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Re: What scientists believe but can't prove

  • Subject: Re: What scientists believe but can't prove
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 02 Jan 2006 12:18:24 +0000
  • Newsgroups: uk.philosophy.atheism
  • Organization: schestowitz.com / MCC / Manchester University
  • References: <donrsp$frk$1@godfrey.mcc.ac.uk> <43b089ba$0$27176$ed2619ec@ptn-nntp-reader02.plus.net>
  • Reply-to: newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • User-agent: KNode/0.7.2
__/ [Steve Marshall] on Tuesday 27 December 2005 00:25 \__

>>   Professor of reproductive medicine
>>   I believe in the sanctity of life but not that there is a
>>   higher spirit up there creating it.
> What does that mean ? Can you have something sacred if there is no god ???

This probably needed to be rephrased as Lance suggested. "Sanctity" is an
historical term in the developed world, albeit that's an arguable statement.

__/ [Lance] on Tuesday 27 December 2005 14:36 \__

> Surely you can treat something as sacred without believing in God?
>  I suppose it means treating it with respect, not interfereing with it,
> not damaging it, encouraging others to behave likewise, etc.
> All of these behaviours seem quite possible without any God bliefs...

So it is associated with social values.

__/ [Mike Archer] on Thursday 29 December 2005 02:38 \__

> Sacred is generally used in religion, though you've pretty much got it
> right there, I actually checked my dictionary as I wasn't 100% sure and
> amongst the definitions for sacred was "worthy of respect, venerable".
> So by defintion an athiest can view something as sacred. (sorry, if I
> sound a bit nerdy, but just trying to back up your point of view ;o)

That's interesting because the context -- the embedment of the word sacred --
is often religious. It might be one of these words that got 'polluted' due
to association. "Polluted" and "contamination" in themselves have a negative
connotation although they refer to mixture, a mishmash. We can't trust
dictionaries on that one because they incorporate the bias in people's
minds. Imagine yourself a dictionary that would urge a foreigner to use
words like "Bitch" and "Gay" (as in happy) in the wrong time and place.
Language and vocabularies adapt with culture.

__/ [Mike Archer] on Friday 30 December 2005 02:16 \__

> Sacred is a quality given to something by a person. Saying something is
> sacred is a bit like saying something is beautiful, it's a personal view
> and not a fact. Declaring something sacred isn't claiming it's more
> important than it is, just that it's vastly important to the people who
> consider it sacred. To a member of ISKCON a cow is sacred, to me it's a
> BigMac plant, it's down to personal view. :)

Personal views propagate from one mind to another. Therein lies a trap.
That's also why many people still (wish to) believe in Gawd.

__/ [Steve Marshall] on Thursday 29 December 2005 13:55 \__

> Isn't declaring something sacred giving it an importance that it doesn't
> actually have ? For example a sacred cow ? We had a Sacred Lawn at school
> which we weren't to walk on. The school was sold to the Bible-bashers who
> promptly tore up the lawn to build a car park. Nothing's sacred !
> Traditionally we attach a status to our leaders declaring them to be
> 'special'. Emperors had to be regarded as gods and kings are synonymous
> with deity. Priests etc dress up in fancy costumes to make themselves look
> special.
> 'Sacred' is just another way of declaring something more important than it
> is. Is human life really different to other kinds of life ?

That's a whole different and broad topic. In the context of atheism, one can
ask: why did God create /human/ that resembles his own image? And why is it
that only humans need to pray and cherish? It's laughable to many of us, but
some take this /extremely/ seriously.


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