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Two Different Kinds of Faith: A Rant.

By parrillada in Culture
Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 11:07:58 AM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

In response to criticism from scientists, proponents of Intelligent Design often point out that evolution is itself a faith-based theory, and they are right. In fact, in a certain sense, every scientific theory is based in faith. There is, however, a vast difference in meaning between these two uses of the word 'faith.' In order to resolve this semantic ambiguity, I have kindly volunteered myself to take up the job of forming a clear and unambiguous distinction between 'religious faith' and 'scientific faith,' of carefully defining their respective meanings, and of discussing the relative merits of the two approaches in their ability to uncover the truth about how the world really works.


faith (religious) n.

1. Belief uninfluenced by logical proof, material evidence, or by the results of empirical investigation.
2. Belief passed on from generation to generation, to be accepted without corroboration outside of what is provided by previous generation.
3. Highly confident belief resistant to reevaluation in the face of new evidence.

Examples of the religious type of faith include belief in a God, in an afterlife, in astrology, in gnomes, in ghosts, in racial or moral superiority, or in Homeopathy.

faith (scientific) n.

1. Firm belief resting on logical proof or on material evidence, but still relying on a religious faith in the consistency of logic (logic is taken as an axiom).
2. Belief (in a statistical likelyhood) resting on induction on the results of empirical investigation.
3. Belief that is constantly subject to skeptical inquiry and to reevaluation in the face of new evidence.

Examples of scientific faith include the rising and setting of the sun, that an apple will fall to the earth when let go, that medication will have certain effects, that atoms exist, that rockets firing in certain ways will get someone to the moon, that a certain combination of circuits and electricity will give rise to a working computer or television, and of course, evolution.

----------

As you can no doubt tell, there is an enormous difference between the religious type of faith and the scientific type of faith. The scientific type of faith is wholly derived from, and only interested in, how the world is observed to operate. If an apple is observed to fall to the ground every time it is let go, then so be it. Scientists have 'faith' that it will fall to the ground the next time it is let go. Of course, it may not fall to the ground. The rules of the universe may change unexpectedly, but scientific faith is doing the best with what it is given. While it may indeed be faith that the apple will fall when let go, no rational person would bet otherwise, because science works. It just so happens that the world tends to work the way it is observed to be.

Religous faith, on the other hand, is little interested in how the world actually works. Several examples come to mind, but for brevity I will only briefly recall one of the most famous. For a very long time the majority of Western Civilization believed that the Sun (and the rest of the universe with it) revolved around the Earth. This was a religious faith, passed from generation to generation, and so totally uninterested in the truth that its advocates were in denial (and even tried to supress the truth) for many years after Galileo uncovered evidence for heliocentrism with the newly developed telescope. The relationship between scientific and religious faith has followed a pattern similar to this on nearly every occasion. Scientific faith always eventually wins out, because it is based on truth and observation, not on fancy. With evolution, the pattern of course repeats itself.

Yes, while scientific faith has humble faith in logic, and in making inferences based on empirical investigation, religious faith is more interested in its own agenda and in its own conception of reality, than how the world really is.

Perhaps the most powerful piece of evidence in favor of the scientific form of faith is how those distrustful of it will so often choose it over religious faith. If, for instance, when purchasing a product, a religious zealot can choose a product developed by scientists or by those with only religious-faith-based credentials, the zealot would almost always choose scientific faith. If they had a choice between buying a CPU from Intel or from a religious person who sells them at twice the speed and half the price and made out of driftwood on eBay, they would choose Intel. If they had a disease, I think we can all agree that most would choose science over sitting under a copper pyramid devoloped by those with a religious faith in 'pyramid power'. Yes, they would trust with their lives those same scientists who believe in evolution, whose faith they so strongly disagree with.

By the way this is a fun game to play that can go on forever-- simply think of any of the infinite number of modern amenities whose construction relies on scientific faith (especially those that will injure or kill the user if they malfunciton), and ask a religious person to choose between the product developed by scientists, or by someone with a religious faith in their pyramid power technique or whatever.

These people would trust scientific faith to fly them across country in a jumbo jet, and yet, remaining incredibly ignorant of biology science and the type of scientific faith it involves, still have the ironic temerity to shun evolution, stepping off the airplane and saying science, go away, you are not needed anymore. Come back the next time I need you. Come back the next time I take medication or use a computer or drive a car or fly in a plane, or am told to wear sunscreen, or am given medical advice, or am told when the next meteor shower is going to be, or am told how hot to cook a steak, or use GPS to find my way. No, you're not needed until then. I'll use you when convenient, but when possible I will return to my seductive mistress religious faith to explain things in a way that I find more sexy than the truth.

In conclusion, both scientific claims and religious claims rely on a type of faith, it is just that religious faith de facto has no connection with reality, since it does not care to corroborate its claims with how things really are. Scientific faith, on the other hand, is, for all its faults, at least trying its best to understand how the world really works.

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Poll
Human has tailbone because:
o God made a mistake 0%
o God planted contradictory evidence to confuse us 10%
o Evolutionary vestige 50%
o God made us without one. Microevolution. 1%
o God's son, Jesus, thought it would be 'cool'. "Please dad?" 20%
o Humans are evolving backward 9%
o It's not a tailbone. There are other explanations. 0%
o It has some purpose. 7%

Votes: 82
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Also by parrillada


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Two Different Kinds of Faith: A Rant. | 232 comments (188 topical, 44 editorial, 0 hidden)
science and religion (2.55 / 9) (#2)
by circletimessquare on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 04:59:28 AM EST

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06342b.htm

Galileo, hearing that some had denounced his doctrine as anti-Scriptural, presented himself at Rome in December, 1615, and was courteously received. He was presently interrogated before the Inquisition, which after consultation declared the system he upheld to be scientifically false, and anti-Scriptural or heretical, and that he must renounce it. This he obediently did, promising to teach it no more. Then followed a decree of the Congregation of the Index dated 5 March 1616, prohibiting various heretical works to which were added any advocating the Copernican system. In this decree no mention is made of Galileo, or of any of his works. Neither is the name of the pope introduced, though there is no doubt that he fully approved the decision, having presided at the session of the Inquisition, wherein the matter was discussed and decided. In thus acting, it is undeniable that the ecclesiastical authorities committed a grave and deplorable error, and sanctioned an altogether false principle as to the proper use of Scripture. Galileo and Foscarini rightly urged that the Bible is intended to teach men to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.

repeat

the Bible is intended to teach men to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.

religion is a valid aspect of human existence

science is a valid aspect of human existence

and never the two shall meet

stupidity is not being religious

arrogance is not being scientific

it is stupid AND arrogant to think science has anything to say about the realm of religion, and stupid AND arrogant to think religion has anything to say about the realm of science

in your life, you need REASON and you need SPIRITUALITY

the idea is to escape dogma from either end of the spectrum

but there are a lot of arrogant and stupid assholes from the realm of science AND religion, and the more arrogant and more stupid they are, the louder they are and the more earnest they are in their attempts to exterminate a life of reason, or exterminate a life of spirituality

when in this world, you need both


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

what is 'spirituality'? (none / 0) (#10)
by blue tiger on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 09:24:58 AM EST

i never was really able to figure out what the meaning of that word is. reading through a bunch of religious texts, philosophers and theologicians didn't help either :-/

[ Parent ]
spirituality according to a troll on k5: (1.66 / 3) (#42)
by circletimessquare on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 04:20:25 PM EST

science studies phenomena that reaches our senses in discrete quanta, in discrete events: the sky you see is blue becuase of this, the apple falls form the tree because of that, that bird is related to that lizard like this... etc.

spirituality studies phenomena that reaches our impressions, our feelings: i am but a speck in the universe but i still matter, i will die but i still live on in echoes, i must work and contribute to my fellow man because i am bound by compassion... etc.

and what you will notice is that these issues i have brought up under science and spirituality have NO ABILITY TO BE ADDRESSED from the other realm of inquiry WHATSOVER, or EVER to be reconciled

science and religion are merely two sides of the same coin called your life: a ying yang, like male and female: you need both to live, but you cannot really reconcile the two into one unit, without destroying both, and destroying life/ civilization in the process

life is full of such strange balancing acts that seem impossible, but is really something we all do subconsciously every day: subjective vs. objective, macro vs. micro, overt vs. subvert, altruism vs selfishness, reason vs. spirituality, etc.

in short, that's just the way it is: the realms of science and religion shall never meet, they are merely completely irreconciable realms of inquiry in human existence: abstract impressions versus discrete events

and the surest most arrogant and stupid thing you can do is think that one has something to say about the other

it never will, OR YOU SIMPLY DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT SCIENCE AND RELIGION REALLY IS

this is a truth the greatest scientists and the greatest spiritualists will grasp

and something the most pedantic, inept, useless motherfucking dogmatic assholes (either scientist or religious type) will deny

scien is not your enemy

religion is not your enemy

those moronic assholes who don't understand the order of things between science/ religion ARE


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Are you sure (none / 1) (#157)
by echarp on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 06:36:05 PM EST

you are speaking about spirituality, and not about philosophy?

The last one does try to tackle things like compassion, ethics, goal of life, reality, death.

What is then the word spirituality for? God?

[ Parent ]

fuck god (none / 1) (#162)
by circletimessquare on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 07:51:38 PM EST

spirituality has nothing to do with god

simple answer to your question:

can a remote tribe untouched by monotheistic religions be spiritual?

of course

there you go

the problem with spirituality is it comes packaged with all this other shit, and people have a problem detaching from these associations when if they examined the real meaning of the word, they find that these associations are merely cultural progamming they are a part of, and have nothing to do with the word at all

you can't criticize a word when you are in the middle of the problems that are created for that word's meaning

so divorce yourself from your own issues first, then rephrase your post

your talking about your own issues, not the meaning of the word

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Is that really you? (none / 0) (#14)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 12:49:17 PM EST

Where's all the usual stuff about the brotherhood of all men united under the unviersality of reason against the narrow parochialism of superstition?

New schtick? Or did you have your Damascus moment?

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
no, no, i still hate ORGANIZED religion (1.50 / 2) (#41)
by circletimessquare on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 04:05:29 PM EST

i don't need some feeble old man in a pointy hat or a long beard telling me how to be spiritual, when that arrogant asshole is usually more concerned with politics or international conflict or telling me how to live my life in my bedroom... a life of celibacy informs you on an ability to dictate the terms of other people's sexuality to them, is that it?

i've said it before, i'll say it again:

you don't get love from a whorehouse, you get cheap sex

likewise, YOU DON'T GET SPIRITUALITY FROM A CHURCH/ TEMPLE/ MOSQUE, you get incense and clackity clackity and pretty murals and nice singing and other cheap broadway musical tricks

i DO beleive that reading the works of jesus christ or mohammad or siddhartha gautama helps you spiritually

just as i believe, for example, that the catholic church has more to do with the intolerant romans who persecuted to jesus than his message of tolerance and love

and i can pick and choose amongst the great spiritual writings of man, it is a smorgasboard before me

it makes sense for my personal spiritual growth to stick to a diet of nothing but lentil beans or fried chicken all my life? so why must my spiritual growth be confined to the works of christianity? or islam? or even a "nonreligious" writer, outside the canon of the large established religions whose writings are very mystic and spiritual?

no, the truth is that organized religion is the surest way to destroy your spirituality and stunt it's growth

personal spirituality is what i need

but i am not so arrogant to believe that all people can follow this road

some people just need the company of other sheep

and be turned into zombies in the clutches or organized religion

so be it, i've made peace with that reality

for if you snapped your fingers and christianity/ islam/ judaism/ etc. were to magically disappear, something like the falun gong or scientology would rush in to fill the void: some people are just spiritually weak, and need an organization to inform their feeble souls, that's never going away

so i've made begrudging peace with the established organized religions: the devil you know is better than the devil you don't

organiozed religion is an inevitable artifact of life in civilization, much like the mafia and organized crime is

but just like the mafia, that won't stop me from despising them for trying to control the life of politics and science, and like a cancer, grow and destroy civilization and our common wealth by dictating to us dogma that is outside the realm of spirituality

in short, organized religions and the arrogant assholes who run them need to fucking learn to STAY IN THEIR FUCKING PLACE IN SOCIETY

it is our job, those of you who read my words and know what i am saying, to continually head the arrogant assholes in organiazed religion off at the pass, and prevent them from extending their reach to areas of civilization they have no right to be in

there is no extinguishing organized religion

there is no making peace with organized religion

there is only continual pruning of the cancer, so as to prevent it dictating science and politics to us, something that the arrogant assholes that unfortunately breed in organized religion have a burning desire to do


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Ahhh yes... (3.00 / 2) (#45)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 04:32:50 PM EST

There's the circletimessquare I've come to know and... well, uh... love isn't exactly the word I'm looking for, but I'm sure you catch my drift.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
and in keeping with the theme (1.50 / 2) (#49)
by circletimessquare on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 04:37:43 PM EST

of mutual backslapping and praise for independent spirituality here, thank you for reminding me of the unbearable lightness of being with your sig quoting mr. kundera, great book ;-)


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
WTF? (3.00 / 3) (#21)
by Sgt York on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 01:38:21 PM EST

cts is screaming...something reasonable?

What gives? What's your angle?

Good quote, though. I may have to change my sig now.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

But the two *do* meet. (none / 0) (#25)
by alexboko on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 02:06:41 PM EST

They make conflicting claims about the origins of life on Earth. So some rubric needs to exist for which claims are taught in schools.


Godwin's Law of video games: if a company is out of ideas for a long enough period, they will eventually publish another World War II shooter.
[ Parent ]
US-centric (3.00 / 3) (#39)
by Sgt York on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 03:25:08 PM EST

It should be evolution, hands down. I say that as a Christian first and a scientist second.

My reasons:

  1. It detracts from what Christianity is really about.
  2. The Biblical account was not intended to be an historical or scientific account. (ref 2 Timothy 3:16-17.). You don't use a mathematics textbook to teach grammar. I'm sure the math textbook is 100% correct in its field, but you use a tool for its intended purpose.
  3. The Biblical account is, by definition, religious. In the US, public school administrations are not to do anything to promote or interfere with religion.
  4. In the context of science, Creationism & ID are useless, and show no promise of utility. Evolution has demonstrated its worth, and is an important concept that must be grasped by anyone entering the field of the biological sciences.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

thank you thank you thank you (none / 1) (#51)
by circletimessquare on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 04:42:24 PM EST

for getting what so many don't

evolution doesn't render the bible null and void, and visa versa

there is simply no conflict between the two

they are different realms of inquiry

thank you thank you thank you


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Except the part (none / 0) (#104)
by eumenides on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 07:41:44 AM EST

where it says the Earth is 6000 years old, right?

[ Parent ]
Chapter & verse, plz (3.00 / 2) (#113)
by Sgt York on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 11:27:57 AM EST

Well, the Earth is 6000 years old. It's not only 6000 years old, but hey. (that's a semantics Nazi style-joke, by the way)

That, again, is man's tradition. Someone sat down and calculated out what he thought was correct from an assumed starting point, using a geneology that was never intended to be used to calculate time. It is man's tradition, trying to use the Bible for what it is not intended.

I think it's sad, a a bit ironic, that Christianity is now guilty of exactly the same sins that Christ condemned in the Pharisees of his time.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

Where does it say that? (none / 1) (#119)
by Filip on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 12:45:41 PM EST

I've only read nutjobs who claim it does, but I've never even seen it implied in the Bible.
-- I'm just a figment of your imagination.
[ Parent ]
fuck the bible (1.50 / 2) (#137)
by circletimessquare on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 09:10:26 PM EST

a bunch of wacky stories about jews running around the desert isn't very spiritual anyway

so you can demolish the bible all you want moron

you haven't even begun to touch the point i was making


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

You don't have a point (none / 1) (#145)
by eumenides on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 07:08:13 AM EST

All you're trying to do is package 'empathy and that warm fuzzy feeling for other people' as 'spirituality', and you aren't being very successful at it, because spirituality carries with it associations that clinically sane individuals kind of shy away from.

[ Parent ]
what a moron (none / 1) (#161)
by circletimessquare on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 07:46:09 PM EST

"because spirituality carries with it associations"

yeah, in YOUR head

fine, you don't like the word spirituality

well i don't like to use the word "spoon"

my mother used to beat with a spoon so it "carries with it associations"

but i have problems when i need to ask for something to slurp my soup with because i can't use that word ;-P

because although it's a fucking NEUTRAL WORD with a SIMPLE MEANING i have emotional issues about it

and i unfortunately think that my personal emotional issues dictates reality to the rest of the world when it comes to using neutral words with simple meanings because it "carries with it associations"

so don't fucking say "spoon" around me

because i'm a fucking basket case

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

you're such a loser


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Spirituality is definitely not (none / 0) (#182)
by eumenides on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 08:06:52 AM EST

a neutral word. To different people it means everything from a bonding with Christ, meditation, visions, aliens, reincarnation, special awareness, astral projections, drug abuse, ancestral ghosts, speaking with the dead etc. Thus it acquires the aforementioned negative associations. I suggest you find another word for these beliefs of yours. Perhaps a new -ism?

[ Parent ]
no. (none / 0) (#214)
by circletimessquare on Wed Aug 17, 2005 at 07:15:53 PM EST

it's spirituality


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
listen carefully (1.50 / 2) (#43)
by circletimessquare on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 04:26:41 PM EST

science and religion are two realms of inquiry into human existence whose realms never, ever meet: the abstract impression versus the discrete event

this is something the greatest scientists and greatest spiritualists understand

the problem is the useless, loudmouthed, pedantic, dogmatic shrill morons from either the science or the religious camp who don't understand this simple, undeniable and irreconciable division

science is not your enemy

religion is not your enemy

the moronic fucking assholes who don't understand that they don't overlap ARE YOUR ENEMY


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Are you listening carefully? (none / 1) (#44)
by alexboko on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 04:30:39 PM EST

I understand your point just fine. Except the correct phrasing is they should never meet. We are facing a practical, real-life conflict that should have been sidestepped but hasn't been.

What do you say to people who want to put intelligent design on the curriculum in public schools? Don't dodge the question.


Godwin's Law of video games: if a company is out of ideas for a long enough period, they will eventually publish another World War II shooter.
[ Parent ]

hey moron (none / 1) (#47)
by circletimessquare on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 04:33:43 PM EST

i already answered your question

read my post again

focus!


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

The answer is... (none / 1) (#55)
by Sgt York on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 04:54:29 PM EST

You say, essentially, "What the hell are you doing out of your room? This is not your domain, get back in your corner, and stick to what you are good at. You are making an ass out of yourself."

It's not a dodge, it's a reprimand, and it works for both sides.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

awesome (1.50 / 2) (#60)
by circletimessquare on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 05:09:34 PM EST

trolls on k5 uniting in unison to solve the major debates of our era ;-P


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
What is the sound... (3.00 / 2) (#61)
by Sgt York on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 05:18:59 PM EST

Of a thousand hands fapping?

What is K5? Mental masturbation at its best. It's fun, but ultimately unproductive.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

SECRETS OF THE INTERNET ENCLOSED IN PARENT (3.00 / 2) (#63)
by dhall on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 05:23:33 PM EST

no text except "no text except "no text except "no text except "...

[ Parent ]
beats working (2.00 / 3) (#64)
by circletimessquare on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 05:25:27 PM EST

for me k5 is like hanging out at a pub with a bunch of other loudmouthed drunks... we mostly brawl and smash each other over the head with pool sticks and beer bottles, but every once in awhile we stand on the bar and sing in unison and dance the can can until someone falls off the bar, and then we all laugh them

...while i'm at my desk at work

even though i don't drink alcohol in real life

mainly because i don't need alcohol to get drunk, i just am

;-P


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

this explains much -nt (none / 1) (#65)
by Sgt York on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 05:35:05 PM EST

But I will drink for you. Actually, I have a nearly full 4L jug of reagent grade ethanol right here....hmmmm....

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

from my experience in the lab (none / 1) (#67)
by circletimessquare on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 05:37:30 PM EST

it's more fun to play with the dry ice than the 200 proof ethanol ;-P


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
I sympathise for your plight (none / 1) (#69)
by dhall on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 05:48:33 PM EST

At least I had free access to massive quantities of liquid nitrogen, in my lab days.

[ Parent ]
Nah (none / 1) (#71)
by Sgt York on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 05:56:15 PM EST

It's the most fun to mess with the new med students.

Although, combining said ethanol and dry ice....now that's pretty cool. Heh. I made a pun.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

add a theremin and some food dye (1.50 / 2) (#74)
by circletimessquare on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 06:01:12 PM EST

and presto!

instant 1940s era horror movie set! ;-P


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

My favorite (none / 0) (#76)
by Sgt York on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 06:20:58 PM EST

Get some magnesium (they sell it in little bars at some outdoor supply stores as a firestarter, or you can just buy it from Sigma) and block of dry ice. Cut the block in half, and hollow out a little cavity right in the middle (squirt bottle of warm water is a slow but fun way, flathead screwdriver is faster). Make sure the two halves fit together with no gaps.

Shave the magnesium into the hollow and set the block down. Light the Mg with a blowtorch (it's tough to light, there's not a lot of oxygen around it at this point) and drop the other half on top *QUICKLY*.

It may take a few minutes, but after it gets going the block will glow and dry ice smoke will pour out....very cool effect. Added bonus: elemental carbon inside a shiny metallic sphere.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

dude you're nuts (2.00 / 3) (#80)
by circletimessquare on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 06:53:41 PM EST

you're going to lose your testicles someday

you should check out this guy's sodium party

the coolest part of his story?

the fact that the sodium attracts all of these butterflies ;-)

I had planned to hose down and maybe neutralize the driveway the next morning, but in a fascinating display of nature, the driveway was full of little yellow butterflies the next morning.

I've read that male butterflies collect sodium as a present for their mates, and they sure seemed to like mine, so I decided to leave it. I'm surprised they liked what must be a fairly basic solution, but then maybe it's just neutralized decades of road acid.

According to the popular radio entomologist May Berenbaum from the University of Illinois, I was right about the butterflies. She writes:
"They're called sulfur butterflies (in the family Pieridae) and the general consensus is that they are indeed after sodium, which is transferred to females in the spermatophore or sperm package.
Here are some references about the phenomenon:
Adler, P. and D. Pearson, 1982. Why do male butterflies visit mud puddles? Can. J. Zool. 60: 322-325.
Arms, K., P. Feeny and R.C. Lederhouse, 1974. Sodium: stimulus for puddling behavior by tiger swallowtail butterflies, Papilio glaucus. Science 185: 372-374.
Smedley, S. R. and T. Eisner 1996. Sodium--a male moth's gift to its offspring. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 93:809-13.

There's something intensely sad about this. These tiny creatures have nothing to give but a little package of sodium, but this they give with all their heart. It is their life, their hope, their future, and they give it, asking nothing in return, that their children might have a better start in life. I suppose it should be uplifting, but somehow it just seems terribly sad to me.

see that? we come full circle:

a religious/ spiritual experience from oxidizing light metals violently ;-P


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Heh (none / 1) (#85)
by Sgt York on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 08:48:48 PM EST

That actually did make me laugh out loud.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

Spirituality is dumb, heaven is dumb (none / 0) (#56)
by dhall on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 04:54:53 PM EST

Cause there's so many to choose from, you might was well choose the average: nothing.

Seriously though, cts, when's the last time your personal spirituality did something for you, and what did it do?

[ Parent ]

i know what you suffer from (none / 0) (#59)
by circletimessquare on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 05:07:31 PM EST

you've rejected the trappings of spirituality, but you still don't understand how the principles still matter

i'm just like you dude: fuck organized religion

but you still need spirituality in your life

when was the last time you did something altruistic?

when was the last time you wondered how insignificant you were?

well then, spirituality is in your life

now, if you didn't ever think you were insignificant, or you never did anything for anyone else, well then, you win

but then you're just an asshole so fuck off you stupid twat

how's that for a nice dose of spirituality? ;-P


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

That's not spirituality (none / 0) (#62)
by dhall on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 05:21:03 PM EST

I call that being nice and philosophising. You should come up with a different name for your idea. "Spirituality" is already taken, lol.

Oh but dhall, why would you be nice IF THERES NO GOD???!?!?!1!eleven!
...
Just because, that's why.

Am I insignificant? Yes. That's why it doesn't matter whether I'm nice or not. ^_^

[ Parent ]

who said anything about god? (none / 1) (#66)
by circletimessquare on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 05:36:10 PM EST

i don't believe in god

and i'm spiritual

those two concepts aren't a package deal

dude: i'm right there with you

you don't need permission from an invisble sky man to do good in the world or wonder about your place in the universe

you're not making fun of my definition of spirituality

you're embracing mt definition of spirituality

and unfortunately, at the same time, you're packaging me, someone just like you, with the morons we both detest, simply because i am owning and coopting the word spirituality

lose the antipathy to that word: who said a bunch of religious dimwits own the word spirituality?

we're not redefining the word, we're understanding the concept of spirituality BETTER THAN THEY DO

or understanding of spirituality is DEEPER THAN THEIR'S

and you're right: it doesn't matter if you're nice or not... you don't see me having a problem with that concept, do you fucktard? ;-)

but it does matter if you are stupid

so stop prejudging who i am or what i represent asshole ;-P

and as i already said, you confuse rejecting the TRAPPINGS of spirituality with the PRINCIPLES of spirituality

fuck organized religion, and there is no god

and long live spirituality, as you define it

you simply don't understand yet that that is what you are really talking about

embrace the word, own it, use it to your own means


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I refuse (none / 0) (#68)
by dhall on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 05:46:23 PM EST

Spirituality is a hippie faggot word. And girly too.

While I find confusion to be hilarious, as a rule I try to avoid it. So, no word coopting for me.

I would prefer the word disappears altogether. I again never want to hear a revivalist fundie intonating the word as spiRITUAL.

[ Parent ]

LOLLARZ (none / 0) (#73)
by circletimessquare on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 05:59:59 PM EST

suit yourself

what magic word do you use then?

because while i can spout my antipathy towards the word "spoon" all i want, i still have to ask for something to slurp my soup with

;-P


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

n your life, you need REASON and you need SPIRITUA (none / 0) (#232)
by RhadamYgg on Sun Sep 25, 2005 at 06:16:22 AM EST

I have no need for spirituality.


If you can truthfully answer the following question with 'Yes' - then you have done something good: Did you make the world better for the future? In the end the present is not what matters most --it is the future that matters.
[ Parent ]

Oh I don't think so. (none / 0) (#3)
by mtrisk on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 05:09:05 AM EST

Calling evolution something based on 'faith', no matter how you try to twist the definition, is not going to work. Faith, if I may so humbly refer to wikipedia for the right words, is belief beyond evidence or logical arguments, or, according to Princeton, complete confidence in a person or plan.

When it comes to science, you have to drop all the faith and belief stuff. Evolution is accepted among the scientific community because it is the theory with the most evidence to explain the origin of species - how complex life came about.

Science is never based on any sort of faith. The progress of science involves breaking pre-existing notions of how the universe works in order to achieve fuller understanding. That is, however, antithetical to any form of "faith", however you want to define the word. Anyone with scientific "faith" in quantum theory or general relativity or superstring theory is just as foolish as someone with complete "faith" in Newtonian laws of motion. All science is an attempt to describe the workings of the universe, and all current theory is merely our level of understanding at the current moment.

In other words, your article only compounds the problem, instead of clarifying it.

______
"If you don't like our country, why don't you get out?"
"What, and become a victim of your foreign policy?"

his point (2.66 / 3) (#7)
by forgotten on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 06:48:14 AM EST

or what should be his point, is that science fundamentally rests on faith-like beliefs (eg, the universe obeys natural laws).

this is of interest only in the study of the philosophy of science, and its history. I do think it is interesting to remmeber that people, for almost all of history, believed that different natural laws held in different parts of the universe. It was a huge intellectual leap to speculate that maybe the same force that kept us on the earth also governed the motion of the stars, because the heavens were considered to be the domain of God, and there was no reason to expect that things should work up there the same way they do down here.

This is the same thinking of the people who promote intelligent design. They maintain that there is still a domain where scientific laws don't hold.

--

[ Parent ]

Absurd. (1.50 / 2) (#92)
by kitten on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 01:50:37 AM EST

or what should be his point, is that science fundamentally rests on faith-like beliefs (eg, the universe obeys natural laws).

That isn't faith -- it's a simple statement of fact. "We observe that the universe obeys consistent laws." This is true -- we do observe this. Whether we will continue to observe this is of course debatable, but it's worked so far.

there was no reason to expect that things should work up there the same way they do down here.

No reason except that we could see things working the same "up there" as down here.

Science is fundamentally based on what can be observed. The only "faith" is that those observations will continue to hold true -- but science corrects for this in that if those observations change, so does the science. Where is the faith here?

At one time it was observed that waves must have some sort of medium to propegate through. Thus we came up with the idea of the aether. When further observations demonstrated that no such thing existed, the science changed, including our ideas about what waves are.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
well (3.00 / 2) (#101)
by forgotten on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 06:22:20 AM EST

That isn't faith -- it's a simple statement of fact. "We observe that the universe obeys consistent laws." This is true -- we do observe this. Whether we will continue to observe this is of course debatable, but it's worked so far.

It is not a statement of fact. It is not even a statement of fact to say we have observed no phenomenon that suggests physical laws might vary (there are theories that physical laws are different in remote parts of the universe). But the most you can really say is that assuming that these laws are consistant has caused us no difficulties in scientific practice today. In Aristotle's time it caused no significant difficulty in assuming that earth-bound objects only moved in straight lines. It comes down to a level of sophistication, and I don't think you can exclude the possiblity that mankind might advance to the point where inconsistancy in observed physical phenomenon forms the basis of a new kind of science.

No reason except that we could see things working the same "up there" as down here.

A good example is Galileo. When he first saw moons circling Jupiter, he was widely disbelieved. Nowadays this is cause for ridicule: why didn't they look into the telescope themselves? They knew the telescope worked because when they looked at distant objects on the earth they seemed larger. But people were far less willing to accept that the telescope worked when pointed at the stars. Because the mindset at the time was that the heavens were a completely different world. Nowadays it is very hard to understand what a huge mental stumbling block that was.

There is a famous saying: "The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there." You should never assume that people in the past thought the same as you do now, and it is highly likely that people in the future will think differently to us.

--

[ Parent ]

Ah, see? (1.50 / 6) (#116)
by kitten on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 11:42:10 AM EST

They knew the telescope worked because when they looked at distant objects on the earth they seemed larger. But people were far less willing to accept that the telescope worked when pointed at the stars.

Yes, that is so. But that doesn't count as "no reason to believe the heavens work the same as the earth" -- there was a reason, and a very good one. They just didn't want to believe, because it ran contrary to scripture. As you say, they were less willing to accept it.

Nowadays it is very hard to understand what a huge mental stumbling block that was.

People had been doing it far before Galileo. One chap, whose name I forget and whom I'm not going to look up right now, deduced that the Earth was round partially by observing the Earth's shadow on the moon during lunar eclipses. In 1054 Chinese astronomers recorded an enormous supernova, which formed what we know as the Crab nebula today. (It appears to have been recorded by the Anasazi as well, though this is debatable.) It lasted for weeks, was visible in broad daylight, and you'd have to be completely blind not to notice it, but it is recorded nowhere in European texts because dogma at the time declared the heavens to be eternal and unchanging, and anyone who said otherwise was condemned as a heretic.

The "stumbling block" was not mental, it was political. Religion has been holding back science for as long as it could, and now that it doesn't wield the same political clout it once did, it wants to play the victim. Well, I say tough cheese.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
Nit (none / 0) (#117)
by Sgt York on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 12:05:38 PM EST

because it ran contrary to scripture

Not scripture, doctrine.

"your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven", springs immediately to mind. This is how organized religion with too much power screws up a good thing.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

Eh. (1.50 / 2) (#120)
by kitten on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 01:38:25 PM EST

Guess it depends on how you define it. The Catholic Church under the sanction of Pope Paul V stated, "the doctrine of the double motion of the earth about its axis and about the sun is false, and entirely contrary to Holy Scripture" (and that "mathematicians should be banished as the authors of all herisies").

Sounds to me like they thought it was a teaching of scripture.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
Yeah (none / 1) (#122)
by Sgt York on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 01:58:21 PM EST

They at least said they thought it was, and in an Orwellian sense, they probably did.

Fortunately for me, I don't believe in the infallibility of any person, especially the Pope. They were wrong on both counts, scientific and religious, sacrificing all kinds of truth on the altar of power. Abuses like this were a primary cause of of the begining of the Protestant movement.

And the cycle repeats...which brings us to the argument for the separation of church and state. We just need to keep them that way.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

Science (none / 0) (#35)
by parrillada on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 02:58:49 PM EST

Science is never based on any sort of faith.

Science relies on a faith in logic, in causality, and on inductive reasoning. My example of dropping an apple was intended to at least partially explain this point. A scientist has faith that the apple will drop. There is no way of 'proving' it will drop. It is faith. Similarly, an astronaught puts his faith in the engineers and physicists who designed the shuttle and rocket trajectory to get him into outer space. This is faith in the logical, causal, and inductive reasoning employed by the engineers and physicists, which can in no way be proven.

[ Parent ]

Sorry but, (none / 0) (#103)
by eumenides on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 07:31:22 AM EST

not really. It'd be hard to convince you that you're wrong, and my time is limited. Read less philosophical BS and more concrete science and you will (eventually come to) understand.

[ Parent ]
Aaargh (none / 0) (#127)
by whazat on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 02:26:59 PM EST

I hate this argument from unspecified sources schtick.

Is there a latin term for it or did they have more class in there argumentative style back then?

It also suggests to me a mind the uncritically accepts ideas. If you can't verbalise why someone is wrong and at least give them some phrase to google for, then perhaps they aren't and you should reasses your reasons for believing something.

[ Parent ]

It was not an argument (none / 0) (#146)
by eumenides on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 07:10:26 AM EST

Just an observation from my own life. Take it as you will.

[ Parent ]
Your observation is not acute (none / 0) (#163)
by parrillada on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 08:17:52 PM EST

Read less philosophical BS and more concrete science and you will (eventually come to) understand.

Considering that I'm not a philosopher, but am indeed a hard scientist, it appears that it would do you some good to learn to verbalize your opinions. Doing so will enable you to sort of spell-check your logic, and will thus prevent you from appearing the fool by mistakenly judging people.

[ Parent ]

Actually, Parrillada should read *more* Philosophy (3.00 / 3) (#180)
by cowbutt on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 05:08:27 AM EST

...specifically Karl Popper's work, which suggests that good scientists actually practice falsificationism rather than inductivism. I'm a scientist (of sorts) too, and I didn't realise this until I took a first year philosophy course. Once it clicked, Science - and indeed, the world - made a lot more sense. Essentially:

  • Induction offers no guarantees of future reliability, and cannot be relied upon.
  • A good scientific hypothesis is one which makes predictions, that, if inaccurate, could falsify the hypothesis. We do not believe that the sun will rise tomorrow because it rose yesterday and the day before, but rather because we have a theory about why it rises that has been tested many times and in many different ways (i.e. the sun exists because it's a lump of dense matter undergoing spontaneous fusion and it appears to rise because the earth is in orbit around it).
  • The more predictions and tests that a hypothesis survives, the closer it is to the objective truth. However, there is no guarantee that the objective truth can ever be known. This is not, however, a problem, as long as the hypothesis allows us to make useful predictions. At this point, both science and religious faith can be compatible (e.g. "God set the charge of an electron to 1.60218 x 10^-19 coulombs").
  • Hypotheses may be succeeded but this does not mean they need to be abandoned. We know, for instance, that the Einsteinian model for the universe is objectively more accurate that the Newtonian model. However, for relatively slow or less massive objects, the Newtonian model is sufficient, and much easier to work with.
  • I've probably butchered Popper's work horribly in that summary above, but hopefully it's helpful to the discussion.

    [ Parent ]

    I completely agree with those statements [nt] (none / 0) (#194)
    by parrillada on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 03:26:21 PM EST



    [ Parent ]
    And in that vein... (none / 0) (#209)
    by cr8dle2grave on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 04:19:33 PM EST

    ...might I recommend that in addition to Popper those intersted in the philosophy of science also read Kuhn, Quine (at least _The Two Dogmas of Empricism), and Lakatos. Falsificationism was definitely a step down the right path, but Popper's account of it runs aground on the details.

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    The names of Kuhn and Lakatos ring a bell (n/t) (none / 0) (#213)
    by cowbutt on Wed Aug 17, 2005 at 11:18:11 AM EST



    [ Parent ]
    Oh absolutely (none / 0) (#152)
    by A Bore on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 02:13:54 PM EST

    Speaking as a budding microbiologist, I decided early on to never rely on anything as faith so I went back to absolute fundamentals when beginning to study my course. For instance, I regarded the entire body of science as something I could only accept on faith, without having confirmed the experiments myself, so I am methodically working through every experiment ever undertaken in existence in my field. I estimate by early next century I should have confirmed Pasteur's work.

    It really is the only practical solution to the problem of faith.

    [ Parent ]
    some points (none / 1) (#5)
    by monad on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 06:04:24 AM EST

    First of all - "logic is taken as an axiom" doesn't make much sense when "axiom" is a concept defined in the context of logic. To use logic as an axiom causes problems of circularity, e.g. we use "the rules of logic" as our axiom, but the very fact we are using an axiom implies that we are already using logic, so therefore we have to justify the logic we are using, etc..

    I think that your three bullet points under "faith (scientific)" could probably be encapsulated into one point - faith in causality. That is, if the apple falls onto Newton's head today, then it would do the same every time that the same conditions were in place. If the apple did not exhibit the same behaviour, then something must have caused that difference. The investigation of causality underpins the whole of science.

    Your example of how religious faith is "little interested in how the world actually works" is misleading, as the belief that Earth was at the centre of the Universe was circulated for political reasons, i.e. the Church was the State, and naive interpretation of the Bible implied that Earth existed at the centre of God's plan, and anyone who said otherwise was contradicting the Church and was therefore threatening its power.

    determinism (none / 0) (#8)
    by speek on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 07:43:30 AM EST

    I would call that determinism. There are types of determinism that aren't causal in nature - least not the way we normally think of causal.

    I think the points about "belief in evolution" or "belief in the sun setting" are ill-chosen. Those are results of a faith in determinism and subsequent study of the universe founded on that faith. One may say that behavior of the universe, as far was we can see, backs up our faith in determinism, but I don't find that argument substantively different from ID's argument that the high degree of complexity found in living things backs up belief in an intelligent creator.

    In the end, the faith in determinism is quite a lot like faith in God. But, I much prefer science's methods from there on out. And, in the end, one can put science on a pragmatic footing and simply decide we like it for what it does for us. In fact, were we to put religion on the same footing, I think it would also be improved.

    --
    al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
    [ Parent ]

    Logic is taken as an axiom. (none / 1) (#37)
    by parrillada on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 03:09:50 PM EST

    First of all - "logic is taken as an axiom" doesn't make much sense when "axiom" is a concept defined in the context of logic. To use logic as an axiom causes problems of circularity...

    I see what you are getting at, but I don't see any circularity problems. Logic can indeed be taken as an axiom, just not in the mathematical sense. This is a semantical complaint, not a technical one.

    but the very fact we are using an axiom implies that we are already using logic, so therefore we have to justify the logic we are using, etc..

    Just the point I was about to get to. The fact that we are using an axiom does not imply that we are already using logic. The reason is because the word 'axiom' here is being used a little loosely, but I think still appropriately. On the othe rhand, please let me know if you think of a less confusing way to present my thoughts.

    [ Parent ]

    semantics (none / 1) (#126)
    by monad on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 02:21:10 PM EST

    Thanks for the considered response, parrillada. You're correct, I really only had an issue with your choice of the word "axiom" - I knew what you were getting at. Perhaps in future it might be better to say something like, "Logic is taken as read", or, "Logic is taken as a given", to avoid unnecessary protestations from pedants like myself. :-)

    [ Parent ]
    Hopes were up (none / 0) (#11)
    by Sgt York on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 11:51:29 AM EST

    I thought this was going to be objective, but your mind seems to be made up from the start. I guess it was the stated intent of being "clear and unambiguous" and " discussing the relative merits of the two" that misled me, but it pretty much degenerates into a rant against religion. Well, one religion and a little New Age stuff. I don't see much about faith in Islam or Hindu or Buddhism. Oh well.

    You present the two as opposed and exclusive, and this is simply not the case. I could not be what I am if they were. I have a unique perspective on this topic, as many people around here know.

    Scientific "faith" is faith that your experiments will repeat, and will repeat for the same reasons. It is faith in your abilities to recognize and account, it is faith in your instruments. Most of all, it is faith that it is possible to ultimately know what you are trying to learn, the laws of function of the universe. The other parts are fluid; your faith in your abilities and your instruments and your model will be shaken, and you will alter your "faith" accordingly. However, few will abandon that last tennet and stay in science.

    The most prominent religions, especially the one you seem to be focused on, are not concerned with the function of the universe. Addition of such a concept is a bastardization of the faith. To take your example, for example. The teaching that the Earth is the center of the universe is a human-created tradition. The Christian bible does not teach that. It does, however, teach that addition of traditions is a corruption of the faith, and should be avoided. Preferably at very high speed. (BTW, ID and Creationism fall cleanly into this category)

    To sum up...

    Science deals with function. The faith is that the laws that govern function are knowable. A good scientist will avoid any discussion of purpose or intent, he will even avoid the words. They are irrelevant to the discussion. They are foreign concepts to the scientific method.

    Religion, OTOH, deals with purpose, and the faith is that purpose is not fully knowable by man. In most religions, a good one of the faithful will avoid discussion of function; it is irrelevant to the discussion of purpose. Purpose in this context refers to all levels of purpose; the purpose of the universe, the purpose of the laws of function, the purpose of mankind as a whole, purpose of specific individuals and events, etc.

    Anyway, hopefully this will generate some good discussion, but this as about as objective as Sean Hannity.

    There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.

    Heh (none / 0) (#12)
    by Sgt York on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 11:54:16 AM EST

    Read the article, but apparently not the whole title. I retract the cristicsm about this not being objective. It obviously was not intended to be.

    There is some irony there....

    There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
    [ Parent ]

    Yes, the first part which... (none / 1) (#36)
    by parrillada on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 03:01:10 PM EST

    ...sounds more formal before it devolves into a rant, was intended to be partially tongue-in-cheek, hence the "I have kindly volunteered..." in the first paragraph.

    [ Parent ]
    Works both ways (none / 1) (#13)
    by Eight Star on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 12:36:52 PM EST

    A person is just as likely to ignore religous faith until they need it. Even an otherwise scientific person will often turn to religion when confronted with a hardship: death divorce, poverty, illness, even guilt. Sometimes people just need answer to the questions science is just not equiped to answer satisfactorily: Why do bad things happen to good people? What is good and bad?

    Between those event many people are just as likely to say: No, you're not needed until then. I'll use you when convenient, but when possible I will return to my friend technology to give me things without asking who I am.
    The only thing science has that compares is psychotherapy, but it is not as popular.

    lol (3.00 / 2) (#52)
    by dhall on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 04:45:56 PM EST

    You think religion answers those questions in a satisfactory way? "Because God wants it that way."

    [ Parent ]
    that's an emotional need, not truth (none / 1) (#164)
    by parrillada on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 08:27:33 PM EST

    A person is just as likely to ignore religous faith until they need it.

    Yes, but this is an emotional need, not a need for truth. I have no dispute that religious faith caters seductively to emotional taste.

    Sometimes people just need answer to the questions science is just not equiped to answer satisfactorily: Why do bad things happen to good people? What is good and bad?

    Science is trivially capable of answering these questions. Knowledge of stat 101 covers the first question, and consulting a dictionary covers the second ('good' and 'bad' are simply words that can be defined whichever way one chooses, though a little knowledge of sociology and cultural relativism might answer your intended question).

    [ Parent ]

    Let's help out the creationists. (none / 1) (#30)
    by alexboko on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 02:40:30 PM EST

    They're not trained in the scientific method, and it's not their fault. Our schools suck.

    So let's help them out by coming up with predictions that intelligent design theory would make differently from evolutionary theory. These predictions have to be testable-- no fair saying "Wait a ten thousand years until a new species diverges" or "Build a time machine" or anything like that. Predictions on par with accumulation of point mutations in closely related species, morphological divergence, fossils of common ancestors, changes in gene-pool composition in response to environmental challenges, that sort of thing.

    Ready? Go.


    Godwin's Law of video games: if a company is out of ideas for a long enough period, they will eventually publish another World War II shooter.

    If I were an ID'er (none / 0) (#171)
    by trane on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 11:29:31 PM EST

    I might predict that we should be able to design life (biological or not) in the lab, and so we should devote large amounts of resources to such research.

    [ Parent ]
    You're clearly not an ID'er (none / 0) (#188)
    by Have A Nice Day on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 09:49:51 AM EST

    Because they would say that that is playing god and unholy. ID is a front for religious creationists, so you'll never hear them propose what you just put forward, that would be heresy!

    --------------
    Have A Nice Day may have reentered the building.
    [ Parent ]
    In that case (none / 0) (#202)
    by trane on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 08:10:01 PM EST

    if they don't make predictions that can be tested, they do not meet the definition of a science.

    [ Parent ]
    Well of course not.... (none / 1) (#204)
    by Have A Nice Day on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 05:49:04 AM EST

    If they started making testable predictions then two things would happen:
    • People would test them, possibly leading to some failed tests and some awkward questions.
    • It might start to look like science, which is the last thing they want, because the whole creationist/ID dogma is very much anti-science and tries to discredit "Biased athiest scientists" all the time. If they start to allow the techniques used on their theories then they may have to admit the whole "science" thing isn't the scam they've been trying to make out.

    No, ID proponents would like you just to accept ID after a few assertions and some religious guilt.

    --------------
    Have A Nice Day may have reentered the building.
    [ Parent ]
    Rant? yes (none / 1) (#34)
    by nanometer on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 02:57:54 PM EST

    Titling this post as a rant is indeed appropriate.

    I do not agree with the form or content of your lexicography. The numbered points are arguments, not definitions. I would recommend that you read a couple of dictionary entries to get a feel for how numbered definitions are presented.

    This article seems to have less to do with analyzing different types of faith, and more to do with advocating science over religion.

    The relationship between religion and science is not as simple as you have described. It is true that religious dogma has stifled the progress of science in the past, present, and certainly will in the future (Galileo is an excellent example, btw), but scientific faith does not exist in a vacuum. There are many small assumptions that even the most vaunted scientist unconsciously clings to religiously.

    I am as frustrated by intelligent design and religious dogmatism as the next physicist, but I found this article to be an unenlightening rant that doesn't explore the real relationship between religious and scientific faith.


    --- He who has imagination without learning has wings but no feet.
    dictionary (none / 0) (#40)
    by parrillada on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 03:53:03 PM EST

    The numbered points are arguments, not definitions. I would recommend that you read a couple of dictionary entries to get a feel for how numbered definitions are presented.

    How should they be presented? Before writing this I consulted a dictionary and it looks as though my definition format is correct.

    but I found this article to be an unenlightening rant that doesn't explore the real relationship between religious and scientific faith.

    What do you think is that real relationship?

    [ Parent ]

    Re:dictionary (3.00 / 2) (#54)
    by nanometer on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 04:53:55 PM EST

    faith (religious) n.

    1. Belief uninfluenced by logical proof, material evidence, or by the results of empirical investigation.
    2. Belief passed on from generation to generation, to be accepted without corroboration outside of what is provided by previous generation.
    3. Highly confident belief resistant to reevaluation in the face of new evidence.

    Examples of the religious type of faith include belief in a God, in an afterlife, in astrology, in gnomes, in ghosts, in racial or moral superiority, or in Homeopathy.

    I would have worded the first point differently, but it stands fine. The second two points, however, do not indicate additional useages of the word faith(religous), they are additional arguements that you are making about the nature of religious faith. The example text is fine.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that these are aspects of religious faith, not usages of the word faith(religious).

    faith (scientific) n.

    1. Firm belief resting on logical proof or on material evidence, but still relying on a religious faith in the consistency of logic (logic is taken as an axiom).
    2. Belief (in a statistical likelyhood) resting on induction on the results of empirical investigation.
    3. Belief that is constantly subject to skeptical inquiry and to reevaluation in the face of new evidence.

    Examples of scientific faith include the rising and setting of the sun, that an apple will fall to the earth when let go, that medication will have certain effects, that atoms exist, that rockets firing in certain ways will get someone to the moon, that a certain combination of circuits and electricity will give rise to a working computer or television, and of course, evolution.

    Similarly your third point here is not a definition. It is a quality of the faith. I would include something about the scientific method in your definitions, as it is intrinsic to scientific faith. I'm not wild about your examples on this one, but it's more a question of phrasing than content.

    What do you think is that real relationship?

    I think the real relationship has to do with how people actually live thier lives and how they evaluate themselves and think about the world (fluffy bullshit, I know). I'm honestly not prepared to fully discuss it in this post but the distinction is not clear cut. There are many areas and issues that fall somewhere in between. You do not provide any discussion of these gray areas, and instead focus on extreme examples (aka pyramid power and driftwood CPUs).

    One thing that I can say for certain (well, I have religious faith in it) is that science will never "beat" religion. They have different goals and different agendas, which often conflict, but often do not. It used to disturb me how unconnected to logic the lives of a great many (most?) people are, but I realized that logic, while able to get reproducable and useful results, is not the only viable strategy. People who have systems of thought that are illogical are in ways more advanced and better adapted to certain situations than myself. There is a great natural variably in people and in their ideas and thought processes that is in many ways a strength for the species. This variability is a by-product of and the fuel for evolution.


    --- He who has imagination without learning has wings but no feet.
    [ Parent ]
    On the issue of the definitions... (none / 0) (#86)
    by parrillada on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 10:12:14 PM EST

    ...what I don't understand is what is wrong with a little redundancy for the sake of clarity. For instance, in the case of:

    1. Belief uninfluenced by logical proof, material evidence, or by the results of empirical investigation.

    There are three different complimentary definitions in this one sentence separated by commas. They could be separated into three different subdefs, but they are complimentary enough that they can be grouped, still somewhat redundantly, into one sentence. The other subdefs I provided were certainly somewhat redundant, but they also certainly defined the word from different angles. For instance, subdefs 1 and 2 are very different ways of defining essentially the same thing, but I think the two angles are appropriate because they only add to the understanding of the word; they don't detract from it.

    One thing that I can say for certain (well, I have religious faith in it) is that science will never "beat" religion. They have different goals and different agendas

    I can assume then that you disagree about how those agendas are differentiated. It seems to me that the scientific agenda is to understand how the world works, while the religious agenda is to project on to the world the way in which it thinks it should work.

    [ Parent ]

    I wish science would become (none / 1) (#46)
    by Egil Skallagrimson on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 04:33:06 PM EST

    interested in religion. There's a lot there we don't understand and phenomena we can't understand.

    ----------------

    Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.

    Examples plz lol (none / 0) (#58)
    by dhall on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 05:03:56 PM EST

    And there are scientists trying to model how religion works, IIRC.

    [ Parent ]
    Science has a long way to go (none / 1) (#82)
    by More Whine on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 08:20:27 PM EST

    there is plenty out there that we don't understand?  

    Here are a few random examples:

    -We have only barely begun to grasp cancer and have barely made any progress in defeating it in humans (death rates for cancer were virtually identical in 2004 compared to 1971, with a significant factor including the lack of progress in cancer treatment, not just the fact that average life expectancy has increased by 2-3 years)

    -We still haven't been able to literally observe evidence of String Theory, though the mathematical evidence is strong

    -We still don't understand how to harness the power of anti-matter or fusion

    Those were pretty random, but anyway, you get the idea.  Science has made a great deal of progress in understanding the universe, but there is still a LOT that we don't know.

    [ Parent ]

    take off the question mark on first sentence [n/t] (none / 1) (#83)
    by More Whine on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 08:21:16 PM EST



    [ Parent ]
    cancer (1.50 / 2) (#84)
    by dhall on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 08:42:17 PM EST

    I read a scifi book once, where humans encountered a high-tech alien race. And they still hadn't figured out cancer, either. lol


    [ Parent ]
    Was it called (none / 0) (#141)
    by issachar on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 03:47:25 AM EST

    Calculating God? By Robert J. Sawyer?
    ---
    Vegetarians eat vegetables. Humanitarians scare me.
    Diary? I do a blog.
    [ Parent ]
    yes lol /nt (none / 0) (#212)
    by dhall on Wed Aug 17, 2005 at 02:30:21 AM EST



    [ Parent ]
    A quibble (2.00 / 3) (#98)
    by kitten on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 04:34:44 AM EST

    -We still don't understand how to harness the power of anti-matter or fusion

    Actually, our understanding of these is very good; it's just that both are prohibitively expensive at the moment, and thus both impractical and not economically sustainable. But don't confuse that with a lack of understanding.
    mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
    [ Parent ]
    You are correct, I was wrong on that point [n/t] (none / 1) (#125)
    by More Whine on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 02:15:58 PM EST



    [ Parent ]
    Different terms for the same idea (none / 0) (#201)
    by Maurkov on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 08:04:52 PM EST

    It is the difference between science and technology.  We understand the science of how they work, but we haven't figured out most of the technology to make them work for us.

    [ Parent ]
    What people want (none / 1) (#154)
    by calumny on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 03:41:47 PM EST

    People don't want verification of 11-dimensional supergravity or the meaning of life, they want Creflo Dollar. They want exurban megachurches, faith healing and televangelists telling them how Jesus Christ is personally going to make them rich.

    So while we extend the borders of science, could we also extend the borders of theology?

    [ Parent ]

    Science is very interested in religion... (none / 1) (#181)
    by toychicken on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 05:37:12 AM EST

    ... after all, without religious patronage in the 15th Century, there wouldn't have been a rennaissance, rapidly expanding the field of human knowledge, establishing the tenets of scientific processes & principles and exploding the myth of god.

    Thanks to God, He disproved Himself.

    - - - - - - -8<- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Just how many is a Brazillian anyway?


    [ Parent ]
    Good point, except (none / 0) (#184)
    by Egil Skallagrimson on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 08:21:50 AM EST

    you didn't show that science was interested in rligion: you showed that religion was interested in sience.

    Dumbass.

    ----------------

    Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
    [ Parent ]

    I just finished a good book that touched on this (none / 0) (#197)
    by Bwah on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 04:34:47 PM EST

    Go get a copy of "The Tao Of Physics". It's a pretty cool look at the parallelisms between atomic /subatomic physics and eastern mysticism. I think it would mind expanding reading no matter what direction you are coming from. (Though I'll admit I've always found Taoism and Zen a lot more sane that the western monotheistic religions.)

    --
    To redesign an infinite ensemble of universes: what terrible responsibility, what arrogance ... It sounds just like the type of thing your average Homo sap would do for a dare. -- Stephen Baxter
    [ Parent ]

    In that same vein... (none / 0) (#198)
    by parrillada on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 05:10:20 PM EST

    ...you might enjoy the recent film "What the Bleep do we know" which explores similar parallels.

    I personally find that such parallels are taken too far. For instance sometimes people ignorant of physics are mislead into believing that their new-agey conception of a spiritual 'field' is in some way supported by physicists use of the word 'field'.

    It is important to realize that while Eastern philosophy and modern physics share some characteristics, it is only on a vague level, often having more to do with semantics than reality, and one should be careful of making the mistake of reading too much into it.

    [ Parent ]

    I tend to agree (none / 0) (#199)
    by Bwah on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 07:41:42 PM EST

    You pretty much echo my overall conclusions. Being a die hard skeptic, I thought that some of his points were a stretch.

    However, I came out of the book understanding both sides a lot better than when I went in. The explanations of what we currently understand about physics at the quantum level is pretty good on it's own.

    There's just enough of a parallel there to make you wonder ...

    An apparently Neils Bohr thought so too ... Check out his coat of arms ...


    --
    To redesign an infinite ensemble of universes: what terrible responsibility, what arrogance ... It sounds just like the type of thing your average Homo sap would do for a dare. -- Stephen Baxter
    [ Parent ]

    Oppenheimer was known 4 his intrst in E. philo[nt] (none / 0) (#200)
    by parrillada on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 07:47:19 PM EST



    [ Parent ]
    If I may ask the obvious: why? (none / 0) (#207)
    by HereticMessiah on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 02:19:02 PM EST

    What reason is there for science and scientists to develop an interest in religion? What exactly does science have to gain, lose or learn from such an interest? And how would such an assocation enhance science?

    --
    Disagree with me? Post a reply.
    Think my post's poor or trolling? Rate me down.
    [ Parent ]
    A nit about evolution (none / 1) (#48)
    by dhall on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 04:35:31 PM EST

    You've included evolution in a list of a bunch of other things that are fundamentally different. Evolution, meaning "The origin of the species by natural selection", is a historical theory.

    We cannot make new planet Earths and watch the evolution of life. In that sense, it is not testable in the same way.

    There is another kind of "evolution" that applies today - variation of gene frequencies in a population. This kind of evolution is trivially true once you accept a few basic fundamental facts about how life works.

    The creationists refer to the distinction as "microevolution" and "macroevolution", and I have to agree with this separation of concepts. I'm not saying macroevolution is wrong, simply that it is different.

    (The most important measuring stick we have is predictive power. Can historical evolution theory predict what species will be discovered in the future? Yes it can, to some degree. It predicts that most newly-discovered species are similar to already-seen species and lived around the same time and place.)

    Not really (3.00 / 3) (#53)
    by Sgt York on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 04:50:33 PM EST

    Can historical evolution theory predict what species will be discovered in the future?

    It really can't.

    Or rather, it doesn't. Classically, evolution is not directed, so it cannot be predicted. The selection is predictable based on projected fitness, but the changes that fuel that selection are introduced are random.

    Most people don't understand the real implications of evolution, and how it has impacted science. Most scientists use evolution every day, but really don't give a damn if Ichthyostega was the first amphibian or not, or why the jaw evolved twice.

    The predictive power of evolution comes in from a different angle: it allows us to model. We use it to predict similarity in unknown systems. Say we have two species, mice and humans, for instance. We know how far apart they are evolutionarily, so we can then say that they will share a certain degree of physiology, biochemistry, etc.

    This allows us to do research. If it works in mouse, it is very likely to also work in a human because system x is highly conserved between the two. The predictions here work quite frequently, and give us most of the drugs and treaments we use today.

    There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
    [ Parent ]

    Your last point. (none / 0) (#77)
    by forgotten on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 06:23:09 PM EST

    That is a great anti-ID argument: Why are species so genetically similar if they were created independently by a designer?

    --

    [ Parent ]

    SAT style.... (none / 1) (#78)
    by Sgt York on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 06:44:20 PM EST

    Drop of water is to Atlantic Ocean as your statement is to truth.

    But I've tried it; they argue that because it was all designed by one person, certain traits can be traced, like an artist's paintings or an author's books.

    I mean, I'm a Christian, these people are supposedly on my side, and they annoy the crap out of me.

    c'mon, remember...love your neighbor ... grrrr ....loveyourneighborloveyourneighborloveyourneighbor

    There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
    [ Parent ]

    Oh c'mon (1.00 / 5) (#99)
    by kitten on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 04:39:01 AM EST

    They have an answer for everything. "The organisms share characteristics and such because God knew it worked fine, so why would he mess with it and create a whole new system for every plant and animal when he had a perfectly servicable one already?"

    I just made that up, of course, but it goes to show how easy it is to counter any argument when you're allowed to bring in a supernatural "explanation".
    mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
    [ Parent ]
    This is true (none / 0) (#100)
    by forgotten on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 05:54:48 AM EST

    These types of arguments are wasted on the christian right, however they need to be made to the mainstream. I've noticed an upsurge in people who think there is no harm in teaching ID in schools - people who would not describe themselves as creationists. On the one hand i do sympathize with scientists who refuse to engage in any ID debate, for fear of legitimizing it as science, but there is a large body of people who want to be openminded about it, and are hopefully receptive to arguments such as the one i suggested. They aren't stupid; they just haven't had the benefit of a good science education.


    --

    [ Parent ]

    I'm not sure this is right (none / 1) (#88)
    by maniac1860 on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 10:46:22 PM EST

    I don't think we use mice as proxies for humans because they are evolutionarily similar. I think we use them because they are similar period. This may be due to their being evolutionarily similar, but this is kind of irrelevant. From my (admittedly weak) knowledge of how evolutionary distance is measured, it is primarily based upon base similarities anyway.

    [ Parent ]
    It's both (none / 1) (#112)
    by Sgt York on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 11:20:39 AM EST

    We use them because we expect an unknown system to be similar. Evolution gives us reason to believe that this is the case. If one system is similar, others should be as well.

    If we know enough about a specific pathway to to say it is similar, sure, evolution does not play a role in predicting its similarity. The similarity is proven and therefore does not need to be predicted. However, in unknown systems it allows us to say that if known system x is similar, then related system y should be similar as well.

    By common sense, this sounds right. But we need a rigorous methodology to move from animal models to humans. Evolutionary concepts give us that rigorous framework. It gives us a reason to believe that similarity could be found.

    There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
    [ Parent ]

    Interesting (none / 0) (#118)
    by maniac1860 on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 12:07:10 PM EST

    So you're saying we know that mice are similiar to humans in some ways, and form this we deduce that they are close to us evolutionarily, and thus are likely to be similiar to us in ways which we can not measure as well?

    [ Parent ]
    Cannot measure? (none / 0) (#124)
    by Sgt York on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 02:11:41 PM EST

    No, I was talking about things we do not know, not things we can not know. Unknown is not unknowable, it is simply unknown. Maybe the tools to examine it don't exsist yet. Maybe there has been no reason to look at it yet. Maybe no one's gotten around to it yet, or even thought to look.

    To put the original post another way :

    Observation #1 : Many of the known systems in mice are similar to known systems in humans.

    Observation #2 : Many other species display similar similarity in known systems, to varying degrees.

    Proposal : These species posses a common ancestor, and each lineage has accumulated large numbers of small changes to get to what we see today.

    Prediction : This proposal predicts that the similarity will extend to systems not yet observed.

    This prediction, and several others, have held true. We continue to use this prediction and the proposal, because it has proven quite useful.

    There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
    [ Parent ]

    Still a little unclear (none / 0) (#129)
    by maniac1860 on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 04:18:08 PM EST

    When you say systems, do you mean systems in an animal that we already know are similiar to humans? If the way that we know something is similiar evolutionarily to humans is through similiar systems->close evolutionarily-> similiar systems, then there seems to be no need to even consider evolution if all we are looking at is systems that we know about. Now if we know that mice are similiar in x ways to humans, but don't know how similiar to humans they are wrt a certain system which we want to test, we might use the above chain to guess that they are similiar in this new way as well. It seems that if we only are comparing systems which we know are similiar regardless of evolution, then we are not using evolution at all. Of course if I'm hopelessly off or just on a tangent you don't care about feel free to tell me.

    [ Parent ]
    No. (none / 0) (#150)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 01:58:41 PM EST

    We use them because they are mammals with a  short life cycle, small size and docile nature - not because we have measured any kind of distance between ourselves and them.


    How many trolls could a true troll troll if a true troll could troll trolls?
    [ Parent ]
    Only one (none / 0) (#169)
    by Sgt York on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 10:49:37 PM EST

    We use them for a variety of reasons, one of which is the fact that many of the systems in mice work the same way they do in us.

    At least, that's what we put on the protcols we send off to animal welfare.

    There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
    [ Parent ]

    Similar to the way we do. (none / 0) (#186)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 09:29:36 AM EST

    They're mammals so we have a lot of the same systems; but different enough that we still do drug trials on humans rather than mice.


    How many trolls could a true troll troll if a true troll could troll trolls?
    [ Parent ]
    Scientific Faith (3.00 / 4) (#79)
    by localroger on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 06:52:40 PM EST

    Unfortunately for this argument, scientific faith isn't all that much different than religious faith; it just happens at a slightly different layer of abstraction. The scientist has faith that the Universe works by consistent natural laws whose rules can be worked out by observation. While there are many good reasons to accept this idea, "proof" is not one of them. You cannot prove that Cthulhu will not appear over the horizon in a few minutes; you can only observe that it never has appeared, or anything with similar properties, and hope that future observations are consistent with those you've made in the past.

    This point of faith is neither natural nor obvious, and most religions specifically refute it. Certain religions say that God wrote those rules you are discovering through observation, and he can damn well temporarily un-write them if he has a good reason.

    This is not to say that ID is legitimate; it's a fraudulent reframing of Creationism to make it seem secular. And as other have noted, the ID promoters seem less enthusiastic about suggesting that a Flying Spaghetti Monster is the I rather than a suspiciously familiar Judeo-Christian godhead. For that matter, they aren't all that interested in the White Goddess or other aboriginal ideas, some of which are quite interesting and have a much longer history than YHVH. So my problem with them isn't so much that their faith is a different kind of faith, becuase it isn't. It's that they are lying about what they have faith in and whether it fits in the framework of scientific faith.

    I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer

    The best thing to do with ID (none / 1) (#89)
    by dhall on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 11:02:02 PM EST

    Is to take it over and disable the false implications people associate with it. In other words, cut the link between Christianity and ID.

    [ Parent ]
    Oddly enough, (none / 0) (#90)
    by Egil Skallagrimson on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 11:18:37 PM EST

    this site seems to teem with the Scientifically Religious Fanatic, but, just as your average Christian Fundamentalist is, they are completely blind to any view but their own.

    ----------------

    Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
    [ Parent ]

    Lift your head up so you can see... (none / 1) (#178)
    by BerntB on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 04:37:21 AM EST

    Scientifically Religious Fanatic [...] completely blind to any view but their own.
    To have a strong opinion is not the same thing as being a Fanatic, if you have support for those strong opinions. I try hard to not have any opinions without a basis in reason and fact.

    If people ignore what you say, it might not be your reasoning (rather than them) that is flawed?

    My strong opinion here is that I've looked at religious people's viewpoints and found them to be groundless assertions by people that needed an emotional crutch. (Or that they learned them early in life and then it is hard to unlearn. If you don't teach children religion, few become religious.)

    My emotional opinion is pity, since I consider intellectal honesty and integrity to be an important part of someone's worth as a human being.

    I think I have a good basis for my factual position. And my emotional position. I am willing to explain further.

    (-: I wonder if "Egil" got the joke about the subject? :-)

    [ Parent ]

    I didn't get the joke (none / 0) (#185)
    by Egil Skallagrimson on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 08:23:05 AM EST

    and your explanation onl covers you. After being here for a number of years, I can tell you that you are in the minority.

    ----------------

    Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
    [ Parent ]

    oh, ok. (none / 0) (#189)
    by BerntB on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 10:41:38 AM EST

    "lift you head":

    There is a theory that Skallagrimsson had a bone disease so that he had trouble lifting his head. (He wrote poetry mentioning the way his head rolled.)

    Check the famous story of when a priest tried to break the skull from his skeleton.

    [ Parent ]

    What are you talking about????? (none / 0) (#190)
    by Egil Skallagrimson on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 10:43:33 AM EST

    Actually, now I do remember that. I've only read the thing once, though, so I can't be held accountable.

    ----------------

    Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
    [ Parent ]

    You Badly Need to Read More (none / 1) (#81)
    by mberteig on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 07:39:00 PM EST

    The philosophy and history of science shows your "arguments" to be completely unfounded.  Check out Larry Laudan's "Progress and Its Problems" or Stephen J. Gould's "The Mismeasure of Man".  If you haven't read both this books, I don't consider you qualified to discuss this topic.  If you have, then you have completely ignored their very logical and factual arguments that are apropos to your topic, and you would be well-served to address them.


    Agile Advice - How and Why to Work Agile
    I've read everything by Gould, (none / 0) (#87)
    by parrillada on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 10:25:23 PM EST

    but never Laudan. Unfortunately I have trouble confirming your suspicions about my reading comprehension, because you have not addressed what arguments to which you refer.

    [ Parent ]
    Have you seen the criticism of Gould? :-) (none / 0) (#176)
    by BerntB on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 02:43:59 AM EST

    Stephen J. Gould's "The Mismeasure of Man" [is worth reading]
    The intelligence researchers' crticism of Gould were, more or less, that he did a non-serious attack on people outside of his field. Both using guilt-by-association to 19th century researchers and straw man attacks.

    Which side is correct?

    I am no intelligence researcher, but I note that:

    • Gould more or less claim that all the researchers of that field are either idiots or part of a conspiracy. Which, by a fun coincidence, is the creationists' opinion about paleontologists -- like Gould was!
    • From what I've seen -- Gould's writing hasn't had any larger influence on the field. (-: Even if there was a racist conspiracy, it shouldn't still be there? :-)
    • The criticism about Gould doing non-serious straw man attacks sounds very much like the criticism from the world's most renowned biologists, like Maynard Smith.
    • Gould has a history of going public to argue scientific points politically. He has a marxist ideology (which, for some reason, seems to claim that personality characteristics shouldn't be inherited)


    [ Parent ]
    What would that class even be like? (2.00 / 13) (#91)
    by kitten on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 11:26:26 PM EST

    I've never really understood what creationists propose "teaching" their idea would entail. You can study evolutionary science for decades and still have more to go -- and many have. There's a wealth of information, and even more waiting to be discovered. Creating a year-long, or even a semester-long, curriculum out of this -- well, the hardest part would be deciding what to leave out, since there's so much of it.

    Consider creationism on the other hand. This is how I envision such a class:
    "Ah, okay, everyone, settle down now, settle down. Jimmy, I recognize you from last year, and what did I tell you about gum chewing? Throw it away. Alright, everyone, my name is Mister Smith, and this is Intelligent Design class. Okay! Well, let's get started -- open your books to page 13, and as you can see, the universe is very complex. Complex things usually have a planner or designer, so as page 14 explains, that designer is the mastermind behind our universe's complexity. Jenny, you have a question?

    "Is the designer God?"

    "Well, I guess the most we can say is that some people think so. Anyone else? William."

    "Mr Smith, what about what we learned last semester in biology and earth science?"

    "What about it, William?"

    "Well, we were told that complex things can develop on their own without a planner, if there's enough time and enough chances and some way of weeding out the things that don't work and building on the ones that do."

    "Yes, William, well, we're not in that class now, are we? Forget what you learned in that class."

    "Then why did I take that class?"

    "It was required."

    "But.. but I got an A in that class! Now you're telling me everything I learned was wrong?"

    "Yes. Can we move along? Anyone else? No? Okay, finals tomorrow. Study hard!"

    FINAL EXAM:
    Please mark all answers clearly with a No. 2 pencil. Place it on my desk when you're finished, and have a great summer. Good luck!

    1. Did the universe have a designer?
    YES NO
    Meanwhile, young William and his buddies have been taught a valuable lesson about how you can't trust anything you learned in school, anything the professionals say, and your teachers may or may not be lying to you.

    God bless America's educational standards.
    mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
    This post is a dupe (2.66 / 3) (#102)
    by forgotten on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 06:42:39 AM EST

    Not that that is a bad thing, but a remember seeing you post something similar and laughing about your exam example before. But on reflection, I think it is a little unfair, and I will play devils advocate.

    If I was a high school science teacher, and required to teach ID, I might proceed as follows. I would take examples such as eyes, wings, higher brain functions, etc, and compare against single celled protazoa, amoebas, etc, and suggest that the chain of evolutionary events required to go from one to the other is not completely understood (and that, at least, is true). I would point out that humans, even now, can genetically modify animals and plants, so a super-being would certainly be able to do so, and that given the huge diversity of life on earth and the current inablilty of evolutionary theory to be completely explanatory, we might allow the possibility of an external influence. It might be God, or a 1x4x9 black obelisk.

    So my final exam might start as follows,
    1) name three anatomical features not readily accounted for in evolutionary science
    1a) for each of these, explain what features (complexity, etc) make it a candidate for intervention by an intelligent designer.
    1b) for each of these, outline a competing hypothesis from evolution, if there is one.
    2) write a short essay discussing whether you think the ID point-of-view is likely to become part of mainstream science.


    --

    [ Parent ]

    Not exactly (2.00 / 3) (#114)
    by kitten on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 11:28:01 AM EST

    It's just one of my staple rants. :P

    That having been said -- yes, there are some questions you could come up with, but most of them raise more questions than they asked, particularly your third one. If ID isn't "mainstream science", the students are going to want to know why they're learning it in school at all, and that was part of my point. Do we really want to spend half the year teaching them about biological evolution, cosmology, genetics, et al, and then the other half of the year explaining why everything they just learned is wrong?

    And why? Just to appease every nut with a doctrinal axe to grind?

    Why aren't we teaching this, for example? It is every bit as valid as ID, and hey, we can make a final exam for it too!

    1. Name three anatomical features that could have been designed by the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    etc.

    Also, you say that I would take examples such as eyes, wings, higher brain functions, etc, and compare against single celled protazoa, amoebas, etc, and suggest that the chain of evolutionary events required to go from one to the other is not completely understood (and that, at least, is true).

    Which isn't true. There exist naturalist explanations for all these things -- Dawkins has some great ones. In fact, in the natural world, there are living examples of almost every progression one would expect from an eye, from a simple light-sensitive spot on a cell, to a light-sensitive spot with a little ridge on one side so direction can be determined, to a bit of a higher ridge, to a ridge that surrounds the area forming something like a camera obscura, etc. It isn't hard at all to see how such things could develop just by playing off what was already there and making minor alterations to it. Your first question is question-begging indeed.

    Now, I understand you're just playing devil's advocate here, but the problem we both have is that it's just too hard for either of us to take it seriously, and I think we both can come up with logical, natural explanations, with observable support, for anything we could potentially use for ID, as just demonstrated.

    "The universe is complex and early 21st century science can't explain it all yet" doesn't qualify to me as a reason to start invoking supernaturalism in schools.
    mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
    [ Parent ]
    "1x4x9 black obelisk" (1.80 / 5) (#139)
    by Linux or FreeBSD on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 01:40:33 AM EST

    i can assure you that my penis did not genetically modify anything.

    p.s. yes, those dimensions are in feet.

    [ Parent ]
    you know (2.00 / 3) (#142)
    by forgotten on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 03:52:48 AM EST

    i was thinking of leaving k5 today, until i read that comment.

    --

    [ Parent ]

    I gave your post a 0 rating. (1.66 / 6) (#134)
    by What Good Is A 150K Salary When Living In NYC on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 07:45:12 PM EST

    It's not that I'm some kind of religionist/atheist or anything, it's that I find your anecdotes and ideas expressed above totally vapid and not worthy of being exposed to the public.


    Skulls, Bullets, and Gold
    [ Parent ]
    That's nice (none / 0) (#211)
    by kitten on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 05:40:37 PM EST


    mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
    [ Parent ]
    You little anecdote was kind of depressing until I (3.00 / 4) (#148)
    by your_desired_username on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 11:28:27 AM EST

    got near the end.

    Meanwhile, young William and his buddies have been taught a valuable lesson about how you can't trust anything you learned in school, anything the professionals say, and your teachers may or may not be lying to you.

    At this point I sighed with relief and felt much better. At least kids will still be learning the most important lesson of all.

    [ Parent ]

    Most People Cannot Cope with Uncertainty (3.00 / 6) (#108)
    by harrystottle on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 09:31:41 AM EST

    I think the important point you're missing is that "Faith" involves psychological certainty. No true scientist would profess such certainty about anything. Whilst it is rational to "believe" and behave in accordance with what you experience through your senses, we cannot logically deduce that those senses are an unimpeachable source of data. Nor indeed are there any better sources, so we have to learn to live with a degree of uncertainty.

    I have tried to explore this is some detail here.

    Most people cannot accept the fundamental uncertainty that arises from being biological and, amongst other things, this leaves them vulnerable to religious faith, which provides the certainty many people seem to crave.



    Mostly harmless
    I tried to cover your point in the definitions (none / 1) (#165)
    by parrillada on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 08:35:33 PM EST

    Compare faith (religious):

    3. Highly confident belief resistant to reevaluation in the face of new evidence.

    with faith (scientific):

    3. Belief that is constantly subject to skeptical inquiry and to reevaluation in the face of new evidence.

    [ Parent ]

    Bias (2.80 / 5) (#110)
    by Uber Banker 2 on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 10:21:52 AM EST

    You seem to display some bias in your descriptions. I am speaking as an agnostic.

    The examples you give for religious faith are abstract, and incorrect. Why not include, for example, that religious faith suggests monogamy as being the preferred lifestyle. That it is a preferred lifestyle is only true for some religions, as are the examples you give, for example Buddhism is a religion, those that follow it believe in the religious faith, yet Buddhism does not contain any God, merely a way of life to follow and look up to.

    You seem to mix culture and religion. One religion can be represented may different ways depending on the culture it is prevalent in. The Muslim faith is practiced somewhat differently in the remote desert hills of Pakistan than in the streets of London - in one place the strict traditional values are emphasised in the environment of a small close knit community, in other the religion exists amid a far more varied environment and the practice of the religion tends to be (not always) more 'liberal' as a result. The bible mentions not shaving your beard roughly about as much as it mentions the concept of homosexuality - but using Christianity as an excuse for clean shaven men to pursue homosexuals stinks of cultural rather than religious values.

    Religion and science are not mutually exclusive, which you start to suggest but then refrain. Stephen Hawkings is the first to admit the possibility of a God. That leads to the lack of flexiblity you suggest religion has. The Church of England was famously anexed from the Catholic Church by King Henry VIII and some of its values fundamentally changed, though the Christianity in England was already somewhat adapted from that of mainland Europe due to the pre-existance of paganism. The Christian faith is very much open to sceptical enquiry - to become a position of senior authority in the CofE or Catholic church you must write a paper critical that challenges belief in religious axioms or derivations - the paper exists to reaffirm your belief and accomodate critical ideas, or to pursuade you that you don't have sufficient faith. In the Buddhist religion there is huge evidence of adaption over different culture and time.

    The examples you provide for science are not mutually exclusive with beliefs of many religious people - they may have been at sometime, but this reinforces my earlier points - were these beliefs cultural (not strictly religious), or did religion change (logically opposite to your definition of religion is resistant to reevaluation of evidence). Up until 800 years ago the those practicing the Muslim faith were at the fore-front of many aspects of technological innovation.

    You made some good points, but they seem to have been diluted by your desire to put religious faith and scientific faith in 2 discrete buckets, when present facts and past history shows a great interaction between religion, science and cultural/traditional beliefs.

    There are many aspects of faith, each of which try to obtain their own idea of truth. Each of those faiths are founded on the unknown, and each of them use methods of induction and deduction to get closer to that truth/serenity. To criticise one based on the tools of investigation of another is to lack an understanding of what is being sought by that faith, be that:

  • criticising the concept of a God by demanding that there is no evidence (science criticising religion)

  • by demanding a certain way of life be lived that is incompatable with one's personal values/priorities (religion being imposed on society)

  • or by having a knee jerk reaction that is something is not understood intuitively that it should not be encouraged (society not accomodating/understanding the pursuit or arguments of science).

  • Buddhists (none / 0) (#151)
    by yet another coward on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 02:00:57 PM EST

    Some Buddhists, probably the overwhelming majority, have gods, plenty of them. Some Buddhists do not.

    [ Parent ]
    +1FP (none / 0) (#121)
    by Fen on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 01:56:15 PM EST

    Fuck religion. Ignore it. Transhumanism will mean they will become the ants that they are. Stupid and irrelevant.
    --Self.
    -1 -1 -1 -1 (1.25 / 12) (#132)
    by What Good Is A 150K Salary When Living In NYC on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 07:17:51 PM EST

    Faith is faith, you insolent little cock.


    Skulls, Bullets, and Gold
    on definitions (3.00 / 3) (#135)
    by khallow on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 08:00:15 PM EST

    Before you invent your own definitions for words, how about you look up the definitions for faith?

    Stating the obvious since 1969.

    Definitions: Faith & Belief (none / 1) (#144)
    by nostalgiphile on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 06:38:06 AM EST

    Faith: "The assent of the mind to the statement or proposition of another, on the ground of the manifest truth of what he utters; firm and earnest belief, on probable evidence of any kind, especially in regard to important moral truth. [1913 Webster]

    "Belief: Assent to a proposition or affirmation, or the acceptance of a fact, opinion, or assertion as real or true, without immediate personal knowledge; reliance upon word or testimony; partial or full assurance without positive knowledge or absolute certainty; persuasion; conviction; confidence; as, belief of a witness; the belief of our senses." [1913 Webster]

    Dict.org (thanks for link)

    "Depending on your perspective you are an optimist or a pessimist[,] and a hopeless one too." --trhurler
    [ Parent ]
    Because arguments based entirely upon.... (none / 0) (#172)
    by Blarney on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 01:11:49 AM EST

    ...dictionary definitions are lame? How about that?

    There seems to be some online fallacy that The Dictionary is a Godlike arbiter of truth. I don't believe it. Somebody has to write them, some "lexicographer" who Webster, interestingly, defined as a "harmless drudge".

    [ Parent ]

    ok (none / 0) (#191)
    by khallow on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 01:48:43 PM EST

    ...dictionary definitions are lame? How about that?

    What does that say for arguments that can easily be rendered irrelevant by the dictionary definition argument?

    Stating the obvious since 1969.
    [ Parent ]

    Science and religion are not necessarily opposed. (2.88 / 9) (#138)
    by Kasreyn on Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 10:53:12 PM EST

    It's only today's historical myopia that inspires the belief that religion and science are naturally antithetical to one another. Up until the event you mentioned, they were often allies in the search for truth. Admittedly, they weren't using the scientific method as we know it, but natural philosophy, aka the study of nature, often travelled hand in hand with faith in god, so much so that what passed for scientific inquiry of that time was often performed in monasteries.

    I consider the shift to the Copernican theory of heliocentrism, which challenged the Ptolemaic cosmology of the crystal spheres, to have been one of the greatest cultural schisms in history. Up until that time, western religion had largely tolerated scientific inquiry, probably because there had been no instruments capable of measuring the universe much better than the human senses. The introduction of the telescope and microscope opened up entire worlds to discover which were not adequately explained by scripture, and began to suggest the humbling notion that mankind was not, after all, at the center of the universe.

    These were what Carl Sagan called the Great Demotions: first that our planet was not at the center, then that not even our sun was the center, that our sun was in fact a rather ordinary sun far from the center of the galaxy, then that we were likely descended from a shared ancestor of the apes. And with every blow to human ego, the rift between religious thought and scientific thought has widened. Some religious sects and viewpoints have been willing to restructure their core beliefs around the more precise picture of the universe that science has provided (in the process, discarding incidental cosmological ornaments which have been superseded), but most have simply closed their ears to scientific knowledge, except, as you said, when they want to fly on an airplane or cook their food in a microwave or use the internet.

    Yet while religion in its offended pride has turned its back on science, science has done the same to religion. There are scientists who give a condescending snort when they learn that a new colleague harbors religious belief, as if they are afflicted with a degenerative mental disease. And yet science is only a matter of statistics, not of "truth", as you say. Science is involved in the search for truth, yes - just like religion. Science uses the path of skepticism rather than revelation, and so its benefits are more tangible at the moment, but no scientist worthy of the name would make the claim that he has undeniably discovered the complete truth about anything. Science implies, more than anything else, an awareness of one's own margin of error. Those who ignorantly trumpet science as a tool for discerning perfect truth are just as foolish as the ones who sit under healing pyramids. What science offers is an asymptotic curve of understanding which will never achieve total knowledge, no matter how much effort is invested. Small wonder so many find it unappealing, and turn instead to the certainties offered by religion.

    And yet, how can a scientist *know* that the revelations experienced by the religious are wrong? (Counting out things like failed predictions of apocalypse, of course.) Some have said that the un-disprovability of the supernatural may have been a human invention rather than a natural phenomenon - but how can we be sure? Another thing no self-respecting scientist would ever do is declare something impossible or disproven without sufficient evidence to do so, and religious belief by its very nature is simply not subject to the gathering of evidence. Therefore just as religion is unable to competently address the issues raised by science, science is unable to competently judge the validity of religion.

    Doesn't this sound a bit like they need each other? In our culture they have been put in the false position of being adversaries. Yet if there is a god, I cannot understand any reason for our being endowed with minds and curiosity than that he wishes us to use them to learn and explore. To my mind, that indicates that religious and scientific thought are components of a larger whole rather than diverging paths.

    P.S. I should point out here that when I speak of religious belief, I'm thinking of personal revelation and spiritual discovery, not organized religion, which generally opposes the search for truth.


    "Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
    We never asked to be born in the first place."

    R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
    can't know. but must be consistent (none / 1) (#166)
    by parrillada on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 08:43:13 PM EST

    And yet, how can a scientist *know* that the revelations experienced by the religious are wrong?

    A scientists cannot know, and no competent scientist would ever claim such absolute knowledge. On the other hand, the scientist is consistent and treats all revelatory claims on an equal footing. In other words, the scientist has no way of knowing for sure that the hallucinatory experiences of schizophrenics are wrong either, and so treats the claims of schizophrenics as no more or less valid than those of revelatory christians, for instance.

    [ Parent ]

    Correct, but incomplete (none / 1) (#174)
    by BerntB on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 01:46:12 AM EST

    In other words, the scientist has no way of knowing for sure that the hallucinatory experiences of schizophrenics are wrong either, and so treats the claims of schizophrenics as no more or less valid than those of revelatory christians, for instance.
    That is totally correct, but you can make a stronger claim based on this.

    The religious people doesn't have one theory; there are literally dozens of religious theories out there which contradict each others -- and that is just in Christianity!

    So, we have two possible hypotheses...

    1. There is some psychological reason that religions exists.
    2. One of the contradicting religions is The One Truetm one -- and some devil or something inspires the others.
    The problem with 2 is that the psychologies of faith are very similar in the different religions. AFAIK, you can't see much difference between a christian or a muslim dying for his faith. But the two theories contradict each others; only one can be true.

    That some devil could inspire as strong faith as their ghod contradict all religions I know of. A contradiction. Also, that their ghod would lie to believers of some faiths also contradicts all religions, AFAIK (especially since he sends unbelievers to hell in lots of them!).

    The only remaining solution is to do what all dishonest b.stards do when they have no answer -- they change the subject or argue that logic and reductionism are incomplete tools...

    (Regarding the last bit, check out the chapter on Rousseau in Russel's History of western philosophy!)

    [ Parent ]

    I agree [nt] (none / 0) (#175)
    by parrillada on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 02:02:19 AM EST



    [ Parent ]
    option 3 (none / 0) (#203)
    by astatine on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 09:49:44 PM EST

    One of the contradicting religions is The One Truetm one -- and some devil or something inspires the others.
    Maybe there is no One Truetm religion, and this all comes down to the various sources of inspiration-- be they deities, spirits, angels, devils, psychoses, or written texts-- contradicting one another.

    Society, they say, exists to safeguard the rights of the individual. If this is so, the primary right of a human being is evidently to live unrealistically.Celia Green
    [ Parent ]
    Sorry for taking long to answer (none / 1) (#222)
    by BerntB on Sat Aug 20, 2005 at 01:08:35 PM EST

    Well, the problem with most religions is that they claim that they hold the only truth.

    Your alternative then implies that whatever inspired the religions either don't exist or are liars.

    "Lying bastard" is a description of the god of my forefathers that I can like... :-)

    [ Parent ]

    but the problem is that... (none / 0) (#168)
    by nml on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 10:08:03 PM EST

    Therefore just as religion is unable to competently address the issues raised by science, science is unable to competently judge the validity of religion.

    the problem with this is that science is answering questions that have traditionally been 'religious' territory (i.e. creation theories). So while science doesn't preclude religion, it is conflicting with existing religious theories by supplying contrary evidence. People are certainly free to incorporate scientific evidence into their belief systems, but many seem unwilling to do this.

    P.S. I should point out here that when I speak of religious belief, I'm thinking of personal revelation and spiritual discovery, not organized religion, which generally opposes the search for truth.

    Sure, but most people do not like to have their beliefs challenged. And given the large body of scientific evidence, it's pretty hard to come up with religious theory that stands up to it all. So, science and religion can co-exist, but most people don't see it that way, since it takes a lot of intellectual honesty to maintain a 'rational' religious belief the face of a lot of science.



    [ Parent ]
    142 comments and still not posted? (none / 0) (#143)
    by nostalgiphile on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 06:31:08 AM EST

    Many of them intelligent. Hmm, what's wrong with this picture...Maybe it passes the Rustometer and gets SP by Monday?

    "Depending on your perspective you are an optimist or a pessimist[,] and a hopeless one too." --trhurler
    completely bogus - (none / 0) (#147)
    by lukme on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 11:20:13 AM EST

    Start with the accepted definition from an acceptable dictionary. Then show how the term faith is used differently in science and in religion.

    The major difference between intelligent design and evolution, is that evolution is testable - that is, you can design experiments to show that evolution occurs or doesn't occur. On the other hand you cannot either proove or disproove intelligent design.




    -----------------------------------
    It's awfully hard to fly with eagles when you're a turkey.
    falsifiable (none / 0) (#160)
    by wau on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 06:58:55 PM EST

    Your theory that an apple falls down can never be proven right. Still, that doesn't make it unscientific because it can be proven wrong by observing the contrary.

    [ Parent ]
    Intelligent design? (1.50 / 2) (#149)
    by flo on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 11:34:20 AM EST

    Whoever designed the vertebrate eye inside-out, so that a blind spot is necessary, can't have been very intelligent. Especially given that whoever designed the octopus eye got it right...
    ---------
    "Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
    or he might have just been an asshole [nt] (none / 0) (#167)
    by parrillada on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 08:48:44 PM EST



    [ Parent ]
    Bigger Fish (1.33 / 3) (#153)
    by calumny on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 03:31:02 PM EST

    Although I enjoyed the article, just by debating creationism you are giving it more credit and time than it deserves.

    If people in Kansas (for example) want to teach their children that God made the earth in a week from crystal power and the holy spirit, that is their business. The people that are arguing for the teaching of creationism will never need an understanding of biology, so why force them to study it? It's not as if peer-reviewed journals are being burned or research scientists are being dragged out of their labs by angry lynch mobs.

    There is plenty of crank science out there, and much of it is more harmful than rhetorical exchanges by non-experts over macroevolution. I find it far more dangerous that the president believes global warming doesn't exist or is a trifling matter. And its obvious that high school civics classes have some holes of their own when the US has a string of movie stars elected into high office.

    Yes, it is pathetic that creationism has such popular appeal, but there are larger and more important holes in the curriculum out there.

    Re: Bigger Fish (none / 1) (#155)
    by ashill on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 04:31:12 PM EST

    I agree that putting creationism on equal footing with evolution in a debate is a bad idea. Unfortunately, the American political reality these days is that the intelligent design crowd has drummed up a lot of media coverage, so refusing to debate just lets intelligent design supporters make scientifically unsupported claims without anyone to point out their inconsistencies.

    Saying that Kansas students will never need to understand biology is a horrible mindset. Evolution, in addition to its importance for its own sake, is a wonderful opportunity to teach students about the scientific method and the scientific process -- don't just say that evolution is a beautiful, strong theory, but show how we have come to that belief. Understanding rational, scientific analysis (what the article sort of calls "scientific faith," although that's a misnomer) is a vital skill that too many adults lack.

    If we let such a clear-cut wrong idea as creation slide, I don't see how we can teach kids to understand that other examples of junk science are bogus.



    [ Parent ]
    Scholastic Impact (none / 0) (#216)
    by calumny on Thu Aug 18, 2005 at 03:04:32 PM EST

    I would argue that physics offers a much more direct and easily accessible platform for teaching the scientific method. Take mechanics and the motion of the planets as an example. From Copernicus's geocentrism (or even Pythagoras' ideas about motion) to Kepler's three laws and Newton's contribution of gravity, it is easy to plot the progression from observation through hypothesis to theory. Because the data are so many and so clear - and because the theory is so easy to verify - this is an excellent foundation from which to teach an abstract concept such as scientific reasoning.

    Evolution, on the other hand, is a relatively new scientific theory, it is much harder to verify, and it is still the source of divergent theories. Macroevolution is supported by some good evidence (the fossil record, vestigial organs, genes), but it does not have the mathematical precision and rigor that mechanics does. Relevant data on evolution are also much harder to record, especially in a high school biology lab. Microevolution and heredity, as yet unchallenged by fundamentalists, are potentially as clear as mechanics and could also demonstrate the scientific method.

    Besides, the "objectionable" parts of evolution - namely abiogenesis and speciation - are only covered in a couple of pages in high school biology books, mostly because it takes years of study to appreciate these subjects. Is banning this discussion ridiculous (borderline demented): yes, of course. But I doubt that it will make a large difference in the quality of education that the luckless students receive.

    <cynicism>Hey, better the right wingers spend their money on Biblically-inspired dinosaur parks and school board lobbyists rather than funneling more into pro-war think tanks and the Klu Klux Klan.</realism>

    [ Parent ]

    Induction is bogus and obsolete (none / 1) (#156)
    by Des Beelzebubs Rechtsbeistand on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 06:00:54 PM EST

    Drop it from your definition of scientific faith, it only weakens your point.

    Rate comments: [no |v]

    Interesting subject ... (3.00 / 4) (#158)
    by Wouter Coene on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 06:45:59 PM EST

    ... wrong conclusion.

    It's not "religous faith" versus "scientific faith", but rather "dogmatic faith" versus "intellectual faith".

    Dogmatic faith is believing in something because, well, basically because someone told you so. One example would be creationism (I've decided I'm not going to call it "intelligent design" because it's not), but scientists are no stranger to dogmatism either (scientific progress is mostly made by old scientists dying out).

    Intellectual faith is faith because you can prove something is true. However, because of Goedel's incompleteness theorem this can also be seen as a form of dogmatic faith; but faith in the validity of the axiom system rather than in the theory itself.

    The problem with humans is that truth for us turns out to be rather bendable under the influence of social pressure and group-think. In a neolithic society, trying to refute the alpha male/female's dogmatic faith with intellectual reasoning tends to get you frowned upon and maybe passed the next time food is available. Turns out it's not important what is said, but who said it.

    Goedel??!?? (none / 0) (#195)
    by HKDD on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 03:52:08 PM EST

    Why not just invoke Heisenberg and advocate extreme skepticism/stoicism to the point of non-action?
    You can't escape the danger!
    [ Parent ]
    Good Points (none / 0) (#225)
    by dcm266 on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 01:35:12 PM EST

    I do disagree with you, however, that creationism must be an example of dogmatic faith. Saying something like "Evolution is wrong because we all know God created the world in six days," is dogmatic faith. I think we'd agree on that; however, it's not necessary for evolution and the idea of creation of some sort to be opposed to each other.

    I guess that brings up a question. When you mentioned creationism, were you referring to the "Evolution is wrong. God created the world in six days," argument, or the idea that a deity might be responsible for life on earth?

    As for intellectual faith, as long as by prove you are referring to the idea of testing ideas through experimentation or through logic and reason, then I'd agree.

    -dcm266

    [ Parent ]

    Excellent article (3.00 / 3) (#159)
    by SocratesGhost on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 06:52:56 PM EST

    I was just talking to my friend the other day about what a straw man fallacy looks like. Now I have an example.

    Thank you!

    -Soc
    I drank what?


    Show us the proof god boy. (none / 0) (#170)
    by spit on Sun Aug 14, 2005 at 11:21:03 PM EST

    These guys can... http://www.venganza.org/

    lol (none / 0) (#210)
    by kbudha on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 04:40:47 PM EST

    Thats some of the funniest shit I've ever seen

    [ Parent ]
    Creation Science projects (none / 0) (#173)
    by Blarney on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 01:15:55 AM EST

    I would like to see some research done, using Creation Science theory. Seems to me that, if true, lots of neat things could be done.

    For example, Creation Science predicts that we are all descended from Adam and Eve, and that all living animals are descended from an Edenic population with very different phenotypes. The genes for the Edenic phenotype have presumably been inactivated - could they be activated again? Is there some factor, found in the Garden of Eden, that given to a tiger would cause it to become peaceful and vegetarian? And, if this factor was discovered, what clues would it give us to the origin of life? Where is the RESEARCH?

    I'd totally like to see a "Journal of Creation Science" where research based upon Creationist axioms is performed.

    Start with an explanation of ring species! (none / 0) (#177)
    by BerntB on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 04:10:46 AM EST

    The creationist positions I've heard/read about never could explain how ring species worked.

    I'd love to see a creationist explanation.

    And if the position of creationists' has changed -- what, exactly, did they base that on?!

    [ Parent ]

    What's the problem? (none / 0) (#215)
    by the on Wed Aug 17, 2005 at 09:56:17 PM EST

    God can do anything. He can make ring species just by farting.

    --
    The Definite Article
    [ Parent ]
    Should be obvious? (none / 0) (#221)
    by BerntB on Sat Aug 20, 2005 at 01:05:07 PM EST

    (I almost missed your answer, because it was late. Sorry for taking a couple of days to answer.)

    The problem is that the creationists have a, well, magical idea about what the term "species" mean, when they argue that there is a difference between "micro" and "macro" evolution.

    This claimed class difference between "micro" and "macro" is contradicted by the existence of ring species, where their magical idea about a "species" is shown to be a sliding scale!!

    But since the religious people base their position on what they would like to be true -- they will change their opinion if they change what they like to be true... Despicable.

    (-: An eternal truth, given directly by an all-powerful god -- that is updated when new facts are found! Intellectual integrity? :-)

    [ Parent ]

    I have in front of me (none / 0) (#183)
    by reiko on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 08:07:29 AM EST

    Creation ex nihilo Technical Journal. Old arse copy from 95 but might still be around

    \o/ I have nothing else.
    [ Parent ]
    Er, Science is not faith, by it's very definition (none / 1) (#179)
    by toychicken on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 04:57:11 AM EST

    Nice article, I like any sensible discussion around the subject of science.

    One point however, is that science is not faith. I agree there is an appearance of faith, in that one believes that the sun will rise, etc. However, the fundamental basis of science is proof.

    The reason that the intelligent design idea fails scientific voracity, is because it is not provable in any way - one requires faith  - compared to darwinian principles, which are easily provable, and thus do not require faith.

    - - - - - - -8<- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Just how many is a Brazillian anyway?


    There is a faith in it....... (none / 1) (#187)
    by Have A Nice Day on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 09:33:15 AM EST

    I don't necessarily agree with the argument, but there is a faith that is implicit to everything scientific - faith in empiricism. That is faith that the rules aren't changing all the time (or that some deeper rule exists to explain why they seem to be doing so).

    Personally I think the argument smacks of pointless philosophy, you know the kind, the crap that comes out of the mouths of philosophy graduates like "how can you believe in all this science when we can't even prove we exist!". Ultimately I don't care about proving my existance, lets take that as a given and work from there shall we? Otherwise nothing would ever get done.

    --------------
    Have A Nice Day may have reentered the building.
    [ Parent ]
    provable vs. falsifiable (none / 1) (#192)
    by projectpaperclip on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 02:14:56 PM EST

    Obligatory and obvious discussion of provability vs. falsifiability:

    What you meant to say is that theories of science are capable of being falsified (or proven false)... nothing can be proven true, only failed to be proven false. As long as an experiment fails to prove that something is false, we will continue to believe that it is true, but we can never prove it to be so.

    That is the nature and logic of science.

    [ Parent ]

    Consider "faith" a "system" (none / 0) (#193)
    by phrits on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 02:29:37 PM EST

    I'm not going to try to apply any rigor to this idea, but I've often found it useful to compare Christian (or other) fundamentalism to Euclidean geometry. The foundation of either is a finite set of axioms--or beliefs--and everything else is built up from there.

    With the geometry, you have a consistent logical system. Your "gut feeling" can still point you toward new ideas to prove, but if they can't be proved true with logic, they aren't theorems; aren't knowably true. Guts can guide, but they have no place in a proof. (In fact, if you change the parallel postulate, you can still come up with a consistent, logical system.) And as Godel pointed out, even in such a system, there are things we can never know.

    With religion, your postulates are different. Pure faith is belief in the absence of (logical or experimental) proof. Postulate, for example, that the Bible contains only truth; i.e, that it is, by definition, the infallible word of God. The "contradictions" then exist only if you apply logical rigor: If you simply recognize that your own limited mind cannot grasp all that God's can, the apparent contradictions become mysteries or miracles--perfectly acceptable within the system. If you go with your believer's gut, everything still works. Logic may still point you toward new ideas to consider, but if the ideas don't match your faith, they're not knowably true. Logic can guide, but it cannot fatally constrain faith. In one way, faith is actually a stonger system than the geometry: Sufficient belief is knowledge. (For example, a believer knows that if he drops dead the moment he is "born again" there's a spot waiting for him in Heaven. Within that system, it's provably true.)

    To take it a step further, my own "gut" tells me that logic is what makes sense, and the entire realm of the supernatural is (to my mind) based on false premises. I am a devout atheist, but to pretend that my atheism itself is not a faith would be disingenuous.



    One step further (none / 0) (#196)
    by GhostfacedFiddlah on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 04:01:18 PM EST

    Just because a system proves something, does not mean it's universally applicable.  If I perform Euclidean transformations on a non-Euclidean space, it will not have the desired effect, regardless of what's been mathematically proven.

    The same goes for the born-again Christian.  Within his system of beliefs, heaven is certainly true, but that may not translate to a heaven for his actual soul, since no one's been able to prove that a) it exists, or b) that it follows any particular system.

    [ Parent ]

    Lack of rigor (none / 0) (#206)
    by phrits on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 08:59:40 AM EST

    The meanging of "desired effect" in a mathematical system eludes me. ;-)

    As I mentioned, there's a lot of rigor missing from my illustration. And Godel's Theorem may apply in the religious space as well, although doing so a)imposes a logic that really isn't necessary and b)may raise a non-Biblical contradiction to the original premise that faith defines truth.

    As to heaven being true while he's still around to believe in it but unknown after, I disagree. If sufficiently strong belief equals truth, that happily dead born-again is absolutely spending eternity hanging out with God among the "many rooms", and the (impossible) burden of proof otherwise then falls on the unbeliever.

    I know it's not a perfect approach, but thinking about it this way allowed me to move from "those fundies are fucking nuts" to "they have a different system of beliefs that are consistent within the system's own set of rules." Sure, there are some nuts out there--on both sides--but starting with a foundation of respect rather than { pity | condescension | amusement | arrogance } can raise the level of dialog considerably. Bigotry is ugly, and recognizing it in myself mandated a new approach.



    [ Parent ]
    Tolerance (none / 0) (#229)
    by black orchidness on Sun Aug 28, 2005 at 04:13:22 PM EST

    I agree with you completely that the 'different systems' attitude is a great one. I would love for everyone to respect (and not question) my atheism, just as I respect and don't question (outside of hypothetical debate) their religion.

    Your theory also brings up the interesting question of truth: is there one universal truth just sitting out there waiting to be discovered, or is 'truth' what is right for each person? The latter is what I believe, and while it does have some obvious application flaws, I think if more people adopted that notion, it would foster greater tolerance and understanding.

    Could you elaborate a little bit on your atheism being a faith? I've always defined atheism myself as the specific lack of faith.

    [ Parent ]

    Atheism as Faith (none / 0) (#231)
    by phrits on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 02:15:06 PM EST

    (Sorry for the late reply. I didn't realize anyone else had commented or asked a question.)

    A Mathematician, an engineer and a physicist were traveling through Scotland when they saw a black sheep through the window of the train.

    "Aha", says the engineer, "I see that Scottish sheep are black."

    "Hmm", says the physician, "You mean that some Scottish sheep are black".

    "No", says the mathematician, "All we know is that there is at least one sheep in Scotland, and that at least one side of that one sheep is black!"

    I consider my atheism to be a faith because, simply put, I don't know for sure I'm right. I can't prove it either way. That sounds a little agnostic on the surface, but it isn't: I explicitly believe there is nothing supernatural, nothing that cannot be explained by science, even though I might not know what that science is. And since my faith doesn't involve a supernatural force, I can "objectively" question it—I can actively doubt—without the slightest fear of retribution for doing so.

    It is a faith because it is constantly challenged: If I find a dollar bill in a parking lot, I'm "lucky"--which isn't that far from "blessed"--but when I don't win the lottery with that dollar, it just wasn't meant to be (yet). Balderdash, but human. I'm happily married to a strongly Christian woman. Emotionally, I feel like we were "meant to be." But "meant to be" implies that some intelligence (or other supernatural force) had to be doing the meaning. She might tell you God sent me; I'm just glad we were in the right place at the right time for us to meet and click.

    Faith takes effort. Sure, it's easy to pick on the folks who think that God planted fossils to throw us off the trail, but to genuinely believe that--and to reconcile it with all the science-produced technology around us--takes an act of will.

    Faith answers questions about who we are, where we came from or are going, what we should be doing with our lives or each other, etc. (My) atheism does too, but many times the answer comes back "I don't know (yet)." Accepting the unknown as such requires belief in an unproven assumption that things are working the way they're supposed to. That's as good a definition of faith as any.

    As an atheist, I get to take full credit for the things I do that turn out well. As an atheist, though, I have no one to blame for the bad things: I imagine it would be tough to accept a storm destroying my home as unhappy coincidence. It would be so much easier to thank God I had lived and figure He had some higher purpose in mind when He put me on the street. But my faith tells me things just happen.

    Atheism doesn't have to be a faith, I guess, but then it seems to me to turn into the Mathematician in the joke/parable above. You only know what you know and nothing else. I couldn't happily live my life that way: I believe people should respect each other, that honesty is the highest of virtues (and that the concept of "virtue" exists without the need for supernatural prompting or enforcement), and that "live and let live" is a pretty good place to start. Why I believe all that moralistic stuff, I don't know yet, but the science is getting there.



    [ Parent ]
    What kind of faith is this: (none / 1) (#205)
    by bob6 on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 07:47:10 AM EST

    Believing that telling the Truth will convince anyone.

    Cheers.
    Indeed... (none / 0) (#208)
    by cr8dle2grave on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 04:02:02 PM EST

    This little bit of dogma is almost never mentioned, much less analysed.

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    Intent (none / 1) (#217)
    by kreyg on Thu Aug 18, 2005 at 09:27:31 PM EST

    It seems to me it's all more about intent than actual faith.

    The goal of science is to rely on as little faith as possible, and if that faith is shaken then find new grounds for faith, or new articles of faith.

    The goal of the Christian religion is to have as much faith as possible. If that faith is shaken, then that is a fault with the person, not with the article of faith.

    That is essentially why these two schools of thought end up diametrically opposed so frequently. The basis of science is the idea that doubt leads to truth. The basis of religion is that faith leads to truth. There can't really be any reconcilliation there.


    There was a point to this story, but it has temporarily escaped the chronicler's mind. - Douglas Adams

    hmmmmm (none / 0) (#223)
    by Edwin Watson on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 05:45:47 AM EST

    your comment about why they are diametrically opposed is really interesting. i never thought about it like that, and i am not sure that it is the reason, but the comment about each is absolutely true. will be thinking about this one.
    -Edwin Watson-
    [ Parent ]
    kuro5hin summer reading (none / 0) (#218)
    by nollidj on Thu Aug 18, 2005 at 11:43:00 PM EST

    We are only capable of witnessing correlations between phenomena; it is by faith that we move to believe in causation and stuff like that. Problems of induction, causation. Whee.

    Hume, commentary

    Popper (note "two kinds of definitions")

    Wikipedia (also problem of causation)

    Also, localroger!!!

    muahaha. MuaHaHA! MUAHAHAHAHAHAAAHAHAHAA!!!!

    Rant is a good title for this... (none / 1) (#219)
    by pms10101 on Fri Aug 19, 2005 at 07:49:07 AM EST

    as would be "Embarrassing example of emotionally charged, fallacious arguments."

    I could make the case that the Religious Believers are MORE connected with reality: the fact that (most) of them are willing to use computers and go to hospitals suggests that they can recognize "scientific validity" and make use of it when appropriate; the Scientific People are far less accomodating (i.e., more like Osama when it comes to challenges to their faith.)

    In the case of the Creation issue, Scientifics have their theory about the origin of things. (This does NOT include Darwinian evolution, which is a completely separate thing, not under discussion here: Creation involves the development of separate species: how, and from what.) The current theory (there was lightning and the chemicals got together) is, face it, ludicrous at pretty much every level. It violates just about everything we know about chemistry and physics, both generally and regarding the specific chemicals involved. It cannot, by definition, ever be tested, nor can it be truly disproved (except by common sense, which I do NOT cite here.) Given that the religious theory also has its problems, it doesn't require that much greater a leap of faith.

    The mechanistic theory of creation is based on a single axiom that isn't stated in the author's definition of scientific faith: the belief that there is NO GOD, period, and the subject isn't open for discussion. This belief isn't accessible to proof under any circumstances (or disproof, without God himself taking a hand, which he has obvious (if "religious") reasons for not doing), but starting from there leads to such travesties as random generation and mutations between bacteria and people. (Whoops! Just descended to the level of the article there.)

    Scientific faith is fine: no one is denying that apples fall or rockets work. Just don't mix in hidden and nontestable assumptions to fill the gaps and then claim that the result is inherently better than any other type of faith.

    I do not think you could (none / 1) (#220)
    by JudahStibburn on Fri Aug 19, 2005 at 10:41:46 AM EST

    I do not think you could make a valid case that "the Religious Believers are MORE connected with reality". What evidence would you use? Common sense? Your reality is not connected to everyone else's. Do not presume that what you presume to be true is what everyone else to be true, and also what is actually true.

    "The current theory (there was lightning and the chemicals got together) is, face it, ludicrous at pretty much every level. It violates just about everything we know about chemistry and physics, both generally and regarding the specific chemicals involved. It cannot, by definition, ever be tested, nor can it be truly disproved (except by common sense, which I do NOT cite here.) Given that the religious theory also has its problems, it doesn't require that much greater a leap of faith."

    I always find it amusing when people who do not understand the chemistry behind the basis of evolutionary theory immeadiately  declare that it must violate everything "we know" about chemistry and physics.  It does not violate everything I know about chemistry and biochemistry and I would argue that it is perfectly in line with everything we know about these two subjects.  It would not be a valid scientific theory if it did not allign with current knowledge.  Just because you do not know how it works do not presume it does not work that way. Common sense must allign with scientific knowledge in order for it to be true.  The common sense is that chicken soup is good for a cold. Has this ever been proven to work, No, but people still believe it. I am always extremely skeptical when someone brings up common sense in an argument because many times it is used to supplement gaps in their own understanding.

    If you ever decide to take a biochemistry course you will hear about experiments that recreate what we know about early earth in terms of chemical make up and then use this to see if early precursors of biological life could be created from this "primordial soup".  Given time it could and I believe did happen.

    [ Parent ]

    Not Exactly (none / 1) (#224)
    by dcm266 on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 01:23:17 PM EST

    "Religous faith, on the other hand, is little interested in how the world actually works. Several examples come to mind, but for brevity I will only briefly recall one of the most famous. For a very long time the majority of Western Civilization believed that the Sun (and the rest of the universe with it) revolved around the Earth. This was a religious faith, passed from generation to generation, and so totally uninterested in the truth that its advocates were in denial (and even tried to supress the truth) for many years after Galileo uncovered evidence for heliocentrism with the newly developed telescope. The relationship between scientific and religious faith has followed a pattern similar to this on nearly every occasion. Scientific faith always eventually wins out, because it is based on truth and observation, not on fancy. With evolution, the pattern of course repeats itself."

    So the Catholic Church makes a mistake in persecuting Galileo and suddenly religious faith is not interested in how the world works? The reality is that there are scary ignorant people with superficial religious faith. Those may be the people that you are referring to, but there is nothing in religion that makes it inherently uninterested in how the world works. I'm also sure that you can bring up may more examples, but they won't make your point any stronger.

    Many religious people read things that challenge their faith and those who have stronger faith are in fact more willing to look at other points of view.

    You also have assumed that religious faith and science must be opposed to each other, in saying that evolution will win over intelligent design. There is no reason why intelligent design and evolution must be mutually exclusive, and why a creator could not work through something like evolution. In fact, the Catholic Church which persecuted Galileo has significantly evolved and accepts that evolution could be a valid scientific theory. Other religions accept this as well. The thing they don't accept is this idea that evolution disproves intelligent design, and rightly so, for it does nothing of the sort. In fact, if you read the beginning of Genesis, you will see passages that can suggest evolution.

    This idea that only science is interested in the truth is fallacious and has no justification.

    "Perhaps the most powerful piece of evidence in favor of the scientific form of faith is how those distrustful of it will so often choose it over religious faith. If, for instance, when purchasing a product, a religious zealot can choose a product developed by scientists or by those with only religious-faith-based credentials, the zealot would almost always choose scientific faith. If they had a choice between buying a CPU from Intel or from a religious person who sells them at twice the speed and half the price and made out of driftwood on eBay, they would choose Intel. If they had a disease, I think we can all agree that most would choose science over sitting under a copper pyramid devoloped by those with a religious faith in 'pyramid power'. Yes, they would trust with their lives those same scientists who believe in evolution, whose faith they so strongly disagree with."

    Perhaps we can phrase this differently. A powerful argument in favor of religious faith is the fact that those who are religious will buy a processor from Intel and go to a medical doctor because they recognize their abilities. If religious faith was truly as blind as you make it out to be, these people would not be going to doctors and buying Intel products. It is only through taking an interest in how things work that one of religious faith would be willing to do the things which you suggest. And again, many religious people believe that evolution is a valid theory, just not that it disproves intelligent design.

    "By the way this is a fun game to play that can go on forever-- simply think of any of the infinite number of modern amenities whose construction relies on scientific faith (especially those that will injure or kill the user if they malfunciton), and ask a religious person to choose between the product developed by scientists, or by someone with a religious faith in their pyramid power technique or whatever."

    And thus by bringing up these examples, your argument about the blind nature of religious faith becomes weaker and weaker. You seem like you are trying to impose selective blindness on those who are religious while pointing out that they have the knowledge to use products designed by scientists.

    The ironic thing is you try to claim that religious faith has no interest in how the world works, yet you freely admit people of religious faith have an appreciation for science and its application. Your argument of the first point is completely nullified and voided by your argument of the second point.

    -dcm266

    You didn't get it (none / 1) (#226)
    by parrillada on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 03:27:56 PM EST

    The ironic thing is you try to claim that religious faith has no interest in how the world works, yet you freely admit people of religious faith have an appreciation for science and its application. Your argument of the first point is completely nullified and voided by your argument of the second point.

    The whole point, which I think I made clear, was that those of religious faith choose science when the quality of their lives crucially depends on it, but abandon it for religious faith when they can afford to. In other words, it is not that they 'have an appreciation for science' but that they use science when convenient for them, but do not appreciate it when it comes to areas that are not in-their-face obvious. This I made clear, and is an enormous distinction you must address in your argument in order for it to be meanignful.

    [ Parent ]

    All Right (none / 0) (#227)
    by dcm266 on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 11:01:05 PM EST

    You're still trying to put a large number of people into one neat little box. Your claim about religious people simply suggests to me that you have no interest in how religious faith works, and so you just make assumptions to allow you to turn religious faith into a straw man that you can easily take down. Frankly, I don't know where you get these ideas except by observing a few ignorant zealots and assuming that they represent all religious people.

    -dcm266

    [ Parent ]

    many people. little box (none / 1) (#228)
    by parrillada on Sun Aug 21, 2005 at 11:33:28 PM EST

    Frankly, I don't know where you get these ideas except by observing a few ignorant zealots and assuming that they represent all religious people.

    Frankly, in my estimation at least, ignorant zealots represent the majority, not the minority. And no I do not assume that this majority represents all people; I do know 'religious' folk whose opinions I respect, but I would not classify their 'faith' under the 'religious' heading at defined in my piece, but under the 'scientific' definition of faith.

    Your claim about religious people simply suggests to me that you have no interest in how religious faith works, and so you just make assumptions...

    I have very much interest, and you should be careful of accusing someone of making an assumption whilst committing the same sin yourself. What, specifically, about my definitions do you take issue with?

    [ Parent ]

    Late Reply (none / 0) (#230)
    by dcm266 on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 06:51:24 PM EST

    I have to say that your answer to my comment surprised me a bit. For instance, I found your comment that you respect some religious people's opinions but believe their faith is more scientific in nature to be interesting.

    In the article, the title was the first thing to suggest a religion versus science theme. Then defining religious versus scientific faith helped to make that theme appear stronger. Nowhere in the text of the article was it said that you could be religious and run your mind according to principles of scientific faith. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt here about your intentions and thoughts on the subject, but I'm afraid some of these were not made clear.

    As for why I take issue with your definitions, the answer is simple. It carries the vibe of science versus religion, which I feel is inappropriate, as the two in many cases do not have to collide. Both science and religion/spirituality represent ways of searching for truth and understanding the world. Your article really doens't go into this to a satisfactory degree.

    Another thing I take issue with is your opinion that the religious people who meet your definition of religious faith are in the majority. They may be the more vocal ones and easier to notice, but your assumption that they are in the majority is something which you have not shown evidence for or even significant reason for believing that.

    Another thing that was brought up is the idea that scientific faith versus religious faith might more appropriately be called intellectual versus dogmatic faith, as the issue does not seem to be belief in God or membership in a church so much as one's member of thinking. I both know and know of many dogmatic atheists and scientists. That's all for now.

    -dcm266

    [ Parent ]

    Two Different Kinds of Faith: A Rant. | 232 comments (188 topical, 44 editorial, 0 hidden)
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