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Speaking of angry gods causing volcanoes to erupt, etc. Jerry Falwell's take on 911 comes to mind. And more tragic than his statements (in this the 21st century!), were the millions who chose to embrace that bigoted voodoo.

Brilliant post, Lance!

Ken Muldrew

We will meet and talk, brother, we will surely meet and talk.

Lance, you're ignoring the immense contribution of social power that is accumulated by the "priests" through interpersonal interaction (friendliness, busybodiness, caring and empathetic gestures, mentorship, and all manner of "non-scientific" schmoozing (if you were a scientist, playing the game of peer review, you would understand those scare quotes)). The magic act is just a tactic for consolidating that power. If we were all lone individuals, roaming about our territory in isolation, then we would all be empiricists and the priests wouldn't exist (and libertarian dogma wouldn't be so hopelessly unrealistic). But we are social animals and we are busybodies to the very core of our being. And most of us will put our faith in a trusted friend who cares for us long before we will believe the sterile pronouncements of some social outcast in a lab coat (an authoritarian commander in a lab coat is a different story, ...for another time).


I am a scientist and an atheist. I don't try to convince anyone not to believe in a god and I am on perfectly good terms with all kinds of religious people. I even went on mission trips with my father and some of his church members when the trip involved helping people with their everyday lives rather than trying to convert them.

But I consider religion no more useful than, say, the behavior of Star Trek or Star Wars fans at a ST/SW convention, and as meaningful. I consider dialogue with religious people about the intersection of religion and science as a total waste of time. A scientist can be religious because of the ability of humans to compartmentalize their thinking. A person is not a scientist when he is being religious and he is not religious when he is being a scientist.

Where do I fall in Ecklund's categorization?


>I can’t claim to be an atheist
>because I backslide all the time.

Heh. Well said.


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