Sunday, December 8, 2013

ZenTiger Rocket science - it's not religion

Rocket Scientists don't always have the answers
Religion. It's not rocket science.  It doesn't pretend to be.

For some though, science is a religion, or at the least, some imagine science can replace it.

I seems some people are waking up to the fact that religion doesn't kill people, politics kills people (The biggest criticism of Islam is it is as much a political system as it is religious.) Getting rid of religion just creates a world of atheists, some of which will find other reasons to run their own power-mad agendas.

An article over on Salon discusses  the "new atheists" (Hitchens, Harris, Dawkins and others) are (or were, in the case of Christopher Hitchens) are so fixated on the idea that religion poisons everything, they are unwilling to face up to the flawed nature of human nature, and how this plays out in the real world, not their imaginary world built on biased interpretation of religion.  It's not always about religion, it's more accurate to deal with these issues in the realm of politics. Religious belief is certainly an influence, but so is colonialism, feminism, capitalism, resource availability, media influence, the monetary system, wealth distribution, class division, and so on, and so on.

Now, I'm making a leap here that should be obvious.  It's more correct to say that the new atheists imagine that atheism can replace religion - not that science is religion.  Agreed.  However, their logic is that science, in their minds, seem to "prove" the improbability of God.  There is effectively a direct connection that relies on believing science can explain why and how we got here, and the implications that science might simply be a vehicle God uses to express his will seems even more far-fetched than the billions of galaxies coming into existence in an instant, and life spontaneously evolving from a random chemical soup.

Have a read, it is worth the 3-4 minutes.

Hattip: Whoar

Source: Christopher Hitchens' Beliefs challenged

A couple of quotes I liked:

As a poorly-practicing Christian who reads enough science to be functional at dinner parties, I would like to suggest a truce — one originally proposed by the Catholic church and promoted by the eminent Stephen J. Gould. Science, the study of the natural world, and religion, the inquiry into the meaning of life (or metaphysics, more broadly) constitute non-overlapping magisteria. Neither can invalidate the theories of the other, if such theories are properly within their realm. Any theologian or scientist who steps out of their realm to speculate upon the other is free to do so, but must do so with an adequate understanding of the other’s realm.

--------
A rule of thumb among biotechnology venture-capitalists is that half of published research cannot be replicated.” I’m sure scientists are well aware of the problem and working to rectify it.

20 comment(s):

leftrightout said...

From the salon article:

The fundamental error in the “New Atheist” dogma is one of logic. The basic premise is something like this:

1. The cause of all human suffering is irrationality

2. Religion is irrational

3. Religion is the cause of all human suffering


I am unaware of any atheist who would follow such a flawed attempt at reason. Notably, neither the author or your goodself have pointed to any proof that atheists think like this.

And Gould was wrong about the "overlapping magisteria". There is no such thing. Science cannot everything, religion cannot explain anything.

How does religion explain "the meaning of life"? By inventing myths. Religion makes many claims about "the meaning of life", and yet cannot prove any of these claims. They must be accepted by faith alone.

Any way, why does life have to have meaning? And if it does, why is it only religion that can (supposedly) identify it?

I get meaning in my life from the things I do with, to and about people.

ZenTiger said...

LRO, you are trapped in the thought that for anything to be believed, it needs to be proven.

Things can be explained, discussed and considered and those discussions, to be useful, do not require 'scientific proof'.

On the other matter - I find Dawkins to provide many examples of flawed logic. His quote: "“I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world.”
is based on a false premise and allows him to suggest something that can be easily disproven.

leftrightout said...

LRO, you are trapped in the thought that for anything to be believed, it needs to be proven.

Not true. People can, and do, believe anything. Science is not a matter for belief, but religion is. Empirical data is not a matter for belief, but supposition is.

But religion, by its very nature, cannot be proven. It can only be accepted by blind faith. What makes your religion any better or truer than that of a Muslim, Buddhist, Jain or Jew? Nothing, except your belief, but you cannot prove that xtianity is better, worthier or truer than any other religion.

You believe because you believe and you will never accept that your beliefs are wrong because that is the nature of religion. Science, rationalism and humanism, however, are all subject to correction in the light of new evidence.

Show me your god and I will accept he/she/it exists. But until you can, you have nothing but speculation.


Ciaron said...

LRO, have you tried reading Timothy Keller's The Reason For God?

leftrightout said...

No, I haven't.

I have, however, tried to read Karen Armstrong's "A CAse for God", and what a crapshoot of word salad that is.

I found various quotes from Keller's book that pout me in mind of so much apologetics; none of it is reasonable, it is all presuppositional.

I loved this one

The Christian Gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me.

Why did anyone have to die for anyone?

Is god so vain that only spilling his own blood pleases him?

Surely he could have acted as I have done, as a father, and simply said "I forgive you" None of my children needed to die for forgiveness.

And, of course, he only addresses the xtian god; never once accepting that the very case he makes for his god can be made for thousands of other gods.

There is far more evidence for Attis, born Dec 25, of a virgin, crucified and resurrected than there is for your Jesus who left barely a trace in the historical record.




Isumbras said...

So the Science is in, the Science is settled - Science is amazing!

Well no doubt it often is, however I would suggest the ongoing censorship, the attempt to destroy reputations, the attempt to close down debate, the fraud, falsification and cherry picking of data that is global warming 'science' not to mention the unedifying spectacle of a dash for the cash that would warm a Wall Street Banker's heart, is a clear example that science is as corruptible and faith based as any other human endeavour. Perhaps worse, as it often comes with an insufferable 'I'm the smartest guy in the room' attitude.

That formerly august institutions such as the Royal Society also soiled themselves in the above clown show adds to a sense that Science is not all it's cracked up to be…. unless you're a true believer that is….

Isumbras said...

There is far more evidence for Attis, born Dec 25, of a virgin, crucified and resurrected than there is for your Jesus who left barely a trace in the historical record.

Absolute poppycock LRO… you left rather a lot out of the fable of Attis in your attempt to suggest/accuse Christianity of appropriating the tale, because hey people were really stupid back then and we'll just rework the Attis story so as to fool the suckers and get this new religion off to a good start...

You left out the blood spurting from genitals ripped off by a noose of skillfully woven hair , the flow of blood furnishing an instant pomegranate tree the fruit of which, stored in the bosom of the daughter of the King (or is he the river Sangarius) causes her to fall pregnant… ta da Attis arrives… subsequent gay relationship, breasts cut off, self mutilations/castration ensue, Attis cuts off the family jewels under a pine tree…. dies

but apart from that almost exactly the same as the Passion of Christ

Ciaron said...

LRO: Why did anyone have to die for anyone?

I'm sure you said you used to be a Christian, so I think you don't really need an explaination of why we need Christ to die for us.

Benedicta Mary said...

Why Christ needed to die for us?

Well because death entered the world through human sin.

That evil is in the world is self-evident. That we engage in it quite wilfully is also self-evident.

The point about dying then is this... in this sinful world death is the absolute horizon. It is the finality we can't discern. It robs us of life in the body. Therefore Christ dying wasn't just a mere act of entering deeply into the human situation but simply by resurrection changed the frontier of death forever....it no longer was the absolute horizon...it didn't have the last word. Life eternal existed in greater fullness in Christ and so it shall for those who follow him.

leftrightout said...

Why Christ needed to die for us?

Yep, that's the question I was asking.

Well because death entered the world through human sin.

It did. Please explain. Just how did/does that affect the Chinese who had no knowledge of the childish stories on which you base your worldview. How did they "let sin in" to China?


That evil is in the world is self-evident. That we engage in it quite wilfully is also self-evident.

You may. I don't.

First, I reject your notion of "sin" as that means that you only accept as evil that which your priest tells you his priest told him that god told some dude thousands of years ago.

I prefer to get my morality from our shared humanity, from working out how we can best co-exist, from doing no harm to others and wanting others to do me no harm. I do not murder, rape or pillage. I do not keep slaves, beat children or stone adulterous women. I do good whenever and where ever I can, not in the vain hope of a reward in heaven, but because it is the right thing to do and because it makes me feel good.


The point about dying then is this... in this sinful world death is the absolute horizon. It is the finality we can't discern. It robs us of life in the body. Therefore Christ dying wasn't just a mere act of entering deeply into the human situation but simply by resurrection changed the frontier of death forever....it no longer was the absolute horizon...it didn't have the last word. Life eternal existed in greater fullness in Christ and so it shall for those who follow him.

Nah, don't believe it.

We can discern death; we know when someone is dying and we know when they are dead. And we know that death is final.

And, even after the supposed resurrection of Jesus, everyone who has died since is till dead. Not one has been resurrected, not one has been judged and not one frolics with little lambs in heaven.






10:21 PM, December 12, 2013

leftrightout said...

LRO: Why did anyone have to die for anyone?

I'm sure you said you used to be a Christian, so I think you don't really need an explaination of why we need Christ to die for us.


Yes, I was until I was healed. I once was blind, but now I see.

And I still need an explanation. Like I said, when one of my children offended me, I didn't take their dog outside, slowly kill it and then BBQ it until not a skerrick of flesh or bone was left. I simply told them what they had done was wrong, why it was wrong and then forgave them

How come god is such a shit father that he couldn't just do that?

leftrightout said...

Isumbras, Attis, Dionysius, Horus, Krishna, Mithras, Romulus, the list just goes on.

Your Jesus is no more than a pastiche of a bunch of other fairytale gods that went before him.

Lucia Maria said...

LRO,

Please don't troll. Final warning. Discuss things in a reasonable manner, but take into account that you and we have a very different opinion and there is no need to keep projecting your disgust of our beliefs in this environment, when all it does is show you are not really interested in the conversation.

leftrightout said...

Sorry Lucia. I forgot myself.

And I forgot that the main function of religion is to keep minds closed, incapable of accepting there are other views, maybe closer to the truth.

If you call that trolling, then I truly feel sorry for you.

nice to know that you have now joined ZT in attacking me, rather than answering legitimately posed questions.


Ciaron said...

Isumbras, Attis, Dionysius, Horus, Krishna, Mithras, Romulus, the list just goes on.

Your Jesus is no more than a pastiche of a bunch of other fairytale gods that went before him.


Glenn Peoples @ right reason has many well detailed articles on the historical Jesus and the weak charge of plagiarism (in particular the zeitgeist propaganda)that you assert here.

And I still need an explanation. Like I said, when one of my children offended me, I didn't take their dog outside, slowly kill it and then BBQ it until not a skerrick of flesh or bone was left. I simply told them what they had done was wrong, why it was wrong and then forgave them

How come God is such a **** father that he couldn't just do that?


Well, because thats not actually dealing with the problem, it's really just "letting it slide".

leftrightout said...

Ciaron, your explanation doesn't really explain anything.

How does forgiveness let things slide in a way that torture and death doesn't?

The guilty are still guilty, the blood sacrifice may have appeased god, but it does nothing to change behaviour and if we want to live in a better world, then changing behaviour is the need, not more bloodshed.

I used to read Glenn's blog, but gave up as it was just like the M&M one, full of arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin whilst completely ignoring the total lack of evidence for Jesus in the historical record.

Ciaron said...

Lets for the sake of argument say that we are brothers, and I really like one of your toys. while you're not looking not looking I take the toy without your permission (lets say that you have told me not to touch it). While playing with it and having great fun I break it and our father discovers me. He sits me down and tells me I've done wrong by taking the toy and it is wrong because it is not mine, but he forgives me.

The difference between forgiveness and letting it slide depend on my personal response. If I insist that I've done no wrong because our parents have taught us to share and do not accept any blame and our father still forgives me, then he is letting that behaviour slide. However if I accept that I have done wrong and ask for forgiveness then our father can, in fact forgive.

I'm sure as a father you've had to punish (or correct or discipline) your child in some way, be it a grounding or taking away a toy for a time or whatever works for your family - but I ask you, at any point, whilst carrying out what you have deemed just and appropriate correction: have you loved your child any less?

Lucia Maria said...

Ciaron,

Very well put.

LRO,

Whether you are trolling or not depends on your response to Ciaron. Choose wisely.

Ciaron said...

I found various quotes from Keller's book that pout me in mind of so much apologetics; none of it is reasonable, it is all presuppositional.

Perhaps LRO would prefer to speak to this excerpt?

AREN'T MIRACLES SCIENTIFICALLY IMPOSSIBLE?

The first reason that many people think science has disproved traditional religion is that most major faiths believe in miracles, the intervention of God into the natural order. The miraculous is particularly important for Chirstian belief. Christians annually celebrate the miracle of the incarnation, the birth of Jesus, each Christmas, and the miracle of the bodily resurection of jesus from the dead each Easter. The New Testament is filled with accounts of miracles that Jesus performed during the course of his ministry. Scientific mistrust of the bible began with the Enlightenment belief that miracles cannot be reconciled to a modern, rational view of the world. Armed with this presupposition, scholars turned to the bible and said 'The biblical accounts can't be reliable because they contain descriptions of miracles.' The premis behind the claim is 'Science has proven that ther is no such thing as miracles.'
(paraphrasing Van Harvey, 'The Historian and Believer') But embedded in such a statement is a lap of faith.
It is one thing to say that science is only equipped to test for natural causes and cannot speak to any other. It is quite another to insist that science proves that no other causes could possibly exist.


Ciaron said...

...Continued...
John Macquarrie writes: 'Science proceeds on the assumption that whatever events occur in the world can be accounted for in terms of other events...just as immanent and this-worldly. [So]... Miracle is irreconcilable with our modern understnding of both science and history. (Macquarrie, 'Principles of Christian Theology')
Macquarrie is quite right to assert that, when studying a phenomenon, the scientist must assume there is a natural cause. That is because natural causes are the only kind its methodology can address. It is another thing to insist that science has proven there can't BE any other kind. There would be no experimental model for testing the statement: 'No supernatural cause for any phenomenon is possible.' It is therefore a philosophical presupposition and not a scientific finding. Maquarries argument is ultimately circular. He says that science, by its nature, can't discern or test for supernatural causes, and therefore, those causes can't exist.

The philosopher Alvin Plantinga responds:

Maquarrie perhaps means to suggest that the very practice of science requires that one reject the idea (e.g.) of God raising someone from the dead... [this] argument... is like the drunk who insisted on looking for his lost car keys only under the streetlight on the grounds that the light was better there. in fact, it would go the drunk one better; it would insist that because the keys would be hard to find in the dark, they MUST be under the light.
(Plantinga, 'Warrented Christian Belief')

Post a Comment

Please be respectful. Foul language and personal attacks may get your comment deleted without warning. Contact us if your comment doesn't appear - the spam filter may have grabbed it.