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Author Topic: Religion- Oh no not that again  (Read 24652 times)

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Offline YaoiRolePlayTopic starter

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #175 on: April 09, 2012, 11:45:24 PM »
So how do I reconcile this gap in our current understanding?  Why do we exist?  What is the true nature of consciousness?  For me, these unanswered questions are where faith and beliefs come into play.

One thought real quick than I'll let others smarter than me answer you.

Why do we exist? While not necessarily a scientific question, why we exist is very very human. It's in our very nature to want to know why to things. There's that old question of, Why is there something rather than nothing? As for that, the answer really is that there may never be an answer to this. The universe is not exactly conscious, as far as we know, to have a guided process. Asking why presupposes that there is consciousness at work. This is extremely natural for us as we are conscious and we impose that consciousness on other things like animals and nature. Why not on the universe itself too? And that's were the why questions come from. It's like asking why does the tree use photosynthesis instead of using some other means to take in energy? And really the answer is that there is no answer. There is no consciousness guiding those processes, at least as far as we know. But we desperately want to think there is. Hence gods.

What is the true nature of consciousness? This is a question that science can answer, especially since it's a what question and includes the word nature. Consciousness is a natural thing that we can observe. Thus we will be able to understand and answer that question, if we haven't already. And I'm not a scientist, and definitely not smart enough to answer that, so I won't even try.

Just because an unanswered question is unanswered doesn't mean we need to turn to faith to explain it. An unanswered question is just that, unanswered. Many questions have been unanswered throughout history that have been answered much later. We naturally want to explain things, and if we can't explain them we turn to religion and supernatural and say that's what it is. Take the quote:

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." -Arthur C. Clarke

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Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #176 on: April 10, 2012, 12:44:39 AM »
Actually, my questions were rhetorical, but I thank you for sharing your views.  I concur with much of what you said and don't hold that one has to turn to faith to answer the unanswerable.  The word faith in this context is simply how I label personal hypotheses, or gut feelings, about how those questions may end up being answered.  I wanted to illustrate that I don't believe I am all that different from my Christian friend. :-)

I agree that science can explain the mechanisms at work, but I would hope one day that our understanding will go even deeper.  I also believe the metaphysical is simply scientific fact we have not yet discovered.  Centuries ago, much of what we accept today as fact might have been called metaphysical, had it not been labelled heresy.  This is why I think science is so popular.  Many people don't want to be 'told' something, they want to see for themselves how the universe works, and science offers them a unique opportunity to do that in a way much of philosophy cannot.   
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 01:07:04 AM by Xandria »

Offline ColdBloodedJellyDoughnut

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #177 on: April 10, 2012, 02:55:52 AM »
And therein lies the problem.

If you are changing the definition of key words to suit your own agenda, then you cannot at all be surprised at the reactions you are getting from posters who are using the common, standard, agreed-upon definition.

Torch has just descibed the entire problem with religion! Each religion uses the same words as other religions and groups and then argues that the way they use them is different to others. If Pumpkin wants to keep using this word 'subjective' with such vigour (which sometimes makes me think that it does not mean what you seem to think it means) then we should look at it in the same way as we did belief and faith.

sub·jec·tive    [suhb-jek-tiv]
adjective
1. Existing in the mind; belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the object of thought (Opposed to objective).
2. Pertaining to or characteristic of an individual; personal; individual: a subjective evaluation.
3. Placing excessive emphasis on one's own moods, attitudes, opinions, etc.; unduly egocentric.
4. Philosophy. Relating to or of the nature of an object as it is known in the mind as distinct from a thing in itself.
5. Relating to properties or specific conditions of the mind as distinguished from general or universal experience.

If we look at the idea of subjectivity in the first way then religion is entirely subjective. It only ever exists in the mind. However, if you're using it in a different way you can also say that religion is subjective because it's different for everyone. Talking about sciene as subjective can sometimes be entirely correect, because some science does place emphasis on the nature of an object in the mind rather than in the physical world.

Now we are getting into semantics and semiotics. This is a whole other kettle of fish. What I'm basically trying to say is that anyone can use any word to describe anything and they would be right. It all starts getting incredibly complicated when you start nitpicking the way people use words. As long as you can justify why you used that word in that way, you can get away with it.

On religion and faith itself I believe that as long as you can justify your beliefs/religion/faith/whatever-other-word-you-want-to-use to yourself, then it doesn't matter what other people think. You are the one who has to live with it, not your church group or your family or a group of people who happen to frequent the same internet site. Which is exactly why I am not discussing my personal beliefs.

Offline Starlequin

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #178 on: April 10, 2012, 03:06:11 AM »
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Offline ColdBloodedJellyDoughnut

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #179 on: April 10, 2012, 03:13:14 AM »
I had to restrain myself from using a gif...

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #180 on: April 10, 2012, 04:13:35 AM »
subjective
[-jek′tiv]
Etymology: L, subjectus, subject
1 pertaining to the essential nature of an object as perceived in the mind rather than to a thing in itself.
2 existing only in the mind.
3 that which arises within or is perceived by the individual, as contrasted with something that is modified by external circumstances or something that may be evaluated by objective standards.
4 pertaining to a person who places excessive importance on his own moods, attitudes, or opinions; egocentric.
Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 8th edition. © 2009, Elsevier.

Offline vtboy

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #181 on: April 10, 2012, 06:44:40 AM »
What I really do not understand with regard to the scientific denial of religion is why it is implied that science is the only epistemology that can lead to some definition of truth.  This, I feel, is at the root of the problem - scientists fail to acknowledge that there are other sound means to the truth.  When someone states that there is no empirical evidence of any sort of divinity or supernatural, my instinctive response is to ask why someone does not pursue the supernatural through other means?  For example, through Platonism or Neoplatonism.  Their cosmology is logically sound, even if not based on empirical evidence or the empirical world at all.  Or Hegel's philosophy of the right and of history, which is sound even if not empirical.  What special claim does science have that Plato, Ficino, or Hegel lack?  Upon what basis does gravity rest that makes it more true than the concept of thesis, antithesis, synthesis?  Really, science rests upon a shakey foundation - it uses finite observations to make universal claims and this requires a logical jump that is actually baseless.  To contrast, mathematics uses universal suppositions to make universal claims - it is possible to universally prove any mathematical theorem without a jump in logic.  So, basically, I don't get why science is a valid tool for proving and disproving metaphysical claims.  I would find it much more satisfying if people used Lucretius or Epicurus to disprove religion and the reality of a divinity than science.

Actually, police investigations more closely resemble historical research than scientific research.  This is largely due to the fact that both historians and the police are searching for the truth as it concerns particular phenomena that cannot be observed, whereas scientists search for the truth as it concerns universal phenomena that can be observed and replicated.

I think turf is the problem here.

Science attempts to answer the questions, "what?" and "how?", as in, for example, "what are the stars made of?" and "how do they give off light?". Science's reason-based, empirical approach to its subjects has been extraordinarily successful in broadening our understanding of what things are and how they work, and in enabling us to manipulate our environment. "Why" questions, like "why do we exist?", are not science's bailiwick. (To avoid pages and pages of semantic debate, let me acknowledge that sometimes "why" is used to mean "how", as in "why does light come out of the bulb when I flip the wall switch?" I am using the word in its more existential sense, denoting inquiry into a thing's meaning or purpose).

"Why" is the subject of other endeavors, some grounded in reason and some not, and all less empirically rooted than science. These include, but are not limited to, religion.

The problem with religions (or at least with the Abrahamic religions with which I am most familiar) is that, unlike science, they have not recognized the boundaries of their domain. Thus, for millennia, Genesis has been accepted by the faithful (and, worse, enforced by them), not merely as an answer to why, but as a factual account of what and how.

With some exceptions, scientists, whatever their personal, theological views, have respected the border that separates their discipline from religion and have not gone trespassing. There is no movement among scientists of which I am aware, for example, to introduce evolution into Sunday School classrooms.

Would as much could be said of the faithful.

Compartmentalization is everything.   

Offline rick957

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #182 on: April 10, 2012, 11:42:50 AM »
Considering the length of this thread and how slow of a reader I am, I've only been able to read a small portion of everyone's comments, and I haven't understood everything that's been said, although I think I got the gist of most of what I read.

Anyway, as vtboy noted a ways back, I was asked earlier to explain some of my personal beliefs and did so without adding a particularly satisfying account of my reasons for believing the things I do.  I wasn't trying to be mysterious or deliberately obtuse; I'm being sincere when I say that I firmly believe that the best reason to believe Christianity is because it's true, not because it makes sense or feels good.  I could expand on my reasons, but in order to do so, I think I would have to start sharing details about my personal life experiences.  That's something I'm willing to do more readily in private rather than in a public forum like this.

Blah blah blah anyway, :)  there are several people who have posted here and contributed to the discussion without specifically explaining their personal beliefs (religious, philosophical, existential, whatever) or their reasons for believing what they do.  Since the thread topic is so broad anyway, I for one would be intensely interested in hearing the personal beliefs of anyone who has posted so far, or of anyone reading along.  To some extent, it's possible to infer the beliefs of some of you based on your various comments, but such inferences are not likely to be as accurate as your direct statements of what you believe.

In other words -- let's see your hand, so to speak?  :)  If you please.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 12:37:20 PM by rick957 »

Offline DeMalachine

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #183 on: April 10, 2012, 11:44:53 AM »
Actually, police investigations more closely resemble historical research than scientific research.  This is largely due to the fact that both historians and the police are searching for the truth as it concerns particular phenomena that cannot be observed, whereas scientists search for the truth as it concerns universal phenomena that can be observed and replicated.

Not quite. The accordance or discordance of the DNA 'fingerprint' of a suspect to that of, say, blood or other body fluids at a crime scene is something that can be observed, for example. True, a case is rarely ever built upon this - or any other relevant scientific discipline - alone. But in direct relation to your point, science can observe phenomena by means of the effects - or in this case, aftereffects - it produces. If this were not the case, then we would probably not have the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection, or at least a highly incomplete version thereof.

Offline vtboy

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #184 on: April 10, 2012, 02:04:01 PM »
In other words -- let's see your hand, so to speak?  :)  If you please.

Sure.

As you've probably gathered from my posts, I reject the truth of the teachings of all religions with which I have even a nodding acquaintance, and find it difficult to imagine any I might ever find persuasive. I am humbled and awed by what science has revealed of  temporal world, and do not require another. I am especially enamoured by the notion that we are apes who have learned to dress in evening wear and sing Cole Porter.

While I do not rule out the possiblity of the transcendental, the question is a moot one for me, as I don't think man possesses any organ capable of sensing or comprehending it. I am aware that many claim faith to be that organ, but the perceptions and beliefs I've heard ascribed to faith have always struck me as delusional and preposterous. Not the least of these is the conceit that, in a universe as vast and varied as ours, which may be only one of an infinity of universes, any god would spend his good time worrying about whom and how we fuck.


Offline DeMalachine

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #185 on: April 10, 2012, 02:29:37 PM »
...Not the least of these is the conceit that, in a universe as vast and varied as ours, which may be only one of an infinity of universes, any god would spend his good time worrying about whom and how we fuck.

I do honestly believe that if I were God, My omnipresence would frequently lead me to being distracted by watching people fuck, and I don't think I'd get a lot done.

I'd spend less time godding and more time dogging, I reckon.

Offline ColdBloodedJellyDoughnut

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #186 on: April 10, 2012, 02:35:16 PM »
That's why you're not a god, De.

Offline DeMalachine

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #187 on: April 10, 2012, 02:38:47 PM »
Well, people would have a hell of a lot of free will, to do with as they pleased.

What with me being distracted all the time...

Offline ColdBloodedJellyDoughnut

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #188 on: April 10, 2012, 02:41:03 PM »
Trust you to bring down the tone.

Offline DeMalachine

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #189 on: April 10, 2012, 02:45:58 PM »
Yes, but being an amiable, distracted sort of god, I wouldn't bring it down with great vengeance and furious anger, or any of that sort of thing.

Anyways, I can't continue this particular conversation with you anymore, as it's derailing the thread, and you've already been told off for that. :-P

Offline ColdBloodedJellyDoughnut

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #190 on: April 10, 2012, 02:48:28 PM »
Just me? I don't...

Anyway in a nutshell, to bring the topic back on track, I think that there is one key difference between science and religion. Science is constantly striving to find out new answers to old problems. Religion seeks to make old answers fit new problems.

Offline vtboy

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #191 on: April 10, 2012, 03:56:37 PM »
I do honestly believe that if I were God, My omnipresence would frequently lead me to being distracted by watching people fuck, and I don't think I'd get a lot done.

I'd spend less time godding and more time dogging, I reckon.

Watching is one thing. Laying down rules for it is another.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #192 on: April 10, 2012, 05:16:55 PM »
My personal belief is that science is our path to discovering the creation that God has left for us to explore.  Through understanding of the natural world and the mechanisms of this landscape, we will understand the creator.  Much as an anthropologist attempts to understand a civilization by exploring the remnants, through their artwork and technology, we can better understand the divine by researching what is around us.  I have never seen science and religion as opposing elements.  Those that do, in my opinion, are typically seeking an agenda and forcing the two.

As for organized religion, I am not a big fan.  There is much wisdom from those people that specialize in religious practice, ceremony and study.  I do not hold that any one religion is correct, instead finding them to each be occupying their place in a cave staring at a sunset.  From my mother’s friend who practices witchcraft to the nuns that used to teach at my highschool, I think they all hold part of the truth and bear listening to for wisdom.  My leanings are more toward Catholicism, but more than likely because I’ve associated with more Catholic figures in authority such as priests and nuns. 

MasterMischief is quite insightful into my meaning in regard to logic.  My words are were more than likely muddled by side arguments as I felt compelled to set straight several opinions and what I saw as misconceptions of science.  Never do I believe science is “bad” or “evil.”  Scientific inquiry and discovery are at the heart of my career choice and have been a part of my life since I can remember.  From doing research on MMO gaming in regard to addiction studies to literature review of dementia for the possibility of utilizing facial recognition software to better identify those experiencing the condition; I have always taken an interest in science especially as a researcher.  My hope has always been to contribute to the knowledge of the scientific community in the hopes of effecting real change.

I take offense when people attempt to make science what it is not nor should ever be.  As vtboy stated, science does not answer the question of “why” and never has pretended to do so.  People want science to answer that question, but it does not have the tools to do so.  Science answers the “how” and should be respected for doing so.  Science does not pretend to lay out truth or to guide a person’s personal beliefs.  Science, at its core, is a person sitting under a tree staring at some phenomenon they do not understand and saying, “I think this is how that works and this is how I am going to prove it.”  Belief without evidence with the goal of acquiring evidence.

Back to the statement of logic.  People have faith and belief without evidence in almost every facet of their life.  This is why I held to my statement that I do not understand the “logic argument.”  That argument is, I am a logical person so I reject anything without evidence.  We all accept things without evidence.  Not to pick on Yaoi, but the statement of there being a unit of measure for pain and subsequently Coldblooded’s statement that there is probably one shows this very well.  In their minds they logically assumed there must be a unit of measure for pain.  They had a belief that there was a unit of measure for pain and so acted accordingly.  I know there is not a unit of measure for pain or a standardized way of objectively measuring pain because I work in a field that deals with pain.  Since there is no unit of measure of pain, there is no real evidence for there to be one.  So these two people that would consider themselves logical, held a belief without evidence. 

Nobody thinks they are illogical or irrational.

Offline YaoiRolePlayTopic starter

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #193 on: April 10, 2012, 06:02:01 PM »
So let me ask you this:

How is it possible for something to be true through faith? If you believe hard enough does that make it real? I don't understand how someone can say that faith leads to truth when faith is simply believing something. There's no evidence to back it up.

Also, please allow me to modify my statement regarding pain. We may not have an actual unit of measurement for it, but pain would have to be measurable. Otherwise it wouldn't exist in the real world and we wouldn't feel it. Just like any other emotional/physical response. However, I'm not smart enough to talk about that, and that's all I'll say on the subject.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 06:08:12 PM by YaoiRolePlay »

Offline rick957

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #194 on: April 10, 2012, 08:06:25 PM »
Quote
Nobody thinks they are illogical or irrational.

This is precisely the problem for most educated people, I think, including myself.  I've spent most of my life thinking that the key to arriving at truthfulness was simply to use one's faculties -- the senses, and rigorous logic -- to figure the truth out.  It's still the first direction that occurs to me to head in, or to recommend others to head in. 

But that doesn't really work, does it?  (For fuck's sake, maybe it doesn't work at all!)  Going that route leads most people, including many far smarter than I, to the conclusion that there is no truth to be found in life; the truth about life is unknowable, and it's purest arrogance and/or delusional for anyone to ever think otherwise.  We are all just specks on a dirtball, spinning through the vast universe.  There's a wonderful, famous quotation from Stephen Crane about that.

If there is a findable truth, everything within each of us -- including, and in the case of well-educated people, most especially, our dependence upon logic (or is that just my problem?) -- everything within us needs to be let go of, and something outside of us needs to be grabbed onto.  What would drive any sane person to do such a thing?  I think in most cases it's a matter of dumb luck, or at least, it appears that way.

Perhaps the key is that it isn't something we can do for ourselves at all; it's something that's done for us, done to us.  Truth is waiting to enter us, to take us over, but first we need to be convinced to let go of all the worthless shit in the way. 

I've been trying to understand Flannery O'Connor's short stories for a couple decades now and always found them somewhat mysterious and impenetrable, nor have I been satisfied with the interpretations of her work presented by a long succession of English professors.  It's something along these lines, I think:  each of us needs more than anything else to be broken, deeply and utterly broken, before we can ever be fixed.  Makes me think of a song lyric that I can't place, something like, "you come with empty hands, or you don't come at all."

I shouldn't post this -- as if I haven't inspired enough "abject mockery" already in this thread!  ;)  If you understand anything I just said, please explain it to me.  Perhaps I'll get a drink now ....

References:  Crane (loads of happy sunshine on that page, but the quote I mangled is next to last); empty hands

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #195 on: April 10, 2012, 08:49:48 PM »
Careful, rick957.  You are starting to sound like a Taoist now.

What, exactly do you mean by 'truth'.  The context you use it in seems to imply more than just facts...perhaps meaning or the meaning of life.

And since you asked so nicely...

I spent a great deal of my formative years with my grandmother.  She was Eastern Orthodox.  She took me to mass that was completely in Ukranian.  I could not understand a word of it.  But I mimicked the priest and wanted to be a priest at one time.

When I was not with my grandmother, I was with my aunt who was Roman Catholic.  Really, about the only different I could tell was I could at least understand some of the mass and there was less gold on everything.

I am not sure when I started to question.  I remember that the answers I got never seemed to add up.  It was all misdirection and 'why are you questioning'.  I decided it was time to go to the source, so I started reading the Bible.  There was a lot of stuff in there the priests never mentioned.  Stuff that did not make sense.  Stuff that struck me as very wrong.

Now I will confess right now that I have not read the Bible cover to cover.  I have tried.  But the more I read, the more I am convinced it is entirely a creation of man.  So I started looking into other religions.  I found them to be equally suspicious.  Granted, I can not say I have researched every religion out there.  Oddly enough, I know very little about Paganism and Wicca, which I thought was the first stop for most recovering Christians.  I am currently reading about Taoism with a side of Buddhism.

When I realized I was not sure there was a god, I admit I was very scared.  What happens when you die?!  What is the meaning of life?!  I took comfort in the fact that it really only mattered after I died and if I returned to oblivion when I died, it really would not matter then either.  It only matters now.  The meaning of my life is what I make it to be...if it really needs meaning at all.  This is a new development for me.  I am not sure my life needs meaning.  I am content to live the best I can and appreciate my short time here.  What else does one need?

I understand that is not good enough for a lot of people.  I once felt that way, so I can empathize.  I honestly do not want to take religion away from anyone.  But my fur gets rankled when people try to push their religion on me.  If you are going to insist there is a god, then I am going to have to see some proof.  Otherwise, it is simply your belief and you, are welcome to it.

Offline Sophronius

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #196 on: April 10, 2012, 10:54:31 PM »
I think turf is the problem here.

Science attempts to answer the questions, "what?" and "how?", as in, for example, "what are the stars made of?" and "how do they give off light?". Science's reason-based, empirical approach to its subjects has been extraordinarily successful in broadening our understanding of what things are and how they work, and in enabling us to manipulate our environment. "Why" questions, like "why do we exist?", are not science's bailiwick. (To avoid pages and pages of semantic debate, let me acknowledge that sometimes "why" is used to mean "how", as in "why does light come out of the bulb when I flip the wall switch?" I am using the word in its more existential sense, denoting inquiry into a thing's meaning or purpose).

"Why" is the subject of other endeavors, some grounded in reason and some not, and all less empirically rooted than science. These include, but are not limited to, religion.

The problem with religions (or at least with the Abrahamic religions with which I am most familiar) is that, unlike science, they have not recognized the boundaries of their domain. Thus, for millennia, Genesis has been accepted by the faithful (and, worse, enforced by them), not merely as an answer to why, but as a factual account of what and how.

With some exceptions, scientists, whatever their personal, theological views, have respected the border that separates their discipline from religion and have not gone trespassing. There is no movement among scientists of which I am aware, for example, to introduce evolution into Sunday School classrooms.

Would as much could be said of the faithful.

Compartmentalization is everything.   

No, I largely agree.  And I'm not so much trying to defend religion as metaphysics in general.  And yes, most scientists aren't interested in metaphysics or religion.  I was being perhaps too inflammatory.  And I really want to lash out and bash Protestantism for making biblical literalism trendy, since the Catholics and Orthodox are largely statisfied with allegory and mystical readings of holy texts - or lash out against the theological illiteracy of the faithful, since that also seems to be a problem, but since even Catholics today tend to think they're well versed enough in theology to interpret the Bible on their own, this too could be said to be the influence of Protestantism.  But, yeah, the idea of NOMA generally is a good idea, especially when talking about things like the supernatural - I mean, science is entirely focused on looking downward at the material, rather than looking upward to ideas, beauty, and the good.


Not quite. The accordance or discordance of the DNA 'fingerprint' of a suspect to that of, say, blood or other body fluids at a crime scene is something that can be observed, for example. True, a case is rarely ever built upon this - or any other relevant scientific discipline - alone. But in direct relation to your point, science can observe phenomena by means of the effects - or in this case, aftereffects - it produces. If this were not the case, then we would probably not have the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection, or at least a highly incomplete version thereof.

But your equation of science to detective work is fallacious.  The theory of evolution by natural selection rests primarily upon genetic research, which is something that is observed and replicated in laboratory procedures.  If the theory of evolution was only or even primarily based on fossil records, it would have little real scientific basis.  Sure, Darwin still would have made up his theory, but the modern conception of evolution would have been impossible.  I mean, Mendel didn't need to look at aftereffects - he conducted experiments.  And evolutionary theory does not rest upon looking at animals and imagining how selective pressures might have made them how they are or looking at fossils, but upon a sound understanding of how genetics work.

Historical research, like detective work, is primarily based upon the experience of the inquiring person.  The historian and detective have a body of evidence before them and then must rely upon their conception of how individuals, groups, and society behave (as well as how the environment, societal institutions, and nebulous concepts like ideas and economies behave) to compile this evidence into a coherent narrative capable of convincing the listeners that they have reached the truth.

Ultimately, the difference comces down to this: the scientist makes observations, develops a hypothesis, tests the hypothesis, explains the results of their tests; the historian and detective make observations, develop a hypothesis, do more research to test their hypothesis, construct their research into a narrative.  The penultimate step is fundamentally different, since the scientist is creating new data to argue his point, whereas the historian and detective look back over what data they have.  And in the final step, the scientist primarily explains, whereas the others narrate.

Offline TheBouquineuse

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #197 on: April 10, 2012, 11:47:14 PM »
Though I myself am anything but religious, I find it an essential part or a developing society. Without religion, a lot of people would have no sense of direction. It’s a sad fact, but people generally can’t deal with their own lives, so they look to something else to help them. I say that if it helps people, than by all means, believe in God, Jesus, Allah, Satan, or Krishna. I don’t give a damn.

 But when someone starts pushing their beliefs down my throat, or saying that they are right and everyone else it wrong… that is wrong. Religion should be about hope and love and helping people. It shouldn’t be about being right. Sadly, that’s what religion has come to though. People fight and kill over religion. They judge people who are different with no basis other then “According to my religion, you’re wrong.”

We’re human beings; we should have the reasoning skills to be able to say… “Hey, maybe my religion is wrong and I should start following what my brain says instead of what the bible says.”

So yea… I’m a deist. I think that a god caused what made the universe, but it is long gone by now. But I’m still fully supportive of other religions (As long as they’re not jerks about it)

Offline DeMalachine

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #198 on: April 11, 2012, 08:50:59 AM »
But your equation of science to detective work is fallacious.  The theory of evolution by natural selection rests primarily upon genetic research, which is something that is observed and replicated in laboratory procedures.  If the theory of evolution was only or even primarily based on fossil records, it would have little real scientific basis.  Sure, Darwin still would have made up his theory, but the modern conception of evolution would have been impossible.  I mean, Mendel didn't need to look at aftereffects - he conducted experiments.  And evolutionary theory does not rest upon looking at animals and imagining how selective pressures might have made them how they are or looking at fossils, but upon a sound understanding of how genetics work.

It is indeed! Having made the post whilst extremely tired, I basically went and conflated the results observed as a conclusion of a process already adequately quantified by science (DNA fingerprinting) with the intial observation of nature that eventually led to the ToE. In other words, the example is a complete non-sequitur. Oops!

In order to clarify my point about science making observations from effects of phenomena - which came out in a pretty woolly manner in the post: yes, science sometimes does do this, as in the case of quantum mechanics, for example: the wavefunction collapse that occurs with any attempt to observe the actual location or state of an isolated particle. Observations therefore have to be drawn from whatever effects might result from the wavefunction collapse - for instance, the interference patterns recorded from, for example, the double-slit experiment. Any attempt to observe the actual wavefunction in process only ever gives an observation of a discrete object in a single state.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 11:07:57 AM by DeMalachine »

Offline vtboy

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #199 on: April 11, 2012, 11:17:31 AM »
But your equation of science to detective work is fallacious.  The theory of evolution by natural selection rests primarily upon genetic research, which is something that is observed and replicated in laboratory procedures.  If the theory of evolution was only or even primarily based on fossil records, it would have little real scientific basis.  Sure, Darwin still would have made up his theory, but the modern conception of evolution would have been impossible.  I mean, Mendel didn't need to look at aftereffects - he conducted experiments.  And evolutionary theory does not rest upon looking at animals and imagining how selective pressures might have made them how they are or looking at fossils, but upon a sound understanding of how genetics work.

Where they are possible, laboratory experiments give science a leg up since, in the laboratory, potentially outcome effecting variables, other than the one under study, can frequently be controlled more effectively than in the wild. All else equal, this characteristic of laboratory experimentation frequently lends a greater degree of reliability to conclusions about relationships between independent and dependent variables.  It is a mistake, however, to think that scientific theories grounded in "field" observation are any the less scientific, or that "proofs" based on natural observation are necessarily less trustworthy. The first great empirical test of the space warping quality of mass predicted by Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, for example, was in observation of the apparent displacement of stars whose light passed an eclipsed Sun.

The Theory of Evolution gained wide (though perhaps not uniform) acceptance in the scientific community long before the discovery of DNA and other advances in cellular biology. As you note, supporting evidence was found in the fossil record. Observations of animals and plants in their natural habitats -- the bulk of the raw data with which Darwin worked -- likewise both sparked and supported the theory. The reason for the theory's acceptance, before the mechanism responsible for variation and inheritance of traits was known, was that it did a better job than other theories of explaining the observed evidence, and was not contradicted by it.

There have been, and continue to be, other well accepted scientific theories, such as the theory the universe is expanding, which exceed our technological capacity to validate through experimentation and remain grounded only in natural observation. Of course, as technology improves (and assuming our species survives long enough), even these may some day be subject to the rigors of the laboratory.