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Normandy6644
2003-Oct-03, 02:07 PM
This is kind of a stem from the "A little advice" thread, but it seemed somewhat off topic so I started a new one. In my philosophy class we were discussing some theories and such and my teacher used evolution as an example of a scientific truth. One of the guys in my class prompty pointed out that science has its own motives to sway the opinion of the public, that frequently data are misused and even altered to promote a so-called "scientific agenda." He also believes that science is biased against all forms of religion and acts as though they are enemies.

Now, I know that science does essentially none of the above, nor do scientists consider religion the "enemy." Nonetheless, how does one argue this, or does it make no sense to even try if a person has these kinds of preconceived notions about a subject in his or her head. A quote I've heard is that "you can't reason someone out of a belief that they haven't been reasoned into." Opinions?

Betenoire
2003-Oct-03, 02:25 PM
Find a scientist with religion and have them talk?
I expect that most people who view scientists as agents of satan haven't actually met a scientist. They've only heard them described by the ideologues who benefit from villifying the scientists.

My grandfather was a racist growing up, not because he hated blacks but because all he knew of them was the sort of early 1900s white rural attitude towards blacks. Then he met a black person and realized he was wrong.

Maybe all we need to do is meet people and, instead of trying to convert them, just find out about each other.

Cougar
2003-Oct-03, 03:33 PM
....how does one argue this, or does it make no sense to even try if a person has these kinds of preconceived notions about a subject in his or her head.

Oh, I think it makes sense to argue against such misinformation, especially in a classroom environment where other students may not have established opinions about such things. Arguing may have little effect on the person in question, but it may have an effect on others who are listening. I think it's important to oppose claims that "science has its own motives to sway the opinion of the public, that frequently data are misused and even altered to promote a so-called "scientific agenda" and that "science is biased against all forms of religion and acts as though they are enemies." Since this fellow is simply making assertions without supporting evidence, I think you're justified in doing the same, asserting that science has no such "motives", no such "agenda," and especially that it's not "biased against all forms of religion." If he wants to prolong the debate, I'm sure you'll be able to quite capably point out his errors. :)

Betenoire's suggestions are also excellent.

mr. show
2003-Oct-03, 03:39 PM
it's a simple matter of belief vs. logic

oftentimes the two do not equate

russ_watters
2003-Oct-03, 03:42 PM
One of the guys in my class prompty pointed out that science has its own motives to sway the opinion of the public, that frequently data are misused and even altered to promote a so-called "scientific agenda." He also believes that science is biased against all forms of religion and acts as though they are enemies....

Opinions? The real attitude of science may even be more infuriating to a super-religious person: science (for the most part) simply doesn't care what religion has to say about its theories. Its infuriating because there is nothing worse than having someone you WANT as your enemy ignoring you and treating you like you are irrelevant.

The thing is, the guy is right that individual scientists often have their own adjendas, misuse data, etc., but thats better than the religious version, which has a dogmatic requirement to always be right, no questions asked. The trial-and-error process by which science works is the main thing thats great about it and bad scientists are generally weeded out rather quickly in a Darwinian (ironically) process. Pons and Fleishman for example: their credentials were such that they couldn't be ignored by the scientific community - but they were quickly revealed as bad scientists and/or frauds when their experiment was investigated. Their exposure STRENGTHENED the integrity of the scientific community/process.

Another approch is to ask: what is science's adjenda and who controls it? Unless there is a governing body that no one knows about (Stonecutters, anyone?) the whole adjenda thing is a rediculous claim. Again, science itself isn't an entity and it can't have an adjenda. Only individual scientists can.

gethen
2003-Oct-03, 03:47 PM
You might, if possible, want to move this thread to BABBling. From past experience, I'd say that the BA frowns on discussions of religion vs science, unless it's directly related to astronomy. It does seem to get by on BABBling though. Only posted my own thread here as it was about dealing with some creationist astronomy literature.

ToSeek
2003-Oct-03, 04:08 PM
Fundamentalists often criticize scientists for having a naturalistic viewpoint, i.e., only natural processes are considered when doing science. However, the alternative would be something like "Well, the star exploded because it ran out of hydrogen to fuse - or maybe God just made it explode." "These two chemicals obviously have a strong reaction to each other - or maybe God just decided that they should have such a reaction this one time." Science has to be naturalistic, or it's not science.

zebo-the-fat
2003-Oct-06, 08:58 PM
If God made the universe, whare was he before he made it?

TriangleMan
2003-Oct-06, 09:30 PM
Las Vegas? (at least that's where'd I'd be and since I was made in His image . . .)

Pi Man
2003-Oct-06, 09:51 PM
Believe me... He'll be more than happy to try to convert you...

I can't tell you how many conversations I've had with creationists. A few pieces of advice:

If possible, hold the conversation via e-mail or some other type of communication where you can think out what you're saying without being interrupted, unless you wish for this conversation to be for the benefit of others that may be listening.

Try to back up everything you say with a reputible source. If you can, back up what you're saying with something that he's quoting. (and, believe me, he'll be quoting something. They can't ever really come up with anything new on the spot. Google what he says, even exact phrases that he uses.) Often a creationist book will completely contradict itself. I once read one where it said something like, "Erosion would erode the continents into the ocean, and volcanic activity would produce so much land that there would be no ocean."

Try to make absolutely sure that everything you say is completely valid and true. Any slip of the tongue or slight error in calculation will be evidence that you're wrong in his mind.

Don't let him hog the conversation. Jump in a lot. If you let him speak and then tell him what's wrong with what he said, he'll most likely change the subject.

Feel free to ask us on the board for help. With somebody this stubborn, you'll need it.

If you can't hold the conversation online, come prepared. Read many creationist websites. Read many refutations of creationist claims.

Try to keep the conversation scientific. He sets up a lot of defenses when you start trying to give him theological reasons why he can't be right in his assumptions.

That's all I can think of at the moment. Please, feel free to ask us anything else about him.

SAMU
2003-Oct-07, 02:22 AM
Science and faith are two sides of the same coin. Science is the body of what is understood but not known. Faith is the body of what is known but not understood.

This may sound flipant but it isn't.

First principles of logic asks how you know something is real or not. The student answers "because I see it." Logic answers "But you see dreams and rabbits pulled from hats. They are not real. You see me. How do you know that I am not a dream?" The student logically concedes that he cannot know that what he sees is or is not real but forwards the position that he, or at least his mind, is real "I think therefore I am."(That's where that came from.) Logic asks if you can know whether you are or are not the dream of another. The student agrees that you cannot.

Logic understands that you cannot know anything.

Logic asks how one can procede from that point.

The student procedes from the point where you concede that all you know is mere appearance. You may study the appearance by observing and attempting to understand the rules that apparently operate. We may say that a plant is one foot tall but we must understand that what is meant is that the plant appeares to be one foot tall.

It may seem to be a difference that makes no difference to say that a plant appeares to be a foot tall rather than to say a plant is one foot tall. But it is only by being painstakingly accurate that one can logically procede.

From there came the Greek preocupation with sciences of observation, mathematics and philosophy. They went out and observed, measured and cataloged as much and as accurately as they could.

As their philisophical decendants improved the instruments, mathematics and philosophies of the sciences some of the initial understandings were found to be false. A philosophical change was required in the nature of understanding. That change was to change understanding to interpretation.

In comparing the Ptolomaic system of planets to the Copernican one can see that two incompatible interpretations can be made from the observations made with the instruments available at the time of Galileo. Instruments that were so accurate and, more important, expensive that the practisioners of the sciences had substantial incentive for claiming the correctness, accuracy and political acceptance among their peers of their interpretations of their observations. Galileo was right but it wasn't until Tyco Brahe that an instrument that could make accurate enough measurements to determine which was right was available.

People and civilizations have to make decisions and plans without always having certainty. They can and often, I dare say usually, do go quite far being completely wrong.

They logically procede on the basis of faith. No further understanding or interpretation is neccesary or possible.

Make sense? Good, procede.

wedgebert
2003-Oct-07, 04:42 AM
Not to be insulting or demeaning, but as an atheist, I look at religion as kind of a crutch. It's a way of shifting the blame for events away from themselves, or dealing with their fear of the unknown.

The problems result when science begins to explain some of the things that were previously "unexplainable". Sometimes this can contradict religious beliefs. Instead of taking this as a chance to rethink and adapt their beliefs, they decide to attack science for being anti-religious.

What they fail to realize is that science doesn't care either way about their religion and so can't be for or against it. It's like an elephant that steps on an anthill. The elephant didn't mean to damage the anthill, in fact, it didn't even realize it existed.

Therein lies the problem. How do you fight something that isn't aware you exist?

RickNZ
2003-Oct-07, 05:55 AM
Hes right you know. Religion is the enemy of the free thinkers such as scientists.

Also note that since they have no proof to back up there beliefs they often therefor go after science and its credibility.
Hence your outspoken classmate.

Cougar
2003-Oct-07, 03:15 PM
Science and faith are two sides of the same coin.
No, they are two completely different "games" played in two different arenas on different sides of town.

Science is the body of what is understood but not known. Faith is the body of what is known but not understood.
Say what?

...The student logically concedes that he cannot know that what he sees is or is not real...
And the student receives a D-minus for reaching an invalid conclusion through the misuse of logic.

Logic understands that you cannot know anything.
I know that this is faulty logic.

A philosophical change was required in the nature of understanding. That change was to change understanding to interpretation.
Posmodernism is dead.


"...if all truths are indeed epistemologically relative and have no universal application, then the proposition that all truths are epistemologically relative is itself relative and has no universal application, and we have no reason to accept it."

"The way out of bad science is to find good science, not to ditch science altogether and embrace various forms of opinion mongering that masquerade as knowledge while denying its possibility."

-- Robin Fox, Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University, New Jersey


Actually, modern science has omitted the supernatural for methodological, not philosophical reasons. It is not that scientists have an axe to grind with respect to theism. Rather, we simply get better explanations by ignoring the possibility of supernatural intervention or causation."

"One may come to a philosophical conclusion that there is no God, and even base this philosophical conclusion on one's understanding of science, but it is ultimately a philosophical conclusion, not a scientific one."

-- Dr. Eugenie Scott, National Center for Science Education


In comparing the Ptolomaic system of planets to the Copernican one can see that two incompatible interpretations can be made from the observations...
Yes, but one "interpretation" was correct, while the other was not.


People... logically procede on the basis of faith. No further understanding or interpretation is neccesary or possible.
Thankfully the world is quite different than your view of it.



"...'to believe' means 'to recognize as a truth,' and the knowledge of nature, continually advancing on incontestably safe tracks, has made it utterly impossible for a person possessing some training in natural science to recognize as founded on truth the many reports of extraordinary occurrences contradicting the laws of nature, of miracles which are still commonly regarded as essential supports and confirmations of religious doctrines, and which formerly used to be accepted as facts pure and simple, without doubt or criticism." [Max Planck, Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers]

"What, then, is the meaning of this work of science? Briefly put, it consists in the task of introducing order and regularity into the wealth of heterogeneous experiences conveyed by the various fields of the sense world... Scientific reasoning does not differ from ordinary everyday thinking in kind, but merely in degree of refinement and accuracy... [E]ven scientific logic cannot deduce anything else from given presuppositions than can the ordinary logic of untrained common sense."

A.DIM
2003-Oct-07, 03:25 PM
Whether or not "religion is the enemy", science has been, and will continue to be, misused in order to promote various agendas.
An interesting article from The Scientist (http://www.biomedcentral.com/news/20030813/04).

And Is Science Biased or Balanced? (http://twm.co.nz/sciencebias.htm). It appears there's certain bias in the "western" world of science and scientific journals. Why is this? Do we Americans and Europeans think only we can offer solid scientific research?

And there's this regarding the Peer Review System (http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s102612.htm).

Sorry guys, I'm not dissing science with these and I am in no way a "fundamentalist," but to deny that there exist serious flaws in the "scientific process" is utterly ridiculous. Thusly, the opinion of the student in the philosophy class that science is biased is valid.

Cougar
2003-Oct-07, 04:59 PM
Whether or not "religion is the enemy", science has been, and will continue to be, misused in order to promote various agendas.
That's right. Since science has no value agenda of its own, it is always subject to hijacking by fanaticism or idealism... or by presidents with precious little understanding of science.

I found your linked article Is Science Biased or Balanced? (http://twm.co.nz/sciencebias.htm) to be significantly inaccurate and, uh, biased! The article claimed....

Although scientific journals have often been the source of many important medical and scientific breakthroughs, they are heavily dominated by writings from North America and Europe, while equally relevant research from other nations is virtually non-existent.
Anyone who frequents scientific journals could see that both of the above claims are simply false.


...to deny that there exist serious flaws in the "scientific process" is utterly ridiculous.
Your criticism is off target. There are no flaws in the scientific method. Certain human scientists or journal editors may have flaws. But to claim "science" is flawed because U.S. President Bush twists and distorts scientific findings to fit his misguided agendas is attacking the wrong target.


Thusly, the opinion of the student in the philosophy class that science is biased is valid.
Incorrect, as explained above.

informant
2003-Oct-07, 05:00 PM
This is kind of a stem from the "A little advice" thread, but it seemed somewhat off topic so I started a new one. In my philosophy class we were discussing some theories and such and my teacher used evolution as an example of a scientific truth. One of the guys in my class prompty pointed out that science has its own motives to sway the opinion of the public, that frequently data are misused and even altered to promote a so-called "scientific agenda." He also believes that science is biased against all forms of religion and acts as though they are enemies.

Now, I know that science does essentially none of the above, nor do scientists consider religion the "enemy." Nonetheless, how does one argue this, or does it make no sense to even try if a person has these kinds of preconceived notions about a subject in his or her head. A quote I've heard is that "you can't reason someone out of a belief that they haven't been reasoned into." Opinions?
You were discussing evolution. Why not start with that? Ask him what part of evolution he feels involves "misused data", or "altered data".
Don't let him get away with vague dismissals. Demand specific, concrete examples that you can sink your teeth into.
Because if he's unable to produce them, then he's the one who's altering and misusing data for his own personal agenda.
Also, do your best not to be left with obscure episodes that will take up all your time looking up. Ask him for simple examples that everyone can recognize, if possible.

Here's a good place to check his claims, in case he's got any: The Talk Origins Archive (http://www.talkorigins.org).

A.DIM
2003-Oct-07, 05:26 PM
I found your linked article Is Science Biased or Balanced? (http://twm.co.nz/sciencebias.htm) to be significantly inaccurate and, uh, biased! The article claimed....

Although scientific journals have often been the source of many important medical and scientific breakthroughs, they are heavily dominated by writings from North America and Europe, while equally relevant research from other nations is virtually non-existent.
Anyone who frequents scientific journals could see that both of the above claims are simply false.

To which journals are you referring? I frequent various online journals (eg. Nature, NewScientist, Science, etc.) and, as the biased article claimed, rarely see research from places other than North America & Europe.



...to deny that there exist serious flaws in the "scientific process" is utterly ridiculous.
Your criticism is off target. There are no flaws in the scientific method. Certain human scientists or journal editors may have flaws. But to claim "science" is flawed because U.S. President Bush twists and distorts scientific findings to fit his misguided agendas is attacking the wrong target.
I understand "science as method" isn't flawed, but I stated "scientific process" because the submissions, review and acceptance of research into journals is part of the "process." This facet of the "process" can be flawed.


Thusly, the opinion of the student in the philosophy class that science is biased is valid.
Incorrect, as explained above.
"Off target" perhaps, but not incorrect. I imagine that person made the remarks about being biased not with "science as method" in mind, but with the "process" in mind.

R.A.F.
2003-Oct-07, 06:12 PM
A.Dim...

If my reading of your recent posts here is correct...and we know that I've got a problem with comprehending what I'm reading...:lol:...then...

You tend to agree with "scientists" if they tend to agree with you, and if they don't, then they are WRONG.

How convenient.

russ_watters
2003-Oct-07, 07:18 PM
To which journals are you referring? I frequent various online journals (eg. Nature, NewScientist, Science, etc.) and, as the biased article claimed, rarely see research from places other than North America & Europe. Its your selection of journals that is limited, not the articles in real journals. Those border on "popular science." If you can buy it at Barnes and Noble's its not a real scientific journal.

HOWEVER, scientific research is a function of money. Most of the money spent on scientific research is spent in the west and as a result, most of the scientific discoveries come out of the west. In fact, if a person in an eastern country wants to do scientific research (or simply get an education), they're more likely to be successful doing it in the west.

Also, scientific research is often government funded and as a result, good discoveries often don't find their way out of authoritarian countries (USSR, China, etc.). The math behind stealth for example, got past Soviet censors to be published in a Soviet journal because it was so beyod them they didn't see what it was. It was picked up and desciphered by a scientist from Lockheed who used it to write the software to design the stealth fighter. 20 years later, the physicist who wrote the paper works for Northrup-Grumman.

mr. show
2003-Oct-07, 07:36 PM
god is dead, and no one cares
if there is a hell, i'll see you there - t. reznor


"We are both atheists, I simply believe in one less god than you. When you understand why you do not believe in other gods, then you will understand why I don't believe in yours." - unknown

this issue will fade over time, just as religion itself will

Cougar
2003-Oct-07, 07:46 PM
I frequent various online journals (eg. Nature, NewScientist, Science, etc.) and, as the biased article claimed, rarely see research from places other than North America & Europe.
Of course, those are European and American journals. Still, they have contributions from India, Japan, China, and other places. But there are a number of reasons for the preponderance of European and American contributors, reasons other than the simple "bias" claimed by the author of the article. Russ mentions a couple of them. Other reasons may go further back into human history. Have you read Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond? If not, it is absolutely a must read, even for astronomers. :)


I understand "science as method" isn't flawed, but I stated "scientific process" because the submissions, review and acceptance of research into journals is part of the "process." This facet of the "process" can be flawed.
OK. Anybody who has had a submission rejected knows this process can be flawed. :) My wife (the real scientist of the family) had a paper rejected, mainly because one of the reviewers misunderstood something and erred in his analysis. The fair Dr. Cougar pointed this out to the journal's editor, and the paper was eventually published. So yes, the "scientific process" is operated by humans who can make mistakes, but they're generally very smart people doing their best to be fair and unbiased....

Cougar
2003-Oct-07, 07:50 PM
god is dead, and no one cares
if there is a hell, i'll see you there - t. reznor


"The important thing, I think, is not to be bitter. You know, if it turns out that there is a God, I don't think that He's evil. I think that the worst you can say about Him is that, basically, He's an underachiever." -- Woody Allen :D

A.DIM
2003-Oct-07, 08:19 PM
A.Dim...

You tend to agree with "scientists" if they tend to agree with you, and if they don't, then they are WRONG.

How convenient.

Silly remark.
I'm not saying anyone is WRONG, R.A.F.
All I was saying was that the "process" CAN BE biased, That's all.

A.DIM
2003-Oct-07, 08:38 PM
Its your selection of journals that is limited, not the articles in real journals. Those border on "popular science." If you can buy it at Barnes and Noble's its not a real scientific journal.
Interesting.
This bespeaks of "exclusivity" and keeping the real science from the masses.
Perhaps this is a problem that should be addressed as well?


HOWEVER, scientific research is a function of money.
Indeed. And when it comes to money, bias is a factor.


Also, scientific research is often government funded and as a result, good discoveries often don't find their way out of authoritarian countries (USSR, China, etc.).
Or, as in the case of the Bush Admin. here in the good ol USofA, research is skewed to meet certain ends.

Good points and insight.
Thanks.

A.DIM
2003-Oct-07, 08:44 PM
Have you read Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond? If not, it is absolutely a must read, even for astronomers. :)

I've been told its a great read and will seek it out sometime.
Thanks.

wedgebert
2003-Oct-07, 09:14 PM
Its your selection of journals that is limited, not the articles in real journals. Those border on "popular science." If you can buy it at Barnes and Noble's its not a real scientific journal.
Interesting.
This bespeaks of "exclusivity" and keeping the real science from the masses.
Perhaps this is a problem that should be addressed as well?


The reason bookstores don't sell scientific journals is that they're in the business to make money.

Scientific journals are written for other scientists. They assume you have the background knowledge to understand what is being talked about. They're also not written as entertainment, they're written to explain something.

99.9% of the people in world would not buy scientific journals because they don't understand what is being said and they're boring if it's not your field of study.

Although I'm sure you can go out and find a place get ahold of journal if you're so inclined. Noone is keeping the public from reading them, the public just doesn't want to.

Eta C
2003-Oct-07, 09:41 PM
Your typical scientific journal, such as Physical Review Letters, does not carry advertising and has a fairly high subscription cost. I have an on-line subscription that comes to about $35, but a paper one would exceed $200. In addition to the subscription costs, such journals charge the authors for publishing in them (as opposed to paying authors for articles) as a way of defraying costs.

You can find most scientific journals in any academic library. If you don't have a university nearby, though, most are accessable through the net. You can usually scan the table of contents and the abstracts for free, and order copies of individual papers you want if you don't have a subscription. The Physical Review Letters (http://prl.aps.org/) page is here. It also has links to the various parts of the Physical Review itself.

If PRL is a little heavy, there are some "glossies" that are in between popular magazines (such as New Scientist) and journals. Physics Today (http://www.physicstoday.org/)being the one I'm most familiar with. You can sometimes find these in a public library.

Still, the quality of articles in magazines such as New Scientist and Scientific American is quite high (a cut above Discover in my opinion) and they're usually written by scientists with a non-specialist audience in mind. that makes them more accessable than a corresponding PRL article would be.

ToSeek
2003-Oct-07, 09:47 PM
To which journals are you referring? I frequent various online journals (eg. Nature, NewScientist, Science, etc.) and, as the biased article claimed, rarely see research from places other than North America & Europe. Its your selection of journals that is limited, not the articles in real journals. Those border on "popular science." If you can buy it at Barnes and Noble's its not a real scientific journal.


I would beg to differ, at least about Nature and Science, which are not only legitimate, peer-reviewed journals but also highly prestigious ones (even though they are available in some bookstores).

Yojimbo
2003-Oct-08, 12:46 AM
Hi I'm new here
Please no sympathy


Anyways,

Normandy, IF you are the teacher?? Why don't you give the whole class an assignment to go and read the book, "No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased Without Intelligence,"
by William A. Dembski

No, I haven't read the book!!!
But my NIST brother has, and he loved it. I simply haven't gotten around to buying it yet. He raves it's a great new balance of science and philosophy/religion

Here's a link
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0742512975/ref=lib_dp_TFCV/104-7533300-0615916?v=glance&s=books&vi=reader#reader-link


Maybe you've already heard about it??

So I don't know if this will help??
:D

ToSeek
2003-Oct-08, 01:17 AM
Hi I'm new here
Please no sympathy


Anyways,

Normandy, IF you are the teacher?? Why don't you give the whole class an assignment to go and read the book, "No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased Without Intelligence,"
by William A. Dembski



It's a creationist screed from the "Intelligent Design" school.

Talkorigins critique (http://www.talkorigins.org/design/faqs/nfl/)

Cougar
2003-Oct-08, 01:57 AM
It's a creationist screed from the "Intelligent Design" school.

Whew. Quite so, ToSeek. A quick two-line summary of the book states....


The aim of Dr William Dembski's book No Free Lunch is to demonstrate that design (the action of a conscious agent) was involved in the process of biological evolution. The following critique shows that his arguments are deeply flawed and have little to contribute to science or mathematics.
Yojimbo, I suggest you choose any number of other books that have scientific content if you want to learn anything about evolution. How about Stuart Kauffman's At Home in the Universe?

Pi Man
2003-Oct-08, 04:06 AM
Try reading Finding Darwin's God by Kennith R. Miller. It argues that Evolution is perfectly compatible with Christianity.

russ_watters
2003-Oct-08, 04:09 AM
To which journals are you referring? I frequent various online journals (eg. Nature, NewScientist, Science, etc.) and, as the biased article claimed, rarely see research from places other than North America & Europe. Its your selection of journals that is limited, not the articles in real journals. Those border on "popular science." If you can buy it at Barnes and Noble's its not a real scientific journal.


I would beg to differ, at least about Nature and Science, which are not only legitimate, peer-reviewed journals but also highly prestigious ones (even though they are available in some bookstores). Well, I'll back off some, but in any case, 3 magazines is a pretty limited selection.

One thing though: What makes Science and Nature prestigous? The Quality of the science presented or the number of readers? The two are often mutually exclusive.

SAMU
2003-Oct-08, 05:10 AM
Cougar,

I suggest that you either reread my post more thoughtfully before posting (your post is in error) or take some time and study up on your history of science and philosophy. I suggest you start with the Greeks because I suspect that that is how far back you are.

Just for fun (and to show that you know where of you speak) take the(culturally well known but poorly understood) affirmative statement "I think therefore I am." Discuss its origins and original context and prove the affirmative that you are.

Mind you, you will have to prove that you are not a dream. Pinching me doesn't count. Before that you will have to prove that I am not a dream. Of course you may say that you don't have to prove a negative but that is the first principle at issue. How does one overcome the question of mere appearance? Before we agree that you can't prove a negative and procede from there.

I have no problem reconciling faith with science. It is essential and fundamental in fact. That is not to say I agree with the primative and ignorant traditions of religious faith. But to be fair some religions are coming to the reconciliation between science and faith. They simply have to come to the scientific understanding of the primitive origins of their ignorant traditions.

Pi Man
2003-Oct-08, 06:09 AM
Who else can practically hear the lock button? :roll:

Richard of Chelmsford
2003-Oct-08, 09:23 AM
A quote I've heard is that "you can't reason someone out of a belief that they haven't been reasoned into." Opinions?

Another quote I've heard.

"You cannot create a truth by believing in a falsehood."

I like your handle.

russ_watters
2003-Oct-08, 12:59 PM
Its your selection of journals that is limited, not the articles in real journals. Those border on "popular science." If you can buy it at Barnes and Noble's its not a real scientific journal.
Interesting.
This bespeaks of "exclusivity" and keeping the real science from the masses.
Perhaps this is a problem that should be addressed as well? Jeez, you like to look for conspiracies. It has nothing to do with keeping science from the masses. The "masses" simply don't CARE. There is a reason "Popular Science" sells more copies every month than "Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists" (for example) and it has nothing to do with anyone trying to hide it.
Indeed. And when it comes to money, bias is a factor. In this particular case we are talking about where research is taking place. You are't going to ague that its bias that the US doesn't send billions of dollars to Kenya (for example) to fund scientific research, are you?
Or, as in the case of the Bush Admin. here in the good ol USofA, research is skewed to meet certain ends. True or not, that has nothing at all to do with the topic being discussed.

Normandy6644
2003-Oct-08, 03:34 PM
A quote I've heard is that "you can't reason someone out of a belief that they haven't been reasoned into." Opinions?

Another quote I've heard.

"You cannot create a truth by believing in a falsehood."

I like your handle.

That's a good one too. To answer someone else's question awhile back, no I'm not the teacher, just a student in the class. It's funny, the kid who did this made another interesting comment on Monday. When the teacher mentioned that we're reading a section of Hume that essentially dismantles religion, he turned to another person and said something along the lines of "Looks I'm gonna get pretty mad over the next couple days." What he meant (I think) was that the discussion will frustrate him because it is contrary to his beliefs.

Now I pose this question to you all, does a person truly believe in something if he or she is threatened by those who believe something else? My personal answer is that anyone who is secure enough in there believe of something shouldn't get upset/mad/frustrated/defensive/offended by it since they have their own belief security. As Linda Richman would say, discuss!!

informant
2003-Oct-08, 04:13 PM
Now I pose this question to you all, does a person truly believe in something if he or she is threatened by those who believe something else? My personal answer is that anyone who is secure enough in there believe of something shouldn't get upset/mad/frustrated/defensive/offended by it since they have their own belief security. As Linda Richman would say, discuss!!
That is a question best put to him - or not; sometimes it just isn't worth it.

ToSeek
2003-Oct-08, 04:36 PM
One thing though: What makes Science and Nature prestigous? The Quality of the science presented or the number of readers? The two are often mutually exclusive.

Science is the premier American science journal and is published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Nature is roughly the British counterpart. Both contain peer-reviewed letters and articles as well as science news and coverage of issues. They are often the first to publish peer-reviewed articles on ground-breaking scientific discoveries of broad interest. Recently, both had extensive coverage of the mapping of the human genome, Science with the government scientists involved, Nature with Craig Venter and the scientists from Celera Genomics.

Both have been around for a long time and both are archives of science history - Nature has been around since 1869 and is currently celebrating the 50th anniversary of its publication of the first article by Watson and Crick describing the structure of DNA. (http://www.nature.com/nature/dna50/index.html)

Meanwhile, Science also goes back to the 1800s and has published several of the more significant papers resulting from Mars Global Surveyor's findings (http://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/reprints/).

Yojimbo
2003-Oct-09, 01:05 AM
Wow

Hey,

Thanks for all the book titles.
They'll make great christmas gifts/presents (to others)

You guys are amazing!!!!

ljbrs
2003-Oct-09, 01:29 AM
Science is not biased. Fundamentalists are biased. They have their minds set on something which has nothing to do with science and want science to go along with their mistaken ideas. Science is forever a mystery to fundamentalists. There is nothing fundamental about science. Science changes. Fundamentalists know nothing about change. Science builds upon observation and experiment. There is no dogma which is unable to be altered when confronted with new information.

I do not get bothered by the ideas of fundamentalists. I simply pay absolutely no attention to them other than to change the subject. Fundamentalists do not understand science and scientists pay absolutely no attention to whatever fundamentalists believe.

They live in separate worlds of ideas, never to meet.

ljbrs #-o

Betenoire
2003-Oct-09, 03:47 PM
Now I pose this question to you all, does a person truly believe in something if he or she is threatened by those who believe something else? My personal answer is that anyone who is secure enough in there believe of something shouldn't get upset/mad/frustrated/defensive/offended by it since they have their own belief security. As Linda Richman would say, discuss!!

Why do we scientists here get so frustrated/mad with PXers?



Thanks for all the book titles.
They'll make great christmas gifts/presents (to others)

You won't even consider them for yourself? Even if just to find out where our arguments are flawed?



You guys are amazing!!!!

Thank you very much, I tend to think so myself :-D Or do you mean something more derogatory?



Science is not biased. Fundamentalists are biased. They have their minds set on something which has nothing to do with science and want science to go along with their mistaken ideas. Science is forever a mystery to fundamentalists. There is nothing fundamental about science. Science changes. Fundamentalists know nothing about change. Science builds upon observation and experiment. There is no dogma which is unable to be altered when confronted with new information.

Is there such a thing as a fundamentalist scientist?

Normandy6644
2003-Oct-09, 03:55 PM
Now I pose this question to you all, does a person truly believe in something if he or she is threatened by those who believe something else? My personal answer is that anyone who is secure enough in there believe of something shouldn't get upset/mad/frustrated/defensive/offended by it since they have their own belief security. As Linda Richman would say, discuss!!

Why do we scientists here get so frustrated/mad with PXers?

I don't think that's quite the same. We don't feel threatened by them, in fact they could believe in Planet X/Moon Hoax/etc and we would feel just fine. However, they are presenting their arguments (or lack thereof) to the masses with the hopes that someone will buy their book/video/etc. We are trying to stop a scam, rather than change someone's belief in something.

wedgebert
2003-Oct-09, 05:43 PM
Now I pose this question to you all, does a person truly believe in something if he or she is threatened by those who believe something else? My personal answer is that anyone who is secure enough in there believe of something shouldn't get upset/mad/frustrated/defensive/offended by it since they have their own belief security. As Linda Richman would say, discuss!!

Why do we scientists here get so frustrated/mad with PXers?

I don't think that's quite the same. We don't feel threatened by them, in fact they could believe in Planet X/Moon Hoax/etc and we would feel just fine. However, they are presenting their arguments (or lack thereof) to the masses with the hopes that someone will buy their book/video/etc. We are trying to stop a scam, rather than change someone's belief in something.

I'll go one further and say that if there is one thing Science is truely against, it's ignorance, especially harmful ignorance.

Things like Planet X go beyond being a simple scam. People lose money and even their lives over things like that. Remember when Nancy said it would be better to have your pet put to sleep rather than suffer when PX hit? Then she claims she went out and had her dog put down. Who knows how many of her followers went out and did what she said.

Now granted, in many cases (like Hale Bop (sp?)), the world was probably better off without those people, but to those peoples friends and family it was a great tragedy. Plus there's always the chance that had someone gotten to them much earlier they would have turned out much different.

This is a big reason why science and fundamentalists come into "conflict". If we don't know something, we start asking how, when and why. To the fundamentalist, they know the when (when their religious canon says so) and the how (God did it), however asking "Why" is anathema to them. It's not for us to know why God did it unless He tells us. To ask "why" is to question their beliefs that makes science wrong.

ToSeek
2003-Oct-09, 08:20 PM
Is there such a thing as a fundamentalist scientist?

I would argue that that's a contradiction. A scientist's primary source of data is the real world. A fundamentalist's primary source of data is a book written thousands of years ago. You can't combine the two.

OscartheGrouch
2003-Oct-09, 11:00 PM
Is there such a thing as a fundamentalist scientist?

I would argue that that's a contradiction. A scientist's primary source of data is the real world. A fundamentalist's primary source of data is a book written thousands of years ago. You can't combine the two.
A book is automatically wrong because it is thousands of years old. Mmmm ... how scientific. I was going to opine that whoever wrote said books lived in the real world, such as it was, and may have recorded some valid observations about human nature, family relations, politics, and other things that don't seem to change much. But in the face of such inexorable reasoning, I must concede the point. Well, let us toss out our Josephus, Plato, Homer, Ovid, Aristotle, and all other ancient writings and figure out everything from scratch to eliminate any possible error.

Oh, perhaps we meant to qualify our statement by limiting it to such matters as were not within the knowledge of the ancients. I'm sure that is what we meant.

There are no fundamentalist (whatever that means) scientists? Where then do all those skeptic sites obtain quotes allegedly from Christian scientists who accept evolution and the Big Bang?

Fundamentalists, every single last one of them, get data only from the Bible? Then not only can they not be scientists, they cannot be:
--philosophy majors, because that would require some understanding of other belief systems
--pilots, because there were no airplanes in the Bible
--lawyers, other than on Mosaic law, because learning modern law requires reading other books and a lot of classroom works
--aviation mechanics, because that requires even more non-Biblical learning than a law degree does
--tax consultants, unless there is a Caesar around to render to
--accountants, because they only had cash-basis accounting in the Bible and now we use accrual
--history buffs, because there was history after the Bible
--financial advisors and planners, except as to real estate and commodities, because that's all they had in the Bible
--and on, and on.

Yet we find fundamentalists (again, whatever that means) in all of these fields. Maybe fundamentalism and life in the real world is not so incompatible as some might think? Maybe there are in fact fundamentalist scientists and grad students? Must be, for I've met them. Someday, Lord willing (ha!), I will be one.

But don't let me interrupt the self-congratulation session ...

RickNZ
2003-Oct-09, 11:31 PM
^^^ In reply to the above post ^^^

Havent you heard of brilliant but flawed?

Just because a man believes humankind came from one breeding pair but ackowledges that the sky is blue doesnt mean hes potentially less of an idiot.

And yes if a book is a thousand years+ old take it as a grain of salt. Homers odyessy, platos tales of atlantis, bible etc etc

The scientific method wasnt around a thousand years ago...

wedgebert
2003-Oct-10, 01:09 AM
A book is automatically wrong because it is thousands of years old. Mmmm ... how scientific. I was going to opine that whoever wrote said books lived in the real world, such as it was, and may have recorded some valid observations about human nature, family relations, politics, and other things that don't seem to change much. But in the face of such inexorable reasoning, I must concede the point. Well, let us toss out our Josephus, Plato, Homer, Ovid, Aristotle, and all other ancient writings and figure out everything from scratch to eliminate any possible error.

No, the problem stems when they assign that book more importance because of what its religious nature. Typically, if it comes down to something science says and something religion says, they will choose religion.

As time goes on and we develop better scientific tests and procedures, we will undoubtedly contradict more and more of what the bible says. What is going to happen then?

ToSeek
2003-Oct-10, 01:19 AM
A book is automatically wrong because it is thousands of years old. Mmmm ... how scientific. I was going to opine that whoever wrote said books lived in the real world, such as it was, and may have recorded some valid observations about human nature, family relations, politics, and other things that don't seem to change much. But in the face of such inexorable reasoning, I must concede the point. Well, let us toss out our Josephus, Plato, Homer, Ovid, Aristotle, and all other ancient writings and figure out everything from scratch to eliminate any possible error.

I never said it was wrong; I said it was their primary source of information, and by primary I mean that it overrules any other source of information. A Christian fundamentalist by my definition is someone who believes the Bible is literally true and inerrant, and any evidence to the contrary is at best a misunderstanding. You could conceivably have an Aristotelian fundamentalist who would insist (among other things) that women have fewer teeth than men and refuse to actually look in anyone's mouth. Heck, you could have a Bad Astronomy fundamentalist who quotes from the Book of Phil Plait and refuses to admit that it could possibly be in error. (And some of us on these boards have been accused of being such.)

There are no fundamentalist (whatever that means) scientists? Where then do all those skeptic sites obtain quotes allegedly from Christian scientists who accept evolution and the Big Bang?

If a Christian accepts evolution and the Big Bang, then he or she is - by definition - not a fundamentalist because those concepts contradict the literal word of the Bible.

Fundamentalists, every single last one of them, get data only from the Bible?

I never said "only." I said "primarily." You keep putting words in my mouth - please stop.

Then not only can they not be scientists, they cannot be:
--philosophy majors, because that would require some understanding of other belief systems
--pilots, because there were no airplanes in the Bible
--lawyers, other than on Mosaic law, because learning modern law requires reading other books and a lot of classroom works
--aviation mechanics, because that requires even more non-Biblical learning than a law degree does
--tax consultants, unless there is a Caesar around to render to
--accountants, because they only had cash-basis accounting in the Bible and now we use accrual
--history buffs, because there was history after the Bible
--financial advisors and planners, except as to real estate and commodities, because that's all they had in the Bible
--and on, and on.

There is no problem with any of these - your claims are based on a gross misinterpretation of what I said.

However, a scientist is a special case. A true scientist is one who performs experiments and investigates the real world to find truth. Anyone who sets any other means of gathering knowledge, whether it be reading a book or divining from chicken entrails or examining one's navel, ahead of the scientific method is not a scientist.

To turn one of your examples back on yourself, how willing would you be to fly with a pilot who said that he learned to fly from the Bible?

R.A.F.
2003-Oct-10, 01:56 AM
A Christian fundamentalist by my definition is someone who believes the Bible is literally true and inerrant, and any evidence to the contrary is at best a misunderstanding.

Well, that's certainly my definition of a christian fundamentalist.


If a Christian accepts evolution and the Big Bang, then he or she is - by definition - not a fundamentalist because those concepts contradict the literal word of the Bible.

Also very true.


A true scientist is one who performs experiments and investigates the real world to find truth. Anyone who sets any other means of gathering knowledge, whether it be reading a book or divining from chicken entrails or examining one's navel, ahead of the scientific method is not a scientist.

VERY well stated!


...how willing would you be to fly with a pilot who said that he learned to fly from the Bible?

Personally, I wouldn't mind. But not until I'm ready to "meet my maker". :)

OscartheGrouch
2003-Oct-10, 04:19 AM
A book is automatically wrong because it is thousands of years old. Mmmm ... how scientific. I was going to opine that whoever wrote said books lived in the real world, such as it was, and may have recorded some valid observations about human nature, family relations, politics, and other things that don't seem to change much. But in the face of such inexorable reasoning, I must concede the point. Well, let us toss out our Josephus, Plato, Homer, Ovid, Aristotle, and all other ancient writings and figure out everything from scratch to eliminate any possible error.

I never said it was wrong;
If it's not wrong, then what's the problem with it?

I said it was their primary source of information, and by primary I mean that it overrules any other source of information.
Oh.

A Christian fundamentalist by my definition is someone who believes the Bible is literally true and inerrant, and any evidence to the contrary is at best a misunderstanding.
To put it as tactfully as I can, the foregoing is simple, pithy, elegant, and, unfortunately, incorrect. Good heavens, even Austin Cline (http://atheism.about.com/library/glossary/western/bldef_fundamentalism.htm?terms=go) can do better than that.


You could conceivably have an Aristotelian fundamentalist who would insist (among other things) that women have fewer teeth than men and refuse to actually look in anyone's mouth. Heck, you could have a Bad Astronomy fundamentalist who quotes from the Book of Phil Plait and refuses to admit that it could possibly be in error. (And some of us on these boards have been accused of being such.)
What!? There are blasphemers who doubt the BA!? :evil: Gimme some rocks!

I see where you are coming from, but there's a lot, lot more to any serious study of fundamentalism. The name alone implies as much--why do we say "fundamentalism" instead of "inerrancy" if inerrancy is the whole of fundamentalism? religion-online (http://www.religion-online.org/cgi-bin/relsearchd.dll/showarticle?item_id=230) has a thoughtful article on the origins of fundamentalism as we know and love it today. The term derives from The Fundamentals, a series of 90 essays written beginning in 1910, which drew on the work of conservative theologians at Princeton in the 1880s dismayed by the increasing encroachment of science upon faith (as all should know, I do not agree that science is any threat to truth-based faith), and three million copies were printed, thanks to some well-off patrons. The Fundamentals became enormously popular in their day, but I've never come across them or even heard them mentioned in my 18 years of Christian studies. They laid out five major fundamental doctrinal areas that conservative Christians tend to adhere to. Sure enough, biblical inerrancy is first on the list, and it could be said that the others (IIRC: divinity and virgin birth of Jesus Christ, salvation by faith in him, his resurrection and eventual second coming, and judgment or redemption in the next life) all follow from it. However, even The Fundamentals, according to the PBS summary (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/religion/revolution/1900.html), acknowledged that not every word of the Bible is meant and should be taken literally, and that the "days" in Genesis could well be "epochs" since that seemed to be the only way to reconcile plain scientific fact with scripture.

Also, "fundamentalism = belief in inerrancy of a designated set of writings" doesn't carry well to other faiths. Since Muslims by and large believe in the inerrancy of the Qur'an, nearly all Muslims would be fundamentalists by this light. However, The Islamic Herald (http://www.ais.org/~bsb/Herald/Previous/495/fundamentalism.html) bristles at the thought, and I agree.


If a Christian accepts evolution and the Big Bang, then he or she is - by definition - not a fundamentalist because those concepts contradict the literal word of the Bible.
Sure, if one starts with a wrong definition.


Fundamentalists, every single last one of them, get data only from the Bible?

I never said "only." I said "primarily."
Ach, you did indeed :oops: I am sorry.

You keep putting words in my mouth - please stop.
Consider it done--but I in turn would ask that you not presume to define religious movements in unjustifiably simplistic terms.


There is no problem with any of these - your claims are based on a gross misinterpretation of what I said.
It's called illustrating absurdity (the proposition that a "fundamentalist scientist" is "a contradiction"--and that IS what you said) by being absurd (applying the same irrelevant religious test to other secular disciplines).


However, a scientist is a special case. A true scientist is one who performs experiments and investigates the real world to find truth.
Maybe it's just my fertile imagination again, but this sounds like a virtual conferral of priesthood. (And aren't there scientists whose motivations include substantial components of future fame, book deals, patent royalties, admiration, ego, and above all tenure? And don't they find out some important things despite their impure hearts?) A scientist should be the antithesis of a special case. Science means finding out things that are repeatable, publishable, verifiable, and accessible to anyone who can devote the time and effort to it. Besides, not all scientists do experiments; some are theorists. Okay, that's nitpicky.

Anyone who sets any other means of gathering knowledge, whether it be reading a book or divining from chicken entrails or examining one's navel, ahead of the scientific method is not a scientist.
Entirely valid, if one claims to have arrived at a scientific truth thereby. If somebody (and it's just a matter of time) permutates the Bible Code and comes up with Hubble's Constant, that's not cool. But if some dweeby guy in a lab coat emerges from an observatory and says he has just found the 28th moon of Uranus, and the referees at the Astrophysical Journal agree that this finding should be published because his data are correct, then that person IS a scientist by virtue of what he DOES, and what possible business is it of anybody's if he celebrates the occasion with his fellow believers at the local snake-handling church? There are some things beyond science, as nontheists are always saying. One should not appeal to religious principles to solve scientific things, and one should not try to drag science where science cannot go. Whoever actually understands and lives by this when doing science, is a scientist. Scientists with strong religious beliefs in revealed truth may be the exception--but they do exist.


To turn one of your examples back on yourself, how willing would you be to fly with a pilot who said that he learned to fly from the Bible?
:D And now you misunderstand, although humorously, my entire point that a scientist or pilot can believe whatever they wish about anything, so long as they DO things correctly. No, I would much prefer that our pilot read books about flying, attended ground school, passed the written test, took flight instruction and solo practice in an airplane, sat for an oral examination, and performed satisfactorily on a checkride with a duly designated flight examiner. That's how I did it. One of my best friends in church flies AH-64 Apache attack helicopters for the US Army, and quite well. He's also a YEC who is utterly convinced that, among other things, all radiometric dating is bologna and all scientists who use it are conspiring to suppress the embarrassing truth, because that's what he read in more than one YEC book. Would I ask him to assign a date to a rock? No. Would I jump in the front seat of an AH-64 and trust him to fly me around safely? Yes! Too bad that's against regulations.

And finally--

Havent you heard of brilliant but flawed?
Yes, Rick. I have also heard of apostrophes. Brilliant personnel are often, maybe usually, flawed in other areas. However, fundamentalism is no worse than any other flaw, so long as you DO science correctly.

wedgebert
2003-Oct-10, 04:52 AM
Yes, Rick. I have also heard of apostrophes. Brilliant personnel are often, maybe usually, flawed in other areas. However, fundamentalism is no worse than any other flaw, so long as you DO science correctly


Fundamentalist: A usually religious movement or point of view characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism]

However, science is hard to do correctly and still believe 100% in the Bible. There are too many places where either modern science comes into conflict with the bible (like the Flood) or where the bible itself contradicts itself (all over the place).

If you place the bible's explaination above the scientific one, you are not
"doing science correctly". If you place the scienctic reason above the religious explaination you saying that your religion is wrong in this particular aspect. You could take a middle ground and say that books like the bible aren't meant to be taken literally, but then you've turned the bible into a book of fables. The only science it becomes possible to do is in areas where the bible doesn't talk about, that way you don't contradict it.

Notice how two of these possiblities do not bode well for religion. According to the official defination of fundamentalist, you have to choose the first option. Thus you are more looking for "reasons why our religion is right" than for scientific answers.

Donnie B.
2003-Oct-10, 11:36 AM
Now granted, in many cases (like Hale Bop (sp?))...
While those of us who enjoy '50s jazz may be tempted to proclaim "Hail Bop!", the comet in question was named Hale Bopp. 8) :D

Donnie B.
2003-Oct-10, 11:56 AM
A lot of words have been written in this thread, including some rather testy ones, but it seems to me that much of the tempest can be traced to the teapot of semantics.

The sequence began when Betenoir asked whether there could be any such thing as a "fundamentalist scientist". Neither term was defined, so when ToSeek replied, he did so using his own understanding of what 'fundamentalist' meant. I don't think his interpretation of that word was too far from the common understanding, though Oscar has a point when he makes the distinction between 'inerrancy' and 'fundamentalism'.

So, can we agree that ToSeek's response was correct, in that there cannot be such a thing as a scientist who holds to Biblical inerrancy, or (for that matter) to the literal truth of any other set of scriptures? This would lead to the conclusion that, despite their claimed status as scientists, the members of the Institute for Creation Research are not.

That leaves open the question as to whether one can be a "fundamentalist" (by Oscar's understanding of the term) and still be a scientist. I'm not sure I know the answer to that one.

I know many Christians who hold deeply to the core tenets of their faith (everlasting life, redemption through the sacrifice of the cross, and so on) who have no problem at all with science, be it evolution, cosmology, or physics. But few of these would describe themselves as fundamentalists, nor would they be considered such by many who do consider themselves such.

In the end, the answer to the question goes beyond the dictionary definition of the terms 'fundamentalist' and 'scientist', and encompasses their social and historical connotations as well.

Betenoire
2003-Oct-10, 01:24 PM
I guess I'll respond to my own questions, because I think a few assumptions have been made that I'd like to point out.



Why do we scientists here get so frustrated/mad with PXers?

Is there such a thing as a fundamentalist scientist?

Everybody here assumed that by "fundamentalist" I meant "Christian fundamentalist". But I didn't. I meant are there scientists who are as adamant about science as fundamentalist Christians are about Christianity?
Some people have gotten close to what I meant. FCs are so "sure" that people who think anything else are immediately dismissed as wrong. Are there scientists (certainly none on this board) who do that when faced with FCs? I assert that those might be FSs. Possibly those scientists whose attitude is, "Oh, you believe something, well, nobody's perfect" could be considered to be FSs?
It is my opinion that science is a belief system, the same as Christianity. Science is a belief system I happen to adhere to, Christianity I was raised in but, well, we've had a falling out a while ago and never gotten around to kissing and making up.
Science beliefs: I will believe in laws that explain phenomena until contradictory phenomena bring those laws into question, all as described by the scientific community. I will believe in the replacement law.
Christian belief: I will believe in the explanations as given by God. If contradictory phenomena bring those explanations into question, I will believe in the replacment explanations as described by the religious community.
Certainly there's a lot more self-questioning, doubt, and examination under the scientific belief system, which is defined as "good" in this belief system. But all of our value judgments, which elevate science and deried Christianity, are based, ultimately, on beliefs. I've not well described my thoughts so far, so I know this will offend some, but I feel that those who are disgusted by my description of this parallelism might be considered FSs.

Re: PX, and this sort of provides me an example...



We are trying to stop a scam, rather than change someone's belief in something.

The Christians view us as a scam. They're trying to stop us from spreading our scam through schools. What makes their efforts more the action of lunatic fundamentalists (and whatever adjectives we like to use for them) than ours?



We don't feel threatened by them, in fact they could believe in Planet X/Moon Hoax/etc and we would feel just fine.

This may well be a measure of "Fundamentalism" Those who are fine with people disagreeing with them I would consider "non-fundamentalist". But I'm not sure (about any of this, really, just sort of BSing in my free time at work)

informant
2003-Oct-10, 01:28 PM
Is Science a Belief System? (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=5404)

Cougar
2003-Oct-10, 02:59 PM
It is my opinion that science is a belief system, the same as Christianity.
Houston, we have a problem.

I just looked up the definition of the word "belief" to see if there was any implication of "faith", in other words, believing something without any evidence, which I think all would agree is the very antithesis of science. To my surprise, my Webster's New World gave the second definition of "belief" as "faith, esp. religious faith".

OK, the first definition says, "acceptance that certain things are true." This definition says nothing about what that acceptance is based on, if anything.

Now, certainly definition number 2 has nothing to do with science. In fact, definition number 1 has very little to do with science, and this whole concept of belief does not have much to do with science at all. As Tina Turner might say, "What's belief got to do with it?"

Betenoire, if science is a "belief system" as you claim, what are "the certain things that are accepted as true" within the scientific "belief system"? Since faith is directly antithetical to the scientific method, is there anything that scientists "take on faith"? What?

ToSeek
2003-Oct-10, 03:27 PM
A Christian fundamentalist by my definition is someone who believes the Bible is literally true and inerrant, and any evidence to the contrary is at best a misunderstanding.
To put it as tactfully as I can, the foregoing is simple, pithy, elegant, and, unfortunately, incorrect. Good heavens, even Austin Cline (http://atheism.about.com/library/glossary/western/bldef_fundamentalism.htm?terms=go) can do better than that.

Merriam-Webster's definition is closer to my own: "a movement in 20th century Protestantism emphasizing the literally interpreted Bible as fundamental to Christian life and teaching" (emphasis mine).

At this point we seem to be arguing more semantics than anything: I gather that we disagree primarily on our definition of "fundamentalist."

Meanwhile, I will agree that I would be extremely skeptical if a scientist came down from his observatory atop Mount whatever and announced that he had proof that God did (or did not) exist. There are some things which are not amenable to the scientific method, just as there are (in my opinion) matters where religion is inappropriate. "The Bible is meant to teach us how to go to Heaven, not how the Heavens go."

Cougar
2003-Oct-10, 03:29 PM
Re: PX, and this sort of provides me an example...



We are trying to stop a scam, rather than change someone's belief in something.

The Christians view us as a scam. They're trying to stop us from spreading our scam through schools. What makes their efforts more the action of lunatic fundamentalists (and whatever adjectives we like to use for them) than ours?

So are you saying that everybody can believe whatever they damn well please because there is no objective reality - all is subjective; everyone creates his/her own reality inside his/her own mind?

This is the worst form of anti-intellectual postmodernistic [expletive deleted] that leads to one thing: human extinction.

Here's the difference: On what are such fundamentalist Christians views based? Are such views valid? Is science really a "scam"?

The fact that some misguided fundamentalists might think so really has utterly no effect on the reality of the situation. It depends on what your conclusions are based on. Are they based on verifiable, repeatable factual evidence that anyone can observe or... are they based on misinterpreted "holy writings" which amount to "received wisdom" from an unverifiable, unrepeatable supernatural "source" that has purposely left no objective evidence?

If someone is intent on correcting another's misunderstanding, I think teacher is a good description of such a person. To call such a person a "fundamentalist" would be grossly incorrect.

OscartheGrouch
2003-Oct-10, 04:33 PM
Is there such a thing as a fundamentalist scientist?

Everybody here assumed that by "fundamentalist" I meant "Christian fundamentalist". But I didn't. I meant are there scientists who are as adamant about science as fundamentalist Christians are about Christianity?
Oh.
:oops: #-o :oops: #-o :oops:

Scuse me a sec--

*wipes pie off face*

*harrumphs*

*resumes insufferably pedantic manner*

If there are such scientists, they are wrong. Film at eleven.


Some people have gotten close to what I meant. FCs are so "sure" that people who think anything else are immediately dismissed as wrong. Are there scientists (certainly none on this board) who do that when faced with FCs? I assert that those might be FSs. Possibly those scientists whose attitude is, "Oh, you believe something, well, nobody's perfect" could be considered to be FSs?
It is my opinion that science is a belief system, the same as Christianity. Science is a belief system I happen to adhere to,...
I would suggest that this is an attempt to equate inequatable (is that a word?) concepts. I'm aware that this has been treated before, but science is not a belief system. No scientist knows all science, but every part of science is knowable and is in fact known by SOME scientist(s). Belief is superfluous because knowledge has supplanted it.

Some things are outside the realm of science: what happened "before" the Big Bang, what is "outside" the universe, what is inside a black hole, is there an immortal soul/spirit that survives after brain death, is there a deity or deities who don't have physical characteristics but somehow may have intervened in the physical universe. Now we might find a belief system useful. Such a system might arrive by way of a human to whom a supernatural being has communicated somehow.

*YO! Waitaminnit! How do we KNOW a supernatural being has revealed truth to somebody?*

We don't KNOW. Science can't determine the answer since if a supernatural being doesn't register on our physical senses or any of many scientific instruments we use as tools for our senses, then that being is not within the subject matter jurisdiction of science. You need faith now.

That's how I separate science from belief systems. Then there's the difference between belief systems and religions. The two are not identical if you call a "religion" what gives a person a sense of purpose, involvement, destiny, and overrides all or most other goals in a person's life. In that sense, a religion can be just about anything--Shinto, kendo, baseball, square-dancing, and certainly, science. But a religion in this sense need not involve any belief.



We are trying to stop a scam, rather than change someone's belief in something.
If the scam is that somebody believes something incorrect, then changing that someone's beliefs is, and should be, exactly what you're trying to do.


The Christians ...
Ahem! :evil: perhaps you mean creationists ... not all Christians are creationists ...


... view us as a scam. They're trying to stop us from spreading our scam through schools. What makes their efforts more the action of lunatic fundamentalists (and whatever adjectives we like to use for them) than ours?
I wouldn't say anyone has to be a "lunatic", just "dramatically wrong". The two sides are not equivalent. Scientific theories of evolution and cosmogeny are correct, and a literal reading of Genesis 1:1 through 11:8 is not correct.

Oh yeah, are scientists fundamentalists as originally asked? No, but some are just plain jerks who think that factual correctness about their specialty area gives them a right to pontificate about matters that science can't know, and who think that condescension and name-calling will somehow convert the unwashed masses to the way of righteousness.

Cougar
2003-Oct-10, 05:22 PM
Scientific theories of evolution and cosmogeny are correct, and a literal reading of Genesis 1:1 through 11:8 is not correct.
You are likely to find some opposition to that first part. But if you put it as follows, I don't see how there could be much argument:

Scientific theories of evolution and cosmogeny are well supported by objective, repeatable evidence, and a literal reading of Genesis 1:1 through 11:8 is demonstrably incorrect.

Pi Man
2003-Oct-11, 03:55 AM
The Christians ...
Ahem! :evil: perhaps you mean creationists ... not all Christians are creationists ...

I, for one, am a Christian evolutionist.

Can I ask where you stand? I've followed the whole thread, but I don't know exactly what you believe. Thanks. :)

russ_watters
2003-Oct-11, 05:34 PM
A Christian fundamentalist by my definition is someone who believes the Bible is literally true and inerrant, and any evidence to the contrary is at best a misunderstanding.
To put it as tactfully as I can, the foregoing is simple, pithy, elegant, and, unfortunately, incorrect. Good heavens, even Austin Cline (http://atheism.about.com/library/glossary/western/bldef_fundamentalism.htm?terms=go) can do better than that. Maybe I missed it, but have you provided YOUR definition of a "Christian fundamentalist"? Most of the rest of the people here (and Meriam Webster) seem to agree with and understand his. It might help us to understand your point if you provided yours.

And in any case, the definition you linked provides the same primary point as his but later just gets more specific:
The infallibility and inspiration of Scripture.

nokton
2003-Oct-11, 07:24 PM
Is there such a thing as a fundamentalist scientist?

Everybody here assumed that by "fundamentalist" I meant "Christian fundamentalist". But I didn't. I meant are there scientists who are as adamant about science as fundamentalist Christians are about Christianity?
Oh.
:oops: #-o :oops: #-o :oops:

Scuse me a sec--

*wipes pie off face*

*harrumphs*

*resumes insufferably pedantic manner*

If there are such scientists, they are wrong. Film at eleven.


Some people have gotten close to what I meant. FCs are so "sure" that people who think anything else are immediately dismissed as wrong. Are there scientists (certainly none on this board) who do that when faced with FCs? I assert that those might be FSs. Possibly those scientists whose attitude is, "Oh, you believe something, well, nobody's perfect" could be considered to be FSs?
It is my opinion that science is a belief system, the same as Christianity. Science is a belief system I happen to adhere to,...
I would suggest that this is an attempt to equate inequatable (is that a word?) concepts. I'm aware that this has been treated before, but science is not a belief system. No scientist knows all science, but every part of science is knowable and is in fact known by SOME scientist(s). Belief is superfluous because knowledge has supplanted it.

Some things are outside the realm of science: what happened "before" the Big Bang, what is "outside" the universe, what is inside a black hole, is there an immortal soul/spirit that survives after brain death, is there a deity or deities who don't have physical characteristics but somehow may have intervened in the physical universe. Now we might find a belief system useful. Such a system might arrive by way of a human to whom a supernatural being has communicated somehow.

*YO! Waitaminnit! How do we KNOW a supernatural being has revealed truth to somebody?*

We don't KNOW. Science can't determine the answer since if a supernatural being doesn't register on our physical senses or any of many scientific instruments we use as tools for our senses, then that being is not within the subject matter jurisdiction of science. You need faith now.

That's how I separate science from belief systems. Then there's the difference between belief systems and religions. The two are not identical if you call a "religion" what gives a person a sense of purpose, involvement, destiny, and overrides all or most other goals in a person's life. In that sense, a religion can be just about anything--Shinto, kendo, baseball, square-dancing, and certainly, science. But a religion in this sense need not involve any belief.



We are trying to stop a scam, rather than change someone's belief in something.
If the scam is that somebody believes something incorrect, then changing that someone's beliefs is, and should be, exactly what you're trying to do.


The Christians ...
Ahem! :evil: perhaps you mean creationists ... not all Christians are creationists ...


... view us as a scam. They're trying to stop us from spreading our scam through schools. What makes their efforts more the action of lunatic fundamentalists (and whatever adjectives we like to use for them) than ours?
I wouldn't say anyone has to be a "lunatic", just "dramatically wrong". The two sides are not equivalent. Scientific theories of evolution and cosmogeny are correct, and a literal reading of Genesis 1:1 through 11:8 is not correct.

Oh yeah, are scientists fundamentalists as originally asked? No, but some are just plain jerks who think that factual correctness about their specialty area gives them a right to pontificate about matters that science can't know, and who think that condescension and name-calling will somehow convert the unwashed masses to the way of righteousness.
I understand what you say,and what your concept is.Slow down,there
is nothing wrong with your reason and logic,just remember,a man
convinced against his will,as a man of the same opinion still.Open minds
are rare

SirThoreth
2003-Oct-11, 09:41 PM
^^^ In reply to the above post ^^^

Havent you heard of brilliant but flawed?

Just because a man believes humankind came from one breeding pair but ackowledges that the sky is blue doesnt mean hes potentially less of an idiot.

And yes if a book is a thousand years+ old take it as a grain of salt. Homers odyessy, platos tales of atlantis, bible etc etc

The scientific method wasnt around a thousand years ago...

Not that I'm a terribly religious person (I like to refer to myself as being a member of the Catholic Church Alumni Association :P ), but I thought that whole study of mitochondrial DNA in humans kind of settled that issue.

Also, why is it that Catholics get so heavily bashed by both sides? :evil: I mean, hell, John Paul II even recently acknowledged that the Big Bang Theory seemed a pretty good explanation of Creation. 8)

Papa Bear
2003-Oct-12, 06:49 AM
The term "fundamentalist" as it relates to 20th/21st century protestant Christianity is used by MW because this is how colloquial/contextual use has forced the ... ah... evolution ( :D ) of the term. Unfortunately, even the "meanings" of words are entirely too fluid, it seems. ("words don't have meaning...people do" argh!) Therefore, the editors of each new edition, instead of deriving the published definition of words from the Latin and/or Greek roots, will rewrite definitions to conform to contemporaneous use (or misuse) But fundamentals are actually the first beliefs or truths agreed upon or taught, as is evident from the use of "fund" meaning bottom. And like the bricks laid first are the foundation of a building (see, more Latin) so are the indisputable basics for the first adherents, ie, the founders of Christianity (ah I love Latin). Since the founders (who weren't even called Christians, btw) didn't have the canonized scripture which is called "The Bible" by protestants, the belief in it as anything can't technically be called a foundation. Now, much MUCH later creeds were written which called for all who would choose Christianity to believe in the inerrancy of what had by then been chosen by council as the canonized scriptures, which included the epistles of its founders.

But inerrant is far from being the same as literal.

That is not implied in any of the early creeds -- as far as I know. I think the ancients understood the use of literary device in the scriptural accounts far better than most people of any faith or no faith do today. Even many quotes attributed to Jesus are not to be taken literal. When he is quoted, eg, as saying that one is to forgive a transgressor for the same slight 490 times, he doesn't mean to say that his followers are to keep a count and stop at 490. He means to demonstrate that the amount of grace toward others needed to get through life without great frustration is so great we can't hold it all; he seems to imply that God is the source of an unending supply of that grace. (And yes, it's too bad that more people of all faiths don't tap into that. :-? ) But all that to say that even if you "agree" on the above given MW definition of "fundamentalist" (as it relates to popular usage with the term "christian") it's still inaccurate in the purist sense. I'm not saying that some denominations do not add to their own creeds the word "literal" to "inerrant", but that is not, by definition, a fundamental of Christianity, since it has been added much later. But to chide a so-called "fundamentalist Christian" for playing loose with evidentiary facts is a little hypocritical when you're playing loose with the very meaning of the word "fundamental".

nokton
2003-Oct-12, 06:25 PM
^^^ In reply to the above post ^^^

Havent you heard of brilliant but flawed?

Just because a man believes humankind came from one breeding pair but ackowledges that the sky is blue doesnt mean hes potentially less of an idiot.

And yes if a book is a thousand years+ old take it as a grain of salt. Homers odyessy, platos tales of atlantis, bible etc etc

The scientific method wasnt around a thousand years ago...

Not that I'm a terribly religious person (I like to refer to myself as being a member of the Catholic Church Alumni Association :P ), but I thought that whole study of mitochondrial DNA in humans kind of settled that issue.

Also, why is it that Catholics get so heavily bashed by both sides? :evil: I mean, hell, John Paul II even recently acknowledged that the Big Bang Theory seemed a pretty good explanation of Creation. 8).
Being a member of something,eg, the RCC, does not imply belief or
commitment,but rather sitting on a fence,in the hope that one has
made a good choice in respect of a 'next' world
The 'scientific method' of the Greeks you deny,is the science we built
our concepts on.Our math,geometry,understanding and concept of atoms.
the universe,is well written in the ancient writings of the Greeks.
Don't knock them,they were the great thinkers of their day,and provided
the insight that after the dark ages,was to lead to the science and understanding we have today

JS Princeton
2003-Oct-12, 11:16 PM
The 'scientific method' of the Greeks you deny,is the science we built
our concepts on.Our math,geometry,understanding and concept of atoms.
the universe,is well written in the ancient writings of the Greeks.
Don't knock them,they were the great thinkers of their day,and provided
the insight that after the dark ages,was to lead to the science and understanding we have today

Slight nitpick. The Greeks actually didn't develop the scientific method. Rather they were scholastics who liked to simply think rather than inquire. In short, they were famous for getting a lot of science wrong. Sadly, Aquinas revival of Aristotle meant that science wouldn't really get started for a few hundred years -- well into the Rennaisance.

russ_watters
2003-Oct-13, 05:13 AM
Slight nitpick. The Greeks actually didn't develop the scientific method... Not a slight nitpick at all - its a huge and often overlooked point. As smart as Aristotle was, the faith placed in him held back scientific advancement for hundreds of years.

SirThoreth
2003-Oct-13, 05:18 AM
^^^ In reply to the above post ^^^

Havent you heard of brilliant but flawed?

Just because a man believes humankind came from one breeding pair but ackowledges that the sky is blue doesnt mean hes potentially less of an idiot.

And yes if a book is a thousand years+ old take it as a grain of salt. Homers odyessy, platos tales of atlantis, bible etc etc

The scientific method wasnt around a thousand years ago...

Not that I'm a terribly religious person (I like to refer to myself as being a member of the Catholic Church Alumni Association :P ), but I thought that whole study of mitochondrial DNA in humans kind of settled that issue.

Also, why is it that Catholics get so heavily bashed by both sides? :evil: I mean, hell, John Paul II even recently acknowledged that the Big Bang Theory seemed a pretty good explanation of Creation. 8).
Being a member of something,eg, the RCC, does not imply belief or
commitment,but rather sitting on a fence,in the hope that one has
made a good choice in respect of a 'next' world
The 'scientific method' of the Greeks you deny,is the science we built
our concepts on.Our math,geometry,understanding and concept of atoms.
the universe,is well written in the ancient writings of the Greeks.
Don't knock them,they were the great thinkers of their day,and provided
the insight that after the dark ages,was to lead to the science and understanding we have today

Um, when did I say I denied the contributions by the Greeks? They were great thinkers in their day, and accomplished a great deal given their level of technological sophistication.

As for being a member of an organized religion, like the Roman Catholic Church, well, a lot of religions do feel that concepts like the Big Bang disagree with the tenets of their faith. I happen to think that they're wrong, as do others.

In the end, I don't think the problem is necessarily one with the belief systems, though they're often flawed, but with the people believing in them. Actually, more like with people in general. Once we've decided to believe something, and if that belief in that concept is important to us, it becomes very difficult to shake us from that belief.

An example of this can be found in NASA, or, more accurately, with the US space program in general. Thanks to the Space Shuttle, NASA and the public both believed that any replacement that wasn't reusable and didn't need less stages to get into orbit for less money was a titanic step backwards. This became so dogmatic that NASA tried again and again, and failed again and again, to develop such a spacecraft. It took the loss of Columbia to snap us out of this viewpoint, and to make us realize a capsule on a disposable rocket isn't a bad way to go, and, hence, the capsule proposal for the OSP is the one making the most headway right now with NASA, the government, and the concerned public - we've suddenly remembered that we used to be able to develop safe, reliable capsules in incredibly short periods of time.

NewGirlAgainstMainStream
2003-Oct-13, 05:28 AM
This kind of arguement is crazy...science and religion aren't the same and can't be compaired or argued about...neither party is gonna let go of what they believe...I am christian but I believe some things that science says...actually most of it...but not all...i must admit...

Betenoire
2003-Oct-13, 01:50 PM
So are you saying that everybody can believe whatever they damn well please because there is no objective reality - all is subjective; everyone creates his/her own reality inside his/her own mind?

This is the worst form of anti-intellectual postmodernistic [expletive deleted] that leads to one thing: human extinction.

Wow, putting words in my mouth so you can insult me. That sounds like familiar behavior.

You believe that scientists have no beliefs? Okay.
Do you believe that all things are inherently knowable? That fundamental laws govern all behavior of matter and energy? Do you believe that there is no other thing that can influence matter and energy except these?
These are the basic tenets of scientific exploration. We accept these without even realizing we are accepting these (interestingly enough, when you point out the logical conclusion of these, determinism and a lack of free will, most scientists recoil in terror). We believe that the law of gravity, or the strong nuclear force, will be the same tomorrow as it is today, or that the photons Michelson and Morley were experimenting with were the same we experience daily (otherwise we'd each have to be testing for the effects of the ether on our photons). We have faith, not in a persona, but in an intangible thing nonetheless.



Here's the difference: On what are such fundamentalist Christians views based? Are such views valid? Is science really a "scam"?

Again, they see their views as proven right. Most Christians I know feel that God has spoken to them directly. Frankly, if God spoke to me directly I'd believe. I stopped being a good little Christian when I felt God was no longer speaking to me. We see them misinterpreting random events ("You got the job you were praying to God about? Good for you. But why was it necessarily God's doing?") and they see us as doing the same ("You buy into those fossils? God's just testing you, silly man.").

Another thing you seem to believe is that I'm defending the fundamentalists. I'm not. They disgust me. When I was a Christian, they made me ashamed to believe in Christ.
But this topic is about communication and understanding between the two camps. Your comments don't help towards that end. You seem rather intent on telling CFs to go copulate with themselves, which I find as abhorrent as the behavior of the CFs.
I'm hoping that my ideas might aid in softening the blows, if only a little bit, but I expect you'll disagree.

wedgebert
2003-Oct-13, 02:40 PM
First, as to the praying thing, I think that believing that God is responsible for something that you prayed for when other people are involved, is a direct contradiction to the Christian faith.

For example, you're trying to get a job and you pray that you will get it. Well, the only way God is going to be able to get you that job is by influencing the decision making processes of the people involved in hiring. IfHhe does that, He has taken away those people's free will, and free will is an important concept to the Christian religion (especially considering it's what got us kicked out of Eden).


The difference between a scientist's belief in the laws of the universe and the religious person's faith in God is very different.

The belief in the laws of the universe stem directly from observation. We believe that gravity won't change tomorrow because it hasn't changed in our recorded history, and we can use show mathematically that it hasn't changed for billions of years.

Faith on the other hand, is primarily the result of a few different, less concrete reasons. A few examples are:
- You were raised to
- You need to (e.g. scared of what happens when you die)
- You had some dramitic life changing event that you attribute to God

A large part of religious people never really question their faith. How else do you explain how many families are of the same religion? The children grow up with a given religion and rarely think "is this the right one for me?" When you're little, your parents are always right, and later on it's just become a part of who you are. However, you never chose to of that religion, hence in a way you were brainwashed.

Compare that science. If tomorrow gravity acted different, but not different enough to kill us, scientists would start looking for a reason why it changed. We would stop believing that gravity is static and know that it's possible to alter how it works.

Now granted, some religious people do question their faith and change religions or stop believing at all. And some scientists become too attached to their theories and refuse to believe otherwise. Those are atypical cases though.

ToSeek
2003-Oct-13, 02:44 PM
To go back to my point, a scientist cannot agree to statements like this one:


The Biblical Astronomer was originally founded in 1971 as the Tychonian Society, on the premise that the only absolutely trustworthy information about the origin and purpose of all that exists and happens is given by God, our Creator and Redeemer, in his infallible, preserved word, the Holy Bible. All scientific endeavor which does not accept this revelation from on high without any reservations, literary, philosophical or whatever, we reject as already condemned in its unfounded first assumptions.

- http://www.geocentricity.com/credo.htm

Or this one:


All members must subscribe to the following statement of belief:

1. The Bible is the written Word of God, and because it is inspired throughout, all its assertions are historically and scientifically true in the original autographs. To the student of nature this means that the account of origins in Genesis is a factual presentation of simple historical truths.

...


- http://www.creationresearch.org/stmnt_of_belief.htm

Cougar
2003-Oct-13, 05:08 PM
Wow, putting words in my mouth so you can insult me.
Sorry. Certainly not my intent! But you had said....
The Christians view us [scientists] as a scam. They're trying to stop us from spreading our scam through schools. What makes their efforts more the action of lunatic fundamentalists (and whatever adjectives we like to use for them) than ours?
With that last sentence, you seemed to be equating the position of Christian Fundamentalists with that of the scientific community, an assertion I find highly objectionable.


You believe that scientists have no beliefs?
No, but there are only a couple, which are pretty self-evident, and I was hoping you would put them forward.

Do you believe that all things are inherently knowable?
N-n-n-not necessarily....

That fundamental laws govern all behavior of matter and energy?
Not sure about that either. Uranium (and other) atoms decay, with a certain statistical half-life, but as far as any single, individual uranium atom, there may not be any fundamental law telling it exactly when to decay.

Do you believe that there is no other thing that can influence matter and energy except these?
No, that's not a belief I hold. Science flatly cannot disprove the existence of some supernatural intelligence - it's logically impossible to do so. On the other hand, there is no objective evidence to support such a proposition. So it's an open question, I don't think an answer is going to be forthcoming.

These are the basic tenets of scientific exploration.
No - as I said, I think there are a couple of basic tenets, but these aren't them. You were getting close with the tenet of naturalism, though you didn't use that particular word.

Come to think of it, I'm going to take back my first response. Scientists don't hold naturalism as a "belief". It's not a belief. It's an assumption. It's a postulate. Scientists assume that, if there's an answer to a question (most scientific questions are of the physical type), then that answer lies in some natural phenomenon - something natural. This is a pretty reasonable and self-evident assumption, since no one has ever provided a demonstrably objective and repeatable supernatural phenomenon as an answer.


We believe that the law of gravity, or the strong nuclear force, will be the same tomorrow as it is today, or that the photons Michelson and Morley were experimenting with were the same we experience daily...
Not only do we not believe these things, I don't think we even assumethem. But you're close to one of the other foundational scientific assumptions: that the natural laws in distant galaxies are not different than here in our galaxy. This is a practical assumption - if we can't assume this, then we can conclude nothing from our observations.


We have faith, not in a persona, but in an intangible thing nonetheless.
No, not "faith". We make a minimum of assumptions so we may proceed with doing science. If one or more of these assumptions turn out to be inaccurate, we will get up off the floor, dust ourselves off, and proceed where we can. Individual humans don't necessarily like change, but it is a necessary ingredient to doing science.


Most Christians I know feel that God has spoken to them directly.
See, this is a definite problem. Who's to say when such voices are genuine? To this day the fundamentalist Lafferty brothers remain certain that God told them to murder their brother's wife and young child, which they did according to command.


But this topic is about communication and understanding between the two camps. Your comments don't help towards that end.
Well, I can see the wisdom in being accommodating to some extent, else the result is polarization. But I also see the wisdom in the view of Paul Kurtz, which might be summarized....

"...what is at issue is the reticence to criticize religion in the public square or to subject its basic premises to scrutiny."

"...the desire to seek a kind of accommodation by mutual tolerance is understandable, even commendable. Nonetheless speaking as a secularist and skeptic, I believe this should not preclude others within the community from questioning the claims of Biblical, Koranic, or other absolute faiths, particularly since massive efforts are constantly undertaken by missionaries to recruit members to the fold... This posture is especially questionable given the constant effort by militant religionists to apply their doctrines in the political process, thus seeking to impose their views on others."


I'm hoping that my ideas might aid in softening the blows, if only a little bit, but I expect you'll disagree.
Well, I think I agree with you more than you realize. 8)

Donnie B.
2003-Oct-13, 06:39 PM
Do you believe that all things are inherently knowable?
N-n-n-not necessarily....

Interestingly, science (if you include mathematics as part of science) has demonstrated conclusively that there are things that are inherently unknowable. Kurt Goedel's Incompleteness Theorem proves that in any reasonably powerful system of formal logic, one can construct propositions that are undecidable -- we can't prove them to be either true or false. These propositions are highly technical, but they boil down to statements along the lines of "This statement is false".

If you accept that mathematics is a reliable mirror of objective reality, not just an abstract mental construct, then this generalizes to become evidence that there must be unprovable truths (or falsehoods) in nature as well.

I for one have seen the correspondence between pure, abstract mathematics and objective reality in so many different contexts that I'm willing to accept that the Incompeteness Theorem has something to say about the real world.

Papa Bear
2003-Oct-14, 03:19 PM
I for one have seen the correspondence between pure, abstract mathematics and objective reality in so many different contexts that I'm willing to accept that the Incompeteness Theorem has something to say about the real world.
(snipped)

This may sound odd, but I find comfort in Incompleteness. Somehow takes the pressure off. :)

JS Princeton
2003-Oct-14, 04:44 PM
Interesting.
This bespeaks of "exclusivity" and keeping the real science from the masses.
Perhaps this is a problem that should be addressed as well?


In astronomy, you can get any paper you want at the archivx server at xxx.lanl.gov

No exclusivity here. However, that's not to say you won't have to deal with the jargon.

nokton
2003-Oct-14, 06:01 PM
I for one have seen the correspondence between pure, abstract mathematics and objective reality in so many different contexts that I'm willing to accept that the Incompeteness Theorem has something to say about the real world.
(snipped)

This may sound odd, but I find comfort in Incompleteness. Somehow takes the pressure off. :).
Would suggest that quantum theory has some domain here,objective reality depends in the mind of the observer,and the mind of the
observer is influenced by many factors,beliefs,education,religion,
hope.One persons reality may be incomplete,to another it may lead
to the fourth estate

nokton
2003-Oct-14, 06:04 PM
I for one have seen the correspondence between pure, abstract mathematics and objective reality in so many different contexts that I'm willing to accept that the Incompeteness Theorem has something to say about the real world.
(snipped)

This may sound odd, but I find comfort in Incompleteness. Somehow takes the pressure off. :).
Would suggest that quantum theory has some domain here,objective reality depends in the mind of the observer,and the mind of the
observer is influenced by many factors,beliefs,education,religion,
hope.One persons reality may be incomplete,to another it may lead
to the fourth estate

Betenoire
2003-Oct-14, 07:42 PM
One persons reality may be incomplete,to another it may lead to the fourth estate

Journalism?

nokton
2003-Oct-14, 07:57 PM
One persons reality may be incomplete,to another it may lead to the fourth estate

Journalism?

No Betenoire,was describing,in terms,the fourth dimension

Betenoire
2003-Oct-14, 08:37 PM
Erm... we're obviously not speaking the same language. What are you calling the fourth dimension/estate?

Papa Bear
2003-Oct-15, 05:16 AM
Erm... we're obviously not speaking the same language. What are you calling the fourth dimension/estate?

I'm going to take a wild guess and say it's that place you arrive at right after you've taken a very sharp left turn off Topic Road.... :wink: ... just kiddin'....

Seriously, is nokton referring to something "spiritual" or "scientific"? I know qp's basics, but I've not heard "estate" used before. Maybe just not in the texts I've used -- don't know. "Estate" makes me think of "Nirvana" for some reason. Please enlighten! :-k

nokton
2003-Oct-15, 05:42 PM
Erm... we're obviously not speaking the same language. What are you calling the fourth dimension/estate?

I'm going to take a wild guess and say it's that place you arrive at right after you've taken a very sharp left turn off Topic Road.... :wink: ... just kiddin'....

Seriously, is nokton referring to something "spiritual" or "scientific"? I know qp's basics, but I've not heard "estate" used before. Maybe just not in the texts I've used -- don't know. "Estate" makes me think of "Nirvana" for some reason. Please enlighten! :-k
Hi Papa,thanx.One of my first posts on this site was trying to grasp
the concept of a gravity well of a black hole in three dimensions,two,easy.
three,difficult.The implications of this are many.have had posts that even
'trained' people will never grasp the concept of a three dimentional gravity well.Had to smile at your expression sharp left turn,that is where
hyper space is.Am spiritual Papa,but not at the expence of science,reason
and logic

wedgebert
2003-Oct-15, 06:53 PM
I wouldn't call hyperspace, or hyperdimensional concepts spiritual. Spiritual implies having to do with God, the spirit or the supernatural. Not being able to comprehend something (like a 4 diminsional object) doesn't make it spiritual, it's just outside our comprehension.

nokton
2003-Oct-15, 07:04 PM
I wouldn't call hyperspace, or hyperdimensional concepts spiritual. Spiritual implies having to do with God, the spirit or the supernatural. Not being able to comprehend something (like a 4 diminsional object) doesn't make it spiritual, it's just outside our comprehension.
Who did?

wedgebert
2003-Oct-15, 08:57 PM
I think I just misread your post


The implications of this are many.have had posts that even
'trained' people will never grasp the concept of a three dimentional gravity well.Had to smile at your expression sharp left turn,that is where
hyper space is.Am spiritual Papa,but not at the expence of science,reason
and logic

The whole "no spaces between sentences" thing threw me off, sorry.

nokton
2003-Oct-16, 06:28 PM
I think I just misread your post


The implications of this are many.have had posts that even
'trained' people will never grasp the concept of a three dimentional gravity well.Had to smile at your expression sharp left turn,that is where
hyper space is.Am spiritual Papa,but not at the expence of science,reason
and logic

The whole "no spaces between sentences" thing threw me off, sorry.
No prob wedgebert,not happy you felt 'thrown off'.Will state my case
as spiritual,cannot make the leap of faith so many do in believing in
an all seeing and encompassing entity that understands everything,
and created everything,and decides whether one is fit for eternal life.
Rather subscribe to the idea that intelligence in homo sapiens was
the intention of a more advanced race.Contentious yes,but allow me
my point of view.Still contend wedgebert,that the reality we know,is
but a fraction of what we,at this stage in our evolution,can understand

Cougar
2003-Oct-16, 07:22 PM
...cannot make the leap of faith so many do in believing in an all seeing and encompassing entity that understands everything, and created everything,and decides whether one is fit for eternal life.
Well, that's completely understandable.

Rather subscribe to the idea that intelligence in homo sapiens was the intention of a more advanced race.Contentious yes,but allow me my point of view.
Such a belief is no better founded than the all-seeing entity belief. Neither has any empirical support. And I can off-hand think of several logical problems with your "advanced race" belief.
Other earth species have intelligence to varying degrees. Were all these levels of intelligence also "implanted" by the "advanced race"? Why?
Given the overall picture, human intelligence seems a perfectly natural evolutionary adaptation - no "advanced race" tinkering needed...

Still contend wedgebert,that the reality we know,is
but a fraction of what we,at this stage in our evolution,can understand
Kind of a tortured way to put it, but I think I agree with you there. :)

Jim
2003-Oct-16, 07:50 PM
Rather subscribe to the idea that intelligence in homo sapiens was the intention of a more advanced race.

Ah, the "Uplift" premise used by David Brin. (Of course, in the Brin universe, humans had no alien benefactor to uplift them.)

And it leaves the question, who was the original benefactor? So, you're still left with the "where did intelligence come from" controversy, only x-times removed.

nokton
2003-Oct-16, 08:50 PM
...cannot make the leap of faith so many do in believing in an all seeing and encompassing entity that understands everything, and created everything,and decides whether one is fit for eternal life.
Well, that's completely understandable.

Rather subscribe to the idea that intelligence in homo sapiens was the intention of a more advanced race.Contentious yes,but allow me my point of view.
Such a belief is no better founded than the all-seeing entity belief. Neither has any empirical support. And I can off-hand think of several logical problems with your "advanced race" belief.
Other earth species have intelligence to varying degrees. Were all these levels of intelligence also "implanted" by the "advanced race"? Why?
Given the overall picture, human intelligence seems a perfectly natural evolutionary adaptation - no "advanced race" tinkering needed...

Still contend wedgebert,that the reality we know,is
but a fraction of what we,at this stage in our evolution,can understand
Kind of a tortured way to put it, but I think I agree with you there. :)
No empirical support,no,but,the fact that we can embrace Alberts relativity,and the concepts of quantum theory,set us apart from other
species,dolfins have bigger brains,are smart,if they could speak our
language would they be able to grasp what we are about?
We are already 'tinkering' with genetic manipulation,if in the next hundred
years we conquer space travel,find other worlds with life without intelligence,but ripe for it,just a thought,Cougar

nokton
2003-Oct-17, 05:23 PM
Hi Cougar,welcome your response to my post.Disagree with you
equating religion and god,to a concept of beings far more advanced
than we are at this time.Our host created this site,I feel,to stimulate
alternative ideas to the mainstream thinking.I feel he has had success
in his concept of stimulating new ways of thinking.
My point Cougar,was,and is,if Man developes to a stage where space
travel is the norm,and we discover other worlds,with life capable of
developing intelligence,could we resist a genetic prod,to create an
intelligence that could be as aware as we are.We would not then be alone.

Cougar
2003-Oct-17, 07:33 PM
No empirical support,no,but,the fact that we can embrace Alberts relativity,and the concepts of quantum theory,set us apart from other species,dolfins have bigger brains,are smart,if they could speak our
language would they be able to grasp what we are about?
Humans are indeed remarkable, but dogs' sense of smell is MUCH better developed than ours; hawks' eyesight; bats' hearing; etc., etc. So humans will win if they can pick the "yardstick" to determine what species is more developed, but is that really fair?


We are already 'tinkering' with genetic manipulation,if in the next hundred years we conquer space travel,find other worlds with life without intelligence,but ripe for it,just a thought,Cougar
"Intelligence" is very hard to define. Your speculation makes some sense, though. But as previously mentioned, this ultimately just pushes the question of the origins of life (and/or intelligence) back one level. If earth was seeded by E.T.s, how did they originate in the first place?

Cougar
2003-Oct-17, 07:43 PM
Disagree with you
equating religion and god,to a concept of beings far more advanced
than we are at this time.
Well, not "equal", but they have the same amount of empirical evidence, i.e., none. I don't know if either idea is falsifiable either. I could claim that the Tooth Fairy created the universe and have the same amount of evidence as your claim or the "intelligent being" claim, and nobody could prove me wrong, either.

That's why claims that are not falsifiable are generally of no interest to science....
http://www.xmission.com/~dcc/jupiter.gif

Betenoire
2003-Oct-17, 08:48 PM
Phylogenetic analysis indicates it would be impossible for life on Earth to be the result of accidental extraterrestrial seeding (the idea of an encased bacteria on an asteroid). It's very hard to explain but I can try, if you want.
Intentional extraterrestrial seeding needs to explain how it was done. Was it one bacteria? A sampling from the various branches of the phylogenetic tree (it would have to be a very large sampling, considering their own life would have gotten very specific to its niches, and not be the sort of omnipotent cells that originally gave rise to the diverse branches)? Did They just put the necessary chemicals on the planet?
And geologic evidence (mostly banded iron formations) hints that life as we would recognize it (cells) may have been around 3.8 billion years ago, roughly two hundred million years after the Earth cooled. So that was a rather narrow window of geologic time for Them to show up.
While this isn't really a scientific question, I wonder, why would They do it? Certainly They would know it would take roughly four billion years for anything intelligent to evolve (assuming They endured a similar evolutionary course).

nokton
2003-Oct-17, 08:52 PM
Was not looking for false premises Cougar,but trying to understand
the human condition.With reason and logic as to where we are,
and where we are going.Am not hopeful about our future,as you
demonstrate.Nice pic of Jupiter,may be our last

nokton
2003-Oct-17, 09:25 PM
Phylogenetic analysis indicates it would be impossible for life on Earth to be the result of accidental extraterrestrial seeding (the idea of an encased bacteria on an asteroid). It's very hard to explain but I can try, if you want.
Intentional extraterrestrial seeding needs to explain how it was done. Was it one bacteria? A sampling from the various branches of the phylogenetic tree (it would have to be a very large sampling, considering their own life would have gotten very specific to its niches, and not be the sort of omnipotent cells that originally gave rise to the diverse branches)? Did They just put the necessary chemicals on the planet?
And geologic evidence (mostly banded iron formations) hints that life as we would recognize it (cells) may have been around 3.8 billion years ago, roughly two hundred million years after the Earth cooled. So that was a rather narrow window of geologic time for Them to show up.
While this isn't really a scientific question, I wonder, why would They do it? Certainly They would know it would take roughly four billion years for anything intelligent to evolve (assuming They endured a similar evolutionary course).
With respect,time is not an issue relative to intelligence.Evolution describes
intelligence as suddenly occuring recently,within certain cells of homo sapiens.The point I am trying to make,is,extrapolating present progress
in physics and technology,one day,we will seem as gods,to lesser sentient
beings we may encounter in our journey among the stars

Cougar
2003-Oct-17, 09:55 PM
Am not hopeful about our future,as you
demonstrate.Nice pic of Jupiter,may be our last
I think it's wise to avoid being pessimistic, because....

"Pessimism as a belief not only becomes a passive set of predictions about the future but also plays a dynamic role in ensuring the deteriorating quality of tomorrow's world." -- H.J. Morowitz

With respect,time is not an issue relative to intelligence.Evolution describes intelligence as suddenly occuring recently,within certain cells of homo sapiens.
I don't think evolution describes any such thing. And humans aren't the only intelligent creatures on this planet. Here are a couple of facts you don't seem to have taken account of....

"...single-celled life-forms persisted alone in the biosphere for perhaps 3 billion years."

"In the Permian extinction, 245 million years ago, 96 percent of all species disappeared." [Stuart Kauffman, At Home In The Universe]

The point I am trying to make,is,extrapolating present progress in physics and technology,one day,we will seem as gods,to lesser sentient beings we may encounter in our journey among the stars...
I'll buy that. I once wondered if God ever did show up, proving Her existence, how could we tell She was not simply a vastly more intelligent alien creature?

Musashi
2003-Oct-17, 10:02 PM
Did I miss something? Why would that be our last pic of Jupitor?

nokton
2003-Oct-17, 10:25 PM
Thanx Cougar for your last point,he,her, or entity,is not an issue.
It is the extreme in arrogence to suppose we are the only ones with
mind and understanding in this galaxy that pees me off.And to imply
that beings far more developed that we are are science fiction,or,
worse,a figment of imagination,beggers belief.

wedgebert
2003-Oct-18, 02:57 AM
Thanx Cougar for your last point,he,her, or entity,is not an issue.
It is the extreme in arrogence to suppose we are the only ones with
mind and understanding in this galaxy that pees me off.And to imply
that beings far more developed that we are are science fiction,or,
worse,a figment of imagination,beggers belief.

I haven't been paying to much attention to the last few posts, but I doubt many on this board would claim that we are the only intelligent species in the universe.

However, I doubt many of us would believe that our intelligence is the product of geneering by a more advanced species.

Peter B
2003-Oct-18, 06:26 AM
It is the extreme in arrogence to suppose we are the only ones with mind and understanding in this galaxy that pees me off. And to imply that beings far more developed that we are are science fiction, or, worse, a figment of imagination,beggers belief.

Nokton

Who are these people who suppose "we are the only ones with mind and understanding in this galaxy"?

Please understand there's a big difference between saying "there's no intelligent life out there" and "there's no evidence there's intelligent life out there". Most people, if not all, I think, would disagree with the first statement and agree with the second.

nokton
2003-Oct-18, 06:20 PM
Thanx Cougar for your last point,he,her, or entity,is not an issue.
It is the extreme in arrogence to suppose we are the only ones with
mind and understanding in this galaxy that pees me off.And to imply
that beings far more developed that we are are science fiction,or,
worse,a figment of imagination,beggers belief.

I haven't been paying to much attention to the last few posts, but I doubt many on this board would claim that we are the only intelligent species in the universe.

However, I doubt many of us would believe that our intelligence is the product of geneering by a more advanced species.
Thanx wedgebert,good to see again.Wasn't commenting on people on
this board,but people(scientists) who knock the SETI program,astronomy
programs on TV with scientific contributors who evaluate evolution on
earth,the emergence of intelligence,conclude the same circumstances for
the emergence of intelligent life
elseware are more remote than a beefburger in vegetarian diet.
One of our famous(English)astronomers is on record as commenting on
'flying saucers',saying,if they exist,why haven't they made contact?
Did he ever read human history?And what it shows about the outcome
of a more 'advanced' culture contacting a more'primitive'one.
More to the point wedgebert,was commenting on the observations of the
scientific contributors in TV progammes,who I feel,shoot themselves in
the foot,by stating,in effect,by their own reasoning,that intelligent
life on this planet is a miracle of events they do not understand.
My point was,and is,is there a guiding hand in all this.
Am just exploring,wedgebert,hope you understand

wedgebert
2003-Oct-18, 08:54 PM
Depending on how you look at it, the odds of intelligent life appearing on other worlds is a very very remote possiblity.

Look at Earth, with the millions of different species that have evolved, only a handful have developed a high degree of intelligence, and only humans homosapians have made it beyond the very simple "tool user" stage.

However, life itself should be fairly common. Again, just look at Earth. Life has evolved to survive all over the planet in the most extreme environments.

One easy way to determine if a planet supports life is to look at the atmosphere. An atmosphere with high levels of oxygen (relative to other elements) like our own is a very good indication that some sort of life exists on that planet. The reason? Oxygen is highly reactive and if left alone will combine with other elements to form things like carbon dioxide. Plain ole O2 molecules would be evidence that something on the planet is replenishing them. That leaves some sort of widespread chemical reaction, or life.

As to why aliens haven't contacted us, that's another story. Sure, our history is filled with examples of a primitive culture being destroyed by contact with a more advanced one. However, who is to say that an alien speices went though the same kind of thing?

Maybe they were all very peaceful and so that kind of contact lead to a rapid, but non-destructive, advancement of the lesser culture. Maybe they're warlike and just conquered the weaker one outright.

Or maybe it just happened so long ago that they have no record of it.

You cannot assign human logic to alien thinking because they are aliens.

Also, unless they have some sort of FTL travel, why come all those light years and then not make contact? I would be like Columbus sailing the Atlantic and then hiding from the natives.

Even if aliens do exist in our part of the galaxy, I highly doubt they're secretly orbting the Earth.

Cougar
2003-Oct-18, 09:22 PM
My point was,and is,is there a guiding hand in all this.
Am just exploring...
And certainly you're not the first to explore such a question. Evolutionary biologists have explored this question very deeply and throroughly - this is their field of study, after all - and I'm pretty certain that they would unanimously say, no, there is no "guiding hand". We are the result of variation and natural selection... over a VERY long period of time.

If you're really interested in the origin of life on earth, I strongly recommend the general audience book by Stuart Kauffman of the Santa Fe Institute - At Home in the Universe (http://home.wxs.nl/~gkorthof/kortho32.htm). He basically uses mathematics, biology, and chemistry to fashion an argument that life on earth (and throughout the universe) is pretty much guaranteed once you get together a diverse enough collection of interacting chemicals and molecules - something the early earth clearly had....

nokton
2003-Oct-19, 04:29 PM
Feel somewhat between the goal posts here.Point raised by wedgebert,
life and evolution,as we know it,was driven by predator and prey,it is
reasonable to conclude that life on other worlds would follow a similar
path.So all Aliens would have developed from a primitive beginning,
and as we,carry the legacy of their ancestors emotions in the drive for
survival.Light years away?Ithink not,space and time is not as we thought
it was,we are learning tho'.This site is about exploring possibilities
outside the mainstream of current knowledge,I value it,and it's
contributors.An open mind is all it takes

Makgraf
2003-Oct-20, 03:53 AM
I would argue that there are fundamentalist scientists. I'd define them as people who cling to a certain view, even if wrong, and reflexively do not believe in evidence that contradicts their thesis.

One example would come from the climate change debate. Does global warming exist? Probably, the data supports the fact that the Earth is getting warmer and the consensus is that it is due to human beings pumping carbon into the atmosphere. Tempers have become heated against the scientists who oppose this viewpoint. I think that some of the personal venom spewed in these attacks (on both sides) is indicative of a larger problem in ecological science. I think some scientists have crossed the line, going from legitimately defending their positions to becoming 'eco-warriors' trying to push an environmentalist agenda. Thus, the are willing to distort, lie and refuse to except other beliefs. Their rational is that they are attempting to save the world and such petty concerns as facts must not interfere. Here's a quote from Stephen Schneider an environmentalist scientist:

[We] are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we'd like to see the world a better place...To do that we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public's imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have...Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.

Yikes. Now who knows maybe their cause is a just one. But I certainly think they'd qualify as "fundamentalist scientists".

Papa Bear
2003-Oct-20, 06:21 AM
I would argue that there are fundamentalist scientists. I'd define them as people who cling to a certain view, even if wrong, and reflexively do not believe in evidence that contradicts their thesis.

(quote snipped for the cause of brevity)

A fundamentalist is not at all what you describe above...whether you put the word in front of scientist, religious adherent, or window washer. What you describe (and what so many mistakenly call a "fundamentalist Christian") is actually an extremist. Fundamentalists are only those people who adhere to fundamentals of a given study or belief or technique. Fundamental means foundation, as in that which comes first in the construction of a building. In any religious belief the fundamentals would be the "non debatable truths" established by the founders. I assume a similar definition could be applied to scientific study and research -- those laws and techniques which are, respectively, indisputably true and effective, though the full explanation of these observable truths take time to develop, as they are tested over time. The beliefs and attitudes you describe in your quote are not first principles of scientific methodology at all. The same misnomer is plastered to religious zealots of all ilks with an irksome regularity as well. Please, reconsider your use of the word "fundamentalist".

nokton
2003-Oct-20, 05:37 PM
I would argue that there are fundamentalist scientists. I'd define them as people who cling to a certain view, even if wrong, and reflexively do not believe in evidence that contradicts their thesis.

One example would come from the climate change debate. Does global warming exist? Probably, the data supports the fact that the Earth is getting warmer and the consensus is that it is due to human beings pumping carbon into the atmosphere. Tempers have become heated against the scientists who oppose this viewpoint. I think that some of the personal venom spewed in these attacks (on both sides) is indicative of a larger problem in ecological science. I think some scientists have crossed the line, going from legitimately defending their positions to becoming 'eco-warriors' trying to push an environmentalist agenda. Thus, the are willing to distort, lie and refuse to except other beliefs. Their rational is that they are attempting to save the world and such petty concerns as facts must not interfere. Here's a quote from Stephen Schneider an environmentalist scientist:

[We] are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we'd like to see the world a better place...To do that we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public's imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have...Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.

Yikes. Now who knows maybe their cause is a just one. But I certainly think they'd qualify as "fundamentalist scientists".
Makgraf,thankyou for your stimulating post,but slow down.
In AD998 Eric the Red established a Norse colony in Greenland,
so called because it was a green and pleasant land,a hundred years
later the climate changed,the green and pleasant land could not support
their animals,they were reduced to killing their beloved dogs for food.
Point of this is,NASA recently claimed,the Greenland icecap is receding,
infering global warming,and by implication,the burning of fossil fuels.
My contention is,why was the the world so much warmer in Erics day.
Then again,they may have had far more 4by4s than we have,or heavens
above,our sun may vary its output by a fraction of one %,thereby creating a heatwave here,or an ice age

Makgraf
2003-Oct-20, 08:07 PM
Fundamentalists are only those people who adhere to fundamentals of a given study or belief or technique.

Uh huh. Thing is, I've read 3 different definitions of fundamentalist on this thread alone. Given that words change, I'm using the word in its modern sense, which is that of a radical extremist.

Think about all the times we hear about "Muslim fundamentalists" or "Hindu fundamentalist". However, all devout Muslims are required to believe in the literal truth of the Qur'an and many extremist Hindus are not basing all their belief's on certain texts. For better or for worse, I believe the word "fundamentalist" has evolved from one that merely describes a certain protestant sect.

nokton, I really don't know enough about climate change for me to say whether it's caused by increased carbon use or not. I was just pointing out that right now it seems that a majority of scientists do. I'm sitting on the fence until more data comes in.

aurora
2003-Oct-20, 09:31 PM
Point of this is,NASA recently claimed,the Greenland icecap is receding, infering global warming,and by implication,the burning of fossil fuels. My contention is,why was the the world so much warmer in Erics day. Then again,they may have had far more 4by4s than we have,or heavens above,our sun may vary its output by a fraction of one %,thereby creating a heatwave here,or an ice age

Actually, the world was not warmer in Eric's day than it is now. In between his time and ours there was the little ice age, but that ended, probably, in the mid 1800's.

In Eric's day, there was a few small sections of Greenland that were ice free in the summer, and the surrounding ocean was also ice free in the summer. Greenland itself, though, still had the vast majority covered with continental sized ice sheets, miles thick.

The use of the word "green" was likely a bit of marketing on the part of the settlers.

Most glaciers have now retreated to their smallest extent at any time since the end of the last ice age.

Papa Bear
2003-Oct-21, 04:32 AM
Fundamentalists are only those people who adhere to fundamentals of a given study or belief or technique.

Uh huh. Thing is, I've read 3 different definitions of fundamentalist on this thread alone. Given that words change, I'm using the word in its modern sense, which is that of a radical extremist.

The meanings of words don't change if the roots in them don't change. Only the educational levels of the people using them change. This is why Merriam-Webster, which, these days, is better used to line a bird cage, follows the masses down to tubes to soundbite "intellectualism".

See signature below.

Betenoire
2003-Oct-21, 01:23 PM
Malarkey!

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=fiend

Read down to the part where it points out the origin of "fiend" is "friend".

Many words regularly pull 180s through the years. "Sympathy" and "Pathetic" have the same root, but one is kindness and the other derogatory. Your insistence on adhering to root words established millennia ago and altered grotesquely since then recalls another quote:
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

I'll list more contradictory words as I think of them.

Papa Bear
2003-Oct-21, 03:20 PM
Malarkey!
Read down to the part where it points out the origin of "fiend" is "friend".


Nowhere on the page you link to does it say what you claim. Furthermore, looking at both origin listings, it's clear that the two words, though both Indo-European, are completely separate. Fiend from "fe(o)" and friend from "fr(e)". Linguistic references often list ant/syn comparisons. That's what the hyperlink to "friend" in the reference for "fiend" is. In no way is it meant to imply that one word is the origin for the other or that they even split from the same root.

Betenoire further says:
Many words regularly pull 180s through the years. "Sympathy" and "Pathetic" have the same root, but one is kindness and the other derogatory.

Yes, they have the same "root" -- thank you for proving my point! But if you'll notice, there are prefixes/suffixes around each of those "path" roots, giving each different meanings. There are other words with the "path" root too. Here are a few:

Path, Patho, Pathy: feeling, suffering, disease

1. antipathy: dislike
2. apathy: lack of feeling
3. empathy: understanding another's feelings
4. pathetic: arouses feelings of pity
5. sympathy: sharing feeling of one's trouble
6. telepathy: transferring thoughts or feelings with your mind
7. pathological: due to disease
8. psychopathic: of mental disease, insane

These words have widely varying meanings, but the meaning of their root stays the same, obviously.

Betenoire says:
Your insistence on adhering to root words established millennia ago and altered grotesquely since then recalls another quote:
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

Again, the roots are not altered. Their meanings haven't changed, therefore the meanings of the words utilizing the roots haven't changed. Only how people use the word (or misuse it) is what changes. If we ignore the root meanings of language, then we can't communicate clearly. (See Babel, eh?) I understand what the pop culture usage of "fundamental" is, I'm just saying it's so far off the root meaning of "fund" as to be nearly the opposite in meaning.

If you are going to fling back more words as you say you will, it will probably need to be a new thread in the "BABBling" forum, don't you think? Otherwise we will pull this thread completely off its topic. Just a suggestion.

nokton
2003-Oct-21, 04:24 PM
Thanx Aurora for your input,and updating me with the climate in
Erics time.My reading of history and archaeology tells me that
in Erics time,the north of Scotland and the outer islands,supported
human life.A century later it died out,would contest with you it was
a local event in Greenland.My comments are a genuine interest in
the truth,have no contest with you,believe me.
nokton

aurora
2003-Oct-21, 05:47 PM
Thanx Aurora for your input,and updating me with the climate in
Erics time.My reading of history and archaeology tells me that
in Erics time,the north of Scotland and the outer islands,supported
human life.A century later it died out

The Norse died out in Greenland during the little ice age (of course, the natives got along just fine before, during and after the Norse settlements). I've never seen it written that humans died out in northern Scotland or on the offshore islands. Do you have a source for that? Maybe I've missed it somehow.

nokton
2003-Oct-21, 07:11 PM
Hi Aurora,cannot refer you to text on the subject, but a bit of research
by you,feel will explain all.Aurora,I read a lot about all things science
based,being doing that since I was 5 years old,still doing it at 70.
You will find what I said in my last is true,if you but seek what is true.
The ancients,around 1000 AD,had a good life in the extreme north
of Scotland,and the islands around.That was until the weather changed,
their world got cold,so cold,it wiped them out.Their stone dwellings are
still there to be seen,the bones of their beloved dogs too,which they
killed in a futile attempt to stave off starvation.

SollyLama
2003-Oct-29, 05:13 PM
I have to agree that environmentalists (be they scientist or just the gullible masses) have given up real science for anything that supports thier hysteria.
Global warming is a good example. The earth does that all by itself. Large climatic changes occur, some fairly quickly. But the enviro-herd has ignored about 4/5 billion years of earth history to claim that any rise in temps is due to fossil fuel usage.
Not long ago people thought underground nuke testing would collapse the earth into a black hole. They even tried to use science to prove it.
It all boils down to a lobby group using hyperbole and chicken little predictions to garner support for otherwise dubious claims.
I recently had a debate with a gent who chastised me for driving an 8 cylinder pick up while he drives a glorified go cart (a VW). Every link he used to support his position came from some eco-wacko group claiming the planet is doomed within 100 years because of SUV's.
By the time we either run out of oil, or find an alternative, we'll have burned fossil fuels for maybe 200-250 years. Hardly a moment to the earth and it's envornment, which has withstood much worse.
It reminds me of the big Acid Rain bruhaha a few years back.
The problem is lobby groups will sink to nearly any level to promote their pet agenda.

Vermonter
2003-Oct-29, 05:26 PM
It's funny you mention that; I was listening to the Jim Bohannen show last night on the way home from work, and there was a discussion about the environmental "chicken-littles" that preach doom and gloom.

I think that the Earth does indeed have cycles that fluctuate back and forth, producing seemingly abnormal events. Keep in mind, folks, that we have been keeping track of the weather for over a century.

It remind me of when folks started paying attention to sunspots and solar activity, finally finding a pattern over the years.

I think we do alter our environment, I would like to find out to what extent do we alter the environment and atmosphere.

CharlesEGrant
2003-Nov-02, 09:02 PM
I have to agree that environmentalists (be they scientist or just the gullible masses) have given up real science for anything that supports thier hysteria.
Global warming is a good example. The earth does that all by itself. Large climatic changes occur, some fairly quickly. But the enviro-herd has ignored about 4/5 billion years of earth history to claim that any rise in temps is due to fossil fuel usage.
I would agree that some advocates have dramatically overstated the case for a human cause of global warming. However it seems to me that you are similarly overstating the case against. Certainly the earth's climate does undergo dramatic natural variation. The spot where I am sitting was under 1000 feet of ice just 12,000 years ago. This does not eliminate the logical possibility that human activity will accelerate or exaggerate natural changes in climate. To use a topical analogy, there have always been wildfires in the hills of southern California. This does not imply that arson caused wildfires are not a matter for serious concern.

A couple of points have been well established. First, that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide have increased by about 30% in the last 1000 years after having been relatively stable for the previous 20,000 years. These increases correlate well with the growth in human use of fossil fuels. As always, corrleation is not causation, but it is a good place to start looking. Second, after much debate, there is wide acceptance that there has been some very recent warming of the climate at the earths's surface.

Now of course the $25,000 question is whether these points are related. Some climate models have indicated that they are related. The error of many environmentalists is to take this as a defintive proof of a relationship between human activity and climate change rather then simply estalbishing plausibility. I fear that the error you are falling into is to simply dismiss these climate models because they conflict with your economic model. To the extent that I understand them the models that link the burning of fossil fuels and accelerated warming are not definitive, but neither are they arbitrary or unreasonable.



Not long ago people thought underground nuke testing would collapse the earth into a black hole. They even tried to use science to prove it.
It all boils down to a lobby group using hyperbole and chicken little predictions to garner support for otherwise dubious claims.


Now this strikes me as pure cant. I've been following test-ban treaty and nuclear disarmament issues since 1972, and I've never heard anyone make such an absurd suggestion. I suppose it might have shown up on the Art Bell show, but I don't follow that. As far as I know the issues have always been limiting the proliferation of nuclear weapons and avoiding the accidental release of radioactive materials. Do you have a reference to back this up or are you simply building a straw man to knock down?


All the best,

Charles

Donnie B.
2003-Nov-03, 02:54 AM
Getting back to the question in the OP:

I'd say that fundamentalists think science is biased because it is biased. It is profoundly limited to dealing with reality.

Ideally, at least, science asks questions about the physical world, and allows the physical world to answer those questions. It does not, and cannot, consider the supernatural or subjective experience (except in those cases where those subjective experiences are accompanied by physical effects, e.g. mental illness).

To me, that's its great power, one that represents a truly revolutionary change in thinking for the human race. It does not, of course, preclude the possibility that the supernatural exists, but it places some pretty strict limits on what the supernatural can and can't affect.

After all, if some supernatural agent did exist, it would be rather irrelevant unless it could have some effect on the natural world. But if it did so, its effect could (presumably) be observed. That would bring it under the purview of science.

In other words, either there is no such supernatural agent, or else its effects are limited to those that are indistinguishable from random noise (up to now, at least).

Now I don't doubt that there are those who would say that their favorite supernatural being does exist, and does have a detectable effect on their lives. But who can say for sure whether the effect they feel is really due to some external agent, or is simply a part of their own consciousness or subconscious mind? If we ever do find a way to measure this, we may find that the "god of the gaps" has even fewer gaps to fill... :-?

informant
2003-Nov-03, 02:23 PM
Hey, don't underestimate random noise. :)

kittynboi
2003-Nov-08, 04:14 AM
Look at Earth, with the millions of different species that have evolved, only a handful have developed a high degree of intelligence, and only humans homosapians have made it beyond the very simple "tool user" stage.

Carl Sagan said something similar in Cosmos, I believe. That simple life may be vast and abundant throughout the universe, but there could be certain hurdles that are difficult to cross, thus much of the life in the universe remains at the most basic levels.

As for this discussion, I can't believe I read most of this. I would say that I tend to dismiss most fundamentalists accusations of science being biased because, quite simply, they only think it's biased because it disagrees with them. Would they claim any kind of bias if it gave them 100% support?

On a less serious note. ^_^; I would be greatly amused to watch one of the creationist nutters debates Micheal Cremo, author of this massive 700-900 pages book called Forbidden Archaeology. Cremo's bok outlines all sorts of "anomolies" that contradict the scientific view of human history. I think Cremo is involved with the Krishna Consiouness people and is out to prove some kind of Hindu creation story or something, claiming that humans have been on earth for millions of years and have de-evolved from their higher spiritual selves, or something. (Are we not men? WE ARE D-E-V-O! ^.~).. Don't worry, I don't accept Cremos claims, whatever exactly they may be, I just think it would be an interesting spectacle.


On a less serious note. ^_^; I would be greatly amused to watch one of the creationist nutters debates Micheal Cremo, author of this massive 700-900 pages book called Forbidden Archaeology. Cremo's bok outlines all sorts of "anomolies" that contradict the scientific view of human history. I think Cremo is involved with the Krishna Consiouness people and is out to prove some kind of Hindu creation story or something, claiming that humans have been on earth for millions of years and have de-evolved from their higher spiritual selves, or something. (Are we not men? WE ARE D-E-V-O! ^.~).. Don't worry, I don't accept Cremos claims, whatever exactly they may be, I just think it would be an interesting spectacle.

mike alexander
2003-Nov-08, 07:40 AM
A few days late, but welcome to the board, CharlesE. Another Northwesterner.