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View Full Version : Religion, Science, and the unknown


Achilles
08-19-2007, 05:41 PM
YouTube clip (http://youtube.com/watch?v=v-MVqtZvf8U) (4:35)

Please watch and post your comments. Thanks.

Fredi
08-19-2007, 06:17 PM
My vote is for Science .... I dont fallow religion ... Show me god and I will belive in him.. thats all I have to say.

Arcesious
08-19-2007, 06:23 PM
Ugg.... not this again... Ever forum site i go to, everyone is always discussing topics like these, topics scu as Evolution vrs God and whatever else, and all it ever leads to is a screaming constest in the end, trust me, i have seen threads like this and others lead to that about how many times.... 1, 2 3, 4... 7 times!
Coontnue your discussion as desired, but i suggest to keep any and all tempers in check.
Please don't take this post the wrong way anyone- it's just a friendy reminder.

(I believe in God for my own resons, and i don't expect anyone who strongly doesn't believe in God to understand the truth that i know is in him. I don't believe in macro evolution, and i think Micro evolution isn't even evolution at all. Now don't yell at me about what i've just said in these parentheses, because i've discussed it tons of times on other forums without success due to people being 'blinded to the truth with something that seems just as true' in the way i see it. So don't give me any crap agaisnt God about this post i have made cause i really don't feel like getting in a yelling match about it all over again for like the 4th time.)

Continue as desired now, i will not interfere with your discussion. i only posted this as a friendly reminder.

Jae Onasi
08-19-2007, 07:01 PM
Ugg.... not this again... Ever forum site i go to, everyone is always discussing topics like these, topics scu as Evolution vrs God and whatever else, and all it ever leads to is a screaming constest in the end, trust me, i have seen threads like this and others lead to that about how many times.... 1, 2 3, 4... 7 times!

Coontnue your discussion as desired, but i suggest to keep any and all tempers in check.

Please don't take this post the wrong way anyone- it's just a friendy reminder.
Continue as desired now, i will not interfere with your discussion. i only posted this as a friendly reminder.

Arcesious, the moderators here have been handling these challenging discussions for months now. We know what we're doing. All of us who post here are nearly always courteous to each other. It may get passionate at times, but we don't get mean with each other. :)

Achilles
08-19-2007, 07:27 PM
I was hoping for a dialog re: how religion deals with the unknown vs. how science deals with the unknown. Sorry that wasn't clear.

It seems to me that when religion comes across something it can't explain, it just chalks it up to "god" and then moves on - never investigating or seeking deeper understanding. On the other hand, it seems that science revels in the unknown. Once it finds an indisputable answer it applauds for a moment then gets bored and starts looking for something else to tackle.

This has been a reoccurring theme in some of the conversations that I've been involved in outside of LF lately and I thought it might have value here as well.

Miltiades
08-19-2007, 07:39 PM
It seems to me that when religion comes across something it can't explain, it just chalks it up to "god" and then moves on - never investigating or seeking deeper understanding. On the other hand, it seems that science revels in the unknown. Once it finds an indisputable answer it applauds for a moment then gets bored and starts looking for something else to tackle.

That's exactly what I think of it. Instead of investigating, religion always revert to god and the bible. Things that are unknown to us, are things that haven't been uncovered yet, but can be uncovered with the right attitude, intelligence and such. All things that are unknown to us, I believe, can be explained by science.

urluckyday
08-19-2007, 08:20 PM
Religion gets my vote. That's just the way I am.

Achilles
08-19-2007, 08:29 PM
Sorry, vote for what? There isn't a poll. *confused*

Arcesious
08-19-2007, 08:36 PM
Hey! somone deleted my post saying sorry about my last post... ah well. religion get's my vote too. (yes, i know there isn't a poll either)

Jae Onasi
08-19-2007, 08:47 PM
It seems to me that when religion comes across something it can't explain, it just chalks it up to "god" and then moves on - never investigating or seeking deeper understanding.

I disagree completely that 'religion' never investigates or seeks deeper understanding. That's a blanket statement that is patently false. If that were the case, there would never be any people of faith in any of the science fields, and church leaders would never address the changes in science. Since we obviously have scientists who also are religious studying in all the science fields (genetics, geology, astronomy, chemistry, biochemistry, etc.) who seek a deeper understanding of this amazing universe we share, then it's patently obvious that these people do not simply 'chalk it up to God and move on'. The Catholic Church has embraced evolution as part of its universe-origin doctrine. That doesn't sound to me like religion just shrugged its shoulders and decided to move on to other theological things at the expense of science.

I think you're unfairly expecting more out of religion than it should address--why should religion also act as a science? It concerns itself with the spiritual needs of man, not the scientific, and it leaves science to those who have a talent and skill in that realm.

Achilles
08-19-2007, 09:54 PM
I disagree completely that 'religion' never investigates or seeks deeper understanding. That's a blanket statement that is patently false. If that were the case, there would never be any people of faith in any of the science fields, and church leaders would never address the changes in science. Theists doing science does not make theism scientific. Also, religion concedes to science only when it becomes too embarrassing not too or if the science is thought to support (or at least not conflict) with theology.

Since we obviously have scientists who also are religious studying in all the science fields (genetics, geology, astronomy, chemistry, biochemistry, etc.) who seek a deeper understanding of this amazing universe we share, then it's patently obvious that these people do not simply 'chalk it up to God and move on'. If that was my argument, then you would certainly have a point :D

To clarify: The argument dealt with religion (as an institution) and science (as an institution). Your counter-argument appears to be focused on individuals, therefore it does not apply in this context.

The Catholic Church has embraced evolution as part of its universe-origin doctrine. That doesn't sound to me like religion just shrugged its shoulders and decided to move on to other theological things at the expense of science. Right, after it could no longer maintain a non-evolutionary doctrine without risking embarrassment (to my earlier point).

I think you're unfairly expecting more out of religion than it should address--why should religion also act as a science? It concerns itself with the spiritual needs of man, not the scientific, and it leaves science to those who have a talent and skill in that realm. Because religion does not confine itself to the spiritual needs of man. It seeks to offer explanation about the nature and origin of the universe, our world, mankind, etc. There are either valid explanations that are reasonable to accept or there are not.

Jae Onasi
08-19-2007, 10:20 PM
I will agree with you that I was thinking more individuals than institutions--my mistake on the misunderstanding.

Right, after it could no longer maintain a non-evolutionary doctrine without risking embarrassment (to my earlier point).

Science is not entirely immune to not giving up on a concept until it risks embarrassment. The Piltdown hoax (http://www.tiac.net/~cri_a/piltdown/piltdown.html) is a glaring example. Perhaps this is as much as, if not more than, a human problem vs. a perceived institutional problem.

mimartin
08-19-2007, 10:39 PM
To clarify: The argument dealt with religion (as an institution) and science (as an institution). Your counter-argument appears to be focused on individuals, therefore it does not apply in this context.

If Iíd define religion as an institution Iíd agree with your hypotheses. However, my belief/faith as very little to do with an institution as it is my personal views and nothing more. It may be based on the institutional teachings of religion, but it also takes in account my personal learned experiences and my belief system.

Because religion does not confine itself to the spiritual needs of man. It seeks to offer explanation about the nature and origin of the universe, our world, mankind, etc. There are either valid explanations that are reasonable to accept or there are not.

Agreed, but it is the individuals choice to what they believe between what science evidence shows and what religion teaches. Not everyone that believes chalks up the unknown to ďGods Will,Ē some of us actually question and search for the answers. One day with expanded scientific knowledge and with increase technology maybe the unknown will become the known and open up more questions of the newly discovered unknown. Iím someone that does not believe mankind will never find all the answers only more questions.

I was hoping for a dialog re: how religion deals with the unknown vs. how science deals with the unknown. Sorry that wasn't clear.
I agree with most of what the speaker said. However my personal religion is not intolerant or closed minded as she assumed. Still I agree science has brought us a greater understanding of our universe and beyond more that Religion ever has.

It seems to me that when religion comes across something it can't explain, it just chalks it up to "god" and then moves on - never investigating or seeking deeper understanding.
True that has happened, but that is not always the case.

On the other hand, it seems that science revels in the unknown. Once it finds an indisputable answer it applauds for a moment then gets bored and starts looking for something else to tackle. Isnít that what science is suppose to do.
Although some Religion tries to act like they have all the answers that is not the message I get from God. Faith to me is believing in God despite not having any evidence. So I believe in Science, but I also have my personal faith.

SilentScope001
08-19-2007, 11:15 PM
It seems to me that when religion comes across something it can't explain, it just chalks it up to "god" and then moves on - never investigating or seeking deeper understanding. On the other hand, it seems that science revels in the unknown. Once it finds an indisputable answer it applauds for a moment then gets bored and starts looking for something else to tackle.

It seems to me that when religion comes across something it can't explain, it chalks it up to "God" and then spend endless theological sessions trying to figure out why God actually did such a thing. These heated debates end it, "Well, we have such a huge discussion about it. Let us wait until the Hereafter and then we'll ask God why he did it. There, we'll learn who is correct..."

When science comes across something it can't understand, it tries to come up with a hypothesis, test it out, wait for the results, and then, uh, look back and realize the hypothesis is stupid and needs changing, and therefore continues to go and do changes to the hypothesis...until it finally comes up with an answer that can sastify it. Which will never happen. Look at the theory of relativielty, we solved some of the questions, but we still got other questions, and overall, people are studying that theory still and trying to revise it. The best hypothesises get revised over and over, and scientists cannot figure out what really is correct, as they always question themselves. They can never move onto something else. They can't. That would be just as dogmatic as religion.

I'm sticking with religion, because at least, if God exist, then God will finally reveal what is right and what is wrong. In the latter, you'll never find out if your hypothesis is correct or incorrect.

Achilles
08-20-2007, 01:01 AM
I will agree with you that I was thinking more individuals than institutions--my mistake on the misunderstanding. No worries. Just thought I would point it out before we got off-track.

Science is not entirely immune to not giving up on a concept until it risks embarrassment. The Piltdown hoax (http://www.tiac.net/~cri_a/piltdown/piltdown.html) is a glaring example. Perhaps this is as much as, if not more than, a human problem vs. a perceived institutional problem. Heh...and who was it that exposed the piltdown hoax?

(answer: other scientists):D

Yes, there is no way that anyone could seriously make the argument that no one has ever tried to buck the system. But almost always it is another scientist or group of scientists that exposes the hoax. Science is self-correcting. Religion has no such internal mechanism.

If Iíd define religion as an institution Iíd agree with your hypotheses. However, my belief/faith as very little to do with an institution as it is my personal views and nothing more. It may be based on the institutional teachings of religion, but it also takes in account my personal learned experiences and my belief system. But again you're speaking on an individual basis :)
I know from our conversations that you are significantly more open minded than most, however there are some aspects of your faith that you prefer to leave unexamined. That is a respectful acknowledgment of your belief, not a personal dig.

PoiuyWired
08-20-2007, 02:19 PM
It seems to me that when religion comes across something it can't explain, it chalks it up to "God" and then spend endless theological sessions trying to figure out why God actually did such a thing. These heated debates end it, "Well, we have such a huge discussion about it. Let us wait until the Hereafter and then we'll ask God why he did it. There, we'll learn who is correct..."

When science comes across something it can't understand, it tries to come up with a hypothesis, test it out, wait for the results, and then, uh, look back and realize the hypothesis is stupid and needs changing, and therefore continues to go and do changes to the hypothesis...until it finally comes up with an answer that can sastify it. Which will never happen. Look at the theory of relativielty, we solved some of the questions, but we still got other questions, and overall, people are studying that theory still and trying to revise it. The best hypothesises get revised over and over, and scientists cannot figure out what really is correct, as they always question themselves. They can never move onto something else. They can't. That would be just as dogmatic as religion.

I'm sticking with religion, because at least, if God exist, then God will finally reveal what is right and what is wrong. In the latter, you'll never find out if your hypothesis is correct or incorrect.

Well, there are also alternatives. Like, there are thsoe who believe in other spirits being the source of unexplained things, or ghosts or...

Point, its not alwas "one mighty god" or "science. There are many other mystical(mostly) based "theories" out there. Anything from magical lifeforms (mermaid's purse, unicorn's horns, etc" to ethereals to sentient creatures to memory imprints to aliens to... other things out there.

Good thing about science is that proven things are usually repeatable, therefore usable knowledge by us that can hopefully improve out world. On the other hand, miracles powered by yelling out mystical phases to the Heavens have highly unstable effects, which are sometimes not repeatable.

I can count on that airline bringing me from point A to point B most of the time, but I am so far not sure about the guy who can part water.

Darth InSidious
08-20-2007, 06:18 PM
How does science deal with the unknown? It tests. If the unknown in question cannot be tested, it will tend towards pulling an answer out of nowhere that seems logical. See: aether, memes, dark matter, etc. Or it will mutter about needing more testing and distract attention away from the subject. (note, here I refer to as 'science' the scientific community etc).

Religion, on the other hand, tends to say "don't know, perhaps it's God? Why don't we use science to find out?"

I think part of the problem is that we are placing science and religion at loggerheads. Historically, this has simply not been the case, and religion and the academic community have been closely linked. Some of the greatest minds have been religious, or at least spiritual. Newton believed in alchemy. Some have been irrational - Galileo demanded, with scant evidence for his theory and major intellectual hurdles to overcome, that his heliocentric system be held as truth.

Science is about how the cat works. Religion is about why the cat works, and to what end. Philosophy is about what impact the cat has on us. These three do not necessarily need to collide, or even be considered as mutually opposing.

Achilles
08-20-2007, 06:55 PM
How does science deal with the unknown? It tests. If the unknown in question cannot be tested, it will tend towards pulling an answer out of nowhere that seems logical. See: aether, memes, dark matter, etc. I'm afraid that none of the examples that you provided support the argument being made. Could you either clarify your argument or provide a more relevant example (i.e. a hypothesis not based on observations)?

Or it will mutter about needing more testing and distract attention away from the subject. (note, here I refer to as 'science' the scientific community etc). Do you have any example of this as well?

Religion, on the other hand, tends to say "don't know, perhaps it's God? Why don't we use science to find out?" I hate to sound like a broken record, but I'm going to need examples. Preferably examples where the religious community did legitimate research rather than seeking out ways to prop up a conclusion that was already assumed to be true.

I think part of the problem is that we are placing science and religion at loggerheads. Historically, this has simply not been the case, and religion and the academic community have been closely linked. Some of the greatest minds have been religious, or at least spiritual. Newton believed in alchemy. Indeed, there is no denying that many important scientific discoveries were made by religious figures (Mendel, etc). What they all have in common is that they frequently went as far as they could and then attributed the whole thing to the glory and mystery of god (hence the basis of this thread's topic).

Some have been irrational - Galileo demanded, with scant evidence for his theory and major intellectual hurdles to overcome, that his heliocentric system be held as truth. Years of observation and research = scant evidence. Interesting.

Science is about how the cat works. Religion is about why the cat works, and to what end. Philosophy is about what impact the cat has on us. These three do not necessarily need to collide, or even be considered as mutually opposing. I already addressed this argument in post #11, however I'll be more than happy to expand if needed.

SilentScope001
08-20-2007, 09:33 PM
Good thing about science is that proven things are usually repeatable, therefore usable knowledge by us that can hopefully improve out world. On the other hand, miracles powered by yelling out mystical phases to the Heavens have highly unstable effects, which are sometimes not repeatable.

Wait, what?!

Miracles? I thought we were talking about, say, natural phenomon? Why that tree was growing for instance? Why are we stuck on the ground? How does religion and science deal with it? Nothing to do with events that many people claim never even happened to begin with (like the flood, the seas parting, etc.). When converting people to your religion, you don't mention the miracles, you only do so in order to fuel the beliefs of those who are already converted. They already believe, they just read about the miracles to further their beliefs. Those that don't already believe will just scoff at the "miracle".

Besides, scientists can easily explain miracles powered by uttering strange phrases. If you utter a strange phrase over and over, and you get the same miracle over and over, then it is obivous that strange phrase in some way would cause that miracle. Later scientists would eventually conclude that the strange phrase would somehow trigger a reaction within the Mago-sphere that causes the miracle to happen, and that basically, just because the miracle happens because you say a strange phrase DOES NOT MEAN that God exist. The Miracle would just be a natural phenomon, and not exactly a Miracle.

I can count on that airline bringing me from point A to point B most of the time, but I am so far not sure about the guy who can part water.

But can you trust that the universe is made out of string theory? Can you trust that the world is going to end in a Big Crunch, or will it die of Heat Death? Can you trust that random asteriod is harmless and won't hit Earth at all? Can you trust GMOs are safe?

Science gets deeper into these questions, and it will be forced to try and answer them, but you can never be sure if these questions are right. Science still has unknowns, and it will always have unknowns. And we will never find the answer to everything.

Years of observation and research = scant evidence. Interesting.

Scant Evidence=1500 years of Scientific Research, including astronmers such as Plotemy. The heliocentric model was radical, and many people did see it as crackpot, especially since it gone against what many researchers said. If someone said that the theory of relativelty is wrong and offered proof, then that would go against the grain of all the scientific research that was done, and people would not be that convinced against that proof, at least in the begining.

You are blaming Science for not listening to what they feel was a crackpot.

Darth InSidious
08-21-2007, 04:37 PM
I'm afraid that none of the examples that you provided support the argument being made. Could you either clarify your argument or provide a more relevant example (i.e. a hypothesis not based on observations)?
Memetics is a fine example. Devoid of evidence, it has gained undue acceptance.

Do you have any example of this as well?
Yes. Most scientists who try to explain dark matter.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but I'm going to need examples. Preferably examples where the religious community did legitimate research rather than seeking out ways to prop up a conclusion that was already assumed to be true.
Evolution and the Catholic Church could be held as an example - the Church refused to comment on the theory until 1950, when it officially endorsed it.

Indeed, there is no denying that many important scientific discoveries were made by religious figures (Mendel, etc).
Not toeing the Dawkins line on this one?

(semi- :xp: )

What they all have in common is that they frequently went as far as they could and then attributed the whole thing to the glory and mystery of god (hence the basis of this thread's topic).

Again, different to, say, the concept of dark matter how? Dark matter is, after all, just a very roundabout way of admitting ignorance.

Years of observation and research = scant evidence. Interesting.
He couldn't account for the lack of parallax shift, or other basic problems. His theory errors and omissions, yet he insisted it was - in its entirety - true. He guessed, based on his work with the telescope, but with only 32x magnification, he couldn't conclusively prove the theory to Bellarmine. He further refused to consider it a working hypothesis and insisted its truth regardless of the non-conclusiveness of his evidence. His ideas rested primarily on argument, and not proof. This was what caused Bellarmine to reject heliocentricism.

I already addressed this argument in post #11, however I'll be more than happy to expand if needed.
Sorry, how so?

Also, the Church made no official comment on evolutionary theory until 1950, when Pius XIIth issued an encyclical, Humani Generis, setting the official position of the Church as cautious neutrality.

Achilles
08-21-2007, 06:24 PM
Memetics is a fine example. Devoid of evidence, it has gained undue acceptance. Memetics is a commonly accepted scientific theory? The "meme hypothesis" was not based on observations?

You provided this example before. Listing it a second time does increase its chances of becoming a valid example.

You said:
How does science deal with the unknown? It tests. If the unknown in question cannot be tested, it will tend towards pulling an answer out of nowhere that seems logical.It would appear that there's still some confusion about the scientific method on your part, which might be causing you to come to some creative conclusions.

First, scientists make observations and collect facts.
Second, they form hypothesis about what they have observed and make predictions.
Third, they test/experiment.

Your earlier statement assumes that scientists start at step three and then somehow manage to work backwards to step two. No mention of observation is made and I'm at a loss to figure how you assume revision/promotion to theory work.

So again, I'm going to need an example that actually supports the argument that you made in order to understand your conclusion. Otherwise, I can only assume that you made up an answer that is commensurate with you understanding of what science actually does.

Yes. Most scientists who try to explain dark matter. Could you please be more specific? Your statement was:
Or it will mutter about needing more testing and distract attention away from the subject. I'm pretty sure I understand what "mutter about needing more testing" means but I need help with the "distracting attention away from the subject" part.

Evolution and the Catholic Church could be held as an example - the Church refused to comment on the theory until 1950, when it officially endorsed it. Your example does not appear to support your earlier argument. You said that the church does science to provide explanations. This is an example of a scientific theory that was not generated by the religious community and wasn't accepted by said community until 90 years after it been put forth. Do you have another, more relevant, example?

Not toeing the Dawkins line on this one? Oh come now, you can do better! Shouldn't we call it the Dawkins-Harris-Dennett-Miller-Greene-Hawking-Kant-Rawls-Darwin-Russell (etc, etc) line?

If you're going to insinuate that I'm only capable of regurgitating what I read (*cough*holydoctrine*cough*), please at least give me credit for being well read.

(semi-:xp: )

Again, different to, say, the concept of dark matter how? Dark matter is, after all, just a very roundabout way of admitting ignorance. Again, lack of scientific literacy is doing you a disservice here.

First, dark matter is hypothetical. That means it's our current "best guess" based on what all the evidence tells us that we should find.

If you'd like to learn more about what dark matter is, here's the wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_matter). Also, here are some YouTube clips that might be slightly less dry:
Hubble finds ring of dark matter (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJtJ7Q0cV34)
Dark Matter 3D Map (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCgTJ6ID6ZA)

Second, part your argument speaks directly to the heart of this thread: Yes, when scientists don't know something, they admit ignorance. Dark matter is completely unrelated to your point because scientists will readily tell you that its hypothetical. If the scientific community were happy with best guesses and foregone conclusions, then they wouldn't waste billions of dollars and years of work building huge, scientific instruments like the Large Hadron Collider. Doing so would seem to be inconsistent with your perceived "muttering and distracting", don't you think?

By way of comparison, religion gives us "truisms" such as "god works in mysterious ways" or "we cannot know the nature of god" or "our existence is evidence of god's omnipotence", etc.

How did x happen? Goddidit. Oh, ok - answers that questions. Why seek a deeper understanding if you already know that god did it, he works in ways that are mysterious to us, and is beyond our comprehension? Science seeks to dispel ignorance while religion promotes it.

Sorry, how so? From post #11 Because religion does not confine itself to the spiritual needs of man. It seeks to offer explanation about the nature and origin of the universe, our world, mankind, etc. There are either valid explanations that are reasonable to accept or there are not. Therefore, the concept of "Non-Overlapping Magisteria" doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

Also, the Church made no official comment on evolutionary theory until 1950, when Pius XIIth issued an encyclical, Humani Generis, setting the official position of the Church as cautious neutrality. Yes, your church did that (others didn't). Waiting 90 years to declare itself cautiously neutral on an overwhelmingly supported scientific theory clearly shows just how cosmopolitan the catholic church really is. :xp:

Jae Onasi
08-22-2007, 01:58 AM
But almost always it is another scientist or group of scientists that exposes the hoax. Science is self-correcting. Religion has no such internal mechanism.
I disagree with that. Luther was searching for reform in the church (sparked by the sale of indulgences) when he nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenburg church.

In regards to the Catholic church accepting Darwinian evolution after much consideration, I'd like to point out that Darwin's theories themselves were not accepted immediately within the scientific community itself 100% across the board. It took time for all the dust to settle on the theory before the Church could even begin to consider it. Expecting the Church to accept it right when Darwin published his theory for the first time is a little unrealistic when the rest of the scientific community had not fully embraced it. I think the implication that the Catholic church was foolish (or at least hidebound) in waiting to accept it is unfair.

Achilles
08-22-2007, 05:10 AM
I disagree with that. Luther was searching for reform in the church (sparked by the sale of indulgences) when he nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenburg church. That's not self-correction, that's the creation of a schism. Would you likewise consider the revival of fundamentalism in the early 1900's a correction?

Expecting the Church to accept it right when Darwin published his theory for the first time is a little unrealistic when the rest of the scientific community had not fully embraced it. I think the implication that the Catholic church was foolish (or at least hidebound) in waiting to accept it is unfair.I think that if "the church" (being just one of a myriad of theological options) were scientific (as some are trying to argue here), then they wouldn't have had to have waited. They could have joined the conversation any time they choose to as members of the scientific community.

My objection here is that a few people here want to portray religion as being interested in scientific endeavor of discovery. However this is not what we see. What we do see is religious communities embracing science when it would seem to support their doctrines, rejecting it when it would seem to contradict their doctrines, or attempting to deceive others via pseudo-science into thinking their doctrines have scientific support.

Darth InSidious
08-22-2007, 08:26 AM
Memetics is a commonly accepted scientific theory? The "meme hypothesis" was not based on observations?
It's pseudoscience, devoid of supporting evidence, and has certainly gained an undue acceptance. Why else have so many (useless) memetic studies been carried out by so many people?

You provided this example before. Listing it a second time does increase its chances of becoming a valid example.
Neither does not refuting it twice increase your chances of batting it away.

It would appear that there's still some confusion about the scientific method on your part, which might be causing you to come to some creative conclusions.

First, scientists make observations and collect facts.
Second, they form hypothesis about what they have observed and make predictions.
Third, they test/experiment.

Yes, thank you, I'm fully aware of this. Don't patronise me.

Your earlier statement assumes that scientists start at step three and then somehow manage to work backwards to step two. No mention of observation is made and I'm at a loss to figure how you assume revision/promotion to theory work.
Collecting facts/evidence is in itself testing. Searching for a black swan is testing the pre-hypothesis that all swans are white. That was what I meant. I think we have had a mismatch of language here.

So again, I'm going to need an example that actually supports the argument that you made in order to understand your conclusion. Otherwise, I can only assume that you made up an answer that is commensurate with you understanding of what science actually does.
Erm, see above?

Could you please be more specific? Your statement was:
I'm pretty sure I understand what "mutter about needing more testing" means but I need help with the "distracting attention away from the subject" part.
If you've eve3r asked a scientist (by which I mean someone in the classically-defined realm of science) some stickier questions at a public lecture, and you'll know what I mean.

Your example does not appear to support your earlier argument. You said that the church does science to provide explanations. This is an example of a scientific theory that was not generated by the religious community and wasn't accepted by said community until 90 years after it been put forth. Do you have another, more relevant, example?
No. It left the debate up to the scientific community. Darwin was no atheist, as you are no doubt aware. I also direct you to the Galileo affair.

Oh come now, you can do better! Shouldn't we call it the Dawkins-Harris-Dennett-Miller-Greene-Hawking-Kant-Rawls-Darwin-Russell (etc, etc) line?
I wasn't aware that all of them insisted that religion and science won't mix...

If you're going to insinuate that I'm only capable of regurgitating what I read (*cough*holydoctrine*cough*), please at least give me credit for being well read.

(semi-:xp: )

Who said anything about regurgitating? I simply tho ught you were in complete agreement with Clint Dawkins, that's all...

Again, lack of scientific literacy is doing you a disservice here.

First, dark matter is hypothetical. That means it's our current "best guess" based on what all the evidence tells us that we should find.

If you'd like to learn more about what dark matter is, here's the wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_matter). Also, here are some YouTube clips that might be slightly less dry:
Hubble finds ring of dark matter (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJtJ7Q0cV34)
Dark Matter 3D Map (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCgTJ6ID6ZA)

Second, part your argument speaks directly to the heart of this thread: Yes, when scientists don't know something, they admit ignorance. Dark matter is completely unrelated to your point because scientists will readily tell you that its hypothetical. If the scientific community were happy with best guesses and foregone conclusions, then they wouldn't waste billions of dollars and years of work building huge, scientific instruments like the Large Hadron Collider. Doing so would seem to be inconsistent with your perceived "muttering and distracting", don't you think?

No. The one precedes the other, taking place during the long, dark tunnel of despair while waiting for the various financing committees pick apart your hypothesis and then flay you alive over the remaining shreds that they have turned into a bonfire.

By way of comparison, religion gives us "truisms" such as "god works in mysterious ways" or "we cannot know the nature of god" or "our existence is evidence of god's omnipotence", etc.
To be fair, those are individual theologians/philosophers. And also, we cannot, in truth, undersrtand the nature of God. God being noumenal, we cannot judge Him, because we are bound by the phenomenal. We might be able to infer certain things from the evidence left by Him - all of creation - but we still do not - and cannot- have total understanding of an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent being. Being limited, we are simply incapable of it. The one about mysterious ways simply tells you about the experience of religion, and the evidence/existence thing is a pile of fetid dingo's kidneys, IMO.

How did x happen? Goddidit. Oh, ok - answers that questions. Why seek a deeper understanding if you already know that god did it, he works in ways that are mysterious to us, and is beyond our comprehension? Science seeks to dispel ignorance while religion promotes it.
Wrong. You should seek to understand it in the hope of gleaning more information about the nature of God, so that we can better care for the world He gave us, etc etc.

From post #11 Therefore, the concept of "Non-Overlapping Magisteria" doesn't hold up to scrutiny.
Perhaps you could expand on the point?

Yes, your church did that (others didn't).
Why should I answer for Lutheranism, Calvinism, etc?

Waiting 90 years to declare itself cautiously neutral on an overwhelmingly supported scientific theory
By then, yes. But then, in the time of Galileo, geocentricism was overwhelmingly supported as a scientific theory. Galileo's first critics were the academic community.

Achilles
08-22-2007, 09:59 AM
It's pseudoscience, devoid of supporting evidence, and has certainly gained an undue acceptance. It seems that you equate "hypothesis" with "pseudoscience". Not much I can do about that I'm afraid. Similarly, "undue acceptance" is conjecture on your part. Scientists don't accept anything until there is sufficient evidence to support it.

Why else have so many (useless) memetic studies been carried out by so many people?That's what scientists do. After they make observations, they form hypothesis and then they test. If the results don't match the predicted outcome they revise the hypothesis and then test again. Are you operating on some assumption that scientists are only permitted one shot at trying to understand something?

Neither does not refuting it twice increase your chances of batting it away. Actually, I refuted it the first time. That's why I'm not sure why you repeated it.

Yes, thank you, I'm fully aware of this. Don't patronise me. That was not obvious in your previous message based on the way you summarized the process. My intention was to help educate you so that we could both work from the same model.

Collecting facts/evidence is in itself testing. Searching for a black swan is testing the pre-hypothesis that all swans are white. That was what I meant. I think we have had a mismatch of language here. Indeed we do. If you would like some assistance with terminology so that we can avoid further mismatches, please let me know.

PS: you still appear to be starting at step 3 and working backwards to step 2. At least this time you included step 1, but are merging it with step 3 (I think *confused*).

Erm, see above? Third time is not the charm. I'm going to proceed on the assumption that you cannot provide an example. If you think of one, please let me know and we can pick it up from there.

If you've eve3r asked a scientist (by which I mean someone in the classically-defined realm of science) some stickier questions at a public lecture, and you'll know what I mean. Which scientist? Which lecture? What was the topic? The question? The answer?

I'm afraid your example is too vague to work with. Perhaps the answer you received was correct but you lacked the necessary background to understand. Or perhaps the guy was a hack and just made something up. Unfortunately, it's very difficult to tell which scenario was the case based on the information that you've provided. Even with additional information it bears pointing out that you seem to be basing your argument on one person in one situation. This is hardly an air-tight argument, wouldn't you agree?

No. It left the debate up to the scientific community. Darwin was no atheist, as you are no doubt aware. I also direct you to the Galileo affair. "No" as in "No, I don't have another, more relevant example"? Fair enough.

I wasn't aware that all of them insisted that religion and science won't mix... The barb was good, but I expected better. Don't ruin it by disowning it now. :)

Who said anything about regurgitating? I simply tho ught you were in complete agreement with Clint Dawkins, that's all... Sorry, I'm not familiar with the name.

No. The one precedes the other, taking place during the long, dark tunnel of despair while waiting for the various financing committees pick apart your hypothesis and then flay you alive over the remaining shreds that they have turned into a bonfire. Not sure I follow. Care to elaborate?

To be fair, those are individual theologians/philosophers. And also, we cannot, in truth, undersrtand the nature of God. God being noumenal, we cannot judge Him, because we are bound by the phenomenal. We might be able to infer certain things from the evidence left by Him - all of creation - but we still do not - and cannot- have total understanding of an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent being. Being limited, we are simply incapable of it. The one about mysterious ways simply tells you about the experience of religion, and the evidence/existence thing is a pile of fetid dingo's kidneys, IMO. Really? They seem to be pretty consistent mainstays of all the various branches, at least in my experience.

I find it interesting that you would take this stance though. You admit that we cannot understand the nature of god, but we presume to anyway. We presume that he in omnipotent. We presume that he is omnibenevolent. We presume that he is omniscient. We presume to know his will when interpreting his texts. If you sincerely meant what you said, it would seem that you're much closer to being a deist than a catholic.

Wrong. You should seek to understand it in the hope of gleaning more information about the nature of God, so that we can better care for the world He gave us, etc etc. Oh, so you should seek to find evidence that supports the conclusion that you already came to? Isn't that the argument I've been making against religion in this thread? I'll also point out that you are speaking from an individual perspective and not for all of religion. I'm sure there are many muslim, jewish, and christian fundamentalists that would tend to disagree with this position.

Perhaps you could expand on the point? I'll do my best, but I'm afraid that I'll probably just end up repeating myself.

Religion seeks to offer explanations about how we got here, why we are here, what happens to us after we leave, etc. Science also seeks to offer explanations about some of these things. Therefore, one cannot draw a neat line and say "this belongs to science and this belongs to religion". They overlap, therefore, they cannot be separate but equal.

People such as Stephen Jay Gould, Francis Collins, and Ken Miller would like to think that it's possible to be completely scientific and also completely religious, but the reality is that some form of disassociative disorder is necessary to pull this off. The idea that one can fully accept something without evidence on Sunday and then only accept something insofar as the evidence will allow them to on the other 6 days of the week is rather disingenuous from my perspective.

Why should I answer for Lutheranism, Calvinism, etc? Because as was pointed out earlier, we are examining religion as an institution, not individual sects. Catholicism is not adequately representative of all religions and even if we were to assume that it were, your arguments have yet to show that points raised do not apply.

By then, yes. But then, in the time of Galileo, geocentricism was overwhelmingly supported as a scientific theory. Galileo's first critics were the academic community. I believe we were discussing darwinian evolution, were we not?

Thanks for your reply.

Prime
08-22-2007, 11:00 AM
It's pseudoscience, devoid of supporting evidenceWhat evidence are you saying is incorrect? Can you give specific examples for us?

Why else have so many (useless) memetic studies been carried out by so many people?Because a large part of science is confirming and retesting observations and theories. So when a scientist brings evidence and a theory to the table, other scientists (in this case many due to the "importance" of the topic) seek to test the theory with different experiments and observations as well as try and reproduce the experiments and observations made by the original scientist.

The reason for doing so is because science in fact does not trust observations/experiments that can't be reproduced and verified. If the acceptance was as wide as you say, there would be very little experimentation, because everyone would be accepting the results already. If a wide number of scientists support the theory, it is because these efforts have shown the observations to be valid, and the theory to hold up to scrutiny as far as it has been tested so far.

Jae Onasi
08-22-2007, 11:32 AM
That's not self-correction, that's the creation of a schism. Would you likewise consider the revival of fundamentalism in the early 1900's a correction?

Luther had no intention of leaving the Catholic church when he did that, however. He wanted reform, not a major schism. If he had done that with the intention of creating a new denomination, then your theory would hold. However, since Luther simply wanted to clean up, then it falls under the self-correction category, or at least an attempt at that. Since the Catholic church has stopped selling indulgences, I'd call it a successful correction.

I haven't looked at the Great Awakening (early mid 1800's) and other revivals since taking US History about 17 years ago, so I'd have to look at that more to address it adequately. My guesstimate is that any revivals in the early 1900's were a reaction to political-social events rather than 'self-corrections' of the church itself.

I think that if "the church" (being just one of a myriad of theological options) were scientific (as some are trying to argue here), then they wouldn't have had to have waited. They could have joined the conversation any time they choose to as members of the scientific community.

My objection here is that a few people here want to portray religion as being interested in scientific endeavor of discovery. However this is not what we see. What we do see is religious communities embracing science when it would seem to support their doctrines, rejecting it when it would seem to contradict their doctrines, or attempting to deceive others via pseudo-science into thinking their doctrines have scientific support.

You're assuming that theologians have the same scientific acumen and interest as physicists, chemists, and other scientists. We can't be good at/work on _everything_, and the church is more concerned with spiritual needs of man than the actual mechanics of fusion and fission. However, characterizing the church as uniformly uninterested in science until it bites them in the butt isn't really fair. Our youth pastor, for instance, is a storm chaser (which just made my day when I found that out) and would be working at the Storm Prediction Center as a meteorologist if he hadn't gone into ministry.

It just sound to me like you're accusing them of not being scientists when that was never their calling in the first place. I don't think that's a fair characterization. It takes non-scientists of any kind (not just theologians) time to absorb, learn, and adapt new scientific theories into their lives. Just because they don't do it as quickly as the scientific community doesn't mean it's wrong--it just means they're slower and need more time.

Achilles
08-22-2007, 12:21 PM
Luther had no intention of leaving the Catholic church when he did that, however. He wanted reform, not a major schism. If he had done that with the intention of creating a new denomination, then your theory would hold. However, since Luther simply wanted to clean up, then it falls under the self-correction category, or at least an attempt at that. Since the Catholic church has stopped selling indulgences, I'd call it a successful correction. When science discovers something that is inconsistent with something that was previously accepted, it goes back and starts the process over again. New evidence means that new hypothesis need to be formed, new predictions need to be made, and new tests need to be performed (assuming that the new evidence is inconsistent with the previously accepted theory, rather than something that was predicted and therefore further confirms the theory). This is self-correction.

When religion discovers something that is inconsistent with something that was previously accepted, it automatically rejects it unless supports a view that is already held. This is not self correction.

If a group of religious people want to follow a different interpretation of holy doctrine, they form a new sect. There is no such thing "commonly accepted" in religion. One god or many gods? Benevolent or malevolent? Messiah or no messiah? New testament, old testament, or quran? So on and so on and so on. If religion were self-correcting, we would have one set of beliefs that was commonly accepted amongst most believers and when new evidence was produced regarding the nature of religion it would follow a process similar to that outline in the science example above.

Pointing out how one guy got really fed up with corruption and decided to do something about it is not a strong case for religion being self-correcting.

I haven't looked at the Great Awakening (early mid 1800's) and other revivals since taking US History about 17 years ago, so I'd have to look at that more to address it adequately. My guesstimate is that any revivals in the early 1900's were a reaction to political-social events rather than 'self-corrections' of the church itself. I'm not sure how that would apply. There was a change in belief. That was either a self-corrective measure (which means that almost all religious people should be fundamentalists now) or it was the creation of a new sect. Based on the factors that you have provided, I would tend to agree that it's the latter, thereby strengthening the argument that there is no self-correction in religion.


You're assuming that theologians have the same scientific acumen and interest as physicists, chemists, and other scientists. No, I'm simply holding religion to the standards that a few contributors in this thread have suggested that we use. If religion is scientific, as both you and Darth Insidious have suggested, then it's perfectly reasonable to hold them accountable to the same standards.

Religion is either scientific or it is not. You cannot have it both ways.

We can't be good at/work on _everything_, and the church is more concerned with spiritual needs of man than the actual mechanics of fusion and fission. But religion does make unsupportable claims about the creation of the universe, the world, and it's inhabitants all of which conflict with explanations offered by astrophysics, astronomy, chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular biology. It also makes claims about the nature of morality which conflict with explanations offered by neurology and behavioral science. Again, the idea that these two groups play in different school yards just isn't true.

However, characterizing the church as uniformly uninterested in science until it bites them in the butt isn't really fair. I'd be more than happy to reconsider my position based on any sufficiently persuasive counter-argument that you would like to present.

Our youth pastor, for instance, is a storm chaser (which just made my day when I found that out) and would be working at the Storm Prediction Center as a meteorologist if he hadn't gone into ministry. Individual, not an institution. I would be curious to know how he thinks the weather system came to be, how it is controlled, etc. ;)

It just sound to me like you're accusing them of not being scientists when that was never their calling in the first place. I believe that it was arguments presented by yourself and Darth Insidious that suggested that religion was scientific. I believe my argument has been that it is not. Therefore you seem to be arguing against your own position, not one that I have imposed.

I don't think that's a fair characterization. It takes non-scientists of any kind (not just theologians) time to absorb, learn, and adapt new scientific theories into their lives. Just because they don't do it as quickly as the scientific community doesn't mean it's wrong--it just means they're slower and need more time. I notice that you completely failed to mention the part where they have to wait for their church to stop denouncing the scientific discoveries long enough to do the mental gymnastics necessary to make the evidence somehow fit with their worldview, etc etc.

Case in point: Evolution has been around for ~150 years. According to the info provided by DI, the catholic church gave a tentative thumbs up in 1950. Yet 55% of americans still think that god created humans in present form and 27% accept theistic evolution (evolution guided by a creator). In the mean time, christian groups under the guise of pseudo-science, work to get creationism into the public school curricula.

I think it's dishonest to present this as a case of "they need more time" when the reality is that they are actively rejecting sound scientific evidence because it doesn't fit with the existing religious views about creation.

Thanks for reading.

Jae Onasi
08-22-2007, 01:49 PM
No, I'm simply holding religion to the standards that a few contributors in this thread have suggested that we use. If religion is scientific, as both you and Darth Insidious have suggested, then it's perfectly reasonable to hold them accountable to the same standards.

Religion is either scientific or it is not. You cannot have it both ways.

I never said, nor implied, it was a science. This was my original comment:
I disagree completely that 'religion' never investigates or seeks deeper understanding. That's a blanket statement that is patently false. If that were the case, there would never be any people of faith in any of the science fields, and church leaders would never address the changes in science. Since we obviously have scientists who also are religious studying in all the science fields (genetics, geology, astronomy, chemistry, biochemistry, etc.) who seek a deeper understanding of this amazing universe we share, then it's patently obvious that these people do not simply 'chalk it up to God and move on'. The Catholic Church has embraced evolution as part of its universe-origin doctrine. That doesn't sound to me like religion just shrugged its shoulders and decided to move on to other theological things at the expense of science.

I was disagreeing with your statement that religious people just 'chalk it up to God and move on.' That is entirely different from saying religion is science.

But religion does make unsupportable claims about the creation of the universe, the world, and it's inhabitants all of which conflict with explanations offered by astrophysics, astronomy, chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular biology.
I don't think the Bible itself addresses anything on molecular biology, organic chemistry, or astrophysics, so how could there be a conflict?

It also makes claims about the nature of morality which conflict with explanations offered by neurology and behavioral science. Again, the idea that these two groups play in different school yards just isn't true.
The Bible doesn't address neurology either. You could make a rough argument about behavioral science, but until I know what you're thinking about specifically as examples where they're at odds, I'm not able to give you an answer.

I'd be more than happy to reconsider my position based on any sufficiently persuasive counter-argument that you would like to present.Islam and astronomy prior to about 1500 or so.

Individual, not an institution. I would be curious to know how he thinks the weather system came to be, how it is controlled, etc. ;) Well, his individual thoughts aren't relevant since he's not an institution, I guess, and I imagine speculation wouldn't be relevant to this thread in that case. ;)

believe that it was arguments presented by yourself and Darth Insidious that suggested that religion was scientific. I believe my argument has been that it is not. Therefore you seem to be arguing against your own position, not one that I have imposed.
If I had said religion was scientific, that would be the case. However, I never said that. I said that the blanket accusation that religion does not seek deeper understanding was false. It has used science to obtain a deeper understanding of our universe and God's working in it, but that does not make it a science.

I notice that you completely failed to mention the part where they have to wait for their church to stop denouncing the scientific discoveries long enough to do the mental gymnastics necessary to make the evidence somehow fit with their worldview, etc etc.
I knew you had that covered. :D

Case in point: Evolution has been around for ~150 years. According to the info provided by DI, the catholic church gave a tentative thumbs up in 1950. Yet 55% of americans still think that god created humans in present form and 27% accept theistic evolution (evolution guided by a creator). In the mean time, christian groups under the guise of pseudo-science, work to get creationism into the public school curricula.

History of theory of evolution from wiki (as a convenient starting point--I'm sure there's a history of evolution by some historian out there somewhere).
The theory of evolution by natural selection was first proposed by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace and set out in detail in Darwin's 1859 book On the Origin of Species.[5] In the 1930s, Darwinian natural selection was combined with Mendelian inheritance to form the modern evolutionary synthesis,[3] in which the connection between the units of evolution (genes) and the mechanism of evolution (natural selection) was made. This powerful explanatory and predictive theory has become the central organizing principle of modern biology, providing a unifying explanation for the diversity of life on Earth.[6]

The Origins of Species was released in 1859, and given the technology of the time, I'm sure it took several years to filter not only through the scientific community but also the theological community. Scientists needed to examine Darwin's theories, investigate, form their own hypotheses and test them, and so forth--that took a lot of time and effort. Since modern evolutionary synthesis didn't occur until the 1930's, stating that the church didn't address it for 150 years is inaccurate. It was 90 years from Darwin's 'Origins', and only 15-20 years from the modern theories, and given the lack of computers at the time and the slower speeds of communication (not all places even had phones in the '30's and 40's), it should be absolutely no surprise that theories didn't get adopted immediately. Furthermore, other scientists disputed evolutionary theory at the time, so the idea that only theologians were disputing evolutionary theory is not accurate. There are some aspects of evolution that would likely be investigated further (and should be) if it weren't considered career suicide for scientists to do so--e.g. lack of fossils that are clearly macro-evolutionary transformations between 1 species to another, stasis of species over millions of years despite the fact that there should be evolutionary pressure to change, and so forth, but that's going off on a tangent.

I think it's dishonest to present this as a case of "they need more time" when the reality is that they are actively rejecting sound scientific evidence because it doesn't fit with the existing religious views about creation.I wasn't speaking about the current group of literal 6-day creationists, which is limited to a small (albeit vocal) set of individual fundamentalists. They are individuals who don't represent the entire church as an institution. You had brought up evolution theory and its acceptance by the Catholic church, and I was addressing just that.

Achilles
08-22-2007, 09:16 PM
I never said, nor implied, it was a science. This was my original comment:
<snip>
I was disagreeing with your statement that religious people just 'chalk it up to God and move on.' That is entirely different from saying religion is science. I didn't say that you said "religion is science". I said that you said religion was scientific (i.e. of, relating to, or exhibiting the methods or principles of science or "systematic search for answers").

I don't think the Bible itself addresses anything on molecular biology, organic chemistry, or astrophysics, so how could there be a conflict? Err...the book of Genesis?

The Bible doesn't address neurology either. You could make a rough argument about behavioral science, but until I know what you're thinking about specifically as examples where they're at odds, I'm not able to give you an answer. Existence of a soul as well as the argument that god is the source of morality.

Islam and astronomy prior to about 1500 or so. You're moving my goal post, but I'll give you partial credit (for the record you said "the church" and then offered pre-reformation islam as an example).

Well, his individual thoughts aren't relevant since he's not an institution, I guess, and I imagine speculation wouldn't be relevant to this thread in that case. ;) Exactly my point.

If I had said religion was scientific, that would be the case. However, I never said that. I said that the blanket accusation that religion does not seek deeper understanding was false. It has used science to obtain a deeper understanding of our universe and God's working in it, but that does not make it a science. I'm not sure how this refutes my point.

Does religion use a systematic study of the natural world to offer explanations or does it not?

I knew you had that covered. :D Doesn't change that you tried to portray the facts as something that isn't true. :D

History of theory of evolution from wiki (as a convenient starting point--I'm sure there's a history of evolution by some historian out there somewhere).
<snip> I'm trying to understand the relevance of this part of your response.

Was religion (we'll limit religion to "christianity" here just to keep things simple, if you would like) actively engaged in the discussion of the theory from a scientific (i.e. non-theological) standpoint?

You seem to want to portray religion as being very interested in finding the truth and in support of science, but somehow hesitant to accept scientific discovery until all the dust has settled. Unfortunately, the reality just doesn't reflect this.

If scientists published a study tomorrow that showed that prayer was 95% effective in medical recovery, do you think religion would sit on the fence until the results could be verified or do you think that the religious community would uniformily shout, "See!? Told ya!"? If a month later, we found out that the methodology was flawed and the results had been faked, do you think the religous community would acknowledge the error and disown the study or do you think that creationist websites would continue to reference the study as evidence that religion is right and science consipres against it?

150 years later, nearly 80 years after evolutionary synthesis, we still have 55% of americans that think that god created humans in current form and many religious groups actively work to undermine the theory of evolution. Sorry Jae, your arugment just doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

I wasn't speaking about the current group of literal 6-day creationists, which is limited to a small (albeit vocal) set of individual fundamentalists. Neither was I. You seem to think that evolution deniers are limited to YECs. Unless YECs make up 55% of the american public, your assumption would appear to be wrong.

They are individuals who don't represent the entire church as an institution. You had brought up evolution theory and its acceptance by the Catholic church, and I was addressing just that. Actually, you did in post 10. ;)

mimartin
08-23-2007, 09:43 PM
Reading this thread I have to agree with most of Achilles arguments. Science does indeed deal with the unknown better than any religious institution I know of. Science openly seeks the unknown, while religious institutions do not. Some if not most religious institution teaches scientifically unsound messages, mine still believes completely in the story of Genesis.

That said I believe the question this thread address is flawed. Religious institutions are not in existence to be scientific places of learning, so why hold Religious institutions to same standard as an institution for scientific learning?

As to holding the Bible to being a book of scientific knowledge, well I would not want to use a 3000 year medical book to diagnose an illness or 3000 year old chemistry book to study for a chemistry exam, so I donít see the relevance even if the Bible has some ancient scientific knowledge in it. How relevant would a 3000 year old geography book be today? Seems that scientific book would be just a flawed in science fact as people say the Bible is today in Scientific fact.

The Bible is what it is a book of comfort and spiritual guidance to those of faith or a collection of ancient legends and literature to others.

Achilles
08-23-2007, 11:06 PM
That said I believe the question this thread address is flawed. Religious institutions are not in existence to be scientific places of learning, so why hold Religious institutions to same standard as an institution for scientific learning? Hi mimartin,
I agree with your points, however I'm not sure that your characterization of the topic is 100% correct (which could be misinterpretation of your point on my part).

The gist of the topic is this: which institution deals better with the unknown? In the YouTube clip (which I hope everyone is watching because it provides context for the thread), a religiously-motivated scientist argues that science needs to accept that many things are unknown (i.e. an argument that I interpret as being a barely veiled plea for science to accept the god hypothesis without evidence or testing). Another scientist counters that science not only accepts the unknown but embraces it in ways that religion does not.

So which is it: Is religion more open to the unknown or is science? My argument has been that science clearly is, because religion simply fills the gaps with god and calls it a day. Therefore, they haven't actually accepted the unknown, they've just replaced it with mysticism.

By way of comparison, science seeks to explore the unknown and make it knowable using verifiable tests, experiments, and observations. At some point, the argument was made that religion also does this, which eventually led to your attempt to clarify the argument.

If religion wants to be considered scientific, then it should be held to the same standards as science. If it should not be considered scientific, then it is clearly free of these standards, but then finds itself in contradiction to science once again.

While you're post does encapsulate the tack of the discussion, I'm not sure how well is summarizes the original topic. I hope this helps.

Thanks!

mimartin
08-24-2007, 11:22 AM
The gist of the topic is this: which institution deals better with the unknown?
The institution of science is by design and necessity more open to the unknown than Religion institution. Without humanís openly seeking information and answers about their environment, surroundings and even ourselves there would be no science. So in my humble opinion by design the institution of science deals better with the unknown.

So which is it: Is religion more open to the unknown or is science? My argument has been that science clearly is, because religion simply fills the gaps with god and calls it a day. Therefore, they haven't actually accepted the unknown, they've just replaced it with mysticism.
Obviously the institution design to search for and investigate the unknown will be more open to the unknown. I also agree with your point that as an institution Religion many times fills in the gaps with your favorite ďgoddidit.Ē Religion is slow to adapt to new scientific evidence and sometimes even hinders scientific research (it could be argued for good or bad reasons, but that is a moral issue and may not be appropriate for this topic.)
So as a individual Iíd say Science is far better and more open to the unknown than Religion.
If religion wants to be considered scientific, then it should be held to the same standards as science. If it should not be considered scientific, then it is clearly free of these standards, but then finds itself in contradiction to science once again.
This is where I see the flaw. In post 11 and 15 you said we are dealing in this tread with the institutions and not individuals. So who decided that Religious Institutions want to be considered scientific? If you want to compare Religious Scientific Institution to non-religious scientific institutions then that might be a fair comparison. Perhaps Baylor College of Medicine to Harvard University (MA), according to USNews Harvard wins, but the Baptist school is in the top 10.

Perhaps Iím just misguided because to me religion is an individual experiences and has little to nothing to do with the institution. As you know I think about as much of Religious Institutions as you do.
While you're post does encapsulate the tack of the discussion, I'm not sure how well is summarizes the original topic. I hope this helps.
I actually agreed with most if not all of Ann Druyan discussion and disagree with original speaker. He might be a very religious person, but as I see it he lacks the desire to be very good at his chosen profession. I also disagree with his interruption of the scripture. To me it says do not fear the unknown, accept that there are things that may not be defined at any given time, but it does not say anything about not seeking the knowledge of the unknown.

Iím sorry I thought I commented earlier on what my opinion of the clip was. My mistake:)

Achilles
08-24-2007, 11:42 AM
This is where I see the flaw. In post 11 and 15 you said we are dealing in this tread with the institutions and not individuals. So who decided that Religious Institutions want to be considered scientific? That is what I took away from Jae Onasi and Darth InSidious' posts (posts 10 and 17 respectively). I was intrigued by the assertion and was interested in its support.

Perhaps Iím just misguided because to me religion is an individual experiences and has little to nothing to do with the institution. As you know I think about as much of Religious Institutions as you do. Even individualized religious beliefs have their root in religious institution. The fact that you believe in the christian god is evidence of the christian institution's influence in your life. It may be a tenuous relationship, but it is there nonetheless.

Iím sorry I thought I commented earlier on what my opinion of the clip was. My mistake:)It really is no problem. I just wanted to make sure that we were on the same page.

Jvstice
08-24-2007, 01:15 PM
Achilles: As institutions, I'd agree that scientific institutions are better equipped to deal with these questions by far. I'd say a lot of that has to do with their intended role in society, as opposed to their intended role they have in an individual's lifes, though both roles push religious institutions to being more inherently conservative.

Religious institutions throughout history have been used to be a source of societal stability as the source of their political influence in whatever society they are in. As such, they oppose change much of the time, unless they think they can control the direction of the changes. Their authority comes to an appeal to an individual authority based on an intrinsic office they hold within the church, ecclesia, etc, not necessarily on a greater knowledge of what they are talking about.

Scientific institutions gain their political influence by being sure of what they are talking about when they give advice. That means that for them to ever expand their base of power, they have to constantly be looking for new truth.