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“Has Science Refuted Religion?” - Cal Tech

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Old 03-23-2012, 03:41 PM   #1
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“Has Science Refuted Religion?” - Cal Tech

I'll be attending this debate, should be lively:

CALTECH COSMOLOGIST AND PHYSICIST Sean Carroll teams up with Skeptic magazine publisher and science historian Michael Shermer in this epic debate with noted conservative author and King’s College President Dinesh D’Souza and MIT physicist Ian Hutchinson as they go head-to-head over one of the most controversial issues of our age. As science pushes deeper into territory once the province of religion, with questions such as Why there is something rather than nothing?, Where did the universe come from?, How did life arise?, What was the origin of morality?, and others, inevitable conflicts arise over the best approach to answer them.

Should anyone on this forum wish to join me I'd gladly chat with them afterwards.
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:34 PM   #2
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Re: “Has Science Refuted Religion?” - Cal Tech

That's heavy stuff - did you go to the debate? What did you take from it if anything?
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:10 AM   #3
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Re: “Has Science Refuted Religion?” - Cal Tech

It was interesting, as most of the Cal Tech debates are.

Here, tell me what you think:

The Great Debate: "Has Science Refuted Religion?" - YouTube

I detest Dinesh D'Souza, his style is pedantic and childish. They were brave to go there in the first place knowing it was a hostile environment.
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:27 PM   #4
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Re: “Has Science Refuted Religion?” - Cal Tech

Great discussion.

I think that science and religion actually go together - I think that both are limited in ways but both are also helpful in other ways. I don't think science answers all of the questions nor does religion. I think each does a better job answering different questions. The strengths of science are different from the strengths of religion. However as tools each can be helpful for answering or solving specific problems. Depending on what the question is, one tool may be better to use than the other to answer it.

For me, the two go together. Science explains how the universe works while religion is like a handbook on "how to apply science (or how to live) in this universe in order to get the best possible result."

We can use tested principles even if we don't understand how they work. For example I drive my car everyday and have no clue how it works but I have faith that there is a scientific reason for it to work. I can still drive without knowing how it works. I could even drive without knowing if an engine existed under the hood or not. I think it is a mistake to say, "well I don't understand how this or that works (or if this or that exists) therefore it must not be important or must not be useful. For this reason science does not refute religion for me.

I think it is useful to use the accuracy of science to help refine religious beliefs. For example if my religion says that "gravity does not exist" then I should consider changing my religion before I try to go jump off a bridge because "I know I can fly".

Another example: If my religion instructs me to abstain from sex for a long period of time and I begin to have uncontrollable lust for others, it is helpful to understand the science of psychology - how the brain/mind reacts to the suppression of natural urges. In fact, NOT understanding neurosis/psychosis has allowed Satan to come in through the back door and convinced religious figures to go as far as molesting other people. Understanding the science of the mind/brain could have helped support the religion by recognizing that molesting someone is not the answer.

Ultimately science and religion are BOTH limited because we must use concepts/metaphors to describe the reality of "what is". Concepts point to reality but they are not the reality. Many religious people as well as many science scholars cling to their views as if their view is the reality. They cling to images.

That brings me to this point. I believe in God because for me, God is not an image or a belief. God is the reality of existence. I do have an image of God but I understand that my image is not God. God is the reality of "what is" - all of the universe and all of the laws that operate in it. The word "God" is a label but the label is pointing to the scientific truths (discovered and not discovered) in the universe. So having a spiritual center I believe that it is a mistake to worship graven images.

Now when I speak to an atheist and an atheist says to me "God does not exist" I can honestly respond "I agree." The reason is because God, the image, really does not exist. This actually supports the scripture in my religion. God the reality is real. The reality is "what is". If I ask the atheist is does the universe exist? He will say of course, yes it does. This is the God that I believe religion points to. Not the God who we think is real but the one who is real - Reality. God for me is not a function or a product of belief or thinking.

If you want you could label it something other than "God" if that word bothers you - how about "Intelligent Design" or "Evolution" or "Order through Chaos" or "Universe" or "Reality" or "Not God" or "Peanut Butter and Jelly" or or "_________". As long as we don't confuse the label with the actual then we are on the same page on that particular subject.

I'm going to force myself to stop now because I could go on and on. LOL.
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Old 02-15-2014, 04:47 PM   #5
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Re: “Has Science Refuted Religion?” - Cal Tech

The Emotional Toll of Hell: Cross-National and Experimental Evidence for the Negative Well-Being Effects of Hell Beliefs

Though beliefs in Heaven and Hell are related, they are associated with different personality characteristics and social phenomena. Here we present three studies measuring Heaven and Hell beliefs' associations with and impact on subjective well-being. We find that a belief in Heaven is consistently associated with greater happiness and life satisfaction while a belief in Hell is associated with lower happiness and life satisfaction at the national (Study 1) and individual (Study 2) level. An experimental priming study (Study 3) suggests that these differences are mainly driven by the negative emotional impact of Hell beliefs. Possible cultural evolutionary explanations for the persistence of such a distressing religious concept are discussed.

An interesting read. Science, yay!
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Old 02-15-2014, 06:28 PM   #6
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Re: “Has Science Refuted Religion?” - Cal Tech

Quote:
Originally Posted by imaskin4life View Post
Great discussion.

I think that science and religion actually go together - I think that both are limited in ways but both are also helpful in other ways. I don't think science answers all of the questions nor does religion. I think each does a better job answering different questions. The strengths of science are different from the strengths of religion. However as tools each can be helpful for answering or solving specific problems. Depending on what the question is, one tool may be better to use than the other to answer it.

For me, the two go together. Science explains how the universe works while religion is like a handbook on "how to apply science (or how to live) in this universe in order to get the best possible result."
Well said !
I fully agree with you ,I don't understand why people say you can't have both .
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Old 02-15-2014, 08:56 PM   #7
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Well said !
I fully agree with you ,I don't understand why people say you can't have both .
<point_laugh>

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Old 02-15-2014, 09:12 PM   #8
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Well said !
I fully agree with you ,I don't understand why people say you can't have both .
I too agree!

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Old 02-17-2014, 09:25 AM   #9
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Re: “Has Science Refuted Religion?” - Cal Tech

Quote:
Originally Posted by Giantone View Post
Well said !
I fully agree with you ,I don't understand why people say you can't have both .
You can have both. There are many forms of religion which coexist quite well with science. In fact, there's only one understanding of religion in our culture - that the Biblical account of creation is literally true - which necessarily conflicts with science. Anyone who tells you that religion inherently conflicts with science is defining religion very, very narrowly.
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Old 02-17-2014, 11:09 AM   #10
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Re: “Has Science Refuted Religion?” - Cal Tech

You can have both if you're willing to arbitrarily change certain things that don't line up.

As Sam Harris eloquently said:

Science, in the broadest sense, includes all reasonable claims to knowledge about ourselves and the world. If there were good reasons to believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, or that Muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse, these beliefs would necessarily form part of our rational description of the universe. Faith is nothing more than the license that religious people give one another to believe such propositions when reasons fail. The difference between science and religion is the difference between a willingness to dispassionately consider new evidence and new arguments, and a passionate unwillingness to do so. The distinction could not be more obvious, or more consequential, and yet it is everywhere elided, even in the ivory tower.

Religion is fast growing incompatible with the emergence of a global, civil society. Religious faith — faith that there is a God who cares what name he is called, that one of our books is infallible, that Jesus is coming back to earth to judge the living and the dead, that Muslim martyrs go straight to Paradise, etc. — is on the wrong side of an escalating war of ideas. The difference between science and religion is the difference between a genuine openness to fruits of human inquiry in the 21st century, and a premature closure to such inquiry as a matter of principle. I believe that the antagonism between reason and faith will only grow more pervasive and intractable in the coming years. Iron Age beliefs — about God, the soul, sin, free will, etc. — continue to impede medical research and distort public policy. The possibility that we could elect a U.S. President who takes biblical prophesy seriously is real and terrifying; the likelihood that we will one day confront Islamists armed with nuclear or biological weapons is also terrifying, and growing more probable by the day. We are doing very little, at the level of our intellectual discourse, to prevent such possibilities.


Religion brooks no argument, Science begs to be challenged.
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Old 02-17-2014, 11:13 AM   #11
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Re: “Has Science Refuted Religion?” - Cal Tech

Quote:
Originally Posted by imaskin4life View Post
For me, the two go together. Science explains how the universe works while religion is like a handbook on "how to apply science (or how to live) in this universe in order to get the best possible result."
Psychology would be the 'how to get the best results'. Understand your (and other peoples) limitations and how best to work with them .

Quote:
Originally Posted by imaskin4life View Post
I'm going to force myself to stop now because I could go on and on. LOL.
Yes, keep going, this is what I was hoping would come of this topic.
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Old 02-17-2014, 11:29 AM   #12
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Re: “Has Science Refuted Religion?” - Cal Tech

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Originally Posted by RedskinRat View Post
You can have both if you're willing to arbitrarily change certain things that don't line up.

As Sam Harris eloquently said:

Science, in the broadest sense, includes all reasonable claims to knowledge about ourselves and the world. If there were good reasons to believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, or that Muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse, these beliefs would necessarily form part of our rational description of the universe. Faith is nothing more than the license that religious people give one another to believe such propositions when reasons fail. The difference between science and religion is the difference between a willingness to dispassionately consider new evidence and new arguments, and a passionate unwillingness to do so. The distinction could not be more obvious, or more consequential, and yet it is everywhere elided, even in the ivory tower.

Religion is fast growing incompatible with the emergence of a global, civil society. Religious faith — faith that there is a God who cares what name he is called, that one of our books is infallible, that Jesus is coming back to earth to judge the living and the dead, that Muslim martyrs go straight to Paradise, etc. — is on the wrong side of an escalating war of ideas. The difference between science and religion is the difference between a genuine openness to fruits of human inquiry in the 21st century, and a premature closure to such inquiry as a matter of principle. I believe that the antagonism between reason and faith will only grow more pervasive and intractable in the coming years. Iron Age beliefs — about God, the soul, sin, free will, etc. — continue to impede medical research and distort public policy. The possibility that we could elect a U.S. President who takes biblical prophesy seriously is real and terrifying; the likelihood that we will one day confront Islamists armed with nuclear or biological weapons is also terrifying, and growing more probable by the day. We are doing very little, at the level of our intellectual discourse, to prevent such possibilities.


Religion brooks no argument, Science begs to be challenged.
Notice your own bolded phraseology: "Iron Age beliefs — about God, the soul, sin, free will." The fact is, many religions do not posit those ideas or do not posit them as Harris describes. Only some forms of religion do. Therefore your discussion of religion only involves narrowly-defined perspectives, not religion as a whole.

Since "science begs to be challenged," you need to challenge your own understanding of what religion is, because many examples do not fit your mental template. And ignoring those examples is bad science.
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Old 02-17-2014, 03:56 PM   #13
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Re: “Has Science Refuted Religion?” - Cal Tech

Unfortunately, it's the vast majority of the three major religions that do.

We all acknowledge that christianity and islam are only now being forced to be civil.
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