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Prominent Scientists and their religiosity 
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Post Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
We find that the more scientifically inclined you are in this age, the less religious you are. Much is made of the fact that famous scientists of the past were religious.

This thread may help to take a look at that fact, and what it means.

philhellenes is one of my favorite youtube producers. Here's a video he made some time back that tackles the topic of religiously inclined scientists.



"God does not play dice" Einstein, and what he feels about "God".

Quote:
The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still purely primitive, legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. ... For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstition.


http://www.lettersofnote.com/2009/10/wo ... kness.html

And here's Neil DeGrasse Tyson speaking on religiosity, and the limits of our knowledge.



Donexodus chases down the discovery institute's list of 101 "scientists" who doubt evolution.



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Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.

Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?


Fri May 11, 2012 4:27 pm
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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
I understand the anxiety people experienced, post 911, particularly atheists.
It is a resurgence in the atheistic mentality, rooted in fear, to proclaim it is they that have the answers, and not religion.

It's a curious thing that atheists mostly see themselves in zero sum relationships, so they resonate with the intolerance side of scripture. Militant atheists become what they fear and loathe most about religion. They are fearful AND angry people.

The opposite end of this spectrum are people, although not religious per se, who have non zero sum relationships and a "we all are in this together to make a win-win situation come about" attitude. They have attitudes about life that are confident.These people resonate with scriptures of tolerance and love.


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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
ant wrote:
I understand the anxiety people experienced, post 911, particularly atheists.
It is a resurgence in the atheistic mentality, rooted in fear, to proclaim it is they that have the answers, and not religion.

It's a curious thing that atheists mostly see themselves in zero sum relationships, so they resonate with the intolerance side of scripture. Militant atheists become what they fear and loathe most about religion. They are fearful AND angry people.

The opposite end of this spectrum are people, although not religious per se, who have non zero sum relationships and a "we all are in this together to make a win-win situation come about" attitude. They have attitudes about life that are confident.These people resonate with scriptures of tolerance and love.


Hmmm, intolerance, fearful, angry? Who is making it their business what gay people do with their lives?

Religious nutjobs, that's who! And not just literalist nutjobs. Because they really, really care about their eternal souls. You can see the compassion so clearly.



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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
ant wrote:
I understand the anxiety people experienced, post 911, particularly atheists.
It is a resurgence in the atheistic mentality, rooted in fear, to proclaim it is they that have the answers, and not religion.

It's a curious thing that atheists mostly see themselves in zero sum relationships, so they resonate with the intolerance side of scripture. Militant atheists become what they fear and loathe most about religion. They are fearful AND angry people.

The opposite end of this spectrum are people, although not religious per se, who have non zero sum relationships and a "we all are in this together to make a win-win situation come about" attitude. They have attitudes about life that are confident.These people resonate with scriptures of tolerance and love.


Once again, these broad generalities and assumptions make very little sense (to me at least). The varying perception of atheist is very interesting.

For instance:

Atheists have more anxiety than theists post 911?

Atheists mostly see themselves in zero sum relationships?

Also, who are these militant atheists to which you refer? I'm quite curious.


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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
Quote:
It's a curious thing that atheists mostly see themselves in zero sum relationships, so they resonate with the intolerance side of scripture. Militant atheists become what they fear and loathe most about religion. They are fearful AND angry people.


When we consider the militant theists like WBC or Al-quaeda, I think there is plenty of reason have fear. There is also plenty of reason to be angry about it. Do you disagree? Should we accept these radical groups ant? Should we tolerate the extremists, or should we inform them that such radical behavior won't be tolerated? Let me know when Dawkins kills 10,000 people in a single swipe, then you'll have a point.

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It is a resurgence in the atheistic mentality, rooted in fear, to proclaim it is they that have the answers, and not religion.


I would claim that religion does not have the answers. There is the camaraderie that comes from communal worship, but that is collateral, rather than a direct result of the belief system. It is also a good source of wisdom by which to live, but that requires extensive interpretation.

Using our brains and learning about the world is how we gain answers. Not by reading a book written before we knew how the world worked. That isn't an answer driven by fear, ant, it's driven by understanding.


You're starting to polarize and get radically off-base in your comments ant. Slow down and be objective. You're making many of the same mistakes that you're calling others out on.


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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
I've noticed this as wel, Ant.

Your comments have been veering lately.


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Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.

Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?


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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
I think militant atheists like Dawkins, Atkins, Hutch, etc are emotionally feeble minded with their "it's either this or that" preaching. They are no better than any of the evangelical, beat you over the head with a bible preachers, or militant muslims that would like to fly more planes into buildings.

There are many avenues that lead us to knowledge. Science attempts to help us understand the environment that we live in. It investigates, measures, and ultimately attempts to explain the cause of things. When questions of value/meaning related to our cosmos and individual lives are asked, science has no competence in this area. People since the dawn of time have turned to religion for these questions. Intellectual giants of the past have shown us that the 2 areas compliment one another. It's laughable to see our new secularists beating their chests while attempting to outsmart religious fundamentalists who are no better than they are.

Humble scientists like Francis Collins experienced a deepening of his faith when heading the Human Genome Project. His scientific humility is a pleasure to experience. There are many brilliant scientists like him. It's silly to shout that atheists have more scientists than theists have. This is not some football game where the blue team fans are being counted to see if they out number the red team's gang of thugs.

Here is paleontologist, evolutionary biologist Stephen J Gould's take:

Quote:
I'm not a believer. I am an agnostic in the wise sense of T.H. Huxley, who coined the word in identifying such open-minded skepticism as the only rational position because, truly, one cannot know. Nonetheless … I have a great respect for religion. The subject has always fascinated me, beyond almost all others (with a few exceptions, like evolution, paleontology, and baseball). Much of this fascination lies in the stunning historical paradox that organized religion has fostered throughout Western history, both the most unspeakable horrors and the most heartrending examples of human goodness in the face of personal danger.

I believe with all my heart in a respectful, even loving, concordat between the magisteria of science and religion … on moral and intellectual grounds, not a merely diplomatic solution. [This] also cuts both ways. If religion can no longer dictate the nature of factual conclusions residing properly within the magisterium of science, then scientists cannot claim higher insight into moral truth from any superior knowledge of the world's empirical constitution. This mutual humility leads to important practical consequences in a world of such diverse passions. We would do well to embrace the principle and enjoy the consequences.



We become intellectual midgets when we start saying things that are strictly to one-up someone with different views, values, and beliefs. I do not believe anyone is intellectually justified to give or not give another human being "a pass" for believing something different than he.


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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
ant wrote:
I think militant atheists like Dawkins, Atkins, Hutch, etc are emotionally feeble minded with their "it's either this or that" preaching. They are no better than any of the evangelical, beat you over the head with a bible preachers, or militant muslims that would like to fly more planes into buildings.


You've now gone over into pure absurdity.



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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
ant wrote:
It's silly to shout that atheists have more scientists than theists have. This is not some football game where the blue team fans are being counted to see if they out number the red team's gang of thugs. .


Agreed. But this was your argument, wasn't it? And it's ultimately a losing argument because scientists tend to be areligious.

The way I see it is that Dawkins and co. are not dictating what people believe, they are pointing out the inconsistencies and sheer absurdity of certain claims made especially by religious fundamentalists. It's amazing that you can compare those who make arguments (with words) to those who are so wedded to extremist beliefs that they are willing to murder those who don't believe as they do.

What's changed in the last couple of decades is that atheists are more willing to publicly point out such absurdities in claims (and actions) made by fundamentalists. Why should religious claims be given a free pass? Shouldn't they be subject to the same scrutiny we give to any other claim?

We have discussed Gould's nonoverlapping magisteria here several times. I absolutely do think that Gould was right that religion and science address completely different domains. Unfortunately the fundamentalists themselves don't see things this way. They reject evolution because it conflicts with their literal interpretation of the Bible. Other religious fanatics justify using violence to condemn those who don't believe as they do. That's ultimately the problem with Gould's concept of nonoverlapping magisteria. Only reasonable people are on board with it.

I think Gould argued that morality falls under the domain of religion, but the question arises: what special qualifications do religious folks have to legislate our morality? The subject of same-sex marriage has come up another threads. There are many ministers who have come out so to speak against same-sex marriage and they justify their position with the Bible. Is this good enough for you, ant? Do you at least recognize this is not good enough for many of us and that we have the right to speak freely against it?


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Last edited by geo on Mon May 14, 2012 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
Quote:
I'm not a believer. I am an agnostic in the wise sense of T.H. Huxley, who coined the word in identifying such open-minded skepticism as the only rational position because, truly, one cannot know. Nonetheless … I have a great respect for religion. The subject has always fascinated me, beyond almost all others (with a few exceptions, like evolution, paleontology, and baseball). Much of this fascination lies in the stunning historical paradox that organized religion has fostered throughout Western history, both the most unspeakable horrors and the most heartrending examples of human goodness in the face of personal danger.

I believe with all my heart in a respectful, even loving, concordat between the magisteria of science and religion … on moral and intellectual grounds, not a merely diplomatic solution. [This] also cuts both ways. If religion can no longer dictate the nature of factual conclusions residing properly within the magisterium of science, then scientists cannot claim higher insight into moral truth from any superior knowledge of the world's empirical constitution. This mutual humility leads to important practical consequences in a world of such diverse passions. We would do well to embrace the principle and enjoy the consequences.

Thanks to ant for posting this. It seems that if we were to consent that Gould has made a golden statement here, we'd be in substantial agreement and continued argument would be in matters on the periphery.


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Mon May 14, 2012 7:48 am
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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
Agreed! Great passage by Gould.


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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
Quote:
We become intellectual midgets when we start saying things that are strictly to one-up someone with different views, values, and beliefs. I do not believe anyone is intellectually justified to give or not give another human being "a pass" for believing something different than he.


Religious thinking severely undermines education in the US. Trying to keep education focused on science rather than magical thinking is not one-upping anyone. It's fighting for the future of our nation. Are you advocating that we teach our kids that all organisms were created magically rather than by an evolutionary process?

The problem with NOMA is that it must work both ways, but it never will. A vast majority of the "pressure" will always be from the religious side, and will always be in the direction of the "bronze age". So to those who value the education of our youth, it's either fight meekly and lose ground, or stand as firm as the other side - because it matters.


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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
Yet if we could dissect what's wrong with education in the U.S, specifically with science and math, I suspect we'd come up with a lot more than religious thinking. Math achievement is just as low, and it's neutral with regard to beliefs. But I agree that just saying we accept NOMA doesn't get us out of the bind. Gould's point is that we have to understand and concede what can be said to be proper to either science or religion. A claim about reality such as creationism gets no protection under NOMA because religion has never had a way to find out how life forms developed. I don't understand the opposite perspective that well. It's what I would call the soft side--of spirituality, mysticism, and like traits that are endemic to brains even if not, as the religious view would have it, existing metaphysically. But here science and reason are largely without the tools to offer definitive counter proof.


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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
Quote:
Religious thinking severely undermines education in the US.


What evidence do you have for the above? The data supports your severity claim? Really??
Do not give more opinion here. Give some evidence to back that claim up.
Sometimes MSNBC can betray its staunchest supporters.

Quote:
Trying to keep education focused on science rather than magical thinking is not one-upping anyone. It's fighting for the future of our nation.




There many factors involved here, as DWILL has stated.
You make it sound as if our youth are skipping class to attend church, or would rather major in Religious Studies. That simply is false.
If anything, this nation has become so soaked in a value system that is materialistic (keeping up with the Jones's), I'm willing to bet that there is more interested in the mundane and immediate gratification than there is for intellectual pursuits - like science

I await your evidence.


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Last edited by ant on Mon May 14, 2012 6:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.



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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
The evidence is right in your face ant. Look at the news, and the efforts to teach creationism in schools. Are you looking for some quantification, otherwise you refuse to acknowledge the effect religious thinking has?

Quote:
Sometimes MSNBC can betray its staunchest supporters.


What does MSNBC have to do with this topic?

Quote:
There many factors involved here, as DWILL has stated.


Yes, there are, and I wouldn't claim otherwise. In fact, there are more factors than we could likely ever illuminate. Some with large impact, some with minimal impact.

Quote:
You make it sound as if our youth are skipping class to attend church, or would rather major in Religious Studies. That simply is false.


I didn't make it sound. That's the strawman you erected.


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