Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Scientific progress despite religion

In the past I had come across a blog that had written a piece about evolution and its beneficial impact on humanity. Undoubtedly and most unfortunately some religious zealot full of pious indignation decreid the piece and began to spout religiousity as if his very stream of consciousness had began to retch uncontrolably. I then posted a moderate and unbiased response that refused to scrutinize or even consider the vitiole that permeated his mindless rant, which was most likely not his own but a regurgitation of what he had been indoctrinated to believe and say by his “religious leaders.”

This is what I said:

Science has provided humanity with such ‘natural miracles’ as modern medicine and all of its discoveries such as antibiotics, the development of vaccines, modern techniques of surgery, anesthesia, pharmacology, and biogenetic engineering. I could go on and on about the great discoveries, inventions, and innovations that are the direct product of science but that would encapsulate far too much space. Science has improved and impacted virtually every aspect of our lives and not even the pious Amish are able to avoid modern science and technology. The religious zealots that decry evolutionary science and modern psychology surely wouldn’t dare decry the innovations produced from such sciences. Through evolutionary biology we have developed advanced sciences such as genetics, phylogeny, and increased our knowledge within virtually all other sciences such as molecular biology and theoretical psychology. Evolution has extensive support for it through most of the various sciences; there are volumes upon volumes of scientific research and testing that support evolution through sciences such as biology, paleontology, archeology, geophysics, geology, theoretical psychology, genetics, planetary science, and phylogeny to simply name a few. To decry either evolutionary science or psychology is to illustrate ones inherent ignorance and inability to reconcile ones ‘faith’ with that of science (how dejected).Now in light of all that science has provided humanity what has religion given us? The answer to this will undoubtedly vary from person to person but the best they can assert is that religion provides comfort and the hope that life will be better in a suspected afterlife. The real answer is that the best religion has given us is a blind and misguided sense of the world, the worst it has given us is continual bloody “holy wars” as in crusades, pogroms, and jihads; it has fostered hate, bias, ignorance, slavery, murder, genocide, tyranny, poverty, and evil (to use religious language). Religion has effectively improved absolutely nothing where as science has and will continue to do so despite religious opposition.

28 comments:

Stardust said...

This is a great essay JD. I think that most of the people who reject science in favor of religion, and cannot even go so far as to reconcile the two is because they have been INDOCTRINATED with fundamentalist thinking since they were tiny kids. They keep going to their churches into adulthood where biased messages are constantly drilled into them repeatedly and they are told what to think and they believe they are thinking for themselves, when in fact they are ROBOTS. They are too afraid of hellfire and damnation to think for themselves or to consider other possibilities...and yet almost all of them USE SCIENCE on a daily basis...they go to doctors, drive cars, have all the latest modern gadgets...wearing clothes, perfume, deoderant, etc which were all formulated by SCIENCE. Cell phones, computers, televisions, microphones their pastors scream into...I could go on and on. But what would they say..."god gave scientists the ability to create these things"... but scientific evidence for evolution, it is wrong and evil. Just like their bible...they are full of contradictions. (But they say that is because they are only human...they make up answers for everything you throw at them because they are brainwashed!)

Speaking of "religious zealots full of pious indignation" and "spouting religiousity as if his very stream of consciousness"...our friend JJordan is at it again dissing atheists on his blog...particularily Freethoughtmom and Yours Truly again...quoting us out of context again. It was after a discussion on Freethoughtmom's blog about the bible...we stood firm and told him what we believe AGAIN...and our summary of the bible as we see it...and he returned to his blog to write another big long dissertation to make himself feel better. You might find it humorous (or get really really mad).

melloncollie said...

A wonderful essay, JDHURF. I agree with Stardust that people who reject science for religion are brainwashed.

A huge problem is that so many of these brainwashed sheep aren't content to believe what they want and mind their own business. They also have to influence our federal and state laws with their antiquated, often bigoted ideas, and so many politicians cater to them. That's the only way to explain how the teaching of evolution in science class is even an issue.

JustinOther said...

But religion has given us something: the ability to control other people. Isn't that good (insert sarcastic voice here).

It really does amaze me that in talking to theists, they talk about the wonders that science has brought, then argue that science can't disprove creation.

I get so tired of arguing the point. Sometimes I just want to leave them to their mythology, but each of them has a negative impact on the world where in individual it is minor, but in aggregate, horrendous.

Stardust said...

Justin, I know what you mean. I have been in this ongoing bullcrap discussion with this Jordan fellow over on Freethoughtmom's blog now for too long and am WEARY WEARY WEARY of it. Part of me wants to tell him to "sod off" but then I don't want to look "defeated" either. He is very aggresive and these are the kinds of people we are up against in political and science issues. They are PERSISTENT AND AGGRESSIVE. Though we are sick and tired of this nonsensical debate over a non-existent sky daddy...we can't back down.

Rusko Elvenwood said...

stardust, i've had the same lengthy and exasperating discussions on many forums. it's hard to de-convert these people because they don't want to let go of the sense of security they get from thier beliefs. It is very bleak to think that when we die we're just going to be a pile of bones. They also think that to be an atheist you are automatically immoral and untrustworthy. Certain people are not worth the time and effort. They just don't get it.
Hopefully by continuing with our writings and outspoken comments we will eventually make a small dent in their closed mindedness.

Stardust said...

Rusko - I know you are right. I've been wasting too much time in useless dialogue with him...as they say "the horse is dead."

JDHURF said...

stardust,

Thanks for the compliment; I’m glad that you enjoyed me post. It does seem wholly ironic and inconceivable for one to, at the same time, accept science and then also reject it.
I guess this Jim character truly is engaging with non-theists for contemptible reasons, for it seems obviously plain that if he were trying to create armistice or a shared agreement this would have been done with long ago. I shall not visit his blog, for it is nothing more than the meandering idiocy of a religiously intoxicated proselyte. Though I most definitely will visit freethoughmom’s blog and vocalize dissent.

melloncollie,

Precisely, religiosity would be of no great interest to me if it were left were it belonged, in the private sector. Those that will encourage and promote the Christian faith to be imbued into the United States federal and state governments are, as far as I’m concerned, perpetrating true unpatriotic and seditious treason; this is a secular and pluralistic nation and those that cry the contrary are apostates of our democracy and should be called out on it rather than affirmed. Also as far as the brainwashed sheep go I refer to them as “sheeple.”

justinother,

I relate to your sense of frustration and exhaustion, I too would enjoy leaving them to their own devices and idiosyncrasies but as you say they are influencing and impacting far too much of our secular society for us to be remain idle.

rusko,

Same here, I since given up arguing the points on theist blogs and sites I now only tend to my own territory so to speak.

stardust,

The horse surely is dead.

Thank you all for stopping by and leaving such great comments, I really do appreciate it.

Stardust said...

JD- Just have to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for coming by Freethoughtmom's today and writing what you did. You have a great way of writing about stuff and explaining yourself and debating things with these pious xians. It appears he has left "AGAIN' and I hope he stays away now...and I hope I never cross his path again. If I do run into him again I am going to take your advice and IGNORE him. He is a really ignorant and pompously arrogant person. I think he can justly be put in the category of TROLL.

JDHURF said...

stardust,

You’re very welcome, I’m glad that my post was helpful to the situation. I agree, he most certainly embodies the definition of a “troll”, so well in fact that it seems impossible that he does not realize this himself and take effective steps in rectifying his image and presentation. Also thank you for the compliments.
I will maintain my stance of completely ignoring Jim’s posts unless someone else responds to him and I see a refutation in need; for if we all ignore him he will go away after being ignored for a while but when we respond we are encouraging him to post in the future and I think I speak for the both of us when I say I am very tired and worn out by his unbelievably transient, pious, foolish and botched position.

The Jewish Freak said...

Your post can just as easily be about alternative medicine. People often believe what they want to believe.

JDHURF said...

True indeed.

Chase Vaughn said...

Your ignorance of the history of the philosophy of science is troubling. Christianity was one of the greatest forces behind science on the European continent.

Scientists like Newton believed that there was a God who had created the universe with order and that they were pre-formed for this world, thereby giving epistemological certainty to the scientific endeavor.

French Calvinists were ferociously zealous for glorifying God through the founding of science and art societies.

As I argued this with you before, Christianity provided the coherent philosophical foundation for science, and it still does.

I already proved the complete philosophical coherency of the Reformed(protestant reformation) Christian metaphysic and epistemology on Jared's blog, so I will not bother you with it. You don't like addressing your metaphysical assumptions anyway. (or, as you would say, pointless, nebulous debate)

Just please be honest about the history of the philosophy of science. Honesty.(a transcendental ideal grounded in the character of the Triune God) God created you as a rational being, with the analogical tool of reason. Use it with rigor and precision. But, use it honestly as well. That is what we are created to do.

I noticed that you have mentioned me in comments sections a few times. It appears you think anyone is dishonest in debate when you cannot provide the answers for their (philosophical) critique, or when you can't get away with specious arguments built on incoherent philosophical assumptions. It is you who are being dishonest. You dismiss anything that present a serious blow to your worldview.

P.S. I must say I find your blog interesting. I don't want you to think I'm spitting mad(sometimes my comments come across in that tone), because I do find you to be very intelligent and an interesting read.

Good day.

Stardust said...

Some people will never just be honest and ADMIT THEY JUST DON'T KNOW ANSWERS TO THINGS instead of making up fantasies about supernatural reasons for things they do not understand. This is primitive thinking.

These same people won't consider other possibilities and only WANT to believe their supernatural thinking instead of admitting that we don't have the answers to everything. With science we can research and experiment..question and explore so many possibilities. Science is flexible, inquisitive, and diligent in seeking answers to unsolved mysteries. Religion is the lazy way out and only considers ONE possibility for the foundation of the universe.

Chase -- If this god exists, and is so eternally powerful and divine, and the message so crucial to his creations, why does this awesome and powerful god need simple and flawed humans to go around "advertising" for him??? These are the very same creatures for whom this great god had to create a son to sacrifice in bloody and torturous death because his creations were so very flawed and bad. AND even this horrendous act doesn't even convince many people! In fact, many find even the thought of such a thing repulsive.

I love my children, and want them to love me. But if they don't love me, I will not harm or kill them because they have rejected me...BECAUSE I LOVE THEM MORE THAN MYSELF.

In addition, none of these "messengers of god" give people the same message...it is only their "understanding" of the message that was written by other flawed humans in some ancient text.

If the message was so damn important, why would this "divine" and all-powerful entity rely on his flawed people who he couldn't trust in the first place?

These "messengers" can't even get the message straight amongst themselves! There are how many christian denominations? And there is even disagreement inside each denomination! Why doesn't this god "clarify" if the message is life or death?

It's all so ridiculous sounding when you look at it as an outsider. There are how many religions in the world? If we were born to Hindus we would be a Hindu and think that was the right religion, if we were born in Tibet we might be a Buddhist, if we were born in Iraq we would most definitely be muslim. If we were born in Sweden we most likely wouldn't care. So, Chase...why should we believe YOU are correct in what you say, and billions of other people have it all wrong?

Religious debate is sounding more and more absurd to me. Medieval thinking in 2006.

Chase Vaughn said...

Why does he use humans to preach the gospel?

Well, you must understand that Christ is not some weakling, begging for someone to love him(that is how people present him). Christ came to die for his people, and everyone for whom Christ died will be his. In Rev. 5, Christ is praised for having purchased a people for God FROM EVERY NATION, TRIBE AND TONGUE. It doesn't say that he PURCHASED EVERY NATION.

So, all who are purchased will come, and God has chosen the means of their coming to be through the preaching of the gospel. Why?

The Apostle Paul says that God chose preaching in order to make foolish the wisdom of this earth. How? Because Paul said the Greeks desired wisdom, yet God made foolish their wisdom by making salvation through the message of the cross.
1 Cor. 1:18-25 "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.' Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, THE WORLD DID NOT KNOW GOD THROUGH WISDOM, IT PLEASED GOD THROUGH THE FOLLY OF WHAT WE PREACH TO SAVE THOSE WHO BELIEVE. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, BUT TO THOSE WHO ARE CALLED, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."

Again, all for whom Christ died will be saved. His work was a complete and effective work.

Also, we deserve eternal punishment for who we are, sinners. Like the line from my favorite movie 'The Addiction.' The vampire states, "We are not evil because we do evil things. We do evil things because we are evil." That is the state of all mankind. We have all infinitely offended God and will receive an infinitely just punishment unless we are found trusting in the punishment of Christ as our substitute and as our perfection before God. Otherwise, we will all be damned because we are all evil.

As far as other religions, Christianity is the only one that happened in history. Read the Bible and notice that nobody tried to clean it up. It is not other worldly. It is gritty and earthy. Also, I have already argued with JDURF that in a side by side comparison of Christianity with any other philosophical position, the non-Christian worldview will always have some inconsistent presuppositions. Metaphysics conflicting with epistemology, things of this nature. We had this debate on Jared's blog on the Secular humanism post.

JDHURF said...

Chase,

This thread was about the scientific endeavor progressing despite religions persistent opposition to it, you must stick to the topic. No one here really cares what you say the bible means or represents, quoting biblical passages is certainly not impressive to any of us; most of us have read and studied the bible in some degree. Your posts are, at least to me, terribly monotonous, irksome, unintelligible and boring.
I will say that your charge that I am ignorant upon the history of science seems rather blatantly incongruous and ironic.
Christianity does not provide a philosophical foundation for science, science is only interested in the natural world and the mythology of Christianity would negate that.
I have never been dishonest and there has yet to be anything that presents any sort of blow to my worldview let alone a serious one.
I actually do view the majority of your posts to be rather spitting mad, though I wouldn’t put it quite that way. Though I am flattered that you read my blog and find interest in it in any way, that is great.
Please remain on the topic that the thread has specified, at least to a logical degree. Regressing into a debate about the authenticity of the Christian mythology or the accounts within it are surly not suitable for this thread. If you would like to debate and argue about how it did or did not stifle science that would be appropriate and you are free to do so, however if you insist on leading us into highly convoluted tangents then I will ignore you and I will ask that everyone else does the same.

stardust,

Thank you for responding to Chase’s post, you did a very good job. It is so true what you say about the messengers not being able to get the message correct. You made several valid points and what is unfortunate is that you will never get a direct response from Chase, I guarantee it, he will merely begin to quote the bible and lead you into tangents that are never ending with no purpose or goal in sight. This debate or unconstructive argument would most likely wage for ever, I had to end it at the blogsite that he mentioned. I have numerous questions and detractions left unanswered from the other blog and the same scenario is likely to play out here if we were to allow such a thing to happen. I for one do not care to argue with such effete unproductiveness, such meaningless, debased, fruitless, self-indulgent, carious and destitute inanity.

Chase, you claimed that I would refer to such debate as pointless and nebulous but you were wrong, obviously, I can do much better.

Thank you both for posting, please remain on topic.

Chase Vaughn said...

"Chase, you claimed that I would refer to such debate as pointless and nebulous but you were wrong, obviously, I can do much better."

I only state it thus because you yourself said on Jared's blog that metaphysical debate is nebulous and pretty pointless. This is your way of dealing with your philosophical incoherence.

Anyone is free to see the arguments I provided by reading Jared's blog.

I only quoted Scripture because stardust asked why I think an all powerful God would rely on humans.

Stardust:"Chase -- If this god exists, and is so eternally powerful and divine, and the message so crucial to his creations, why does this awesome and powerful god need simple and flawed humans to go around "advertising" for him???"

My apologies if it was wrong for me to answer without assuming your faulty presuppositions(no Bible quoting). In my worldview, autonomous reason is not the ultimate authority on religious matters or any matter otherwise(this would lead to skepticism, e.i.Humean philosophy; Hume is the one of the few people with the guts to be consistent with empiricism). So, I must quote the Bible if I am asked about God.

JDHURF said...

When I said that obviously I could do better at describing the debate I was simply being humorous, although I would agree that the debate was as described.

I’m not sure that anyone has the slightest shred of interest in visiting Jared’s blog. Though the arguments that you are so fond of and believe to be so solid and ground shaking are nothing more than transient and hollow ones.

No, the reason that you quoted scripture is because you cannot give real answers that come from your own critical thinking they are always regurgitated carbon copies of what you have been told, what you have read and what you have been indoctrinated to believe by your religious leaders and materials. Relying so heavily on quotes to back up your position makes it readily apparent to everyone that your position is hardly your own rather it is someone else’s and you cannot construct or provide your own.

No need to apologize, simply stay on topic and everything will be fine. For you have some extravagantly faulty presuppositions but I am not going to lead you into a plethora of convoluted tangents attempting to “dispel” such notions. Furthermore if you truly must quote the bible rather than provide your own thoughts and ideas then you don’t actually have anything to provide us that we cannot or have not already heard, so if you are only going to quote the bible don’t leave even leave a post.

This will be my last response to you unless you respond to the topic at hand.

Stardust said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stardust said...

Sorry about the deleted comment, but I saw when I reread your comments that you would like us to remain on topic.

Have you heard that Astronomers have detected a new type of cosmic outburst that they can't yet explain. The eruption might portend an even brighter event to come, a supernova. Instead of writing it off as the twinkle in a god's eye, scientists from around the world are investigating.
Here's the link
http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/20060224/sc_space/nasadetectstotallynewmysteryexplosionnearby;_ylt=AsrDPlzlJwGp2J7RU8AxgdeHgsgF;_ylu=X3oDMTBjMHVqMTQ4BHNlYwN5bnN1YmNhdA--

Chase Vaughn said...

"Relying so heavily on quotes to back up your position makes it readily apparent to everyone that your position is hardly your own rather it is someone else’s and you cannot construct or provide your own."

This coming from Michael Martin's disciple. Remember, you were the first to begin COMPLETE ARGUMENTS of others. I'm fine with that. That is why I responded to your Michael Martin arguments with John Frame's.

By the way, how do you reason in a world of naturalism. I world of strict cause and effect. Even your thinking then is strictly determined. You are not free to think for yourself. Just cause and effect, molecules in motion.

Stardust said...

By the way, how do you reason in a world of naturalism.

How do you reason in a world of delusion of an invisible being for which there is no evidence whatsoever? Give me ONE piece of evidence outside of your bible for the existence of a god.

Science is always questioning, always testing their findings, FLEXIBLE. Theories can be tested and retested. New theories are being tested all the time. A scientist is not afraid to investigate and say he is wrong when he is proven wrong. The scientist and naturalist will consider many many possibilities and test and investigate EVIDENCE.

But christians can only take the word of an old, ancient text as evidence for a claim of an invisible supernatural entity. That is "strictly determined" WITHOUT EVIDENCE if you ask me.

JDHURF said...

Chase,

A disciple of Michael Martin? What silly accusations, I actually do not know anything about Michael Martin but for the fact that he is an atheist and provided a rebuttal to the transient transcendental argument and I surely do not follow him as a disciple (what a silly religious allegory). I was also not the first to present complete arguments from others, maybe you need to reread the old posts, it was your friend Jared that did so (he presented John McArthur’s stance). Also you must remember that I was dealing with three to four of you at any given time and could not possibly respond to everything with my own arguments.

I see that you are determined to lead us into a tangent. You now want to debate the idea of reason and free will, well I do not and most certainly not with an extremist. Though I will say that free will (the ability to choose an action based on self-reflexive insight rather than on mere biological or environmental influences) is a current apex of evolutionary psychology within the species of Homo sapiens. Free will did not spring up over night and it was not some supernatural entities gift to humanity during a creation mythology that only a fundamental minority takes literally, it is the product of the gradual and incremental evolution of a highly advanced and sophisticated species biological and psychological components.

Have you not read my posts, I have asked you numerous times to stick to the threads topic and not lead into tangents that do not present an ending. Are you rude enough to disregard my simple request?

JustinOther said...

With the fact that christianity is and has been so widespread and believed by so many now and in the past, it is easy to say that religion has influenced anything. Most people are and have been theists. Using this logic, many theists argue that god created doctors and therefore cures through an intermediary. Other arguments purport that god gave us the ability to believe or not believe. This is a circular arguement if I ever heard one, and one that is difficult to rebutt. For one that believes in god, god does everything. For one that doesn't believe, god has done nothing because he doesn't exist. there is no middle ground.

Chase Vaughn said...

"For one that believes in god, god does everything. For one that doesn't believe, god has done nothing because he doesn't exist. there is no middle ground."

Well stated justinother.


Stardust, if you would like to discuss philosophical foundations for reason and freedom, feel free to come over to my blog and post a comment. The comment does not have to pertain to any of my posts. Also, if you just want to discuss issues with me, I will tell others not to comment and that I will delete other's comments so that there is not a ganging up on you. So, anytime you want to discuss, just come by. You like openmindedness, this requires openness to Christianity as well. It also requires my openness to naturalism or any other -ism if my foundation is shown to be incoherent.

Good day.

Stardust said...

"feel free to come over to my blog and post a comment."

If you are any indication of the kind of people I will encounter on your blog, no thanks. Also, I am not a blog troller. I started blogging to find LIKE minds, not to go try to go fishing for people to deconvert. If they happen to come along to my blog, or make comments on fellow atheist blogs, you will hear the atheist viewpoint LOUD AND CLEAR. I feel no need to scout around for recruits. That is what annoying christians do.

Also, "open-mindedness" does not mean GULLIBLE.

The freethinker forms opinions on the basis of reason independently of authority; especially : one who doubts or denies religious dogma.

You can't stand on your own in a discussion in atheist territory? You came here of your own accord. No one invited you.

Stardust said...

Chase ~ One more point...you have no clue about who you are "preaching" to.

I was "open to christianity" for more than three decades...I have studied religion in college...world religions, Bible as Literature in Social Context (studying Hebrew bible in comparison to christian versions of the bible side-by-side), World Mythologies, Anthropology, World Cultures, Astronomy, History, Philosophy in Literature, Ethics and have a minor in psychology and an M.A. in Literature and Rhetorical Theory and Analysis.

I think that is pretty damned open-minded.

Anonymous said...

*sigh* All that religious learning and yet you still believe that Christianity teaches that God "created a son?" Perhaps you should get a refund. The bible says nothing of the sort.

"In the begginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

Riker said...

...well that clears things up.

I'd like to know if the translation from Aramaic may have meant something different in colloquial context...