Scientific Atheism or "Contra" Religion

#1
I have often wondered why so many scientists are so ardently "binary" in terms of the spiritual. (i.e., there's rarely any allowance for something beyond pure materialism) As I've said in several of my posts here, it always strikes me as intellectually dishonest especially when presented as something more than a personal belief. I can't help but think this isn't lost on at least some of the scientific materialist crowd.

I'm currently listening to a podcast by Steven Weinberg. Prompted me to Google him to which I found this from his wiki page under the sub-heading "Religion":

Weinberg is an atheist. Weinberg stated his views on religion in 1999:

Frederick Douglass told in his Narrative how his condition as a slave became worse when his master underwent a religious conversion that allowed him to justify slavery as the punishment of the children of Ham. Mark Twain described his mother as a genuinely good person, whose soft heart pitied even Satan, but who had no doubt about the legitimacy of slavery, because in years of living in antebellum Missouri she had never heard any sermon opposing slavery, but only countless sermons preaching that slavery was God's will. With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion.
He's an atheist because bad things have been done in the name of religion? (I'm sure there's more to it, but it seem poignant.) This struck me as typical of so many scientific atheist commentaries. I've seen in several debates between atheists and theists a similar regression from discussing the possibility of things spiritual to a critique/damnation of religion. Obviously, they are not equivalent.

I'm now left to contemplate if it is more about a "contra" organized religion thing than it is a "pro" atheistic thing. (Not saying they are mutually exclusive; just wondering about the motivation.) I would get it as organized religion does seem, at times at least, threatening to the pursuit of science. However, it does leave us in a suboptimal setting as it spawns this binary sort of bias against religion which allows no shades of gray. Thus, the serious study by the scientific mainstream of things "spiritual" would be suppressed so as to avoid tacit appearance of a scientific "maybe" for things spiritual.

I would love to see us move beyond this binary quandary and see science take on a purer form of exploration including all things of interest to us as a species. For example, the proverbial big questions. ;)
 
#2
Religion and dogmatic science to me are 2 sides of the same coin. But have nuggets of knowledge and wisdom, but a complete misunderstanding and lack of knowledge about the universe we live in.
 
#3
Its hard because I am not religious nor do I subscribe to dogmatic, shoddy science. I question everything because who really knows everything? Consensus does not equal the truth.

I am a spiritual, atheist, ignostic.

I have come to the conclusion that humans are not as smart as they think they are and not being self aware of ego is hindering our progress towards new evidence
 
#4
Unless one wants to postulate some sort of idealism (to which I'm not totally averse) one accepts that the physical building blocks of our universe are out there. They 'exist'.

Animal life (including us) has (thus far) been shown to exist of those building blocks and nothing more. Until that 'more' is rendered a bit more clearly, most science types, and university departments, will not shift their positions too far.

That said, I agree it is fun to speculate about the 'more'.
 
#5
I have often wondered why so many scientists are so ardently "binary" in terms of the spiritual.
There are many reasons (see below for details):
  • Some scientists experience cognitive bias because materialism gives them prestige.
  • Humans can't think analytically and intuitively at the same time and due to neuroplasticity scientists become fixed in analytical thinking and they become unable to conceive of anything that cannot be proved through reductionism.
  • Certain scientists used Darwinism to make methodological naturalism a part of mainstream science - making religion heretical to science.
  • Some atheists have promulgated the fallacy that religion is at war with science. (History shows this is not correct, it is atheism that is at war with religion.)


https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/suppressed_parapsychology

Dean Radin, in his book "The Conscious Universe" in the chapter "Seeing Psi" proposes that some scientists may have too much self interest in preserving the materialist status quo to be objective about psychic phenomena. He writes that if this is true, belief in psychic phenomena should depend how committed a person is to the materialist world view. He then presents evidence to support this contention showing that 68% of the general public believe in the possibility of psychic phenomena, 55% of college professors also believe, 30% of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) division heads believe, but only 6% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) believe in psychic phenomena.

Radin points out that a skeptic might suggest that this dependency is due to greater knowledge about perceptual and memory biases that are said to lead to mistaken belief in psychic phenomena. But it is also true that the skeptics' own perceptual and memory biases might be the cause of their skepticism. It seems unlikely that there would be a great difference in knowledge about perceptual and memory biases between AAAS division heads and NAS members. However, there would be a difference in attachment to the scientific world view since being a NAS member is more prestigious than being an AAAS division head. Therefore the contention that the cause of disbelief is due to perceptual and memory biases in skeptics seems to be justified.

It should be understood that Radin is not saying NAS members are deliberately dishonest about the existence of psychic phenomena. He is saying they are so caught up in the scientific world view, (for example, because they get a lot of personal status from it, or because they spend their careers defining that world view) that they are unconsciously unable to accept that the scientific world view might be so seriously flawed, that it could have such big gaps in it, that psychic phenomena could be real.

https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/skeptical_fallacies#skeptical_fallacies_skeptics_rational

Research has shown that people who think analytically rather than intuitively tend to be atheists. People who analyze problems using logic, because of their education, career, or innate characteristics, may become habituated to reductionist analysis. Reductionism is the belief that something complex can be understood by the interaction of simpler components. This way of thinking works well in many branches of science. Psychology can be explained in terms of biology, which can be explained in terms of chemistry, which can be explained in terms of physics. However, some scientists, engineers, philosophers, and other intellectuals, may become so habituated to reductionist thinking that they are unable to conceive that some phenomena cannot be explained in terms of simpler phenomena. For example, the subjective experience of consciousness, what pain feels like, or what red looks like, cannot be understood through reductionism. Psychic phenomena that cannot be explained by current scientific theories, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, and precognition cannot be understood through reductionism. This is why some people who are habituated to reductionist thinking simply cannot conceive that psychic phenomena could be real or consciousness might be nonphysical and survive bodily death. Reductionists suggest consciousness is an epiphenomenon even though that is a poor explanation of consciousness because it is the best they can conceive of within their reductionist prison.

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Some people hold a grudge against religion because they have been harmed psychologically by overly dogmatic upbringing, or because some religion condemns their lifestyle choices. They may choose to vilify anything that relates to the supernatural, including psychic phenomena. Often this type of skeptic is a victim of Christianity who has been brainwashed by church logic who has substituted the extreme dogmatism of Christianity with the extreme dogmatism of the religion of materialism.

http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/62014-contents-evidence-for-afterlife.html#articles_by_subject_science

Why Scientists are often Narrow-minded

George Orwell: "... the scientists themselves would benefit by a little education." Darwin agrees.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/08/george-orwell-scientists-themselves.html

Why are so Many Scientists Pseudo-skeptics?
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/01/someone-in-internet-discussion-forum.html

Perceptual Bias in Parapsychology
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2014/04/perceptual-bias-in-parapsychology.html

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The Brain Can't Empathize And Analyze At Same Time
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/252241.php

Why Don't Psychopaths Believe in Dualism?
http://ncu9np.blogspot.com/2015/05/pl9-tsc-2012-anthony-jack-why-dont.html

A scientific case for conceptual dualism: The problem of consciousness and the opposing domains hypothesis.
http://tonyjack.org/files/2013 Jack A scientific case for conceptual dualism (1).pdf


http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2012/09/t-h-huxley-accidental-founder-of-modern.html

Why are so many scientist skeptics? Because naturalism is an implicit part of the culture of science and science students are indoctrinated in that philosophy during their education. Naturalism is the belief that science should only study natural processes and consider natural explanations for phenomena. This is a mistake. Science should be the search for the truth where ever it leads. This flaw in the culture of science is due to a large extent to T. H. Huxley and the X club. The X Club was Founded by T. H. Huxley and played an important role in making naturalism a fundamental tenet of modern science.
The nine men who would compose the X Club already knew each other well. By the 1860s, friendships had turned the group into a social network, and the men often dined and went on holidays together. After Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species was published in 1859, the men began working together to aid the cause for naturalism and natural history.

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More importantly, the men of the club all shared an interest in natural history, naturalism, and a more general pursuit of intellectual thought free from religious influence, commonly referred to as academic liberalism.

- Wikipedia​
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Because of T. H Huxley and the X club, naturalism has become so ingrained in modern scientific culture and education, students don't even realize they are being indoctrinated. Because of this, Huxley can be considered a major cause of modern of science's intolerance to psychic phenomena and the source of modern pseudo-skepticism.

It is unfortunate that Darwin was used this way in the adoption of philosophical naturalism and materialism by the scientific establishment. Materialism is a gross misrepresentation of Darwin's thinking. Darwin believed that natual laws were designed - which is a form of intelligent design. Darwin also doubted human reason could be reliable if it arose through natural selection. If you cannot trust reason, then it is not rational to believe in anything including materialism.

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Because naturalism is such an integral part of the scientific worldview, working as a scientist tends to brainwash a person into believing in physicalism. This is because scientists spend all their time trying to find physicalist solutions to problems. They get stuck thinking that way and can't conceive there might be something that current science can't explain or that there could be significant gaps in scientific knowledge. Like the proverbial man with a hammer to whom everything looks like a nail, to a scientist every question must have a physicalist answer.

http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2016/04/warfare-thesis-failure-leaves-evolution.html

Ever since Voltaire mythologized the Galileo Affair, Hume’s Philo demolished Cleanthes, and Gibbon blamed pretty much everything on the Christians, evolutionary thinking has had an unbeatable template: The Warfare Thesis. Anyone who opposes or even questions evolution is automatically branded as having religious motives. Religion is at war with science. That claim has failed the test of historiography over and over, but so what? Who cares about history? Certainly not journalists, policy makers, federal judges, textbook authors, and anyone else who matters. But now there is an entirely different, empirical, falsification of the Warfare Thesis, and evolutionists are in full-panic.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/03/video-lecture-by-john-lennox-explains.html

Lennox also makes the case that science and theology are not in conflict. Science and theology provide different kinds of explanations. You can explain a car by describing an internal combustion engine, and you can explain a car as a product of the company founded by Henry Ford. Both explanations are true, but they are different kinds of explanations. Many Nobel Prize winning scientists believe in God. Lennox says, "We owe modern science to Christianity directly. All the early pioneers Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Clerk Maxwell were all Christians." He says Christian faith is based on evidence and the faith modern scientists have that nature is orderly and subject to natural laws originated from religious beliefs about God. Science is man's attempt to understand the universe created by God. God is not a god of the gaps who's role is diminished with every scientific discovery. That misconception arises when you believe there is only one kind of explanation. God is the creator of the natural laws scientists are trying to discover.

The conflict is between atheism and theism. Lennox sides with the theists and concludes that it is atheism that is incompatible with science.
Nobel Prize winners Erwin Schrödinger, Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Guglielmo Marconi, Brian Josephson, William Phillips, Richard Smalley, Arno Penzias, Charles Townes, Arthur Compton, Antony Hewish, Christian Anfinsen, Walter Kohn, Arthur Schawlow and scientists, Charles Darwin, Sir Fred Hoyle, John von Neumann, Wernher von Braun, and Louis Pasteur, believed the scientific evidence demonstrates the existence of God or that the universe was designed:
http://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/eminent_researchers
 
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#7
What do you think of this meme? An atheist showed me this, didn't know how to respond?
This isn't particularly a topic which I feel strongly about, hence I won't go into great detail.

However there was a recent (well, during the last couple of years) series of tv programmes where the case was made by the atheist camp that the universe was customised in multiple ways to make it suited for life. Presented by Brian Cox, covering astronomy and physics and so on. The series was building towards a grand conclusion which was - somewhat like the graphic but for one detail, Brian Cox had to invoke the multiverse. That is to say, he couldn't explain things in terms of our own universe, it was necessary to invoke an infinity of hypothetical alternative universes in order to explain the situation. It reminded me of a bad comedian or a failed magician, someone who builds towards a punchline or finale, and there's nothing there. Simply there was no explanation. It was the most anti-parsimonious, anti-Occams razor application of ideas I've come across.
 
#8
This isn't particularly a topic which I feel strongly about, hence I won't go into great detail.

However there was a recent (well, during the last couple of years) series of tv programmes where the case was made by the atheist camp that the universe was customised in multiple ways to make it suited for life. Presented by Brian Cox, covering astronomy and physics and so on. The series was building towards a grand conclusion which was - somewhat like the graphic but for one detail, Brian Cox had to invoke the multiverse. That is to say, he couldn't explain things in terms of our own universe, it was necessary to invoke an infinity of hypothetical alternative universes in order to explain the situation. It reminded me of a bad comedian or a failed magician, someone who builds towards a punchline or finale, and there's nothing there. Simply there was no explanation. It was the most anti-parsimonious, anti-Occams razor application of ideas I've come across.
Yea it was a bit off topic, just didn't think it really deserved its own thread, I guess it does make sense in a way, maybe a simplified way? Don't want to derail the thread at all, but thanks for the reply
 
#9
What do you think of this meme? An atheist showed me this, didn't know how to respond?

They are not accurately representing the argument for fine tuning.

A puddle is not specific, it can be any depth or shape. Water is homogeneous, the arrangement of the water molecules in the puddle is arbitrary. The fine turning of the universe to support life is very specific, only certain values for the forces of nature permit life to exist, only very specific arrangements of molecules constituent life.
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Those planets could not exist if it were not for incredibly precise fine tuning irrespective of whether there is life on them or not.

If it is as simple as those quotes imply, then how come many great scientists believed the evidence that the universe was designed? These scientists include Nobel prize winners such as Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Guglielmo Marconi, Brian Josephson, William Phillips, Richard Smalley, Arno Penzias, Charles Townes, Arthur Compton, Antony Hewish, Christian Anfinsen, Walter Kohn, Arthur Schawlow, and other scientists, Charles Darwin, Sir Fred Hoyle, John von Neumann, Wernher von Braun, and Louis Pasteur.
http://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/eminent_researchers


It is a huge topic, I have many articles on the subject on my blog:

This give a sense of how improbable our universe is:
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-fine-tuning-of-universe-to-one-part.html
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To visualize how improbable that value is, consider this explanation from godandscience.org

One part in 10^37 is such an incredibly sensitive balance that it is hard to visualize. The following analogy might help: Cover the entire North American continent in dimes all the way up to the moon, a height of about 239,000 miles (In comparison, the money to pay for the U.S. federal government debt would cover one square mile less than two feet deep with dimes.). Next, pile dimes from here to the moon on a billion other continents the same size as North America. Paint one dime red and mix it into the billions of piles of dimes. Blindfold a friend and ask him to pick out one dime. The odds that he will pick the red dime are one in 10^37.​
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Expansion rate of the universe: fine-tuned to 1 part in 10^60 (1:10^60) (See refrence 1)
If larger: the heat and energy of the universe would dissipate too quickly stable galaxies would not form
If smaller: the matter in the universe would have collapsed back on itself

Gravitational force constant: 1:10^40 (ref. 1)
If larger: stars would be too hot, they would burn up too quickly, and too unevenly
If smaller: stars would remain too cool so that nuclear fusion would never ignite and hence we would have no element production

Initial Entropy of the Universe: 1:10^10^123 (one in ten to the tenth to the 123rd) (ref. 3)
If larger: stars would not form within proto-galaxies
If smaller: no proto-galaxies would form

Initial entropy before inflation: Greater than 1:10^10^123 (ref. 5)
If larger: stars would not form within proto-galaxies
If smaller: no proto-galaxies would form

Mass Density of Universe: 1:10^59
If larger: overabundance of deuterium from big bang would cause stars to burn rapidly, too rapidly for life to form
If smaller: insufficient helium from big bang would result in a shortage of heavy elements

Strong nuclear force: 1:50 (ref. 4)
If larger: no hydrogen would form; atomic nuclei for most life-essential elements would be unstable
If smaller: no elements heavier than hydrogen would form

Cosmological constant: 1:10^120
If larger: universe would expand too quickly to form solar-type stars

Ratio of number of electrons to number of protons: 1:10^37
If larger or smaller, electromagnetism would dominate gravity, preventing galaxy, star, and planet formation

Ratio of Electromagnetic force constant : Gravitational force constant: 1:10^40
If larger: all stars would be at least 40% more massive than the sun stellar burning would be too brief and too uneven to support life
If smaller: all stars would be at least 20% less massive than the sun, thus incapable of producing heavy elements

Flatness: 1:10^15 (ref. 5)

Inflation shut-off energy: Between 1:10^53 and 1:10^123 (ref. 5)

Cosmic microwave background radiation: 1:100,000 (ref. 5)​
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/62014-contents-evidence-for-afterlife.html#articles_by_subject_id
This explains why it is so unlikely that natural laws were not designed - there are so many, many, many factors needed for life to exist how could they all fall out of undesigned natural laws just by chance?
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/04/naturalism-is-extraordinary-claim.html

Naturalism is an extraordinary claim. The laws of nature seem to be relatively simple mathematical relationships. How is it that just by chance simple natural laws working alone would include or produce all the factors necessary for life: the 20 or 30 cosmological fine tuning factors, at least 15 factors needed to produce habitable planets, at least 20 chemical factors needed for complex life? How is it possible that simple undesigned natural laws could produce the complex machinery of cells and the information needed for simple life and macroevolution? How could such finely-tuned complexity arise at every scale from the atomic to the cosmic from simple undesigned unguided natural laws? If you wanted to design such a complicated system from simple mathematical relationships, it would require a huge amount of intellectual effort. How could it happen just by chance? (A multiverse, for which there is no evidence, couldn't explain it.)

According to naturalism, undesigned natural laws caused stars and galaxies to form after the Big Bang. Inside stars, undesigned natural laws allowed the nuclei of hydrogen atoms and helium atoms to be fused into stable heavier elements like carbon, oxygen, iron, and all the rest. Then undesigned natural laws caused these stars to form supernovae and explode distributing chemical elements throughout the galaxy. These undesigned natural laws ensured that there are not too many supernovae which would be dangerous to life or too few which would not provide enough elements to form planets or life. But the right amount of elements are distributed and planets form that can support life. The chemical elements, due to undesigned natural laws have just the right properties to form bonds that can be broken and reformed according to the chemical needs of biological life.

The cosmological fine-tuning parameters include: the expansion rate of the universe, the gravitational force constant, electromagnetic force constant, the initial entropy of the universe, the mass density of the universe, the strong nuclear force and many others. All these parameters have to have exactly the right values or life could not exist in the universe.

The factors needed for a planet to be habitable include: a location in the habitable zone around its star, its star's location in the galactic habitable zone, a main sequence G2 dwarf star, gas giant planets to protect inner habitable planets from comet impacts, a nearly circular orbit, an oxygen rich atmosphere, the right amount of water, a correct mass, a large moon, plate tectonics, a hot liquid iron interior, a moderate rate of rotation, and other factors.

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The chemical factors needed for complex life include: Carbon's unique ability to form many different biological compounds. Water's properties as a solvent, its viscosity is just right, it has a high heat capacity which keeps temperatures on the planet and in organisms stable, it is extremely effective for evaporative cooling, it expands when it freezes so it floats providing insulation which keeps large bodies of water, oceans and lakes, from freezing solid which would make life impossible. Oxygen is used in energy metabolism in living organisms, it's produced by photosynthesis in plants, O2 is not a greenhouse gas.

The complex machinery in cells includes: DNA, RNA, enzymes to replicate DNA, enzymes to create mRNA from a DNA template, ribosomes to produce proteins from mRNA, a tRNA for each codon in the genetic code and as many enzymes to connect each tRNA with its amino acid, nuclear membranes, cell membranes, proteins in the membranes that control what goes in and out through the membrane, enzymes used in cellular metabolism, proteins that help other proteins fold, microtubules, etc, etc
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Yet, according to naturalism, all the conditions needed for life and life itself are supposed to self-organize through the action of undesigned natural laws working by themselves? To paraphrase Fred Hoyle it seems more likely that a superintellect has monkeyed with the laws of chemistry and physics.​

http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/62014-...-afterlife.html#articles_by_subject_cosmology

Intelligent Design: Cosmology

The Cosmological Argument for a Transcendent Designer of the Universe. The discovery that the universe is expanding, the discovery that the universe came from nothing, and the discovery that natural laws are finely tuned to make life possible, all demonstrate that the universe was created and designed by an intelligence outside the universe. The evidence for intelligent design in the origin and evolution of life shows that the designer continued to play a role in the universe long after its creation.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-cosmological-argument-for.html

Video: Doug Ell Discusses the Evidence for Intelligent Design
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2014/07/doug-ell-video-discusses-evidence-for.html

The Fine-Tuning of the Universe to one part in 10^10^123 is best explained by an intelligent designer and creator, aka. God.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-fine-tuning-of-universe-to-one-part.html

Multiverse Theories Fail to Explain Our Finely Tuned Universe. Intelligent Design is a Better Explanation.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2014/08/multiverse-theories-fail-to-explain-our.html

Guillermo Gonzalez on the Fine-tuning of the Universe to Support Life
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/04/video-guillermo-gonzalez-on-fine-tuning.html

Opposing the multiverse by George Ellis. "Martin Gardner (2003) puts it this way: 'There is not the slightest shred of reliable evidence that there is any universe other than the one we are in. No multiverse theory has so far provided a prediction that can be tested. As far as we can tell, universes are not as plentiful as even two blackberries.'"
http://astrogeo.oxfordjournals.org/content/49/2/2.33.full

The multiverse argument for the existence of paranormal phenomena. Proposing a multiverse does not help the materialist cause, it hurts it. If there are enough universes to explain the existence of our "improbable" universe as the result of chance, then there should be enough universes for one to exist with a God, spirits, Sasquatch, intelligent designer(s), UFOs, alien abductions, psi, etc, etc.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-multiverse-argument-for-existence.html

The Privileged Planet: The rare confluence of conditions that allow Earth to support complex life also make the Earth the best location from which to make scientific discoveries. Those scientific discoveries reveal that the universe is understandable to humankind. All this indicates a purpose to the universe: to support intelligent life and to allow intelligent life to discover that the universe was created.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-privileged-planet-rare-confluence.html

Privileged Species: How the Cosmos is Designed for Human Life: "The documentary investigates the special properties of carbon, water, and oxygen that make human life and the life of other organisms possible, and it explores some of the unique features of humans that make us a truly privileged species."
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/03/video-privileged-species-how-cosmos-is.html

Atheists: "Science shows there is no good reason to believe in God". Nobel Prize Winning Scientists: "The scientific evidence is best explained by the existence of God".
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2014/04/atheists-science-shows-there-is-no-good.html

 
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#10
If it is as simple as those quotes imply, then how come many great scientists believed the evidence that the universe was designed?
I recently tried my hand at putting a case together for the 'fine tuning' argument, it isn't as easy as it might seem. Not that the stuff doesn't add up to a strong case, rather putting it together in a way that keeps people happy.

You do a great job with your website 'Jim' ;) Hats off to you.;;/?
 
#11
I have often wondered why so many scientists are so ardently "binary" in terms of the spiritual. (i.e., there's rarely any allowance for something beyond pure materialism) As I've said in several of my posts here, it always strikes me as intellectually dishonest especially when presented as something more than a personal belief. I can't help but think this isn't lost on at least some of the scientific materialist crowd.

I'm currently listening to a podcast by Steven Weinberg. Prompted me to Google him to which I found this from his wiki page under the sub-heading "Religion":



He's an atheist because bad things have been done in the name of religion? (I'm sure there's more to it, but it seem poignant.) This struck me as typical of so many scientific atheist commentaries. I've seen in several debates between atheists and theists a similar regression from discussing the possibility of things spiritual to a critique/damnation of religion. Obviously, they are not equivalent.

I'm now left to contemplate if it is more about a "contra" organized religion thing than it is a "pro" atheistic thing. (Not saying they are mutually exclusive; just wondering about the motivation.) I would get it as organized religion does seem, at times at least, threatening to the pursuit of science. However, it does leave us in a suboptimal setting as it spawns this binary sort of bias against religion which allows no shades of gray. Thus, the serious study by the scientific mainstream of things "spiritual" would be suppressed so as to avoid tacit appearance of a scientific "maybe" for things spiritual.

I would love to see us move beyond this binary quandary and see science take on a purer form of exploration including all things of interest to us as a species. For example, the proverbial big questions. ;)
This might put your first question along with some others into some perspective.
Studying psi doesn't pay the bills.
 
#12
I've heard Tyson's response to the God question a number of times. While he's certainly more respectful of those interested in the question than Dawkins/Krauss, he ultimately gives the same standard response: Critique of religion with a dash of scientific materialism.

The bottom line for me is that the dogmatic negative assertion of all things "spirit" by many scientists is ultimately discrediting those same scientists. They can't claim the moral intellectual high ground (which they often do) if they're going to be dishonest on this point (whether motivated by money or otherwise). They should be sticking to what they can demonstrate via the scientific process while speaking from a professional perspective. When speaking as individuals (i.e., not as scientists), they should be able to share personal thoughts, perspective, feelings, etc more broadly as we all can (and should). ("Here's what I know professionally. Here's what I believe personally.")

I realize its pollyannnaish of me.
 
#13
I've heard Tyson's response to the God question a number of times. While he's certainly more respectful of those interested in the question than Dawkins/Krauss, he ultimately gives the same standard response: Critique of religion with a dash of scientific materialism.

The bottom line for me is that the dogmatic negative assertion of all things "spirit" by many scientists is ultimately discrediting those same scientists. They can't claim the moral intellectual high ground (which they often do) if they're going to be dishonest on this point (whether motivated by money or otherwise). They should be sticking to what they can demonstrate via the scientific process while speaking from a professional perspective. When speaking as individuals (i.e., not as scientists), they should be able to share personal thoughts, perspective, feelings, etc more broadly as we all can (and should). ("Here's what I know professionally. Here's what I believe personally.")

I realize its pollyannnaish of me.
NDT's tendency to discuss things that he doesn't understand (i.e. philosophy, as in his postures about "God") is a recurrent source of amusement for me. I still find his take on reproduction and the perpetuation of species to be unfortunately hilarious: https://cdn.ampproject.org/ii/w680/...creen-Shot-2016-03-11-at-6.21.15-PM.png&w=600

The only ones that look more foolish than NDT in such instances are the ones that quote him while he is spouting remarks about the things that he doesn't grasp (it seems that is anything other than AP). Something that goes back to the "appeal to authority" strategy that was discussed in another thread this morning.
 
#15
Surely that was meant as a light hearted quip?
Since his follow-up was a similar critique on religious celibacy, I doubt it was a joke. It was a sting that backfired.

And that's not the only example, his political insights can be on the same level. Apparently this man, who has fattened his wallet by portraying himself as the face of science, can't even master the basics of social science.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#16
It's amusing that someone would try to divorce Christianity from the Emancipation and subsequent Civil Rights movements. Even the idea "human rights", as something transcendent over cultures/economics/traditions, was at least partly formulated in a Western Christian context...though one can (successfully IMO) argue that such conception of the Good itself is based on Plato's conception....at which point I'd note Euthyphro's Dilemma which notes gods can't be the final arbiters of the Good.

(I think Popehat does a good job on getting into issues with materialist explanations for rights, though I think - due to Euthyphro's Dilemma - that he's mistaken to think that the source of the Good could rest in a divine figure. He also doesn't really seem aware of Platonic Atheism....but then again few are.)

Even Chomsky, himself a vocal atheist, has noted that humanist notions of equality between races was in part inspired by Descartes' idea that all humans shared a common soul.
 
#17
I had pretty closely conflated scientific materialism as the de facto worldview of atheism. Sci's post prompted me to do some reading on the topic. (The internet is great but it sure is tedious to try and find satisfying content in an area such as this!)

Anyway, I found atheists pushing back on this conflation. Almost dismissively. The big problem seems to be so much of the dialogue I find is the (boring) atheist versus theist. These consistently get bogged down as I'm sure you all know.

One way was to insist on a narrow definition of atheism as disbelief in "god" due to lack of evidence (i.e., leaving open the possibility that such evidence might emerge). This seemed to give them some wriggle room to reconcile atheism's lack of belief in God with atheism's belief in fundamental ethics/rights. I was unconvinced as it seems somewhat of a sleight of hand maneuver.

On a related note, this seems disingenuous based on how the atheist celebrities actually speak (e.g., Dawkins, Krauss, etc.). They certainly don't go out of their way to say, "I'm a "prove it to me" type of guy. No one has proven God exists yet, so I don't believe in God." Their comments ring much more assertive against the existence of God.

In the end, it seems that if one is an atheist but believes in fundamental ethics/rights, one must be awaiting science to explain how the "mundane" universe created them. I guess that's tenable but it seems wholly unsatisfying to me. Sort of the same way they insist there is no reason or not purpose. Interestingly, I wonder why they would "believe" there are fundamental rights? Seems no more a leap to believe there is fundamental reason for the universe's existence and purpose to our, human, existence.
 
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