Senate Is there a conflict between Religion and Science?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Ghost, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

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    I take exception to this statement, because it is logically false.

    Consider, for example, the case of my parents. My mother was born into a family that has roots going back to the Mormon pioneers and the early days of the LDS Church. (In fact, one of her ancestors was one of Joseph Smith's 28 plural wives.) My father, on the other hand, was born into a family that has roots going back to the founding of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and included ministers from several denominations. (In fact, one of his ancestors was a minister in Jackson County, MO when the Mormons were thrown out of there.) He chose to join the LDS Church when he was 21.

    Does that mean that my father has a more open mind than my mother does, simply because he chose to change religions while she chose not to? I would say no, especially when you consider that when my mother grew up her parents weren't active in the Church. When she was in her late teens, she made the decision to research things for herself and find what was best for her. She examined several different religions, and in the end chose the same one that her ancestors had also chosen.

    Whether a person has an open mind or not is about the logical process that they follow to reach a decision, not the decision itself. A person can choose to change religions for any number of reasons, not simply because they have an "open mind".
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  2. Jedi Merkurian ST Thread Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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    @Eternity85
    Oh, I've read your posts. My post was meant to point out the pitfalls of painting with so broad a brush ;)
  3. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

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    Kimball, I think there's an extra presumption there, in that the inverse isn't necessarily true. It's not that all people who have an open mind will change religions, just that being able to do so is a sign of open-mindedness because one can consider something other than the viewpoint they started with. I do think there are still people that don't have a good process for doing that, but someone that is closed-minded isn't going to undergo serious changes in beliefs like would be involved in changing religions. It doesn't mean that if you don't do that, you're not open-minded though.
  4. wannasee Force Ghost

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    Open-mindedness means that you are willing to consider another person's opinion from their point of view.

    It has nothing to do with how often you change your mind.
    Last edited by wannasee, Mar 12, 2013
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  5. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

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    It also means that you are receptive to new ideas. That said, I think there's a very real distinction to be made between those who will quickly accept new ideas without critical analysis, and those that are open to change through a more logically rigorous formula. I think there was a youtube video by qualiasoup that i saw a few years back that discussed this, and that some people will take whatever new thing they hear as their new view, and call anyone else closed-minded, when really the issue isn't that everyone else is close-minded but that they can't separate good ideas from bad ones.
  6. VadersLaMent Chosen One

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    Just because you have a point of view does not make your point of view automatically correct.
  7. wannasee Force Ghost

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    We're not talking about whose point of view is "correct". We're talking about what it means to have an open mind.
  8. Ghost Chosen One

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    One of the things I've been learning more about Islam is that it too has no problems with science, they don't believe the Big Bang Theory or the Theory of Evolution are inherently contradictory with Islam.

    The Baha'i and Sikh faiths, which also sprang out of Islam, also have no problem with science. The Buddhist, Confucian, and Taoist religions/philosophies also have no problem with science. I don't believe the Hindus have any problem either. Even Orthodox Jews don't believe there's anything inherently incompatible with their beliefs and evolution.

    Is Christianity the only major religion in which at least some of its major sects are in conflict with science?
    Last edited by Summer Dreamer, Aug 1, 2013
  9. Saintheart Chosen One

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    I'd not be surprised if that's the case. Jehovah's Witnesses seem to have some difficulty with it, too, but they prrrrobably count as a sect of Christianity.

    Karen Armstrong's The Case for God makes for fascinating reading on this subject. It also presents an interesting hypothetical for why exactly Christianity seemed to fall off the wheels on this matter. In brief: of all the other religions you mentioned, none had Isaac Newton as a member. Or to be more correct, none of them had the unique combination of a scientific thinker who was lured in by the prospect of converting mythos to logos, and none had a religious community prepared to jump en masse onto the shaky bandwagon he created.
  10. bigtukker Jedi Grand Master

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    Science and "religion" (I hate that word) are both based on what the truth is.

    Well I'm a Christian. I also had a pretty science based middle-level school career. My opinion is close to this:

    God created the earth. I don't necessarily believe in the Big Bang, but it's always possible God made the Big Bang happen. Who knows? God also created flora and fauna including apes, dinosaurs and mammoths. Several "days" later, he created men. Now I know there are people who claim those "days" were not exactly days of 24 hours, but another time unit closer to millions of years. (Now I'm writing this 24 hours might make more sense, because there was no death before sin came into the world, so you might have an overpopulation problem before men were created). Personally, I don't know, and I don't think it's very important. Several days later sin came into the world and people, flora and fauna started to die, became sick or poisonous.

    Thousands of years later, we come to the point where Noah lived and there was the Big Flood. Now I did read a Dutch book about the Big Flood and apparently there are many stories (even besides the Bible) about a Big flood and eight people in it(Noah, his sons and their wives). It also claimed that the kinds of animals sent to the arc where more or less BASED on evolution. So we didn't get a poodle, rottweiler, bulldog etc. in the ark, because there wasn't enough space for that. Instead there probably came a canine creature (maybe a wolf, fox, dog or another canine descendant). This pretty much explained why some animals died out. This is in my opinion also the reasons why many sea creatures are dozens times bigger than the biggest land creature (the elephant), because there was plenty of space to live in.

    So there you have it, I believe in evolution, just not in the extend that we were once apes (though you would think otherwise when you see some people, har har)

    Also many rules in the Thora are scientific supported like circumcision and their specific diets (like no pork or shrimp). Also if my info is correct Jews were often considered witches because they didn't get the Black Death (as often) in the Middle Ages and were looked down upon.

    Conclusion: I think religion (or at least Christianity or Judaism) and science aren't conflicted. In the end I think it can even be compliment each other.
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  11. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

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    Your view is in conflict with science, though, @bigtukker.

    According to current evolution theory, dinosaurs and mammoths didn't live in the same era. Dinosaurs lived from 200 million years ago to 60 million years ago, mammoths lived 5 million years ago. This is corroborated by radiometric dating. If you want to contest this dating method, you need to show how it is wrong.
    Once you've done that, we can discuss how the ancestors of all current land-dwelling animals - including one million insect species - could be collected in one lifetime and fit on one boat. But note that if you assert that the species only developed after the flood, you'll need to show how evolutionary theory is wrong.
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  12. timmoishere Force Ghost

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    Since the dinosaurs died out ~65 million years ago, and modern humans first appeared ~200,000 years ago, this proves that death did exist before Adam and Eve did. That is, if we can even prove that Adam and Eve existed. But that's a whole 'nother topic.

    Christianity's answers to the origins of our species, and indeed the world, are quite wrong. Christianity itself is a hodgepodge of other myths, tales and older religions:

    The story of Jesus? Eerily similar to that of Horus, an Egyptian god. Also see the stories of Mithras, Osiris, Adonis, Krishna and Dionysus. Christianity took elements from all of these older myths and combined them to make the story of Jesus more palatable to the masses. There may indeed have been a man by the name of Yeshua living in Bethlehem 2000 years ago, but he was no more a messiah than anyone else living there.

    Then there's Noah's Flood. Sounds awfully like the older tale of Gilgamesh to me. And, as SuperWatto said, all of the land-based species of the world couldn't fit onto a boat of the size described in the Bible. Not to mention that it is impossible for all of the world's waters to have risen as high as the tallest mountains.
    Last edited by timmoishere, Aug 2, 2013
  13. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Here's the conflict in a nutshell:

    1. Most religions rely on a set of beliefs in supernatural entities and/or occurrences (e.g. an omniscient, omnipotent deity; an invisible afterlife; miraculous events; angels; demons; etc.)

    2. There is no credible evidence of any supernatural event ever having happened in the history of the observable universe.
    Last edited by Jabbadabbado, Aug 2, 2013
  14. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

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    Except that there is a logical flaw in your summary. It doesn't demonstrate a clear conflict.

    Simply put, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. A lack of "verifiable" evidence in a supernatural entity does not prove that such an entity does not exist. There is a logical difference between "not proven" and "proven false".

    A conflict would only really happen if science definitively said one thing, while religion said the opposite. However, since science's position on "supernatural entities" is "not proven", rather than "proven false", it is not actually a conflict. "True" vs "false" is a conflict. "True" vs "unknown" is not a conflict.

    Where you get a "conflict" is when people make the illogical jump that treats "not proven" (aka "unknown") as "proven false". They are not the same, and it is a fallacy to treat them the same.
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  15. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

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    Kimball, I disagree with that being a logical flaw. There is a conflict in terms of the methodology and approach. The religious claims require accepting views without credible evidence (the whole idea of faith), whereas science does not, and is rather about having that evidence. Because both are dealing with reality, though, there is a conflict in methodologies for approaching reality even though the results can be switched around.
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  16. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

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    I think the difference is more in the term "credible" evidence.

    As I've said before, I've had religious experiences that, to me, prove the existence of God. However, I cannot share those experiences with someone else (especially after the fact) in a way that would prove God's existence to them on the basis of my experience. As such, for me that experience is "credible evidence", but for someone else, it's mere hearsay (or in some cases, heresy).

    To use a LDS example, you cannot prove one way or the other that God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in 1820 (what is called the First Vision). The only witness to it was Joseph Smith, Jr. As such, that appearance can serve as proof of God's existence to Joseph Smith, Jr only, but anyone else would have to take it on faith based on his word. For him, it would be knowledge, not faith.

    As such, the best science can say is that the existence of God is not proven. It cannot claim that the existence of God has been proven false.
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  17. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    It was an incomplete statement of the case. In addition to the absence of evidence, there is credible scientific evidence that conflicts with many literal interpretations of the bible. There is I think more significantly credible objective evidence that the founders of some religions were charlatans/frauds and that the core doctrines are founded on blatant lies. And if there's objective evidence about the fraudulence of relatively recently formed religions, there's I think an implication about the fraudulence of their predecessor religions.

    And of course, there's clear evidence of charlatans at work in the formation of the new testament. I was just mentioning Ehrman's Forgery and Counterforgery, which is I think a fairly comprehensive high end scholarly work on the deliberate employment of fraud in the evolution of new testament text.

    Does any of this prove that God exists? No. all it proves is that even after a religion has been built on centuries of careful protection of its doctrine, the telltale traces of fraud are hard to successfully suppress. Or in the case of LDS the fraud is so obvious and well publicized that the church's ongoing missionary work may have been permanently disabled. It will be back to basics in terms of breeding new members of the faith.
    Last edited by Jabbadabbado, Aug 2, 2013
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  18. Skywalker8921 Jedi Grand Master

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    Actually, it's the other way around. Besides, if Jesus was not the Messiah, then how do you account for the fact that the Gospel of Luke clearly states that Mary has known no man? (Luke 1:35)
  19. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

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    Kimball, that has an inherent reliance on subjectivity, though. You're still focusing on the results, and that lack of evidence in a god doesn't conflict with someone saying there is one, but that skips over that really a lot of it is tied to the methodologies conflicting.

    It lied?
  20. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

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    Stop right there.

    If you are limiting things to only a literal interpretation of the Bible, then you have already invalidated your argument as a straw man. While there are some people who hold to an absolutely literal interpretation, the vast majority of Christians (not to mention Jews, when discussing the Old Testament/Torah) do not hold to an absolutely literal interpretation, nor to an absolutely figurative interpretation. Rather, they hold that some parts are literal and others are metaphoric/figurative, with a variety of opinions on which parts are which.
  21. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    I'm not limiting my argument in that manner. It's an add on. Science has emphasized the lack of evidence for the existence of the supernatural. Science has invalidated claims of religions that were formally regarded as inviolable truths, and scholarship has provided objective evidence of the fraudulent nature of doctrinal development in Christianity. Thus an atmosphere of conflict
  22. Skywalker8921 Jedi Grand Master

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    Why would Luke lie about that?
    Last edited by Skywalker8921, Aug 2, 2013
  23. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

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    Life has an inherent reliance on subjectivity. Not everything can be studied or measured in an objective fashion, and there are parts of science (particularly those dealing with the past, like archeology) that recognize that.

    For example, how can you prove that George Washington crossed the Delaware River on Christmas Eve, 1776? Today there is no objective, verifiable evidence that it actually happened. All we have are the subjective accounts of people who participated in the event. The footprints of those who crossed with him have long been washed away by the effects of time.

    All we really have are the words of people who witnessed the event unfold, and corroborating details from others who similarly witnessed the events happen. All of that is highly subjective in what it portrays, and yet I have yet to find a "scientist" (of any stripe) who will claim that that inherent subjectivity is a basis for disproving the event.
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  24. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

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    At best you could claim that science is at conflict with some religious interpretations, but that is not the same thing as being inherently in conflict with religion itself.

    Religion includes such diversity of thought and belief that you can find individual cases for almost anything, That doesn't make those individual cases representative of the whole.
  25. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

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    There's a distinct difference between how one approaches the past and how one approaches the current reality.


    I'd think that you're using it as evidence is a pretty good indication for why lying about that is beneficial.
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