Basic Orientation
Book1: R-E Living & "Homo Rationalis"
Book2: Humanianity
Book3: Mind-Body Problem
Book4: (Future Possible Development)
Child Rearing Issues
Philosophico-Religious Issues
01 Science And?/Versus? Religion
02 Dear God,...(And "To Jesus")
03 Are You Spiritual (Like I Am)?
04 Latest Bible Update
05 The Concept of the "Model"
06 Humanoblasts & Humanaoclasts
07 Definitions - Blah, Blah, Blah
Psycho-Socio-Cultural Issues
The Twelve Articles
Relevant Autobiography



Below I have presented an email to me of an individual preferring to remain anonymous, and my responses to that person's comments. The quotes of the material that this individual is responding to come from the "Synopsis" of Book1, "For Everyone: Rational-Ethical Living And the Emergence of 'Homo Rationalis': The Most Important Book," the "Synopsis" having been posted on the Message Board of the Charlotte Philosophy Discussion Group. (The "Synopsis" can be read by clicking on the Book1 menu tab.)


Your comments from above about religion and science are puzzling to me:

Eighth, their religion(s) will, I predict, have the primary function of helping them to arrive at the optimal way of living life (promoting personal ethical beliefs that are consistent with the rational-ethical ultimate ethical principle, defined above), having turned over to science the function of attaining the most accurate set of existential beliefs (about the way the world is, was, or will be).

Religion poisons everything. It is anti-science. It is about power and control over others and things. I don't understand why you say we should have religion. A better, optimal religion is just a more powerful poison, better able to control and distort reality.

Your paragraph seems to disregard mine. Your statements about religion have a certain validity when applied to religion as we as a species so far have done it. But my thesis is that we are just beginning to undergo a significant change in how we do things, and my discussion about religion has to do with how it will be different.

Also, you describe only the negative aspects of religion. Religion, even currently, also does much good. And many religious people would be just as against the negative things you mention as you are. The big problem is that religion does much good and much harm at the same time. One solution is simply to kill religion. Another is to help it gradually grow in such a way as to preserve the good and eliminate the bad. I believe the second is more feasible.

Each individual will be encouraged to develop his or her own basic ethical philosophy, dependent upon ethical principles and the person's idiosyncratic life situation and personal characteristics. And there will be an awareness of the importance of the integration of science and religion, one without the other being indeed dangerous. And the religion(s) will supplement and augment a basic social support system for all that are in need of such.

The result of an integrated science and religion (unlikely to occur) would be a more efficient and powerful weapon to control others and distort reality. The combination of these is more dangerous. Science will eventually prevail over religion (thank God) and smash its irrational nonsense that poisons us.

You are talking only about the function of the explanatory world view, which indeed should be the province of science, not religion. Science tells us what will happen if we do things. But we also need to know whether to do them or not. Science does not distort reality. Science develops increasingly accurate models of reality, with which increasingly accurate predictions may be made. We can make accurate cures for illnesses and accurate bombs.

"Integrating" science and religion, if we are to use that term, does not mean, in my thinking, the combining of explanatory worldviews. It means each performing its separate functions in cooperation with the other. Even currently, religions use the fruits of science (technology) to their benefit, and science concerns itself with the ethics of what it does.

The religions, I predict, will optimize from within themselves, gradually putting to rest their less desirable and outmoded ideas, and gradually adding ideas more consistent with the rational-ethical ultimate ethical principle (defined above).

This is wishful thinking. We should drive a stake through the heart of religion. The rational outcome is no religion. Religion is irrational at the core.

It is people that are irrational at the core. Each of us once had the mind of an earthworm. We develop increasingly accurate beliefs by virtue of our interaction with the world, especially with other humans. Our formal education of our species adds to that. And our formal education increasingly uses the findings of science, which uses the rules of logic and the rules of evidence. We only very gradually develop this capacity to use the rules of logic and the rules of evidence. This capacity, and activity, is relatively recent for our species. We are not real good at it yet. Our basic child rearing methods do not yet promote it to any great extent. We still raise our children the way chimps raise theirs, even though we are trying to get our children to adapt to a highly unnatural world, and these natural ways of raising children in an unnatural world, while sometimes working okay, at times also lead to much anger, rebellion, pain, suffering, disability, and early death. And our methods do not to any great extent promote respect for the rules of logic and the rules of evidence. We can do better than that.

You say that my thinking is wishful. Wishful thinking is the tendency to believe that which makes one feel good, even though the evidence may be to the contrary. I don't believe that this third exponential change of our species is inevitable. I believe it is possible. I indeed wish it for our species. If we are to accomplish it, we will have to work hard at bringing it about. If we believe it is possible and we see the good in it, we can indeed work toward it. If we make the assumption that it is impossible, then we will obviously not spend time working toward it. Pessimistic views such as your own are based upon the belief that if it hasn't happened yet, it can't. You look around and see the bad, and you conclude that that is just the way the world is and therefore the way it always will be. I look at what we have accomplished and think that we can accomplish even more, and if I can find a way to contribute, that's what I want to do. To do one's part to help in making the world a better place, one has to study, learn, practice, model, and advocate.

Our current religions are our efforts so far. They have the flaws in them that are the flaws in us. They are young, as are we as a species. As we improve ourselves, our religions will improve (I optimistically believe). And as our religions improve, they will help us to do so. Our religions (as social structures) are a way of helping us to share our efforts at self-improvement with each other, so that we learn from each other and thus grow more rapidly.

Before we had science, it was quite understandable that each of the religions had somewhat of an explanatory worldview, with which to make seemingly more understandable why the members of the religion should do what the religion advocated. As science has grown, this function of religion has become increasingly irrelevant. But it is true that most of the religions still have as a part of them their explanatory worldview, often in direct conflict with that of science. So this is just a problem that our religions have to overcome, gradually, as we increasingly come to appreciate the importance of accuracy of belief.

The overpowering and defeating of religion by the non-religious (and vice versa) is the way of the chimp. It produces even more pain, suffering, disability, and early death. We need to work toward benevolence, understanding, and inclusiveness. The religious and the non-religious need to be able to talk with each other in an understanding way, with recognition of the value each has to offer. Needless to say, this is difficult for us, because of our "wishful thinking," meaning that what we believe can be very comforting and even inspiring, so that to talk to someone who believes differently may tend to produce negative feeling in oneself. This is the biggest problem we have, that stands in the way of our progressing rapidly. It is the reason for our tendency to exclude, avoid, and attack those who believe differently. It is understandable. But, I believe, it is changeable.

And when I referred to "the religious and the non-religious" in the above paragraph, I was using a different meaning for "religious" than I otherwise use. Almost all of us have some sort of religion as I generally use the term. Almost all of us have, to some extent, a basic ethical philosophy. For some, it is highly disorganized and very weakly effective. For others it is highly structured and effective. It may or may not be related to a social structure with a name and a "membership." It may be quite individualistic and idiosyncratic, or it may be very "conventional," or somewhere in between. Difference ideally should produce cross fertilization, not conflict. Your beliefs about "religion" I would see as a part of your religion as I use the term. You certainly advocate certain ethical beliefs (about what we should do). I believe you are responding to some very realistic and serious problems that we humans have. I happen to have a somewhat different set of beliefs about what the solution(s) is/are. Your and my religions differ. And our dialogue therefore can generate growth for both of us.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Bill Van Fleet