Saturday, December 17, 2005

Keeping up with exotic visitors

Num Perc. Country Name
66 78.57% United States
8 9.52% Canada
3 3.57% United Kingdom
2 2.38% Australia
1 1.19% Netherlands
1 1.19% Malaysia
1 1.19% Philippines
1 1.19% Kenya
1 1.19% Switzerland


They are exotic to me. I hope they take no offense, as to them they are the norm and I'm, well, if not exotic at least shall we say, out of the ordinary?Well why shouldn't I be charitable to myself?

I welcome the reader from Kenya. I don't think I've had a visitor from Kenya before. I've really lost favor with the UK. in the begining they made up 13% of readers. no 3% There was actually a more exotic crop the other day. I hope someday I'll travel to these places. Hey if you were stuck in Dallas Texas, you would love hearing form people around the world too.

btw comments can be made to the blog again. No one is maknig any but I would like to hear from you all and know how you enjoyed the debate between JD and I.

7 comments:

Peter said...

Hi,

As one of your exotic visitors, I'd like to say I enjoyed the debate, and this weblog in general. I'm tempted to comment on some of the things JDHurf wrote, but it's not my debate, and as you say it's good manners to let the guest have the last word. Even more importantly, in this time zone it's bedtime for me...

Peter

J.L. Hinman said...

Hi Peter, thanks for your interest. I think it would be appropriate or the reader to speak to the debate. Just because I give him the last word, as the host, doesn't mean the readers have to. Besides, there may be pro JD readers who let me have it.

btw where are you from if you don't mind saying? I like to think about travel.

thanks!

JDHURF said...

Hey Peter,

By all means post a comment on your thoughts and reactions to the debate, it is important for people to speak their mind on issues that are important to them. In any case I may not respond too heavily to responses to the debate, for I feel the debate speaks for itself well enough. Again please do respond, I am interested in what anyone has to say on the subject!

Peter said...

Alright then! First of all, for clarity I think it's good that we agree atheism is _rejection_ of belief in God, rather than just a lack of belief. It seems to me that especially on the web the meaning of the word has stretched a lot compared to the greater part of the 20th century. I try to be consistent in referring to people who are not religious as, well, non-religious people.

While a natural inclination for humans to have religious experiences or to believe in God (assuming such an `instinct' exists) does not prove the existence of God, the possibility of a natural explanation for this inclination isn't very persuasive as an argument against God either; it is not so difficult to find evolutionary explanations for almost anything, and the hard part is to show that some "just-so story" is in fact true.

Cosmology is a subject I know a bit more about than about psychology, and I would hesitate very much to call any of the following a theory rather than speculation: string theory, chaotic inflation, the brane world scenario, the Hartle-Hawking proposal, and the oscillatory universe. Neither of these are straightforward extrapolations from known science, and all of them are far from established among physicists. I am somewhat curious about JDHurf's reasons for subscribing to the brane world model (if I understand correctly), for which there isn't a shred of evidence as of this writing, while claiming that nothing short of experimental proof would even sway him when it comes to a "God-instinct" in our brains.

I do not think scientific cosmology can be very useful in debates for or agains the existence of God. I agree with Georges LemaƮtre (the Belgian priest and astronomer who came up with the idea of the Big Bang), who convinced the Pope _not_ to use the Big Bang as an argument for creation. The point of the cosmological argument is that the natural world is contingent and temporal, and depends for its existence on a `being' that exists necessarily and out of time. That this `being' is in fact recognisable as the more `traditional' God is not clear from the cosmological argument; therefore the primary use of the cosmological argument is as a kind of additional `evidence' or as a confirmation of existing belief.

Saying that belief in the supernatural amounts to superstition, that science and supernaturalism are in competition, and that religion is a scientific theory sounds conspicuously like Richard Dawkins, who is not exactly the most enlightened person when it comes to discussing religion. I assume that JDHurf's statement that "I do not believe that religion and science are in competition overall" and that "there are religious moderates that are capable of reconciling their faith with science" is closer to his real beliefs; at least I believe most reasonable people would look at it that way.

Finally, I want to say I heartily agree with both of you that there ought to be more acceptance and understanding between people with different worldviews. Hostility solves nothing.

Thanks,
Peter

P.S. I'm Dutch.

J.L. Hinman said...

Nice to hear from you

J.L. Hinman said...

ah Netherlands! Great! Welcome to the blog.


I once worte a paper on a book by an art historian called Simon Shama. The Embarressment of Riches. It was about art collections in Northern Renaissance at Brouse and Deflt. I'm afriad 90% of what I know about the Netherlands comes from that paper. But it was great stuff.

JDHURF said...

Peter,

Thank you for leaving your thoughts, and ending on a conciliatory note. The only thing that I really would like to say is that when Richard Dawkins, I, or anyone else describes the conflict between religion and science it is more of a theoretic-intellectual view taken within the secular community and is grossly overstated; in every day real life I do not see as much conflict as Richard Dawkins would have us believe. However I live in Tulsa Oklahoma and with the Evangelical Christians in full force down here there is much to be desired between the reconciliation between both science and “faith”. I would love to see science and religion become more compatible and end their opposition to one another, but unfortunately there are always going to be a large portion of the religious that, for one reason or another, take their “faith” into the extreme and refuse to reconcile their “faith” with reason. It is not that I believe religion and science are in mutual opposition overall, as you pointed out in the end of your post; however religion is a belief that can easily be taken into the extremities and oppose science, progress, and rational theory. I believe that there are more moderates in religion than extremists, however it seems that the smaller population of extremists are very efficient at having their minority views and beliefs heard and fought for, causing much problems and friction; for this reason one need evaluate the real opposition between “faith” and science, for it can and is a problem. Let us all hope that the religiously extreme become more moderate, for the sake of everyone, especially the religiously moderate (for sometimes the moderates get a bad name thanks to their extreme brethren).