FLC Philosophy Club - “Do Religions Start Wars?” (3/17/23)

The author of this book

was a librarian. I first came across him in a forum. He had a long piece on how many wars were really caused by religion. He rated it rather low, putting more blame on resources, with religion used as a motivator.

Later, I realized he was biased toward Christianity. Still, some good history, like the astronomers in the Vatican in the 10th century, and details on how the crusades were started.

Oh nice, he has his own Url

I agree, humans are shaped by and the result of millions of years of evolution and adaptions to local conditions, just as are all extant organisms.

To a virus or a bacteria the human biome is relatively as big as our galaxy is to us, yet there is a delicate balance maintained by the biome’s homeostatic mechanisms, which includes an existential role of symbiotic bacteria, without which we would die.

This glimpse of the process of cell division is wonderfully illustrated in this video.
I’m sure you have seen it but for benefit of new readers, this really informative.

Yes I have many times over the years, done much mediating on it. Among other things it has made me aware of why it’s so easy for so many to see the need for intelligent design. I’ve come to understand that those notions can be overcome with a more realistic appreciation for the fact that our minds are the product of our brain/body/environment.

Which brings us back to the discussion this thread is supposed to be about:

… The conversation then drifted into the notion that Religion & Science are both simply faith systems of a different flavor.

While some great points were made for science, the discussion felt like thrashing at branches while the core of matter was avoided all together.

Why not go for the heart of the matter? It begins with the question:

“Who Are You?”

To which I’d respond: “Most fundamentally I’m an evolved biological sensing creature - a product of Earth’s processes.” Why is that important?

Because only from an Evolutionary Perspective can we fully appreciate human consciousness in a way that helps us define the difference between Science & Religion.

The key insight is a deep time appreciation for the Human Mindscape ~ Physical Reality divide. …

Although, it does apply to other creatures as well, the difference being no other creature has those ultimate bells and whistles (introspection and such) added onto their brains, that evolution has to offer. (The way we humans do.)

How about taking your favorite pet for a ride.

I prefer walking. With my doggy partner. Never had one of them before.

I should write about her a little more. Like me, she’s slowing down. Snout is showing a bit more gray, the majestic 100yard chases across the meadow don’t happen the way they used to. A little sad, considering this friendship, comradely, communication, understanding (only so far, no woo.) that had developed between us. Usually she’s off the line following her nose and I’m following her, she’ll so a little distance, but only so, 15, 20yards something like that. Winter is cool because snow creates another witness by way of animal tracks, so we can often see what she’s sniffing out. Nows it’s back to simply keeping up with her - she slows down on command, plus I get more convinced all the time that she likes having me with eye shot. I’ve played little hiding games, and it’s sort of gratifying watching her face. I think that’s one of the things that probably snagged human interest from the beginning, K9 project emotions through facial muscles and eyes, just like we humans. Okay, no where near just like, but on the same spectrum.

It’s fun watching Maddy and noticing how she keeps an eye on me, and that eye contact is very important in coordinating where we’re going. Like she’s checking in with me, well in actuality we’re checking in with each other. I keep up a bit of dialogue, with some cool cadence rhyming and song now and then. Nothing I’ve even come close to doing before, but alone with my dog in the country, it turns out to be very natural and it works for both of us so far as building trust, cooperation. It’s a trip she’s a dog, brain not past a two year olds, yet a certain wisdom and awareness of the world around here, picking up on expectations and doing her best to meet them, while being the dog she is. I think that’s been one of my biggest eye openers.

She’s not on a line too often, but our river is formidable right now, fast water, lots of it, not taking any chances. She scared of it, our first visit during high water she spent a lot of time sniffing at the water that was lapping onto the usually dry grassy edge. Now she just as soon I not come all the way to the river*. In fact, this early spring, I lost a few show downs, where I really wanted to walk all the way to the river check it out. But she absolutely refused. Oh the back and forths we’ve had, and in these cases her will has over powered my desire. It’s not like worth ruining the day over.

*Lower water she loves jumping in, this high water, something in her was curious, but her dog sense wouldn’t let her. Nor I, I’m loose on the leash, though had she shown interest in jumping in, I’d have stopped it.

As for Rambo & Blue , oh to be able to do the SPOCK mind meld on them. Although, good chance the thoughts wouldn’t make much sense to us, even if we melded with their minds.
Maddy hates driving in my wife’s nice car, but she likes driving in my old pick’em up truck, go figure.

Back to the OP, I’ve taken it up a notch. It’ll be interesting to see if I’m invited next semester.

Hello Professor …,

May I ask you to consider some observations regarding the Philosophy Club’s last discussion and to challenge a little.

I couldn’t help but feel that it’s a futile question that defies resolution because everyone works outward from their own specific definitions, and our discussions devolved into a parade of “sure, but …,” talk for talk, little that was constructive enough for anyone to do anything with.

Then the conversation drifted into the notion that Religion & Science are both simply faith systems of a different flavor.

That discussion remained surprisingly superficial while the core of the matter was avoided all together.

You may ask: What ‘core of the matter’? Appreciating our human consciousness and its limits.

As I’ve been chewing on that meeting I got to thinking about an off hand comment one of your club officers made about me possibly actually leading one of the meeting discussions.

I’ve been thinking about it and would like to ask for your consider - please invite me to speak at one of next year’s Philosophy Club meetings.

I believe there’s plenty here to fill an hour and a half with challenging and constructive (timely and relevant) discussion.

Below I offer an outline of the substance of such a talk.

Thank you for your consideration,


Outline for a presentation to the Philosophy Club meeting.

“Religion & Science, are both simply Faith Systems of a Different Flavor?”

I would suggest that the most constructive way to come at this challenge is from an Evolutionary perspective, one that begins with a better appreciation of our own minds, the wellspring of all our thoughts.

“Who Are You?”

If you asked me that, I’d respond: “Most fundamentally I am an evolved biological sensing creature. My mind is the product of my body, and my body is a product of this Earth’s Evolution. A self-aware filament in Earth’s ongoing Evolution.”

Why is that important?

Because only from an Evolutionary Perspective can we fully appreciate human consciousness in a way that truly helps us recognize the contrast between the pursuit of Science and faith in Religion.

The key insight is a deep time appreciation for the Human Mind ~ Physical Reality divide.

Physical Reality is the physical world of atoms, molecules, universal laws of physics, biology and Earth’s laws of nature. It is Earth’s dance between geology and biology and time and Earth’s evolving creatures.

Human “Mindscape" is all that goes on inside of our minds. The landscape of our thoughts and desires and impulses along with those various voices and personalities who inhabit our thoughts and Being. The ineffable notions that our hands can turn into physical reality that changes our planet.

The me, myself and I, and all that unfolds within the thoughts just beyond the biological sparks and chemical cascades unfolding within our physical bodies and brains as they navigate their environments.

Once we have a visceral appreciation for the fact that my physical body creates my mind, it becomes clear that both science and religion are products of our minds dealing with the physical reality each of us is imbedded within. Two projects with two very different natures.

Science seeks to objectively learn about our physical world, but we ought to still recognize all our understanding is embedded within and constrained by our mindscape and the bubble our personal ego creates.

Religion is all about the human mindscape itself, with its wonderful struggles, fears, spiritual undercurrents, needs and stories we create to give our live’s meaning and make it worth living, or at least bearable.

What’s the point?

Religions, science, same as political beliefs, heaven, hell, mathematics, art, music, even God, they are all products of the human mindscape, generations of imaginings built upon previous generations of imaginings, all the way down.

That’s not to say they are the same thing, they are not! Though I think they’re both valid human endeavors, still fundamentally, qualitatively different.

Religion deals with the inside of our minds, passion and souls, Science does its best to objectively understand the physical world beyond all that, doing its best to eliminate ego and bias from its deliberations.

From this starting point a much more constructive conversation about the many substantive contrasts between religion and science becomes possible.

From there I’d move onto tackling the Faith question with an invitation for critique that would go something like the following copy of a flier I’ve offered up at a couple Philosophy Club meetings already.

With a half year or more to think on it, it will be more refined and I’d happily share my notes ahead of time.

I’m looking for serious critique and feedback. This past December I finally had a teaser, but it begged a question that still hasn’t received a response, despite my further inquiries.

So, I’m hoping someone might be willing to step up and give it a shot.

I was told:

“Your essays consistently make conceptual confusions; the ego-God piece is a good example of this confusion.

In that piece, you waffle back and forth between having the word ‘God’ refer to a heavenly creator and having it refer to the CONCEPT of such a creator.

Example: frogs are amphibians, but the concept of ‘frog’ is not an amphibian. It’s a concept that we use to think about the world.” *****

I responded:

Now you confuse me.

Where specifically do you see this waffling?

I started out with “God” in scare quotes, the first sentence reads:

Who is “God” but a creation of our unique complex human minds dealing with our day to days?

Later I write:

Humans are the product of our Earth, God is the product of our human mind.

It’s why our conceptions of God always wind up being driven by our own Egos, not by any outside force.

Nothing wrong with that, if only we could bring ourselves to explicitly recognize it for what it is, our mind striving to reconcile itself with the unknowable.

The critique continued:

“It’s obvious that humans created the CONCEPT of God,

and equally obvious that humans couldn’t create the BEING God. But your essay confuses the two.”

I found this shocking. After getting my bearing I asked:

I know of Beings and I know of Things and both can be observed in one way or another. If they can’t, I’m told they are figments of my imagination.

How can something that’s never been observed on any level (beyond the human heart & mind) be categorized as a BEING of physical reality? Even the super mystery of “Dark Matter” has evidence pointing at its existence.

How do philosophers justify referring to something as a BEING if it can’t be demonstrated in any way beyond imaginative intellectual arguments and human desire?

How does an Assumption get transubstantiated into a BEING?

***** As for that analogy, it brings this discussion back to my essays which strive to highlight the need to explicitly appreciate the “Human Mindscape ~ Physical Reality divide.” (Though that’s a different discussion I’m hoping to have with the curious.)

I’m hoping for someone who’s willing to explain what they think I’m missing here?




My response reads:

“Thanks for this offer. The Philosophy Club is student-run, and, as such, the students select all of the topics and speakers. I’ll be sure to raise your offer with them when we gather in the fall to set the schedule for the academic year.

Best, …”

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