1 of 2
1
Jerry Coyne gets an atheism opinion piece into US Today’s Monday Topics on Religion…
Posted: 11 October 2010 03:18 PM   [ Ignore ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2423
Joined  2007-09-03

http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/2010-10-11-column11_ST_N.htm

Speaks for itself—a good complement to the Myers/Mooney POI that just came out…

As a scientist and a former believer, I see this as bunk. Science and faith are fundamentally incompatible, and for precisely the same reason that irrationality and rationality are incompatible. They are different forms of inquiry, with only one, science, equipped to find real truth. And while they may have a dialogue, it’s not a constructive one. Science helps religion only by disproving its claims, while religion has nothing to add to science.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 October 2010 07:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2423
Joined  2007-07-05

Where is the evidence that God and religion are compatible and that God has any problems with science?  LOL

psik

 Signature 

Fiziks is Fundamental

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 October 2010 07:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1332
Joined  2010-06-07

It seems to me the fight between science and religion is one of authority. Which leaders hold the key to truth.

Any priest can make use of science and many have. It’s a tool. Anybody can make use of science to validate their beliefs.

Science is not an entity that can hold authority and neither is religion but they seem to be treated as one sometimes. Individuals make claims. I can’t validate every claim of every scientist and or theologist. It’s just not possible. So IMO it really comes down to who’s authority are you going to trust. That of a person who claims to be a scientist or that of a person who claims to “speak for God”.

The battle between religion and science is one of authority, which is going to be held as authoritative in the minds and the thinking of people.

Me, I really have issues with authority. I question all claims regardless if it comes from a scientist or a theologist. I remain doubtful of any claim unless I’ve being able to verify it to my own satisfaction.

Science is a structured method to test what I believe and the claims of others. I can make use of it regardless of what I believe to be true. You can’t say the use of science is exclusive to the non-religious.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 October 2010 08:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1397
Joined  2010-04-22

One of my favorite quotes from the article:

“But how can you be sure you’re right if you can’t tell whether you’re wrong?”

 Signature 

“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 October 2010 08:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1765
Joined  2007-10-22

Gnost:

Science is not an entity that can hold authority and neither is religion but they seem to be treated as one sometimes. Individuals make claims. I can’t validate every claim of every scientist and or theologist. It’s just not possible. So IMO it really comes down to who’s authority are you going to trust. That of a person who claims to be a scientist or that of a person who claims to “speak for God”.


Excellent point, it all comes down to politics and who we have learned to trust.  Human society exists by myth for the reason that no one individual can possibly have all knowledge, so the old show title “Who Do You Trust” comes into play.  The religious have been experimenting for several thousand years on how to gain this trust.  Us Freethinkers have had only two to three hundred to learn the game

 Signature 

Gary the Human

All the Gods and all religions are created by humans, to meet human needs and accomplish human ends.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 October 2010 09:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4095
Joined  2006-11-28

A good piece, and there’s no question Coyne is correct about the epistemelogical incompatibility of science and religion. Still, he ignores the issue that his critics, myself included, feel is implicit but not directly addressed in his piece: so what do we do with this stark declaration of incompatibility?

Religion, or at least faith beliefs, seem an intrinsic feature of how human brains work, and I cannot conceieve of them ever disappearing and being replaced by a thoroughgoing scientific naturalism. Is this sort of unlikely societal change necessary? Desireable? What do we do with the epistemological irreconcilability of science and faith? Campaign to get rid of faith? Seems futile and unecessary to me.

Is it not more rational and productive to seek to promote science and reason where a truthful understanding of the natural universe is critical (technology, medicine, public policy to some extent), and to encourage faith to retreat to the personal domains in which it can still provide its comfort without so egregiously mucking up our decision making? My problem with Coyne’s style, even in such a smart and civil essay as this, is that he sets up a dialectic in which it is implied that science and religion cannot coexist and, since science is right and religion wrong, religion must go. This is not going to convince anyone not already in the atheist choir, but it is going to galvanize anti-science feeling among those desperate to protect their faith beliefs regardless of the consequences, and this has a very real, negative influence on the place of science in society. If you make what sounds very much like an ultimatum (“Science vs religion, take your choice and line up for battle!”), does anyone really think religion is going to lose?

I’m glad such a widely read media outlet is carrying a piece that clearly states the case against religion, and I’m not suggesting Coyne shouldn’t say what he says. I just think he stps before dealing with the implications that I think it almost certainly religious believers are going to perceive in his message, and I’d be interested what his response to the pragmatic, political impact of such a declaration are. What should we say to the reasonable, mainstream, pro-science believer who reads this sort of thing as meaning that the only way to be for science is to be against religion? Didn’t Behe at the DI describe a similar moment in his scientific studies, when he realized he either had to give up his faith or give up on science? He chose faith, and I don’t think that would be an uncommon choice for believers in general. Is it one we should be suggesting people have to make?

 Signature 

The SkeptVet Blog
You cannot reason a person out of a position he did not reason himself into in the first place. 
Johnathan Swift

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 October 2010 01:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Jr. Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  74
Joined  2008-04-20

An amazing point from the article:

Finally, in a 2006 Time poll a staggering 64% of Americans declared that if science disproved one of their religious beliefs, they’d reject that science in favor of their faith.

So, two out of three people would prefer ignoring reality?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 October 2010 01:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3054
Joined  2010-04-26

Welcome to humanity.  Self-delusion is our art.

 Signature 

“In the end nature is horrific and teaches us nothing.” -Mutual of Omicron

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 October 2010 01:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15395
Joined  2006-02-14
Dead Monky - 12 October 2010 01:15 PM

Welcome to humanity.  Self-delusion is our art.

Yep, just look at the reaction in some quarters to the science behind global warming. If you don’t like what the experts are saying, just go and find your own experts.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 October 2010 08:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4576
Joined  2008-08-14

McKendzie-

What should we say to the reasonable, mainstream, pro-science believer who reads this sort of thing as meaning that the only way to be for science is to be against religion? Didn’t Behe at the DI describe a similar moment in his scientific studies, when he realized he either had to give up his faith or give up on science? He chose faith, and I don’t think that would be an uncommon choice for believers in general. Is it one we should be suggesting people have to make?

This is just the content of this particular article, it is one of many messages that combine collectively with a general message to question religion. There is no perfect message to wean people off of religion, and there will never be a unified, central clearing house for the “perfect anti-religious message”. So given this, and the fact that we should be happy that there was a religious question article in a newspaper in the first place, it stands that any message that questions religion’s viability is a victory.
People can say they disavow science, but who cares? Diminish religion and the politics that control science will slowly shift to more reasoned applications of science.

 Signature 

Row row row your boat gently down the stream.  Merrily Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 October 2010 02:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2423
Joined  2007-09-03
mckenzievmd - 12 October 2010 09:49 AM

....Didn’t Behe at the DI describe a similar moment in his scientific studies, when he realized he either had to give up his faith or give up on science? He chose faith, and I don’t think that would be an uncommon choice for believers in general. Is it one we should be suggesting people have to make?

I think this would be an excellent topic for a book by someone like Daniel Dennett, or another Ecklund survey. 

Why do people give up religion—what is the reason.

Humans being social creatures it is not 100% logic - part of it will be social-what do other people think. I think the New Atheist movement is important to socialize the idea that atheism is more consistent with science and that it is okay to be an atheist. 

I agree that putting people to a choice isn’t necessarily what you want - but I think placing the choice on the table in front of them is important.

If you remember Dawkins strikes this theme in the introduction to God Delusion—you don’t have to believe in God, you have a choice.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 October 2010 08:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4095
Joined  2006-11-28

Good point, Jackson. I tend to think that belief in religions is a side effect of brain/behavior characteristics we evolved for other purposes, so it would be interesting to investigate what allows people to eschew such beliefs and function comfortably without them. Is atheism limited to people of a certain temperment, or could it truly become as widespread and automatic as religion is now? I’m skeptical, but it’s an interesting and important topic.

 Signature 

The SkeptVet Blog
You cannot reason a person out of a position he did not reason himself into in the first place. 
Johnathan Swift

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 October 2010 09:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1332
Joined  2010-06-07
mckenzievmd - 13 October 2010 08:42 AM

Good point, Jackson. I tend to think that belief in religions is a side effect of brain/behavior characteristics we evolved for other purposes, so it would be interesting to investigate what allows people to eschew such beliefs and function comfortably without them. Is atheism limited to people of a certain temperment, or could it truly become as widespread and automatic as religion is now? I’m skeptical, but it’s an interesting and important topic.

An atheist gene?  cheese

Atheism is not a choice. One is born destine to be an atheist or a believer of supernatural events…

One is destined to become a militant atheist or an accommodist… 

Aren’t we all a product of our environment?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 October 2010 12:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1201
Joined  2009-05-10
jls7227 - 12 October 2010 01:12 PM

An amazing point from the article:

Finally, in a 2006 Time poll a staggering 64% of Americans declared that if science disproved one of their religious beliefs, they’d reject that science in favor of their faith.

So, two out of three people would prefer ignoring reality?

To them their faith is the true reality.

You know, they say that, but I think it is largely based on what others in their religious community believe. The bible says a lot of things that turned out not to be true, and people have grown to accept that rather than reject it. Only true fundamentalists will reject science for faith every time.

 Signature 

“What people do is they confuse cynicism with skepticism. Cynicism is ‘you can’t change anything, everything sucks, there’s no point to anything.’ Skepticism is, ‘well, I’m not so sure.’” -Bill Nye

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 October 2010 01:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1332
Joined  2010-06-07

Many people don’t know enough about the science behind, say something like AGW or evolution to trust it.

However they don’t know really enough about the theology behind their religion, yet they trust the Preacher, Pastor, Church leaders and apologists.

I think it would be fascinating to understand the psychology behind that.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 October 2010 02:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1201
Joined  2009-05-10

It’s not about knowing/not knowing. Religion has turned faith (in God) into a virtue. That’s about all there is to it

 Signature 

“What people do is they confuse cynicism with skepticism. Cynicism is ‘you can’t change anything, everything sucks, there’s no point to anything.’ Skepticism is, ‘well, I’m not so sure.’” -Bill Nye

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 2
1