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Author Topic: Why It's So Hard for Scientists to Believe in God?  (Read 4731 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: October 04, 2010, 02:57:35 PM »

Question: Why is it so difficult for scientists to believe in a higher power?

Francis Collins: Science is about trying to get rigorous answers to questions about how nature works.  And it’s a very important process that’s actually quite reliable if carried out correctly with generation of hypotheses and testing of those by accumulation of data and then drawing conclusions that are continually revisited to be sure they are right.  So if you want to answer questions about how nature works, how biology works, for instance, science is the way to get there.  Scientists believe in that they are very troubled by a suggestion that other kinds of approaches can be taken to derive truth about nature.  And some I think have seen faith as therefore a threat to the scientific method and therefore it to be resisted. 

But faith in its perspective is really asking a different set of questions....
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« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2010, 04:21:33 PM »

^ Indeed. Faith, nor  philosophy for that matter, is not askind for the physical explanations for how the universe works, but rather, it's asking about Truth, the Good, and the Ground of our being.
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« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2010, 04:48:19 PM »

Basically because they are narrow-minded.
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« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2010, 05:16:55 PM »

Not in the two Parishes I have belonged to.  They are packed with Scientists and highly educated people. 

 At trapeeza the other day I looked around the table and there was a Biologist whose Christian father is an Engineer, a Rocket Scientist ( no less),a Geologist and a guy who translates techno documents for Oil Companies in about 7 different languages. And that's the dumb-bell table  Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2010, 10:13:28 PM »

Not in the two Parishes I have belonged to.  They are packed with Scientists and highly educated people. 

 At trapeeza the other day I looked around the table and there was a Biologist whose Christian father is an Engineer, a Rocket Scientist ( no less),a Geologist and a guy who translates techno documents for Oil Companies in about 7 different languages. And that's the dumb-bell table  Smiley

Yes, I believe it is in a link on one of the other posts regarding the new 2010 study that shows there is a higher percentage of higher educated people in Orthodoxy than in RC or Protestantism.   It is not surprising that there would be more scientists. 
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« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2010, 10:30:44 PM »

I'm going to be attending a talk given by Neil deGrasse Tyson this Thursday. If I can corner him afterwards (I don't want to bring it up during an official question/answer period, for various reasons), I'll ask him for his thoughts.
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« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2010, 10:43:55 PM »

I don't know a single person with a masters or PhD that does not believe in some form of a higher power. Most, maybe all, are Christian.

Also, I question where this person is getting the info that scientist don't believe in God.
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« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2010, 10:59:24 PM »

Here is some data given in the book How We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God by Michael Shermer...

- In 1916: 17% of American scientists were agnostic, 41% were atheist, and 42% believed in God.

- In 1996: 15% of American scientists were agnostic, 45% were atheist, and 39% believed in God.

There is much more specific data given, if anyone is interested.
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« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2010, 11:09:58 PM »

Here is some data given in the book How We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God by Michael Shermer...

- In 1916: 17% of American scientists were agnostic, 41% were atheist, and 42% believed in God.

- In 1996: 15% of American scientists were agnostic, 45% were atheist, and 39% believed in God.

There is much more specific data given, if anyone is interested.

What is the definition of agnostic they are using?
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« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2010, 11:18:11 PM »

I don't see any information about them giving specific definitions. They seem to have just been given three choices regarding the existence of God/gods/a higher power, and asked the people being polled to say which most closely matched how they self-identified; the exact wording of those three choices were: doubt/agnosticism, personal disbelief, and personal belief. Some of the other information includes data on which types of scientists most believed in God, and what impact being an elite scientist had.
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« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2010, 11:25:15 PM »

Well for any scientist who understands what science is capable of it shouldn't be so hard. But then there are those scientism types who essentially deify science which might make them unable tot he suggestion of God. There are still scientists who beieve in God, many have been the most influential Cheesy
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« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2010, 11:29:55 PM »

I don't see any information about them giving specific definitions. They seem to have just been given three choices regarding the existence of God/gods/a higher power, and asked the people being polled to say which most closely matched how they self-identified; the exact wording of those three choices were: doubt/agnosticism, personal disbelief, and personal belief. Some of the other information includes data on which types of scientists most believed in God, and what impact being an elite scientist had.

Gotcha. Thats an odd way that worded it. I would like to see a study where they didn't use agnostic.
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« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2010, 11:44:28 PM »

^ Indeed. Faith, nor  philosophy for that matter, is not askind for the physical explanations for how the universe works, but rather, it's asking about Truth, the Good, and the Ground of our being.

It doesn't matter what the question is, what matters is the process for answering it. It needs to be repeatable, verifiable, and deniable. If it does not have these characteristic, or at least is not very close to them (some astrological observations rely on multiple simultaneous observers or recorded data that can be further reviewed, but if someone by themselves looking through a telescope said they saw something, it doesn't really matter whether they did or not, because it can not be verified or denied, the observation is useless), then the data is simply not usable. That is to say a rational person could not have a reasonable level of confidence in a non-verifiable extraordinary observation.

The problem with non-scientific methods is that, statistically and objectively speaking, they have a very low confidence level. They are no more believable than the crazy guy who wears a tinfoil hat to stop aliens from reading his brainwaves.

So ask which questions you like, we only demand rigor in their answers; now if you can't provide that, then according to mathematical laws it would simply be irresponsible to believe your conclusions.
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« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2010, 12:19:45 AM »

Quote
So ask which questions you like, we only demand rigor in their answers; now if you can't provide that, then according to mathematical laws it would simply be irresponsible to believe your conclusions.

Interestingly, according to the data in the book I mentioned earlier, mathematicians are the most likely among those polled to believe in God.  Tongue According to Shermer, the data from the 1916 poll indicated that biologists were the least likely to believe, though nowadays it's those evil physicists and astronomers who are most likely to not believe.
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« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2010, 12:24:59 AM »

^ Indeed. Faith, nor  philosophy for that matter, is not askind for the physical explanations for how the universe works, but rather, it's asking about Truth, the Good, and the Ground of our being.

It doesn't matter what the question is, what matters is the process for answering it. It needs to be repeatable, verifiable, and deniable. If it does not have these characteristic, or at least is not very close to them (some astrological observations rely on multiple simultaneous observers or recorded data that can be further reviewed, but if someone by themselves looking through a telescope said they saw something, it doesn't really matter whether they did or not, because it can not be verified or denied, the observation is useless), then the data is simply not usable. That is to say a rational person could not have a reasonable level of confidence in a non-verifiable extraordinary observation.

The problem with non-scientific methods is that, statistically and objectively speaking, they have a very low confidence level. They are no more believable than the crazy guy who wears a tinfoil hat to stop aliens from reading his brainwaves.

So ask which questions you like, we only demand rigor in their answers; now if you can't provide that, then according to mathematical laws it would simply be irresponsible to believe your conclusions.

In your view, in what cases is it irresponsible to believe one's conclusions if they can't be tested by the scientific method?  You might need to qualify this as your post seems to encourage the logic that for instance, most/if not all verdicts in a court of law would be irresponsible, and really any "conclusion" one makes on anything that isn't repeatable, verifiable, and deniable would seem to be by your criteria "irresponsible".
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« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2010, 12:27:51 AM »

Gotcha. Thats an odd way that worded it. I would like to see a study where they didn't use agnostic.

Unfortunately many people are not familiar with weak atheism, think that atheism is exclusively strong atheism, and allocate the meaning of weak atheism to agnosticism. So they actually wind up not even understanding what agnosticism or atheism really are.
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« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2010, 12:31:24 AM »

It doesn't matter what the question is, what matters is the process for answering it. It needs to be repeatable, verifiable, and deniable. If it does not have these characteristic, or at least is not very close to them (some astrological observations rely on multiple simultaneous observers or recorded data that can be further reviewed, but if someone by themselves looking through a telescope said they saw something, it doesn't really matter whether they did or not, because it can not be verified or denied, the observation is useless), then the data is simply not usable.

I don't see why scientists would be bound to the scientific method in all aspects of their life and who they are.

That is to say a rational person could not have a reasonable level of confidence in a non-verifiable extraordinary observation.

You seem here to be suggesting that science is the only form of rationality, which seems like quite an arrogant and anti-historical view.

The problem with non-scientific methods is that, statistically and objectively speaking, they have a very low confidence level.

What do you mean by that? Do you mean that people have historically had low levels of confidence in non-scientific systems?
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« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2010, 12:52:32 AM »

Quote
So ask which questions you like, we only demand rigor in their answers; now if you can't provide that, then according to mathematical laws it would simply be irresponsible to believe your conclusions.

Interestingly, according to the data in the book I mentioned earlier, mathematicians are the most likely among those polled to believe in God.  Tongue According to Shermer, the data from the 1916 poll indicated that biologists were the least likely to believe at that time, though nowadays it's those evil physicists and astronomers who are most likely to not believe.

That should not be surprising, most scientists are trained to think in terms of that which is most probable. And while mathematics may provided the basis for probabilistic analysis, it does not use it for its own ends. A perfect example is the problem does P=NP? That is to say can algorithms that operate in non-deterministic polynomial time operate in deterministic polynomial time? Every thing that we have observed or seen says that it can not, in fact all our online security, from government cryptography to https that keeps your banking secure is based on that assumption. But to a mathematician, since it has not been proven, the fact that 30 years of observation has demonstrated the hypothesis to be true is completely irrelevant, mathematicians still consider the hypothesis equally likely to true or false.

With that mindset, it's logical that most mathematicians are agnostic, the existence of a deity has not been mathematically proven, therefore it does not matter that the non-existence of a deity is highly improbable, until there is an absolute proof one way or another, all the evidence in the world, either for or against, does not matter. Of course there are some, mostly those who have been involved in or influenced by the other sciences, such as myself, who will reject the idea of a god because it is so improbable. Then there are others who will accept a god because it is expected by their culture or family. I knew many mathematicians who fit into the latter category, but they are not religious like most people on this board, they are culturally religious.

As an anecdotal example, I had one mathematics professor who was a Mormon, one of the most strict and literal of religions. He was involved in their church, he practiced the dietary laws, and attended regularly. But he publicly admitted before his peers and students that the only truth in the world came from mathematics, religion was a hobby for him. I would be curious as to a study that investigated the 'belief' of these mathematicians more deeply than a simply question of whether or not you believe in god.
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« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2010, 12:55:26 AM »

^ Indeed. Faith, nor  philosophy for that matter, is not askind for the physical explanations for how the universe works, but rather, it's asking about Truth, the Good, and the Ground of our being.

It doesn't matter what the question is, what matters is the process for answering it. It needs to be repeatable, verifiable, and deniable. If it does not have these characteristic, or at least is not very close to them (some astrological observations rely on multiple simultaneous observers or recorded data that can be further reviewed, but if someone by themselves looking through a telescope said they saw something, it doesn't really matter whether they did or not, because it can not be verified or denied, the observation is useless), then the data is simply not usable. That is to say a rational person could not have a reasonable level of confidence in a non-verifiable extraordinary observation.

The problem with non-scientific methods is that, statistically and objectively speaking, they have a very low confidence level. They are no more believable than the crazy guy who wears a tinfoil hat to stop aliens from reading his brainwaves.

So ask which questions you like, we only demand rigor in their answers; now if you can't provide that, then according to mathematical laws it would simply be irresponsible to believe your conclusions.

In your view, in what cases is it irresponsible to believe one's conclusions if they can't be tested by the scientific method?  You might need to qualify this as your post seems to encourage the logic that for instance, most/if not all verdicts in a court of law would be irresponsible, and really any "conclusion" one makes on anything that isn't repeatable, verifiable, and deniable would seem to be by your criteria "irresponsible".

I would agree, I think most verdicts in court are irresponsible. I think that, in this day and age, we should require a minimum of 5 credible evidence in combination with a large amount of circumstantial evidence or verifiable evidence, such as enough dna to be tested by various independent labs, or video evidence that can be sent to several sources to be verified for authenticity.

But the injustice and irresponsibility of our legal system proves nothing.
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« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2010, 12:58:54 AM »

^ Indeed. Faith, nor  philosophy for that matter, is not askind for the physical explanations for how the universe works, but rather, it's asking about Truth, the Good, and the Ground of our being.

It doesn't matter what the question is, what matters is the process for answering it. It needs to be repeatable, verifiable, and deniable. If it does not have these characteristic, or at least is not very close to them (some astrological observations rely on multiple simultaneous observers or recorded data that can be further reviewed, but if someone by themselves looking through a telescope said they saw something, it doesn't really matter whether they did or not, because it can not be verified or denied, the observation is useless), then the data is simply not usable. That is to say a rational person could not have a reasonable level of confidence in a non-verifiable extraordinary observation.

The problem with non-scientific methods is that, statistically and objectively speaking, they have a very low confidence level. They are no more believable than the crazy guy who wears a tinfoil hat to stop aliens from reading his brainwaves.

So ask which questions you like, we only demand rigor in their answers; now if you can't provide that, then according to mathematical laws it would simply be irresponsible to believe your conclusions.

In your view, in what cases is it irresponsible to believe one's conclusions if they can't be tested by the scientific method?  You might need to qualify this as your post seems to encourage the logic that for instance, most/if not all verdicts in a court of law would be irresponsible, and really any "conclusion" one makes on anything that isn't repeatable, verifiable, and deniable would seem to be by your criteria "irresponsible".

I would agree, I think most verdicts in court are irresponsible. I think that, in this day and age, we should require a minimum of 5 credible evidence in combination with a large amount of circumstantial evidence or verifiable evidence, such as enough dna to be tested by various independent labs, or video evidence that can be sent to several sources to be verified for authenticity.

But the injustice and irresponsibility of our legal system proves nothing.

Since I doubt the courts will be taking your minimum requirements up for consideration anytime soon!  Wink What I was really interested in was your answer to my first question:

"In your view, in what cases is it irresponsible to believe one's conclusions if they can't be tested by the scientific method?"
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« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2010, 12:59:24 AM »

Gotcha. Thats an odd way that worded it. I would like to see a study where they didn't use agnostic.

Unfortunately many people are not familiar with weak atheism, think that atheism is exclusively strong atheism, and allocate the meaning of weak atheism to agnosticism. So they actually wind up not even understanding what agnosticism or atheism really are.

True.
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« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2010, 01:04:06 AM »

It doesn't matter what the question is, what matters is the process for answering it. It needs to be repeatable, verifiable, and deniable. If it does not have these characteristic, or at least is not very close to them (some astrological observations rely on multiple simultaneous observers or recorded data that can be further reviewed, but if someone by themselves looking through a telescope said they saw something, it doesn't really matter whether they did or not, because it can not be verified or denied, the observation is useless), then the data is simply not usable.

I don't see why scientists would be bound to the scientific method in all aspects of their life and who they are.

I guess they would only be bound by that if they are good scientists; there are many bad scientists out there who accept lesser standards of evidence, some will even make up evidence to advance their careers.

But the existence of bad scientists just emphasizes even more the importance of the scientific methods, of reviewing all assertions yourself. It just proves that you should never believe someone because you like what they say or because of their reputation, you should only accept it if it is proven and verifiable.

Quote
That is to say a rational person could not have a reasonable level of confidence in a non-verifiable extraordinary observation.

You seem here to be suggesting that science is the only form of rationality, which seems like quite an arrogant and anti-historical view.

Which is why credible history is only that which can be verified by multiple sources and, preferably, archeological evidence, everything else should be viewed with skepticism.

Quote
The problem with non-scientific methods is that, statistically and objectively speaking, they have a very low confidence level.

What do you mean by that? Do you mean that people have historically had low levels of confidence in non-scientific systems?

Yes they have, personally we have learned more than people from centuries past. I would hope we would not be as gullible and foolish as they were.
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« Reply #22 on: October 05, 2010, 06:05:12 AM »

Basically because they are narrow-minded.

Right. And superstitious.

It's not hard for scientists to believe in God. In fact, most of the great scientific discoveries throughout history were produced by scientists who had deep faith in a Creator. Atheistic science is a very recent phenomenon. Here is an excellent book that demonstrates the historical and vital link between true science and theistic faith:
http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Science-Christian-Philosophy-Worldview/dp/0891077669


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« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2010, 08:34:43 AM »

So, if you can verify results, it is true?
Then, try the Inacian exercises, you will find results. And, please, no psychology smooth talking, because if you believe in results, you don't believe psychology (I mean, they observe the same event, on the same persons, the same cases and came to different conclusions: Freud disagree with Jung, who disagrees with Freud and Skinner, who disagrees with everyone else, and then they start a therapy where they stop trying understand the mind and simply drug the patients).
^ Indeed. Faith, nor  philosophy for that matter, is not askind for the physical explanations for how the universe works, but rather, it's asking about Truth, the Good, and the Ground of our being.

It doesn't matter what the question is, what matters is the process for answering it. It needs to be repeatable, verifiable, and deniable. If it does not have these characteristic, or at least is not very close to them (some astrological observations rely on multiple simultaneous observers or recorded data that can be further reviewed, but if someone by themselves looking through a telescope said they saw something, it doesn't really matter whether they did or not, because it can not be verified or denied, the observation is useless), then the data is simply not usable. That is to say a rational person could not have a reasonable level of confidence in a non-verifiable extraordinary observation.

The problem with non-scientific methods is that, statistically and objectively speaking, they have a very low confidence level. They are no more believable than the crazy guy who wears a tinfoil hat to stop aliens from reading his brainwaves.

So ask which questions you like, we only demand rigor in their answers; now if you can't provide that, then according to mathematical laws it would simply be irresponsible to believe your conclusions.
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« Reply #24 on: October 05, 2010, 09:50:10 AM »

I'm going to be attending a talk given by Neil deGrasse Tyson this Thursday. If I can corner him afterwards (I don't want to bring it up during an official question/answer period, for various reasons), I'll ask him for his thoughts.

Wow! I love Neil Degrasse Tyson.  He is brilliant, and a true science educator. I'd love to attend a talk by him. I'd definitely love to hear your report of the event. Feel free to PM me if you feel it's not relevant to the boards.

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« Reply #25 on: October 05, 2010, 10:11:44 AM »

I don't know a single person with a masters or PhD that does not believe in some form of a higher power. Most, maybe all, are Christian.

There have been multiple studies that show that in America, typically the higher level of education one has, the less likely they are to believe in God. Among scientists something like half are non-religious. But  among the elite scientists who are members of the national academy of sciences only about 8-10% are actually religious.

 Neil DeGrasse Tyson has addressed this issue in fact before and said that if we really want to understand the nature of belief vs non-belief we should be looking at those 8-10% of the world's most brilliant scientists who do believe and see what is going on with them compared to those who do not believe.

Here's a link to some information just so people don't accuse me of pulling data out of my rear. Wink



http://pewforum.org/Science-and-Bioethics/Scientists-and-Belief.aspx

Michael Shermer's book "How We believe" is also a great source for data of this nature and Asteriktos has already mentioned that the numbers vary among different scientific disciplines.


Quote
Also, I question where this person is getting the info that scientist don't believe in God.

Who do you mean? Francis Collins? The head of the human genome project? His information is accurate.  And yes he is a believer and part of that 8-10% of elite scientists who are believers.




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« Reply #26 on: October 05, 2010, 10:56:36 AM »



I don't see why scientists would be bound to the scientific method in all aspects of their life and who they are.

I guess they would only be bound by that if they are good scientists;

Notice he said in all aspects of their life. There isn't a (sane) scientist on earth who has completely bound himself to the scientific method in all aspects of their life. That is simply not possible as a human being. Human beings are feeling, emotional animals; we are products of our time, culture, upbringing, genes, worldview and much more. Every human being sees the world through a set of lenses and regardless of what some people claim, there is simply NO verifiable evidence that any person on earth  who applies the scientific method to 100% of their life 100% of the time. It is just not possible.

And this I think is the biggest difference between some Atheists and most religious people. Some atheists claim that they never fail at this rigorous method of living and are always being logical, rational, and use science to determine truth at all times. This is, I'm sorry to say nothing but a delusion. Even the the most hard atheist in the world is still using "something" other than the scientific method when he looks at the world, particularly within relationships with other human beings but often times even in his search for truth. We are not clean slates or robots or PC's ready to go at our first boot up. By the time we have the ability to begin skeptical inquiry we have been influenced and conditioned in numerous ways. I speak in part from experience. even in my periods of deep agnosticism I tried to be honest enough with myself to realize that part of me was still viewing the world through an emotional and "unscientific" lens of my life. Unless one is born fully formed like Data on Star Trek, none of us is free from our life experience which colors our view of the world. Even the best scientists are "guilty" of this because it is part of being human.


Quote
But the existence of bad scientists just emphasizes even more the importance of the scientific methods, of reviewing all assertions yourself. It just proves that you should never believe someone because you like what they say or because of their reputation,

I agree with this very much actually!


Quote
you should only accept it if it is proven and verifiable.

How does one prove their deceased loved one cared about them? You cannot talk to the deceased loved one. You cannot perform experiments to repeat or verify anything. So how does one prove that?

How does one even prove for example someone's spouse loves them? Someone asked Richard Dawkins in a debate (I think it was Dinesh D-Souza whom I really cannot stand, but he managed to make a good point in his 25 year career, so what can I say? LOL!) Anyways when asked "how can you prove your wife loves you can it be done?" Dawkins did attempt to answer by saying "yes you can verify it", by a "smile she gives" or a "the wink of an eye" etc...That sounds nice but these are merely subjective things. Maybe his wife is just a good actor?! A wink and a smile is scientific evidence? They can be reproduced of course but they are totally subjective in nature. Just as subjective as any religious experience, possibly even more so. Just because someone I know winks at me doesn't mean they love me.

One cannot even prove via the rigorous scientific method if one's parents "loved" them. the fact that they fed and nurtured them doesn't prove love at all. Many parents "raise" their children and in fact do not love them. And yet children with these types of parents actually "know" that they are not really loved. How do they know this? They were fed? They were clothed? They received Christmas presents, but they "know" somehow they were not loved in the same way as say their best friend down the street was. How do they "know" this? It certainly isn't by the scientific method that's for sure.

Now maybe one day we will get answers to these questions and maybe we won't. For now such feelings as far as any of us know are "subjective". People like Sam Harris believe one day many of these types of questions (like vibes, and intuition etc) will be proven scientifically, but of course this is not an opinion based on anything but wishful thinking and well, his own worldview. He "believes" we will one day know answers to this and so that's what he argues. Some atheists are hard on him for some of these believes, but in reality no one is immune to such thinking. Scientists are no different in this respect. And the subject of "my wife loves me" is but one way scientists view the world outside of the scientific method, there are plenty of others.

I'm not trying to "prove" there is a God at all, I don't think that it can be proved, not even close. But it does bug me to no end when atheists claim that they view the world through scientific means at all times and in all areas of life when such is simply not the case. And notice just as you said, the one's who do use their feelings are "bad scientists" not real scientists like me! Cheesy

No one thinks completely free from what it means to be human, it would be the sign of a sick mind (literally) in certain cases, like instead of experiencing sexuality with one's partner, one thought "hey this is an interesting scientific experience I'm having!"  Grin

No one can do that. It's not like Data's emotion chip in Star Trek TNG. It's ironic thought that in Star Trek characters like Data WANT human emotions and eventually learn when to use and not to use it, but some Atheists think emotions and intuition are bad and always bad. It's like Atheists are aspiring to be Vulcans, but without the ritual and meditation that Vulcans use. (well except maybe Sam Harris..LOL!) And of course Vulcans are not completely honest about "not having emotions" they simply know when to use them and when to not use them.

Philosophical lessons from Star Trek! What can I say, Gene Roddenberry was a genius...Smiley



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« Reply #27 on: October 05, 2010, 12:19:44 PM »

^ Indeed. Faith, nor  philosophy for that matter, is not askind for the physical explanations for how the universe works, but rather, it's asking about Truth, the Good, and the Ground of our being.

It doesn't matter what the question is, what matters is the process for answering it. It needs to be repeatable, verifiable, and deniable. If it does not have these characteristic, or at least is not very close to them (some astrological observations rely on multiple simultaneous observers or recorded data that can be further reviewed, but if someone by themselves looking through a telescope said they saw something, it doesn't really matter whether they did or not, because it can not be verified or denied, the observation is useless), then the data is simply not usable. That is to say a rational person could not have a reasonable level of confidence in a non-verifiable extraordinary observation.

The problem with non-scientific methods is that, statistically and objectively speaking, they have a very low confidence level. They are no more believable than the crazy guy who wears a tinfoil hat to stop aliens from reading his brainwaves.

So ask which questions you like, we only demand rigor in their answers; now if you can't provide that, then according to mathematical laws it would simply be irresponsible to believe your conclusions.
No, I think rigor is important, that's why I am not an atheist.
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« Reply #28 on: October 05, 2010, 12:21:29 PM »

I don't know a single person with a masters or PhD that does not believe in some form of a higher power. Most, maybe all, are Christian.

There have been multiple studies that show that in America, typically the higher level of education one has, the less likely they are to believe in God. Among scientists something like half are non-religious. But  among the elite scientists who are members of the national academy of sciences only about 8-10% are actually religious.

 Neil DeGrasse Tyson has addressed this issue in fact before and said that if we really want to understand the nature of belief vs non-belief we should be looking at those 8-10% of the world's most brilliant scientists who do believe and see what is going on with them compared to those who do not believe.

Here's a link to some information just so people don't accuse me of pulling data out of my rear. Wink



http://pewforum.org/Science-and-Bioethics/Scientists-and-Belief.aspx

Michael Shermer's book "How We believe" is also a great source for data of this nature and Asteriktos has already mentioned that the numbers vary among different scientific disciplines.


Quote
Also, I question where this person is getting the info that scientist don't believe in God.

Who do you mean? Francis Collins? The head of the human genome project? His information is accurate.  And yes he is a believer and part of that 8-10% of elite scientists who are believers.







Yeah, I have known for a while that most scientist are not christian. I was just sharing that smart people I know are Christian.
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« Reply #29 on: October 05, 2010, 08:30:39 PM »

So, if you can verify results, it is true?
Then, try the Inacian exercises, you will find results. And, please, no psychology smooth talking, because if you believe in results, you don't believe psychology (I mean, they observe the same event, on the same persons, the same cases and came to different conclusions: Freud disagree with Jung, who disagrees with Freud and Skinner, who disagrees with everyone else, and then they start a therapy where they stop trying understand the mind and simply drug the patients).

I would agree that psychology, per se, is not a science. At it's best it's an art, at worst it's quackery. But there are scientific disciplines related to psychology, such as cognitive psychology which is still in its infancy.
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« Reply #30 on: October 05, 2010, 09:06:07 PM »



I don't see why scientists would be bound to the scientific method in all aspects of their life and who they are.

I guess they would only be bound by that if they are good scientists;

Notice he said in all aspects of their life. There isn't a (sane) scientist on earth who has completely bound himself to the scientific method in all aspects of their life. That is simply not possible as a human being. Human beings are feeling, emotional animals; we are products of our time, culture, upbringing, genes, worldview and much more. Every human being sees the world through a set of lenses and regardless of what some people claim, there is simply NO verifiable evidence that any person on earth  who applies the scientific method to 100% of their life 100% of the time. It is just not possible.

And this I think is the biggest difference between some Atheists and most religious people. Some atheists claim that they never fail at this rigorous method of living and are always being logical, rational, and use science to determine truth at all times. This is, I'm sorry to say nothing but a delusion. Even the the most hard atheist in the world is still using "something" other than the scientific method when he looks at the world, particularly within relationships with other human beings but often times even in his search for truth. We are not clean slates or robots or PC's ready to go at our first boot up. By the time we have the ability to begin skeptical inquiry we have been influenced and conditioned in numerous ways. I speak in part from experience. even in my periods of deep agnosticism I tried to be honest enough with myself to realize that part of me was still viewing the world through an emotional and "unscientific" lens of my life. Unless one is born fully formed like Data on Star Trek, none of us is free from our life experience which colors our view of the world. Even the best scientists are "guilty" of this because it is part of being human.

It is one thing to have emotional experiences, it's another thing to believe something as a result of emotion. The mere fact that one has emotions does not mean that they must allow them to form and influence their ideas and beliefs. For someone who is a good scientist, emotion will have no impact on their work or anything even tangentially related to their work. And I have learned as I've grown older to place my emotional experiences further and further from my beliefs and ideology. Emotions were essential to the survival to our pre-historical ancestors: fear, love, contentment, etc. all have their place in a primitive survival. But in modern society they may provide pleasure or motivation, but are of no use in determining truth or fact.

Quote
Quote
But the existence of bad scientists just emphasizes even more the importance of the scientific methods, of reviewing all assertions yourself. It just proves that you should never believe someone because you like what they say or because of their reputation,

I agree with this very much actually!

Glad we agree on something. Wink

Quote
Quote
you should only accept it if it is proven and verifiable.

How does one prove their deceased loved one cared about them? You cannot talk to the deceased loved one. You cannot perform experiments to repeat or verify anything. So how does one prove that?

How does one even prove for example someone's spouse loves them? Someone asked Richard Dawkins in a debate (I think it was Dinesh D-Souza whom I really cannot stand, but he managed to make a good point in his 25 year career, so what can I say? LOL!) Anyways when asked "how can you prove your wife loves you can it be done?" Dawkins did attempt to answer by saying "yes you can verify it", by a "smile she gives" or a "the wink of an eye" etc...That sounds nice but these are merely subjective things. Maybe his wife is just a good actor?! A wink and a smile is scientific evidence? They can be reproduced of course but they are totally subjective in nature. Just as subjective as any religious experience, possibly even more so. Just because someone I know winks at me doesn't mean they love me.

One cannot even prove via the rigorous scientific method if one's parents "loved" them. the fact that they fed and nurtured them doesn't prove love at all. Many parents "raise" their children and in fact do not love them. And yet children with these types of parents actually "know" that they are not really loved. How do they know this? They were fed? They were clothed? They received Christmas presents, but they "know" somehow they were not loved in the same way as say their best friend down the street was. How do they "know" this? It certainly isn't by the scientific method that's for sure.

Now maybe one day we will get answers to these questions and maybe we won't. For now such feelings as far as any of us know are "subjective". People like Sam Harris believe one day many of these types of questions (like vibes, and intuition etc) will be proven scientifically, but of course this is not an opinion based on anything but wishful thinking and well, his own worldview. He "believes" we will one day know answers to this and so that's what he argues. Some atheists are hard on him for some of these believes, but in reality no one is immune to such thinking. Scientists are no different in this respect. And the subject of "my wife loves me" is but one way scientists view the world outside of the scientific method, there are plenty of others.

I do not know that you can prove that someone loves you, many a man has been taken advantage of my a woman who has pretended to love them (and vice versa), in fact some studies suggest there is a good chance she does not love you but finds life with you more comfortable than it would be otherwise. I would suggest that a 'proof' (that word is thrown around too lightly though, there is no such thing as a proof in science, just 'highly probable') would depend on eliminating variables, if you're wealthy and your wife married into money, it's unlikely you can ever prove she loves you, as you said people can be good actors. If you're poor and she stays with you through hardship, it's more likely she loves you, but there are other factors such as insecurity, family pressure, social pressure, etc. that may explain things. The more variables you can objectively eliminate the more certain you can be.

Quote
I'm not trying to "prove" there is a God at all, I don't think that it can be proved, not even close. But it does bug me to no end when atheists claim that they view the world through scientific means at all times and in all areas of life when such is simply not the case. And notice just as you said, the one's who do use their feelings are "bad scientists" not real scientists like me! Cheesy

No one thinks completely free from what it means to be human, it would be the sign of a sick mind (literally) in certain cases, like instead of experiencing sexuality with one's partner, one thought "hey this is an interesting scientific experience I'm having!"  Grin

Nothing wrong with giving ourselves over to pleasure, but we should not develop ideologies on that basis. Sex is great, I'd recommend having it as often as you can, and when you have it give yourself over to the rush of endorphins and the sensations of the nervous system; but there is no reason to believe it is anything more than that, we're triggering responses we were evolutionary programmed to enjoy. The fact that it is very enjoyable does not change this fact and I can see no reason to believe it is anything more.

Quote
No one can do that. It's not like Data's emotion chip in Star Trek TNG. It's ironic thought that in Star Trek characters like Data WANT human emotions and eventually learn when to use and not to use it, but some Atheists think emotions and intuition are bad and always bad. It's like Atheists are aspiring to be Vulcans, but without the ritual and meditation that Vulcans use. (well except maybe Sam Harris..LOL!) And of course Vulcans are not completely honest about "not having emotions" they simply know when to use them and when to not use them.

Philosophical lessons from Star Trek! What can I say, Gene Roddenberry was a genius...Smiley

There is nothing wrong with having emotions, there is only something wrong with letting our emotions guide our understanding of the world, our beliefs, and our ideologies.
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« Reply #31 on: October 05, 2010, 09:08:17 PM »


I do not know that you can prove that someone loves you, many a man has been taken advantage of my a woman who has pretended to love them (and vice versa), in fact some studies suggest there is a good chance she does not love you but finds life with you more comfortable than it would be otherwise. I would suggest that a 'proof' (that word is thrown around too lightly though, there is no such thing as a proof in science, just 'highly probable') would depend on eliminating variables, if you're wealthy and your wife married into money, it's unlikely you can ever prove she loves you, as you said people can be good actors. If you're poor and she stays with you through hardship, it's more likely she loves you, but there are other factors such as insecurity, family pressure, social pressure, etc. that may explain things. The more variables you can objectively eliminate the more certain you can be.
How can you even know what love is?
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« Reply #32 on: October 05, 2010, 09:24:09 PM »


I do not know that you can prove that someone loves you, many a man has been taken advantage of my a woman who has pretended to love them (and vice versa), in fact some studies suggest there is a good chance she does not love you but finds life with you more comfortable than it would be otherwise. I would suggest that a 'proof' (that word is thrown around too lightly though, there is no such thing as a proof in science, just 'highly probable') would depend on eliminating variables, if you're wealthy and your wife married into money, it's unlikely you can ever prove she loves you, as you said people can be good actors. If you're poor and she stays with you through hardship, it's more likely she loves you, but there are other factors such as insecurity, family pressure, social pressure, etc. that may explain things. The more variables you can objectively eliminate the more certain you can be.
How can you even know what love is?

It's a biochemical reaction, it can be measured by scans of the human brain or hormone levels. A quick search on the 'biology of love' in Google scholar will give you many studies to this effect.
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« Reply #33 on: October 05, 2010, 09:32:21 PM »


I do not know that you can prove that someone loves you, many a man has been taken advantage of my a woman who has pretended to love them (and vice versa), in fact some studies suggest there is a good chance she does not love you but finds life with you more comfortable than it would be otherwise. I would suggest that a 'proof' (that word is thrown around too lightly though, there is no such thing as a proof in science, just 'highly probable') would depend on eliminating variables, if you're wealthy and your wife married into money, it's unlikely you can ever prove she loves you, as you said people can be good actors. If you're poor and she stays with you through hardship, it's more likely she loves you, but there are other factors such as insecurity, family pressure, social pressure, etc. that may explain things. The more variables you can objectively eliminate the more certain you can be.
How can you even know what love is?

It's a biochemical reaction, it can be measured by scans of the human brain or hormone levels. A quick search on the 'biology of love' in Google scholar will give you many studies to this effect.
So devotion to some one is nothing more than a biochemical reaction?
What about people who chose to do what is best for another, even when they don't have the feeling of love?
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« Reply #34 on: October 05, 2010, 09:34:12 PM »


I do not know that you can prove that someone loves you, many a man has been taken advantage of my a woman who has pretended to love them (and vice versa), in fact some studies suggest there is a good chance she does not love you but finds life with you more comfortable than it would be otherwise. I would suggest that a 'proof' (that word is thrown around too lightly though, there is no such thing as a proof in science, just 'highly probable') would depend on eliminating variables, if you're wealthy and your wife married into money, it's unlikely you can ever prove she loves you, as you said people can be good actors. If you're poor and she stays with you through hardship, it's more likely she loves you, but there are other factors such as insecurity, family pressure, social pressure, etc. that may explain things. The more variables you can objectively eliminate the more certain you can be.
How can you even know what love is?

It's a biochemical reaction, it can be measured by scans of the human brain or hormone levels. A quick search on the 'biology of love' in Google scholar will give you many studies to this effect.
So devotion to some one is nothing more than a biochemical reaction?
What about people who chose to do what is best for another, even when they don't have the feeling of love?

There have also been neurological studies on altruism.
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« Reply #35 on: October 05, 2010, 09:35:36 PM »


I do not know that you can prove that someone loves you, many a man has been taken advantage of my a woman who has pretended to love them (and vice versa), in fact some studies suggest there is a good chance she does not love you but finds life with you more comfortable than it would be otherwise. I would suggest that a 'proof' (that word is thrown around too lightly though, there is no such thing as a proof in science, just 'highly probable') would depend on eliminating variables, if you're wealthy and your wife married into money, it's unlikely you can ever prove she loves you, as you said people can be good actors. If you're poor and she stays with you through hardship, it's more likely she loves you, but there are other factors such as insecurity, family pressure, social pressure, etc. that may explain things. The more variables you can objectively eliminate the more certain you can be.
How can you even know what love is?

It's a biochemical reaction, it can be measured by scans of the human brain or hormone levels. A quick search on the 'biology of love' in Google scholar will give you many studies to this effect.
So devotion to some one is nothing more than a biochemical reaction?
What about people who chose to do what is best for another, even when they don't have the feeling of love?

There have also been neurological studies on altruism.
So which biochemical reaction chooses between altruism and not being altruistic?
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« Reply #36 on: October 05, 2010, 09:43:07 PM »


I do not know that you can prove that someone loves you, many a man has been taken advantage of my a woman who has pretended to love them (and vice versa), in fact some studies suggest there is a good chance she does not love you but finds life with you more comfortable than it would be otherwise. I would suggest that a 'proof' (that word is thrown around too lightly though, there is no such thing as a proof in science, just 'highly probable') would depend on eliminating variables, if you're wealthy and your wife married into money, it's unlikely you can ever prove she loves you, as you said people can be good actors. If you're poor and she stays with you through hardship, it's more likely she loves you, but there are other factors such as insecurity, family pressure, social pressure, etc. that may explain things. The more variables you can objectively eliminate the more certain you can be.
How can you even know what love is?

It's a biochemical reaction, it can be measured by scans of the human brain or hormone levels. A quick search on the 'biology of love' in Google scholar will give you many studies to this effect.
So devotion to some one is nothing more than a biochemical reaction?
What about people who chose to do what is best for another, even when they don't have the feeling of love?

Social pressure?
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« Reply #37 on: October 05, 2010, 09:45:59 PM »


I do not know that you can prove that someone loves you, many a man has been taken advantage of my a woman who has pretended to love them (and vice versa), in fact some studies suggest there is a good chance she does not love you but finds life with you more comfortable than it would be otherwise. I would suggest that a 'proof' (that word is thrown around too lightly though, there is no such thing as a proof in science, just 'highly probable') would depend on eliminating variables, if you're wealthy and your wife married into money, it's unlikely you can ever prove she loves you, as you said people can be good actors. If you're poor and she stays with you through hardship, it's more likely she loves you, but there are other factors such as insecurity, family pressure, social pressure, etc. that may explain things. The more variables you can objectively eliminate the more certain you can be.
How can you even know what love is?

It's a biochemical reaction, it can be measured by scans of the human brain or hormone levels. A quick search on the 'biology of love' in Google scholar will give you many studies to this effect.
So devotion to some one is nothing more than a biochemical reaction?
What about people who chose to do what is best for another, even when they don't have the feeling of love?

Social pressure?
Social preassure is a biochemical reaction or social pressure governs biochemical reactions?
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« Reply #38 on: October 05, 2010, 10:06:55 PM »


I do not know that you can prove that someone loves you, many a man has been taken advantage of my a woman who has pretended to love them (and vice versa), in fact some studies suggest there is a good chance she does not love you but finds life with you more comfortable than it would be otherwise. I would suggest that a 'proof' (that word is thrown around too lightly though, there is no such thing as a proof in science, just 'highly probable') would depend on eliminating variables, if you're wealthy and your wife married into money, it's unlikely you can ever prove she loves you, as you said people can be good actors. If you're poor and she stays with you through hardship, it's more likely she loves you, but there are other factors such as insecurity, family pressure, social pressure, etc. that may explain things. The more variables you can objectively eliminate the more certain you can be.
How can you even know what love is?

It's a biochemical reaction, it can be measured by scans of the human brain or hormone levels. A quick search on the 'biology of love' in Google scholar will give you many studies to this effect.
So devotion to some one is nothing more than a biochemical reaction?
What about people who chose to do what is best for another, even when they don't have the feeling of love?

Social pressure?
Social preassure is a biochemical reaction or social pressure governs biochemical reactions?
I'll tell you as soon as my chemicals react.
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« Reply #39 on: October 06, 2010, 10:33:38 AM »


It is one thing to have emotional experiences, it's another thing to believe something as a result of emotion. The mere fact that one has emotions does not mean that they must allow them to form and influence their ideas and beliefs.

This is true, but I still do not have the absolute distrust of emotion, intuition, and the like that some atheists claim to have.  I say "claim" to have, because I don't think anyone is completely capable of viewing the world via the scientific method 100% of the time. And I just question such claims. In part because such a claim is, well untestable and unverifiable. Wink



Quote
But in modern society they (emotions) may provide pleasure or motivation, but are of no use in determining truth or fact.

Verify that claim! Cheesy

No I get what you're saying, and as I said I'm not arguing for or against belief in anything. Only attempting to point out that regardless of what people claim, everyone relies on something other than verifiable testable physical evidence at some point to determine 'truth' and their view of the world. I don't see how even brilliant people like Dawkins (whom as I've said before I actually have a great deal of respect for) are any different than any other human being on the planet. it's the claim that they have "risen above" our evolutionary history that I find a bit . . . annoying? Cheesy I'm not sure that's the word i'm looking for but it just seems like a silly claim. It is admirable to strive and live a skeptical life and not be influenced purely on the basis of how one feels, or to believe something just because "it make sense to me" I definitely agree with that. It just bugs me when some people essentially claim they are basically not human beings and are free in all points from the confines of emotion. Of course then the assumption itself is questionable, that being disconnected from them is a good thing. But isn't that merely subjective too?  You said emotion served it's purpose in our evolutionary history, but then presume that it's usefulness has been outlived. But how do you know this? Because emotions more often than not cause harm of one sort or another? Well overly scientific and "rational" thinking have done harm to. (I put rational in quotes because it's not really rational thinking that causes harm, but irrational thinking disguised as rational thinking)



Quote

There is nothing wrong with having emotions, there is only something wrong with letting our emotions guide our understanding of the world, our beliefs, and our ideologies.


I basically agree with you.  My point was that everyone, including atheists, including you and me, let something other than the scientific method guide our worldview. Dawkins "proofs" that his wife loves him are but one example, regardless of how certain he is that these are in fact in line with the scientific method. It's the claim that you (and Dawkins) are free from this that I simply do not accept. That's all.

As I said there is no verifiable evidence for it. I can only take your word for it. I do agree we should all strive to not let ourselves be carried about by our emotions, wishful thinking, and our baser instincts. I'm just, well as I said, skeptical that anyone is essentially Data before receiving his emotion chip, that's all. Smiley

I appreciate your response and feel we will simply have to agree to disagree on this issue. But I do appreciate the discourse and dialogue rather than a "debate".

NP
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« Reply #40 on: October 06, 2010, 10:37:12 AM »


I do not know that you can prove that someone loves you, many a man has been taken advantage of my a woman who has pretended to love them (and vice versa), in fact some studies suggest there is a good chance she does not love you but finds life with you more comfortable than it would be otherwise. I would suggest that a 'proof' (that word is thrown around too lightly though, there is no such thing as a proof in science, just 'highly probable') would depend on eliminating variables, if you're wealthy and your wife married into money, it's unlikely you can ever prove she loves you, as you said people can be good actors. If you're poor and she stays with you through hardship, it's more likely she loves you, but there are other factors such as insecurity, family pressure, social pressure, etc. that may explain things. The more variables you can objectively eliminate the more certain you can be.
How can you even know what love is?

It's a biochemical reaction, it can be measured by scans of the human brain or hormone levels. A quick search on the 'biology of love' in Google scholar will give you many studies to this effect.
So devotion to some one is nothing more than a biochemical reaction?
What about people who chose to do what is best for another, even when they don't have the feeling of love?

Social pressure?
Social preassure is a biochemical reaction or social pressure governs biochemical reactions?
I'll tell you as soon as my chemicals react.

LOL!
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« Reply #41 on: October 06, 2010, 10:51:29 AM »


I do not know that you can prove that someone loves you, many a man has been taken advantage of my a woman who has pretended to love them (and vice versa), in fact some studies suggest there is a good chance she does not love you but finds life with you more comfortable than it would be otherwise. I would suggest that a 'proof' (that word is thrown around too lightly though, there is no such thing as a proof in science, just 'highly probable') would depend on eliminating variables, if you're wealthy and your wife married into money, it's unlikely you can ever prove she loves you, as you said people can be good actors. If you're poor and she stays with you through hardship, it's more likely she loves you, but there are other factors such as insecurity, family pressure, social pressure, etc. that may explain things. The more variables you can objectively eliminate the more certain you can be.
How can you even know what love is?

It's a biochemical reaction, it can be measured by scans of the human brain or hormone levels. A quick search on the 'biology of love' in Google scholar will give you many studies to this effect.

I have said this before but I want to repeat it.

Science does not necessarily have to be grounded in Materialism. Materialism does not equal Scientific. Everything does not have to be the result of friction or chemical reactions. Real Science is solely concerned with what is True.

For example, Materialist/Scientists for years would laugh off Religious claims because they scoffed that something can happen that is "Invisible"
How very naive they turned out to be. The Truth is not only can events be "Invisible" to us, but we now know that events can occur in Dimensions of existence far beyond our perception. Scientists were wrong. We were on to something.

More and more of our beliefs are becoming plausible with the advance of True Scientific inquiry, not less. Life after death for one matter can now be imagined in a way that Science can understand or at least approach without laughter.

Science has lagged behind Christianity, not the other way around.  
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« Reply #42 on: October 06, 2010, 12:14:00 PM »



Science has lagged behind Christianity, not the other way around.  


I like what you are onto, but if you look at Christianity as a whole then yes.... Christianity has lagged behind science. Every argument for ID/creationism (that I am aware of) has been all sorts of debunked. Yet Christians still love to use them, a lot of times writing books on them. In one specific case printed an apologetics study bible  filled with these inaccuracies which is pushing the realm of dishonest.
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« Reply #43 on: October 06, 2010, 12:22:04 PM »



Science has lagged behind Christianity, not the other way around.  


I like what you are onto, but if you look at Christianity as a whole then yes.... Christianity has lagged behind science. Every argument for ID/creationism (that I am aware of) has been all sorts of debunked. Yet Christians still love to use them, a lot of times writing books on them. In one specific case printed an apologetics study bible  filled with these inaccuracies which is pushing the realm of dishonest.

Good point... I was thinking more of the metaphysics of religion and things like our understanding of time and place.

Creationism does seem to be in conflict with what is obvious. But I would say that is due to an overly literal reading of some scriptures. The story of creation is still True in terms of WHY God created the World and the fundamental nature of creation ( as being Good).  
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« Reply #44 on: October 06, 2010, 12:31:20 PM »



Science has lagged behind Christianity, not the other way around.  


I like what you are onto, but if you look at Christianity as a whole then yes.... Christianity has lagged behind science. Every argument for ID/creationism (that I am aware of) has been all sorts of debunked. Yet Christians still love to use them, a lot of times writing books on them. In one specific case printed an apologetics study bible  filled with these inaccuracies which is pushing the realm of dishonest.

Good point... I was thinking more of the metaphysics of religion and things like our understanding of time and place.

Creationism does seem to be in conflict with what is obvious. But I would say that is due to an overly literal reading of some scriptures. The story of creation is still True in terms of WHY God created the World and the fundamental nature of creation ( as being Good).  

Right, or at least can be true in that sense.
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« Reply #45 on: October 06, 2010, 02:54:20 PM »



Science has lagged behind Christianity, not the other way around.  


I like what you are onto, but if you look at Christianity as a whole then yes.... Christianity has lagged behind science. Every argument for ID/creationism (that I am aware of) has been all sorts of debunked. Yet Christians still love to use them, a lot of times writing books on them. In one specific case printed an apologetics study bible  filled with these inaccuracies which is pushing the realm of dishonest.

Good point... I was thinking more of the metaphysics of religion and things like our understanding of time and place.

Creationism does seem to be in conflict with what is obvious. But I would say that is due to an overly literal reading of some scriptures. The story of creation is still True in terms of WHY God created the World and the fundamental nature of creation ( as being Good).  

Right, or at least can be true in that sense.

Our perceptions have been tainted by a relatively new obsession over HOW things "work" rather than the meaning behind why things are.


So when you approach Ancient Christianity with a very mechanical World View, things don't compute so well. However, modern Science more and more is willing to go outside this Rube Goldberg analysis and probe deeper mysteries. When it does so, religion is buttressed and validated rather than disproven in some way.   
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« Reply #46 on: October 08, 2010, 02:12:18 AM »

I'm going to be attending a talk given by Neil deGrasse Tyson this Thursday. If I can corner him afterwards (I don't want to bring it up during an official question/answer period, for various reasons), I'll ask him for his thoughts.

Wow! I love Neil Degrasse Tyson.  He is brilliant, and a true science educator. I'd love to attend a talk by him. I'd definitely love to hear your report of the event. Feel free to PM me if you feel it's not relevant to the boards.

I didn't get to speak with Dr. Tyson, and the topic mentioned in the OP of this thread didn't come up. But fwiw, here are some random thoughts about tonight...

- This was an awesome talk, and I am so glad I got to go to it. Between the talk and the Q&A it was about two and a half hours.

- During the Q&A, two or three people started their question with "um" and Dr. Tyson (the first time) said something along the lines of: "This is an institution of higher education. We don't start sentences with "um". You lose your turn!" He did it in a joking way, though, and always came back to the person. It was sort of funny when he came back to the one guy, because he had to pause for several seconds and collect his thoughts so that he was sure that he didn't start with "um" again (though he still sprinkled ums through the rest of his question, lol)

- Not everything that Dr. Tyson said was necessarily agreed with by all. For example, he said that the phrase "Good always triumphs over evil" could not be true, and that it must also be true that evil has triumphed over good before. I think, at best, that that position would need to be unpacked quite a bit for some agreement to be reached.

- Dr. Tyson's talk was both entertaining and energetic, and he's a very charismatic guy.

- The talk was titled "The Sky is Not the Limit". Even though that's the title of one of his books, he said that what he would be saying tonight wasn't in anything he had written.

- One of the points that he wanted to make was to say that America has begun to go off track as far as science and innovation. He believes (and showed evidence for the idea that) America is still fairly productive in the sciences, but that we are on a gradual downward slope. He said that one of the reasons for this is that we've lost our desire and/or ability (my words, not his) to dream. He pointed out that a generation or two ago there were lots of dreams... the "kitchen of the future" would like like this, and "car of the future" would look like that. Some of those dreams came true, some did not, and some things happened that we couldn't have imagined in even our wildest dreams. But the point was, we dreamed, we imagined. Dr. Tyson believes that we're not doing this today, and it's hurting us.

- Dr. Tyson also said that part of our problem in America is scientific illiteracy. One of the more interesting examples of this was a brochure put out by a pharmaceutical company (I forget which off hand). The company would send some of it's people (chemists, etc.) to schools to speak about their area of expertise. The brochure in question was apparently supposed to be motivational material for these people. One problem: the example they gave of teaching science was something like: "Do your best to teach kids about how a heavier object falls faster than a lighter object". Yeah. As Dr. Tyson pointed out, several people would have had to have seen that statement before the final product was published, and apparently no one caught the problem.

- Dr. Tyson also brought up the Tsunami of 2004, 9/11, and the levees breaking in New Orleans. However, this does not mean that his talk was depressing and pessimistic. On the contrary, despite dealing with several heavy/serious issues, the overall impression that Dr. Tyson's talk left was a positive one. Admittedly, this impression probably wasn't hurt by the fact that Dr. Tyson purposely ended his talk with a discussion of something positive. He pointed out how many people see the advances of science, our place in the universe, etc. as making man feel small and insignificant. He, on the other hand, felt that science was motivating and ennobling, so long as you didn't approach it's findings with an overinflated ego.

Here's my favorite image of Dr. Tyson... it has a very "You talkin' to me, punk?" look to it...

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« Reply #47 on: October 08, 2010, 09:16:28 AM »

St. Tikhon's press is about to reprint an essay by St. Nikolai of Zicha, called "The Universe as Signs and Symbols." I was wondering if anyone here had read it before and how it relates to natural philosophy.
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« Reply #48 on: October 08, 2010, 11:12:31 AM »


Asteriktos,

Thanks for the recap on Tyson's talk.

I always enjoy watching and listening to him. He has a great sense of humor and can defuse a tense situation with his humor. He's one of the few people out there today who is really able to make science interesting to people who aren't interested in it at. (or understandable to those who are interested but just have the natural grasp of it like me)  He and Lawrence Krauss are probably the best at communicating science to the non-scientific public, though Tyson is far more charismatic. Plus, he was on an episode of  Stargate Atlantis! Cheesy It doesn't get much better than that.



Quote
- One of the points that he wanted to make was to say that America has begun to go off track as far as science and innovation . . .  He said that one of the reasons for this is that we've lost our desire and/or ability (my words, not his) to dream.
snipped for space


You know I never really thought of it that way but I think he might be on to something there. We live in a time where perhaps things are so overly thought of in utilitarian terms (and I'm guilty of this myself) that "dreams" are something we look at as foolish. That's something I'm going to have to ponder on for awhile. hopefully this lecture will appear online at some point. I'd love to hear it.

Quote
- Dr. Tyson also said that part of our problem in America is scientific illiteracy. One of the more interesting examples of this was a brochure put out by a pharmaceutical company (I forget which off hand). The company would send some of it's people (chemists, etc.) to schools to speak about their area of expertise. The brochure in question was apparently supposed to be motivational material for these people. One problem: the example they gave of teaching science was something like: "Do your best to teach kids about how a heavier object falls faster than a lighter object".

ROFL! Wow! That definitely speak volumes doesn't it? Smiley


Thanks for the recap of the evening. It sounds like a great talk. He is always fun to listen to and IMO is a fairly worthy successor to Carl Sagan in the area of science education. (though no one will probably reach Dr. Sagan's ability in my lifetime, he was simply gifted in that area like perhaps no other scientist in history)

Fun stuff. I wish I could have heard it.


NP

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« Reply #49 on: October 09, 2010, 01:01:54 PM »

Tyson was at Howard University recently, invited by the Secular Students of Howard.
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« Reply #50 on: October 11, 2010, 02:12:08 PM »

Two more things about Dr. Tyson's talk. First, he talked for a bit about scientific research throughout history... the ancient Chinese, the 8th-11th century CE Muslims, 20th century Americans, etc. One of the more interesting points was how great (or not so great) the scientific contributions of this or that chosen group was based on something measurable (like peer reviewed journal articles, or nobel prizes). Jewish people, for example, have gotten an absurd (ie. absurdly awesome) number of nobel prizes, despite their small population base.

Second, regarding peer-reviewed journals, Dr. Tyson used a map that expanded or shrunk borders of countries in proportion to the number of articles in peer-reviewed journals their scientists had. So he showed a map of the 20th century (I think), where America, Europe and Japan were much larger than their traditional borders, China was a bit bigger, some countries like Australia were fairly average, and Africa, Middle Eastern countries, and South America and other places were shrunk almost down to nothing. Then he showed another map, this one closer to our time: Europe and Japan were still producing huge amounts of research, but China had increased slightly while America had descreased slightly. This was part of his making a point about America losing it's edge, and he said that if the trend continued that America would eventually be lagging far behind a number of other nations.

EDIT--Btw, I have to say something because it's been bugging me since the night I posted it. I realise that I conflated two totally different sayings when I said: "You talkin' to me, punk?"
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« Reply #51 on: October 11, 2010, 05:24:56 PM »

deGrasse Tyson at the American Museum of Natural History, speaking on cosmological issues.
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« Reply #52 on: October 19, 2010, 02:23:39 PM »

Cognitive psycology is quackery too. There is nothing scientifical about it, believe me.
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So, if you can verify results, it is true?
Then, try the Inacian exercises, you will find results. And, please, no psychology smooth talking, because if you believe in results, you don't believe psychology (I mean, they observe the same event, on the same persons, the same cases and came to different conclusions: Freud disagree with Jung, who disagrees with Freud and Skinner, who disagrees with everyone else, and then they start a therapy where they stop trying understand the mind and simply drug the patients).

I would agree that psychology, per se, is not a science. At it's best it's an art, at worst it's quackery. But there are scientific disciplines related to psychology, such as cognitive psychology which is still in its infancy.
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« Reply #53 on: October 29, 2010, 11:50:27 PM »

Rowan Williams on Richard Dawkins. Very interesting.
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« Reply #54 on: October 30, 2010, 06:47:50 AM »

I don't know a single person with a masters or PhD that does not believe in some form of a higher power. Most, maybe all, are Christian.

Also, I question where this person is getting the info that scientist don't believe in God.

I'm sure it depends on where you're at. I saw a study once that showed that most scientists/professors don't believe in a god.
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« Reply #55 on: October 30, 2010, 06:50:10 AM »

Rowan Williams on Richard Dawkins. Very interesting.

Ok, i'm not sure i've ever seen eyebrows that impressive before!  Shocked
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« Reply #56 on: October 30, 2010, 06:53:32 AM »



Science has lagged behind Christianity, not the other way around.  


I like what you are onto, but if you look at Christianity as a whole then yes.... Christianity has lagged behind science. Every argument for ID/creationism (that I am aware of) has been all sorts of debunked. Yet Christians still love to use them, a lot of times writing books on them. In one specific case printed an apologetics study bible  filled with these inaccuracies which is pushing the realm of dishonest.

Good point... I was thinking more of the metaphysics of religion and things like our understanding of time and place.

Creationism does seem to be in conflict with what is obvious. But I would say that is due to an overly literal reading of some scriptures. The story of creation is still True in terms of WHY God created the World and the fundamental nature of creation ( as being Good).  

Right, or at least can be true in that sense.

Our perceptions have been tainted by a relatively new obsession over HOW things "work" rather than the meaning behind why things are.


So when you approach Ancient Christianity with a very mechanical World View, things don't compute so well. However, modern Science more and more is willing to go outside this Rube Goldberg analysis and probe deeper mysteries. When it does so, religion is buttressed and validated rather than disproven in some way.   

The truth of religion can only be experienced, it can't be demonstrated with logic or facts.
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« Reply #57 on: November 20, 2010, 06:00:44 AM »

This is why I'm not an atheist it's logical ends are nihilism, it rejects the notion of an afterlife, a meaningful life, and all morality, among other things. Any atheist who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves.
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« Reply #58 on: November 20, 2010, 11:49:58 AM »

This is why I'm not an atheist it's logical ends are nihilism, it rejects the notion of an afterlife, a meaningful life, and all morality, among other things. Any atheist who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves.

1. Evidence of an afterlife? None.

2. Evidence that life has a meaning beyond that which we create for ourselves? None.

3. Evidence for something being inherently moral or immoral? Some, this point is debatable. Though at the moment I can't think of even one act which is considered immoral universally, across all cultures and all times (including rape and "murder"). And if there is such a morality, it need not be derived from God.

Now, as for nihilism, there are a couple definitions of that (I'll start with an online dictionary for the sake of convenience)...

Quote
1. total rejection of established laws and institutions.
2. anarchy, terrorism, or other revolutionary activity.
3. total and absolute destructiveness, esp. toward the world at large and including oneself: the power-mad nihilism that marked Hitler's last years.

Don't know any atheists who would fall under people discussed here.

Quote
4. Philosophy .
a. an extreme form of skepticism: the denial of all real existence or the possibility of an objective basis for truth.
b. nothingness or nonexistence.

Well now we're getting somewhere. Certainly whether we exist is debatable. With little due respect to Descartes, anyone who thinks they have sure evidence that they exist believes dogmatic absurdities. As for there being an objective basis for truth, that's even more debatable.

Or, for another part of what people mean by nihilism:

Quote
Nihilism is the philosophical doctrine suggesting the negation of one or more meaningful aspects of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value.

I agree that most atheists claim that life is without objective meaning and eternal purpose and value, though I think you'd be hard pressed demonstrating that they're wrong to believe so. Also, most atheists say that subjective meaning, purpose, and value is still possible, so life isn't meaningless as they live their lives, it just isn't eternally meaningful.
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« Reply #59 on: November 20, 2010, 12:16:41 PM »

This is why I'm not an atheist it's logical ends are nihilism, it rejects the notion of an afterlife, a meaningful life, and all morality, among other things. Any atheist who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves.

1. Evidence of an afterlife? None.
There is evidence of an afterlife. I wouldn't call such evidence "definitive proof", but it's evidence nonetheless.

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« Reply #60 on: November 26, 2010, 04:24:18 AM »

This is why I'm not an atheist it's logical ends are nihilism, it rejects the notion of an afterlife, a meaningful life, and all morality, among other things. Any atheist who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves.

1. Evidence of an afterlife? None.
There is evidence of an afterlife. I wouldn't call such evidence "definitive proof", but it's evidence nonetheless.

This recent book was published based on 1300 cased studies of NDE's. I might pick it up sometime and see if there is anything to it. There seems to be alot of similar books floating around on the same subject...

http://www.amazon.com/Evidence-Afterlife-Science-Near-Death-Experiences/dp/0061452556
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« Reply #61 on: November 26, 2010, 05:43:09 PM »

Basically because they are narrow-minded.

There's some irony in making that statement as a stereotype of a large segment of the population, don't you think?  Cheesy
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« Reply #62 on: November 29, 2010, 10:54:50 AM »

This is why I'm not an atheist it's logical ends are nihilism, it rejects the notion of an afterlife, a meaningful life, and all morality, among other things. Any atheist who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves.

1. Evidence of an afterlife? None.
There is evidence of an afterlife. I wouldn't call such evidence "definitive proof", but it's evidence nonetheless.

What kind of evidence?
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« Reply #63 on: December 09, 2010, 12:26:57 PM »

"The Man Who Killed Pluto.

For generations there was Pluto, the planet. And then, there wasn’t. It didn’t disappear. It got demoted — reclassified as a mere dwarf.

My guest today, astronomer Mike Brown, got it demoted. He didn’t mean to. It’s a good story, but not the only story in the universe.

The number of stars we know of got tripled this month. The chances of life out there, boosted too. Scientists just watched a black hole being born, and they say we may live in a recycled cosmos.  Holy moly.

Astrophysicst Neil Degrasse Tyson is with us, too, as we look to Pluto and beyond."
__________

I think, for scientists as well as for many others, the wonders of the natural world provide enough "mystery". No supernatural God is needed in order to fulfill that emotional drive. This does not mean that God is necessarily rejected with violent thrust, but it might mean that "Nature" provides sufficient 'transcendental' meaning.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2010, 12:29:48 PM by Jetavan » Logged

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« Reply #64 on: December 09, 2010, 01:45:28 PM »

I've heard Dr. Tyson in the conference "Beyond Belief" express interest in this same question, "Why are so many scientists are in disbelief?"  He said that from the atheist perspective, this is the wrong question.  One should ask, "Why are these reputable scientists believers?"

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« Reply #65 on: December 09, 2010, 02:54:12 PM »

This is why I'm not an atheist it's logical ends are nihilism, it rejects the notion of an afterlife, a meaningful life, and all morality, among other things. Any atheist who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves.

1. Evidence of an afterlife? None.
There is evidence of an afterlife. I wouldn't call such evidence "definitive proof", but it's evidence nonetheless.

What kind of evidence?
NDEs.
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If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
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Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.
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« Reply #66 on: December 09, 2010, 03:26:11 PM »

NDEs.

Oh. Anything else?
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« Reply #67 on: December 09, 2010, 04:43:42 PM »


What do you want? A stargate?!
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« Reply #68 on: December 09, 2010, 05:06:18 PM »


Since you're offering, I'll take one. Wink
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« Reply #69 on: December 09, 2010, 05:07:54 PM »


I guess when I said evidence I meant something factual, not subjective imaginings.
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« Reply #70 on: December 09, 2010, 05:42:50 PM »


I guess when I said evidence I meant something factual, not subjective imaginings.

LOL. Spiritual experience, love, hate, et cetera are all subjective. Though disagreeably, imaginings.
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« Reply #71 on: December 09, 2010, 05:43:55 PM »


I built one out of toasters and duct tape. I'll send you the specs.  Grin

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« Reply #72 on: December 09, 2010, 05:50:21 PM »


I guess when I said evidence I meant something factual, not subjective imaginings.
There are also veridical NDEs, which provide the possibility of inter-subjective/objective verification.
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Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
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"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.
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