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BlueTrombonist
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« on: Apr 17, 2008, 05:33PM »

I've seen alot of threads turn into Science vs Religion threads, so I've decided to make one to centralize debate...

I am devoutly religious (Roman Catholic), but I do believe that science is important. I think evolution while not foolproof, can explain the biodiversity of our planet. I also think that the laws of physics are natural laws. However I submit that all these processes are so perfect, that they were intelligently designed. I do not believe it to be farfetched even to say that God made the big bang happened, and then made laws in order that the universe could be governed. Rather than God making a ball drop 1,000/1,000 times, he made a law that gravity acts constant depending on mass and distance, thus the ball will always drop.

I don't think anyone can say for 100% that it's all science, but I couldn't fully explain the nature of God. I believe Jesus rose from the dead, and ultimately everything else, is ultimately irrevelant. If you believe that Jesus rose from the dead, or if you believe that God made a covenant with the Jewish people, or that Allah chose Muhaammad, or in Buddha, as long as you have that belief, then you shouldn't be afraid of understanding science, because that belief is constant.
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« Reply #1 on: Apr 17, 2008, 06:20PM »

The real issue is honesty and epistemology. Science is all about it, hard core, and religion is all about getting around it, just as hard core. That's why they're so fundamentally incompatible, science is always proven right, and religion is always back-peddling.
 
Byron
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« Reply #2 on: Apr 17, 2008, 07:15PM »

I think I differ a little with you BvB.

Our main issue is not with people who accept religion for an ethical guidepost or who accept the Bible as a legend with possibly some kernel of truth in it.

Our issue is with people who insist that the Bible is the exact history of the Earth, and who will find some way to fit contrarian evidence to fit their mold.

Apparently, some bishop back in the 300s went through Chronicles and assigned ages to everybody and then back calculated that Creation was completed on October 23, 4004 BC.  So the Earth by that calculation most be no more than 6,000 years old.

Devout people have worked in Science for centuries.  Galileo was curious about the way the Universe worked and still considered himself a devout Catholic.  It was his Church that decided that his studies were contrary to their Earth-Centric model and thus he must be a heretic.

The cultures who wrote what we call the Bible didn't have any way to know that there was anything else in the Universe beyond what they could see.  All the heavenly bodies seemed to rotate around the Earth, so the Earth must be the center of the Universe.  Now we can send a rocket ship into deep space with a camera and look back and see that there's a lot of stuff that nobody could have known was there.

Nothing wrong with believing that the laws of Physics were invented by God and He created a Big Bang.  If Science comes up with an explanation, we may still find other facets that can be attributed to God; or maybe we come to the conclusion that God is a particular phenomenon.

God still tells us through most religions how to behave to other people.  That should be good enough.
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« Reply #3 on: Apr 17, 2008, 07:25PM »

I think I differ a little with you BvB.

Actually I think we only disagree in our terms ... and probably in a key point of analysis.
 
If you carefully examine what makes religion religion rather than philosophy I think you'll find, at least to a large extent, it's the ugliness behind the problems you described. What I hear you actually arguing is that we don't have a problem with rational philosophy or even reasonable mysticism, but with religion.
 
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« Reply #4 on: Apr 17, 2008, 08:02PM »

That's why they're so fundamentally incompatible, science is always proven right, and religion is always back-peddling.
 
Byron


   I dont believe science and religion are fundamentally incompatible. It seems that many point to religion as a way to justify creation, and existence/purpose. For Christians, Jesus made a new covenant with his people.

1) Love Me
2) Love thy Neighbor

   Science and Religion take a step of faith somewhere along the way. At some point, we have to accept the fact that something was created from nothing. For some, they turn to science for the answer of how we were created/evolved. Others turn to religion. Regardless, each person has to make some concession somewhere along the way. Faith becomes universal.
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« Reply #5 on: Apr 17, 2008, 08:06PM »

Science and Religion take a step of faith somewhere along the way.

Science does not.

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At some point, we have to accept the fact that something was created from nothing.

No we don't.  We can just say we don't know yet, and leave that as an open question.  That doesn't mean to stop looking for answers to questions; it just means that unanswered questions are just that, unanswered.
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« Reply #6 on: Apr 17, 2008, 08:34PM »



 Well, of course we can leave any question unanswered. However, I thought the topic was going in the direction of providing explanations. "We dont know" is not an explanation.


 Yes, science does take a step of faith. It takes faith to believe unequivocally that you are right. Scientists have faith that when they test something numerous times with repeatable results that the result will continue to be the same. Scientists have faith that ideology that they ascribe to is the final answer.

 I still submit that science takes a leap of faith. Even if one does "not know yet" how something was created from nothing, "yet" implies that they have faith that their question will be answered by science. Personally, I think it science was going to find a way to create something from nothing, we would already know the answer.
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« Reply #7 on: Apr 17, 2008, 08:44PM »

The Scientific method requires one to consider all possibilities, develop a theory, and prove the theory (or disprove the anti-theory!). This makes a natural law, or maybe a "proven" theory that can later be "disproved" by new discovery - it never ends. This is just factual discovery.

How arrogant of the human race to believe that they could even begin to understand a "God". Organized religions were developed by humans, although many/most religious believe that their respective "God" dictated "His" (why not "Her"?) word to some infallible stenogropher/cleric thousands of year ago , a time when people didn't even bathe, for cryin' out loud. Just too friggin' arrogant for me. If "God" is so all-friggin' mighty, can create something from nothing, make universes, create the complex human mind, etc., there is no way humans (who haven't even figured out how to stop "eating their young" as it were, by eliminating wars, etc) can have the capacity to understand. Think about it, we watch American Idol and worship Britney Spears, Pompous politicians, guns (violent weapons), and think Pork Rinds are a food staple. How can humans be so dumb?

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« Reply #8 on: Apr 17, 2008, 11:29PM »

Even the name we have given ourselves is arrogant. Homo sapiens. What a sick joke.

And yes, science is all about "I don't know". If you knew all the answers, there would be no point, whatsoever, in doing research.
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« Reply #9 on: Apr 18, 2008, 12:00AM »

As the Sufis say, one part of knowledge is worth more than a thousand parts of belief. "Believing" is a fit game for children and the addle-brained. Learning is a proper endeavor for a man.  Knowledge v. Belief. Religion v. Baseball, better--ritual, costume, fills up a Sunday, tradition, music, timeless, men in black judging you.

Religion v. NASCAR, maybe better still........

So, Blue----your post is reminiscent of the prime mover discussion of earlier years. IOW, God was the "cause" of creation. Science, then, is just another form of the study of God. That is pretty much how science is taught at Catholic universities around the world. How religion is taught is different, but I've never seen scientific reasons for religion being offered, in modern times at least. One of my Jesuit professors told me that "God" was nothing but love and mankind was working this out over successive generations----God is not in the Bible, but in us, in the world. We die to our lower selves and are "resurrected" as purified, spiritual beings. I.e.,, religion is allegorical, an indication of something that goes beyond description and intellect.

It is only this insistence on a "literal interpretation" of he KJV Bible that draws these little trolls into the open and creates this false dichotomy between "science" and "religion." I agree they are not inherently exclusive, but have been interpreted as such by narrow-minded Bible-based cultists.
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« Reply #10 on: Apr 18, 2008, 12:25AM »

How arrogant of the human race to believe that they could even begin to understand a "God". Organized religions were developed by humans, although many/most religious believe that their respective "God" dictated "His" (why not "Her"?) word to some infallible stenogropher/cleric thousands of year ago , a time when people didn't even bathe, for cryin' out loud. Just too friggin' arrogant for me. If "God" is so all-friggin' mighty, can create something from nothing, make universes, create the complex human mind, etc., there is no way humans (who haven't even figured out how to stop "eating their young" as it were, by eliminating wars, etc) can have the capacity to understand. Think about it, we watch American Idol and worship Britney Spears, Pompous politicians, guns (violent weapons), and think Pork Rinds are a food staple. How can humans be so dumb?

I agree that we can't completely understand God, but I think its reasonable that a God that was  "so all-friggin' mighty, can create something from nothing, make universes, create the complex human mind, etc." could communicate with us to reveal something about himself.  And what he has revealed is often beyond our understanding - like the trinity thing for example.

So I don't understand why you think its arrogant to think that God told us about himself.  Its not as though we believe cause we're cleverer, or better, its painfully obvious that we're often not.  Why is it so? 

And I think I think I agree with Brian that science is essentially faithless.  But I also think that a claim like "the scientific method is the only way to prove things" is a faith statement because its unprovable.

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« Reply #11 on: Apr 18, 2008, 01:39AM »


 I still submit that science takes a leap of faith. Even if one does "not know yet" how something was created from nothing, "yet" implies that they have faith that their question will be answered by science. Personally, I think it science was going to find a way to create something from nothing, we would already know the answer.

Not in the slightest.  There may be questions we can never answer with our science.  There will certainly be many which remain at the end of my lifetime.  I do not have faith that science can answer all questions.  But that doesnt mean you need a "god of the gaps" to fill them.  Nor does it mean that you stop looking for answers. 

And why do you think that if "something out of nothing" was solvable by science it would already have been so?  Isnt that a rather arbitrary judgement of the state of current scientific progress?

Science is likely to develop and discover a myriad of things in my lifetime.  Religion will discover nothing, since it doesnt seem to be looking for anything.
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« Reply #12 on: Apr 18, 2008, 04:10AM »

I dont believe science and religion are fundamentally incompatible. It seems that many point to religion as a way to justify creation, and existence/purpose. For Christians, Jesus made a new covenant with his people.

As I said, it's about epistemology and intellectual integrity (a form of honesty).
 
 
Quote from: EnTransit
Science and Religion take a step of faith somewhere along the way. At some point, we have to accept the fact that something was created from nothing. For some, they turn to science for the answer of how we were created/evolved. Others turn to religion. Regardless, each person has to make some concession somewhere along the way. Faith becomes universal.

Science quite insistently stops precisely where faith becomes necessary to continue. That's the arena of presumption. Science is about sticking a probe out there to see if it can gain any real knowledge, moving the boundary of the unknown back just a bit at a time. Religion is about providing "answers" in that arena and staying out beyond that boundary.
 
Again, this is one of those things that's crystal clear to almost everyone when the issue is raised about another religion, but only gets confusing to believers when it's applied to their religious franchise, or when it's applied in general and so is perceived to threaten it.
 
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« Reply #13 on: Apr 18, 2008, 04:13AM »

I still submit that science takes a leap of faith.

How ironic! That's religion's territory you're arguing against, certainly not something science can be accused of. At best you're arguing against bad science.
 
Quite frankly you may as well have just said "I haven't the first clue about what science is all about."
 
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« Reply #14 on: Apr 18, 2008, 04:42AM »

I thought the topic was going in the direction of providing explanations. "We dont know" is not an explanation.

In any other context, nobody blinks at "We don't know" as an answer.  A house has a fire, and there is an investigation.  Maybe they find out quickly, maybe not quickly, maybe never, but until they do, "we don't know" is a perfectly valid answer.  If there's no evidence, simply deciding that it must have been an electrical malfunction, or a gas leak, or a Molotov cocktail, or a match to the curtains, is unwarranted.  Such investigations may make provisional conclusions that are discarded when new evidence is found.  Or they may simply say "we don't know."  They don't wave their hands and say "therefore God did it."

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Yes, science does take a step of faith. It takes faith to believe unequivocally that you are right. Scientists have faith that when they test something numerous times with repeatable results that the result will continue to be the same. Scientists have faith that ideology that they ascribe to is the final answer.

This is incorrect.  Science is always open to challenge.  Many, many solid theories have been displaced when new evidence came to light.  Disproving accepted theory is something scientists LIVE for.  But theories become accepted because they are strongly supported by evidence, so it takes solid evidence to displace them.

Quote
Even if one does "not know yet" how something was created from nothing, "yet" implies that they have faith that their question will be answered by science.

That's incorrect, on two fronts.

First, this concept of "something created from nothing" is a conclusion, not necessarily a valid one.  Is there evidence that something was created from nothing?  A more valid generic question asks how things got to be the way they are, what happened before this, and before that, etc.  If evidence indicates something created from nothing, then it is reasonable to wonder how THAT happened, to seek evidence, and to propose theories.

Second, "yet" implies only that an answer may be found, not faith that an answer will definitely be found.  Scientists may indeed feel confident that certain answers will be found, by them, in their lifetime, or eventually.  However, they also research areas in which they are not confident answers will be found.  They don't know.

Quote
I think if science was going to find a way to create something from nothing, we would already know the answer.

Wow, YOU have a lot of faith in science!  To think that all investigations will bear fruit so quickly!  That certainly isn't the case, even in mathematics, which doesn't need physical evidence.
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« Reply #15 on: Apr 18, 2008, 04:56AM »

How arrogant of the human race to believe that they could even begin to understand a "God".

Well, they're generally designed that way though--eh? Standard issue gods are alleged to be supernatural beings, which is a nonsensical notion. What isn't part of nature is very much like what's beyond the cosmos (Carl Sagan's definition is the most eloquent I know of: all that is or ever was or ever will be). Most people are satisfied with the vague sense of wonder that comes from considering such a thing in the shallowest terms (it's really merely the confusion created by something that doesn't actually make sense). It's only mistaken for profundity because people tend to stop there, on the surface and are happy (many happier) to leave it at that (kind of like an infant deriving pleasure from the "I've got your nose!" game or a shiny object). Religion encourages and thrives on that very error in a dazzling array of forms.
 
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« Reply #16 on: Apr 18, 2008, 05:08AM »

I still submit that science takes a leap of faith. Even if one does "not know yet" how something was created from nothing, "yet" implies that they have faith that their question will be answered by science.

Does it really?
 
"We don't know who'll win the 3000 World Series yet."
Would you presume I'm claiming to be certain that someone will? Is "no one" not a potential answer?
 
"We don't yet know how to cure cancer."
Does that mean we definitely will at some point?
 
"My big bad male Doberman hasn't yet learned to pee by lifting his leg like a male dog."
Does that mean he necessarily will?
 
"I haven't had sex yet ... at least not with a partner."
Does that mean he necessarily will at some point?
 
 
Quote from: EnTransit
Personally, I think it science was going to find a way to create something from nothing, we would already know the answer.

Sure. Just like if the common cold were curable we'd've already done it ... clearly.
 
Frankly I don't think you're likely anywhere near as presumptuous as you're trying to feign here in defense of faith and religion.
 
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« Reply #17 on: Apr 18, 2008, 05:30AM »

Evan I do subscribe to the Prime Mover theory, and it is not new. St. Thomas of Aquinas developed this theory, and he did not even say that humans should stop seeking knowledge, he said knowledge brings people closer to understanding God.

Christine the point you made about nknowing all the answers would make science uselss, is the exact same reason why if God came out and said I exist, first of all some people would still refuse to believe, and secondly it makes faith useless.

Science doesn't require a leap of faith, but atheism certainly does. The same way that Theists take a leap of faith saying God exists, atheists have to make a leap of faith and say God doesn't exist.
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« Reply #18 on: Apr 18, 2008, 05:51AM »

Science doesn't require a leap of faith, but atheism certainly does. The same way that Theists take a leap of faith saying God exists, atheists have to make a leap of faith and say God doesn't exist.

Quick paradigm shift!

Is a child born with innate knowledge of theism? I doubt it very very much. The leap of faith you refer to occurs if that person, while growing up, takes some theistic worldview on board.
By contrast, an atheistic outlook that is consciously atheistic rather than unconsciously so (as I would submit is the state of a newborn baby) tends to be acquired as a reaction to theist propaganda, as a hardening of pre-existing attitudes rather than as the flicking of some kind of on-off faith switch.

What I'm saying is that claiming that the atheists' position of there not being a god is faith-based is logically equivalent to claiming that evidence obtained under torture is reliable - the point is one of duress; you are making the atheists play your game, by your rules. What is in fact a refusal to play your game on their part is seen wrongly by you as an alternative position within that game.

An aside - I find the order of nouns in the thread title quite telling. "Science vs Religion" makes it sound like "Science" is in the habit of deliberately attacking "Religion", when the truth of the matter is the opposite.
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« Reply #19 on: Apr 18, 2008, 06:29AM »

Quick paradigm shift!

Curious, eh?
 
 
Quote from: MoominDave
What I'm saying is that claiming that the atheists' position of there not being a god is faith-based is logically equivalent to claiming that evidence obtained under torture is reliable - the point is one of duress; you are making the atheists play your game, by your rules. What is in fact a refusal to play your game on their part is seen wrongly by you as an alternative position within that game.

In my experience most atheists don't make the assertion there is no god, but simply that if you want to posit a god, in order to be taken seriously you (should) need to base it something rational and evidential. There's pretty much no such thing as a god based upon reason and/or evidence, though.
 
Also, the theist has to identify and define which specific god he or she is talking about. It's not a "theists vs. atheists" thing. Theists don't agree on the existence of a give god either, and most theists are atheists regarding all alleged gods but the one their own franchise is about. The definition has to pass basic rational muster in order to even be worthy of consideration. Most gods don't make it out of the gate--they're not even coherent enough to quite be wrong.
 
Finally, yet again, because theists have no evidence upon which to base any allegation that a god exists they have to be making it up. If you can't derive an allegation from experience and/or evidence, you're making it up. That's the way reality works. If you posit that something exists "outside of nature" you're alleging that something exists "outside of any possible means for humans to have the first clue that it's there." So any given allegedly supernatural god is precisely as likely to exist in reality (as opposed to conceptually) as any other fictional character. Saying such a god doesn't really exist (independently of the mind) is the same as saying that there is no Superman or Father Time. The character of God is only given more credence because it's popular and his fans believe he's real (and teach their kids it's of ultimate personal importance that they also believe it, on pain of eternal torture).
 
Byron
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