An Incompatibility Between Science and Religion? - Page 2 - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > Lypton Village > Free Your Mind
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 01-30-2009, 06:29 PM   #16
ONE
love, blood, life
 
A_Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: The Wild West
Posts: 12,518
Local Time: 08:19 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by martha View Post
Apparently a God you can't believe in. So what? Why worry so much about it then? Why does it bother you so?
The burden of proof isn't on me, I see selection as an emergent property of complex systems, I'm not supposing that it came from an intelligent agent.

I am perfectly at ease with an amoral process emerging from amoral matter and energy acting under amoral physical contraints in an amoral universe.

The evolutionary paradigm doesn't have a place where God neatly slots in. The system doesn't need God. We can cut it all down to how complexity emerges from chaos, but that seems to make evolution a consequence of the second law of thermodynamics, which is a property of the universe.

At some point along the chain theistic evolution takes a leap beyond the facts and gets God involved, is that really indefensible?
Quote:
I don't, but you do. Again, so what?
I am willing to justify my position, you're not.

Quote:
No, it doesn't. You see it that way, but I don't.
How do you see it?
__________________

__________________
A_Wanderer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2009, 06:36 PM   #17
She's the One
 
martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Orange County and all over the goddamn place
Posts: 42,334
Local Time: 02:19 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Wanderer View Post
The burden of proof isn't on me
It's not on either of us. I'm not asking you to believe what I believe, I'm not belittling you for what you believe, I'm not requiring you to follow any law based on my beliefs, so I don't have to prove anything to you. You don't have to prove anything to me. Yet it bugs the shit out of you that I believe. If it didn't, you wouldn't take so much of your time posting articles and threads trying to prove believers are wrong and stupid.


Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Wanderer View Post
The evolutionary paradigm doesn't have a place where God neatly slots in.
Sure it does. You just don't see that it does.

Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Wanderer View Post
I am willing to justify my position, you're not.
I have nothing to justify at all. You keep thinking you do. I don't think you do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Wanderer View Post
How do you see it?
You don't really care how I see it; you just want more fodder.
__________________

__________________
martha is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2009, 06:41 PM   #18
Rock n' Roll Doggie
FOB
 
Kieran McConville's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Auto Dafoe
Posts: 9,600
Local Time: 08:19 AM
Actually I'm not sure it's as cut and dried as you make out, A-wanderer.

The evolutionary paradigm doesn't have a place where God slots neatly in, you say. Well, why should it? It's a man-made paradigm; as has often been discussed, scientific hypotheses are human-made constructs, which stand if they continue to fit the observable data. That does not make them the whole story.

I don't really care about debates like this, because I just don't see an incompatibility (referring back to the title of the thread). Science and religion are concerned with different questions. Maybe what you really mean, is that the mechanistic worldview (which in many ways owes a great debt to the Victorian era) is incompatible with traditionalist culture or worldviews. If that's what you mean, you could have a point, but it's not the question I'm answering.
__________________
Kieran McConville is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2009, 06:57 PM   #19
ONE
love, blood, life
 
A_Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: The Wild West
Posts: 12,518
Local Time: 08:19 AM
I really like that post.

I like it a lot.
__________________
A_Wanderer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2009, 07:08 PM   #20
ONE
love, blood, life
 
A_Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: The Wild West
Posts: 12,518
Local Time: 08:19 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by martha View Post
It's not on either of us. I'm not asking you to believe what I believe, I'm not belittling you for what you believe, I'm not requiring you to follow any law based on my beliefs, so I don't have to prove anything to you. You don't have to prove anything to me. Yet it bugs the shit out of you that I believe. If it didn't, you wouldn't take so much of your time posting articles and threads trying to prove believers are wrong and stupid.
No, I post these threads because I am genuinely interested in how thinking people reconcile their faith in God with their appreciation of science, and because I enjoy arguing the point, it's practically dialectical.
Quote:
Sure it does. You just don't see that it does.
Where does God slot in? Seriously, this is a question about evolutionary theory, I just don't see where God fits; does he make mutations? Does he set the optimal designs that evolution stumbles across? Does he restrict the starting conditions?

I conceptualise it all as an unguided process but the issue of complexity is a very real debate, and the developments in evolutionary developmental biology may put these embryological constraints on an important level alongside natural selection.

Quote:
I have nothing to justify at all. You keep thinking you do. I don't think you do.
Yeah, I should just answer any challenges with "of course it does, your blind to the truth".
Quote:
You don't really care how I see it; you just want more fodder.
I don't care about you getting offended, I do care about what role you think God plays in the universe.
__________________
A_Wanderer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2009, 07:14 PM   #21
She's the One
 
martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Orange County and all over the goddamn place
Posts: 42,334
Local Time: 02:19 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Wanderer View Post
No, I post these threads because I am genuinely interested in how thinking people reconcile their faith in God with their appreciation of science, ... I do care about what role you think God plays in the universe.
If you really want to know, I can explain it as I see it and understand it

but



Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Wanderer View Post
and because I enjoy arguing the point,
This is the part that worries me. I will not post for you to belittle or argue. Discuss, yes.
__________________
martha is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2009, 07:24 PM   #22
ONE
love, blood, life
 
A_Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: The Wild West
Posts: 12,518
Local Time: 08:19 AM
Heres a rebuttal by Ken Miller
Quote:
My colleague and friend Jerry Coyne is a brilliant scientist, an excellent writer, and a thoughtful, outspoken atheist. He believes that God does not exist, and that any reasonable person should think as he does, rejecting the elixir of faith as pointless delusion. In taking that position, even though it is one with which I disagree, he places himself in distinguished company, no question. If Dr. Coyne's review of recent books by Karl Giberson and myself (Only a Theory, and Saving Darwin, respectively) sought only to make that argument, thereby to distance himself from a couple of deluded Christians, I wouldn't have much to complain about. On the issue of faith, there's plenty of distance between us, even if I think Coyne is on the wrong side of the question.

But Coyne did something quite different from that.

In addition to making the usual claims about the lack of evidence for God, Coyne flatly states that faith and science are not compatible, arguing that the empirical nature of science contradicts the revelatory nature of faith. What about the tens of thousands of scientists, now and in the past who were people of faith (including roughly 40% of all working scientists in the US, members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science)? Coyne waves them away with scorn, literally comparing them to "adulterers" who have subverted their vows to be true to science—or at least to Coyne's view of science. More on that later.

Coyne claims that "theistic evolutionists" like me exhibit three of the four hallmarks of creationism, making me really no different from the folks I opposed at the Kitzmiller trial. He couldn't be more wrong about that. I share exactly one thing in common with creationists, which is my belief in God. The other points of supposed agreement are figments of Coyne's imagination—or of his overwrought efforts to slander any believer by placing them in the "creationist" camp.

He seems to argue that a person of faith who accepts evolution must also believe God "micro-edited DNA" to guide evolution. While it's certainly true that a Divine author of nature could intervene in his world at any time, I have never argued for the sort of divine tinkering that Coyne finds so disturbing. In fact, I have argued exactly the opposite. Evolution is not rigged, and religious belief does not require one to postulate a God who fixes the game, bribes the referees, or tricks natural selection. Unfortunately, Coyne does not seem to appreciate this point.

And, just to quibble, he claims that only 25% of Americans believe we evolved from apelike ancestors. The actual figure (unlike Coyne, I will cite a reference) is 40% (Miller, Scott, and Okamoto. Science 313: 765, August 2006).

Coyne's eagerness to close out any possibility that there is an author to the natural world leads him into a curious position of self-contradiction on the appearance of the human species on our planet. As I pointed out in Only a Theory, evolution did indeed produce the grand and beautiful fabric of life that covers our planet, including our own species. Therefore, we are not a "mistake" of nature, but a full-fledged product of the natural world. If God is the creator of that world, including the laws of chemistry and physics and even the unpredictable events of the quantum universe, then it would be perfectly reasonable for a religious person to see our emergence, through the process of evolution, as part of God's plan for that universe. This doesn't mean, as I took care to point out in my book, that nature is rigged to produce big-brained, hairless, bipedal primates who would invent football, canned beer, and reality television. Rather, it means that the universe in which we live is sufficiently hospitable to life that on this one planet, at the very least, it has supported an evolutionary process that gave rise to intelligent, self-aware, reflective organisms, who would then be capable of arguing about the meaning, purpose, and nature of existence.

I made no argument that this happy confluence of natural events and physical constants proves the existence of God in any way—only that it could be understood or interpreted as consistent with the Divine by a person of faith.

To Coyne, however, even the mere possibility that someone might understand nature in a Divine context is absolute heresy. As a result, while he strictly rules out anything but natural causes in the evolutionary process (as would I), he then must argue that the same process could never, ever happen again. Why? Because if conditions in our universe are such that they make the emergence of intelligent life, sooner or later, pretty much a sure thing, then people might wonder why. And if they were to come to the conclusion this might mean that there was a Creator who intended that as part of his work, they would be guilty of the very thoughts that Coyne finds so outrageous that he wishes to banish them from the scientific establishment.

So, despite his frank admission that "convergences are striking features of evolution," he rules any possibility that human-like intelligence could also be a convergent feature. His only reason for so doing seems to be that such intelligence evolved "only once, in Africa." Apparently, to satisfy his standards, it should have evolved many times. Actually, of course, if an observer had checked as recently as 5 million years ago, it wouldn't have evolved at all. Nonetheless Coyne has absolutely no empirical reason for claiming that what happened once could not happen again—and he surely knows that. But, to borrow a phrase, he is "forced" into that conclusion by his own anti-theist views.

For someone so insistent on empirical evidence, Coyne is remarkably quick to invoke faith when it suits his purposes. Realizing that the anthropic principle could indeed be seen as friendly to religion, he knows he just doesn't have enough evidence to reject it. So Coyne dreams that "perhaps some day, when we have a ‘theory of everything' that unifies all the forces of physics, we will see that this theory requires our universe to have the physical constants that we observe." Indeed. Perhaps we will. But even if we achieve that theory, we will still have to ask where the laws and principles of that theory come from, something that even Coyne at his speculative and hopeful best does not seem to appreciate.

Finally, what of his central criticism—the claim that science and religion are not only different, but incompatible and mutually contradictory?

He's right on one score, obviously. That is that certain religious claims, including the age of the earth, a global worldwide flood, and the simultaneous creation of all living things are empirical in nature. As such, they can be tested scientifically, and these particular claims are clearly false. Claims of demonstrative miracles in the past, such as the virgin birth or the resurrection cannot be tested empirically, because there are no data from which to work. On such claims, science has nothing to say one way or the other. Coyne's complaint on such things, paradoxically, is that they must not have happened because there is no scientific explanation for them. That amounts, in essence, to saying that these things could not have happened because they would be miracles. Well, that's exactly what most Christians take them for, so Coyne's only real argument is an a priori assumption that miracles cannot happen. Make that assumption, and miracles are nonsense. But it is an assumption nonetheless, something that Coyne fails to see.

How, then, should we take his claim that scientists who profess religious faith are akin to adulterers? An adulterer, of course, is one who has taken the marriage vow of faithfulness and exclusivity, and then broken that vow to have sex with another. Have scientists who profess faith broken some vow of philosophical naturalism that is implicit in the profession?

I, for one, don't remember any such vow in my training, my PhD exam, or my tenure review—although perhaps things work a little differently at the University of Chicago.

What science does require is methodological naturalism. We live in a material world, and we use the materials of nature to study the way nature works. By definition, that confines science to purely naturalistic explanations, because only those are testable, and only those have validity as science. I agree, and would defy Dr. Coyne to point to any claim made in the books he has reviewed that defines science in any other way. He cannot do that, of course, because there are no such claims. I would also ask that he point out scientific flaws in the work of biologists such as Theodosius Dobzhansky, Francisco Ayala, or Francis Collins that may have derived from their personal religious faith. He won't be able to do that, either, of course. Every scientist makes mistakes—and I've made plenty in my career. But the real issue is whether a scientist's view on the question of God is incompatible with their scientific work. Clearly, it is not.

Coyne's entire critique, then, is based upon an unspoken assumption he expects his readers to share, namely, that science is the only legitimate form of knowledge. To Coyne, any deviation from that view is an adulterous contradiction of the sacred scientific vow to exclude any possibility of the spiritual, not just from one's scientific work, but from the entirety of one's philosophical world view.

With all due respect to my distinguished colleague, that is nonsense. One can indeed embrace science in every respect, and still ask a deeper question, one in which Coyne seems to have no interest. Why does science work? Why is the world around us organized in a way that makes itself accessible to our powers of logic and intellect? The true vow of a scientist is to practice honest and open empiricism in every aspect of his scientific work. That vow does not preclude the scientist from stepping back, acknowledging the limitations of scientific knowledge, and asking the deeper questions of why we are here, and if existence has a purpose. Those questions are genuine and important, even if they are not scientific ones, and I believe they are worth answering.

To Jerry Coyne, a person of faith like the Belgian priest Georges Lemaître, could not possibly have been a true scientist because of his faith in a loving and provident God. That would make Father Lemaître, in Coyne's eyes, nothing more than a creationist. Too bad, because as I'm sure Jerry knows, it was Georges Lemaître who provided the first detailed mathematical arguments for cosmic expansion, which today we call the "big bang." Remarkable how Lemaître rose above his adulterous tendencies, isn't it?

The genuine tragedy of Coyne's argument is the way in which it seeks to enlist science in a frankly ideological crusade—a campaign to purge science of religionists in the name of doctrinal purity. That campaign will surely fail, but in so doing it may divert those of us who cherish science from a far more urgent task, especially in America today. That is the task of defending scientific rationalism from those who, in the name of religion would subvert it beyond all recognition. In that critical struggle, Jerry, scientists who are also people of faith are critical allies, and you would do well not to turn them away.
Edge: DOES THE EMPIRICAL NATURE OF SCIENCE CONTRADICT THE REVELATORY NATURE OF FAITH? - Jerry Coyne
__________________
A_Wanderer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2009, 07:32 PM   #23
The Male
 
LemonMelon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Hollywoo
Posts: 65,801
Local Time: 02:19 PM
I'm convinced that A_W has to be a spambot of some kind. No man could write 95% of his posts on one topic and never get bored.
__________________


Now.
LemonMelon is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2009, 07:40 PM   #24
ONE
love, blood, life
 
A_Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: The Wild West
Posts: 12,518
Local Time: 08:19 AM
There are worse things to think about.
__________________
A_Wanderer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2009, 07:44 PM   #25
Rock n' Roll Doggie
FOB
 
Kieran McConville's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Auto Dafoe
Posts: 9,600
Local Time: 08:19 AM
The other problem is confusing belief in God per se with fundamentalist religion.

The young-earth crowd, for instance. I've seen nothing in the Bible to support let alone demand that sort of view of the world. That view of the world comes out of a certain culture, as does a lot of the trappings that go with Catholicism (my own background). So when someone says, 'well of course Christians believe xxx', they best be careful they aren't just speaking bollocks.

Now I myself view the Bible as a problematic document. The New Testament gospels are the basic foundation stone, the Old Testament a far more difficult proposition but generally understood as the precursor to the latter. It is partly a morality code, partly a mythical history/prophecy for the peoples who made the various stories (often orally).

So you can see that I don't view any of that as having a bearing on modern science, whilst - and this is the key point - they may contain a certain kind of truth. Great art and literature can also contain elements of this greater truth. Will I sit here and think that science somehow conflicts with those, either? Of course not.
__________________
Kieran McConville is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2009, 07:44 PM   #26
Refugee
 
A stor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: U.S.A. East Coast
Posts: 2,464
Local Time: 10:19 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liesje View Post
I'm sure he has but I've not seen them. He's almost 80 years old. Very wise man with a lot of stories. Raised by white supremecists/KKK in the south, has lived in Liberia and been there about 20 times... I had him for an anthropology class but I e-mail him when I have theological questions or have lunch with him. FWIW I tried looking stuff up but he has the same name as a bunch of other doctors and professors.
It's wonderful to see someone post something positive about our seniors. There is a Catholic Priest at my church, now retired. But, this man is in good health and 92 years young. I love to listen to his stories, especially in regards to the Great Depression. Something, he lived through and I have only read about in history books.

His parents came from Ireland and he said when they would want to talk about something not meant for children's prying ears. They would speak in Irish.
__________________
A stor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2009, 07:46 PM   #27
She's the One
 
martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Orange County and all over the goddamn place
Posts: 42,334
Local Time: 02:19 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Wanderer View Post
There are worse things to think about.

But there are more productive things to obsess about.
__________________
martha is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2009, 10:20 PM   #28
Refugee
 
jphelmet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: cumming, ga usa
Posts: 1,386
Local Time: 05:19 PM
Quote:
Claims of demonstrative miracles in the past, such as the virgin birth or the resurrection cannot be tested empirically, because there are no data from which to work. On such claims, science has nothing to say one way or the other. Coyne's complaint on such things, paradoxically, is that they must not have happened because there is no scientific explanation for them. That amounts, in essence, to saying that these things could not have happened because they would be miracles. Well, that's exactly what most Christians take them for, so Coyne's only real argument is an a priori assumption that miracles cannot happen. Make that assumption, and miracles are nonsense. But it is an assumption nonetheless, something that Coyne fails to see.
this is exactly what i thought when i read the original article, just said much better than i could have said it.
__________________
jphelmet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2009, 11:53 PM   #29
Blue Crack Addict
 
Liesje's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: In the dog house
Posts: 19,557
Local Time: 05:19 PM
yeah I'm with Martha. So what?
__________________
Liesje is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2009, 11:54 PM   #30
Blue Crack Addict
 
Liesje's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: In the dog house
Posts: 19,557
Local Time: 05:19 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kieran McConville View Post
The New Testament gospels are the basic foundation stone, the Old Testament a far more difficult proposition but generally understood as the precursor to the latter. It is partly a morality code, partly a mythical history/prophecy for the peoples who made the various stories (often orally).

So you can see that I don't view any of that as having a bearing on modern science, whilst - and this is the key point - they may contain a certain kind of truth. Great art and literature can also contain elements of this greater truth. Will I sit here and think that science somehow conflicts with those, either? Of course not.
Precisely
__________________

__________________
Liesje is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:19 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com