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Would society be more technologically advance if there was no religion?

I have herd many different opinions on this subject and would like to know what more people think about it.

  • Mar 14 2014: In the beginning religion was the hub of technology, Time have changed.
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    Mar 10 2014: Ariel Ramirez talked about finger-pointing. I love his points.
    People are usually eager to blame religion for an alleged slow progress of science and technology; they forget that science has its fair share of religious men and women, just as it has atheists and people with all sorts of ideology.

    What would Japan be like without the attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? What would Africa be like without slave trade and colonialism? What would South Africa be like without apartheid? What would Australia be like without white settlers? How 'far' would the Jews have advanced without Hitler's persecution? What would North America be like if the present day US has been 2 English speaking states (North and South)?

    We can go on and on! But my point is, scientists and innovators are not all saints; religious folks are not perfect.
    I dont think we would be using an I-pad in 1945 if the world before then had no religion.

    Humanity has always made progress by pursuit of progress; not by excuses or by finger-pointing.
    • Mar 10 2014: Yeah that is some interesting points. But religion does hold back based on "morals" but I don't know if that is fully religion's fault people also "understand"... somewhat... what is right and wrong. That probably has a huge effect on it too. But I don't know if there would be as much morals if religion didn't exist.
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        Mar 11 2014: Good religions make a human being better by teaching or encouraging respect for human dignity and the sanctity of human life.

        I am not an admirer of morally bankrupt innovators/scientists whose intention for invention is sadistic pleasure.

        Religion does what technology can not do, technology does what religion is not meant to do.

        Again, what is a blessing to humanity in a very intelligent mass murderer?
      • Mar 17 2014: What if religion was a tecnological advance?

        On mens darkest hours religion came to put mens togheter, after the roman empire collapse, religion was responsible for administering europe, and brought several improvements in farm and agricultural, even our gregorian calendar and showed that religion is a glue to hold mens togheter.

        The religion is too much old for us to know how it was first invented, but it migh have been pretty much a breakthrouth union of ideas when it came

        We all have faith in something, i have, among others, faith in humankind (kind of).

        But for me religion itself is union of ideas, tecnology and faith, and we just have to filter what we bealive in.
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    Mar 7 2014: Hi Riley,
    Maybe a bit simplistic, but Europe & N. America are based on Christianity, Russia on Atheism, & the Middle East on Islam. Judge for yourself.

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      Mar 8 2014: I'm a Christian myself, but I don't think that that is any evidence at all. As Redrigo Feliciano pointed out in his comment on my comment here, religion is hardly THE only factor.
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      Mar 10 2014: The Greeks did pretty well at science and they had lots of gods.

      Maybe we need a few more? : p
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        Mar 10 2014: Believe me, we have many more gods these days. We just dont call them 'gods'. We have new words for everything, we call lies 'misrepresentation of facts' and we have fancy names to make bad things not-so-bad.

        No, I'm not saying gods are the baddies. The main 21st century god is 'Self'.
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          Mar 10 2014: This doesn't address the point.
          Is there any correlation with gods and science?
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        Mar 10 2014: None whatsoever.
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    Mar 11 2014: Yes- Humanity woul've added all the collective thinking power stifled by religion. Islam & christianity have slashed at science as heretic and and blasphemous.
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        Mar 25 2014: Brendan,
        I don't subscribe to the Penrose/Hameroff model of consciousness.I have the greatest respect for Penrose, but this stuff about a quantum soul inside microtubules is beyond me.Science does not have all the answers on how the human brain works.
        Quantum states in the brain would decohere before they reached a spatial or temporal scale at which they could be of use or useful for neural processing quantum systems in the brain decohere quickly and cannot control brain function.Now, if I understand Hameroff's ideas right, it's all micro, not macro. The microtubules are micro... so I don't see the relevance of this paper for their model. Survival of entanglement in macro systems has been notoriously difficult in face of decoherence. This is no fundamental news at all.
        In Physics we agree that for a system to be defined as quantum the mass(m), the speed (v) and distance(mvd) must be in the order of Planck's constant (h) if mvd is greater than h then it cannot be treated as quantum system.The neural systems of humans is about 3 orders of magnitude too large for quantum effect to be influential thus we can safely assume Newtonian mechanics-QM- not applicable, not apples & oranges more like Hippos and microbes. I apologize to be off topic but I'm rather busy (got promoted Yeah!), I appreciate your interest in Physics and particularly that red -headed stepchild QM.
        6.62606957 × 10-34 m2 kg / s = h Planck's constant
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        Mar 26 2014: Brendan,
        The review adds new experiments, which are indeed based on "vibrations" (AC measurements), but are not tied to quantum effects and even less coherence except by H&P saying so - it is pattern recognition that's about it. And it adds new theory, where H&P avoid Tegmark's find that quantum decoherence in molecules are much too fast to couple to nerve impulses, by proposing unobserved atomic scale oscillations driven by electrons moving atomic nuclei around-right!
        I'm not an MD but it seems that acoustic therapy has been around in various forms.From what I saw of the paper, it seemed to talk more about the possibility of detecting macro-entanglement than the possibility of there being macro-entanglement, which, of course, are very different things.Aton Zellinger has already demonstrated entanglement in proteins with over 100 atoms; his experiments appear to indicate that almost anything can be entangled. Proving that really large objects are, however, is another matter. IMO microtubules have quite different function: they do play an analogy of hollow core optical fibers, which are helping the neural spikes to propagate at distance like the nondispersive solitons.Also so far we have not seen any such quantum things going on in any of the biochemistry we do know well.
        Imo the structures of the brain are most likely too prone to decoherence to allow for any quantum coherence to persist over timescales relative to cognitive and conscious processes (see Tegmark math), thus classical model remains standing. H&P, Chopra et al looks like a solution in search of a problem.
        Thanks for the inquiry Brendan-Ad Astra!
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        Mar 26 2014: Thanks Brendan!
        And to add to the thread I think mankind needs an ounce more of skepticism you see religion thrives on a feeling of certainty which is an unreliable method measure of reality, yet blind response to this feeling is at the root of the many forms of fundamentalism we see all around us. Religious Fundamentalism once assembled on dogmatic beliefs refuses to even see let alone examine any evidence that is put forward. Thus degrading scientific pursuit and its advances.

        I would like to fly too , but I am a Pigasus!

        I think where I am not, therefore I am where I do not think.

        Thanks again Brendan!
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    Mar 10 2014: It probably depends on the particular religion and how it is practised.

    the Amish Christians for example stuck in the 1800's.
    • Mar 10 2014: They choose to be thats different. That's what being Amish is
  • Mar 7 2014: If you get the chance watch the episode of Family Guy where Stewie and Brian travel to parallel universes and in one of them Christianity never took hold and their civilisation is 1000 years ahead of ours with people flying through the air and so on. Its very funny. I cannot honestly say what might have happened if religion did not exist or hamper scientific development. Consider that scientific development flourished in ancient Greece even in the presence of religion, this is also true of the early Islamic Empire where learning of all kinds was treasured. So, it is possible for science to advance even in religious societies. In fact, it might even be the case that the Catholic Church's resistance to the development of scientific ideas in the middle ages up to around the 17th century actually provided an incentive to many people to continue with their ideas.
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    Mar 29 2014: I guess the real question is "Where would we be technologically if time and energy had never been wasted on ways to destroy human life?"

    Imagine what kind of advances could have been achieved if warheads, ammunition, bombs, toxic gasses, etc... had never been a focal point of brilliant scientific minds.

    War has and continues to happen and the sad thing is that religion is often times seen as a contributing factor to our world issues and the inability to move toward a level of acceptance. Which begs the question "If it wasn't religion causing great divides between people, would it have been something else?"
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    Mar 28 2014: Religion negates the world the way it really is, its main driver is the angst caused by some vague notion of some sort of primordial sin or trascendental faux pas. This self inflicted angst may be THE problem ( or some other beyond my pay grade) to which religion is THE solution.

    The danger of religion is massive action based on non-facts (like all gay folks are evil etc), ignorance in action-not a good thing.

    Using Religious texts like the Bible as science textbook is problematic and detrimental to technological advancement. But we've moved quite some distance from the days of Galileo & Kepler and science as imperfect tool it is has shortened the gap for religion to hide its angst- shrouded in a veil of mystery.

    Fiat Lux!
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    Mar 26 2014: Not sure about technology but socioeconomic security would apparently be more if there is no popular religion.
    Let me quote from the Evolutionary Psychology article by Paul,Calvert and Baltimore.
    'The nonuniversality of strong religious devotion, and the ease with which large populations abandon serious theism when conditions are sufficiently benign, refute hypotheses that religious belief and practice are the normal, deeply set human mental state, whether they are superficial or natural in nature. Instead popular religion is usually a superficial and flexible psychological mechanism for coping with the high levels of stress and anxiety produced by sufficiently dysfunctional social and especially economic environments. Popular nontheism is a similarly casual response to superior conditions.'

    The link to this very interesting paper is as below:
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    Mar 25 2014: No more advanced and no less. Technology are only tools that man uses to accomplish some task. A hammer from thousands of years ago to pound nails or a supercomputer to calculate spacecraft trajectories. I am not sure that the religion or not of the tool holder would have much effect on his skills with his tools.... I could be wrong
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    Mar 25 2014: Riley, No. As a matter of fact during the purge by the Catholic church the illuminiti gathered and exchanged ideas and thoughts ... thus progressing science, art, and philosophy.

    Religion does not hold back science it acts as a check and balance. Holds "mad scienists accountable ... etc ..

    Science develops a means, a product, application, and man corrupts it. When a corruption occurs and makes the news people have a renewed fear of the scientific community.

    Movies, TV, books, media all have given both fear and hope to science. Drugs can save a life or take it ...

    Scientists can be either religious or atheist ... there is no conflict ... this is only a issue to those who wish it to be.

    Be well. Bob.
  • Mar 23 2014: Scientific advancement is detered by people trying to avoid change. Some are scientists too fond of their own earlier achievements. In European societies, the catholic church has been the most powerful structure with a fear of people thinking for themselves, but the fear of change is within each of us.
  • Mar 21 2014: What is the purpose of being more technologically advance ?
    Why we want to be more technologically advanced ?
    What we want to achieve ?

    Religions have clear agenda that they all want to reduce their sins and reserve the seat in the heaven so that they can have company of beautiful damsels. Ultimately its all about sexual pleasure.
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    Mar 17 2014: The grandest testimonies of human civilization from the ancient to the 1800s are the great pyramids, cathedrals, mosques, temples, and other places of worship.
    - Did they usher or hinder progress and technology?
    - What is the relevance of religion in people's lives then?

    From the late 1800s to the present, the focus of human ingenuity changed and humans embarked on building freeways, bridges, offices, factories, schools, museums, conservatories, hospitals, and grand recreation and gambling centers like the ones you see in Las Vegas and Atlantic City in the US and Macau and Singapore in Asia.
    - Are we better off without religion?
    - Are we more at peace with each other without religion?

  • Mar 14 2014: Technology like reality bends either way or more precisely, it's very flexible everywhere, so one must consider that technology has the ability to create a religion if one did not already exist.
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    Mar 13 2014: Maybe, maybe not. Religion has burned down libraries of information, but has also created a human rights system which "forces" humans to work and exchange knowledge together -> that is quite necessary for survival.
    You can decide
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    Mar 11 2014: "The relationship between religion and science has been a subject of study since Classical antiquity, addressed by philosophers, theologians, scientists, and others. Perspectives from different geographical regions, cultures and historical epochs are diverse, with some characterizing the relationship as one of conflict, others describing it as one of harmony, and others proposing little interaction. The extent to which science and religion may attempt to understand and describe similar phenomena is sometimes referred to as a part of the demarcation problem.

    Science and religion generally pursue knowledge of the universe using different methodologies. Science acknowledges reason, empiricism, and evidence, while religions include revelation, faith and sacredness. Despite these differences, most scientific and technical innovations prior to the Scientific revolution were achieved by societies organized by religious traditions. Much of the scientific method was pioneered first by Islamic scholars, and later by Christians. Hinduism has historically embraced reason and empiricism, holding that science brings legitimate, but incomplete knowledge of the world. Confucian thought has held different views of science over time. Most Buddhists today view science as complementary to their beliefs.

    Events in Europe such as the Galileo affair, associated with the Scientific revolution and the Age of Enlightenment, led scholars such as John William Draper to postulate a conflict thesis, holding that religion and science conflict methodologically, factually and politically. This thesis is advanced by contemporary scientists such as Richard Dawkins, Steven Weinberg and Carl Sagan, and proposed by many creationists. While the conflict thesis remains popular for the public, it has lost favor among most contemporary historians of science."


  • Mar 8 2014: I can give a very realistic example that religion has no effect on technological development whatsoever. One extreme example is the communist regime in China under Mao Ze Dong, whose wife destroyed all religious establishment, foreign or domestic, including religious literature, leaders, believers and facilities. However, both Mao and his wife were no technocrats at all, and they ordered the building of the backyard steel furnaces and other facilities that simply wouldn't work. So it ended up with mass starvation and very little, if any, technological advances. So here is the incontrovertible example of the relationship between religion and the technological advances.
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    Mar 7 2014: History wise... Yes. For example, my Island nation of the Philippines was conquered by the Spanish for more than 300 years. During that time the burned and destroyed ancient records and culture for it was 'pagan'. The oldest bones found in our nation is about 60,000 years old. So, that would mean that the Spanish burned through potentially 60,000 years worth of history, culture, and literature for what survived of our pre-Spanish records are very scant, not more than maybe a few hundred stories, poems, and such that were subject in turn to manipulation by the Spanish, Americans, and even some Japanese. So I really don't think it was fair to think that we were technologically and culturally scant when the Spanish 'discovered' us. Religion can be harsh, but let's be fair. The crusades in Europe, along with silk trade facilitated the exchange of ideas. But those events are generally off-shoots, so we could generally say that religion is not 'facilitative' to technological advance. Except of course, if its about war. On the same note, dictatorships and communism could be along that line too.
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      Mar 8 2014: Mr. Ramirez,

      Religion is one of the major factors that contribute to the current state of the Philippines. The others are natural disasters, politics, and culture.

      The natural ones are strong typhoons and earthquakes that batter the country several times a year.

      The political ones are inept leadership and rampant corruption.

      The cultural ones are colonial mentality, mendicant attitude, and putting a negative spin on positive traits such as too-smart, working too hard, studying too hard, too neat, too this, and too that. What is wrong with being intelligent, working hard, being neat, and so on? How can a country progress when it's people are busy tearing each other apart, when good deeds are criticized instead of recognized and encouraged?

      The other is not taking full responsibility for one's actions. Finger-pointing, it's always someone else's fault. Perhaps changing the culture is a good starting point.
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        Mar 8 2014: Agreed, I didn't say it was JUST religion, only that religion didn't seem to help. One of the main resons I think would be the lack of responsibility to own up to one's mistakes, hence as what you said, 'finger-pointing'. I just used the Philippines as an illustrative example. No intention of blaming really.