• frank
    10.9k
    Split from another thread:

    To clarify, the question is what is the connection between science and democracy.

    When we prepared for WWI and WWII schools and bookmakers focused on American values to mobilize the United States for war. This focus would include a list of democratic characteristics. One of them is... "The search for truth".

    You might be aware of the ongoing disagreement between Deist and Christians about truth and self-evident truth. A self-evident truth is an empirical truth. it is a fact that can be verified through the scientific method. European countries were Christian and Christianity supports the notion of kings and a hierarchy of authority over the sinners, that supposedly has God at the top. Democracy comes from Greek and Roman classics and coming from this source, truth is based in reality and empirical information. In a democracy, that is not contaminated by Christianity, there is no god whispering in the king's ear it will be safe for people to return to life as normal by Easter, "such a special day". :roll:

    Moa was worshipped by communist followers and Moa had the power to make farmers plant everything deep in the soil with the wrong notion that this would lead to deep roots and strong plants. It lead to famine and thousands starved to death. Just as Trump's denial of the reality of a pandemic lead to its spread before the medical system could be prepared to manage the problem. No one could vote Moa out of office, but in the US, a democracy, the citizens can vote ignorant people out of office. That is what the American Revolution was all about. We rely on science- the search for truth, not faith in someone chosen by God to be our leader. Or we did until education for technology left moral training to the church and resurrected a past of ignorance and superstition and distrust of science.
    Athena


    @AthenaI've never thought of the search for truth as a particularly American value. No one is opposed to such a search, but religious tolerance, which is most definitely an American value, requires a certain amount of apathy about any victory of truth. John Locke is one of our favorites.

    As for science, again, no one is opposed to it, but I'm still not seeing how it has much to do with democracy. A love of democracy is like this:

    Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

    Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

    But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
    Lincoln
  • javra
    1.7k
    As for science, again, no one is opposed to it, but I'm still not seeing how it has much to do with democracy.frank

    If democracy is not mob rule wherein “might makes right (both morally and factually)” but, instead, incorporates the ideals of consent via compromise and accord among a given plurality of subjective beings which in turn makes them unified - E Pluribus Unum as motif - then:

    All empirical sciences are governed by this same ideal via their essential property of peer-review. Peer-review is not only, or even primarily, journal councils reviewing newly submitted articles. It at its essence incorporates a mandatory replicability of data. This, expressed in the simplest possible way I can currently think of, is akin to “Do you also see what I see? If we’re all seeing the same thing, then that which is here referenced impartially applies to all of us and is thereby evidenced, but never proven with infallible certainty, to be objectively real. If only one of us sees it and the rest do not, then it was only a misplaced subjective perception of what is - and can be safely ignored.”

    This, then, is at pith a democratic process of appraising what is and is not real.

    Take away all aspects of the peer-review process and what remains are authoritarian, hence totalitarian, decrees of what is objectively real, wherein might makes right ... which is contradictory to a

    government of the people, by the people, for the peopleLincoln

    Modern empirical science is obviously not a panacea, hence adequate for all fields of knowledge (metaphysics for starters), but it is deeply instituted in democratic principles.
  • InPitzotl
    880
    religious tolerance, which is most definitely an American value, requires a certain amount of apathy about any victory of truthfrank
    And why would that be?
  • frank
    10.9k
    And why would that be?InPitzotl

    Or maybe I'm wrong. What do you think religious tolerance entails in terms of attitudes toward truth?
  • Athena
    2k
    I've never thought of the search for truth as a particularly American value. No one is opposed to such a search, but religious tolerance, which is most definitely an American value, requires a certain amount of apathy about any victory of truth. John Locke is one of our favorites.

    As for science, again, no one is opposed to it, but I'm still not seeing how it has much to do with democracy. A love of democracy is like this:

    Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
    Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

    But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
    — Lincoln
    frank

    The search for truth is universal, and it was an American value, but is no longer an American value thanks to Christianity.

    Democracy is built on a search for truth, starting in Athens, not the US. Democracy and Christianity are not compatible because they are entirely different belief systems that oppose each other. One is based on superstition (creationism) and the other is based on contemplating philosophical questions and observation of nature. And yes, Christians are opposed to science. They treat science as the snake in the Garden of Eden and without question, this is a very serious political problem in the US.
     
    "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

    That definitely is not a Christian notion! Without a doubt, Lincoln was familiar with Pericles Funeral Oration.

    Most of those who have spoken here before me have commended the lawgiver who added this oration to our other funeral customs. It seemed to them a worthy thing that such an honor should be given at their burial to the dead who have fallen on the field of battle. But I should have preferred that, when men's deeds have been brave, they should be honored in deed only, and with such an honor as this public funeral, which you are now witnessing. Then the reputation of many would not have been imperiled on the eloquence or want of eloquence of one, and their virtues believed or not as he spoke well or ill. For it is difficult to say neither too little nor too much; and even moderation is apt not to give the impression of truthfulness. The friend of the dead who knows the facts is likely to think that the words of the speaker fall short of his knowledge and of his wishes; another who is not so well informed, when he hears of anything which surpasses his own powers, will be envious and will suspect exaggeration. Mankind are tolerant of the praises of others so long as each hearer thinks that he can do as well or nearly as well himself, but, when the speaker rises above him, jealousy is aroused and he begins to be incredulous. However, since our ancestors have set the seal of their approval upon the practice, I must obey, and to the utmost of my power shall endeavor to satisfy the wishes and beliefs of all who hear me.

    I will speak first of our ancestors, for it is right and seemly that now, when we are lamenting the dead, a tribute should be paid to their memory. There has never been a time when they did not inhabit this land, which by their valor they will have handed down from generation to generation, and we have received from them a free state. But if they were worthy of praise, still more were our fathers, who added to their inheritance, and after many a struggle transmitted to us their sons this great empire. And we ourselves assembled here today, who are still most of us in the vigor of life, have carried the work of improvement further, and have richly endowed our city with all things, so that she is sufficient for herself both in peace and war. Of the military exploits by which our various possessions were acquired, or of the energy with which we or our fathers drove back the tide of war, Hellenic or Barbarian, I will not speak; for the tale would be long and is familiar to you. But before I praise the dead, I should like to point out by what principles of action we rose ~ to power, and under what institutions and through what manner of life our empire became great. For I conceive that such thoughts are not unsuited to the occasion, and that this numerous assembly of citizens and strangers may profitably listen to them.

    Our form of government does not enter into rivalry with the institutions of others. Our government does not copy our neighbors', but is an example to them. It is true that we are called a democracy, for the administration is in the hands of the many and not of the few. But while there exists equal justice to all and alike in their private disputes, the claim of excellence is also recognized; and when a citizen is in any way distinguished, he is preferred to the public service, not as a matter of privilege, but as the reward of merit. Neither is poverty an obstacle, but a man may benefit his country whatever the obscurity of his condition. There is no exclusiveness in our public life, and in our private business we are not suspicious of one another, nor angry with our neighbor if he does what he likes; we do not put on sour looks at him which, though harmless, are not pleasant. While we are thus unconstrained in our private business, a spirit of reverence pervades our public acts; we are prevented from doing wrong by respect for the authorities and for the laws, having a particular regard to those which are ordained for the protection of the injured as well as those unwritten laws which bring upon the transgressor of them the reprobation of the general sentiment.

    And we have not forgotten to provide for our weary spirits many relaxations from toil; we have regular games and sacrifices throughout the year; our homes are beautiful and elegant; and the delight which we daily feel in all these things helps to banish sorrow. Because of the greatness of our city the fruits of the whole earth flow in upon us; so that we enjoy the goods of other countries as freely as our own.

    Then, again, our military training is in many respects superior to that of our adversaries. Our city is thrown open to the world, though and we never expel a foreigner and prevent him from seeing or learning anything of which the secret if revealed to an enemy might profit him. We rely not upon management or trickery, but upon our own hearts and hands. And in the matter of education, whereas they from early youth are always undergoing laborious exercises which are to make them brave, we live at ease, and yet are equally ready to face the perils which they face. And here is the proof: The Lacedaemonians come into Athenian territory not by themselves, but with their whole confederacy following; we go alone into a neighbor's country; and although our opponents are fighting for their homes and we on a foreign soil, we have seldom any difficulty in overcoming them. Our enemies have never yet felt our united strength, the care of a navy divides our attention, and on land we are obliged to send our own citizens everywhere. But they, if they meet and defeat a part of our army, are as proud as if they had routed us all, and when defeated they pretend to have been vanquished by us all.

    If then we prefer to meet danger with a light heart but without laborious training, and with a courage which is gained by habit and not enforced by law, are we not greatly the better for it? Since we do not anticipate the pain, although, when the hour comes, we can be as brave as those who never allow themselves to rest; thus our city is equally admirable in peace and in war. For we are lovers of the beautiful in our tastes and our strength lies, in our opinion, not in deliberation and discussion, but that knowledge which is gained by discussion preparatory to action. For we have a peculiar power of thinking before we act, and of acting, too, whereas other men are courageous from ignorance but hesitate upon reflection. And they are surely to be esteemed the bravest spirits who, having the clearest sense both of the pains and pleasures of life, do not on that account shrink from danger. In doing good, again, we are unlike others; we make our friends by conferring, not by receiving favors. Now he who confers a favor is the firmer friend, because he would rather by kindness keep alive the memory of an obligation; but the recipient is colder in his feelings, because he knows that in requiting another's generosity he will not be winning gratitude but only paying a debt. We alone do good to our neighbors not upon a calculation of interest, but in the confidence of freedom and in a frank and fearless spirit. To sum up: I say that Athens is the school of Hellas, and that the individual Athenian in his own person seems to have the power of adapting himself to the most varied forms of action with the utmost versatility and grace. This is no passing and idle word, but truth and fact; and the assertion is verified by the position to which these qualities have raised the state. For in the hour of trial Athens alone among her contemporaries is superior to the report of her. No enemy who comes against her is indignant at the reverses which he sustains at the hands of such a city; no subject complains that his masters are unworthy of him. And we shall assuredly not be without witnesses; there are mighty monuments of our power which will make us the wonder of this and of succeeding ages; we shall not need the praises of Homer or of any other panegyrist whose poetry may please for the moment, although his representation of the facts will not bear the light of day. For we have compelled every land and every sea to open a path for our valor, and have everywhere planted eternal memorials of our friendship and of our enmity. Such is the city for whose sake these men nobly fought and died; they could not bear the thought that she might be taken from them; and every one of us who survive should gladly toil on her behalf.

    I have dwelt upon the greatness of Athens because I want to show you that we are contending for a higher prize than those who enjoy none of these privileges, and to establish by manifest proof the merit of these men whom I am now commemorating. Their loftiest praise has been already spoken. For in magnifying the city I have magnified them, and men like them whose virtues made her glorious. And of how few Hellenes 1 can it be said as of them, that their deeds when weighed in the balance have been found equal to their fame! I believe that a death such as theirs has been the true measure of a man's worth; it may be the first revelation of his virtues, but is at any rate their final seal. For even those who come short in other ways may justly plead the valor with which they have fought for their country; they have blotted out the evil with the good, and have benefited the state more by their public services than they have injured her by their private actions. None of these men were enervated by wealth or hesitated to resign the pleasures of life; none of them put off the evil day in the hope, natural to poverty, that a man, though poor, may one day become rich. But, deeming that the punishment of their enemies was sweeter than any of these things, and that they could fall in no nobler cause, they determined at the hazard of their lives to be honorably avenged, and to leave the rest. They resigned to hope their unknown chance of happiness; but in the face of death they resolved to rely upon themselves alone. And when the moment came they were minded to resist and suffer, rather than to fly and save their lives; they ran away from the word of dishonor, but on the battlefield their feet stood fast, and in an instant, at the height of their fortune, they passed away from the scene, not of their fear, but of their glory.

    Such was the end of these men; they were worthy of Athens, and the living need not desire to have a more heroic spirit, although they may pray for a less fatal issue. The value of such a spirit is not to be expressed in words. Any one can discourse to you for ever about the advantages of a brave defense, which you know already. But instead of listening to him I would have you day by day fix your eyes upon the greatness of Athens, until you become filled with the love of her; and when you are impressed by the spectacle of her glory, reflect that this empire has been acquired by men who knew their duty and had the courage to do it, who in the hour of conflict had the fear of dishonor always present to them, and who, if ever they failed in an enterprise, would not allow their virtues to be lost to their country, but freely gave their lives to her as the fairest offering which they could present at her feast. The sacrifice which they collectively made was individually repaid to them; for they received again each one for himself a praise which grows not old, and the noblest of all tombs, I speak not of that in which their remains are laid, but of that in which their glory survives, and is proclaimed always and on every fitting occasion both in word and deed. For the whole earth is the tomb of famous men; not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions in their own country, but in foreign lands there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven not on stone but in the hearts of men. Make them your examples, and, esteeming courage to be freedom and freedom to be happiness, do not weigh too nicely the perils of war. The unfortunate who has no hope of a change for the better has less reason to throw away his life than the prosperous who, if he survive, is always liable to a change for the worse, and to whom any accidental fall makes the most serious difference. To a man of spirit, cowardice and disaster coming together are far more bitter than death striking him unperceived at a time when he is full of courage and animated by the general hope.

    Wherefore I do not now pity the parents of the dead who stand here; I would rather comfort them. You know that your dead have passed away amid manifold vicissitudes; and that they may be deemed fortunate who have gained their utmost honor, whether an honorable death like theirs, or an honorable sorrow like yours, and whose share of happiness has been so ordered that the term of their happiness is likewise the term of their life. I know how hard it is to make you feel this, when the good fortune of others will too often remind you of the gladness which once lightened your hearts. And sorrow is felt at the want of those blessings, not which a man never knew, but which were a part of his life before they were taken from him. Some of you are of an age at which they may hope to have other children, and they ought to bear their sorrow better; not only will the children who may hereafter be born make them forget their own lost ones, but the city will be doubly a gainer. She will not be left desolate, and she will be safer. For a man's counsel cannot have equal weight or worth, when he alone has no children to risk in the general danger. To those of you who have passed their prime, I say: "Congratulate yourselves that you have been happy during the greater part of your days; remember that your life of sorrow will not last long, and be comforted by the glory of those who are gone. For the love of honor alone is ever young, and not riches, as some say, but honor is the delight of men when they are old and useless.

    To you who are the sons and brothers of the departed, I see that the struggle to emulate them will be an arduous one. For all men praise the dead, and, however preeminent your virtue may be, I do not say even to approach them, and avoid living their rivals and detractors, but when a man is out of the way, the honor and goodwill which he receives is unalloyed. And, if I am to speak of womanly virtues to those of you who will henceforth be widows, let me sum them up in one short admonition: To a woman not to show more weakness than is natural to her sex is a great glory, and not to be talked about for good or for evil among men.

    I have paid the required tribute, in obedience to the law, making use of such fitting words as I had. The tribute of deeds has been paid in part; for the dead have them in deeds, and it remains only that their children should be maintained at the public charge until they are grown up: this is the solid prize with which, as with a garland, Athens crowns her sons living and dead, after a struggle like theirs. For where the rewards of virtue are greatest, there the noblest citizens are enlisted in the service of the state. And now, when you have duly lamented, every one his own dead, you may depart.
    Perciles
  • frank
    10.9k
    This, then, is at pith a democratic process of appraising what is and is not real.javra

    Science arrives at facts democratically? That's an interesting perspective. When do they vote?

    Modern empirical science is obviously not a panacea, hence adequate for all fields of knowledge (metaphysics for starters), but it is deeply instituted in democratic principles.javra

    I don't think so. Democracy does fine with a religious population. Its weakness is crises. It doesn't handle those well, and is known for disintegrating in the presence of them.
  • frank
    10.9k
    The search for truth is universal, and it was an American value, but is no longer an American value thanks to Christianity.Athena

    When was the search for truth an American value? Could you give me some background on that?
  • frank
    10.9k
    E Pluribus Unumjavra

    They were all freemasons, you know.
  • InPitzotl
    880
    What do you think religious tolerance entails in terms of attitudes toward truth?frank
    Very little, if anything. I can imagine religious tolerance in a society that has little regard towards truth just as easily as I can imagine it in a society that has high regard towards truth.
  • NOS4A2
    5.8k


    Liberal Democracies embody a system of trial-and-error, a la Popper. A country is almost forced to learn from the mistakes of its political experiments, allowing them to self-correct peacefully over time. Governments submit their policy to public scrutiny and are accountable for their actions. In that sense Democracy fosters the scientific tradition of critical discussion.
  • javra
    1.7k
    Science arrives at facts democratically? That's an interesting perspective. When do they vote?frank

    Trite, but I’ll play along. Vote for what? For what is real, right? Scientists do this every time they offer a conclusion to the data that is gathered via experiments regarding falsifiable claims. The conclusions – i.e., interpretations - offered by one scientist are an individual voicing of what is true, given the data obtained … hence, a vote for what is real. It takes many multiple scientists holding the same interpretation to make the given interpretation a scientific theory of what is. And, of course, intrinsic to the whole process is further validation by more experiments which are themselves a) peer-reviewed and replicated and b) concluded via interpretations of the data.

    But no, frank, empirical science and political governance are not one and the same. And no, scientists don’t vote for a common president.

    “Rule by the people (which is what democracy is) as concerns what is true” as compared to say “rule by some person(s) who is/are superlatively close to the monotheistic God who alone decrees what is and is not true” has applications in social settings outside of political governance all the same.
  • frank
    10.9k
    Liberal Democracies embody a system of trial-and-error, a la Popper. A country is almost forced to learn from the mistakes of its political experiments, allowing them to self-correct peacefully over time. Governments submit their policy to public scrutiny and are accountable for their actions. In that sense Democracy fosters the scientific tradition of critical discussion.NOS4A2

    I like this answer so much that I'd like to agree with it, but I really don't. What you're describing with mention of experimentation is the behavior of a living organism blindly reaching for self perpetuation, or a population of creatures evolving over time. It's fitting that a democracy mimics this behavior because lacking a ruling warlord or learned oligarchy, a democratic society is only blindly seeking to live in the sun, to flourish as long as it can. That makes it the prime environment for 19th Century liberals and Calvinists.

    Science is the result of a very conscious effort to gain knowledge. It has a very clear goal and its practitioners bow in submission to the facts. They don't wrangle to get their way.
  • frank
    10.9k
    OK. Democracy involves people coming together to speak with one voice. Science does that too.

    Suppose you have a community of people who don't particularly care about science. Could they not arrive at group decisions democratically?
  • javra
    1.7k
    Suppose you have a community of people who don't particularly care about science. Could they not arrive at group decisions democratically?frank

    This to me has funny implications. I take democracy to be inclusive - this as an ideal it strives for. The Orwellian propaganda of "bringing democracy to the middle east" and the like aside. You are here asking about an exclusivist democracy, of a democracy for us but not for them, the other(s). Oligarchies work this way. As did many aspects of Hitler's regime. Neither of which fit what we (most of us at any rate) interpret to be democracy - to not even mention democratic values.
  • frank
    10.9k
    If you're American, I can tell you why you think that. If you're not, then I have no idea. Strictly speaking, democracy is just a mode of social organization where the people rule, usually by voting.

    So can people who don't care about science arrive at decisions democratically?
  • javra
    1.7k
    So can people who don't care about science arrive at decisions democratically?frank

    Strictly speaking, it all depends on the semantics we have in mind. So, three tyrannical brothers that don't give a fuddle about what science says who vote between themselves on what to do in reference to the populace they rule over, under the semantics you've simplistically articulated, do engage in democratic governance.

    Given the same semantics, the same then can apply for a whole entire global populace who shuns science - and the scientists via which it manifests - as devils work.

    Does that answer your question?
  • javra
    1.7k
    If you're American, I can tell you why you think that.frank

    BTW, think what exactly on account of my being "American"? A quote from me would make this statement of yours other than arbitrarily vague.
  • frank
    10.9k
    Does that answer your question?javra

    Yep.
  • javra
    1.7k
    Does that answer your question? — javra


    Yep.
    frank

    Glad to hear you acknowledge so. Meanwhile, you don't happen to hold a monopoly on the semantics to the term "democracy" do you? Little old me - we've had our talks before - do not subscribe to your meanings of the term.
  • Bitter Crank
    10.8k
    That is what the American Revolution was all about. We rely on science- the search for truth, not faith in someone chosen by God to be our leader.Athena

    I thought it was about taxation, representation, and various bourgeois concerns of the colonial upper class.

    In a democracy, that is not contaminated by Christianity, there is no god whispering in the king's ear it will be safe for people to return to life as normal by Easter, "such a special day". :roll:Athena

    Even in a democracy thoroughly infested by Christianity, most "kings" listen to their epidemiologists doctors, planners, and so forth. Martin Luther said that it is better to be ruled by a smart Turk than a stupid Christian. We have the misfortune to be ruled by a narcissistic, ill-informed king who is very worried about his chances for re-election. These days, the Turks have their own problems.
  • David Mo
    960
    On really existing democracy, not the ideal one, I recommend Noam Chomsky's Fear of Democracy. Basic reading. In my opinion the so-called democracies are really plutocracies tempered by the necessity of propaganda.

    On the democracy of science I recommend trying to publish a text in a scientific journal and considering whether the filters are democratic or dependent on power cliques. And I suppose we are talking about the factual sciences. In social sciences is worse.

    Science has epistemological rules that depend on the intellectual capacity of those who develop them and a social development that depends on the powers that govern society. None of them are democratic. If anyone thinks that those powers are "the people", I think he is an idealist.
  • Aussie
    24
    Democracy is built on a search for truth...Athena

    How so? Democracy is a political system for the administration of daily life. In what way does a "search for truth" form the foundation? Can a political system be both democratic and disinterested in romantic notions of searching for truth?

    Democracy and Christianity are not compatible...Athena

    Strange, then, that so many of this country's founders were Christians. Mind you, I am NOT proposing the argument that this is/was/should be a "Christian nation". I merely suggest that if the two systems are incompatible, it strains credulity that many adherents of the one were the founders of the other in this country. Do you suggest they actively worked in contradiction to another of their own deeply held beliefs?

    One is based on superstition ... the other ...on contemplating philosophical questions...Athena

    Is this a suggestion that your (or democracy's) philosophical answers are not only correct but also possess a rock solid basis? What are those philosophical underpinnings that are both complete and consistent? This is to say, are you sure there aren't philosophical notions required for your truth loving democracy that, when you get right down to brass tacks, aren't built on little more than you really, really wanting them to be true?

    Christians are opposed to science.Athena

    All Christians? Since...always? Or do you think this is a more recent phenomena? And opposed to ALL science? Or specific scientific notions? Again, the plethora of Christian scientists, both dead and living, seems to suggest otherwise. But perhaps you mean your broad sweeping statement more narrowly than it reads.
  • Athena
    2k
    A rebellion against taxes got plenty of support, but the notion of democracy comes from Greek and Roman classics and begins with math and a notion of proofs and creeps into medicine as a growing disbelief that gods have anything to do with health problems, and Aristotle took this intellectual development further with an explanation of logic. The American Revolution began as an intellectual revolution long before it became a violent one. Literate leaders appealed to the dislike of taxes to recruit those who were not literate, then they wrote the documents that gave their new democracy form.
  • Athena
    2k
    How so? Democracy is a political system for the administration of daily life. In what way does a "search for truth" form the foundation? Can a political system be both democratic and disinterested in romantic notions of searching for truth?Aussie

    All governments are varying degrees of democracy and autocracy. The actual form of the US government is a republic and at the moment we have a president who thinks all power is correctly his and he can rule over governors and mayors. That is a little startling to those of us who prefer democracy to autocracy, but he has a strong following of Christians who believe in God's kingdom. Those of us who do not believe God whispers in his ear, and think decisions right now must be based on science, not wishful thinking, are alarmed and that makes this thread very important.

    In a series of textbooks written to mobilize the US for WWII, we are told "Democracy is a way of life and social organization which above all others is sensitive to the dignity and worth of the individual human personality. affirming the fundamental moral and political equality of all men and recognizing no barriers of race, religion, or circumstance." (General Report of the Seminar on "What is Democracy?" Congress on Education for Democracy, august, 1939)

    Government is one aspect of democracy. Being well educated is another aspect of democracy. Reading Pericles' Funeral Oration makes these arguments clearer.

    Democracy and Christianity are not compatible...
    — Athena

    Strange, then, that so many of this country's founders were Christians. Mind you, I am NOT proposing the argument that this is/was/should be a "Christian nation". I merely suggest that if the two systems are incompatible, it strains credulity that many adherents of the one were the founders of the other in this country. Do you suggest they actively worked in contradiction to another of their own deeply held beliefs?

    What a delicious question! I will repeat the US is a republic, and only through education can it manifest democracy as a way of life, and I am repeatedly told of the founders' fear of the masses. In the US, industry is autocratic and most people do not know of the democratic model for industry. Then we might consider the Federalist Papers and Jefferson's opposition to them. And we can go on to speak of the Civil War and how both sides thought God was on their side. YES, the founders of our democracy "actively worked in contradiction to another of their own deeply held beliefs"? They saw themselves as fit to rule, but not the other guy. The other guy, as the Bible tells us, is a sinner and needs to be saved. Even if he claims to be Christian, he is not a Christian like us and does not know God's truth and not everyone held political power. The protected freedom of religion was to stop them from persecuting and killing each other and that becomes part of our documents, not because of Christians but because of literacy in Greek and Roman classics.

    Is this a suggestion that your (or democracy's) philosophical answers are not only correct but also possess a rock solid basis?
    Yes, and if you have another question I will continue my explanation of that. Democracy is about human excellence, not about sinners who need to be saved. That is importantly very different.
    What are those philosophical underpinnings that are both complete and consistent?
    There is no such thing.

    This is to say, are you sure there aren't philosophical notions required for your truth loving democracy that, when you get right down to brass tacks, aren't built on little more than you really, really wanting them to be true?
    I hope you give me an argument that I can argue. It is not about what I want, but what I know, and I hope you will come to understand that.

    All Christians?
    No, but right now enough of them to be alarming!

    Since...always? Or do you think this is a more recent phenomena?

    No, but when the Church had authority yes! It destroyed the pagan temples that were places of learning, and medicine. It threw medicine back hundreds of years. It killed people to protect its truth. And unfortunately, education for technology has reestablished the power of Christians to personally deny science because in 1958 we stopped education for good moral judgment and left that to the church. A huge mistake! For about 200 years when we had education for democracy, Christianity was not the problem it is today.

    And opposed to ALL science? Or specific scientific notions? Again, the plethora of Christian scientists, both dead and living, seems to suggest otherwise. But perhaps you mean your broad sweeping statement more narrowly than it reads.

    The history of Christians and science is interesting. At the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, these Christians believed science would explain God with absolute certainty. Then came the problem of earth not being the center of the universe. And evolution- whoo was that a problem! and it still is. That is precisely why Christianity is not compatible with democracy. If there ever was a defining conflict that is it.
  • Athena
    2k
    Science arrives at facts democratically? That's an interesting perspective. When do they vote?frank

    Democracy is a way of life. In those science labs people are consulting with each other. If we had the democratic model of industry, everyone would be consulting with management on the best way to achieve desired goals. In the home, as young women today are insisting, agreements are made democratically. No more the male rules over the woman and she does as she is told.
  • Athena
    2k
    Liberal Democracies embody a system of trial-and-error, a la Popper. A country is almost forced to learn from the mistakes of its political experiments, allowing them to self-correct peacefully over time. Governments submit their policy to public scrutiny and are accountable for their actions. In that sense Democracy fosters the scientific tradition of critical discussion.NOS4A2


    Political accountability would be nice right now. I think we are having this discussion right now because we forgot what science has to do with democracy. :zip:
  • Athena
    2k
    Very little, if anything. I can imagine religious tolerance in a society that has little regard towards truth just as easily as I can imagine it in a society that has high regard towards truth.InPitzotl

    It is a matter of where we look for the truth, in a holy book or in nature.
  • Bitter Crank
    10.8k
    Glory, laud, and honor to science, logic, mathematics, et al. But consider the New England colonies, which were premised on ideas of religious freedom, and the importance o the religious state (the Puritans) and self-government (the town councils). Their enterprise was one of faith (and ye olde Protestant Work Ethic).

    New England and Yankee culture (a strip of states below Canada and around the Great Lakes) gradually (and mercifully) lost its religious zeal, but the ideas about the collective responsibilities of the City on the Hill remained and became an essential piece of cultural DNA in the more progressive northern states.

    A lot of the founding fathers were interested in science and all, but they were also imbued with the values of the southerly planter class, or worse -- the upper class English riff-raff that dominated southern culture (referencing the values of wealthy Englishmen who settled in Virginia, Carolina, Georgia, etc.).

    BTY, hope everything is fine with you--no Covid-19, no corona virus anxiety, no crashing personal buddy-can-you-spare-a-dime economy.

    We had a bit of Spring here; the snow all melted, the grass was turning green, and the tulips were coming up -- then we got socked with a snow storm and a return to winter. Not all that unusual. For the last two days we have been getting sometimes spectacular snow squalls which don't last very long--maybe 20 minutes. Colder too. Supposed to be 18º tonight.
  • frank
    10.9k
    Democracy is a way of life.Athena

    The Athenian law against blasphemy originated with Solon.
  • Athena
    2k
    I am not sure what your point is. The North and South had bascially different people. The Puritans were not known for religious tolerance. Nor were they the only religious colony.

    For the rest of the chatter, Something has caused an itch on my back to flare up and I feel going crazy in tormenting pain. :grimace: I am signing off until this passes.
  • InPitzotl
    880
    It is a matter of where we look for the truth, in a holy book or in nature.Athena
    I don't think it's even that. Ten pigeons are on the top of the roof of an apartment building. Below that, there are ten humans living on the top floor. The pigeons don't contribute anything to the human quest-for-truth project; suppose that likewise, those ten humans don't contribute anything to the human quest-for-truth project. Maybe five just aren't capable; bless their heart, they just don't have the mental capacity. Maybe the other five follow an arbitrarily crazy religion that compels them to not participate.

    Then what exactly are we talking about, worst case? If we're supposed to believe that these five crazy religious people compromise truth, then what of the other five who just can't contribute... do they poison the project too? If so, should we start demanding the ten pigeons pull their weight? The biggest concern as I see it is that the five crazy religious people might actually talk to other humans, but if our concern for truth is that fragile, then IMO it's not genuine either.
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