Living Without

Well this is embarrassing.  I ended my last post with a promise to discuss living without religion vs. living without science.  It turns out it is a very short conversation.  We can not currently live outside of either.

Ta-Da.  Promise kept.

I’m guessing (nay hoping!) that you fine readers came here expecting a bit more so I’ll use the rest of this blog post to explain my reasons for the religious side of this conclusion. Please correct me if I’m wrong about the idea that those reading this already accept that we do not live outside of science’s reach.  That’s fair enough, isn’t it?

First is the most obvious evidence that we live inside religion’s sphere of influence – labels: Atheist, Free-thinker, Agnostic, Skeptic, and many more indicate that religion still influences our lives.  It’s been said many times, (Often by Sam Harris or those re-iterating his position) “No one wastes their time being an opponent of astrology”.  I would argue a bit with this sentence, but I am the skeptical (read: often contrary) type, so we will just accept this generalization for the sake of keeping this blog’s length under control.  Please feel free to expound in the comments about this point.

But, what about religious types of thinking?  Reading Discover magazine increased my interest of the idea that science can occasionally behave in the same way as religion. Cosmology, a very difficult field full of theory where solid evidence is not currently available, can lead down this path.

*Not being a scientist I’m not arguing the information, just the way it is used. Much of science has more or less conceded to the idea of Dark Matter because it neatly explains things within our accepted laws of physics. Challenging such ideas (obviously within the framework of the scientific method) is one of the most important parts of science. Validated dissension by a qualified member of the scientific community should be welcomed and explored, even if it means questioning the idea of constant universal laws.

When science stops questioning it risks falling into the world of magical thinking where some cows are sacred because they have been around so long, not because the are demonstratively true.

Just one more time, before my thoughts about the ways we think about science can be taken too far out of context – I majored in Theatre, a group that can not make a proper people circle. This is strictly a social comment. (take that lawyerly types-full disclosure)

I’m still trying to understand this mental dual that happens behind our eyes and between our ears.  We need to trust in order to survive and we need to be skeptical in order to survive. Finding a balance is key. For now, using a structure like the scientific method can help us decide when it is time to do which. It will remain a lifelong goal in our ever evolving world.

How is a basic version of the scientific method responsible for our laws?

About Happy Skeptic

I was born in 1976 and grew up in Central, IL. I was lucky enough to attend both a Community College and complete my education at a 4 year university. My personal goals include furthering my education and improving my writing skills. I'm happily married and parenting back in the Mid-West after stints in LasVegas, NV and LosAngeles, CA (where I hope to return permanently one day)
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2 Responses to Living Without

  1. Jay Pea says:

    I think that Harris has a point but only so far as it specifically relates to astrology. If you categorize astrology as “woo” then I would disagree with his statement. There are plenty of people who are opponents of woo: James Randi, Dr. Steve Novella, Joe Nichols, etc. But woo has no scientific basis and therefore those who are logical enough to realize that science is very important to our lives around the world will be opponents of woo.

  2. Happy Skeptic says:

    He is also making an inconsistent comparison. Astrology does not have the same overall structure of religion. More importantly there is a great deal of scientific information pointing towards the evolutionary basis of religion. Here is the location of a list of scholarly articles on the subject: http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=Evolutionary+basis+of+religion&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart
    I think we do ourselves a dis-service by ignoring the history and reality of the source of our (humans as a group) religious nature.

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