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Avatar Samantha Ai

Religion & Science Are Closer Than You Think

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Posted (edited)

I feel that religion in fact our (man kind) first attempt at science. It's basically a hypothesis. The problem is its a hypothesis that can never be truly tested. It can never become a scientific theory.

I would say it doesn't even qualify as a hypothesis, that is the problem, not for lack of trying though.

Edited by Sherapy

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Posted (edited)

That's because this theory fits the evidence better than any other. It's not blind faith like a religion. It's even somewhat testable because evidence we find must fit the theory or bring it into question.

It's sad that we haven't been able to come up with a better theory that didn't involve random mutations but it's the only one that's compatible what we now know about genetics.

Some people have the same reaction when their favorite brands of computers and cars are questioned. I don't think this alone qualifies them as religions.

It actually is not the only compatible theory, or even the best; it's simply the one that best fits naturalism/scientism.

Heck, there isn't even just ONE theory of descent from a common ancestor, there are several; so which one are you referring to? Neo Darwinism? punctuated equilibrium?

If we were to find a starship buried under tons of dirt, we would NOT assume it was a natural construct, we would assume it had been designed and constructed by intelligent beings. The fact we did not know who these beings were or how they had done it would in no way invalidate the obvious observation that it was the result of intelligent, purposeful design. But somehow, although what that first life form was, or how it came to be is "not covered" and not needed for the "theory of descent from a common ancestor" it is somehow integral to know who the designer was. That is not a scientific requirement, it is a religious requirement.

Edited by IamsSon

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If we were to find a starship buried under tons of dirt, we would NOT assume it was a natural construct, we would assume it had been designed and constructed by intelligent beings.

That would depend on the starship. Science fiction abounds with spacefaring living beings ("Tin Man" of Star Trek TNG or the Vorlon transports in Babylon 5, to name two). If we happened upon one of those, then we might appreciate its organic nature, and therefore not assume what its origin was.

We would also be hardpressed to decide from a single, unprecedented organic-appearing example, whether it was "built" or "bred" or "tamed" or "evolved" with respect to its capability. Those categories are not even mutually exclusive (a domesticated wolf-dog hybrid with an implanted identification chip almost surely exists somewhere on Earth today).

It really is totally unclear, then, what "we" would assume under the hypothetical you propose. The original "watches need watchmakers" analogy was defective enough without introducing the wild card of what device is supposed to be found.

One thing is for sure, however. We would not assume that a complicated but arguably purposeful inorganic device was the product of exactly one intelligent designer-builder. We would assume a team, or if the device were of suitably small scale like a watch, a craft tradition and assembly from available parts made using refined metals worked with tools made using machine tools, thus inferring designer-builders distinct from the designer-assembler of the watch itself, probably many others rather just a few.

This would especially true if the watch we found had several parts that had been forced to fit rather than having been made-to-fit. We would, probably rightly, infer that our watch had been assembled recycling some parts salvaged and adapted from older, now discarded watches. If all watches need watchmakers, then we would at least consider that many watchmakers had contributed over time to what was finally assembled and now in our hands.

It is obvious, then, that the watchmaker-starship analogy is of no use at all to a monotheist. I am surprised that you of all people would bring it up.

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Since English is not my native language, I may be misusing the word "sophomoric," but I think not. To me it means "wise fool." This is a person well-informed but in a limited way. The typical engineer is a good example; his mathematical foundation is practical and not theoretical, he has no philosophy, and his science is limited to materials and forces and things of that sort, generally on a macro scale. He often has limited interest in art and serious music.

This is the sort of person likely to be identifiable as a positivist, although he or she may not know about the history of this kind of thinking. "Give me the right lever and I will move the world." They actualy conceive as such a thing as theoretically possible. Give me a powerful enough computer and I will compute the past and future of the universe in detail.

Reductionism is another characteristic of this thinking -- we can deduce chemistry from atomic theory; biology from chemistry; psychology and economics and art and even mind from biology and organic chemistry, and so on.

I see in some of the above messages a distraction having to do with creationism and evolution. That Darwin basically got it right and that from then on we have been filling in details and gaps but the theory stands soundly is not an issue here.

We do not need God or the supernatural to question reductionism and positivism. All we need do is realize that there not only may be but almost certainly are limits to what rational processes can "understand," including the concept of understanding itself. Causation is the foundation of science -- things have traceable causes -- but more and more it dawns on us that this is simplistic -- that even simple causations become horribly intracticable once we begin to break it into smaller and smaller causative units, until we end up with a chaos.

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Since English is not my native language, I may be misusing the word "sophomoric," but I think not. To me it means "wise fool." This is a person well-informed but in a limited way. The typical engineer is a good example; his mathematical foundation is practical and not theoretical, he has no philosophy, and his science is limited to materials and forces and things of that sort, generally on a macro scale. He often has limited interest in art and serious music.

I think you're using 'sophomoric' correctly (although I think under some definitions we may not include 'wise', I usually think of it as 'immature' or 'juvenile'), but you probably want to use the word 'stereotypical' rather than 'typical'. Your 'typical', meaning 'average', engineer does have a philosophy, does take an interest in art and music, etc, just like anyone in any other profession; I don't think you're trying to say, 'most engineers don't care about serious music'. I understand what you are getting at though.

We do not need God or the supernatural to question reductionism and positivism. All we need do is realize that there not only may be but almost certainly are limits to what rational processes can "understand," including the concept of understanding itself. Causation is the foundation of science -- things have traceable causes -- but more and more it dawns on us that this is simplistic -- that even simple causations become horribly intracticable once we begin to break it into smaller and smaller causative units, until we end up with a chaos.

There are limits today as to what rational processes can understand; we should also realize that our guesses about what the limits are concerning what we can ultimately understand from rational processes are just that: guesses. You may be referring to quantum mechanics concerning breaking down into smaller causative units and I won't even pretend to understand enough about that, but I wasn't aware that 'causation' was being called into question as an implication of that. There's a difference between not understanding how one thing causes another as opposed to questioning whether it was actually caused.

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It actually is not the only compatible theory, or even the best; it's simply the one that best fits naturalism/scientism.

What is this best theory then? It's not just 'simply' that evolution best fits naturalism, it's that there is no evidence of anything besides nature. Regardless, how has the fact that there is a better theory eluded the multitude of religious scientists and biologists? What has this alternative theory better explained than the current theory of evolution? I never really understand this line of argumentation, although it isn't that unusual, because there is nothing preventing any scientist from doing the research and work necessary to develop a better theory (and there are enormous rewards if someone could) under a non-naturalistic framework.

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One of the foundations of Buddhist thinking is causation. They call it karma but it amounts to the same thing (although karma is sometimes taken further than a modern rationalist would). Whatever happens has a prior cause. It is also fundamental to Thomist theology.

But why? All we can say for sure is that every time we have observed A, soon after B happens, so we infer that A cause B. Is that acceptable? For practical purposes, yes, we can have high certainty that if we have tried something often enough and never seen an exception, then there is a causal connection.

This assumption seems to be wired into us. People just don't accept the idea that it is not logical but just empirical -- this assumption that two events are causally related. (Of course we sometimes identify false causal relationships -- a third independent cause or something like that, but these are just compications -- the concept remains).

Clearly this is how the universe, at least for things in our general range of size, works. It is the basis of scientific "laws."

I don't like philosophy name-dropping, but in this case I kinda have to so people won't think I'm claiming this as my idea; Hume pointed all this out ages ago. That two things happening in this sort of way that we identify as causal really is our interpretation, what we assign to it, and it might as well be sheer magic.

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The vast majority of Christians couldn't even tell you in what order the God they worship created the universe, as written in the book their religion is based on.

I guess you don't need to know these trivial things to call yourself a Christian.

That's certainly true as well.

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It actually is not the only compatible theory, or even the best; it's simply the one that best fits naturalism/scientism.

No, it's the only compatible theory we have at the moment. It explains the fossil records, it explains genetic transmission and uses genetic mutation as a means for adaptation. A theory must reflect fossil records, it must explain adaptation and it must use genetic transmission. Competing theories claim one or more of these don't exist.

Heck, there isn't even just ONE theory of descent from a common ancestor, there are several; so which one are you referring to? Neo Darwinism? punctuated equilibrium?

The one I stated in the previous paragraph.

If we were to find a starship buried under tons of dirt, we would NOT assume it was a natural construct, we would assume it had been designed and constructed by intelligent beings. The fact we did not know who these beings were or how they had done it would in no way invalidate the obvious observation that it was the result of intelligent, purposeful design. But somehow, although what that first life form was, or how it came to be is "not covered" and not needed for the "theory of descent from a common ancestor" it is somehow integral to know who the designer was. That is not a scientific requirement, it is a religious requirement.

Your hypothetical example has nothing to do with evolution.

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Posted (edited)

We found that only 11 percent of Americans belong to religions openly rejecting evolution or our Big Bang.

According to a 2008 Gallup poll, 44% of Americans believe "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so."

There is no conflict between science and religion. There is a conflict between the religion of evolution and other religions.

Cosmology, geology, plate tectonics, biology, and astronomy all disprove God, not just evolution. And evolution isn't a religion, it's a scientific theory. It's easy to mistake passion for evidence and fundamentalism, though, even though one will never change their mind.

Edited by SUPERSquatch
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According to a 2008 Gallup poll, 44% of Americans believe "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so."

Good news! As of last year it's up slightly to 46%.

Once they get a majority, we can finally outlaw that satanic Theory of Evolution which is turning good kids against God!

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Good news! As of last year it's up slightly to 46%.

Once they get a majority, we can finally outlaw that satanic Theory of Evolution which is turning good kids against God!

Oh dear god... It might just be possible. I will move from this country if that day comes.

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Oh dear god... It might just be possible. I will move from this country if that day comes.

I love it when people from Europe visit America for the first time. They only know America from the movies and television shows which are full of educated characters. They are shocked to find that a large percentage of Americans are only vaguely aware of how science works and some even have a poor opinion of it, yet they use computers, cell phones and high definition televisions like they came out of nowhere.

A shocking number of Americans believe that the Theory of Evolution has been entirely rejected in academia and is on the garbage pile with ether waves and bloodletting. In the 80's a lot of high schools didn't teach Evolution. They just avoided the topic completely. I thought that things had improved but that 2012 Gallup poll suggests things haven't changed at all.

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I feel that religion in fact our (man kind) first attempt at science. It's basically a hypothesis. The problem is its a hypothesis that can never be truly tested. It can never become a scientific theory.

Well you all look trough science googles. Religion try to answer question why? and science on question how?

When you look on religion you must to move from Temple of Darwinism.

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It's easy to forget that the vast majority of Christians embrace science, evolution, the Big Bang, etc. etc. It's only a small percentage of fringe young earth types that don't and unfortunately they get most of the press on these issues.

I've lived and worked in college towns most of my life and anytime I was in a church I would always see many faculty members from the sciences in attendance.

Like they missed something.

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I love it when people from Europe visit America for the first time. They only know America from the movies and television shows which are full of educated characters. They are shocked to find that a large percentage of Americans are only vaguely aware of how science works and some even have a poor opinion of it, yet they use computers, cell phones and high definition televisions like they came out of nowhere.

A shocking number of Americans believe that the Theory of Evolution has been entirely rejected in academia and is on the garbage pile with ether waves and bloodletting. In the 80's a lot of high schools didn't teach Evolution. They just avoided the topic completely. I thought that things had improved but that 2012 Gallup poll suggests things haven't changed at all.

Really? I must live in an isolated suburb because it dosnt seem like that here. Even my jr. High kids seem to be pretty well aware.

Edited by White Crane Feather

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