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942834The Guardian: Faith has long been a puzzle for science, and it's no surprise why. By definition, faith demands belief without a need for supporting evidence, a concept that could not be more opposed to the principles of scientific inquiry. In the eyes of the scientist, an absence of evidence reduces belief to a hunch. It places the assumptions at the heart of many religions on the rockiest of ground. So why do so many people believe? Click here to read the story.

Must read:
What use is religion?, Mahalanobis
Secularization: Europe—yes, United States—no: why has secularization occurred in Western Europe but not in the United States?, The Skeptical Inquirer
HedgeFundGuy meinte am 2. Mar, 21:40:
I don't believe, but wish I did
Of course, I can't undo my skepticism. So how do I comfort myself, given that I'm merely an insignificant, temporary organism among trillions of others? Well, there's sex and beer, the sensual pleasures. Then there are kids and the satisfaction of doing your job well, both of which make me feel needed, connected to something larger than myself. That's enough. 
Mahalanobis antwortete am 2. Mar, 22:44:
I don't believe and I wish I had more sex and Gin Tonic
Ok, at the moment I am still pretty insignificant, but one day there will be this call from the Nobel committee.... ;-D. Furthermore, I am confident that Ray Kurzweil figures out a way to load my brain on a hard disc. Robotics does the rest. Then I can drink Gin Tonic and have sex until eternity. 
HedgeFundGuy antwortete am 2. Mar, 23:05:
There's the infinity problem. After K years (K is arbitrarily large), sex and Gin Tonic will be boring. Sort of like those 72 virgins the suicide bombers receive: after 99 billions years, there not young virgins, but old hags, and you still have them for an eternity! 
Mahalanobis antwortete am 2. Mar, 23:19:
So how would
God (or any acceptable substitute) solve this problem? You are uncomfortable with the thought of being a temporary organism... ;-D. 
stxx antwortete am 2. Mar, 23:55:
A hard disk will not exist forever. And if the operating system is developed by MSFT you will be an eternal blue screen. 
Mahalanobis antwortete am 3. Mar, 01:58:
Backup Trauma
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stxx meinte am 2. Mar, 23:50:
Today, I followed a lecture at the University of Technical Sciences. It was amazing how many "ninjas" (a term of a friend of mine for Muslim women wearing a scarf) were there. When having lunch a "ninja" was sitting on the other side of the table doing some crazy calculations with some Planck whatsoever. She was a physicist. My mind was astonished by the fact that they are so scientific and want to understand every detail and question everything while in another area (such as religion) they dismantle their incapability of living what they learn.
How can one study physics, learn about the complex laws that govern our reality and on the other hand believe that there will be a rather trivial solution for afterlife - herding with the majority (did Kopernikus or Columbus?) and accept some fuzzy writing as the ultimate truth instead of doing research, observe and proof rigorously.
Now I can understand the French government that tried to ban scarfs at school insofar as they are visible evidence that the pupils don't understand or accept what they learn.

Another brief story:
Some TV shows film people surviving the most bizzare accidents. Afterwards those people are more religious believing that they were saved by some god (instead of being an "expected" statistical outlier). I assume that they have not been at the funerals of the other 99.9% who died at similar accidents. Is religion another version of survivorship bias? 
Mahalanobis antwortete am 3. Mar, 01:36:
Re: Contradiction
Today, I followed a lecture at the University of Technical Sciences.
Did you know that we have on average more readers from the TU Wien than from the WU Wien and the University of Vienna combined?
When having lunch a "ninja" was sitting on the other side of the table doing some crazy calculations with some Planck whatsoever.
AFAIK the english translation of the "Planck'sche Wirkungsquantum" is "Planck's constant". How unimaginative.
How can one study physics, learn about the complex laws that govern our reality...
Just because you observe that people dress like ninjas doesn't imply that those people hold religious beliefes. You are a ninja, I am a ninja, let's study physics together...

My mother went to a convent school and after graduation she wasn't quite sure whether she sould go to a monastery and become a nun or study physics instead. Thanks God she went on to study physics! ;-D But she still would tell you with a straight face that she believes in God (Keep in mind that she learned a lot of crap by heart at the convent school and nobody likes stranded investments.) At least she doesn't go to the curch (I guess if you have a family and you are the only one who goes to church the rest might consider sending you to a (different) madhouse. The point is that my mother really doesn't use God to explain anything and I am sure that God doesn't show up in her daily life either. There is a God and sometimes it's nice to think of him. That's it. And nobody could convince her that forgetting or rethinking the whole issue would be beneficial to her (and she's probably right ;-D).
Now I can understand the French government that tried to ban scarfs at school
Again, this issue isn't as easy as it seems. If students were forced by their parents to wear scarfs a ban could make sense. On the other hand, if the result of a ban would be that people are even more proud of their religious symbols (Devotionalien und andere Fanartikel)... it would be a stupid policy.
Is religion another version of survivorship bias?
Splendid point ;-D. 
stxx antwortete am 3. Mar, 18:58:
Well, there was no insulting comment about TU students. The point just becomes clearer than mentioning a WU student (studying for a business degree is also dogmatic to some point).

I disagree with religion no matter which education your or my or anyone else's mother has. And I don't want to limit myself to rejecting just a single religion but religion itself.

I could neither read the words "Wirkungsquantum" nor "constant" on the paper. And I won't imagine something that could have been there.

"A stupid policy" is a quick conclusion for a difficult issue (that was apparently solved with a con).

Yesterday, there was a guy at the tram station who argued heatedly that he could not be sure
"if he was an arrow flying through the air or
the surrounding was moving through the air and he stood still."
Happily he concluded that "either the earth rotates around the sun or the universe rotates around the earth, isn't that freaky?" (He could not imagine the word frame of reference nor "Inertialsystem" nor inertial frame of reference) ... When hearing this kind of reasoning I wish to be more religious. ;D