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16 July 2009

Required reading for the day

From Scienceblogs (Just so that fucking anonymous asshat will know):

Two things: the first is Sean Carroll's discussion of what kinds of questions science can answer, and what the answers tell us about the universe.

And, without fail, the scientific judgment comes down in favor of a strictly non-miraculous, non-supernatural view of the universe.

That's what's really meant by my claim that science and religion are incompatible. I was referring to the Congregation-for-the-Causes-of-the-Saints interpretation of religion, which entails a variety of claims about things that actually happen in the world; not the it's-all-in-our-hearts interpretation, where religion makes no such claims. (I have no interest in arguing at this point in time over which interpretation is "right.") When religion, or anything else, makes claims about things that happen in the world, those claims can in principle be judged by the methods of science. That's all.

Well, of course, there is one more thing: the judgment has been made, and views that step outside the boundaries of strictly natural explanation come up short. By "natural" I simply mean the view in which everything that happens can be explained in terms of a physical world obeying unambiguous rules, never disturbed by whimsical supernatural interventions from outside nature itself. The preference for a natural explanation is not an a priori assumption made by science; it's a conclusion of the scientific method. We know enough about the workings of the world to compare two competing big-picture theoretical frameworks: a purely naturalistic one, versus one that incorporates some sort of supernatural component. To explain what we actually see, there's no question that the naturalistic approach is simply a more compelling fit to the observations.

This is why religion is a failed explanation for the world. It just doesn't line up with the evidence, at all.

Your second reading for the day is Dan Dennett explaining why we don't even need religion as a social construct.

I am confident that those who believe in belief are wrong. That is, we no more need to preserve the myth of God in order to preserve a just and stable society than we needed to cling to the Gold Standard to keep our currency sound. It was a useful crutch, but we've outgrown it. Denmark, according to a recent study, is the sanest, healthiest, happiest, most crime-free nation in the world, and by and large the Danes simply ignore the God issue. We should certainly hope that those who believe in belief are wrong, because belief is waning fast, and the props are beginning to buckle.

If religion has no useful explanatory power, and if we don't need it to make our lives better and richer, why not just toss the whole ball of fluff out?

7 comments:

JD Curtis said...

There are a number of things that cannot be proven via the scientific method that would be considered rational beliefs by nearly anyone reading this.

Larian LeQuella said...

Please give an example?

I too am aware of many things that don't NEED proof by a scientific method, because they are not based on magic, superstition, or dictate how other people must behave. One doesn't prove a personal feeling unless the person makes a testable statement. One doesn't have to even disprove ridiculous notions that have no proof either, like unicorns that poop gold and diamonds and fart rainbows. Or some global flood.

JD Curtis said...

Please give an example?

Sure, rather than just type them out on the screen for you to read, I would recommend this video ( about 3 minutes in length) from William Lane Craig entitled Dr. William Lane Craig humiliates Dr. Peter Atkins

Larian LeQuella said...

He's talking out his ass. You CAN scientifically prove math, the nature of time, the speed of light, that other peopke exist. Ethical and value judgments aren't scientific statements, but an agreed upon construct developed by our brains. Total load of bullshit.

JD Curtis said...

Could you please prove Mathematics using science?

Larian LeQuella said...

That is for other minds, I'm not a mathematician or philosopher. Also, keep in mind this asshat starts with a strawman. Humans use language to decide specific things amongs themselves. He defines proving math without using language of math, which is an oxymoron (from finding his web page). As someone else commented on his page:

"In starting with a strawman of your own design and then tee it up and take aim. You state the non-sequitur "I've often heard that science is capable of proving anything" and then move forward to discredit it without any basis other than desire to prove it wrong. But no one who understands the scientific method would ever state what you stated so it is indeed a strawman.

The scientific method is about using logical processes to determine what is more likely to be true and what it less likely to be true, not about determining absolute truth.

It used to be heresy to say that the Earth was not the center of the universe, but science using logic and mathematics has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is not. The scientific method is just like programming which is something you claim expertise in. You start with what you know and build from there always adding to your knowledge based upon what you've learned thus far.

And then you state that without logic and mathematics you can't prove anything; that's like saying without light you can't see anything so that proves the world around oneself does not exist!"


Typical of the ignorant and lying tactics of the "faithful". He's quibbling.

JD Curtis said...

Where was this quote from? It has some errors. William Lane craig's website is www.reasonablefaith.org. Was that the source?