Not at all. It is a distaste for the prevailing culture generally, which is consumerist, scientistic, materialistic and generally anti-spiritual. As you acknowledged in one of our previous dialogues, the overwhelming majority of academics in all kinds of disciplines are generally atheists. I am not opposed to atheism from the viewpoint of Christian evangelism. I am opposed to it because it is based on a general outlook which I regard as materialist. I know there are many individual philosophers who don't subscribe to those views, but I think that the majority do.
We've already been over this. ALL
of your arguments against the Western Philosophical Tradition are AD HOMINEMS
. You attack the person, and then blame the discipline. That's illogical. To be consistent you need to start faulting every other discipline such as mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry--since atheism predominates everywhere in academia. Philosophy always goes through transitions, so who cares.
I am confident you don't even understand what materialism is today in philosophy. It is also coupled with a strong Idealist bent. And your views actually fit right in. Materialists today take a purely anti-realist stance toward whether science has anything to do with the truth about the world at all: most of them say scientific theories are literally false, idealistic, and purely instrumental devices for prediction and control. They deny objectivity in exchange for pragmatic consensus, and find nothing inherently problematic about that. They deny objective moral truth exists, and most of them are cultural relativists of some sort.....
Actually, I was thinking of Trial of Galileo for heresy, and his subsequent house arrest and forced recantation of those elements of his discoveries that were thought to be in contradiction of Holy Writ. It is a fact that an apology of sorts was only offered for this by Pope John Paul II in the early 80's (I think it was). I do understand that the circumstances surrounding the issue are considerably more nuanced than many will allow.
huh??? Oh, I see. Next, you're going to give me a fashionable, but false, bumper sticker line like "When religion ruled the world the called it the dark ages," right? The Church was the only surviving institution that kept learning alive back then, while Europe was being ransacked by barbarian hordes from every direction--and any atheist historian will tell you that. The Church has never been opposed to science and philosophy. Never. In fact, the entire historical tradition of the Church the past 2000 years proves otherwise.
Read the context back then concerning Galileo. It was his own fault. There was no "direct challenge to Holy Writ." There never has
been anything contained in Church doctrine stating that people have to believe in the Geocentric theory of the solar system anyway. It was Galileo himself who made the controversy a theological matter; the church didn't care. The Church had no problems with the investigations of scientists concerning the Copernican and Ptolemaic models of the solar system. In fact, you can even find historical records of Church authorities encouraging the debate--that is, until Galileo had to make such a purely theological fuss about an unsupported astronomical theory.
So it wasn't Galileo's actual views that were problematic. The problem was that Galileo wouldn't keep his mouth shut because he wouldn't stop fanatically preaching a new theory all over Europe that wasn't well-supported at all. He continued to directly confront Rome itself, make fun of the Pope, and insisted on pushing his quasi-scientific views into theological realms about scripture and tradition. The Church didn't push the controversy; Galileo did. The Church simply didn't care.
Whether or not the New Copernican model of the solar system was correct was already very debatable, and Galileo simply did not have enough evidence which decided that dispute. Galileo's own theory could not explain much that wasn't already explained by the older Ptolemaic Model. In fact, Tycho Brahe and other of Galileo's colleagues were huge opponents of Galileo's view because the Older Model was explanatorily more powerful and accounted for a wider range of celestial and terrestrial phenomena that the new Copernican model couldn't explain at all....It wasn't as if Galileo had some priviledged access to the evidence from his telescope which everyone lacked. It's rather that people could explain that evidence in better ways with the older system than with the new one, just as we see scientists today dismissing any new unsupported revolutionary idea that pretends to challenge the prevailing well-established theory.
So instead of being the cool-headed scientist he should have been, Galileo was a fanatic who continued to directly challenge the Pope himself, and he went around Europe vociferously preaching that everyone should be abandoning the old model and accept his own unsupported new quasi-scientific idea. He was warned several times to stop inciting everyone. So it eventually came down to the fact that the Church literally had to silence him because he wouldn't shut up.
I learned all this from an atheist professor of the Philosophy of Science, btw...
But I believe that at the time of the original Council of Nicea and the formation of the early Church, many 'sapiential' elements in early Christianity were suppressed along with Gnosticism, and a literalist interpretation of Scripture adopted, among many other things which has had disastrous consequences for the development of religious doctrine in the West. (See, e.g., When Jesus became God, Richard E Rubinstein.)
Most of the extant gnostic texts (if not all of them) found in the Dead Sea Scrolls were development 200 to 300 years later after the Church fathers had been writing on these matters. These texts didn't have "disastorous developments" for doctrine. They were all forgeries! The Church never once even seriously considered these texts as authentic, because they weren't. Arianism, Monophysitism, Nestorianism, Manicheaism, NeoPlatonism, etc,...were bastardizations of the original message handed down through tradition and teaching. The Church simply had to finally make it clear to everyone in the Later Councils what its position was regarding the Truth about Christ because of the rampant religious pluralism of the day. Why should error about the Truth of Christ be tolerated anyway? I sure don't tolerate it, just as I don't tolerate the alleged "new and liberally improved" politically correct Jesus I see people like John Shelby Sponge proposing. All this is just the same old Gnosticism all over again the Church dealt with 1700 years ago. So I don't find any of this problematic for the Church.
(Rubinstein is just one
"historian," and obviously the title is biased. And there sure is not any consensus at all about these matters among historians.)
In any case, it is indisputable that the construction of religion in the western world has led to a divorce of science and religion, whether you like it or not. This is not my invention.
Oh, please. Yes, it is
your invention, and it's an unsupported completely non-historical urban myth you picked up from pop-culture and the mass media concerning the recent evolution/ID issue encountered in the past century. Do I really need to send you a list of all the scientists throughout recent history who were religious? I don't see any evidence for this other than some crazy fanatics here and there challenging that evolution should be taught in public schools, or the very few conservative Muslim groups in the world who actually fly planes into buildings. But there doesn't exist some kind massive affront coming from "Western Religion"--whatever that
is. Evolution is totally consistent with Catholic doctrine, I hope you know--and I know many Catholics who believe it (including priests). I'm not sure what I believe, but I certainly don't find science a threat to my own beliefs. There's not a "science vs. religion" debate at all. Only the uneducated make it that way, including uneducated atheists and religious fanatics alike.
In any case, evolution itself is problematic, anyway, and it is arguable whether anything about it is scientific at all. Many mainstream physicists throw it out as a science because they think there is nothing testable about it at all--which there isn't. And I even know a published atheist philosopher named Brad Monton, who specializes in probability theory and thinks ID is the better of the two competing theories on the matter about the origins of species. So I get tired of this "black and white" stamp people put on things. Only the simple-minded describe things in "absolutes" concerning the alleged "conflict" between science and religion. The alleged debate is simply not there, and I wish people would let it go.
Something is seriously amiss in Western culture in this whole area. In fact I don't understand what you are defending, and what you think I am criticizing.
I am not defending "Western Culture." I think most of it is amiss too. I am only defending Western Philosophy and Western Religion as a whole which you repeatedly attack. You are clearly ethnocentrically biased, and it is because of your own Westernized-Eastern views.
That is a good question.It is a question that should be asked, and all I am really doing is encouraging people to ask that question. There is not a myriad. There are many schools, and nowadays quite a few people trying to develop businesses in the area, but if you study the field, there are some standouts and well established traditions, across a wide range of cultures. I am not pushing any particular school, but have already declared my allegiance with Mahayana Buddhism.
Your own private allegiances are fine. Just know that when your allegiances cause you to ad hominem
an entire academic field of study, I will point that out because your strawman attacks are fallacies.
I am upset because you attack my very own profession. If you had people on this forum condemning "Eastern Philosophy" as a whole, without giving any
of it consideration, you'd be upset too.
Honestly, Jeeprs? In spite of your attempts to maintain a clear and open mind about matters, I haven't seen anyone in this forum yet speak in such ethnocentrically biased generalities about entire groups of people. You might want to check that out. You might try a little "mindful awareness" before you gloss and whitewash entire fields of study without having any knowledge of it yourself. [/QUOTE]
---------- Post added 04-11-2010 at 01:49 AM ----------
Sorry, I just can't stand hearing this same old thing about Galileo being brought up by people.
So, Here's More on Galileo:
Centuries earlier, Aristotle had refuted heliocentricity, and by Galileo's time, nearly every major thinker subscribed to a geocentric view. Copernicus refrained from publishing his heliocentric theory for some time, not out of fear of censure from the Church, but out of fear of ridicule from his colleagues.
Many people wrongly believe Galileo proved heliocentricity. He could not answer the strongest argument against it, which had been made nearly two thousand years earlier by Aristotle: If heliocentrism were true, then there would be observable parallax shifts in the stars' positions as the earth moved in its orbit around the sun. However, given the technology of Galileo's time, no such shifts in their positions could be observed. It would require more sensitive measuring equipment than was available in Galileo's day to document the existence of these shifts, given the stars' great distance. Until then, the available evidence suggested that the stars were fixed in their positions relative to the earth, and, thus, that the earth and the stars were not moving in space-only the sun, moon, and planets were.
Thus Galileo did not prove the theory by the Aristotelian standards of science in his day. In his Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina
and other documents, Galileo claimed that the Copernican theory had the "sensible demonstrations" needed according to Aristotelian science, but most knew that such demonstrations were not yet forthcoming. Most astronomers in that day were not convinced of the great distance of the stars that the Copernican theory required to account for the absence of observable parallax shifts. This is one of the main reasons why the respected astronomer Tycho Brahe refused to adopt Copernicus fully.
Galileo could have safely proposed heliocentricity as a theory or a method to more simply account for the planets' motions. His problem arose when he stopped proposing it as a scientific theory and began proclaiming it as truth, though there was no conclusive proof of it at the time. Even so, Galileo would not have been in so much trouble if he had chosen to stay within the realm of science and out of the realm of theology. But, despite his friends' warnings, he insisted on moving the debate onto theological grounds.
"During this period, personal interpretation of Scripture was a sensitive subject. In the early 1600s, the Church had just been through the Reformation experience, and one of the chief quarrels with Protestants was over individual interpretation of the Bible.
Theologians were not prepared to entertain the heliocentric theory based on a layman's interpretation. Yet Galileo insisted on moving the debate into a theological realm. There is little question that if Galileo had kept the discussion within the accepted boundaries of astronomy (i.e., predicting planetary motions) and had not claimed physical truth for the heliocentric theory, the issue would not have escalated to the point it did. After all, he had not proved the new theory beyond reasonable doubt.
Galileo "Confronts" Rome
Galileo came to Rome to see Pope Paul V (1605-1621). The pope, weary of controversy, turned the matter over to the Holy Office, which issued a condemnation of Galileo's theory in 1616. Things returned to relative quiet for a time, until Galileo forced another showdown.
At Galileo's request, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, a Jesuit-one of the most important Catholic theologians of the day-issued a certificate that, although it forbade Galileo to hold or defend the heliocentric theory, did not prevent him from conjecturing it. When Galileo met with the new pope, Urban VIII, in 1623, he received permission from his longtime friend to write a work on heliocentrism, but the new pontiff cautioned him not to advocate the new position, only to present arguments for and against it. When Galileo wrote the Dialogue on the Two World Systems
, he used an argument the pope had offered, and placed it in the mouth of his character Simplicio. Galileo, perhaps inadvertently, made fun of the pope, a result that could only have disastrous consequences. Urban felt mocked and could not believe how his friend could disgrace him publicly. Galileo had mocked the very person he needed as a benefactor. He also alienated his long-time supporters, the Jesuits, with attacks on one of their astronomers. The result was the infamous trial, which is still heralded as the final separation of science and religion.
Tortured for His Beliefs?
In the end, Galileo recanted his heliocentric teachings, but it was not-as is commonly supposed-under torture nor after a harsh imprison- ment. Galileo was, in fact, treated surprisingly well.
As historian Giorgio de Santillana, who is not overly fond of the Catholic Church, noted, "We must, if anything, admire the cautiousness and legal scruples of the Roman authorities." Galileo was offered every convenience possible to make his imprisonment in his home bearable.
Galileo's friend Nicolini, Tuscan ambassador to the Vatican, sent regular reports to the court regarding affairs in Rome. Many of his letters dealt with the ongoing controversy surrounding Galileo.
Nicolini revealed the circumstances surrounding Galileo's "imprisonment" when he reported to the Tuscan king: "The pope told me that he had shown Galileo a favor never accorded to another" (letter dated Feb. 13, 1633); " . . . he has a servant and every convenience" (letter, April 16); and "n regard to the person of Galileo, he ought to be imprisoned for some time because he disobeyed the orders of 1616, but the pope says that after the publication of the sentence he will consider with me as to what can be done to afflict him as little as possible" (letter, June 18).
Had Galileo been tortured, Nicolini would have reported it to his king. While instruments of torture may have been present during Galileo's recantation (this was the custom of the legal system in Europe at that time), they definitely were not used.
The records demonstrate that Galileo could not be tortured because of regulations laid down in The Directory for Inquisitors (Nicholas Eymeric, 1595). This was the official guide of the Holy Office, the Church office charged with dealing with such matters, and was followed to the letter.
As noted scientist and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead remarked, in an age that saw a large number of "witches" subjected to torture and execution by Protestants in New England, "the worst that happened to the men of science was that Galileo suffered an honorable detention and a mild reproof." Even so, the Catholic Church today acknowledges that Galileo's condemnation was wrong. The Vatican has even issued two stamps of Galileo as an expression of regret for his mistreatment."