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The Role of Religion in Space Travel

Posted by: Rob Goldsmith - Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:46 pm
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The Role of Religion in Space Travel 

Are you religious?
Yes 36%  36%  [ 12 ]
No 48%  48%  [ 16 ]
Spiritual 15%  15%  [ 5 ]
Total votes : 33

The Role of Religion in Space Travel 
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Post The Role of Religion in Space Travel   Posted on: Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:46 pm
I havnt done much research into this subject but it is one that interestes me. I have been wondering about how religion will play a part in space travel.

I thought a fairly scientific community would yield some interesting results!

Looking back at a lot of explorers there was a lot of emphasis put apon their belief in god. I am wondering if this will still be the case in the future, and how many astronauts sat there praying on the pad as they were about to get shot into space.

Myself, i am not at all religious and i have always thought that this was because i try and see everything with evidence, perhaps some kind of arrogant skepticism. I look at NASA for example and they all seem to be highly religious though, despite a lot of them being scientists.

I find Richard Dawkin interesting, reading a story at http://dailygrail.com/node/5817 i sometimes wonder if being scientific means we only see the evidence we want to see.

Also how will religion change if we see more life away from earth? will it cause wars in space? will space baring scientists start new colonies without religion etc etc. The area is full of interesting questions.

Anyone got any comments? also are you religious?

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Post Re: The Role of Religion in Space Travel   Posted on: Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:57 pm
Rob Goldsmith wrote:
I find Richard Dawkin interesting, reading a story at http://dailygrail.com/node/5817 i sometimes wonder if being scientific means we only see the evidence we want to see.


Being scientific means that you look at all the evidence, and if needed, you change your view of the world accordingly. Religion is the opposite. You don't look at any. Your post almost sounded like you were making excuses for not being religious! Don't! :-)

Have you read "The God Delusion"? If not, I highly recommend it. It was the first book in 10-15 years that I finished in less than 1 month.

I'm a proper atheist myself.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:27 pm
Almost all of the "first" Astronauts, especially those flying to the Moon, got very religious.

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Post Re: The Role of Religion in Space Travel   Posted on: Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:53 pm
PREFACE DISCLAIMER: I am writing from a Christian point of view; and I don't claim to have "final answers" to every question. :)

IrquiM wrote:
Being scientific means that you look at all the evidence, and if needed, you change your view of the world accordingly. Religion is the opposite. You don't look at any.


I cannot speak for all religions, or even all people of my own religion, but I find this blanket statement rather off-putting, even offensive.

It is absolutely not true that 'true religion' or 'being religious' means closing your eyes to the universe, or denying evidence. Some 'religious people' may SAY that, but I assure you that it is not the case!

The difference between a 'religious' worldview and a humanistic or 'non-religious' worldview is how you INTERPRET evidence.

For example: both evolutionary atheists and theistic creationists have the same set of fossils to look at, they have the same physical evidence. However, the evolutionary atheist looks at, say, the fossil record and, assuming billions of years of evolution, sees evidence supporting his worldview. The theistic creationist looks at the same evidence and, assuming a creation event (and most likely the biblical global flood) sees evidence supporting his worldview.

The disagreement comes in that the evolutionary atheist is not willing to assume that 'God created' because it does not mesh with his worldview, and the theistic creationist is not willing to admit billions of years of evolution because it contradicts his worldview.

Here's my viewpoint:
Both religious and non-religious people can be scientific: they can look at the evidence, and based on what they see, can change their understanding of 'how the world works'. The problem is that they interpret the evidence through the lens of their worldview.

Please don't, however, make the mistake of thinking that because religious people may not accept the conclusions of non-religious scientists, it's because they are unscientific. In almost every case, they are rejecting not the evidence, but the interpretation.

I have not read "The God Delusion"; I'll have to pick it up. While we're on the subject, let me recommend "The Case for Faith" and "The Case for a Creator" by Lee Strobel. The latter, especially, looks scientifically (i.e., the scientific method) at space/science/physical evidence and attempts to explain HOW the religious worldview maps the evidence to the worldview.

- Jesse


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 17, 2008 8:01 pm
its interesting that you mention through a alens or that person's world view. an article at http://www.ufomystic.com/wake-up-down-t ... perception describes UFOs in much the same way, how people only see things with a lens created by their own personal history. People look at things and their brain creates an assumption based on the past events they have had. EG, something amazing happens, a christan may think it is a miracle from God, someone less religious would argue that with so many events a certain amount will be amazing.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 17, 2008 8:43 pm
From a purely philosophical view point you need a religious axiom of some sort to begin using science as 'science' is not self supporting.

Also most big scientific breakthroughs of history have been by religiously minded people.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 17, 2008 8:55 pm
but religion can as easily be the cause of war as a breakthrough. Are you suggesting then that without religion we would make less scientific progress?

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Post Re: The Role of Religion in Space Travel   Posted on: Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:05 pm
JesseD wrote:
It is absolutely not true that 'true religion' or 'being religious' means closing your eyes to the universe, or denying evidence. Some 'religious people' may SAY that, but I assure you that it is not the case!


I think you misunderstood. My meaning was this: "religion doesn't use evidence, it's faith." So there is a fundamental difference between religion and science. How people mix them together, that's a private thing, and none of my business. But fundamentally, they're two opposites.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:35 pm
I voted 'No' in the poll - not because I deny the possibility of there being a higher power of some kind, but because religion and spirituality are words that carry so much more meaning than simple open-mindedness.

I don't consider myself scientific either, because that's also a word that carries with it a lot more meaning than simply analyzing and theorizing the world.

I believe the world we see and the facts scientists consider to be true are probably, but not necessarily, real.

I also think religion as it exists today(and for the past 2 millennia) does more harm than good. Belief in a higher power should be a personal choice, not a political one, nor a matter of indoctrination. If it was purely a personal choice, I think that would be beneficial for space travel and a whole lot of other things..


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 17, 2008 11:12 pm
IrquiM wrote:
JesseD wrote:
It is absolutely not true that 'true religion' or 'being religious' means closing your eyes to the universe, or denying evidence. Some 'religious people' may SAY that, but I assure you that it is not the case!

I think you misunderstood. My meaning was this: "religion doesn't use evidence, it's faith." So there is a fundamental difference between religion and science. How people mix them together, that's a private thing, and none of my business. But fundamentally, they're two opposites.


Okay, I understand. To some extent I agree, there isn't really a religion I can think of that doesn't require some faith.

However, I also agree with Idiom's post above, in that you cannot understand the evidence of science without some religious axiom to base it upon. Every person has some system of thought, some base belief, by which or through which they interpret the raw data of life. If that's not the case, scientific data would have no meaning, no purpose. I mean, what person living in Washington DC would memorize the height of every person in Uzbekistan? it's just meaningless data. Unless you have some reason, some basis for your action.

Thinking the other way, religion without evidence, religion without a basis, is just as meaningless. I forget where I heard this, but someone said that blind faith in something is useless, powerless, without having an object for your faith. In other words, religion requires some evidence, something behind it, to make it real and give it power. And science, in that way, can actually strengthen religion. Like, for example: religion says God is wise and powerful, and created the universe. Science shows the intricate complexity and stupendous majesty of earthly processes and the fine-tuned vastness of space. And people can see this evidence which supports the tenet of religion, and it strengthens their faith.

So I would respectfully disagree that science and religion are so fundamentally disconnected.

- Jesse


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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 18, 2008 1:32 am
Kepler basically stated that we can assume the universe is rational and that we can study it, because it was made by a God who is rational.

Without such an assumption we can't even believe that we think. "The outcomes of my logic must enhance my survivability, or my logic would die. Therefore my logic is severely biased, if I am in fact conscious at all."

"I think, therefore I am" is possibly the most debunked claim in philosophy.

Occam stated that the simplest thing tend to be the most likely because God would not add unnecessary complications.

Also before anyone brings it up, Galileo was persecuted for disagreeing with Aristotle, not the Bible. It is what happens to researchers today who dispute Einstein.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 18, 2008 7:45 am
Philosophy is not science.

I'm an atheist (or a pastafarian). I won't go into any discussions, i've done those on a Dutch forum many times over, and it always ended in the religious 'faction' just saying 'i believe it, therefore it is true' while there is absolutely no shred of evidence to proof it. Look op http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster

Besides, being offensive about a very true statement says all about the subject imho. I don't agree with your creationism vs science view. Science doesn't interpret, it tests it's hypotheses. Creationism can't be test therefore it isn't science. And regarding the fossil evidence. If 'god' (which still is a being of some sort for all intents and purposes and simply pushes the 'beginning' away) would made fossil records intently x billion years old, why is the bible telling otherwise? It's a book, a story and yes, like all books and stories, it has some basis in reality.

So, keep religion as religion and let science do the rest. As long as religion doesn't interfere with science (which creationism is), i have no problem with it.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:36 am
I like to think of our knowledge base (science religion and everything) as an iceburg floating in the sea of knowledge.
Near the centre of the berg are the things we are surest of.
Boyles Law. The Pope is Catholic. My mum's name was Molly.
Einstein, Canada, Meryl Streep,
Luke Skywalker and really important stuff like that.
At the edge of the berg new knowledge freezes on, and useless stuff (or forgotten stuff) disolves away. Outside the berg things get very indeterminant.
Heisenberg's uncertanty principle and Godel's Incompleteness Theorems together show that untimately everything is not knowable.
Certainty is impossible.
There is no solid ground under the iceburg.
Any system of belief (science or religion) has holes in it
Religious people are usually not aware that this is so and quite often insist on the absolute correctness of their position.
This is pure ignorance. The best thing to do is ignore them.
Is science a complete system?
Of course not.
But science has one thing Religion doesn't.
Science works.
Check your television.
And your car.
And your ipod.
and that plane up there.
etc.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 18, 2008 9:15 am
JesseD wrote:
So I would respectfully disagree that science and religion are so fundamentally disconnected.

Agree, but for me, they are connected in a darwinian way. Evolution and science can explain religion, and the need for religious feelings.


idiom wrote:
Occam stated that the simplest thing tend to be the most likely because God would not add unnecessary complications.

Would a god be a simple sollution to everything, or would it just present a new set of unanswered question? I would imagine the latter.


Steven Weinberg said, "Without religion good people do good things and bad people do bad things, but for a good person to do bad things that takes religion"


But I won't go into it anymore, because people are using the "I'm offended" sign. I say as Dawkin... I respect your choice of religion, the same way I respect that you think your wife is beautiful, and your children are smart!


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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 18, 2008 10:17 am
It is almost totally pointless to try to convince someone who is religeous that god does not exist or an Atheist that he does. People use their experiences to explain or justify what they believe in.

IMO religion should be a personal thing for each individual, I believe that organised religion is a means of controlling belief not allowing people to explore it. Space will make some believe more strongly in God while others will see his absence, so from my perspective I see it as being just another experience for people to draw on to make their own choice.

Just for the record I voted no as I see no special connection between religion and space.

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