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Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:06 PM

Science and Religion: Never the Twain Shall Meet

Jeff Schweitzer, Scientist and former White House Senior Policy Analyst; Ph.D. in marine biology/neurophysiology, writes:

Unlike scientific claims, beliefs cannot be arbitrated to determine which is valid because there is no objective basis on which to compare one set of beliefs to another. Those two world views are not closer than we think; they are as far apart as could possibly be imagined.

Religion and science are incompatible at every level. The two seek different answers to separate questions using fundamentally and inherently incompatible methods. Nothing can truly bring the two together without sacrificing intellectual honesty.

...

The incompatibility between faith and reason come into full glory in the political arena. And nowhere is that made more clear than the rush toward willful ignorance in the on the Republican right. A potential presidential candidate cannot be taken seriously by the right unless one questions evolution, denounces the idea that climate change is real and human-induced and attacks the protection of our natural resources as a liberal conspiracy. The fight against evolution is just the modern day version of the Church's attacks on Galileo. We can demonstrate evolution in a Petri dish; it has been proven across multiple fields of science including genetics, biogeography, and paleontology. Even the Pope in 1996 grudgingly admitted that evolution is "more than just a theory."

With faith unconstrained by reason, we suffer a House Science Committee led by and populated with representatives who openly question evolution and climate change. Vice Chair Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) dismisses climate change as a "massive international scientific fraud" which is an example of "scientific fascism." Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) believes "dinosaur flatulence" might explain global warming. Outgoing chairman Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) said, "I'm really more fearful of freezing. And I don't have any science to prove that. But we have a lot of science that tells us they're not basing it on real scientific facts." The new chairman, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), called scientists "global warming alarmists." Let's be clear: this is faith, unshackled from the inconvenience of reality. This is belief, and belief cannot be challenged - if I believe it, it is true, no matter how much contrary evidence is presented. That is incompatible with reason.


More at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-schweitzer/science-and-religion-neve_b_2671535.html

21 replies, 1440 views

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Arrow 21 replies Author Time Post
Reply Science and Religion: Never the Twain Shall Meet (Original post)
trotsky Feb 2013 OP
rug Feb 2013 #1
gcomeau Feb 2013 #2
rug Feb 2013 #4
gcomeau Feb 2013 #5
rug Feb 2013 #6
gcomeau Feb 2013 #8
rug Feb 2013 #9
gcomeau Feb 2013 #11
muriel_volestrangler Feb 2013 #15
longship Feb 2013 #10
Phillip McCleod Feb 2013 #17
gcomeau Feb 2013 #3
trotsky Feb 2013 #7
Thats my opinion Feb 2013 #12
gcomeau Feb 2013 #13
trotsky Feb 2013 #14
muriel_volestrangler Feb 2013 #16
okasha Feb 2013 #18
Festivito Feb 2013 #19
dimbear Feb 2013 #20
Tor_Hershman Feb 2013 #21

Response to trotsky (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:14 PM

1. All he had to say is that "why" and "how" are two different questions.

Different, not contradictory.

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Response to rug (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:33 PM

2. No. Everything he said very much needed saying.

Because religion most certainly does not restrict itself to esoteric "why" questions. The claim that an all powerful superbeing created the universe with his magic superpowers is not religion dealing with a "why". Fundamentalist idiots refusing to believe evolution because it isn't in the bible are not sticking with "why"questions.

And, to be clear... religion is useless for answering those why questions as well. Responding to them? Sure. Providing actual real answers? Ummm, no.

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:34 PM

4. I suppose if you need your beliefs bolstered it did.

But it's really a very old, very stale argument.

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Response to rug (Reply #4)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:36 PM

5. A very old stale argument...

...to which you have no meaningful response apparently.

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #5)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:38 PM

6. I already made it.

Different, not contradictory.


There's really nothing more to say.

Care to rebut it?

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Response to rug (Reply #6)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:44 PM

8. And I already pointed out

...that your statement was nonsense, religion does not restrict itself to addressing "why" questions and your distinction, even if true (which it isn't) does nothing to address the fundamental incompatibility of the two worldviews encompassed by scientific and religious thought which the article was laying out in clear detail.

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #8)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:46 PM

9. Lol, ok.

You already pointed out that my "statement was nonsense". You showed me.

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Response to rug (Reply #9)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:59 PM

11. Indeed.

I realize you were trying to be sarcastic, but considering you have now twice consecutively completely danced around dealing with why your argument is nonsense (To repeat, again, religion DOES NOT RESTRICT ITSELF TO WHY QUESTIONS)... your intended sarcastic comment is quite simply an accurate observation.

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Response to rug (Reply #6)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 06:03 PM

15. If religion is just about 'why', can we start to ignore all its demands for "what should be do now"?

That'd be great. If religions all stuck to working out why we are here, in the state we're in, and stopped trying to, for instance, sue the US government over contraceptive coverage, or trying to take control of the education of children in the UK, then the world would be a better place. Since you say there's nothing more to say than "religion is about 'why'", I think you have to agree with this. Do you?

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Response to rug (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:02 PM

10. Except that many religious do make "how" responses.

That's the core of the essay, IMHO.

Of course, I agree with the article because I see it the same way as the author does. Is that confirmation bias? I suppose it may be. But it is my opinion that Gould's NOMA (non-overlapping magisteria) doesn't hold in a society where the religious are continually crossing the "boundaries".

They are only non-overlapping when people stop forcing them to overlap.

As always.

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Response to rug (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 08:05 PM

17. they may become contradictory on some points

 

when their separate realms are allowed to overlap. that is, when one meddles in the affairs of the other, then yes those ideas which were before in no relation at all become contradictory when inappropriately placed in a relation.

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Response to trotsky (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:34 PM

3. I'm shocked.

It is rare to see an article written on this subject that actually understands what it's talking about. Especially on huffpo

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:39 PM

7. I was surprised to see it there as well. n/t

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Response to trotsky (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 05:03 PM

12. The congressmen you cite

are talking neither about religion or science--but superstition and political mutterings.

There are many things in the science world that cannot be proved, except to see the results.

In the religious world I'm not looking for proof as much as seeing results. I cannot "prove" the power or even the reality of love, but I do and can observe loving acts on behalf of the nobodies. So believing in the reality of love is a piece of cake.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #12)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 05:09 PM

13. Ummm, what?

There are many things in the science world that cannot be proved, except to see the results.


What does that even mean? They can't be demonstrated... until they are?

And FYI the things science deals with is evidence, not proof. Religion of course deals in neither. Take that into account and then re-think the significance of your love example.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #12)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 05:13 PM

14. You come from outside their faith tradition.

Therefore, by your own admitted standards based on what you say to others, that makes you unqualified to criticize their beliefs. Not to mention the disrespect you are showing by calling someone else's deeply-held religious beliefs "superstition."

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #12)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 06:10 PM

16. Some politicians, like Broun, do cite their religion as the source of their anti-scientific views

http://science.house.gov/about/membership
Chairman of the subcommittee on oversight: http://science.house.gov/subcommittee-investigations-and-oversight

Godís word is true. Iíve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell. And itís lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior. You see, there are a lot of scientific data that Iíve found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I donít believe that the Earthís but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. Thatís what the Bible says.

And what Iíve come to learn is that itís the manufacturerís handbook, is what I call it. It teaches us how to run our lives individually, how to run our families, how to run our churches. But it teaches us how to run all of public policy and everything in society. And thatís the reason as your congressman I hold the Holy Bible as being the major directions to me of how I vote in Washington, D.C., and Iíll continue to do that.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/10/07/republican-on-house-science-committee-evolution-is-a-lie-straight-from-the-pit-of-hell/

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #12)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 08:27 PM

18. The purpose of some of those mutterings

is simply to keep the campaign cash flowing. Lamar Smith's maunderings have nothing to do with religion and everything to do with the fact that he is a wholly owned subsidiary of the petroleum industry.

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Response to okasha (Reply #18)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 10:47 AM

19. Exactly! The OP article portrays sell-outs as non-sell-outs and projects from there.

Some people in religion do sell-out their religion, the same for some in science.

Taking away those sell-outs allows science and religion to meet squarely.

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Response to trotsky (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 08:23 PM

20. I notice Bob Jones University was expressly founded to 'educate' students without contaminating them

with evolution. We see BYU toiling mightily to sustain the Mormon mythos. Is Christian education an oxymoron?

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Response to trotsky (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 09:04 PM

21. I must correct Prof. Einstein

 

Indeed, Trotsky, as in my correction of Einstein's saying goes,
"Religion without Science is Religion
&
Science without Religion is Science."

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