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Can religion and science coexist? | Preaching to the choir? | Am I a Narcissist?

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Can religion and science coexist?
Thank you for your recent thesis on Social Narcissism. I find that it and your other writings, help to clarify my own thoughts and arguments. Thank you. I was however confused by the following statement:

"To those who say religion and science cannot coexist, I say nonsense — they can and must."

This statement seems contradictory to the previous list of dot-points showing the fundamental differences between science and religion. How can an individual who understands and practices the scientific method of enquiry also accept and believe in the "truths" of religion?
That's not what I mean by "coexist". In this context, coexistence doesn't mean within a particular individual but in society at large. ... it is naive to expect the demise or religion any time soon (i.e. if it came to a "fight to the death" between the two, at this time, science would be the likely looser? I can't imagine how science could get into a fight with anyone or anything. That's not how science works.

As I see it, religion will carry on as it always has, killing its opponents when it can, hating those it can't kill. The practice of science will continue to produce its unique results until its value is apparent to everyone, but without confrontation or emotion.

Science isn't a belief or a posture. It's just an effective way to evaluate ideas. Science doesn't take a position about what it discovers, although scientists sometimes do (and one shouldn't confuse scientists with science).

Most important of all, science doesn't contradict religion. It sometimes disproves things True Believers choose to believe, but false religious beliefs don't falsify religion itself. Evidence for this can be found in the Catholic Church's 1992 reversal of Galileo's 1633 heresy conviction. Did this reversal destroy the Church? No, it righted an historical wrong, and modern Catholics were permitted to read Galileo's dangerous book, written in 1632.

If 360 years seems a slow pace for the Church to correct such an obvious error, remember this only reflects how slow religious people are in general.
Preaching to the choir?
I read your "Social Narcissism" document with great interest. Wow! It's.... big. I tried to keep its size down, but there was a lot of territory to cover. It summarizes ideas I've been mulling over for several years now.

For what it's worth, I deleted at least as much content as it now contains.
You raise some fascinating points and theories about the human condition, things which we all struggle to come to terms with. That was my hope and intention. Is your intended audience like minded souls? Or a wider one, challenging their beliefs and behaviour? Both. I didn't plan on preaching to the choir, except perhaps with the hope of encouraging people, make them aware they are not alone. People like you. I ask, because your document requires a lot of reading and thought - which may exclude some :) Yes, unfortunately. To reach the YouTube crowd, I would have had to create it as a video, and I don't think that's practical. I've been involved in the Internet since about 1991, and, apart from becoming a huge 24/7 advertisement, it has switched from an emphasis on text to an emphasis on video. It's nearly impossible to convey abstract ideas in a dog and pony show the size of a postage stamp. I think what I'm getting at here is whether you are a passive observer of humanity, or if you want to change things with your writing? I don't expect to change the world singlehandedly. I encourage people to change themselves, one by one, voluntarily. As I see it, anything else is wishful thinking or fascism.

Besides, nature is in charge. People might be perfectly suited to their environments as they are. The fact that they are alive is strong evidence for that.
I may have missed the point completely, but I have come to some conclusions over the last few years about my species, and myself. I suspect the ideas in my article are more commonly held than we realize, even though most people will deny having them. It's like religious belief in the U.S., which I suspect is more a case of protective coloring than sincere belief.

Things are so bad in the U.S. that, once you reveal that you don't believe in God, people want to know which God you don't believe in (so they can choose the right flavor of hate).
Climate change concerns me. I can accept it only by seeing this change as a natural part of evolution. I agree — we can reason, but apart from that, we're just another actor in the environment. Environmental studies are important because we can quantify what we are doing, not necessarily with the expectation that we'll actually change our behavior. Since everyone talks about climate change (the effect), and no one talk about population (the cause), it seems we tacitly accept this idea. There must be many places in the universe which have gone though the same processes and outcomes. The reason we haven't any hard evidence is the great distances involved. Chances are the reason we haven't heard from any other civilizations is because no one else is stupid enough to reveal themselves. The SETI people are currently debating the issue of "active SETI", the idea of sending signals rather than simply listening. Many people think this is a very bad idea — we might become easy prey to some advanced predatory species. It dawned on me a while ago, that the only problem facing the planet is the human population, which you express so well. (I see the hypocritical side of this - I have two kids!) Well, because you read my article, you know this is not something we should try to control on a case-by-case basis. Any who try to do that become unwilling victims of probability and natural selection. Up until recently, most people received this idea as being on a par with fascism - a reaction I expect you are familiar with :) Which is why I strongly reject any individual appeals to control the number of children — people must sort this out for themselves. Even though people fight this idea, nature is a bottom-up system based on individual choice. Things are looking up. With the constant press coverage of climate change, there seems to be more acceptance. That's not a reason for optimism. People now accept our influence on the environment, where before they rejected the idea. This doesn't change the environment or our effect on it, only our posture. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest. It's good to read clever, well thought out pieces. Thank you! It can't all be bad - the internet has been a revolution for spreading ideas. Yes, unfortunately like television it fosters the idea that we're all passive observers.

Am I a Narcissist?
I am trying to determine a simple test to see if whether I or even others I know are clinicly narcissistic. If a person is self-centered and destructive what would be some tell-all signs? For example, what would their conversations be like? Thoughts in this area is appreciated. First, I'm not a psychologist, I'm a scientist (and clinical psychologists are not scientists). Psychologists have put together most of these categories, they are rather arbitrary, and not based on reliable scientific evidence. So what follows is mere opinion — just like you would get from a psychologist.

If someone presents evidence that one of your views is wrong, and your first reaction is to defend your opinion rather than listen to the new evidence, you are a narcissist.

You don't necessarily have to accept the new evidence, but if you cannot stand to have your views challenged, you are a narcissist.

If, on the other hand, you listen to the evidence and thank the speaker for presenting it, it's likely that you aren't a narcissist. Further, if you turn out to be wrong, and if you accept the new information and change your views based on solid evidence, and remember to thank the person who brought it to your attention, you are definitely not a narcissist.
I have another question(s), are the ideas that a person believe in what makes the person who they are? Ideas and genes. There's a debate about the relative contributions of ideas and genes, how much is contributed by each. Both are involved in making us who we are. I ask because I was confused about this statement. "He overlooked the fact that I had addressed, not him, but his ideas, but to a narcissist that is a distinction without a difference." To a narcissist, a challenge to any personal view is a mortal personal attack. To a normal person, being wrong is not fatal. Some people welcome challenges to their views, because it allows them to evolve, learn new things. By contrast, narcissists tend to be shallow and ignorant, because they are so terrified of being found wrong that they don't learn anything new. Having read that article and "Social Narcissism" there is a feeling I might actually be stuck between one of two phases.. either "Waking-Up" from a narcissistic day-dream or being repelled even deeper by taking you on as an "authority." Well, I'm not an authority on you, and neither is anyone else. That's the primary point I make in my article "Social Narcissism". I guess I'll call myself "narcissistic-covert-aware" please feel free to enlighten me. I cannot enlighten you, I'm not qualified. Neither is a psychologist. But you can sort out your own relationship with the world.

If you were to engage the services of a psychologist, he would maneuver you into sorting out your own relationship with the world, and he would charge you for the experience.

Most people don't realize what it means when a person hires a psychologist. In essence it identifies that person as so lame that he has to pay someone to be on his side. I'll never understand why people don't see this obvious truth about psychology.


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