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Is science the new religion?


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Showing 51-75 of 518 posts in this discussion
Posted on Feb 18, 2012 11:29:01 PM PST
Whiplash says:
"W413, Honestly, you sound like you think you're going to live forever. Do you put your 'end' out of your mind? Embrace the here and now, today's achievements. You need a little art and self-actualization, a little current science, and an acceptable God concept, and you'll be fortified against the oblivion to come."

Oh, good grief. That's Pascal's Wager. Pure BS. There's no evidence to support the idea that a god, any god exists, much less what the nature of said god is like. "Believing" in a god just in case is nothing but brown nosing to an authority figure who may or may not actually be watching. Furthermore, not only does it make the unsupported assumption that said authority figure is, in fact, watching, but it goes on to assume that said authority figure is going to punish you if you don't believe in it. It completely ignores the possibility that, for example, the god who actually rules the universe prefers skepticism and reasoning to displays of faith and punishes those who believe without evidence while rewarding those who require verification. Or the possibility that the god that does exist is actually Zeus, and boy is he ever pissed at Christians for destroying so many of his temples and failing to uphold his holy days- have fun in Tartarus. Or an infinite number of other possibilities.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2012 1:11:45 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 19, 2012 1:16:27 AM PST
W413 - "When we look back a mere 150 years, those esteemed scientists didn't even imagine galaxies, or the quantum world or the relativity of everything, or chaotic systems or Dark Energy. What we will conclude in only another 150 years?"

We'll have to keep an eye on science to find out. We learned about galaxies and that other stuff through what method? Science. "We used to not know that stuff, and now we do! Will we know yet more in the future?" That's called LEARNING, Werranth. Strange that you consider that a defect, rather than a virtue.

"Embrace the here and now, today's achievements. "

You're not so hot at psychoanalysis. Where did these "achievements" come from, Werranth? Science. I'm celebrating the very process that has helped us to these achievements.

"an acceptable God concept"

Acceptable to whom? God-believers are all over the map, and most of them will accuse you of error, foolishness, blindness, or outright fealty to Satan if you don't accept their own formulation forthwith. All the "God" word seems to be is a placeholder for whatever the person currently using it means, which they of course consider obvious, absolutely objective, and well-nigh infallible. If you don't happen to agree with their personal beliefs, they're usually about as condescending and insulting as you're being now. Which further confirms my dim view of the utility of that little word.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2012 8:58:21 AM PST
Roeselare says:
Heh, wow, you've typed out a slew of wild assumptions there, Purgatorius. Obviously, that's not an acceptable god concept for you.

Now, with that silliness out of the way, begin your new and acceptable formulation. It can be therapeutic. We can't ignore our long natural history. We can try....., but from my experience, it just leads to negativity.

Ps, BTW, did you know Libertarius from Usenet days?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2012 9:09:21 AM PST
Roeselare says:
Science is limited, but we don't have to think that way.

Your god concept should be acceptable to yourself, if that was an honest question. It doesn't matter if it seems like an imaginary exercise to others. It's what we're keyed for, we're just trial-and-error evolved animals, Mark, and many of us accept without any evidence that this universe could have emerged without intelligent help. It's a comforting concept to some. Are they afraid of being the result of an intelligent interference, so very long ago? I mean, such a finding won't be relevant for a very long time.

Posted on Feb 19, 2012 10:52:55 AM PST
Whiplash says:
If we required the intervention of god to come into existence, what created god? If god didn't require something else to create him, why do we?

Adding god to the explanation of how the universe first came into existence does not explain anything better, it just adds an extra layer of complexity and creates more problems- where did god come from, how did god create the universe, where is god now, why does god need a starship, ect.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2012 11:10:24 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 19, 2012 11:11:26 AM PST
werranth - "Science is limited, but we don't have to think that way."

I don't think giving up our best method for understanding the world will increase our thinking abilities, much less make them infinite.

"Your god concept should be acceptable to yourself..."

I already had that.

"...accept without any evidence that this universe could have emerged without intelligent help"

You would need to present an argument *for* "intelligent help", whatever that means. All you've done is try to flip around the burden of evidence. Doesn't work--you don't get to say "hey, present evidence that the invisible super-being I assume to exist *isn't* needed to explain the universe." That isn't going to work.

"Are they afraid of being the result of an intelligent interference"

Wow, a theological argument thinly disguised as an Intelligent Design argument. How unusual. No, Werranth, I'm not repudiating ID because I'm afraid of being judged by God, er, I mean "the intelligent interference." I repudiate ID because it's a vacuous assertion that lends no information, insight, or explanatory power.

Posted on Feb 19, 2012 12:47:59 PM PST
"why does god need a starship" haha good old star trek!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2012 6:02:23 PM PST
I don't think you can really call science "new." The scientific method has been around for a really long time.
As for science being a religion? Well...
The definition for religion is: "The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods. Details of belief as taught or discussed."
The definition for science is: "The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world."

Religion is about belief and worship.
Science is about "intellectual and practical activity" and "systematic study" of what we can observe with our physical senses.

Now if our religion includes a systematic study of evidence and what we can observe, I guess maybe it could be called a science. But I don't see how science can be called a religion - it's not about beliefs and worship - it's about facts and evidence.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2012 8:50:03 PM PST
Whiplash says:
@not_richyrich321: Only worthwhile part of that movie.

Posted on Feb 20, 2012 4:02:26 AM PST
Meh, not my favorite. I really liked the new one that came out 2010 and it used the tried and tested plot line of temporal displacement, worked for me!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2012 6:57:08 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 20, 2012 7:04:04 AM PST
Roeselare says:
Posted on Feb 19, 2012 10:52:55 AM PST
Purgatorius says:
If we required the intervention of god to come into existence, what created god? If god didn't require something else to create him, why do we?

Adding god to the explanation of how the universe first came into existence does not explain anything better, it just adds an extra layer of complexity and creates more problems- where did god come from, how did god create the universe, where is god now, why does god need a starship, ect.

W413, 'Funny, P., you have far more interest in supernatural causes and you have more speculations than I do, but I'm the one who's dismissible? ;) When someone talks about their god concept you immediately erect these childish strawmen, and then act assured that you can't accept them? LoL

intervention of god is required? Hardly. We've known better since the discovery of virtual particles, quantum uncertainty and the quantized universe.
a created god? What does that even mean?
a god concept explains something about new baby universes or colliding universes? Only in the broadest, metaphorical sense.

You're reaching into our long illustrious past of pre-scientific thinking, because you miss it? Do you miss the possibility of easy answers according to the primitive logic of gods with human attributes and personalities?

My god concept is acceptable and believable to me. None of this above is acceptable to you or me.

But now, have we learned anything? I can be accused of doing what you do. I took your post and made it sound like it misses the mark, it's dismissible. I didn't learn much...but maybe I will from your reply?

Only with everyone working together can we get a better science forum, but the dilemma is that men aren't naturally inclined toward better discussions, they've been naturally selected (by women?) to be defensive and combative.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2012 6:58:58 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 20, 2012 7:08:35 AM PST
Roeselare says:
In reply to your post on Feb 19, 2012 11:10:24 AM PST
Last edited by the author 18 hours ago
Mark Hornberger says:

werranth - "Science is limited, but we don't have to think that way."

I don't think giving up our best method for understanding the world will increase our thinking abilities, much less make them infinite.

"Your god concept should be acceptable to yourself..."

I already had that.

W413, You already had what? Were you once a member of a superstitious club which reinforced in its paying members the magical promise of an infinite and heavenly panacea? How did you escape that mindset? I've never believed in such human constructions.

But, I think seeing the world from the current peaks of both science and music can very much "increase our thinking abilities". I've never thought it in those exact words...


"...accept without any evidence that this universe could have emerged without intelligent help"

You would need to present an argument *for* "intelligent help", whatever that means. All you've done is try to flip around the burden of evidence. Doesn't work--you don't get to say "hey, present evidence that the invisible super-being I assume to exist *isn't* needed to explain the universe." That isn't going to work.

W413, My argument for "intelligent help" is developed from the discovery of the balances resulting from the initial density, the calculation of the strength of Dark Energy within a range to allow a long-lived universe, and the many mass and force strength ranges which seem to be the result of 'help'. What numbers and appearances do you have to support your alternative view?

"Are they afraid of being the result of an intelligent interference"

Wow, a theological argument thinly disguised as an Intelligent Design argument. How unusual. No, Werranth, I'm not repudiating ID because I'm afraid of being judged by God, er, I mean "the intelligent interference." I repudiate ID because it's a vacuous assertion that lends no information, insight, or explanatory power.

W413, ID seems to be the most likely scenario, but there's no god involved, it's just evolution. Please expand upon your vacuous assertion that lends no information, insight, or explanatory power, if you have one in mind that satisfies you as being a better alternative..

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2012 9:26:43 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 20, 2012 9:30:07 AM PST
A. Caplan says:
W413, ID seems to be the most likely scenario, but there's no god involved, it's just evolution.
>Does that mean that you are an atheist? ID is, at best, disingenuous when discussing the designer. It involves a mighty being that can create an entire universe, but they refuse to examine the nature of this designer, and so say that ID is not a religious belief. Of course, not all religions, mine, for example, seek to know the nature of G-d. However, if there was empirical evidence of a designer, scientists would be racing to discover the nature of this being.

W413: Please expand upon your vacuous assertion that lends no information, insight, or explanatory power, if you have one in mind that satisfies you as being a better alternative..
>I cannot speak for MH, but I would agree with him. ID gives us no scientific information, insight, or explanatory power about the universe. If anything, ID dissuades scientific inquiry by answering every question with the assertion that the designer did it.

Posted on Feb 20, 2012 9:50:49 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 20, 2012 9:51:47 AM PST
Re werranth413, 2-20 6:58 AM: "ID seems to be the most likely scenario, ..." Based, apparently, on the "balance of forces" -- in short, the "fine tuning" argument. (Please comment if I am not correctly representing your position.) My problems with this are these:
- If you posit some sort of intelligence, there needs to be a thing that possesses the trait of intelligence. Conventionally, this is attributed to a deity of some sort, and if you give this term enough generality (virtually to the point of meaning nothing at all!), that would fit.
- At bottom, this is the anthropomorphic argument: the universe was made the way that it is so that life could survive in it. Many people (including me) consider this to be backward: life adapts to what the universe requires, rather than the other way around.

Stenger addresses all of this in The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us. It is a good read. (But be sure to check his web site for errata in the book.)

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2012 10:21:23 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 20, 2012 10:27:54 AM PST
werranth - "Please expand upon your vacuous assertion that lends no information, insight, or explanatory power, if you have one in mind that satisfies you as being a better alternative"

I'll retract the assessment as soon as someone explains how "a designer done it" is more helpful than "I don't know." Since ID enthusiasts don't specify who the designer is, what their methods were, or really anything at all, it's no different than saying "___ did it!" How informative, insightful, or explanatory is that? ID enthusiasts routinely rely on "how ELSE could x have happened," which plainly shows that ID is just a ruse to avoid "I don't know."

I don't claim to know the origin, nature, or fate of the universe. Science is the best we have, and science's answers are extremely speculative. However, at least those speculations are interesting, and based on groundbreaking mathematical models. Meaning, even if they're wrong (which I'd wager they are) at least they're intellectually productive. Even as idle philosophical chitchat, the multiverse is a fascinating idea. It even subsumes the "designer" inference, through observer selection bias, and in other ways. So ID is basically useless.

You're entitled to the "looks designed to me!" assertion, but pretty much the only people who find that gestalt compelling are the ones who already presupposed the existence of God. Take away preexisting belief that God exists, and you're left with "I don't know." ID is just a proxy for creationism. No thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2012 10:32:31 AM PST
I have to assume that the "someone famous" you refer to is a person of the left, an atheist or both. And I'm intelligent enough to realize that being famous has nothing to do with having wisdom. That said, I accept that religion is all about faith. About believing in something you can't touch. But even atheists, most anyway, would concede the benefit of Judeo-Chistian ethics to say; the world according to Lj3D, or to me or to anyone else. And, whether you agree or not, science is to a great degree based on faith itselft. Science can't tell us the origin of life. In fact, science can't even tell us with certainty if it's going to rain tomorrow. Yet we have millions of people that believe man-made global warming is going to destroy us. That the oceans will rise to consume us. Sounds like something right out of the bible doesn't it. And it's all based on what? Computer models? If that isn't faith I don't know what is.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2012 10:51:07 AM PST
SciGuy says:
Glenn Coles posts:

"And, whether you agree or not, science is to a great degree based on faith itselft."

No Glenn, science is based on evidence. It is the essence of the scientific endeavor.

GC posts: "Science can't tell us the origin of life."

You're technically correct but science is hot on the trail. Deep ocean vents, chemosynthesis, RNA world are all promising areas of current investigation. Just because we don't have the answer yet doesn't mean we won't.

GC posts: "In fact, science can't even tell us with certainty if it's going to rain tomorrow. Yet we have millions of people that believe man-made global warming is going to destroy us."

Usually the weather man can predict accurately tomorrows weather but that's beside the point. Weather is chaotic, climate is not. Weather is influenced primarily by local or limited factors. Global climate is influenced by mega factors such as Milankovitch cycles, atmospheric CO2 concentration, solar irradiation. Current evidence shows we are in a warming climate.

GC posts: "Sounds like something right out of the bible doesn't it."

No, sounds like science to me. The Bible is based on the meager scientific understanding the human race had when it was published. We've come a long way since then. Earth orbits the sun, Earth is a sphere, there was never a 40 day global flood, a human can't live inside a living whale for days. Sounds like you don't have much understanding of the scientific endeavor. Why do you use the fruits of that endeavor on a daily basis if you think science is all in error?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2012 11:39:31 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 20, 2012 11:44:11 AM PST
I certainly didn't intend to suggest that all science is in error. That is silly. Instead, my intent was to illustrate that in comparing religion to science one should be willing to concede that science does not explain all that we wish to know. And I'll accept being "technically" correct as the same as just being correct.
Consider too that there are those in science that have an agenda. An ulterior motive for their "factual" findings if you wish. Whether it's global warming, second-hand smoke or heterosexual AIDS, look at where the money came from to support the study and often you'll find a vested interest in a particular outcome. So, as useful, productive and important as it is, science can also be misused just as religion can. The difference is we're told that science is based on evidence discovered by noble scholars seeking only the truth. And that takes as much faith as any religion as far as I'm concerned

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2012 11:47:06 AM PST
Mr. Coles,

I'll suggest this text: "Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming."

While it's true that there have always been scammers ("Piltdown Man") along with honest mistakes, that book makes it pretty clear that, starting roughly in the 1950's, some conservatives began a concerted effort to muddy and undermine serious science and scientists by creating false, biased, and predetermined "research results."

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2012 12:09:51 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 20, 2012 12:19:16 PM PST
Mr. Mielke,

I'll suggest this article:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204301404577171531838421366.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

It's signed by sixteen very prominent and respected scientists. But, maybe they're just all shills for the oil companies where as the folks that wrote your book are serious people of conscious seeking only the truth. Sure.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2012 12:58:39 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 21, 2012 4:52:24 AM PST
SciGuy says:
Glenn,

Science is not perfect for sure! What makes it so valuable though is it's self correcting nature. Given enough time, frauds and misconceptions will be resolved into useable facts and theories.

Concerning your assertions on money and it's influence on science it is noteworthy that tobacco company "science" proved tobacco smoke was not harmful, asbestos company scientists showed that asbestos was not dangerous, dye companies denied they were causing bladder cancer, etc. etc. There is a long trail of hired gun scientists, Dr. Fred Singer foremost, that accept fossil fuel money to disprove AGW.

Who has the greater share of discretionary funding for causes, granting agencies with no dog in the AGW fight or Exxon Mobile with a very big dog in the fight.

Sorry, but an amorphous group of scientists dedicated to revealing truth through science don't compare with a corporate board with nearly unlimited funding and a golden goose to protect.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2012 1:18:15 PM PST
SciGuy says:
Charles,

For one of the most interesting online exhibits documenting the egregious disinformation campaign waged by big tobacco, google "Not a Cough in a Carload."

It's main evidence is nothing more than the magazine adds the tobacco companies used to promote their products. Give it a whirl.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2012 2:34:22 PM PST
In reference to "corporate boards with nearly unlimited funding and a golden goose to protect" I trust you're willing to include Al Gore and other friends of the Obama administration that have heavily invested in green energy firms who, coincidently, have seen billions of tax payer dollars in Energy Dept. grants literally thrown at them. Companies like Solyndra, does that ring a bell?
Please don't kid yourself that there aren't plenty of people profiting from the "crisis" of global warming and that your amorphous scientists aren't on someone's payroll. The chief difference between the people that profit from oil, natural gas and coal and the green energy lobby is that oil, gas and coal actually work. They actually produce affordable energy, when the government doesn't stand in the way with over regulation. The green energy folks on the other hand don't have to produce anything. They just check the maibox for the next check written on the backs of the taxpayer.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2012 2:45:42 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 20, 2012 2:47:44 PM PST
Re Coles, 2-20 11:39 AM: "one should be willing to concede that science does not explain all that we wish to know." True. However, it can be shown [1] that science is the only means of determining the things that CAN be known.

"we're told that science is based on evidence discovered by noble scholars seeking only the truth." The scholars may or may not be noble, but finding the truth is paramount. If a scientist gets it wrong, other scientists will be all over him like flies on a cow patty.

1. See, in Science forum "What use is Intelligent Design", p. 15, 10-28 9:40 PM.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2012 2:51:58 PM PST
Mr. Coles,

I started reading the article then I realized its source: The Wall Street Journal. Should I _not_ be suspicious of a publication whose pro-business prejudice is its whole stock in trade? A publication that has repeatedly thrown its weight behind pro-business policies and even promoted the same lies and distortions documented in the book I recommended?

Sorry, but if you want to read unbiased science reporting you won't find it in the pages of the WSJ. "Reputation" is not a large part of scientific validation.
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Initial post:  Feb 14, 2012
Latest post:  Mar 10, 2012

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