"Her point is that it isn't *science* that provided you
with this meaning; science can't tell you whether it's
all just random or if there's something at work behind

Good point.  I have to think about this more.   I use evolutionary
theory as a sort of big picture reframe for my life, but I guess that
is not the science that is providing the perspective.  It is my use of
the ideas in a psychological way.

--- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "authfriend" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> --- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "curtisdeltablues"
> <curtisdeltablues@> wrote:
> >
> >
> > Great article!  I didn't finish her book on the History of God, but
> > I learned a lot from what I read.  I was interested to hear how her
> > position on scripture changed after the TV frenzy died down.  She is
> > thinking about religion in an original, thought-provoking, way.
> >
> > I disagreed with a few points she made about secularists.
> <snip good stuff>
> > Her point about seeking meaning also interests me.
> >
> > "As for scientists, they can explain a tremendous amount. But they
> > can't talk about meaning so much. If your child dies, or you
> > witness a terrible natural catastrophe such as Hurricane Katrina,
> > you want to have a scientific explanation of it. But that's not all
> > human beings need. We are beings who fall very easily into despair
> > because we're meaning-seeking creatures. And if things don't add up
> > in some way, we can become crippled by our despondency."
> >
> > At least this one human does not need more than science to give me
> > understanding in disaster. A religious explanation does me no good.
> > For an example, a Hindu explanation might involve a discussion of
> > Karma.  For me this explanation that the drowned child somehow had
> > it coming for past actions doesn't make me feel any better.  My
> > secular understanding comfort comes from believing that it was a
> > random event and that the child was in the wrong place at the wrong
> > time just as a roll of the dice.  It could have been me.
> But that *is* the meaning you assign to such an event.
> For you, that "adds up"; it's meaningful.  Meaning
> (existential, not scientific) doesn't have to be religious
> in the sectarian sense.
> Her point is that it isn't *science* that provided you
> with this meaning; science can't tell you whether it's
> all just random or if there's something at work behind
> it.
>   No explanation of a creator
> > who could help, but does not for some philosophical reason, gives me
> > comfort.  I don't see how a belief in God makes anything "add up"
> > for the meaning-seeking creature, man. If anything, it adds more
> > questions.  Like: why did he let it happen?  A religious person may
> > find comfort in saying "it is God's will".  That doesn't give any
> > better answer to "why?", than a secular person saying "sometimes bad
> > things happen and it makes me sad."  Either way we are both gunna
> > cry over the child. It is the emotional _expression_ of people you
> > love that gives people comfort, not some abstract belief
> > that "things happen for a reason".  I'll take a hug over any
> > understanding when the S hits the fan in life.
> And science doesn't give you hugs either, nor are
> hugs religious, but they're still meaningful in the
> face of tragedy.
> The trick is to avoid despondency, as she says.
>  If the person hugging me believes in God that is fine
> > with me.
> >
> > There may not be any meaning to these events.  Linguistic
> > philosophers would claim that it is a misuse of language to apply
> > the word "meaning" to such events in life.  Just because we can
> > string the words together does not give it a reality or value.
> Oh, I dunno, I think "meaning" can be defined so that
> it isn't misused in this context.  As you go on to note,
> it can be defined as "whatever gets you through the night,"
> which also seems to be the sense she uses it: whatever
> keeps you from falling into despair.
> You don't have to call it "meaning" if that term isn't
> meaningful to you!  But there is a reality and a value
> to it, whatever you want to call it.
> > That said, I also recognize that for many people religious beliefs
> > do help them live.  Like John Lennon said "Whatever gets you
> > through the night, its alright, its alright!" I am not in a
> > position to criticize how other people get through their night.  I
> > just know what works for me.

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