Religion & Science- Can’t Parse This? 

The word ‘paragon’ entered the cultural consciousness in the 16th Century.

par·a·gon

ˈperəˌɡän/

noun

noun: paragon; plural noun: paragons

  1. a person or thing regarded as a perfect example of a particular quality.

    “it would have taken a paragon of virtue not to feel viciously jealous”

Origin:

mid 16th century: from obsolete French, from Italian paragone ‘touchstone used to discriminate good (gold) from bad,’ from medieval Greek parakonē ‘whetstone.’Original Source

Three places show widely dispersed, common usage of words expressing the bones of ‘paragon’.

http://www.geographicguide.com/europe-maps/mediterranean.htm

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Anyone who claims they don’t know the feeling of magic and terror that accompanies adolescence has surely forgotten.

My father completed his dissertation while I was a tyke; and, he, my Mom, and I lived in student apartments.  I have only happy memories of this time.

I also have memories of seeing my father’s work: a bunch of weird symbols strung together forming what appears to be some alien form of writing.  It was mathematical formulae, mathematical statements, mathematical symbols, constants, variables, imaginary, irrational.  It was like musical notation is to writing. It was magic.  I never saw most other adults using this language in my 3 year old, day to day goings on, so it was special magic.



The benefit of being in the same city as something like the University of Alabama is that nice, local intellectual atmosphere, lots of thinkers & questioners living within a very near physical proximity of one another and the local community    

Looking back, however, the intellectual milieu associated with the university’s presence was more tolerated than embraced by the local community and only under the implicit understanding that the university had better also produce some fine athletic feats for large groups of people to enjoy watching.

 Science is dangerous to religiousness in the South.

Scientific knowledge benefits mankind. It provides him a place in the world that is demarcating by very specific standards of measurement. It enables liberty of thought and provides the freedom to be wrong and not be ashamed. It is like music.  Can we say that music and evolution are incompatible?   Sure, but do we pat ourselves on the back when we say “apples are not oranges?”

Can we assert that science conceivably evokes that same sensation as that spiritual impulse that drives many to religion?

Eek, what an awkward thing to say.  Let me talk about that esoteric bit for a moment.  Religious texts frequently use moments of prophecying & revelation as themes associated with connecting to God/the divine: feeling the spirit; being touched; being moved; feeling grace, etc 

The feeling of magic and the experience of being in the presence of something aweinspiring, is one described and experienced by both those in Academia and those in religious groups.

Whatever you choose to term this feeling and whatever causal force with which you choose to associate it, the sensation experienced appears to be the same one. The physical feeling of connecting to God and that physical feeling experienced through elucidating hitherto unknown/unobserved phenomenona via scientific methods, might be the same sensation.  The actions of the mind have produced stimuli which the sense organs take in (like raw data into a computer) and convert into a physical and psychological experience via the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.

Speaking personally, as child I believed in God in a way that an young person believes in Santa, superficially until deeper contemplation occurred.  I have never heard God speak to me and am, in fact, quite jealous of those who ‘talk to the Lord’ or ‘hear Him.’

To those, I would ask-

 “Why not me?  I prayed as a child and did everything asked of me.  What did science do to you guys anyhow?

To those who benefit from experiencing His existence, your patience with the rest of us and with a unaffiliated like me.

I don’t think you should give up on science.  I also do not think you should take things so personally. Maybe some of us losers only know how to seek this “god” through scientific means (particularly,  those of us who do not hear His voice).  Well, if God does exist, God does not have to be knowable through science nor does He have to reveal himself to me.  He could judge me for trying to see my world scientifically, but I would say that to not have tried to see my world through the paradigm of science would have been a blasphemous life for me.

  Beauty is subjective, eye of the beholder.  What I point to when I use the term ‘beautiful’ may not be the same as that to which you allude as beautiful.  But, that phenomenon to which we are referring-that thing of which the alluded to objects possess-is beauty; and, that thing, beauty, is fundamentally experienced via phenomenon basic to each and all of us, .

How do we talk and/or should we?  Does the animosity produce any observable or even foreseeable benefits?  Can we and/or should we be pragmatic?

These are honest questions.  I am not religious in the common sense.  I prefer to think I have moments of insight that feel larger or more infinite than I could previously have imagined, but they usual arrive when I work with science and logic, or read certain pieces of writing.

But then college, and physical anthropology and the sweet processes of inductive and deductive logic took hold of me. I have been moved emotionally upon reading x, actually creating a proof to show that there is no highest number, upon reading The Glass Bead Game…..
Can science and religion reconcile? And, if they can, to what gain

The most recognizable voices from the scientific community engaged in the evolution/creationist debate include Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Lawrence M. Krauss among others. These scientists take an offensive approach to those peoples and groups who would deny science’s authority as a way of defining the world.  They do this because of their belief that religious thought and reasoning are actively hurting our world. Now by ‘aggressive,’ I do not mean to imply these academics are threatening violence, nor are they harassing individuals unduly, but they are aggressive.

Activity:   Please complete this sentence…

The aggressive scientist……

The subject of the sentence above does not resound with my individual conception of ‘scientists.’ Now, passionate, consumed, obsessed-these scientists I can imagine. But aggressive scientists?   None spring to mind, with the exception of those scientists whom have been deemed Militant Atheists (by their religiously inclined counterparts) and this vilification tactic began within the last ten to 20 years.

This raises fundamental questions for me like-

  1. When, if ever, should scientists antagonize those individuals refusing to accept the axioms of empiricism as true and assumable?  Does society require science to play the role of playground bully from time to time (remember Thomas Henry Huxley AKA Darwin’s Bulldog?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cientific discovery can be hazardous to one’s health

Consciousness and Self-Awareness. Informal

Certainly a dog has more self-awareness than do insects.

A dog displays a sense of self during interactions with a dog pack. A hierarchy exists within a pack and every member knows its position. For this to occur, the dog must have an awareness of things existing outside and independent of itself. The dog must also conceptualize its life relative to the lives of other dogs.

A dog adjusts its own behavior in response to the behavior of another dog. The two dogs are working together. They are aware of their own existence and the existence of others.

The rules of the pack hierarchy are tacitly accepted, known, and enforced by all members of the pack. The dogs create something appearing quite similar to a little society-a system of interactions collectively conspiring to create a greater likelihood of survival and reproduction than pack members could expect were they to live alone.

Dogs seem to have selves because cooperation has been/is selected for in the milieus within which dogs exist/ed. A dog does not have the faculty or facility for language, nor does it have an opposable thumb. These are two things possessed by humans alone. These are two things making us unique. Yet still, the self-awareness of dogs seems of a different substance than your, mine and everyone else’s self-awareness.

I assert self-awareness is a condition required of mammals. I assert self-consciousness is a phenomenon separate from consciousness (i need to define consciousness here). I assert that humans are the sole possessors of consciousness but that this is and always has been subject to change. I proclaim self-awareness and its interactions with the reality in which it finds itself produced the conditions under which consciousness could arise. I say human consciousness is the evolutionary product of self-awareness experiencing reality through sensory organs. Further, it was these interactions occurring within the valleys and peaks of a very, particular fitness landscape and that these interactions, over time, created a milieu in which it was advantageous to have a more refined and intuitive awareness of self and the local environment. By advantageous, I mean, a more sophisticated self-awareness created more opportunities for survival until a reproductive age, more opportunities to reproduce at that age, and a better ability to ensure the survival and health of offspring until they grew.

I proclaim that self-awareness enabled society. But it was the complex system of interactions occurring between and among the social structures of a society and the humans whose interactions make up that society, which selected for the phenomenon which we call human consciousness.

Self-awareness led to society and society led to increased and more refined self-awareness. The further interactions of selves and society produced a complex system whose interactions resulted in the two novel epiphenomena we call “culture” and “consciousness.”