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Is it possible to be simultaneously rational and religious?

Can a person be open-minded and rational and remain anything other than an atheist or an agnostic?

To me it seems that the current scientific evidence available rules out all of the major religions and the vast majority of the minor ones.

In asking this i'm assuming that by being a rational person they accept evidence which is accepted by the majority of the scientific community.

So what do you think?

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    Jun 16 2011: As a christian and a science-lover myself, i can see both sides, and to me it seems, that they are not opposites but actually compliment each other, as long as you look at both sides with a pinch of salt and try not to believe that everything is 100% correct in both science and religion they can easily mix. In any sense to believe something is 100% correct is plain naivety. It annoys me when I hear religious people banging on about the seven day creation story and how all scientists are wrong although there is so much evidence out there. But vice versa i get annoyed when people close their eyes to religion completely and dispel it without thought and in many cases often hold an almost hatred towards religious people. In a way I am battling my arguement on two fronts against both creationist and evangelic atheists and both seem to tar the other with one brush and do not realise how much common ground there is. As Albert Einstein famously said "Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind."
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    Jun 20 2011: The question is not religion versus rationality (everyone is rational and irrational in their life especially in childhood... might as well be fun versus serious!), the question is, once again, god versus the big bang/evolution.

    Your answer to this question entirely depends on your life goals. Are you seeking truth or happiness? I think most people in this conversation if not all are seeking happiness before truth because we know that truth can make you unhappy, but real happiness can only be veritable. I think it's human nature to find happiness... even though reality is important. ***I must note here that reality and truth are semiotic***

    I do not subscribe to any religion. However I do have my rituals, and a spirituality that is heavily geared toward music (Of the rational and irrational kind, hehe). I am invigorated by science and the model for reality that it presents. However when I listen to Richard Hawkins' talk on militant atheism, I cannot help being horrified.

    If you are religious, you are essentially trying to be yourself (and not succeeding in a very beautiful way), whereas if you are atheist, you are essentially trying to be correct(and succeeding in a very horrible way). It is strange for someone who does not believe in god to say this, but it has been proven to humanity since the crusades and more recently with world war two, that if you impose your beliefs of reality on other humans, you are a fascist, and you are propagating destruction and unhappiness in the world. You want to live in your little club and "oust" people who don't think like you.

    The most important thing is never to let truth de-humanize you. It's ironic that questions of reality can do that but I think the Nazi's showed the us many things in that regard.

    I believe in evolution, I don't believe in god, but most of all I don't believe in fascism.
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      Jun 21 2011: Mathieu

      I was very moved by your post..just so beautifully said..and that's what Einstein said too ( see above)

      Semiotic..great word ( and new to me..perfect for you point and a very useful word in all these discussions.

      Thanks for your wisdom
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      Jun 22 2011: Awesome Mathieu - more minds like yours, please.

      Evolution is neither here nor there, in my opinion.

      I believe in Revolution, but like John Lennon said, a revolution in the head. That's where the most important, most profound, most world-affecting changes happen..
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    Jul 11 2011: Yes, the same way that being Atheist or Agnostic doesn’t make you immoral, being religious does not make you inherently irrational, incapable or stupid!

    I wish this prosecution perpetually instigated by both sides could stop. I can find beauty and reason in religions from all over the world, without believing in any, as I’m sure many followers of religions see the benefits of the scientific method of understanding without having it compromising their beliefs.

    When would we stop feeling ourselves attacked by the other side simply because they are different as if that somehow undermines who we are?
    Atheist fundamentalists are just as bad as religious fundamentalists. And fundamentalism is something to be afraid of no matter which side it’s coming from.

    If we don’t put an end to this, the problems would keep exasperating and will ultimately spiral out of control. And we all know what events this could lead to we don’t need to look much far in history to see what happens when differences cannot be put aside!
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    Jul 10 2011: Main question: Yes.
    1. Yeah...
    2. Based on your conclusion, you didn't do enough research on religion.
    3. That has nothing to do with being rational. Rational is not putting your hand on a stove that's hot TWICE, putting your hand the first time is still rational because you did not know first hand the outcome.

    I think this conversation is silly.
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    Jun 21 2011: An interesting question, Todd! I explore it in this thread by Eduard Ghiur: http://www.ted.com/conversations/3633/atheism_theism.html .

    In a nutshell, my argument is that Rationalism does not fall together with only Theism or Atheism, but can apply to both - just as Irrationalism can apply to both. In fact, I consider most people to be Irrationalists, so the atheists among them are no better than the theists. Both groups are ultimately irrational ;) However, there are also Rational Atheists and Rational Theists, although they are rare. And they are so rare because Rationalists are rare in general. So the relevant question for me is not "Are you an Atheist or an Theist?", but "Are you a Rationalist or an Irrationalist?"
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    Jun 19 2011: I am an atheist but I do think one can be rational and religious. Science does not prove the existence of God, but it does not disapprove either. So one can be open minded about others' religious believes and be rational in accepting that God might exist. You can say the same thing about Heman or Batman as well!
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      Jun 19 2011: Kiran,
      I so totally agree with your insightful comment! I don't label myself anything, and I see many people in our world who are rational and religious. Open mindedness and acceptance of other's beliefs, as long as the belief and practice does not adversly impact others, is so important for peace and harmony in our world.
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        Jun 19 2011: You can say that again Colleen. I strongly believe religion came in to existence to maintain peace and harmony in our world. And if the very same religion threatens world peace and harmony, I don't know what would be the solution.
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          Jun 19 2011: You can say that again Kiran! I strongly agree with you that religion was formed to try to create peace and harmony. Unfortunately, some religious beliefs were/are ruled by dogma, which was/is not beneficial to the whole.

          I think the solution is to use the great intellect we have to decide what information is useful, and what information is not useful to the whole. We need to take the best information from all sources...in my humble opinion:>)
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        Jun 19 2011: Well said Colleen..at my just closed discussionon "belief Systems" Tom Atlee, wise man an visionary left a wonderful post suggesting tha tthe standrd for our "belief systems" should be "Do they serve life"

        .PS you are neede at a just sarted talk on prisoners..Can Bad guys be made good
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        Jun 21 2011: Colleeen..if you have achance check outthe Eisntein symposium Ed Schute referred to..a very elegant and wise exploration concluding that there i sno conflict..that religion expresses the mroal dimension of humanity and Sceince humanities faculties of mind and reason.. Really lovely essays which importantly take the entire way of thinking about hi sout f these endlessly repeating dichotomies we see here at TED Conversations on this and related subjects.
  • Jun 19 2011: THE TWELVE APOSTLES:
    1. Andrew - crucified
    2. Bartholomew - beaten then crucified
    3. James, son of Alphaeus - stoned to death
    4. James, son of Zebedee - beheaded
    5. John - exiled for his faith; died of old age
    6. Judas (not Iscariot) - stoned to death
    7. Matthew - speared to death
    8. Peter - crucifed upside down
    9. Philip - crucified
    10. Simon - crucified
    11. Thomas - speared to death
    12. Matthias - stoned to death
    (source: Fox's Book of Martyrs)

    Now, all the apostles were put to death because of their continuous preaching of Jesus Christ. What made me become a Christian was this fact: If Jesus Christ was just a sham, why didn't these men go on with their normal lives and avoid such horrible deaths?

    Also, I would like to see how science disproves all major religions. If you look at the Cambrian explosion, for instance, it sounds like a sudden creation of differentiating species, much like Creationist theories.

    I'm not a religious troll. In fact, I'm very much open to finding out the truth in life, so any differing opinions against mine are always welcome.
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      Jun 19 2011: The hijackers of 9/11 also suffered horrible deaths. Dying for your faith doesn't it make it true.
      • Jun 19 2011: Of course not.......because if dying for it made it true then it must have not been true before dying for it........

        Most religions are false......because they can't all be right.......I think any religion which can possibly be true is a religion which is accepting of scientific evidence and of philosophical and logical proof.......because there is absolutely no reason why philosophy and logic can't get along with science.....I mean, Science and philosophy are two different things which can both be right at the same time......I, as a Muslim, accept all scientific evidence only when it is evidence, but I also accept all philosophical proof which has been given on God and related topics by great philosophers such as Avicenna, Averroes and Sadr al Din al Shirazi....

        you cannot say that Avicenna was not scientific and religious at the same time.....because he was a polymath and at the same time was a deeply religious Muslim.

        Because science is dealing with the physical world in front of us.....while philosophy deals with metaphysical beings which, according to their proofs, exist necessarily....

        Anyone who wants to follow a religion must not be intrigued by ''different'' clothes or mystical things of which there is no proof.....Religion is not what you do...it's what tells you what to believe and do.....

        Instead, someone who wants to follow a religion must look at how logical it is....because only what is true should be followed and not what we make up....what we make up can truly be called man-made religion....What I follow, I believe, is from God.....

        only after that can I start thinking of dying for my faith....
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          Jun 19 2011: My definition of philosophy is rather more broad. Since when is philosophy limited to the study of metaphysical beings?
      • Jun 19 2011: Haha.....Ask a Philosopher....I mean the old philosophy not the new Western philosophy........and I didn't say that it only deals with metaphysical beings.....I said it does but not only.......Philosophy deals with everything that exists.....existence....it was like that for a long time.....maybe western philosophy might go into more stuff, I don't know and don't really care considering that it is based on material things........unlike Avicennean philosophy and Aristotle's philosophy which is on Existence in itself.....Metaphysical or not.......

        anyway I also mentioned Logic with Philosophy..........and Avicenna and his like were Muslim philosophers and also logicians and they and others proved God and at the same time were also scientists.......the question is whether you can be religious and scientific remember........

        Philosophy is- broadly- the study of the nature of existence, knowledge and reality.......other than that is physics or any other sciences
      • Jun 30 2011: I think there may be a slight (read "huge") difference between being put to death for peacefully preaching something you believe in more strongly than your own life. Terrorists attacked. The disciples preached. I don't really think you can compare the deaths of those religious men. Not without a backpack full of ignorance. I agree with Christopher. I am a science lover but also a Christian. I've seen both sides of the argument, argued both sides of it, read books on both sides of it, and spent more of my life than I think necessary researching each argument and its validity. I think what he is getting at is that these disciples were interacting with Jesus of Nazareth on a daily basis. They were his friends, disciples, and students. I think their opinion of their teacher is more valid than ours, attempting to look back and analyze over thousands of years. Why would they go through so much for their teacher if he hadn't had something very valid about his teachings, a large part of them being that he was the predicted Jewish messiah. There are also various non-secular historians from the time period that document the validity of these people's lives. Again, why should someone 2000 years in the future have a better opinion than the people who interacted with the person on a daily basis? I think that's the point Chris is trying to make and it's one that I've also come to accept. I'm not a religious troll, I love science and TED and even learning more about both sides of this argument, but after hearing enough of it I'm with Christopher on this one.
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    Jun 16 2011: Religion not tended with rationality and human dimension will not thrive.

    I always prescribe my views and opinions to first ground itself on the basics before elaboration.

    re·li·gion
    –noun
    1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs
    2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects
    3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions

    I guess this question can be completed if one asks if Science can progress without a driving faith in the unknown and its "knowability."

    Can science co-exist faith and reilgion?

    Yes.

    The Sciences without faith in the unknown (be it as a being or a thing) will fester.
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      Jun 19 2011: dazzlingly brilliant..I say because I have been on a similar track in all TED postings this past week,
      For science to advance, for us as a culture to advance we need to scrap our outmoded scientific model that only wants to see what is illumined,only wants to ask questions that already contain some limiting version of what the answer might be, only interseted in replication and repeatability. It's a paradigm engraved onour spirits that reduces all of us to the limitaions of dichotomies.

      Science that is not at peace with the unknowable has festered and is holding science back and imprisoning us as a culture. We need a model of science and a model for our culture that is more phenomenological, more focused on seeing..observing, processes of inquiry into seeing and observing and a willingness to hold what we don;t understand as posisbly unknowable.
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          Jun 19 2011: Him Jim..yes Iunderstand that what I have said ( Dean too) is not intuitively apparent..and is only a working model..The aspects of of the traditional scientific model that are limiting, as I suggested below are its focus on replicability, labeling and categorization, hypotheses that contain a guess at the answer, lots of the fundamental characterisrsics of the scientific model that came into existence many decades ago. Lots of thinking and writing in on the idea that we need a new scientific model to move forward. ( see for example the link I provided below).

          My own attraction to it is intuitive and comes from many sources ( also mentioned below).partly from Ken Wilbers' cultural evolution but also very central to Rudolf Steiners work. The scientists who have made huge leaps have done so inutitively with very different methods inclkuding Stephen Hawking, Eistein and I iove the story of the for guys on the train to a concert in London who came up with M theory, Neri Oxman..on eof my most favorite.. ..these folk making intuitive leaps into the really importnat leading edge insight are already past the traditional modeeel..they are already doing what I am advocating.

          The other part of my working model is the idea that the the existing sceintific model that we have reallyoputgrown and and all of its paradigms are very much etched on our culture.. we need to get the kind of thinking and analysis and approaches to problem solving that these leading edge scientists are using into main stream culture.
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      Jun 19 2011: Hi Dean and Lindsay,

      I am curious. I do not understand.

      Why would you have faith in every unknown thing?

      Don't we have to identify something about "the unknown" before having faith in it?

      I do not, and cannot acheive, total knowledge of absolute benevolence. Nevertheless, that is the unknown in which I have faith. I also do not know, and cannot acheive, total knowledge of absolute malevolence, but I do not have faith in absolute malevolence. I would think that "the unknown" is filled with some things worthy of faith and some that are not worthy of faith. It is only to the extent that I have some initial, incomplete knowledge of things unknown, that it is appropriate to have faith in them. It is only to the extent that what I do know about something about something that is otherwise unknown, and know about it that it holds promise, that it is currently worthy of faith.

      To be fair to atheists, what they have been arguing for the most part is that the concepts of God that are dominant in our culture do not point to anything that holds promise. To put their position suscinctly, they accuse theists of sticking arbitrarily to God concepts that hold little or no promise but instead, severely threaten our wellfare and survival. One type of argument is that any God concept that interferes with the natural science is such a threat. Another is that any God concept that forces irrational "moral" rules on us, and that causes us to ignore rational moral rules, is such a threat.

      It seems to me that we should learn this much from their critique: so long as religion does not confine itself within rational limitations, religion is imensely dangerous.

      This leaves open the questions of what those rational limitations are and of what kind of religion could flourish within those limitations. I think those are very important questions.
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        Jun 19 2011: Hi..no it is not a question of "having faith in every unknown thing" (that by the way is not a an acurate characterization of me but a fair question of clarification about my remark)

        I guess I am saying that the conflict is not between religion and science..the conflict is between and caused by

        (1) an outdated scientific model that is also a broken and no longer serviceable cultural model
        (2) an archaic holding to "belief systems" that include broken religious values and ideas also no longer serviceable.

        there is no fundamental irreconcilable difference between science and religion

        just between an outdated method of scientific inquiry and an outdated set of "belief systems"

        The former hinders science, the latter hinders personal fulfillment, coummications and harmony

        These thoughts are influenced by a stream of thinking and writing influenced by Ken Wilber, Tom Atlee, Rudolph Steiner and others. The particular distillation is my own but I have come to think this is what it boils down to. .

        ( By the way..glad to see you here..)
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        Jun 19 2011: Here is one link, in the garden, also pointing to how we have outgrown our archaic scinetific method looking at it from th data sidehttp://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/magazine/16-07/pb_theoryPs..just because I am a contemplative don't assume that I am contemplating my navel, nirvana or God..in fact the entire focus of my contemplative practice is to enhance all my faculties, brain, heart, will to the highest possible level..to keep them simultaneously engaged and harnessed working together inr all I do and say..and inteestingly many of my fellow contemaplatives are like me..science junkies..especially quantum physics and quantum mechanics, I happen to be a math junkie.. as well)
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          Jun 21 2011: Hi Lindsay,

          I am sorry if I sounded condesending. I did not mean that. You are obviously very bright, very kind, and a pleasant person to share contemplative moments with.

          I'll take a look at the link. For now, I am not sure what you mean by saying the scientific method is archaic.

          I understand the critique of scientism (the notion that nothing can be true that is not empirically verifiable) but I do not understand scientism as identical to scientific method. I think sceintific method requires that certain kinds of statements must be verifiable, namely those pertaining to causation: As Einstein put it, science is concerned with knowledge that pertains to the interelations between means and ends.

          But I don't think that seeing science as limited to its own domain means spirituality is outside rationality. Rather, as I see it, rationality flows through both science and spirituality. Both are subject to the requirement you recently mentioned, that "they work". My focus tends to be on what this reflective evaluation by which we determine "what works" should look like.

          What are the ultimate ends Einstein mentions? I'm not sure I agree with him about the nature of how they simply emerge from "revelation" by powerful personalities if he thinks that is the hole story. Revelation provides inspiration, but we must each ultimately judge the value of that inspiration. As Jesus put it, we must each determine whether the alleged prophesy actually comes from the tree that gives good fruit. It is this question of how we judge the fruit that gets at the heart of the matter.
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          Jun 21 2011: Hi Lindsay,

          I read the article about science. It is very interesting and suggestive.

          As I read it, I was wondering if their conclusion was not a bit too strong. How to best use large bodies of data which are beyond our abiity to directly process is the problem. I was wondering if they were not actually applying the method they said is outdated to the problem of evaluating methods for dealing with large bodies of data.

          Google had a hypothesis about how they could approach large bodies of data. They tested it. they came up with some results. They drew conclusions. Others can try to replicate their experiment.

          If I am right, they are not abandoning the established scientific method, but building on it. If I am right, the mansion still stands but they are adding some new technology in the library.
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        Jun 21 2011: @in the garden

        apology accepted

        the need to update pur traditional scientific model ( and te way it has petmeated and limited culture) has been widely discussued by many good minds for decades..would eba great discussion here at TED ( and a refreshing chanage of pace from all these endless explorations of atheists and aliens and "what's you favorite color") sound like Dean might be game..there may be others.. interested?
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          Jun 24 2011: Hi Lindsay,

          I am intersted to hear more about what you have in mind, so I am game. There was a time when philosophy of science was a direction I could have taken. I wrote a paper on causation as an undergrad that won a prize. I have not kept up since i became more interested in ethics and existentialism
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        Jun 19 2011: Thank you very much ( nice to see you)

        :>))
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          Jun 20 2011: Interesting....I;m going to go read the symposium..apparently einstein had quite a bit to say about science and religion.
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          Jun 20 2011: Here;s a quote from Einstein Science and Religion. Princetom Theological Seminary 1939

          :"Intelligence makes clear to us the interrelation of means and ends. But mere thinking cannot give us a sense of the ultimate and fundamental ends. To make clear these fundamental ends and valuations, and to set them fast in the emotional life of the individual, seems to me precisely the most important function which religion has to perform in the social life of man. And if one asks whence derives the authority of such fundamental ends, since they cannot be stated and justified merely by reason, one can only answer: they exist in a healthy society as powerful traditions, which act upon the conduct and aspirations and judgments of the individuals; they are there, that is, as something living, without its being necessary to find justification for their existence. They come into being not through demonstration but through revelation, through the medium of powerful personalities. One must not attempt to justify them, but rather to sense their nature simply and clearly. : Albert Einstein
          In other words, rationality and spirituality are two different expressions of humanity; one has to do with reason the other with morality, ethics, sentience
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          Jun 20 2011: and here is another Einstein quote from he same essay in which he definitively says since and religion are no irreconcilable

          :"If one conceives of religion and science according to these definitions then a conflict between them appears impossible. For science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be, and outside of its domain value judgments of all kinds remain necessary. Religion, on the other hand, deals only with evaluations of human thought and action: it cannot justifiably speak of facts and relationships between facts. According to this interpretation the well-known conflicts between religion and science in the past must all be ascribed to a misapprehension of the situation which has been described."

          (This is the same essay from which Ed Schulte's quote, also quoted elsewhere here is derived)So in addition to defining religion as the moral expression of humanity he also says that we should consider traditions and teachings which foster, guide and develop this moral awarenss as "religion" whether or not thye include reference to "God"..he specifically mentions Spinoza and Buddah as examples that are under his umbrella of what religion is

          .There are 4 or5(?) different essays on religion and science.. All facsinating. will bring the link here.
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          Jun 20 2011: yes exactly..and the most important thing he was saying ( I look forward to all the essays) is that our belief systems should "serve life" as modern visionary and wisdom master Tom Atlee said in apost at my convreation on belief sysytems. ( now closed but you might enjoy redaing his beuatiful essay and the other penetrating comments there on revamping our belief systems to serve us and humanity.. I personally include searching for truth in that.

          religious language and moral language are to Einstein,to me, to all the wisdom traditions "religion" ..

          All wisdom paths whatever the particulars of the doctrine and dogma lead to the same place, They are just different paths, different language about the same things.

          By the way I set up a conversation that n one responded to on the TED profile tags.."Humanaist" and "moralist" were not among the chices for religion and should be.
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    Jun 16 2011: Seriously is anyone fully rational, is that even a worthy goal. Religion deals with the irrational or at least it should. That established anyone regardless of whether they are religious or not are irrational from time to time. Ever enjoy a sunset, laugh at a stupid joke, fall in love with the wrong person, find yourself annoyed by a song, or think a puppy is cute.
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      Jun 16 2011: That's very true. I have found that people in my entourage who portray themselves as the paragons of rationality often cannot help but have an emotional response to rational questions if their life philosophy is incompatible with the truth.
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        Jun 19 2011: could you say a bit more about that mathtieu?

        I have seen that in people of many ages..people who live with "schemas" and people who live with very tight "belief systems"...what I don't understand is the emotional response part of that.

        . we all encounter differences..in mindsets.especially here at TED Conversations but . I don't panic or feel that my identity i s threatened if I meet someone with a different mindset..I might decide there s no possibility of menaingful communication or I might decid e I have something to learn from that person but I never panic or feel my identity is challenged.

        Do you have a working theory on what that emotional response is?

        I think it is really rather central to this idea of the conflict beyween science and religion.
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    Jun 16 2011: You can be rational and religious, but ill-informed.
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    Jun 15 2011: I think it depends on your definition of "religious"

    I think one could be a practicing Christian (believer and practitioner in the ways of Christ ) and be open minded and rational. In fact emulation of Jesus Christ would seem to imply open-mindedness.

    I religiously watch USA national soccer ;-)
  • Jul 10 2011: I think a person can be rational and not be an atheist or an agnostic. The Jews, Catholics, protestants and Muslims (to name only the Abrahamic religions) had some of the most brilliant rational minds of their eras. Being rational doesn't mean one owns the monopoly of knowledge or ultimate truth.
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    Jun 19 2011: Of course we can. But first we need to define what is rational:
    1.agreeable to reason; reasonable; sensible: a rational plan for economic development.
    2.having or exercising reason, sound judgment, or good sense: a calm and rational negotiator.
    3.being in or characterized by full possession of one's reason; sane; lucid: The patient appeared perfectly rational.
    4.endowed with the faculty of reason: rational beings.
    5.of, pertaining to, or constituting reasoning powers: the rational faculty.
    6.proceeding or derived from reason or based on reasoning: a rational explanation.
    7.Mathematics .
    a.capable of being expressed exactly by a ratio of two integers.
    b.(of a function) capable of being expressed exactly by a ratio of two polynomials.
    8.Classical Prosody . capable of measurement in terms of the metrical unit or mora.

    I think that for this conversation it' better to use the 6th definition of the word rational:
    proceeding or derived from reason or based on reasoning.
    Not everything can proceed or derive from reason, if you base your life only in rationality you are neglecting a very important aspect of the human existence. Of course you can choose to focus only in the rational aspect of life, and believe only in the thing you can explain, but even so you will face thing that can't be explained by reason. Rationality and faith aren't mutual exclusive in fact they complement each other
  • Jun 19 2011: I'd also like to ask something of those in this thread. How does one explain the colossal boat found high up Mt. Urartu? There isn't enough water in the world to get such a large wooden object up there, unless by a supernatural act of something greater.
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      Jun 19 2011: Not so strange maybe..my friends in Albuquerque l ive at 5,000 feet ..their high mountain back yard is full of rocks with sea fossils.

      And also on that particular object am I wrong to recall they are not s sure it is a boat?
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    Jun 19 2011: Of course we can. But first we need to define what is rational:
    1.agreeable to reason; reasonable; sensible: a rational plan for economic development.
    2.having or exercising reason, sound judgment, or good sense: a calm and rational negotiator.
    3.being in or characterized by full possession of one's reason; sane; lucid: The patient appeared perfectly rational.
    4.endowed with the faculty of reason: rational beings.
    5.of, pertaining to, or constituting reasoning powers: the rational faculty.
    6.proceeding or derived from reason or based on reasoning: a rational explanation.
    7.Mathematics .
    a.capable of being expressed exactly by a ratio of two integers.
    b.(of a function) capable of being expressed exactly by a ratio of two polynomials.
    8.Classical Prosody . capable of measurement in terms of the metrical unit or mora.

    I think that for this conversation it' better to use the 6th definition of the word rational:
    proceeding or derived from reason or based on reasoning.
    Not everything can proceed or derive from reason, if you base your life only in rationality you are neglecting a very important aspect of the human existence. Of course you can choose to focus only in the rational aspect of life, and believe only in the thing you can explain, but even so you will face thing that can't be explained by reason. Rationality and faith aren't mutual exclusive in fact they complement each other
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    Jun 19 2011: You think Einstein was an atheist?
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      Jun 19 2011: Do you think Spinoza's God really is a proper God?
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        Jun 19 2011: I don't think or ask questions like that.. (edit :meaning like "who is God? What is God? Do you believe in God?" Is this idea of "god" really "God")
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        Jun 20 2011: Matthieu a lovely summary of Spinoza from an essay

        "Spinoza asserted that for a concept of god to make any sense at all, it must simply be nature. That is, god cannot be something outside nature that controls it, but must necessarily be part of it. According to Spinoza, God IS nature. While Spinoza was excommunicated from his Jewish community in Amsterdam and condemned by Christians as well for being an atheist, he was very devoutly religious. He saw the traditional anthropomorphic (man-like) god as an abomination, completely rejecting the wonder of nature, from which life comes. To Spinoza, nature is the true expression of God. And each of us is part of it."

        Will bring the link..and see below on Einstein who specifically mentions Spinoza in one of his essays on science and religion. In it Einstein specifically deems Buddha and Spinoza as in the realm of religion, God or no God, because they support, encourage, develop moral values in man. He sees not conflict between science and religion.

        So for Einstein "moralists" and "humanists" are "religious" .A nice inclusive concept of religion. And for Einstein, "religion:" in that sense of holding and fostering moral values, values of service tohumanity is an essential element of being human..an essetial aspect of humanity itself.
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      Jun 19 2011: It does not matter what Einstein was back then, it matters what are his views about the existence of God if he were alive now! It all boils down to informed decision.
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        Jun 19 2011: See Ed Schulkte's quote from Einstein above.

        Also well documented(perhaps i can find he excat quites) that in h s last hours his nurse said "Pofessor do you believe in God" and he said something like "what do think my work has been baout if not listening for God"
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    Jun 18 2011: Religion is more the moral understanding of the world around us, and science is the tested understanding of the world around us.

    I believe science can be corrosive to some people's ideology of Religion and God, but that all hinges on the individuals ability to differentiate the two. Religion has a lot of culture associated with it, and gives us our moral objectivity. Science has not fully explained the big questions, so there's no way you can rule out Religion until we can make life out of chemicals.
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      Jun 19 2011: Science can inform morality in many ways, sometimes better than religion can. The ethics around animals are inspired by our understanding of the theory of evolution. The scientific achievements that led up to Apollo 8 are also to thank for the first picture of the Earth which made us consider the finiteness of our planet's resourses. I don't know if religion really gives us our moral objectivity given that we chose not to follow certain of its verses, considered immoral by today's standards. It is worth pointing out that some of the morality that religion prides itself in pioneering can be found in some form amongst other animals.
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        Jun 21 2011: matthieu..I love that point..that science can inform morality.

        recent studies of lobsters and fish showed bevahiors like play that we would never associate with things we boil alive...

        a nice point you made..thanks
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      Jun 19 2011: love you last line david.



      but we have done that haven't we? I think they have made lif e out of chemicals.
  • Jun 18 2011: That's what Islam is all about......look at the golden period of Islamic science....it literally made whatever rationality that is in the west at the moment......

    Then read the Quran and it's rational language and think and contemplate on what it is saying.....then look at Islamic philosophy....possibly the greatest philosophy ever with the likes of Avicenna and Averroes.....

    Islam was always based on logic and still is.....don't look at the people who claim to be Muslims....Terrorists who are hijacking the name of Islam with no shame, killing children and women from even their own faith.....look at what the Quran says and what the greatest Muslim scholars say.....

    Islam and science are so compatible....I'm amazed how people just ignore the fact that Science was so great and was at a peak in the Islamic golden age....all at the same time, the scientists and philosophers and polymaths were all devout Muslims.....

    All of the above shows that Islam will always accept scientific evidence .....but only if it is evidence.....no contradiction between the Quran and Science.....Science is Gods creation.....for that reasons Muslims aren't scared of scientific evidence, in fact they were at one time the best of scientists and hopefully one day it will be the same.....
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    Jun 17 2011: Yes.The core of Jesus teaching seems at odds with the religion of his followers.

    If one listens to the words of the gospels, avoiding talk and examples of miracles and miraculous prophesy, all likely to have been embellishments by religion building followers, one is left with a man who (1) asserted that what is essential to his religion, Judaism, was the Golden Rule, and then (2) proceded to draw out the implications of that rule and wield those implications in a critque of Judaism as it existed in his time.

    That kind of critical thinking guided by fundamental moral principles seems to me to be very consistent with science. It is a kind of thinking that is familiar to those who find anti-rational religions stutifying It is a kind of critical thinking that would not be very friendly to the "creeds" that have been associated with the religion which claims to follow Jesus.

    A rational religion lets science be science and does not interfere. A rational religion lets rational morality be rational morality and does not interfere.

    Rational religion is neither the foundation of morality or the explanation of physical reality. Rather, it is the thoughtful meditation upon what God is or will be, and what our relation to God is or will be, if it is true that benevolence is such a powerful meme that it will (or has) become the all-powerful, controlling meme. The assumption that makes such religion relevant is a failth in benevolence (holy spirit): the choice to assume that benevolence is the one and only meme worthy of our absolute trust (faith).
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    Jun 16 2011: to begin with the birth of religion comes from great thought. the intellectual energy behind any religion equals that of any great scientific thought. It was very hard for me, being an atheist, to believe in the rational thought behind religion. The birth of religion is contributed to the ability of a man to question. Religion brings about a sense of unity in communities.
    Most astonishing fact about religion is it brings about a sense of good over evil which just might be the highest form of rational thought. Consider this the nature laws defined by great newton came from NATURE from OBSERVATION but a sense of good and evil has not come from observation it has come from religion. the greatest contributor to religion might be our conscious which has also developed over centuries.
    There has been over time and till today many who might have misunderstood religion and might have given it a sense of irrationality. but again there was a time when a great scientist was belted with stones for claiming the earth to be round!!!
    these are my personal opinions and i do not intend to hurt anyone's believes.