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Why do you make it personal?

Posted by Thinker on April 24, 2008 at 19:33:40

In Reply to: Re: Makes you think...yeah, really... posted by Farmer on April 24, 2008 at 15:02:25:

Is it because you take it personally?

I'll do my best not to return in kind but to keep to the topic. you'll have to pat me on my back for my kindness :-)

Math has been used to support science. Logic has been said to be religion's greatest enemy. I didn't say it. Surf the net. Or try reading the smae books I do :-) I don't have the energy to type the whole paragraph in context, and it's not my personal view, but here is an excerpt from What is Religion? An Introduction by John F. Haught:

"The learning of commonplace truths, such as those of logic, mathematics and science, does not require as much personal investment and struggle as religion. We do not risk ourselves when we accept that 2 + 2 = 4 or that the law of gravity is correct. But it is seriously difficult to accept the religious view that a gracious mystery encompasses one's life without feeling a deep challenge in such an intuition."

Math, specifically something called Ramsey theory, which studies the conditions under which order must appear, "can account for the illusion of divine order arising from chaos."

It may be semantics but I make a distinction between religion and faith. I am referring to math and science going head-to-head against narrowminded religion and conservative tradition, not faith. I don't think math and faith (or even religion) are incompatible, but many have thought so.

There are obviously men of science and math who believe in God. Obviously you are one. So am I. There are also those who aren't.

Ever heard of John Allen Paulos' work to refute the classical arguments for God's existence? You might be interested to know he chides atheists for their conduct against believers too.

He wrote: Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don't Add Up (Hill & Wang).

Ever hear of Bertrand Russell the mathematician of whom it was said: "He was a fierce enemy of religion as an institution and a firm believer in a rational, scientific outlook where no one should accept any judgement without evidence."

Aside from the many men of science/math who subscribe to logic and find religion illogical and are outspoken about it, math/science even when supposedly on the same side as religion, has faced steady opposition from religionists. Countless times, proponents of new theories have been accused of undermining faith.

Think Galileo and what he went through with the Church regarding heliocentrism. It was the only way he could make sense out of the math he saw before him as he charted the movements of the planets, but for that he was branded a heretic.

Think Baruch Spinoza, the 17th-century Jewish philosopher who: "echoed the Platonic idea that mathematical law and the harmony of nature are aspects of the divine. Spinoza, too, posited that God's activities in the universe were simply a description of mathematical and physical laws. For that and other heretical views, he was excommunicated by Amsterdam's Jewish community."

Think Georg Cantor:
"German mathematician Georg Cantor's work on infinity and numbers beyond infinity (the mystical 'transfinite') was denounced by theologians who saw it as a challenge to God's infiniteness. Cantor's obsession with mathematical infinity and God's transcendence eventually landed him in an insane asylum."

Think Pascal's wager:
"It's in our self-interest to believe in God because we lose nothing in case He does exist [this] is upended as logically flawed, based on what statisticians call Type I and Type II errors."

I could go on forever citing you source after source about how heresy (defined for example as belief in the theory of matter being composed of atoms) was an officially punishable offense in RC nations, or how math and science have broken down traditional notions of the order of the universe, but I leave you to do your own research.

Now that I have been so gracious as to defend and explain myself and quote my sources, in future I would appreciate your not telling me my worldview belongs "in the virtual or binary gabage bin of your computersystem."