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Author Topic: Religion...and SCIENCE! (Nee - Re: Oh..those people at westboro baptist are at it again! o3o)  (Read 13315 times)

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Offline Vekseid

I was under the impression that the Big Bang Theory relied on the existence of Dark Matter, which is still up in the air.

Wrong on both counts.

The Big Bang Theory (its status as theory coming from the fact that it has made successful predictions) comes from the fact that we observe that all distant galaxies are flying away from each other at a rate equal to what is known as the Hubble Constant, roughly ~71 km/sec per megaparsec IIRC. That's why it is called the Big Bang - it is essentially the explosion that is us.

Dark matter certainly exists, and no credible scientist discounts that it exists in some form - neutrinos are, after all, dark matter, and they are possible if difficult to detect and analyze. What was in dispute was the existence of a heretofore unknown and unexplained type of matter that was both massive enough and cold enough to explain the apparent extra mass of galaxies, and of the Universe as a whole.

Alternative hypothesis were proposed, such as MOND, but with recent evidence given by gravitational lensing where no baryonic matter is present, it is pretty clear that some form of cold dark matter is in fact present, or at the very least, something where cold dark matter is currently the best available explanation.

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There are active, credible scientists who don't believe in it.  I also take issue with a lot of theoretical physics since much of it is based purely on mathematics without any observation; that's not evidence-based.

You'll find a lot of respectable people attacking string theory for just those sorts of issues. The Big Bang has no such issues, its properties are readily available and observable in a great many forms. The initial singularity, itself, is poorly understood, but the expansionary properties of the Universe are not in any serious doubt.

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As far as science versus religion goes, I think it all comes down to who our society turns to when there's a problem.  If it can be reasonably solved, people turn to science.  If there's no real conceivable solution, people turn to religion.  You don't go to synagogue when you're having a heart attack.

But there are people who will exploit faith making such claims - claims to be able to cure cancer, or depression, or poison, and they exploit the nature of faith to make such claims, and promote a distrust of the scientific method and learning in general.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

This argument seems to preoccupy so much of this forum.  Constantly the notion of religion versus science appears again and again.  This time the topic has reared its head from a completely unrelated topic of extremists protesting at a comic-con.  Are people so hot for this fight that it just taints every idea and notion that might speak the word of religion?  Is this what every thread that mentions religion becomes given more than a couple of pages?  Science and religion constantly at war in the minds of people alone, because that is the only place this battle exists.  The two cannot fight because they are completely different concepts.  Religion and science do not even share the same venue, hell they rarely even share the same building in college campuses.

Science is a tool. A tool for understanding the world around us.  Through observation, application of the scientific method and constant peer critique science emerges with stunning ideas about this world.  Since man first asked the question of how science has found a home in the mind.  To deny science as an amazing force in this world would be ignorant.  To deny the discoveries of science is foolish at best, dangerous at worst.  There are some that persist in doing so and often they do defer to religion as their answer in place of science.  Yet Creationism is not taught in most schools, the vast majority of educated people of faith defer to science instead of their religious text in worldly matters and most people laugh at extremists that would do otherwise.  Obviously many people have rectified their religious faith with the ideas of science.

Religion is an institution based around faith which is a belief.  Faith is a belief in something despite no supporting evidence and perhaps even evidence to the contrary.  People are driven by faith and aspire to a great many things because of faith.  Someone with faith in a higher being takes that extra step to help someone, believing that this is for a higher purpose.  Someone with faith in others keeps their calm so that they can do for others.  Religion harnesses the faith of others, drawing them together to support their belief and direct their acts.  Through the institutions of faith a great many things in this world have been accomplished and a great many people helped.  To deny people’s need for faith is to take away their hope in aspiring.  To deny someone the ability to believe despite the evidence is to remove a valuable inspiration to their life.  People believe, aspire to greatness and achieve their goals.  People walk away from institutions of faith and go on to become practioners of science and great minds in its application.  So many amazing minds have settled this supposed conflict while at the same time advancing our understanding of this world.

Where then does this supposed conflict gain momentum then?  Many talk about religious personalities attempting to usurp science with religious ideals.  Certainly there are so many that have such a pervasive influence on our society.  The humorous statement though is that there are not.  Certainly religious ideals are hoisted up in relation to virtues and values, but usurping science seems laughable to most.  How many people here were taught only Creationism in a public school?  If you attended a religious based school then let me know if evolution was not taught.  Did anyone here attend a public school where the Bible was taught in reading class?  Perhaps if someone here went to a religious based school they can talk about how only the religious text was approached in their school.  When is the last time an insurance company paid for a religious figure to heal one of its clients?  Maybe someone can find a peer reviewed scientific journal whose editor was forced to publish a religious article. 

I am starting to get the impression that this momentum comes from the other direction of people wanting science to usurp religion.  As Nyarly so nicely reasoned religion and science should not coexist, unless science disproves God.  That coexistence is fine.  That science cannot disprove faith by its own tenets and is in no way qualified to do so is obviously not a concern.  Faith, by its definition, does not fall into the purview of science just as science cannot be challenged by faith.  Science could discover the origin of life, yet still have no reason to then say that God (or Gods/spirits/etc.) does not exist.  Jude attempted to point out the ridiculous nature of this fact, stating that religion refuses to acknowledge cracks in their theory.  That he uses the word theory incorrectly is just one display of how people confuse religion and science.  Before people are allowed their high-horse, perhaps they should have their beliefs put on a pedestal.

Let us say that someone made use of their religious belief and performed a miracle or cast a spell.  Perhaps something small like igniting a candle, which I guess would be more a spell than miracle but whatever.  This person obviously believes that their faith has caused this event.  Science would conduct their experiments.  Were science to reach no conclusion as to why this event occurred, would scientists suddenly admit that science is flawed?  Would scientists the world over suddenly show up to religious service the next day?  Somehow I doubt this.  Science has made the statement before that there are things that are not yet understood, but that does not mean they are still unexplainable.  They wouldn’t give up their position either and they are right not to.

In fact, scanning over the pages of this thread and having experience with many of these fights, I have rarely seen someone bearing faith attack science as being wrong.  On the contrary, those those laude sciences over religion are far more persistent in religion being wrong to the point of ridicule.  The part about spaghetti monster in the sky comes to mind.  Funny thing is that I have never seen the faithful on Elliquiy ridiculing each other’s religious beliefs.  Even more hilarious because people are constantly talking about the fighting among the religious and how they just want to be left alone, to not be made fun of for their lack of faith. 

So I ask, are science in religion at odds because they fight over the same territory?  Or are they just at odds because people want them to fight?

Offline Nyarly

So I ask, are science in religion at odds because they fight over the same territory?  Or are they just at odds because people want them to fight?
As I said: Religion and Science shouldn't mix. After all, they cannot be mixed and there's no reason to do so. The fights occur, because some people don't understand it and attempt to mix them or replace one thing with the other. But this is nonsensical and why this is... Well, you explained it better, than I ever could.

That being said, I don't think that science can prove or disprove gods. I can't think how this can be even possible. The thought alone is nearly so weird to me as the existence of god.

Online Valerian

So I ask, are science in religion at odds because they fight over the same territory?  Or are they just at odds because people want them to fight?
Or perhaps it's simply that people enjoy having lively, intelligent conversations on two subjects which, after all, can both have profound impact on our lives, in their different ways.

Honestly, I usually don't like having to keep an eye on threads here.  But this one has been both civil and interesting, and I've enjoyed reading along.  I say keep the opinions coming.  :)

Offline Trieste

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But there are people who will exploit faith making such claims - claims to be able to cure cancer, or depression, or poison, and they exploit the nature of faith to make such claims, and promote a distrust of the scientific method and learning in general.

It's amazing how even a shaky faith/practice can do this, too. The mother of my zomgBFF was like this. She was ostensibly a Jehovah's Witness (which kept her from getting the divorce she so badly could have used, but that's beside the point) but didn't follow many of the practices, and was very wishy-washy with the tenets. Yet, she did not trust doctors at all, ever. She was constantly extolling the virtues of meleleuca, and harassed one of the family friends to stop her chemo treatments and replace them with drinking Essiac tea.

Offline Serephino

This argument seems to preoccupy so much of this forum.  Constantly the notion of religion versus science appears again and again.  This time the topic has reared its head from a completely unrelated topic of extremists protesting at a comic-con.  Are people so hot for this fight that it just taints every idea and notion that might speak the word of religion?  Is this what every thread that mentions religion becomes given more than a couple of pages?  Science and religion constantly at war in the minds of people alone, because that is the only place this battle exists.  The two cannot fight because they are completely different concepts.  Religion and science do not even share the same venue, hell they rarely even share the same building in college campuses.

Science is a tool. A tool for understanding the world around us.  Through observation, application of the scientific method and constant peer critique science emerges with stunning ideas about this world.  Since man first asked the question of how science has found a home in the mind.  To deny science as an amazing force in this world would be ignorant.  To deny the discoveries of science is foolish at best, dangerous at worst.  There are some that persist in doing so and often they do defer to religion as their answer in place of science.  Yet Creationism is not taught in most schools, the vast majority of educated people of faith defer to science instead of their religious text in worldly matters and most people laugh at extremists that would do otherwise.  Obviously many people have rectified their religious faith with the ideas of science.

Religion is an institution based around faith which is a belief.  Faith is a belief in something despite no supporting evidence and perhaps even evidence to the contrary.  People are driven by faith and aspire to a great many things because of faith.  Someone with faith in a higher being takes that extra step to help someone, believing that this is for a higher purpose.  Someone with faith in others keeps their calm so that they can do for others.  Religion harnesses the faith of others, drawing them together to support their belief and direct their acts.  Through the institutions of faith a great many things in this world have been accomplished and a great many people helped.  To deny people’s need for faith is to take away their hope in aspiring.  To deny someone the ability to believe despite the evidence is to remove a valuable inspiration to their life.  People believe, aspire to greatness and achieve their goals.  People walk away from institutions of faith and go on to become practioners of science and great minds in its application.  So many amazing minds have settled this supposed conflict while at the same time advancing our understanding of this world.

Where then does this supposed conflict gain momentum then?  Many talk about religious personalities attempting to usurp science with religious ideals.  Certainly there are so many that have such a pervasive influence on our society.  The humorous statement though is that there are not.  Certainly religious ideals are hoisted up in relation to virtues and values, but usurping science seems laughable to most.  How many people here were taught only Creationism in a public school?  If you attended a religious based school then let me know if evolution was not taught.  Did anyone here attend a public school where the Bible was taught in reading class?  Perhaps if someone here went to a religious based school they can talk about how only the religious text was approached in their school.  When is the last time an insurance company paid for a religious figure to heal one of its clients?  Maybe someone can find a peer reviewed scientific journal whose editor was forced to publish a religious article. 

I am starting to get the impression that this momentum comes from the other direction of people wanting science to usurp religion.  As Nyarly so nicely reasoned religion and science should not coexist, unless science disproves God.  That coexistence is fine.  That science cannot disprove faith by its own tenets and is in no way qualified to do so is obviously not a concern.  Faith, by its definition, does not fall into the purview of science just as science cannot be challenged by faith.  Science could discover the origin of life, yet still have no reason to then say that God (or Gods/spirits/etc.) does not exist.  Jude attempted to point out the ridiculous nature of this fact, stating that religion refuses to acknowledge cracks in their theory.  That he uses the word theory incorrectly is just one display of how people confuse religion and science.  Before people are allowed their high-horse, perhaps they should have their beliefs put on a pedestal.

Let us say that someone made use of their religious belief and performed a miracle or cast a spell.  Perhaps something small like igniting a candle, which I guess would be more a spell than miracle but whatever.  This person obviously believes that their faith has caused this event.  Science would conduct their experiments.  Were science to reach no conclusion as to why this event occurred, would scientists suddenly admit that science is flawed?  Would scientists the world over suddenly show up to religious service the next day?  Somehow I doubt this.  Science has made the statement before that there are things that are not yet understood, but that does not mean they are still unexplainable.  They wouldn’t give up their position either and they are right not to.

In fact, scanning over the pages of this thread and having experience with many of these fights, I have rarely seen someone bearing faith attack science as being wrong.  On the contrary, those those laude sciences over religion are far more persistent in religion being wrong to the point of ridicule.  The part about spaghetti monster in the sky comes to mind.  Funny thing is that I have never seen the faithful on Elliquiy ridiculing each other’s religious beliefs.  Even more hilarious because people are constantly talking about the fighting among the religious and how they just want to be left alone, to not be made fun of for their lack of faith. 

So I ask, are science in religion at odds because they fight over the same territory?  Or are they just at odds because people want them to fight?

Thank you Pumpkin for saying what I've become too frustrated to.  I wasn't saying that science is wrong or that I don't trust it; though homeopathic remedies and meditation have done more for me than doctors ever have....

Anyway, I was simply trying to voice my frustration.  Veks and Jude just pretty much proved my point by debating the Big Bang Theory.  Two intellectuals don't agree on the same topic, so if you can't agree amongst yourselves, what gives any of you the right to wield the science stick and bash me with it and tell me how wrong I am? 

I fully admit that I don't know everything and could potentially be wrong.  I probably shouldn't have said anything because everything was twisted and my points completely ignored.  I'm just a little ticked off that anything even remotely having to do with religion on this forum turns into a religion bashing fest.  Just because outright insults weren't used doesn't exactly mean no one was attacked.   

Okay, I'm done now.  I've had a very bad day and am going to not say any more. 

So that's that.   

Offline Trieste

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I fully admit that I don't know everything and could potentially be wrong.  I probably shouldn't have said anything because everything was twisted and my points completely ignored.  I'm just a little ticked off that anything even remotely having to do with religion on this forum turns into a religion bashing fest.  Just because outright insults weren't used doesn't exactly mean no one was attacked.   

Before you wander off in a cloud of frustration, I would like to know at what points in the thread you felt attacked, in order to be more clear in the future.

Online Lithos

Also - do not forget that you can combine religion and science!!! (at least superficially)

http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/jason-lisle/2010/07/08/research-at-answers-in-genesis/

Although I have to say that I find the theory of five thousand years old universe dubious. As we do have older trees than that :p

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/04/080414-oldest-tree.html

Offline Jude

Quote from: Pumpkin Seeds
Let us say that someone made use of their religious belief and performed a miracle or cast a spell.  Perhaps something small like igniting a candle, which I guess would be more a spell than miracle but whatever.  This person obviously believes that their faith has caused this event.  Science would conduct their experiments.  Were science to reach no conclusion as to why this event occurred, would scientists suddenly admit that science is flawed?  Would scientists the world over suddenly show up to religious service the next day?  Somehow I doubt this.  Science has made the statement before that there are things that are not yet understood, but that does not mean they are still unexplainable.  They wouldn’t give up their position either and they are right not to.
I'm guessing if something happened that science could not explain, science would naturally be convinced that there is another underlying part of reality that it does not understand (which would be entirely accurate).  To automatically attribute it to faith however, would not be a logical conclusion (though it's a distinct possibility in that scenario), as there is a seemingly infinite amount of things that we do not understand that could be responsible.  Even if faith is responsible, unless there's a way to measure it (some sort of effect it has on the body or brain for example), I'm not sure science could ever account for it.

Even so, don't you think that if such glaring holes in empiricism showed up, people would begin to turn away from science?  If you could light a candle with your hand, why would you need a match?  If you could fly, who would need a car?  A reality in which miracles do exist would marginalize the worth of science to begin with.  If I can pray away cancer, why would I go to the doctor and pay thousands to be seen, operated on, and checked up in subsequent trips?

And it's not like there aren't things scientists have observed which they do not come even close to understanding.  As far as I know science has no problem admitting to that.  Take Quantum Entanglement for instance:  this is essentially when two particles are somehow "entangled" such that when the state of one particle changes the other particle it is paired with also changes in state.  There is no visible connection between the two, no force that this effect can be attributed to, they can even be great distances apart, and the two particles still simultaneously switch states.  Would it be logical to assume that this is occurring because of faith or god?  No, currently there's no evidence for that, but science has seen all sorts of examples of forces that we did not, at one point or another, understand--and none of them were conscious entities of metaphysical importance.

Science is comfortable with not knowing because it doesn't have to be an entity that has all the answers; it's a process for finding them, but there are some questions it will never resolve.  I personally think it's folly to try and understand the origin of the universe by empiricism; we're so far separated by whatever genesis reality had, that I don't think it's something that anything so fact-based will ever understand.  Even if you accept the big bang, there was a singularity of infinite mass and energy at the beginning, and something had to be responsible for its genesis (unless it has no beginning or end, but that's a religious concept in and of itself I think).

As for the purpose of discussion, I think we all learn things by having it.  I've certainly refined my views over the discussions we've had.  I'd like to think I'm a bit less critical towards religion than I've been in the past.  Every time I have a reasonable, civil conversation with someone who I disagree with that has a point, my views moderate themselves.  Civil discourse is the key to the elimination of extremism, I think.

Anyway, I was simply trying to voice my frustration.  Veks and Jude just pretty much proved my point by debating the Big Bang Theory.  Two intellectuals don't agree on the same topic, so if you can't agree amongst yourselves, what gives any of you the right to wield the science stick and bash me with it and tell me how wrong I am?
Just for the record, Vekseid was right and I was wrong.  I think he has a better understanding of the Big Bang Theory than I do by far. :(
« Last Edit: July 16, 2010, 03:07:01 PM by Jude »

Offline HairyHeretic

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Also - do not forget that you can combine religion and science!!! (at least superficially)

http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/jason-lisle/2010/07/08/research-at-answers-in-genesis/

Although I have to say that I find the theory of five thousand years old universe dubious. As we do have older trees than that :p

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/04/080414-oldest-tree.html

That AiG site gets fairly frequently quoted on another forum I'm on, by one or two people. Those who know science generally tear the AiG stuff to shreds in fairly short order.

Offline Will

Where then does this supposed conflict gain momentum then?  Many talk about religious personalities attempting to usurp science with religious ideals.  Certainly there are so many that have such a pervasive influence on our society.  The humorous statement though is that there are not.  Certainly religious ideals are hoisted up in relation to virtues and values, but usurping science seems laughable to most.  How many people here were taught only Creationism in a public school?  If you attended a religious based school then let me know if evolution was not taught.  Did anyone here attend a public school where the Bible was taught in reading class?  Perhaps if someone here went to a religious based school they can talk about how only the religious text was approached in their school.  When is the last time an insurance company paid for a religious figure to heal one of its clients?  Maybe someone can find a peer reviewed scientific journal whose editor was forced to publish a religious article.

I did not go to a religious school; I went to a public school, but I think that only makes my experience all the more telling.  We did not study evolution at my high school.  Inside the front cover of all the books that mentioned it was a sticker, a disclaimer that reminded all of us students that evolution is a theory, and not a proven fact.  That seems like a perfect example of religion (or at least people with a religious agenda) displacing science.

Also, I don't really understand the idea that science and religion are not at odds.  They cover the same material in lots of places; the age of the earth is one such conflict, among many others that we are all surely familiar with.  In those cases, one or the other has to give way.  Therein lies the conflict.  A person would have to decide whether he or she believed that established dating methods are correct, or the Bible.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2010, 03:52:40 PM by Will »

Offline HairyHeretic

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Offline Pumpkin Seeds

So the school supplied books containing mention of evolution, but failed to teach evolution.  Creationism was taught then I suppose?  Which would be odd since only two states mandated the teaching of Creationism in their schools.  Both laws were overturned in 1987 by the Supreme Court in the decision of Edward v. Aguillard which states that Creationism cannot even be taught alongside evolution.  A later decision by the Supreme Court in 2005, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, denied the teaching of intelligent design as well.  So if your school failed to teach evolution, then more than likely that school did not meet the criteria for education since they failed to teach any part of biological science.  That would certainly make that school an anomaly.

I suppose if someone were to take the Bible for a literal document that there would be conflict.  Of course few people that study the Bible interpret the words as literal any longer.  The Gallup poll put the number around 31% of Americans believing the Bible to be the literal word of God.  Though I would doubt the number even this high since Christians are notorious for lying on poll questions about religion (don’t ask me why but every survey course I’ve taken talks about this).  This number is inversely proportional to education level as well.  More popular is the notion of the Bible being an inspired work, which remains pretty constant with around half of the population.  People that want to force science and religion into conflict though want that literal interpretation.  Otherwise there isn’t much conflict to consider.


My point with the example of the faith based event was to show how tightly proponents of science cling to their side as well.  Making light of one side for doing something, while at the same time doing so yourself is hypocritical.  I do not condemn science for keeping logic even when something illogical occurs.  As people that function within this world we can do nothing else besides, because we are living in a logical universe.  I ask for the same consideration for people keeping their faith when faced with decisions where faith is all they have to make those decisions.  In a world where right and wrong are not so apparent, holding a personal belief in something higher gives a compass for those choices. 

Also keep in mind that stating that science does not claim to answer everything, while at the same time stating that what is not known can be still understood through science is contradicting.  Science can either make room for the possibility of things that cannot be explained or it can lay claim to the capability to unlock everything.  Claiming both is really not fair.

Perhaps my original post came off a bit harshly in regard to the discussion.  I have been a long defender of people’s right, their need and their privilege to debate on these forums.  My issue comes that the science versus religion fight occurs almost anytime religion is mentioned.  As I pointed out, this thread was first focused on an extremist group protesting a comic-con.  The path to this point is indeed a tenuous one.  People continually forcing science into the position of combating religion is an old stance that I constantly argue is without merit. 

http://www.gallup.com/poll/27682/onethird-americans-believe-bible-literally-true.aspx

Offline Will

Not taking the Bible literally where it conflicts with established evidence is a perfect example of religion giving way to science, as I referred to in my last post.  Where they conflict, one must take precedence.

And my school would have bought textbooks that didn't mention evolution if they could have afforded to buy new books.  They did not, so they just stuck a disclaimer on the inside.  They didn't teach Creationism, not because they didn't like it, but because they didn't want to be involved in the legal mess you mentioned.  Besides, even without teaching Creationism, it showed religion making an effort to displace science.  Did it not?  Getting bogged down in specifics, saying that it didn't go far enough to count, is simply avoidance.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Evolution is a theory and is not fact.  I fail to see what is wrong in highlighting that simple statement, which is a fact.  That someone wanted to ensure that the students realized this is probably an indication of religious leaning, but they are simply stating the truth.  Science is never comfortable labeling anything as a fact or the truth because certainty is something science can never achieve.  Creationism was not taught, neither was intelligent design.  Evolution was what the textbook mentioned.  Public schools purchase books mandated by their district, so the school had little choice in what books they can provide. 

I fail to see this as some “telling” experience about the power of religion.  The school meet the criteria of the law which is explicitly in favor of teaching science over religion, did not teach any religious view point and gave books detailing a non-religious viewpoint.  Their failure is then not placing emphasis on the work and putting a factual disclaimer on the inside cover.  If this is the resistance that is so feared, I think your reaction might be a bit dramatized.  Also, wanting to avoid specifics and details in order to advance your view point is more a display of avoidance.  That is also attempting to make inferences and assumptions without any substantive evidence or statements.  The last two are definitely all you.

I did not say that people viewing the Bible as inspired by God do so only in passages that conflict with science.  They don’t pick certain passages as the literal word of God until disproven by science.  So there is no giving way to science by religion.  This is what people believe regardless of science.  So if religion conflicts with science, I fail to see where.

Offline Trieste

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Its called the Wedge Strategy

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

There's an actual strategy for it? And reading the description, I find it a little stomach-turning. I really, really don't like it when theists try to push divinity on others; it's kind of like that guy with bad breath and abnormal body odor standing a little too close while he tells you about his mother's cats.

Offline Will

The fact that they were "simply stating the truth" doesn't change their motive.  They didn't like that particular bit because it conflicted with their religious doctrine, so they did their best to undermine it.  Oh, and sorry I didn't specify; I suppose I should have said if the district could buy new books, they would have.  Either way, the point remains.

I did not say that people viewing the Bible as inspired by God do so only in passages that conflict with science.  They don’t pick certain passages as the literal word of God until disproven by science.
Well then... how does it work?  It just seems kind of arbitrary to me.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

The district could buy new books all that it would like, but those books would still have to follow federal and state laws.  So regardless of their money situation or motives, those books would probably be even more filled with the theory of evolution.  As for the motive behind the disclaimer, your making an assumption at best.  Even were the motives definitely religious, I fail to see how this is some significant event.  Perhaps all school faculty should be given a religion test and screened for their personal beliefs before being offered the job.

Not quite sure where the problem lies with understanding the Bible being read as written by people, inspired by their religious beliefs and experiences.  That the literal reading seemed to sit more comfortably with you and was easier to understand is a little odd.

The “Wedge Strategy” as I read it requires the scientific proof of a higher being as the cause of everything.  Their entire strategy hinges on peer reviewed, scientific proof that a higher being does exist.  While I think their mission to use science to prove God is foolhardy, I don’t see what is so scary about the attempt.  They wouldn’t be the first nor the last to do so. 

Online Valerian

Evolution is a theory and is not fact.

Well, no, not exactly.

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In the American vernacular, "theory" often means "imperfect fact"--part of a hierarchy of confidence running downhill from fact to theory to hypothesis to guess. Thus the power of the creationist argument: evolution is "only" a theory and intense debate now rages about many aspects of the theory....

Well evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts don't go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's in this century, but apples didn't suspend themselves in midair, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered.

Moreover, "fact" doesn't mean "absolute certainty"; there ain't no such animal in an exciting and complex world. The final proofs of logic and mathematics flow deductively from stated premises and achieve certainty only because they are not about the empirical world. Evolutionists make no claim for perpetual truth, though creationists often do (and then attack us falsely for a style of argument that they themselves favor). In science "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional consent." I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.

Evolutionists have been very clear about this distinction of fact and theory from the very beginning, if only because we have always acknowledged how far we are from completely understanding the mechanisms (theory) by which evolution (fact) occurred. Darwin continually emphasized the difference between his two great and separate accomplishments: establishing the fact of evolution, and proposing a theory--natural selection--to explain the mechanism of evolution.
- Stephen J. Gould, " Evolution as Fact and Theory"; Discover, May 1981

Offline Noelle

Evolution is a theory and is not fact.  I fail to see what is wrong in highlighting that simple statement, which is a fact.

So where are the stickers detailing every other theory mentioned in the book? Why aren't they highlighting, underlining, and otherwise drawing attention to every other thing in the universe that's not a hard and fast law (and let it be known that even "laws" aren't permanent -- science allows for anomalies to happen and these laws to somehow be broken...but typically they aren't)? Why else would you single out one particular theory? It's like having a room full of men and exactly one woman and saying "I'm not singling anyone out here, but there's some estrogen hanging around..." I wonder who that could be?


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Evolution was what the textbook mentioned.  Public schools purchase books mandated by their district, so the school had little choice in what books they can provide.
 

My high school textbooks did not have a sticker, did have a section on evolution, and we blatantly skipped over it -- lack of time in the semester? Avoidance of controversy with parents? I'll never know.


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I fail to see this as some “telling” experience about the power of religion.  The school meet the criteria of the law which is explicitly in favor of teaching science over religion, did not teach any religious view point and gave books detailing a non-religious viewpoint.

So who exactly besides the religious would you say are also opposed to teaching evolution? Is there a significant group that is fighting it as well? You're right that they did not teach any religious viewpoint, but needing to put a disclaimer about one singular theory is still giving a nod towards the controversy with it -- so if you're religious, this sticker basically says "It's okay, go ahead and ignore me if I offend you!" It's not as innocent as you're claiming it is, or else, as I mentioned before, they'd mention every other theory in existence, as well, since -- after all -- they are just theories too.

You know as well as I do that implication can be just as powerful as saying what you mean directly...I would argue that mere insinuation can be even more antagonizing because the person inciting it can just say "you can't prove that, I never said that". I don't have to explicitly say "you're ugly" -- all I have to do is look at a person the wrong way, or even say they're "aesthetically challenged" to plant it.

It's not even that science is "afraid" of religious viewpoints -- the beauty of science is that any idea presented can be tested for its legitimacy by using the scientific method, and thusfar religion does not hold up at all -- it's that religion has no place interfering with what is taught in public schools.

Offline Jude

Evolution is a theory and is not fact.  I fail to see what is wrong in highlighting that simple statement, which is a fact.  That someone wanted to ensure that the students realized this is probably an indication of religious leaning, but they are simply stating the truth.  Science is never comfortable labeling anything as a fact or the truth because certainty is something science can never achieve.  Creationism was not taught, neither was intelligent design.  Evolution was what the textbook mentioned.  Public schools purchase books mandated by their district, so the school had little choice in what books they can provide.
The beginning of that statement is almost straight out of creationist propaganda.  It's technically true, but you know what else has a theory supporting its existence?  Gravity, Magnetism, Electricity.  Anyone who says evolution is a theory, not a fact, is basically exploiting the laymen's definition of theory to weaken the concept of evolution by making it sound as if the evidence isn't there and it's just an idea people dreamed up.  The evidence is there and it's strong.  Theory doesn't mean the same thing to scientists as it does to the general public.
I fail to see this as some “telling” experience about the power of religion.  The school meet the criteria of the law which is explicitly in favor of teaching science over religion, did not teach any religious view point and gave books detailing a non-religious viewpoint.  Their failure is then not placing emphasis on the work and putting a factual disclaimer on the inside cover.  If this is the resistance that is so feared, I think your reaction might be a bit dramatized.  Also, wanting to avoid specifics and details in order to advance your view point is more a display of avoidance.  That is also attempting to make inferences and assumptions without any substantive evidence or statements.  The last two are definitely all you.
This is just another chapter in the teach the controversy battle of the devoutly religious versus evolution.  Fundamentalists, evangelists, whatever you call them, are desperately trying to remove evolution from textbooks throughout the country.  And if you need to see the danger of religious influences in text books, you need only look to Texas' new curriculum standards or take a look at homeschooling textbook trends.
I did not say that people viewing the Bible as inspired by God do so only in passages that conflict with science.  They don’t pick certain passages as the literal word of God until disproven by science.  So there is no giving way to science by religion.  This is what people believe regardless of science.  So if religion conflicts with science, I fail to see where.
The perspective of the listener does not determine if two sets of information are contradictory, the facts therein do.  It's important to highlight the fact that there isn't a conflict of religion with science as much as there is a conflict of specific religions with scientific information.  For example, the supposed great flood in the Christian and Jewish (and possibly Islamic) religions:  there is no geological record of it (that would exist if such an event occurred), given the dimensions stated in the bible it is quite obviously impossible to store all of the species in the world on it, and even if you could, a single climate could not support the entire variety of life on earth (and certainly not one which would be able to exist in an ark built of wood).
« Last Edit: July 16, 2010, 11:25:18 PM by Jude »

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For example, the supposed great flood in the Christian and Jewish (and possibly Islamic) religions:  there is no geological record of it (that would exist if such an event occurred), given the dimensions stated in the bible it is quite obviously impossible to store all of the species in the world on it, and even if you could, a single climate could not support the entire variety of life on earth (and certainly not one which would be able to exist in an ark built of wood).

The two termites would be one problem, at any rate.

There is some evidence that there was a significant increase in the depth of the Black Sea when it went from being a lake to an offshoot of the Mediterranean.  This flooded a couple thousand square kilometers of prime farming area near the Danube, and could account for various flood myths.  It's also possible that ancient oral historians encountered fish fossils or shell fossils in areas well above the current sea level.  How did they get there?  Must have been a flood.

Offline Jude

As far as I know there was definitely a flood, just not of the "it rained for 40 nights and 40 days and covered the entire earth" type of flood.

Offline Will

Here's a pretty extensive listing of attempts made to undermine evolution and/or replace it with intelligent design or young-earth creationism in the schools.  It seems to have been a failure in at least most of the cases, but it demonstrates an effort by religious personalities to cause a conflict.  So, as Pumpkin asked earlier, "Where then does this supposed conflict gain momentum then?"  It doesn't seem so "supposed" here, and it's pretty clear who's stirring up the pot.

The Wedge movement is pretty bad, I agree.  It doesn't help the case for people who claim that most Christians are reasonable people.  It also doesn't help that none of these more reasonable, moderate Christians come out in a public way against things like The Wedge.  It makes it tough for people on the outside to make any distinction (or at least it does for me).

The two termites would be one problem, at any rate.
Ahaha.

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As far as I know there was definitely a flood, just not of the "it rained for 40 nights and 40 days and covered the entire earth" type of flood.

And there is one of the problems with oral history.  Given enough time, a story about a man, his family, and their cow in a medium-sized boat because of 10 meters of water on top of their farm becomes a story about the whole world getting flooded and all the animals in the world in a huge boat because it rained for 'a really long time' (because the water had to get there somehow).