PvM posted Entry 1963 on February 2, 2006 12:18 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1958

Steve Fuller was one of the witnesses for the defense and many may have wondered why he was included. Fuller’s opinions on Intelligent Design seem quite straightforward

Fuller wrote:

Trials over the teaching of creationism — and now intelligent design theory — can draw on two different criteria for defining science: one based on motive and the other based on method. The difference matters, even though so far creationism and ID have largely failed to meet either of them.

In other words, it seems that Fuller agrees that ID has failed to meet the criteria for science whether based on motive or method.

Fuller continues

Fuller wrote:

I testified for the defense in the recent Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District because a motive-based definition reinforces a false dichotomy between science and religion while obscuring a genuine distinction in the contexts of discovery and justification in science.

Unfortunately, Judge Jones based his ruling against ID in Kitzmiller on the clear religious motivation of the theory’s practitioners. Instead he should have drawn on the precedent set in McLean v. Arkansas (1982), which relied on a conception of the scientific method independent of practitioner motives and, for that matter, the received opinion of scientific experts.

I am not sure what trial Fuller attended but Jones’s ruling was based on both motive and lack of scientific foundation, which thus destroyed the claim that ID serves a legitimate secular purpose which is not a sham.

When Stephen Meyer argued that “Let Schools Provide Fuller Disclosure” I can now fully agree with him, it’s time for schools to provide the disclosure.Fuller has presented. In the mean time, perhaps DaveScot can educate Meyer on the facts of the Cambrian explosion?

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Comment #76958

Posted by Bob O'H on February 2, 2006 1:17 AM (e)

Fuller is arguing that whether ID is science is a question that should be judged on the basis of the context of justification, i.e. on whether the arguments for it rely on a god.

But, on p28 of Judge Jones’ judgement, we have this:

Consider, to illustrate, that Professor Behe remarkably and unmistakably claims that the plausibility of the argument for ID depends upon the extent to which one believes in the existence of God. (emphasis added by Jones)

Fortunately, Fuller has time to change his article: check the date on it!

Bob

Comment #76960

Posted by djmullen on February 2, 2006 1:33 AM (e)

“William Dembski and Paul Nelson, two CRSC Fellows, will very soon have books published by major secular university publishers, Cambridge University Press and The University of Chicago Press, respectively. (One critiques Darwinian materialism; the other offers a powerful altenative.) Nelson’s book, On Common Descent is the seventeenth book in the prestigious University of Chicago “Evolutionary Monographs” series and the first to critique neo-Dacwinism.”

Hmmm, it hasn’t been 1998 for a long time now and Paul Nelson’s “powerful alternative” still hasn’t been published. We do have Dembski’s screed, however, and I have to admit that it “critiques Darwinian materialism”, just not very well.

Comment #76978

Posted by Norman Doering on February 2, 2006 3:46 AM (e)

“…bigger threat is when these things go up to the Supreme Court.” – Michael Ruse

Indeed, just how “conservative” is Bush’s new court going to be? No one asked Alito or Roberts about ID in the hearings.

Does anyone have a clue as to how they feel about ID?

Comment #76988

Posted by Norman Doering on February 2, 2006 4:53 AM (e)

Sometimes people arrive at the right answer by using the wrong reasons.

For example, President Bush spoke about human/pig chimeras in his last State of the Union speech. I don’t expect Bush to really understand the dangers of human/animal chimeras. That, after all, involves understanding how evolution works and Bush has come out in favor of Intelligent Design.

Human/animal chimeras could create an evolutionary step ladder for animal viruses to adapt to human tissue. To understand why, you have to grasp evolutionary theory in a way that excludes belief in Intelligent Design. I think Bush is disturbed by human/animal chimeras for a religious reason, something like humans having souls and not animals.

I think, maybe, Steve Fuller’s conclusion: “I fear that the Kitzmiller ruling has merely reinforced the idea that religious motives alone can disqualify an inquiry from being considered scientific” is correct, but for very different reasons.

Judge Jones may not have based his ruling entirely on the religious motivation of the theory’s practitioners, but it did form part of his argument. The scientific method is not really independent of practitioner motives and beliefs. One should strive to be as objective and open as possible, but it can never really be done perfectly.

Comment #76991

Posted by 386sx on February 2, 2006 5:11 AM (e)

Indeed, just how “conservative” is Bush’s new court going to be?

I dunno, but Alito already broke ranks with the court’s conservatives in his first day on the job!

Comment #77007

Posted by Ginger Yellow on February 2, 2006 8:26 AM (e)

I do wish the IDiots could get their story straight. Over on Ed Brayton’s blog right now one of them is arguing that Judge Jones is an evil activist judge because he ruled on the scientific nature of ID, instead of basing his decision solely on the religious motivation of the school board members.

By the way Fuller definitely hasn’t given up his PoMo justification for teaching ID. Here he is expounding it in a Guardian profile a few days ago: http://education.guardian.co.uk/academicexperts/…

Comment #77039

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

Indeed, just how “conservative” is Bush’s new court going to be?

I dunno, but Alito already broke ranks with the court’s conservatives in his first day on the job!

Wow…I’m impressed. I wonder if he’s going to lean more to the left than anyone suspected.

It wouldn’t pay to hold my breath on that one though, I think…

386sx?? I used to have one of those–that computer sucked!!

Comment #77049

Posted by Tony on February 2, 2006 12:42 PM (e)

Indeed, just how “conservative” is Bush’s new court going to be? No one asked Alito or Roberts about ID in the hearings.

That is definitely the $64,000 question. Both Alito and Roberts are Roman Catholics, and lately I’ve read links here that suggests that the Roman Catholic Church has learned from its past mistakes and has come out against Intelligent Design (specifically, the Panda’s Thumb thread titled “Intelligent Design belittles God”). Also, remember that Judge Jones was a George Bush appointee to the court, and his ruling in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case was as great a slam dunk as anyone could have hoped for. In fact, it was this court decision that stopped some Indiana State legislators from introducing any significant anti-evolution teaching bills.

(For all practical purposes, Indiana HB1388 - which required “accuracy in textbooks”, is dead in the water).

I attended Catholic grade schools and high schools, and the education that I received was extremely challenging and rigorous. We were held to very high achievement standards, especially in both mathematics and science. Our biology teachers strictly taught evolution; and religious studies were kept separate. In fact, the religious priests and brothers themselves were very enlightened and stressed that religion and science were not mutually exclusive. I could be wrong, but I further believe that most Catholic schools (not Christian fundamentalist schools) hold their students to similar high education standards.

I think that the definition of a true conservative judge is one who strictly interprets the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and not one who injects their own personal biases. So for now, I am trying to stay optimistic.

Comment #77067

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 2, 2006 2:05 PM (e)

Wouldn’t one think that a sociologist might understand the importance of motivation to the work of “discovery” and “justification”? The fact of the matter is that I do understand his point about the false dichotomy between science and religion, however when religion is the motivation for changing the rules of science, even an “expert in sociology” ought to start to understand the problem.

Apparently Judge Jones and the plaintiffs have a far more sophisticated understanding than does this empty-headed “expert”. During the trial, motivations and lack of meaningful ID results were correlated and shown to correspond to each other, and the dearth of ID research was understood as being related to the desire to rewrite science as an apology for religion. Even DaveScot finally understood the problem of ID’s religious motivations, as we saw in the postings that Dembski decided to erase (he’s still evinces extreme ignorance in his belief that ID can be otherwise).

Don’t they teach anything about science to sociologists any more, or for that matter, don’t they teach sociology to people like Fuller these days? One can certainly feel some sympathy for anyone having to “learn sociology” from Fuller, in any case. The man seems to know nothing, apart from some high-sounding jargon (and btw, I do know that there are much better thinkers in sociology, since I’ve read some of their work).

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #77074

Posted by Dean Morrison on February 2, 2006 2:23 PM (e)

Internet Infidels are giving Fuller a thorough going over here:

http://www.iidb.org/vbb/showthread.php?t=152827

In an attempt to keep out other unwanted introductions (Creationism and Idiot teaching I mean) a few of the British contributors to PT are getting together a new forum here:

http://justscience.1.forumer.com/index.php?showt…

- why not pop by to say hi!

(we are very short of Trolls at the moment- so if anyone would like to send Larry over? - and does Lenny’s Pizza guy deliver overseas?)

Comment #77081

Posted by k.e. on February 2, 2006 2:54 PM (e)

one word
Book sales
dang make that 2 words

we sociologists have 3 things on our side
fear, surprise, and a fanatical devotion to warmyness and fuzziness.
and NOW the comfy cushion treatment
Bwhaahahahhahhaha

Comment #77088

Posted by Caledonian on February 2, 2006 3:42 PM (e)

Tony wrote:

In fact, the religious priests and brothers themselves were very enlightened and stressed that religion and science were not mutually exclusive.

Unfortunately, that is a lie. I don’t know whether your teachers themselves were lying to you, or if they sincerely believed the lie that had been told to them, but ultimately it makes little difference.

Religion and science most certainly are mutually exclusive. The first is founded on faith, the second on doubt; faith and doubt are diametrically opposed and incompatible with each other.

Comment #77092

Posted by Stephen Elliott on February 2, 2006 4:00 PM (e)

Posted by Caledonian on February 2, 2006 03:42 PM (e)

Tony wrote:

In fact, the religious priests and brothers themselves were very enlightened and stressed that religion and science were not mutually exclusive.

Unfortunately, that is a lie. I don’t know whether your teachers themselves were lying to you, or if they sincerely believed the lie that had been told to them, but ultimately it makes little difference.

Religion and science most certainly are mutually exclusive. The first is founded on faith, the second on doubt; faith and doubt are diametrically opposed and incompatible with each other.

How can you be so certain?

Comment #77093

Posted by Lenny's Pizza Guy on February 2, 2006 4:01 PM (e)

Dean Morrison asked:

[D]oes Lenny’s Pizza guy deliver overseas?

Generally not, but I’m always open to negotiation.

If you’re talking an, um, large sea–like the one by which our common language is divided, for example–then my tip will tend to be infeasibly munificent, and your pizza will tend to arrive unseasonably cool.

Not that these things can’t be worked out, but then we’re talking even more money, and away we go.

My personal preference is to confine my deliveries within an area where the pizza can arrive fast and hot, my customers are satisfied, I make enough dinero to make it through another day, and I don’t have to think Big Thoughts, like Lenny and the rest of you do.

(Maybe that was more than you needed to know, in which case, I sure hope you stopped reading way back up there somewhere…)

Comment #77098

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 2, 2006 4:17 PM (e)

Speaking of people who discuss science when they don’t know what they’re talking about, Berlinski continues his dreary assault on science:

http://tinyurl.com/9x5px

I replied at the sixth post on that thread.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #77100

Posted by Caledonian on February 2, 2006 4:24 PM (e)

Stephen Elliot wrote:

How can you be so certain?

Basic logic, applied to the concepts in question. It’s not difficult.

Comment #77105

Posted by Keanus on February 2, 2006 4:32 PM (e)

I grew up during the 40’s and 50’s in a part of the south where Catholics were viewed witih deep suspicion and such suspicions were fed, as they usually are, by ignorance. I harbored some of those same suspicions as a result. However, once past college and my military obligation, I began work as a textbook editor, in which capacity I spent many hours and days visiting schools from coast to coast, many Catholic schools among them. Much to my surprise, at the time, I found them to be almost uniformly good and well run. The science teachers (all science texts were my responsibility), whether nuns, priests/brothers, or laypersons, were on average much better than those I met in the public schools. And the biology/life science teachers always taught evolution straightforwardly. They quickly dispelled any bias I’d carried over from childhood. Of course, during the course of my publishing career I had three ex-nuns and two ex-priests work for me, who willingly educated me about the church, warts and all. Although I’m not in favor of any government support to catholic schools, I continue to regard them in general more favorably than the public schools.

Comment #77110

Posted by Corkscrew on February 2, 2006 5:03 PM (e)

Caledonian: technically I think it’s only the practice of science and religion that are mutually exclusive. It’s perfectly possible to practice both science and religion in a valid fashion as long as you’re quite clear which one you’re going by at any one time.

Comment #77112

Posted by 386sx on February 2, 2006 5:10 PM (e)

Caledonian said:

Religion and science most certainly are mutually exclusive. The first is founded on faith, the second on doubt; faith and doubt are diametrically opposed and incompatible with each other.

Mutually exclusive in the sense that science should be independant from religion, but not in the sense that religion should not be informed by science. But I think the point was that it’s possible for a person to have religious views and still be able to do good science. I mean it’s not like antimatter meets matter and the whole universe explodes if a scientist has religion.

Comment #77114

Posted by ChristieJ on February 2, 2006 5:16 PM (e)

At the risk of going OT:

caledonian wrote:

The first is founded on faith, the second on doubt; faith and doubt are diametrically opposed and incompatible with each other.

This is interesting. In principle I want to agree with Caledonian, but I did want to share this completely science-free anecdote, because it got me thinking on this:

I recently attended an event to hear two writers (non-scientists) speak. One wrote a novel featuring a Catholic nun. While he was doing research for the novel he spent some time with the sisters of a particular order in California. He had been convinced (being of a secular leaning himself) that he would have absolutely nothing in common with these women.

In talking to one of the nuns there, though, he asked her what the most difficult part of the contemplative life was for her. He expected an answer along the lines of ‘deprivation of x or y’, but instead she said brightly, “Oh, doubt, of course.”

Doubt? he asked. Doubt of what?

“Doubt that God exists. We wake up every day faced with his silence.”

It is hard for me to think that she - a nun - had no faith. Perhaps the two can’t coexist at the exact same moment (but I’m not sure about that - I’m not convinced that logic can really be applied meaningfully to unquantifiable things like emotions) - but they certainly can exist in the same person, about the same subject. They do conflict, of course, but they don’t cancel each other out - they create emotional torque in the person affected.

Comment #77125

Posted by Norman Doering on February 2, 2006 5:57 PM (e)

Both Alito and Roberts are Roman Catholics…

And so is John Kerry who tried to filibuster Alito.

It’s not the Catholicism, it’s the “neoconism.” It’s not on the tip of my mind right now – but if you go to the Huffington Post and look back a few days you’ll find a blog Kerry wrote on why he wanted to filibuster Alito. There were some other articles on Alito’s disturbing history - joining some group that once wanted to keep women out of his college… things like that. On the whole, he seemed to have some regressive neocon roots, but nothing was that clear.

Comment #77130

Posted by Caledonian on February 2, 2006 6:09 PM (e)

But that’s precisely my point - doubt is not a problem for scientists. Not because they don’t doubt, but because doubt is essential for the proper operation of rational thought.

Doubt was a problem for those nuns because doubt is the antithesis of faith, and religious belief is all about faith.

Comment #77136

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 2, 2006 6:34 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #77141

Posted by Steviepinhead on February 2, 2006 6:39 PM (e)

Of the many snappy patented “lenny”-isms, that was certainly one of the snappiest!

Comment #77143

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 2, 2006 6:40 PM (e)

I think that the definition of a true conservative judge is one who strictly interprets the Constitution and the Bill of Rights

But that is precisely the problem ….

Altio and the other “conservatives” are what they refer to as “originalists” — they want to interpret the Constitution according to “the original intent of the ratifiers”. More specifically, they are of the opinion that anything not specifically mentioned in the Constitution cannot be acted upon by the Federal government, but only by the states. That would include things like, oh, environmental regulations, labor law, racial and sexual discrimmination, etc etc etc.

I.e., they are the same old “states righters” who so vehemently OPPOSED things like, well, environmental regulations, labor law, racial and sexual discrimmination etc etc etc.

Convenient that, in their view, the Constitution doesn’t protect any of the things they have never liked, isn’t it.

As for church/state/ID, the First Amendment states “CONGRESS shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. This could be (and has been) interpreted so that the “original intent” of the amendment was to prevent the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT from interfering with the right of STATE governments to establish any damn religion they want to.

It could also be (and has also been) interpreted to mean that Congress can give any support to religion that it likes, as long as such support is “nondenominational” and “nonsectarian”, and doesn’t favor one specific sect over another. Like, say, “intelligent design theory”.

None of the “originalists” has been willing to go so far as to eliminate the wall of separation of church and state, or to eliminate environmental regulations, or the 1964 Civil Rights Act, or the Labor Relations Act (or, more accurately, none of them has said any such thing out loud). But it is apparent that they have no legal respect for any of them, don’t think any of them deserve any Constitutional protection, and will make every effort to gut all of them as far as public outcry will allow them.

And, given the fact that the American public hasn’t made a peep of protest concerning things like jailing people without trial or tortuing them in secret overseas prisons, I think the judges will be able to go pretty damn far before there is any public outcry.

Comment #77148

Posted by Stephen Elliott on February 2, 2006 6:51 PM (e)

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on February 2, 2006 06:40 PM (e)

None of the “originalists” has been willing to go so far as to eliminate the wall of separation of church and state, or to eliminate environmental regulations, or the 1964 Civil Rights Act, or the Labor Relations Act (or, more accurately, none of them has said any such thing out loud). But it is apparent that they have no legal respect for any of them, don’t think any of them deserve any Constitutional protection, and will make every effort to gut all of them as far as public outcry will allow them…

Lenny,
Do you have any evidence for this?
Because that would be very worrying if true.

Comment #77157

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 2, 2006 7:26 PM (e)

There is a good book, just out, about this very subject – it’s called “Radicals in Robes”, by Cass R Sunstein.

Comment #77158

Posted by J. G. Cox on February 2, 2006 7:30 PM (e)

It could also be (and has also been) interpreted to mean that Congress can give any support to religion that it likes, as long as such support is “nondenominational” and “nonsectarian”, and doesn’t favor one specific sect over another. Like, say, “intelligent design theory”.

Which is an interpretation that I have never liked. The very proposition that Gods/gods does/do exist is a religious proposition, and therefore ‘establishment.’ That is why I, for one, think that the inclusion of “under God” and “in god we trust” in the Pledge of Allegiance and on our currency, respectively, constitutes a violation of the 1st amendment, as would inclusion of an unnamed Designer with a god’s skillset in public school curricula. Conversely, proclaiming that god/gods does/do *not* exist is also a religious proclamation, and has no place in our pledges, on our currency, or in our public schools. What creationists never seem to understand is the fact that even though evolutionary theory, like *all* other scientific theories, does not explicitly mention any sort of deity does not mean that it denies the existence of those deities.

Comment #77165

Posted by Spike on February 2, 2006 8:32 PM (e)

Dr. Lenny is a little off the mark. The correct term is “constructionist,” but his interpretation (excluding the hand wringing) is mostly true. A strict constructionist is someone who believes that the powers of the Federal Government are limited to those dileniated in Article I Section 8 of the US Constitution.

http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#A1Sec8

Then Ammendments IX and X further define the limits of Federal power:

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Since the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights were ratified, there have been numerous amendments, laws, SCOTUS decisions and Exectutive Orders that have extended the power of the Federal Government almost beyond bounds, especially since the States did not stand up to the Federal Government much after 1865.

The problem… one problem among many of the neocons is that they claim to be strict constructionists, but are really just as selective about what is follow in the U.S. Constitution as they are about what they follow in the Bible.

I am a strict constructionist, so for me, if the State of Oregon wishes to pass a Death with Dignity law, there is nothing Federal Government can do about it.

If California wants to legalize medical marijuana, then, again, D.C. must but out.

At the same time, I don’t believe the Federal Government has any right to collect taxes and give funds to States for education. There should not be any kind of federal agencies that oversee education, transportation, drug manufacture, hiring, firing, yada, yada, yada.

It is up to the States to decide what education system they will have, but, they should not be getting federal taxes to do it with. But each State still has to abide by its own constitution.

For example, Washington State Constitution has this to say about religious freedom:

SECTION 11 RELIGIOUS FREEDOM. Absolute freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment, belief and worship, shall be guaranteed to every individual, and no one shall be molested or disturbed in person or property on account of religion;… No public money or property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise or instruction, or the support of any religious establishment: … No religious qualification shall be required for any public office or employment, nor shall any person … be questioned in any court of justice touching his religious belief to affect the weight of his testimony.

That is an even clearer separation of Church and State than in the USC.

I could happily go on for pages and pages….

Comment #77168

Posted by Spike on February 2, 2006 8:49 PM (e)

The page I am referencing for my above post

http://www.usconstitution.net

is very educational. I especially like there discussion of “Things that are not in the U.S. Constitution.”

http://www.usconstitution.net/constnot.html

Comment #77169

Posted by Spike on February 2, 2006 9:08 PM (e)

We should talk briefly about the 14th Amendment:

http://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_Am14.html

It was referenced by SCOTUS as the means by which certain federal laws trump State laws. First and foremost it got rid of all State laws allowing slavery. It is also the reference for extending the Voting Rights Act and others to the States.

So, if the neocons on The Bench really are constructionists, then they would first have to overturn previous SCOTUS decisions regarding the 14th Amendment and explain why it applies only to slaves in 1866 and not the rest of us.

Just as a note, many of the “alphabet soup” agencies we live under today were brought into being through extension of the meaning of The Commerce Clause of Article 1 Section 8:

“The Congress shall have Power … To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;”

Supreme Court decisions in the ‘30’s basically said that FDA, FTC, FCC, and the rest were constitiutional because of this clause.

Again, if the neocons want to do away with those agencies, they would need to argue why The Court was wrong before. However, the current tactic of appointing incompetent and malevolent jackasses is almost as effective and certainly more expedient.

Comment #77171

Posted by Spike on February 2, 2006 9:19 PM (e)

One more thing (told you!)…

You must remember that treaties ratified by Congress have the force of law, so it is through the 14th Amendment and the Commerce Clause that the GATT and the WTO are extended to the States.

If people wonder how decisions made by the WTO to override labor and environmental laws can have any power in the US, it is in exactly the same way that decisions by the FLRB have power.

Comment #77172

Posted by Dean Morrison on February 2, 2006 9:19 PM (e)

Caledonian wrote:

Religion and science most certainly are mutually exclusive. The first is founded on faith, the second on doubt; faith and doubt are diametrically opposed and incompatible with each other.

In evolutionary terms didn’t they spring from the same origins - that is :

… an attempt to explain the world around us?

… and didn’t they march in step until the ‘scientific method’( or whatever philosophers call it) was developed?

When people decided that the evidence of their senses took priority over previous teaching or scriptures: a whole new world was discovered….the world we live in as revealed by the truths revealed by science.

Some people prefer the explanation handed down to them by their: parents; their culture; and its books.

The narrative might be convincing and more appealing for all sorts of other reasons: power, control and wealth amongst them.

The difference is that the truths that we discover through scientific examination are the same wherever you are.

What religious explanation you might accept usually depends what culture you are born into.

Comment #77173

Posted by Dean Morrison on February 2, 2006 9:21 PM (e)

… and if Lenny’s Pizza guy’s is worried about seasickness - perhaps he could send us his recipies?

Comment #77174

Posted by Lenny's Pizza Guy on February 2, 2006 9:37 PM (e)

Sigh.

One hates to disappoint potential tip-paying customers, but…I’m just the delivery guy. It’s not that I don’t have some knowledge about the pizza-making end of the business–I can twirl dough with the best of them!–but I’m hardly in the same category as our pizza chefs and pizza bakers.

And I’m certainly not authorized to give away the boss’s mom’s long-held secret family recipes (hey, he’s not so much mainland Italian, as he is, um, Sicilian, so just fuhgeddaboutit!).

Comment #77176

Posted by Stephen Elliott on February 2, 2006 9:47 PM (e)

Posted by Caledonian on February 2, 2006 03:42 PM (e)

Tony wrote:

In fact, the religious priests and brothers themselves were very enlightened and stressed that religion and science were not mutually exclusive.

Unfortunately, that is a lie. I don’t know whether your teachers themselves were lying to you, or if they sincerely believed the lie that had been told to them, but ultimately it makes little difference.

Religion and science most certainly are mutually exclusive. The first is founded on faith, the second on doubt; faith and doubt are diametrically opposed and incompatible with each other.

Now that was pretty assertive.
So I questioned you.

Posted by Stephen Elliott on February 2, 2006 04:00 PM (e)

Posted by Caledonian on February 2, 2006 03:42 PM (e)

Tony wrote:

In fact, the religious priests and brothers themselves were very enlightened and stressed that religion and science were not mutually exclusive.

Unfortunately, that is a lie. I don’t know whether your teachers themselves were lying to you, or if they sincerely believed the lie that had been told to them, but ultimately it makes little difference.

Religion and science most certainly are mutually exclusive. The first is founded on faith, the second on doubt; faith and doubt are diametrically opposed and incompatible with each other.

How can you be so certain?

And got this answer.

Posted by Caledonian on February 2, 2006 04:24 PM (e)

Stephen Elliot wrote:

How can you be so certain?

Basic logic, applied to the concepts in question. It’s not difficult.

Not a lot of doubt there.

Posted by Caledonian on February 2, 2006 06:09 PM (e)

But that’s precisely my point - doubt is not a problem for scientists. Not because they don’t doubt, but because doubt is essential for the proper operation of rational thought.

Doubt was a problem for those nuns because doubt is the antithesis of faith, and religious belief is all about faith.

So what happened to your essential doubt?

Comment #77177

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 2, 2006 9:49 PM (e)

Dr. Lenny is a little off the mark. The correct term is “constructionist,” but his interpretation (excluding the hand wringing) is mostly true. A strict constructionist is someone who believes that the powers of the Federal Government are limited to those dileniated in Article I Section 8 of the US Constitution.

Nope, different thing. Scalia: “I am not a strict constructionist, and no one ought to be.”

What Scalia refers to as “the great divide” in regards to the constitution is whether judges interpret it according to current understanding and viewpoints, or, as Scalia argues they should, as the *original ratifiers* understood it to mean.

Some refer to this as “The Constitution in Exile”.

Different things.

As for whether it is “hand-wringing”, I suggest you talk to anyone who lived through the fifties (a black person or a woman or a politicla dissident or a religious minority, preferably) and ask them if they’d like to return to it.

Comment #77181

Posted by orrg1 on February 2, 2006 10:43 PM (e)

I found the quote in ChristieJ’s comment about the nun plagued by doubt that God exists because “We wake up every day faced with his silence” fascinating, because I think this cuts to the heart of a scientific, or at least rational, approach to religion. The Bible may praise faith, but it offers up proof of God in the form of miracles that were tangible to the observers on the scene. Why does it do this, if faith alone is all that is required?

I’ve seen a quote on this site several times, I believe originally from Richard Dawkins, to the effect that everybody is an atheist regarding every religion except their own. I think most believers and non-believers agree with this statement. To me the world’s widely varying religions seem to have developed and diversified similarly to the world’s widely varying languages, and like languages, are of human origin. Believers of each sect will insist that their particular faith-based beliefs are right, and all others are wrong. They believe this probably more strongly than anything else in their lives. On what facts though can any of them base this assertion on? To me, their claims can all be made with precisely equal justification based on tangible evidence, but since they all conflict, how can any be right?

As far any evidence accessible to our senses shows (which have been greatly amplified, by the way, through scientific advances), there do not appear to be any supernatural entities out there, appearing and creating miracles at whim. Certainly none as flashy as those appearing in the Bible. To me, it appears that we have come into being through mechanisms that are dimly, if at all understood, and now, we’re just here. However, we are learning more all the time, and more than we ever thought possible, not that I am claiming that we will eventually learn [i]everything.[/i]

Does the idea that we may in fact exist for no discernible reason bother me? I accept what the evidence appears to indicate. At the same time, I feel that I have more respect for my fellow man, and my planet, than I would if I were a religious believer. If this little isolated pocket of sentience is not being watched over by an omnipotent parental figure, then it is all the more valuable. Indeed, we must struggle to protect it and attempt to spread it, because if the spark is extinguished, it may be the last that our corner of the universe sees for billions of years. Why should we bother, if there is no meaning beyond ourselves? We are self aware, and we strive to learn the answers to everything. For me, that is enough.

Comment #77185

Posted by Spike on February 2, 2006 10:59 PM (e)

OK. Then I was right! The neocons are not strict constructionists at all! :)

I wonder what they think the difference is, other than allowing themselves to interpret the Constitution however they like. I mean, as a constructionist, I’m going to try to figure out what the authors of the USC meant in the context of their time and use that as a basis for what has come since.

As for hand-wringing: The genie is out of the bottle, so to speak. We have plenty of social support for the notion of equal rights.

There are decisions more important than those of the SCOTUS - those of the people. In the past, the Supreme Court ruled that slaves had no rights, then, after the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement, the Court ruled that everyone had equal rights. The people decided this was the right thing, and the government and SCOTUS eventually fell in line.

Sure, there is a pendulum swing in societies from liberal to totalitarian (in the broadest, most traditional meanings of those words) but once people learn about what rights they have, or believe they ought to have, it’s impossible to keep them down.

Capitalism can only survive in an educated, mostly free society. Businesses have too much to lose if “minorities” lose their earning power. And no matter how powerful the fundamentalists are in this administration, it is the capitalists who still run the show.

Personal and economic liberty sort of leap-frog over each other, pulling each other along. What really did in the Soviet Union was perestroika. Once people were able to earn a little disposable income, they wanted to spend it the way they wanted to spend it. And once they had economic desires the government could not satisfy, then there were plenty of people outside of the government who were ready to step up.

I just think people overreact to what they perceive to be the power of government. Most governments, even the most brutal dictatorships, eventually collapse under their own weight and from external pressure.

If a system is too oppressive, people push back, or leave and send money home to the insurgents.

They shouldn’t have to, of course, but the tools of democracy can be used by the totalitarians to gain power just as easily as the liberals use them. I just wonder why the (modern) liberals have become so weak and ineffectual.

I prefer liberal society, where people have equal treatment under the law, where freedom of ideas is encouraged, and where people have the right to interact peacefully with whomever they choose, on whatever terms they choose. Generally, this kind of society ends up being a high-tax society, because the people who run liberal governments tend to believe that societal problems will go away if you just throw enough money at them. But so what? Taxes are easy to avoid, because the people who write the laws don’t want to pay taxes either, so they leave loopholes for themselves that we can use, too.

Sorry, this is not the correct forum for this discussion, I suppose, but to me, the most important consequence of scientific pursuits has been the liberating influence they have had on society. Once people get the idea in their heads that maybe the Church is not infallible, and maybe we could throw off religious dogma, then I think they need to go all the way and throw off all oppressive dogmas, including government.

Comment #77192

Posted by Caledonian on February 3, 2006 12:06 AM (e)

Stephen Elliot wrote:

So what happened to your essential doubt?

Nothing happened to it; it’s right there.

I’ll repeat the experiment. Yep, got the same result that I got the last twenty times I tried it.

I doubt that you recognize the process involved, though.

Comment #77198

Posted by Tice with a J on February 3, 2006 12:37 AM (e)

Slightly OT, but worth mentioning: one man’s take on why a literal reading of Genesis is completely missing the point. Bonus points for demonstrating that the Bible actually has three creation accounts in it, all of which are supposed to be allegorical.

Comment #77258

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 3, 2006 7:55 AM (e)

In the past, the Supreme Court ruled that slaves had no rights,

Oddly enough, they did that from a strict constructionist point of view.

Comment #77269

Posted by Raging Bee on February 3, 2006 9:17 AM (e)

Caledonian wrote:

I’ll repeat the experiment. Yep, got the same result that I got the last twenty times I tried it.

I doubt that you recognize the process involved, though.

So you claim you’ve done an “experiment,” that you’re repeated it, and that you got the same result each time; but you don’t elaborate on the result, don’t describe the experiment, and then justify your refusal to discuss any of this by saying us rubes wouldn’t understand anyway.

This is why I suspect that at least some of the “atheists” here are actually creationists in disguise: they say exactly the same things and “reason” exactly the same way.

Comment #77271

Posted by Raging Bee on February 3, 2006 9:34 AM (e)

One more thing about that nun with the doubts: I notice she didn’t give up her faith in the face of all that daily silence and lack of objective miracles. Maybe there’s some other reward in it that our atheist contingent need to open their minds a little to understand. Just sayin’…

Comment #77272

Posted by ben on February 3, 2006 9:38 AM (e)

One more thing about that nun with the doubts: I notice she didn’t give up her faith in the face of all that daily silence and lack of objective miracles. Maybe there’s some other reward in it that our atheist contingent need to open their minds a little to understand.

As I’m opening my atheist mind to understand, could you give any advice about which superstitious nonsense I should try having faith in despite a complete lack of evidence?

Comment #77281

Posted by Stephen Elliott on February 3, 2006 10:11 AM (e)

Posted by Bob O’H on February 2, 2006 01:17 AM (e)

Fuller is arguing that whether ID is science is a question that should be judged on the basis of the context of justification, i.e. on whether the arguments for it rely on a god.

Crystal healing does not rely on a God either.
I wonder if Fuller would want that taught as science?

Posted by ben on February 3, 2006 09:38 AM (e)

As I’m opening my atheist mind to understand, could you give any advice about which superstitious nonsense I should try having faith in despite a complete lack of evidence?

Why not try the church of the FSM.
You get to wear cool clothes, eat good food and you can carry a large edged weapon. Cool!

Eyepatches cut a dash as well.

Comment #77287

Posted by Tony on February 3, 2006 10:52 AM (e)

I wrote:

We were held to very high achievement standards, especially in both mathematics and science. Our biology teachers strictly taught evolution; and religious studies were kept separate. In fact, the religious priests and brothers themselves were very enlightened and stressed that religion and science were not mutually exclusive.

To this, I read the following response:

Caledonian wrote:

Unfortunately, that is a lie. I don’t know whether your teachers themselves were lying to you, or if they sincerely believed the lie that had been told to them, but ultimately it makes little difference.

Religion and science most certainly are mutually exclusive. The first is founded on faith, the second on doubt; faith and doubt are diametrically opposed and incompatible with each other.

Your comment implies that my teachers were either liars or incompetent fools unable to think for themselves, and I deeply resent this. I’m not some backwoods, uneducated, holy-roller redneck; I earned a Masters Degree in Engineering, am a licensed Professional Engineer in two states, and have successfully completed my share of coursework in Calculus, Differential Equations, Chemistry, Biology, and Physics.

The original intent of my posting was in response to question regarding Justices Alito and Roberts, which asked Indeed, just how “conservative” is Bush’s new court going to be? I was not trying to turn this into a religious discussion. What I was trying to say is let’s not get too worked up about this until we see how this changing Supreme Court works out. As evidence, I mentioned Judge Jones and how his ruling in the Dover Case was an incredible slam-dunk for science and scientific integrity.

I still hold that science and faith are not mutually exclusive. I’m not going to debate the pros and cons of my religious convictions; as this is not the proper forum. What I am going to say is that I know how to keep both separate within their proper frames of reasoning, and my faith is strong enough not to be threatened by science. In fact, the more I learn about how the natural world works, the more my faith is strengthened.

Not everyone who has strong religious convictions is an enemy of science; rather, most of us strongly support what you scientists and science educators do.

Comment #77302

Posted by Raging Bee on February 3, 2006 12:40 PM (e)

As I’m opening my atheist mind to understand, could you give any advice about which superstitious nonsense I should try having faith in despite a complete lack of evidence?

How do you know the nun’s beliefs are “nonsense?” Do you even know what she believes, how she came to believe it, or how she might relate it to her own life-experience?

Once again, the atheists are sounding like intolerant zealots: brushing off differing beliefs as “nonsense,” without even pretending to care what, exactly, those beliefs are.

Comment #77303

Posted by Norman Doering on February 3, 2006 12:46 PM (e)

Tony wrote:

The original intent of my posting was in response to question regarding Justices Alito and Roberts, which asked Indeed, just how “conservative” is Bush’s new court going to be?

That was me who asked. And in reply to your claims I pointed out that John Kerry who filibustered Alito was also Catholic and thus, at least, hinted the Catholicism was irrelevant.

By saying what you said you made your “faith,” Catholicism, relevant to the discussion.

I was not trying to turn this into a religious discussion.

Maybe. But you can’t throw out stuff like that and not have it become part of the dialog.

What I was trying to say is let’s not get too worked up about this until we see how this changing Supreme Court works out.

That’s a reasonable position, Alito is on the court and we can’t really do anything about that now. We can only wait and speculate on something we have no power to change. But it’s not what you said in reply to me. If you were trying to say that, then you did it badly.

As evidence, I mentioned Judge Jones and how his ruling in the Dover Case was an incredible slam-dunk for science and scientific integrity.

Judge Jones, as I recall, was a Lutheran, not a Catholic.

I’m not going to debate the pros and cons of my religious convictions;

But that’s exactly what you did. You gave us a pro-Catholic school argument. Now you don’t want your statement challenged or openly doubted.

… my faith is strong enough not to be threatened by science. In fact, the more I learn about how the natural world works, the more my faith is strengthened.

But I can’t let that go because that statement sounds quite irrational to me. It’s like saying that when your wife brings home strange men and locks the bedroom door and you hear the bed springs rocking and your wife moaning that it strengthens your faith in your wife’s fidelity. Or it’s like saying the more Downing Street memos and accusations of illegal activity against Bush, the more faith you have in our president.

It makes no sense that evidence against something should strengthen your faith in it.

Comment #77307

Posted by ben on February 3, 2006 1:08 PM (e)

Once again, the atheists are sounding like intolerant zealots: brushing off differing beliefs as “nonsense,” without even pretending to care what, exactly, those beliefs are.

How much detail would I need to get on “exactly” what those beliefs are (on the assumption that, even though she’s a catholic nun, she might believe something wildly different than the standard church line), before I am allowed to “brush them off?” All I need to know is that she has “faith” in something that, to hear her tell it, isn’t there. Voila, brushed off. Next!

And I tolerate her beliefs just fine; she’s welcome to believe whatever daffy crap she’s inclined to become indoctrinated to. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg, but it’s still nonsense. Live with it. I promise I won’t be knocking on your door to try to make you believe the same metaphysical things I do, nor will I try to change laws to have your children taught them at your expense.

Comment #77309

Posted by Raging Bee on February 3, 2006 1:13 PM (e)

Once again trying to out-fundy the fundies, Norman goes off the deep end into the abyss of terminal shallowness:

But I can’t let that go because that statement sounds quite irrational to me. It’s like saying that when your wife brings home strange men and locks the bedroom door and you hear the bed springs rocking and your wife moaning that it strengthens your faith in your wife’s fidelity…

No, it’s not like that at all. That has to be dumbest analogy outside of “Dilbert.” Who you callin’ “irrational,” boy? (Maybe you should try writing porn?)

It makes no sense that evidence against something should strengthen your faith in it.

I thought we all agreed that science provided no evidence for OR against spirituality.

You atheists are starting to remind me of Inspector Javert, in Les Miz, who worships the precise mechanical rationality of the heavenly bodies in their motions, desperately wants people on Earth to be just as rational, and ends up going insane because he can’t make his rationality work in the real world.

Comment #77313

Posted by Raging Bee on February 3, 2006 1:32 PM (e)

How much detail would I need to get on “exactly” what those beliefs are (on the assumption that, even though she’s a catholic nun, she might believe something wildly different than the standard church line), before I am allowed to “brush them off?” All I need to know is that she has “faith” in something that, to hear her tell it, isn’t there. Voila, brushed off. Next!

Did it ever occur to you that other people’s life-experiences might lead them to different conclusions from yours? And that those conclusions might actually make rational sense to them? Did it ever occur to you that the “standard Church line” might make perfect sense in her life, and give her both guidance and motivation to do things that are good for both herself and others?

Also, did it ever occur to you that not all Catholics believe exactly the same things all the days of their lives? You’re really starting to sound like an anti-Catholic bigot with your “monolithic uniform party line” assumptions. (Assuming without evidence…isn’t that something religious people do?)

And I tolerate her beliefs just fine; she’s welcome to believe whatever daffy crap she’s inclined to become indoctrinated to…it’s still nonsense.

Right – you “tolerate” other people’s beliefs, while calling them “daffy crap.” Do you even know what the word “tolerance” means? How about “Respect?” Or…and this is a real show-stopper for most atheists…”humility?”

You can pretend to me “more rational than thou,” but I’ve met half-literate recovering drug-addicts who had more understanding of religion and spirituality – and their place in a well-adjusted life – than most of the atheists I’ve met.

Rationality not fed by sufficient facts or experience is still rational, but it just doesn’t work, and will always lead to wrong conclusions.

Comment #77315

Posted by Raging Bee on February 3, 2006 1:35 PM (e)

I promise I won’t be knocking on your door to try to make you believe the same metaphysical things I do, nor will I try to change laws to have your children taught them at your expense.

Most persons of faith aren’t doing these things either. Your point…?

Comment #77318

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 3, 2006 2:04 PM (e)

Did it ever occur to you that other people’s life-experiences might lead them to different conclusions from yours? And that those conclusions might actually make rational sense to them? Did it ever occur to you that the “standard Church line” might make perfect sense in her life, and give her both guidance and motivation to do things that are good for both herself and others?

Some people are just blissfully unaware of any difficult questions, the problems that exist in working through issues of existence and the psyche, or of the relative openness and pluralistic conception of worldviews that exists among a number of religious folk. Rationality said it, they believe, that settles it for them, and never mind the problems that belief in rationalism as a worldview poses.

That said, I tend to think that religion short-circuits the long process of sorting out difficult issues. For me, that is a fault, and I do not take that route. For other people, I think many realize that they may not have hit upon ultimate truth, but that they have found a worldview within which they can operate and learn what they wish to discover.

I have no doubt that a good many religious folk have a much more open and skeptical view of themselves and of the world than do a number of shallow atheists (I’ve had some of the former as professors). There is nothing about switching worldviews that confers wisdom or knowledge upon the one who switches.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #77322

Posted by Tony on February 3, 2006 2:14 PM (e)

Once again trying to out-fundy the fundies, Norman goes off the deep end into the abyss of terminal shallowness

Thanks for the backup, Raging Bee. I don’t see why Norman feels the need to post cheap shots like he did as I didn’t take any cheap shots at him. And I never even mentioned anything about the Downing Street Memos or George Bush.

When I read your original question, I posted the following opinion:

That is definitely the $64,000 question. Both Alito and Roberts are Roman Catholics, and lately I’ve read links here that suggests that the Roman Catholic Church has learned from its past mistakes and has come out against Intelligent Design.

To this you responded:

And in reply to your claims I pointed out that John Kerry who filibustered Alito was also Catholic and thus, at least, hinted the Catholicism was irrelevant.

Fine, I accept that. Furthermore, I never even debated you on that point because I felt it a valid counterargument. My follow-up point was just because an individual states that religion is important to them, don’t be so quick to assume the worst. That is why I wrote; “What I was trying to say is let’s not get too worked up about this until we see how this changing Supreme Court works out.”

Now, I posted that I didn’t want to debate the pros and cons of my religion. To this, you posted:

But that’s exactly what you did. You gave us a pro-Catholic school argument. Now you don’t want your statement challenged or openly doubted.

There is a difference between the Catholic FAITH and Catholic SCHOOLS, as Catholic Schools are still required to meet state educational standards, and its students must show competence on the same standardized testing that public school students must face. My comments were directed to Caledonian, and were in response to his comments that my instructors were either liars or fools. I’ve seen the products of both public and Catholic high schools, and frankly, I’ll take the graduates from Catholic high schools any day. And not just because I’m Catholic, but because of the higher achievement levels that I’ve seen.

Judge Jones, as I recall, was a Lutheran, not a Catholic.

Oh yeah, you really got me on that one. Judge Jones is Lutheran, fine. He also was a George Bush appointee to the court, is a long-time conservative republican, and was reported as being close to Senator Santorium and former Governor Tom Ridge. Given all this, it would have been pretty easy to believe that he might have been sympathetic to the school board. Rather, he slammed them and effectively sent the whole ID movement reeling.

Finally, I’m going to defend what I said…

What I am going to say is that I know how to keep both separate within their proper frames of reasoning, and my faith is strong enough not to be threatened by science. In fact, the more I learn about how the natural world works, the more my faith is strengthened.

Norman, I really don’t care what, if any, faith you subscribe to. Faith and religion are personal issues, and my statement is based upon my own life experiences. Nowhere was I trying to preach to or convert anyone; and if that was how it was interpreted, then I am sorry. However, an overwhelming majority of the world’s population subscribe to some sort of religion or faith, and don’t appreciate the insinuation that somehow we are all nuts.

Comment #77323

Posted by Russell on February 3, 2006 2:28 PM (e)

You atheists are starting to remind me of Inspector Javert, in Les Miz…

ahem.

“You atheists”? Aren’t we overgeneralizing a bit here?

Comment #77324

Posted by k.e. on February 3, 2006 2:29 PM (e)

Indeed Glenn

….I tend to think that religion short-circuits the long process of sorting out difficult issues

Huxley’s “reducing valve” in the The Doors of Perception

Comment #77333

Posted by Norman Doering on February 3, 2006 3:14 PM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

No, it’s not like that at all. That has to be dumbest analogy outside of “Dilbert.”

You complain, but you don’t explain.

How is my metaphor not similar to Tony saying “negative evidence strengthens my faith.” It’s exactly a case of negative evidence. You call it “the abyss of terminal shallowness” but it seems like a perfectly logical metaphor to me.

Protest, protest, protest – but no sign of rational thought or explanation of your terms.

Who you callin’ “irrational,” boy?

You, Raging Bee.

You express outrage and mock me, but you’ve not shown any sign of being able to think rationally.

I thought we all agreed that science provided no evidence for OR against spirituality.

First, we didn’t agree.

Second, this isn’t about evidence for or against something as vaguely defined as “spirituality.” It’s about a far more concretely defined set of beliefs in the Bible and Catholicism.

Evolution strikes me as negative evidence against several Biblical concepts, original sin, death not existing until humanilty fell into sin… etc.. You can call that a fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible but it seems it’s a rather Catholic one too.

Comment #77350

Posted by k.e. on February 3, 2006 4:03 PM (e)

Man Norman
Taking on God’s Mafia …brave.
Catholic has two meanings find out what they are before reading the next line.
The best you can do when it comes to deeply held beliefs that are held by actual people on the existence of anything outside the collective horizon of mankind and still acknowledge their right to those beliefs is to leave it as an open question. You are right to question irrational decisions people make because their views are distorted by their world view such as the mischief Bush and Blair have been getting up to but remember who sent an envoy to Washington in protest? Sure there are plenty of other stupid things they do but on the evolution question the CC is the least antagonistic christian church and they way they do it is to dress up when they talk about the big cheese …its separate. It’s a community with people who treat respect seriously and graciously.
And remember never be rude to an Arab.

Comment #77353

Posted by Norman Doering on February 3, 2006 4:26 PM (e)

Tony wrote:

However, an overwhelming majority of the world’s population subscribe to some sort of religion or faith, and don’t appreciate the insinuation that somehow we are all nuts.

Sorry, but quite a few of them do sound quite nuts to me, for example: Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Dobson, Bush, Osama bin Laden, the Taliban… even the pope sounds nuts to me. I think a rational person should be able to see that what these people say and do does in fact indicate they are nuts.

They are certainly not operating rationally (but then, no human being is fully rational in making life choices).

However, you’re not them and I may have jumped to conclusions. So, lets clear up whether I think you’re a nut right now. I may have to say you are nuts.

It all depends on what you actually meant by this statement: “…the more I learn about how the natural world works, the more my faith is strengthened.” To me, what science has learned about the world since Galileo and Darwin is evidence against what was taught by the Bible and the Catholic church. Are you saying that it’s not? Or, are you saying that negative evidence strengthens your faith?

If you’re saying negative evidence strengthens your faith, then that is nuts in my opinion. Being rational is all about weighing evidence for and against propositions and putting faith where it is earned by evidence.

If you’re saying that what science has learned about the world is evidence for the Catholic and Biblical propositions you have faith in, then you’ll have to explain how that is even possible. I don’t see that.

You say “There is a difference between the Catholic FAITH and Catholic SCHOOLS, …” but I wonder if you learned the “…the more I learn about how the natural world works, the more my faith is strengthened” sentence at such a school. I hear that rather often from Catholics and you’ve got to be picking it up from some similar source as the others. It’s not your original thought.

Did you ever think about what that means and how nutty it might sound?

Comment #77354

Posted by Tony on February 3, 2006 4:28 PM (e)

k.e. wrote:

It’s a community with people who treat respect seriously and graciously.

I’ll take it at face value that your post was not trying to give offense. I’ve looked over everything that I posted, and I believe that I was not trying to attack anyone. I was simply defending the Catholic school system. Growing up in Chicago, I am grateful for the sacrifices that my parents had to make so that I didn’t have to attend the public schools there, as they are a mess. The Catholic schools that I attended were academically very rigorous, and did not twist science and religion.

The Catholic Church has centuries where it has erred badly, causing wars and death to be fought in its name, and the child abuse scandals are terrible. However, it appears that they are trying to learn from the mistakes in its past. And keep in mind, almost all American Catholics do not walk lock-step with everything that Rome proclaims (i.e. birth control and divorce). As Norman pointed out, Kerry is Catholic, yet he is pro-choice. That is a tough position for many politicians with religious convictions to take.

Perhaps the problem has been that scientists and science educators have had to put up with years of verbal abuse and insults from the evangelicals, and that they are simply firing back. We Catholics have had our own issues with the evangelicals and have taken much verbal abuse from them, so in this I am sympathetic.

There are millions of people of various faiths who hold strong religious convictions; but we are not enemies of science and honest, science education.

Comment #77362

Posted by Tony on February 3, 2006 4:53 PM (e)

This seems to be the bone of contention with Norman.

In fact, the more I learn about how the natural world works, the more my faith is strengthened.

Well, this is my answer. It probably is not the answer of most Christians or other people of faith, but it is my belief. I believe that as human beings were evolving from the earlier hominids, God must have seen some promise in our species and gave us the gift of the human soul. It is this soul that gives us the gift of intelligence, free will, and the ability to speculate about the natural world around us. It gives us the ability to create music and art. For me, every time I listen to the music of Beethoven and Bach, I am amazed at the ability of humans to create this type of music. It is what distinguishes us from the animals, and makes us responsible to be proper caretakers of this planet. And all I think that God wants in return is for us to use His gifts to the best of our abilities and for the good of our species.

So every time I read about some new discovery that all you scientist make, it reaffirms my belief in our God-given intelligence. You all have an understanding of the natural world that I desperately wish that I had. But my God-given gifts have put me on a different path.

So Norman, if you think I’m nuts, then I guess I am, and I can live with that. But I am comfortable with my faith. I’ve never stated anywhere that I thought the Bible to be inerrant - it was written by human beings who expressed their human beliefs and biases at the time of its writings. But there are some passages that are good, such as the part about loving your neighbor as yourself.

I also hope that you are comfortable with whatever moral code that you choose to follow, and hope that you appreciate the gifts that you have.

Comment #77365

Posted by Moses on February 3, 2006 5:10 PM (e)

Comment #77313

Posted by Raging Bee on February 3, 2006 01:32 PM (e)

Right — you “tolerate” other people’s beliefs, while calling them “daffy crap.” Do you even know what the word “tolerance” means? How about “Respect?” Or…and this is a real show-stopper for most atheists…”humility?”

Are you asking him what those words mean? Because you’re sure as heck not showing you understand them any better than you claim Norman with your insults and baiting and constant counter-attacking.

And was it necessary to attack everyone for the actions of a single person? Because that’s what you just did.

And could you please stop with the logical fallacy of negative proof you keep using while harping on Norman’s logical fallacy contained in the argument from ignorance? It grates my teeth when someone uses a logical fallacy to attack a logical fallacy. This crap is driving me nuts to the point I feel like I have to say something in an argument that’s been going on too long and is hijacking too many threads.

The fallacy of appealing to lack of proof of the negative is a type of logical fallacy of the following form:

“This exists because there is no proof that it does not exist.”

Non-fallacious ways to prove something include the use of logical syllogisms and/or the incorporation of empirical observations. But it is not logical to argue that something exists simply because there is no proof to the contrary; one cannot say, “No one has proven that aliens do not exist. Therefore, based on that alone, they must exist, notwithstanding that I have no evidence that they do exist”. Given (as it is above) that it was not proven that aliens do not exist, they might exist, but this alone does not prove them to exist.

Another common example is that, “A supernatural force must exist because there is no proof that it does not exist”. However, the converse is also true, according to the Argument from Ignorance: One also cannot say that, “I have not seen proof that something supernatural exists, therefore a supernatural force cannot exist”. Also, similar to the aliens in the above example, since no proof is available that this does not exist, it might exist, but this alone does not prove it to exist.

As for me, I don’t care whether you believe in the existence of the supernatural sugar-daddy in the sky or pixies or that universe is found in the stomach of a cow or in reincarnation. If it makes you happy to believe in any of these things and your personal world is a better place for it, great, it can’t be that bad; as long as you keep your religion inside your four walls and out of my schools.

Now, if you keep it up, I’m gonna tell the teacher. :)

Comment #77368

Posted by Raging Bee on February 3, 2006 5:16 PM (e)

Norman wrote:

Sorry, but quite a few of them do sound quite nuts to me, for example: Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Dobson, Bush, Osama bin Laden, the Taliban… even the pope sounds nuts to me. I think a rational person should be able to see that what these people say and do does in fact indicate they are nuts.

A truly educated and rational person – atheist or not – would understand that anyone who compares the current Pope to anyone else in the above sentence is himself nuts. Or at least incredibly stupid. In fact, Norman, that comparison is even dumber than your last analogy. Stick to wife-swapping porn; you show more promise at it.

Comment #77370

Posted by Caledonian on February 3, 2006 5:21 PM (e)

Tony wrote:

Your comment implies that my teachers were either liars or incompetent fools

Yep.

unable to think for themselves

No. I’m fairly certain that their thinking about certain matters was impaired because of their desire to reach certain conclusions, though.

and I deeply resent this.

Tough cookies.

I’m not some backwoods, uneducated, holy-roller redneck; I earned a Masters Degree in Engineering, am a licensed Professional Engineer in two states, and have successfully completed my share of coursework in Calculus, Differential Equations, Chemistry, Biology, and Physics.

Godel was one of the greatest mathematical minds of all time, certainly of the twentieth century, and his contributions to mathematics meet or even exceed the significance of Einstein’s contributions to physics.

He was also nutty as a fruitcake, and ending up starving to death because he couldn’t overcome his belief that his food was secretly being poisoned.

Congratulations. You’re not some backwoods, uneducated, holy-roller redneck lunatic. You’re a MD-possessing, licensed in engineering, very well educated lunatic. (Michael Behe is rather well qualified in biology. That doesn’t make his ideas any less ridiculous. Qualifications and degrees do not make someone immune to shoddy thinking, and they don’t magically transform nonsense into meaning.)

I still hold that science and faith are not mutually exclusive.

You are mistaken. Whether you are mistaken in earnest, or willfully choose to be so, ultimately makes little difference.

What I am going to say is that I know how to keep both separate within their proper frames of reasoning

Translation: you know how to comparmentalize incompatible belief systems so as to minimize cognitive dissonance.

and my faith is strong enough not to be threatened by science.

Translation: you’ve declared certain beliefs about the world to be outside the bounds of logical analysis, dispassionate examination, or empirical verification, and you will defend that declaration at all costs.

In fact, the more I learn about how the natural world works, the more my faith is strengthened.

Don’t you see what a ridiculous statement that is?

Comment #77372

Posted by Raging Bee on February 3, 2006 5:28 PM (e)

Translation: you know how to comparmentalize incompatible belief systems so as to minimize cognitive dissonance.

If he can compartmentalize them, then maybe they’re not “incompatible” after all.

Comment #77374

Posted by Norman Doering on February 3, 2006 5:28 PM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

… anyone who compares the current Pope to anyone else in the above sentence is himself nuts. Or at least incredibly stupid.

The current pope, Joseph ‘Joey the Rat’ Ratzinger of Germany, a longtime guardian of doctrinal orthodoxy, anti-gay, wants homosexuals out of the priesthood even if they don’t practice it?

Not anything like Dobson or Falwell?

How so?

Again you lash out without any explanation for your position. Just bald assertions with no evidence.

Comment #77376

Posted by Caledonian on February 3, 2006 5:36 PM (e)

Tony wrote:

However, an overwhelming majority of the world’s population subscribe to some sort of religion or faith, and don’t appreciate the insinuation that somehow we are all nuts.

It doesn’t matter whether a belief is held by every single person who ever existed, or no one at all - that has absolutely no bearing on its truth or sensibleness.

I’m sure IDists don’t appreciate the insinuation that they’re deluded or dishonest. That doesn’t make them any less deluded or dishonest.

Comment #77379

Posted by Norman Doering on February 3, 2006 5:42 PM (e)

Norman’s logical fallacy contained in the argument from ignorance?

My argument from ignorance? Where?

An argument for ignorance is not an argument from ignorance. In the end I can only say that I do not have enough evidence to give any faith to any religious claims. My faith has to be earned. It can not be gotten by intimidation or bribes.

Comment #77381

Posted by AC on February 3, 2006 5:44 PM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

You atheists are starting to remind me of Inspector Javert, in Les Miz, who worships the precise mechanical rationality of the heavenly bodies in their motions, desperately wants people on Earth to be just as rational, and ends up going insane because he can’t make his rationality work in the real world.

I would suggest that it was fanatical devotion - not desire for rationality - that caused his insanity. Anyone who appreciates the power of rationality would, I presume, desire it in themselves and others. It’s another thing entirely to be a fascist about it. I don’t think anyone here is doing that (despite other possible criticisms).

Comment #77383

Posted by Caledonian on February 3, 2006 5:57 PM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

If he can compartmentalize them, then maybe they’re not “incompatible” after all.

Do you have any idea what that term actually means?

Comment #77386

Posted by Tony on February 3, 2006 6:15 PM (e)

Caledonian wrote:

Translation: you’ve declared certain beliefs about the world to be outside the bounds of logical analysis, dispassionate examination, or empirical verification, and you will defend that declaration at all costs.

Nope, I never declared that anywhere. What I do find interesting is that on the talkorigins.org index concerning creationism, the authors answer the creationist claim that “Evolution is atheistic” with the counterargument that “Evolution does not require a God, but it does not rule one out either.” That is why I stated that my faith is not threatened by science.

There are multitudes of gaps in the various theories of science that have not yet been proven and are still under debate. All you scientists haven’t found all the answers that everyone can agree with. I never advocated that those gaps are outside the bounds of logical analysis and can only be answered by God. All it means is that you still have work to do.

Engineering is very similar to science, as we have to design buildings and bridges to resist all the forces that act upon them without collapsing. When I design a structure, I just don’t draw random pictures on paper, give them to a contractor, and then pray “Dear God, please don’t let this thing fall down (at least until I retire).” I follow logical reasoning and dispassionate analysis. And there are some forces that engineers are not always in agreement of as to the precise ways that they act. For example, earthquake analysis and design practice is constantly being reviewed as new research is done. We don’t just give up and say its too complicated or within the realm of the supernatural.

As to the rest of your insults, I’ll just turn the other cheek. Your own flippant comments speak volumes enough about yourself and your character. I just really hope that you are not a science professor somewhere.

Comment #77387

Posted by Norman Doering on February 3, 2006 6:16 PM (e)

Tony wrote:

…I believe that as human beings were evolving from the earlier hominids, God must have seen some promise in our species and gave us the gift of the human soul. It is this soul that gives us the gift of intelligence, free will, and the ability to speculate about the natural world around us.

That’s an interesting way to look at it. I’ll give your line evidence this much credit: Human beings do seem to be unique mentally in a very powerful way. Apes and monkeys may have some ability with language, use crude tools and form social groups but we humans are light years beyond them in our ability to figure out the world and create technology from that knowledge.

Evolution teaches us to look for transitional forms in both the fossil record and in the existing species we share this planet with. However, there seems to be no other animal showing us what the precursor to our abilities might have been like.

Is that because there is no precursor to human mentality and some slight genetic change suddenly gave an ape-like brain such ability? Or, is it because the precursors are humanoid species that no longer exist?

And why only us?

… the music of Beethoven and Bach, I am amazed at the ability of humans to create this type of music.

I suspect birds are impressed by bird song, and whales impressed by whale songs.

… what distinguishes us from the animals,

There’s a long list of things that distinguish us; opposable thumbs, religion, written language, evolving technology and science, huge social groups and civilizations, wearing clothing, etc..

…every time I read about some new discovery that all you scientist make, it reaffirms my belief in our God-given intelligence.

I don’t think it was God that gave us these abilities. I think it was evolution.

You all have an understanding of the natural world that I desperately wish that I had.

You might not feel that way if learning about neuroscience shattered your line of evidence for a soul.

… if you think I’m nuts,

No, not completely. What you say at least hints at a reasoned conclusion. But I do think it’s a very limited and selected line of evidence.

Comment #77390

Posted by Caledonian on February 3, 2006 6:38 PM (e)

Tony wrote:

What I do find interesting is that on the talkorigins.org index concerning creationism, the authors answer the creationist claim that “Evolution is atheistic” with the counterargument that “Evolution does not require a God, but it does not rule one out either.” That is why I stated that my faith is not threatened by science.

Evolution is only a part of science, a very particular part. Just as Newton’s Laws of Motion don’t say anything about religion, evolution doesn’t say anything about religion.

The scientific method, however, is fundamentally incompatible with religious thought.

It doesn’t matter whether “everyone” agrees with that or not. It’s still true.

Comment #77395

Posted by Stephen Elliott on February 3, 2006 6:52 PM (e)

Posted by Caledonian on February 3, 2006 06:38 PM (e)

The scientific method, however, is fundamentally incompatible with religious thought…

Why?

Comment #77399

Posted by Caledonian on February 3, 2006 7:10 PM (e)

You’ve already been told why, Stephen Elliot. You responded to the statement in which it had, in fact. Drop the nonchalant act already.

Comment #77403

Posted by Stephen Elliott on February 3, 2006 7:25 PM (e)

Posted by Caledonian on February 3, 2006 07:10 PM (e)

You’ve already been told why, Stephen Elliot. You responded to the statement in which it had, in fact. Drop the nonchalant act already.

Told, yes.
But you failed to bother to explain.
Do you really just expect to make a statement and have others change a personal opinion?

The nonchalance is not an act BTW.

Was it not you, that just a few days ago claimed that something exists just because it was thought about?
That was on the thread that turned into a discussion on wether maths was science.

Comment #77435

Posted by Caledonian on February 3, 2006 11:40 PM (e)

Why yes, that was not-me. How perceptive of you to have noticed.

Comment #77472

Posted by Dean's Pizza Transport Operative on February 4, 2006 6:41 AM (e)

Dean Morrison wrote:

…and does Lenny’s Pizza guy deliver overseas?

Oi! Are you trying to do me out of a job ‘ere?

Comment #77483

Posted by Corkscrew on February 4, 2006 10:25 AM (e)

Caledonian: I agree that the application of scientific methodology to every single area of one’s life would probably rule out the existence of a God. However, the scientific community doesn’t ask that of its members - it only demands that they follow the scientific method when on-duty. What they do off-duty is their own business. Thus, the practice of science is in no way incompatible with the practice of religion.

This is an excellent thing, IMO, because otherwise science would be reduced to a set of witchhunts against its members for “harbouring irrational thoughts”. Is that something that you want to see come about?

Anyway, applying the scientific method to every area of one’s life is impossible at the best of times - for some reason, telling girls that you’re running a study on human procreation does not seem to make them willing to have sex with you (for example). Some aspects of our world are not scientifically tractable to us. It’s more or less a matter of personal opinion as to which areas you stick into which box - all that I personally would ask is that, on sticking something in the “scientifically intractable” box, people then do not try to get in the way of scientists who think that they stand a fair chance of figuring it out.

Comment #77493

Posted by Caledonian on February 4, 2006 12:39 PM (e)

Scientific reasoning isn’t some set of arbitrary rules that are applied to small, discrete portions of life. (All employees must wear red-and-black checked mittens while on duty. No employees shall mix barbeque sauce into mussel stew unless accompanied by mint essence.)

It’s the very essence of what we mean by ‘thought’.

Why wouldn’t we expect sanity and reason to be used in all parts of life?

Comment #77495

Posted by Corkscrew on February 4, 2006 1:01 PM (e)

Caledonian wrote:

Scientific reasoning isn’t some set of arbitrary rules that are applied to small, discrete portions of life. (All employees must wear red-and-black checked mittens while on duty. No employees shall mix barbeque sauce into mussel stew unless accompanied by mint essence.)

It’s the very essence of what we mean by ‘thought’.

Why wouldn’t we expect sanity and reason to be used in all parts of life?

The scientific method isn’t sanity and reason, it’s just the highest-possible-wattage variant of them. Personally, I would strongly agree that it’s best to use the highest-wattage variant of rationality in any given situation, but even I can think of situations where that wouldn’t be plausible. Some people evidently think that religion is one area where it indeed would not be plausible. Personally I’d disagree, but I’m aware that that’s a subjective viewpoint.

Anyway, given how some forms of insanity (homeopathy, for example) succeed in exploiting the placebo effect far more strongly than any known forms of sanity, you could even say that it’s not necessarily irrational to adhere to them… :P

Comment #77496

Posted by orrg1 on February 4, 2006 1:31 PM (e)

Moses wrote:

This crap is driving me nuts to the point I feel like I have to say something in an argument that’s been going on too long and is hijacking too many threads.

The futility of going another round in the “atheism vs religion” argument has been pointed out countless times on this board ,as has how it tends to divide us, who are nearly all on the same side on the main issue here. Yet it’s always present unavoidably just below the surface, and I think it’s healthy every once in a while to air it out again. I think it becomes a problem only when it devolves into personal attacks. I know part of the problem here is cultural. Scientists are used to vigorous debate. You could put a formula on the board, for instance, and someone, in their enthusiasm, could say “well that’s just moronic, you made this obvious mistake”, and you don’t take it at all personally, you’re actually grateful, because you are just interested in finding the correct answer. However, “atheism vs religion” is not a scientific debate, and many here are not used to this culture, and don’t like it to boot.

I happen to be skeptical of religion, but resent proselytizers on all sides of the issue. And in honesty, my personal observation is that on the balance, in the every day world in which people interact, religion does more good than harm, just like rationality does more good than harm, but again, not always.

The only purpose of my previous post was to state my belief of what actually is. I’d have to say that in truth I have no idea how we got here, but doubt that it is because an intelligent entity put us here. We understand something about proximate (e.g., nucleosynthesis) but not ultimate (sub Planck-scale big-bang) causes. In more recent history, we understand quite a bit about speciation, but much less about abiogenesis. Given our ignorance in these areas, it is certainly possible that an all powerful being was pulling the levers behind the curtain, but if they are still here, they’re being awfully coy. At the beginning of civilization, we had very little technological understanding, and everything was religious in nature. What I see since then is a not always steady progression in which empirical knowledge has replaced religious beliefs. I think this process will continue to the point that we become mature enough to base morality on its self evidentiary nature, which comes from thousands of years of cultural and social development, rather than on the threat of punishment by a higher being. But that’s just my opinion, and I have no interest whatsoever in calling you stupid if you disagree. In fact, there are certain people whom I love and highly respect who do so.

Comment #77497

Posted by k.e. on February 4, 2006 1:54 PM (e)

orrg1 you said

I think this process will continue to the point that we become mature enough to base morality on its self evidentiary nature, which comes from thousands of years of cultural and social development, rather than on the threat of punishment by a higher being

And yet strangely this idea itself is 1000’s of years old. And not once has that higher being in all that time ever once had the temerity to contradict it. And yet everyone babels on as though she was in the next room.
So much for omniscience and omnipotence and of course all the impostors, spivs, sharks and hucksters keep on rising up out of their little tormented psychological underworlds spouting “the one true word”

Comment #77498

Posted by Norman Doering on February 4, 2006 1:55 PM (e)

Caledonian asked:

Why wouldn’t we expect sanity and reason to be used in all parts of life?

Because real, hard core, use of reason is a time consuming effort. It’s easier to trust books and people who claim to have expert opinions. We all have to trust some experts.

And sanity is apparently a relative and cultural thing. Certainly the stuff that falls from the mouths of certain religious people sounds like the delusional beliefs of schizophrenics (excuse me, Pat Robertson, did you say that God told you that – you actually heard God?) but that may be because no human being is really as sane as they think. How do we know for sure that some of our mundane experiences aren’t also delusional?

That’s what makes religion so scary. Here are these crazy sounding people functioning in society and thinking the most crazy thoughts and most people aren’t even bothered. It has to make one wonder about one’s own sanity to live in such a world.

The best we can do, I think, is to try to gradually infect religious people with rationality memes and hope that it causes and evolution in their religious thinking.

As has been pointed out before, by myself and others, religions evolve. They’ve gone from tribal shamanism, to Egyptian and Roman pantheons to monotheism. There are fewer and fewer gods as it evolves. Only one more to go. The world is a graveyard of dead religions that didn’t survive to spread and reproduce. The Deistic Jeffersonian Christianity that might be re-emerging today is far more rational than the first eight centuries of the Christian church when Tertullian wrote “It is certain because it is impossible”
http://www.geocities.com/paulntobin/womenfathers…

…and Origin castrated himself:
http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/apology.html

Comment #77504

Posted by Stephen Elliott on February 4, 2006 2:51 PM (e)

Posted by Caledonian on February 3, 2006 11:40 PM (e)

Why yes, that was not-me. How perceptive of you to have noticed.

Then I retract it and apologise for confusing you with another poster.

Comment #77841

Posted by Raging Bee on February 6, 2006 9:24 AM (e)

Norman: “The sky is green!”

Any Sensible Person Who Uses His/Her Eyes: “No it isn’t, it’s blue. Look out a window and see for yourself.”

Norman: “Bald assertions with no supporting evidence! You can’t prove a thing!”

Comment #77846

Posted by Norman Doering on February 6, 2006 10:13 AM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

Norman: “The sky is green!”

Any Sensible Person Who Uses His/Her Eyes: “No it isn’t, it’s blue. Look out a window and see for yourself.”

Norman: “Bald assertions with no supporting evidence! You can’t prove a thing!”

Does anybody have a clue as to what Raging Bee’s metaphor is in reference too? I have no idea what he’s comparing things to. What exactly does “Any Sensible Person” see differently? And are they really using their eyes?

Comment #77857

Posted by Raging Bee on February 6, 2006 11:42 AM (e)

Sorry, Norman, I should have known better than to think you would “get” something so irrational as a joke. Let me explain it plainly: we can’t prove the sky is blue by bringing a sample of its blueness into your shuttered home; you have to get out of your favorite chair, go outside on a sunny day, and look up. Yes, your eyes will jurt at first, but if you’re patient, the pain will go away in a few seconds. Similarly, we can’t prove the validity or real-world usefulness of this or that religious/spiritual belief by bringing a sample of it to you; you have to leave your comfort-zone, listen to other people with an open mind, and stop hiding behind simpleminded (and obviously wrong) judgements of other people’s ideas. We can’t do any of this for you; you have to make some effort, take some risks, and do your own research here.

And if you don’t see fit to listen to others, why should others bother talking to you?

Comment #77868

Posted by Norman Doering on February 6, 2006 12:51 PM (e)

Raging Bee, I still haven’t got a clue to what the hell you are talking about. You’ve made no direct reference to anything. Everything you say is either an unreferenced or just completely idiotic.

The closest thing to a direct reference is: “usefulness of this or that religious/spiritual belief.” Being useful is not a measure of truth. Heroin is useful for avoiding the pain of heroin withdrawal. That doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

It seems that you are comparing belief in god to some direct sensory input (like seeing a blue sky). Either that, or you are saying it is a direct sensory input.