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crookedspiral

Atheism is incompatible with science

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Doug1o29
13 hours ago, Habitat said:

As I say, a few more pieces added to a large jigsaw puzzle, but how does that offer insight onto the existence of the jigsaw puzzle ? That is somehow does, or will, is a faith, and we are told by such people (those that think science is closing in on a "complete understanding") that faith is not good enough. I think it more akin to madness to have such a faith.

I think science is "closing in" on some aspects of the psyche that may aid in understanding how god is created in the human mind and/or direction in the universe.  Whatever science learns about "god," is going to differ so much from traditional concepts that one could make a good case that those are not the same things.

Doug

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Habitat
8 minutes ago, eight bits said:

He was every inch a middle European bourgeois gentleman, so usually conspicuously modest in his personal statements.

There is every reason to believe that had he ever given up physics (or, stayed with physics, but like Richard Feyman, been more of an extrovert), he could have made his way in the world as a scholarly commentator on Spinoza. You see glimpses of it in his letters, and it's in the background of some of his essays on "Spinozan" subjects. Privately, he studied Spinoza from adolescence through old age, and most would acknowledge that he was an unusually intelligent fellow.

So, yeah, I'd put money on Einstein's having more than the usual level of insight into Spinoza, and thus without apology, I'd be keen to learn Einstein's slant on anything Spinoza may have written about.

I think Einstein told someone who asked him about God and religion ( I can imagine people probably drove him mad asking) that if there was a God he might believe in, it would be Spinoza's God.

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onlookerofmayhem
2 hours ago, eight bits said:

@onlookerofmayhemseriously, Einstein's views on God are way, way out of Wikipedia's depth.

I didn't say it was a definitive solution to the subject.

It seems there were two opposite ideas about what Einstein's personal beliefs were.

As stated on the wiki page, 

4 hours ago, onlookerofmayhem said:

Albert Einstein's religious views have been widely studied and often misunderstood.[1]

I posted it because it links to other sources pertaining to the subject and highlights the fact that without having Einstein himself to answer our questions, it is difficult to pin down the "real" answer.

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jmccr8
Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

The interesting thing is that, given his failure to clarify his beliefs precisely or absolutely

Hi Walker

Why do you think that he failed to clarify something that was his own business and not within the scope of his work? Maybe some parts of people's lives are personal and not open to discussion by him?

jmccr8

Edited by jmccr8
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eight bits
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, onlookerofmayhem said:

I posted it because it links to other sources pertaining to the subject and highlights the fact that without having Einstein himself to answer our questions, it is difficult to pin down the "real" answer.

I think he was fairly articulate on the subject. There's a certain amount of wishful thinking and bull shfting, on both sides.

For the God squad, there is the myth of his schoolboy confounding of an atheist teacher (well, he was an observant Jew as a schoolboy, but the rest of the story is made up). Then, for the Godless, there is the simple manufacturing of false evidence in connection with the fantasy translation of his German-language letter to Gutkind, pimped to the world by the Guardian newspaper (with a false attribution to a woman whose name just happened to be the same as one of the leading German-to-English academic translators in the world during her lifetime).

And then there's sloth. Believe it or not, with a prominent partial exception (Die Welt), much of the German press picked up the Guardian story and rather than simply transcribe Einstein's original German, they translated the fake English into German and attributed that to Einstein. Richard Dawkins hardly did any better. With the actual letter made available to him, he didn't translate it accurately (at least once, in connection with the failed 2012 offering, and probably earlier ahead of the 2008 sale, unless he bid on it and didn't arrange to see it).

Although press performance was better for the recent 2018 sale (Christie's does good work, and showed great care in its choice of transcription), some English-language outlets were still using the Guardian rewrite.

As Habbie remembers, Einstein, after his work had been characterized as atheistic by a prominent cleric, received a query from an American rabbi, along with a pre-paid 50-word telegraphic reply voucher. Einstein's reply seems admirably clear, and didn't use up his allowance:

Quote

Q: Do you believe in God?

A: I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals himself in the lawful harmony of all that exists, but not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.

The only "wiggle room" in that is the usual All England Summarized Proust version of Spinoza is that (supposedly) God is Nature, rather than a "who" revealed in its lawful harmony. and who is a personal pronoun, where that might be more accurate, although the usage is obviously standard English as written.

Wiggle at will; I think it's as clear as any credo I've read from anybody. Einstein did give a follow-up interview where some of the questions were about the incident; the pertinent parts are in the resource whose link I gave earlier.

Edited by eight bits
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ShadowSot
5 hours ago, eight bits said:

I don't know about "most." It seems to me that there are theists on both sides of the question. The most prominent "accuser" I can think of from his lifetime was the Roman Catholic archbishop of Boston. But many times here on the web I've seen theists claiming Einstein as one of their own; I've even discussed how to respond to such claims with fellow unbelievers. And of course there is the broader question of whether deists are "really" theists. Hmm. When Antony Flew came out as deist, God squadders flocked around him. Some did express regret that he didn't go all the way to embrace their own specific religion (some form of Protestantism), but seemed confident that to the extent that Flew ever was an atheist, he was no longer that.

Any one sentence of the preceding paragraph could be a thread topic in itself, and a few of them have been here at UM.

First, I know I'm being pedantic. 

 I think there's a difference between religious pundits and religious believers. Pundits will take whatever win they get, however they spin it. 

 Take Flew, putting aside the various things that were written at the time, they presented him as agreeing with the theists readers and viewers. 

 But really he thought they were still wrong and disagreed with their faith. 

 

 I've talked with a lot of believers, and back when I held deistic views they just decided I was an atheist. 

Einstein seemed to kndicate by the end of his life that he didn't see God, if he existed, as a being at all concerned with humans and not seperate from the universe itself. Flew too didn't get anywhere near Christian faith. 

 Both, in my often foolish opinion, seemed add God in places he's not really necessary. 

 I'm Einstein case despite reading up on it I don't see a difference except an added sense of spiritualism. Not knocking that, but at the same time he never really went into his beliefs. So it just seems like a bingo point for discussions. 

Flew was convinced of a deistic viewpoint, but I'm a bit iffy on near death conversions. Especially one that came late in life over arguments he didn't accept when he was younger and fitter. 

My point was Mary Scweitzer is an Evangelical Christian who's also a respected paleontologist who's famous for finding preserved soft tissue in dinosaur fossils. 

 

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eight bits

Einstein was young when he discovered Spinoza, and that would cover "he didn't see God, if he existed, as a being at all concerned with humans and not seperate from the universe itself." What may have been late-in-life for him is the realization that there are highly ordered, regular things that are that way because of logical necessity (number theory, or nowadays, the eerie "babies' behinds" of the Mandelbrot set - almost the same shape, but each subtly different) and so maybe the "lawful harmony of all that exists" is similarly inevitable, not something "put there" by an intelligent power.

Flew is really complicated. After he retired,  he pursued debating apologists as a hobby. He got to be friends with some of them, despite their differences, but later on, some of those "friends" exploited him as his powers waned because of the progressive dementia. That's the book fiasco. His adoption of deism, however, was set in motion well before he died, when he really wasn't much impaired. There really was a flaw or gap in the reasoning of his signature (and much reprinted) short analysis of the "gardener problem." What the flaw allowed for was pretty much exactly a deist god. What impelled him to embrace that solution was a combination of "fine tuning" in physics and "evolutionary biology doesn't explain the rise of the first replicating life form."

That's all coherent, not that anybody has to agree, but it wasn't the dementia talking. The book deal? Maybe dementia played a role. Anyway, by the time he was promoting the book, well, I've seen video. He was in and out. By the time he died, he was institutionalized. I think the book affair was a case of "with friends like those, he didn't need enemies."

4 hours ago, ShadowSot said:

My point was Mary Scweitzer is an Evangelical Christian who's also a respected paleontologist who's famous for finding preserved soft tissue in dinosaur fossils. 

I'm OK with there being no religious test for participation in science. But "Christians against Dinosaurs" was a hoax, so at least based on what you've said so far, there's nothing surprising that somebody could be both a paleotologist (Big Paleo, lol) and also a conservative Protestant.

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Mr Walker
10 hours ago, jmccr8 said:

Hi Walker

Why do you think that he failed to clarify something that was his own business and not within the scope of his work? Maybe some parts of people's lives are personal and not open to discussion by him?

jmccr8

It becomes interesting only  because, in failing to do so, he enables  all forms of believers/disbelievers to claim him as a champion.

  I respect his right to privacy but i don't think that was what kept him quiet ( although lt It is possible that he  knew his inner beliefs would be unpopular among his peers. and so never explained them.) 

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jmccr8
8 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

It becomes interesting only  because, in failing to do so, he enables  all forms of believers/disbelievers to claim him as a champion.

Hi Walker

I can't say why he did what he did and really why would he care, he did what he set out to do. My clients don't care what my beliefs are when I come to fix/remodel their homes even though some do thank god that they found me to do the work they asked for.

11 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

  I respect his right to privacy but i don't think that was what kept him quiet ( although lt It is possible that he  knew his inner beliefs would be unpopular among his peers. and so never explained them.) 

Great then he didn't fail, he respected his privacy.

jmccr8

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ShadowSot
6 hours ago, eight bits said:

Einstein was young when he discovered Spinoza, and that would cover "he didn't see God, if he existed, as a being at all concerned with humans and not seperate from the universe itself." What may have been late-in-life for him is the realization that there are highly ordered, regular things that are that way because of logical necessity (number theory, or nowadays, the eerie "babies' behinds" of the Mandelbrot set - almost the same shape, but each subtly different) and so maybe the "lawful harmony of all that exists" is similarly inevitable, not something "put there" by an intelligent power.

Flew is really complicated. After he retired,  he pursued debating apologists as a hobby. He got to be friends with some of them, despite their differences, but later on, some of those "friends" exploited him as his powers waned because of the progressive dementia. That's the book fiasco. His adoption of deism, however, was set in motion well before he died, when he really wasn't much impaired. There really was a flaw or gap in the reasoning of his signature (and much reprinted) short analysis of the "gardener problem." What the flaw allowed for was pretty much exactly a deist god. What impelled him to embrace that solution was a combination of "fine tuning" in physics and "evolutionary biology doesn't explain the rise of the first replicating life form."

That's all coherent, not that anybody has to agree, but it wasn't the dementia talking. The book deal? Maybe dementia played a role. Anyway, by the time he was promoting the book, well, I've seen video. He was in and out. By the time he died, he was institutionalized. I think the book affair was a case of "with friends like those, he didn't need enemies."

Thing is, both the fine tuning argument and the origin of life are both pretty solid scientific concepts that don't require a God explanation. The first is either covered by "we don't know the answer yet" or has various explanations in theoretical physics. While the later is the still new field of abiogensis that has still turned out promising work, some even more so than originally expected. 

 I forget the name of the experiment now, where the scientist incorrectly set up the experiment based off of a faulty understanding of early earth, but once discounted it now shows that life's foundation blocks form under a variety of circumstances. 

 While self replicating compounds, spontaneous rna generation and recreation of simple cell membranes show the components would form naturally. 

Both in short are covered by we don't have a certain answer yet.

 I wasn't aware of Flew beforehand, which I do find a bit surprising as I jumped into atheist literature, writing, and such when I found the online prescense. 

 But it does seem a weak conversion for someone like that. 

6 hours ago, eight bits said:

I'm OK with there being no religious test for participation in science. But "Christians against Dinosaurs" was a hoax, so at least based on what you've said so far, there's nothing surprising that somebody could be both a paleotologist (Big Paleo, lol) and also a conservative Protestant.

Christians against Dinosaurs was, but Ken Ham, Kent and David Hovind, Sye Bruggencate and their ilk and their followers show that there is a bias against basic science. 

 I saw this taking Bio in college, evolution was skipped through so as not to touch religious beliefs and so the class wouldn't get bogged down. 

 The closest you have on a secular format is Ancient Aliens and Lost Civilizations, but I've found more and more it's surprisingly intertwined with religion. 

 So I'd add to it that while you can practice good science and be a conservative protestant (and I have met those who see it as exploring God's creation) it does make it less likely. 

 A large chunk of those who do take the science at face value still suppose a special creation event for humans, for example. 

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ShadowSot
1 hour ago, jmccr8 said:

Hi Walker

I can't say why he did what he did and really why would he care, he did what he set out to do. My clients don't care what my beliefs are when I come to fix/remodel their homes even though some do thank god that they found me to do the work they asked for.

Great then he didn't fail, he respected his privacy.

jmccr8

Seeing as he died in the fifties, having a religious belief probably wouldn't have been a problem. 

 He'd have had more issues being a Jew than a theist. 

Or being a deist, for that matter. 

Though he'd have also tried to be a bit more faithful, and probably remembered his pants more often, if he was that concerned. 

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jmccr8
5 minutes ago, ShadowSot said:

Seeing as he died in the fifties, having a religious belief probably wouldn't have been a problem. 

 He'd have had more issues being a Jew than a theist. 

Or being a deist, for that matter. 

Though he'd have also tried to be a bit more faithful, and probably remembered his pants more often, if he was that concerned. 

Hi ShadowSot

Agreed but for some reason, his personal beliefs as seen by some at current and how that reflects on what he brought to the table, his work and his work have had a significant impact on how we advanced and to the best of my knowledge his work had nothing to do with god. Oh well.:lol:

jmccr8

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ShadowSot
1 hour ago, jmccr8 said:

Hi ShadowSot

Agreed but for some reason, his personal beliefs as seen by some at current and how that reflects on what he brought to the table, his work and his work have had a significant impact on how we advanced and to the best of my knowledge his work had nothing to do with god. Oh well.:lol:

jmccr8

It's the Big Name problem. 

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psyche101
On 3/26/2019 at 9:33 AM, Habitat said:

As I say, a few more pieces added to a large jigsaw puzzle, but how does that offer insight onto the existence of the jigsaw puzzle ? That is somehow does, or will, is a faith, and we are told by such people (those that think science is closing in on a "complete understanding") that faith is not good enough. I think it more akin to madness to have such a faith.

Its not a few more pieces, these are the final pieces that would allow unification. It might be prudent to familiarise yourself with the scientific theory before dismissing it? I honestly get the feeling that you don't grasp the immensity of this discovery. As I said, it would do to creation what evolution did to Adam and Eve. 

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Habitat
2 minutes ago, psyche101 said:

Its not a few more pieces, these are the final pieces that would allow unification. It might be prudent to familiarise yourself with the scientific theory before dismissing it? I honestly get the feeling that you don't grasp the immensity of this discovery. As I said, it would do to creation what evolution did to Adam and Eve. 

You seem to be seeing something that the world of science isn't.

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psyche101
1 hour ago, Habitat said:

You seem to be seeing something that the world of science isn't.

No, its been described like that by people smarter than I. You do understand that virtual particles give us 'something from nothing' and answer the question of existance? They have a causal role with regards to everything in the universe. 

Might be a good idea to hop over to YouTube and watch some Lawrence Krauss? 

 

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Habitat
Just now, psyche101 said:

No, its been described like that by people smarter than I. You do understand that virtual particles give us 'something from nothing' and answer the question of existance? They have a causal role with regards to everything in the universe. 

Might be a good idea to hop over to YouTube and watch some Lawrence Krauss? 

 

I don't think so, so the answer to existence, appears then, to be nothing ? Nothing gives us something ?

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eight bits
Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, ShadowSot said:

Thing is, both the fine tuning argument and the origin of life are both pretty solid scientific concepts that don't require a God explanation.

Yeah, but the issue is how much of Flew's changing his answer to the Question of God ("QoG") was pathological, and how much was rational.

Flew's conviction was the result of a fancy bit of reasoning in the "gardener" analysis expanding his hypothesis set (there is a limit to how impaired he could possibly have been just then to see this flaw, and to see it after all those years when he'd been healthy and hadn't seen it). Only then did these evidentiary considerations loom large, fitting the resulting new-to-Flew hypothesis so well.

I don't have to follow him down the rabbit hole to conclude that his going that way wasn't evidence of dementia. There was other, later, and compelling evidence of progressive dementia (i.e., consistent with his not having been much impaired at the time the tide first turned in his thinking about QoG, but profoundly impaired some years later when his "friends" made a spectacle of him).

5 hours ago, ShadowSot said:

Christians against Dinosaurs was, but Ken Ham, Kent and David Hovind, Sye Bruggencate and their ilk and their followers show that there is a bias against basic science. 

Yeah, and that's why Christians against Dinosuars was funny for a while - we all knew what the joke was getting at, even if it was a caricature, and as such, it was unrepresentative of actual beliefs prevalent among conservative Protestants.

I think what Schweitzer does in the lab is way cool, and so is her story (all of it, not just the religion part, but the vocational redirection, "down home" family life and such). For the topic, however, she's neither an example nor a counterexample of what was claimed about atheists (because she isn't one). She is however an example of the larger truth which refutes what was claimed: that science works regardless of the scientists' personal opinions about other things.

Amen.

5 hours ago, ShadowSot said:

 So I'd add to it that while you can practice good science and be a conservative protestant (and I have met those who see it as exploring God's creation) it does make it less likely. 

 A large chunk of those who do take the science at face value still suppose a special creation event for humans, for example. 

My understanding is that Schweitzer does view her work as "exploring God's creation." So, given that that is a coherent position, how does being a conservative Protestant make personal scientific achievement less likely? Perhaps you don't mean a causal claim there ("make"), but only a correlation (less education coincides with less sophsticated forms of religion, perhaps). And she works with non-human fossils, so her views about the origin of a species which she doesn't work with are (so far as I can see) irrelevant.

Edited by eight bits
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ShadowSot
48 minutes ago, eight bits said:

Yeah, but the issue is how much of Flew's changing his answer to the Question of God ("QoG") was pathological, and how much was rational.

Flew's conviction was the result of a fancy bit of reasoning in the "gardener" analysis expanding his hypothesis set (there is a limit to how impaired he could possibly have been just then to see this flaw, and to see it after all those years when he'd been healthy and hadn't seen it). Only then did these evidentiary considerations loom large, fitting the resulting new-to-Flew hypothesis so well.

I don't have to follow him down the rabbit hole to conclude that his going that way wasn't evidence of dementia. There was other, later, and compelling evidence of progressive dementia (i.e., consistent with his not having been much impaired at the time the tide first turned in his thinking about QoG, but profoundly impaired some years later when his "friends" made a spectacle of him).

Wouldn't take profound imparement, my struggle is knowing people who do regularly debate apologists these seem really weak issues that I know both come up regularly and don't take much effort to gain a suitable answer. I am not however a philosopher. 

50 minutes ago, eight bits said:

Yeah, and that's why Christians against Dinosuars was funny for a while - we all knew what the joke was getting at, even if it was a caricature, and as such, it was unrepresentative of actual beliefs prevalent among conservative Protestants.

I think what Schweitzer does in the lab is way cool, and so is her story (all of it, not just the religion part, but the vocational redirection, "down home" family life and such). For the topic, however, she's neither an example nor a counterexample of what was claimed about atheists (because she isn't one). She is however an example of the larger truth which refutes what was claimed: that science works regardless of the scientists' personal opinions about other things.

Amen.

Sticking to conservative Protestantismo is a bit narrow, but my personal experience with the churches I visited showed it to be more common than exception. 

 It does tend to, and enjoyably to me theories made sometimes outshine the person making them. Newtons theory of gravity for example.

53 minutes ago, eight bits said:

My understanding is that Schweitzer does view her work as "exploring God's creation." So, given that that is a coherent position, how does being a conservative Protestant make personal scientific achievement less likely? Perhaps you don't mean a causal claim there ("make"), but only a correlation (less education coincides with less sophsticated forms of religion, perhaps). And she works with non-human fossils, so her views about the origin of a species which she doesn't work with are (so far as I can see) irrelevant.

Edited 40 minutes ago by eight bits

 I specifically mentioned exploring God's creation as a counter example where it would work inside the belief system. It doesn't always hold true, however as exploring God's creation can also mean through the lens of Biblical literalism. If they make the exemption of strictly examining creation and weighing the evidence where it is, then that's not a barrier. 

You focused on protestantism, I'm not sure why unless it's due to my example. 

On general, if I were to approach someone who claimed to have a conservative or fundamentalist Christian faith in the US, I can usually make good odds they're a subscriber to some form of Creationism, with that faith being intrinsic to their personal faith. 

On that sense, I do see that sort of faith as a barrier to good scientific practice. Though not necessarily in all fields. I know a very good cytologist who's a yec, for example. Though he only worked in identifying cancer, which he tied to God's punishments. 

 That belief would make, and did make him fairly useless at studying how to treat cancer, and his preventative ideas likewise were faulty. 

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eight bits
24 minutes ago, ShadowSot said:

Wouldn't take profound imparement

But it isn't evidence of any impairment. Rational people disagree all the time about the bearing of individual arguments and individual observations on still unresolved questions. I know that Flew was impaired sometime later, and I know that it got worse before he died. I can thus infer that his dementia was a progressive kind, and so therefore probably was not zero at the time in question.

However, that Flew made a clever inference about a subtle problem, articulated the finding clearly, and soon after that adjusted his public stance on a related matter in a defensible direction doesn't corroborate that non-zero inferred assesment. Nor does it rebut the assessment. I'd conclude something like "90% of what Flew started out with is shrewder than 100% of what most other people ever have." So, yeah, when he came out for deism he was "10% off" his personal best. So am I some days.Then years later, it's more like 50% off, at which point, he's at the mercy of his "friends," and finally by the time he died, he was just plain off.

46 minutes ago, ShadowSot said:

I specifically mentioned exploring God's creation as a counter example where it would work inside the belief system. It doesn't always hold true, however as exploring God's creation can also mean through the lens of Biblical literalism.

So then perhaps we agree. The problem is dogmatism, and then only when the dogmatism has something to do with what's being investigated. So, dogmatism about sports, or politics, or religion may be undesirable, but not because a devout Muslim MAGA-publican Red Sox fan can't be a productive neurophysiologist.

55 minutes ago, ShadowSot said:

That belief would make, and did make him fairly useless at studying how to treat cancer, and his preventative ideas likewise were faulty. 

I can accept (and it would follow from what I just said) that dogmatism of any kind is personally limiting, at least in principle. Then again, so is every attribute a mixed bag. Also, no prize for noticing that people do the right thing for the wrong reason (your choice of who gets to say what's right and wrong). The rise of Protestantism has a lot to do with the near-universal prevalence of reading literacy in the developed world, but the wellspring for that improvement was that everybody ought to be reading the Bible.

It's just our good fortune that some folks decided to read Bible commentaries as well, and discovered Thomas Paine.

 

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ShadowSot
4 minutes ago, eight bits said:

But it isn't evidence of any impairment. Rational people disagree all the time about the bearing of individual arguments and individual observations on still unresolved questions. I know that Flew was impaired sometime later, and I know that it got worse before he died. I can thus infer that his dementia was a progressive kind, and so therefore probably was not zero at the time in question.

However, that Flew made a clever inference about a subtle problem, articulated the finding clearly, and soon after that adjusted his public stance on a related matter in a defensible direction doesn't corroborate that non-zero inferred assesment. Nor does it rebut the assessment. I'd conclude something like "90% of what Flew started out with is shrewder than 100% of what most other people ever have." So, yeah, when he came out for deism he was "10% off" his personal best. So am I some days.Then years later, it's more like 50% off, at which point, he's at the mercy of his "friends," and finally by the time he died, he was just plain off.

So then perhaps we agree. The problem is dogmatism, and then only when the dogmatism has something to do with what's being investigated. So, dogmatism about sports, or politics, or religion may be undesirable, but not because a devout Muslim MAGA-publican Red Sox fan can't be a productive neurophysiologist.

I can accept (and it would follow from what I just said) that dogmatism of any kind is personally limiting, at least in principle. Then again, so is every attribute a mixed bag. Also, no prize for noticing that people do the right thing for the wrong reason (your choice of who gets to say what's right and wrong). The rise of Protestantism has a lot to do with the near-universal prevalence of reading literacy in the developed world, but the wellspring for that improvement was that everybody ought to be reading the Bible.

It's just our good fortune that some folks decided to read Bible commentaries as well, and discovered Thomas Paine.

 

Eh? I didn't make a value right or wrong statement. The fellows inability to accept that mutations also made beneficial adaption possible meant he could not successfully produce a treatment of cancer and had issues implementing known treatments as one of the problems of treating it is the disease adapts to the treatment used. 

 His disbelief solidly blocked his ability to go further and he remained only looking for signs of cancer in samples. 

I can agree religion can give benefit to society, that's not really a problem. And yes dogmatismos in other places play a roll as well. But we were talking about religion, and religion does tend to present a the largest single grouping that blocks certain areas of science. 

 You seem to be trying to be trying to excuse protestants from this, but branches of it aren't any more free of it than any other. 

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Habitat

Rather amusing discussion really, that people insist religion  holds back science, I wouldn't be so sure, when we look at someone like perhaps the greatest of all scientists Newton. He was immersed in religion, but it seems not to have retarded his work. Some might say, think how much more he might have achieved without his God-bothering propensities, but I think I already know the answer to that.  Trying to imagine him without his  religious curiosity, no, he'd have been someone else, and you'd have never heard of him. We might even say, thank God he  was the way he was, because if he wasn't, no-one alive today would ever have lived.

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ShadowSot
30 minutes ago, Habitat said:

Rather amusing discussion really, that people insist religion  holds back science, I wouldn't be so sure, when we look at someone like perhaps the greatest of all scientists Newton. He was immersed in religion, but it seems not to have retarded his work. Some might say, think how much more he might have achieved without his God-bothering propensities, but I think I already know the answer to that.  Trying to imagine him without his  religious curiosity, no, he'd have been someone else, and you'd have never heard of him. We might even say, thank God he  was the way he was, because if he wasn't, no-one alive today would ever have lived.

Newton also did some weird stuff with alchemy. Seriously, he was an interesting fellow. 

He was religious, but he certainly didn't fit the mold of the day. 

Though you give him a bit too much credit for lives brought about. He seems to have made an effort to squash a more successful version of calculus and as we see in history the same ideas repeat from different minds. 

 By the same token, religion intertwining with medical practice led to stagnation after hippocrates. 

 The examples I gave above spell out that religious belief doesn't necessarily impact scientific work, but it also certainly can. 

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eight bits
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, ShadowSot said:

You seem to be trying to be trying to excuse protestants from this, but branches of it aren't any more free of it than any other. 

I'm not trying to excuse anybody from anything. That's Jesus's job :) I happily cop to being libertarian in outlook, and I think of religion in general as a private matter unless somebody makes theirs my business, and even then, "private" doesn't mean "in secret." (It does, however, mean not in science class on the taxpayers' dime.)

I don't know the case of the specific cancer worker, except what you've described. As I understood your description, he was good at some aspects of cancer management (detection) and poor at others (prevention and treatment), the latter deficiency because of some conflict with his beliefs about cancer being a punishment from God, and now something about misunderstanding mutations. To which I proposed we might agree that dogmatism is the problem (a problem?) and personally limiting (as in, he can do some things well and other related things not at all).

There's really no deal to be made there? I can live with that, but I don't see why, and I don't see any on-topic concern beyond that. He'd be a better person, and a more versatile employee, if he weren't dogmatic (or were dogmatic about other subjects instead).

OK, but that's not Protestantism, that's him. Atheism wouldn't fairly be judged by what it stupidest adherents do, even if they wrap their behavior in some "atheistic" rationale. Anecdotes, about the godly or about the godless, are anecdotes.

On a point arising,

1 hour ago, ShadowSot said:

He seems to have made an effort to squash a more successful version of calculus and as we see in history the same ideas repeat from different minds. 

That wasn't Newton personally beyond a most routine occurrence in scholarship: he insisted on his priority over Leibniz in calculus. They were neck and neck. Far and away, Leibniz' notation was superior for making the operations syntactical (easy to read, write and apply), a virtue that maybe wasn't immediately appreciated in the UK.

Now that they're both dead, let's just give 'em both a participation trophy and move on :)

ETA Oh yeah, the wooly stuff Habbie likes. Meh, alchemy got him into the lab, not a bad thing for a theoretician, and um, I can't recall his signature contribution to chemistry. He was a first class instrument maker, though, and the time in the alchemy lab may have helped there. And hey, there are people who love indigo, the "spectral color" between blue and violet that nobody else can see in there, but he could because there had to be seven.

As to the unitarianism, that was a practical problem because it was illegal for a government office holder (and so if it had gotten out, we'd never have gotten those ridges on coin edges that he invented as CEO of the mint). It is true that his theoretical Biblical analysis consumed a lot of time, but it's really impossible to know whether it impeded his progress on more earthly concerns. Maybe it was either that or knitting tea cozies as a hobby. We all need a hobby, lol.

 

Edited by eight bits
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Piney
3 hours ago, Habitat said:

Rather amusing discussion really, that people insist religion  holds back science, I wouldn't be so sure, when we look at someone like perhaps the greatest of all scientists Newton. He was immersed in religion, but it seems not to have retarded his work. Some might say, think how much more he might have achieved without his God-bothering propensities, but I think I already know the answer to that.  Trying to imagine him without his  religious curiosity, no, he'd have been someone else, and you'd have never heard of him. We might even say, thank God he  was the way he was, because if he wasn't, no-one alive today would ever have lived.

The Jesuits are some of the finest medical and scientific researchers in the world. Many of them work along with Max Planck.

https://www.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/event/jesuit-science-network

 

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