Back by popular demand, further fleshing of the Rooster debate. What happens when your myth dies? You get into existential arguments with personified farm animals. Stranger things have happened. (NB: the text has been condensed, in the interest of space.)
The Rooster: You said that science is just another form of religion. Now, setting aside the veracity of that claim
Harley: I said that science and religion are the same in their souls; that's very different. Science is NOT a religion, but it attempts the same things as religion claims to attempt, to answer the same questions. It just does it better, and with testing, and null hypotheses, and statistics
The Rooster: Now, why do you find relativism preferable to the alternatives?
Harley: As opposed to universalism?
The Rooster: Objectivism (not Ayn Rand), but you get the idea
Harley: Because what's true for me is not true for you, scientifically. We have different associative networks. Different synaptic connections, we perceive colors and tastes differently, if we [danced], we'd experience the moment differently
The Rooster: That's not true. What's true is true. What you think is true and what I think is true are irrelevant
Harley: We understand words with different nuances. Since I cannot know that which is outside myself, but only though my own lens and I can only perceive truth through that lens, objective truth is beside the point. Just like God
The Rooster: But that turns into nihilism
Harley: I didn't say personal perspective was invalid or that you couldn't generalize from yourself or think that others are wrong
The Rooster: Then "Jews are inferior" is true for Hitler and there is nothing we can say
Harley: It is true for Hitler
The Rooster: BUT IT'S WRONG OBJECTIVELY
Harley: Just like FGM [Female Genital Mutilation] as representative of a cultural paradigm is true for some African nations and I won't argue that they are objectively wrong because I cannot make that argument. I can say it's subjectively wrong and I will do everything within my power to fight it.
The Rooster: Most claims can be tested. I recoil at most notions of "subjective truth." I'll concede that most of us, myself included, need notions of subjective truth to get by, but it's still a delusion
Harley: Just because you find it repulsive does not make it false. Subjective truth, by the way, is an oxymoron
The Rooster: And in the case of religion, a very destructive delusion. According to your own theory, just because I find it repulsive, makes it wrong "for me."
Harley: Your "truth" is the way you organize and understand the world
The Rooster: No, it's the way the world is organized.
Harley: No? There's some objective truth out there? And you're against religion? You’re basically arguing religion: religion is based on universal truth, discerning a universal truth a universal order. I'm not denying that such a truth exists. I'm just saying it's hubris to argue that we can perceive it, the non-scientific truths. Here, I agree perfectly with Dawkins.
The Rooster: It's false. It's demonstrably false. Those who engage in it do a disservice to themselves and everyone around them. I agree about hubris. I don't claim to know any objective truth, but I try
Harley: We know scientifically proven things to be true, to a certain extent and that's the closest we can get to truth The rest of it is just figuring out how to live in the world.
The Rooster: I try to get to know it, I try to take an objective stance, I try really hard and religious people have GIVEN UP. It's the most flagrant intellectual laziness and dishonesty in the world, bar none
Harley: Religions have gotten buried under the weight of their own doctrine and forgotten that at the root of religion was the desire to uncover the secrets of how the universe works. I blame the ECF [Early Christian Fathers]
The Rooster: I blame God. But I don't think you're alternative - religion as a code of conduct, a way of perceiving and organizing the world, "couched" in universal truth - makes religion any better, any more valid, any less poisonous
Harley: You blame an entity in which you don't believe? You have a very rigid view about the boundaries and constraints of religion and culture. Culture, by definition, and religion, too, are meant to morph and change.
The Rooster: The very fact that religion is supposed to "morph" invalidates it as a universal truth; it renders it meaningless
Harley: Religion is not universal truth; it is a process by which people attempt to uncover and live their lives by universal truth; it's the same thing you're doing with your life right now.
The Rooster: That's a sign of tremendous weakness. a Big Book answers those questions for them. Even those who engage in it thoughtfully are still constrained by the canon. Throw out the canon; it’s worthless.
Harley: Rabbinic literature (and supposedly the Christian dogmatic process) is supposed to be living and breathing. Judaism started suffering when it became dogmatic of thinking instead of prescriptive of behavior
The Rooster: Just because religion used to be, or still is, inextricable with a cultural or a national identity doesn't make it any less absurd. I don't care if religion makes people feel better. If religion was gone and everyone felt worse, it would still be a good thing. I cannot get behind the idea that something based upon, or linked with, a terminally faulty canon can still be valid in any way. Even if there's more to religion than canon, there's still the canon. It's the deal breaker. Everything else is smoke and mirrors
Harley: Everything is smoke and mirrors period. Everything. That's my point: all religion, culture, government, philosophy is smoke and mirrors. Intangible, not provable, all socially constructed. That doesn't invalidate them, but it's true.
The Rooster: Yes, of course, but government makes no claims about anything in the great beyond. There is good government and bad government.
Harley: Well, that's not rhetorically true, but I get your point
The Rooster: Plus, government is necessary and religion is unnecessary
Harley: We need religion because of death
The Rooster: I am actually speechless
To Be Continued…