Sunday, October 11, 2009

Here's a tenuous connection between religion and reality based on language:

We constantly describe the world, if we can't describe it, it doesn't exist. This is a big limitation on reality because then the world as we know it is a description, a symbol for whatever it actually is. When something is modeled, like for math, or computers, or even plastic cars, it's the same thing. When a voodoo doctor sticks a pin in a doll, or a priest kisses some relic artifact, it's that process. The Islamic ban on models of the human figure seems odd if it's still a capital offense to disparage the Koran, since the book is a model too, and it's false to say that it won't lend itself to prurience if it demands beheading for a verbal slight. (dude that is like so 7th century)

Scientific models get updated to reflect observation, theories go in & out of style, everyday experience refines the symbolism. Communism accepts capitalism, capitalism accepts communism, but day to day observation isn't what religion is about. The church only apologized to Galileo's family 400 yrs later, but popular language pretty much reflects the current way of thinking because it is the current way of thinking.

Many traditional cultures trace a person's lineage back sometime to 6 or 10 generations to prove (possibly) that they are keepers of a successful genetic recipe. I couldn't tell if that's true or not. I once met a man from Chad who introduced himself as a royal prince of a people that I'd never heard of. He offered me his palm to read as proof. He appeared to be an exceedingly cold hearted and single minded individual (as a charlatan gypsy, my experience with palm reading comes from a book my mom read in 1927). I invited him to a party but when he saw a bunch of unmarried girls there, he refused to speak to me again. I don't imagine he had much of a way with women, so his genetic survival specialty appeared to be bullying men into arranging marriages for him.

Continuity of the Jewish priesthood bites the dust: New genetic research indicates Jewish priesthood has multiple lineages (Eurekalert) This could be problematic for all the Cohens that turn out to be Palestinian.

Reinterpretation of ancient text puts Judeo-Christian Genesis more in line with scientific record. (Telegraph)

Belief in God an Evolutionary Boost, Suggest Brain Scans (wired)

Communicating person to person through the power of thought alone (Eurekalert)

Being Atheist is even more dangerous than you thought

Religion: Biological Accident, Adaptation — or Both (wired)

Catholic bishop caught at the airport with child porn

Atheist groups in Alabama (Pharyngula)

Richard Dawkins on Mormons (Youtube)