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Chapter 1: The most precious thing 
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Post Re: Chapter 1: The most precious thing
It's considered part of the middle age epoch - late middle ages

You can quibble about what inventions and medical advances should fall into early, middle, mid late, and late middle ages all you want.
,And the practical developments achieved thereafter.
The fact is that there are inventions and advancements overlooked mostly by those who wish to hold on the the now rejected view by scholars that the age was "dark" with ignorance.

Its essentially cheap whig history thats commonly promoted



Last edited by ant on Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:56 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 1: The most precious thing
Ooops. deleted. wrong chapter.



Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:35 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 1: The most precious thing
Herodotus 450(ish) B.C.E.

For if anyone, no matter who were given the opportunity of choosing from amongst all the nations in the world the beliefs which he thought best, he would inevitably choose his own native customs, and the religion he was brought up in, to be the best; and that being so, it is unlikely that anyone but a madman would mock at such things. There is abundant evidence that this is the universal feeling about the ancient custom of one's country. One might recall, in particular, an account told of Darius. When he was king of Persia, he summoned the Greeks who happened to be present at his court, and asked them what they would take to eat the dead bodies of their fathers. They replied that they would not do it for any money in the world. Later, in the presence of the Greeks, and through an interpreter, so that they could understand what was said, he asked some Indians, of the tribe called Callatiae, who do in fact eat their parents' dead bodies, what they would take to burn them. They uttered a cry of horror and forbade him to mention such a dreadful thing. One can see by this what custom can do, and Pindar, in my opinion, was right when he called it 'king of all.'

Pindar: 'Custom, the king of all/ of mortals and immortals,/ leads, justifying that which is most violent/ by its very powerful hand.'

Sagan, in my opinion, is sharing with the reader his fight... how he wasn't brow beat with religion and so was free to choose - how early on he wondered and how his parents supported his search for truth and reproached him with things which weren't true.

How true Herodotus or how true Sagan's little stories about his childhood or chauffeur are - the message is delivered. The fight against culture is an extremely difficult one. It's one only, in H's mind, that a madman would attempt to make. Sagan has more hope.

How does religion change? War and death. Replacement by force in most cases. The world today still shows this method taking place but in developed nations an effort is being made to overcome such a ridiculous struggle.

Sagan, as always, points to more important things than pretty shadows. He is, again, trying to show how reality is just as fascinating as anything in a comic book but is more awesome because it is REAL. He is showing his struggle. He's showing the army massed against him. He really has written an excellent first chapter. It's pure Sagan... still fighting :)

Carl even identifies some of science's shortcomings and dangers. He's aware that science can't provide elements such as dreams of a heaven or life after death to keep people drunk. He knows the sobering action of science.



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Post Re: Chapter 1: The most precious thing
Quote:
President C wrote:

For if anyone, no matter who were given the opportunity of choosing from amongst all the nations in the world the beliefs which he thought best, he would inevitably choose his own native customs, and the religion he was brought up in, to be the best;


In the sixties we youth took on the Hindu/Buddhist teachings of the Maharishi and such. Even though those teachings have become out of date now - my whole philosophy of life, and that of many of my contemporaries, was altered completely by books like 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance'. I abandoned my Christian church and embraced the teachings of my Yoga teacher, who also taught us the philosophy behind Yoga. I know I have had a much happier life because of that 'learned' attitude. A nation like India has all kinds of religion. Hindu being the most common, then Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and finally Sikism which is a comparitively new faith.

It is not a matter of which we think is best. It is not a competition. I think it where one feels most at home. I feel most at home in a society where ones spiritual growth is seen as just as important as ones physical or intellectual growth.


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Sun Feb 01, 2015 10:15 am
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Post Re: Chapter 1: The most precious thing
Sagan is fighting against what's comfy and what's true. Where one feels most at home... that's something Sagan is trying to address. I think he admits that science can be rather boring but that it can also be more fascinating and compelling than any fiction created by man.

I think Sagan wonders why people don't choose true science. Why they'd want to make their "home" out of straw instead of something more substantial.

One more thing... competition.
This very book is competing with television, internet cat videos, pornography, alcohol, drugs, etc. for attention. It's competing with a whole lot for attention. Science is doing the same. It's work competing with play. It's going to have a very difficult time if there aren't more people like Sagan who try to show that the outcome is worth the effort.



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Post Re: Chapter 1: The most precious thing
I ask your indulgence but after reading the last few posts I feel the need to ask whether the fault is outside or inside ourselves? Were "we" bored, or fickle? Is it hard, or is 'our' attention span microscopic?


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Sun Feb 01, 2015 5:30 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 1: The most precious thing
That's an easy answer and I think you already know it. Everyone's definition of work is different and how we value reward for such work differs as well. It's not about attention span so much as something more plain jane... work. We all have needs and work that produces great reward has competition from something that's very easy with some reward. People see this as a grocery store purchase but it's more serious than that because we're not talking about a single life but the timeline of humanity and what it can achieve in the least amount of time in order to survive. You take this very serious endeavor and introduce things like religion and in the long term, for me, you see a huge speed bump - a slow driver - someone who - albeit you have respect for their resolve - is just damn doing it wrong and is in the way of forward movement and the ultimate prize.

Why bear the brunt? In this life we won't get the ultimate prize. What's the ultimate prize? I don't know but as long as there is something else to find out - the challenge is on! To stop, to limit ourselves, may be a great check but defense is a LOSING proposition. It's always been a losing proposition and always will be. Sagan knows this when he talks about nuclear bombs. Science created those but science has also provided a way for cheaper food production, medicines... so on. It's saved more lives than not. Sagan is not only trying to gear people away from harmful things like drugs (religion and alcohol) but towards using science for good and being responsible with it.



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Post Re: Chapter 1: The most precious thing
Imagine not achieving anything than what we have today. Imagine the world uninhabitable tomorrow. Imagine the human race ended. Read its history. Would you cry?



Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:17 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 1: The most precious thing
reminds me of that tune

cry me a river



Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:52 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 1: The most precious thing
PC, you claim religion is a speed bump but the scientific 'progress' in the past few centuries owes its success to churchmen of the incorrectly maligned middled ages. Pop culture and scientists in general fawn over Einstein but rarely acknowledge the debt owe to Maxwell. If you consider the impacts on daily life of these two individuals, Maxwell's is orders or magnitude more than Einstein's and yet Maxwell was a string Christian. And what about all the Nobel prize winners who were Christians? How can you justify calling religion a speed bump.

Further, religion - primarily Christianity devotes significant resources to works of charity. What resources dies science devote to charity?


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Post Re: Chapter 1: The most precious thing
Quote:
the scientific 'progress' in the past few centuries owes its success to churchmen of the incorrectly maligned middled ages.


the discoveries were there to be made, if a christian didn't get there first someone else would have made it sooner or later.

i don't see how a scientific discovery can be claimed by the christians, they do the same with morality, oh you wouldn't have had any morality without God (us), i dont believe it, discoveries would be made with or without christianity, morality would be there with or without christianity.

i think we might well be further along without christianity.

Quote:
Further, religion - primarily Christianity devotes significant resources to works of charity.


there again, christianity acting as if it somehow owns charity

christianity owns science, morality and charity... anything else vicar?

islam is the final revelation

god gave us jews this land

let's have a party to end all parties.



Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:03 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 1: The most precious thing
"the discoveries were there to be made, if a christian didn't get there first someone else would have made it sooner or later."

More counterfactuals and irrelevant, "yeah, but ..," nonsense.

But dont let me interrupt.



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Post Re: Chapter 1: The most precious thing
come, let us reason together :-D



Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:17 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 1: The most precious thing
Stahrwe wrote:
PC, you claim religion is a speed bump but the scientific 'progress' in the past few centuries owes its success to churchmen of the incorrectly maligned middled ages. Pop culture and scientists in general fawn over Einstein but rarely acknowledge the debt owe to Maxwell. If you consider the impacts on daily life of these two individuals, Maxwell's is orders or magnitude more than Einstein's and yet Maxwell was a string Christian. And what about all the Nobel prize winners who were Christians? How can you justify calling religion a speed bump.


If you don't think religious belief lends itself to the opposition of scientific knowledge, how do you explain you motive against evolution and an old Earth? Do you think this century is the only one with such antagonism towards science due to religious belief? How many Americans believe evolution isn't true, because religion has staked a claim on that conceptual territory? For every Christian scientist following an empirical quest for knowledge, their are ten decrying it. But you'd have us believe this is only a recent trend?


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Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:34 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 1: The most precious thing
The secular philosophy enshrined in Aristotle inhibited scientific progress until 1277 AD when Etienne Tempier, the bishop of Paris, condemned the belief "that the First Cause cannot make many worlds, and opened science to discovery. The statement that the discoveries would have been made anyway is not a logically defensible argument. It is a conclusion without valid premises.

I will deal with Darwin in a future comment.


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Sun Feb 01, 2015 10:27 pm
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