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Should theistic fact claims be subjected to the same standards of scrutiny as other fact claims?
Posted: 25 August 2013 06:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Lausten - 25 August 2013 05:22 PM

Lily, you are so tiresome.

You’re the one who keeps calling me a troll, dishonest, I’m unable to respond and so on, and you call me tiresome?  I’m not the one resorting to personal attacks—ad hominem fallacy:
“You attacked your opponent’s character or personal traits in an attempt to undermine their argument.”

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Posted: 25 August 2013 07:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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What’s tiresome is the question is clearly stated in the title, but you come back with “You’re taking tenets of a FAITH, and saying they must be proven or what?”

If you want to answer “No” to the question, then go ahead. But don’t restate the question into something it is not. If you don’t think theistic fact claims should be subjected to the same standards as others, fine, that’s your opinion. Now, someone here might also ask you to elaborate on that, provide some basis for why those claims are special or why they should be treated differently. I don’t see anything unfair about that. So, it is objectively tiresome that you accuse people of being unfair or attacking you when they are not.

Edit: I meant objectively.

[ Edited: 25 August 2013 07:48 PM by Lausten ]
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Posted: 26 August 2013 03:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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LilySmith - 25 August 2013 03:13 PM
PLaClair - 22 August 2013 04:49 PM

  —- the claim that a supreme being created the world, the universe, every living thing, etc.;
  —- the claim that there is a life after death, at least for some;
  —- the claim that there is a heaven and a hell, and maybe a purgatory and a limbo if you’re Catholic.

It doesn’t matter whether LilySmith personally believes any of those claims. They are all theistic fact claims. Why shouldn’t they be subjected to the same tests of truth as are other fact claims?

You’re taking tenets of a FAITH, and saying they must be proven or what?  You’re going to put religious people in jail?  If you don’t want to believe these teachings, then don’t.  I’m not Catholic so I don’t believe the last one.  But you have an even bigger problem—you can’t verify your fact claims either…

1.) The universe is a result chemical reactions that took place over billions of years to produce the orderly universe we have now, and all this started because…  oh yea, you have no idea what existed before this universe.

2.)  All life on earth evolved over billions of years to produce the complex being that is man, and this life began when…  oh yea, you have no idea how life began.

3.)  After death, you believe the psyche ceases to exist as the material body decomposes and breaks down to simpler compounds and elements…  oh wait, you don’t have proof of what happens to a person’s psyche after death, only a guess.

I’m saying that fact claims should be subjected to the same tests of reliability, whether they come from theism or from science. I know you’ve been practicing your own form of apologetics for many years - call that ad hominem if you like but it’s obvious - but a dodge is a dodge, and you’re dodging. The question is very clear. Why shouldn’t theistic fact claims be subjected to the same tests of reliability as those of science?

You can’t answer those questions by pointing an unknowing finger at science and saying “See! See! You guys do it too!” What you’ve made painfully obvious with your three numbered comments above is how little you understand about science: what it is, what it does and what it has achieved. I feel safe in saying that you have not studied any of the leading significant works on cosmology, evolution or consciousness. Be honest, now, you haven’t, have you.

I just read your note on another topic. If you don’t like being called dishonest, then stop being dishonest. I second Lausten’s response.

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Posted: 26 August 2013 05:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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LilySmith - 25 August 2013 03:13 PM
PLaClair - 22 August 2013 04:49 PM

  —- the claim that a supreme being created the world, the universe, every living thing, etc.;
  —- the claim that there is a life after death, at least for some;
  —- the claim that there is a heaven and a hell, and maybe a purgatory and a limbo if you’re Catholic.

It doesn’t matter whether LilySmith personally believes any of those claims. They are all theistic fact claims. Why shouldn’t they be subjected to the same tests of truth as are other fact claims?

1.) The universe is a result chemical reactions that took place over billions of years to produce the orderly universe we have now, and all this started because…  oh yea, you have no idea what existed before this universe.

The result of energetic and chemical reactions.  Does these normal natural laws imply a supernatural architect and builder? Why is that necessary?

2.)  All life on earth evolved over billions of years to produce the complex being that is man, and this life began when…  oh yea, you have no idea how life began.

Yes , we do actually make living organisms in laboratories. Give us a few more million years and see what we can do (if we haven’t destroyed each other by then).

3.)  After death, you believe the psyche ceases to exist as the material body decomposes and breaks down to simpler compounds and elements…  oh wait, you don’t have proof of what happens to a person’s psyche after death, only a guess.

IMO, it is unrealistic to assume that the universe keeps track of every thought and experience of every sentient animal on earth and elsewhere.

One person’s really great deeds in life can inspire those who knew and/or respected him to carry on the torch of his/her tradition. That is the image formed by the collective view and experience shared by those closest to you. IMO, that is the historical record of greatness who truly existed and endured terrible hardships for a cause and showed extraordinary compassion.

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Posted: 26 August 2013 08:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Write4U - 26 August 2013 05:45 AM

The result of energetic and chemical reactions.  Does these normal natural laws imply a supernatural architect and builder? Why is that necessary?

We don’t know whether the laws of nature just happened on their own or if they had an intelligent architect.  Anyone who chooses to believe an architect is not necessary can do so, but his view is not based on knowledge.  It’s based on assumption.

Yes , we do actually make living organisms in laboratories. Give us a few more million years and see what we can do (if we haven’t destroyed each other by then).

Man is an intelligent architect using the building blocks of life that already exist.  We don’t know where the building blocks of life came from and how they were put together at the beginning of life on earth.

IMO, it is unrealistic to assume that the universe keeps track of every thought and experience of every sentient animal on earth and elsewhere.

The term psyche indicates a soul, not just a material brain.  The question of whether we each have a soul which transcends a material existence cannot be answered.  Man can assume he doesn’t, but most ancient societies believed in the concept to some degree.  Why would a completely material brain invent such a concept believed by a majority of people?

One person’s really great deeds in life can inspire those who knew and/or respected him to carry on the torch of his/her tradition. That is the image formed by the collective view and experience shared by those closest to you. IMO, that is the historical record of greatness who truly existed and endured terrible hardships for a cause and showed extraordinary compassion.

I agree that this is the case for as long as the material world lasts, but it will come to an end.  If there isn’t anything beyond this existence, why do so many people believe there is?  Why can man perceive the eternal?  I read some of the thread on Determinism and I like GdB’s take on it.  I would take it a step farther.  If the energetic and chemical reactions of nature produced a man who perceived the eternal and lived in accordance with that belief, perhaps there is a reason for it and it would be unwise to take that away from man.

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Posted: 26 August 2013 08:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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LilySmith - 26 August 2013 08:30 AM

Why can man perceive the eternal?  I read some of the thread on Determinism and I like GdB’s take on it.  I would take it a step farther.  If the energetic and chemical reactions of nature produced a man who perceived the eternal and lived in accordance with that belief, perhaps there is a reason for it and it would be unwise to take that away from man.

Then you take it a step in the wrong direction. There is a cause for it, not a reason. Religion is a byproduct of some very useful capabilities humans got through evolution, namely to look for causes behind phenomena. One of the strongest of these features is ‘agent-detection’: the capability to see that events are connected by the willful actions of another organism: predator, prey, or a fellow human.

Recognizing agency in the world as a whole or in the universe is just this capability running astray. Predators and preys can be empirically confirmed, existence of fellow humans can be confirmed by communication, but there is no empirical reason to believe in an agent ‘causing it all’. And even worse, there is no way to connect this imagined agent with especially the Christian God.

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Posted: 26 August 2013 12:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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LilySmith - 25 August 2013 03:13 PM
PLaClair - 22 August 2013 04:49 PM

  —- the claim that a supreme being created the world, the universe, every living thing, etc.;
  —- the claim that there is a life after death, at least for some;
  —- the claim that there is a heaven and a hell, and maybe a purgatory and a limbo if you’re Catholic.

It doesn’t matter whether LilySmith personally believes any of those claims. They are all theistic fact claims. Why shouldn’t they be subjected to the same tests of truth as are other fact claims?

You’re taking tenets of a FAITH, and saying they must be proven or what?  You’re going to put religious people in jail?  If you don’t want to believe these teachings, then don’t.  I’m not Catholic so I don’t believe the last one.  But you have an even bigger problem—you can’t verify your fact claims either…


1.) The universe is a result chemical reactions that took place over billions of years to produce the orderly universe we have now, and all this started because…  oh yea, you have no idea what existed before this universe.

2.)  All life on earth evolved over billions of years to produce the complex being that is man, and this life began when…  oh yea, you have no idea how life began.

3.)  After death, you believe the psyche ceases to exist as the material body decomposes and breaks down to simpler compounds and elements…  oh wait, you don’t have proof of what happens to a person’s psyche after death, only a guess.


You don’t have proof that a psyche is a material thing or that it can survive death. You’re guessing.

Lois

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Posted: 26 August 2013 12:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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LilySmith - 25 August 2013 06:48 PM
Occam. - 25 August 2013 04:45 PM

Lily, there seems to be a difference between the scientist and/or atheist who is quite willing to admit that s/he doesn’t know everything such as items 1) and 2) above and a theist such as yourself who has extremely strong beliefs in what we atheists recognize as fairytales.

Occam,

We both have strong beliefs.  Neither of us has proof.  I’m asked on this thread to verify my beliefs scientifically, so I’m just pointing out that there is no scientific proof for atheist beliefs on this subject either.


There are no atheist beliefs when it comes to this subject, Lily. There is only a lack of belief.  Atheists have nothing to prove.  We are not making any claims except that theists have no evidence for their claims. We are at an impasse.  It does no good at all for you to say we have beliefs. We have none.  No one can prove a negative, including you. That’s why the scientific method does not require anyone to prove something does not exist. It requires only evidence of claims. Refusing to accept someone else’s claim is not a belief.  Suppose we asked you to prove there are not 10 gods, because according to your view you should be expected to prove that belief. How would you go about it?

Lois

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Posted: 26 August 2013 12:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Lois - 26 August 2013 12:39 PM

No one can prove a negative, including you.
Lois

Technically, I don’t like throwing that statement around so easily. It gets back to the definition of scientific proof, which is, that something must be falsifiable, then if you can falsify it, it’s false, and if you can’t you only approach 100% certain, but you can’t ever get there. Which is equal to the Christian notion of never being able to know God.

Richard Carrier’s explanation of proving a negative.

A couple quotes from him

For instance, the advanced theory holds that God alleviates suffering in heaven, which we conveniently cannot observe, and he has reasons for waiting and allowing suffering to persist on Earth, reasons which are also suitably unobservable to us, because God chooses not to explain them, just as he chooses, again for an unstated reason that is entirely inscrutable, to remain utterly invisible to all my senses, external and internal, despite being always around and inside me and otherwise capable of speaking to me plainly.

Of course, even these groundless “solutions” to the Christian ‘theory’ do not really save the theory, because, to maintain it, at some point you must abandon belief in God’s omnipotence—since at every turn, God is forced to do something (to remain hidden and to wait before alleviating suffering, etc.) by some unknown feature of reality, and this entails that some feature of reality is more powerful than God.

Of course, we only have to believe true those unprovables that do not contradict other proven statements or that do not contradict each other, but even in the latter case we have no grounds for choosing which of two contradictory unprovables we will believe, and this is the same “belief by whim” dilemma.

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Posted: 26 August 2013 02:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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LilySmith - 26 August 2013 08:30 AM
Write4U - 26 August 2013 05:45 AM

The result of energetic and chemical reactions.  Does these normal natural laws imply a supernatural architect and builder? Why is that necessary?

We don’t know whether the laws of nature just happened on their own or if they had an intelligent architect.  Anyone who chooses to believe an architect is not necessary can do so, but his view is not based on knowledge.  It’s based on assumption.

No they are not assumptions, we mostly know how they work and why they work and we know a storm is not an angry god who makes thunder and lighting.

Yes , we do actually make living organisms in laboratories. Give us a few more million years and see what we can do (if we haven’t destroyed each other by then).

Man is an intelligent architect using the building blocks of life that already exist.  We don’t know where the building blocks of life came from and how they were put together at the beginning of life on earth.

Two choices, the building blocks of life evolved on earth or elsewhere in the universe. What makes you think we are the only life in the universe and would it make a difference?

IMO, it is unrealistic to assume that the universe keeps track of every thought and experience of every sentient animal on earth and elsewhere.

The term psyche indicates a soul, not just a material brain.  The question of whether we each have a soul which transcends a material existence cannot be answered.  Man can assume he doesn’t, but most ancient societies believed in the concept to some degree.  Why would a completely material brain invent such a concept believed by a majority of people?

Answered by GdB

Ancient societies did not know more than we know today, regardless how neatly they could stack stones. Even ants have maintained well organized societies for millions of years. All they needed was a hive brain (a psyche), believing in one is not required.

One person’s really great deeds in life can inspire those who knew and/or respected him to carry on the torch of his/her tradition. That is the image formed by the collective view and experience shared by those closest to you. IMO, that is the historical record of greatness who truly existed and endured terrible hardships for a cause and showed extraordinary compassion.

I agree that this is the case for as long as the material world lasts, but it will come to an end.  If there isn’t anything beyond this existence, why do so many people believe there is?  Why can man perceive the eternal?  I read some of the thread on Determinism and I like GdB’s take on it.  I would take it a step farther.  If the energetic and chemical reactions of nature produced a man who perceived the eternal and lived in accordance with that belief, perhaps there is a reason for it and it would be unwise to take that away from man.

Eternity is not perceived, it is imagined. What do you imagine would happen if we lost the ability to imagine eternity? Would you perceive it?

OTOH, reviewing history, perhaps it might have been a good thing if “perception of the eternal” had never been evolved, because no one has the same perception of reality or eternity and it seems to be a source of conflict rather than agreement.

And you propose worship and ritual to show our loyalty to the greater psyche, or to each other?

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Posted: 26 August 2013 02:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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GdB - 26 August 2013 08:55 AM
LilySmith - 26 August 2013 08:30 AM

Why can man perceive the eternal?  I read some of the thread on Determinism and I like GdB’s take on it.  I would take it a step farther.  If the energetic and chemical reactions of nature produced a man who perceived the eternal and lived in accordance with that belief, perhaps there is a reason for it and it would be unwise to take that away from man.

Then you take it a step in the wrong direction. There is a cause for it, not a reason. Religion is a byproduct of some very useful capabilities humans got through evolution, namely to look for causes behind phenomena. One of the strongest of these features is ‘agent-detection’: the capability to see that events are connected by the willful actions of another organism: predator, prey, or a fellow human.

Recognizing agency in the world as a whole or in the universe is just this capability running astray. Predators and preys can be empirically confirmed, existence of fellow humans can be confirmed by communication, but there is no empirical reason to believe in an agent ‘causing it all’. And even worse, there is no way to connect this imagined agent with especially the Christian God.

We already know the theoretical cause—energetic and chemical reactions.  The goal is survival.  There must also be a reason men who had the ability to perceive the eternal and live according to a religion survived.  Perhaps the capability hasn’t run astray, but is integral to survival in societal settings.  And society is integral to the survival of the individual.  Not everyone is a scientist.  Not everyone is a philosopher.  Most everyone has a religion and it serves as an anchor for society as a whole.  Where religion has been oppressed, society has floundered.

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Posted: 26 August 2013 02:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Lois - 26 August 2013 12:21 PM

You don’t have proof that a psyche is a material thing or that it can survive death. You’re guessing.

Lois

We’re all guessing, Lois.

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Posted: 26 August 2013 04:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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LilySmith - 26 August 2013 02:53 PM
GdB - 26 August 2013 08:55 AM
LilySmith - 26 August 2013 08:30 AM

Why can man perceive the eternal?  I read some of the thread on Determinism and I like GdB’s take on it.  I would take it a step farther.  If the energetic and chemical reactions of nature produced a man who perceived the eternal and lived in accordance with that belief, perhaps there is a reason for it and it would be unwise to take that away from man.

Then you take it a step in the wrong direction. There is a cause for it, not a reason. Religion is a byproduct of some very useful capabilities humans got through evolution, namely to look for causes behind phenomena. One of the strongest of these features is ‘agent-detection’: the capability to see that events are connected by the willful actions of another organism: predator, prey, or a fellow human.

Recognizing agency in the world as a whole or in the universe is just this capability running astray. Predators and preys can be empirically confirmed, existence of fellow humans can be confirmed by communication, but there is no empirical reason to believe in an agent ‘causing it all’. And even worse, there is no way to connect this imagined agent with especially the Christian God.

We already know the theoretical cause—energetic and chemical reactions.  The goal is survival.  There must also be a reason men who had the ability to perceive the eternal and live according to a religion survived.  Perhaps the capability hasn’t run astray, but is integral to survival in societal settings.  And society is integral to the survival of the individual.  Not everyone is a scientist.  Not everyone is a philosopher.  Most everyone has a religion and it serves as an anchor for society as a whole.  Where religion has been oppressed, society has floundered.

There is nothing wrong with religion itself. It’s the proselytizing that’s the problem. Well, that, and running planes into buildings and blowing people up in the name of one religion or another.

Lois

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Posted: 26 August 2013 04:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Quoting Lily:

It gets back to the definition of scientific proof, which is, that something must be falsifiable, then if you can falsify it, it’s false, and if you can’t you only approach 100% certain, but you can’t ever get there.

Sorry Lily, but that’s not quite what was meant by falsifiability (See Karl Popper).  If one cannot define any conditions where a proposition can be shown to be false (i.e., falsifiable), then the proposition is meaningless.

Occam

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Posted: 26 August 2013 06:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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LilySmith’s comments, from several posts beginning with # 20, offer fascinating insights into the arguments at least one theist uses to justify her beliefs. Instead of nesting them and making multiple posts, I’ll italicize them and post once.

We don’t know whether the laws of nature just happened on their own or if they had an intelligent architect.  Anyone who chooses to believe an architect is not necessary can do so, but his view is not based on knowledge.  It’s based on assumption.  No, it’s based on all the available data about consciousness. In every known example, consciousness arises from the organic brain. Theism posits a conscious entity predating matter. Not only is there no evidence for that, it contradicts everything we know about what consciousness is and where it comes from.

Man is an intelligent architect using the building blocks of life that already exist.  We don’t know where the building blocks of life came from and how they were put together at the beginning of life on earth. But again, every scrap of evidence we have points to natural origins. Science has made tremendous progress toward understanding how life began.

The term psyche indicates a soul, not just a material brain.  The question of whether we each have a soul which transcends a material existence cannot be answered.  Man can assume he doesn’t, but most ancient societies believed in the concept to some degree.  Why would a completely material brain invent such a concept believed by a majority of people? Oh, so now Ms. Smith adopts the position of radical materialism, a position she completely opposes. Emotion, which is processed mainly in the midbrain, is an aspect of consciousness. People imagine that they have souls because they do not wish to die. Unless Ms. Smith has all her deceased relatives at Thanksgiving dinner - after all, just because they’re dead doesn’t mean they’re not conscious - then she doesn’t even take her own argument seriously. That obvious point also answers her question: “If there isn’t anything beyond this existence, why do so many people believe there is?” And Ms. Smith’s declaration about the “true” meaning of the psyche is just a word game.

Why can man perceive the eternal? [We can’t perceive it but we can imagine it.] Because we are a symbolic species with a highly developed cerebral cortex. We can conceptualize time, do calculus and invent computers. We can even imagine taking a running jump from our backyard and landing on the planet Jupiter; that doesn’t mean we can do it.

If the energetic and chemical reactions of nature produced a man who perceived the eternal and lived in accordance with that belief, perhaps there is a reason for it and it would be unwise to take that away from man. That is a non-sequitur and a form of special pleading.

We already know the theoretical cause—energetic and chemical reactions.  The goal is survival.  There must also be a reason men who had the ability to perceive the eternal and live according to a religion survived.  Perhaps the capability hasn’t run astray, but is integral to survival in societal settings.  And society is integral to the survival of the individual.  Not everyone is a scientist.  Not everyone is a philosopher.  Most everyone has a religion and it serves as an anchor for society as a whole.  Where religion has been oppressed, society has floundered. So, then, explain the staying power of slavery, or economic oppression. I agree that religion can serve an important and salutary role in life and society but religion and theism are two different things. Religion should be about bringing everything together into a coherent whole, so that we can be at one with each other and with nature. Too many religions do the exact opposite, dividing us based on our respective beliefs – which Ms. Smith admits are guesswork at best – and severing the connection between belief and reality. I live and breathe my religion, every moment of every day. It has nothing to do with belief in a god.

In response to Lois’ comment {“You don’t have proof that a psyche is a material thing or that it can survive death. You’re guessing.”}; Smith responded: We’re all guessing, Lois. Smith doesn’t seem to understand the difference between gradations of certainty in science, or the provisional nature of all science. All the evidence says that when we die, our consciousness ends. The idea that consciousness survives death is a guess, and it’s wishful thinking.

All of this raises a broader question: what is the function of belief? Unlike some of my fellow non-theists, I maintain that belief plays an essential role in life. It orients us and allows us to function without having to re-invent the wheel every moment. For example, doctors believe that medicines work better to cure certain illnesses than chanting incantations; they don’t have to spend an hour or so pondering the matter before deciding which approach to take with a patient but instead can use their training and experience, which have shaped their beliefs, to practice medicine efficiently.

Scientists hold many beliefs about the usefulness of scientific methods. In fields where more definitive or more concrete answers to basic questions may yet be far away, scientists can still make progress by following proven methods. For example, the best theory we have about the universe’s origins is the Big Bang. As scientists continue to gather data, those data will either tend to confirm the Big Bang theory, or tend to deny it. Similarly with our understanding of the origins of life: scientists have made huge leaps forward in recent years. Most great strides forward in science have come about when the uncovering of additional information led to the eventual overthrow of an old theory and its replacement by a new theory; and each step forward was another step toward the truth. We can see the progress achieved through scientific method.

Theistic belief offers none of those benefits. Theism doesn’t propose looking for answers, it proposes finding a way to justify pre-set answers, a field often called apologetics. Not only do theism’s methods produce no knowledge; they tend to shut down the search for more knowledge. That is why I pointed out to Ms. Smith that theism hasn’t contributed a speck of knowledge to our intellectual arsenal in the thousands of years of its history. When we don’t know the answers – and Smith admits that we do not – the best we can do is follow the methods that expand our knowledge. Between science and theology, it’s not a close call, in fact, theism isn’t even in the game. If there is one point I wish she could “get,” probably it would be that one, because unless and until she gets this essential point, she will not understand why science’s methods matter so much. And if we don’t have a citizenry that gets this, then we are all in big trouble.

[ Edited: 26 August 2013 06:31 PM by PLaClair ]
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