Must science declare a holy war on religion? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 09-09-2009, 03:32 PM
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The so-called New Atheists are attacking the mantra of science and faith being compatible. Others in the science community question the value of confrontation.

By Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum



August 11, 2009



This fall, evolutionary biologist and bestselling author Richard Dawkins -- most recently famous for his public exhortation to atheism, "The God Delusion" -- returns to writing about science. Dawkins' new book, "The Greatest Show on Earth," will inform and regale us with the stunning "evidence for evolution," as the subtitle says. It will surely be an impressive display, as Dawkins excels at making the case for evolution. But it's also fair to ask: Who in the United States will read Dawkins' new book (or ones like it) and have any sort of epiphany, or change his or her mind?



http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/...,6581208.story



An interesting article, if not disturbing.

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#2 Old 09-09-2009, 05:06 PM
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The responses of both Jerry Coyne and PZ Myers who were both criticized in the piece.



I find myself on the side of Dawkins, Myers and Coyne. I also found this newest book by Mooney and Kirshenbaum to be crap, way over-priced and with little substance or value. All of which I find extremely disappointing as I was impressed with Mooney's previous works. There was a whole of sniping from Mooney and Kirshenbaum directed towards Myers and Coyne, which in my opinion was due to Coyne and Myers writing critical reviews of this latest book. Their critical reviews (and indeed the criticisms of many other science bloggers) were - at least in my opinion - justified. I am probably not the only one as a lot of amazon reviewers don't give the book a good grade either.



As for the article I think that Mooney is dead wrong. Dawkins would not gain a larger audience if he tempered his views on religion. The person who Mooney says we need is a new Carl Sagan, however, my opinion is that the same people who will not read Dawkins on evolution would not be reading a new Sagan book on evolution either. The number of Americans who did not accept evolution was high throughout Sagan's popularity - there has been no uptick due to the evil Dawkins.
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#3 Old 09-09-2009, 05:13 PM
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Insofar as belief does not interfere with scientific thought, they should be compatible. All it requires is a bit of mental compartmentalization regarding requirements for holding certain ideas, which humans are extremely adept at. One could argue having such beliefs is personally detrimental in terms of development (although apparently beneficial for other reasons), and therefore should be dropped as a negative restraint on the individual intellect, but then you'd have to expand that concern to every single aspect of modern life (something that would not sell many books or make Dawkins popular).



Dawkins is a d-bag of a windbag, who is making a fortune in vanity, and likely money, with his whole "crusade". This needs to be said anytime his name comes up. He is one of the worst potential leaders for any social movement, as he has too many negative personal qualities, qualities which are likely driving his actions more than an actual concern and/or compassion for humanity.
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#4 Old 09-09-2009, 05:15 PM
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concerning the title, wouldn't scientists/atheists prefer their "war" to not be holy?



(don't take offense with this, please! I'm not tryiing to start a fight)
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#5 Old 09-09-2009, 06:01 PM
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I actually tend to agree with scientists who find that today's science and today's religion are incompatible. That doesn't mean that god or spirituality isn't compatible with science, but today's organized religions sure are (at least in my humble opinion!)
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#6 Old 09-09-2009, 06:08 PM
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The problem is really just that we keep discovering all these pesky facts that contradict religious dogma.



If people in general were more willing to change their minds when presented with new physical evidence rather than fighting change and clinging to what they were taught to believe the world would be a much better place.

"If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others... why wouldn't we?" - Edgars Mission
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#7 Old 09-09-2009, 06:08 PM
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yes. shake up that holy see! how long has it been the other way around?



who says science won't prove the existence of god? what if science finds god, i would love to see how the holy see takes that.

cry havoc! and let slip the dogs of war.
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#8 Old 09-09-2009, 07:55 PM
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I wonder if Jesuit, Brother Guy Consolmagno, gets caught up in these kinds of discussion. Probably not. Probably just goes on doing his science work at the Vatican Observatory:



Quote:
In spring 2000 he held the MacLean Chair for Visiting Jesuit Scholars at St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia, and in 2006-2007 held the Loyola Chair at Fordham University, New York. He has also been a visiting scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Center and a visiting professor at Loyola College, Baltimore, and Loyola University, Chicago.



Consolmagno has served on the governing boards of the Meteoritical Society; the International Astronomical Union's (IAU) Division III, Planetary Systems Science (secretary, 2000 - present) and Commission 16, Moons and Planets (president, 2003-2006); and the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences (chair, 2006-2007).



He has coauthored five astronomy books: Turn Left at Orion (with Dan M. Davis; Cambridge University Press, 1989); Worlds Apart (with Martha W. Schaefer; Prentice Hall, 1993); The Way to the Dwelling of Light (U of Notre Dame Press, 1998); Brother Astronomer (McGraw Hill, 2000); and God's Mechanics (Jossey-Bass, 2007). (Our Publications Page will help you to obtain these.)



http://www.vaticanobservatory.org/GConsolmagno.html



Yup, seems pretty busy. But it wouldn't be the first time that a Catholic was doing some important scientific work. Where would we be without Catholic priest, George Lemaitre, and his work on what he called his 'hypothesis of the primeval atom'? That was back in the 1920s.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang



Of course it's not just Catholics, within the Christian community, who think science and religion are compatible. In fact, it's not just Christians, within the wider religious community who think so:



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Theistic evolution and evolutionary creationism are similar concepts that assert that classical religious teachings about God are compatible with the modern scientific understanding about biological evolution. In short, theistic evolutionists believe that there is a God, that God is the creator of the material universe and (by consequence) all life within, and that biological evolution is simply a natural process within that creation.



...



This view is generally accepted by major Christian churches, including the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church and some mainline Protestant denominations; some Jewish denominations; and other religious groups that lack a literalist stance concerning some holy scriptures. Various biblical literalists have accepted or noted openness to this stance, including theologian B.B. Warfield and evangelist Billy Graham.



...





http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theistic_evolution







Other Christians who are currently working in various scientific fields:



John Polkinghorne



(born 1930) British particle physicist and Anglican priest who wrote Science and the Trinity (2004) ISBN 0-300-10445-6. Winner of the 2002 Templeton Prize.



Owen Gingerich



(born 1930) Mennonite astronomer who went to Goshen College and Harvard. An old picture of Goshen is shown. Mr. Gingerich has written about people of faith in science history.





Robert T. Bakker



(born 1945) Paleontologist who was a figure in the "dinosaur Renaissance" and known for the theory some dinosaurs were Warm-blooded. He is also a Pentecostal preacher who advocates theistic evolution and has written on religion.



John D. Barrow



(born 1952) An English cosmologist who did notable writing on the implications of the Anthropic principle. He is a United Reformed Church member and Christian deist. He won the Templeton Prize in 2006. He once held the position of Gresham Professor of Astronomy, so their crest is pictured.



Christopher Isham



(born ????) Theoretical physicist who developed HPO formalism. He teaches at Imperial College London, part of which is pictured to the side. In addition to being a physicist, he is a philosopher and theologian.



Martin Nowak



(born 1965) Evolutionary biologist and mathematician best known for evolutionary dynamics. He teaches at Harvard University, hence the Harvard seal to the side. [37]



John Lennox



Mathematician and Pastoral adviser. His works include the mathematical The Theory of Infinite Soluble Groups and the religion-oriented God's Undertaker - Has Science buried God? He has also debated religion with Richard Dawkins. He teaches at Oxford, which is pictured.





More if anyone is interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...ers_in_science
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#9 Old 09-09-2009, 07:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cstadt View Post

concerning the title, wouldn't scientists/atheists prefer their "war" to not be holy?



(don't take offense with this, please! I'm not tryiing to start a fight)



That's funny actually. In my googling this topic, there were lots of articles on Atheism being a religion itself which is quite interesting and amusing.

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#10 Old 09-10-2009, 01:52 AM
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religion and science can only be incompatible since science is about searching for knowledge and accepting that ignorance is a necessary point we mast pass before reaching illumination. Religion on the other hand is about presenting a belief or set of beliefs as the truth and ignoring, undermining or lying about anything which challenges them.



As for atheism being called a religion, this is just one of the techniques used by non-atheists to try and undermine the beliefs of others.
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#11 Old 09-10-2009, 01:59 AM
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I]Dawkins is a d-bag of a windbag, who is making a fortune in vanity, and likely money, with his whole "crusade". This needs to be said anytime his name comes up. He is one of the worst potential leaders for any social movement, as he has too many negative personal qualities, qualities which are likely driving his actions more than an actual concern and/or compassion for humanity.



I can't bear Dawkins. The way some people worship him is like the way people worship a religious leader.



(Then again I saw him on a TV programme and he seemed quite reasonable.)
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#12 Old 09-10-2009, 03:07 AM
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religion and science can only be incompatible since science is about searching for knowledge and accepting that ignorance is a necessary point we mast pass before reaching illumination. Religion on the other hand is about presenting a belief or set of beliefs as the truth and ignoring, undermining or lying about anything which challenges them.



As for atheism being called a religion, this is just one of the techniques used by non-atheists to try and undermine the beliefs of others.





really?



So atheists are completely free of neurosis, and irrational needs?



I think some atheists miss the point.

It is not science which is really religious---but I do think that belief is an important part of science----it is the atheists who are religious; in the way they interact with the world.

Still, I don't think that atheists represent science, any more than non-atheists.



Atheists don't own science---you can't buy it on ebay, and you can't whip it out of the world's pocket.

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#13 Old 09-10-2009, 03:18 AM
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really?



So atheists are completely free of neurosis, and irrational needs?



I think some atheists miss the point.

It is not science which is really religious---but I do think that belief is an important part of science----it is the atheists who are religious; in the way they interact with the world.

Still, I don't think that atheists represent science, any more than non-atheists.



Atheists don't own science---you can't buy it on ebay, and you can't whip it out of the world's pocket.



did you reply to the wrong post? It doesn't look like you read what I wrote.
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#14 Old 09-10-2009, 04:21 AM
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did you reply to the wrong post? It doesn't look like you read what I wrote.





well, I wasn't addressing everything in your post; mainly the bit about atheism not being religious.





Still, I can be a bit of a loose canon. Dawkins gets me wound up.

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#15 Old 09-10-2009, 10:17 AM
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atheism is merely the absence of belief in religion and spiritual higher powers. Some people may display elements reminiscent of religious behaviour, but that does not make atheism a religion.



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Dictionary: re·li·gion (rĭ-lĭj'ən)

1.

1. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.

2. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.

2. The life or condition of a person in a religious order.

3. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.

4. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.

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#16 Old 09-10-2009, 01:06 PM
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Just because people are illogical at times (that is human nature, after all) doesn't mean that religious belief suddenly makes sense...
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#17 Old 09-10-2009, 01:18 PM
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I find militant thiests and athiests to be equally annoying in their dogmatic positions. Both groups make me yawn and roll my eyes simultaneously. It's the same hardheaded round-and-round that's been going on for years - I doubt it will end any time soon.



I don't find there to be any reason why religious belief could not make sense, given the fact that humanity knows almost nothing about the true nature of the universe - all we have as a substitute for true knowledge is our fumbling, flawed, time-sensitive approximations of standardized objectivity.
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#18 Old 09-10-2009, 01:25 PM
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really?



So atheists are completely free of neurosis, and irrational needs?



I think some atheists miss the point.

It is not science which is really religious---but I do think that belief is an important part of science----it is the atheists who are religious; in the way they interact with the world.

Still, I don't think that atheists represent science, any more than non-atheists.



Atheists don't own science---you can't buy it on ebay, and you can't whip it out of the world's pocket.



Calling atheism a religion is like calling bald a hairstyle.

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#19 Old 09-10-2009, 01:27 PM
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Calling atheism a religion is like calling bald a hairstyle.



I think it's also because some of the followers of atheism treat it like it is a religion. In many ways I've found atheists VERY similar to christians.

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#20 Old 09-10-2009, 01:28 PM
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I find militant thiests and athiests to be equally annoying in their dogmatic positions. Both groups make me yawn and roll my eyes simultaneously. It's the same hardheaded round-and-round that's been going on for years - I doubt it will end any time soon.



I don't find there to be any reason why religious belief could not make sense, given the fact that humanity knows almost nothing about the true nature of the universe - all we have as a substitute for true knowledge is our fumbling, flawed, time-sensitive approximations of standardized objectivity.



well said.

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#21 Old 09-10-2009, 01:35 PM
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I think it's also because some of the followers of atheism treat it like it is a religion. In many ways I've found atheists VERY similar to christians.



I think you meant this but I'll point it out anyway:



Do you mean "In many ways I've found some atheists VERY similar to some christians."?



It's the loud Christians who get the press. It's the loud atheists who get the press. There are far more calm, rational, and reasonable atheists and Christians then there are loud and unreasonable members from both groups -- it's the latter who attempt to undermine the other with (often intentionally) inaccurate depictions.
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#22 Old 09-10-2009, 01:38 PM
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I think you meant this but I'll point it out anyway:



Do you mean "In many ways I've found some atheists VERY similar to some christians."?



It's the loud Christians who get the press. It's the loud atheists who get the press. There are far more calm, rational, and reasonable atheists and Christians then there are loud and unreasonable members from both groups -- it's the latter who attempt to undermine the other with (often intentionally) inaccurate depictions.



yes

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#23 Old 09-10-2009, 01:47 PM
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I think it's also because some of the followers of atheism treat it like it is a religion. In many ways I've found atheists VERY similar to christians.



There are definitely some loud and obnoxious atheists out there who are very annoying, but I wouldn't say that being obnoxious makes their beliefs or opinions religious in any way.



I've heard animal rights and environmentalism called religions too, and that just seems like a massive misuse of terminology to me.



Being so passionate about something that you have to constantly start fights about it does not mean that that thing is your religion, it just means that you are an *******.

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#24 Old 09-10-2009, 01:48 PM
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yes



Good.



And I guess we can agree that most (not all) agnostics are rather unreasonable, irrational, and argumentative.



Oh, how I hate agnostics! Sitting on the fence. Stirring up the atheists and when that gets boring, turning around to stir up those who believe in God.







Grrrr... !
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#25 Old 09-10-2009, 01:52 PM
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I am personally a fan of Dawkins and look forward to his new book.



Let's be honest here... is a battle for minds out there, and we all have our own opinions on who we would like to 'win' or at least make an impact. As a believer that religion causes more harm than good and after witnessing religion attempting to 'convert' the masses, I gladly welcome someone who is well spoken and passionate to argue the other side, so people can make up their mind for themselves and have a choice in what they choose to believe, or not believe.



Having multiple sides and viewpoints on a topic = good.
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#26 Old 09-10-2009, 01:52 PM
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Good.



And I guess we can agree that most (not all) agnostics are rather unreasonable, irrational, and argumentative.



Oh, how I hate agnostics! Sitting on the fence. Stirring up the atheists and when that gets boring, turning around to stir up those who believe in God.







Grrrr... !



I'm guessing that you're joking.



If not, i would always stir up the believers first and then go after the atheists next. Let's not confuse this!!!

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#27 Old 09-10-2009, 02:01 PM
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I think it's also because some of the followers of atheism treat it like it is a religion. In many ways I've found atheists VERY similar to christians.

This. Atheists can be just as vocal, proselytizing, and hung up on their views as religious fundamentalists, or at least very pushy church-goers.



If only there were some blatant symbol in this very thread that would anecdotally prove my/our contention about the similarities between religious zealots and anti-religious ones...
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#28 Old 09-10-2009, 02:01 PM
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I am personally a fan of Dawkins and look forward to his new book.



Let's be honest here... is a battle for minds out there, and we all have our own opinions on who we would like to 'win' or at least make an impact. As a believer that religion causes more harm than good and after witnessing religion attempting to 'convert' the masses, I gladly welcome someone who is well spoken and passionate to argue the other side, so people can make up their mind for themselves and have a choice in what they choose to believe, or not believe.



Having multiple sides and viewpoints on a topic = good.



Agreed.



And while I agree with a lot of people here that Dawkins is abrasive and rude he is also right most of the time and makes excellent, thought provoking points. I really enjoy reading his work, his stuffyness and arrogance are part of the fun! It makes ME laugh anyway.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mmskXXetcg

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#29 Old 09-10-2009, 02:04 PM
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I'm guessing that you're joking.







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If not, i would always stir up the believers first and then go after the atheists next. Let's not confuse this!!!



Hmmm... yeah, that makes sense. The believers are easy pickings and once you're warmed up then you can have a go at the atheists.



Do you have a pamplet you can mail me on what agnostics believe with tips on how to stir up believers and atheists? But make sure there are nice pictures with the agnostics working happily in a field living peacefully with the animals. I love those pictures!*







*loves talking with the JWs and seeing their tracts but doesn't believe what they believe*
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#30 Old 09-10-2009, 02:07 PM
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This. Atheists can be just as vocal, proselytizing, and hung up on their views as religious fundamentalists, or at least very pushy church-goers.



If only there were some blatant symbol in this very thread that would anecdotally prove my/our contention about the similarities between religious zealots and anti-religious ones...



agreed. I'm not a fan of ANY group that proselytizes! I have a hard time with people that KNOW that they are right regarding this and use it more than a personal choice.

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