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Religion Gives Meaning To Our Existence

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Posted by Harvey on April 22, 2003 12:04:46 UTC

Hi John,

Thank you for the compliment.

***The last I heard it was Einstein's General THEORY of Relativity, not a Law. A theory is a hypothetical explanation of some observed set of circumstances, or a postulated effect of something not yet observed or observable, whereas a Law has been (usually) thoroughly tested in a large number of different conditions, and has proven to be universally valid.***

Anandan (the author of Helen's referenced paper) is of couse aware of this, but my understanding is that Anandan was addressing what is behind the actual processes that make our theories successful. Do you think that there are physical laws?

***Much of what we think we know is close to being pure guesswork, based upon incomplete, inconclusive and/or inaccurate observations.***

I agree in terms of knowing the truth (philosophy) behind our theories. That is, I don't kind myself at night in believing that we actually know the universe actually works (e.g., there are symmetries that cause all of this). Such philosophizing is fine and helpful, but we must all be a little more humble (including foremost authorities in quantum theorists). One well-known philosopher, Bas van Fraasan, suggests that we shouldn't even try to understand the metaphysical stuff behind theories, but rather should stick to only the empirical 'truths' of our theories and merely treat our theories 'as if' they are true. Van Fraasan isn't very popular among the many die-hard 'science is law' physicists out there.

***Something that I have marvelled at is that some people (although apparently not Eva ) who acknowledge the existence of God, have a very hard time accepting the concept that an omnipotent God would be able to communicate to us what his plans were and what he expects from us. This he has done via the Bible. Anyone who really studies the Bible with an open mind and has looked into archeological research will discover that the Bible has never been proven wrong! Whereas (for instance) "Lucy", neanderthal man, and other fragmentary fossils purportedly of missing links have been proven to be either based upon unfounded assumptions or elaborate fakes, although they are perpetuated as true by the established educational authorities.***

Well, I disagree with much of what you said here. Firstly, wouldn't it be a bad thing if science were never proved wrong? It gets into that whole 'ultimate knowledge' thing, and the problem becomes who decides on what is ultimate knowledge and who doesn't? I like the fact that we can question science by going after the hypotheses, theories, etc, and seeing if there are better explanations, etc.

The problem with acknowledging the Bible as ultimate knowledge is that only those who do happen to think that the Bible's stories of civilizations and origins are more accurate than our archeological and evolutionary science. Those who grow up without a specific indoctrination from a religious view, are more likely to think that science is more accurate on those things. Perhaps this is because those people who believe in the Bible are smarter or even chosen for loftier knowledge, but time after time religious beliefs take priority over common sense views. This happens not just to Christians, but to Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, etc. We are either forced to reject every religion, creed, etc in favor of someone's specific interpretation of the Bible (whom?), or approach the matter of origins from a scientific perspective and come to knowledge that way. True, those who grew up in a fundamentalist background (or who converted to fundamentalism) will always vehemently disagree, but those who are willing to approach these matters this scientific way can agree whether they are Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, atheist, agnostic, theist, deist, etc. That seems much more unifying. Besides, why would God object to such an approach, even if it contradicted the fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible?

***I suppose that I have just violated some sort of unspoken taboo by mentioning the Bible (Christian instead of theist) as opposed to a non threatening intelligent design by a benign being or force, but hey, this is a discussion forum, right?***

That's right. But, my experience is that anyone who mentions ICR.ORG isn't being objective enough from their religion to address scientific issues in a reasonable manner. Perhaps I'm wrong with you?

Harv

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