Author Topic: Irrationality  (Read 2141 times)

Zurtok Khan

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 1889
    • View Profile
Irrationality
« on: March 15, 2006, 06:54:09 am »
The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.
-Oscar Wilde


Religion is not rational.  Humans are not rational.  Animals are not rational.  We do things that do not follow any particular logic.  We follow our feelings, which we may or may not understand, instead of our heads (in many cases).  Of course, I haven't even touched on the subject of differential logics across cultures, but that is a rant for another day.

As much as modern science would like to believe that it is wholly rational, that it will deconstruct the world into understandable (by human standard) bits, it's wrong.  Not that it isn't useful, but it is not everything it's cracked up to be.  Satisfaction is never guaranteed.

Science is opposed to the Experiential world.  That is, those things that cannot be measured with an instrument time and again.  Rocks are science, spirts are not.  But, many people the world over experiance spirits.  Is this some mass dilusion?  Quite possibily, but it is important not to totally disregard the whole idea, I believe.  There are a thousand thousand thousand possibilites to the universe, closing ourselves off to one of the ones that seems to pervade every society seems a tad short sighted.

Our Enlightenment veiw of the world has suppressed certain things in the human character as it has come to it's own illogical conclusion.  Thoughout the scientific movement of the last few hundred years (but mostly in the last hundred) people have thought that science would stamp out religion as people's rational mind overcame their primitive religious mind.  But, these people have been proved wrong in their predictions again and again as religion has thrived in all of the settings in it was thought to opposed to.

As an Anthropologist I have come up against this question time and again, what evolutionary purpose does religion have, and why is it here?  While I find this question interesting (and have read some facinating articles on it), I wonder if these people are not missing something in the scheme of things.  There are things that a human being can do that have no evolutionary purpose (presumably) because they take so much effort to learn, look at some of the things that the Shaolin monks have taught their bodies to do that no one else ever has.  We are looking for the evolutionary significance of things without ever considering that our bodies are here and now, that they are present and working and provide every answer we need.  

Looking into the past can certainly provide us with many useful tools, and the understanding of our bodies in terms of it's evolutionary history has provided us with some useful tools (particularly in the areas of health).

Humans have been conceptualized as the most Economic of Animals.  We are conciously economic, that is, while other animals make risk vs reward judgements (starving birds will not eat small grubs for instance, but will wait for larger ones), we make judgements in time and space with these ever advanced minds.  Yet, we often make judgements that irrational.  Call it signaling, or anything else you'd like, but we still give ourselves the short end of the stick from time to time.

Through this long and drawn out series of seemingly unconnected words, there has been one theme on my mind, we are something more then science can describe alone.  There are a vast aray of questions that science, not quantem physics, string theory, chaos theory, neuroscience, biological chemistry, evolution-ecologiy, ad absurdem, simply cannot answer.  The answers will have to come from ourselves, our feelings, and our experiances.

Or, not.  Nukes will cure the problem very well.
Resistance is Fertile.

Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.
-Mark Twain

I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him.
-Mark Twain

Hoshiko

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 3340
    • View Profile
Irrationality
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2006, 07:29:32 pm »
Very good. You've definitely given me a lot to think about. Just a few thoughts:

I've said this before, but there are apparently parts of the brain that are responsible for the "Ultimate Cosmic Meaning" feeling that humans get. Is it the meaningfulness of the object that is viewed/thought about/heard/etc. that causes the feeling, or the feeling that gives these object significance? I don't think it matters, and this to me is incredibly important when we're considering the impact of religion and science on the human race.

You've admitted that the scope of human knowledge is pretty small. Who's to say that there isn't some evolutionary force in action that we won't see the effects of for a long time? I think it's wrong to look at each specific action as either for evolution or superfluous. We're constantly in flux, and something that may seem meaningless now can prove to be essential for the human race later. Humans have evolved to the point that we have by thinking through our feelings. We sense a greater mystery and work to understand it, and while we're doing so we expand our minds and add to the larger wealth of human thought and knowledge. Working through these problems (i.e. contemplating the unknown) can give us the mental chops we need to solve other problems dealing with survival. We think through so that we can understand and then teach others, and preach, and spread knowledge. Communication for the masses has been very instrumental to the human race populating the world, and religion at some key points in time was the only connective and enlightening force. This ability to test and explore and actively seek out or own way of evolving is in and of itself an evolutionary trait.  

I would venture a guess that people seeing spirits is not in opposition to scientific discovery. I think that is a misconception that many dogmatic religions use to explain away various inconsistencies on their part, but dogma is not spirituality. People may have evolved past the religious beliefs of our ancestors and our science may reflect that, but maybe it was the point to actively work on understanding the concept of God ourselves, instead of stubbornly sticking to the perception of what God was and meant. There is something there that humans sense and feel, and despite where that feeling comes from (Christ, God, Krishna, Buddha, Porn, Pop Rocks) it pushes us to explore it.

Science can work for the spiritual realm as well. Newton himself worked on and wrote the Principia Mathematica to solve the greater mystery that he saw, one that for him was entirely spiritual and religious. He believed that if God made the world then we should be able to see and define HOW things work, how he made it. He was trying to understand God through natural phenomenon. That feeling of spiritual connection that was produced by those chemicals in his brain was triggered by scientific exploration, and for him it didn't lesson those beliefs in any way but strengthened them. They have meaning regardless of how they were produced. In terms of ghosties there may be some scientific explanation for the ways we SEE these things, but would that give the phenomenon itself any less meaning? Anything, in my mind, that hints at something to be discovered or explained will trigger humans to push further and ultimately have a changing effect on our culture, which in turn will impact our lives and how humans view and deal with things.

Unless people are stuck on spiritual phenomenon being explained by their own specific belief or explanation, i.e. this image is of a ghost that lived 400 years ago and was murdered and if you try to prove me wrong then you are simply one of those evil scientists who doesn't believe. Or a scientist saying that we can not explain a certain phenomenon but it obviously MUST be fake because of common sense. Bad science. Again, I would consider that dogma vs. spirituality.

My point? It doesn't matter if there is a scientific explanation for spiritual feelings and phenomenon, and spiritual phenomenon does not always disprove science or vice versa. The two can and do work in tandem very well, and religion can certainly play an important role in the evolution of humans as a social/tribal creature. Modern science may seem sterile and indifferent but at it's core it's organic. Scientists are driven by the same feeling that pushes people to be religious. Potatoes Potahtoes. Just because we can be explained in technical and chemical terms does not give our lives any less significance.

Science and spirituality? Ultimately, the same damn thing. I suppose you could call it mysticism. I need to stop now or I'll keep adding stuff  ;)
Making people sorry they asked since 1983.

                    **************************

She got the speakers in the trunk
With the bass on crunk.

B_M_W

  • The Artist Formerly Known As Buddhist_Monk_Wannabe
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 4047
    • View Profile
Irrationality
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2006, 06:52:31 am »
I like your first sentence. However, later you give religion the possibility of a purpose. Although it may have had a purpose in the past, religion in the present has outgrown its usefulness. It is a disease upon our species and should be thrown out. The root of the word religion is "to bind". This brings to mind all the terrible things that are done in the name of god, goddess, pantheon and philosophy. That anyone should be 'bound' to a certain code by will outside their own is, IMO, flat out wrong.
      However, religion is not to be confused with spirituality, which, on a basic level, is a personal system of truths one holds. Unlike religion, spirituality is different from person to person, does not hold any dogma, is subject to constant change, and isn't imposed by an outside source. Spirituality, unlike religion, should be cultivated.

Quote
Science and spirituality? Ultimately, the same damn thing.


*Bows*
One by one, we break the sheep from their Iron Bar Prisons and expand their imaginations, make them think for themselves. In turn, they break more from their prisons. Eventually, critical mass is reached. Our key word: Resolve. Evangelize with compassion and determination. And realize that there will be few in the beginning. We are hand picking our successors. They are the future of Discordianism. Let us guide our future with intelligence.

     --Reverse Brainwashing: A Guide http://www.principiadiscordia.com/forum/index.php?topic=9801.0


6.5 billion Buddhas walking around.

99.xxxxxxx% forgot they are Buddha.

Irreverend Hugh, KSC

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 13840
    • View Profile
Irrationality
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2006, 09:46:48 am »
Zurtol is the man.
"Time for the tin-foil hats, girls and boys!"

Cain

  • Alea iacta est
  • Chekha
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 64283
    • View Profile
Irrationality
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2006, 11:12:53 am »
Zurtol?

East Coast Hustle

  • Missile Command
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 30416
  • Omnimalevolent Polyfather of Exsanguination in Red
    • View Profile
Irrationality
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2006, 03:41:16 pm »
Rabid Colostomy Hole Jammer of the Coming Apocalypse™

The Devil is in the details; God is in the nuance.


Some yahoo yelled at me, saying 'GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH', and I thought, "I'm feeling generous today.  Why not BOTH?"

Eldora, Oracle of Alchemy

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 8535
    • View Profile
Irrationality
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2006, 04:55:12 pm »
Quote from: Cain
Zurtol?

Tequilla typing  :lol:

Shibboleet The Annihilator

  • The
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 21824
    • View Profile
    • .
Irrationality
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2006, 10:20:29 pm »