evolution of religion...

Discussion in 'Ancient History and Mythology' started by wil, Feb 18, 2015.

  1. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    I should have known my comment would seem insensitive, for that I apologize.

    Alchemy was closely associated with Hermeticism...a religious philosophy.

    ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermeticism

    This strongly implies association with such as the Freemasons and Rosecrucians, both of whom hold reverence for Hermes Trimegistus, and both of whom date back through the Middle Ages into the late Roman Empire and earlier. Hermeticism was the clique of "uber-scholars" of the era, logic was a pre-eminant practice, and the study of how the world worked (with the end to manipulate it as a goal) was a constant occupation...this was the greater part of the syncretic soup out of which science was born.

    Was science born out of Christian or other "religious" thinkers...certainly not in the way you suggest, apart from incidentally as you did mention. Nevertheless, Hermeticism is *a* religion, and out of the religion of Hermeticism as the primary source material, I do believe science as we know it did spring.

    You don't have to believe...simply connect the dots.
     
  2. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Let me see if I can put my foot in my mouth one more time...

    In my experience...*every* time I have broached the subject of ties between science and religion it has *always* (without exception until you) met with knee-jerk denial, of the exact same kind I often see out of fundamentalist religionists. That is the "cringe" I was referring to. There appears to me to be an instinctive resistance to the mere consideration of even the possibility, yet no one seems to be able to offer up any substantive answer for where science came from, apart from the kind of vague "well, I suppose they were religious, but that's not the same thing..." stuff like you offered.

    I mean, come on. I know I can be ...insensitive, sometimes... with my choice of words. But I would hope my motives come across with the sincerity that lies behind them. Why the instinctive hesitation to even consider? Seriously, is the necessity to distance from religion so severe as to deny rightful heritage???
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2015
  3. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    We may be wording around the same point. I can accept that Hermeticism was one source from which science did spring. As I mentioned myself, astrology to astronomy. Where I cannot connect the dots is that these pseudo-sciences became science. They certainly did predate science. I agree there. They did not become science though. Science grew as a discipline out of the pseudo-sciences that predated it by eliminating the mistakes that made up what came before. Does that help at all?
     
  4. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    Posted my post before I saw your latest. I think it does answer your final question.
     
  5. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    I don't understand the difference. Isn't that sort of "if humans evolved from apes, why are there still apes?"
     
  6. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    I found myself thinking along similar lines... ;)
     
  7. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Here's a bit of fuel for the fire:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Newton's_occult_studies

    Isaac Newton, often credited as being one of the first "scientists," dabbled with alchemy and other esoteric subjects.

    Food for thought
     
  8. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Not really, can you provide an example?
     
  9. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science

    Hmmm...a scant hurried skip right past Newton with no more than casual mention. Instead the focus on Descartes and Bacon, but nothing sustantive. Obligatory mention of the Greek philosophers, Golden Age of Islam preserving Aristotlean physics, Copernicus and Galileo. No mention at all of Leonardo.

    It continues:
    Wow, that gets deep! It also shows a deep vein of philosophy still running through the discipline, with a heavy metaphysical (one could say "religious") bent.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2015
  10. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    Certainly. Answering Tea's question at the same time. Astrology is a pseudo-science. It is based upon principles that how certain constellations were aligned at the moment of your birth could explain events in your past, and accurately predict what will happen to you in the future (as well as other things like your personality, etc.). All of this is based on what? Well nothing really. No one can tell me how constellations can affect my life on this planet. The constellations themselves, basis for the entire system, are not fixed. Over long periods of time stars will move in relation to us and the supposed all important constellations won't even look the same any longer. And as a matter of fact, the premise of the constellations isn't even right today as it only appears that certain stars are part of a group that create the constellation. In reality though some of the stars are light years closer, some light years further away.

    That is pseudo-science. It is a system based upon observation for which no method of accuracy or correction was ever devised.

    Astronomy follows the scientific method. We have learned that one of the fundamental forces in the universe is gravity. And we can calculate this force so extremely well that we can send a rocket to rendezvous with Mars months and months from now and the rocket and Mars will be in the same place at the same time when we get there.

    That is but one tiny example. More importantly science is self correcting. As late as the 1920's we still thought our galaxy was the extent of the universe! Once we had the optics to see better we realized that idea was wrong and it was thrown into the trash pile of theories proven false.

    If this example does not explain how science can have been preceded and ended up replacing pseudo-sciences, then it is not within my ability to make it any clearer.

    p.s. Juan you posted your latest just before I posted this. I have no idea what you are trying to prove with this excerpt from Wiki. It is a rather limited explanation, but then it is Wiki. Seems to me there are far better sites to answer the definition of science. Say like a science site!
     
  11. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    I agree wiki isn't definitive, but its a start. Was looking to see if there was any substantive "when did science begin" kind of stuff. While it was as expected sparse and cursory regarding formative history, some of the modern era philosophy stuff is ... bizarre.

    What I am seeing is what I've known, for who-knows-what reason the genesis of modern science is (in my view deliberately) shrouded and veiled.

    What I would say regarding astrology vs. astronomy...first up, they were exactly the same for millenia. Likely the first hint of anything remotely resembling science was astronomy. There wasn't much else to do except stare into a campfire. Certainly women began to realize that the moon seemed to coincide with a certain monthly visitor. As people became agronomic, the seasons as well as the moon began to factor together (echoes of this still today in the Old Farmer's Almanac). At some point I agree there was some kind of co-mingling with soothsaying, my guess would be during the Greco-Roman period, but it could have been as early as Egypt. All of that got caught up in Greek philosophy and moved into the Renaissance. I do think a crucial point you are overlooking, not your fault, it's a piece of history that gets glossed over, is the Gregorian correction to the calendar. That's where we get leap year from...and that started to cast some doubt in the minds of the superstitious, granting opportunity for astronomy to make a clean break. 1582 for Gregorian calendar correction, 1512 for Copernicus' "heliocentric" model, 1609 for Galileo's first use of a telescope...and Copernicus really was obscure and ignored until Galileo's vindication...which cost him (Galileo) his liberty. While Copernicus labored under recently Protestant Germanic territories (Germany wasn't unified until the second half of teh 1800s), Galileo clearly was under the influence of the Vatican although not acting directly on its behalf, and the calendar correction was calculated by a Jesuit Monk named Christopher Clavius (direct authority of the Pope).

    So I see what you are saying, but I'm not seeing it fleshed out. No direct connections that don't even peripherally involve the Christian faith specifically. It isn't until Newton that we see a bona fide separation begin, and even then it is exceptionally vague. Descartes and Bacon played their roles in opening some eyes in a more philosophical sense, but I think that was a bit early yet to divorce science from the church.

    Obviously this is cursory, and no doubt there are significant details missing...some of which we may never know...and that's kind of the point, why? Why all the secrecy and mystery, and outright denial?
     
  12. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Have you got a science site in mind that covers the formative history of science? I'm not doing all of your work here...you made the claim, you need to back it up. ;)
     
  13. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    I don't have one in mind. If I were to pick one off the top of my head it would probably mathematics.

    It's a strange thing - you spend most of post #30 doing the explaining for me. How primitive observations morphed into religious explanations, which began the concept of observable answers, which ended with a break from all that had gone before when the need for the scientific method became apparent for science to come truly into its own.

    So where is this secrecy, mystery and outright denial? It is right there, and in your own words. The progression from the beginning to now. I don't disagree with any of that. It is what I have been trying to say all along.
     
  14. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    OK, fair enough. Which one of the men I mentioned called himself a scientist? Which of the men openly, or even subtly, proclaimed the scientific method?

    Seems to me the organization of science reaches out to lay claim to persons such as these...it still doesn't explain "when" *modern science* as a bona-fide independent practice and philosophy began.
     
  15. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    You seem to want a date. How about March 26th, 1240. No? Okay just kidding.

    A teeny bit of searching on the All Powerful God Google suggests folk considered numerous dates from the early Greeks to the High Middle Ages (late 1200's) to the Renaissance, to as late as the 17th century as the beginning of modern science.

    As to the scientific method, which is a better bar, it seems to me, to arrive at modern science. Aristotle (300s BCE) was the first person we know of who believed observation was the best way to confirm reliable information. Roger Bacon in the 1200's was the first we know of who described a repeating cycle of observation, hypothesis, experimentation, and verification. Finally Galileo is considered by many to be the father of modern scientific method.

    All of the above I cherry picked (or blueberry depending on your taste) from this site:
    http://scientificmethod.com/sm5_smhistory.html

    This is all fine and dandy, but to me also a bit silly. Humanity does not do stuff in a nice, straight line very often. Strides forward are made, steps falling back occur, sometimes the whole process takes such a severe hit that it collapses back to nothing and has to climb from the ooze of ignorance all over again. The best we can do is comment on some events of major development where steps towards the process occurred.

    And what does it really matter any way? Can you tell me when religion first started? This entire process has seemed to me to be an ever moving target. I reach one bar only to get hit with a higher one. First it was science is just another religion. I countered that. Then got what separates the two? I explained that. Then it was who should be considered a scientist or not. Answered that. Now it's when is the birthday of science? My suggestions are here. I'm afraid to see what the next query in the chain is going to be. What is the end goal?

    And all of this in a thread about the evolution of religion!
     
  16. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    I haven't been very active, but I can admit that I have been moving the goal post on my own when reading your responses, but it has been as a direct result of your answers. >I< don't find your counter, explanation, answers or suggestions satisfactory at all. It might be just me. But I can see that you have a clear picture of what science you are talking about and how it is uniquely different from other philosophies.

    I don't have any other view of philosophies then this: we stand on the shoulders of giants. Every way of thinking has adopted what was there before but changed as a reaction against what was there. How we separate philosophies today was foreign in ancient Greece, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. We are dealing with a word, and a way of looking at the world without separating the two, and words are social constructs, which makes them tricky.
     
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  17. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    I would say we are speaking about a process rather than a word. Otherwise as I think I mentioned before, I think I have gone as far as I can. You remain unconvinced, and that is perfectly fine. It is not my place to convince you. All I can do is give the best answers I can and the rest is in your court. If it helps at all, we are hardly alone here in our little corner of discussion. Google the subject and you will find as many proponents as opponents for the what the 'real' relationship between science and religion is.
     
  18. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Sorry if it seems like I'm picking on you, DA, but it kind of illustrates what I've said for years. Thank you for being bold enough to at least take an honest stab at it, most folks I talk to on the subject have already dismissed me way before now...not realizing just how much like a fundamentalist they are behaving in the process. (I can see how you believe I was moving goalposts...not really, as you said in your own words, the matter is complex and not as simple as a straight line.)

    Frankly, I'm right back at Newton. Besides the hints and allegations about the Rosicrucians, he was also a presiding member of "The Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge" which apparently came under some kind of scrutiny as well. Newton had the power and prestige to finally overcome the investigations, but never quite came out from under the shadows of suspicion in the mind of the public.

    The example I'm going to draw from is the barcode. There was so much hype and hyperbole going around about barcodes "and the anti-Christ!" not long after they were implemented, that for some time and perhaps even until today it was effectively impossible to find out who was behind them or any developmental information. I probably should check, time constraints, but I wouldn't be the least surprised if the info was still quite censored.

    Using that as a model...I have this inkling that what we know as "modern science" came out of the Royal Society and Newton, and likely for reasons similar to that I mentioned regarding barcodes is why the habituated and perpetuated instinctive reaction to distance science from religion. Those who typically defend science in this typically aren't "logical" or using "scientific method" to answer the question of when modern science actually began. Perhaps now you understand my regrettable choice of wording in calling science an illegitimate child that denies its heritage.
     
  19. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    I'm a bit confused ... or is it amused?

    Science born of religion, religion born of science, the two hand in hand, or walking yards apart ... is not the reality closer to man just looking up in the sky and wondering? Does not the impetus, the question, come from the same place? Is it not simply man's nature?

    And what do we mean by 'modern science' (surely that is a fluid idea dependent upon the times?) And what do we mean by 'scientific method'?

    And art ... d'you think that's not a science, not an investigation of the nature of what is? Or are we not being a bit narrow-minded, art can't be a valid inquiry, because it doesn't follow the methodology? Yet how many scientific breakthroughs were not just the product of empirical methodology, but the fruit of a sudden and dazzling insight, an inspiration, a conviction, a faith in the idea? All very non-scientific, those terms, but time and again I've heard those terms being used by scientists to explain the where the answer came from.

    In short, do we not think there are some 'scientists' who are 'artists' in their field?

    I think this whole debate is all a bit fundie, actually.

    If we mean observation, test and trial, the measurement and interpretation of data, then the 'ancient Greeks' were doing that. Look at Euclid. Look at the guy (I do wish I could remember his name), who stuck two sticks in the sand and by measuring the length and angle of shadow worked out the world was round and roughly 24,000 miles in diameter? They came up with atomic theory, after all. How was that not science? (And what has modern science contributed to the exercise but clever tech?)

    Good grief, language, which determines how we think, was investigated by Aristotle, and modern commentaries still reference him as a cornerstone.

    If we mean the empirical sciences, then I would say OK, but your margins are way too narrow for a reasonable debate, especially of this topic. God is not, and never was, accessible to empirical determination. The idea that empirical determination will or can disprove God is just a modern nonsense, even if Stephen Hawking happens to be saying it. He might be au fait with what's going on at CERN, but he's in the 'boonies' when it comes to contemporary theology, let alone classical philosophy. I would think Anaximander (6BCE) would laugh his head off at the thought of a scientist chasing God with a ruler or scales ...

    So what about the non-empirical sciences, or don't they count? Or are they second-rate?

    And with regard to the Hermeticism ... the relation of alchemy to physics and / or chemistry was always a misbegotten venture.

    To complicate matters, even the most admired scientist is not immune to 'superstition' or 'error' or just plain 'nonsense'. So maybe Newton and other respectable members of their communities were looking for 'The Philosopher's Stone', but I'm sure any authentic Hermeticist, any authentic alchemist, could have informed them that the quest for 'the Philosopher's Stone' is not some magical elixir of eternal life, nor the catalyst to turn lead into gold, but should be understood as the quest for the 'prima materia' of the cosmos, and later 'the Ground of Being', much akin to the idea of prakriti in the Hindu traditions.

    I think this whole enterprise is flawed by its modernist outlook. And, tragically, by the fundamentalists of empiricism who have decided that nothing is true, or real, or meaningful, unless it can be quantified.
     
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  20. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Well it seems, or so it seems that everything can be measured by science....eventually....we eventually build a machine that 'hears' the wavelengths beyond our hearing, 'sees' the light beyond 'visible' light... we build telescopes and microscopes that see around and inside things...computers that can determine a planet exists by the star wobbles....

    We can verify, quantify, qualify all....except gods... and some folks accept that...

    We watch doctors raise the dead, heal the sick, magicians turn water into wine, and the rivers turn red..... and know how it happens...

    what was once 'magic' is now science...

    we've proven N....and I believe one day we will prove N+1
     
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