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Old 08-05-2013, 02:35 AM   #46
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I think that might be a bit strong of a definition. I would agree they would not accepts an Anthropomorphic/Abrahamic type of God - or that anything about God can even really be discussed - but they often seem to accept an idea similar to the Stoic's concept of Logos (as mentioned earlier).
It's still just a fancy version of atheism.
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Old 08-05-2013, 10:16 AM   #47
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It's still just a fancy version of atheism.
Well then, I suppose I'm still of a bit atheist according to your very wide net - since I accept more of the Eastern Orthodox view that God is transcendent and ultimately unknowable (I am not Orthodox Christian- I just agree with some things) - meaning we, with our limited minds, can only define God by what He is not - not by what He truly is.

Thankfully, through my faith in Jesus Christ and through the indwelling Holy Spirit - I can experience His "energy" and know His personality as Father through awe and wonder of the universe, through prayer, and through the occasional deep encounter. This is highly subjective and I could not expect you, as a non-believer, to understand. However, as I said before, when we are discussing anything beyond what can be observed, tested, and verified - theology and philosophy suddenly become an important voice. You don't have to agree with them - but I think it would serve you well (if your intention is to plug into the total human experience and understanding of Metaphysics) not to simply dismiss all religion as childish fairy stories. Many bright minds (brighter than either of us) belong to one faith or another - to dismiss them all as simple-minded is being...well...simple-minded.

Science and theology are not at war (at least not for me). All science fits within my faith. Meaning - science does a fantastic job of discovering and explaining everything that can be observed, tested, and verified within this "realm" of existence...and to me - that is just fraction of the Big Picture.
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:32 PM   #48
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Many bright minds (brighter than either of us) belong to one faith or another - to dismiss them all as simple-minded is being...well...simple-minded.
I wonder how many of them were born into their beliefs.
As it stands, on 10% or so of the brightest minds believe in a god. I think that 10% speaks more to the strength of belief than it does to anything else

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Science and theology are not at war (at least not for me). All science fits within my faith. Meaning - science does a fantastic job of discovering and explaining everything that can be observed, tested, and verified within this "realm" of existence...and to me - that is just fraction of the Big Picture.
Well, for what it's worth, I think if there were more believers like you, it would be a better place. You seem to have found a nice balance
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:37 PM   #49
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Let's get digitize back in here. Consciousness is a fascinating topic. I was a bit tipsy when I wrote my response last night (today is a holiday in Canada. Trivial Pursuit and Guinness last night. Fun times), but I read back through it and everything looked fine. How about Aeon or DM? Any thoughts?
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:49 PM   #50
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Let's get digitize back in here. Consciousness is a fascinating topic. I was a bit tipsy when I wrote my response last night (today is a holiday in Canada. Trivial Pursuit and Guinness last night. Fun times), but I read back through it and everything looked fine. How about Aeon or DM? Any thoughts?
Let me look back it and get back to you...
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:58 PM   #51
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I wonder how many of them were born into their beliefs.
As it stands, on 10% or so of the brightest minds believe in a god. I think that 10% speaks more to the strength of belief than it does to anything else
Is the number really that low? That's a bit sad (to me). I wonder if this is hard core atheism vs "I just don't know..."

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Well, for what it's worth, I think if there were more believers like you, it would be a better place. You seem to have found a nice balance
Thank you, JT - and likewise for you.

I often struggle in church settings (especially in anything evangelical, but my wife is that - so I go) because they do have a sense of war with science. But that is changing. Of course, they still think I'm a heretic for quoting men like Ray Kurzweil...However, you might be surprised to discover that Catholics and Anglicans are very fond of modern science.
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Old 08-05-2013, 01:03 PM   #52
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Is the number really that low? That's a bit sad (to me). I wonder if this is hard core atheism vs "I just don't know..."
It's somewhere between 10-15%... not sure what constitutes a 'top' scientist however. I'll see if I can find something a little more concrete to post.

I'd guess there's probably a mix of atheism and agnosticism. I'd venture to guess a great deal of them probably don't think about it often unless asked.
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Old 08-05-2013, 01:11 PM   #53
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Well then, I suppose I'm still of a bit atheist according to your very wide net - since I accept more of the Eastern Orthodox view that God is transcendent and ultimately unknowable (I am not Orthodox Christian- I just agree with some things) - meaning we, with our limited minds, can only define God by what He is not - not by what He truly is.

Thankfully, through my faith in Jesus Christ and through the indwelling Holy Spirit - I can experience His "energy" and know His personality as Father through awe and wonder of the universe, through prayer, and through the occasional deep encounter. This is highly subjective and I could not expect you, as a non-believer, to understand. However, as I said before, when we are discussing anything beyond what can be observed, tested, and verified - theology and philosophy suddenly become an important voice. You don't have to agree with them - but I think it would serve you well (if your intention is to plug into the total human experience and understanding of Metaphysics) not to simply dismiss all religion as childish fairy stories. Many bright minds (brighter than either of us) belong to one faith or another - to dismiss them all as simple-minded is being...well...simple-minded.

Science and theology are not at war (at least not for me). All science fits within my faith. Meaning - science does a fantastic job of discovering and explaining everything that can be observed, tested, and verified within this "realm" of existence...and to me - that is just fraction of the Big Picture.
Thank you for explaining this AEON
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Old 08-05-2013, 01:14 PM   #54
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Here's the study those numbers are from. 1998. Maybe we're about due for another one

Nature, "Leading scientists still reject God" July 23, 1998
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Old 08-05-2013, 01:45 PM   #55
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Let's get digitize back in here. Consciousness is a fascinating topic. I was a bit tipsy when I wrote my response last night (today is a holiday in Canada. Trivial Pursuit and Guinness last night. Fun times), but I read back through it and everything looked fine. How about Aeon or DM? Any thoughts?
I'll respond after work, hopefully afterward reading the Dennet paper that you mentioned. My philosophy professor last semester loved to attack Dennet for his functionalism, and I tended to by sympathetic to my professor, but I've never actually read Dennet.
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Old 08-05-2013, 01:58 PM   #56
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Here's the study those numbers are from. 1998. Maybe we're about due for another one

Nature, "Leading scientists still reject God"� July 23, 1998
Here's another study from 2005 that completely contradicts these numbers.

Scientists' faith varies starkly by discipline - Technology & science - Science - LiveScience | NBC News

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About two-thirds of scientists believe in God, according to a new survey that uncovered stark differences based on the type of research they do.

The study, along with another one released in June, would appear to debunk the oft-held notion that science is incompatible with religion.

Those in the social sciences are more likely to believe in God and attend religious services than researchers in the natural sciences, the study found.

The opposite had been expected.

Nearly 38 percent of natural scientists -- people in disciplines like physics, chemistry and biology -- said they do not believe in God. Only 31 percent of the social scientists do not believe.

In the new study, Rice University sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund surveyed 1,646 faculty members at elite research universities, asking 36 questions about belief and spiritual practices.

"Based on previous research, we thought that social scientists would be less likely to practice religion than natural scientists are, but our data showed just the opposite," Ecklund said.

Some stand-out statistics: 41 percent of the biologists don't believe, while that figure is just 27 percent among political scientists.

In separate work at the University of Chicago, released in June, 76 percent of doctors said they believed in God and 59 percent believe in some sort of afterlife.

"Now we must examine the nature of these differences," Ecklund said today. "Many scientists see themselves as having a spirituality not attached to a particular religious tradition. Some scientists who don't believe in God see themselves as very spiritual people. They have a way outside of themselves that they use to understand the meaning of life."

Ecklund and colleagues are now conducting longer interviews with some of the participants to try and figure it all out.
Here's a different study focusing on doctors.

Survey: Most doctors believe in God, afterlife - Health - Health care | NBC News

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CHICAGO — A survey examining religion in medicine found that most U.S. doctors believe in God and an afterlife — a surprising degree of spirituality in a science-based field, researchers say.

In the survey of 1,044 doctors nationwide, 76 percent said they believe in God, 59 percent said they believe in some sort of afterlife, and 55 percent said their religious beliefs influence how they practice medicine.

“We were surprised to find that physicians were as religious as they apparently are,” said Dr. Farr Curlin, a researcher at the University of Chicago’s MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics.

“There’s certainly a deep-seated cultural idea that science and religion are at odds,” and previous studies have suggested that fewer than half of scientists believe in God, Curlin said Wednesday.

Most doctors surveyed believe in God and afterlife
A previous survey showed about 83 percent of the general population believes in God.

But while medicine is science-based, doctors differ from scientists who work primarily in a laboratory setting, and their direct contact with patients in life-and-death situations may explain the differing views, Curlin said.

Important to end-of-life issues
The study is based on responses to questionnaires mailed in 2003. It is to appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine and was released online to subscribers earlier this month.

Dr. J. Edward Hill, president of the American Medical Association, said religion and medicine are completely compatible, as long as doctors do not force their own beliefs on patients.

Belief in “a supreme being ... is vitally important to physicians’ ability to take care of patients, particularly the end-of-life issues that we deal with so often,” said Hill, a family physician from Tupelo, Miss.

Religions among physicians are more varied than among the general population, the survey found. While more than 80 percent of the U.S. population is Protestant or Catholic, 60 percent of doctors said they were from either group.

Compared with the general population, more doctors were Jewish — 14 percent vs. 2 percent; Hindu — 5 percent vs. less than 1 percent; and Muslim — almost 3 percent vs. less than 1 percent.
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Old 08-05-2013, 02:08 PM   #57
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Here's another study from 2005 that completely contradicts these numbers.

Scientists' faith varies starkly by discipline - Technology & science - Science - LiveScience | NBC News
I hardly think a study on religion conducted by someone accepting money from the Templeton Foundation can be seen as unbiased.

We're also not told where the data is coming from, whereas with the study I posted, it's quite clear. My point was, the higher you go in the scientific hierarchy, the more apparent the lack of belief. These other studies do nothing to discredit that
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Old 08-05-2013, 03:04 PM   #58
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My point was, the higher you go in the scientific hierarchy, the more apparent the lack of belief. These other studies do nothing to discredit that
I don't know -- in Ecklund's follow-up book, SCIENCE VS. RELIGION, she apparently discounts that conventional wisdom.

"Science vs. Religion" discovers what scientists really think about religion

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she builds on a detailed survey of almost 1,700 scientists at elite American research universities -- the most comprehensive such study to date. These surveys and 275 lengthy follow-up interviews reveal that scientists often practice a closeted faith. They worry how their peers would react to learning about their religious views.
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Fully half of these top scientists are religious. Only five of the 275 interviewees actively oppose religion. Even among the third who are atheists, many consider themselves "spiritual." One describes this spiritual atheism as being rooted in "wonder about the complexity and the majesty of existence," a sentiment many nonscientists -- religious or not -- would recognize. By not engaging with religion more fully and publicly, "the academy is really doing itself a big disservice," worries one scientist. As shown by conflicts over everything from evolution to stem cells to climate policy, breakdowns in communication between scientists and religious communities cause real problems, especially for scientists trying to educate increasingly religious college students.
I think it's probably accurate to say that more scientists may be religious/spiritual than they may be given credit for -- though you and I can probably agree that dogma is a different category.

(I'm also not sure that charging Ecklund's study with bias since it was funded by the Templeton Foundation makes a lot of sense -- particularly given that the Templeton Foundation awards lots of grants related to scientific exploration, including Professor Martin Nowak, Director of the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University.)
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Old 08-05-2013, 03:53 PM   #59
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Oops. See next post.
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Old 08-05-2013, 03:54 PM   #60
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- especially for scientists trying to educate increasingly religious college students.
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