Among many scientists and the general public the view is widespread that the only justifiable approach to solving problems in nature is the scientific one. Is there a role for philosophy? What is the evidence for the multiverse approach to cosmology and for evolutionary explanations of why our universe seems to be fine tuned to the evolution of life? Can questions of ethics be resolved by science alone? Professor Austin L. Hughes, a distinguished biologist at South Carolina University, has given a penetrating analysis of the problems. See here:
Archive for the 'religion' Category
These two personalities had a discussion on Australian TV on religion and God. I did not see it but read various comments on it in newspapers. Good to hear that the CardinaI would admit atheists into Heaven, if he had a say in it. I have discussed The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins earlier, as well as views on religion by Heisenberg, Max Planck, Karl Marx and some others. See the attached link:
In the current debate on climate change and other human induced effects on the environment it is important to reflect on the moral justification for large scale destruction of habitats and animal species by man. Do we have to consider only the well-being of fellow humans or of animals as well? Schopenhauer was, to my knowledge, the first Western philosopher who spoke out for the rights of animals.
For details see here:
In today’s Daily Telegraph, Cardinal George Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, had the following to say about the elections, when asked for advice on how to vote.
It is not really my role to give advice on how to vote, however, one should consider the personalities of the parties’ leaders. And: the Greens are antireligion, their philosophy is that of the “notorious” Peter Singer (Australian, Professor of bioethics at Princeton University, USA, and laureate Profressor of Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne, probably the most prominent advocate of animal rights today), who believes that humans are not unique and differ from animals only in the complexity of their minds, and who advocates euthanasia, among other things.
Although Cardinal Pell claims to be concerned about the environment, he says the Greens’ policy is poisonous because it disadvantages the poor. He had earlier, in a different context, said that “some of the hysteric and extreme claims about global warming are also a symptom of pagan emptiness…..belief in a benign God who is master of the universe has a steadying psychological effect….In the past pagans sacrificed animals and even humans to placate capricious and cruel gods. Today they demand reduction in carbon dioxide emissions”.
There are about five million catholics in Australia, and Cardinal Pell’s “advice” will have some influence. So much about the separation of church and state, for which, since the Enlightenment, people in Europe have fought with some success in many countries.
This leads to an even more important question, that of the role of the press in Australia.
The Daily Telegraph, in which this and earlier articles by Cardinal Pell were published, is a tabloid newspaper with a circulation of about 409000, the largest in Sydney. It belongs to Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited, along with The Australian, Australia’s only nationwide non-tabloid paper, and the most popular metropolitan dailies in most other Australian metropolitan cities. It is obviously (like Fox News in the US, also run by Murdoch) totally (I would say ridiculously) biased to the right. In the current elections, the bias towards the Liberals is what I would say extreme.
In other words, there is no freedom of the Press in Australia in the sense that objective and accurate information is disseminated. But there is freedom for Rupert Murdoch to disseminate his views.
Tony Abbott, the leader of the opposition, and Joe Hockey, his deputy, both devout catholics, appear to base their view on climate change (“crap” in the words of Abbott) not on science but on the dogma of the Church. One can only hope that the electorate will see through the spin, although I doubt it.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald (April 2-4, 2010), the Archbishop of Parramatta, Anthony Fisher, launched a scathing attack on atheism in his inaugural Easter message. “Last century we tried godlessness on a grand scale and the effects were devastating.”-”Nazism, Stalinism, Pol-Pottery, mass murder and broken relationships: all promoted by state-imposed atheism or culture-insinuated secularism”.
Sorry, this is sheer nonsense, at least as far as Nazism is concerned (and perhaps one should not forget that Stalin began his career at a seminary for priests in Georgia, although he later became the chief preacher of atheistic Marxism-Leninism).
I quote from “Hitler’s Secret Conversations 1941-1944″ (English translation by Norman Cameron and R.H.Stevens 1953, A Signet Book, The New American Library).
It is important that these conversations were not meant for publication and can therefore be accepted as expressing Hitler’s real beliefs.
page 36: “Fundamentally in everyone there is the feeling for this all-mighty, which we call God (that is to say, the dominion of natural laws throughout the whole universe). The priests, who have always succeeded in exploiting this feeling, threatening punishments for the man for the man who refuses to accept the creed they impose”.
page 86: “I envisage the future, therefore as follows: First of all, to each man his private creed. Superstition shall not lose its rights…”
page 158: “Christ was an Aryan…”
page 330: “If my presence on earth is providential, I owe it to a superior will. But I owe nothing to the Church that trafficks in the salvation of souls, and I find it really too cruel. I admit that one cannot impose one’s will by force, but I have a horror of people who enjoy inflicting sufferings on others’ bodies and tyranny upon others’ souls.”
Somewhere (I could not find the reference) he says that the justification of the war against the bolsheviks really was their atheism. This explains, of course, why the catholic church was fairly ambivalent about Hitler. Even Cardinal Graf von Galen, Bishop of Münster during the Nazi era and a close friend of the later Pope Pius XII, supported Hitler’s war against the Soviet Union, in spite of his opposition to other aspects of Nazism.
So, does this sound like an atheist? Hitler certainly was not a Christian and he was a fanatic antisemite, but he certainly was not an atheist.
The most violent opponents of Richard Dawkins, the high priest of contemporary atheism, argue, like the archbishop above, that atheism is at the root of all (or much) evil. It seems that in their opinion one needs to be threatened with punishment in Hell to be good. Well, Hitler did evil without being an atheist. (see here:http://knol.google.com/k/klaus-rohde/richard-dawkins-the-god-delusion-terry/xk923bc3gp4/60#edit)
Listen to this one: http://www.physics.uq.edu.au/people/aggie/blog/?p=181#comments
I wonder how many of the so-called climate change deniers are influenced by this sort of thinking.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, January 19, Pat Robertson, one of the leading American evangelicals, has the following to say about the reasons for the earthquake that destroyed much of Haiti:
” Haiti had been cursed by a pact he said its slave founders made with the devil two centuries ago to overthrow their French rulers.”
For the historical background, click here
A few days before the beginning of the Copenhagen conference on climate change, the media are full of reports on supposed falsification of climate data at the University of East Anglia, England. Where did the information come from? Apparently, professional hackers broke into large numbers of emails between climate change researchers and put a selection of those emails on climate skeptic websites, just in time for the conference. Certainly not cheap, who paid the hackers? Have a guess.
Any evidence that there was indeed falsification of data? Not as far as I am aware. But does it matter? The damage is done.
In this context, a number of years back, the media were full of reports on Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction etc. What were these reports based on? Among the most important pieces of evidence, apparently, were a student essay, and a conversation between passengers which an Iraqi taxi driver overheard and reported two years later. All this comes out again now at the hearings in Britain about the Iraq war. A few million dead! Don’t bother, it all was done in the interest of whom?
For details see: http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,665944,00.html
Google Knols have been available for over a year now and – although still in their infancy – have proven to be very useful.
Examples here: http://knol.google.com/k/klaus-rohde/klaus-rohde-knols-english/xk923bc3gp4/69#
An exiting new tool for science communication is now being developed. I thank my son Peter for sending me this. Links here:
“Nobel” Prize for Economics and Conservative Bible Project show us that Free Market Economy is rightFriday, October 9th, 2009
The “Nobel” Prize in Economics has been a very effective instrument in directing economics research into a certain direction, i.e. that of neoclassical free market economics. But, apparently, this is not sufficient. Why not, therefore ask for help from the Bible.
Nobel Prize for Economics
“The Nobel prize for economics may need its own bailout
“Nobel prize has been a useful tool not only to proclaim the conceptual advances supposedly made by “the dismal science” but also to encourage certain types of economic analysis and research. So its power extends beyond public recognition, altering the very production of economic knowledge.”
“The political effect of the prize in the profession has been undeniable. There has been overwhelming domination of neoclassical economics, to the exclusion of alternative streams of thought, with only a few nods in the direction of broader and more socially embracing approaches. This has encouraged more conservative approaches in research and teaching.
Monetarist and free market approaches have been disproportionately rewarded, often at crucial times….”
In a recent post I produced some funny quotes from Heinrich Heine. The Huffington Post, from time to time, produces equally funny ones. Have a look at this one:
From: The Huffington Post | Rachel Weiner
First Posted: 10- 5-09 02:26 PM | Updated: 10- 5-09 03:38 PM
Some extracts (bold by me):
“Lo and behold, the Bible has gotten too liberal, according to a group of conservatives. And it needs a little editing.
That’s the inspiration behind the Conservative Bible Project, which seeks to take the text back to its supposed right-wing roots.
Yes, even scripture is not orthodox enough for the modern conservative. Not that it’s the fault of the author(s), exactly. The group cites a few reasons why the Bible is too progressive: “Lack of precision in the original language … lack of precision in modern language” and “translation bias in converting the original language to the modern one.”
So how can the Bible be conservatized? The group has proposed a Wikipedia-like group editing project. Some of the ideas would only bring the translation closer to the original. But others would fundamentally change the text.
1. Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias
3. Not Dumbed Down: not dumbing down the reading level, or diluting the intellectual force and logic of Christianity; the NIV is written at only the 7th grade level
4. Utilize Powerful Conservative Terms: using powerful new conservative terms as they develop;defective translations use the word “comrade” three times as often as “volunteer”; similarly, updating words which have a change in meaning, such as “word”, “peace”, and “miracle”.
6. Accept the Logic of Hell: applying logic with its full force and effect, as in not denying or downplaying the very real existence of Hell or the Devil.
7. Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning
Among the words to be eliminated: “government.” A conservative columnist at Beliefnet described the effort as “just crazy … like what you’d get if you crossed the Jesus Seminar with the College Republican chapter at a rural institution of Bible learnin’.”
Concerning the recommended Wikipedia style: I have commented on the serious flaws and biasses of Wikipedia in a knol:
Concerning the free market propaganda to be incorporated, is this blasphemous?