Re: Evidence for "Big Bang Theory"

Yasha Hartberg (
Fri, 19 May 1995 00:04:58 +0300

In article <>, (Kai
Henningsen) wrote:

> wrote on 16.05.95 in
> > You may be skating on thin ice here, Kai. I remember hearing about
> I don't think so, because ...
> > certain asian cultures whose festival schedule was linked to agricultural
> > concerns such as rotation of irrigation, planting, and harvesting.
> > Westerners came in with high yield hybrids and convinced the people to
> > give up their carefully honed rotation scheme and irrigate to their hearts
> > content. The result was disasterous, rodents, soil erosion, low yields,
> > etc. I don't remember if they went back to their traditional ways or not.
> ... this doesn't show anything at all about science, you know.

Nor was it intended to. It was intended instead to contradict your
statement that religion never managed to improve harvests.

> Science, like religion, gets used by people; in both cases, some use it
> the way it was intended, others don't.
> And, by the way, just because one method was "traditional" and one was
> "western", does not necessarily mean that the first was religious and the
> second was scientific. Neither does the linkage with the festival schedule

But the festival schedule was an integral part of their religion and these
religious tenets carefully regulated their agriculture. You can always
argue that introducing the products and methods of Western agriculture was
not scientific, that was not my point.

> mean any such thing. You'd have to know a lot more about how it all came
> to be to judge this - in fact, I'd guess that these westerners depended on
> tradition as well.
> I'd like a single example where religion (not to be confused with
> primitive science, as in observing cause-and-effect, whether done or
> approved by priests or not) improved a harvest. There are lots of examples
> for science.

Your dividing line is too fine here, Kai. The actual methods used by
South and Central Americans to develop maize from its grass ancestor in no
way diminishes the religious significance of corn to these people nor does
it detract from the spiritual traditions which grew up around the practice
to preserve the knowledge of cultivation. I think you would be hard
pressed to say that early agriculturalists used the scientific method to
develop hybrids.

> > While science and religion may serve some of the same functions in
> > society, they do not fill identical roles, merely overlapping ones.
> Well, of course. That's because one of them works :-)

Which one? :-)

Yasha Hartberg
Texas A&M University
"The most beautiful thing in Tokyo is McDonald's." Andy Warhol