3 of 4
3
God vs. science
Posted: 20 December 2006 07:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9284
Joined  2006-08-29

As a skeptical believer,...

What the…? LOL The best oxymoron I’ve ever heard!

That my molecular makeup has consciousness and knows it exists and even questions its existence seems amazing enough for me to have faith that maybe there is a God who loves and creates and somehow sustains.

That my molecular makeup has vermiform appendix that can burst and kill me seems amazing enough for me to have faith that maybe there is a God who hates and destroys and somehow prevents. Either that, or it simply “proofs” that there is no omnipotent God.

To be amazed that we have consciousness is comparable with being amazed that we have ten fingers as opposed to nine. A consciousness is not a passport to heaven.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 December 2006 01:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5508
Joined  2006-10-22

“Outside Nature.”  That statement has no meaning.  Can one demonstrate anything that is outside nature?  All the things the Greek Gods did were “outside nature” but they were also myths.  Most ancient Greeks had faith that they were the truth, but we don’t because, on examination, we see that believing in them is silly.

Fourth century Christians had a delightful, large group of phenomena that were “outside nature” and accepted by faith.  Over the centuries more and more of that group has been seen to be inside nature.  Gradually, biblical faith is being rejected and replaced by understanding. 

Faith is fine as long as one recognizes that it is susceptible to modification as new data is supplied.  For example, I accept that Australia is there by faith because I trust my friends who have been there and reported, by the many other sources that indicate it exists.  However, if I tried to fly there and found there was no there there, I’d change my beliefs. 

When I was a child I read that computers were limited by the amount of air conditioning one could furnish to keep them cool enough.  I accepted that by faith, but as soon as transisters were announced, that aspect of my faith ceased to exist.  One has to be ready to find evidence that refutes one’s faith and be willing to discard the belief.

Faith in the existence of God is designed to be non-falsifiable so a theist has no fear or chance of finding information that refutes that faith.  And that kind of faith is really what fits fairytales.

Occam

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 December 2006 03:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15305
Joined  2006-02-14

[quote author=“Occam”]Faith is fine as long as one recognizes that it is susceptible to modification as new data is supplied.  For example, I accept that Australia is there by faith because I trust my friends who have been there and reported, by the many other sources that indicate it exists.  However, if I tried to fly there and found there was no there there, I’d change my beliefs. 

When I was a child I read that computers were limited by the amount of air conditioning one could furnish to keep them cool enough.  I accepted that by faith, but as soon as transisters were announced, that aspect of my faith ceased to exist.  One has to be ready to find evidence that refutes one’s faith and be willing to discard the belief.

I don’t think I would call this “faith”, I would call it “belief based on testimony”, or some such thing. I think what you mean to say is that some of our beliefs are not based on firsthand experience, but depend on the reports of others. (In fact, if you think about it, almost all our beliefs are of such a character). And of course, we could be wrong about them. And of course, we may not believe them 100%.

But to believe something based on a report is not a bad idea—most such reports are true and accurate. It’s only a problem if the report conflicts with other strongly held evidence we have: such as a report of someone seeing a ghost or being abudcted by UFOs. We know that so many of such reports in the past have been erroneous, and we know (at least in the case of ghosts) that their existence conflicts with well-established scientific theory, so we require more than mere testimonial to believe them. As Sagan said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 December 2006 02:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  16
Joined  2006-07-10

Science can’t tell me what my purpose is, or why I feel compelled to change the world for the better.  These are issues of faith.  Faith exists because people want to know about purpose and meaning.  I guess we could try to whittle this down to molecules and brain signals, but it feels more appropriate to view these things philosophically, even spiritually.  I don’t see any reason for science to try and take away philosophy.  Just like I don’t see a reason for philosophy to attack science.

 Signature 

What’s the point?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 December 2006 02:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15305
Joined  2006-02-14

[quote author=“thakkus”]Science can’t tell me what my purpose is, or why I feel compelled to change the world for the better.  These are issues of faith.  Faith exists because people want to know about purpose and meaning.  I guess we could try to whittle this down to molecules and brain signals, but it feels more appropriate to view these things philosophically, even spiritually.  I don’t see any reason for science to try and take away philosophy.  Just like I don’t see a reason for philosophy to attack science.

Sorry?

In what way is science trying to take away philosophy? Indeed, I think science and philosophy are on the same side as vs. faith: both agree that believing things without reason or evidence is not a proper thing to do.

“Philosophy” just means the “love of wisdom”. One cannot be wise if one persists in believing things just because they “feel appropriate”. One must believe based on evidence and reason.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 December 2006 03:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  908
Joined  2005-01-14

I finally got the chance to read Dr. Collins’ book The Language of God (courtesy of the public library, naturally).  The most revealing part is the first chapter, describing how he was converted “From Atheism to Belief”.

Although he describes himself as a former atheist, by his own admission he was never a very rigorous one, just going along with it because essentially he felt uncomfortable thinking for any length of time about whether God existed or not.  Apparently he thought atheism was just a good excuse not to take responsibility for any of his moral choices!  (Later in the book he writes, “To be well defended, agnosticism should be arrived at only after a full consideration of all the evidence for and against the existance of God.”  If that’s true, he should be careful about claiming that he was one!)  And what do you suppose finally convinced him?  It was C.S. Lewis’ argument from “The Law of Human Nature”!  All human beings have Moral Law built into us, and it can only have come from some supernatural Higher Power.  End of discussion.  He claims that altruism is utterly inexplicable on any rational grounds, and he brings up several possible explanations (like evolutionary ones) only to dismiss them without giving them much thought.  One readily gets the impression that he wants so badly to jump to this conclusion that he’s afraid to consider the alternatives too carefully.

From there, he jumps from one conclusion to another.  Is this “controlling power” a deist God?  Certainly not—he must be one who desires a “relationship” with human beings!  Having concluded that God must be real, Collins’, “logic” goes on to tell him God must be “holy and righteous”, the very “embodiment of good”.  (Where did that come from?)  Furthermore, God must be “outside the natural world”, this in spite of the fact his tampering with nature by instilling us with us altruism is supposedly the thing that “proves” he exists in the first place!  And in Chapter Two, where he gets into “The War of the Worldviews”, I had to laugh aloud at some of his reasoning.  “If the case in favor of belief in God were utterly airtight, the world would be full of confident practitioners of a single faith.  But imagine such a world, where the opportunity to make a free choice about belief was taken away by the certainty of the evidence.  How interesting would that be?”  Huh?  Is that special pleading or what?

The book was basically only worth reading if you happen to be a Christian.  In Part Two, he explains why biological evolution is an established fact, and why it is compatable with the Genesis story (provided you don’t interpret the later too literally, of course), but we already know that.  Part Three promotes harmony between science and religion, but it is obviously written only with the religious in mind.  Although Collins is critical of both Creationism and Intelligent Design, they are at least “sincere and well-meaning”, while Atheism is dismissed as a childish, irrational form of “blind faith” and Agnosticism as just a “cop-out”.  I’ll just note in passing that in Chapter 7 he accuses Richard Dawkins of setting up various straw men about theists, hardly noticing that he himself is doing the same thing when he characterizes atheists as using evolution as our primary reason for rejecting God.

Yep, I’m glad I read it, but equally glad I didn’t have to pay $26 for the privilege.  wink

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 December 2006 12:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  13
Joined  2006-12-18

The outcome? Science 1, God 0

Has there ever, at any time in history, been a time when science said one thing, religion said another, and religion was eventually proven right?  I can’t think of a single example.

Science can’t tell me what my purpose is, or why I feel compelled to change the world for the better. These are issues of faith. 

Yes they are.  But do we need religion to address them?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 December 2006 04:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9284
Joined  2006-08-29

[quote author=“Hittman”]

The outcome? Science 1, God 0

Has there ever, at any time in history, been a time when science said one thing, religion said another, and religion was eventually proven right?  I can’t think of a single example.

I can think of a 0:0 score: Lamarck’s theory of evolution based on heredity on side and good old Adam & Eve on the other. (And there are obviously plenty of other examples where science was wrong: e.g. Lysenko in the USSR, who was against agricultural genetics, etc.) I can’t, however, think of any instance where god & company ever scored a point. But I’ll keep thinking…

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 December 2006 10:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5508
Joined  2006-10-22

You really can’t charge Lysenko’s theory against science. It was designed to curry favor with Stalin so it’s more politics 0.0 /religion 0.0.  smile

Occam

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 December 2006 10:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15305
Joined  2006-02-14

Occam’s right on the mark with that one. Lysenko’s baseless theories had nothing to do with science and everything to do with political ideology. (Additionally, Lysenko was no scientist).

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 December 2006 01:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9284
Joined  2006-08-29

[quote author=“dougsmith”](Additionally, Lysenko was no scientist).

Neither was Copernicus.

[quote author=“Occam”]You really can’t charge Lysenko’s theory against science. It was designed to curry favor with Stalin so it’s more politics 0.0 /religion 0.0.

Yes, I can. Why did the Americans get to the Moon if not for political reasons? Who gets the point here, science or politics?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 December 2006 01:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15305
Joined  2006-02-14

C’mon George. Copernicus wasn’t a scientist because there was no such thing as science when he was writing. He was as much a scientist as anyone at that time.

Lysenko was an out-and-out fraud.

Not sure what the point about the moon has to do with this discussion ... of course, our voyage to the moon had nothing much to do with science. It was made possible by science, of course, but was basically a feat of engineering and technology (done, as you say, for political reasons), not basic science. As Carl Sagan pointed out quite well, only the last person to set foot on the moon was a scientist—a geologist, as I recall—all the others weren’t.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 December 2006 07:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5508
Joined  2006-10-22

I realize this is nit-picking, but according to a very precise reading of the definition of science, most small children are scientists.  Anyone who searches for empirical information in a systematic way and derives hypotheses to be tested is, to that extent, a scientist.

So, yes, Copernicus was a scientist.  Lysenko didn’t follow the steps above so he wasn’t.

Occam

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 December 2006 09:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  16
Joined  2006-07-10

[quote author=“dougsmith”]In what way is science trying to take away philosophy? Indeed, I think science and philosophy are on the same side as vs. faith: both agree that believing things without reason or evidence is not a proper thing to do.

By philosophy, I also mean faith.  Science might calculate that it makes no sense for a physician to dive in front of a vehicle to save his toddler son.  If the physician is killed and the son survives, what is gained?  Science would likely suggest letting the child die, so that the physician could continue to benefit the society at large.

Eh?

My faith says it is better to give than to receive.  By acting in love, the father attempts to save his son.  Whether successful or not, most humans would view this as the right or moral or beautiful thing to do.

Why would science say it is better to give than to receive?  What sense does that make?

Science is interested in taking away the faith-centered ideas in human society.  What some skeptics fail to realize, in my view, is that taking away the apparently negative aspects of faith would also mean taking away many of the positive aspects that keep society safe for both the skeptic and the believer.

 Signature 

What’s the point?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 December 2006 10:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15305
Joined  2006-02-14

[quote author=“thakkus”]By philosophy, I also mean faith.

Faith has nothing whatever to do with philosophy, so you are misusing the term.

[quote author=“thakkus”]Science might calculate that it makes no sense for a physician to dive in front of a vehicle to save his toddler son.  If the physician is killed and the son survives, what is gained?  Science would likely suggest letting the child die, so that the physician could continue to benefit the society at large. ...

Why would science say it is better to give than to receive?  What sense does that make?

Before writing about science and philosophy, you should really do some reading around to try to understand what they are and how they are different. Science by itself cannot tell us what is right or wrong—all it can do is to tell us how best to achieve whatever ends we deem morally correct or worthy.

In the case of the physician and the child, the distinction you suggest is false. Both are human lives, both are equally worthy. And at any rate, “science”, as you put it, cannot tell us who should live or die. Philosophy (that is, a worked-out theory of ethics) could do such a thing, but in this case it would tell us that both are equally worthy.

[quote author=“thakkus”]Science is interested in taking away the faith-centered ideas in human society.  What some skeptics fail to realize, in my view, is that taking away the apparently negative aspects of faith would also mean taking away many of the positive aspects that keep society safe for both the skeptic and the believer.

The irrational belief without evidence is never a good thing, even though it may, in certain circumstances, lead to good results. One might as well say that randomly shooting people on the street is a good policy, since at times it gets rid of evil people.

All the so-called “positive” aspects of faith are better achieved through a proper understanding of the world, rather than blinkered irrationalism.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
   
3 of 4
3
 
‹‹ Ted Haggard      fun site to visit ››