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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 9:42 pm 
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Vorpal Bunny Slipper
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To pull off a tangential discussion from a thread in Schlock Mercenary: Chalain posted with the following:

Quote:
Every mythology, including science*, has a creation myth.

* Oh, relax. Put down your torches and slide rules. I'm not calling science a myth. A mythology is a system of traditions and beliefs we use to inform our worldview. Technically, science isn't even that: science is just the outward practice of the beliefs found in the mythology of rationalism. So no, I'm not saying science is a myth**.

** Because, as a system of practices founded in a mythology, it's actually a religion***.

*** See, aren't you glad you waited? NOW go get your torches and slide rules.



And, to spare the thread the ensuing discussion, I made this thread.

_________________
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 9:54 pm 
Religious: Relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity.

You'll get no argument from me. It's the ultimate reality as observed by a whole lot of skeptical rationalist (mostly) white (mostly) guys. As opposed to the ultimate reality as observed by a few zealous romanticist (mostly) white (almost exclusively) guys. :P


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 10:00 pm 
Well, according to Dictionary.com...

Quote:
1.
a. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
b. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.
2. The life or condition of a person in a religious order.
3. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.
4. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.


1a fails; no supernatural powers here. 1b depends on 1a. 2 doesn't really fit, and it requires a definition of "religious" anyway. 3 doesn't work out quite right... even taking the various scientists who have informed the current scientific beliefs, describing them as "spiritual" seems wrong. 4? Maybe. But it doesn't really get to the heart of the matter - science as a system of beliefs and practices derived from those beliefs.

I tend to think of both science and religions as types of philosophy, so let's see about that definition.

Quote:
1. Love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline.
2. Investigation of the nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical reasoning rather than empirical methods.
3. A system of thought based on or involving such inquiry: the philosophy of Hume.
4. The critical analysis of fundamental assumptions or beliefs.
5. The disciplines presented in university curriculums of science and the liberal arts, except medicine, law, and theology.
6. The discipline comprising logic, ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, and epistemology.
7. A set of ideas or beliefs relating to a particular field or activity; an underlying theory: an original philosophy of advertising.
8. A system of values by which one lives: has an unusual philosophy of life.


It seems pretty clear to me that science is a philosophy. However - at least according to these definitions, religion involves belief in some supernatural power.

So what about atheism? Is atheism a religion? This definition says no. I personally think it tends to straddle the line - atheism is explicitly a system of beliefs which centers on the lack of a supernatural power. Even, though, if we redefine religion to be a system of beliefs concerning some supernatural power or the lack thereof, science doesn't quite fit.

Science is in fact unconcerned with the question of whether or not there are zero, one, or more gods - or so it seems. Science seeks to expose the natural laws of the universe, and these laws will hold whether they exist by a god's will or not.

However, science precludes a certain subset of theistic beliefs; those being that a god is free to act against the natural laws of the universe. In particular, this excludes omnipotent gods. So... the belief system of science does not center on any theistic (which I take here to mean "regarding gods", not "supporting gods") beliefs, but implies some theistic beliefs. So does this count as a religion?

Hard to say, really.


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 10:07 pm 
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Vorpal Bunny Slipper
Vorpal Bunny Slipper

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LastAmorphStanding wrote:
Religious: Relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity.

You'll get no argument from me. It's the ultimate reality as observed by a whole lot of skeptical rationalist (mostly) white (mostly) guys. As opposed to the ultimate reality as observed by a few zealous romanticist (mostly) white (almost exclusively) guys. :P


Any philosopher of science will tell you that science is not "the ultimate reality", it is our best approximate explanation of reality based on the known evidence, held provisionally until new evidence comes along challenging it and requiring the current explanation to be modified or discarded. It is not held as an infallible or perfect or ultimate explanation; if it were, there would be no more scientists. They'd have figured it all out.

_________________
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 10:23 pm 
Jeremiah Smith wrote:
LastAmorphStanding wrote:
Religious: Relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity.

You'll get no argument from me. It's the ultimate reality as observed by a whole lot of skeptical rationalist (mostly) white (mostly) guys. As opposed to the ultimate reality as observed by a few zealous romanticist (mostly) white (almost exclusively) guys. :P


Any philosopher of science will tell you that science is not "the ultimate reality", it is our best approximate explanation of reality based on the known evidence, held provisionally until new evidence comes along challenging it and requiring the current explanation to be modified or discarded. It is not held as an infallible or perfect or ultimate explanation; if it were, there would be no more scientists. They'd have figured it all out.

Well, that's when you start getting into the splinter sects:
- Orthodox Rationalism: The ultimate reality exists, and science will one day discover it.
- Reformed Rationalism: The ultimate reality exists, but science will never discover it. That's okay, though, because nothing else will either.
- Radical Rationalism: The ultimate reality exists, and science will never discover it. That's okay, though, because science will be really quite helpful to the religious sect that does discover it, and at that point we'll all get to say "I told you so, nyaah".
- Reactionary Rationalism: The ultimate reality is Intelligent Design.

It's gotta be a religion. Nothing else spawns these kinda brushfire wars. :twisted:


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 10:25 pm 
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Vorpal Bunny Slipper
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Quote:
A mythology is a system of traditions and beliefs we use to inform our worldview.


A definition that simplistic would include such things as capitalism, the Adkins diet, and whether you root for the Yankees or the Red Sox as mythologies. Try again. Just because something is a system of beliefs does not mean it's a mythology. Mythologies typically involve supernatural events or deities, are usually crafted mostly by imagination/revelation rather than evidence, and are usually in the form of narratives and stories. They are typically allegorical, and represent a deeper meaning besides the literal story. They also tend not to be supported by evidence.

Quote:
Technically, science isn't even that: science is just the outward practice of the beliefs found in the mythology of rationalism.


A) Rationalism is not a mythology, it's a philosophy that holds that using reason to determine truths is better than using faith.

B) Science is not founded on rationalism, it's founded on methodological naturalism: the idea that science should be concerned with natural things. It says nothing of the existence of the supernatural either way, only that it's out of the realm of science. This is how scientists can manage to be religious people. (You obviously have no problem with it, being a Mormon who's into science.) The discipline of science is predicated on the ability to examine, test, analyze, and manipulate what's being studied in repeatable experiments, something that you can't do with the supernatural.

Quote:
Because, as a system of practices founded in a mythology, it's actually a religion.


Since science isn't a mythology, this claim is senseless. Religions involve belief in the supernatural, typically in the form of deities or spirits, or, in the case of Scientology and Realianism, aliens. In any case, belief in non-naturalistic beings that are unsupported by evidence. Such beliefs typically are given as the result of divine revelation (or, in Scientology's case, drugs and alcohol) and not as a methodological approach to evidence.

Religions also have beliefs held in spite of lack of evidence, or in the face of evidence against the belief. This is called faith. Science, on the other hand, is predicated on that which has evidence -- if you can provide no evidence for your claims, or if others can replicate the results with your evidence, no dice for you. Science also accepts contradicting evidence; it's how old theories are updated or discarded. Even the most fundamental theories in physics could be changed if the right evidence were to come along? How many religions would change their beliefs in such a case?

Science's claims are not held infallible, either, unlike those of many religions. Science, being an inductive process, cannot attain absolute knowledge, and it makes no claim to it. Science can only attain greater levels of certainty, approaching perfection asymptotically as more and more evidence supports a theory.

_________________
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 10:26 pm 
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Vorpal Bunny Slipper
Vorpal Bunny Slipper

Joined: Sun May 12, 2002 2:54 am
Posts: 2707
LastAmorphStanding wrote:
It's gotta be a religion. Nothing else spawns these kinda brushfire wars. :twisted:


You're apparently not familiar with Europeans and soccer.

_________________
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 10:29 pm 
Jeremiah Smith wrote:
LastAmorphStanding wrote:
It's gotta be a religion. Nothing else spawns these kinda brushfire wars. :twisted:


You're apparently not familiar with Europeans and soccer.

And your point is?... :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 10:33 pm 
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Vorpal Bunny Slipper
Vorpal Bunny Slipper

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Posts: 2707
So soccer is a religion?

Man, that would explain a lot.

_________________
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 1:10 pm 
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Jeremiah Smith wrote:
A definition that simplistic...


If your conscience needs you to throw a dictionary at it to make it go away, then I hope that works for you. You've avoided the point, however, and perhaps unwittingly, demonstrated it.

You believe in science, Jeremiah. Do you show a little too much white around the eyes when you preach it?

Science has fine traditions of saints and apostles, like Newton and Hawking. It has martyrs, like Brahe and Galileo. It has fallen prophets, like Pons and Fleischman.

It has morals, like intellectual honesty, accuracy and reproducibility.

It has a two-faced God: Cause and Effect. These two are responsible for the creation of all the earth and the firmament, and all that in them lie. That is your supernatural force, for when confronted by the unexplained, you believe that Cause and Effect are in there. Why does magnetism work? How does gravity exert force at a distance? Why do quarks have spin? We don't really know. But Cause and Effect must be in there, praise the data!

Science informs the deeply emotional reactions you have to the world around you. You heap scorn and vitriol on those who report evidence to you of a religious nature. You get angry when Christians vote their conscience. You feel threatened when mothers talk to Congress about violence in video games.

Jeremiah wrote:
Science's claims are not held infallible, either, unlike those of many religions. Science, being an inductive process, cannot attain absolute knowledge, and it makes no claim to it.


This is a statement of faith, Jeremiah. Catholics believe in Papal Infallibility, Scientists believe in Human Fallibility.

Infallibility is merely a tenet, and by the way, you do believe in it. You believe in the infallibility of the natural universe. The gravitational constant doesn't change. The speed of light doesn't change. Planck's constant doesn't change.

Oh, these things do change, don't they? We can slow light down. But when they change, Nature is never questioned. Merely our understanding. Reproducibility is a tenet of the faith; it cannot be questioned lest the whole church fall apart. So we amend the speed of light with "in a vaccuum". We may find out when and how G and P can be varied. The Old Testaments of Newton and Bohr verily must pass away, superseded by Einstein and Feynman.

Your apostles are not infallible in the Catholic sense, I will concede. But even when the old passes away, are they not kept in remembrance? Are their models still not studied, because, although patently false, they serve as useful approximations? We still teach physics using algebra, as if there existed such things as straight lines and uniform rigid bodies. We still teach Bohr's model of the atom, because it explains and predicts a lot of useful stuff in chemistry.

Like any religion, it has sloppy thinkers. Many smoothly go from "you cannot prove a negative" straight into "there is no god". Science has yet to devise instruments that can pierce the veil of the afterlife, so many firmly proclaim that when the lights go out, you feed the worms and nothing more. You yourself have gone from "science is an inductive process" straight into denouncing Christianity because you refuse to permit your understanding of the Bible to be redacted. You have a hypothesis that you really, really want to make fit. You make baby Cause and Effect cry when you do that.

That's a torch and a sliderule in your hands, Jer.

It walks and it quacks. All I'm saying is, it's a duck.


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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 6:12 pm 
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Vorpal Bunny Slipper
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Chalain wrote:
If your conscience needs you to throw a dictionary at it to make it go away, then I hope that works for you. You've avoided the point, however, and perhaps unwittingly, demonstrated it.


My conscience needs no dictionary. If you're going to keep redefining words to make your point, then this discussion is pointless. The term "mythology" goes beyond "belief structure", for reasons I pointed out. Science is a belief structure, but no definition of mythology that the real world uses would classify science as one. But, obviously, in order to turn science into a religion, you have to discard all the differences between them and exaggerate any similarities.

Quote:
You believe in science, Jeremiah.


The same way I "believe in" this couch. "Believe in" implies acceptance without evidence. Science is based on the study and analysis of evidence. It is supported every time you use your computer, drive your car, or watch TV. Every time a product of science works the way it should, it is another validation of the scientific method. Science is only an approximation, however certain we get, but it is based on checking the approximations against nature.

Quote:
Do you show a little too much white around the eyes when you preach it?


Do Yankees fans show a little too much white around the eyes when they yell at Red Sox fans? Do politicians show a little too much white around the eyes when they tell people to serve their country? Your argument is ridiculous; how strongly someone defends or supports something is not an indicator that that something is a religion, unless you want to include things as patriotism as a religion. You're focusing on similarities that are not essential parts of the definition of either religion or science, particularly by using me as an example of all scientists, or even all atheists.

Quote:
Science has fine traditions of saints and apostles, like Newton and Hawking.


Newton and Hawking attained their status through work and effort and by how well their theories explained things in a new, more useful, way. They earned their status just as any other celebrated person does, and it was granted by other people and not divine fiat.

Newton and Hawking are still criticized, despite their status. Their works are refined, tested, and improved. That's how science works, and Newton and Hawking know/knew this. Newton's works were refined by the willingness of others, like Einstein, to criticize his works. Hawking's works are still debated in the astrophysics community, in such areas as black holes and information theory.

Criticizing the works of those before you is how you proceed in science; figuring out how well their theories correspond with the evidence discovered since then is how theories get refined. Even Einstein's works are still tested; remember that satellite sent up to test frame-dragging? Every scientist knew that there was the possibility that the results would not correspond with relativity, and that Einstein would be incorrect. Those who show their predecessors were not right are those who are celebrated in science. Criticizing the works of a saint or apostle, though, would until recently earn you a very warm spot on top of a pile of wood. When's the last time a Mormon got respect from his fellow Mormons for criticizing the works of Joseph Smith?

Scientists, even famous ones, are not held to the standards of "divine untouchability" that saints and apostles are. They are no more saints of science than Michael Jordan is a saint of basketball. This is just another example of stretching terms to draw unjustified parallels.

Quote:
It has martyrs, like Brahe and Galileo.


Brahe wasn't a martyr of anything except extreme politeness.

Galileo wasn't martyred. He recanted publicly and died under house arrest while excommunicated; not great for him, but hardly martyrdom. Maybe you want Giordano Bruno?

Not only were your examples bad, they still don't support your point. People have died for the causes of world peace, civil rights, patriotism, imperialism, Nazism, racism, Communism, and myriad other beliefs. These beliefs are not mythologies or religions.

Quote:
It has fallen prophets, like Pons and Fleischman.


Pons and Fleischman were not "fallen prophets". They were just wrong. These things happen. Science doesn't even have "prophets". Scientists may make statements about the future, but no one holds them as infallible or divinely inspired statements. Pointing out when a scientist got something wrong is part of science. The scientist so pointed out might not like it, but that is how science is improved. Religious prophets, on the other hand, are untouchable. How do you think a Christian pointing out failed prophecies in the Bible is going to be treated by his peers?

Is Pete Rose a "fallen prophet" of baseball because of his disgrace? In your zeal to turn science into a religion, you've just redefined religious terms and tried to shoehorn science into them, completely ignoring the fundamental aspects of the terms you're using.

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It has morals, like intellectual honesty, accuracy and reproducibility.


Accuracy and reproducibility are guidelines to getting useful results. They are not morals except in a very pragmatic sense. Reproducibility is a way of removing human error. If your results can't be reproduced, it's a good sign you made a mistake somewhere. Results that are inaccurate are much less useful than accurate results. Intellectual honesty is not unique to science, and producing honest results leads to better and more useful results because other people don't have to do more work to undo your dishonesty and find out what really is going on. In any case, what's your point?

Quote:
That is your supernatural force, for when confronted by the unexplained, you believe that Cause and Effect are in there.


If you'd like to explain how cause and effect are supernatural, be my guest.

And, depending on which philosophers you ask, the inference of cause and effect is inductive as well, based on (numerous, usually) previous observations. (And depending on which quantum mechanics you ask, cause and effect are not absolutes.)

Quote:
Why does magnetism work? How does gravity exert force at a distance? Why do quarks have spin? We don't really know. But Cause and Effect must be in there, praise the data!


It sounds like here you're basically criticizing science for believing there are natural explanations for things. Maybe there aren't, but so far we've been doing really really good in that regard, and we'll never know unless we try to find the answers anyway.

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Science informs the deeply emotional reactions you have to the world around you.


So do a lot of things. And science also informs your decisions. The differences in our results are because of the beliefs we have independently of science.

But it is telling that you seem to associate scorn and vitriol with religion.

Quote:
You heap scorn and vitriol on those who report evidence to you of a religious nature.


No, I don't. I heap scorn and vitriol on those who use bad arguments and bad evidence. That these happen to intersect with religion in places is not my fault. I've gone off on atheists for doing the same thing. I've also gone off on others in matters completely unrelated to religion for the same thing.

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You get angry when Christians vote their conscience.


I get angry when people vote for things I feel strongly against. People of all beliefs do that, and it hardly means science is a religion, nor does it invalidate my political beliefs. It means that I disagree with some Christians on such things. I also disagree with some atheists on political matters. (There's a fellow on another message board, who's taught me a lot about reason and philosophical matters, and I greatly respect him. He also has the complete opposite stance than I do on abortion.)

Quote:
You feel threatened when mothers talk to Congress about violence in video games.


If I do, it is because I feel their arguments are poor, and that usually their recommendations would probably not help much at all while creating new problems.

Quote:
This is a statement of faith, Jeremiah. Catholics believe in Papal Infallibility, Scientists believe in Human Fallibility.


You mean it takes faith to believe that humans don't know everything? As in, believing that humans are fallible is a belief without evidence? This might be the stupidest thing I've ever heard you say, and it pains me to say that. At best, you could say that scientists believe in the human ability to discover things about the natural world in a systematic way. The existence of the very Internet you're using to discuss this is just one of many indications that support this notion.

Quote:
Infallibility is merely a tenet, and by the way, you do believe in it. You believe in the infallibility of the natural universe.


The natural universe is neither fallible nor infallible. It makes no statements. It makes no claims. It exists, and we study its existence. It's like proclaiming an apple to be infallible. You can make fallible or infallible claims about an apple, but an apple makes no claims. No one believes that nature is "infallible", they believe that it exists. Science is the systematic study of nature's identity. If our understanding disagrees with the identity of nature as discovered by new evidence, then our understanding is necessarily incorrect.

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But when they change, Nature is never questioned. Merely our understanding.


Why would we question nature when it doesn't conform with our understanding? If physical constants aren't constant, that is a characteristic of the universe's existence. That is how the universe is. The universe is not making claims about itself. The universe is not obliged to obey our claims. If I see a red apple, and conclude that apples are red, and then see a green apple, are you suggesting that apples themselves are fallible because they didn't hold up to my claims? Apples have identity. They have a nature. They have characteristics. Perhaps these characteristics include "if you take them outside the solar system they turn blue", and our knowledge of them is incomplete. An entity's identify is not infallible or fallible; it is what it is. Our knowledge of what it is is where the error lies.

Quote:
Reproducibility is a tenet of the faith; it cannot be questioned lest the whole church fall apart.


Reproducibility is stipulated because results are necessarily shared with others. It is a method of making sure you've gotten things right, and that your results are not unduly influenced by other factors. Reproducing the experiment in other environments helps remove factors from the explanation. Other scientists might have different cultural or scientific biases, or might make less mistakes. Or they might find flaws in your experimentation or conclusions. It's essentially the same principle as having someone else proofread your English term paper. It is, of course, possible that the nature of the universe is such that the experiment would produce those results only at that specific location in spacetime, and that you were in fact right. But such a fact is rather useless and would contribute little to science.

Quote:
So we amend the speed of light with "in a vacuum".


Because we learned another of nature's characteristics; that the speed of light can be slowed by passing through some medium, and that it goes fastest in a vacuum. What's your point? Are you saying science should not correct itself? That, if we're wrong, we should hold ourselves infallible and blame the universe?

Quote:
The Old Testaments of Newton and Bohr verily must pass away, superseded by Einstein and Feynman.


Duh. That's how science works. Refinement of what came before, with new technologies and methodologies. Your statement, incidentally, is how science differs from religion: aspects of Holy Texts are rarely discarded when the evidence goes against them. At best, the texts are turned to allegory, at worst, the evidence is denied. The self-correction of science doesn't always go perfectly... scientists, of course, are only human, and it's hard to give up a personal theory that's worked so well only to have some snotty upstart from MIT find a flaw in it. But if the snotty upstart has evidence, the scientific community will begin to accept his work. You might have to die first, but it'll happen. In today's scientific community, we've learned from similar mistakes, and the Internet and other communications mean that results can be spread widely even if the old school is criticizing you.

Quote:
Your apostles are not infallible in the Catholic sense, I will concede. But even when the old passes away, are they not kept in remembrance? Are their models still not studied, because, although patently false, they serve as useful approximations? We still teach physics using algebra, as if there existed such things as straight lines and uniform rigid bodies. We still teach Bohr's model of the atom, because it explains and predicts a lot of useful stuff in chemistry.


The use of earlier theories as useful approximations is continued because the old theories worked. That's why they were accepted in the first place. But they are also not infallible in any sense; that's why they had to be refined in the first place. You sum it up in your last sentence; they are used as useful approximations. Newton was wrong, but his theories still work just fine for non-relativistic equations, provided you don't need excruciating precision. But the later refinements are still taught, and used in situations where the old results are known to not work. Bohr's model is useful if you're doing chemistry, but its successor models are still pointed out, and you certainly can't use it nowadays for particle physics. I fail to see what your issue with this is.

Quote:
Like any religion, it has sloppy thinkers. Many smoothly go from "you cannot prove a negative" straight into "there is no god".


A) Not quite true. You can prove a negative if it entails a logical contradiction. This is one of the basic forms of mathematical proof. Many arguments against gods are based on finding contradictions among the claims about a certain god made by its followers. The Problem of Evil is a famous example of this. Granted, this only applies to gods who have enough definition to find a contradiction; deists usually have little to worry about in this regard. But atheists admit this. And most gods that come up in conversation fall into this category.

It is possible to argue -- and, indeed, it happens a lot -- that god such-and-such is beyond logic. But people who make this claim rarely elaborate on what it means to be beyond logic. To quote from another forum: Which of the following logics does God transcend: sentential, predicate, modal (K, S4, or S5), temporal, intuitionist, paraconsistent, or dialetheistic? Does the logic which God transcends involve axioms, rules of deduction, a mixture, or a natural deduction approach? Finally, where does the transcendence fail? In completeness? In consistency? In translation? They also forget that their own claims are based on logic: if you have the premises "If I believe in him, God will let me into Heaven" and "I believe in God", the conclusion "I will go to Heaven" is based on the rule of inference of Modus Ponens. Is God beyond this logic as well?

B) You can still make a confident claim of non-existence even without 100% absolute certainty. We can't disprove the Loch Ness Monster by contradiction; it could still possibly exist. But we can make arguments to its nonexistence, and eventually attain enough certainty that we can say "there is no Loch Ness Monster".

* All the known sightings are either known to be frauds or are likely instances of human error.
* There is no good evidence to support the existence of Nessie: only blurry photos and second-hand anecdotes.
* A sonar search of Loch Ness revealed nothing.
* Loch Ness is not big enough to support a breeding colony of Nessies.

And so on. In light of these, we feel confident in denying the existence of Nessie. The same things are the reasons why atheists do not believe in God, and if you had studied atheists and their arguments you would know this.

Quote:
Science has yet to devise instruments that can pierce the veil of the afterlife, so many firmly proclaim that when the lights go out, you feed the worms and nothing more.


As with Nessie, the claim of non-existence of the afterlife is made without 100% absolute certainty, but a confident and informed certainty nonetheless.

* Near-death experiences are known to vary widely, and are more than likely hallucinatory. They are heavily influenced by the surrounding culture's religious beliefs: Western NDEs feature bright lights; Indians report meeting the Hindu god of death and a divine bureaucracy:

Here wrote:
Here we see that NDErs from different cultures also give different reasons for why they are sent back. Western NDErs are often 'sent back' in order to take care of immediate family or for some assumed purpose unknown to them; NDErs from India report meeting clerks in an impersonal afterlife bureaucracy who process the dead and send them back because they have been sent the wrong person due to paperwork mistakes.


Unless each culture gets its own afterlife, it is reasonable to assume that NDEs are simply hallucinations influenced by the experiencer's religious beliefs, and not evidence of an afterlife.

* Many notions of the afterlife are tied into other religious beliefs; arguing against a religion would entail arguing against its afterlives as well.

* Lack of evidence. This is especially important in contexts where one's belief in deity influences where your afterlife is. A deity moderating the afterlife has better ways of convincing humans of the existence of that afterlife -- and by association, himself -- than centuries-old stories indistinguishable from other religious mythology or hearsay, or experiences that could easily be confused with oxygen-deprivation hallucinations.

* There is increasing evidence that functions of the brain, including consciousness, arise from natural processes which end upon death. It is always possible that these processes are reproduced after death in some spiritual realm where consciousness continues, but there is no evidence to support that notion, and I see no qualms in denying that claim.

Quote:
You yourself have gone from "science is an inductive process" straight into denouncing Christianity because you refuse to permit your understanding of the Bible to be redacted.


I refuse to permit my understanding of the Bible to be redacted...? Those four or five years I spent as a fundamentalist Christian don't count, I guess. One of the side effects of going to a strongly Christian private school. I read about how evolution was so wrong and I couldn't wait to show all those scientists the errors of their ways. I would worry myself sick, thinking that God would send me to hell for not having the confidence to preach to my family, who were all Catholics and condemned to hell. I would get into debates in IRC rooms, denying that the contradictions in the Bible were really contradictions and covering my ears when people pointed out that rabbits don't actually chew cud. And then I graduated high school, and stopped being exposed to fundamentalism every day. I calmed down from my fundie high. I read science books and websites, all pointing out that the creationism claims I so loved had been debunked years before, in some cases decades before. The evolutionary explanations made much more sense. And I read about how textual analysis showed how Genesis had multiple authors. I read about the history of Christianity, and the apocryphal texts, and historical analysis of texts. I read criticisms of Christianity I'd never read before, and saw that there were some good points. I realized that it made no sense for God to write a book full of apparent contradictions and then not explain them. Why would God create so much confusion about little things like Jesus' grandfather when a few simple sentences would have explained the whole thing? Didn't he know that these things would lead people away from him? Why didn't Heavenly Quality Control catch them? No one I knew had an answer to that, other than "It pleased God to be thus", or "God deliberately wanted some people to disbelieve and end up in hell", which is not only morally offensive but also contradictory to that whole all-loving thing. In the end, I came to the conclusion that Christianity was not the way. I hadn't believed in any other gods to begin with, and I saw that many of the criticisms of Christianity applied to Islam and Judaism and other religions. Now I'm an atheist.

So I did let my understanding of the Bible be redacted. Just not in the way you like.

Quote:
You have a hypothesis that you really, really want to make fit.


Yes, Chalain, I really want there to be no god. I really want to go through life without an unfailing, unstoppable companion by my side to help me when I'm down. I really want to die and have my consciousness and sense of self stop existing completely and irrevocably. I really want to tell my family that I find their Catholicism wrong. I really want to be considered the enemy of America and an unworthy citizen by the majority political powers. My atheism is not based on some pre-existing desire to disbelieve. It is based on accepting a trail of evidence that led into a position, one that I initially found distasteful.

But, tell me, Chalain, since we're talking about people doing anything to make their hypothesis fit...

How, exactly, do you reconcile the problem of Joseph's father? Is it Jacob or Heli, and how do you know? I think we've been over this one before. (You never did get back to me on that.)

Or, if you feel like discussing something more central to Christianity, please do what no apologist has done yet and provide a narrative of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection that convincingly encompasses all the contradictions and problems therein, along with an explanation of why God would allow the details surrounding the most important event of his religion to be muddled and confused to such a degree that it would make people turn away from it.

Quote:
That's a torch and a sliderule in your hands, Jer.


Are you going to claim that science is a religion simply because some people such as myself used it as part of their conversion to atheism? Science played a part in regards to evolution and Biblical archaeology, but those were not the significant causes of my conversion. The major factors were theological in nature, questions about God that I'd never heard and have never heard answered, such as why an omnipotent and omniscient God would use an imperfect method like a book to spread his word, when he knew the imperfections in his work would lead people away from his work and him, and into hell.

Quote:
It walks and it quacks. All I'm saying is, it's a duck.


Your entire argument calling science a religion is based on:

* Redefining religious terms like "mythology" and "saint" and trying to shoehorn science into those definitions, not realizing that in doing so you have redefined these terms to be trivial. Calling any notable or respected scientist a "saint of science" is to remove all the religious connotations of the word and turn it into a mere synonym for "person of note". I'm sure the Catholics will be quite pleased to hear about Robert de Niro, "Saint of Acting" or Ron Jeremy, "Saint of Porn".

* Ignoring the fundamental philosophical and methodological differences between the two things. Science is based on inference from evidence, and the continual testing to make sure those inferences are correct. Religion is based on revelation and faith; things are accepted without questioning or testing, they are taken as, well, gospel. Did anyone check Joseph Smith's work before it was incorporated into Mormon canon? In science, to question is required. In religion, to question is heresy. These are fundamental differences that can't be brushed under the carpet.

Many religious people accept science without calling it a religion. They see it as what it is, a systematic study of nature. To them, science is complementary, not contradictory, to their religious beliefs. The Jesuit who originally proposed the Big Bang, Georges Lemaître, was one such individual; he felt that both science and religion were ways to the truth, and he got a Ph.D. in physics and attended seminary in order to have his bases covered.

Various remarks in your post, especially towards the end, seem to reveal an ulterior motive: You're not arguing against science, you're arguing against atheism, using science as a proxy. Since atheism in and of itself has no mythology, you've taken the appreciation for science that many atheists have, in order to find something to rail at atheists against. Taking down those smug atheist bastards by trying to show that their beliefs are a religion, the very thing they rail against. In the process, though, you've ignored the definitions and religious connotations of your terms and apparently not read much philosophy to boot.

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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 10:12 pm 
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Incidentally, me and Chalain just settled our differences in the IRC channel. Shame you guys missed it. It was a real bonding moment.

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Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2005 4:39 am 
By "bonding moment", do you mean you've stuffed his body somewhere?


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2005 4:21 pm 
Jeremiah Smith wrote:
B) Science is not founded on rationalism, it's founded on methodological naturalism: the idea that science should be concerned with natural things. It says nothing of the existence of the supernatural either way, only that it's out of the realm of science. This is how scientists can manage to be religious people. (You obviously have no problem with it, being a Mormon who's into science.) The discipline of science is predicated on the ability to examine, test, analyze, and manipulate what's being studied in repeatable experiments, something that you can't do with the supernatural.

Science makes no distinction between the natural and the "supernatural." Science deals with the observable. If it can be observed, that is, if it interacts with the ovservable universe in any way, it can be studied scientifically. If those things which are typically classified as "supernatural" were to be observed, and if those observations were reliable, then any scientist would be forced to conclude that those things exist as part of the natural universe, and would likely begin applying scientific methodology to studying them.


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2005 4:34 pm 
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Drooling Iguana wrote:
If those things which are typically classified as "supernatural" were to be observed, and if those observations were reliable, then any scientist would be forced to conclude that those things exist as part of the natural universe...


And then they wouldn't be supernatural anymore.

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Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2005 4:44 pm 
Jeremiah Smith wrote:
Incidentally, me and Chalain just settled our differences in the IRC channel. Shame you guys missed it. It was a real bonding moment.

We're going to get hilariously out-of-context chunks posted in the Complete Quotes thread, right?


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2005 4:59 pm 
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Only if someone who's not me saved logs.

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Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 1:11 am 
Jeremiah Smith wrote:
Drooling Iguana wrote:
If those things which are typically classified as "supernatural" were to be observed, and if those observations were reliable, then any scientist would be forced to conclude that those things exist as part of the natural universe...

And then they wouldn't be supernatural anymore.

They would never have been supernatural to begin with. Things either exist (and can therefore be studied scientifically) or they don't.


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 4:09 am 
Jeremiah Smith wrote:
Stuff

Long read...But good.


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 10:05 am 
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Anh Minh wrote:
By "bonding moment", do you mean you've stuffed his body somewhere?


No, no. Bonding.

They taped themselves together.


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 3:35 pm 
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LastAmorphStanding wrote:
Jeremiah Smith wrote:
Incidentally, me and Chalain just settled our differences in the IRC channel. Shame you guys missed it. It was a real bonding moment.

We're going to get hilariously out-of-context chunks posted in the Complete Quotes thread, right?

No, you're going to get one in this thread!


<Chalain> Jeremiah, you're cramping my style. I'm the one who writes forum novels.
<Jeremiah> :)
<Pi> Chalain, yours was just a short story, in this case.
* Pi has quit IRC (Quit: There is no justice. There is only me.)
<Jeremiah> Chalain just brings out the... somethingest... in me.
<Chalain> Pi: hrm, I think it still counts as a novel. We'll promote Jer's post to "long-form work".
<Chalain> I just need to decide if I have the time and energy to go Robert Jordan on his ass.
<Schlock> Nobody's ass deserves that.

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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 7:49 am 
Damn fine post, Jerm. I miss you.

On the other hand, I really don't miss Chalain. Notice how he has the courage to hold this kind of bullsh!t psuedo-argument when he thinks he won't have to deal with someone who will call him a brainless propagandist?

BTW, did he apologize for calling you names? My bet is not. His usual mode when he's getting his bullsh!t arguments torn to ribbons is to suck up and simper and tell you he still respects you, even if you are stupid for disagreeing with him and that he won't come in your mouth.


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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 2:04 pm 
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Pronto wrote:
On the other hand, I really don't miss Chalain. Notice how he has the courage to hold this kind of bullsh!t psuedo-argument when he thinks he won't have to deal with someone who will call him a brainless propagandist?


I stand, of course, fully shamed and torn to ribbons by your iron logic. You're supposed to wait until after the hymn, though--heretic burning before the opening prayer is considered gauche.

Pronto wrote:
BTW, did he apologize for calling you names? My bet is not. His usual mode when he's getting his bullsh!t arguments torn to ribbons is to suck up and simper and tell you he still respects you, even if you are stupid for disagreeing with him and that he won't come in your mouth.


Nice try.

In Pronto's defense, I should point out to everyone that he is not, in fact, demonstrating my arguments by giving us a beautiful example of white-eyed zealotry. This is just his classic MO of attempting to settle personal grudges by shaming people in public. (Masterfully executed, by the way, Pronto. I still respect you... come back to bed?)

To sum up the discussion Jer and I had on IRC, the correlations between the practice of religion and the practice of science are indeed present. Jer and I disagree on how many points of commonality exist, and I conceded that there may not be a 100% correlation: I have yet to find a scientific analogue for the act of worship. (I thought maybe hubris and conceited worship of self, but lack of humility is present in religious culture as a trait distinct from overt acts of reverence to a higher power.)

The use of metaphor is justified; my extrapolation of it to ridiculous ends was deliberate. "If I can show a few points of commonality, I can make the claim that they are identical." Jer's response started out solid enough: "If I can show that even one point of commonality is not 100% analogous, then they are not identical." This is true and I concede that fact. For decorum's sake, perhaps I should have posted as much here. It seemed to me, however, that Jer then attempted to extrapolate the reverse case: that if even one point of commonality is not 100% analogous, then there are no points of commonality and there is no relationship between the two. This claim is equally untenable.

Many key features of religous culture are present in scientific culture. Revered authorities, a world view, even some Definite Views about how the Ineffabilities of the universe may be, for lack of a better word, effed. These features can be (inter/extra)polated to form a model of behavior that can indeed be used to predict behavior--behavior that is not consistent with the kind of "reserved intellectual discourse" we sometimes pretend is always present in scientific debate.

Scientists believe in couches. But they also believe that Science will make the world a better place. Doesn't "better" mean the world must be good or bad in the first place? No, they do it to make their lives better. But put germ theory in one hand, and kosher laws in the other; put the social contract in one and the golden rule in the other. It all amounts to telling people how to live. Sure, there's a hundred differences, but the commonalities are there. If you don't follow those rules, you're either ignorant/heathen because you don't know the law, or stupid/apostate because you flout it.

As far as the callback to Jacob/Heli, I don't see the relevance to the original post, except possibly as evidence that silence on one issue equates with discrediting me on the issue, and discrediting me on that issue equates with discrediting me on all issues. That's the logical fallacy kind of ad hominem attack. The good kind of ad hominem is where you show that someone's actions are not consistent with their logic. I attempted it with "Jer says he's a scientist, but he's overstepped logic while raving fanatically", and Pronto attempted it with "Chalain wants you to think he's a nice guy but he calls people names while sodomizing them." There's a problem there, too, however: ad hominem does not disprove logic: its application is to persuade the listener to change his or her values. My use of it didn't condemn Science, it accused Jeremiah, which isn't particularly effective given that my overt premise was to accuse Science itself. (My real premise, of course, was to offend scientists to humorous effect by eating their baby.) Pronto's effort also fails, but mainly because his premise was never to persuade me in the first place, but rather to be seen punching me in the balls in front of the forum.

For curiosity's sake, I'll address that issue anyway, since it ties in with my earlier post. In this thread I accused Jer of refusing to allow his understanding of the bible to be redacted. In the original thread, I think I said something to the effect that I do not, in fact, believe in the literal word-for-word infallibility of the bible. Jer does, and refused to accept my claim, then goes on to demand satisfaction on the difference of two words. I started to offer models of understanding that to me adequately explain the difference, such as when I say "I am descended from Father Abraham" I do not, in fact, mean he is my immediate paternal ancestor. Other areas, such as "Hell is eternal fire" and "Hell is eternal darkness" don't cause me a problem, because they both say to me that "Hell is really unpleasant". But the classical midwestern protestant view of the bible says that you can't go "privately interpreting" the bible like that, and then goes on to privately interpret the bible in a way that is, as Jer has shown, logically untenable.

My silence on the issue came simply from the fact that I realized that we were going nowhere. It wasn't until later that I saw the underlying disconnect about interpretation of the bible. All I knew was that I wasn't convincing Jer and he wasn't convincing me, and yes, I was getting my ass brutally kicked in the process. Jer's logic has shown that you can't have Jer's interpretation of the bible and believe the bible to be true at the same time. I simply choose to conclude that his interpretation is wrong. Partly because I am biased and want the bible to be true, but mostly because my more pragmatic interpretation of the bible is satisfactory for me. Jer, on the other hand, has not been open to the possibility of other approaches to scripture. I must adhere to his interpretation if I am to discuss the matter. "The bible says what it says," he writes, and I can hardly argue that bible says what it doesn't say. But when a jew writes something in Hebrew, a christian writes something else in Greek 1500 years later, and a team of roman catholics combine their writings, translating them to Latin in the process, 400 years after that, it's a bit of a stretch for me to say that there exists such a thing as a single context from which every word in the bible may be interpreted literally.

This is heresy to mainstream christianity. I realize that I am a poor defender of both catholic and protestant christianity, but that's okay with me since, as a mormon, I'm a poor example of either catholicism or protestantism. The point, however, is that I agree with Jer that his theory of the bible is not consistent with belief in the bible. I just don't jump from there to "the bible is a load of dingo's kidneys".

The original point of this topic continues to be born out, however: tell a scientist he's get religion on the hem of his garment, and he'll burn you at the stake for it. It's not a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's the predictable reaction that any human has when you say or do something that challenges the foundation of his worldview. In the end, you'll handwave it away and say "Chalain himself was the first to say that this is not religious behavior, but human behavior", which is all well and good until you step back and realize that you were really, really upset about this a minute ago. Why is that? See how quickly the contradictory evidence was sought, dressed, and presented? "I'm not religious because I don't believe in God, I don't believe in the supernatural, I don't revere infallible saints! I'm not religious! I'm not I'm not I'm not!" See how the logic is attacked? Just read Jer's post; I got served.

The vehemence. The universe is neither good nor bad, it just is... and this is what will happen to anybody else that dares to disagree.

Is that science talking, or religion?

It walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck. Jer has proven that it is not, in fact, a duck.

But if you trot it down to the pond, people will toss bread at it all day.


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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 4:09 pm 
Perhaps we need a word to fit between 'advocacy' and 'fanaticism' without a conotation of belief if the supernatural.

See, if you do belive in the supernatural, 'religious' can fit into this place. But even then 'religous can also cover just about anything non-apathetic. But the word 'religious' has the inherent conotation of belief in the supernatural, whether it has that denotation or not. And that offends people like Jer that are adamant in thier non-belief in the supernatural.

I've met those who advocate science well beyond the logical limits of science. For instance, I have met people that actually believe that science has or will prove the non-existance of God. Now pure science would say that it is incapable of PROVING the non-existance of God, all it can do is possibly disprove specific claims about God and provide non-supernatural answers to questions and mysteries. These people believe in science in very much the same way so many others believe in God. They don't believe in science as a method for discovering truth, they believe in Science as the Truth.

Can we say that they have made science their 'religion'?

I think that what we see elsewhere (and what I think Chalain is specifically refering to) is the actions of people that are zealous in thier advocacy of something. Because those actions are often very similar to those of religious people in regards to their religion. Sports teams, high schools, universities, nations, gangs, and families are all entities that have evoked this type of 'proto-religious' behavior. People act in support or defence not because of any logical reason IN THAT INSTANCE, but because it is an entitiy they have given alliegance to. There may be perfectly valid reasons for that alliegance. But if someone opposes something, and you leap to defend it with no thought of the validity of the opposition, but because 'you' (in the form of the entity) were attacked, then I would consider that 'proto-religious' behaivior. You have acted out of belief rather than thought.

There are many steps on the path of belief/faith. Personally, I believe that science is the best way for us as humans to study, learn about, and try to understand the world around us. That puts me at a certain level of belief in science. I also believe that my religion is the best place to learn about why this world exists and what I should do about it. I'm at a much higher level of belief in my religion. There are some who believe that science is the only way to understand the world. They would probably be much higher on the 'belief in science' scale.

I think that at some point of belief you could define the believed in entity (God, science, the Easter Bunny) as a 'religion'. Because that is how you define your interface with the world. Because you by default see things in terms of, and act according to, the tenets of that 'religion'. Because you believe that that entity is correct and has truth. And because you reject alternate interfaces as flawed, false, and/or incorrect.

Venerate, worship, faith, believe, truth, prophet, doctrine, and zealot are words and concepts generally associated with religions that have a belief in the supernatural. But if someone venerates the precepts of science, believes in the ability of science to find truth over all other methods, and is a zealous advocate of the scientific methods as a way to approach life, then are they not treating science 'religiously'?

If I had another word I'd use it. But until then I must say that there are people out there who have taken science as their religion.


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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 5:53 pm 
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Kit the Odd wrote:
Perhaps we need a word to fit between 'advocacy' and 'fanaticism' without a conotation of belief if the supernatural.


Supernatural really is the magic word here. Consider the definition of religion itself:

Belief in and reverence for a <strike>supernatural</strike> power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.

Or just a word that encompasses The Unknown in such a way that religions can put their God in it and say he smiles upon us, while at the same time scientists can park theories in it and say they are inanimate. It is a conceit of religion that its proponents see patterns in the inexplicable; it is a conceit of science that this same thing happens and is called "measuring".

Oh, the differences are there, but both sides have explanations, don't they. God won't give me the same revelation twice because He is not inanimate and besides, he told me once already. God won't give you the same revelation twice because he doesn't exist and you're hallucinating.

And so it goes.

Kit the Odd wrote:
adamant in thier non-belief in the supernatural.


Which to me, again, is a resounding statement of faith.

We can attempt to diminish the significance of the similarity between these cultures by by pointing out that there exist many cultures to whom a similar comparison to religion may be made. The biggest reason the science comparison retains its significance is that few of the other groups go absolutely librarian poo when you say they're a religion.

Kit the Odd wrote:
If I had another word I'd use it. But until then I must say that there are people out there who have taken science as their religion.


Jer observed that most of my comments seemed targeted at atheism, not science itself. This was not intentional, but in retrospect I think it's true. It would be fairer, I think, to say that any of us that believe in science to any degree have allowed science to affect our religion, and those of us who profess to have no religion are affected by it in pretty much the same ways as those of us who do.


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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 8:36 pm 
In which, as a small break from projecting various worldviews on to the faceless masses of scientist, Chalain instead equates scientific method with belief in the supernatural, by means of declaring the universe to be ineffable and inexplicable in all its parts.

Because Chalain says so.



"
Quote:
It would be fairer, I think, to say that any of us that believe in science to any degree have allowed science to affect our religion, and those of us who profess to have no religion are affected by it in pretty much the same ways as those of us who do."


You realize this argument applies equally well when 'science' is replaced with 'montessori schooling', yes? If you want to make a point about science, please just do so, and stop trying to equate it with religion; it is approximately as annoying as when someone tries to explain how Xianity is science.


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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 8:44 pm 
Quote:
Which to me, again, is a resounding statement of faith.


Only if you consider belief in anything to be equivalent to religious faith, which brings me to

Quote:
We can attempt to diminish the significance of the similarity between these cultures by by pointing out that there exist many cultures to whom a similar comparison to religion may be made. The biggest reason the science comparison retains its significance is that few of the other groups go absolutely librarian poo when you say they're a religion.


You could get a similiarly violent reaction by comparing fundie Xians to fundie Muslims, or vegans to omnivores: is this thread really about the antipathy between some scientists and some Xians/religious types?

Frankly, this is looking no win... if anyone argues one of your points, you take it as proof of your statement, regardless of the merits of the argument.

"Strange game. Only way to win, is not to play."


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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 1:30 am 
I just spent the last 30-45 minutes writing a post and then lost it. So this is just a summary of a much better post.

Quote:
Chalain instead equates scientific method with belief in the supernatural

and
Quote:
Only if you consider belief in anything to be equivalent to religious faith


See, this is my earlier point. I don't think Chalain is trying to equate the two but to point out similarities in their adherents(feel free to correct me if I'm wrong Chalain). The point isn't so much WHAT specifically is belived, the point is that there IS belief and that there are some attitudes and behaiviors that come from the presence of belief. However, the connotation of the word 'religion' with a belief in the supernatural is so strong that it is almost impossible to use it for this discussion.

The actions and attitudes of many people with regard to science and the scientific method have many similarities to the actions and attitudes of many others with regard to their church or spiritual beliefs. The word 'religious' seems to fit, but it is so innundated with the spiritual connotation that it is unusable.

As a side note: We need to make a clear distinction between believers in the scientific method and believers in the conclusions of science. The first see science as a way (if not only valid way) to learn about and comprehend the universe. The others believe that whatever theories are presented are Complete Factual Truth because the Experts said so. In contrast, the first group recognizes, as Jer said, "Science is only an approximation, however certain we get, but it is based on checking the approximations against nature.", and thier belief (or faith - another difficult word) is in the process, not the conclutions. I expect the second group are generally seen by the first in much the same way a drunken 'corner prophet' is viewed by a typical Christian; with embarasment, and possibly even disdain.

Because we are talking about peoples core beliefs there are great danger in unitentionally offending others. That is one reason I'd like to find a different word than 'religious' to describe the type of attitudes and behaiviors that are being discussed.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 7:14 am 
no, no, and no.

'belief' is a loaded word - you do not need to 'believe' (have faith) that a rock will fall when you drop it, you 'understand' that gravity appears to be a fundamental force in the universe at large and will act upon a rock dropped from a height so that it is accelerated towards the nearest physical body.

Science is not religion, it is *science* - "this happens, and it happens in this particular way that can be explained thusly"

Religion does not attempt to explain about gravity, or electricity and magnetism - it isn't concerned with the why (it's this way because God made it that way) or the what (this is what God did) or the how (it was the will of God, and so it was).

Science has nothing to say about the possible (non) existence of a universal superbeing as, quite simply, it cannot be quantified that one does or does not exist without direct evidence - nor indeed does science have anything to say about the possible (non) existence of a lesser *planetary* superbeing. so called 'christian scientists' should stop claiming that it does, as it makes everyone more stupid.

Indeed, should science prove God exists, everything in science would remain the same - the gravitational constant would remain the same, the speed of light would remain the same, and so on, with the one caveat that apparently this 'God' person can effect changes in the otherwise natural order of the universe.

Religion requires belief (in a superbeing) to work, science does not require belief to work.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 11:05 pm 
ahh, thread necromancy, my old aquaintance, we meet again.


Greyseal, of course science doesn't require belief to work. I don't remember any claiming it did. What WAS claimed is that many people react to science similarly to the many other react to religion.

In other words, while science is not a religion there are some who treat it as such, including adherents and detractors thereof.



On a side note: Some might make the claim that religion, or God at any rate, does not require belief/faith to work either. Acording to Judeo-Christian beliefs some of God's most impressive acts have occured specificlly to or because of unbelief. (Many of these were also very unpleasent for the participants.)


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