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15 June 2006 @ 01:52 pm
Stolen from joedecker, indirectly.

A great Carl Sagan quote:

In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. [Carl Sagan, 1987 CSICOP keynote address]
Thomas Bushnell, BSGthomb on June 15th, 2006 09:01 pm (UTC)
I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.

i can. but then, as usual, Sagan understands science, and whenever he talks about religion, he plants his foot firmly down his throat.
The Elf ½elfwreck on June 15th, 2006 09:08 pm (UTC)
I would like to point out that Carl Sagan was not prone to hanging out in either political or religious discussion groups, and as such, is not likely to hear that statement in regards to either of them.

I have heard them in both political & religious settings--but just like science, it's rare--not because "people get pigheaded about religion/politics," but because people who care enough to really consider all the possibilities have put a lot of consideration into their opinions, and aren't easily swayed by casual comments, which are the kind most often thrown at deeply devoted people (in any field).

Just like scientists don't hear "well, what about those missing links in evolution? They prove Darwin was wrong!" and announce, "my, how correct you are! Evolution is clearly a broken theory!", religious people don't hear "well, I prayed and prayed and my sister still died of cancer" and announce "oh, how shocking! You're right; God must not exist!"

I've seen people change both political & religious views, and publicly announce that their previous take on things was wrong... but only through careful discussion with people who actually understand the base premises, not in flamewars with hecklers.
r_transpose_pr_transpose_p on June 16th, 2006 03:48 pm (UTC)
Be careful to distinguish "politics" from "policy"

One is the study of how to achieve things in government, the other is the practice of getting our votes.
taoflaherty on June 16th, 2006 05:40 pm (UTC)
Science and religion have different kinds of hierarchies and relationships.

In physics, Einstein said hey Newton wasn't quite right, physics is actually messed up like this. And it was determined that he was correct, and that idea was accepted in Physics. And the Biologists depend upon the Chemists depend upon the Physicists depend upon the Mathematicians... It all works to be one unified whole.

Religion is broken up by differences of opinion. You have the Hindus and the Judeochristians who are divided up into the Jews and the Christians who are divided up into the Catholics and the Protestants who are divided up into... Each religion has it's own dogma. In general, if there's a difference of opinion then there's a difference of religion. I, personally, may change my mind about what I believe. But I don't expect the pope to go around changing Roman Catholic dogma.

What can be problematic is when a little faction of religion wants to stop science. Biologists, quit researching evolution. Steven Hawking, quit researching the beginning of the universe http://www.nwfdailynews.com/articleArchive/jun2006/hawkingpope.php
Hillary: Feathery Wingscoyotegrrrl on June 19th, 2006 04:19 pm (UTC)
That IS a good quote. :-)

Fyi, that actually DOES happen among my grove (on a local level). However, on a national level, I imagine it's a lot less rare, even with pagans. (But ADF is often changing our constitution/bylaws to reflect changed opinions and also encourages open debate.)