Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Sweeping Science

Sweeping every religious belief under the umbrella term of "religion" is like grouping astrology, alchemy, homeopathy, and economics with real science. Sure, you'll find people that believe it, but that's hardly a reflection on the scientific community in general.

At best, extrapolating your average Christian from Pat Robertson and Fred Phelps is unfair. Worse, it's disingenuous. Calling religion "bad" because of their ilk would be like dismissing all science because of what Dr. John C. Cutler or Dr. Eduard Wirths did.

Goose, meet gander. Let's all play fair.


AC said...

Astrology, alchemy, homeopathy etc, are much closer to religion and have no place in science. You know this, I'm surprised you even say such a thing.

The religious mentality is essentially a belief based on faith, and faith is based on emotion. Emotion != Reason

The scientific mentality is based on reason, facts, and evidence.

Now, let's go entirely 100% logical here and see what happens.

Is there any evidence that humans were created by from the dirt one day? no.

Is there overwhelming evidence that we are the result of evolution? Yes.

Is there any evidence at all of supernatural occurrences? No.

Will the religious people disagree with this? Has their ability to function logically been diminished? yes.

If a person is 100% logical they cannot subscribe to any religion, even if it has no contradictions with current scientific findings, because religions have quite a lack of evidence in the first place.

If one really wants to be religious without damaging their intellect then they have to approach it like this:

1. view the religion as a philosophy.

2. Hope for the doctrine, but don't believe in it.

3. Freely accept the possibility that it might be wrong.

Am I being illogical about this? If so please point it out.

The Writer said...

I appreciate the thought you put into this. I enjoy discussing religion, and I like the insights you bring into the topic.

One important basis for any discussion, especially for something as complex as religion, is to make sure everyone involved in the discussion is on the same page. Part of that is making sure we're using the same definitions for key terms.

Tell me as exactly and succinctly as possible what you mean by "religion"

Give me the definition of "God" you're using as well.

The Writer said...

Ah, how brief, fleeting, tempestuous and pointless are online discussions. :)

Since AC appears to have moved on to newer and better forums, I'll just throw out a thought or two.

"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." --James 1:27

I read this scripture as saying that true religion is about serving others and perfecting ourselves.

Unfortunately, many people seem to interpret it the other way around--perfecting others and serving themselves.

Regardless, it seems pretty clear that any conflicts between science and particular churches are usually the fault of the churches overstepping their mandate.

Case in point: evolution v. creationism. Why does any church even get involved in this discussion? Last I checked, the method by which humans appeared on earth had nothing to do with personal salvation.

Jakeson said...

Well, I figure I may as well weigh in here, since the contentious party has left the building.

In response to the question about if AC's argument is illogical, yes, in fact it is. He commits several logical fallacies throughout the course of his argument. For example:
A. Some religions believe man was created from dirt.
B. Science has proved that man evolved.
C. Therefore, all religions are false.

I believe that is referred to as a strawman fallacy. Further logical flaws are found in his assertion that all religion is based entirely on emotion, that an intellect based solely on logic is the only undamaged form of intelligence, that there have been no supernatural occurences because he has not experienced them, etc. In short, once again, his argument is illogical and can be discarded even by the most rational of thinkers.

As for why evolution pops up so frequently, it is a typical bone of contention for many denominations of mainstream Christianity and many atheists. Many Christians have taken it upon themselves to defend an ex nihlo (Sp?) version of creation to the point of using pseudoscience. Some atheists have taken to using similar poor logic and faulty reasoning to try and disprove what they see as an annoyance, to their own aggrandizement, of course.

To me, it is a question of mechanics that does not truly matter for my religious belief. Whether monkey or mud, I know where I come from spiritually, and I rest comfortable with that knowledge in spite of the debates that may rage over the provenance of my flesh. Then again, I'm one of those poor "damaged" intellects aren't I? :)

AC said...

I don't have time to constantly monitor and respond to comments, be patient.

@Jakeson There are so many arguments I don't have the time to list them all, but evolution disproves a majority of them, and for the sake of this discussion that's the one I used.

Please tell me a religion that is based on reason, I know of none.

There has been no documented evidence of anything supernatural occurring. I don't base such a claim on my personal experience, but upon actual facts. If you believe this claim is false please provide the evidence.

Your last statement confirms my point, you are believing out of emotion, you are believing because you want to believe. What you call spiritual I call emotional.

Damaged intellect? Considering you just admitted you're content sticking your head in the sand, I would say so.

The Writer said...

>I don't have time to constantly monitor and respond to comments, be patient.

Well, you read my second comment.

> Please tell me a religion that is based on reason, I know of none.

But you didn't read my first. Let me try again:

Until you define what you mean by religion, you cannot make a coherent argument against it.

Until you do, I'm going to say that "mathematics" is a religion (by every dictionary definition) that is based on science.

See the problem?

AC said...

@Writer You're intentionally being (for lack of a better word) stupid and you know it.

>a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

Where is the moral code in mathematics? Where are the rituals? What superhuman entity do the mathematician worship?

You want me to define religion? Let me give it a shot. A belief in a supernatural being or force. A religious doctrine is not open to change or criticism, this concept is called "sacred".

Now, I'm sure you'll try to find some exception to this definition, and you're entirely missing the point.

I don't see why you are obsessed with the definition, you know that mathematics and the many sciences are not religions.

The only problem I see is you ignoring the main point, and wasting time on tiny details with arguments that are ultimately pointless and irrelevant. You can call water sour cream and sour cream water, but that doesn't change what they actually are.

The Writer said...

I appreciate your honesty and enthusiasm for our discussion.

At the same time, I feel that this discussion is losing its focus on understanding and learning from each other's point of view. I'm going to close this discussion for now, and perhaps we can pick it up in person some time.