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Sun Nov 18, 2012, 11:11 AM

Religion, science must unite to save environment

http://www.catholicregister.org/news/toronto-gta/item/15416-religion-science-must-unite-to-save-environment


Mary Evelyn Tucker of Yale University’s Forum on Religion and Ecology delivers a Nov. 9 address at the University of St. Michael’s College.- Photo by Michael Swan

Written by Michael Swan, The Catholic Register
Sunday, 18 November 2012 10:10

TORONTO - The difference between right and wrong could be the difference between life and extinction as Earth’s climate continues to spiral out of control, a Yale University professor of forestry and religious studies told a Toronto audience Nov. 9.

Mary Evelyn Tucker is the director of Yale’s Forum on Religion and Ecology and was a frequent collaborator with the late Passionist father of ecotheology Fr. Thomas Berry. Speaking on “Future Generations and the Ethics of Climate Change” at the invitation of the University of St. Michael’s College’s Elliott Allen Institute for Theology and Ecology, Tucker made the case for an alliance between the worlds of religion and science.

While science is more comfortable with descriptive than prescriptive words about nature and cautious scientists have been reluctant to tell politicians what to do, religion has only very recently begun to address the environmental crisis and ecotheology is still rarely spoken of in seminaries. However, the state of the world’s natural systems demands the best thinking of both religion and science, said Tucker.

“We have to say continually that religion is necessary but not sufficient. We have to develop partners in science, in law, in policy,” she said.

more at link

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Arrow 34 replies Author Time Post
Reply Religion, science must unite to save environment (Original post)
cbayer Nov 2012 OP
lalalu Nov 2012 #1
cbayer Nov 2012 #2
lalalu Nov 2012 #6
cbayer Nov 2012 #8
lalalu Nov 2012 #11
cbayer Nov 2012 #13
lalalu Nov 2012 #16
rrneck Nov 2012 #3
cbayer Nov 2012 #4
rrneck Nov 2012 #5
lalalu Nov 2012 #7
cbayer Nov 2012 #9
lalalu Nov 2012 #12
msongs Nov 2012 #14
cbayer Nov 2012 #15
lalalu Nov 2012 #18
lalalu Nov 2012 #17
cbayer Nov 2012 #10
rrneck Nov 2012 #20
cbayer Nov 2012 #21
rrneck Nov 2012 #23
cbayer Nov 2012 #24
rrneck Nov 2012 #27
AlbertCat Nov 2012 #34
longship Nov 2012 #19
cbayer Nov 2012 #22
longship Nov 2012 #25
cbayer Nov 2012 #26
pinto Nov 2012 #28
cbayer Nov 2012 #29
trotsky Nov 2012 #30
skepticscott Nov 2012 #31
skepticscott Nov 2012 #32
dimbear Nov 2012 #33

Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 11:22 AM

1. Religion will never fully join with science.

 

Religion can only exist with an abundance of closed minds. It has attacked scientists, artists, and creative thinking since the beginning of time. The guy who discovered fire was probably thrown right on top of it by a group who thought he was evil.

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Response to lalalu (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 11:31 AM

2. Religion and science have partnered before.

While there is some truth buried beneath your broad brush painting of religion, your generalizations are not valid.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #2)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 12:06 PM

6. When and where?

 

The only truth buried is that organized religion is a destructive force. Always has been and always will be.

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Response to lalalu (Reply #6)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 12:12 PM

8. Have you completely neglected the additional history of the church playing a positive role

in promoting social justice and working for the neediest among us?

We could talk about MLK to start with.

I had the great fortune of traveling to Kenya this year and was able to witness the work that religious organizations are doing to support and spread the necessary science to treat women and children with AIDS.

If you haven't yet, please watch "Half the Sky", the PBS documentary on women and girls around the world. Some of the worst atrocities in the world are aimed directly at women and girls, and many are being addressed by religious organizations using science to back up their positions.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #8)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 12:27 PM

11. Martin Luther King was an anamoly in religion

 

which is why the movement fell apart when he died. The only thing that happened was all those who were close to him used his name to catapult themselves to fame and riches. Everyone of them is living large now.

"religious organizations using science to back up their positions."

In other words they are using religion to back up their business model of continuing to raise money and profit off the misery of people.

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Response to lalalu (Reply #11)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 12:33 PM

13. An anomaly? The movement fell apart? Catapult themselves to fame and riches?

Who? His wife?

You are seriously rewriting history, but I fear you are not going to be receptive to any perspective that does not coincide with your own very dogmatic interpretation, so I will bid you farewell.



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Response to cbayer (Reply #13)


Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 11:44 AM

3. Environmental management is resource management.

Resource management depends on the exercise if power. Government is the tool used to achieve those ends. The exercise of governmental power through religion has been, well, less than humane.

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Response to rrneck (Reply #3)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 11:53 AM

4. OTOH, there has been a growing environmental movement among some religious

groups, including evangelicals. They see taking care of the earth as a religious responsibility.

Could be powerful allies and should not be dismissed, imo.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 12:03 PM

5. Power is a tool used to acquire wealth.

It may be acquired justly from those who have more for those who have less. Or it can be used to profit those who insinuate themselves into the acquisition process.

I'm not aware of any sociocultural tools to keep those who are willing to profit from the political process from doing so to excess. When religion becomes a lobbying organization it's just another lobbying organization.

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Response to rrneck (Reply #5)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 12:07 PM

7. Religion is just another business.

 

I am tired of this pretense that it is anything else.

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Response to lalalu (Reply #7)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 12:25 PM

9. Based on what you have written here, your knowledge of religion is pretty limited.

It may be based on your personal experience, but it is not based in fact.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #9)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 12:31 PM

12. It is based on historical fact.

 

Wars and suffering have been promoted in the name of religion. It is has been the enemy of progressive thinking.

They are now fighting over the Gaza Strip again because supposedly each side has some divine right to the land. Really, land rights from the Bible?

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Response to lalalu (Reply #12)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 12:44 PM

14. the purpose of religion is for the priest class to control the ignorant masses lol nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #14)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 12:45 PM

15. You two are going to get along smashingly!

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Response to cbayer (Reply #15)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 12:53 PM

18. LMAO

 

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Response to msongs (Reply #14)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 12:52 PM

17. True

 

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Response to rrneck (Reply #5)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 12:26 PM

10. Is power only used to acquire wealth? Is it not sometimes used to achieve

other goals, some of them honorable?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #10)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 01:13 PM

20. Tools can be used for any number of things

all of which depend on the motivations of those using them.

I'm not aware of any mechanism within religion that has been successful in moderating the motivations of the faithful for long. Religion doesn't elect a new God every four years. There is no seperation of powers in religious practice. Most religions are designed to accrue increasingly devoted followers by trading on their emotions while simultaneously discounting rational inquiry about the efficacy of doctrine.

Reform is little more than (often bloody) seperation into new equally fanatical groups. There don't seem to be any checks and balances in religious practice.

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Response to rrneck (Reply #20)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 01:17 PM

21. There is one big check/balance. It is, for the most part, voluntary.

While I do not disagree with what you say, many are exercising their freedom to leave. Hence the rise of the nones. My guess is that we will see increasingly numbers of unaffiliated churhes that focus more on community and community service.

Those who have the power in those organizations would be wise to use it carefully and thoughtfully, because this group may walk away again.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #21)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 01:27 PM

23. Aye, there's the rub.

When we conflate religious loyalty with national identity, the freedom to leave becomes one of the casualties. When religion becomes powerful enough to compel environmental responsibility, (by defeating some very wealthy and powerful political enemies), the victor will hold the spoils. Do you know any single human, much less an entire organization, virtuous enough to simply give it away? Especially if they are supported by the imprimatur of God?

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Response to rrneck (Reply #23)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 01:36 PM

24. The risk is always there, I absolutely agree.

But as long as there are individuals and organizations trying to do the right thing, I will support them. Being vigilant about how they are managing the spoils is not always easy, but it can be done... I hope.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #24)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 01:46 PM

27. Nothing wrong with that

as long as you know when to bail. Render unto Caesar and all that.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 08:36 PM

34. a growing environmental movement among some religious

So... it's religion that needs to come to science.... not the other way around. Or even half way. The religious side must adopt the scientific method and its conclusions to do anything about ...well anything.

Science is the adult in this equation.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 12:58 PM

19. I agree with her conclusions.

Ethics is important in any discipline. However, the unstated premise here is one which non-believers hear all the time, that ethical behavior is dependent on belief in a god or gods. It never fails to come up in any discussion between theist and non-theist, always brought up by the theist.

Also prevalent is the thought that science and religion are somehow against each other. I find myself able to argue either side of this. But one thing is certain. When a pastor preaches against a specific science, they are nearly universally wrong.

But this also gets entangled with ethics. Is it ethical to search for the Higgs field at CERN? Is it ethical to design a nuclear weapon? Most scientists would align with most people on these questions which merely states the obvious. Scientists are people, too.

My bottom line here is that any claim to truth had better be backed up by data, by evidence. And any claim to an ethical principle better damned well be based in a non-exclusionary basis. In other words, claims that only my religious beliefs are ethical are cut off from the outset.

If there's one thing I despise about religion it is that claim.

Thanks for another great post.

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Response to longship (Reply #19)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 01:20 PM

22. I understand why that is offensive and do not agree at all that ethics is dependent

on or comes solely from religion.

But for those that do get their ethic from religion, it seems like a good idea to support efforts that they make that are aligned with our shared goals.

The "one way" attitude is very offensive, I agree. But (poke, poke), I find it equally offensive when held by believers or non-believers.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #22)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 01:40 PM

25. I have to firmly agree with your sentiments.

Ethics is deeply rooted in our genes, I think. We see it in our other primate cousins as well as even mammalian cousins. These traits evolved with humans and undoubtedly go way back.

I don't wish to get into a discussion on evolutionary psychology -- I am uniquely unqualified to discuss it -- but this at least seems to be a logical explanation on the origins of ethical behavior. There are those (Steven Pinker) who might argue such.

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Response to longship (Reply #25)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 01:44 PM

26. One of the most recent NovaScienceNow shows focuses on whether

animals have feelings and/or ethics.

In one fascinating study, they show how animals (rats and monkeys) will go out of their way to help another out of a tough situation, even if it means they risk something they want (like food). They also showed studies in which animals will share, even when there is not enough for two.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 02:36 PM

28. A good example of a successful religion / science / government / business partnership.

I live in a coastal CA town, ~ 12 miles from the Pacific. The creek that runs through town eventually meanders its way to the sea. It was an essential part of the ecosystem that supported steel head trout runs. Steel heads spawn up creek in fresh water pools and migrate to the ocean. Eventually they return to the fresh water pools to lay eggs for another generation.

Over the years degradation of the creek and its watershed pushed out the steel heads. They were gone. Invasive non-native plant species, trash, silt buildup, various man-made encroachments along the creek rendered it inhabitable.

A tireless city employee - Natural Resources Manager, or some such - went to work building a coalition to "save the creek". He knew how to bridge differences to bring together diverse groups to meet the goal. And, importantly, how to speak to the strengths of each group in the project.

Horticulturists, Marine biologists, Environmental specialists and other science based groups were recruited from the local technical university. Their technical knowledge was key to getting it right.

Faith based groups were encouraged to join in. Their commitment to stewardship was another key component. As were local non-religious civic groups. All showed up.

County government was brought in for added financial support and coordination with federal authorities (technically any creek that runs to the sea is under some federal oversight). Their buy-in was critical.

Business support was elicited as a part of being a good community partner as well as the enhancement of increased tourism dollars the project could provide. They played a part.

School groups were formed to help. Local individuals joined in, individually. Etc, etc.

It took a while. But eventually, the creek was again a gem. And today I can walk downtown along various creek walks built as part of the project and watch steel heads swim upstream to their home pools.

My point, in the bigger picture: This was clearly a local deal. But the process is doable on a larger scale, imo. Both as a broad approach to climate change environmental issues and as a practical blueprint for building effective coalitions.

Thanks for the post, good piece.

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Response to pinto (Reply #28)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 02:47 PM

29. One of so many and a great example.

Thanks for sharing this and thank you for all the work you do, my friend.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 03:09 PM

30. It's not so much that science and religion need to "unite" for this goal...

but that religion needs to accept the conclusions of science - something it has long had difficulties doing.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #30)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 03:52 PM

31. Exactly

The point of view of religion has always been that science is fine as long as it doesn't disagree with religious doctrine, but when it does, science has to ignore the evidence and fall in line with faith. At least until the claims of religious doctrine become so embarrassingly idiotic that religionists can no longer repeat them with a straight and shameless face. And sometimes not even then.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 03:54 PM

32. You act like this was all the idea of religion

and that they're asking science to come along for the ride, when it's just the opposite. As usual, religion is late to the party of doing what's right, and as usual, you're determined to give them far more credit than they deserve.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 08:26 PM

33. Happily it's not up to us. The future or nonfuture of the world is up to the Chinas and Indias.

If they ramp up to the level of carbon usage we enjoy, the world is toast, so we should probably wonder whether Hinduism and atheism are likely to exercise the needed self denial.

Not so clear. Record so far: horrific.

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