Friday, May 30, 2008

Are Science and Religion Compatible? AAAS Says Yes.

 
This is a short video produced by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). This is the organization that publishes Science.

The video features Francis Collins and others who promote the idea that religion and science are compatible.

Here's the question; why is the AAAS taking a position on this issue? Why aren't they also producing a video to present the other side; namely that science and religion are not compatible? I'm especially interested in hearing from John Pieret because he is highly critical of scientists who venture opinions about religion. John, does your criticism extend to an organization of scientists like AAAS who are taking sides in a controversial non-scientific debate? You wouldn't be happy if they came down on the side of incompatibility, is this any better?

It seems to me that organizations like AAAS should remain neutral in the debate about whether science and religions are compatible. It's okay for them to point out that intelligent design isn't science and it's okay to criticize astrology and quack medicine, but I don't think it's okay to say that the beliefs of Francis Collins (and others) are compatible with science. I don't think it's okay to promote the evangelical Christian views of Collins and not the atheist views of Richard Dawkins.

Does this meant that it will be difficult to publish an incompatibility article in Science because it contradicts official AAAS policy?




[Hat Tip: Framing Science, because Nisbet thinks this is a good frame.]

93 comments:

  1. Larry asked,

    Here's the question; why is the AAAS taking a position on this issue?

    For purely political reasons. A good deal of the anti-science, anti-Enlightenment sentiment in the U.S. is driven by the consciously purviewed (by people like the Disco 'Tute dancers) notion that science, and by extension, scientists, must be atheistic. And that perception drives politics from local school boards wanting to teach creationism to Congressional resistance to embryonic stem cell research, and so on. If they can tar a position or advocate with the label "atheist" they have won 2/3s of the battle -- atheists are among the least trusted groups in the U.S. By presenting counter-examples, the AAAS apparently hopes to weaken that perception.

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  2. As in anything, sometimes the majority of the scientific community is right (continental drift,evolution) , and sometimes it is wrong. My opinion is that in this case, the majority is right, and minorities, like Dawkins, PZ and Larry, are wrong.

    You have to take some hint from the fact nothing but the AAAS itself has pronounced itself in this direction, and not in the direction of conflict, as both Dawkins and evolution denialists would have it.

    It doesn't help if you live thinking you're surrounded by gullible idiots and use you atheism and the fact you accept evolution to get some sense of supremacy (perhaps accompanied by a perfectly XIXth-century notion of belonging to some genetically superior class. Like that transparet fool Jim Watson).

    If that is you, you should rise your pinky finger to your lip, too, and cuddle some kitty, cause, you're evil

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  3. Blech.

    These sorts of unchallenged assertions are exactly what the AAAS should be opposed to. When someone as distinguished as Collins stands up and says "my Christianity is compatible with science", instead of saying "Okay, whatever you say so," a proper response should be "yeah? Sez you. Got any evidence for that?"

    Their uncritical promotion alone demonstrates how incompatible science is with religion.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. "yeah? Sez you. Got any evidence for that"

    There is plenty of evidence for that, from Occam to Mendel, historical evidence, and well, more. Study a little. Show you know something other than an internet "courtiers reply".

    Your question reflects your facile philosophy that "being skeptical" is enough.

    When you guys are asking to be represented on every statement may be analogous to creationist demanding "equal time" for their views.

    Maybe you guys and the Id'ers can hook up and make your own video together against this one. Title? may I suggest: "Either there is an evolution or there is a god".

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  6. "Does this mean that it will be difficult to publish an incompatibility article in Science because it contradicts official AAAS policy?"

    No, Larry. Nobody can write a competent article which would indicate that scientific facts are incompatible with all religions.

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  7. The AAAS is reporting the position of many religionists, not taking a position on whether those people are right as far as I can see.

    Clearly they are doing it to counter the claims of IDeologists that science is the same as atheism. It's reasonable to counter people who claim that there is only one position by showing that there is another ... especially when the people you're countering are the enemies of science.

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  8. Larry: "why is the AAAS taking a position on this issue? Why aren't they also producing a video to present the other side..."

    I can see it now: AAAS: "Science and religion are incompatible; science will destroy religion as you know it. BTW, the NIH and NSF budgets will soon be up before Congress. AAAS urges all Americans, especially those 85% of the population that are religious, to write your congressperson and tell them what support for science means to you. Thank you for your attention, and have a blessed day!"

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  9. John Pieret -

    Are you seriously claiming that this video was intended as journalism and not as advocacy? Please.

    In a better world Larry's view would win the day and outfits like the AAAS would not take any stand on the relationship between science and religion. But the political realities can not be ignored and perhaps it is wise for them to put out films like this one. I'll stay agnostic on that question.

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  10. I must say that though in this video he mostly does OK, Francis Collins has some laughable ideas, such as presenting DNA as a written program and thus "the language of god".

    Where did he get that kind of metaphor-as-literal-truth and reductionist stupidity from? Oh yeah that's right:

    "What has happened is that genetics has become a branch of information technology. It is pure information. It's digital information. It's precisely the kind of information that can be translated digit for digit, byte for byte, into any other kind of information and then translated back again. This is a major revolution. I suppose it's probably "the" major revolution in the whole history of our understanding of ourselves. It's something would have boggled the mind of Darwin, and Darwin would have loved it, I'm absolutely sure"

    -Richard Dawkins, Life: A Gene-Centric View Craig Venter & Richard Dawkins: A Conversation in Munich (Moderator: John Brockman) "This event was a continuation of the Edge 'Life: What a Concept!' meeting in August, 2008." [sic]

    (Then hi fans complain about ID people saying there must have been a user to write the code)

    In synthesis: Both Collins and Dawkins are pretty much just crackpot. For real.

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  11. I'm looking up to their follow-up videos:
    'Religion is compatible with eating bacon'
    'Religion is compatible with marrying 9 year old girls'
    and
    'Religion is compatible with beheading your enemies and eating their brains'
    Wait a second, shouldn't that be some religions ?

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  12. Hi Larry,

    Isn't well known that the Templeton Foundation is one of the financial sources of AAAS?

    That may be one of the components necessary to respond to your question: "why is the AAAS taking a position on this issue?"

    And that's why I'm more concerned about that kind of soft creationism than the IDiots. JTF have a much more efficient communication approach, their own wedge strategy.

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  13. "The AAAS is reporting the position of many religionists, not taking a position on whether those people are right as far as I can see."

    That would be true if there were dissenting voices heard in the video. However they seem to be missing. If you wish to claim that video is journalism then will you are least admit it is poor journalism ?

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  14. John Pieret says,

    The AAAS is reporting the position of many religionists, not taking a position on whether those people are right as far as I can see.

    Hmmm ... I've always suspected that you were wearing rose colored glasses but this is the first time you've made it so obvious! :-)

    The correct stance, in my opinion, is for the AAAS not to get involved in the science vs. religion debate.

    The next best thing would be for AAAS to point out that the issue is controversial. There are many scientists who are atheists but there are also many, including some Young Earth Creationists and some Intelligent Design Creationists, who think that their religious beliefs are compatible with science.

    The worst thing AAAS could do is to make pronouncements about which religious scientists have the "proper" religious beliefs and which ones have "improper" religious beliefs.

    John, you are usually highly critical of people who made such judgments. Why does AAAS get a free pass from you this time?

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  15. Jason and Larry:

    Are you seriously claiming that this video was intended as journalism and not as advocacy?

    I thought the rest of my comment made it clear that it was advocacy. It is an empiric fact that many people find science and religion compatible. The AAAS can report that fact for its own ends without asserting its ultimate truth as a philosophical proposition.

    The worst thing AAAS could do is to make pronouncements about which religious scientists have the "proper" religious beliefs and which ones have "improper" religious beliefs.

    John, you are usually highly critical of people who made such judgments. Why does AAAS get a free pass from you this time?


    Possibly because the distinction between reporting a fact and advocating a position is something that comes up fairly often in America's peculiar church/state system and, therefore, I have learned to recognize the difference.

    And given that the video was addressing ID, it was pretty much a given that some people think that science and religion are incompatible. The video, as far as I could tell, was focused on the narrower question of whether science is necessarily incompatible with religion, rather than which version of religion or non-religion is right.

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  16. "I thought the rest of my comment made it clear that it was advocacy. It is an empiric fact that many people find science and religion compatible. The AAAS can report that fact for its own ends without asserting its ultimate truth as a philosophical proposition."

    It is also an empiric fact that many people do not think science and religion are compatible, and not all of those are creationists. You know very thay a good number of scientists do not think they are compatible, and yet this fact was not reported by the AAAS. At the very least the video is misleading.

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  17. Religion and science are not by definition incompatible. Some religions which make false claims about scientific and historical matters (e.g. young-earth creationism) clearly are incompatible with science. But there is no reason to make a sweeping generalization about religion based on such fundamentalists.

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  18. "Religion and science are not by definition incompatible. Some religions which make false claims about scientific and historical matters (e.g. young-earth creationism) clearly are incompatible with science. But there is no reason to make a sweeping generalization about religion based on such fundamentalists."

    Well a religion that does allow for any form of divine intervention by god would not be incompatible, it is true. It also would not be much of a religion, and certainly is not like of any mainstream religions. The religious have a choice, they can claim their god performs miracles, answers prayers and otherwise gets involved in how the universe runs, but then they need to accept that such views are not compatible with what we know from science. Or they can deny an interventionist role to their god, but then they would seem to be left with little worth bothering about.

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  19. By all means, show that christians can be scientists including evolutionists, but lets not try and pretend that they are christians because of the scientific method. Did Collins not become a christian because he saw a frozen waterfall that reminded him of the trinity?

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  20. ... a good number of scientists do not think they are compatible, and yet this fact was not reported by the AAAS.

    But their philosophy/theology was not directly germain to the AAAS's point that science and religion can be compatible.

    ... they can claim their god performs miracles, answers prayers and otherwise gets involved in how the universe runs, but then they need to accept that such views are not compatible with what we know from science.

    How people reconcile their beliefs and science is not your call to make. As long as people like Francisco Ayala, Ken Miller, Theodosius Dobzhansky and R.A. Fisher can do good science and remain believers, science and religion are compatible. It is simply an empiric fact of the world.

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  21. "But their philosophy/theology was not directly germain to the AAAS's point that science and religion can be compatible."

    Oh stop being so silly, of course it was. It directly contradicts the point the AAAS was trying to make. How can that not be relevant ? That video gives a one-sided view of the issue of whether science and religion are compatible. It is misleading, deliberately so.

    "How people reconcile their beliefs and science is not your call to make. As long as people like Francisco Ayala, Ken Miller, Theodosius Dobzhansky and R.A. Fisher can do good science and remain believers, science and religion are compatible. It is simply an empiric fact of the world."

    No one denies that some scientists claim there is no conflict between science and religion. However if though scientists think their god intervenes in the universe then they are deluding themselves.

    I do trust you will support calls for the AAAS to make a second video, this time featuring those who think science and religion and not compatible.

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  22. "How people reconcile their beliefs and science is not your call to make."

    So you admit the video is wrong then ? If it is not my call on how people reconcile their beliefs and science it is not yours, and it is not Francis Collins or anyone else appearing in that video.

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  23. Mr. Pieret: You begin with an objectionable fact, that many people find science and religion compatible. You then assert that because some good science is done by believers this means that science and religion ARE compatible. I think these are different, and the second does not seem (to me) to follow from the first. It seems to me that the second implies only that being a believer does not preclude doing good science.

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  24. Oops -- should have been "unobjectionable fact."

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  25. I was particularly annoyed with the closing quote from Collins:

    [L]et’s get back together in the middle ground, that people have almost forgotten is there, and celebrate science, and celebrate faith.

    I'm more than willing to tolerate faith (as long as it behaves itself), but I won't celebrate it, and I'm mildly offended that AAAS would suggest that I should.

    I realize that was Collins's statement, but in choosing to close with it, AAAS at least implicitly endorses it.

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  26. John Pieret said:
    As long as people like Francisco Ayala, Ken Miller, Theodosius Dobzhansky and R.A. Fisher can do good science and remain believers, science and religion are compatible. It is simply an empiric fact of the world.

    Wrong. Doing science and being religious are compatible. But that's different from what you said.

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  27. Notice it is ridiculous to think that every point in science will find conflict with every point in religion.Sometimes, you CAN walk and chew gum at the same time.

    ID is all about denial of the specific fact of evolution. Richard Dawkins has also made his atheism a matter of evolution, claiming evolution makes his atheism possible.

    So, please, I know some of you are very enthusiastic, but before we mount your all-fun atheists crusades against religon, could we please just clear the name of evolution first? I really think we can do that right away.

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  28. John Pieret:

    You wrote:

    “I thought the rest of my comment made it clear that it was advocacy. It is an empiric fact that many people find science and religion compatible. The AAAS can report that fact for its own ends without asserting its ultimate truth as a philosophical proposition.”

    This is ridiculous. No one watching that video could come away thinking that the AAAS is not taking a stand on the philosophical proposition. Their message was plainly that Collins and the others are correct in saying that science and religion are compatible, and it is only confused ID types who think otherwise. For heaven's sake, the CEO of the AAAS is on screen saying that it is a “gimmick” to pit science against religion. I shouldn't infer from this that the AAAS is taking a stand on the philosophical question?

    James McGrath -

    No one ever claimed that religion “by definition” is incompatible with science, since religion is not a well-defined term. More precisely, no one ever claimed that without also making it clear the definition of religion they have in mind. The claim is simply that most common forms of religion are incompatible with science. And you really should not be so casual in throwing around terms like “fundamentalists.” They are hardly the only sorts of religious believers who hold views of God and creation that are in conflict with what science is telling us.

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  29. Bayesian Bouffant, FCDSaturday, May 31, 2008 5:05:00 PM

    As long as people like Francisco Ayala, Ken Miller, Theodosius Dobzhansky and R.A. Fisher can do good science and remain believers, science and religion are compatible. It is simply an empiric fact of the world.

    You claim that providing examples of people who are both scientists and are religious proves that these two things are "compatible." I presume then that if I could produce evidence of a Jew who was an officer in the S.S. (and I can) that would prove Judaism and Nazism were compatible.

    People can hold two or more contradictory views at once; therefore showing that people hold two views is not evidence that those views are not contradictory.

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  30. Bayesian Bouffant, FCDSaturday, May 31, 2008 5:25:00 PM

    If you want a less intellectual (and less honest) opinion on the compatibility of science and religion, here's a John Gray review of the latest book by Discovery Institute fellow David Berlinski

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  31. Bayesian:

    I presume then that if I could produce evidence of a Jew who was an officer in the S.S. (and I can) that would prove Judaism and Nazism were compatible.

    If Nazism was simply a method of investigation, that would be true. The only way your analogy is correct is if you turn science into a political system or a philosophy. But turning science into a philosophy robs it of its greatest strength, namely its ability to be accepted across cultures, philosophies and even religions.

    Jason:

    Their message was plainly that Collins and the others are correct in saying that science and religion are compatible ...

    No one ever claimed that religion "by definition" is incompatible with science, since religion is not a well-defined term. ...The claim is simply that most common forms of religion are incompatible with science.


    Which way would you like to have it? If no one is saying that religion is necessarily incompatible with science, then it is obviously the case that Collins and the others are correct in saying that science and religion are compatible. At most, you are quibbling over the details of theology, which certainly is not part of science.

    ... the CEO of the AAAS is on screen saying that it is a "gimmick" to pit science against religion.

    Isn't it a gimmick to try to gain political advantage over science policy by inciting fear? Should we decide how and what science we do by politics driven by religious beliefs ... or atheistic beliefs for that matter?

    And, no, the video isn't saying that science should be decided that way; it is pointing out the fallacy of the people who would argue that the incompatibility perceived by some people is some sort of absolute fact.

    Ian & Jeffrey:

    Doing science and being religious are compatible. But that's different from what you said.

    It seems to me that the second implies only that being a believer does not preclude doing good science.

    Really? What exactly is science besides people doing science?

    Matthew:

    However if though scientists think their god intervenes in the universe then they are deluding themselves.

    That may well be. But if they do science by the proper method, what is incompatible about that? We all "delude" ourselves in one way or another ... it's part of the human condition ... but we still muddle through and do science.

    I do trust you will support calls for the AAAS to make a second video, this time featuring those who think science and religion and not compatible.

    I wouldn't have any trouble with a broader discussion of the compatibility/incompatibility issue. But if you go beyond the narrow issue of whether religion is necessarily incompatible with science, there should be representatives of all sides.

    If it is not my call on how people reconcile their beliefs and science it is not yours, and it is not Francis Collins or anyone else appearing in that video.

    I'm sorry ... I missed the part where any of the participants or the AAAS said that people had to accept the participants beliefs about religion or science.

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  32. John Pieret says,

    As long as people like Francisco Ayala, Ken Miller, Theodosius Dobzhansky and R.A. Fisher can do good science and remain believers, science and religion are compatible. It is simply an empiric fact of the world.

    What an interesting comment.

    Michael Behe and Scott Minnich have published some good science papers in their day. That must mean that science and intelligent design are compatible, right?

    There are also some Young Earth Creationists who are good scientists. I guess you think that YECism and science are compatible as well.

    I know a scientist who believes in homeopathy. By your definition this must mean that science and homeopathy must be compatible.

    Do you realize that your statement is illogical?

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  33. If you read the comments section in the linked article in Framing Science you see a comment from a PaulW about the Ecklund & Scheitle paper. This is the study that Nisbet claimed disproved the hypothesis that more science leads to the loss of belief in God. Basically in his original post Nisbet left out the most important table which completely destroyed his claim (his claim is that in fact it is the other way around, more atheism leads to a greater interest in science and so atheistic scientists come from atheistic backgrounds rather than religious backgrounds).
    He was actually good enough to send me the article when I asked him but it was disappointing to see that he'd missed spotting that even the most basic reading of the paper clearly showed that most atheistic scientists came from religious families (albeit not the fundamentalist variety).
    Ecklund & Scheitle couched their results in a very strange way - basically that their results showed that increased science education did not 'necessarily' lead to loss in belief (an obvious strawman statement). They concluded by saying more research needed to be done and thanked their sponsors.
    The Templeton Foundation.
    Now it would be most unbecoming from me to imply anything from these obviously unconnected points. So I won't.

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  34. Michael Behe and Scott Minnich have published some good science papers in their day. That must mean that science and intelligent design are compatible, right?

    No, Larry. The denial of the scientific method at the same time as claiming to do science is not compatible with science. That's what ID is. It is a claim that something is scientific despite denying the scientific method. Any person whose beliefs require the redefinition of science has beliefs that are not compatible with doing science.

    Homeopathy is compatible with science even by your definition. As far as I know, it proposes only natural causes for its alleged effects. It just failed to be scientifically confirmed, as so many other scientific propositions have.

    This is becoming mere semantics. No, religious beliefs are not science. Who in that video claims they are? Someone thinking that the results of science are compatible with their particular religious beliefs is not the same as claiming their beliefs are scientific ... anymore than your thinking that science is compatible with your atheism makes atheism scientific.

    You are still talking as if there is something called "science" residing outside of and apart from human beings. As I understand the term "compatible" in this context, it amounts to "can people follow the scientific method when doing science and still hold religious beliefs." The answer to that is, empirically, "yes."

    If "compatible" requires that their beliefs actually be science, judged by how well they are amenable to testing by the scientific method, which apparently is your definition of "compatible," then the answer is "no."

    Do you realize that your statement is illogical?

    Do you realize that simply saying so does not make it true?

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  35. John,

    Any person whose beliefs require the redefinition of science has beliefs that are not compatible with doing science.

    Homeopathy is compatible with science even by your definition. As far as I know, it proposes only natural causes for its alleged effects.


    You aren't addressing Larry's point, which isn't whether ID or Homeopathy are science (neither are), but whether it is sufficient to uncritically accept the claims from their proponents that their beliefs are compatible with science. You understand that these beliefs are not compatible despite having scientists say they are.

    As I understand the term "compatible" in this context, it amounts to "can people follow the scientific method when doing science and still hold religious beliefs." The answer to that is, empirically, "yes."

    No, that just answers the question of whether religious believers are compatible with science, not whether religious belief is. Humans have the uncanny ability to ignore contradictions and compartmentalize beliefs.

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  36. Bayesian Bouffant, FCDSunday, June 01, 2008 2:23:00 PM

    Bayesian:

    ...

    If Nazism was simply a method of investigation, that would be true. The only way your analogy is correct is if you turn science into a political system or a philosophy. But turning science into a philosophy robs it of its greatest strength, namely its ability to be accepted across cultures, philosophies and even religions.


    Dude, it is YOU who said that the existence of people who are a) religious and b) do science proves those two things are compatible. By shucking aside my rebuttal, you acknowledge the wrongness of your original argument.

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  37. If "compatible" requires that their beliefs actually be science, judged by how well they are amenable to testing by the scientific method, which apparently is your definition of "compatible," then the answer is "no."

    Well then all creationism is compatible with science. Creationists might mistakenly believe that some of their claims are scientific, but then that would actually be science if that were true.

    Creationism is perfectly compatible with science but it's just that the real scientists don't know it because they forget that creationism isn't really science.

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  38. It seems pretty easy to me:

    Reason is the enemy of Religion, ergo, Science and Religion are NOT compatible.

    However, the simultaneous practice of religion and science can be done well by some people.

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  39. john pieret: you are completely missing the counterpoint. You listed religious scientists with the apparent intent to show that because they are scientists and religious, religion and science are compatible. That is entirely fallacious and this is what the counterexamples listed try to illustrate (Jewish SS members, etc).

    Now, you know that you agree with this - in your replies to try to explain how the ideas listed are different than or similar to religion and their compatiblities epistemologically, etc. From this we can see that your argument isn't at all about the existence of these people but about the natures of science and religion which you are forwarding.

    In other words, it's important not to forget context when replying, and you seem to have done so.

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  40. Ah, it looks like bayesian bouffant already pointed out what I said.

    I'd like to add that others are correct as to the compatibility between religion and science as well. One can point out clear contradictions between the two, so they are not automatically compatible by default. Most attempts I see at these rationalizations constitute either giving religion a specific definition that excludes many fairly mainstream ones (like creationist beliefs) or just ignoring large parts of someone's theology and compartmentalizing it - put on the religion hat, take it off and put on the science hat.

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  41. I am no fan of Collins: he thinks morality somehow is supernatural; that is, that a commonplace, natural phenomenon in the human species, must be supernatural.

    These visions strike me as potentially harmful, and Collins should backpedal on that one.

    Dawkins however commits almost a perfect atheist imitation of the mistake: he also demands "special pleading" for humans, expecting us to believe that everything except humans evolve by darwinian evolution, the "tyranny of self-replicators": selection of the better genes.

    Of course, what is wrong is Dawkins old-fashioned uber-darwinism. C'mon Dick. Admit you was wrong, and let things follow their course.

    Another thing: It is indeed laughable to think the AAAS is Templeton's bitch over money. Let's not get "conspirational".

    Science is a magazine that arrives to the desk of every lab in the world, to every library, that communicates many genuinely great scientific discoveries. This means that citation is more probable, and that your work has a greater measurable impact factor.
    Impact factor of your work is one of the most relevant indicators used in the allocation of grant money. It is much more a part of the entire system of science than templeton could ever be.

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  42. Bayesian & Shirakawasuna:

    By shucking aside my rebuttal, you acknowledge the wrongness of your original argument.

    I didn't shuck aside your "rebuttal." I demonstrated that it was a flawed analogy. The analogy compared a religion to a political ideology, which itself is a belief system. Those beliefs may be incompatible. But science isn't a political ideology, a belief system, a philosophy or, despite what some atheists might like, a lower-case religion. Science is a methodology that people who are believers can practice correctly. That practice is called "science." If "science" is more than people practicing the method, no one here has demonstrated it yet.

    My proffer of believer scientists was as counter examples that falsify any claim that the practice of science is incompatible with religious belief. Your assignment, if anyone cares to accept it, is to show that there is more to science than people correctly following the method.

    Tyro:

    No, that just answers the question of whether religious believers are compatible with science, not whether religious belief is. Humans have the uncanny ability to ignore contradictions and compartmentalize beliefs.

    So you are going to correct their theology for them? After all, you've already conceded that they can do the science correctly. All that's left is correcting their theology. So what exactly does correcting their theology have to do with science?

    Gingerbaker:

    Reason is the enemy of Religion, ergo, Science and Religion are NOT compatible.

    C'mon ... argument by assertion?

    386x:

    Creationists might mistakenly believe that some of their claims are scientific, but then that would actually be science if that were true.

    I'm sorry, I don't know where you are getting that from. The premise I've stated several times is that we are talking about religious beliefs that are not claimed to be scientific. If someone claims their beliefs are science you have my enthusiastic permission to disabuse them.

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  43. John P,

    Can we can at least agree that some religious beliefs are incompatible with science despite the claims of their advocates?

    If so, then our point is right on the money and we must expect more than mere assertions from believers.

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  44. Do you guys have a good definition of nazism? It's a rather barroque collection of elements, you know. Sure, "hate the jews" is there, but so is nationalism and socialism. Eugenics is there, but so it was in other systems. This model is hardly indistinguishable from those applied in many nations in the 1930's. Nazi parties were present in Latin America (swastikas &all), but with different ideas as to what the good race should look like (They'd make up some BS that the native indians were descendants of the greeks hahaha)

    In fact the nazis themselves had a joke, saying "the perfect nazi is as blonde as hitler, muscular like Goebles"...something like that.

    So, sure, you say "jews that were nazis do not prove that judaism is compatible with nazism" sounds like a self-evidnt truth, but see, what is NAZISM?

    Similarly, I'd ask:

    What is religion?

    Is it merely antiscience?
    nazosm, religion, science, have on thing in common: it's things that people do. And poepl have a life, and an existential problem to figure out. This affects what they do.

    The question of compatibility flies in the face of a more "organic" reality.

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  45. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  46. "If "science" is more than people practicing the method, no one here has demonstrated it yet."

    Not in the case of the greater scientists. The ones who have changed the way of thinking, not merely uncovered the data.You need imagination and passion,too.

    The point being that imagination and passion do not have "theism" or "atheism" as a requirement.

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  47. John Pieret:

    First, what you quoted had nothing to do with my response.

    Second, regardless of what you meant, this is what you said: "How people reconcile their beliefs and science is not your call to make. As long as people like Francisco Ayala, Ken Miller, Theodosius Dobzhansky and R.A. Fisher can do good science and remain believers, science and religion are compatible."

    It's very clear that you're taking that back due to it creating the wrong impression, but you can't blame us for interpreting it as written.

    I don't think anyone here is denying that religious people can practice good science. The entire point is about combining the two epistemically and this varies depending on your religion. It can also include believing in things which one might expect empirical evidence for, but for which none exists, leaning more on the faith side than the scientific/skeptic method of inquiry. And yes, faith can be considered a "method of inquiry", albeit an extremely simplistic one with other implicit underlying supports.

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  48. It can also include believing in things which one might expect empirical evidence for, but for which none exists, leaning more on the faith side than the scientific/skeptic method of inquiry. And yes, faith can be considered a "method of inquiry", albeit an extremely simplistic one with other implicit underlying supports.

    Exactly. Besides the problem of epistemology, one validated more than anything and one repeatedly invalidated due to its empirical claims based on everything but relevant observation, the more immediate problem is that religions makes such claims on empirical matters (such as creationism) that are incompatible with science.

    One can forget that problem during a thread, or one can pretend that it isn't a compatibility problem. But at the end of the day scientists and religionists will find it is a problem.

    Fundamentalist ideas that clashes with science is the very basic reason AAAS had to make the movie, pretending otherwise is plain silly. And AAAS was even sillier to try.

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  49. I'm going to lose it the next time I hear Francis Collins talking about questions that science can't answer but faith can. Please I would like to hear for once how believing in things for which there is no evidence helps us to answer why we are here and what it all means. Sure, it may help you come up with an answer, but that answer will be only as valid as the finding that the sun revolves around the earth, because it is simply postulated but not proven.

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  50. Statistically speaking, the conflict between religion and science is enormous. Folks like Ayala and Collins are outliers.

    Most scientists are irreligious. Most scientists who were raised religious become irreligious.

    The spin in and around Ecklund and Scheitle's RAAS (Religion Among Academic Scientists) is ridiculous.

    They want to make it sound like science doesn't erode religious belief. Their own data show that it very seriously does.

    They are right that there's a big selection going in. Scientists "disproportionately" come from nonreligious, weakly religious, or theologically liberal backgrounds.

    Nonetheless, most scientists do come from at least weakly religious backgrounds, and most of those do become atheist or agnostic.

    According to E & S's Table 4, 60.6 percent of American scientists were raised Protestant or Catholic, but only 25.5 currently identify as such.

    So even after big filtering with particularly religious people not going into science or not making it, almost three fifths of religiously-raised scientists do in fact lose their religion.

    Not only that, but even among scientists raised in very religious Protestant households---their "best predictor" of religion among their scientists---subjects are at least five times as likely to become outright atheists as other Americans.

    If that's their best predictor, they should be looking for another predictor. (For example, reducing religiosity by half or so, such that most evangelicals become theologically liberal, and most theologically liberal folks drop religion altogether.)

    E & S are right that evangelicals and biblical literalists are way, way underrepresented in science.

    But it doesn't stop there. Liberal Christians are underrepresented, too. Agnostics are overrepresented, and outright disbelieving atheists are even more overrepresented.

    According to their data, atheists and agnostics are overrepresented by a factor of 7.5 relative to the (mostly liberal) theists.

    Surely, the effect is larger if you contrast nontheists to fundamentalists. Evangelicals are underrepresented by a factor of about 7, so there's a factor of over 50 difference between Evangelicals and nontheists's success in elite science. Wow.

    But still, a factor of 7.5 is nothing to sneeze at. The correlation between irreligion and advanced scientific achievement clearly does not stop at "not being a biblical literalist." It applies across the entire range of orthodoxy from literalism to traditionalism to liberalism to agnosticism to strong atheism.

    Atheists outperform agnostics, who outperform liberal theists, who outperform liberal theists, who outperform traditional-but-not-literalist theists, who outperform raving biblical kooks.

    From E & S's sample of relatively "elite" academic scientists, it's clear that nontheists, or people who become nontheists, have about 20 times as good a chance of making it in "elite"-level science as theists. (Nontheists being overrepresented by 7.5x, and theists being underrepresented by a factor of two or three.)

    If you look at Larson & Witham's data for National Academy of Science members, the effect is even more striking. At the level of top-notch science, it's just staggering.

    In the general population, theists outnumber nontheists by about 7 to 1. In the NAS, nontheists outnumber theists by 13 to 1. Nontheists are overrepresented relative to theists by a factor of about 100.

    Again, it doesn't stop there. In the general population, unbelieving "agnostics" outnumber disbelieving "atheists," but in the NAS atheists outnumber agnostics by about 3.5 to 1. Atheists outperform theists at the top science level by a factor of several hundred.

    Ecklund and Scheitle are right that among people who are already scientists, and given the predictors they consider, the best predictor of a scientist's religiosity is the religion they were raised with. (Not a big suprise, given that scientists are unlikely to become more religious.)

    They neglect to mention that even so, most religiously-raised scientists become irreligious.

    They also neglect to point out the elephant in the room---among the population at large, the best predictor we've seen of scientific achievement is irreligion. It is a far better than race, sex, income, etc., and it works across the range of religiosity and across the range of scientific achievement.

    This suggests that if you want to promote acceptance of science, maybe the best way to do it is to encourage rejection of religion.

    Statistically, religion and science are about as opposed as things get, outliers notwithstanding.

    For some numbers, number crunching, and links to papers, etc., see my comments on this thread at Gene Expression and
    this older thread at Framing Science .

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  51. "about questions that science can't answer but faith can"

    That's because of the very nature of some of these questions. Is there a god? well..only faith can give you an answer.

    It's true though that the phrase may ring as a mysterianist shroud as in "there are some THINGS science can't explain"..hopefully its not the case, though Cooolins does have that mysterianistic shoruding of morality that we discussed above.

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  52. Tyro:

    Can we can at least agree that some religious beliefs are incompatible with science despite the claims of their advocates?

    Of course.

    If so, then our point is right on the money and we must expect more than mere assertions from believers.

    Well, its not right on the money if you are going to insist on the general universal "all religion is in conflict with science" by complaining when some person or group points out that not all religion is in conflict with science.

    But I have no particular objection to the statement that many religions are theologically opposed to science and others, while not theologically opposed, often have many adherents, including those high in the hierarchy, who deny science's results when they choose to.

    Shirakawasuna:

    what you quoted had nothing to do with my response.

    You seem to be under the mistaken impression that I feel the need to respond to everything that anybody at all happens to type. I included you because you were 'seconding" Bayesian's allegation that I had ignored his point when I hadn't.

    It's very clear that you're taking that back due to it creating the wrong impression

    I haven't taken back a word of that. I might not have made it clear enough for you to understand first time around but there is a reason Larry whistled me up (beyond wanting to push his comment count up). This has been an ongoing argument between he and I. Sometimes I don't take enough account of the fact that people are coming in in the middle.

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  53. John,

    I'm not going to insist that all religion is incompatible with science, but if the mere claim from one scientist that their religion is compatible with science can be false, then any similar claim can be false. That's what Larry is saying when he says your argument isn't logical. I'm not saying your conclusions are necessarily wrong, but we need more than assertions from prominent scientists to decide.

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  54. John Pieret:

    You seem to be under the mistaken impression that I feel the need to respond to everything that anybody at all happens to type. I included you because you were 'seconding" Bayesian's allegation that I had ignored his point when I hadn't.

    I don't believe I said you ignored anything, and in fact when I mentioned Bayesian Bouffant, it was to note that he had already covered what I just said, not that I agreed with everything he said

    So I'll repeat my original point: what you quoted had nothing to do with what I said. This isn't really a big deal, though.

    I haven't taken back a word of that. I might not have made it clear enough for you to understand first time around but there is a reason Larry whistled me up (beyond wanting to push his comment count up). This has been an ongoing argument between he and I. Sometimes I don't take enough account of the fact that people are coming in in the middle.

    I like how you continually try and put the blame for this misunderstanding on others ;). I've been trying to avoid making this personal... I've quoted you, you very clearly say that because theist scientists exist, science and religion are compatible.

    I'll quote you again.

    "How people reconcile their beliefs and science is not your call to make. As long as people like Francisco Ayala, Ken Miller, Theodosius Dobzhansky and R.A. Fisher can do good science and remain believers, science and religion are compatible."

    If you'd like some similar condescension in return: I might not have made it clear enough for you to understand the first time that it was your own fault for writing something you apparently do not hold to be true. In case you still think your last reply contradicts this claim, I'll remind you that you wrote, paraphrased, that because some famous scientists can do good science and still be religious, "science and religion are compatible". Whether or not you try to rescue that by sticking to specific definitions of science and religion, the argument itself is a fallacy (or amalgam of them), starting with at the very least an appeal to numbers.

    Finally, I'll refer people to the last paragraph of my previous response. I don't think there's really much of an issue concerning one's ability to be a theist and produce good science. I supported some of the other arguments concerning science and faith as methodology vs. epistemology as well, admittedly vaguely.

    Apologies to Larry and others for the necessity of delving into personal arguments.

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  55. Sanders says:

    "That's because of the very nature of some of these questions. Is there a god? well..only faith can give you an answer."

    Here we go again - of course this question can be investigated by science, which can examine specific claims and has demonstrated that an omni-everything, personal god is not consistent with evidence.

    The only possible God is either a deistic non-interventionist God or a SEPOTU-type emergent entity.

    I have never understood why you cannot accept the possibility of SEPOTU as God. Can you clarify why?

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  56. "(Science) has demonstrated that an omni-everything, personal god is not consistent with evidence"

    Oh that's right. You think an emergent "systems god" is what nature conveys.

    It's all BS to me. Thats' what you gte into when you start talking about "god evidence", even about the lack therof, implies evidence for a supernatural god could exist

    Perhaps you're planing on boring me to the death quibbling about the supernatural nature of god?

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  57. Lim Leng Hiong wrote: I have never understood why you cannot accept the possibility of SEPOTU as God.

    I'm not Sanders, but here's my response in a nutshell:

    First problem - An emergent property is nevertheless a property, and thus ought in principle to be detectable. Thus it's not a candidate for an undetectable God.

    Second problem - How can something that creates the Universe be an emergent property of the Universe it creates?

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  58. "Reason is the enemy of faith"
    - Martin Luther

    "Faith and reason represent antithetical philosophies. The advocates of faith declare that we must accept as true that which is unknowable to the rational mind -- that we must believe the pronouncements of some "higher" authority in the absence of any objective evidence, or in outright contradiction to the evidence."
    --Peter Schwartz

    Dr Jerry Coyne minces no words about the antithetical natures of science and religion in this video. Interestingly, he looks at the RAAS data, and concludes that improving scientific outreach will not improve the appreciation for evolution among Americans, but that a reduction in the acceptance of religion will likely be successful!

    Video here ( from Pharyngula) ( skip to last couple of minutes): http://www.rockefeller.edu/evolution/video.php?src=coyne

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  59. Hopefully this gets through :)
    http://www.rockefeller.edu/
    evolution/video.php?src=coyne

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  60. Jerry Coyne repeats some really old lies of darwinism; that natural selection only explains adaptation, that natural selection alone explains complex adaptations, and well, just about anything worth caring about.
    But he simply skipped explaining evidence for that, he just said had confirmed these "tenets of neodarwinism" which he presents as "proven fact".
    Rather, to prove evolution Coyne resorted to the other tenets, which are in fcat, independent of neodarwinims, and are empirical sources for any scientific theory of evolution: namely, paleontology, embryology, non-adaptive traits, biogeography...

    So in essence Coyne has exploited these beautiful facts, which are the good part of his talk, to show in some of his personal opinion, both as an orthodox neodarwinian, and as an atheist.

    Creationists are not the only ones mixing fantasy and facts.

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  61. Sanders says:

    "Perhaps you're planing on boring me to the death quibbling about the supernatural nature of god?"

    No, just joining the conversation, dude.

    I've never figured out how people can compartmentalize faith-based dogmatic beliefs with evidence-based scientific thinking.

    I've been suspecting that you are actually a dyed-in-the-wool theist who can somehow put on a science hat at the snap of a finger.

    I hope I'm wrong.

    Jud says:

    "First problem - An emergent property is nevertheless a property, and thus ought in principle to be detectable. Thus it's not a candidate for an undetectable God.

    Second problem - How can something that creates the Universe be an emergent property of the Universe it creates?"

    Yes, good points. I've discussed this at length with Sanders - like you he feels that SEPOTU cannot be considered as "god", because the traditional concept of "god" must be personal, supernatural, revealed by faith and so on. I don't agree with this concept but I have conceded that this is the majority viewpoint.

    SEPOTU is a naturalistic explanation of spiritual experiences, such as why people feel like that there is some greater power, the unity of Nature, etc. without the need to invoke the supernatural.

    As for your 2nd question, SEPOTU is not the same entity as the deistic creator of the Universe. There is no real reason why the creator of a universe must also be the one running it, except for historical traditions of dogma.

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  62. Tyro:

    ... if the mere claim from one scientist that their religion is compatible with science can be false, then any similar claim can be false. That's what Larry is saying when he says your argument isn't logical. I'm not saying your conclusions are necessarily wrong, but we need more than assertions from prominent scientists to decide.

    But that's why I chose those examples -- and they are only examples. Larry's claim is not about logic (sure, it's always a logical possibility that people are lying -- Larry could be a Jesuit secret agent in service of Opus Dei, out to make atheists look like cranky curmudgeons), but about evidence. I'm comfortable with the evidence of these people, and many more besides, who dedicated their lives to science and did it very, very well, that they are not lying when they say they find their faith compatible with their science.

    Shirakawasuna

    Frankly, what I don't understand why you think I've backed away from my statement. Explaining further is not backing away.

    1) "Science" is something people do, a methodology.

    2) "Religion" is something people believe.

    3) Not all people, even when they call themselves "Christians" or "Muslims" or whatever, believe the same thing (hence my saying it is not your call to decide how people reconcile their faith with their science).

    4) The statement "religion is incompatible with science" is logically the same as "government is incompatible with political freedom" (note that this is not an analogy).

    5) To refute the statement "government is incompatible with political freedom," all I need do is produce one government that is not incompatible with political freedom.

    6) There are (I estimate) hundreds of thousands of scientists (of which Francisco Ayala, Ken Miller, Theodosius Dobzhansky and R.A. Fisher are examples) and millions of lay people who can do science and/or accept the results of science and remain believers.

    7) The statement "religion is incompatible with science" is refuted.

    Of course, any particular religion that people hold may be incompatible with science, just as there may be governments that are incompatible with political freedom. But it is not "religion" that is incompatible with science, it is a subset of religion (though, in this case, the subset may amount to a majority).

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  63. "I've been suspecting that you are actually a dyed-in-the-wool theist who can somehow put on a science hat at the snap of a finger"

    Hmmm maybe you suspect the same about Einstein.
    I'm not theist at all, but I don't barf at mexican processions of the day of the dead. I do not recoil in repulsion at tibetan monasteries. I've read some tidbits of religious books, that are not stupid at all, actually, amazingly wise. Therefore I have a much better developed empathy and respect for religion, and importantly for PEOPLE that may happen to be religious (and true admiration for some, like Dr. Bob Bakker!!).

    Like most atheists, I am also scared by the more dogmatic and foolish expressions of religiosity, and wonder if consistent attack of religion is what is required. I've come to the conclusion that no, not at all. Actually, that's paranoia and scapegoating.

    See, this kind of problem is larger than religion. "Bad certainties" are hardly monopolized by religion.

    My kind of atheism is not based on antireligiosity. Rater, my problem is with false certainties in all domains of human knwoledge; and religion happens to own only a share. And, as I said above, there is plenty of good stuff developed in a religious context. It's not all garbage.

    My problem is not with religion at large, but with those religious people who say they have "the only true worldview", who usually also claim to be "only rational".
    This is why I DO barf when Coyne invites us "to recline at the altar of reason". Vacuous and potentially harmful. Coyne means everything he said must be accepted by some quasireligious invocation of reason (Including his silly panselectionist affirmations). Notice the pope, too, says to be doing nothing but representing reason. On this account, consider me anticatholic.

    Usually these mindsets result in little concern with human life and suffering where it seems to clash against their "certainties".

    It may wear a religious cap, or a rationalist cap.

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  64. John Pieret says,

    But that's why I chose those examples -- and they are only examples. Larry's claim is not about logic (sure, it's always a logical possibility that people are lying -- Larry could be a Jesuit secret agent in service of Opus Dei, out to make atheists look like cranky curmudgeons), but about evidence. I'm comfortable with the evidence of these people, and many more besides, who dedicated their lives to science and did it very, very well, that they are not lying when they say they find their faith compatible with their science.

    But that's not what you actually said earlier in these comments. Here are your exact words.

    As long as people like Francisco Ayala, Ken Miller, Theodosius Dobzhansky and R.A. Fisher can do good science and remain believers, science and religion are compatible. It is simply an empiric fact of the world.

    It is clearly not an empiric fact of the world that science and religion are compatible just because someone says they are.

    I'm glad to see that you are qualifying your original statement. Your new claim is that science and religion are compatible because people like Ken Miller says they are and you have confidence that Miller understands both science and religion well enough to make that claim.

    Unfortunately for you, Ken Miller wrote a book called Finding Darwin's God that refutes your claim. One of the problems is that the scientific study of the natural world indicates that it has no meaning or purpose. Here's how Ken Miller reconciles science with his faith.

    What science cannot do is assign either meaning or purpose to the world it explores. [If it has meaning and purpose why can't science discover it? LAM] This leads some to conclude that the world as seen by science is devoid of meaning and absent of purpose. It is not. What it does mean is that our human tendencies to assign meaning and purpose must transcend science, and ultimately must come from outside it. The science that results, I would suggest, is enriched and informed from its contact with the values and principles of faith.

    In other words, Ken Miller makes science subservient to faith and that's how they become compatible. You can't trust the science because it suggests a purposeless universe so you have to resort to faith to see the real truth behind science.

    John, is that what you mean when you say that Ken Miller is empirical proof that science and religion are compatible? Do you prefer to avoid questioning his actual explanation and just take him at his word because he's a smart guy?

    I wish you'd extend the same courtesy to smart atheists who say that science and religion are not compatible. It would save a lot of bandwidth. :-)

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  65. It is clearly not an empiric fact of the world that science and religion are compatible just because someone says they are.

    Ah! Silly me! I seem to have confused "empiric fact of the world" with "a fact supported by reliable evidence."

    One of the problems is that the scientific study of the natural world indicates that it has no meaning or purpose.:

    Oh, really? Can you point me to the peer-reviewed papers that demonstrate that? Or are you confusing your philosophy with science again?

    Your new claim is that science and religion are compatible because people like Ken Miller says they are and you have confidence that Miller understands both science and religion well enough to make that claim.

    Wrong. The claim is (and has always been) that we can objectively know how well someone does science -- or else science itself is not objective and the whole argument dissolves away into philosophical mush. By objective standards, Francisco Ayala, Ken Miller, Theodosius Dobzhansky and R.A. Fisher have done science very well. Conversely, there are no objective standards about religion. However a person adjusts his or her religious beliefs to make them compatible with science is "valid" religion. That's why it winds up as an empiric fact of the world that some people find science and religion compatible. Those people meet the objective standard of being good scientists and they report that their beliefs are compatible with their science. Nobody can refute them about their religion, because to do so means arguing theology with them, where there are no objective standards.

    In other words, Ken Miller makes science subservient to faith and that's how they become compatible. You can't trust the science because it suggests a purposeless universe so you have to resort to faith to see the real truth behind science.

    You're kidding right? Are you are honestly blind to your own philosophizing? You've made science every bit as "subservient" to your philosophical desires as Miller has to his theology. Science doesn't "suggest" that the universe is purposeless. Show me any scientific study that even attempts to address any such thing. That is your philosophical conclusion from the results of science that is no more privileged than Miller's conclusions. At least Miller is aware of where his science stops and his philosophy/theology starts -- unlike some people.

    Do you prefer to avoid questioning his actual explanation and just take him at his word because he's a smart guy? I wish you'd extend the same courtesy to smart atheists who say that science and religion are not compatible.

    I accept it as a fact because I know he is a good scientist and I have no reason to disbelieve him when he says his religion is compatible with science and no measure by which to refute him in any event.

    The problem with the atheists around here is that they apparently can't help confusing their philosophy with science. Clear up that little problem and then we can talk about whether you can demonstrate any incompatibility.

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  66. John Pieret:

    1) "Science" is something people do, a methodology.

    Sure, why not. The word also often refers to the accumulated knowledge reached with that method and sometimes the scientific community, but hey it's a bit tangential to my point.

    2) "Religion" is something people believe.

    Yes, it is. But I lied, I'm bringing up the more expansive idea of science, as the results of that methodology often disagree with what religions claims and what those religious people believe. If you believe religiously that gravity only operates on earth but the scientific method keeps bashing you over the head with data, results, and predictions all confirming gravity elsewhere, we have *bum bum bum* a conflict between science and religion.

    Again, I'm just a bit neurotic. This isn't actually my original point.

    3) Not all people, even when they call themselves "Christians" or "Muslims" or whatever, believe the same thing (hence my saying it is not your call to decide how people reconcile their faith with their science).

    OK. Did I ever imply otherwise? I'm pretty sure I implied that I agree with this, actually.

    4) The statement "religion is incompatible with science" is logically the same as "government is incompatible with political freedom" (note that this is not an analogy).

    Only if we accept your semantics argument, which is somewhat dubious. Defining science as a methodology to the exclusion of anything else is not warranted and doing so only reads like an attempt to weasel around with words rather (so that you can say science and religion are compatible, yay!)

    5) To refute the statement "government is incompatible with political freedom," all I need do is produce one government that is not incompatible with political freedom.

    Sure. Although I'll also note that the alternative of "religion is compatible with science" isn't automatically "religion is incompatible with science". That's a false dichotomy. There's still the option, "some religions are incompatible with science", and I'm talking about the slightly expanded view of science without the unsubstantiated exclusions.

    6) There are (I estimate) hundreds of thousands of scientists (of which Francisco Ayala, Ken Miller, Theodosius Dobzhansky and R.A. Fisher are examples) and millions of lay people who can do science and/or accept the results of science and remain believers.

    Absolutely. I've explicitly stated this to be the case many times.

    7) The statement "religion is incompatible with science" is refuted.

    See above. It only works when we accept your definitions as exclusive, which is unwarranted in a general sense.

    Of course, any particular religion that people hold may be incompatible with science, just as there may be governments that are incompatible with political freedom.

    Ah, so you agree with me. I recommend reading my first/second/third message again ;).

    But it is not "religion" that is incompatible with science, it is a subset of religion (though, in this case, the subset may amount to a majority).

    And the alternative to this is not "religion is compatible with science", as such a statement is easily and validly interpreted as expansive.

    The specific and accurate message would be "some religious beliefs do not contradict scientific findings".

    As for my original point, you have very clearly implied that because some famous scientists were believers, religion and science are compatible. You have no replied to my explanation of this as fallacious nor my explanation of how that is how your comment reads. Given your response, it doesn't seem like you agree with the interpretation, hence I state you've backed away from the claim.

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  67. John Pieret:Of course, any particular religion that people hold may be incompatible with science, just as there may be governments that are incompatible with political freedom.

    I'm going to over this again, actually. I thought you just defined science as a methodology and religion as believing? How can those two things ever be incompatible unless 'methodology' automatically includes accepting results and thus making it more than mere methodology?

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  68. I'm going to over this again, actually. I thought you just defined science as a methodology and religion as believing? How can those two things ever be incompatible unless 'methodology' automatically includes accepting results and thus making it more than mere methodology?

    I think the problem here is that John makes two fallacious claims, one on christian scientists which is appealing to authority, and one on science as mere method which is definitionally wrong. Both fallacies have consequences.

    The first is contradicted by statistics as I think razib showed here; in fact scientists find religion and its support of agnosticism incompatible and change groups. The second makes John contradict himself.

    I think you have taken care of the remaining arguments, especially pointed out the keystone; that some (actually, a majority) religions are incompatible with science, or some (actually, a majority) scientists find it so, means that "religion is compatible with science" is not a valid claim.

    @ John Pieret:

    Science doesn't "suggest" that the universe is purposeless. Show me any scientific study that even attempts to address any such thing.

    There is a moving goal post between a suggestion and a study. What would be studied? However, the suggestion is clear: there are many orders of magnitude theories, models and pure observational data series that can be explained without any signs what so ever of agency.

    So that by common statistical tests that means that I can claim that beyond reasonable doubt there is no agency involved in nature.

    Of course, you subscribe to philosophy instead, specifically philosophical agnosticism, a very much stronger and non revisable claim on facts than empirical claims. It posits that it is unreasonable to equate this with the obvious claim.

    Because this is Not the True Godsman... excuse me, Scotsman of some undefinable non-agency entity (well, agent actually). Which possibly exists. Just like Santa Claus does.

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  69. Defining science as a methodology to the exclusion of anything else is not warranted and doing so only reads like an attempt to weasel around with words ...

    I'm sorry, I've given a precise definition of science, consistent with the widely recognized nature of science, while you want to include a fuzzy "accumulated knowledge reached with that method and sometimes the scientific community," and I'm weaseling around with words? But be my guest, give another definition. Are you going to include metaphysics like Larry's "purposelessness"? Why not Miller's purposefulness then, given how he is part of that scientific community?

    Ah, so you agree with me. I recommend reading my first/second/third message again ;).

    I recommend you read my very first comment in this thread.

    And the alternative to this is not "religion is compatible with science", as such a statement is easily and validly interpreted as expansive.

    Sure, but as I said early on, that's not very likely in a video directed at refuting ID. It's rather a given that some religion is incompatible with science in that case.

    The specific and accurate message would be "some religious beliefs do not contradict scientific findings".

    Absolutely! I also said early on that this was advocacy intended to counter people, IDers and atheists, who fail to note that it is only some religions that are incompatible with science.

    ... you have very clearly implied that because some famous scientists were believers, religion and science are compatible

    Now that I've explained my argument at length you have no more excuse to draw such implications.

    I thought you just defined science as a methodology and religion as believing? How can those two things ever be incompatible unless 'methodology' automatically includes accepting results and thus making it more than mere methodology?

    You cannot utilize a methodology and reject it and its results at the same time. Certain religions, such as that exemplified by Answers in Genesis, either deny that the scientific method works or deny its results if they conflict with certain of their beliefs. If your beliefs require the rejection of the method or its results, they are incompatible with the method.

    Torbjörn:

    I think the problem here is that John makes two fallacious claims, one on christian scientists which is appealing to authority, and one on science as mere method which is definitionally wrong.

    Since I've explained at length why it is not an argument from authority but from facts concerning people and religion, there is obviously no use trying to explain it to you again.

    But, if you'd care to demonstrate how I'm "definitionally" wrong by giving a "correct" definition of "science," instead of just making arguments by assertion, I'm willing to listen.

    There is a moving goal post between a suggestion and a study. What would be studied? However, the suggestion is clear: there are many orders of magnitude theories, models and pure observational data series that can be explained without any signs what so ever of agency.

    Indeed there is a moving goal post ... yours. No matter how many things of the world can be "explained" through the limiting assumptions of science and utilizing what Hume correctly pointed out is only our intuition of causation, science can never produce a scientific result on the issue. There is, indeed, no study possible. And that's because of the simple reason (among others) that such a "test" relies on a metaphysical assumption that science would detect such purposefullness. The "suggestion" of no purpose to the universe is, ultimately, based on an extra-scientific assumption. It is metaphysics, not science. That doesn't make it wrong but is does make it "not-science."

    Of course, you subscribe to philosophy instead, specifically philosophical agnosticism, a very much stronger and non revisable claim on facts than empirical claims. It posits that it is unreasonable to equate this with the obvious claim.

    Maybe I'll untangle that someday but, in the meantime, I said nothing about the "reasonableness" of the claim that the cosmos is purposeless. I'm talking about the proper categorization -- call it taxonomy -- of the claim. Is it science or is it philosophy? I say it is necessarily philosophy. I haven't seen anything in what you've said that would even begin to counter that.

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  70. John Pieret: I'm sorry, I've given a precise definition of science, consistent with the widely recognized nature of science, while you want to include a fuzzy "accumulated knowledge reached with that method and sometimes the scientific community," and I'm weaseling around with words?

    Absolutely. Did you even realize that your link to "science" went directly to the "Scientific Method" page? If you're not getting my drift, here's the hint: "Scientific method" and "science" are two different words and by implicitly equivocating right there you are fallaciously biasing your argument.

    I think you'll find if you check the definition of "science" with Merriam-Webster or the Oxford English Dictionary, you will find common definitions which are more expansive than your own and fit my explanation. They refer to it as a body of knowledge or system of knowledge at m-w.com, for example. Your exclusive version does seem to be weaseling around with words, as the more expansive version is quite common.

    You can check the dictionaries yourself if you'd like. There's bound to be one that has an entry agreeing with you somewhere ;).

    I recommend you read my very first comment in this thread.

    I've read it, and while you may have gotten their intentions, they combined both that message of 'science and religion don't have to conflict' with the 'science and religion don't conflict' message, which otheres have repeatedly pointed out and you seem to deny. So I'll quote from it.

    First we have Alan Leshner with the comment that most mainstream religions do not have problems with evolution, and then he lists the [much of] Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, etc. This is wrong on its face, of course, as it's clear that a literal, modern interpretation of many of the holy texts on which these faiths are based conflict with evolutionary accounts and, most importantly, are held to by believers. It's an untrue blanket statement which is the first bit implying NOMA.

    He goes on: "...different domains of the world. Science only has to do with the natural world. Religion of course has to do with a belief in the origins of everything that we have and the questions and the deep meaning of life."

    That was the first very explicit account of NOMA. Next is Francis Collins: ""I believe that science is the way to understand the natural world and the faith is the way to understand questions that science can't answer like "why are we all here?" "... and does it matter?"[...]"

    Now I quote all of this because in your first comment you say,

    The AAAS is reporting the position of many religionists, not taking a position on whether those people are right as far as I can see.

    Now, I don't know the personal religious views of Leshner, but all the rest were obviously believers. However, the clip does present their views as the state of things, although Collins is humble and intelligent enough to include caveats that these are his personal opinions - Leshner does not make this quite as clear.

    So, did you read my first couple of replies?

    [me]And the alternative to this is not "religion is compatible with science", as such a statement is easily and validly interpreted as expansive.

    [you]Sure, but as I said early on, that's not very likely in a video directed at refuting ID. It's rather a given that some religion is incompatible with science in that case.


    What's not very likely? That statement? I think it's pretty clear that's what both Leshner and Collins clearly lay out for you. They explicity claim that science and religion are in separate domains (compatible).

    [me]The specific and accurate message would be "some religious beliefs do not contradict scientific findings".

    [you]Absolutely! I also said early on that this was advocacy intended to counter people, IDers and atheists, who fail to note that it is only some religions that are incompatible with science.


    How do you harmonize that view with "religion and science are compatible"? If you are arguing for exclusivity, how can they ever be incompatible? I made this point once before already - if science is merely a methodology and religion faith (accepting facts), then they are completely compatible, with the one exception being a religious ban on the practicing that methodology.

    [me]... you have very clearly implied that because some famous scientists were believers, religion and science are compatible

    [you]Now that I've explained my argument at length you have no more excuse to draw such implications.


    Yes, I do. It's what you implied in your quote, and again it seems very accurate when I claim you have backed away from that implication. I'll repeat that it isn't our fault that you made the statement you did and you haven't explained it away - you've only attempted to tell me what you really believe. There's a disconnect there: I'm explaining what you wrote in a specific instance and already accept that you think something else.

    You cannot utilize a methodology and reject it and its results at the same time.

    That third option is unnecessary. You can utilize a methodology and reject its results at the same time pretty darn easily. The only thing blocking the methodology is rejecting it explicitly.

    I somewhat doubt that's the only condition you were using in your comment, though.

    Certain religions, such as that exemplified by Answers in Genesis, either deny that the scientific method works or deny its results if they conflict with certain of their beliefs.

    And denying the results (not taking the inferences to be true) does not contradict the method unless we include conclusions from the method to be part of it as well. In that case, we will have returned yet again to my original statements, and you agree with me: religion and science can conflict on the facts alone and are not automatically separate because one of 'methodology' and the other 'faith'.

    If your beliefs require the rejection of the method or its results, they are incompatible with the method.

    Yup. But we can see that you've started including results, too... weird. You know that such a thing goes back to my more expansive version of science, which includes the body of knowledge, right? A methodology is a process, procedures.

    Why did you skip a bunch of my replies? Also, you dealt with them in a weird order :/

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  71. Bayesian Bouffant, FCDFriday, June 06, 2008 4:10:00 PM

    Here's a nice quote from PZ Myers:
    "It's true that a number of good scientists also have religious beliefs," he said. "I'm not saying they are not good scientists. I'm just saying they also appear to believe in a magic sky fairy."

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  72. Shirakawasuna:

    Did you even realize that your link to "science" went directly to the "Scientific Method"

    No! Really?

    ... you will find common definitions which are more expansive than your own and fit my explanation.

    Yes, exactly! I'm talking about what science really is and you're talking about what it can be made to rhetorically appear to be to people with no more understanding of what it is than they can get from a dictionary, which merely reflects common usage in the first place.

    They refer to it as a body of knowledge or system of knowledge...

    Then define that! How does something get included or excluded? What standard applies and who applies it? How can we tell if something is part of your fuzzy "science" or not?

    I have a definition that includes a definition of that knowledge you're talking about -- that identifies scientific knowledge with certainty based on how it is arrived at. But by all means, give a precise definition of your meaning of "scientific knowledge" or "scientific system of knowledge." I'll wait.

    What's not very likely?

    That anyone with a modicum of intelligence would think that those people are expressing anything more than their opinion on a matter of philosophy/theology.

    How do you harmonize that view with "religion and science are compatible"?

    C'mon! We've been through this. "Religion," as a universal term, is neither compatible nor incompatible with science. Some religions are, some aren't. In the face of IDers and atheists, for rhetorical purposes, maintaining that (unmodified) "religion" is incompatible with science, those who hold to forms of religions that are not incompatible, and their allies, can emphasize that there is religion that isn't incompatible. Both sides are only telling part of the truth but that's the nature of rhetoric. Why should I get excised over one side practicing exactly the same tactics as the other side does?

    It's what you implied in your quote ...

    It's what you read into my words without, through no fault of your own, knowing the history of about a decade's worth of argument between Larry and I. Your inability to get beyond that first impression, despite further explanation, is your own problem that I've no more interest in discussing. If you want to believe that represents some terrible error/admission on my part, I'm pretty sure the skin on my nose will survive.

    You can utilize a methodology and reject its results at the same time pretty darn easily.

    Not and be "compatible" with the methodology. When you "use" a methodology, it necessarily implies using it from beginning to end which, as the Wikipedia article correctly points out, involves acquiring, correcting and integrating knowledge through specific principles of reasoning. I hope you are beyond some narrow grade-school understanding of the "scientific method."

    Why did you skip a bunch of my replies? Also, you dealt with them in a weird order :/

    I assume you are a reasonably intelligent adult who can follow a larger argument without the need to have each individual, often repetitive, point addressed, much less in order.

    Bayesian:

    Here is a quote from PZ that is even closer to the mark, I think:

    "I personally feel that religion itself is a lie and a danger," he said. In his view, even those who hold to religious faith at the same time that they hold to evolutionary theory are being "wishy-washy" in one way or another.

    One questioner asked Myers whether that meant Brown University biologist Ken Miller, who has often said his passionate defense of evolution doesn't conflict with his religious beliefs, was being a wishy-washy scientist?

    "No," Myers answered wryly, "I think Ken Miller is a wishy-washy Catholic."


    PZ Myearshertz, famed Catholic theologian!

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  73. John Pieret says,

    Why should I get excised over one side practicing exactly the same tactics as the other side does?

    Exactly. But that's precisely what you do.

    Maybe science and religion are incompatible and maybe they aren't. Whenever I argue that they are, you get very exorcised. You point out that I'm confusing metaphysics with science. You argue that atheist scientists should stick to science and not make pronouncements about religion.

    One the other hand, when a scientific organization like AAAS makes a video promoting the compatibility of science and religion, you are strangely silent.

    How come? Why do AAAS and Francis Collins deserve any different treatment from you than me or Richard Dawkins?

    I think we know the answer. Your real argument is about protecting religion. It's not about keeping science within its proper magisterium. You aren't concerned when religion infringes on science, you are only concerned about the times when, in your opinion, science "infringes" upon religion. That's when you get upset.

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  74. John,

    You have agreed with me that some religions are incompatible with science and even stated yourself, "It's rather a given that some religion is incompatible with science in that case." Have you understood how "some" religions are incompatible? Do you have any reason to think that these qualities are lacking in any other religion, including Francis Collins'?


    You make a big deal about the scientific method rather than science (while inconsistently comparing this with religion, and not the "religious method", I wonder why). You stress that you must follow the method fully and completely:

    When you "use" a methodology, it necessarily implies using it from beginning to end which, as the Wikipedia article correctly points out, involves acquiring, correcting and integrating knowledge through specific principles of reasoning.


    Francis Collins has said publicly that he acquired his knowledge of God and Jesus after seeing a frozen waterfall. Do you think this is compatible with the scientific method? Can you think of any religious beliefs from transubstantiation through to Jesus's resurrection which were arrived at using the scientific method or which could be maintained if the "correcting" and "reasoning" aspects of science were rigorously applied?


    We know that some people who do science professionally nevertheless hold religious beliefs which are incompatible with science. We know that some people who say their beliefs are compatible with science are mistaken. You acknowledge this. This means that we cannot simply accept someone's assurance that their religious beliefs are compatible with science since we know that this can lead to false conclusions.

    We have clear reasons to think that religious ideas in general are not arrived at through reason or evidence and they are not tested or corrected. This means that religion in general is incompatible with science. Specific religious beliefs may or may not be incompatible, but the case is strong enough that we need more than reassurances, no matter how much of an authority figure that person may be.

    Is that much at least clear to you?

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  75. No! Really?

    Yes, really. It's telling that you omitted my explanation ;). Perhaps I should have written: It perfectly reflects your repeated insistence with no substantiation as to what science is to the exclusion of anything else.

    Yes, exactly! I'm talking about what science really is and you're talking about what it can be made to rhetorically appear to be to people with no more understanding of what it is than they can get from a dictionary, which merely reflects common usage in the first place.

    Oh, hey look, you did it again. What "science really is", huh? Well I've been providing examples of how it's often referenced as more than you say and you give me well... nothing but the ability to say the same thing over and over again.

    Of course, I'm not talking about what it can be made to "appear" to be, all you have to do is look in the dictioary. Is that dishonest or obfuscatory? If you were wrong, what would it look like? I'd imagine exactly like what I've given as counterpoints.

    "which merely reflects common usage in the first place" kinda makes my point, doesn't it? You're going for the classic method in philosophy of taking a word and redefining it to claim that you're right. In this case your definition is already there, which makes it easier, but the argument suffers from same weakness as the etymological fallacy: you've given no valid reason to exclude other meanings of the word.

    And I'm not playing off of too ambiguous definitions here, either: check webster's or the OED, you'll find common definitions supporting my ideas.

    Now, I have no problem with someone advocating that we should consider 'science' as a methodology without conclusions, attempting to make an idea more specific, etc. However, the statement `science is compatible with religion` does not appear to take that as an assumption (it's misleading) and if you get right down to it, you don't seem to, either. Here's what you said in your last response:

    You cannot utilize a methodology and reject it and its results at the same time. Certain religions, such as that exemplified by Answers in Genesis, either deny that the scientific method works or deny its results if they conflict with certain of their beliefs. If your beliefs require the rejection of the method or its results, they are incompatible with the method.

    That really does all my arguing for me. You've stated that religion and science don't conflict because one's a methodology and one's belief, but we can see that both involve using those to come to conclusions necessarily. There is huge room for conflict there. This makes the idea that science and religion are compatible inaccurate due to the expansive nature of such a claim, and I'll repeat the only honest one we can really say: some religions are compatible with science, some are not.

    Then define that! How does something get included or excluded? What standard applies and who applies it? How can we tell if something is part of your fuzzy "science" or not?

    My "science" isn't fuzzy at all, as it does indeed relate to the scientific method but includes the body of knowledge discovered by it and its conclusions. Haven't you ever heard it spoken of in that way over the ages, by scientists themselves? One can use either definition depending on the context: you are the only one arguing for the exclusive definition of the word.

    I have a definition that includes a definition of that knowledge you're talking about -- that identifies scientific knowledge with certainty based on how it is arrived at. But by all means, give a precise definition of your meaning of "scientific knowledge" or "scientific system of knowledge." I'll wait.

    I don't see your definition anywhere. In fact, this is the best I've gotten:
    1) "Science" is something people do, a methodology.

    2) "Religion" is something people believe.


    That's supposed to be clear? In fact, given the other quote I supplied showing how you include the conclusions of the scientific method along with the idea, it's tough to see how you don't notice that they can easily conflict. Since you seem to agree wiht this sentiment when I write it like that, the only conclusion I can draw is that you don't see the way in which the statement `religion and science are compatible` implies something too general.

    That anyone with a modicum of intelligence would think that those people are expressing anything more than their opinion on a matter of philosophy/theology.

    Oh, what a nice backhanded insult. If I wanted to call you a pissant moron but wrote say... only a pissant moron would use an unsupportedly restrictive definition of the word science, I'm sure you wouldn't mind ;).

    I've quoted them verbatim to show how those statements can easily be interpreted as I described them. Very easily. Particularly the statements of Leshner.

    C'mon! We've been through this. "Religion," as a universal term, is neither compatible nor incompatible with science. Some religions are, some aren't.

    Hey look, we agree! I wonder what you thought you were arguing earlier, then? Do you remember writing this?

    As long as people like Francisco Ayala, Ken Miller, Theodosius Dobzhansky and R.A. Fisher can do good science and remain believers, science and religion are compatible.

    Or how about this?

    [to Jason Rosenhouse]Which way would you like to have it? If no one is saying that religion is necessarily incompatible with science, then it is obviously the case that Collins and the others are correct in saying that science and religion are compatible.

    In the face of IDers and atheists, for rhetorical purposes, maintaining that (unmodified) "religion" is incompatible with science, those who hold to forms of religions that are not incompatible, and their allies, can emphasize that there is religion that isn't incompatible.

    Absolutely! I've been saying this from the beginning.

    Both sides are only telling part of the truth but that's the nature of rhetoric. Why should I get excised over one side practicing exactly the same tactics as the other side does?

    I'm excising you? If not, I don't get this sentence.

    It's what you read into my words without, through no fault of your own, knowing the history of about a decade's worth of argument between Larry and I.

    Actually no, it has nothing to do with reading anything into your words, it very clearly follows for anyone who understands the english language. I wonder if you've even read it when I've quoted it back to you and tried to imagine how I could possibly interpret it the way you dislike. Here it is again: As long as people like Francisco Ayala, Ken Miller, Theodosius Dobzhansky and R.A. Fisher can do good science and remain believers, science and religion are compatible.

    I'm sorry that you hate to admit you're wrong on something, even so trivial, but really now. You clearly just said that 'as long as X scientists can do good science and remain believers, science and religion are compatible'. Are you unaware that 'as long as' means "provided that" or "since", implying that the following clause is sufficient for the one after it to be accurate? In a less pedantic form, I'll illustrate: as long as gas costs $4.50/gallon, hybrid cars will continue increasing in popularity.

    So really, this has nothing to do with knowledge of your history with Larry. There's no inside joke or argument there that I see, it's just simple english.

    Your inability to get beyond that first impression, despite further explanation, is your own problem that I've no more interest in discussing. If you want to believe that represents some terrible error/admission on my part, I'm pretty sure the skin on my nose will survive.

    I think it's terribly illustrative of how reasonable you're attempting to be ;). You might want to step back and think about what you're arguing, as you've contradicted yourself at least once and don't seem to be even trying to understand my point on this one little sentence.

    Not and be "compatible" with the methodology. When you "use" a methodology, it necessarily implies using it from beginning to end which, as the Wikipedia article correctly points out, involves acquiring, correcting and integrating knowledge through specific principles of reasoning. I hope you are beyond some narrow grade-school understanding of the "scientific method."

    Oh, I most definitely am. See, when you were earlier arguing about science being a methodology and religion being something people believe, I took the implicit argument that this meant there would be no conflict as they don't lead to conclusions which could then conflict. You know, the old 'science is a process' idea, strongly implying that it's not the conclusions which are important or even necessarily a part of it. Obviously this was not good argumentation, because you don't really think that, so I'll gladly concede this point and agree to that idea of methodology; to begin with, it works in my favor!

    I assume you are a reasonably intelligent adult who can follow a larger argument without the need to have each individual, often repetitive, point addressed, much less in order.

    Oh yay, more backhanded insults. I assume you aren't an incompetent buffoon who doesn't conveniently ignore counterpoints to make rationalizations easier and randomly jump around (without supplying much context), making following the discussion much harder. Are we adults now? ;)

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  76. Whoops, editing mistake. The quoted sentence beginning with "In the face of IDers and atheists[...]" is completely separate from the preceding paragraph.

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  77. Larry:

    Whenever I argue that they are, you get very exorcised. You point out that I'm confusing metaphysics with science.

    Larry, it is possible to argue that science and some religions are incompatible without confusing science with metaphysics. Stop doing the latter and I'll stop trying to "exorcise" you.

    Why do AAAS and Francis Collins deserve any different treatment from you than me or Richard Dawkins?

    Because I didn't see the AAAS (or Francis Collins in this video -- you'll remember I've said that I think his position on "moral law" to be a version of ID and, therefore, incompatible with science) confuse their theological positions with science, unlike what you do on a regular basis.

    Your real argument is about protecting religion. It's not about keeping science within its proper magisterium. You aren't concerned when religion infringes on science.

    So much fuzzy language, so little time.

    Anyone can go to my blog and see how I treat religion that "infringes" on science. What we have been arguing about all these years (and, will, no doubt go on arguing about) is the nature of science. Gould's magisterium is not a place to keep science in, it is, in my opinion, a recognition of science's real nature and, necessarily, its proper authority and where it lacks authority. I maintain that you constantly confuse your philosophy with science. You think religion is false and, therefore, it follows in your mind that science must necessarily say that religion is false. You, like Torbjörn, want to make meta-conclusions from scientific results that may be consistent with those results and, to some peoples' minds but not others, may even suggest the truth of those meta-conclusions. I insist those meta-conclusions are philosophy and not science, even if the underlying facts of the world you want to base the meta-conclusions on are derived from science. Conversely, religionists have as much right as you do to take the facts of the world as revealed by science and make their own meta-conclusions from those facts.

    And when is science abused? When either you or the religionists or anyone else mislabel philosophy or theology as science. I am an equal opportunity abuser of those people.

    Tyro:

    Francis Collins has said publicly that he acquired his knowledge of God and Jesus after seeing a frozen waterfall. Do you think this is compatible with the scientific method?

    Of course not.

    Did he claim that he was doing science at the time or that the triune nature of God was a scientific result? One distinguishing feature between a "methodology" and a "worldview" is that you do not have to adhere to the methodology in everything you do (most people aren't that consistent with worldviews either, but that's a different argument). This is another way Larry tries to load his philosophy into science. A "scientist," in order to be a good, even a great, "scientist," need not treat every facet of the world as a scientific problem. And any claim that the scientist must treat certain categories of issues as scientific questions is, itself, a philosophical assertion, not a scientific one.

    It's a good thing too. It would be a pretty stunted person who would insist he or she couldn't have sex with their significant other unless they were both hooked up to every modern monitor and filled out extensive questionnaires afterwards.

    You make a big deal about the scientific method rather than science (while inconsistently comparing this with religion, and not the "religious method" ...

    That's because I do not know of a religious "method" of the same sort as the scientific method. Care to elucidate?

    We know that some people who do science professionally nevertheless hold religious beliefs which are incompatible with science. We know that some people who say their beliefs are compatible with science are mistaken. You acknowledge this. This means that we cannot simply accept someone's assurance that their religious beliefs are compatible with science since we know that this can lead to false conclusions.

    The people we know to hold religious beliefs which are incompatible with science or we know to be mistaken in thinking their beliefs to be compatible, are known to us because they violate the scientific method. That's the measure and it is an objective one. What you haven't done is demonstrate the existence of the category of "someone who holds religious beliefs that are inconsistent with science even though he/she can and willing does adhere to the scientific method when doing science."

    We have clear reasons to think that religious ideas in general are not arrived at through reason or evidence and they are not tested or corrected. This means that religion in general is incompatible with science.

    I did not reach the conclusion that I love my wife through reason or evidence. Does that mean I am forever banned from science? Was there ever any question that religion was science? Does doing anything which is not science nullify a person's "license" to do science?

    Shirakawasuna:

    My "science" isn't fuzzy at all, as it does indeed relate to the scientific method but includes the body of knowledge discovered by it and its conclusions.

    That's quite correct ... with the caveat that "conclusions" do not include the philosophizing of scientists but are limited to conclusions within the assumptions of the method.


    But a claim that "science" includes meanings beyond the results of the scientific method, as reflected in "common usage" is problematic. At present there are many attempts to inject creationism in various forms into public school science curriculum. All these efforts share a common thread: the claim that ID and/or "strengths and weaknesses," et cetera, are "scientific" based on the fact that they refer to facts that have been discovered by science, such as the complex structures of flagella. This is an all-too-common definition of "science" in the US. Under US constitutional law, if ID is "science" it is permitted to be taught in public schools even if it has religious consequences. Should we abandon attempts to keep creationism out of science classes? If not, why not?

    I don't see your definition anywhere.

    It is part and parcel of the method, pretty well explained by that Wikipedia article.

    I've quoted them verbatim to show how those statements can easily be interpreted as I described them. Very easily. Particularly the statements of Leshner.

    Please, by all means, tell me precisely what about the statements you think were statements of scientific results rather than philosophy or theology.

    I assume you aren't an incompetent buffoon who doesn't conveniently ignore counterpoints to make rationalizations easier and randomly jump around (without supplying much context), making following the discussion much harder. Are we adults now? ;)

    You're free to believe and assert that, just as I'm free to ignore what I think is a lot of verbiage that is unrelated to the actual issues being discussed. I haven't noticed you having difficulty following my replies but, in any event, you seem capable of asking for clarification if you do. If you don't like it, you have the usual remedies.

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  78. John Pieret says,

    This is another way Larry tries to load his philosophy into science. A "scientist," in order to be a good, even a great, "scientist," need not treat every facet of the world as a scientific problem.

    Science is a way of knowing. As far as I can tell, it's a very good way of knowing. So far, I haven't seen any evidence to suggest that there's any other way of knowing that can generate real facts about the world we live in. Other ways of knowing have been proposed but the "facts" they reveal don't stand up to close scrutiny. Thus, it is reasonable to tentatively conclude that these other ways of knowing don't work.

    The essence of science as a way of knowing is skepticism, rationalism, and evidence. I don't see how one can arbitrarily suspend that way of knowing whenever one wants to rule something out of bounds.

    And any claim that the scientist must treat certain categories of issues as scientific questions is, itself, a philosophical assertion, not a scientific one.

    Perhaps. But I tend to look at as a tentative hypothesis based on empirical success. I'm still waiting for someone to explain why some questions must be beyond the reach of scientific investigation.

    It's a good thing too. It would be a pretty stunted person who would insist he or she couldn't have sex with their significant other unless they were both hooked up to every modern monitor and filled out extensive questionnaires afterwards.

    Now you're being silly. That's the kind of argument that adolescents use when they first start to think about the problem. I hope you're just being provocative 'cause I'd hate to think you're being serious.

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  79. But a claim that "science" includes meanings beyond the results of the scientific method, as reflected in "common usage" is problematic. At present there are many attempts to inject creationism in various forms into public school science curriculum. All these efforts share a common thread: the claim that ID and/or "strengths and weaknesses," et cetera, are "scientific" based on the fact that they refer to facts that have been discovered by science, such as the complex structures of flagella. This is an all-too-common definition of "science" in the US. Under US constitutional law, if ID is "science" it is permitted to be taught in public schools even if it has religious consequences. Should we abandon attempts to keep creationism out of science classes? If not, why not?

    Nope, but that was because earlier I thought you were implying that science was a methodology, emphasizing the process to the exclusion of accepting results. After all, what's the point of comparing it to religions having 'belief' in that case? It seems your clarified version of "methodology" is essentially exactly what I've been saying, although mine is slightly more general because of the nature of science: there are competing ideas and accepting all of those scientific results wouldn't work (if we assume a binary sense of accept/not accept). That doesn't mean they aren't science, so I've expanded it to include the varied results of the scientific community's results (which followed that methodology).

    Now you know, there's a word for the methodology. It's called the scientific method and works just fine for whatever point you'd like to say about it.

    It is part and parcel of the method, pretty well explained by that Wikipedia article.

    lol, did you miss my response on that? It's just you repeating (implicitly) yet again your assertion of what science is without any support for it.

    Please, by all means, tell me precisely what about the statements you think were statements of scientific results rather than philosophy or theology.

    As you can see you yourself have blurred the line by including the results of the methodology in the definition. However, I do see it implied that it is the conclusions of science that he Leshner is speaking about. Look at his first statements, paraphrased by me: "First we have Alan Leshner with the comment that most mainstream religions do not have problems with evolution, and then he lists the [much of] Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, etc. This is wrong on its face, of course, as it's clear that a literal, modern interpretation of many of the holy texts on which these faiths are based conflict with evolutionary accounts and, most importantly, are held to by believers. It's an untrue blanket statement which is the first bit implying NOMA."

    Now, does he say anything about philosophy or theology there? No. In fact he's attempting to give a weak appeal to numbers to attack the idea that religion must conflict withs cience. But do you think he brought up just evolution because he's bringing up a philosophical/theological argument, or because evolution includes results that would seem to conflict with a fundamentalist interpretation?

    [Leshner]"...different domains of the world. Science only has to do with the natural world. Religion of course has to do with a belief in the origins of everything that we have and the questions and the deep meaning of life."

    Now we're starting to get into some philosophy, but believe it or not it's not the same argument you've been forwarding. He's quite clearly attempting to say that science deals with the natural world, that stuff you can go out and see, observe empirically, etc, and comparing it to religion which he implies deals with meaning and questions unanswerable by science. I think we're all familiar with this idea and many people hold that it is true in their own personal religious views. However, this version of "religion" is too convenient - it is not representative. Many people do attach more than just the religion-of-the-gaps to their faiths and if we then include those religions, the entire idea falls apart.

    He's done precisely what you'd tried to do with science: pick a restrictive definition that doesn't seem to be representative in order to forward what "real" religion is such that it meets his original goal of making two things work together. I'll call it unintentional sophistry. (Note that the restrictive definition I'm referring to is the one you alluded to before including the results of science in the definition.)

    Now that last one wasn't what you asked for, but it has the exact same problem.

    You're free to believe and assert that, just as I'm free to ignore what I think is a lot of verbiage that is unrelated to the actual issues being discussed.

    Congrats on missing or rationalizing the entire point of the 'buffoon' exercise ;). Here's a hint: it actually had little to do with conveniently ignoring my counterpoints.

    Speaking of which, you skipped some rather important ones, like where I show that you've contradicted yourself on whether religion and science are compatible. As that's the entirety of the topic of discussion in a nutshell, it's hard to see it as unrelated verbiage, eh?

    It seems you agree with all but a couple of my original statements, which I suppose I'll count as a success if you're consistent on them. The few I think you'd still disagree with are either somewhat peripheral (and you've stopped replying to my explanations on them) or actually resolve to what is essentially agreement, like on what "science" means.

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  80. John,

    Did he claim that he was doing science at the time or that the triune nature of God was a scientific result? One distinguishing feature between a "methodology" and a "worldview" is that you do not have to adhere to the methodology in everything you do (most people aren't that consistent with worldviews either, but that's a different argument).

    Did Collins claim to be doing science when he decided that Jesus was God? I don't know. Would you believe him if he did? :)

    I think you understand that whatever process Collins used to reach his conclusions about theological issues are totally incompatible with the scientific method. What I don't understand is why you keep trying to shift the terms in order to obscure these problems.

    Religion requires its followers to make these leaps of faith. Leaps of faith are incompatible with science. Therefore religion is incompatible with science.

    The only way around this is if the religion makes no claims at all, such as with pantheism or maybe deism.

    That's because I do not know of a religious "method" of the same sort as the scientific method. Care to elucidate?

    Okay, you're getting close, now follow this along...

    There is no consistent method used in reaching theological beliefs, that's why they are incompatible with science.

    What you haven't done is demonstrate the existence of the category of "someone who holds religious beliefs that are inconsistent with science even though he/she can and willing does adhere to the scientific method when doing science."

    There are plenty of creationists who follow the scientific method in their professional capacity of a scientist. You've already cottoned on to the fact that Collins may do science when in his professional life, but when you get him near a church, he no longer uses anything resembling the scientific method to decide questions or form beliefs.

    It's called compartmentalization, and we see this all the time. You must know this, so where's the disconnect here?

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  81. Larry:

    Science is a way of knowing. As far as I can tell, it's a very good way of knowing. So far, I haven't seen any evidence to suggest that there's any other way of knowing that can generate real facts about the world we live in.

    Quite so. The question is do we have to seek facts at all times.

    [Re love:] Now you're being silly. That's the kind of argument that adolescents use when they first start to think about the problem. I hope you're just being provocative 'cause I'd hate to think you're being serious.

    You are insisting that religionists cannot be good scientists unless they seek scientific facts about every aspect of the world. Yes, I am seriously asking why you are special pleading when it comes to religion but not love, art and beauty.

    Shirakawasuna:

    ... it's clear that a literal, modern interpretation of many of the holy texts on which these faiths are based conflict with evolutionary accounts and, most importantly, are held to by believers.

    I see. You "interpret" the religionists' theology for them and Leshner's making a claim about science, instead of you making a claim about their theology? Right!

    You do realize that
    many, if not most, "mainstream" religions have issued statements supporting the science of evolution.

    He's done precisely what you'd tried to do with science: pick a restrictive definition that doesn't seem to be representative ...

    And here I though you'd accepted my definition. When you make up your mind, send up a flare will you? In the meantime, can you show me some per-reviewed conclusions of the scientific method that contradict what Leshner is saying?

    Tyro:

    Did Collins claim to be doing science when he decided that Jesus was God? I don't know. Would you believe him if he did? :)

    Hey! Isn't that an empiric fact? He either claimed it was science or he didn't.

    ... whatever process Collins used to reach his conclusions about theological issues are totally incompatible with the scientific method

    But the issue has been all along whether the holding of religious beliefs is incompatible with science. The video wasn't claiming that science and religion are done in the same way or that they were interchangeable. In fact, as Shirakawasuna has so helpfully summarized Leshner (before going on to practice his own theology) the claim is that they are totally separate domains. Now, of course, you are free to dispute that claim but that is a philosophical argument, not one susceptible to the scientific method itself.

    Religion requires its followers to make these leaps of faith. Leaps of faith are incompatible with science. Therefore religion is incompatible with science.

    Then we're back to the problem of love, art, beauty and a myriad other human activities that are not ruled by rational choice. Must scientists give them all up? Larry thinks JMW Turner is one of the greatest artists ever but he can't make a logical argument that the daubs of paint Turner put on a canvas were rationally better than the daubs, say, Goya put on canvas.

    If religion takes "compartmentalization," so does much of life, including some of the very best things in it. Remind me why that kind of compartmentalization is bad again.

    The only way around this is if the religion makes no claims at all, such as with pantheism or maybe deism.

    There you go doing theology. Atheists seem to love to do that. Miller is not a pantheist but neither does he contradict any result of science. Why is your theology right and his wrong?

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  82. John,

    But the issue has been all along whether the holding of religious beliefs is incompatible with science. The video wasn't claiming that science and religion are done in the same way or that they were interchangeable.

    I think you're mistaken.

    The video does not merely say that holding religious beliefs is compatible with the ability to perform science, and we're not arguing that religious beliefs prevent one from performing science. Is that what you've been trying to argue?

    Instead, the video goes further and tries to argue that the religious beliefs themselves are compatible with science. That's taking it one step too far.

    In fact, as Shirakawasuna has so helpfully summarized Leshner (before going on to practice his own theology) the claim is that they are totally separate domains. Now, of course, you are free to dispute that claim but that is a philosophical argument, not one susceptible to the scientific method itself.

    You can't have it both ways. You recognize that science and some religions are incompatible, which means you recognize that they are not separate domains. It may be that some religious beliefs have been careful to prevent their claims from being tested scientifically, but this does not make them a separate domain.

    Then we're back to the problem of love, art, beauty and a myriad other human activities that are not ruled by rational choice. Must scientists give them all up?

    Religious claims like "god exists", or "prayer heals" are not opinions.

    If religion takes "compartmentalization," so does much of life, including some of the very best things in it. Remind me why that kind of compartmentalization is bad again.

    Compartmentalized just means that people can hold two mutually incompatible beliefs. Sheesh.

    Miller is not a pantheist but neither does he contradict any result of science. Why is your theology right and his wrong?

    Are you sure his beliefs don't contradict any scientifically reached conclusions?

    And since when has merely not contradicting established fact meant that a belief is "compatible" with science?

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  83. I see. You "interpret" the religionists' theology for them and Leshner's making a claim about science, instead of you making a claim about their theology? Right!

    Uh... perhaps you think I've equivocated on the word literal: I am talking about people who read the KJV and think unicorns exist because they have trouble thinking either in allegory or considering the idea that perhaps, just perhaps, the Bible has been edited without God's permission. Should I say YEC, just to make it really, really obvious? My basic point is that those people exist, and you know they do as well.

    You do realize that
    many, if not most, "mainstream" religions have issued statements supporting the science of evolution.


    I will meet this response with what it deserves: duh.

    And here I though you'd accepted my definition. When you make up your mind, send up a flare will you? In the meantime, can you show me some per-reviewed conclusions of the scientific method that contradict what Leshner is saying?

    Good job on omitting the rest of my sentence, John. Real great integrity, there. It continues on: "(Note that the restrictive definition I'm referring to is the one you alluded to before including the results of science in the definition.)"

    I will also congratulate you on again skipping the substance of my claims. Do you have anything at all to say on the fact that you've waffled on whether you say science and religion are compatible? How about the fact that you now seem to essentially agree with everything originally said, excluding that one peripheral issue that you keep avoiding?

    In fact, as Shirakawasuna has so helpfully summarized Leshner (before going on to practice his own theology) the claim is that they are totally separate domains.

    lol, if you have the ability to reference me in other posts (incorrectly, I might add), you can address the really obvious points I've made.

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  84. Tyro:

    ... the video goes further and tries to argue that the religious beliefs themselves are compatible with science.

    That some religious beliefs are compatible.

    You recognize that science and some religions are incompatible, which means you recognize that they are not separate domains.

    The argument of the people in the video is that religion should be viewed as a separate domain, with religion having nothing to say about the empiric facts of the world. The fact that some people violate that understanding of religion does not invalidate the concept any more than the fact that murder occurs invalidates the concept of laws against murder.

    Religious claims like "god exists", or "prayer heals" are not opinions.

    "There are people I love" is an opinion and not an empiric fact of the world? "I experienced the beauty of a Mozart sonata" is not a real experience?

    Sure, there are empiric facts amenable to science that some religionists make claims about and the people in the video are saying it is perfectly okay to knock those claims down. But even Dawkins admits you can't scientifically demonstrate the nonexistence of god and if you understand "heals" to include making people better able to withstand suffering, it's not obvious that prayer fails in that sense.

    In short, all people, including scientists, proceed through much of their lives in non-rational, non-scientific ways. Larry's latest was an attempt to say that scientists shouldn't do that when it comes to religion and my point is why does that only apply to religion, given how much else they do irrationally?

    Compartmentalized just means that people can hold two mutually incompatible beliefs.

    But in what sense are they "incompatible" if all people, including scientists, hold irrationally-arrived-at beliefs throughout all of their lives? Again, is love "incompatible" with science simply because even scientists don't approach who they love and why they love them as a scientific question?

    Are you sure his beliefs don't contradict any scientifically reached conclusions?

    Who can better report his beliefs than him? Objectively, I know of no instance where he contradicts any of the results of science. Do you?

    And since when has merely not contradicting established fact meant that a belief is "compatible" with science?

    I keep asking for a better definition but nobody has been able to provide one yet.

    Shirakawasuna:

    Sh: "First we have Alan Leshner with the comment that most mainstream religions do not have problems with evolution, and then he lists the [much of] Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, etc. This is wrong on its face ..."

    JP: "You do realize that many, if not most, "mainstream" religions have issued statements supporting the science of evolution."

    Sh: "I will meet this response with what it deserves: duh."

    ...

    Note that the restrictive definition I'm referring to is the one you alluded to before including the results of science in the definition.

    But now you recognize that I'm including the results of the scientific method, right? Do you accept that definition now?

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  85. John Pieret:
    But now you recognize that I'm including the results of the scientific method, right? Do you accept that definition now?

    Yes, although I still hold that in making an advocacy video as the AAAS has, they must either fully explain their terminology or be aware of the public perception: "science", to the general public, is not just a methodology, but that vague thing that gives people conclusions that scientists do, including what "science" tells you.

    Funny that you phrase it that way, though ;). You've essentially agreed with my original premise while contradicting your earlier statements. (by the way, concerning the various religions being compatible with science, I was agreeing with "many" but not "most".)

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  86. The argument of the people in the video is that religion should be viewed as a separate domain, with religion having nothing to say about the empiric facts of the world.

    Exactly. And since we can both think of clear cases where this is false, the whole argument is nonsense. If it can reach false conclusions, it is fallacious.

    The fact that some people violate that understanding of religion does not invalidate the concept any more than the fact that murder occurs invalidates the concept of laws against murder.

    Come on, you can do better than that. We're talking about what is, not what should be. If you want to say that religion should be compatible with science, fine. But don't act like you haven't been trying to say that religion is compatible.

    This twisting makes me question your commitment to the truth. If you're just pushing your polemic without regard for its veracity, I'm not interested.

    "There are people I love" is an opinion and not an empiric fact of the world? "I experienced the beauty of a Mozart sonata" is not a real experience?

    Whether there are people you love is an empirical fact, even though the state of love is subjective. Whether you experienced a Mozart sonata is a fact; whether this is beautiful is an opinion.

    All of this, again, sounds like an attempt at a smoke screen since the existence of god is not an emotion.

    But even Dawkins admits you can't scientifically demonstrate the nonexistence of god

    Yeah right. And show me the scientific discipline where an inability to disprove a principle is considered justification for accepting it.

    Again, this just illustrates how religious methods are incompatible with science.

    and if you understand "heals" to include making people better able to withstand suffering, it's not obvious that prayer fails in that sense.

    See above. I think we're both glad that science accounts for the placebo effect. It's interesting to see that you're reduced to saying that the most powerful theological belief you can defend is one which has less healing power than an aspirin. Goes back to what I said earlier: deism/pantheism is the only religion consistent with science (not saying it's compatible though). The Great Sugar Pill in the Sky.

    Again, is love "incompatible" with science simply because even scientists don't approach who they love and why they love them as a scientific question?

    If you think that "love" has no evidence, you're service a prison sentence for criminal stalking. And unless you think that god is just an emotion, drop this. It was a terrible analogy when it was first thought up, and it does you no credit that you keep repeating it.



    After going around in circles, I see your argument this way:

    1. Some scientists are theists.
    2. These scientists say their religion is compatible with science.
    3. Therefore we should take them at their word.

    It's an argument from authority, made all the worse because you know full well that some other scientists are theist and say their religion is compatible with science, yet you know the conclusion doesn't hold.

    All the rest is just smoke. If you can't offer anything more, I'm done.

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  87. Come on, you can do better than that. We're talking about what is, not what should be.

    But, as I said in the beginning, the video was talking about how some people view the relationship between science and religion and, naturally, how those people think other people should view the relationship between science and religion. Simply saying that the attitude is not universal neither demonstrates the falsity of the view of the people depicted nor that they do not succeed in making science and their religion compatible.

    But don't act like you haven't been trying to say that religion is compatible.

    If, in fact, these people can make science and religion "compatible" (and we haven't agreed on a definition for that yet) then "religion" is compatible, even if some subsets of "religion" are not ... just as "government is compatible with political freedom" if true if one or more politically free governments exist, no matter how many un-free ones exist. To demonstrate that "religion," the concept, is incompatible with science you have to demonstrate a conceptual inconsistency or, at a minimum, the nonexistence of any compatible cases. The converse, the demonstration of a compatible case, demonstrates that the concept is compatible.

    If you're just pushing your polemic without regard for its veracity, I'm not interested.

    Me? I'm an Apathetic Agnostic ("We Don't Know and We Don't Care"). I ain't got a dog in this hunt. What I find fascinating is how supposedly rational atheists so rarely unpack their own unstated assumptions and examine them and, when they do, they wind up doing pretty much what everyone else does ... sweeping them back under the rug with rationalizations and avoidance tactics.

    Whether there are people you love is an empirical fact, even though the state of love is subjective. Whether you experienced a Mozart sonata is a fact; whether this is beautiful is an opinion.

    So, which is it? Are "subjective" experiences not real or are such experiences allowed, for some unstated reason, to be exempt from science while not being "incompatible" with science? That's the issue here. You are claiming, as far as I can tell, that all things in some category must be treated as scientific questions at the penalty of being declared "incompatible" with science if they are not. I'm trying to determine the nature of this category of yours.

    And show me the scientific discipline where an inability to disprove a principle is considered justification for accepting it.

    I've often heard that "the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." The inability to disprove a principle means you are not (rationally) able to say it does not exist. But since when do religionists need to prove their beliefs scientifically? We're just back to an assertion that everything in some undefined category must be treated as a scientific issue or else it is "incompatible" with science. You're going to have to do more heavy lifting to demonstrate that, beyond mere assertion.

    If you think that "love" has no evidence ...

    That's not the issue. The question is whether a scientist or person who values science must pursue everything as a scientific question. If a scientist can love without subjecting that experience to scientific testing, why not believe without subjecting that experience to testing?

    And unless you think that god is just an emotion, drop this. It was a terrible analogy when it was first thought up, and it does you no credit that you keep repeating it.

    They are both things that people believe they experience. You insist that one is "incompatible" with science unless people test it by scientific methods and the other isn't "inconsistent" even though not tested. The analogy goes to that claim and simply asserting it doesn't is not a rational argument.

    These scientists say their religion is compatible with science. ... It's an argument from authority ...

    Someone says they are in love. We know some people lie about that. Is saying you are in love an argument from authority? Can you test it scientifically? What objective measure do apply to either?

    If you can't offer anything more, I'm done.

    Nobody's holding a gun to head to think about these things.

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  88. So are you ready to admit that you're on my side now, John Pieret? ;)

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  89. What's interesting is that some of the comments deny that an intervening God is compatible with science but surely this is having faith in materialism and the scientific method rather than something which is empirically provable.

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  90. FWIW, catching up on old threads.

    @ John:


    Since I've explained at length why it is not an argument from authority but from facts concerning people and religion, there is obviously no use trying to explain it to you again.


    No, you are arguing that some christian scientists have done science well. (I happen to disagree; they then turn around and proclaim theories as invalid.) That is an argument from authority that would need substantiating.


    if you'd care to demonstrate how I'm "definitionally" wrong by giving a "correct" definition of "science," instead of just making arguments by assertion, I'm willing to listen.


    You defined it to the exclusion of facts (and theories). Here these facts matters.


    Indeed there is a moving goal post ... yours. No matter how many things of the world can be "explained" through the limiting assumptions of science and utilizing what Hume correctly pointed out is only our intuition of causation, science can never produce a scientific result on the issue.


    Now you are moving the goal posts further before coming back to a study, away from facts into philosophy. No one was arguing causation, but fact and theory.

    As I noted we don't need a study, as we already note the absence. Again I ask you, define your study object to show us evidence of gods.


    I say it is necessarily philosophy. I haven't seen anything in what you've said that would even begin to counter that.


    Because you ignored that the philosophical claim is unnecessary strong. (And indeed can't be supported.)

    @ Joel:


    surely this is having faith in materialism and the scientific method rather than something which is empirically provable.


    I commented on that above.

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  91. Science vs. Religion
    Again And Again And...


    A. "Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think by Elaine Howard Ecklund"
    http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/60362/title/Science_vs._Religion_What_Scientists_Really_Think_by_Elaine__Howard_Ecklund


    B. "Inception And Prevalence Of Western Monotheism"
    http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2SF3CJJM5OU6T27OC4MFQSDYEU/blog/articles/53111

    Several additional science/religion titles are included in the link
    http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2SF3CJJM5OU6T27OC4MFQSDYEU/blog/articles/53049

    some dealing with the role that AAAS has been playing in the science/religion subject...


    Dov Henis

    Life is, by our sensory conception, a virtual reality affair, and religion is a virtual reality tool for going through life.

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  92. Origin And Nature Of Earth Life, An Update…

    Liberate your mind from concepts dictated by religious trade-union AAAS.
    1) Life is just another mass format. 2) re-comprehend natural selection. 3) natural selection is ubiquitous, for all mass formats.

    Life Evolves by Naturally Selected Organic Matter


    I.
    Homegrown Organic Matter Found on Mars, But No Life
    http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/05/homegrown-organic-matter-found-o.html?ref=em

    II. EarthLife Genesis From Aromaticity/H-Bonding
    http://universe-life.com/2011/09/30/earthlife-genesis-from-aromaticityh-bonding/
    September 30, 2011

    A.
    Purines and pyrimidines are two of the building blocks of nucleic acids. Only two purines and three pyrimidines occur widely in nucleic acids.

    B.
    Pyrimidine is a heterocyclic aromatic organic compound similar to benzene and pyridine, containing two nitrogen atoms at positions 1 and 3 of the six-member ring.
    A purine is a heterocyclic aromatic organic compound, consisting of a pyrimidine ring fused to an imidazole ring. Purines, including substituted purines and their tautomers, are the most widely distributed kind of nitrogen-containing heterocycle in nature.
    Aromaticity ( Kekule, Loschmidt, Thiele) is essential for the Krebs Cycle for energy production.

    C.
    Natural selection is E (energy) temporarily constrained in an m (mass) format.

    Natural selection is a universal ubiquitous trait of ALL mass spin formats, inanimate and animate.

    Life began/evolved on Earth with the natural selection of inanimate RNA, then of some RNA nucleotides, then arriving at the ultimate mode of natural selection – self replication.

    Aromaticity enables good constraining of energy and good propensity to hydrogen bonding. The address of Earth Life Genesis, of phasing from inanimate to animate natural selection, is Aromaticity.Hydrogen Bonding.

    Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century)
    http://universe-life.com/2012/02/03/universe-energy-mass-life-compilation/

    tags: life genesis, natural selection, life mass format

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