Bruno:
a beautiful position statement. Very sage and humane.
Thanks
John

PS: unfortunately the overwhelming majority of humankind is within some kind 
of religious belief system and this makes a very lucrative political stock 
to crooks (oops: politicians, as contrasted to 'statesmen). Some thousand 
thinking sould cannot change the fear-based mindset of 6 billion.   J

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bruno Marchal" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: <everything-list@googlegroups.com>
Sent: Thursday, November 16, 2006 10:23 AM
Subject: Re: Natural Order & Belief




Le 16-nov.-06, à 13:59, Stathis Papaioannou a écrit :

>
>
> Bruno,
>
> I suspect you can talk about God in this way when the subject of
> atheism
> comes up because you live in post-Enlightenment Europe.


It is a difficult subject, perhaps a bit out of topics or premature,
but I do not believe so much in the enlightenment in Europe. It has
been a very partial "enlightenment" ...




>  But if you lived in
> a certain large English-speaking country where a substantial
> proportion of
> the population believe that God created Adam and Eve 6000 years ago and
> the dinosaurs died out because they didn't fit on Noah's ark, you
> might be less
> keen to suggest anything that might be construed as supporting theism.


I live in one of the most catholic country in the world, with some
island of atheism, but both catholics and atheists believe agnosticism
(which is imo the best scientist methodology)  is a mental disease.
Actually atheists are even far more dogmatic than educated christians,
but, ok,  indeed few people here would take Adam and Eve for real
history.


But now, I do believe that if today so many people here and there
believe "seriously" in religious legends or dogma, this is due to the
fact that the scientific attitude in theology has been successfully
banished from the academy since a long time. It is because "theology"
is no more taken seriously that obscurity and superstition develop
itself in the religious realm. Under the (neo)platonist, you have to
pass exams in advanced mathematics, astronomy, music before entering
the theology field. If we continue to forbid or discourage the
rationalist attitude in theology, then unfounded theology and
superstition will continue to reign, and ... many will use this to say
we have to continue to forbid rationalism in it. I think we should cut
that loop. If we don't,  it is because "naturalism" or "physicalism" or
"materialism" is the new (fake) religion with new "Gods" like the
physical universe (a concept which does not explain a lot, and which is
not clear at all once you take the fundamental question seriously, this
should be clear with the UDA and any serious reasoning on the mind body
problem).

An honest scientist should admit that we are still very ignorant on
most fundamental questions.  Today it is politically correct to be open
minded toward any religion and belief system. I think we should on the
contrary be more demanding in rigor, in all inquiry fields.

My father (who was working in the law) told me once that it is much
more important to be rigorous in the human science than in exact
science.
Indeed, an error in the exact science leads quickly to a catastrophe
(from the rejected paper, to the explosion of the laboratory ...) so
that you learn quickly. An error in the human science could lead to
millenaries of useless suffering if not longer.

Do you see what I am trying to say? I understand Colin's feeling of
being fed up with religion, I am too. But I react differently because I
think that the widespread superstitions really are due to the fact that
we are not taking seriously enough the fundamental matters.

Recall that for me SCIENCE = DOUBT. When I say we should be serious in
theology, it means we should develop and encourage that doubting
attitude in theology. This is not incompatible with faith. But it is
incompatible with any form of blind faith, brainwashings, etc.

Bruno

http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/





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