PvM posted Entry 1957 on January 31, 2006 01:46 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1952

Catholic Online has published an article in which the director of the Vatican Observatory, Jesuit Father George V. Coyne speaks out, once again, against the perils of intelligent design.

Father Coyne observes that

Intelligent Design reduces and belittles God’s power and might, according to the director of the Vatican Observatory.

But Father Coyne goes much further

In his remarks, he also criticizes the cardinal archbishop of Vienna’s support for Intelligent Design and notes that Pope John Paul’s declaration that “evolution is no longer a mere hypothesis” is “a fundamental church teaching” which advances the evolutionary debate.

Father Coyne corrects several of the flaws in the Cardinal’s (Schoenborn) claims:

“One, the scientific theory of evolution, as all scientific theories, is completely neutral with respect to religious thinking; two, the message of John Paul II, which I have just referred to and which is dismissed by the cardinal as ‘rather vague and unimportant,’ is a fundamental church teaching which significantly advances the evolution debate; three, neo-Darwinian evolution is not in the words of the cardinal, ‘an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection;’ four, the apparent directionality seen by science in the evolutionary process does not require a designer; five, Intelligent Design is not science despite the cardinal’s statement that ‘neo-Darwinism and the multi-verse hypothesis in cosmology [were] invented to avoid the overwhelming evidence for purpose and design found in modern science,’”

The words of a dedicated scientist and a person of great faith.

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Comment #76376

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on January 31, 2006 1:58 AM (e)

I just wish there were more of us who were religious and stated that ID is definitely not in ‘support’ of God as clearly as that.

Comment #76377

Posted by PvM on January 31, 2006 2:12 AM (e)

Father Coyne has shown his dismay at Intelligent Design before.

“Intelligent design isn’t science, even if it pretends to be,” said Father George Coyne. He said that if the theory is introduced in schools, it should be taught in religion classes, not science classes. ANSA reported that the Jesuit priest made his remarks at a conference in Florence.

The comments show some “interesting” myths about Darwinian theory

Comment #76379

Posted by PvM on January 31, 2006 2:15 AM (e)

And other great quote, showing the continued appeal by some ID proponents to an obvious argument from ignorance, even though they deny it strongly

Among believers, Father Coyne said, there’s an unfortunate tendency to “latch onto God” when scientific explanations fall short. “One gets the impression from certain religious believers that they fondly hope for the durability of certain gaps in our scientific knowledge of evolution, so they can fill them with God,” he said.

After all, we all know that life is designed because of the purposeful arrangement of parts….

Now can someone tell me what is wrong with this statement?

Combine this with the obvious conflation of terms such as complexity and information which merely reflect our ignorance and one quickly is forced to dismiss ID as being scientifically vacuous.

Comment #76380

Posted by Renier on January 31, 2006 2:39 AM (e)

This is good stuff. Let’s just hope the faithful flock listens…

Comment #76381

Posted by Mike Elzinga on January 31, 2006 2:52 AM (e)

The other take on this is that some people want their religion to be superior to all others by having the imprimatur of science. Then their superior righteousness gives them political justification to impose their wills on others. Isn’t that the general message of the Wedge document? It would produce what could be called a “protoscientific theocracy.”

Comment #76383

Posted by Albion on January 31, 2006 3:17 AM (e)

Well, that’s told the Cardinal! I wonder if he’s regretting having been talked into writing that article and having the Discovery Institute’s PR company get it placed at the New York Times.

Father Coyne’s opinion about the theological status of evolution is not unlike that of the Anglican Bishop of Oxford, who said the following in response to the controversy about the teaching of creationism at Emmanuel College in England a couple of years ago:

“I find what this school is doing sad for a number of reasons. First, the theory of evolution, far from undermining faith, deepens it. This was quickly seen by Frederick Temple, later Archbishop of Canterbury, who said that God doesn’t just make the world, he does something even more wonderful, he makes the world make itself. God has given creation a real independence and the miraculous fact is that working in relation to this independent life God has, as it were, woven creation from the bottom upwards: with matter giving rise to life and life giving rise to conscious reflective existence in the likes of you and me. The fact that the universe probably began about 12 billion years ago with life beginning to evolve about 3 billion years ago simply underlines the extraordinary detailed, persistent, patience of the divine creator spirit.”

Comment #76387

Posted by SoS on January 31, 2006 5:38 AM (e)

Frankly, I’m having a hard time figuring out which religions besides Christianity ID really “helps”. Take the “aliens did it” argument. What about the aliens? “Designed”, ad infinitum?

That aside, ID really does belittle the idea of God. Would a perfect creator, who wants people’s faith in his existence irregardless of proof, really be so sloppy as to leave signs of his handiwork just lying around? Even as philosophy, ID is pretty vacuous.

Comment #76390

Posted by the pro from dover on January 31, 2006 6:41 AM (e)

This article supports the idea that God is not the great cosmic puppeteer up in the sky moving the quarks and leptons around making everything happen for some mysterious purpose but interacts with believers in a totally spiritual way separate from empiric investigation. This idea has been pooh-poohed by contributors to PT in the past as being meaningless but in fact it is a crucial belief among many main stream Christians who reject the teaching of ID in highschool science classes and support evolutionary biology. These people are our allies.

Comment #76392

Posted by buddha on January 31, 2006 7:23 AM (e)

These people are our allies.

I’ll choose my own allies, thanks. In my experience, the religious folk claiming a special relationship with the gods can be just as dominating as the religious folk claiming science supports their religion.

Comment #76393

Posted by buddha on January 31, 2006 7:51 AM (e)

Another page at Catholic Online quotes Benedict XVI:

In fact, only supernatural charity, like that which flows continually from the heart of Christ, can explain the exceptional flowering down through the centuries of male and female religious orders and institutes, and other forms of consecrated life.

Is the pope here claiming empirical evidence for the existence of gods?

Comment #76394

Posted by Ginger Yellow on January 31, 2006 7:59 AM (e)

What apparent directionality seen by science in the evolutionary process?

Comment #76398

Posted by Caledonian on January 31, 2006 8:26 AM (e)

This position refutes ID at the cost of accepting an even more absurd idea: that an entity that doesn’t interact with the universe can be meaningfully said to ‘exist’.

You might as well say that God used evaporative cooling to chill my piping-hot soup because he loves me.

Comment #76400

Posted by George on January 31, 2006 8:29 AM (e)

Renier wrote:

This is good stuff. Let’s just hope the faithful flock listens…

As someone who grew up Catholic in east Tennessee, I can say that the ID/creationist base of fundamentalist Protestants will pay no attention whatsoever to what someone in the Vatican says. We got plenty of leaflets in the door or the supermarket explaining that the Pope is the Anti-Christ. But maybe some Catholics and other moderate Christians deceived by the Intelligent Design Hoax will listen.

Comment #76401

Posted by gslamb on January 31, 2006 8:45 AM (e)

You might as well say that God used evaporative cooling to chill my piping-hot soup because he loves me.

Actually, that is what they’re saying (or, at least, believing). The nice thing is that they are not taking you to court to make you aknowledge it. I am much happier with people that can accept their god on faith than with those who must prove god exists “scientifimagically”.

Comment #76404

Posted by JKC on January 31, 2006 8:53 AM (e)

buddha wrote:

I’ll choose my own allies, thanks. In my experience, the religious folk claiming a special relationship with the gods can be just as dominating as the religious folk claiming science supports their religion.

But without us theistic evolutionists, how would you be able to convince the other side that you can have your cake and eat it too?

Of course, if all you want to do is play defense and keep creationism from invading the classroom, I suppose you can do without us. But if you actually hope to educate and convince this rather large group (that is trying to destroy you) you should probably be a bit more tolerant.

Comment #76405

Posted by Keith Douglas on January 31, 2006 8:57 AM (e)

I sometimes wonder whether having all these Catholics (Miller, etc.) speak out sometimese backfires. After all, as was pointed out, the fundies don’t like the Catholics very much - I’m sure their “doctrinal laxity” or whatever would be said might further alienate some of them.

(Incidentally, why has the comments field been moved to the start of the comments? This is somewhat annoying if one wants to read the comments and then contribute.)

Comment #76406

Posted by Caledonian on January 31, 2006 9:00 AM (e)

But if you actually hope to educate and convince this rather large group (that is trying to destroy you) you should probably be a bit more tolerant.

We’re scientists and rationalists. We don’t tailor our message for maximum spin. If presenting the truth as clearly and completely as we can’t doesn’t bring people to our side, we don’t want them.

Comment #76407

Posted by Lurker on January 31, 2006 9:05 AM (e)

Christians should make it clear that messages of anti-theism and anti-Christianity can also come from pseudoscientific poseurs from within their own ranks, like Dembski. For this, I applaud Father Coyne. If the only life line sustaining ID is the popular notion that it advances apologetics of God, regardless of its failure as a scientific research program, then we need to hear more of this.

Comment #76408

Posted by Raging Bee on January 31, 2006 9:08 AM (e)

Caledonian wrote:

We’re scientists and rationalists. We don’t tailor our message for maximum spin. If presenting the truth as clearly and completely as we can’t doesn’t bring people to our side, we don’t want them.

That’s easy for you to say. You’re not the one trying to form a sensible and productive policy and get large numbers of voters to support it; nor are you the one taking the heat if anything goes wrong.

Comment #76409

Posted by Caledonian on January 31, 2006 9:09 AM (e)

“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: democracy simply doesn’t work.”

Comment #76411

Posted by Greg H on January 31, 2006 9:23 AM (e)

buddha wrote:

I’ll choose my own allies, thanks. In my experience, the religious folk claiming a special relationship with the gods can be just as dominating as the religious folk claiming science supports their religion.

Perhaps so, but at least they aren’t trying to masquerade their religious beliefs as science and force the state to teach them to my children. In other words, they aren’t lying to our faces, and expecting us to be stupid enough not to notice.

Comment #76423

Posted by AD on January 31, 2006 10:12 AM (e)

We’re scientists and rationalists. We don’t tailor our message for maximum spin. If presenting the truth as clearly and completely as we can’t doesn’t bring people to our side, we don’t want them.

There’s a difference between being objective and being a bombastic jackass, however. You might not tailor a message for maximum spin, but if more scientists tailored their messages for actual readability and understandability outside their specific discipline (even with much more brief papers), you would eliminate many of the problems we currently have.

One cannot exist in an ivory tower and ultimately refuse to communicate in understandable terms, and then expect people to just magically believe you about your field. That’s as much of a leap of faith as believing in God, which you seem highly averse to.

As to the bit about God and the Catholic beliefs on it (as espoused by Coyne), he’s saying that he believes God exists on faith, and that there is not scientifically testable empirical evidence for this. He’s saying it’s a matter of how you interpret the evidence in a philosophical sense, and certainly there is not an effort to ram it down anyone’s throat here. I find this fully acceptable in any society where there is free exchange of ideas, even if I don’t personally agree with him. He’s not trying to teach this in school (in fact, I suspect he’d advocate against it from what he said), so what’s the problem, really?

Comment #76433

Posted by Timothy Chase on January 31, 2006 10:31 AM (e)

Keith Douglas wrote:

I sometimes wonder whether having all these Catholics (Miller, etc.) speak out sometimese backfires. After all, as was pointed out, the fundies don’t like the Catholics very much - I’m sure their “doctrinal laxity” or whatever would be said might further alienate some of them.

(See #76405 above)

Geez! Now we don’t have to worry about just the Catholics, either!

Check out the following:

An Open Letter Concerning Religion and Science (We’ve reached our goal of gathering 10,000 clergy signatures. The next step in our campaign is outlined here.)

Comment #76435

Posted by Timothy Chase on January 31, 2006 10:40 AM (e)

Lurker wrote:

Christians should make it clear that messages of anti-theism and anti-Christianity can also come from pseudoscientific poseurs from within their own ranks, like Dembski. For this, I applaud Father Coyne. If the only life line sustaining ID is the popular notion that it advances apologetics of God, regardless of its failure as a scientific research program, then we need to hear more of this.

(See above)

Here are two articles you might like:

Religion and Science

A Test for Intelligent Design Proponents

Comment #76436

Posted by buddha on January 31, 2006 10:41 AM (e)

JKC wrote:

But without us theistic evolutionists, how would you be able to convince the other side that you can have your cake and eat it too?

I’m not trying to convince anyone to have their cake and eat it too. I’d rather convince people to become atheists because that seems to me to be the only sustainable strategy for keeping religious fundamentalists off the Supreme Court. Religion begets religious fundamentalists; no religion, no religious fundamentalists.

Comment #76438

Posted by buddha on January 31, 2006 10:44 AM (e)

JKC wrote:

But without us theistic evolutionists, how would you be able to convince the other side that you can have your cake and eat it too?

I’m not trying to convince anyone to have their cake and eat it too. I’d rather convince people to become atheists because that seems to me to be the only sustainable strategy for keeping religious fundamentalists off the Supreme Court. Religion begets religious fundamentalists; no religion, no religious fundamentalists.

Comment #76439

Posted by buddha on January 31, 2006 10:53 AM (e)

Greg H wrote:

Perhaps so, but at least they aren’t trying to masquerade their religious beliefs as science and force the state to teach them to my children.

This was the thin edge of the wedge. It’s the other stuff that worries me. I don’t really care about poor science standards in some hick town in Pennsylvania. I do care whenever religious fundamentalists are trying to turn the country into a theocracy, regardless of their view of evolution/creation.

Comment #76444

Posted by AD on January 31, 2006 11:01 AM (e)

I’m not trying to convince anyone to have their cake and eat it too. I’d rather convince people to become atheists because that seems to me to be the only sustainable strategy for keeping religious fundamentalists off the Supreme Court. Religion begets religious fundamentalists; no religion, no religious fundamentalists.

Except that most people classify atheism as a religion, and by attempting to force it onto other people, you become an atheistic fundamentalist.

There’s always going to be someone trying to do something crazy in the name of their beliefs - that’s just how humans behave. One of those incontrovertable facts, like evolution. The question is formulating an efficient and sensible response.

Comment #76446

Posted by Greg H on January 31, 2006 11:06 AM (e)

But you see, I do care about the fundies trying to change science standards in some hick town in PA, because that’s exactly where they are most likely to be successful.

And if they succeed there, they create an entire group of fundies that share the same beliefs they do, that then grow up, move away to other areas, and start pushing the same agenda.

In the end, all they really have to do is out-reproduce us. So if we don’t stop them, here and now, we face the much harder task of stopping them later when they make up an even larger percentage of the population.

I agree the evo-ID debate is just the tip of the true iceberg, but if you don’t pay attention to the tip, you find out the real problem is lurking just under the surface.

Comment #76447

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on January 31, 2006 11:07 AM (e)

buddha wrote:

I’m not trying to convince anyone to have their cake and eat it too. I’d rather convince people to become atheists because that seems to me to be the only sustainable strategy for keeping religious fundamentalists off the Supreme Court. Religion begets religious fundamentalists; no religion, no religious fundamentalists.

AD wrote:

Except that most people classify atheism as a religion, and by attempting to force it onto other people, you become an atheistic fundamentalist.

Somehow in between the original post and the reply, convince transformed into force. Must be a point mutation.

Comment #76448

Posted by buddha on January 31, 2006 11:15 AM (e)

Greg H wrote:

And if they succeed there, they create an entire group of fundies that share the same beliefs they do, that then grow up, move away to other areas, and start pushing the same agenda.

This is exactly what occurs in churches. Religion begets religious fundamentalists, no matter how many enlightened religious people there are as well. I’d rather just convince (yes, convince, not force) people not to form those churches based around a book that glorifies genocide in the first place.

Comment #76455

Posted by Greg H on January 31, 2006 11:53 AM (e)

Well, buddha, I can’t fault you for your ideals. I myself have waffled back and forth between agnosticism and religious belief myself, and frankly have just washed my hands of the whole thing. God or gods, I let them be and they leave me alone, and we’re all good.

But I do keep an eye on these debates simply because not everyone shares my (humble) good sense about such things, and they keep trying to force their viewpoints on others. And while I concede that they have the right to believe as they choose (or choose not) to believe, I also believe in my right to keep them from pushing their agenda into my home, or your home, or anyone else’s home.

At any rate, before we derail this thread any further, I say we either move this particular aspect of the discussion to the Bathroom Wall, or agree to disagree on the way we beat the fundies.

Comment #76462

Posted by Andy H. on January 31, 2006 12:14 PM (e)

All this shows is that there is a raging controversy in the Catholic church over evolution and intelligent design.

Coyne is talking through his hat when he says, “neo-Darwinian evolution is not in the words of the cardinal [Cardinal Schonborn], ‘an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection.’ “ From – http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.… That is exactly what neo-Darwinism is.

ALso, Coyne is taking what should be a scientific issue – evolution vs. irreducible complexity – and trying to change it into a theological issue.

Anyway, evolutionists should be careful about playing footsie with religion — it could get evolution banned from public-school science classrooms. LOL

Comment #76465

Posted by PvM on January 31, 2006 12:16 PM (e)

What apparent directionality seen by science in the evolutionary process

Towards complexity

Comment #76467

Posted by buddha on January 31, 2006 12:30 PM (e)

Greg H wrote:

[…] agree to disagree on the way we beat the fundies.

Okay. I’m not an evangelistic atheist but whenever religious people witness to me at university I don’t miss the opportunity to witness in return! As an aside, I am reminded of Wolfgang Pauli: “If I understand Dirac correctly, his meaning is this: there is no God, and Dirac is his Prophet.”

Back on topic: are there any Catholics who would defend Father Coyne’s fideist Non-Overlapping Magisteria when Benedict XVI is still talking about empirical evidence for the existence of gods:

In fact, only supernatural charity, like that which flows continually from the heart of Christ, can explain the exceptional flowering down through the centuries of male and female religious orders and institutes, and other forms of consecrated life.

Comment #76469

Posted by PvM on January 31, 2006 12:44 PM (e)

buddha wrote:

Back on topic: are there any Catholics who would defend Father Coyne’s fideist Non-Overlapping Magisteria when Benedict XVI is still talking about empirical evidence for the existence of gods:

In fact, only supernatural charity, like that which flows continually from the heart of Christ, can explain the exceptional flowering down through the centuries of male and female religious orders and institutes, and other forms of consecrated life.

Empirical evidence? Or faith… Sounds more like the latter.

Comment #76472

Posted by Arden Chatfield on January 31, 2006 12:58 PM (e)

Also, Coyne is taking what should be a scientific issue — evolution vs. irreducible complexity — and trying to change it into a theological issue.

Ho ho ho, Andy, your mastery of irony is greater than any of us could have ever dreamed! Keep ‘em coming!

Comment #76473

Posted by blipey on January 31, 2006 1:01 PM (e)

buddha wrote:

I’m not trying to convince anyone to have their cake and eat it too. I’d rather convince people to become atheists because that seems to me to be the only sustainable strategy for keeping religious fundamentalists off the Supreme Court. Religion begets religious fundamentalists; no religion, no religious fundamentalists.

AD wrote:

Except that most people classify atheism as a religion, and by attempting to force it onto other people, you become an atheistic fundamentalist.

Somehow in between the original post and the reply, convince transformed into force. Must be a point mutation.

Yes, buddha’s statement was probably not as strong as AD assumed. However, the point is still much the same. Buddha’s stance is a little militant.

A. Jews beget anti-semites.
B. No Jews, no anti-semites.

I’m not saying this is a stance that buddha holds, but the idea behind it is much the same. I don’t believe it is healthy in modern society to “cleanse” anyone based solely on our disagreements.

The disagreement betweet IDiots and scientists need not be a disagreement between those of us who are fighting the same fight. As has been said by many others brighter than I, people like Ken Miller are our friends. If they hold ideas that differ from ours, what difference does it make if those ideas do not infringe upon us, affect our work (or theirs, for that matter), and do not affect the daily lives of those around them?

Comment #76475

Posted by buddha on January 31, 2006 1:08 PM (e)

PvM wrote:

Empirical evidence?

Yes. The pope claims that only supernaturalism can explain the growth of religious orders (a quantifiable observation). It appears the pope, along with the IDiots, believes in the god of the gaps. What would Father Coyne have to say about this?

Comment #76476

Posted by George on January 31, 2006 1:12 PM (e)

Andy H. wrote:

All this shows is that there is a raging controversy in the Catholic church over evolution and intelligent design.

What raging controversy? I live in Ireland (how much more of a Catholic country can you get?), and there’s barely any coverage of ID in the news. Evolution is part of the countrywide secondary school curriculum, and most schools are still run by various religious orders. Sure, there are some fundie Catholics (technically a contradiction, but you know what I mean) about, but they’re in the minority or at least very, very quiet.

In fact the only bit of a stir that started up in the papers recently was in reaction to staunch atheists singing the bipolar science-vs-religion-with-nothing-in-between line.

Comment #76477

Posted by PvM on January 31, 2006 1:13 PM (e)

Yes. The pope claims that only supernaturalism can explain the growth of religious orders (a quantifiable observation). It appears the pope, along with the IDiots, believes in the god of the gaps. What would Father Coyne have to say about this?

I think you are misunderstanding both the pope and Coyne.

Comment #76478

Posted by PvM on January 31, 2006 1:17 PM (e)

Buddha, you seem to be confusing observable data with empirical arguments.
For instance “only God can explain the origin of this universe” is a faith based statement especially if one argues that God set it all in motion before the Big Bang. Two separate magistera.

Or “it was God’s love which saved me”…Again nothing empirical about this.

1. Relying on or derived from observation or experiment: empirical results that supported the hypothesis.
2. Verifiable or provable by means of observation or experiment: empirical laws.
2. Guided by practical experience and not theory, especially in medicine.

Comment #76479

Posted by geogeek on January 31, 2006 1:20 PM (e)

I always get a couple of creationists (usually they wouldn’t be able to tell you what kind they are, not having thought much beyond whatever they’ve heard in church) in my geology classes, and have to put in the caveat that some of them think of Catholics as somewhere between misled and evil. I’ve had to cut off several conversations including Catholic-bashing. I would be willing to bet that a great statement like this would make no difference or increase the conviction in creation for many of these students.

Comment #76480

Posted by geogeek on January 31, 2006 1:22 PM (e)

I always get a couple of creationists (usually they wouldn’t be able to tell you what kind they are, not having thought much beyond whatever they’ve heard in church) in my geology classes, and have to put in the caveat that some of them think of Catholics as somewhere between misled and evil. I’ve had to cut off several conversations including Catholic-bashing. I would be willing to bet that a great statement like this would make no difference or increase the conviction in creation for many of these students.

p.s. what is this required “wait time” message I just got? An enforced cooling-off time in case I’m flaming someone?

Comment #76481

Posted by natural cynic on January 31, 2006 1:22 PM (e)

The whole idea of a wedge (or The Wedge) is to start with hick towns as a means of introducing psuedoscience so that it can be more easily accepted elsewhere. If one is worried about an expanding theocratic mentality showing up in a secular institution in the US (as I am), it has to be refuted wherever and in whatever form it exists.

Comment #76484

Posted by Stephen Elliott on January 31, 2006 1:26 PM (e)

These kinds of comments baffle me.

Posted by Caledonian on January 31, 2006 09:00 AM (e)

We’re scientists and rationalists. We don’t tailor our message for maximum spin. If presenting the truth as clearly and completely as we can’t doesn’t bring people to our side, we don’t want them.

Posted by buddha on January 31, 2006 10:44 AM (e)

I’m not trying to convince anyone to have their cake and eat it too. I’d rather convince people to become atheists because that seems to me to be the only sustainable strategy for keeping religious fundamentalists off the Supreme Court. Religion begets religious fundamentalists; no religion, no religious fundamentalists.

Are you deliberately trying to drive-away the majority of your support?

Or are you claiming (rather arrogantly) that science disproved God?

I consider evangelical atheists just as obnoxious as evangelical religious people.

Comment #76485

Posted by BWE on January 31, 2006 1:29 PM (e)

http://illiterat.livejournal.com/1755.html

Dear Religious Nutjobs,

“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” – Stephen Roberts.

I thought this might be relevant.

Comment #76487

Posted by BWE on January 31, 2006 1:30 PM (e)

Not because I am an athiest. I am not an athiest. But, somehow the comment seemed relevant.

Comment #76488

Posted by BWE on January 31, 2006 1:40 PM (e)

Stephen Elliott ,
An interesting question: Do you think science has disproved god?

I would say that science has made mincemeat out of creation myths but really can’t say anything about god. In other words, religion as a political structure is based on some tenets that don’t hold up under the scrutiny of scientific investigation but that the “spiritual awareness” many people feel holds up pretty well. I just finished The God Gene and I think that a lot of people who use the spiritual underpinnings of many religions are not hampered in arriving at scientific conclusion based on evidence. These guys at the vatican have some pretty educated folks and they make sense in a lot of what they say. It’s pretty hard to deny them a lot of their view of their religion whereas it’s pretty easy to deny fundies most of their views.

Comment #76490

Posted by buddha on January 31, 2006 1:47 PM (e)

PvM wrote:

Buddha, you seem to be confusing observable data with empirical arguments. For instance “only God can explain the origin of this universe” is a faith based statement especially if one argues that God set it all in motion before the Big Bang. Two separate magistera.

I think the pope is arguing from the observable data (the growth in religious orders, if this is the case, even) to the supernatural conclusion. This is an empirical argument, and a god of the gaps argument.

To say it is a “faith based statement” is to say that - having assumed the existence of a god intimately involved in history - that only supernaturalism could then explain the growth of religious orders. This is not at all convincing to someone who doesn’t already believe it, and it adds nothing to the understanding of someone who does. It is simply vacuous.

It seems to me that when the pope says that “only supernatural charity […] can explain the exceptional flowering down through the centuries” of various religious orders, that he is not intending to make a vacuous statement, but an argument (however weak) for the reality of supernatural charity.

Comment #76493

Posted by Gorbe on January 31, 2006 1:51 PM (e)

“To need God would be a very denial of God. God is not a response to a need,” the Jesuit says, adding that some religious believers act as if they “fondly hope for the durability of certain gaps in our scientific knowledge of evolution, so that they can fill them with God.”

Very well put. It explains why fundamentalist Christians must have mystery (or the appearance thereof) in order to make their lives have meaning. Whereas, to the scientist, a mystery is viewed as a challenge - the more elusive, the better. I imagine there has to be a “shrink” out there who can explain these vastly different perspectives in terms of personality development.

Comment #76495

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on January 31, 2006 1:54 PM (e)

buddha wrote:

Okay. I’m not an evangelistic atheist…

There are so few of those.

JOHN SAFRAN VS GOD 2004 (SBS-TV)
In his most audacious project yet, John set off across the globe to take on religion… He doorknocks in Utah and tries to convert Mormons to atheism…

I hope most people would recognize the quoted text as humorous (or an attempt to be so) due to the extreme rarity of the described events.

Comment #76497

Posted by buddha on January 31, 2006 1:58 PM (e)

Stephen Elliott wrote:

Are you deliberately trying to drive-away the majority of your support?

I’m trying to change the numbers.

Or are you claiming (rather arrogantly) that science disproved God?

I think science has demonstrated the vacuity and untestability of religion. On the contrary, atheism can be tested: a six-thousand year old universe would have falsified my worldview.

Comment #76499

Posted by Stephen Elliott on January 31, 2006 2:03 PM (e)

Posted by BWE on January 31, 2006 01:40 PM (e)

Stephen Elliott ,
An interesting question: Do you think science has disproved god?

I agree with what you are saying. I think. IMO. Science and religion are separate issues. When people try to use religion to argue against science I consider it stupid.

On the other hand, to use science to try and disprove God (not BTW particular claims from fundies) also seems stupid.

It someway sounds like trying to use maths to disprove poetry.

Comment #76500

Posted by Stephen Elliott on January 31, 2006 2:10 PM (e)

Posted by buddha on January 31, 2006 01:58 PM (e)

I think science has demonstrated the vacuity and untestability of religion. On the contrary, atheism can be tested: a six-thousand year old universe would have falsified my worldview.

I would grant you that God/religion is not testable. I do not concur that it is vacuous though.

It would seem to me that a fairly large % of people appear to get something positive from a religious belief.

You may consider it vacuous, but that does not make it so.

Comment #76502

Posted by k.e. on January 31, 2006 2:15 PM (e)

BWE your quote…

“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” — Stephen Roberts.

One only has to look at how religions and gods have ‘evoloved’ from the earliest ancient nomadic peoples with shaman and ‘dream times’ through the arc of agricultural settlements with female fertility goddesses.
The take overs by growing early warlike tribes with their male based war gods such as Yahweh. The growth of rich civilizations with the trinities of Isis, Brahamn etc through to multicultural kingdoms which required a more forgiving God for society to function and their accompanying myths to see that the above statement makes more sense than most would acknowledge. Man creates in his mind whatever takes his fancy and the more desire for control the more controlling his fancies are. Divine inspiration ? read Behe’s day dream its all there “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could read gods mind.”
Man IS a social animal and the only way that can work is if we can read each others minds.
Ask any Politician or car salesman (and some priests) “How do you know how people are going to react?”
They would look at you as if you had come down in the last shower, “Are you from a different planet” they would ask.
All people have to be able to do it just to function in society and some are better at it than others. Just look at good old JC or The Buddha they were onto something …but a sky daddy ?
Well religion is mind reading and pandering(mostly to preists) backed up by a rich and powerful king and the really big ones didn’t get there by playing to anyone weak points.
Quite conveinient really, if the king is the son of the sun, not too many people are going to question that one are they ?
They know which side of the bread has the ghee.

Comment #76505

Posted by BWE on January 31, 2006 2:32 PM (e)

Budda,

I think maybe you are confusing religion with god. And maybe God with god. Consider this common argument from fundies: from a bacterium’s point of view, your gut may be the whole universe. How can it know what is outside of it? So, to a bacteria, we have, what might be aptly called goddish properties. The bacteria may not relate to us in any meaningful way and we may not relate to it in any meaningful (conscious) way but the relationship exists. If we can reflect on our own universe but not on other, external universes, this doesn’t make them non-existent. It doesn’t make them relevant but it doesn’t disprove them either. So that is the cosmological point.

There is also a personal point: we are made of the universe’s stuff and we can observe and reflect. That means the universe can self organize at some level to reflect upon itself. Regardless of the reasons for this, in apt title for this reflection in our lexicon is “spirituality”. Despite the fact that religions have hijacked that experience and burdened it with artificial guilt and political power (I didn’t know it was the holy land but I believed from the minute the check left my hand), the experience is observable and repeatable and is the subject of several scientific studies which do not make the claim that the experience is not real.

So maybe your issue is semantic. Or maybe not. I’m just trying to build bridges here. It takes a village y’know.

Comment #76509

Posted by buddha on January 31, 2006 2:52 PM (e)

BWE wrote:

If we can reflect on our own universe but not on other, external universes, this doesn’t make them non-existent. It doesn’t make them relevant but it doesn’t disprove them either.

I am agnostic wrt other universes because I don’t know if other universes could interact with this universe in principle. That is, both the proposition “there are other universes” and the proposition “there are no other universes” are untestable.

This is not the case with gods: gods in principle could interact with this universe - but the gods may choose not to do this. Thus the proposition “there are gods” is untestable, but the proposition “there are no gods” is testable: a miracle (for example, a six-thousand year old universe) would disprove atheism.

That means the universe can self organize at some level to reflect upon itself. Regardless of the reasons for this, in apt title for this reflection in our lexicon is “spirituality”. […] the experience is observable and repeatable and is the subject of several scientific studies which do not make the claim that the experience is not real.

You may be equivocating here. You define “spirituality” as merely self-reflection, which obviously occurs, but then you say that “spirituality” is the subject of several scientific studies, which suggests to me that you might mean something beyond merely self-reflection.

Comment #76512

Posted by AD on January 31, 2006 3:06 PM (e)

I think the pope is arguing from the observable data (the growth in religious orders, if this is the case, even) to the supernatural conclusion. This is an empirical argument, and a god of the gaps argument.

I think that is a little bit too broad to call it a “god of the gaps” argument.

If you are attempting to argue to a spiritual/supernatural why from empirical evidence, that is not a god of the gaps argument, it’s a philosophical conjecture based on real-world data.

The god of the gaps argument is using god to explain something we do not know (in a scientific sense), which is different than using god to explain something we cannot know (in a scientific sense).

For instance:
“I don’t know how these flagellum evolved, so it must have been god” is a god of the gaps argument.
“I don’t know why a universe such as this one exists, even though I accept it and understand how it works. I believe God must have put this system in place,” is not a god of the gaps argument. That is theistic science, instead. The argument is that, based on the observable data, the logical conclusion to draw is that because of all of these finely tuned systems which both have worked in the past and continue to work, there must be a designer.

You might disagree with the conclusion in the latter example, or you might just be unwilling to make the leap of faith in the last step, but at no point are they trying to fill a “gap”. They are answering a question it is impossible to use science to answer.

Which brings me to the final point: Science has no more disproved god than it has proved god. Science, in a proper sense, has nothing to say about god. It might disprove individual empirically observable bits of creation myths and what not, but that just tells you the accounting of the myth is likely flawed. It doesn’t say anything about any supernatural creator being (or, for that matter, any kind of supernatural being).

Comment #76513

Posted by BWE on January 31, 2006 3:10 PM (e)

This is not the case with gods: gods in principle could interact with this universe - but the gods may choose not to do this. Thus the proposition “there are gods” is untestable, but the proposition “there are no gods” is testable: a miracle (for example, a six-thousand year old universe) would disprove atheism.

Hmmm. If we can prove that our universe is a closed system which displays no evidence for “magic” i.e meddling by a god, this disproves god? How?

You may be equivocating here. You define “spirituality” as merely self-reflection, which obviously occurs, but then you say that “spirituality” is the subject of several scientific studies, which suggests to me that you might mean something beyond merely self-reflection.

Spirituality is the feeling that there may be relevance to the observation that we can reflect. There is a specific test that I just read about and I’ll try to dig it up. You may be right that I am equivocating.

At any rate, I can’t see how it matters whether it is or isn’t relevant. You’re born, you live and you die. It’s only the middle part that seems to matter.

Comment #76517

Posted by BWE on January 31, 2006 3:41 PM (e)

Science is and should be seen as “completely neutral” on the issue of the theistic or atheistic implications of scientific results, says Father George V. Coyne, director of the Vatican Observatory, while noting that “science and religion are totally separate pursuits.”

It did take the church a while to come around to this point of view though, dint it?

Comment #76519

Posted by Lou FCD on January 31, 2006 3:45 PM (e)

Quite a bit of time, and not a little blood.

Comment #76531

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on January 31, 2006 4:37 PM (e)

Several responses crammed into one:

I kind of like the posting window at the top. If it’s just a little harder to post, there will be fewer overly-spontaneous, off-the-cuff posts.

What apparent directionality seen by science in the evolutionary process?

Only that it would be unreasonable for life to start out at the “complex” end of the scale. Even if your direction is random, when you’re at the bottom the only way to move is up. And since evolution works slowly and in small steps, only more complex things have the possibility to evolve into something even more complex. Thus, the apparent directionality appears of you happen to be ignoring anything that happens to evolve into something less complex (e.g. many parasites, if I’m not mistaken).

re: religion, faith, etc., one possible (and IMHO desirable) goal in opposing fundamentalism is not to explicitly push atheism, but to show that religion and faith are choices, not inevitable truths, and thereby make atheism socially acceptable (which, in much of the US [e.g. “red” states, where freedom of religion cannot possibly mean freedom from religion] it is not). Also, religions seek to destroy atheism by “divine mandate.” To the extent that atheism may be seeking to destroy religion, it is in self-defense (which, I will admit, seems uncomfortably similar logic to Jews WRT Arabs).

“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: democracy simply doesn’t work.”

“Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those others that have been tried from time to time.”
WINSTON CHURCHILL (1874-1965)

“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”
H.L. MENCKEN (1880-1956)

“Democracy is a form of government that substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.”
GEORGE BERNARD SHAW (1856-1950)

‘Nuff said.

Comment #76533

Posted by AC on January 31, 2006 4:52 PM (e)

BWE wrote:

If we can prove that our universe is a closed system which displays no evidence for “magic” i.e meddling by a god….

Consider this: Brane theory (related to superstrings) suggests that our universe exists within a higher-dimensional geometry, where other universes could also “float”. Gravity is described by a closed-loop string, which means it could “leak” out of its original universe. Some speculate that this could be the source of observed “dark matter/energy” phenomena.

And yet, as weird and still speculative as that is, it still doesn’t invoke magic or a god. Not a disproof, sure, but gods are seeming more and more like mere flights of human fancy as science progresses.

Comment #76535

Posted by Chuck C on January 31, 2006 5:06 PM (e)

bhudda wrote:

Back on topic: are there any Catholics who would defend Father Coyne’s fideist Non-Overlapping Magisteria when Benedict XVI is still talking about empirical evidence for the existence of gods:

In fact, only supernatural charity, like that which flows continually from the heart of Christ, can explain the exceptional flowering down through the centuries of male and female religious orders and institutes, and other forms of consecrated life.

In reading the actual article, it is pretty clear to me (as, admittedly, a Catholic) that he is making a statement of faith regarding the source of the inspiration toward charity, and not an affirmation of empirical evidence. To be blunt, the words you snipped, and the manner in which you present them, bear a striking resemblance to quote mining for the purpose of building a straw man, which practice I think I needn’t describe in detail for those present.

It hardly behooves us to adopt those tactics which we decry in our adversaries: accord others (especially those arguing in favor of your side of the debate, for Steve’s sake) the same respect and lattitude which you request from them.

Comment #76536

Posted by BWE on January 31, 2006 5:07 PM (e)

AC
As far as the big chief who will really get you if you get outta line? I guess, science has, to my satisfaction, disproved that guy.

Comment #76537

Posted by Caledonian on January 31, 2006 5:08 PM (e)

Stephen Elliot wrote:

Or are you claiming (rather arrogantly) that science disproved God?

Not necessary. Logic demonstrated that the traditional conception of God was incoherent centuries ago. There’s nothing left for science to disprove.

Comment #76542

Posted by Caledonian on January 31, 2006 5:29 PM (e)

I can’t speak as to what you perceive, Chuck C, but it’s clear to me that the statement asserts that supernatural intervention is responsible for the existence of religious orders. Just what kind of intervention is vague, almost certainly purposely so.

We’re rapidly approaching “Yes, Virginia, there is a YHWH” territory.

Comment #76543

Posted by kevinh on January 31, 2006 5:34 PM (e)

Unlike some posting in this thread, I’m not concerned that the Catholic Church’s position is not sufficiently pure on the science. Having been educated in parochial schools in the ’60s my recollection is that we were taught science and religion as sort of independent entities. Where there were Biblical references that conflicted with natural history or current scientific thought, i.e. the Garden of Eden, the Great Flood, the extraordinary ages of the Old Testament prophets, the plagues of Egypt, even the miracles of Christ himself, the priests and nuns generally fudged on the literalism of the Bible offering vague explanations that the Bible stories were allegories or a sort of subjective history written by ancient peoples with limited knowledge of the natural world to describe wondrous events that they could not fully comprehend.
It seems the Church is still trying to straddle this line. That’s between them and their faithful. The bigger point is that the Church is clearly accepting the idea that science is well, science and that rather than rejecting science as invalid, that Church doctrine must be reconciled with the reality of science. I’ll leave that to them to sort out. However it seems that the Church is now taking a public position that they want no part of ID and by extension other attacks on science. On a related note I saw news reports about a week ago of a similar article published in the official Vatican newspaper reportedly expressing even more strongly the concepts that evolution is valid scientific theory, ID is not, if there are problems with evolutionary theory they should be addressed through true scientific inquiry, and criticizing American ID proponents for commingling science and religion.

Comment #76546

Posted by Caledonian on January 31, 2006 5:48 PM (e)

It’s not between the Church and its faithful, it’s between the Church and its potential converts.

And since the Church explicitly seeks to spread its message to all people…

Comment #76550

Posted by Chuck C on January 31, 2006 6:09 PM (e)

Caledonian wrote:

I can’t speak as to what you perceive, Chuck C, but it’s clear to me that the statement asserts that supernatural intervention is responsible for the existence of religious orders.

And it’s “clear” to creationists that the evolution is a “theory, not a fact”. Just as that assertion depends on ignoring that the word theory has a different meaning within the scientific community than in the vernacular, bhudda’s assertion depends on applying his own interpretations to statements made within a religious context. It also supposes that the translation from Italian into English preserved Benedict’s precise meaning.

Comment #76556

Posted by Timothy Chase on January 31, 2006 6:57 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'a'

Comment #76558

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 31, 2006 7:00 PM (e)

I’d rather convince people to become atheists

Yeahhh, okaayyyyyyyyy.

Um, good luck with that.

Comment #76559

Posted by Chuck C on January 31, 2006 7:01 PM (e)

I wrote:

And it’s “clear” to creationists that the evolution is a “theory, not a fact”. Just as that assertion depends on ignoring that the word theory has a different meaning within the scientific community than in the vernacular, bhudda’s assertion depends on applying his own interpretations to statements made within a religious context. It also supposes that the translation from Italian into English preserved Benedict’s precise meaning.

It also takes what are explicitly and exclusively religious statements and attempts to fit them into a scientific medium. The encyclical is not an expression of the relationship between religion and science. Science is not a topic, from what I saw in a perusal of the document.

I also find it rather ironic, in consideration of the major topic of debate on this blog, the Benedict explicitly states:

The Church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the State.

Now, I’d never call Benedict a rabid left-winger, but these are hardly the words of a man trying to push theocracy.

IMHO.

Comment #76562

Posted by JONBOY on January 31, 2006 7:08 PM (e)

The Catholic church,along with many other denominations,have experienced a drastic reduction in membership, particularly in Europe.It maybe conceived that in order to bolster their failing position,courting
the science world may prove advantageous.
It would seem that the Catholic church is perfectly comfortable, to a point, with evolution,and the way life unfolded on earth.If however science should in some way question the existence of god, they become very, uncomfortable. ID attempts to bring (God) into all realms of scientific method,the Catholic position is to insert Divine intervention were they deem fit,
(at what point does a human gain an immortal soul?)I’m not so sure that making these people or allies would be in the best interest of science

Comment #76563

Posted by Timothy Chase on January 31, 2006 7:22 PM (e)

Andy H. wrote:

Coyne is talking through his hat when he says, “neo-Darwinian evolution is not in the words of the cardinal [Cardinal Schoenborn], ‘an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection.’ “ From — http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.… That is exactly what neo-Darwinism is.

(see #76462 above)

If you will notice, Coyne is simply being quoted listing the points which it appears he is about to address in the rest of his speech. In this sense, I believe the author is omitting some fairly important context.

I would suggest that much of that context is to be found here:

This process of continuous evolution, called by scientists chemical complexification, has a certain intrinsic natural directionality in that the more complex an organism becomes the more determined is its future. This does not necessarily mean, however, that there need be a person directing the process, nor that the process is necessarily an “unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection” as Cardinal Schönborn describes it. It is precisely the fertility of the universe and the interaction of chance and necessity in that universe which are responsible for the directionality. Thus far science.

God’s Chance Creation by Father Coyne

From Father Coyne’s perspective, it is the interaction of chance and necessity which may very well be part of God’s plan, and in this sense, they are not unguided or unplanned. This view, incidentally, is entirely compatible with methodological naturalism.

I will quote from one of my own articles:

… In an online discussion devoted to the issue [of evolution vs. intelligent design], one individual said that he couldn’t really understand what the controversy was about. He argued that if God is omniscient, omnipotent, exists outside of the world He creates, and expects us to believe in Him through faith alone, then surely He would not have left any traces in His creation which would provide an empirical alternative to that faith. Viewed this way, the world discovered through science – including evolution and the big bang – is simply the divinely opaque means through which God created the world we now see.

(from “Religion and Science,” link to article in #76433)

In this form, the argument is irrespective of the role of chance and necessity, so long as from the perspective of a religious adherent, God is some form of ultimate reality which exists beyond the realm of empirical science. Once again, however, the belief in God expressed by this view is entirely compatible with methodological naturalism. Moreover, as expressed in “Religion and Science” in this form, the argument makes visible not simply the compatibility of evolution with Christianity, but the incompatibility of Intelligent Design with Christianity insofar as any empirical evidence for the existence of God would be destructive of true religious faith. This particular point is perhaps better expressed in the following from in the following passage from another article:

In contrast, there are a great many religious individuals who believe that God is not something which one can fit inside a test-tube, and that it is a mistake to treat the belief in God as an empirical hypothesis to be tested inside a lab or a class devoted to science. They believe that the very act of attempting to demonstrate the existence of God is itself destructive of true faith.

(from “A Test for Intelligent Design Proponents,” link to article in #76433)

Intelligent Design is a thinly disguised trojan horse created specifically for the purpose of breaching The Separation of Church and State. Oftentimes the disguise is so transparent that its proponents deliberately try to frame the conflict between their pseudo-scientific theory and evolutionary biology in terms of a conflict between religious adherents and atheists, and this plays well with those who are religious. However, in its attempt to undermine The Separation of Church and State, it threatens to violate the rights of the religious and non-religious alike. Insofar as it advances the interests of such extremist groups as the Dominionists (who are responsible for much of the funding of the Discovery Institute), it threatens the rights of the good majority of Christians, and ultimately even the rights of the fundamentalists themselves.

Of necessity, it likewise threatens another important, albeit less well recognized principle of a pluralistic society: the separation between religion and science. It has often been acknowledged that in so doing, Intelligent Design will necessarily be destructive of science, but less well acknowledged is the fact that it will be destructive of religious faith and religion. But such is the nature of the conflict. Despite Phillip Johnson’s rhetoric, this is not a conflict between the religious and the non-religious, nor is this a conflict between religion and science. It is a conflict between religious extremists and the rest of society. And if the religious extremists are permitted to win, ultimately everyone (including the religious extremists) will lose.

Andy H. wrote:

ALso, Coyne is taking what should be a scientific issue — evolution vs. irreducible complexity — and trying to change it into a theological issue.

No. Father Coyne is talking about the “Theory of Intelligent Design.” The question of whether irreducible complexity can be arrived at by means of gradualistic evolution is a scientific question. It is falsifiable. It has been falsified. However, this is not the same thing as the “Theory of Intelligent Design” itself which claims that life (or the universe) is too complex to have been the result of natural processes. The “theory” offers no hypotheses by means of which it may be “tested” or “falsified.” Therefore it is not scientific.

Comment #76565

Posted by BWE on January 31, 2006 7:44 PM (e)

All this is saying to me that religion is basically irrelevant unless you get something personal out of it. (Unless you go to the heaven/hell thing at which point I would rather go to hell as a decent human than heaven where that isn’t a requirement.)

The church is sort of codifying that, no?

Comment #76575

Posted by Spike on January 31, 2006 8:52 PM (e)

“What’s wrong with evangelical atheism?”

Well, as an atheist, the problem is not trying to “convert” people to atheism, but trying to decide which kind of atheism you are going to push. Nearly every philosophical viewpoint has an atheisitic version, and I can tell you from personal experience that atheists can be diametrically and violently opposed in their world views.

If LDS-ers and JWs and the rest can come knocking on doors to spread their philosophy, then Secular Humanists, Utilitarians, Brights, Naturalists, and the rest ought to be able to do the same.

The problem with the “one less god” quote is that Christians, for instance, believe in their god not because they have rational arguments against the other gods, but because they are told all those other gods are false and take it as a matter of faith. Same with Muslims, same with Zoroastrians, etc.

Comment #76576

Posted by Chuck C on January 31, 2006 9:01 PM (e)

JONBOY wrote:

The Catholic church,along with many other denominations,have experienced a drastic reduction in membership, particularly in Europe.It maybe conceived that in order to bolster their failing position,courting
the science world may prove advantageous.

This ignores that a) Catholic theologians have been accommodating to evo for decades, and b) that it is one of the largest Christian denominations in the US, shrinking or no.

It would seem that the Catholic church is perfectly comfortable, to a point, with evolution,and the way life unfolded on earth.If however science should in some way question the existence of god, they become very, uncomfortable.

Please explain how science can maintain methodological naturalism and at the same time address theological matters. Your comment implies an improper application of scientific reasoning.

ID attempts to bring (God) into all realms of scientific method,the Catholic position is to insert Divine intervention were they deem fit,
(at what point does a human gain an immortal soul?)

No, ID attempts to expand and obscure the definition of science so as to include the supernatural.

Please explain your justification for your claim regarding “the Catholic position”, and what relevance the origin of the soul has to science, one way or the other.

I’m not so sure that making these people or allies would be in the best interest of science

“Making” doesn’t enter into it: we’re here, sweet pea. And we’re the best non-atheist allies you’ve got: with us, you can be a part of a majority which can prevent the fundies from perverting science education.

Without us?

Tom Cruise has a better chance of improving post-natal care.

Comment #76585

Posted by buddha on January 31, 2006 9:37 PM (e)

BWE wrote:

Hmmm. If we can prove that our universe is a closed system which displays no evidence for “magic” i.e meddling by a god, this disproves god? How?

The proposition “gods do not exist” is a hypothesis that could be falsified in principle by the intervention of gods into the universe. On the other hand, the proposition “gods exist” is unfalsifiable because the gods may choose not to intervene. Typically a proposition and its negation are not both falsifiable. In particular, typically an existential (there exists…) is unfalsifiable, whereas a universal (there does not exist…) is falsifiable.

The proposition “gods do not exist” is supported by science because it could be falsified in principle; the proposition “gods exist” is vacuous.

See Defending Naturalism as a Worldview.

Chuck C wrote:

In reading the actual article, it is pretty clear to me (as, admittedly, a Catholic) that he is making a statement of faith regarding the source of the inspiration toward charity, and not an affirmation of empirical evidence.

It’s put-up or shut-up time. What part of that article shows that the pope was not arguing from the existence and growth of religious orders to the reality of supernatural charity? The statement preceding the bit I quoted is a flat out lie about the history of the church and an assertion about the source of that history: “In truth, the entire history of the church is a history of holiness, animated by the unique love that has its source in God.” The next statement - the bit I quoted - “supports” that assertion by claiming that supernatural charity is the only possible explanation and therefore that the observation of religious charities proves the existence of gods.

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank wrote:

Um, good luck with that.

Thanks. It’s going quite well so far.

Comment #76595

Posted by Jonathan Bartlett on January 31, 2006 9:57 PM (e)

“three, neo-Darwinian evolution is not in the words of the cardinal, ‘an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection;’”

Do you all agree or disagree with this statement, and why or why not?

Comment #76598

Posted by buddha on January 31, 2006 10:10 PM (e)

Chuck C wrote:

The encyclical is not an expression of the relationship between religion and science. Science is not a topic, from what I saw in a perusal of the document.

Science is simply the collection of reliable, empirical, epistemological methods. When the pope draws an epistemological conclusion (“we can know gods exist”) from empirical observations (“religious orders exist”) either he’s using a reliable method (i.e. science), or he’s using a faith-based epistemological method where he can make statements that are entirely independent of reality: “In truth, the entire history of the church is a history of holiness, animated by the unique love that has its source in God.

Comment #76615

Posted by Chuck C on January 31, 2006 11:46 PM (e)

Okeedokee.

bhudda wrote:

It’s put-up or shut-up time. What part of that article shows that the pope was not arguing from the existence and growth of religious orders to the reality of supernatural charity?

I’m sorry: what word in the phrase “quote mining” was misspelled?

Your argument implies that the article is a comprehensive summary of the encyclical; an accurate representation of Catholic theology, as it presented it. I’m hoping that you are not really laying claim to the belief that a 200 word summary (translated from one language to another, BTW), is absolutely a comprehensive communication of the philisophy described in a source document dozens of times that size.

What part of that article shows that the pope was not arguing from the existence and growth of religious orders to the reality of supernatural charity?

Making an argument out of context? How very YEC of you.

Can YOU put up? What in the actual encyclical, implies in any practical sense that Benedict’s intent was to empirically prove the existence of a devine being? A couple of words, Mr. Hovind… er, sorry: bhudda, don’t equate to a persuasive body of evidence.

I see statements regarding the difference between erotic and agapaic love: I see statements regarding the duty of Catholics and the Church to provide charity. I see explanations of the value of charity and a description of the various duties of the Church and the State regarding the provision thereof.

I fail to see any point at which Benedict makes any statement regarding science whatsoever, EXCEPT:

Despite the great advances made in science and technology, each day we see how much suffering there is in the world on account of different kinds of poverty, both material and spiritual. Our times call for a new readiness to assist our neighbours in need.

Yeah, THAT’S evidence of a neferious plot to undermine methodological naturalism, allright.

You can take things out of context, misrepresent peoples’ staments as it pleases you, and use these misrepresentations to make your arguments, but that doesn’t make them true.

Dembski, however, would be proud of your methods, young Skywalker…

Comment #76625

Posted by Tice with a J on February 1, 2006 12:12 AM (e)

The whole debate over science vs. religion is just beating around a bush that I like to call the Afterlife Test. The test goes like this:
1. Die
2. Observe what happens
3. Report your findings

You see where the difficulty comes in. Really, there shouldn’t be any clash between science and religion, because science is supposed to be all about curiosity, and religion is supposed to be about morality. But that’s theory, and theory and practice aren’t always on speaking terms.

Comment #76631

Posted by jmitch on February 1, 2006 12:38 AM (e)

BRAVO Chuckc! Buddha was annoying and completely missed the point. Father Coyne was stating that not only is DI (and by extension CS) not science, it’s bad theology. The Catholic Church wants nothing to do with it. Pope John Paul II was clear that the Church accepts the truths revealed by science but states that some things are BEYOND science (i.e. the properties and origin of the soul) I wonder if some of the people posting here, that claim to be atheists are posers, trying to make PT look bad. Evangelism is annoying, it is just as annoying coming from a fundie, Jehovah’s witness, or atheist.

Comment #76634

Posted by buddha on February 1, 2006 12:43 AM (e)

Chuck C wrote:

Your argument implies that the article is a comprehensive summary of the encyclical; […]

I have not at any point even mentioned the encyclical. I have been referring to the pope’s own comments as reported by Catholic Online. The pope said: “In truth, the entire history of the church is a history of holiness […]”. This is complete bullshit, but you do the usual Catholic dodge whenever the pope says something stupid: you say that the comment must be understood in some larger context or that I couldn’t really possibly understand it anyway because of translation issues, or whatever. What context could possibly make that palpably false statement true? If you’d rather the pope hadn’t said these stupid statements, why don’t you just say so?

Comment #76649

Posted by jmitch on February 1, 2006 1:19 AM (e)

wow do I feel dumb, sucked into arguing with a troll…and a poser - buddha is Hovind? as in drdino? ok I’m done

Comment #76651

Posted by buddha on February 1, 2006 1:33 AM (e)

Chuck C wrote:

You can take things out of context, misrepresent peoples’ staments as it pleases you, and use these misrepresentations to make your arguments, but that doesn’t make them true.

If the pope had said the moon is made of green cheese, I’d call that bullshit, but it seems that you’d look for some larger context in which you might understand the blessed words of the “Holy Father”. Perhaps you might redefine the words “moon”, “green” and “cheese”, or say that I don’t understand these words in the original Italian. When the pope says, “In truth, the entire history of the church is a history of holiness”, I call bullshit, but you bend over backwards to lick the pope’s arse. I see no point trying to communicate with you.

Comment #76652

Posted by Timothy Chase on February 1, 2006 1:39 AM (e)

Budda wrote:

See Defending Naturalism as a Worldview.

Personally, I might be somewhat impressed if the article had your name on it. However, merely linking to a philosophy paper written by someone else is a bit like stating as some sort of irrefutable argument against anything someone writes, “You fool! Obviously you have not read ‘The Critique of Pure Reason.’” In any case, would you be up to defending, for example, sensationalism, representationalism, strong foundationalism, or an incorrigible theory of knowledge? Would you care to show how anything resembling the scientific methodology (particularly in terms of a fallibilistic approach to knowledge) could possibly be grounded in Carrier’s approach? How he manages to get beyond refering to simply the immediate representations of his own mind? How could you ever get to the existence of other minds and defend science as a communal activity if you begin with the representations of a single mind? How can someone offer evidence in favor of the veracity of a method or source of evidence without appeal to a norm other than the norm of coherence? If you are limited strictly to the norm of coherence, how can you ever derive anything beyond the evidence itself? If you do appeal to another norm, how exactly do you justify its use? With regard to your use of Karl Popper’s principle of falsifiability, have you ever heard of Duhem’s thesis?

But I guess what might be more to the point is: have you ever taken any philosophy whatsoever? Have you ever written a paper on philosophy? Have you ever examined more than a single philosophic approach? Are you, for example, at all aware of the history of early twentieth century empiricism?

Budda wrote:

I’d rather convince people to become atheists because that seems to me to be the only sustainable strategy for keeping religious fundamentalists off the Supreme Court. Religion begets religious fundamentalists; no religion, no religious fundamentalists.

#74436

Well, gee, Budda – I would like to convince everyone to think exactly like me, that way no one would ever disagree, and there would be peace on Earth. Not!

Personally, I don’t have any problem with an individual being religious or non-religious. If you are going to paint those belonging to either group with all the blood spilt by extremists belonging to that group, you will have more than enough to go around. But that is because these are very wide categories, involving many different sects and schools of thought. Things might work out a little better if we started paying attention to individuals, their intentions, and their common humanity. We can either learn to work with the moderates from both sides, or let extremism encourage extremism. I know what Phillip Johnson wants. I know what the Dominionists who are responsible for much of the funding of the Discovery Institute want.

What about you?

Comment #76653

Posted by BWE on February 1, 2006 1:48 AM (e)

If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands
If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands….

Comment #76659

Posted by k.e. on February 1, 2006 2:00 AM (e)

Bhuddha… yes… when you decide to step off the ‘wheel of dogma’ expect to be howled at.
The ‘Hero’s Journey’…… not too many can take that path.

That wheel is constantly being created by zero dimensioners, omega pointers, new agers, new hermetics, new alchemists, Gnostic’s the list is endless even Behe hinted that Astrology would not conflict with his science/religion world view. That’s the funny thing to me, the ‘hints’ that religion is supposed to provide to ones understanding of life the universe and everything are so rigid that it makes me wonder that without indoctrination at an early age how can they survive? Essentially they must take the path they are on if they are to keep the coffers full and the women out.
Now reintroducing Exorcism in Rome keeps the psychoanalysts at bay why not advanced courses in tarot card reading as well?
In fact make it compulsory so the word wasters think before they spout.

That said there is no dishonor in a little tolerance to question begging as long as they are engaged and defeated when trying to claim for god what is Cesar’s.

What amuses me is the amount of words that non science aware theologians can tie themselves up with to ‘prove’ their conclusion which is usually received wisdom but as I look around more, the limits of their own imagination and creativity, to just plain ignorance of history, art, science and the use of language…no not philosophy …see history its all been done already and now whats left is mangled to the point of uselessness with postmodernism.

Coyne must get into real fits when some of his brethren expound, but if you read any theological text that tests the limits there will be a central statement that says “yes, science is right so lets adjust our reality goggles”, quickly followed by a tortured rendering ….no pandering of contorted word play to believers at different levels. Obscurantism at its best.
Produce your god then go in peace!

Comment #76660

Posted by Timothy Chase on February 1, 2006 2:06 AM (e)

PS for Budda

Incidentally, Karl Popper wasn’t advocating the principle of falsifiability as a criterion of knowledge. The principle of falsifiability was intended simply as a line of demarcation between empirical, scientific knowledge and other forms of knowledge – which could include mathematics, philosophy, or even religion. But even so, there are problems with the principle of falsifiability, at least as advocated by Karl Popper (in both its earlier and later forms), which is why people familiar with the philosophy of science consider the two views to be primarily of historical interest, and instead emphasize testability.

But to take this one step further, advocating a philosophic view which ruled out philosophic views as a form of knowledge would seem, at best, highly problematic.

Comment #76664

Posted by k.e. on February 1, 2006 2:18 AM (e)

Timothy Chase question begs:
But to take this one step further, advocating a philosophic view which ruled out philosophic views as a form of knowledge would seem, at best, highly problematic.

If you don’t want to know the answer then why do you ask ?

Comment #76666

Posted by BWE on February 1, 2006 2:25 AM (e)

Budda,
I get what you’re saying there but talking like that probably won’t help you get a bj next time you go out. When someone’s god interferes with your life or my life, then it is time to ask them to produce the god. Before that, well, I believe lots of crazy things, they may not be about god but they are certainly things that not everyone agrees with. And, although I know that I might be a touch touched in some of my beliefs, they make me happy, and jesus.f.christ, if you can’t be happy then you’re gonna be sad.

Granted, these guys work for the church so when they speak they are intruding a little but hey, there is a gray area there and we all have to make our own calls. Also, in terms of incremental change, the Catholics are pretty friendly to evidence. It wasn’t always that way. And, the logic you are employing seems a bit misplaced in your dis-proving god thing.

Spike,

I’m not sure you get the 1 less god quote. Your reply is the reason…

Comment #76667

Posted by BWE on February 1, 2006 2:28 AM (e)

Philosophy, is the talk on a cereal box
Religion, is a smile on a dog.

Comment #76672

Posted by k.e. on February 1, 2006 2:42 AM (e)

BWE
Nice one on the dating advice !
That’s how most conversions happen BTW !!
I would go further, the inscrutable ‘that’s interesting but do you like trapezes ?’

Comment #76673

Posted by BWE on February 1, 2006 2:49 AM (e)

And right after “Damn woman, your thighs look like they could hold a greased pig stuck for five minutes” in the pick up line hall of fame.

Comment #76674

Posted by k.e. on February 1, 2006 2:52 AM (e)

aaaarrrrrrgghhhhhhhhh
the MAGIC word thighs
oops

Comment #76677

Posted by BWE on February 1, 2006 3:03 AM (e)

Abra kazaam. There are many others too. I guess it doesn’t matter if you derail a thread at midnight Pacific time.

Comment #76678

Posted by Timothy Chase on February 1, 2006 3:04 AM (e)

BWE & k.e.

BWE wrote:

Philosophy, is the talk on a cereal box
Religion, is a smile on a dog.

k.e. wrote:

BWE
Nice one on the dating advice !
That’s how most conversions happen BTW !!
I would go further, the inscrutable ‘that’s interesting but do you like trapezes ?’

BWE wrote:

And right after “Damn woman, your thighs look like they could hold a greased pig stuck for five minutes” in the pick up line hall of fame.

I am beginning to think that I liked things better when the two of you were arguing about religion. Oh – nevermind…

I should probably be getting to bed.

Take care.

Comment #76711

Posted by Shinobi on February 1, 2006 7:39 AM (e)

The quote:

“In truth, the entire history of the church is a history of holiness”

is entirely valid, considering that holiness, the state of being “holy”, cannot be empirically tested.

It is a tautology, in a way - as the church is, to many of its adherents, the sole source and conveyer of holiness, by definition it’s history is holy. But until anyone on either side of the aisle asserts that there is an testable, measurable quality of being holy, the statement is perfectly valid.

The analogy of the pope saying “the moon is made of green cheese” is an invalid analogy, for “moon”, “cheese”, and to a slightly lesser extent, “green”, are all empirically testable (“green” is slightly subjective, as different cultures do perceive colours differently, but by defining your terms at the start the question could be treated empirically). Therefore, it is a question which can be tested scientifically.

And k.e. - Timothy isn’t question begging, he’s pointing out an inherent paradox. If you present the philosophical stance that belief in god is an invalid philosophical stance because it can’t be proven, any philosophical stance that cannot be proven is likewise invalid - including yours.

Comment #76720

Posted by Raging Bee on February 1, 2006 8:54 AM (e)

“buddha” wrote:

If the pope had said the moon is made of green cheese, I’d call that bullshit, but it seems that you’d look for some larger context in which you might understand the blessed words of the “Holy Father”. Perhaps you might redefine the words “moon”, “green” and “cheese”, or say that I don’t understand these words in the original Italian. When the pope says, “In truth, the entire history of the church is a history of holiness”, I call bullshit, but you bend over backwards to lick the pope’s arse. I see no point trying to communicate with you.

“buddha” seems rather unclear on several important concepts, including: respect for the beliefs of others, non-literal or multi-layered meanings of words and statements, and explaining someone else’s statements without expecting others to agree with them. I humbly suggest that he find a more appropriate handle, and learn to communicate respectfully before he tries to communicate with anyone. And speaking of humble, maybe he should also bone up on the concept of humility.

Comment #76734

Posted by k.e. on February 1, 2006 10:00 AM (e)

Shinobi said:
And k.e. - Timothy isn’t question begging, he’s pointing out an inherent paradox. If you present the philosophical stance that belief in god is an invalid philosophical stance because it can’t be proven, any philosophical stance that cannot be proven is likewise invalid - including yours.

Sorry Shinobi not syllogism.
Mere deduction from cause and effect no philosophy involved just historical observation. Why would anyone bother with any philosophical stance that cannot be proven ?
That in its most basic sense IS senseless.

Comment #76764

Posted by buddha on February 1, 2006 12:07 PM (e)

However, merely linking to a philosophy paper written by someone else is a bit like stating as some sort of irrefutable argument against anything someone writes, “You fool! Obviously you have not read ‘The Critique of Pure Reason.’”.

I linked to that paper for its section “A Brief Ethnography of Contemporary Naturalism”, which is relevant to my comments. Carrier asked some naturalist philosophers two questions:

Richard Carrier wrote:

As a naturalist, do you believe it is logically possible (even if the current evidence makes this highly improbable) for science to disprove naturalism some day?

As a naturalist, do you believe that if naturalism were overthrown by a purely empirical investigation, that the scientific method would necessarily be overthrown as well?

Almost all of the philosophers answered Yes/No. The paper is much longer than I remember; I’m sorry I wasn’t more specific with my linking.

I won’t bother with your Gish gallop.

Comment #76766

Posted by buddha on February 1, 2006 12:10 PM (e)

Shinobi wrote:

It is a tautology, in a way - as the church is, to many of its adherents, the sole source and conveyer of holiness, by definition it’s history is holy.

That’s the dodge. If, however, we take the statement to have some content at least, a typical person in the pope’s intended audience might take the comment to mean that the church has held to exemplary ethical standards throughout its entire history (considering that he was talking about the charity of religious orders). This is manifestly not the case.

Comment #76786

Posted by Googler on February 1, 2006 1:16 PM (e)

buddha wrote:

I’m not trying to convince anyone to have their cake and eat it too. I’d rather convince people to become atheists because that seems to me to be the only sustainable strategy for keeping religious fundamentalists off the Supreme Court.

Perhaps - but then what would be the sustainable strategy for keeping atheistic “fundamentalists” - like yourself - off the Supreme Court as well?

buddha wrote:

Religion begets religious fundamentalists; no religion, no religious fundamentalists.

In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have any ideologues - neither religious nor areligious nor anti-religious. But as your messages demonstrate, we do not live in an ideal world.

Comment #76816

Posted by Raging Bee on February 1, 2006 3:05 PM (e)

The Atheist Who Calls Himself Buddha For No Apparent Reason wrote:

I’d rather convince people to become atheists because that seems to me to be the only sustainable strategy for keeping religious fundamentalists off the Supreme Court.

First, how successful have atheist-evangelists been in convincing people to become atheists? I don’t see a lot of success here, therefore I can’t call it a “sustainable strategy” for anything.

Second, the number of atheists who become religious later in life – sometimes fanatically so – also argues against the “sustainability” of your “strategy.”

Comment #76818

Posted by BWE on February 1, 2006 3:07 PM (e)

So, what you’re saying is that religious folk, those that explore the state that they call spiritual, shouldn’t come out against the bizarre declarations of the church of eternal idiocy, housed secretly in the janitor’s closet at the DI?

Budda, I’m no friend of religion but this seems like a little bit of overexuberance. God is whatever you define it to be. I can always define god out of a box. The difference between me and the fundies is that I make sure to define god outside of anything that could make any difference to anything. Go ahead, ridicule my belief in god. Lets see you define it first.

??
As a matter of fact, I find the concept of god as a very useful shorthand for many things. I don’t worship anything but then again, my unique set of hang-ups don’t require me to do that. Why do people go to s&m places and get spanked? And pay for it? I think the worship part is sometimes similar to that. But my personal hang-ups are what makes life interesting, unique and fun for me. I bet you’ve got a few of your own. Care to share? I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.

Comment #76829

Posted by Moses on February 1, 2006 3:46 PM (e)

Comment #76816

Posted by Raging Bee on February 1, 2006 03:05 PM (e)

The Atheist Who Calls Himself Buddha For No Apparent Reason wrote:

I’d rather convince people to become atheists because that seems to me to be the only sustainable strategy for keeping religious fundamentalists off the Supreme Court.

First, how successful have atheist-evangelists been in convincing people to become atheists? I don’t see a lot of success here, therefore I can’t call it a “sustainable strategy” for anything.

Second, the number of atheists who become religious later in life — sometimes fanatically so — also argues against the “sustainability” of your “strategy.”

It’s akin to any market penetration strategy. And like many other market penetration strategies this type of strategy does not grow exponentially, or even smoothly, and tends to increase in fits and starts until some type of equilibrium is reached.

Currently the atheist/agnostic/irreligious portion of America is fairly low, somewhere between 8% and 16% depending on your sources. However, it’s quite a bit higher than in my childhood when it was just a few percentage points. And, if Europe and Japan are any reasonable guide to human behaviors, we should hit a 40%-50% agnostic/atheist/irreligious saturation point in anywhere from a few decades to another century or so. Despite any “back-sliding” of atheists.

And, FWIW, Buddhists are generally considered to be atheists and the Buddha himself was agnostic. It is not, in any way, contradictory to be a Buddhist and an atheist or agnostic.

Comment #76830

Posted by Timothy Chase on February 1, 2006 3:48 PM (e)

Head-Scratcher

Introductory Context

I wrote:

PS for Budda

Incidentally, Karl Popper wasn’t advocating the principle of falsifiability as a criterion of knowledge. The principle of falsifiability was intended simply as a line of demarcation between empirical, scientific knowledge and other forms of knowledge — which could include mathematics, philosophy, or even religion. But even so, there are problems with the principle of falsifiability, at least as advocated by Karl Popper (in both its earlier and later forms), which is why people familiar with the philosophy of science consider the two views to be primarily of historical interest, and instead emphasize testability.

But to take this one step further, advocating a philosophic view which ruled out philosophic views as a form of knowledge would seem, at best, highly problematic.

k.e. wrote:

Timothy Chase question begs:
But to take this one step further, advocating a philosophic view which ruled out philosophic views as a form of knowledge would seem, at best, highly problematic.

If you don’t want to know the answer then why do you ask ?

Shinobi wrote:

And k.e. - Timothy isn’t question begging, he’s pointing out an inherent paradox. If you present the philosophical stance that belief in god is an invalid philosophical stance because it can’t be proven, any philosophical stance that cannot be proven is likewise invalid - including yours.

Shinobi – honestly I thought that k.e. was simply trying to be cute, but this is probably not something which one should assume, particularly in a discussion such as this.

However, I deliberately left the puzzle a little vague, as I wanted to give Budda a head-scratcher.

Self-Referential Coherence:

Essentially what I was giving Budda was a self-referential argument. The classic example of a self-referential argument involves a radical skeptic who decides to be a little subtle. But before turning to him, we should consider some poor radical skeptic who simply hasn’t thought things through at all. If someone says, “I know that there is no such thing as knowledge,” then he is making a claim to knowledge, and doing so in such a way that he explicitly contradicts himself. And since he contradicts himself, we know that his view is false.

The more subtle radical skeptic is aware of this, so in order to avoid self-contradiction, he will instead state, “There is no such thing as knowledge.” Now there is nothing incoherent in this statement. It could presumably be descriptive of some world. However, there is still a problem with this statement. For when the radical skeptic makes this pronouncement, it is presumably meant no simply as a string of sounds, but as a proposition which he is affirming to be true, and moreover, as something which he knows to be true.

The proper analysis of this is that while the proposition itself is coherent and meaningful, the proposition is fatally flawed. Since in making the pronouncement, he is at least implicitly affirming it to be true, the proposition joined with the context of its affirmation is incoherent. Thus we say that the proposition itself is self-referentially incoherent.

Falsifiability:

Now in terms of Karl Popper’s Principle of Falsifiability, there are two points which it pays to keep in mind. First, what he intended was in essence a principle which would act as a means of distinguishing scientifically meaningful propositions froom other meaningful propositions, such as the propositions which encapsulate ethical norms. Second, he was doing this in the context of a critique of induction. Thus one may view his theory as bringing back a certain Humean skepticism, albeit in a fairly delineated form.

To see why Popper thought that such a project was necessary, it pays to identify what specifically he though was wrong with induction. I will use the standard example of swans. One can easily observe that a given swan is white. In the case of any given number of swans, one could easily observe that each swan is white. But could one draw from this the conclusion that all swans are white? According to Popper’s Principle of Falsifiability as applied to propositions, no one cannot. Moreover, if you visits the land “down under,” you will find that there are in fact black swans. So it would appear that no matter how many swans you may know to be white, you can never claim to know that all swans are white. From such examples, Popper claimed to have reached a principle: namely, that while existential propositions may be demonstrated to be true (e.g., this swan is white, or there exist white swans), no universal empirical proposition could ever be demonstrated to be true, they must be falsifiable, such that it is possible to define circumstances in which such universal scientific propositions would be shown false.

At this point, certain apparently scientific propositions were identified which didn’t seem to work with this approach. So at a later point (the second addition of “The Logic of Scientific Discovery”), Popper modified his view so that it was no longer about propositions, but about theories. To give one example, a great deal of evidence accumulated in favor of Newton’s gravitational theory for over two centuries. Moreover, very little evidence accumulated which would suggest that it was in fact false. Does this mean that Newton’s graviational theory is true? Well, given certain phenomena (such as the precession of Mercury’s orbit), apparently not. Consequently, theoretical physicists abandoned Newton’s theory in favor of Einstein’s since Einstein’s theory could explain evidence which Newton’s theory could not. In this view, neither Newton’s theory nor Einstein’s could ever be properly regarded as true, but as it is possible to identify circumstances underwhich they could be shown to be false, they are meaningful scientific theories.

From Falsifiability to Fallibilism:

Now there are problems with the Principle of Falsifiability, problems related to certain coherentialist elements which exist in scientific knowledge per se. But we needn’t go into them here, at least at this time. Suffice it to say that while in the strictest sense, it is meaningful to say that while universal propositions in science may be true, and it is appropriate to view even scientific theories as receiving justificiaton (oftentimes, even a great deal of justification) and even being true, nevertheless, the principle of falsifiability as applied to scientific theories is an ideal which theorists should always aim for. A theory which is incapable of being tested is not a scientific theory, and scientific theories are valuable as scientific theories only to the extent that they continually expose themselves to disconfirmation by the evidence, preferably in risky ways.

Today, the mainstream view in the philosophy of science is essentially that when a great deal of evidence (preferably from different, independent lines of investigation) has accumulated in favor of a given theory, no evidence either sufficiently disconfirming a theory or actually falsifying it has been discovered, and there are no similarly positioned competing theories, we believe that it is proper to regard such a theory as a form of knowledge. However, as in the case of black swans, there will probably always exist at least the possibility of disconfirmation or outright falsification, therefore, we regard such knowledge as corrigible, and currently view the scientific method as requiring a fallibilistic approach to knowledge.

Budda’s Problem:

Setting aside any critique of the principle of falsifiability itself, an attempt to apply it to all knowledge (rather than simply employ it as a line of demarcation separating scientific knowledge from other knowledge) immediately runs into problems. For example, what of the principle of falsifiability itself? What we have here is a universal proposition holding that all empirically meaningful propositions are falsifiable. Is the principle of falsifiability itself falsifiable? This would not seem to be the case, for what evidence could one cite with which to falsify it? Could it be tautologically analytic? This would seem to be the case if and only if the meaning of “empirically meaningful” is “falsifiable.” But this is what Popper is seeking to demonstrate. Could it be conventional? Well, I suppose so, but then others would be free to introduce their own, quite different conventions. Could it be normative? Well, yes, and it would appear that this is how Popper intended it, but if it is normative, it would still be either conventional (according to a conventional interpretation of the analytic/synthetic dichotomy) or an instance of synthetic apriori knowledge. If conventional, one would still be left with the task of defending the proposed convention over other alternate conventions. If synthetic apriori, then one would be left with the task of defending its status as synthetic apriori knowledge – which would be no easy task. However, if it is synthetic apriori, it clearly cannot be empirical, as this would result in self-referential incoherence. Therefore it must be normative. But then, how would one defend such a norm as an instance of synthetic apriori knowledge? Moreover, one would be left with the task of defending synthetic apriori knowledge as such. Alternatively, one could choose to abandon all versions of the analytic/synthetic dichotomy altogether, but then one would be left with the problem of proposing an alternative theory of propositional meaning.

Conclusion:

Hopefully I have managed to make clear some of the difficulties which Budda would face in taking his approach. However, as I have said, his approach is not the same as Popper’s, and therefore, while there are problems with Popper’s approach (which we could go into in further depth, when required), Budda’s problem is not one of them.

Comment #76833

Posted by BWE on February 1, 2006 3:58 PM (e)

Jesus. Do you guys not get how stinkin irrelevant that all is? I’m with k.e.
I’d like Wild Turkey on the rocks please.

Comment #76835

Posted by Timothy Chase on February 1, 2006 4:19 PM (e)

Bubba wrote:

I linked to that paper for its section “A Brief Ethnography of Contemporary Naturalism”, which is relevant to my comments. Carrier asked some naturalist philosophers two questions:

Richard Carrier wrote:

As a naturalist, do you believe it is logically possible (even if the current evidence makes this highly improbable) for science to disprove naturalism some day?

As a naturalist, do you believe that if naturalism were overthrown by a purely empirical investigation, that the scientific method would necessarily be overthrown as well?

Almost all of the philosophers answered Yes/No. The paper is much longer than I remember; I’m sorry I wasn’t more specific with my linking.

I won’t bother with your Gish gallop.

(see above)

Fine. I won’t bother with Carrier’s paper, either, as it was specifically meant to address someone else’s paper and seems somewhat less than fully rigorous in its approach. Besides, creationists and fundamentalists refer people to articles with hyperlinks as a means of settling an argument online. People refer people to articles with hyperlinks online as a favor – where they simply intend to share. When people wish to debate, they take the time to put arguments in their own words.

However, since you are here, I will ask you two questions:

1. Which form of naturalism do you endorse: methodological naturalism, or methodological and metaphysical naturalism?
2. Do you believe your form of naturalism is at least potentially falsifiable and therefore not demonstratably true, or do you belief it is not falsifiable, and therefore unscientific? Or do you see some other alternative?

Comment #76837

Posted by Timothy Chase on February 1, 2006 4:22 PM (e)

PS

Sorry – I meant “Budda,” your original sig, as opposed to “Buddha” or “Bubba.” I am just not used to seeing anyone call himself “Budda.”

Comment #76865

Posted by BWE on February 1, 2006 6:04 PM (e)

So are they being hypocritical? Is that what some of are saying?

Comment #76882

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 1, 2006 7:12 PM (e)

And, FWIW, Buddhists are generally considered to be atheists and the Buddha himself was agnostic. It is not, in any way, contradictory to be a Buddhist and an atheist or agnostic.

More accurately, Buddhists are NON-theists. It simply doesn’t make any difference in Buddhism if there is a god or not.

Maybe there is. Maybe there ain’t. Buddhists simply don’t care.

Comment #76884

Posted by Shinobi on February 1, 2006 7:18 PM (e)

Why would anyone bother with any philosophical stance that cannot be proven ?

Morality, perhaps? There are no atoms of justice, or mercy. These concepts are subjective; they cannot be proven. Yet these things are considered important by humankind, and debated by philosophers.

Do you consider that the concept of ‘justice’ or ‘mercy’ or ‘hope’ or any other subjective concepts humans use as a basis for their actions are useless? If so, how do you choose to live your life?

Comment #76886

Posted by Shinobi on February 1, 2006 7:30 PM (e)

Also, k.e.:(sorry for double posting) - that something can be proven, or disproven, is in itself a philosophical stance. All formal systems require the adoption of some form of fundamental axiom.

And for Buddha - well I’d certainly agree with you that ‘the church’s history is one of holiness’ does not square with my view of (a) what is holy, and (b) the often bloody history of christianity in Europe. But as ‘holiness’ is an entirely subjective concept, it is not wrong the same way that, say, suggesting the moon is made of green cheese is wrong. I can’t empirically test what is holy.

Comment #76895

Posted by Timothy Chase on February 1, 2006 8:21 PM (e)

shinobi wrote:

Why would anyone bother with any philosophical stance that cannot be proven ?

Morality, perhaps? There are no atoms of justice, or mercy. These concepts are subjective; they cannot be proven. Yet these things are considered important by humankind, and debated by philosophers.

Do you consider that the concept of ‘justice’ or ‘mercy’ or ‘hope’ or any other subjective concepts humans use as a basis for their actions are useless? If so, how do you choose to live your life?

I hope you don’t mind if I expand on this a little…

As a matter of fact, nothing (universal at least) in empirical science can be “proven.” This was a large part of the point behind Popper’s Principle of Falsifiability. And even once on moves beyond it to current “mainstream” views, it appears that some sort of fallibilistic approach is required, where even if one follows the correct method, it is still possible to be mistaken, and therefore one’s conclusions are corrigible, that is subject to disconfirmation by later evidence.

With regard to ethics, I would say that what sort of ethics one can construct and what sort of justification one can claim for the conclusions which one arrives at in this realm will be largely dependent upon the theory of knowledge one has already put in place, although even this claim might be regarded as controversial by many.

In any case, I can think of few things which are potentially as rewarding as the study of philosophy. But it is something which takes time. One could easily devote a lifetime just to the study of single book by a major or many different minor philosophers.

But at the same time, philosophy is a bit like politics – you typically don’t discuss it at length in mixed company. It just isn’t polite to do so unless you know that a good number of people will be particularly interested. I try to observe this myself – but make exceptions when I believe someone is advocating a philosophic viewpoint which may be somewhat misguided.

Comment #76909

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 1, 2006 10:02 PM (e)

In any case, I can think of few things which are potentially as rewarding as the study of philosophy.

Sorry, can’t resist:

“Dole Office Clerk: Occupation?
Comicus: Stand up philosopher.
Dole Office Clerk: What?
Comicus: Stand up philosopher. I coalesce the vapors of human existence into a viable and meaningful comprehension.
Dole Office Clerk: Oh, a BULLSHIT artist!”

“Philosophy and the study of the actual world have the same relationship to one another as masturbation and sexual intercourse.” – K Marx

;)

Comment #76912

Posted by buddha on February 1, 2006 10:27 PM (e)

Timothy Chase wrote:

However, since you are here, I will ask you two questions:

1. Which form of naturalism do you endorse: methodological naturalism, or methodological and metaphysical naturalism?

2. Do you believe your form of naturalism is at least potentially falsifiable and therefore not demonstratably true, or do you belief it is not falsifiable, and therefore unscientific? Or do you see some other alternative?

1. Methodological and metaphysical naturalism.
2. Naturalism is potentially falsifiable in many ways, but it has not been falsified.

I linked to Carrier’s paper (and specifically the section “A Brief Ethnography of Contemporary Naturalism”) to show that my view is not way out on a limb, but that it is widely held by naturalist philosophers. I’m not asking you to read Carrier’s entire paper, but only to note this much, at least.

Comment #76913

Posted by Timothy Chase on February 1, 2006 10:31 PM (e)

Lenny the Great wrote:

Timothy Chase wrote:

In any case, I can think of few things which are potentially as rewarding as the study of philosophy.

Sorry, can’t resist: ….

Hah! ;-)

If it weren’t you, it would have been someone else, particularly with a set-up like that…

Comment #76915

Posted by buddha on February 1, 2006 10:40 PM (e)

Shinobi wrote:

And for Buddha - well I’d certainly agree with you that ‘the church’s history is one of holiness’ does not square with my view of (a) what is holy, and (b) the often bloody history of christianity in Europe. But as ‘holiness’ is an entirely subjective concept, it is not wrong the same way that, say, suggesting the moon is made of green cheese is wrong. I can’t empirically test what is holy.

I’d say the church’s history does not square with the view of what is holy held by typical members of the pope’s intended audience. Surely the pope must know this! If the only way not to reject the pope’s comment is to turn completely relativist then I’d say the pope’s in a right bind, considering what he’s had to say about relativism.

Comment #76919

Posted by Henry J on February 1, 2006 10:55 PM (e)

Re “ 1. Die
2. Observe what happens
3. Report your findings”

Where’s John Edwards when ya need ‘em? (Did I get his name right?)

Henry

Comment #76926

Posted by buddha on February 1, 2006 11:07 PM (e)

Moses wrote:

And, if Europe and Japan are any reasonable guide to human behaviors, we should hit a 40%-50% agnostic/atheist/irreligious saturation point in anywhere from a few decades to another century or so.

That’d suit me just fine. If you’ve ever read 1 Samuel 15, or heard middle-of-the-road Evangelicals trying to justify it then you may understand my alarm that religious “moderates” keep forming churches around this book.

Comment #76938

Posted by k.e. on February 2, 2006 12:00 AM (e)

Shinobi
In reply to:

Why would anyone bother with any philosophical stance that cannot be proven ?

Morality, perhaps? There are no atoms of justice, or mercy. These concepts are subjective; they cannot be proven. Yet these things are considered important by humankind, and debated by philosophers.

Do you consider that the concept of ‘justice’ or ‘mercy’ or ‘hope’ or any other subjective concepts humans use as a basis for their actions are useless? If so, how do you choose to live your life?

I was wondering if you were going to say that;) So one could say ….love thy neighbor…. even if he is a philosopher:)

Comment #76945

Posted by k.e. on February 2, 2006 12:31 AM (e)

Shinobi
My point was if a philosophy conflates science and politics/religion then that is the same as conflating science and pseudoscience …useless to either pursuit.
If philosophy is a method of thought to justify a logically non-contradictory world view then join the queue.

Question: How do you get a philosopher off your porch?
Answer: Pay for the pizza.

Comment #76948

Posted by BWE on February 2, 2006 12:38 AM (e)

Y’know, the 1 samuel 15 thing is no worse than lot and sodom and gamorrah. I don’t have the passage but lot offers up his daughters instead of som eangels for the men of the town to ravage. I guess he figured it was better to have the town gangrape his daughters than to let angels have to deal with the townfolk. I’ve always thought that angels shoould have been able to take care of themselves.

Just a question but budda, were you raised in a christian family? Sounds like you got some aggresion to take out.

Comment #76976

Posted by Timothy Chase on February 2, 2006 3:32 AM (e)

My last post on the philosophy of science/religion (this thread)

budda wrote:

I linked to Carrier’s paper (and specifically the section “A Brief Ethnography of Contemporary Naturalism”) to show that my view is not way out on a limb, but that it is widely held by naturalist philosophers. I’m not asking you to read Carrier’s entire paper, but only to note this.

There are many different ways of interpretting “naturalism.” The strictly methodological, methodological/metaphysical (which both you and Carrier endorse), types which would require reductive materialism, non-reductive materialism, some which would allow moderate dualism, then of course there are those which involve some form of “naturalized epistemology” in the tradition of Quine. Those I would place roughly at the same level as radical deconstructionism or radical relativism. I suppose if Carrier belongs to the “naturalized epistemology” camp, this might explain why he has an opinion survey in his technical paper.

k.e. wrote:

Sorry Shinobi not syllogism.
Mere deduction from cause and effect no philosophy involved just historical observation. Why would anyone bother with any philosophical stance that cannot be proven?
That in its most basic sense IS senseless.

#76734

Shinobi and I already replied to this (#76884, #76886, #76895), so I am just going to say at this point: I understand – if you wanted to get into philosophy, you would have signed up for a philosophy class.

BWE wrote:

Jesus. Do you guys not get how stinkin irrelevant that all is? I’m with k.e.
I’d like Wild Turkey on the rocks please.

#76833

Make that a double, please.

I am going to just quickly list a few points, at which point I will have had my last word here on this thread regarding the philosophy of science:

1. There are certainly senses in which I would regard myself as a methodological and metaphysical naturalist. However, these terms are so vague that if one does not try to defend what one means by them, they are almost meaningless. Some individuals might believe, for example, that being a metaphysical naturalist would necessarily involve what is referred to as a naturalized epistemology. That is anathema to me, and I would regard it as being roughly on the same level as extreme deconstructionism or radical relativism.

2. One of the individuals who Carrier interviewed was Evan Fales. I took a course from Mr. Fales at the University of Iowa, oddly enough in the philosophy of science. I know for a fact that his view (at least as he expressed it in the context of the course) was that the principle of falsifiability is no longer tenable. (Incidentally, for anyone who has the opportunity, I would strongly recommend him – but be sure to bring a tape recorder and keep it where you have easy access.)

3. If you will notice, Carrier asked the “naturalist philosophers” whether it was “logically possible… to disprove… naturalism.” No mention of the distinction between methodological and metaphysical naturalism were made. Nothing regarding naturalized epistemology. No explicit mention of the anachronism of the “principle of falsifiability.” Budda, on the other hand, has endorsed methodological and metaphysical naturalism (which I wouldn’t see as necessarily being a problem), and Budda also endorsed the view that “naturalism is potentially falsifiable in many ways, but it has not been falsified.”

4. Metaphysics is one of the areas that was generally regarded as being non-falsifiable, like ethics, esthetics, or religion – prior to the abandonment of the principle of falsifiability. (For those who want sources, write me. See below.)

5. As I have said, the principle of falsifiability has been abandoned, at least technically speaking, due to the coherentialist elements of scientific knowledge. I have already sent in the section which demonstrates the fact that it is fatally flaw to DebunkCreation some time ago, although I could polish it up some more at this point. I could also cite, Duhem (for Duhem’s Thesis – I will have to look that up in my notes), Quine (for the argument as to why Duhem’s Thesis eliminates the principle of falsifiability as expressed in “The Two Dogmas of Empiricism”), a major author in the philosophy of science who concluded that Quine was right on this point (Rudolph Carnap), and sources which indicate this controversy has been over for quite some time. (For those who want the information, write me. See below.)

6. I do not consider “me-tooing” an informal poll to be a proper philosophic method. I would strongly suggest to Budda that if he wishes to make philosophic arguments that he expand his repertoire – and preferably read more than one author.

To write me, combine my first name and last name into a single word and append at gmail dot com. It might take a few days for me to respond as I generally have too many pans in the fire. Alternatively, you could just look at:

Falsifiability
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsifiability
(Wo – same black swans… Deja Vu!)
– or even do your own research.

It covers much of the same stuff I touched on already and seems “fairly” accurate, although of course it is no substitute for examining the technical arguments. (Incidentally, I was working entirely from memory. No books, notes or web until this post.)

However, at this point, on this thread, as far as I am concerned, it would be pointless to continue to “debate” Budda on the philosophy of science or the philosophy of religion. If he wants, he can have the last word, and he is welcome to it. Given #6, I am fairly confident there is no need to respond further – and I believe it would be a waste of whatever oxygen is left on this thread to do so. (Other threads? Might be open game as the philosophy of science may have some bearing on theories of evolution and how they are justified.)

Now I need some sleep.

“Say good night, Gracy.”
“Good night Gracy!”

Comment #77008

Posted by Raging Bee on February 2, 2006 8:27 AM (e)

So now budda takes one passage in the Bible, projects his own hatred into it, and uses that as an excuse to disregard all of the good stuff the rest of us know is in there, with no further discussion. Just like a faux-Christian gay-basher.

Comment #77013

Posted by buddha on February 2, 2006 9:09 AM (e)

Timothy Chase wrote:

1. There are certainly senses in which I would regard myself as a methodological and metaphysical naturalist. However, these terms are so vague that if one does not try to defend what one means by them, they are almost meaningless. […]

If you know how to define methodological naturalism and, for instance, if you can say that ID does not fit because of its recourse to gods that cannot be tested, then you also know how to define “metaphysical” naturalism as a testable theory simply by taking the pragmatic assumptions of methodological naturalism (viz. there are no gods) as hypotheses in the Theory of Naturalism.

[…] Some individuals might believe, for example, that being a metaphysical naturalist would necessarily involve what is referred to as a naturalized epistemology. That is anathema to me, and I would regard it as being roughly on the same level as extreme deconstructionism or radical relativism.

Well, indeed. Where would we be without anathemas?

2. One of the individuals who Carrier interviewed was Evan Fales. I took a course from Mr. Fales at the University of Iowa, oddly enough in the philosophy of science. I know for a fact that his view (at least as he expressed it in the context of the course) was that the principle of falsifiability is no longer tenable. […]

The principle of falsifiability (i.e. Modus Tollens) is still valid! What might be disputed is how easily this principle may be applied in practice, considering the interdependence of scientific theories and the problem of observer incompetence. I reject the proposition that all swans are white because of the principle of falsifiability and the fact that I have observed black swans. Only if I was being completely pedantic might I question the scientific classification of black “swans” as swans, or admit the possibility, however slight, that I was delusional at the time.

Bayesian inference generalizes the principle of falsifiability to handle these problems. In this view, empirical experiments are epistemological sweepstakes with each theory betting on the outcome(s) it predicts. Vacuous “theories” contribute nothing to the betting strategy. The epistemic confidence in vacuous “theories” never deviates from the confidence initially invested in them, whereas the confidence in nonvacuous theories may decrease with conflicting observations (in the case of YEC, or in the case of gods that might have created a young earth), or increase with confirming observations (in the case of the Theory of Evolution, or the Theory of Naturalism).

3. If you will notice, Carrier asked the “naturalist philosophers” whether it was “logically possible… to disprove… naturalism.” No mention of the distinction between methodological and metaphysical naturalism were made. Nothing regarding naturalized epistemology. No explicit mention of the anachronism of the “principle of falsifiability.” […]

1. The whole point of the two questions is to make a distinction between methodological naturalism (the scientific method without recourse to untestable gods) and “metaphysical” naturalism (the theory that gods do not exist).

2. Naturalized epistemology is irrelevant to these questions. The point is whether the scientific method, however it is justified, could lead to the falsification of naturalism.

3. If the “principle of falsifiability” is not pure enough for thine eyes then you may substitute Bayesian inference, or another method of your choice, in its place.

[…] Budda, on the other hand, has endorsed methodological and metaphysical naturalism (which I wouldn’t see as necessarily being a problem), and Budda also endorsed the view that “naturalism is potentially falsifiable in many ways, but it has not been falsified.”

Why, thank you for quoting me! Now if only you could find some support for all the other assertions you have made about me.

6. I do not consider “me-tooing” an informal poll to be a proper philosophic method. I would strongly suggest to Budda that if he wishes to make philosophic arguments that he expand his repertoire – and preferably read more than one author.

I have already given reasons in my own words why the Theory of Naturalism is testable: a six-thousand year old universe would do the trick for me. Besides, Carrier’s survey is in response to a claim that naturalist philosophers deny the falsifiability of naturalism (as is also claimed here at PT from time to time). You might consider the survey an effort to find a scientific consensus among naturalist philosophers. Indeed, you undertake a similar approach with your fifth point:

I could also cite, Duhem (for Duhem’s Thesis — I will have to look that up in my notes), Quine (for the argument as to why Duhem’s Thesis eliminates the principle of falsifiability as expressed in “The Two Dogmas of Empiricism”), a major author in the philosophy of science who concluded that Quine was right on this point (Rudolph Carnap), and sources which indicate this controversy has been over for quite some time.

Comment #77025

Posted by Timothy Chase on February 2, 2006 10:13 AM (e)

Buddha wrote:

If you know how to define methodological naturalism and …

Dude!

Consider a different forum.

Heck, if you want, there would even be the possibility of creating an email list, and if five other people show up, we could certainly discuss the issues in further depth. Slower, more dialogue style. But here the “Religions fail as empirical, scientific theories” bit is wearing a little thin. We have gone well past Tangent Land by now. City limits of Civil Discourse long before that. Troll’s Bridge is coming up. Time for a different road.

Comment #77043

Posted by AC on February 2, 2006 11:59 AM (e)

Shinobi wrote:

[k.e.] Why would anyone bother with any philosophical stance that cannot be proven ?

Morality, perhaps? There are no atoms of justice, or mercy. These concepts are subjective; they cannot be proven.

True, but can’t morality at least be based on things that can be proven? If I believe it’s wrong to murder because God said so, that can’t be proven. But, what if I believe it’s wrong because I’ll probably get arrested and tried and convicted, spending the rest of my life in prison at best and being executed at worst? That could be proven.

Do you consider that the concept of ‘justice’ or ‘mercy’ or ‘hope’ or any other subjective concepts humans use as a basis for their actions are useless? If so, how do you choose to live your life?

I would say that any of our subjective concepts are potentially useless, but I think there is a strong correlation between their usefulness and their relevance to the world outside our minds.

Comment #77052

Posted by BWE on February 2, 2006 12:57 PM (e)

Budda (I think that’s what the kids in the local middle school are calling pot now: Budda)

Any how back on the point which is actually off point but, since we are using non-euclidean geometry, our parralel discussion must surely cross the original topic at some point, is close enough to the new point which is that there isn’t really much point to this but here goes anyway-

Do you have some religion in your past which was shoved down your throat and left a bad taste? I do. You want to hear it? Ok. Sure. I’ll tell you.

Back a few years, my wife (who was my girlfriend at the time) insisted that I attend a church service. Now that was significant because I had never actually attended a church service before (My mom was a Biology/Botony prof and my dad was a history prof back when Marx was still read a lot, so not really much religion from them), in fact, I sort of thought that people had figured out the load of crap part of it and used church only for social purposes. You might think that my wife was religious, being as how she wanted me to go to church but you’d be wrong. She hadn’t been to church since she was little and went with a friend. She just figured I should go to church to see what it was all about. So of course I agreed (she was my girlfriend then so I agreed to a lot of strange things but that is for a different story). ANyway, so we pick this one that was hust down the hill from her apartment, Glad Tidings it was called. It was a pretty little building with a nice garden out front, I think they grew hollyhocks. Sorry, gotta go for now, I’ll finish this story in a few minutes in my next post.

Comment #77063

Posted by k.e. on February 2, 2006 1:40 PM (e)

Timothy
Thanks for the wiki link and the blizzard of associated links
I have now wasted 2 hours I can’t get back, you rotten person :)
I have now re-arrived at my stating point.
Which seeing how Shinobi and yourself have played this as far as I can see, fits the trinity and that thingy that ends with “life everlasting” into perspective. Sorry to show my ignorance on that, I understand it from a semiotic viewpoint only. The uniforms are OK and the music goes down a treat.
No problem, good for you, the CC and their sisters worldview is just a little esoteric for me, interesting (to me)as much for what is within their horizons and even more for what is outside.
And of course how it continues to morf, pity I won’t be around in the same time it took them to back down on the fatwa issued to Galileo, maybe they just wanted to be sure the music of the spheres was not being broadcast from beyond Jupiter or wherever Voyager one is now. Speaking of fatwas, you just have to love those jokers from AlQueda revving up GWB on the “one true word of god” issue don’t you?

Shinobi of course every religion is a worldview but when you say
All formal systems require the adoption of some form of fundamental axiom
I hope you don’t mean religious dogma and any theology/philosophy that supports it, is a fundamental axiom, as in say nuclear physics where theory/models have been confirmed with measured results.
As I said before, sure…. a non-contradictory logical system that covers morals and scientific analysis of nature would be ‘nice’ though I fail to see how one can do justice to both without taking a purely political/identity position on the former and a cold hard amoral non-theistic position on the latter… how many PhD’s do Penrose,Behe,and all the rest of them have between them?.
Its really the old render unto God what is God’s and unto Caesar what is Cesar’s is it not?…ahh while you are awake after a couple of coffees ..except in Behe’s case …maybe a walk on the wild side for him or perhaps he should have popped into one of those Tarot card readers he drove by when he thought ‘wouldn’t it be nice to read the mind of god’ and got a reading.

Comment #77101

Posted by Timothy Chase on February 2, 2006 4:25 PM (e)

k.e. wrote:

Timothy

Thanks for the wiki link and the blizzard of associated links

I have now wasted 2 hours I can’t get back, you rotten person :)

I have now re-arrived at my stating point.

Don’t you just love the web? I have found graduate level textbooks on retroviruses and microbiology on the internet, too. Free access. Then there are all of the technical papers, especially in biology.

wrote:

Which seeing how Shinobi and yourself have played this as far as I can see, fits the trinity and that thingy that ends with “life everlasting” into perspective. Sorry to show my ignorance on that, I understand it from a semiotic viewpoint only. The uniforms are OK and the music goes down a treat.

No problem, good for you, the CC and their sisters worldview is just a little esoteric for me, interesting (to me) as much for what is within their horizons and even more for what is outside.

Well, there is plenty about any major religion which I would find quite esoteric. I myself am not religious in any traditional sense. (I lean towards a kind of metaphysical naturalism, although in terms of metaphysics, I am a kind of a minimalist who views the primary function of a metaphysics as that of laying a kind of logical foundation for knowledge theory, principally for the purpose of establishing a fallibilistic approach to knowledge. But for me, this is a little more fundamental than a philosophy of science – a big part of my own emphasis is upon being able to recognize one’s mistakes and learn from them.)

So at the same time, I would suspect that my own views would seem a bit esoteric to most other people. Likewise, when I look at someone who is either religious or non-religious, there is always an element of the unknown.

At some level, in relation to you, anyone else will always involve a large element of the unknown. It is oftentimes experienced as somewhat dangerous, for in the unknown, there exists at least the possibility of some kind of threat. Thus while the unknown which we experience in relation to others may be source of a number of emotions, including curiosity, like a puzzle to be solved, it may also be the source of fear. When you fear something, you will oftentimes want to remove it or control it.

But I do not believe that this is the proper way in which to react to the differences which exist between human beings, even in the realm of religious belief. In relation to the unknown, a certain degree of vigilance is required. But just to be able to live within a human society, there is also a need for a certain level of trust. You can’t simply assume the worst of someone else because they are different from you. If we behaved this way, each of us would be rushing to pull our knives out first as we passed one-another in the streets. Civilization couldn’t exist that way, and without it, neither could any of the benefits of civilization or of human society.

At present, we face very real dangers, religious and non-religious alike. These are known threats to science, education and freedom. We can grant each other a certain degree of trust and learn to work together to defend that which we have in common, or we can fail to cooperate, or even drive each other away out of fear of the mere possibility of some unknown threat. But if we choose the latter, we lack the strength of a united front.

In truth, I believe that the differences which separate us are quite superficial. However, I can understand if others don’t see it quite the same way. Nevertheless, I believe it is possible for each of us to focus upon one very important facet of our existence: our common humanity, and in recognition of our common humanity, extend a degree of trust even in the face of the unknown. I believe that each of us should be willing to do this for our own sakes, for the sake of those we value, and for the sake of the future.

Comment #77102

Posted by Barry Campbell on February 2, 2006 4:25 PM (e)

In all this talk, which just repeats the same thing over and over, no one has explained how all the known universe came into being from nothing (before the Big Bang). If nothing, God is definitely intelligent.

Comment #77122

Posted by BWE on February 2, 2006 5:43 PM (e)

Posted by Barry Campbell on February 2, 2006 04:25 PM (e)

In all this talk, which just repeats the same thing over and over, no one has explained how all the known universe came into being from nothing (before the Big Bang). If nothing, God is definitely intelligent.

Yes to the first part. That is because no one knows how all the known universe came into being from before the big bang. One of the ladies who works with me claims that if I rig one of our flowmeters just right, it could be sensitive enough to go back to one second before the big bang but the suckers cost $150 and we can’t afford to waste one on nonsense like that.

But the second part, if god is nothing, then god is most definitely not intelligent.

Comment #77127

Posted by steve s on February 2, 2006 6:04 PM (e)

Comment #77102

Posted by Barry Campbell on February 2, 2006 04:25 PM (e)

In all this talk, which just repeats the same thing over and over, no one has explained how all the known universe came into being from nothing (before the Big Bang). If nothing, God is definitely intelligent.

Perhaps you are looking for a physics-oriented website?

Comment #77137

Posted by Stephen Elliott on February 2, 2006 6:34 PM (e)

Posted by steve s on February 2, 2006 06:04 PM (e)

Perhaps you are looking for a physics-oriented website?

Just out of interest, do you happen to know of any?
Particularly, of one run similar to this.

Comment #77151

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 2, 2006 6:57 PM (e)

In all this talk, which just repeats the same thing over and over, no one has explained how all the known universe came into being from nothing (before the Big Bang). If nothing, God is definitely intelligent.

Hmmm, I thought ID was just SCIENCE and had NO religious aims, goals or effect. So what’s with all the god-talk?

Or are IDers just . . well … lying to us when they claim that?

Comment #77153

Posted by steve s on February 2, 2006 7:01 PM (e)

I don’t know any like this, because there’s not a comparable threat to physics education. But somewhere like PhysLink that Barry guy could find information about the Big Bang theory, if he really cares, which of course he doesn’t, he just wanted to make what he thought was a devastating argument against evolution, which of course isn’t.

Comment #77154

Posted by Stephen Elliott on February 2, 2006 7:09 PM (e)

Posted by steve s on February 2, 2006 07:01 PM (e)

I don’t know any like this, because there’s not a comparable threat to physics education. But somewhere like PhysLink that Barry guy could find information about the Big Bang theory, if he really cares, which of course he doesn’t, he just wanted to make what he thought was a devastating argument against evolution, which of course isn’t.

That is a pity.
Especially as I would expect Physics to be the next target if they manage to scupper Biology.
In a way I would have expected Physics to have been priority 1 for ID.
Maybe they just thought Evolution was the easier subject to attack.

I agree with your assessment of Barry BTW.

Comment #77156

Posted by steve s on February 2, 2006 7:25 PM (e)

physics really hasn’t come under coordinated assault. The opponents of modern physics are mostly lone cranks writing manifestoes about how Einstein was wrong, how to build perputual motion engines, etc. Imagine a whole lot of Charlie Wagner types, but writing about physics. Easy to ignore. Nothing comparable to the Discovery Institute.

Comment #77161

Posted by Stephen Elliott on February 2, 2006 8:02 PM (e)

Posted by steve s on February 2, 2006 07:25 PM (e)

physics really hasn’t come under coordinated assault. The opponents of modern physics are mostly lone cranks writing manifestoes about how Einstein was wrong, how to build perputual motion engines, etc. Imagine a whole lot of Charlie Wagner types, but writing about physics. Easy to ignore. Nothing comparable to the Discovery Institute.

Agreed. But should ID get it’s way with Evolution, surely Physics/Cosmology is next. After all it deals with the start of the Universe (or damn close to it).

Comment #77167

Posted by steve s on February 2, 2006 8:43 PM (e)

We already know what that’s going to look like. Crea-uh I mean Intelligent Design Physics:

The Universe is too Flinkywisty* to have come about naturally, ergo Good Old Designer is required.

*–Flinkwisty is a placeholder word which can be replaced with anything, for example ‘sensitive’, ‘improbable’, ‘low-entropy’, ‘hot’, ‘cold’, ‘blue’, whatever, it won’t change the argument.

Comment #77183

Posted by Henry J on February 2, 2006 10:49 PM (e)

Re “Perhaps you are looking for a physics-oriented website?”
Re “I don’t know any like this, because there’s not a comparable threat to physics education.”

Maybe not a threat, but I’ve found websites that deny the big bang, black holes, quarks, and/or the infinite range of gravity. (With some overlap among those denials.) But unlike the typical antievolutionist sites, those largely describe testable (at least potentially) models for what they are (or were) saying - which makes them in some ways more interesting than the anti-evo sites.

Henry

Comment #77285

Posted by AD on February 3, 2006 10:47 AM (e)

In response to Henry…

I’m incredibly skeptical of anything published on the web regarding physics. It is a field that is, because of the inherent underlying mathematical complexity, much more inaccessible to most people than biology. While sometimes there are laymen sites that offer decent bio info (but most often not), I have very, very, very rarely seen anything phyiscs oriented that was viable.

I suppose my point is that unless the publisher of the site has a PhD in physics and reviews the info, I’d be HIGHLY skeptical of it. It’s easy to make claims and propose models, but that says nothing about correctness.

Comment #77304

Posted by AC on February 3, 2006 12:55 PM (e)

I’m still trying to figure out how any amount of intelligence would allow ex nihilo creation of something.

Maybe I’m just not smart enough. Or maybe it’s just an empty theistic platitude.

Comment #77316

Posted by k.e. on February 3, 2006 1:47 PM (e)

AC
Projection… remember?
I don’t know if it is an inferiority complex or some sort of narcissism. I blame it on their mothers with an Electra Complex

But I’m leaning toward a just plain willfully ignorant designer who hates educated people.

They love anything that’s not funny and replace it all with identity politics then deny deny deny.

The kind of thing that makes them want to invade Poland.

Comment #77397

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 3, 2006 6:58 PM (e)

I blame it on their mothers with an Electra Complex

Hey, I liked Electra. Especially that cool red leather outfit. :)

Oh, wait, we’re not, uh, talking about the same thing, are we ….

;)

Comment #77411

Posted by steve s on February 3, 2006 8:12 PM (e)

Comment #77285

Posted by AD on February 3, 2006 10:47 AM (e)

In response to Henry…

I’m incredibly skeptical of anything published on the web regarding physics. It is a field that is, because of the inherent underlying mathematical complexity, much more inaccessible to most people than biology. While sometimes there are laymen sites that offer decent bio info (but most often not), I have very, very, very rarely seen anything phyiscs oriented that was viable.

I suppose my point is that unless the publisher of the site has a PhD in physics and reviews the info, I’d be HIGHLY skeptical of it. It’s easy to make claims and propose models, but that says nothing about correctness.

It’s very easy to find good physics things on the internet. You start with a reputable authority, such as the APS, or Scientific American, or PhysLink, and work outward.

Comment #77921

Posted by Morgan-LynnLamberth on February 6, 2006 4:34 PM (e)

Coyne and K eith Milller are fideists- they beleve no reason can be givenfor belief.They say eventhough science shows no teleologybut causality.they have faiththere is teleology.-the Omphalos argument!Whether creationists or theistic evolutionists say what is naturalistic is phony, the truth deceives. One says fossils are a god’s hoax; the other natural selection is a secondaryforce, creative mind , primary when they can’t show a creative mind.Furthermore, Ocxcam’s razor shows n atural selection primary, a creative mind goes beyond the evidence. Occam Yes , we need Coyne and MILLER ON OUR SIDE AGAINST the reactionaries,but we can criticize their obtuseness.

Comment #77922

Posted by Morgan-LynnLamberth on February 6, 2006 4:34 PM (e)

Coyne and K eith Milller are fideists- they beleve no reason can be givenfor belief.They say eventhough science shows no teleologybut causality.they have faiththere is teleology.-the Omphalos argument!Whether creationists or theistic evolutionists say what is naturalistic is phony, the truth deceives. One says fossils are a god’s hoax; the other natural selection is a secondaryforce, creative mind , primary when they can’t show a creative mind.Furthermore, Ocxcam’s razor shows n atural selection primary, a creative mind goes beyond the evidence. Occam Yes , we need Coyne and MILLER ON OUR SIDE AGAINST the reactionaries,but we can criticize their obtuseness.

Comment #77923

Posted by Morgan-LynnLamberth on February 6, 2006 4:36 PM (e)

Coyne and K eith Milller are fideists- they beleve no reason can be givenfor belief.They say eventhough science shows no teleologybut causality.they have faiththere is teleology.-the Omphalos argument!Whether creationists or theistic evolutionists say what is naturalistic is phony, the truth deceives. One says fossils are a god’s hoax; the other natural selection is a secondaryforce, creative mind , primary when they can’t show a creative mind.Furthermore, Ocxcam’s razor shows n atural selection primary, a creative mind goes beyond the evidence. Occam Yes , we need Coyne and MILLER ON OUR SIDE AGAINST the reactionaries,but we can criticize their obtuseness.

Comment #77924

Posted by Morgan-LynnLamberth on February 6, 2006 4:37 PM (e)

Coyne and K eith Milller are fideists- they beleve no reason can be givenfor belief.They say eventhough science shows no teleologybut causality.they have faiththere is teleology.-the Omphalos argument!Whether creationists or theistic evolutionists say what is naturalistic is phony, the truth deceives. One says fossils are a god’s hoax; the other natural selection is a secondaryforce, creative mind , primary when they can’t show a creative mind.Furthermore, Ocxcam’s razor shows n atural selection primary, a creative mind goes beyond the evidence. Occam Yes , we need Coyne and MILLER ON OUR SIDE AGAINST the reactionaries,but we can criticize their obtuseness.

Comment #77947

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 6, 2006 7:12 PM (e)

Coyne and K eith Milller are fideists- they beleve no reason can be givenfor belief.They say eventhough science shows no teleologybut causality.they have faiththere is teleology.-the Omphalos argument!Whether creationists or theistic evolutionists say what is naturalistic is phony, the truth deceives. One says fossils are a god’s hoax; the other natural selection is a secondaryforce, creative mind , primary when they can’t show a creative mind.Furthermore, Ocxcam’s razor shows n atural selection primary, a creative mind goes beyond the evidence. Occam Yes , we need Coyne and MILLER ON OUR SIDE AGAINST the reactionaries,but we can criticize their obtuseness.

I do recognize the words as English, however, the meaning of this word salad, if any, still escapes me. Even after seeing it repeated four times …… .

Comment #77954

Posted by Morgan-LynnLamberth on February 6, 2006 7:39 PM (e)

Rev. Lenny evidently you aren’t too bright! Caausality contradicts teleology.Causality is sequential , teleology say the effect comes before the cause.The Omphalos argument says fossils are agod’s hoax.If Miller claims a god has anything to do with the universe , he should demonstratethat, not put forth faith.OTHERwise, he is using Omphalos-events happen sequentially it merely appears, but creative mind deceives us really events happen before their causes! Whether creationist or liberalXian ., THE THEISTS USE omphalos. Wrong -headed as she was about ethics .Ayn Rand was right about theism.Why would agod want worship? Low self- esteem.Read George Smith on Occam’s razor. SeeWeisz’s THE SCIENCE of BIOLOGY ABOUT CAUSALITY. Coyne and Miler obfuscate.Their notion of a god adds nothing to the understanding. Word salad is inthe eye of aneara blind fellow!

Comment #77955

Posted by Morgan-LynnLamberth on February 6, 2006 7:42 PM (e)

Rev. Lenny evidently you aren’t too bright! Caausality contradicts teleology.Causality is sequential , teleology say the effect comes before the cause.The Omphalos argument says fossils are agod’s hoax.If Miller claims a god has anything to do with the universe , he should demonstratethat, not put forth faith.OTHERwise, he is using Omphalos-events happen sequentially it merely appears, but creative mind deceives us really events happen before their causes! Whether creationist or liberalXian ., THE THEISTS USE omphalos. Wrong -headed as she was about ethics .Ayn Rand was right about theism.Why would agod want worship? Low self- esteem.Read George Smith on Occam’s razor. SeeWeisz’s THE SCIENCE of BIOLOGY ABOUT CAUSALITY. Coyne and Miler obfuscate.Their notion of a god adds nothing to the understanding. Word salad is inthe eye of aneara blind fellow!Yes, my typing -arg.

Comment #77957

Posted by CJ O'Brien on February 6, 2006 7:59 PM (e)

No, the posts are word salad. Impugning others’ intelligence when you write like a third grader on mescaline is pretty rich.

And I think it’s Miller, et al’s very point that belief in God as such doesn’t add to, or subtract from, scientific understanding.

Comment #77961

Posted by Steviepinhead on February 6, 2006 8:28 PM (e)

Well, this person has admitted that their typing doesn’t help, but still doesn’t seem to fully realize how running half the words together contributes to the effect, if not the intent, of word salad …

Comment #77980

Posted by Morgan-LynnLamberth on February 6, 2006 10:22 PM (e)

Idon’t know if my last comments caame through. Sufficient to say read Richard Carrier’s book on naturalism, George Smith’s on explanation versus faith, Michael Martin’s on atheism. By saying agod has nothing to do with as an explanation Miller tacitly admits agod is unneeded. B udda and ke talk for me. Yes ,science can’t disprove the tooth fairy. But have faith any way! See Antony Flew on the imaginary gardiner i an anthology. Ask me what Imean.

Comment #77983

Posted by Morgan-LynnLamberth on February 6, 2006 10:23 PM (e)

Idon’t know if my last comments caame through. Sufficient to say read Richard Carrier’s book on naturalism, George Smith’s on explanation versus faith, Michael Martin’s on atheism. By saying agod has nothing to do with as an explanation Miller tacitly admits agod is unneeded. B udda and ke talk for me. Yes ,science can’t disprove the tooth fairy. But have faith any way! See Antony Flew on the imaginary gardiner i an anthology. Ask me what Imean.

Comment #77988

Posted by k.e. on February 6, 2006 11:20 PM (e)

MLL
SLOW DOWN !
U must be on a 56k connection.
Your multiple posts and poor proof reading completely blow your points.
I don’t see that beating up those who are on the same side contribute to the debate. I’m sure at least some of them know the limitations of their own arguement.

Comment #78000

Posted by BWE on February 7, 2006 12:36 AM (e)

W ellGod i ssuch as mallm in ded id eaanyw ay tha tit require sa wor dgame asa div ersionfro mthein anity.!!! THE THEISTS D ON”T!! KN OWEVE RYTH ING!!!

Comment #78012

Posted by Timothy Chase on February 7, 2006 2:10 AM (e)

MLL –

Coyne and K eith Milller are fideists- they beleve no reason can be given for belief. They say even though science shows no teleology but causality. They have faith there is teleology.-the Omphalos argument! Whether creationists or theistic evolutionists say what is naturalistic is phony, the truth deceives. One says fossils are a god’s hoax; the other natural selection is a secondary force, creative mind , primary when they can’t show a creative mind. Furthermore, Occam’s razor shows natural selection primary, a creative mind goes beyond the evidence. Occam. Yes , we need Coyne and MILLER ON OUR SIDE AGAINST the reactionaries, but we can criticize their obtuseness.

#77921

I would say first of all that their argument in certain ways may superficially resemble the Omphalos argument in that there is nothing, quite literally nothing in the way of empirical evidence which can falsify their position. It is quite literally untestable. However, this is precisely the sort of boundary which Karl Popper erected with the Principle of Falsifiability. According to this principle, empirical science was on one side, philosophy, metaphysics, ethics, and religion were on the other. If their view is correct, unlike the Omphalos argument, it does not require one to regard the results of empirical science as false. It leaves empirical science untouched.

Can you criticize them? But of course. Does their approach seem extraneous given the context of empirical science. Sure. Can you criticize them for violating Occam’s razor, and argue that they are not choosing the simplest explanation? This is a little tougher. Do you have a simplest explanation? No doubt you would argue that metaphysical naturalism is simpler. But is metaphysical naturalism a scientific theory? I don’t think so. Do you have a unified, empirical, scientific theory of everything? I really doubt it. Not if you are talking about physics, chemistry, biology, and cosmology. Not if you mean something which tells you exactly how you should behave in every context. Metaphysical naturalism is not an empirical scientific theory. It is a philosophic position. So when you criticize Coyne and Miller, you have already stepped outside of science, and are now performing philosophy. I don’t have a problem with that. Philosophy is fine. But philosophy is not empirical science, and it is at best misguided to treat it as such.

… evidently you aren’t too bright! Caausality contradicts teleology. Causality is sequential , teleology say the effect comes before the cause.

#77954, 77980

I assume you are talking about final causation. So for example, when you write a sentence, we are not simply “supposed” to interpret this as the result of so many electrical signals in your brain, but instead, that you strung characters, then words, then sentences with a certain goal in mind: that of communicating what you meant to say. Communicating that meaning was the purpose of your actions, and it is at least at one level a fairly significant explanation as to why I see one set of characters than another. I realize that you strung those characters with a goal in mind: communication. And this goal as the object of your action preceded the action itself, the action which is the efficient cause of its realization. Is this what you are talking about? Or did I entirely misconstrue what you had to say? Or did you in fact intend to communicate at all? Should I simply interpret the characters as the product of efficient causation – as if there were no goal to their existence?

Gee, I do hope I’m not being too obtuse here. Then again, I think if I were to entirely jettison final causation I would become incredibly obtuse. Don’t you think?

Anyway, sure, George Smith has a book. “Atheism: The Case Against God.” Interesting book. Interesting arguments. Philosophy, not science. Same with Flew and Carrier (well, sort of). It isn’t empirical science. What they are doing is philosophy.

Comment #78036

Posted by ben on February 7, 2006 4:49 AM (e)

Yes, my typing -arg.

Is there something preventing you from proofreading your admittedly bad typing before hitting the “post” button?

Comment #78220

Posted by buddha on February 8, 2006 5:33 AM (e)

Timothy Chase wrote:

blah blah blah…

Are you still trolling here? Well then, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

But is metaphysical naturalism a scientific theory?

You bet. The Theory of Naturalism is at least as testable as the Theory of Evolution. A refutation of evolution would send my Bayesian confidence in naturalism crashing toward zero. Sure, it still could’ve been aliens, but with the Fermi paradox (“Where are they?”) I don’t rate this possibility highly. Besides, a stronger argument is possible in principle that not only did evolution not happen on earth, but it could not happen anywhere. I would consider that an absolute refutation of naturalism. Naturalism can also be tested in many other ways.

You may challenge the priority I give to the scientific method. Is the scientific method itself testable by the scientific method? No, because the scientific method is used to test ontic propositions, but the scientific method itself it not an ontic proposition; it is a method. I use the method because it is reliable. This claim itself is an ontic proposition that can be tested and could have been refuted. But considering the remarkable success of modern science I have no reason at all to doubt that the scientific method is reliable. The claims made for the scientific method can be tested using the scientific method. Thus giving the scientific method priority is not self-refuting.

Perhaps other methods are also self-consistent and give reliable results concerning ontic propositions. Prophecy, biblical interpretation, divine inspiration and astrology have all failed. Competing religions and denominations assert contradictory ontic propositions with no way to know who’s right and who’s wrong.

Usually the bold claims made by religious folk turn out to be semantically vacuous. I remember reading the old testament. It goes like this: Israel lost a battle because somebody sinned; Israel won a battle because the incumbent king was righteous even though somebody sinned; Israel lost a battle because a previous king was wicked even though the incumbent king was righteous; Israel won a battle because god remembered his covenant even though a previous king was wicked; Israel lost a battle because somebody sinned even though god remembered his covenant. Any ad hoc “explanation” will do for the glory of the lord!

Faith healing is the same. Any excuse for why it didn’t work will do. I say faith healing is bunkum nonsense, but it seems you’d rather say it’s really more like poetry.

Comment #86858

Posted by a.k. on March 16, 2006 12:55 PM (e)

So, Intelligent Design belittles God? How? I think that if someone would just look around them, they would see that there is no way that this planet, even this universe can be the result of nothing. It is impossible to have everything come from nothing. All of your “wisdom” and “intelligence” just came from some random goo, or bang. Wow. I think some people need to get over their hate of God and their obsession of themself and face the facts straight. Evolution is a religion, there is nothing unbiased about it. All I ever see is a bunch of people blatantly opposed to God.

Comment #106249

Posted by Mike Flacklestein on June 17, 2006 5:30 AM (e)

I live at 77466 Commonwealth in Seattle. Been up here before?