natural law' are not prescriptive.  They  are descriptive.  The universe doesn't behave in accordance with laws that somehow exist outside the regular behaviour of objects but they describe the regular behaviour of objects as they are.  Science has left the perceived orderliness of nature as an unexplained brute fact. 

Flag Marcion May 2, 2012 11:38 AM EDT

Analytical thing is the enemy of dogmatic teachings - that's a truism if I ever heard one.

Flag Buggsy May 2, 2012 11:54 AM EDT

Flag SeraphimR May 2, 2012 12:10 PM EDT

May 2, 2012 -- 7:53AM, newsjunkie wrote:


Quick question: 


What is the difference between intuitive thinking and magical thinking?





Intuitive thinking is see the truth of something without analysis.  Magical thinking is a pejorative term for analytical thinking that you don't believe.


So an alchemist mixing quicksilver and sulfer and heating it in a crucible who thinks he can produce gold you warrant as magical thinking.


A chemist who mixes saltpeter, sulfer and charcol and heating it in a crucible who thinks he can produce an explosion you call an analytical thinker.  And an cautious one, too, if you ask me.





Flag SeraphimR May 2, 2012 12:14 PM EDT

May 2, 2012 -- 9:54AM, TemplarS wrote:



But maybe it makes little difference; maybe the miracle is all in the context- that child, in that time and place.  God created the laws that underpin the universe; is it necessary that he violate those laws to make his point?  Who is to say he does not work his"miracles" through and not contrary to natural law. 




It might be that His point is to teach people that there is more in heaven and earth than natural law.

Flag Buggsy May 2, 2012 1:56 PM EDT

May 2, 2012 -- 12:14PM, SeraphimR wrote:


It might be that His point is to teach people that there is more in heaven and earth than natural law.



What would be the point of that? Beyond the workings of the universe (which is difficult to understand anyway) what use would that have for anyone? At the very least what would it mean? 

Flag SeraphimR May 2, 2012 2:18 PM EDT

May 2, 2012 -- 1:56PM, Buggsy wrote:


May 2, 2012 -- 12:14PM, SeraphimR wrote:


It might be that His point is to teach people that there is more in heaven and earth than natural law.



What would be the point of that? Beyond the workings of the universe (which is difficult to understand anyway) what use would that have for anyone? At the very least what would it mean? 




Comfort and consolation.  That our life is not meaningless.  That we are not ineluctably caught in the jaws of a machine of blind pitiless indifference.

Flag newsjunkie May 2, 2012 3:04 PM EDT

May 2, 2012 -- 2:18PM, SeraphimR wrote:


May 2, 2012 -- 1:56PM, Buggsy wrote:


May 2, 2012 -- 12:14PM, SeraphimR wrote:


It might be that His point is to teach people that there is more in heaven and earth than natural law.



What would be the point of that? Beyond the workings of the universe (which is difficult to understand anyway) what use would that have for anyone? At the very least what would it mean? 




Comfort and consolation.  That our life is not meaningless.  That we are not ineluctably caught in the jaws of a machine of blind pitiless indifference.




uless it turns out that God is blind, pitiless and indifferent

Flag newsjunkie May 2, 2012 3:07 PM EDT

May 2, 2012 -- 1:56PM, Buggsy wrote:


May 2, 2012 -- 12:14PM, SeraphimR wrote:


It might be that His point is to teach people that there is more in heaven and earth than natural law.



What would be the point of that? Beyond the workings of the universe (which is difficult to understand anyway) what use would that have for anyone? At the very least what would it mean? 




That's kind of the way I see it too. If there's something beyond the natural world, we can have no way of understanding it (our understanding of the natural world is incomplete, but at least there is a way to know about it), much less of having any influence on it. It could have control over us, but not the other way around.

Flag Buggsy May 2, 2012 3:12 PM EDT

May 2, 2012 -- 2:18PM, SeraphimR wrote:


Comfort and consolation.  That our life is not meaningless.  That we are not ineluctably caught in the jaws of a machine of blind pitiless indifference.



hmmm


You're saying that we are in fact all caught up in the jaws of a machine of blind pitiless indifference . . . with an occassional miracle thrown in to comfort us. 


But why are these miracles - whatever they are - comforting?  Let's say someone in Uganda is miraculously cured of cancer.  How does that comfort people in Frankfurt? or Barcelona?  They wouldn't even hear about it.  Wouldn't the real miracle be to eliminate cancer completely from the human population - now that would be comforting to everyone.


A couple posts ago you said throwing a football is a miracle because it's matter conforming to will.  How does that console anyone - even the person who threw the football?


My Ford Fusion is a machine of blind pitiless indifference.  I don't need to be comforted because I know that.  The Earth revolves around the Sun - why do I need comfort?

Flag Buggsy May 2, 2012 3:18 PM EDT

Where is this blind pitiless machine of indifference?  That's an odd way to describe the world.  I look around and see wonderous forests - alive and vibrant and oceans full of wildlife.  The sky is alive with birds, colours and it changes every second. There's life all around us and it's all connected.  I don't see a blind pitiless machine of indiffeence and if I did I would be judging out of a selfish ego that the world isn't serving my interests or giving me console. 

Flag SeraphimR May 2, 2012 6:26 PM EDT

May 2, 2012 -- 3:18PM, Buggsy wrote:


Where is this blind pitiless machine of indifference?  That's an odd way to describe the world.  I look around and see wonderous forests - alive and vibrant and oceans full of wildlife.  The sky is alive with birds, colours and it changes every second. There's life all around us and it's all connected.  I don't see a blind pitiless machine of indiffeence and if I did I would be judging out of a selfish ego that the world isn't serving my interests or giving me console. 




It is the one Richard Dawkins sees:


"The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference."




Flag SeraphimR May 2, 2012 6:35 PM EDT

May 2, 2012 -- 3:12PM, Buggsy wrote:


May 2, 2012 -- 2:18PM, SeraphimR wrote:


Comfort and consolation.  That our life is not meaningless.  That we are not ineluctably caught in the jaws of a machine of blind pitiless indifference.



hmmm


You're saying that we are in fact all caught up in the jaws of a machine of blind pitiless indifference . . . with an occassional miracle thrown in to comfort us. 


But why are these miracles - whatever they are - comforting?  Let's say someone in Uganda is miraculously cured of cancer.  How does that comfort people in Frankfurt? or Barcelona?  They wouldn't even hear about it.  Wouldn't the real miracle be to eliminate cancer completely from the human population - now that would be comforting to everyone.


A couple posts ago you said throwing a football is a miracle because it's matter conforming to will.  How does that console anyone - even the person who threw the football?


My Ford Fusion is a machine of blind pitiless indifference.  I don't need to be comforted because I know that.  The Earth revolves around the Sun - why do I need comfort?




Perhaps you don't need comfort. 


It seems that you despise people who do (in your subsequent post), considering them selfish.


Nice guy.




Flag Buggsy May 2, 2012 8:23 PM EDT

May 2, 2012 -- 6:26PM, SeraphimR wrote:


It is the one Richard Dawkins sees:


"The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference."



Yeah I know.  Richard Dawkins is pathetic on this.  He doesn't speak for anyone but his funders, his academic peers and himself.  He thinks within a materialistic framework that is extremely limited.

Flag Buggsy May 2, 2012 8:29 PM EDT

May 2, 2012 -- 6:35PM, SeraphimR wrote:


It seems that you despise people who do (in your subsequent post), considering them selfish.


Nice guy.



Not at all.  I just see that when you view the world in such negative terms as pitiless and mechanistic that you have to look for comfort somewhere or from someone.  It's an extremely depressing state of affairs.  But if you view the world as positive and in terms of wonder and interconnectedness that that, in itself brings a sense of solace and comfort, in my view.  One comes from the need to be reassured by others and the other comes from inner peace and self-confidence.


Sorry if my previous posts weren't clear

Flag MG42 May 2, 2012 9:11 PM EDT

Regardless of what one may say about the ineffable Buggsy, he manages to more than hold his own against Beliefnet's own Certified Public Troll, Little Les (no mean feat, by the way).

Flag LittleLes May 3, 2012 7:01 AM EDT

May 2, 2012 -- 9:11PM, MG42 wrote:


Regardless of what one may say about the ineffable Buggsy, he manages to more than hold his own against Beliefnet's own Certified Public Troll, Little Les (no mean feat, by the way).




RESPONSE:


Are you serious? Frown


Have you read his posts? Surely Buggy's tactics are familiar to readers.


He begins by challenging the qualifications of those who don't agree with his views. A factious example might be if a poster insists that 2 + 2 = 4 and not 2=2 = 5, and Buggsy is maintaining that 2 +2 =5, Buggsy demands that the writer have a PhD in mathmatics as a credential or his argument  not be considered on its merits.


When his views are challenged, Buggsy fails to offer evidence and regresses to purely ad hominem arguments in which he attacks the poster but avoids the issue and the evidence presented.


Finally,  realizing that he has no credibale evidence to support his position, he simply withdraws from the dialogue. 


 I wish he'd do it sooner and save readers wasted time reading Buggsy's assertions which can't really be supported.


(Of course, "retiring from the field is the best tactic if one cannot really support one's view.)


A current example of these tactics  is his responses to the present "Forgery in Catholicism" thread. Perhaps this is because the evidence is so clear and there's so much of it.


The  Troll who documents. But you can call me "TD"Wink

Flag Buggsy May 3, 2012 3:22 PM EDT

Fiction writing is great, you can make up almost anything

Flag LittleLes May 3, 2012 6:34 PM EDT

May 3, 2012 -- 3:22PM, Buggsy wrote:


Fiction writing is great, you can make up almost anything




RESPONSE:


Yes. Presenting evidence takes more time and thought.

Flag Buggsy May 3, 2012 7:24 PM EDT

May 3, 2012 -- 6:34PM, LittleLes wrote:


Yes. Presenting evidence takes more time and thought.



Then take more time and thought!

Flag cherubino May 3, 2012 11:26 PM EDT

So much depends on expectation.

Flag LittleLes May 4, 2012 8:09 AM EDT

May 3, 2012 -- 3:22PM, Buggsy wrote:


Fiction writing is great, you can make up almost anything




RESPONSE:


Yes. Perhaps that is why you find it so easy to do.Wink

Flag quondamonachus May 4, 2012 12:32 PM EDT

I've been ranting ad nauseam that religion is a right brain thing; math and business a left brain activity. Nothing kills religion like analytical thinking. Thank you, Aristotle.

Flag cherubino May 4, 2012 1:21 PM EDT

I just tell people I'm a living relic, and they never quite know whether to laugh or build me a shrine.

Flag LittleLes May 4, 2012 1:24 PM EDT

May 4, 2012 -- 12:32PM, quondamonachus wrote:


I've been ranting ad nauseam that religion is a right brain thing; math and business a left brain activity. Nothing kills religion like analytical thinking. Thank you, Aristotle.




Or a rational evaluation of the evidence.Wink

Flag SeraphimR May 4, 2012 4:54 PM EDT

May 4, 2012 -- 12:32PM, quondamonachus wrote:


I've been ranting ad nauseam that religion is a right brain thing; math and business a left brain activity. Nothing kills religion like analytical thinking. Thank you, Aristotle.




I think modern philosophers have shown that analytical thinking can kill anything.  Even analytical thinking, scientific truth being just as socially constructed as religious truth. 


Thank you, Derrida.

Flag LittleLes May 4, 2012 5:19 PM EDT

May 4, 2012 -- 4:54PM, SeraphimR wrote:


May 4, 2012 -- 12:32PM, quondamonachus wrote:


I've been ranting ad nauseam that religion is a right brain thing; math and business a left brain activity. Nothing kills religion like analytical thinking. Thank you, Aristotle.




I think modern philosophers have shown that analytical thinking can kill anything.  Even analytical thinking, scientific truth being just as socially constructed as religious truth. 


Thank you, Derrida.




RESPONSE:


That would all depend on the quality of the thinking, wouldn't you say?Wink

Flag Buggsy May 4, 2012 7:38 PM EDT

May 4, 2012 -- 4:54PM, SeraphimR wrote:


I think modern philosophers have shown that analytical thinking can kill anything.  Even analytical thinking, scientific truth being just as socially constructed as religious truth. 


Thank you, Derrida.



I totally agree.  Nod to Derrida as well

Flag newsjunkie May 4, 2012 8:53 PM EDT

Somebody tells me I gotta belong to, be obedient to the church i was baptized in, or I burn in hell for all eternity, hmmm I wonder if that can be right....


analytical thinking kills that notion, you betcha.

Flag SeraphimR May 4, 2012 9:37 PM EDT

May 4, 2012 -- 8:53PM, newsjunkie wrote:


Somebody tells me I gotta belong to, be obedient to the church i was baptized in, or I burn in hell for all eternity, hmmm I wonder if that can be right....


analytical thinking kills that notion, you betcha.




Really?


Can I see the theorem?

Flag newsjunkie May 4, 2012 9:52 PM EDT

May 4, 2012 -- 9:37PM, SeraphimR wrote:


May 4, 2012 -- 8:53PM, newsjunkie wrote:


Somebody tells me I gotta belong to, be obedient to the church i was baptized in, or I burn in hell for all eternity, hmmm I wonder if that can be right....


analytical thinking kills that notion, you betcha.




Really?


Can I see the theorem?




Why ask.... you don't want to subject your religious beliefs to analytical thinking, remember? If you're having trouble remembering, go back to post 50, for example.

Flag quondamonachus May 4, 2012 11:47 PM EDT

The logical positivists shot down religion with rational analysis; Derrida shot down rational analysis, thus, though an athiest, opening the window to religion, or the mystical dimension.

Flag newsjunkie May 5, 2012 8:24 AM EDT

Of course people can believe whatever they like. Also, if I think over a claim about some supernatural realm and decide I can't believe it, I don't have to believe it. Nobody can prove or disprove any claim about the supernatural, but one can think it over and decide whether it makes sense or means anything to them.


I don't see what I can do about anything supernatural, so why worry about it?

Flag SeraphimR May 5, 2012 8:29 AM EDT

May 5, 2012 -- 8:24AM, newsjunkie wrote:


Of course people can believe whatever they like. Also, if I think over a claim about some supernatural realm and decide I can't believe it, I don't have to believe it.




Of course you don't have to, but don't pretend it is "analytical thinking".

Flag newsjunkie May 5, 2012 8:31 AM EDT

May 5, 2012 -- 8:29AM, SeraphimR wrote:


May 5, 2012 -- 8:24AM, newsjunkie wrote:


Of course people can believe whatever they like. Also, if I think over a claim about some supernatural realm and decide I can't believe it, I don't have to believe it.




Of course you don't have to, but don't pretend it is analytical thinking.




Why do you pretend to know my thought processes?

Flag SeraphimR May 5, 2012 8:32 AM EDT

May 5, 2012 -- 8:31AM, newsjunkie wrote:


May 5, 2012 -- 8:29AM, SeraphimR wrote:


May 5, 2012 -- 8:24AM, newsjunkie wrote:


Of course people can believe whatever they like. Also, if I think over a claim about some supernatural realm and decide I can't believe it, I don't have to believe it.




Of course you don't have to, but don't pretend it is analytical thinking.




Why do you pretend to know my thought processes?




Intuition.

Flag newsjunkie May 5, 2012 8:36 AM EDT

May 5, 2012 -- 8:32AM, SeraphimR wrote:


May 5, 2012 -- 8:31AM, newsjunkie wrote:


Why do you pretend to know my thought processes?




Intuition.




Well there you have an indictment against relying on intuitive thinking alone. Much intuition simply reflects pre-concieved notions. 

Flag adamcro-magnon May 5, 2012 11:17 AM EDT

The world is not the tidy beast that postmodernism may wish it to be.   Postmodernism comes up with relativism as a solution whereas it is in fact the problem - not the solution.


Both Ernest Gellner and Karen Armstrong tackle postmodernism, the latter endorsing it, possibly salivating at that which Gellner can only describe, most scathingly and scornfully as metatwaddle; he excoriates the whole business, quoting Ian Jarvie, who sees the end product of postmodernism not just as relativism but nihilism.  Gellner writes: ‘It is a regress into subjectivity and navel-gazing’ and ‘Relativism does entail nihilism: if standards are inherently and inescapably expressions of something called culture, and can be nothing else, then no culture can be subjected to a standard, because (ex hypothesi) there cannot be a transcultural standard which would stand in judgement over it.’  Both Gellner’s and Armstrong’s accounts are worth digesting.  If the overweening demands of objectivity in science pall then turn to Armstrong’s last chapter.  If the waffle and twaddle of endlessly deep subjectivities cannot be called to account and you regret this, then turn to Gellner.


Karen Armstrong in the final chapter of ‘The Case for God’ goes at length into postmodernism and postmodern theology.  She quotes those devotees of postmodernism, who when they see or hear ‘truth’ being mentioned know only too well that someone somewhere near them is all too ready to impose something upon them in the language of dominance.  Pilate’s question might as far as they are concerned never receive an answer.  What matters is meaning and meaning is use and use, meaning (this is certainly the case in Armstrong’s understanding of initiation into the mysteries).  Truth does not enter the equation: meaning is use and use meaning.


What matters is not truth but the hermeneutic of meaning.  There are meaning systems, many and varied.  Where some followers of a strict religious faith (such as the orthodox Christianities) rejoice in the fact that the scientific ethic of cognition is knocked off its pedestal in a postmodern perspective for it cannot be seen or be allowed to come and sit in judgement on any other system of meaning (it’s all relative), they are not always primed to the fact that their own religious ethic of cognition is equally vulnerable when it starts spouting a truth (of which we have to be made aware so that it can be, for our own good, imposed upon us.)  


That is why, too, for Armstrong, Gould’s notion of non overlapping magisteria (NOMA) is so palatable - each meaning systems is its own province and cannot be used to subvert or call to account a different meaning system.  NOMA is trotted out as a solution.  It is however the problem and although Karen Armstrong may be applauded for her rediscovery of those two delicious greek Honeys, ‘Mythos’ and ‘Logos’, garnered from the exhilarating slopes of Mt Slippery and insist on their being kept firmly apart so that they do not come into conflict, Richard Holloway in his ‘Guardian’ review of Armstrong’s book points to the fact that with 'Mythos' and 'Logos' it is for the orthodox Churches not a question of non-overlapping magisteria for claims are made there for which an empirical reality is expected: there was a Virgin Birth; there was a God Incarnate and there was a Resurrection - these are held to be objective facts and no amount of postmodern twaddle can waffle its way around them by viewing the concerns as mythical, metaphorical or the workings of the poetic imagination.  Meaning systems do conflict.


ACM

Flag LittleLes May 5, 2012 12:00 PM EDT

May 5, 2012 -- 11:17AM, adamcro-magnon wrote:


The world is not the tidy beast that postmodernism may wish it to be.   Postmodernism comes up with relativism as a solution whereas it is in fact the problem - not the solution.


Both Ernest Gellner and Karen Armstrong tackle postmodernism, the latter endorsing it, possibly salivating at that which Gellner can only describe, most scathingly and scornfully as metatwaddle; he excoriates the whole business, quoting Ian Jarvie, who sees the end product of postmodernism not just as relativism but nihilism.  Gellner writes: ‘It is a regress into subjectivity and navel-gazing’ and ‘Relativism does entail nihilism: if standards are inherently and inescapably expressions of something called culture, and can be nothing else, then no culture can be subjected to a standard, because (ex hypothesi) there cannot be a transcultural standard which would stand in judgement over it.’  Both Gellner’s and Armstrong’s accounts are worth digesting.  If the overweening demands of objectivity in science pall then turn to Armstrong’s last chapter.  If the waffle and twaddle of endlessly deep subjectivities cannot be called to account and you regret this, then turn to Gellner.


Karen Armstrong in the final chapter of ‘The Case for God’ goes at length into postmodernism and postmodern theology.  She quotes those devotees of postmodernism, who when they see or hear ‘truth’ being mentioned know only too well that someone somewhere near them is all too ready to impose something upon them in the language of dominance.  Pilate’s question might as far as they are concerned never receive an answer.  What matters is meaning and meaning is use and use, meaning (this is certainly the case in Armstrong’s understanding of initiation into the mysteries).  Truth does not enter the equation: meaning is use and use meaning.


What matters is not truth but the hermeneutic of meaning.  There are meaning systems, many and varied.  Where some followers of a strict religious faith (such as the orthodox Christianities) rejoice in the fact that the scientific ethic of cognition is knocked off its pedestal in a postmodern perspective for it cannot be seen or be allowed to come and sit in judgement on any other system of meaning (it’s all relative), they are not always primed to the fact that their own religious ethic of cognition is equally vulnerable when it starts spouting a truth (of which we have to be made aware so that it can be, for our own good, imposed upon us.)  


That is why, too, for Armstrong, Gould’s notion of non overlapping magisteria (NOMA) is so palatable - each meaning systems is its own province and cannot be used to subvert or call to account a different meaning system.  NOMA is trotted out as a solution.  It is however the problem and although Karen Armstrong may be applauded for her rediscovery of those two delicious greek Honeys, ‘Mythos’ and ‘Logos’, garnered from the exhilarating slopes of Mt Slippery and insist on their being kept firmly apart so that they do not come into conflict, Richard Holloway in his ‘Guardian’ review of Armstrong’s book points to the fact that with 'Mythos' and 'Logos' it is for the orthodox Churches not a question of non-overlapping magisteria for claims are made there for which an empirical reality is expected: there was a Virgin Birth; there was a God Incarnate and there was a Resurrection - these are held to be objective facts and no amount of postmodern twaddle can waffle its way around them by viewing the concerns as mythical, metaphorical or the workings of the poetic imagination.  Meaning systems do conflict.


ACM





RESPONSE:


>>What matters is not truth but the hermeneutic of meaning<<


MW definition "hermeneutic" : the study of the methodological principles of interpretation (as of the Bible)


Some of us like to begin by separating what in true from what is not true.


 

Flag newsjunkie May 5, 2012 2:03 PM EDT

May 5, 2012 -- 11:17AM, adamcro-magnon wrote:


The world is not the tidy beast that postmodernism may wish it to be.   Postmodernism comes up with relativism as a solution whereas it is in fact the problem - not the solution.


Both Ernest Gellner and Karen Armstrong tackle postmodernism, the latter endorsing it, possibly salivating at that which Gellner can only describe, most scathingly and scornfully as metatwaddle; he excoriates the whole business, quoting Ian Jarvie, who sees the end product of postmodernism not just as relativism but nihilism.  Gellner writes: ‘It is a regress into subjectivity and navel-gazing’ and ‘Relativism does entail nihilism: if standards are inherently and inescapably expressions of something called culture, and can be nothing else, then no culture can be subjected to a standard, because (ex hypothesi) there cannot be a transcultural standard which would stand in judgement over it.’  Both Gellner’s and Armstrong’s accounts are worth digesting.  If the overweening demands of objectivity in science pall then turn to Armstrong’s last chapter.  If the waffle and twaddle of endlessly deep subjectivities cannot be called to account and you regret this, then turn to Gellner.


Karen Armstrong in the final chapter of ‘The Case for God’ goes at length into postmodernism and postmodern theology.  She quotes those devotees of postmodernism, who when they see or hear ‘truth’ being mentioned know only too well that someone somewhere near them is all too ready to impose something upon them in the language of dominance.  Pilate’s question might as far as they are concerned never receive an answer.  What matters is meaning and meaning is use and use, meaning (this is certainly the case in Armstrong’s understanding of initiation into the mysteries).  Truth does not enter the equation: meaning is use and use meaning.


What matters is not truth but the hermeneutic of meaning.  There are meaning systems, many and varied.  Where some followers of a strict religious faith (such as the orthodox Christianities) rejoice in the fact that the scientific ethic of cognition is knocked off its pedestal in a postmodern perspective for it cannot be seen or be allowed to come and sit in judgement on any other system of meaning (it’s all relative), they are not always primed to the fact that their own religious ethic of cognition is equally vulnerable when it starts spouting a truth (of which we have to be made aware so that it can be, for our own good, imposed upon us.)  


That is why, too, for Armstrong, Gould’s notion of non overlapping magisteria (NOMA) is so palatable - each meaning systems is its own province and cannot be used to subvert or call to account a different meaning system.  NOMA is trotted out as a solution.  It is however the problem and although Karen Armstrong may be applauded for her rediscovery of those two delicious greek Honeys, ‘Mythos’ and ‘Logos’, garnered from the exhilarating slopes of Mt Slippery and insist on their being kept firmly apart so that they do not come into conflict, Richard Holloway in his ‘Guardian’ review of Armstrong’s book points to the fact that with 'Mythos' and 'Logos' it is for the orthodox Churches not a question of non-overlapping magisteria for claims are made there for which an empirical reality is expected: there was a Virgin Birth; there was a God Incarnate and there was a Resurrection - these are held to be objective facts and no amount of postmodern twaddle can waffle its way around them by viewing the concerns as mythical, metaphorical or the workings of the poetic imagination.  Meaning systems do conflict.


ACM




I'll turn to Gellner! Thank you for that delicious honey of a post! There has always been a conflict in the RC (and other churches/religions too, I suppose; I don't know that much about most of them) between the mystical and the dogmatic, and one side will gain an edge for a while and the other side will pull back. Science and religion likewise will remain in conflict; you're right, NOMA is not a solution.

Flag cherubino May 5, 2012 5:03 PM EDT

May 5, 2012 -- 2:03PM, newsjunkie wrote:


I'll turn to Gellner! Thank you for that delicious honey of a post! There has always been a conflict in the RC (and other churches/religions too, I suppose; I don't know that much about most of them) between the mystical and the dogmatic, and one side will gain an edge for a while and the other side will pull back. Science and religion likewise will remain in conflict; you're right, NOMA is not a solution.




Me too.

Flag Buggsy May 5, 2012 11:22 PM EDT

May 5, 2012 -- 2:03PM, newsjunkie wrote:

There has always been a conflict in the RC (and other churches/religions too, I suppose; I don't know that much about most of them) between the mystical and the dogmatic



Funny thing about it  . . .  mysticism isn't writings about mysticism, or public lectures about it, discussions on mysticism, spiritual books, gurus or anything like that.  It's a frame of mind that transcends the ordinary - in a really ordinary way. 


Yet the Vatican controls the language and that effectively shuts out any form of mystery in the religion.


Even if a mystical branch of the church were to exist it would quickly put itself out of business - by its own intent.

Flag newsjunkie May 6, 2012 9:18 AM EDT

May 5, 2012 -- 11:22PM, Buggsy wrote:


May 5, 2012 -- 2:03PM, newsjunkie wrote:

There has always been a conflict in the RC (and other churches/religions too, I suppose; I don't know that much about most of them) between the mystical and the dogmatic



Funny thing about it  . . .  mysticism isn't writings about mysticism, or public lectures about it, discussions on mysticism, spiritual books, gurus or anything like that.  It's a frame of mind that transcends the ordinary - in a really ordinary way. 


Yet the Vatican controls the language and that effectively shuts out any form of mystery in the religion.


Even if a mystical branch of the church were to exist it would quickly put itself out of business - by its own intent.




People in the church believe there is a mystical way of knowing. Problems come in when someone other than the pope claims to know something based on this mystical way of knowing that is contrary to something the official church said. It might not even actually be contrary to anything the official church said, but if the high levels of the hierarchy see it as a threat, there's a problem. 


When a mystic makes a claim based on something learned through a mystical way of knowing, what is to be done with the claim? How do others respond to it? People can think whatever they like, based on mystical insights or analytical thinking. But some people go out and tell others about their insights, mystical or otherwise, and other people (such as the "official" church) may respond to them. For insights that come from reasoning or evidence, the person can point to the line of reasoning and/or evidence that led them to their insight. But what does the mystic point to?

Flag cherubino May 6, 2012 9:44 AM EDT

May 5, 2012 -- 11:22PM, Buggsy wrote:



Funny thing about it  . . .  mysticism isn't writings about mysticism, or public lectures about it, discussions on mysticism, spiritual books, gurus or anything like that.  It's a frame of mind that transcends the ordinary - in a really ordinary way. 


Yet the Vatican controls the language and that effectively shuts out any form of mystery in the religion.


Even if a mystical branch of the church were to exist it would quickly put itself out of business - by its own intent.




"One of the first things to learn if you want to be a contemplative is to mind your own business. Nothing is more suspicious, in a man who seems holy, than an impatient desire to reform other men."


~Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

Flag newsjunkie May 6, 2012 10:55 AM EDT

Perhaps analytical thinking is a thing of the past. I've always thought that you can have your own opinions but you can't have your own facts. But now they say facts are a thing of the past.


A couple of snips from the article:



According to columnist Rex Huppke, there was a recent death that you might have missed. It wasn't an actor, musician or famous politician, but facts.


In a piece for the Chicago Tribune, Huppke says facts – things we know to be true – are now dead.


Huppke says the final blow came on Wednesday, April 18, when Republican Rep. Allen West of Floridadeclared that about 80 members of the Democratic Party in Congress are members of the Communist Party.


"That was the death-blow for facts," Huppke tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz.


One call to the Communist Party USA confirmed that this was, in fact, not true. According to them, no one in the U.S. House of Representatives is a member of the Communist Party. Days later, Allen West stood by his comments.



Does looking at facts and evidence matter anymore? Does factchecking matter? 



Dartmouth political scientist Brendan Nyhan, and a colleague of his, Jason Reifler, conducted an experiment where they had people read a mock new article about President George W. Bush.


The article quoted Bush as saying his tax cuts increased government revenue, which is false. Some of the participants were then given a second article that had a correction: it said the Bush tax cuts actually led to a decline in tax revenue, which is true.


Those who opposed President Bush were more prone to believing the second article, while those who supported Bush, even after reading the second corrected article, were more likely to believe the first.


Nyhan calls this phenomenon the "backfire effect," and it affects people of all political stripes.


"In journalism, in health [and] in education we tend to take the attitude that more information is better, and so there's been an assumption that if we put the correct information out there, the facts will prevail," Nyhan says. "Unfortunately, that's not always true."


In some cases, giving people corrective information about a misconception can make the problem worse, Nyhan says. That's the "backfire effect," and it can make them believe in the misconception even more strongly.



I'd love to hear reactions to this story.


Flag Buggsy May 6, 2012 11:49 AM EDT

newsjunkie


When you talk about 'looking' at facts what is it you are actually asking?


Here's my thought.  There's a tendency to form names, ideas and concepts around what we perceive.    The idea or the name then becomes the lens through which we view things.  In many respects we lose touch with the reality of things and retreat into our categories, ideas and concepts. 


God is a concept and the universe is a concept.  And in order to understand these concepts we have to think about them, analyse them and correct them to maintain the need for order.  But at some point the words, names and ideas become the reality and the reality is hidden behind the concepts.


We assign roles to people - wife, mother, son, manager, pope.  But there is no wife or pope only people seen as wife and pope.  Role playing and the names ascribed to the roles tend to obscure the reality of the person. 


So I guess to 'look' at facts is to see them as they are in and of themselves - devoid of assignment, names and roles


My thoughts.... perhaps mysticism is nothing more than seeing something as it is in itself.


Flag newsjunkie May 6, 2012 12:12 PM EDT

May 6, 2012 -- 11:49AM, Buggsy wrote:


newsjunkie


When you talk about 'looking' at facts what is it you are actually asking?


Here's my thought.  There's a tendency to form names, ideas and concepts around what we perceive.    The idea or the name then becomes the lens through which we view things.  In many respects we lose touch with the reality of things and retreat into our categories, ideas and concepts. 


God is a concept and the universe is a concept.  And in order to understand these concepts we have to think about them, analyse them and correct them to maintain the need for order.  But at some point the words, names and ideas become the reality and the reality is hidden behind the concepts.


We assign roles to people - wife, mother, son, manager, pope.  Butthere is no wife or pope only people seen as wife and pope.  Role playing and the names ascrtibed to the roles tend to obscure the reality of human being. 


So I guess to 'look' at facts is to see them as they are in and of themselves - devoid of assignment, names and roles


My thoughts.... perhaps mysticism is nothing more than seeing something as it is in itself.





I was asking for comments on the story, which says that at least in the political arena, people aren't swayed by facts. Instead they think "from the gut." I was surprised by the "backfire" effect. That correcting a factual error in a story, providing the correct facts, made people believe the INCORRECT story more. 


I wonder what other people think about those things.

Flag Buggsy May 6, 2012 4:27 PM EDT

OK.  I guess things are jumping around. It changed to dogma and mysticim and then to political story in 3 posts. Anyway - I think mysticism isn't cracked up to be what some authors present.  I see it as separating the BS from reality and that doesn't alway come through critical thinking but sometimes as an Ah Hah! moment

Flag Buggsy May 6, 2012 4:49 PM EDT

May 6, 2012 -- 9:44AM, cherubino wrote:


"One of the first things to learn if you want to be a contemplative is to mind your own business. Nothing is more suspicious, in a man who seems holy, than an impatient desire to reform other men."


~Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation




It applies equally to those who wear costumes, acquire heady titles and live in palaces all the while pretending to speak for the poor and the suffering.  Anyone who fits that description (including popes, lamas, aytollahs, chief rabbis, mullahs, gurus etc . .)  should be avoided like the plague - including anyone the entire world believes to the most humblest of holy men

Flag newsjunkie May 6, 2012 5:01 PM EDT

May 6, 2012 -- 4:27PM, Buggsy wrote:


OK.  I guess things are jumping around. It changed to dogma and mysticim and then to political story in 3 posts. Anyway - I think mysticism isn't cracked up to be what some authors present.  I see it as separating the BS from reality and that doesn't alway come through critical thinking but sometimes as an Ah Hah! moment




Several of the people who have responded to the thread have defended using intuitive thinking and not being inclined to use analytical thinking (and some have gone so far as to say that it would be foolish or wrong to use analytical thinking) when thinking about religious beliefs. 


The story about the death of facts in an age of "truthiness" made me want to see what people think about using intuitive thinking, even when it flies in the face of facts, when thinking about politics and the competing ideas therein. 


My comments about mysticism and dogmatism were in response to adam's post. 

Flag cherubino May 6, 2012 5:38 PM EDT

May 6, 2012 -- 4:49PM, Buggsy wrote:


It applies equally to those who wear costumes, acquire heady titles and live in palaces all the while pretending to speak for the poor and the suffering.  Anyone who fits that description (including popes, lamas, aytollahs, chief rabbis, mullahs, gurus etc . .)  should be avoided like the plague - including anyone the entire world believes to the most humblest of holy men




Once at a dinner in Tokyo attended by the famous Zen master Daisetz Suzuki and several others, a Roshi named Nishimura told a story of a monk being trained under a master, one of several monks in a class at the time. Because the temple was poor, they had to sleep wherever they could find a place outside the temple. One day all of them were walking in line to get some food from their generous neighbors. Then this one monk spotted a guy pushing a heavily loaded cart up the hill. Seeing this, he stepped out of the group and started to help the man push this cart. Back at the temple the master told that this monk that he could not visit the temple any more. The monk begged him, as did his colleagues, to let him stay. After several days, the master finally allowed him to come back to the temple to continue his training.

 

Nishimura asked Suzuki why, whenever he shared this story in the U.S., he encountered opposition from Christians who said that helping the troubled is the universal nature of our compassion, and that they could not understand why this monk was punished for what he did. Listening to all this as they picked at their food from the bowl, everybody noticed that old Daisetz was quietly shedding tears. Then he murmured, "It should be understood. It should be understood."-- meaning the reason why this master treated the monk that way.


Do you see why?
Flag Buggsy May 6, 2012 5:56 PM EDT

May 6, 2012 -- 5:38PM, cherubino wrote:

....he stepped out of the group




I guess there's a couple things going on in that story but breaking ranks is a no-no. I suppose when you're inside the group you're one among many and sort of disappear in the herd.    The squeaky wheel get the grease - or so he thought.  Maybe the guy thought he'd score some points with the big cheeze over there at the temple.

Flag cherubino May 6, 2012 6:15 PM EDT

May 6, 2012 -- 5:56PM, Buggsy wrote:


May 6, 2012 -- 5:38PM, cherubino wrote:

....he stepped out of the group




I guess there's a couple things going on in that story but breaking ranks is a no-no. I suppose when you're inside the group you're one among many and sort of disappear in the herd.    The squeaky wheel get the grease - or so he thought.  Maybe the guy thought he'd score some points with the big cheeze over there at the temple.




I think you're missing the obvious. Most people do. The fellow with the cart didn't ask for help, and the monk was disciplined for grandstanding.

Flag WaveringCC May 6, 2012 6:19 PM EDT

May 6, 2012 -- 12:12PM, newsjunkie wrote:


May 6, 2012 -- 11:49AM, Buggsy wrote:





I was asking for comments on the story, which says that at least in the political arena, people aren't swayed by facts. Instead they think "from the gut." I was surprised by the "backfire" effect. That correcting a factual error in a story, providing the correct facts, made people believe the INCORRECT story more. 


I wonder what other people think about those things.




NJ, I haven't much time to participate. It's an interesting thread and I have been following it and thinking about the questions that are posed. As someone who is both intuitive and analytical, I am trying to sort it all out (analytically!) and really have nothing to add at the theoretical or conceptual level when it comes to questions of God.


But, your story about test subjects reaction to "facts" about the Bush tax cuts isn't a good example (maybe find something from science?). As someone who worked in economics for more than 20 years (and who lives in DC and hears way too much "insider" water cooler talk on these matters), I know that the "facts" about the impact of tax cuts on government revenue are manipulated to suit whatever each "side" wants to show (what's that quote about lies and statistics?) and are usually presented without context (the entire economy and then sectors of the economy, etc) nor nuance. So, I'm going to provide a little very surface, very shallow econ analysis 101 to the example of the story you summarized (many may want to skip this!)


During the first three years of the Bush administration (before the tax cuts of 2003), absolute tax revenues fell - they had peaked at the end of the Clinton administration - the booming 90s had seen dramatic increases in income, especially in sectors related to the dot.com industry, a long bull market in stocks, etc.  Then the dot.com bubble burst, AND 9/11 happened AND the stock market was also whipsawed by various scandals, the largest of which was Enron.  So, from 2001 to 2003 (without tax rate cuts), tax revenues to the federal govt declined.  In 2003, the tax cut legislation was passed. Normally this is done in order to stimulate the economy, which had been seriously battered by the combination of events occurring in the period surrounding 2001. In 2004, tax revenues started climbing again, and by 2005 exceeded the amount of tax revenue collected at the peak of the Clinton years before the dot.com bubble burst. Revenues continued to climb until 2008, when they again dropped. Of course, by then there was a collapse in the financial and real estate markets.  If income declines, then tax revenues also decline.   So, tax revenues in absolute numbers declined during the first 3 years of the Bush Admin (before the 2003 tax cuts), then grew nicely until 2008, but fell again during Obama's first year in office.  However, these are only total revenues (what the articles discuss without the slightest bit of nuance or context).


Other factors to consider - tax revenues as a portion of GDP, tax revenues by source (personal income, corporate, capital gains).  Which of these went up or down (after significant cuts in capital gains taxes over the last 40 years, revenue from capital gains taxes increased sharply. A couple of reasons - one is that the uber-rich found just paying them to be less expensive than concocting elaborate and inefficent (using the economic understanding of the term "inefficient") asset management strategies that reduced taxes. No longer needed with a lower tax rate, and more capital gains taxes were collected although the rate was lower (of course, there have to be capital gains - in investments, in housing, so if those sectors are strong, tax revenues grow). Also, more typical investors might be more willing to sell stocks or whatever because they weren't going to lose so much of their profits to taxes, and so might use the revenue to invest in something - perhaps in a small business, or perhaps in a house. The housing sector drives much of the economy (one reason there is hope on the horizon, since the housing sector seems to be showing a bit of life lately). That can lead to more jobs in the industry itself, and since houses have to be furnished, to more sales in furniture and appliances and paint and interior decorators or whatever, which means more income in those sectors (both corporate and the individuals working in them) which means more tax revenues - even without any change at all in tax rates. Etc, etc.  Tax cuts generally have a positive impact on investment in the private economy which leads to growth.  GDP includes both the government and the private sectors. Some prefer that government do the consuming, others that the private sector do it. One reason for having the private sector have the edge in consumption (encouraged by lower taxes) is that government spending is not the same as investing. Private sector consumption often is just spending (like the govt) but it also often leads to additional investment which leads to more jobs, etc. Of course, govt spending does too. There is a reaon that every liberal dove in congress becomes very hawkish when a base in his/her district is threatened with closure, and becomes very supportive of defense spending when the $ is going to a big defense contractor in his/her district.  They want the govt $ to support the voters who will be going to the polls and will remember if their representative or senator votes to cut off $ to the local base (which supports a lot of the local economy) or the biggest employer around. 


The trade-offs have been debated since the days of John Maynard Keynes, who has never been counted out in all the years, no matter how often people declare that Keynsian economics is "dead." 


However, if government spending grows faster than tax revenues (as it did during the Bush years because of 9/11 and the middle east wars, and then during the Obama years because of the wars AND the recession which causes an enormous increase in funding government transfer payment programs to help soften the impact of the recession, etc.  It's not a simple area of analysis, and those who wish to raise taxes, or lower taxes or do these things in some sectors but not others, etc, will take the same set of numbers and then draw out of them whatever they want to. So, the test of the "facts" about the Bush tax cuts is not really a test of "facts" at all. It is a test to see how people react to the conclusions of those who set up the data to attempt to prove their own point and have chosen the data to 'prove" it quite carefully.


Many who cannot judge whether or not the "facts" are "factual" because there is too little information available to them (and too little understanding of national accounts) to apply objective analysis to them, may then rely on their "intuition" or "gut" based on their own past experiences and conclusions about that experience, and that may indeed reflect the impact of past tax cuts/increases on their own lives, and on those they know, the impact on their own industries or occupations, on their own families and neighborhoods, and the stage of their financial/career/economic lives at the time these changes were made.


Both analysis and intuition may come into play, but that doesn't necessarily make understanding the "truth" of the matter under discussion any easier than if applying only analysis or only intuition.  And if it's hard to figure out what's what analytically on the impact of different tax policies under different economic scenarios, it is impossible to do so when it comes to a very soft "science" like theology (economics is soft enough)!  It is not possible to determine analytically either the existence of God or the non-existence of God. And that's just the starting point.  Thus all the propositions of religion and theology can only be taken on faith - by definition. Which is tough for analytical types.

Flag Buggsy May 6, 2012 6:28 PM EDT

May 6, 2012 -- 6:15PM, cherubino wrote:


I think you're missing the obvious. Most people do. The fellow with the cart didn't ask for help, and the monk was disciplined for grandstanding.




Yeah I picked up on that too - there's several things to think about in the story.  I can see why people over here would be a little suprised at his punishment.  A lot of people grow up with the scouting program of good-deed-for-the-day or random acts of kindness.  This kind of behaviour is rewarded and celebrated most of the time. 


I like some eastern philosophy, but the religions seem to be very self-indulgent - look inward for self-realisation, self-knowledge, self-control, etc. 


You were a monk so you'd have observed that in eastern solitary life the monk and his friends go out of the monastery to gain favours from the laity but they stay inwardly focused.  Over here the monastery is self-sufficient and the monk looks to routine and liturgy - external things and community oirented activities but contained.  No one goes to the cities to beg.


It's an interetsing contrast.

Flag SeraphimR May 6, 2012 8:44 PM EDT

May 6, 2012 -- 6:15PM, cherubino wrote:


May 6, 2012 -- 5:56PM, Buggsy wrote:


May 6, 2012 -- 5:38PM, cherubino wrote:

....he stepped out of the group




I guess there's a couple things going on in that story but breaking ranks is a no-no. I suppose when you're inside the group you're one among many and sort of disappear in the herd.    The squeaky wheel get the grease - or so he thought.  Maybe the guy thought he'd score some points with the big cheeze over there at the temple.




I think you're missing the obvious. Most people do. The fellow with the cart didn't ask for help, and the monk was disciplined for grandstanding.




Maybe.  It is hard to tell with these Zen types.  One of them is reported as saying:


"It is just to punish those who disturb the public order. Whether one kills or does not kill, the precept forbidding killing [is preserved]. It is the precept forbidding killing that wields the sword. It is the precept that throws the bomb."

Flag newsjunkie May 6, 2012 9:35 PM EDT

May 6, 2012 -- 6:19PM, WaveringCC wrote:


May 6, 2012 -- 12:12PM, newsjunkie wrote:


May 6, 2012 -- 11:49AM, Buggsy wrote:





I was asking for comments on the story, which says that at least in the political arena, people aren't swayed by facts. Instead they think "from the gut." I was surprised by the "backfire" effect. That correcting a factual error in a story, providing the correct facts, made people believe the INCORRECT story more. 


I wonder what other people think about those things.




NJ, I haven't much time to participate. It's an interesting thread and I have been following it and thinking about the questions that are posed. As someone who is both intuitive and analytical, I am trying to sort it all out (analytically!) and really have nothing to add at the theoretical or conceptual level when it comes to questions of God.


But, your story about test subjects reaction to "facts" about the Bush tax cuts isn't a good example (maybe find something from science?). As someone who worked in economics for more than 20 years (and who lives in DC and hears way too much "insider" water cooler talk on these matters), I know that the "facts" about the impact of tax cuts on government revenue are manipulated to suit whatever each "side" wants to show (what's that quote about lies and statistics?) and are usually presented without context (the entire economy and then sectors of the economy, etc) nor nuance. So, I'm going to provide a little very surface, very shallow econ analysis 101 to the example of the story you summarized (many may want to skip this!)


During the first three years of the Bush administration (before the tax cuts of 2003), absolute tax revenues fell - they had peaked at the end of the Clinton administration - the booming 90s had seen dramatic increases in income, especially in sectors related to the dot.com industry, a long bull market in stocks, etc.  Then the dot.com bubble burst, AND 9/11 happened AND the stock market was also whipsawed by various scandals, the largest of which was Enron.  So, from 2001 to 2003 (without tax rate cuts), tax revenues to the federal govt declined.  In 2003, the tax cut legislation was passed. Normally this is done in order to stimulate the economy, which had been seriously battered by the combination of events occurring in the period surrounding 2001. In 2004, tax revenues started climbing again, and by 2005 exceeded the amount of tax revenue collected at the peak of the Clinton years before the dot.com bubble burst. Revenues continued to climb until 2008, when they again dropped. Of course, by then there was a collapse in the financial and real estate markets.  If income declines, then tax revenues also decline.   So, tax revenues in absolute numbers declined during the first 3 years of the Bush Admin (before the 2003 tax cuts), then grew nicely until 2008, but fell again during Obama's first year in office.  However, these are only total revenues (what the articles discuss without the slightest bit of nuance or context).


Other factors to consider - tax revenues as a portion of GDP, tax revenues by source (personal income, corporate, capital gains).  Which of these went up or down (after significant cuts in capital gains taxes over the last 40 years, revenue from capital gains taxes increased sharply. A couple of reasons - one is that the uber-rich found just paying them to be less expensive than concocting elaborate and inefficent (using the economic understanding of the term "inefficient") asset management strategies that reduced taxes. No longer needed with a lower tax rate, and more capital gains taxes were collected although the rate was lower (of course, there have to be capital gains - in investments, in housing, so if those sectors are strong, tax revenues grow). Also, more typical investors might be more willing to sell stocks or whatever because they weren't going to lose so much of their profits to taxes, and so might use the revenue to invest in something - perhaps in a small business, or perhaps in a house. The housing sector drives much of the economy (one reason there is hope on the horizon, since the housing sector seems to be showing a bit of life lately). That can lead to more jobs in the industry itself, and since houses have to be furnished, to more sales in furniture and appliances and paint and interior decorators or whatever, which means more income in those sectors (both corporate and the individuals working in them) which means more tax revenues - even without any change at all in tax rates. Etc, etc.  Tax cuts generally have a positive impact on investment in the private economy which leads to growth.  GDP includes both the government and the private sectors. Some prefer that government do the consuming, others that the private sector do it. One reason for having the private sector have the edge in consumption (encouraged by lower taxes) is that government spending is not the same as investing. Private sector consumption often is just spending (like the govt) but it also often leads to additional investment which leads to more jobs, etc. Of course, govt spending does too. There is a reaon that every liberal dove in congress becomes very hawkish when a base in his/her district is threatened with closure, and becomes very supportive of defense spending when the $ is going to a big defense contractor in his/her district.  They want the govt $ to support the voters who will be going to the polls and will remember if their representative or senator votes to cut off $ to the local base (which supports a lot of the local economy) or the biggest employer around. 


The trade-offs have been debated since the days of John Maynard Keynes, who has never been counted out in all the years, no matter how often people declare that Keynsian economics is "dead." 


However, if government spending grows faster than tax revenues (as it did during the Bush years because of 9/11 and the middle east wars, and then during the Obama years because of the wars AND the recession which causes an enormous increase in funding government transfer payment programs to help soften the impact of the recession, etc.  It's not a simple area of analysis, and those who wish to raise taxes, or lower taxes or do these things in some sectors but not others, etc, will take the same set of numbers and then draw out of them whatever they want to. So, the test of the "facts" about the Bush tax cuts is not really a test of "facts" at all. It is a test to see how people react to the conclusions of those who set up the data to attempt to prove their own point and have chosen the data to 'prove" it quite carefully.


Many who cannot judge whether or not the "facts" are "factual" because there is too little information available to them (and too little understanding of national accounts) to apply objective analysis to them, may then rely on their "intuition" or "gut" based on their own past experiences and conclusions about that experience, and that may indeed reflect the impact of past tax cuts/increases on their own lives, and on those they know, the impact on their own industries or occupations, on their own families and neighborhoods, and the stage of their financial/career/economic lives at the time these changes were made.


Both analysis and intuition may come into play, but that doesn't necessarily make understanding the "truth" of the matter under discussion any easier than if applying only analysis or only intuition.  And if it's hard to figure out what's what analytically on the impact of different tax policies under different economic scenarios, it is impossible to do so when it comes to a very soft "science" like theology (economics is soft enough)!  It is not possible to determine analytically either the existence of God or the non-existence of God. And that's just the starting point.  Thus all the propositions of religion and theology can only be taken on faith - by definition. Which is tough for analytical types.



I do think it's possible to examine some of the claims of religion analytically. Of course one can BELIEVE whatever one wants, but some beliefs fly in the face of evidence. What does a person who does value analytical thinking do at that point? I tried to ignore it for a while, but that only works for a person like me for a relatively short while. The erosion of one belief due to subjecting it to analysis leads to another, or at least that's how it worked for me. 

Flag cherubino May 6, 2012 9:37 PM EDT

May 6, 2012 -- 8:44PM, SeraphimR wrote:


Maybe.  It is hard to tell with these Zen types.  One of them is reported as saying:


"It is just to punish those who disturb the public order. Whether one kills or does not kill, the precept forbidding killing [is preserved]. It is the precept forbidding killing that wields the sword. It is the precept that throws the bomb."




Now that is truly a literalist hoot. It's a koan, an allegory or a parable, so of course "these Zen types" are going to stay true to form.

Flag SeraphimR May 6, 2012 9:52 PM EDT

May 6, 2012 -- 9:37PM, cherubino wrote:


May 6, 2012 -- 8:44PM, SeraphimR wrote:


Maybe.  It is hard to tell with these Zen types.  One of them is reported as saying:


"It is just to punish those who disturb the public order. Whether one kills or does not kill, the precept forbidding killing [is preserved]. It is the precept forbidding killing that wields the sword. It is the precept that throws the bomb."




Now that is truly a literalist hoot. It's a koan, an allegory or a parable, so of course "these Zen types" are going to stay true to form.




You know that for a fact?  Or are you making it up?


Hint:  ' Serving in Russia as a soldier, [this author] happily related how he and his comrades had "gorged ourselves on killing people." '

Flag cherubino May 6, 2012 10:22 PM EDT

May 6, 2012 -- 9:52PM, SeraphimR wrote:


May 6, 2012 -- 9:37PM, cherubino wrote:


May 6, 2012 -- 8:44PM, SeraphimR wrote:


Maybe.  It is hard to tell with these Zen types.  One of them is reported as saying:


"It is just to punish those who disturb the public order. Whether one kills or does not kill, the precept forbidding killing [is preserved]. It is the precept forbidding killing that wields the sword. It is the precept that throws the bomb."




Now that is truly a literalist hoot. It's a koan, an allegory or a parable, so of course "these Zen types" are going to stay true to form.




You know that for a fact?  Or are you making it up?


Hint:  ' Serving in Russia as a soldier, [this author] happily related how he and his comrades had "gorged ourselves on killing people." '




 


Suzuki didn't say, did he? Maybe the factuality of the matter isn't important to these Zen types. But tell me, Grasshopper, how did we get from pushing a cart to killing people so blithely?

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