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Are Science and Religion Compatible?
Posted: 16 July 2010 12:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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mckenzievmd - 16 July 2010 12:07 PM

Not really in my power to allow or disallow anything you want to say, but I tend to share your feelings on that particular subject.

I think besides ridiculing Ray Comfort it is also acceptable to ridicule the “critics of the splitters,” no? Or at least so it appears.  wink But, as they say: De gustibus non est disputandum. grin

[ Edited: 16 July 2010 12:31 PM by George ]
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Posted: 16 July 2010 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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mckenzievmd - 16 July 2010 12:03 PM

All the stuff about “watering down” science and the like is stuff you are attributing to my position based on your perceptions of it and not really anything I have argued for at all. It’s a bit of reductio ad absurdum that I don’t think gets us anywhere. I will repeat what I said to Darron, which is that I have no objection to explaining the facts as science shows them to us regardless of whether people wish to hear them. That is something entirely separate from the issue of whether deliberately insulting or inflammatory rhetoric is productive.

First of all, reductio ad absurdum is valid argumentation, and not a fallacy, so claiming reductio ad absurdum doesn’t help you in any way. Second, I believe you have attempted to suggest watering down science by your claim that science and religion are “compatible”, equivocating on the term “compatible” and ignoring that they are not compatible epistemologically, since religion has no objective way to test truth claims. Declaring religion and science “compatible” waters down science, it puts it on equal footing with religion as a way of knowing, and once you do that, you have no way to object to the validity of creationism or any other religiously based claim about the real world—whether it is the earth being 6,000 years old or the cause of disease being caused by an imbalance of Chakras.

And when you talk about “deliberately insulting”“them” you act as if the religious are a homogeneous entity. They are not.

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Posted: 16 July 2010 12:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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mckenzievmd - 16 July 2010 12:07 PM

Darron,

Not really in my power to allow or disallow anything you want to say, but I tend to share your feelings on that particular subject. As always, I’ll express my agreement or disagreement with what you say and how you say it honestly and respectfully. I tend to think that your participation in this forum is actually a good example of the civil, mature, substantive kinds of debate I think are most useful, so I’m a bit surprised you feel so strongly about the value of ridicule since I don’t see you use it here very often. That’s more Occam’s thing, and we’ve gone a few rounds over it before. grin

I save my ridicule for the extremists. In practice, when talking to the vast majority of Christians I take the same tactic you employ, not backing down from science but not attacking their beliefs directly. When my younger cousin starts in on his Answers in Genesis bullshit I employ sarcasm. I also employ it when Christians get in my face and ridicule science.

At work a couple of years ago one of the car salesman asked me where I attend church. When I informed him I am an atheist he twisted up his face and sneered, “You don’t believe in evilution do you?” I paused a couple of seconds to so everyone within earshot could let his words sink in, then said, “Of course I do. I believe science has given us more answers than bronze age goat herders.” That drew laughs even from the Christians in the audience.

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Posted: 16 July 2010 12:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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asanta - 15 July 2010 08:10 PM
Gnostikosis - 15 July 2010 05:31 PM

I suppose I don’t even care if my kids believe in creationism. They have to make choices for themselves. I don’t think it is up to me to dictate what my kids believe. Only that they know how to question everything and they get as informed as they can before they make a decision.

I, on the other hand would be very upset if my children were to believe in creationism. While it is not up to me to dictate what my kids believe, it is my job to teach them to critically examine the evidence before making up their minds, and if they still believe in creationism, I have failed. Schools and teachers are operating from a position of authority, I would no more want them to teach creationism than I would want them to teach that unicorns and leprechauns were real. Unless I put my child in a religious school, they shouldn’t be teaching religion in the class.

My 12 year old daughter is a creationist, well sort of, she does not believe the theory of evolution.

I’m not upset, we discuss it, I expect she will change her mind, but upset, no definately not.

I’m glad how helpful and thoughtful she’s turning out to be, how she loves her mum and brother and sister, how she understands that she needs to work to make thing happen for herself, how she’s getting along with others, and dealing with some people she’s not getting along so well with. And, well, so many things.

If she stayed a creationist for all her life, so what, I’d just have to pull her leg every now and then grin

Stephen

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Posted: 16 July 2010 01:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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DarronS - 15 July 2010 05:36 PM

So it is OK to teach Creationism in science classes? I’m glad our Supreme Court disagrees with you. Teaching mythology as science in public schools is not OK.

Didn’t say it was ok. I just don’t think if it happens it’s going to be the end of the world.

And I notice you did not address the grievous harms religion perpetuates, such as regarding gays as second class citizens, thereby denying them basic civil rights the rest of society enjoys. Discrimination is not OK.

Including not discriminating against people because of their religion? Individuals should be held accountable for their acts of discrimination. That is what we have the legal system for. As I said, I’m happy to let people believe as they wish. However religion is simply not an acceptable excuse for how people behave towards others. A person can believe in a God or not Believe in a God, neither is an excuse for acting like an asshole.

I know a number of really great Christians. They would never harm anyone, deny someone else’s rights or try to push their belief on others. Those that do are rude and should be dealt with individually for their actions. I just know that not every Christian is like that.

Religion teaches intolerance. Maybe not every professing believer practices intolerance, but you cannot deny the evils contained within religious texts.

At the time they were written the morality of the world was different. The Bible is a reflection of the morality of it’s time. The problem is with those who see it as God’s Word on morality. It’s not and there is no reason to accept it as such.

I think people should have the right to believe as they wish. Be free to express it. Be open to discussion. Realize I accept them as fellow human beings and be able to disagree completely without any hostility. And if a person is intolerant you can’t fix anything by becoming intolerant yourself. You have to encourage others towards being better people by being the better person yourself.

Not as much fun as criticizing all the idiots in the world but I think it is more likely to get the desired results.

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Posted: 16 July 2010 01:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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I see we largely agree with each other, Gnostikosis. However, I strongly disagree with your laissez faire attitude on teaching Creationism in public science classes. The people who are pushing this, even though they have changed the name to Intelligent Design, are trying to undermine science and critical thinking by insinuating their brand of evangelical Christianity into our schools. This is dangerous and needs to fought everywhere it raises its ugly head.

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Posted: 16 July 2010 01:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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StephenLawrence - 16 July 2010 12:55 PM

I’m glad how helpful and thoughtful she’s turning out to be, how she loves her mum and brother and sister, how she understands that she needs to work to make thing happen for herself, how she’s getting along with others, and dealing with some people she’s not getting along so well with. And, well, so many things.

If she stayed a creationist for all her life, so what, I’d just have to pull her leg every now and then grin

Stephen

She is 12, twelve year olds believe a lot of things! I didn’t mean children as in ‘child’, I meant it as in ‘offspring’, and my offsprings are adults. One is agnosticly atheist (he said he is hedging his bets), the other is a ‘New’ atheist. It would bother me more if they were creationist, than if they were religious. Yes, it is a more important that they become good people, happily productive members of society and educated to their ability.

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Posted: 16 July 2010 01:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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Gnostikosis - 16 July 2010 01:04 PM

Including not discriminating against people because of their religion? Individuals should be held accountable for their acts of discrimination. That is what we have the legal system for. As I said, I’m happy to let people believe as they wish. However religion is simply not an acceptable excuse for how people behave towards others. A person can believe in a God or not Believe in a God, neither is an excuse for acting like an asshole.

If there is a God responsible for the existence of the universe then He/She/It must know everything about science.

But an all knowing God must know how much crap there is to religion therefore I presume He/She/It has a lower opinion of religion than I do.

We need a separation of God and religion and that will take care of the compatibility of science and religion.

Stupidity is incompatible with science and an all knowing God. 

Of course if God gave Man free will then they have the option of being assholes.  LOL

psik

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Posted: 16 July 2010 01:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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asanta - 15 July 2010 08:10 PM

I, on the other hand would be very upset if my children were to believe in creationism. While it is not up to me to dictate what my kids believe, it is my job to teach them to critically examine the evidence before making up their minds, and if they still believe in creationism, I have failed.

I don’t always agree with my kids. I prefer it that way really. I don’t what them to accept something just because it is what I accept. As long as they are happy and realize they can talk to me about anything and I won’t judge them. I’ll just advise them when if they are willing to hear it. I don’t know everything. None of them believe in the traditional Christian ideal of creation, but it they did I would openly discuss it with them and respect their opinion as I’d hope they’d respect mine.

Schools and teachers are operating from a position of authority, I would no more want them to teach creationism than I would want them to teach that unicorns and leprechauns were real. Unless I put my child in a religious school, they shouldn’t be teaching religion in the class.

What happen to questioning authority?  cheese

I’ve had problems with opinionated teachers in the past. I don’t really see them as an authority figure. In high school they got a lot of political views I didn’t think should be part of their education either. I don’t know that it’s realistic to expect people to keep their personal ideologies out of the classroom. I think it be better if they did, I just don’t see it happening.

My kids did often get in trouble for questioning the teachers. I had to tell them to tone it down a bit so they could pass the class. Though I never thought anyone should get in trouble for questioning what they were taught. A teacher IMO should expect kids to test the validity of what they are being taught. If it’s true then there shouldn’t be any problem. The truth should withstand any inquires.

So I don’t care what they taught. Just they’d better be expected to back-up anything they claim with multiple reliable sources.

I have come across some very excellent teachers. They always encouraged questioning. Just not that many.

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Posted: 16 July 2010 01:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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DarronS - 16 July 2010 01:11 PM

I see we largely agree with each other, Gnostikosis. However, I strongly disagree with your laissez faire attitude on teaching Creationism in public science classes. The people who are pushing this, even though they have changed the name to Intelligent Design, are trying to undermine science and critical thinking by insinuating their brand of evangelical Christianity into our schools. This is dangerous and needs to fought everywhere it raises its ugly head.

Good luck… ID is stupid. I have, perhaps misplace, faith that the truth will win out.

There are always going to be people in the world trying to convince others of some idiot ideology. I see it as a test.

I am/was gullible when I was younger. My parents would hide from the Christian ministers that came knocking on the door on Saturday asking people to show up on Sunday to church like like they were really guilty not going to church. I think people have to learn how to confront people like that. Heck I like to see them try and convince my kids of ID. What I’d encourage my kids to learn is how to deal with people like that. Not hiding from them like my parents did.

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Posted: 16 July 2010 02:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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reductio ad absurdum is valid argumentation, and not a fallacy

I didn’t say it was a fallacy. I characterized it, correctly, and said “I don’t think it gets us anywhere.” It has led you to presume my position will lead to all the dire consequences you describe, and I simply don’t accept that it inevitably does so. I understand the chain of steps you are illustrating, I just don’t think it actually works that way.

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Posted: 16 July 2010 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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Gnostikosis - 16 July 2010 01:30 PM

I’ve had problems with opinionated teachers in the past. I don’t really see them as an authority figure. In high school they got a lot of political views I didn’t think should be part of their education either. I don’t know that it’s realistic to expect people to keep their personal ideologies out of the classroom. I think it be better if they did, I just don’t see it happening.

When my children were in school (in the ‘liberal’ state of CA), the biggest ideology I had to deal with were their expectations of my children based on race. [example]My oldest has always been a math whiz. When he and his (white) best friend took a math class as juniors which was a prerequisite for senior calculus and received the same grade. The friend was then admitted into the calculus class, and my son was not. My son was very disappointed. I asked for a reason, and was told that they were concerned that he might fail the class (based on WHAT?). I told them that if the friend met the standards, so had my son..let him in and let the chips fall where they may. My son earned a higher grade in the class than his friend, and they both remained honor students. [Another example] My son was on a championship basketball team, and an honor student. The coach had influence in gaining college scholarships for the players. Some of the students with poorer grades were offered scholarships from 4 year institutions, my son only received scholarships from junior colleges. When I asked why, the coach told me that some students needed to ‘mature’. He was furious with me when I complained to the school administration (who agreed with me), and turned down the scholarships. My son did well in college, which I paid for out of pocket. He graduated an honor college student, and went on to earn a masters degree.

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Posted: 16 July 2010 04:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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mckenzievmd - 14 July 2010 08:19 PM

Ok, just to be complete I listened to Mooney’s interview on Reasonable Doubts. I am baffled by why it is at all controversial, other than the fact that certain individuals are named and criticized for their approach. The ideas that it is more effective to promote an agenda by finding common ground instead of emphasizing differences, that undermining a position by introducing information with humor and humilty is more effective than brazen challenge, that rational discourse must be civil discourse, and so on seem quite moderate and sensible.

Brennan, I’ll have to listen to podcast before responding in detail.

Sam Harris made the point in his book the End of Faith that religous moderates “tolerate” religous fundamentalists by not clearly identifying where they disagree.  Since there is a spectrum of religious belief,  one needs to be clearer on where the line on superstitious nonsense needs to be drawn.

As soon as religion makes any claims that contest science there is a problem.

I don’t think it is obvious that working on “common ground” always provides a long term solution. I am reminded of the early days of the USA where in order to create a more stable (if not perfect) union the non-slave states and the slave states found “common ground” and got the country off to a good start.  But the issue eventually had to be addressed.

One can view the argument against religious superstition in a vaguely similar way (I’m not saying this is a good analogy and I don’t mean to minimize the evil of slavery—) .  The accomodationist sees a practical reason for finding common ground today and postponing the discussion of the real problem.  But there is a very real problem.

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Posted: 17 July 2010 12:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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mckenzievmd - 14 July 2010 07:19 PM

Not a brand new subject to most here, but in another thread a member responded to an intro to the podcast Reasonable Doubts - accommodationism with Chris Mooney with the following comments:

Thanks for the link to this—well-done podcast.

On the general topic of “accomodationism”  Dawkins notes in his recent book The Greatest Show on Earth that many clergy support evolution, and many clergy even recognize that the Bible is not literally true. Dennett has commented on this as well. But Dawkins pointed out that when he pins down clergy, they respond “of course Adam and Eve is metaphorical” but Dawkins persists that the clergy do not point this out from the pulpit.
I think these clergy can be viewed as “accomodationist”—they are telling the story from the pulpit as they think the congregation wants to here it, not the way it is.  Again—they want folks to donate to the church so they continue its good works, and if they tell them there is no Oz behind the curtain (and no heaven behind death) the donations will drop off and people will be distraught.

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Posted: 19 July 2010 10:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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Jackson - 17 July 2010 12:46 PM
mckenzievmd - 14 July 2010 07:19 PM

Not a brand new subject to most here, but in another thread a member responded to an intro to the podcast Reasonable Doubts - accommodationism with Chris Mooney with the following comments:

Thanks for the link to this—well-done podcast.

On the general topic of “accomodationism”  Dawkins notes in his recent book The Greatest Show on Earth that many clergy support evolution, and many clergy even recognize that the Bible is not literally true. Dennett has commented on this as well. But Dawkins pointed out that when he pins down clergy, they respond “of course Adam and Eve is metaphorical” but Dawkins persists that the clergy do not point this out from the pulpit.
I think these clergy can be viewed as “accomodationist”—they are telling the story from the pulpit as they think the congregation wants to here it, not the way it is.  Again—they want folks to donate to the church so they continue its good works, and if they tell them there is no Oz behind the curtain (and no heaven behind death) the donations will drop off and people will be distraught.

Have to wonder how many people promote a lie to make a living?

Does the second amendment protect the right to lie? If it can get you what you want, is there any reason not to lie?

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