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Tag: reason

Conspiracy Theories, Writing and Logic 103

Conspiracy Theories, Writing and Logic 103

In editing a piece of promotional work for someone one morning, I was reminded again of the many similarities between writers, who tell fantastic stories for a living and have no intention that they be taken as fact, and conspiracy theorists, who tell fantastic stories for a variety of reasons with every intention that they be taken as fact. In Truther circles, as in plotting a story, the narratives often become increasingly elaborate as they expand. Take Jade Helm, for…

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My Friend Mycroft, Part Three: Mycroft on Religion

My Friend Mycroft, Part Three: Mycroft on Religion

Having discussed the role of science in the life of humanity, my atheist forum friend Mycroft turned to the subject of religion. The points of view were thus: Mycroft=science is a savior; Me=science is a tool for the exploration of reality Mycroft wrote: “The major organized belief systems are incoherent. Half of mosaic, christian, and muslim theology over the last millennia is devoted to the task of belatedly producing some kind of consistency—often by declaring something impossible a “mystery”, or adding afterthoughts.”…

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Part 4 of Religion – the Most Harmful Agency on the Planet?

Part 4 of Religion – the Most Harmful Agency on the Planet?

No Faith is Final — Religious Claims to Absolute Truth When a religion claims to have access to the absolute truth, religious scholar and writer Dr. Charles Kimball explains, those rigid truth claims can form the basis for demonizing and dehumanizing those who differ: A human view of truth, one that is dynamic and relational, enables religious people to embrace and affirm foundational truths without necessarily solidifying the words into static, absolute, propositional statements.  Conversely, religious convictions that become locked…

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Investigating Reality (Part 2): Faith and Reason

Investigating Reality (Part 2): Faith and Reason

In the churches I attended as a child, there was a broad belief that the Bible was inerrant and infallible. I have never been able to determine from my repeated readings of the Biblical text, where this idea came from. There is not even one book in the Bible whose authors make a claim of either inerrancy or infallibility. A related idea is that adding to the Bible (i.e. claiming a newer revelation as Muhammad and Bahá’u’lláh have done) was…

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Science Wins! (Rerun!)

Science Wins! (Rerun!)

My apologies for posting a rerun. I hope to have new blogs soon. I’m about a month out from knee surgery and the time I’m not spending doing physical therapy, icing down my leg and taking care of family necessities, I must write and edit to make a living. A thousand pardons, and I will try to answer any comments … eventually. 🙂 “Science Wins!” This was the headline on a another blog site I frequent. It was in reference…

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How We Know Stuff: Faith, Reason and Relative Pitch

How We Know Stuff: Faith, Reason and Relative Pitch

It occurred to me as I was writing a piece on what it means to say “I know” something that I will never be able to grasp, on my own, certain scientific or mathematical concepts. Black holes, dark matter, imaginary numbers and mathematical proofs are doors closed in my face. There are other things I can grasp and can articulate, and some I grasp but cannot articulate. When it comes to the things I cannot grasp, I must accept the…

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Reason, Religion, and Divine Revelation #1: Introduction

Reason, Religion, and Divine Revelation #1: Introduction

Men at all times and under all conditions stand in need of one to exhort them, guide them and to instruct and teach them. Therefore He hath sent forth His Messengers, His Prophets and chosen ones that they might acquaint the people with the divine purpose underlying the revelation of Books and the raising up of Messengers, and that everyone may become aware of the trust of God which is latent in the reality of every soul. Bahá’u’lláh May 27,…

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If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Another

If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Another

Human beings seem to like to think in binary. “If not A, then B.” “If it’s not one thing, it’s another.” (A statement that, ironically, has multiple meanings.) “It’s an either/or situation.” We answer “yes/no” questions. We decide if we want this or that. We think in ones and zeroes—literally, if we program computers down to the machine language level. Yet, in the squishy world of reality, binary thinking is one of the most significant obstacles that we place in…

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The Scientific Spirit #3: Russell on Unity and Plurality

The Scientific Spirit #3: Russell on Unity and Plurality

One of the most convincing aspects of the mystic illumination is the apparent revelation of the oneness of all things, giving rise to pantheism in religion and to monism in philosophy. — Bertrand Russell, Mysticism and Logic and Other Essays, “Unity and Plurality” Thus Bertrand Russell begins a chapter on Unity and Plurality in which he explores the metaphysical or mystical concept of “oneness”. The words “unity” and “oneness” are much-used in both religion (or mysticism) and philosophy, but are also prominent…

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The Spirit of Science #2: Russell, Reason and Intuition

The Spirit of Science #2: Russell, Reason and Intuition

Of the reality or unreality of the mystic’s world I know nothing. I have no wish to deny it, nor even to declare that the insight which reveals it is not a genuine insight. What I do wish to maintain—and it is here that the scientific attitude becomes imperative—is that insight, untested and unsupported, is an insufficient guarantee of truth, in spite of the fact that much of the most important truth is first suggested by its means. It is common…

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