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Freedom Of Thought Or Right To Decide?


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#18 hazelm

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 03:35 PM

I have to keep reminding myself that Bury is writing a hisotry as much as an editorial commenting on that history.  He is actually a professor of history and this is one of his endeavors.  We shall see how it ends.  Hazel



#19 Deepwater6

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 05:35 PM

I also wonder about freedom of thought and religion. If we are ever visited by an ET, what level of technology/disguised miracles would he have to display so that the large religions of the world would consider him a God instead of a regular alien? 


Edited by Deepwater6, 26 September 2017 - 06:17 PM.


#20 exchemist

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 01:35 AM

I have to keep reminding myself that Bury is writing a hisotry as much as an editorial commenting on that history.  He is actually a professor of history and this is one of his endeavors.  We shall see how it ends.  Hazel

Was. He has been dead for 90 years: https://en.wikipedia...wiki/J._B._Bury

 

The book you are reading was published in 1913. 


Edited by exchemist, 27 September 2017 - 01:40 AM.


#21 exchemist

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 01:37 AM

I also wonder about freedom of thought and religion. If we are ever visited by an ET, what level of technology/disguised miracles would he have to display so that the large religions of the world would consider him a God instead of a regular alien? 

Aha, you have in mind Clarke's 3rd Law, I see. 

 

It seems to me that in order for the large religions of the world (Christianity, Islam, Buddhism...) to treat him as God - not generally "a" God, seeing they are mostly monotheistic -  he would need to do something that fitted the narratives of those religions, rather than displaying miraculous wizardry. Don't forget these are sophisticated religions, followed by educated people, including many scientists.

 

I once read an excellent novel called "An Incidence of the Fingerpost", set at the time of the English Civil War (and of Boyle and Locke)  in which a female character appears possibly, though very ambiguously, to be a reincarnation of Christ. Interesting idea. But not involving any whiz-bang, large scale miracles. 


Edited by exchemist, 27 September 2017 - 01:55 AM.


#22 Deepwater6

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 01:33 PM

Yes, I agree there are a lot of ways something like that could get sticky for religions. Not just between the different religions, but also infighting occurring inside individual ones. If this alien shows up with (as you said) the correct narratives, that just happen to closely fit a certain religion, what are the chances all factions of said religion would buy into it? There would have to be splintered factions arguing over the criteria details they feel the alien has or hasn't met. 

 

I can also foresee some other religions possibly labeling another religions God who just showed up the "anti-Christ" or their version of it. Especially if this God/alien is helping those followers who worship him and or making things difficult for the others.



#23 exchemist

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 03:22 PM

Yes, I agree there are a lot of ways something like that could get sticky for religions. Not just between the different religions, but also infighting occurring inside individual ones. If this alien shows up with (as you said) the correct narratives, that just happen to closely fit a certain religion, what are the chances all factions of said religion would buy into it? There would have to be splintered factions arguing over the criteria details they feel the alien has or hasn't met. 

 

I can also foresee some other religions possibly labeling another religions God who just showed up the "anti-Christ" or their version of it. Especially if this God/alien is helping those followers who worship him and or making things difficult for the others.

Yes indeed. Quite difficult to be accepted by several at once, given the differences in belief. 



#24 hazelm

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 06:58 AM

There is a song sung in the Ozarks - and likely elsewhere:  "You go to your church.  I'll go to mine.  But let's walk along together."  To a certain extent, that seems to be working today.  Maybe the religionists would all just shrug and ignore his "faith".  More interested in his ability to  get here and his aim in coming.

 

About that last, several years ago, I saw a poll on another forum that asked what you would do if a shipload of aliens landed on Earth.  One answer was "Shoot them.  They invaded us.  They must be enemy."   Assumptions?



#25 exchemist

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 08:15 AM

Revenons a nos moutons,.........

 

I have now skim-read Chapter III of Bagnall Bury. I must say I find it rather dogmatic in its unrelieved condemnation of a thousand years of Mediaeval thought. While I agree with a lot of his criticism, I find it one-sided and simplistic.

 

I did not notice any mention of Roger Bacon, who gave us the first inkling of modern scientific focus on observation of nature, or William of Ockham, who gave us Ockham's Razor. Both were Franciscan friars, living in c. 13th England.

 

Bagnall Bury was a scion of the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland (son of a Protestant clergyman). Reading his words I can almost hear Iain Paisley bellowing "Noaiuw Poaiupereaigh!" People did write in this dogmatically judgmental way in Edwardian times, but a modern scholar would find it rather crude and biased, I think.  but it's a point of view, certainly.     



#26 Buffy

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 08:19 AM

About that last, several years ago, I saw a poll on another forum that asked what you would do if a shipload of aliens landed on Earth.  One answer was "Shoot them.  They invaded us.  They must be enemy."   Assumptions?

 

That's kinda what the Europeans think of Americans when they show up for vacation, but luckily for us, their gun laws are stricter...

 

The idea though that "show up" is equivalent to "invade" is a perfect example of The Paranoid Style in American Politics, an essay I recommend to everyone.

 

I think the tendency to fear "strangers" of any kind is deeply ingrained in the Human psyche, showing just how much we've transferred the baser instinct of individual survival into a social construct of the group.

 

As with genes though, social crossbreeding has indeed shown that mixing up the "social gene pool" is a really good thing, and ironically, America is the best example of it, followed closely historically by Islam, the Mongols and the Romans. That's why the essay I linked is so interesting because it documents the conflicted nature of our acceptance of "aliens"--or more specifically alien thought--into America.

 

 

They thought man was a creature of rapacious self-interest, and yet they wanted him to be free- free, in essence, to contend, to engage in an umpired strife, to use property to get property, :phones:

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#27 DrKrettin

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 09:30 AM

That's kinda what the Europeans think of Americans when they show up for vacation, but luckily for us, their gun laws are stricter...

 

 

 

That, plus the spending power of the dollar.


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#28 hazelm

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 09:42 AM

Revenons a nos moutons,.........

 

I have now skim-read Chapter III of Bagnall Bury. I must say I find it rather dogmatic in its unrelieved condemnation of a thousand years of Mediaeval thought. While I agree with a lot of his criticism, I find it one-sided and simplistic.

 

I did not notice any mention of Roger Bacon, who gave us the first inkling of modern scientific focus on observation of nature, or William of Ockham, who gave us Ockham's Razor. Both were Franciscan friars, living in c. 13th England.

 

Bagnall Bury was a scion of the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland (son of a Protestant clergyman). Reading his words I can almost hear Iain Paisley bellowing "Noaiuw Poaiupereaigh!" People did write in this dogmatically judgmental way in Edwardian times, but a modern scholar would find it rather crude and biased, I think.  but it's a point of view, certainly.     

He surely didn't let anyone off the hook, did he?  Remember, I said you'd get bored.  As for Ian, you should have known my sainted (I think) Scots grandmother.  She could have taught Ian a few things.  I found Chapter IV a bit more fun to read.  Didn't get quite as boring.  We are up to Elizabeth and Mary now. 

 

Have you ever noticed how these histories always start with Greece.  Wonder where the rest of the world fits in.  Actually, there is a history series that attempts to do just that.   I'll have to find author and title.  I only read her first book and it was for that very reason - to fit in the earlier peoples that we hear less about. 



#29 hazelm

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 09:46 AM

That, plus the spending power of the dollar.

As a friend who visited London and got a lecture from a waitress for asking for a "napkin" agreed.  She told him we Americans should learn their language before coming to their country.  He thanked her nicely, stood up and --- (quote)  I caught a train to Edinburgh.  Those Scots don't care how I talk as long as I spend my money." 


Edited by hazelm, 28 September 2017 - 09:46 AM.


#30 exchemist

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 10:00 AM

He surely didn't let anyone off the hook, did he?  Remember, I said you'd get bored.  As for Ian, you should have known my sainted (I think) Scots grandmother.  She could have taught Ian a few things.  I found Chapter IV a bit more fun to read.  Didn't get quite as boring.  We are up to Elizabeth and Mary now. 

 

Have you ever noticed how these histories always start with Greece.  Wonder where the rest of the world fits in.  Actually, there is a history series that attempts to do just that.   I'll have to find author and title.  I only read her first book and it was for that very reason - to fit in the earlier peoples that we hear less about. 

History round the start of the c.20th was very parochial and rather nationalistic. Eurocentric in this case. In chapter 3 he didn't seem to mention  - unless I missed it - that the torch passed to the muslim civilisation in Baghdad and Moorish Spain for several centuries. But I need to read more of it myself before commenting further.  


Edited by exchemist, 28 September 2017 - 10:01 AM.

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#31 DrKrettin

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 10:06 AM

As a friend who visited London and got a lecture from a waitress for asking for a "napkin" agreed.  She told him we Americans should learn their language before coming to their country.  He thanked her nicely, stood up and --- (quote)  I caught a train to Edinburgh.  Those Scots don't care how I talk as long as I spend my money." 

 

That's a weird anecdote, because there is nothing wrong with "napkin" and the waitress should learn her own language. Still - London, what can you expect?



#32 hazelm

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 10:18 AM

History round the start of the c.20th was very parochial and rather nationalistic. Eurocentric in this case. In chapter 3 he didn't seem to mention  - unless I missed it - that the torch passed to the muslim civilisation in Baghdad and Moorish Spain for several centuries. But I need to read more of it myself before commenting further.  

No, he didn't mention that.  He'd have had to say something good.   A whole other chapter?  Or a whole other book without the parochialism.   It took us a long time to start telling the history of China, Mongolia, Tibet, as well as India before their invasion.  And we haven't even gotten to Africa south of the desert yet.  In fact, we have not done a very good job with South America.  There have been some great discoveries found there by archaeologists.  I'd like to hear more of that.  Something else as long as I am wishing:  I'd like history books that told both sides of any story.  A friend in England once told me that, if I were to read the story of our American Revolution as written in England, I would not recognize it as the same war.



#33 Buffy

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 10:20 AM

As a friend who visited London and got a lecture from a waitress for asking for a "napkin" agreed.  She told him we Americans should learn their language before coming to their country.  He thanked her nicely, stood up and --- (quote)  I caught a train to Edinburgh.  Those Scots don't care how I talk as long as I spend my money." 

 

It's a good thing that he didn't tell her "I ought to smack you on the fanny for that!" (The doctor will get this)

 

 

If the English language made any sense, lackadaisical would have something to do with a shortage of flowers, :phones:
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#34 exchemist

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 10:27 AM

He surely didn't let anyone off the hook, did he?  Remember, I said you'd get bored.  As for Ian, you should have known my sainted (I think) Scots grandmother.  She could have taught Ian a few things.  I found Chapter IV a bit more fun to read.  Didn't get quite as boring.  We are up to Elizabeth and Mary now. 

 

Have you ever noticed how these histories always start with Greece.  Wonder where the rest of the world fits in.  Actually, there is a history series that attempts to do just that.   I'll have to find author and title.  I only read her first book and it was for that very reason - to fit in the earlier peoples that we hear less about. 

I've just looked at Chapter IV. What is striking by its omission is no mention of the printing press. It was the printing press that made books widely available. The availability of the bible, in translation for the first time, gave rise to a new independence in thinking about religion - and also made it possible to circulate criticisms of the church. It also promoted the circulation of ideas more generally and thus played a huge role in freeing thought from the clergy, who until that time had been the people who laboriously copied out books, by hand.