[Buddha-l] Hindu Fundamentalism

curt curt at cola.iges.org
Sun Aug 7 17:31:41 MDT 2005

The kind of science that we are talking about is not capable of
asking - let alone answering - questions that have to do with
the nature - let alone the existence - of Gods. Specific claims
made by the more low-brow literalist crowd, are, or course,
fair game. But that's shooting fish in a barrell, and has nothing
to do with genuine, serious Theological questions. The existence
or non-existence of Gods is a perfectly legitimate target of
philosophical investigation - but "science" which demands
reproducible observations and so forth - is only intended to
ask and answer questions about physical reality. Now as soon
as someone makes a claim about a God that has to do with
reproducible observable physical events - then one can pose
the question of whether or not there is any "scientific evidence"
for or against such a claim. But the claim of the existence of
Gods is not, on its own, subject to scientific proof or disproof.

For example: can you describe an experiment which can be
conducted to test for the existence of Ram and/or Krishna?
Gods are notoriously difficult to nail down - one person's
conception of Krishna is quite different from someone else's.
The Krishna described in the Bhagavad Gita is very different
from the one described in the Bhagavad Purana - but neither
text presents us with anything that would lend itself to designing
an experiment to test for the existence of Krishna.

As far as observability goes, people "observe" Gods all the time.
These observations are inconsistent and irreproducible - no doubt
about that. But that only shows to go you (as we used to say back
in Indiana) that this is not the kind of the thing that science can
help you with.

- Curt

Richard P. Hayes wrote:

>On Tue, 2005-08-02 at 22:58 -0400, curt wrote:
>>To say that "there is no scientific evidence of Ram and Krishna"
>>is nearly meaningless.
>It's perfectly meaningful to me. Which word did you not understand?
>>Is there some accepted criterion for what "scientific evidence" for
>>the "existence" of a God might look like?
>Observability would be a start.
>>This is clearly an example of an anti-religious bias masquerading as
>>scientifical "objectivity".
>Oh for heaven's sake, Curt. There is nothing in the least bit anti-
>religious in making the claim that a religious dogma has no scientific
>foundation. It's not even anti-religious to say a religious dogma has no
>historical grounding. It's just plain straightforward to say that a
>religious dogma is a religious dogma and not a scientific or historical
>truth. What might make such a claim anti-religious would be to add a
>gratuitious policy advocation to that straightforward claim. If, for
>example, one were to add that people who act on religious dogmas should
>be rounded up and shipped to Mars, THAT would perhaps be anti-religious.
>Similarly, there is nothing at all biased or anti-religious in saying
>that there is no historical evidence that Jesus was crucified, no
>scientific evidence that the dead can be resurrected, no scientific
>evidence that a personal consciousness survives the death of a body and
>goes out in search of another body, and neither scientific nor
>historical evidence that Yahweh gave Israel to the Hebrews for all

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