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Can you be a scientist and still believe in religion?


Mnemonic
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9 minutes ago, mistermack said:

But if you are taught a religious doctrine, what else CAN it mean? 

So a university student who studies some religion or other is being indoctrinated? Seems a bit of an overreach.

11 minutes ago, mistermack said:

Maybe you feel that the word should be kept for others, who were more intensively indoctrinated, like the Hitler Youth or North Koreans. 

Yes, probably. If you are not allowed to ask questions, are beaten for suggesting something else, then that certainly seems like indoctrination.

12 minutes ago, mistermack said:

I would say that you were indoctrinated, but mildly, by the sound of it.

Perhaps. But then I was probably also indoctrinated into a life of hard work, preferring soccer over tennis, manners, and dressing conservatively.

"Indoctrination" loses its meaning if it is applied too broadly.

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1 minute ago, zapatos said:

"Indoctrination" loses its meaning if it is applied too broadly.

So it should be kept for religious and quasi religious teaching then. Studying religions in a critical academic manner wouldn't qualify as indoctrination, but being made to study Islam as a young muslim would. 

The critical difference being the the intention to instil or strengthen a belief in the doctrine. 

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2 minutes ago, mistermack said:

The critical difference being the the intention to instil or strengthen a belief in the doctrine. 

Again, that means I was indoctrinated wrt good manners. Is that your understanding of 'indoctrination'?

I would suggest there must be some level of, not sure what word to use, but maybe coercion? If I question the validity some teaching, am I given more explanation or am I smacked upside the head? Is love withheld? My religious studies were meant to instill and strengthen my belief in the doctrine, but I was a bit of a pain in the ass wrt to my tendency to question everything, and I never suffered any meaningful negative consequences. Sort of like learning history in school and how wonderful America is!

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2 minutes ago, zapatos said:

I would suggest there must be some level of, not sure what word to use, but maybe coercion?

That really just indicates your feeling of what the word should mean, and I know the feeling. Nobody likes being grouped alongside the Hitler Youth, or North Koreans, or Jehova's Witnesses. But my argument is that the word is so clear  IN-DOCTRINE-ATION, that it's the result that's referred to, not the method. If your subjects learn the doctrine, and believe in it, then you have indoctrinated them. It doesn't really matter how gently or kindly you went about it, or how much fun you made it, the result is what matters. 

On the planet today, there are about 6.6 billion regligous, and 1.1 non religious. So the indoctrination, whether hard or soft, is still working very well. 

If I met someone who escaped North Korea, and gone through the full "dear leader" treament but rejected it, I would say that they were indoctrinated, but not successfully.  

And I would say the same about myself. 

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1 minute ago, mistermack said:

That really just indicates your feeling of what the word should mean, and I know the feeling. Nobody likes being grouped alongside the Hitler Youth, or North Koreans, or Jehova's Witnesses. But my argument is that the word is so clear  IN-DOCTRINE-ATION, that it's the result that's referred to, not the method.

And that just indicates YOUR feeling of what the word should mean.

Indoctrination: the process of teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs uncritically.

While I may be mistaken here, if feels as if you are using the term too broadly.

I don't feel indoctrinated after having learned the Monroe doctrine, the Reagan doctrine, military hit and run tactics, or any of the many legal and political doctrines.

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2 minutes ago, zapatos said:

I don't feel indoctrinated

I don't feel indoctrinated. But looking back, I know that I was. If you asked a 100 North Koreans if they felt indoctrinated, a big majority would probably say no. Or 100 Hitler Youth, or 100 Jehova's Witnesses. In any sphere, you would struggle to find people who feel indoctrinated. 

Most of the 6.6 billion religious people on the planet would claim that they chose their religion freely, and choose to remain in it freely. But the figures disprove it. The vast overwhelming majority stick with the doctrine they were taught. 

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Gosh,  if only there were books that had all the words in a language,  and gave agreed upon definitions of them.   Hey...

 

Definition of indoctrinate

 

transitive verb

1: to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle
2: to instruct especially in fundamentals or rudiments : TEACH
(From Webster's) 
So clearly, in definition one,  just learning the Monroe doctrine,  as an historical fact,  is not indoctrination.  One must be imbued with it.   One must be led to a particular opinion or perspective,  usually sectarian or partisan.  In this example, one must be persuaded that any foreign intervention in American politics is bad for the nation and should be viewed as hostile.   I would venture that many pupils just learn what the doctrine is,  without necessarily being imbued with a political opinion of it.   I myself am not convinced it is always applicable.   
Edited by TheVat
Gkdjer
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11 minutes ago, TheVat said:

Gosh,  if only there were books that had all the words in a language,  and gave agreed upon definitions of them.

Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case, as the definition I provided included the word "uncritically". Perhaps if we could agree upon which of the many books to use...

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Yeah,  I tend to think indoctrination connotes uncritical acceptance of whatever is being taught.  Hard to be "imbued" if someone is presenting it as a debatable. 

Anyway,  in common parlance,  the more pejorative definition seems to now dominate conversations.  I'd wager more people think Uighurs in reeducation camps or children in madrassas now,  when they hear the word.  Not places where teacher says,  I'll open this up for discussion now.  

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49 minutes ago, TheVat said:

1: to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle

Sounds ok, but it actually has embedded in it the element of success. If you don't buy into the message, then it was attempted indoctrination, not indoctrination. Sounds fair enough. So I wasn't indoctrinated as a child? BUT, I suppose I did buy into it at the time, and rejected it later. So I WAS indoctrinated. And later became UN-indoctrinated ! I blame my brother. 

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54 minutes ago, TheVat said:

Anyway,  in common parlance,  the more pejorative definition seems to now dominate conversations.  I'd wager more people think Uighurs in reeducation camps or children in madrassas now,  when they hear the word.  Not places where teacher says,  I'll open this up for discussion now.  

So I'm coming away with the feeling that indoctrination can mean with coercion (e.g. re-education camps) or without coercion (e.g. military college). If used in a negative context (e.g. as mistermack has done wrt religion) it seems to imply with coercion. If a religion tries to teach but does not coerce (as with me) then I don't feel I should be lumped in with the Taliban, and thus I don't think all religion follows indoctrination. At least I now feel that way and will until someone convinces me otherwise. 😀

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33 minutes ago, zapatos said:

At least I now feel that way and will until someone convinces me otherwise. 😀

Sounds like they did a good job on you. 😄

Anyway, little children are coerced, because they don't get given a choice. They might not understand that they are being coerced, but they are. 

Religious people don't tell their kids that they can take it or leave it. Very few anyway. And this is the main problem I have with parents indoctrinating their kids. Even if they have doubts themselves, the parents still tell their kids the god stuff as if it is a fact. Jesus did this. God sent the Angel Gabriel to speak to Mohammed. etc etc. On top of abusing the young minds, they're not even being honest, and admitting their own doubts.

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10 minutes ago, mistermack said:

Sounds like they did a good job on you. 😄

Anyway, little children are coerced, because they don't get given a choice. They might not understand that they are being coerced, but they are. 

Religious people don't tell their kids that they can take it or leave it. Very few anyway. And this is the main problem I have with parents indoctrinating their kids. Even if they have doubts themselves, the parents still tell their kids the god stuff as if it is a fact. Jesus did this. God sent the Angel Gabriel to speak to Mohammed. etc etc. On top of abusing the young minds, they're not even being honest, and admitting their own doubts.

I'm not trying to be insulting, but you are clearly a religious bigot. You know of examples and are applying them universally, even when someone is giving you an example of how it was different for them. Not all religions and religious settings are as you claim.

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22 hours ago, MigL said:

I can respect ( OK, tolerate ) differing opinions and beliefs.
I cannot respect differing facts if those facts are wrong.
And the distance to Saturn is a fact ( wormholes or not ).

If you’re struggling with my wormhole example, let me present an alternative.

If our framework is an Excel spreadsheet sorted alphabetically by name, then Saturn truly is closer to Sun than Earth is to Sun.

That’s all I’m saying. Everyone is making claims about truths and facts and I’m simply saying they’re not universal. They depend on the framework… or frame of reference if you prefer. 

I don’t generally spout nonsense, regardless of how often my wife might assert otherwise. ✌️ 

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2 hours ago, zapatos said:

So I'm coming away with the feeling that indoctrination can mean with coercion (e.g. re-education camps) or without coercion (e.g. military college). If used in a negative context (e.g. as mistermack has done wrt religion) it seems to imply with coercion. If a religion tries to teach but does not coerce (as with me) then I don't feel I should be lumped in with the Taliban, and thus I don't think all religion follows indoctrination. At least I now feel that way and will until someone convinces me otherwise. 😀

This is how I define the word. It's ALL indoctrination when you're teaching a certain methodology or curriculum or coursework that benefits from everyone being on the same page. Intent is the key, whether you're trying to get all the welders to follow best practices when building a bridge, or trying to weed out independent thought from the folks you want to control so you can use them to take over the world.

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1 hour ago, iNow said:

If you’re struggling with my wormhole example, let me present an alternative.

If our framework is an Excel spreadsheet sorted alphabetically by name, then Saturn truly is closer to Sun than Earth is to Sun.

That’s all I’m saying. Everyone is making claims about truths and facts and I’m simply saying they’re not universal. They depend on the framework… or frame of reference if you prefer. 

I don’t generally spout nonsense, regardless of how often my wife might assert otherwise. ✌️ 

You have not made any case for a genuine scientific framework in which Saturn would be closer to the sun than Earth.   Wormholes don't alter the layout of our solar system, nor do playing a cute semantic game with spreadsheet sorting,  and when we make a valid statement (valid,  as in true) on Saturn's location,  it is quite simple and has been so for centuries to confirm or falsify that statement.   Science, when it comes to this sort of matter,  does very much deal in determining the truth of the matter.   And sometimes,  as in the matter of planetary locations with respect to  stars, it is quite warranted to make a truth claim and hold that claim to be universal.   

When you say "everyone" is making claims about truth,  I don't know who everyone is or what their specific claims are.   But I believe the sort of empirically based claims I have exampled here are legitimate claims to truth.   They can be proven or falsified,  and it is easy to determine which was arrived at.   Future science isn't going to discover Saturn is actually beneath a shopping mall in Omaha.   It is where it is,  farther from the sun,  and will remain so unless some interstellar interloper,  a brown dwarf perhaps, yanks it drastically out of its orbital path.  Saying something is true for a certain span of time makes it no less true.  

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48 minutes ago, TheVat said:

You have not made any case for a genuine scientific framework in which Saturn would be closer to the sun than Earth. 

Maybe bc I wasn’t trying to? Am I really failing this badly at communicating such a simple and straight forward point? Sigh… whatever.  I have a valid point here, but it’s off topic anyway so cheers. 

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On 10/29/2021 at 3:22 PM, mistermack said:

But if you are taught a religious doctrine, what else CAN it mean? 

We are Borg, resistance is futile...

On 10/29/2021 at 7:09 PM, mistermack said:

Sounds like they did a good job on you. 😄

Anyway, little children are coerced, because they don't get given a choice. They might not understand that they are being coerced, but they are. 

Religious people don't tell their kids that they can take it or leave it. Very few anyway. And this is the main problem I have with parents indoctrinating their kids. Even if they have doubts themselves, the parents still tell their kids the god stuff as if it is a fact. Jesus did this. God sent the Angel Gabriel to speak to Mohammed. etc etc. On top of abusing the young minds, they're not even being honest, and admitting their own doubts.

You can teach, but you can't force IOW, resistance is futile...

43 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

We are Borg, resistance is futile...

You can teach, but you can't force IOW, resistance is futile...

 

On 10/29/2021 at 3:22 PM, mistermack said:

But if you are taught a religious doctrine, what else CAN it mean? 

We are Borg, resistance is futile...

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On 10/28/2021 at 8:07 PM, Phi for All said:

As an example, when she was part of the McCain ticket in 2008, many people worried about Sarah Palin and her religious stances, and whether she could put aside her deeply held beliefs that an apocalypse is prophesied in the Bible if she was ever put into the position of deciding to pursue nuclear warfare or not. Based on her past stances, many thought she would only be pretending to consider it a choice. 

And if you're not Catholic, or believe in a religion that claims the Earth is only thousands of years old instead of billions, how do you find success in biology or another field that requires a healthy understanding of the evolutionary process? How can you simultaneously believe your deity created your species out of dust AND that millions of years ago all us vertebrates were tiny fishes, without pretense of some kind?

I don't really follow this. Palin wasn't exactly a scientist, so perhaps we can put her to one side. 

I can't see that any "pretence" is involved unless you are some sort of benighted fundamentalist that believes that all of your ancient scripture has to be taken literally, word for word. I don't know much about religions other than Christianity, but I do know that mainstream Christian belief (and, I rather think, many strands of Jewish belief too) regard a fair number of  the Old Testament stories as allegories, or otherwise not strictly historical. This has been the case among at least some Christian theologians since Origen in about 200AD and has been a mainstream view for centuries. If you talk to any thoughtful cleric from the Catholic, Anglican/Episcopalian, Methodist or Presbyterian traditions, you will find they don't find science and Christian belief incompatible. 

     

 

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On 10/29/2021 at 3:59 AM, Phi for All said:

In the case of a funeral, I would say you "respect" the individual's wishes, you "accept" that they worshipped in a way you never did, and you "tolerate" the religious aspect that you feel isn't necessary for you to "respect" your acquaintance. You're not an adherent, you understand that they are though, and think enough of the deceased to participate in a way you think they'd appreciate. This hopefully removes any perceived obligation on your part to adhere to religious practices. 

Having just attended a funeral on Friday, which included a "requium mass" I can say that actually applied. An old school mate, of Maltese extraction and strictly very religious. Worth noting in the eulogy by his family, I was mentioned by name, when the Son said that his Father would love attending our reunions, and would love debating with *me* with regards to the BB...a moment that brought a muffled murmer of laughter from the congregation.

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On 10/28/2021 at 7:44 PM, iNow said:

I'm fairly sure we're not as far apart on this as you're making it seem. My core point is that God will never be mentioned in the Methods section of their paper. The reason? It's totally and completely irrelevant to the experiment itself, even if on a personal / psychological level it is motivating factor. 

Well that is true of course: methodological naturalism is key.

But surely, leaving God out of scientific studies of the natural world only requires pretence if you are someone who thinks that God is constantly tinkering with nature? If you think that, then I quite agree you have no business doing science, but it is not what mainstream Christians (or Jews?) think - at any rate those that have given the issue any thought in relation to  science (most people do not think about science much, one way or the other). I'm less sure about other religions - though  I imagine Buddhism would not have a problem.

 

   

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6 hours ago, exchemist said:

I'm less sure about other religions - though  I imagine Buddhism would not have a problem.

I’m an amateur science enthusiast; I’m also a Buddhist monk.

In principle you are right - the issue should not be of concern in Buddhism. In practice though it depends on which of the many schools you look at, and even who you are talking to. Many Buddhists very much do have various supernatural elements in their world view, or interpret some of the central ideas in supernatural ways; scriptural literalism and fundamentalism sadly also happens. In fact, those Buddhists who don’t do any of those things are very much in the minority.

I personally see no issue (or else I wouldn’t be on here), since my ‘personal Buddhism’ does not contradict any scientific findings that I am aware of, and vice versa - they are very much dealing with two separate domains of enquiry, both of which are limited in their applicability.

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On 10/29/2021 at 8:07 PM, iNow said:

If you’re struggling with my wormhole example, let me present an alternative.

If our framework is an Excel spreadsheet sorted alphabetically by name, then Saturn truly is closer to Sun than Earth is to Sun.

That’s all I’m saying. Everyone is making claims about truths and facts and I’m simply saying they’re not universal. They depend on the framework… or frame of reference if you prefer. 

I don’t generally spout nonsense, regardless of how often my wife might assert otherwise. ✌️ 

Reminds me of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jedi Master

 “Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”  “The truth is often what we make of it; you heard what you wanted to hear, believed what you wanted to believe.” 

7 hours ago, Markus Hanke said:

I personally see no issue (or else I wouldn’t be on here), since my ‘personal Buddhism’ does not contradict any scientific findings that I am aware of, and vice versa - they are very much dealing with two separate domains of enquiry, both of which are limited in their applicability.

Well said, and my understanding is that this view is shared by most creditable scientists who have similar beliefs that stem from a religion. 

Edited by Intoscience
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17 hours ago, exchemist said:

I don't really follow this. Palin wasn't exactly a scientist, so perhaps we can put her to one side. 

You shouldn't, because even though she's not a scientist, she embodies the idea of not being capable of dealing with a natural world event without filtering it through her religious beliefs first, possibly to the detriment of others.

 

17 hours ago, exchemist said:

I can't see that any "pretence" is involved unless you are some sort of benighted fundamentalist that believes that all of your ancient scripture has to be taken literally, word for word.

Have you met my country, the USofA? We have many of these, many of them in leadership positions.

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