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Prominent Scientists and their religiosity 
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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
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I have found no studies yet that indicate as long as Creationism is "an acceptable alternative" science in our classrooms will suffer.


You don't need studies to understand that ant. You only need your brain.

Premise1: The scientific process is an integral part of education.
Premise2: It is a widespread belief that that creationism cannot be true at the same time the scientific process is considered legitimate.
Conclusion: Pushing creationism as a rival to evolution undermines education.

Premise 2 is actually only true by appearances. Part of the problem is that as most young people are exposed to the debate, they aren't educated against polarization. Eugenie Scott does a good job giving lectures on the false dichotomy, and how belief runs on a spectrum. But unless we educate everyone prior to their exposure to the debate between creationism and evolution, they are seen as rivals - mutually exclusive and equal in validity.


Quote:
Actually our town atheists conveniently ignore the simple fact that Americans have simply slipped into a lazy, hedonistic life style that is all about instant gratification. Our secular culture is more interested in football, beer, and self glorification. Our people want everything handed to them. It is a sense of entitlement.


Very strange anecdote. In my town, it's just the opposite. All the religious people are the lazy ones, with the pastors of local churchs driving BMW 7's and bragging about membership numbers. I'd assumed since America is one of the most religious nations on Earth that our collective laziness was due to widespread religious belief.

I don't really believe that, but it's fun being absurd with generalizations, isn't it? :lol:



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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
Interbane,

Look at premise 2. It has the soundness of a wet tissue paper.
Your impromptu argument falls apart as a result
Are you self critical enough to tell me why it holds no water?

Tell me while I find a computer to throw at you. This website is impossible to manage from an IPhone ;)


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Tue May 15, 2012 11:29 am
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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
You're a few steps behind ant. Google the God/Evolution dichotomy, and how the continuum doesn't necessarily entail mutual exclusivity. Then form an argument and present it against premise 2, so that I may show you why you're wrong.

:)


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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
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Premise2: It is a widespread belief that that creationism cannot be true at the same time the scientific process is considered legitimate.


You are speaking of literalist interpretation of 6 days of creation. That is NOT a view unanimously accepted by religious adherents.
Premise 2 is a widespread, broad brush job. It's as structurally sound as a house of cards. Your argument crumbles as a result.

The scientific process attempts to explain the process of nature itself, and nothing else. You, like Dexter, Johnson, and other atheists here are being hard-headed about this.


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Last edited by ant on Sun May 20, 2012 10:33 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sun May 20, 2012 10:28 am
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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
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Use that big brush!

It's so nice to be lumped into one big group where everyone thinks just alike.


What do you think your fellow atheists are doing each and every time you speak of religion?


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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
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I'm not interested in playing your game, Ant.


Chris,

There are other elements in play here. You are being hypercritical of religion by stating it alone is responsible for the county's poor performance in math and science. That's what you're bottom line here is, right?

Much of what you posted (have you updated your info?) has language that allows the admissibility of Creation to be introduced as an ALTERNATIVE consideration. A student is left to explore the differences and arrive at his own conclusions.

Religion has been and always will be a major driving force in the lives of millions. It's difficult for people to be happy with the explanations that atheists have for the meaning of life - we are highly evolved monkeys. I love my family because I love them and because it's important that my genes survive. I help my neighbor because it benefits the tribe. there is no reason for existence, we simply exist. the universe was created out of nothing.., and other meaninglessness atheists hold as true.

Trumpetting how we all lived on the bottom of the ocean does not resonate with many people wondering about the meaning and value of life.


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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
ant wrote:
Religion has been and always will be a major driving force in the lives of millions. It's difficult for people to be happy with the explanations that atheists have for the meaning of life - we are highly evolved monkeys. I love my family because I love them and because it's important that my genes survive. I help my neighbor because it benefits the tribe. there is no reason for existence, we simply exist. the universe was created out of nothing.., and other meaninglessness atheists hold as true.

Trumpetting how we all lived on the bottom of the ocean does not resonate with many people wondering about the meaning and value of life.


No doubt, people grasp for comforting things to believe in. That doesn't make it true.

I don't find the universe as described in the Bible to give a satisfying "meaning of life." In fact, it would make life on Earth utterly trivial in comparison to the afterlife. If you believed it, it seems you should just spend your life bowing to God, or doing whatever else is necessary for a golden ticket. Or if it's predetermined by God, then that would make it all the more meaningless.



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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
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You are speaking of literalist interpretation of 6 days of creation. That is NOT a view unanimously accepted by religious adherents.


I'm speaking of nothing other than the apparent dichotomy. You are educated enough to know that it's a false dichotomy. I wish you would educate the rest of the country, especially before they see any polarizing tidbits on the news, or hear it from their evangelical pastor. Eugenie Scott spends a great deal of time educating people on this precise misunderstanding, because it is a widespread misunderstanding. It is an answer to problem of religious thinking undermining education. Go figure - more education.

Quote:
The scientific process attempts to explain the process of nature itself, and nothing else. You, like Dexter, Johnson, and other atheists here are being hard-headed about this.


You're right ant. I wouldn't disagree with this. Actually, I would ask you to spread the news, because educating people on this is what the country needs, to combat the polarizing effect of the mainstream debate.

You missed the point of premise 2 it seems. I'm speaking of the impression, not the objective truth. If people could cut past the crap and suddenly manifest the truthful conclusion within their heads, then you'd have a point. Unfortunately, it takes an army of educators just to hold back the tide of ignorance. What's worse is there are educators teaching that there is a dichotomy.

Quote:
A student is left to explore the differences and arrive at his own conclusions.


As if the student were learning in a vacuum you mean? Immune to the influences of media, pastors, biased teachers, and misinformed parents? You have a simplistic view of how a person learns if you believe the above.


Quote:
I help my neighbor because it benefits the tribe. there is no reason for existence, we simply exist. the universe was created out of nothing.., and other meaninglessness atheists hold as true.


"Meaningfulness" is not a necessary condition for something to be true. Most of humanity seems to suffer from that misunderstanding. Religious belief, through whatever means, is about comfort, not truth. Finding meaning in the things you believe is comfortable. It is a preferable to have such comforting beliefs, regardless of whether or not they are true. That is a key point in discerning how motive usurps the truth. In general, people aren't motivated to believe in what's true. There are a host of other more influential factors that motivate belief, including comfort.

Sometimes, I wish my brain were different. I wish "comfort" was my ultimate concern, rather than the truth. Then I would content, I would even revel, in the religious mindset. Teleological thinking is extremely fun, and helpful for crafting plots and playing games.


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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
Hello all,

Please pardon my late entry into this discussion. If I might just ask a couple of questions (and my apologies if these have already been answered and I've just missed it):

1) @ Dexter
Quote:
I don't find the universe as described in the Bible to give a satisfying "meaning of life." In fact, it would make life on Earth utterly trivial in comparison to the afterlife. If you believed it, it seems you should just spend your life bowing to God, or doing whatever else is necessary for a golden ticket. Or if it's predetermined by God, then that would make it all the more meaningless.

What exactly do you think the universe as described by the Bible is?

2) @ Interbane
Quote:
It is an answer to problem of religious thinking undermining education

Am I correct to assume that by 'religious thinking' you are referring to Young Earth Creationism? If not, then could you explain what you mean by this term. Thanks :wink:



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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
Doulos wrote:
Hello all,

Please pardon my late entry into this discussion. If I might just ask a couple of questions (and my apologies if these have already been answered and I've just missed it):

1) @ Dexter
Quote:
I don't find the universe as described in the Bible to give a satisfying "meaning of life." In fact, it would make life on Earth utterly trivial in comparison to the afterlife. If you believed it, it seems you should just spend your life bowing to God, or doing whatever else is necessary for a golden ticket. Or if it's predetermined by God, then that would make it all the more meaningless.

What exactly do you think the universe as described by the Bible is?


I'm talking about God deciding whether you will enter Heaven, based on your faith. That is what the Bible describes, and what many people believe, isn't it?



Mon May 21, 2012 5:09 am
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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
Not YEC, necessarily. Thinking that the story of adam and eve is an acceptable alternative to evolution is a good example of religious thinking. You're right, the term is rather ambiguous. Belief in sin is also religious thinking. That there is some mysterious force that is used to judge our behavior. The effects of that belief I couldn't say, but to accept magic in any form is a step backwards.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/114544/darwi ... ution.aspx


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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
Dexter's posts:
Quote:
I don't find the universe as described in the Bible to give a satisfying "meaning of life." In fact, it would make life on Earth utterly trivial in comparison to the afterlife. If you believed it, it seems you should just spend your life bowing to God, or doing whatever else is necessary for a golden ticket. Or if it's predetermined by God, then that would make it all the more meaningless.

Quote:
I'm talking about God deciding whether you will enter Heaven, based on your faith. That is what the Bible describes, and what many people believe, isn't it?


Thanks Dexter. I'm not sure I follow your logic though.

Assuming there is a God, wouldn't it be entirely logical that he/she would determine who enters heaven? I think what you're saying is that this makes humanity trivial, but even from a purely scientific/empirical standpoint we are trivial. Beyond trivial actually. If there is no God, then we are merely an obscure viral outbreak in a far flung arm of an infinite universe.

Assuming there is a God, and if we accept the Christian biblical teachings on this, then man is:

a) created by God in his/her image (since the Bible also asserts that God is spirit, then this 'image' must refer to our 'spiritual' image rather than our material one)

b) created for a purpose (being to "rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Genesis 1:26 NIV). It should be noted that the Hebrew word translated here as 'rule' does not have a violent/domination context.

One main strand of Christian understanding sees 'heaven' as a return to this state we were first created for. In essence a return to Eden and the associated presence of God. A good and very readable treatment of this is done by Dr. Sandra Richter, "The Epic of Eden."

Is this a satisfying 'meaning of life?' I guess it depends on whether you see God as perfect love, or as a tyrant.



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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
Thanks for the clarification Interbane.

I think there's a false dichotomy that is assumed in regards to this question though. It's not that Christianity is counter-rational (though of course some Christians are, just as there are some really illogical Atheists), but rather that it accepts and utilizes an additional source of data. This usually includes the Bible, but for some branches of Christianity such as the Roman Catholic church this would also include the 'traditions' of their faith.

Whether this acceptance of 'Christian data' is rational or not is a different question, and often varies depending upon the believer and whether they were born within the faith or converted to it.

In essence, we all determine what evidence we accept as trustworthy. Once that trust is set, it is (and should be) difficult to shake.



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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
Hi Ant,

While I would agree with you that religion is not responsible for US performance in Math and Science, I would disagree that Creationism should be taught alongside evolution in science classes. If I've misconstrued any of your opinions here, please let me know, as I know how annoying that can be.

Math in particular (and the related hard sciences) require an element of repetition. We've largely taken that out of our education system today. Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hour hypothesis comes to mind, though obviously far less in application to non-genius learning. Some of the countries that excel in Math and Science are actually those that impose much more rote learning on their students, and the associated increase in worksheets and repetition. I'm thinking of Asian nations like Hong Kong/China, South Korea and Japan. I would suggest it is runaway individualism and the misconception that intelligence/creativity are not related to diligent work that is responsible for our current Western decline in Math and Science. The much mythicized Protestant Work Ethic would seem to be the opposite of this, so I wonder if in some sense our decline is due to the decline in Western religious thinking.

It makes no sense that Creationism should be taught alongside evolution in Science classes. I do not mean this to denigrate those who hold to Creationist beliefs, but rather to simply say that it is not related to Science. Creationism is a conclusion based mainly upon an understanding of the Christian Bible, and as such should be taught in Philosophy or related classes. It is entirely a plausible and necessary question whether the Christian Bible is 'trustworthy,' and if so in what way.

I don't think there is any problem in Science teaching the possible difficulties with current evolutionary thinking, especially in the areas of abiogenesis. I think the main reason this is not done is because there is a fear amongst some that this would be tacit support for a religious agenda. Real science does not shy away from evidence because of inconvenient conclusions however.



Mon May 21, 2012 12:38 pm
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Post Re: Prominent Scientists and their religiosity
Quote:
In essence, we all determine what evidence we accept as trustworthy. Once that trust is set, it is (and should be) difficult to shake.


Welcome to Booktalk Doulos!

Is the criteria for acceptable evidence so subjective? Are we each individually to decide what is “acceptable” or “unacceptable” on a personal level? There are criteria, perhaps unknown to most, on what can be considered justified evidence. Epistemology, and as a practice, critical thinking, can inform you on what is justified versus unjustified.

In many cases, we can arrive at that determination through deduction, by removing the types of evidence that aren’t acceptable. There is no need to do this blindly, as we’ve been working on these issues as a species for 2,000 years and have filtered out the methods that work versus the methods that don’t work.

An example is accepting evidence that is justified only by a fallacy. Any “evidence” that is arrived at and is supported mainly by ‘argumentum ad baculum’, for example. Such evidence, when a fallacy is the sole support, is not trustworthy. Yet so very many people accept it as trustworthy. This is a failure to understand what qualifies as ‘evidence’.

I disagree that trusting invalid evidence should be a habit that’s difficult to shake, even though I agree that it is difficult to shake.

Quote:
While I would agree with you that religion is not responsible for US performance in Math and Science, I would disagree that Creationism should be taught alongside evolution in science classes. If I've misconstrued any of your opinions here, please let me know, as I know how annoying that can be.



Cause and effect isn’t a one-track animal, a “chain” as most people think of it. It’s more of a web, with countless causes and countless effects, and any single point picked out is usually done so as a result of the transparency of that point.

I agree that increased repetition during ‘drills’ of various sorts would have a positive impact on education. It’s tough to get across in today’s world, where the entitlement philosophy of most youth means they want the skills now, rather than having to practice to acquire them. This is true for athletics as well as scholastics. To some students, forcing repetition is almost torture.

There are other languages where the words that represent numbers are very short. A single syllable, made up of only 2 or three letters. Studies have shown that the shorter word length allows people to hold a larger number of digits in short term memory, on average. So even our very language is a cause that influences math and science scores.

To say that a widespread belief system that is contrary to science has no negative impact on science education displays a simplistic view of cause and effect. Of course it has an impact. The question is, how much of an impact, and where does it stand in reference to the host of other causes?


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