Thales of Miletus

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by Dirty Rotten Imbecile, Nov 9, 2022.

?

Do you think that faith in the supernatural has limited human development?

Poll closed Jun 9, 2023.
  1. Yes

    57.1%
  2. No

    42.9%
  3. No one needs that many olives anyway

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Dirty Rotten Imbecile

    Dirty Rotten Imbecile Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2016
    Messages:
    2,137
    Likes Received:
    864
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Thales of Miletus was a philosopher who lived about 600 years before the common era on the coast of what is now Turkey. He was the leader of what was then a new school of thought that promoted using observation to understand the world around us. He was reputed to have predicted a full eclipse in 585 BCE.

    From observation, Thales deducted that weather conditions, not appeals to the gods, lead to a good harvest. Predicting a high yield of olives one year, he is said to have bought up all the local olive presses, then profited by renting them out to meet increased demand.

    We can often look back at the beliefs of people from the past and see how the things they thought of as supernatural were quite natural after all. Sometimes, faith in the supernatural can result in a lack of curiosity about the natural. When someone finally discovers the truth the result is growth and a better understanding of the world in some cases.

    Do you think that faith in the supernatural has limited human development or are there examples of how humanity improved its lot due to belief in supernatural control of the world?
     
    DennisTate and Diablo like this.
  2. Diablo

    Diablo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2016
    Messages:
    2,760
    Likes Received:
    2,300
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    It's rational thought that makes us human.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2022
  3. Josh77

    Josh77 Well-Known Member Past Donor

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2014
    Messages:
    10,024
    Likes Received:
    6,883
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    I find that the more I learn about science the more my faith in god/higher power/"supernatural" grows, while my belief in any religion decreases. I see religions as man's best attempts to make sense of reality, and that religions then become almost invariably hijacked by politics. Science included. I see science as the latest and greatest way of describing the universe, but also that humanity is totally incapable of ever realizing what reality actually is. All we can really do is assign values to the strange patterns our brains perceive in the energies floating around us. True reality probably doesn't resemble anything close to what we perceive. We might as well be insects trying to make sense of the complete works of Shakespeare. I think Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, Tesla, and Einstein are probably all seeing reality a little more clearly than the rest of us, but that probably they are just scratching the surface of what is really going on.
     
    Dirty Rotten Imbecile likes this.
  4. WillReadmore

    WillReadmore Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2013
    Messages:
    58,899
    Likes Received:
    16,114
    Trophy Points:
    113
    When we turn to the supernatural for the answer, it clearly cuts off exploration.

    Why investigate a question that is already answered?

    In fact, if the answer is that "God did it", it is a problem for those who do further investigation. Of course, they may not be excommunicated, thus damned to hell and denied the community of the church. And, at least in the western world they won't be executed.

    However, one can not really argue that the supernatural and science can easily coexist.
     
  5. Dirty Rotten Imbecile

    Dirty Rotten Imbecile Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2016
    Messages:
    2,137
    Likes Received:
    864
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Are there situations where the reverse is true? Are there situations in which belief that science has an accurate answer held people back from a supernatural truth that was essential to human development?
     
  6. JET3534

    JET3534 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2014
    Messages:
    13,340
    Likes Received:
    11,513
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Can you provide an example of a supernatural truth? Certainly people have are long on supernatural beliefs but a bit short on proving their beliefs to be true.
     
  7. Dirty Rotten Imbecile

    Dirty Rotten Imbecile Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2016
    Messages:
    2,137
    Likes Received:
    864
    Trophy Points:
    113
    No, but I am biased toward rational thinking.

    A Christian would say John 3:16 is a truth. Saying that god gave his only begotten son to free you from sin is a pretty supernatural thing to me.

    The problem is that not every thing that is true can be proven true. I know that I love my wife. I can’t prove it to you. You would probably just accept the statement as likely to be true since it’s not that far fetched. That’s where the rationality camp is a bit more open minded than the supernatural camp. Rationally I think of things as likely to be true as opposed to religious thought which is more concerned with absolutes.
     
  8. politicalcenter

    politicalcenter Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Messages:
    11,082
    Likes Received:
    6,768
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    The people around Miletus were idiots. Anyone that didn't know good conditions equal a good harvest was a fool even then.
     
    Talon and Dirty Rotten Imbecile like this.
  9. JET3534

    JET3534 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2014
    Messages:
    13,340
    Likes Received:
    11,513
    Trophy Points:
    113
    As a non-Christian I would call John 3:16 a claimed supernatural reality that is not supported by any empirical evidence. I would call love part of the natural world, created by a physical reality (temporal lobe of brain).
     
  10. Dirty Rotten Imbecile

    Dirty Rotten Imbecile Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2016
    Messages:
    2,137
    Likes Received:
    864
    Trophy Points:
    113
    The Egyptian civilization was already ancient at this point but even there they considered the fertilization of farmlands by the Nile to be a result of the favour of the gods.

    They seem to understand that the Nile, or Hapi, the life-giver, is what caused the crops to flourish but did they understand that the Nile was fertilizing the farmland by bringing physical nourishment or did they see it as a supernatural act? Clearly they understood the importance of having lots of water since priests would measure the flood waters to predict the harvest but the link to the supernatural is clear.

    It’s a good example of how rational observation and belief in the supernatural can become intertwined.
     
  11. drluggit

    drluggit Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2016
    Messages:
    30,785
    Likes Received:
    28,257
    Trophy Points:
    113
    This is, I have to say, one of your most illuminating posts.. Why indeed investigate a question that is already answered. And who chooses what those answers are? Science? It isn't like them to not have all the answers and still provide an answer, is it?
     
  12. WillReadmore

    WillReadmore Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2013
    Messages:
    58,899
    Likes Received:
    16,114
    Trophy Points:
    113
    No, science does not cut off exploration. There is the long history of science from the middle ages to today that demonstrates that science continues to investigate - even during the periods where religions were putting scientists to death for apostasy, the ultimate attempt to stop science.

    And, it IS EXACTLY like science to be receptive to new ideas (that have to come with serious evidence) and it is like science to note that there are many questions for which science has no answer.

    Besides, science gives its highest rewards to those who upset the understanding of the past. We honor Einstein. We honor Newton. And, we honor others who similarly overturned ideas of science that preexisted these individuals.
     
  13. Aleksander Ulyanov

    Aleksander Ulyanov Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Messages:
    41,184
    Likes Received:
    16,180
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    I remember when Carl Sagan's Cosmos tv show was considering just this idea. He used the example of how the Greeks had been about to "discover" modern science but then Pythagoras had diverted it to mysticism. He seemed to think we would be traveling to the stars by now if that hadn't happened.

    I agree, the supernatural has done us great harm IMO
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2022
    WillReadmore likes this.
  14. Dirty Rotten Imbecile

    Dirty Rotten Imbecile Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2016
    Messages:
    2,137
    Likes Received:
    864
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Neil deGrasse Tyson has that video in which he says that al-Ghazali reformed Islam away from the sciences leading to a decline in Islamic civilization. When I went to find out more it seemed like al-Ghazali did more to incorporate philosophy into religious thinking. I don’t know enough about the guy to really say.

    It would be difficult to say just one thing lead to the decline of an empire though.
     
  15. CKW

    CKW Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    15,270
    Likes Received:
    3,356
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I believe faith in the supernatural is crucial for human development--- crucial for a thriving civilization and crucial for creating and sustaining a civilization. Without it...a civilization will eventually breakdown or can fall into totaltarism/authoritarian.

    I believe a civilization that is majority non believers in the supernatural is vulnerable to restricting freedom and stifling human thought...which stifles human development.

    I see belief in the supernatural as key to strength and strong values that allow a people as a group to flourish and take the necessary risks that propel human development.

    Would the Jewish people be in existence today without the foundation of their supernatural beliefs that carried them through persecution and turmoil across thousands of years?
    Could Rome have built their great civilization without the values established by gods and myths?

    Could Western Civilization as we know it--and the great innovations derived from it... been created by a society of majority Atheists?

    Would a group of people who didn't believe in the supernatural have made risky ventures across the seas to America?

    Can a society even be created and foundated with strong cohesive values by a group of irreligious? I don't see evidence of that ever happening.

    From what I see....through history....belief in the supernatural is an important building block for human development.
     
  16. Dirty Rotten Imbecile

    Dirty Rotten Imbecile Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2016
    Messages:
    2,137
    Likes Received:
    864
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Yes, religion does have positive features. It unites people behind a common cause, preserves tradition and gives a common sense of identity. It is a refuge in times of misfortune. Religion can focus a community on a single goal. There are lots of good things about religion.
     
  17. JCS

    JCS Well-Known Member Donor

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2019
    Messages:
    1,933
    Likes Received:
    817
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    The natural is fully supernatural, for it is a function of consciousness. It can't be explained by science.

    Science looks for & exploits patterns in nature that it can make use of, which makes it a methodological guessing game. Science lacks a fundamental understanding of the underlying forces directing the manifestation of we call material reality, let alone the nature of consciousness itself.

    All is One. So in truth, there's nothing new under the Sun. We're born forgetting so that we can experience the adventure of discovery. The brain is a filter between this world of little knowledge and the world of all-knowing. The emergence of the illusion of separation from Oneness offers infinite opportunities for adventure & unique experiences.
     
    DennisTate likes this.
  18. DennisTate

    DennisTate Well-Known Member Past Donor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Messages:
    31,418
    Likes Received:
    2,588
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male

    Although I am a Theist......
    I plead guilty on behalf of all my religious friends as well as myself that yes.......

    ... our religious beliefs can prevent us from asking better and better and better questions!


    www.CarbonBias.blogspot.ca/
     

Share This Page