November 6th, 2003 04:13 PM
That's an amazing piece of literature. I hope one would read the entire thing and not fixate on a single quote that lends some support to one’s own desires. I think a genuine misunderstanding about conflicting quotes, by the same man regarding religion, is the rascal and kind of petty - considering he has made both quotes.
But what is Albert's definition of religion?
Let me enlighten those interested and go beyond a single quotation taken out of context, which is repeatedly done. All from the same article:
Albert's take on science:
Albert's take on Religion:
To put it boldly, it is the attempt at the posterior reconstruction of existence by the process of conceptualization.
He then further clarifies enlightenment terms.
At first, then, instead of asking what religion is I should prefer to ask what characterizes the aspirations of a person who gives me the impression of being religious: a person who is religiously enlightened appears to me to be one who has, to the best of his ability, liberated himself from the fetters of his selfish desires and is preoccupied with thoughts, feelings, and aspirations to which he clings because of their superpersonalvalue.
And then delivers the punch on more clarified points that will eventually relate to his observation of religion and possibly his own place in it.
It seems to me that what is important is the force of this superpersonal content and the depth of the conviction concerning its overpowering meaningfulness, regardless of whether any attempt is made to unite this content with a divine Being, for otherwise it would not be possible to count Buddha and Spinoza as religious personalities.
Accordingly, a religious person is devout in the sense that he has no doubt of the significance and loftiness of those superpersonal objects and goals which neither require nor are capable of rational foundation. They exist with the same necessity and matter-of-factness as he himself.
It seems like Albert is trying to understand the mind of a deeply religious person and makes some assumption based on a definition of his interpretation of a religious man and those of a scientific man. They have the same attitude toward their conviction and superpersonal matters (I was wondering why he was using that word). And given those definitions he goes on to make a bold statement that science and religion, when given that definition, can have no conflict. He then goes on to clarify some more points and note differences in ideology of religion and science. I continue my analysis:
In this sense religion is the age-old endeavor of mankind to become clearly and completely conscious of these values and goals and constantly to strengthen and extend their effect. If one conceives of religion and science according to these definitions then a conflict between them appears impossible.
It seems he is saying science seeks knowledge and religion seeks affirmation to written rules already prescribed. He then goes on to announce the shortfall of scientist who wrongfully try and denounce religion.
For science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be, and outside of its domain value judgments of all kinds remain necessary. Religion, on the other hand, deals only with evaluations of human thought and action: it cannot justifiably speak of facts and relationships between facts. According to this interpretation the well-known conflicts between religion and science in the past must all be ascribed to a misapprehension of the situation which has been described. For example, a conflict arises when a religious community insists on the absolute truthfulness of all statements recorded in the Bible. This means an intervention on the part of religion into the sphere of science; this is where the struggle of the Church against the doctrines of Galileo and Darwin belongs.
Indeed their are strong relationships and dependencies in reference to religion and science. One can see the relationships more clearly in the next few passages.
On the other hand, representatives of science have often made an attempt to arrive at fundamental judgments with respect to values and ends on the basis of scientific method, and in this way have set themselves in opposition to religion. These conflicts have all sprung from fatal errors. Now, even though the realms of religion and science in themselves are clearly marked off from each other, nevertheless there exist between the two strong reciprocal relationships and dependencies.
This is an interesting point. He is saying that true science, in terms of discovery of new things and ideas, can only succeed where one can place aside faith and reference to all things written. In fact major scientific discoveries were in direct conflict with the church and scientist were actually killed for making those assumptions. But in Direct relation to his earlier quote he goes on to defend the "feeling" of religion as a driving force inherent in man. That which he calls "aspiration toward truth and understanding".
Though religion may be that which determines the goal, it has, nevertheless, learned from science, in the broadest sense, what means will contribute to the attainment of the goals it has set up. But science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding.
So his own "faith" is attributed to a goal, just like man and his religious pursuits only Albert’s goal is find the possibility to comprehend his "existence"
This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion. To this there also belongs the faith in the possibility that the regulations valid for the world of existence are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason.
The same "faith" or pursuit of truth that a religious man has, though difference in their implementation.
I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound faith.
And there we have the disputed quote. However, the quote is taken completely out of context - as is often the case in these arguments. I have followed up on every line posted here and found their original sources. Often seemingly convincing quotes are edited and misused to trick and deceive a reader. One would have another read this and force a conclusion that Albert supports god, the bible as law, and all things related. That is not the case, Albert supports religion based on his own definition of it, to proceed otherwise is dishonest. I leave with a few more quotes from the same article of which I broke up into passages to make it easier for the reader instead of a big blob of text.
The situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. Though I have asserted above that in truth a legitimate conflict between religion and science cannot exist, I must nevertheless qualify this assertion once again on an essential point, with reference to the actual content of historical religions.
This qualification has to do with the concept of God. During the youthful period of mankind's spiritual evolution human fantasy created gods in man's own image, who, by the operations of their will were supposed to determine, or at any rate to influence, the phenomenal world.
Man sought to alter the disposition of these gods in his own favor by means of magic and prayer. The idea of God in the religions taught at present is a sublimation of that old concept of the gods.
Its anthropomorphic character is shown, for instance, by the fact that men appeal to the Divine Being in prayers and plead for the fulfillment of their wishes. Nobody, certainly, will deny that the idea of the existence of an omnipotent, just, and omnibeneficent personal God is able to accord man solace, help, and guidance; also, by virtue of its simplicity it is accessible to the most undeveloped mind.
But, on the other hand, there are decisive weaknesses attached to this idea in itself, which have been painfully felt since the beginning of history. That is, if this being is omnipotent, then every occurrence, including every human action, every human thought, and every human feeling and aspiration is also His work; how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty Being? In giving out punishment and rewards He would to a certain extent be passing judgment on Himself.
How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to Him? The main source of the present-day conflicts between the spheres of religion and of science lies in this concept of a personal God.
It is the aim of science to establish general rules which determine the reciprocal connection of objects and events in time and space. For these rules, or laws of nature, absolutely general validity is required--not proven. It is mainly a program, and faith in the possibility of its accomplishment in principle is only founded on partial successes.
The document is quite large and only a little was posted here for us to review. If you still want to read the rest I can point you here.
But hardly anyone could be found who would deny these partial successes and ascribe them to human self-deception. The fact that on the basis of such laws we are able to predict the temporal behavior of phenomena in certain domains with great precision and certainty is deeply embedded in the consciousness of the modern man, even though he may have grasped very little of the contents of those laws. He need only consider that planetary courses within the solar system may be calculated in advance with great exactitude on the basis of a limited number of simple laws. In a similar way, though not with the same precision, it is possible to calculate in advance the mode of operation of an electric motor, a transmission system, or of a wireless apparatus, even when dealing with a novel development.
West of House
You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.
There is a small mailbox here.