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Author Topic: Why It's So Hard for Scientists to Believe in God?  (Read 4522 times) Average Rating: 0
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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...

« Last Edit: October 08, 2010, 02:12:50 AM by Asteriktos » Logged

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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?"
« Last Edit: October 11, 2010, 02:16:02 PM by Asteriktos » Logged

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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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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.
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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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« 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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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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"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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