Episode 64 - Rewriting History

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Episode 64 - Rewriting History

Post  Admin on Fri Mar 19, 2010 11:08 am

Share your thoughts on Episode 64 here.
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Re: Episode 64 - Rewriting History

Post  Aught3 on Sat Mar 20, 2010 2:31 am

I enjoyed this episode I learned a few things that I didn't know before which is always good. As the podcast dragged-on I found myself getting a little lost with the mix of real and false history (i.e., the naive atheist perspective vs. the naive christian vs. reality) so I thought a couple of summaries between the different sections of the book would have made things clearer.
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Re: Episode 64 - Rewriting History

Post  Neon Genesis on Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:02 am

Have any of the Doubtcasters read Karen Armstrong's A History Of God? How do her books fare in historical reliability?

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Re: Episode 64 - Rewriting History

Post  Lausten on Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:52 am

Great show. If the moniker weren’t already taken, I would call you “fair and balanced”. I don’t mean that sarcastically. I appreciate the lengths you go to for presenting both sides of very complicated issues. Unfortunately the complications are usually misinformation Too often I see or hear statements like, “the Christians burned down the library of Alexandria”, with no mention of how unprovable that statement is.

You also avoided restating all the unsubstantiated names of scientists who were persecuted by the Catholics from the White-Draper conflict thesis EXCEPT, Giordano Bruno. As you did with Hart, I’m going to say you were sorta right about this. He was burned at the stake, a heinous event in our past that has no excuse, even in historical context. However that should not prevent us from examining just what were the motivations of the people that did that, in the same way we should understand why people fly planes into buildings.

By stating it the way you did, it leaves people with the common assumption that the Inquisition was tracking down scientists like this and trying to stop them from teaching. There is plenty of freely available information that shows this is not the case. Rather than present it all, I’m going to be a little lazy and just show this list from Wikipedia of what he was actually tried for:
• Holding opinions contrary to the Catholic Faith and speaking against it and its ministers.
• Holding erroneous opinions about the Trinity, about Christ's divinity and Incarnation.
• Holding erroneous opinions about Christ.
• Holding erroneous opinions about Transubstantiation and Mass.
• Claiming the existence of a plurality of worlds and their eternity.
• Believing in metempsychosis and in the transmigration of the human soul into brutes.
• Dealing in magics and divination.
• Denying the Virginity of Mary.
The first one could be anti-scientific depending on what opinions it is talking about it. The others addressing Christian miracles could be said to be anti-scientific in the sense that they are not true, but Bruno was not developing his theories on cosmology specifically to attack the church. He could have and often did his work without mentioning the church at all. The only one in there that is directly related to science is the plurality of worlds, the idea that there is life on other planets. People still have trouble with this one, and there is plenty of non-fiction and fiction written on the tremendous impact on cultures when they realize they are not, or may not, be alone in the universe.

A couple other important points are that Bruno was not well liked by many. Not that you should be burned at the stake for that, but it is easy to paint a false image of a meek little man in a lab coat just trying to learn about the real world. Also he was in prison for 7 years while the trial went on. Ultimately the process failed to reach a just conclusion, but there was a process.
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Re: Episode 64 - Rewriting History

Post  Lausten on Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:37 pm

Have any of the Doubtcasters read Karen Armstrong's A History Of God?
I don't recall them mentioning it but I have read some reviews. I like Karen, but I think she does stretch the truth a bit. Not so much with facts, but with assumptions about motivations. Her idea that religious leaders throughout history have always thought of their scriptures as allegory does not really hold up that well, and would require getting into their personal thoughts, rather than looking at what was publicly stated.

I read one good review that said this might have been true of religious elites, they may have, in private discussed history and mythology, but publicly they wouldn't admit it. The reviewer said Karen is essentially setting up herself as one of these elites, except she is going public. It might work for some, but for many it is too soft. I like the approach, but it needs to come with some admissions of guilt and some reconciliation for past crimes for it to really have any weight.

If we are creating a new mythology, one about a vast complex universe with forces that can't be predicted, based on universally accepted standards of compassion, then Karen might be on to something. If she is suggesting we leave that in the hands of the same institutions that abused children and supported wars, she is way off base.
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Re: Episode 64 - Rewriting History

Post  Neon Genesis on Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:56 pm

Lausten wrote:

I like the approach, but it needs to come with some admissions of guilt and some reconciliation for past crimes for it to really have any weight.

If we are creating a new mythology, one about a vast complex universe with forces that can't be predicted, based on universally accepted standards of compassion, then Karen might be on to something. If she is suggesting we leave that in the hands of the same institutions that abused children and supported wars, she is way off base.
Have you seen Karen Armstrong's Charter For Compassion? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wktlwCPDd94

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Re: Episode 64 - Rewriting History

Post  Lausten on Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:17 pm

Seen it, was on the email list while it was being developed, joined the Facebook group and watched all of these

Compassion talks
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