Saturday, October 2, 2010


I started to work on couple of other projects and I suspect I'm not going to do an entry for a while, for at least a week. Don't worry though, I have a lot of ideas of what to write, and more keep coming everyday - choosing is a bitch when you don't have time to write about them all.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pope Said, Dawkins Said - What Is This I Don't Even

Pope visited England lately, and Richard Dawkins went apeshit basically saying this at the face of organized religion - or Catholic Church, in this case. Apparently pope had the guts to tell another face melting lie about how the history has gone down, claiming that Hitler was an atheist and that Fascism is a direct result of a secular society. I'll leave this apparent non-sequitur as it is and concentrate on the dust Dawkins' response blew up.

I've briefly discussed about Dawkins' manner in expressing himself about religion and science, and their relations. I've only watched a few of his lectures and interviews, but I found out that I think his approach on the matter is somewhat aggressive. A friend of mine stated that Dawkins has become more offensive aver the years, saying that he used to be softer. Now comes along the show he put up to straighten up the Hitler business pope brought up. A blogwriter by the nick Sharpe wrote an entry strictly about this public appearance by Dawkins. The writer seems disapointed in the recent turn of events, thinking that Dawkins' ways have started to resemble a religious order in itself, calling it an unholy crusade.

My opinions differ somewhat from that of the writer's of the entry linked above. It was important to bring up the point that pope was wrong on the matter. I can, however, easily see what aggravated Sharpe into writing that entry, and express himself in a manner that can be considered fallacious - Dawkins took a very aggressive stance. I see this in a negative light, too, as I think it is crucial to maintain healthy relations between the scientific and the religious. I also somewhat agree with Sharpe that in the recent days atheists sprouting out their minds have gotten up with the wrong leg - it seems that they wish to wage war, even if they don't think so themselves. However, even if the motivation isn't waging war many a religious person will definitely see some of the recent actions as attacks to their religiousness, and this is a major problem I've not seen Dawkins - or anyone else, for that matter - adhere even once.

Thus, in the future, I shall write about how I think some of the damage done in bringing superstitious beliefs down from harming scientific pursuit could be repaired. Organised religions can easily "mobilize" their followers, and seeing majority of the people are still theistic, this can result into a frightening religious overrun ruining much of the scientific progress we've gained. We need the soft approach, links between the scientific and the religious. A need exists to express more love, freedom and responsibility on the behalf of actions.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Note on the English

It might be obvious to some of the readers that I'm not a native speaker. Also, it isn't about the easiest subject to write about, either. This doesn't mean I think I write superbly and need no advice - quite the contrary. Whenever you read something that is idiomatically or grammatically incorrect please always comment on that. Any suggestions to make my texts flow better in general are also welcome. =)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What Does Advocating Mean?

I stumbled upon an article that recited a poll held by Scientific American and Nature about people's attitude towards science and scientists in general. It is clear that as both of these web pages concentrate on publishing material related to science they attract people interested about science, and it's evident they have very little or no anti-science agenda behind them. There was, however, an interesting point in the poll that caught my eye.
They phrased one of the questions, shown with its poll result in the picture above, in a way that seems a bit contradictorily to me: "Scientist should speak out about what the science says but avoid advocacy", the purple bar.

There's no possible way to answer the question without simultaneously answering that science's approach should be limited - it's a question that leads the answerer and possibly gives an illusion of how the answering mass actually relate to spreading scientific information in the society. It also made me think what scientific advocating actually means, and I'd like to know what it means to my readers or people who answered the poll. I hope a conversation in the comments section will ensue. This might be a semantic problem, and thus the question's usefulness could be criticized. Despite all the attention I've given to this certain word I choose not to criticize it, and I shall explain my reasoning after I demonstrate what the word advocate is possibly meant to mean.

To start of I'll explain some seemingly obvious examples of how religious organisations advocate, of which converting is a great example. Converting often relies on expressing how a certain religion can bring purpose to one's life explaining what God or other deity(s) want us to do and why. A very common part of converting is also the promise of afterlife, and convincing the person that there is indeed a heaven or paradise but that it's meant to only those who believe couples the aforementioned. It's also necessary to convince the converted that a particular religion has gotten the picture at least somewhat right, but it most likely happens alongside the process of explaining the wonders a religion has to offer.

There's also a different kind of advocating which "targets" those who already belong to the faith. Masses, sermons, vespers, speeches and using media to promote faith and religious orders, big events full of people of the same faith - actually I've never heard of an event where the main purpose is that people of different faiths meat and discuss. Without going into the detail of such acts it is pretty clear what the meaning is from the viewpoint of the institution: to strengthen the faith. I don't want to sound cruel, convicting or judging, but it seemed to me that this was the straighest way to express what I think on the matter. Feel free to point out if I've mistaken, because I'd like to understand these matters to a greater degree. =)

Sometimes things go a little wrong from an objective point of view. Or is a long speech telling you how there will be a day of judgement, that it is a necessity to that certain faith and the purpose of all life, a healthy message to be sent out, especially when it is not shown any evidence to back it up at all? Afterall, we're living in a world with nuclear weaponry, so someone might well go from this to the thought "hey, I'll just convert myself and nuke the shit out of everything and get to the paradise!" - I know that sounds wacky, but there still are people who think homosexuality is a disease, drugs an absolute evil, money a slaver and George W. Bush worth the re-election.

Again I've at a point where it is hard to avoid being critical and not seem offensive to those who believe and have faith, and who follow their religious dogma - I seek not to offend and I wish you understand, and that you again bring up the aggravation, if any. I shall refrain from blaming it directly on religiousness, but even I if don't like to admit it the religions as organisations have responsibility of horrifying acts done under the name of the religion. They are, afterall, the authority that can affect the numerous believers under their protective wing and they should act according to their great responsibility.

So what was the poll's shrouded question I started out with all about in relation to this? Advocate as a word has a meaning that doesn't serve well in terms with scientific information, both because such information is more useful to someone who him or herself actively seeks it out and because the purpose of science is to avoid being stagnant - to prevent established norms from taking over progress. The question is somewhat manipulative, forcing some who wish to see science seeking more attention to answer so that he judges a form of attention seeking. It also seems that many scientifically incorrect facts are still believed to be the truth - did you know that 30% of Europeans believe that the Sun orbits the Earth? A study made in 2005 (page 41) that people still believe in many peculiar things, and unfortantely for those more rationally thinking religious persons, often due to a religious backround.

Advocations and declarations might not result into anything else than a chaotic, unstable environment for scientific thoughts. It's the same effect when you just directly trump that the other person taking part in the conversation is wrong about something - he will most likely just get aggravated by this. Most often it's better to softly produce answers, explanations and answers than directly refute. Hence, "but avoid advocacy" - I nice pick of words, even though it seems shady.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What Is The Blog All About

The Earth and its living conscious beings trembles at a new dawn. Renowned scientist declare god(s) useless or not as the necessary creator of the universe and religions reform in the wake of ever-proceeding flow of information how it all truly revolves. Minds of different sort crave for answers to the questions in the core of our humanity - why are we, where are we and how it all became to be - and every person as a subjective entity finds answers most comforting to their tastes. I am not here to judge whether the view that God or Allah is that answer for you, nor could I produce the answers with the specific detail of the chosen religion or science, but what I seek is understanding, solidarity and right to freedom to all - even to the frightening prospects of science. Injustice, moral dilemmas and hypocrisy lie everywhere in the path of our kin, and the conflict between science and religion is no different from the everyday crapheaps people give each other. That's why I write: to spread and gain understanding between two opposing sides, trying to maintain and pursue an objective and comforting vision of a better tomorrow in our world in constant change - amidst all human.

Religions have been a major part in human life through history, forming civilization and organisations to support complex social structures. While it is debatable that religiousness has made it possible for humans to interact on a big social scale such as a government it certainly has an impact on how and why people interact on a bigger scale than just their normal acquaintances. Religions as a result of similarly religious people might've also resulted into a cradle of civilization - from where it all began. The role of science has developed in the meanwhile as it has progressed, bringing prosperity resulting from revelations that have been made into technical advancement. I'm taking advantage of those results right now, sitting in front of a complex technical device to produce this nonsense for any an interested reader.

There's a conflict between science and religion - the affair of this passionate couple has been going downhill ever since Galileo's discoveries that earth actually orbits the sun, and theories of evolution and the birth process of the universe haven't actually helped to heal the wounds of conflict. Conservatists resort to things such as creationism, spreading propaganda of how scientific theories are just theories and how science cannot explain all, even forcing their belief to be taught at school systems. Great scientists mingle in the problematic relation, criticizing religiousness in general. Be it pro-science or pro-religion both parties feel that their precious world-views are at risk. There's also a greater side in all of this - the advancement of humanity and civilization as a whole. We live an era of wondrous technical progress that can possibly free us from burdening the Earth we inhabit, rid us of currently incurable diseases and bring greater share of information to all of our kin.

To find a balance where faith interrupts not but prevails a more whole picture of our universe, where there is not conflict but a union, where logic and altruistic feelings find a home at both sides - that's where humanity "wins".