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When Evidence Isn’t Enough

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Posted on Feb 26, 2012
Youtube / TEDxTalks

In the face of ever-increasing contradictory evidence, millions of Americans believe God created humans as they exist today and that Earth is just thousands of years old. Why?

Salman Hameed, assistant professor of integrated science and humanities at Hampshire College, says people often cling to improbable explanations of their experiences and the world around them because abandoning them means losing their sense of themselves and the relationships, comfort and other benefits that come with belonging to a community.

How best to advance the causes of knowledge and reason then? By showing believers what they stand to gain, he says. —ARK

 

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By OzarkMichael, March 21, 2012 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment

Scientism is on the list (albeit in one small place) but I wasn’t explicit about it but it is there.

fair enough. There is room for us to disagree about the severity of the problem, but at least you realize the problem.

We can keep talking about Milgram and authoritarianism. Or we can be done with this and move on if you like. 

Or if you want to stop completely we can do that. I am sure we will clash again on other threads.

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By OzarkMichael, March 21, 2012 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment

He says he is “for science” but I wonder where he does exactly?

I have a degree in biology. I have a doctorate level degree in the health sciences. I use science every day. I am really good at science. There arent too many people on Truthdig who know as much about science as i do.

Please note: My science knowledge does not allow me to claim any moral authority over you, nor am i saying that it proves me right about anything else. That would be scientism and i reject that completely.

Also, I am not going to use my science backround as if its a rubber stamp for any of my moral judgements, no matter how near and dear they are to me. I think that is the sort of thing Maani finds immoral, and he is right to be a little outraged by it.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 21, 2012 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment

Scientism is on the list (albeit in one small place) but I wasn’t explicit about it but it is there. I see it is dangerous information that can be used by the unscrupulous. Made explicit by Milgram‘s Experiment one of the human weaknesses. It is certainly frightening but the way you are interpreting it now it is like a bomb hidden in plain sight an you are the only one with that vision of it to see. Pretentious of you isn’t it? But then you are prejudiced against me being an Atheist, Anarchist kind of person that I am. Which is why you can’t see that I do agree with you even if you only touched on one point of a larger an more immediate spectrum.

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By OzarkMichael, March 21, 2012 at 5:26 am Link to this comment

Ozark Michael‘s point was too narrow an self serving.

Thats just because I know how to interpret a scientific study.

The problem isn’t just scientist authority figures but all authority figures.

If we are having a philosophical chat, yes it is. But I am warning about a new problem, one you were not aware of. The Milgram experiment proves I am right. Thats all i was doing. That is the one thing you dont want to know.

I did not attack Milgram. i did not attack science. I did not attack you. All i did was connect Milgram’s experiment to a specific type of authority, the authority of science. And you furnished a word and a definition of it that was perfect: “Scientism”.

I am interpreting Milgram’s experiment correctly. I am the only person who figured it out. You should realize that i am very creative and thoughtful and helpful. If you were really worried about authoritarianism you would add scientism to the list of dangerous things. But instead of treating me with a little respect and accepting my warning about the dangerous scientism, you fight and treat me like I am the dangerous person. The reason you do that, the ONLY reason you do that, is because you have a bias against me. Why are you biased? Because I am a Christian, a fundamentalist Christian, and a conservative. Your prejudice is so bad that you cant think straight about what i am saying.

That is why Evidence Isnt Enough for you.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 20, 2012 at 8:43 pm Link to this comment

You are looking at it backwards. Ozark Michael‘s point was too narrow an self serving. The problem isn’t just scientist authority figures but all authority figures. Now maybe you can see that since he is blind to it. He says he is “for science” but I wonder where he does exactly? We are individuals so I hope< Maani that you haven’t yet joined sides here. Because this should be about the truth not sides. But if you agree with Ozark Michael that it is only Scientism aka self serving individuals hiding in the realm of the sciences are the danger. Even though science have been enlisted by the cult figure an the gov’t official to cause great harm.

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By Maani, March 20, 2012 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

N-G:

I think you are still missing the point.  OM is saying that, with specific respect to the Milgram experiment, it showed ONLY that people would obey the authority of SCIENTISTS vis-a-vis doing things they would not normally do, including harming other people.  He is NOT suggesting that others - religious leaders, political leaders, economists - might not ALSO be seen as authority figures who people would obey even to the point of harming others.

You are conflating OM’s SPECIFIC point with a more general point that you, yourself, have introduced.

You two are basically saying the same thing - and seem to agree on both items - but you are like ships passing in the night.  LOL

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By Night-Gaunt, March 20, 2012 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment

You won’t accept the fact that it is the matter of who is in authority not that it is a “scientist” an that is why you changed the quote. You still think only scientists have such power an not anyone else? That is why your hypothesis fails. An Milgram had no bad ulterior motive. Or did he? Is that what you are saying? Please specify as you are getting too slippery again in your meaning here.

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By OzarkMichael, March 19, 2012 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment

You even changed the quote you took from me in order to make your own argument against me.

I put the word ‘Milgram’ in parenthesis. Did it change the meaning? Whenever I quote someone I add what we were talinging about if the sentence alone doesnt make it clear. You keep slipping away from the very simple and straightforward topic.

Like this:

I don’t need your warning since I am aware of what humans will do. Especially authoritarians followers who will follow the orders of an authoritarian lead no matter who they are. Something you can’t seem to understand Ozark Micheal. An how many children did not report they were being raped in the Catholic church when their leaders, authority figures told them not to?

My warning was about one thing. What humans will do because of Scientism. At first you didnt know, and then once i explained it you were in denial, and now you are talking about rapes in the Catholic Church. You are changing the subject.

You still havent admitted about Milgram. It is about people killing someone in cold blood because a scientist told them that science required them to kill. You still havent faced that horrific fact. You should know better by now but still you wriggle away from the facts. Turn and face yourself. 

Over 60% of Americans tested were willing to kill an innocent person for science. They were people like you who think science justifies everything. Murder of an innocent person! For science! Its a terrible thing. I dont know how to get through to you.  I guess ‘When Evidence Isnt Enough’ it doesnt matter.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment

You even changed the quote you took from me in order to make your own argument against me. So authority in general doesn’t bother you as much as scientism? Again I ask give an example today of what you fear most?


I don’t need your warning since I am aware of what humans will do. Especially authoritarians followers who will follow the orders of an authoritarian lead no matter who they are. Something you can’t seem to understand Ozark Micheal. An how many children did not report they were being raped in the Catholic church when their leaders, authority figures told them not to? Many did not report it till many years later. So it isn’t scientism but misuse of authority an those 60% who would not move against them? Maybe you should heed my warning. Question Authority or else. Now that will easily lead to any number of holocausts of the past, today an tomorrow.

So where again is science leading us to another holocaust? the military’s use of it or gov’t or independent company?

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By OzarkMichael, March 19, 2012 at 10:53 am Link to this comment

What it(Milgram) showed that anyone in authority not just someone posing as a scientist. That is where you artificially draw the line the I would not.

You are the one making artificial extrapolations. If you really want to insist that the experiment showed that 60% of Americans would kill someone they knew was innocent because a Catholic priest told them to do it, you are out of your mind. Or maybe you dont know how to evaluate information scientifically.

Well, i do. Listen!

Milgram showed that 60% of the Americans he tested would kill someone who they know is innocent for the sake of what they thought was a scientific experiment, simply because a person who they thought was a scientist told them to do it. There were no preachers telling people to kill. NOT ONE. There were no rabbis asking anyone to continue shocking innocent people. NOT ONE. There was no religion that people were killing for! It was about one thing, just one thing that people were killing for… the evil authoritarian mindset of scientism.

You are making artificial conclusions about the experiment in order to protect scientism. Focus on the results and accept my warning before its too late.

What should i do now, since Evidence Isnt Enough to make you understand?

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By Night-Gaunt, March 18, 2012 at 9:11 pm Link to this comment

What it showed that anyone in authority not just someone posing as a scientist. That is where you artificially draw the line the I would not.

How is the Milgram experiment scientism? No one was directly hurt though of course there was some psychological damage to be sure but it was an important experiment to tell us things we should know an to avoid about our selves. It would have been different if people were actually being hit but greater voltages an really injured or died. Then I would agree with you on that.

So this disturbed you more that that the experiment was done in the first place than in what was learned about ourselves? So you find the entire experiment wrong? Or was it because humans were used in the test instead of lower forms like mice?

So you don’t think authority figures in politics, military or clergy are free from this do you? If so you have painted yourself into a difficult corner. What you should have posited is that we shouldn’t be ready to follow any authority figure if it violates our own code of conduct. Then I would have agreed with you then too.

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By OzarkMichael, March 18, 2012 at 5:38 pm Link to this comment

Ozark Michael you still haven’t given an example of scientism that is being used in such a way that would lead to a holocaust?

Yes i did. The Milgram experiment showed conclusively that ordinary people will injure perfectly innocent people simply because the authority of science dictated it to them. The evidence is there but apparently it isnt enough for you.

Also who should I turn to if I should reject all science as your question suggests?

Who said anything about rejecting all science? I say that you should reject scientism. Reject the foolish and dangerous notion that the authority of science can morally justify your actions. If you think it does you are one of those people who will shock someone to death. Not surprising because it is so common. Two out of three Americans are just like you.

Also who should I turn to if I should reject all science as your question suggests?

It must be hard for you to let go of the authority figures who tell you what to do. They act as though they can justify all your actions simply by their command in the name of science. Its hard, but you must reject it!

Dont ask me to fill that void. I am not going to be your replacement authority figure, so I am not going to tell you what to do. The whole thing has to come from inside your own heart instead of from someone else’s authoritative command.

I merely list some of your options: Consider religion. Consider philosophy. If you cant do that you could try listening to the still small voice inside. If you cant do any of those things try to remember what your momma taught you. I know that sounds silly but its better than scientism any day.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 18, 2012 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment

Ozark Michael you still haven’t given an example of scientism that is being used in such a way that would lead to a holocaust? Also who should I turn to if I should reject all science as your question suggests? Please do answer. An if you ignore my questions again it would tell to me you are doing it deliberately.

By OzarkMichael, March 10 at 4:25 pm Link to this comment

  sci·en·tism (sn-tzm)
  n.
  1. The collection of attitudes and practices considered typical of scientists.
  2. The belief that the investigative methods of the physical sciences are applicable or justifiable in all fields of inquiry

Scientism is becoming the motivating force of our next holocaust. I advise you to reject the authority of scientists.

Where you first posited you stance. But have yet to back it up. And also you may have missed that I had already given the exact definition on March 5 at 3:20 pm of scientism.

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By OzarkMichael, March 18, 2012 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

Night Gaunt said:

I’ve been listening to both of you from the beginning. However Ozark Michael you claimed that science was leading us to a holocaust.

Did I claim that science was leading us to the next holocaust? Maybe you are not reading very carefully. Please read what i actually said, I linked it below.

http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/when_evidence_isnt_enough_20120226/#468226

And if you continue to misquote me i will know you are doing it on purpose.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 16, 2012 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment

I’ve been listening to both of you from the beginning. However Ozark Michael you claimed that science was leading us to a holocaust. It can certainly be used for such. The Nazis used the cover of science in their views (an many others around the world) such as the pseudo science of eugenics. (It was a secular version of those who also believed that god blessed them an not the ones who are poor, enslaved an/or not white.)

I ask for an example from you Ozark Michael showing a science is being used by scientists to make ready for another holocaust. None have been forth coming yet. An how am I supposed to be being fooled right now? Please be detailed in your replies.

I stated that Scientism is becoming the motivating force of our next holocaust. I advised you to reject the authority of scientists.

You say you are for scientists an science an yet you turn around an say to reject all that. What am I to do? Which authority should I listen to then? Politicians or clergy or gardners? Please be explicit on to whom science needs to be accepted if not from peer reviewed scientists?

Now I wonder where Scientism would not work? Religion? Not necessarily. The study of the human brain has brought out some interesting data concerning those who have related such “religious” experiences. But if you can show me where it is being misused or used wrongly I am all ears, or eyes in this case.

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By OzarkMichael, March 16, 2012 at 5:07 am Link to this comment

It is the politicos that are the problem not science in general. You do understand this don’t you?

True, but also Maani is right. The politicos in this country cant do much without fooling the people into believing its a good idea. Scientism(the authority of scientists which ‘justifies’ any action) is building into the engine that will empower the next American holocaust. 

I was not attacking you, Night Gaunt, or attacking everything else that you ever said. I was attacking one thing: scientism, which has been scientifically proven to be very dangerous. That was my warning.

You didnt know what I was talking about at first, but then you decided to listen, and now, if you reject scientism, you are wiser than you were before. Not only that, you are one of the few Leftists who actually takes the time to listen to something that you dont like at first, and thats a good thing.Not only that, but you accepted a warning from someone you usually disagree with, and that is most admirable.

If we are in agreement about scientism, then it is your turn to explain to me about Altmeyer’s paper. I will try to listen. What single point do you wish to make with it? Or do you feel that the entire paper would be beneficial for me to read? I am fine either way, or both ways.

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By Maani, March 15, 2012 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment

N-G:

“It is the politicos that are the problem not science in general.”

I think what OM is saying is that it is the politicos USING THE IMPRIMATUR OF “SCIENCE” that is the problem.

The two are not mutually exclusive in this regard.

Peace.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 15, 2012 at 9:14 pm Link to this comment

Of course I understood it since I said the same thing. You however did not until just now. You were saying that science, an by natural extension scientists were leading us to another holocaust. So what is your point? You have now contradicted what you were saying before. It is the politicos that are the problem not science in general. You do understand this don’t you?

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By Joan, March 15, 2012 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I get a kick out of the atheists on this thread who feel entitled to belittle and demean believers.

The father of secular humanism, Imanuel Kant, permitted his departure from God-based morality by arguing that man could still be moral if we understood that every human being is entitled to respect due to his intrinsic worth as a human being, not his level of understanding of the world around him. Thus we would still be safe without God calling the shots.

Condescending atheists deviating from Kant’s stringent moral standard jeopardize everyone’s safety ala the Milgram experiment and the Nazi eugenics mentality…just recall what we read last week…ethicists(?) in Australia (of the Pete Singer of Princeton Univ. mentality),  argued for the moral acceptability of post birth abortions, a euphemism for murdering newborns who are are inconvenient truths in their parents lives. (Google it.)

Whose life becomes worthless next in the absence of a supreme moral authority whose laws we are required to observe in favor of those who now feel entitled to mandate what is permissible to believe in order to be safe in our own backyards or a hospital delivery room?

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By OzarkMichael, March 15, 2012 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment

Night Gaunt. I am not talking about a mad scientist who takes over the world, i am talking about a government that uses the authority of “science” to justify direct immoral actions by citizens against people who they know are innocent. And dont say that never happened. Hitler did just that.

Milgram proved that Americans are susceptable to the same thing. Do you understand this?

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By Night-Gaunt, March 15, 2012 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

Well in order to proceed I need you Ozark Michael & Maani to give me at least one example to where science had been usurped by pseudo-science by scientists an took over some country on their own without gov’t sanction. (Now it had been by non-scientist dictators like Hitler an Stalin but that doesn’t fit your criterion. So please furnish at least one example for us to work on that proves your case?

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By OzarkMichael, March 15, 2012 at 6:05 am Link to this comment

I am content to work off the definition from Night Gaunt.

scientism: 2. The belief that the investigative methods of the physical sciences are applicable or justifiable in all fields of inquiry.

In other words, scientism is the faith that scientific investigation is always justifiable. “Justifiable” is another way of saying ‘its morally allowed’.  That is exactly what Milgram’s experiment showed.

I am not saying that science is bad. But i am saying that with ‘scientism’, the authority of science overrides morality(basically scientism replaces God/morals/ethics). ‘Science’ replaces God.

Dont misunderstand , Night-Gaunt. i like science. I am a scientific person. I use science daily. But thanks to scientism, Americans are willing to execute people who they already know are completely innocent. Doesnt that make you a little nervous?

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By Maani, March 14, 2012 at 11:42 pm Link to this comment

N-G:

“Scientism refers to a belief in the universal applicability of the scientific method and approach, and the view that empirical science constitutes the most authoritative worldview or most valuable part of human learning to the exclusion of other viewpoints. The term frequently implies a critique of the more extreme expressions of logical positivism and has been used by social scientists such as Friedrich Hayek, philosophers of science such as Karl Popper, and philosophers such as Hilary Putnam to describe THE DOGMATIC ENDORSEMENT OF SCIENTIFIC METHODOLOGY AND THE REDUCTION OF ALL KNOWLEDGE TO ONLY THAT WHICH IS MEASURABLE.” (Emphasis mine.)

“Scientism may refer to science applied ‘in excess.’ The term scientism can apply in either of two equally pejorative senses: 1. To indicate the improper usage of science or scientific claims. THIS USAGE APPLIES EQUALLY IN CONTEXTS WHERE SCIENCE MIGHT NOT APPLY, SUCH AS WHEN THE TOPIC IS PERCEIVED TO BE BEYOND THE SCOPE OF SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY, AND IN CONTEXTS WHERE THERE IS INSUFFICIENT EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE TO JUSTIFY A SCIENTIFIC CONCLUSION. IT INCLUDES AN EXCESSIVE DEFERENCE TO CLAIMS MADE BY SCIENTISTS OR AN UNCRITICAL EAGERNESS TO ACCEPT ANY RESULT DESCRIBED AS SCIENTIFIC. In this case, the term is a counterargument to appeals to scientific authority.” (Emphasis mine.)

“2. To refer to ‘the belief that the methods of natural science, or the categories and things recognized in natural science, form the only proper elements in any philosophical or other inquiry,’ or that ‘science, and only science, describes the world as it is in itself, independent of perspective’ with a concomitant ‘elimination of the psychological dimensions of experience.’”

As you can see, the actual definition of scientism is, as I suggested more than just the two provided by a standard dictionary, and is not something I simply made up out of whole cloth.

As for “Also no scientist would waste their time attempting to prove ‘nothing’ exists of any sort. Only those professing something must prove it.”  You keep missing the point: there ARE scientists who are doing this - including some very well-known and otherwise well-respected scientists.  Richard Dawkins, Victor Stenger, and Daniel Dennett come to mind immediately: each of them (all members of the “New Atheists” contingent) is engaging in scientism as defined above - including very deliberately and vigorously attempting to disprove the existence of God.  For goodness sake, Dawkins’ most famous book is “The God Delusion,” and Stenger’s most recent work was “God: The Failed Hypothesis.”  What more obvious, direct proof do you need that these scientists are very deliberately focused on disproving the existence of God?  Why don’t you write to them and tell them what “bad” scientists they are for “wasting their time?”  As an aside, it might interest you to know that many in the scientific community - including some almost equally well-respected scientists - have done just that, some going so far as to state that Dawkins et al are actually giving science a “bad name” by engaging in anti-theist polemics.

Peace.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 14, 2012 at 9:44 pm Link to this comment

scientism:
1. The collection of attitudes and practices considered typical of scientists.
2. The belief that the investigative methods of the physical sciences are applicable or justifiable in all fields of inquiry.

No where does either definition say that. No does it imply that it is some form of infallible belief system. It is just a system by which one examines the natural world. One that has been proven time-an-again to work. It is a method, not a catechism. An the formation of our universe is still up to debate an hypothesis. No answer comes form the religions that are of any use.

You are seeing things that just aren’t there. Unless there is a third definition of Scientism I have not seen. I suspect that those who use it pejoratively, mainly anti-science types, created such a meaning to fit their prejudices. An anyone who is a scientist by training an say such a thing would be considered a quack an drummed out.

Also no scientist would waste their time attempting to prove “nothing” exists of any sort. Only those professing something must prove it.

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By Maani, March 14, 2012 at 9:10 pm Link to this comment

N-G:

I don’t know if your response is to me or to OM.  In either case, you say, “Nothing is set or infallible in science.”

True.  But “scientism” is (again, when used pejoratively), among others things, the belief that science IS “set” or “infallible.”  It is essentially the “fundamentalist” or “extremist” side of belief in science.  It is a “certitude” comparable with the certitude of (some?, many?) believers.  It is what is driving some scientists in some areas of science (particularly genetics, evolutionary biology and cosmology) to not simply offer supportable, even possibly provable theories, but to resort to completely insupportable, unprovable hypotheses that are offered largely (if not solely) in order to disprove the existence of God.  And BECAUSE scientists are so broadly “trusted” by much of the general populace (particlarly atheists), those hypotheses - which are no more or less likely or provable than the existence of God to explain certain things (such as an ex nihilo universe) - gain unearned traction.

THAT combination - scientists abandoning the scientific method in an attempt to disprove God, and much of the public (again, mostly atheists) all too willing to accept ANYTHING even SEEMINGLY “scientific” over any non-scientific hypothesis, EVEN given that the “non-provability” of each hypothesis is exactly the same - is the very definition of “scientism.”

Peace.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 14, 2012 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment

Considering the experiment was to see just how far people will go in what seems to be torturing an killing of a person on the orders from a leadership figure is when asked will always say it has been vetted an approved by the higher ups society. So it isn’t about science being the leader here it is an authority figure here. An Alteymeyer recorded his findings as any good scientist should. But I see you have deprecated it before reading it, how typical.

Just don’t confuse the science with the scientist nor the political or religious leader who would use it for their own aggrandizement. Maybe one day you shall point yourself in the right direction instead of coming off as just another right wing hate science Americans
you do to me. You are far more subtle but it is still there.

I hope you don’t have the mistaken idea that I some how look upon science as you look upon your god. Not a chance. Nothing is set or infallible in science. It is always learning collating an cross checking. Something not done among the true believers.

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By Maani, March 14, 2012 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

OM and N-G:

Both of you make excellent points which bear repeating.

N-G says, “My thesis is that religion or science or gov’t are only as good or bad as the people who are in charge of it an practice/run it.”

Absolutely.  ANY ideology - religious, political, economic, scientific, social, cultural - can be perverted, even co-opted.  And depending on (among other things) the charisma of the demagogue doing the perverting or co-opting, an increasing percentage of the general populace will “buy into” that perverted ideology.  (The media can play a major role here, as well.)  We must never forget this, and I thank N-G for stating and re-stating it.

OM says, “You cannot say that Milgram proved that people will give shocks for the sake of religion. You cannot say that Americans will administer shocks for right wing agenda…The experiment showed that Americans believe that the investigative methods of the physical sciences are applicable or justifiable in all fields of inquiry, and that any measures taken in the name of science over-ride all morals and ethics…In short, Americans believe in scientism. They will kill an innocent fellow citizen in cold blood at the behest of a white lab coat.”

Although perhaps a TAD overstated (LOL), this is what I was saying about “scientism” as well.  “Science” is fine, and, as I noted, is excellent, sometimes superb, at what it does: it explains “how things work,” through experimentation, falsification, reproducibility, etc.  And through experiments done in the medical-psychological realm, it can reveal things about “how humans work” as well.  The Milgram experiment is a good example - although I think its implication is a bit broader than OM does: I think it shows that people will obey “authority” in a given situation - even if it means harming another person. In the Milgram experiment, that “authority” was, indeed, “a white lab coat.”  However, we have seen that type of “obedience to authority” historically in equivalent situations in which it was religious, political or economic “authority” that was being obeyed “blindly,” or at least with little or no challenge.

I am very much enjoying your tete-a-tete.

Peace.

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By OzarkMichael, March 14, 2012 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment

Lets focus on Milgram. First, we cannot say the experiment was done from a ‘point of view’. Lets understand that an experiment is neutral and factual, quite unlike Altemeyers paper.

Let me explain something that i know about experiments. If we do an experiment on the benefits of a particular blood pressure pill, and prove that it lowers the risk of heart attacks, are we allowed to say that all other completely different types of blood pressure pills have the same benefit?

No we cant say that for certain. In fact, other blood pressure pills dont give the same benefit of preventing heart attacks. One blood pressure pill actually causes more heart attacks.

So a scientific experiment establishes a very specific thing and we have to be careful to stay specific. Milgram’s experiment established that Americans will inflict deadly shocks… for the sake of science... if a scientist tells them to do it.

You cannot say that Milgram proved that people will give shocks for the sake of religion. You cannot say that Americans will administer shocks for right wing agenda. No. That is the sort of sloppy thinking that speaks of massive hateful prejudice on your part. Please dont do it.

The experiment showed that Americans believe that the investigative methods of the physical sciences are applicable or justifiable in all fields of inquiry, and that any measures taken in the name of science over-ride all morals and ethics.

In short, Americans believe in scientism. They will kill an innocent fellow citizen in cold blood at the behest of a white lab coat.

Night Gaunt, i will eventually read Altemeyer’s opinion piece with you, but we need to level up on the facts of scientism first.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 14, 2012 at 6:22 pm Link to this comment

I am aware of all this. A shorter version of the Milgram behavioral experiments was done recently an shown that very few will go against a leader figure. Very few. So you can thank a scientist for showing us explicitly one of the drawbacks of general human psychology. But scientists don’t rule. They may be followers an leaders only of segments but they aren’t the ones to instigate or even set up holocausts of the past or the ones to come.

But since they are human an some humans do find reasons to torture an kill science isn’t immune from it an have been used in the accomplishment of it. However you have yet to prove your thesis that “I stated that Scientism is becoming the motivating force of our next holocaust. I advised you to reject the authority of scientists.”

The authority of scientists depends on the science an how their peers see it. Science is very good about fixing mistakes an catching liars an hoaxers. But Scientists do not rule anywhere. (Please let me know if you find one.)

However my thesis is that the religion or science or gov’t are only as good or bad as the people who are in charge of it an practice/run it. Now such Authoritarian leaders can gain many followers mostly authoritarian ones. Ones you can find in every walk of life from politician to parishioner to scientist to soldier to window washer.

I hope you will read this by Jean Altemeyer on the Authoritarian Personalities. Then we shall speak again.

http://members.shaw.ca/jeanaltemeyer/drbob/TheAuthoritarians.pdf

Please continue but I warn you I do read a great deal but there is plenty I have missed. I look forward to your next response. I can be patient for this.

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By OzarkMichael, March 14, 2012 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

sci·en·tism (sn-tzm)
n.

scientism:
1. The collection of attitudes and practices considered typical of scientists.
2. The belief that the investigative methods of the physical sciences are applicable or justifiable in all fields of inquiry

I stated that Scientism is becoming the motivating force of our next holocaust. I advised you to reject the authority of scientists.

Thank you N-G for being willing to listen as i explain why.

When i was in college I was challenged by a Leftist professor with facts that showed how dangerous the common person is today. This was presented to me and the rest of the class as evidence that the old American traditions are dangerous and bad, including religion. Americans would do terrible things if an authority told them to do so.

i didnt like what he was saying at all. The facts however, are undeniable. The facts come from an experiment. Please take the time to watch and understand the experiment on Youtube. Or you can just read it through at the wikipedia, which is the second link below:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W147ybOdgpE&feature=related


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

I do not ask Leefeller to watch or read the whole thing because he isnt the type who is driven by questions and curiousity. He also has the moral certainty that ‘science = safe and good’. I leave him to remain as he is.

I hope, Night Gaunt, that you will watch the whole thing or read the whole thing. Tell me what you think. We can have a chat about what it means.

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By Leefeller, March 12, 2012 at 7:52 am Link to this comment

‘There certainly are a lot of people who put that out. Warnings are a good thing, we are wiser at least listen for a moment, and if they contain some truth we are wise to never forget the warning.’

For some reason, I do not suppose Omypoo was speaking of any warnings which are perpetrated by the mental mites on the right or any warnings like ‘global warming’ allegedly perpetrated from the left?

Of course warnings are utilized to instill fear, fear has been expertly used by religion since its conception when religion was just a gleam in some goat headers eye. How about all the warnings we have had spewed forth by the Republican presidential clowns?  Obama is not an American, not a Christan, Obama is a Muslim, Obama is a one man destructing derby, plus he hates white folk, and you must realize as many white folk judge black folk? All this fear is perpetrated on this nations cornucopia of morons so just a few wealthy benefactors may keep their benefactors status, hell, me thinks the churches instill fear for the same reason and in the same way. (Not all churches mind you, just the ones who love to churn up tax free business). Fear is a racket!

I have received warnings growing up, when I was a kid, one warning which comes to mind is; ‘always look both ways before crossing the street’ one cautionary note; looking right to left or left to right, depends on if you just happen to be in a place like Hong Kong, which I found out the hard way.  Now some people would consider this a warning, in my case I prefer to see it as a tip!

  Constant fear has always been used to manipulate the huddled masses, so the analogy of calling Wolf becomes a reality, after all one would expect some people become over dosed with this constant fear mongering, maybe this explains Atheists, cynics… even those heretics and the good old burning at the stake?

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By Night-Gaunt, March 11, 2012 at 10:09 pm Link to this comment

I do but you say very little an leave the rest hanging like just now. Please continue.

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By OzarkMichael, March 11, 2012 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

You will find that politicians and god believers deal in holocausts. I’d advise you not to follow either of them. An I’ve already put out that definition before

There certainly are a lot of people who put that out. Warnings are a good thing, we are wiser at least listen for a moment, and if they contain some truth we are wise to never forget the warning.

Right now, I have a warning, and its one that apparently you are not aware of. Will you be wise and listen for a moment?

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By Night-Gaunt, March 10, 2012 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

You will find that politicians an god believers deal in holocausts. I’d advise you not to follow either of them. An I’ve already put out that definition before.

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By OzarkMichael, March 10, 2012 at 5:25 pm Link to this comment

sci·en·tism (sn-tzm)
n.
1. The collection of attitudes and practices considered typical of scientists.
2. The belief that the investigative methods of the physical sciences are applicable or justifiable in all fields of inquiry

Scientism is becoming the motivating force of our next holocaust. I advise you to reject the authority of scientists.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment

After being damned by faint praise from Christian96 I can tell you all that I am a 54 year old mostly self educated man.

I should have tightened my word choices. Moved forward in widening our knowledge base of course.

And why would an “all pervasive, jealous, angry, loving God” want to hide its handiwork so deeply? But then your religion forbids you from finding proof anyway doesn’t it? Wouldn’t it violate the rule about unconditional blind belief? That is what it says.

As I said before, gods retreat in the face of the harsh light of discovery an analysis. But if you still believe such an invisible thing is necessary fine by me. But it is something out side of science an should remain out of official gov’t as well.

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By Maani, March 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm Link to this comment

christian96:

Thank you for your kind words.  I think I know what N-G means about science “moving forward,” and it is true in many regards.  (Though you are so entirely correct in noting that it was scientists who gave humankind the means to destroy itself.)  Science is extremely good AT WHAT IT DOES; it is only when it begins applying itself to areas in which it is NOT very good (or applicable or appropriate) that it shows poor judgment.

N-G:

You are right: “Science has no need to ‘disprove’ anything.”  And yet…that is exactly what some very prominent scientists have chosen to do in a number of fields, including genetics, cosmology and evolutionary biology.  Why aren’t you taking THEM to task, since you styate that it is NOT their purview to do so?

Re “Humans have barely begun to learn all that there is to learn. Give us time if we don’t destroy our selves it is certainly possible to learn so much more.”

I agree.  But if we have “barely begun to learn all there is to learn,” how do you know that “learning” won’t lead to some sort of “proof” (a ‘smoking gun’) re the existence of God?

Finally, you say, “Science is only as good as the humans who participate in it. The same with religion. With any endeavor that humans are participating in. It is up to us, it is in all our hands.”

To this, I say….Amen!!  (LOL)  Here, we finally find common ground and can do a cyberspace fist bump!

Peace.

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By christian96, March 10, 2012 at 7:30 am Link to this comment

Maani—-My computer quit functioning after a wind
storm several days ago.  I just got it restored.
I’ve been reading your conversations with Night-
Gaunt.  I am very impressed with your knowledge and
ability to reason.  Night-Gaunt falls a little short
in both but he/she is only human.  On March 2nd,
Night-Gaunt made the comment, “At least science
is moving FORWARD.” I’m not sure what “forward”
means.  Is developing the means to wipe humanity
off the planet an example of “moving forward?”

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By Night-Gaunt, March 5, 2012 at 10:54 pm Link to this comment

However, as I have noted, science - BEING science - should be “taking the high road” here, and acting like “the adult in the room”; it should not be
“stooping” to the level of those believers who DO try to impose their belief on science.  It does so when it resorts to using every possible means to disprove the existence of God - and thus the “need” for faith (and religion) - including attempting to shoehorn every single possible area of human existence into cosmology and Darwinian theory, even those areas to which those two have little or no application.

Science has no need to “disprove” anything. It is up to the believers to do that an they can’t or won’t. (There is this problem of faith that tells them that if they try to prove it they would lose their support of their deity. So such “proof” would be precluded.) One never needs to prove a negative just a positive. An in most cases the supernaturalism of a god or gods is superfluous to how Nature works. But then such gods always reside in the unknown which is still quite large and safe though not nearly as large as it was. Humans have barely begun to learn all that there is to learn. Give us time if we don’t destroy our selves it is certainly possible to learn so much more.

Science is only as good as the humans who participate in it. The same with religion. With any endeavor that humans are participating in. It is up to us, it is in all our hands.

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By Maani, March 5, 2012 at 7:17 pm Link to this comment

N-G:

As you point out, it is the second definition of “scientism” (often used pejoratively) that many people - including some scientists - reject as little more than a deliberate focused attempts to shoehorn every possible aspect of human existence into one or another “science.”  In this regard, let me respond to three of your statements.

“But should science ever be taken over by the true believers of their god, it will simply become a note taking appendage of the state church since the need to understand how it all works will be considered futile an useless. Faith and science do not mix well an remain true to themselves.”

I agree that it would be a bad thing if believers should “take over science.”  But no worse, imho, than science attempting to “take over” faith, belief, and the supernatural.  In this regard…

“It isn’t because it is biased against it more so because it is neutral an demands the supernatural to pass the same muster as for the natural world. So I made no mistake in this you did.”

By why SHOULD the supernatural (faith, belief, etc.) have to “pass the same muster” as the natural world?  As Gould noted, they are “NON-OVERLAPPING magisteria.”  Leave science out of faith/religion, and leave faith/religion out of science.  I will do the latter if you agree to do the former.

“But so far people can believe what they will for personal reasons. It is only when such people want to force others to or to suppress science that contradicts their world view that is the problem in this country.”

I would agree, to a point.  However, once again, this is a two-way street.  If “science” does not want believers “forcing” faith/religion on it, then I would expect that “science” would not attempt to “force” believers (using a somewhat broader definition of “force” here) into giving up their faith, belief, etc.  And that is exactly what “scientism” (in the pejorative) is attempting to do.  And it is no less repugnant than the reverse.

However, as I have noted, science - BEING science - should be “taking the high road” here, and acting like “the adult in the room”; it should not be
“stooping” to the level of those believers who DO try to impose their belief on science.  It does so when it resorts to using every possible means to disprove the existence of God - and thus the “need” for faith (and religion) - including attempting to shoehorn every single possible area of human existence into cosmology and Darwinian theory, even those areas to which those two have little or no application.

Peace.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment

Why do you have Scientism in quotes? An you never defined it but I did look. Here is what I found;

sci·en·tism  (sn-tzm)
n.
1. The collection of attitudes and practices considered typical of scientists.
2. The belief that the investigative methods of the physical sciences are applicable or justifiable in all fields of inquiry.

By the 2nd definition it can be applied to other non science areas including the supernatural. And it has. But so far the reality of that supernaturalism is wanting as is in religion. Unless you count the analysis of Biblical, an other stories, an the possible natural explanations that can be applied to them of certain phenomena reported in it.

But should science ever be taken over by the true believers of their god, it will simply become a note taking appendage of the state church since the need to understand how it all works will be considered futile an useless. Faith an science do not mix well an remain true to themselves.

It isn’t because it is biased against it more so because it is neutral an demands the supernatural to pass the same muster as for the natural world. So I made no mistake in this you did.

An example would be the efficacy of prayer in the medical profession. At no time has it proven to be efficacious. Not one study. But even if one comes along it will be scrutinized in relation to the others. Repeatability an predictability are essential to the studies. Checks are so important to remove the human bias factor.

But so far people can believe what they will for personal reasons. It is only when such people want to force others to or to suppress science that contradicts their world view that is the problem in this country. An old pattern repeated in other societies when in the final stages of their decline a sharp turn to theocratic tendencies occurs. But that is another matter.

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By Maani, March 4, 2012 at 10:58 pm Link to this comment

N-G:

You are making a common error - one that lies at the heart of the modern “science VERSUS religion” paradigm.

The scientific method itself is “neutral.”  Bacon and others applied the scientific method to the “natural sciences,” and helped “reveal” what they saw as the majesty of God’s creation and the laws that govern it.  What they did NOT do is attempt to apply the scientific method to areas to which it does not apply, particularly the “supernatural” (or spiritual) world.  It is only fairly recently, as “science” has become “scientism,” that scientists have felt the “need” to finally and utterly “destroy” God by “shoe-horning” Him (LOL) into the “natural laws” He created.

But as noted, Bacon (and others, including many I noted) did not see any conflict between their faith and the science they were doing - between the application of the scientific method and the belief in a “Creator.”

We see this with Darwin as well.  As you know, he studied to be a minister, and his only earned degree was in theology.  He began as a Christian, but “fell away” from theism during his journey on the Beagle.  However, he remained a deist his entire life, becoming a deacon of his local church.  (Interestingly, all of this is skipped over when he and his theory are taught pre-college.)

Most relevantly, his ultimate conclusion in the Summary and Recapitulation chapter of Origin is worth noting:

“Authors of the highest eminence seem to be fully satisfied with the view that each species has been independently created.  To my mind, it accords better with what we know about the laws impressed upon matter by the Creator that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes, like those determining the birth and death of the individual…There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been breathed into a few forms or into one…”

Note that.  “The laws impressed upon matter by the Creator” who “breathed” life “into a few forms, or into one.”  Here he is stating that the Creator “set the laws in motion” (including “evolution”), and then did not interfere.  Thus, despite waiting over 15 years to publish, he remained convinced that a “Creator” was involved.  He never renounced that belief.  [N.B. For those who claim that he only included this language to “appease” the Church and the believing public, consider that the book has now been reprinted over 30 times, and yet this passage continues to appear.]

Toward the end of his life, Darwin was actually quite annoyed that people used his theories to support an atheistic view.  (Keep in mind that he did NOT set out to disprove the existence of God, but merely the theory of “special creation.”)  In his autobiography, he states, “It is absurd to doubt that a man might be an ardent theist and an evolutionist…I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God.”

“Scientism” has simply “co-opted” Bacon, Darwin and others who saw no conflict between their faith and their science, and has itself created the (unnecessary and divisive) “conflict” between the two.

Peace.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 4, 2012 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment

You were responding to my talking about the scientific method weren’t you? An the scientific method used was started by Bacon wasn’t it? (As you say.) Now how did it become so secular an wedded to Nature? That is what I was speaking of,did you get derailed here? Or was I not clear enough here?  The scientific method has no divine in it. An there are complaints that it needs to have the divine in it? Or am I mistaken an those like the people you have met an know have no opinion or are fine with that?

Could you fill me in on this? Does anyone you know including yourself like, don’t care or are bothered that science an the scientific method are secular? Thanx.

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By Maani, March 4, 2012 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment

N-G:

Oops.  That should have been “I am NOT snipping and shoe-horning…”  LOL

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By Maani, March 3, 2012 at 11:39 pm Link to this comment

N-G:

I obviously don’t know who you speak to, but I can assure you that there is not a single believer that I know (and we are talking about hundreds of people) who would claim a “need” to believe, especially such a “need” that they would “die without it.”  I count myself among them: I believe because I was “led” to believe, and my faith has been “borne out” enough times in enough ways for me to maintain it.  I do not “need” it, but I defintiely “prefer” it for any number of reasons, not least for what it “does” for me.

As for Bacon, please show me where and how his method is “attacked today” for “leaving out the divine.”  I find this truly absurd in the face of a couple of facts:

-He was tutored personally by the Archibishop of Canterbury.

-Consider the following passage from Wiki:

“Regarding faith, in De augmentis, he wrote that ‘the more discordant, therefore, and incredible, the divine mystery is, the more honour is shown to God in believing it, and the nobler is the victory of faith.’ He wrote in ‘The Essays: Of Atheism’ that ‘a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion.’ Meanwhile in the very next essay called: ‘Of Superstition’ Bacon remarks- ‘It were better to have no opinion of God at all, than such an opinion as is unworthy of him. For the one is unbelief, the other is contumely; and certainly superstition is the reproach of the Deity. [...] Superstition hath been the confusion of many states, and bringeth in a new primum mobile, that ravisheth all the spheres of government.’ Yet even more than this, Bacon’s views of God are in accordance with popular Christian theology, as he writes that ‘They that deny a God destroy man’s nobility; for certainly man is of kin to the beasts in his body; and, if he be not of kin to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature.’ He considered science (natural philosophy) as a remedy against superstition, and therefore a ‘most faithful attendant’ of religion, considering religion as the revelation of God’s Will and science as the contemplation of God’s Power.”

This hardly seems the work of someone “leaving out the divine.”  Indeed, as I noted, many scientists of the time, including Bacon and Newton, were being at least partially underwritten by the Church BECAUSE the Church ALSO felt that science “revealed the glory of God.”

I am “snipping” and “shoe-horning.”  I am addressing the broadest possible aspects of this issue.

Peace.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 3, 2012 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment

Maani

While it is true that the “scientific method” was nascent even prior to Bacon, it was Bacon (a devout believer) who “formalized” it and gave it to us in its present form.  There is no dispute about this.

Bacon may have been a believer, even a “devout” one an yet his method is attacked today for leaving out the “divine” or supernatural. I wonder why? Maybe he put such things into a separate “compartment” in his mind. Science in one, religion in another.

You need to believe, everyone I have interviewed when this subject is broached tells me their need to believe. I have been told they would die if they didn’t have it. I don’t need it to live. Not at all. I have no yearning or “hollow space” in myself that is in need of such a belief system to fill it. It has to do with brain physiology an morphology. From that our psychology flows. Even you must under stand this?

Evolution, only disapproving Christians call it “Darwinian,” is also about behavior as much as morphology. Both are important in survival. Off hand I can’t cite anyone who has done research on this but when I do I will get back to you. It is part of it an if it wasn’t successful humans wouldn’t have a need for it. The same with other characteristics. But one reason for our survival is our flexibility an variability within our species.

Again you are the limited one in this conversation but in each reply you attempt to snip an shoe horn what I have said into something smaller. Then criticize it for being so small. Fine. I enjoy vigorous conversation.

Please continue an have a pleasant weekend.

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By The N.P.P., March 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you guys can stop your LONG WINDED defenses for a second, I have just one thing to point out:
...
Duck Billed Platypus
...
Now let’s see whose beliefs triumph over whoms.
grin

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By Maani, March 3, 2012 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment

N-G:

While it is true that the “scientific method” was nascent even prior to Bacon, it was Bacon (a devout believer) who “formalized” it and gave it to us in its present form.  There is no dispute about this.

Also, you say, “Even so the biologically based need for most of humanity to believe in some supernatural forces is strong. But not in all of us. Some like myself are zero in such needs.”

First, there is absolutely zero evidence that faith is “biologically based.”  Indeed, even the attempt to “force” faith and religion into Darwinian theory focuses not on biology, but sociology and psychology.

Second, even if I accepted the Darwinian aspect, what makes you think all believers “need” to believe?  By failing to consider that faith and religion can be a choice - even a very carefully considered choice - or even a “calling” that has little or nothing to do with “need,” you once again show the most narrow of possible interpretations of things.

Peace.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment

Sure some scientists are believers but most of them have compartmentalized that so that it won’t interfere with the scientific method. For when it does interfere they run the risk of not being such good scientists. Sure many of them started out as true believers but not all of them stayed that way. Even so the biologically based need for most of humanity to believe in some supernatural forces is strong. But not in all of us. Some like myself are zero in such needs. Immune you might say but such is how Evolution is. Not all the eggs in one basket for the environment is always changing sooner or later.

The scientific method started by those who found that supernaturalism an naturalism are in conflict. An they weren’t even Christian! Like the Stoics an followers of Epicuris for example wanted to separate the two. They may not have been Atheist but their thought processes were starting to angle that way.

I must say that I was surprised that the 40% of American scientists were religious not the 60%, but one lives an learns. (I don’t know how many of them were Christian an those of other religions or such.)

Now if some supernatural elements are sometime in the future proven to be part of the Natural world that will be fine. But so far gods an pixies an trolls an devils do not fit.

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By Maani, March 2, 2012 at 11:09 pm Link to this comment

N-G:

You say you were “only speaking of scientists” when you noted that “...in the USA the ratio is still 60% to 40%” of non-believing scientists to those who believe.

That is actually a startling number!  Forty percent of scientists are also believers of one stripe or another?  How do you account for this?  Do you simply dismiss the science they do?  Or perhaps their science is “tainted” by their faith?

As I have noted ad nauseam, a great many of the scientists who did some of our most important science were also believers, from (who gave us the scientific method…) to Newton, from Leeuwenhoek to Pasteur, from Copernicus to Planck, from Kepler to Faraday, from Mendel to, yes, Darwin (who fell away from Christianity, but remained a deist his entire life).

These scientists did not see their science and their faith as being in conflict.  (Nor, indeed, did Einstein see his science and his “spirituality” in conflict, and Gould talked of “non-overlapping magisteria.”)

It is only in the very recent past that science has set itself up as “opposed to” faith/religion.  And even if that was a RESPONSE to the attacks on science BY faith/religion, it is…irresponsible, since,as I have pointed out, scientists are often ignoring the scientific method when they make such attacks, instead inserting hypotheses that are no more subject to experimentation, reproducibility and falsifiability than a hypothesis that there is a “God” or other intelligence that “created” the universe.

Science should know better.  It should remain above the fray, engaging in its own areas, revealing the workings of the inner and outer universe.  It only demeans itself when it gives in to the need to respond to every provocation of the scientifically ignorant (whether religious or other), and it sinks even further when in doing so it simply discards the scientific method in favor of the attitude that “our hypothesis is better than yours because we’re scientists.”  Poppycock.

Peace.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 2, 2012 at 6:33 pm Link to this comment

First I was only speaking of scientists.

Second you will never have an answer but with science an the men an women dedicated to it have a chance.

Well since there is no proof or research on you side it is rather moot. But who knows what they will prove in the matter of the science of cosmology? You are at a stand still. At least science is moving forward.

Peace.

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By Maani, March 2, 2012 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment

N-G:

First, unless you are talking about something else, the percent of people in the U.S. who profess a belief in God is 80%, not 40%.  And that number has actually gone up from recent past.  And since 80% of the population is NOT anti-science, this must mean (as I have been suggesting, and you have been vigorously arguing against) that there is quite some overlap of believers who are not anti-science to varying degrees.

Second, re “Tell me how your god gets around ‘ex nihilo nihilo hi’ if you might? ‘From nothing comes nothing.’ And don’t forget that matter can’t be created nor destroyed. So how does yours an all the other professed gods do it? Please no black magic boxes either.”

I don’t pretend to have the answer to that.  Never said I did.  BUT NEITHER DOES SCIENCE.  And you have done nothing to refute my contention that the current hypotheses of cosmologists and others in this regard is NO MORE OR LESS PROVABLE than a belief in God.

Peace.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 2, 2012 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

And how many were believers before they weren’t as they studied an experimented? Did you know that in the USA the ratio is still 60% to 40%. Hasn’t changed from 1960 an when it was taken again in 2000. 40% are believers. Now I haven’t found the break down of disciplines yet but I would suspect more believers in Astronomy an Physics than in Biology an Geology.

An the areas of knowledge will never close, at least on our lifetimes. There is still much to learn an just because they haven’t yet figured out how our universe, an probably many others came into existence isn’t finished. Now religion doesn’t give us any answer. “God did it” is insufficient except to those who do not care to know more.

Tell me how your god gets around “ex nihilo nihilo hi” if you might? “From nothing comes nothing.” And don’t forget that matter can’t be created nor destroyed. So how does yours an all the other professed gods do it? Please no black magic boxes either.

Have a nice weekend.

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By Maani, March 2, 2012 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt:

Yes, the belief that God was the “first cause” is held by all who believe in a God or gods.  But science does not have the answer to an ex nihilo universe either.  Indeed, I am glad you brought this up.  Here is an article that appeared just a few days ago in the NYT on this very issue:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/21/science/space/cosmologists-try-to-explain-a-universe-springing-from-nothing.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=big bang&st=cse

And here is my (unpublished) letter in response:

“Although cosmologist Lawrence Krauss claims that the attempt to find a non-theological explanation for an ex nihilo ‘Big Bang’ is ‘not to try to make people lose their faith,’ he is simply following in a long line of scientists in numerous fields who seem so fearful of even the possibility of God’s existence that they will do anything to eliminate Him from the picture.

“Geneticists attempt to find a ‘God gene.’  Evolutionary biologists and others attempt to apply Darwinian theory to every possible aspect of human existence, even those areas to which Darwnian theory has little or no relevance. Cosmologists attempt to explain something from nothing.

“What is truly remarkable about almost all of these attempts is that the scientists are not even pretending to apply the scientific method; they are simply creating hypotheses (which are neither supportable nor falsifiable enough to qualify as theories).  And those hypotheses are no more or less subject to experimentation and reproducibility than a belief in God.

“Science and faith are not mutually exclusive: indeed, many of the greatest scientists - from Copernicus, Galilei and Newton, to Pasteur, Leeuwenhoek and Bacon (who gave us the scientific method) - were believers.  Science and faith each have their place.  And it is perhaps the greatest scientist - Albert Einstein, a non-believer - who made this clearest: ‘Even though the realms of religion and science in themselves are clearly marked off from each other, nevertheless there exists between the two strong reciprocal relationships and dependencies…The situation may be expressed by an image: religion without science is blind; science without religion is lame.’”

Peace.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 2, 2012 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

I believe I am of a far broader mind than you. I understand that people have different levels of what they see as their god(s) hand in things. Even those who except both Creationism an Evolution still say that their deity or deities started the whole thing. Now that doesn’t change up an down the spectrum of belief. Does it? Who among them would not credit their deity with creation of all that is?

You are the one that has a surface understanding of this subject buy maybe you will surprise me. But so far nada.

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By Maani, March 1, 2012 at 10:41 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt:

“No Maani the onus is all on the ones who say that everything needs a god or gods to operate. So far no evidence has been found. So such concepts are only logical to the uninformed. The concept of a being living or existing out side of space-time an intelligent too is a great stretch. I’d like to find out what the improbability of it is.”

As usual, you are painting with the broadest brush, lumping every believer into a big box labeled “Bible-thumping, creationist, anti-science, flat-earth-believing ignoramus.”  That you continue to be unable to see any nuances in believers - and the different degrees to which they accept science and scientific evidence - says far more about your closed-mindedness than mine.

Peace.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 1, 2012 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment

No Maani the onus is all on the ones who say that everything needs a god or gods to operate. So far no evidence has been found. So such concepts are only logical to the uninformed. The concept of a being living or existing out side of space-time an intelligent too is a great stretch. I’d like to find out what the improbability of it is.

Now I may not respect what you espouse but you deserve to be heard. Then deconstructed. But done is a civil manner.

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By jimmmmmy, March 1, 2012 at 9:19 pm Link to this comment

maani ignorance is a non judgemental term that simply means not knowing. then off you go on the god trip again. keep dancing on that pin

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By Maani, March 1, 2012 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment

gerard:

“Ignorant, to me, means closed-mindedness, unwillingness to understand new ideas and different cultures, prejudices, discoveries, concepts, and unwillingness to recognize new ideas and inventions, to admit the possibilities of events etc., or even to discuss same.”

Are atheists not being “closed-minded” with respect to the possibility that there is a God, and “unwilling” to “discuss same,” except by being denigrating, condescending and dismissive?

I find it ironic that my faith-based worldview has plenty of room for science, while atheists’ worldview has ZERO place for faith/religion.  And they call believers “closed-minded!”

Peace.

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By jimmmmmy, March 1, 2012 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment

thats the problem maani your to busy shaping your response then seeing the issue. quite common in religeonists. you attempt to reframe everyones comments, much like the jesuits, did into your belief system.to be a jesuit in those days you had to believe that angels could dance on the head of a pin or there could be no discussion.

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By jimmmmmy, March 1, 2012 at 8:05 pm Link to this comment

well said gerard ignorance deserves no respect.

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By gerard, March 1, 2012 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment

Night Guant:  My problem is that I cannot respect ignorance, which leads me to not being able to respect ignorant people.  Ignorant, to me, means closed-mindedness, unwillingness to understand new ideas and different cultures, prejudices, discoveries, concepts, and unwillingness to recognize new ideas and inventions, to admit the possibilities of events etc., or even to discuss same. If I see in someone a willful disregard for obvious evidence, I very quickly become angry.even scornful (as is evident in many of my comments on TD!). Sorry, but I’m motivated in this direction by both personal experiences in the past, plus the awareness that the human race doesn’t have time to waste in ignorance and intellectual recidivism.

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By Night-Gaunt, February 29, 2012 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

One can respect the person an disdain their ideas. I see too often others confuse the two. Believing the only way to disagree with someone is to disrespect them.

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By Maani, February 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment

jimmmmy:

I honestly do not see how the “angels on the head of a pin” has anything to do with what RAE and I have been discussing.

Leefeller:

Hey, pal.  Good to “see” you again.  Yes, I would agree that “mutual intolerance” is (sadly) on the rise in some regards.  And polarized politics - helped along by conservative “religion” - is front and center in this regard.

Re Britt, yes, “merrily we roll along” as his points get stronger and stronger.

It will be most interesting to see how it all plays out, and particularly whether the GOP/TP self-destructs.

Peace.

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By jimmmmmy, February 29, 2012 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

leefeller respecting beliefs is logically inconsistant, however it may be good manners

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By jimmmmmy, February 29, 2012 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment

when loyola established the first jesuit universities ,in order to get your degree one had to give a discourse on how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. maani and rae as well as some of the other religeonist commentors, seem to be engaged in one those discussions.

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By Leefeller, February 29, 2012 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment

Hey Manni we have gone thought this a long ways back. respect is a mutual thing, ‘I believe we agreed to respect ones belief as to the others unbelief’? What seems to be happening in our society now seems to show more and more a complete lack of respect and tolerance of differences.

Disenfranchisement is real, Britts 13 points of fascism seem be making dust as they roll down the hill towards our lives, the old Encyclopedia Britannica film on despotism (U Tube)  appears quite real also.

Britts comment on Religion seems a lot closer now then when you introduced it to me, with the Sanatrom and company propagating their house of hate.

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By christian96, February 29, 2012 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

I’m O.K. You are not O.K. That’s the end of that!

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By Maani, February 29, 2012 at 2:15 pm Link to this comment

Alan:

A superb post!  Thank you for your insights.

“The belief in “creationism” is based on taking
Genesis 1 literally. The evidence that supports the
evolution model renders this passage as symbolic or
allegory. If you look at a timeline of evolution from
Big Bang and you lay it over the 6 days of Genesis,
you get a remarkably similar picture.”

Yes!  I have been making this point for years.  And there are scholars - both scientific and theological - who have done some fairly extensive and detailed “overlays” of the 13-billion-year scientific timeline and a 6-day theological timelime, and have come to similar conclusions.

“Faith and evidence are at odds, but they don’t
necessarily erase one another: they just aren’t
related. People err when they throw out scientific
evidence based on their belief; and the converse is
probably also true. The trick is to not let faith
derail evidence. For instance, if there is a creator,
then the natural evidence would tend to bear that
out. To ignore the preponderance of evidence would be
to continue to say the earth is the center of the
universe, for instance. It would have little to do
with faith and everything to do with willful
ignorance.”

Yes, again!  Re “if there is a creator,
then the natural evidence would tend to bear that
out,” this is why, as I noted, even during the so-called “Dark Ages,” the Catholic Church was not simply supportive of science, but was underwriting many of the scientists of that period; because they say science as “revealing the glory of God”; i.e., science and religion were not only NOT mutually exclusive, but science served to “reveal” the God they believed in.

“That doesn’t make the Genesis 1 myth valueless. A
myth has to be read in a broader context if one has
faith. It is a story that illustrates a greater
truth. Then the entire record of the biblical canon
becomes something other than a religious
constitutional document: it becomes a statement about
something not only hopeful but unutterably grand and
totally related to that stubborn thing for which we
have no physical evidence—life after death.”

For the third time, yes!  As I noted, the concept of Biblical “inerrancy” is fairly recent, having come about during the rise of the Protestant charistmatic movement of the early 19th century.  Prior to that, even the Catholic Church would never have claimed that the Bible was the absolutely inerrant, literal word of God.  Indeed, the Catholic Church has probably done more “growing” in this area (i.e., accepting scientific evidence) than some of the Protestant sects.

Thank you again for your wonderful post.

Peace.

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By Alan Lunn, February 29, 2012 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the
evidence of things not seen.”—Heb. 11:1

Nobody knows for sure who wrote the above statement
or that it isn’t a forgery. The point is, this is an
interesting statement with regard to the difference
between belief and evidence. This sentence from the
NT is saying, “Faith is based on the evidence that is
not seen.”

The belief in “creationism” is based on taking
Genesis 1 literally. The evidence that supports the
evolution model renders this passage as symbolic or
allegory. If you look at a timeline of evolution from
Big Bang and you lay it over the 6 days of Genesis,
you get a remarkably similar picture.

Faith and evidence are at odds, but they don’t
necessarily erase one another: they just aren’t
related. People err when they throw out scientific
evidence based on their belief; and the converse is
probably also true. The trick is to not let faith
derail evidence. For instance, if there is a creator,
then the natural evidence would tend to bear that
out. To ignore the preponderance of evidence would be
to continue to say the earth is the center of the
universe, for instance. It would have little to do
with faith and everything to do with willful
ignorance.

That doesn’t make the Genesis 1 myth valueless. A
myth has to be read in a broader context if one has
faith. It is a story that illustrates a greater
truth. Then the entire record of the biblical canon
becomes something other than a religious
constitutional document: it becomes a statement about
something not only hopeful but unutterably grand and
totally related to that stubborn thing for which we
have no physical evidence—life after death.

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By Maani, February 29, 2012 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

RAE:

Thank you for your kind words.

“There’s still that niggling itch though - you know, ‘I acknowledge your views and support your right to hold them (in spite of the fact they’re complete pie-in-the-sky nonsense).’”

Actually, the “pie-in-the-sky” thing only relates to the Christian notion of the afterlife.  However, Jesus’ ministry was based on eleven precepts: love, peace, humility, forgiveness, compassion, patience, charity, selflessness, service, justice and truth.  These are virtues to be expressed in THIS life, since they will not be “needed” in the afterlife.

“I don’t know if I can work ‘respect’ into the relationship. How does one develop genuine respect for views that are diametrically opposed to one’s own?”

If “respect” is too difficult, that’s fine.  Simply agreeing to disagree is a good start, since it eliminates the more “aggressive” aspect of disagreement.  If doing such does not “satisfy” some, then it is they (on either side) who have to work that out for themselves.  But it certainly says more about THEM (and their inability to “play nice in the sandbox”) than about the one they disagree with.

“The example set by the RCs - we’re the only ‘true’ church - means, without equivocation, that everyone else must be ‘untrue.’”

Perhaps.  (Though I would suggest that the fundamentalist Protestant sects are far more “certain” that theirs is the only “true” church.)  However, consider that this does not prevent the Pope and high-level Catholic leaders from interacting with, and even being friends with, leaders of other Christian faiths.  I am a liberal, but my closest friend is a Republican.  We have been friends for over 20 years.  Our diametrically opposed political viewpoints have not been an impediment to that friendship - because we simply do not let them be.  It is entirely up to the individual to what degree ideological differences adversely affect their relationships with others.

“I await the day when believers and non-believers alike, no matter what philosophies underwrite their views, pronounce to the world - ‘We don’t actually KNOW whether what we believe is “truth” but it works for us and it’s important to us to that we THINK we know.’”

Though I will admit there are far too few at this time, the more “centrist” believers of various faiths take exactly that tack.  “I know that my ‘truth’ works for me, and so I feel it incumbent upon me to share that truth with you.  [“Non-aggressive” evangelism.]  If you choose not to accept my truth, that is fine with me.”

“I could fully support that scenario because I, as a non-believer, am well aware that I do not KNOW anything for sure. The closest I come to certainty is that NO ONE ELSE, living or dead, DOES or DID either.”

Your statement defines you as agnostic.  And since your position is the most supportable of all - “I know that I do not ‘know’ and CANNOT ‘know’ for sure” - it essentially tags all atheists as “knowing” for “sure” what they claim, which puts them in the same (opposite) camp as believers who claim to “know” for “sure.”  This is my issue with “radical” atheists, since they cannot “know” for “sure” there is no God or afterlife, yet that is the claim they make.  Their hypocrisy in this regard is stunning.

As for pompous, pretentious religious leaders, I fully agree.  They are not simply hypocritical, but they “give a bad name” to the very faith they claim to uphold.

Peace.

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By RAE, February 29, 2012 at 6:59 am Link to this comment

@Maani -

Now there’s an attitude I can embrace with great enthusiasm. Thank you. I’ll be sure to at least attempt to influence my fellow travellers to such moderation and I hope you will do the same.

There’s still that niggling itch though - you know, ‘I acknowledge your views and support your right to hold them (in spite of the fact they’re complete pie-in-the-sky nonsense).’

I don’t know if I can work “respect” into the relationship. How does one develop genuine respect for views that are diametrically opposed to one’s own?

I suppose agreeing to disagree establishes and perhaps maintains an amicable peace of sorts but that solution doesn’t seem to satisfy the very human need for members of Group “A” to be “right” and to establish conclusively the members of Group “B” “wrong.”

The example set by the RCs - we’re the only “true” church - means, without equivocation, that everyone else must be “untrue.” To hold and promote such a view virtually guarantees friction - an that’s just amongst the variations on the Christian theme!

I await the day when believers and non-believers alike, no matter what philosophies underwrite their views, pronounce to the world - ‘We don’t actually KNOW whether what we believe is “truth” but it works for us and it’s important to us to that we THINK we know.’

I could fully support that scenario because I, as a non-believer, am well aware that I do not KNOW anything for sure. The closest I come to certainty is that NO ONE ELSE, living or dead, DOES or DID either.

When I see video of the various religious leaders parading around in their pretentiously comical getups I’m appalled by the lack of hubris and honesty. Either they’re about the biggest hypocrites on the planet, or they’ve had their brains replaced by some BORG apparatus, built fantasy castles in the sky and MOVED RIGHT IN. If there’s anything more pathetic it’s the millions who follow, honor, adore and support them.

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By Maani, February 28, 2012 at 8:45 pm Link to this comment

RAE:

You bring up an important point: “extremism” - on either side - is unhelpful and counterproductive.  Atheists who lump ALL believers into a big box labeled “Bible-thumping, creationist, anti-science, flat-earth-believing ignoramuses” are no less “fundamentalist” in THEIR ideology than those believers they accuse of being same.

Too many people - atheist and believer alike - paint with WAY too broad a brush.  In doing so, they are allowing themselves to be led by those who would deliberately divide us.  It is admittedly difficult to “tune out” the extremist “noise” on both sides, and refuse to engage in it.  But it is absolutely critical if we are to find “common ground” to move forward and live peaceably together.

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By RAE, February 28, 2012 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment

“We would do well to stop giving in to those who would control us by dividing us, and look for common ground and common paths to move forward and live together peaceably.”

Well, Maani, when I look for common ground between a devout believer and a devout non-believer I see two completely divergent ideologies that are mutually exclusive.

That said, there perhaps is one small commonality - NEITHER position is defensible using proof. Believers can’t prove god exists; non-believers can’t prove god doesn’t exist.

The remaining arguments are simply variations on a hot air.

Just amazing how millions of people spend their entire lives wrestling with self-inflicted questions involving belief and non-belief and NOT ONE OF THEM has ever reached a supportable conclusion.

That said, I have absolutely no problem with other people’s beliefs unless and until they allow or enable those beliefs to in some way interfere with mine.

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By Maani, February 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm Link to this comment

A couple of general comments.

First, the fundmanetalist “inerrancy” of Judeo-Christian Scripture is a rather recent phenomenon, having its roots in the charismatic “evangelicalism” that came about in the early 19th century via Pentecostalism and conservative evangelicalism.  It is a misunderstanding and misreading of the creation and function of the Judeo-Christian Bible.  [N.B. I am a center-left evangelical minister.]

Second, as someone else pointed out, science and faith/religion are not mutually exclusive.  Again, the contentious relationship between the two is a relatively recent phenomenon, and again springs (largley) from Protestant fundamentalism.  Indeed, even in the so-called “Dark Ages,” the Catholic Church was not simply supportive of science, but was underwriting many of the scientists of the time: for the Church, science helped to reveal the “glory of God”; i.e., MOST science did not conflict with Church teachings.  Consider that it was Sir Francis Bacon (a devout believer) who gave us the “scientific method,” and Einstein (a non-believer) who famously said, “Religion without science is blind; science without religion is lame.”

Third, as someone else pointed out, science has to some degree, and sadly, become another “religion,” in as much as it goes beyond its own precepts and methods, both generally and, more specifically, in continued attempts to “kill off” God.  We have geneticists searching for a “god gene” (they will not find one); Darwinists attempting to apply Darwinian theory to almost every area of science and psychology, no matter how irrelevant it is to that area; and cosmologists attempting to provide non-theological explanations for an ex nihilo Big Bang - explanations that are merely hypotheses, since they are no more or less supportable, falsifiable or reproducible than a belief in God, and thus do not even qualify as “theories.”

Any ideology - religious, political, economic, cultural, social - can be used for positive or negative purposes, and there will always be people who attempt to “co-opt” those ideologies to serve narrow and divisive goals.  We would do well to stop giving in to those who would control us by dividing us, and look for common ground and common paths to move forward and live together peaceably.

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By Maani, February 28, 2012 at 5:26 pm Link to this comment

diman:

“I’m confused, the bible tells me that it is possible to be resurrected by some invisible divine force and yet the science tells us otherwise, that it is impossible.”

Not quite.  Science does NOT say that resurrection is “impossible”; rather, it says it is “unexplainable” within the bounds of currently understood and accepted science.

There is a world of difference between the two.

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By gerard, February 28, 2012 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment

diman:  Please note the word I used, “enjoy”—possible to enjoy both. I did not use the word “believe”.  “Enjoy” is inclusive.  “Believe” is exclusive.  Exaltation is a word used frequently to define soulful experiences that penetrate one’s ordinary daily life and seem to lift one to some “higher level” of experience than usual; to cause one to feel awe, a sense of wonder, ecstasy, “out of body”, “spiritual” “sacred” etc.
  These same words are used by people who get such sensations from participation in religious rites (although in many cases the religious experiences of “transport” go even “farther out” (visions, speaking in tongues, hysteria, self-flagellation and downright insanity). 
  Borderlines are not clear, yet almost everyone has feelings of some unusual kind from time to time that they classify as more or less “spiritual”—which causes them to think that possibly human beings have “souls” or some ability beyond rational limits—“spirits”—(a word related to “ghosts”). 
  This experience is so universal, and significant, that it is as hard to deny as it is easy to misinterpret. Some seemingly related research using psychedelic drugs has been done, as yet not very universalized. or recorded. Maybe someday research will help us understand ourselves, what we do, and why.  Then again, maybe not.
  I do know, however, that for my father, at the Grand Canyon geology (science) merged with religion.

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By RAE, February 28, 2012 at 2:23 pm Link to this comment

@Christian96 wrote:... “I’ve spent time studying other religious beliefs than Christianity but can’t find in them the internal consistency and truth I find in Christianity.”

I guess we find what we look for which, in my experience, is quite often NOT what is actually there. Educated people know the human mind is highly prone to misinterpret what it sees and hears. It clearly can be fooled so profoundly that the owner has NO CHANCE to sort the wheat from the chaff - to detect the fallacies and falsehoods and fantasies contained in the experience.

But, hey, it’s YOUR view and opinion that your time in bible study has been well spent. I hold a different view. There’s plenty of room on the planet for differing views.

If someone asked me to recommend a text that was the best example of a volume full of inconsistencies and contradictions, the first one to come to mind would be the bible. If YOUR version of the bible is fully consistent and contains only certified truth, then we have two completely different versions (which, of course, wouldn’t surprise anyone since there must be a HUNDRED modern versions floating around and who’s to say how many doctored editions have been passed around as “the truth” since someone first scrawled something on clay tablets?) And that “someone” could have been as crazy as a hoot owl just like so many writing gobblygook today. Just because it’s in some ancient language on a stone tablet doesn’t make it any more “truth” than stuff published in a newspaper in 2012.

The bible is one thing for sure. It’s crazy making. It contains just enough stuff that actually makes sense, and is even beautiful, creative poetry to cause people like you to spend lifetimes trying to figure out the rest of it. Since that’s impossible, you and your ilk, resort to conjuring interpretations, guesses and untestable assumtions. These are then repeated until they become “truth.”

Oh yes, those quotation marks (” “) I just used reminded me of something that always brings a smile to my face. It’s the supposedly direct quotations when the characters speak… you know,

And Jesus sayeth unto the crowd, “Go forth and multiply.”

Or maybe he said it to the loaves and fishes… who knows - what he actually is supposed to have said is not my point. The point is that the bible makes it’s look as if these are direct quotes. If you believe that then you’ll believe anything.

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By gerard, February 28, 2012 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment

Now here’s a thought:  If it is okay to believe ancient mythology without evidence of the validity of the content, does that make it okay to believe that someone is guilty of a crime even when there is no evidence that that person committed the crime?

Or putting it a bit differently: Do people who believe in myths without evidence of validity, tend to believe other kinds of stories without evidence of their validity?

How important is evidence, actually? And why? What is the relationship between evidence and justice?
Between evidence and politics?  Between evidence and what we think of as progress?  Between evidence and understanding?

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By jimmmmmy, February 28, 2012 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

good video but most amerikans will be uncomfortable with your name and skin tones think o’bama. bill maher recently quipped ,if its on the internet and not followed by l.o.l.then its true ,right?  a canadian professor posited in the 50s-60s that the media is the message. and it turned out to be a visionary statement. truth is optional in most of todays media, political, and religious dicussions

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By DaEggman, February 28, 2012 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Science doesn’t care what you believe. Science is a method (the best we have) of determining how things work, where they are from, how old etc. It has no dogma, no real ego (except for the grumblings when a previously held hypothesis is disproved) It can admit fault, as religion, or politics for that matter, cannot. When was the last time you heard a priest say about his faith’s interpretation of the Bible, that it was wrong? Except for the “Rapturists” getting the dates wrong, and usually there is some back-pedaling on that, we don’t get the very human is fallible response from our religious leaders, yet every day they tell us how fallible humans are, just not them…

Science admits its faults, it puts them out into the community to be tested, reworked and broken apart by all who care to test the new hypothesis. Recently, a global warming skeptic published a paper on how there is no global warming. Unfortunately for all the deniers, the paper’s hypothesis did not correlate with the data. The scientific method was applied to his data to generate the same conclusion, but was unable to be confirmed by the data.(I’m sure it’s a big conspiracy, the words often used when there is no evidence for something.)

Science is the great uniter, which unlike religion, is the great divider. Do scientists engage in a bloodbath when they disagree? Of course not, they set out to prove the other side wrong using the same method. There is constant struggle without violence, constant progression and a vast, never ending supply of data being thrust into the light of reason where all who care to use the tools can exist together, bound by the laws of nature as we know them to be, but which will evolve, as everything does, over time and with greater prescision. Those who don’t believe in evolution, don’t know the meaning of the word, and that’s a fact. It is equated and misunderstood the world over, demonized as heresy and a tool of the devil, but all it means is “change over time”. Do children evolve into adults, of course they do, in fact we evolve every day. Evolution does not seek to explain the beginning, but rather the changes that all biology goes through over time. Animals that can adapt to change tend to survive, whereas those who don’t die off and the vast amount of data we have support this theory. Where is the vast amount of dat supporting the Bible, or the Koran, or Thor, Zeus, Krishna and their ilk? If there is a true “faith” what test could you use that would determine it? Where are the examples of faith uniting people if their faiths are different. Christians, to use 1 example, have a thousand different sects, each believing something different, a different interpretation of their book of faith. Have they yet agreed on anything that brings them closer together? According to our GOP frontrunner Mr. Santorum, his faith is the true faith, not that of Mr. Romney and certainly not the one of President Obama. How can these people expect to have a common ground to discuss differences? Belief is personal, science is universal, science can give us common ground that belief cannot.

Belief is not a scientific word. Neither is faith. Science doen’t have feelings, emotions or belief. It was started by people who heard of many different gods being attributed to the same phenomena, the weather, the sun, the moon, the stars, health etc. These brave few, who launched us onto the path of science and the discovery of hows and whys of the universe, we owe all we have to. We owe almost all of our accumulated knowledge to the scientific method, the great debunker of mankind’s beliefs and the tool we must use if we are ever going to realize our true place in this universe.

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By christian96, February 28, 2012 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment

RAE—-I’ve spent time studying other religious
beliefs than Christianity but can’t find in them the internal consistency and truth I find in Christianity.  I mentioned previously that many
Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus
but there are prophecies of the future that haven’t
been fulfilled that absolutely give me cognitive
dissonance.  The Bible predicts(prophesies) that
nations will surround Jerusalem with the intent
of attacking Jerusalem.  We see that prophecy beginning to take place with the advent of the Muslim
Brotherhood. Zechariah 14:12 describes what will
happen to these nations, “Their flesh shall consume
away while they stand upon their feet, and their
eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their
tongue shall consume away in their mouth.”  Sounds
like something nuclear to me.  That prophecy couldn’t be fulfilled until we reached the nuclear
age.  Is there a way to prevent this tragedy?  My
humane beliefs hope there is a way to prevent it
but I also know that other prophecies in the Bible
were fulfilled and this one will likely be fulfilled also.  Other prophecies concern me.  For example,
the disciples came to Jesus and ask for signs that
would exist before his second coming.  In Matthew 24:4 Jesus replied, “Take heed that no man deceive
you. For MANY shall come in my name saying, I am
Christ; and shall deceive many.” That may mean people will come claiming to be Jesus and deceive
many but it probably means people will come calling
themselves “Christians” and will deceive many. It
probably means both.  Prophecies can cover a short
time after they are given but can also cover a very
long time after they are given.  In Matthew 24:14
Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be
preached in ALL THE WORLD for a witness unto all
nations; and then shall the end come.”  That was a
prophecy that would take thousands of years to be
fulfilled.  Only now, with the advancements that have been made in communications, can this prophecy be fulfilled.  So, when Jesus told his disciples
about deceivers coming in his name he was talking
about immediate conditions for his disciples but he
was also telling us about conditions in our lifetimes.  Jim Jones, David Koresh, and Marshall
Applegate are just a few among many of the deceivers in our lifetimes.  I know the Bible so well that I
can tell a deceiver almost immediately when I hear
one. Many preachers in today’s media teach much
deception. Albert Einstein is thought by most
scientists to be the smartest man on planet earth
in the 20th Century.  In a book titled “Ideas and
Opinions” Albert Einstein said, “If we would remove
most of the additions which have been made to the
teachings of Jesus over the years we would have
teachings capable of laying the foundation for
world peace.”  Even Albert Einstein was aware of
the deceivers over the years who have added to the
teachings of Jesus. Back to Matthew 24, Jesus said
in verse 21, “for then shall be great tribulation,
such as was not since the beginning of thw world
to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”  This is a
prophecy that has not yet taken place but may take
place in our lifetime.  Wonder what it could be?
It may be an electronic magnetic pulse bomb which
would turn off electricity around the world.  It
might be sun bursts that would also turn off electricity.  Since most of the world’s economies
depend upon electricity I can’t help but believe
the worse tribulation to strike the world will be
related to electricity.  With all the gloom and
doom I’ve mentioned I would like to close on a
positive note. A prophecy which has not been fulfilled yet is written in Isaiah 2:4, “They shall
beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears
into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword
against nation, neither shall they learn war any
more.”  HALLELUJAH!

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By diman, February 28, 2012 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

By gerard,

“It is possible to enjoy the benefits of both science and religious faith.  One does not exclude the other.”

How does it happen exactly Gerard? I’m confused, the bible tells me that it is possible to be resurrected by some invisible divine force and yet the science tells us otherwise, that it is impossible, how exactly does it fit in your paradigm of simultaneous enjoyment of the above mentioned benefits?

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By gerard, February 28, 2012 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

So much for the video!  Experiment ended. Results duly tabulated. Score: Zero.  Rae’s theory proven:
Fiction plus friction equals a pile of useless diction.
  So much for “showing people how they will benefit from supporting evidence instead of belief”

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By sharonsj, February 28, 2012 at 9:42 am Link to this comment

The concept that the Earth is only about 6000 years old comes from some minister adding up the years in the list of “begats.”  Trying to explain to people that even the Bible says one year to us could be a thousand years to God isn’t enough to move them off this nonsense—let alone scientific proof that the Earth is billions of years old.

Give up trying to get them to accept logic but don’t give up fighting the Christian Taliban who want to impose their interpretations on the rest of us.

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By basho, February 28, 2012 at 7:31 am Link to this comment

christian96-

no offense mate but maybe you should gone to bed a little earlier.

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By Leefeller, February 28, 2012 at 7:19 am Link to this comment

Well, the Gang is almost all hear?  Since I watched all the Fuzzy Potter movies, and read all the books, I believe everything in those books for it is written, so witches live in a parallel society right next to yours and you do not even know they are even there. Boy do they have some interesting powers to reckon with, except I do not know if they come back to life after they die?  Belief is not necessarily truth, except in my case for it is I who Believe in Fuzzy Potter and his mates,  this explains my existence to me, and if you disagree you are wrong.

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By RAE, February 28, 2012 at 7:09 am Link to this comment

@christian96…

Folk like you present me with a bothersome cognitive dissonance.

On the one hand you hold rational, sensible views based in a grounded and factual reality while simultaneously you confess to investing significant time in a 30-year study of an eclectic anthology of badly edited, centuries old stories full of brutality, ghosts and goblins, UFOs, disasters, and Magik that David Copperfield would kill to be able to reproduce.

When I was in my early teens I attended “Sunday School” at some sort of United Church of the day. I remember vaguely questioning the minister along the lines of “how do you know this is true?” His reply ended my days where de organ plays - he said “You must have faith.”

Since that was then NO ANSWER and today still is not a rational, legitimate answer to the question, I can only conclude there is no way to “know” that ANYTHING in the bible is “true.” To my knowledge, there are no supporting documents to attest to the veracity of one single word written in it (let alone the fact that most of it is essentially “author UNKNOWN.”)

Q. In what other material published in the last 2,000 years do you just take on “faith” as being correct and true?

A. None.

Q. Why not?

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By thethirdman, February 28, 2012 at 6:42 am Link to this comment

Christian96,

Your post, and idiotic example from Psalm 22, leads me to believe that you are neither a scientist nor serious biblical scholar.  I actually suspect that the 96 in your name stands for the year you were born and that you think yourself clever for being able to play with the adults here on the internets.

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By basho, February 28, 2012 at 6:04 am Link to this comment

MondoBizzaro - well said!

Who would we be if we didn’t have some/one/thing to hate?

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By christian96, February 28, 2012 at 1:46 am Link to this comment

Gerard—-I know the difference between science and
faith.  I use to teach Research Design and Statistical Analysis at a major university.  Scientists make guesses(hypothesis)about a relationship between two variables(correlations,
causes and effect) then design a research project
to test the probablity there exist a relationship
between the variables they are researching.  It is
my knowledge of science that makes me critical
about accepting faith in Christianity.  I am sort
of a modern-day “doubting Thomas.”  I don’t know
how familiar you are with the Bible but Thomas was
a follower of Jesus.  When he was told by others who
had seen Jesus after the resurrection, Thomas said,
“I won’t believe it until I can touch the nails in
his hands!” Thomas was like a scientist.  He wanted
“proof.”  Jesus then appeared in the room and said,
“Here, Thomas, touch my hands.” Jesus said, “Thomas,
because you have seen me, you believe; blessed are
they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
(John 20:29)  That is faith.  Believing in something
you can’t prove, in this instance “seeing.” There
is no doubt that my scientific training has made me
very skeptical about believing in something I can’t
prove.  But in a way my scientific training has given
me a method for proving the existence of Jesus.
I have studied the Bible over 30 years. There were
written in the Old Testament many prophecies about
the comming Messiah.  Jesus fulfilled all those
prophecies.  Because of space limitations I’ll share one with you.  1,000 years before Jesus came to earth King David prophesied in Psalm 22 about a man being beaten, ridiculed, and crucified.  Psalm 22
even mentions the Roman soldiers gambling for the
garments of the person being crucified.  When Jesus was on the cross he cried, “My God, my God, why have you foraken me?”  Jesus knew his God had not forsakened him.  Then, why did he say the words?
He was telling us doubters and scientists to turn
to Psalm 22 which begins with the same words, “My
God, my God, why have you forsaken me.”  Psalm 22
then goes on to describe a man being crucified.
Ask any doctor what Psalm 22 describes.  Yet,
Psalm 22 was written by King David 1,000 years
earlier when crucifixion hadn’t even been introduced into Israel.  It wouldn’t be introduced until the
Romans later came into Israel.  What is the statistical probability that a man could write a
psalm that wouldn’t be fulfilled until approximately 1,000 years later?  It’s 3:45 am, EDT, and I’m going to bed.  Good night.

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By kmdyson, February 27, 2012 at 10:34 pm Link to this comment

It is just so extraordinarily odd that a developed country such as the United States still harbours people who believe in creationism…this is truly a phenomenon that should be examined by some doctoral student…

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By Flash, February 27, 2012 at 10:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This video was tiring and uninteresting: pedantic.

Talk about comparing apples to prime rib…Start with
mocking believers in the paranormal and mixing it up
with neurotic adherents to dogmatic religious myth.
Although I get his point, he could have been far more
creative and should have started with religion and
ended with it.

True, a comparison of blind belief to rational thought
applies across the board, but since the paranormal
involves mystery or subterfuge not truly examined by
science (because it is, in fact, dismissed out of
hand)this was not the right approach to start.

The real problem with science is that it is just
another religion. Why? It has its own dogma, its own
forbidden territory, its own skewed
statistics,disingenuous researchers and corrupted
studies. Science is not a substitute for religion nor
does it have a right to call, “Come here for answers!”
We don’t need priest scientists, arrogant, all. We
need scientific seekers: open-minded, honest, and
humble. Now that will never happen.

The real subject should have been about, if we are to
introduce dialogue to transform this world, is how to
get people deprogrammed from social conditioning,
religious conditioning, political conditioning,
scientific conditioning, academic conditioning,
cultural conditioning, and psychological manipulation.
The world is drowning in BS. Why? Why will people not
stand up to deception in ALL its forms? Now THAT is
the question of all time and if that safe of repressed
truth were cracked, everything would change overnight.

And really, global warming? I am amazed at the number
of comments across the net where this is referenced as
if it were a fact. Considering the sordid background
of this research, we really need to resist our rote
repetition of this phrase. Science needs a major
housecleaning, so let’s beware of what we latch onto
as fact and truth. Deception and unquestioned
conditioning comes from all segments: we witness the
pot calling the kettle black. 

Religion is mind control. When people are
indoctrinated that to question is tantamount to
apostasy and to even go there is to become a child of
perdition, that base programming holds the rest in
place. People need to be taught that anything that
demands unquestioning acceptance is an outright trap.
It’s time to spread the word and its that simple.

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By gerard, February 27, 2012 at 10:07 pm Link to this comment

Michael, actually I was referring to, and criticizing not you, personally, but the excesses of the Right Wing party line—a depressing mixture of religious fundamentalism, end times sophistry and the political orthodoxy of intolerance for anyone who deviates from those frames of reference. 
  The worst of it is how it restricts the curiosity and creativity of its true believers who dare not step outside the box of fixed ideas, but only respond with strident and strangely popular cliches which are utterly impervious to change. I know.  I have a twist of it in my family and it drives me up the wall. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry over these narrow lives of voluntary yet desperate religious/political imprisonment.
  Please let’s not belabor the subject any farther.  It’s so repetitive—lacking in originality, humor and freedom. Like the person you are talking to is stone deaf—or drugged and in a deep sleep with eyes wide open. 
  I wonder whether you can understand any part of how I feel about the frame of mind your comments reveal?  I feel honor-bound to respect you because you “have a right to your opinions”—but ... unless more of “your” people can stop listening to the same message over and over, open up, and consider some different and more practical alternatives, the country is almost certain to try going over Niagra Falls in a very fragile canoe.

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By Night-Gaunt, February 27, 2012 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment

As to the rest of the idiocy and patronizing talk here, I agree with RAE.. ‘haven’t you got something better to do?’

You are one to tell the rest of us to do something else while you are here yourself. Does pot calling the kettle black come to mind? Pointing fingers an all.

Better to be constructive than combative an obnoxious. You know who you are.

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By MondoBizarro, February 27, 2012 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Regardless of your political affiliations, it’s likely that you are as
emotionally/socially invested in your own ideas as anyone you might otherwise
regard as an idiot or wingnut. Getting one’s socks twisted over gay marriage
may be no less rational than protesting nuclear power plants, and both will get
you membership in exclusive clubs. Belonging to political clubs give our lives
meaning and structure. It gives us something to strive for. It gives us common
enemies and a heightened sense of purpose. Who in their right mind (pun
accidental, but not completely disowned) would want to go and give up all of
that good stuff?

And when it’s put to me like that, this old political non-affiliate (but decidedly
un-centrist) begins to wonder wether people are really motivated to understand
each other at all. Maybe it’s the fight that matters most. Occasional harm is a
helluva lot more sexy than permanent harmony, at least that’s what the
philosophers say. Perhaps the most fulfilled human beings on the entire planet
are illegal Israeli settlers and Palestinian freedom fighters. I know this sounds
glib, but really, who could feel a greater calling?

Hameed’s presentation jibes with studies demonstrating that political
conversations activate the emotional centers of the brain, not the logical,
cognitive regions. But as much as I applaud Hameed’s efforts, I can’t help
thinking that they are based on that lefty assumption that people actually want
to come together to resolve their differences. Meanwhile, I see no evidence that
the right seeks anything other than self-enrichment and/or blind obedience.

So we seem to be stuck in an historical paradigm, an increasingly ritualistic
standoff in which the left prays for the ultimate triumph of the facts, while the
right methodically calculates its next triumph of the will.

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By OzarkMichael, February 27, 2012 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment

At this point, one really despairs of being able to hold fundamentalist religions to any type of limit, because the insecurity under which most of us live only increases the power of religions to enthrall

What sort of limit were you talking about?
You were not talking about common limits like ‘speed limits’, so stop with your new rationalization that “we all have limits”.

You meant something special and particular against me, something I suspect you wouldnt dream of limiting yourself with. 

You should have just apologized but since you wont, i want to know. Do you mean a limit to our numbers? Our influence? The amount of damage we do to public parks and windows?

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By gerard, February 27, 2012 at 7:15 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Michael:  The truth will out, eventually, as in such remarks as yours regarding your abhorrence of limits:  “Good, because we dont like being limited any more than you do.” 
  You err sadly by dragging me into your “frame of mind” on the subject of limits.  On the contrary, I am grateful for limits of many kinds, and honor limits every day—human limits (the things we can’t do, things we shouldn’t do, things we try not to do).  I am grateful for the fact that I am neither enormously rich nor enormously poor.  And the fact that I will not live forever with increasing aches and pains and nuisances to others who are kind enough to take care of me.  And the fact that my ignorance was fortunately limited by a good, practical and sufficient education, which limits my ability to be self-satisfied and to do great harm to others.  And the fact that I had only three children instead of twelve.  And so much more.  Limits keep us from dropping back into the Dark Ages. Limits provide structure to what would otherwise be chaos. If Wall Street had limits, we wouldn’t be in the nasty situation we are in, etc. etc. Too many limits is bad; too few is bad. The problem is in maintaining the right number of the right limits—which gives us something to fight about because of our unlimited tendencies to fight instead of to make peace. Thank you for the opportunity to sound off!

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By OzarkMichael, February 27, 2012 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment

At this point, one really despairs of being able to hold fundamentalist religions to any type of limit,

                                -gerard
Good, because we dont like being limited any more than you do. As to the rest of the idiocy and patronizing talk here, I agree with RAE.. ‘havent you got something better to do?’

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By RAE, February 27, 2012 at 6:29 pm Link to this comment

In many of the years past I would have launched into paragraphs to explain how belief in god and all the claptrap that goes with it is absurd.

Now, I save my energy for more productive persuits - like taking a nap or having a pee.

Every moment spent even discussing the topic is a completely wasted moment that you can never recover. Isn’t there SOMETHING you’d rather be doing?

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