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Featured Believe It or Not

Discussion in 'Science and Religion' started by taykair, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. taykair

    taykair Member

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    "The difference between your belief in your religion and my belief in science is that science would be true whether I believed in it or not."

    I've seen this statement made again and again whenever a religious person states that scientific thought is nothing more than a matter of mere belief. It isn't, of course. The laws and principles discovered though scientific inquiry would still hold true despite our acceptance or disbelief in them.

    However, according to the religious person's world-view, could not the same be said for a belief in religious matters? That is to say: Is the existence of a religious truth dependent upon our belief in it? Doesn't the theist believe, for example, that God exists whether he believes in God or not?

    Of course he does. The theist does not "will" God into existence by believing in God any more than scientific truth is "willed" into existence through the efforts of its adherents. These truths, if they exist at all, are not invented but rather discovered. Could it be possible that both scientific truth and religious truth both exist, and do so despite however we may feel about them?

    This is the point in the argument where the scientist says, "No, because there is evidence for science, but not for religion." But what kind of evidence are we talking about?

    True enough, there is a scientific method by which scientific truth is verified. Nobody (I hope) would argue that that a scientific theory would have to not only pass such a rigorous scientific testing, but also pass some kind of religious test in order to be called truth. (Well, Mr. Scientist, your theory of X is really quite nice, and you've nailed the science part. But, I'm sorry to say, you've failed to prove it according to religious standards, so I'm afraid we can't call it true.)

    Rather silly, right?

    Think about it from another angle, though. (Well, Mr. Religionist, your belief in X is really quite nice, and you've nailed the religious part. But, I'm sorry to say, you've failed to prove it according to scientific standards, so I'm afraid we can't call it true.)

    Why do many feel that this isn't just as silly? If science if true regardless of what religion has to say about it, then why can't religion be true without the imprimatur of science?

    Perhaps the only real truth is personal truth - the universe according to the individual observing it. After all, it is this truth alone which truly guides us.
     
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  2. Grandliseur

    Grandliseur Well-Known Member

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    Your claim is rejected. Science is the search for and theories about things we hope for to be true. Science keeps on changing its claims due to the non-stop refinement of the search for truth. So, in no way is science true whether I believe it or not. But, we hope that it gets us closer to the truth over time.
     
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  3. taykair

    taykair Member

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    Well, I guess that'll show me...

    No need for further discussion, then. Case closed.

    Oh, wait... It wasn't my claim.
     
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  4. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    The problem is when scientific and religious explanations of a phenomena contradict each other.
     
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  5. Grandliseur

    Grandliseur Well-Known Member

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    Seems I have made an error and overlooked the quotation marks. Sorry. :( I'll read your post again to see what the implication is.
     
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  6. taykair

    taykair Member

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    That is, indeed, a problem. However, that's not really what my focus was. I expect there to be conflict between religious and scientific viewpoints. I even expect there to be conflicts within each of those communities. (We are talking about communities of humans, right? Conflict seems to be in our DNA.) However, I was not really concerned with that so much as with whose standards should be used to determine the truth of a particular statement.
     
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  7. taykair

    taykair Member

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    It's okay. I get that a lot. The problem it that, even after a second (or third, or twelfth) reading, what I write usually makes very little sense anyway.
     
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  8. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    Depends on the application. What is the need? What is the desired result? Which worldview has had a greater track record of success on that particular genre of investigation? Etc.
     
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  9. taykair

    taykair Member

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    Keeping those questions in mind (and they are good questions), is it ever justified (or wise) for me to judge the merits of a position held by a community to which I do not belong?
     
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  10. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    If the community is causing you or your close ones harm, then yes. Otherwise no.
     
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  11. taykair

    taykair Member

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    Before I go any further, I should say that the "separate communities" of religionists and scientists exist only within the context of this thread. There's far more overlap between religion and science than fans of either would ever admit.

    Now, let's pursue this a bit:

    A religionist feels justified in attacking science for bringing harm through the discoveries which led to, say, nuclear weapons (or any weapon, for that matter, since they all function according to scientific principles).

    "Not so," counters the scientist. "Scientific truth is neither good nor evil. Some of its applications may be used to bring harm, but that is not the fault of science." (In which case, I suppose it's those evil engineers who are at fault.)

    A scientist feels justified in attacking religion for bringing harm through the attitudes which led to, say, the Inquisition (or any other religiously-inspired atrocity you want to name).

    "Not so," says the religionist. "Those who committed such vile acts did so in violation of our religion, not because of it." (In which case, it's the fault of those damned heretics.)
     
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  12. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    This is not very clear. Science is a profession, not a community. Also nuclear weapons can obviously be built, so the technique for building nuclear weapons is "true" or efficacious, even if it's harmful.It would be bizarre for a religious community to deny that nuclear weapons can't be built. We were discussing conflicting standards for truth, not standards of morality for implement various truths into actual technologies.
     
  13. taykair

    taykair Member

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    If you've ever submitted a paper for peer review, then you may think that scientists are indeed more of a community (and less professional) than you've been led to believe. But never mind that...

    Yes, you are quite right that the discussion is about conflicting standards of truth, not morality. But since you brought up a moral standard which relates to that (i.e.: does it harm?), I just thought I'd chime in with my usual nonsense.
     
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  14. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    I've never personally heard anyone make quite that claim. Could you cite an instance of it, please? I'm curious in what context the claim is being made.

    Perhaps a good place to begin here is to ask just how serious you are? Are you honestly proposing that "the only real truth is personal truth"? Is that a proposition that you would really commit to?
     
  15. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    I have submitted peer reviewed papers.Getting them through is a lot of hard professional work.
     
  16. taykair

    taykair Member

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    You've never heard that claim (or at least something similar to it)? Ever? Well, let me look. (Now I'm sure it's around here somewhere.) Nope. Can't find it. And, since the premise is flawed, then any discussion of it blah, blah, et cetera, and so forth...

    No. I'm sorry. I can't cite an instance of it at present, even though I have seen it many times. You'll either have to take my word for it and play along or not. (Anyone else who wants to play can look for it if they choose. Perhaps if someone were to google "Neil deGrasse Tyson quotes" or something. I don't know.)

    As for the only truth being personal truth: What other kind could I possibly have?

    As for my being serious or not: By now, you should know better than to ask.
     
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  17. taykair

    taykair Member

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    I have no doubt that getting them done is. Getting them through (depending upon the discipline involved) sometimes depends as much upon the personalities of the reviewers as it does upon their professionalism. It shouldn't be that way, but it sometimes is.
     
  18. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    You asked whether we should judge other communities. I thought you were talking about moral judgements.The scientific profession may certainly be judged based on the fact that they let some of their ilk to develop nuclear weapons, or any weapons. There is good debate to be had regarding whether scientists should only work in non-violent research projects. But it has little to do with whether uranium decay process is true or not.
     
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  19. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    Well, they put objections. Some are stupid, others are good. Then you have to clarify, explain and explicate and convince with polite firmness. Eventually that works. It's painful, but the final paper is better for it...particularly if you see the first and final draft a few months later after the frustrations have died down a bit.
     
  20. taykair

    taykair Member

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    This was my fault because I did not make it clear that I was talking about judging truth, not morality. (Even so, it's awfully hard to separate those two little boogers when they get intertwined.)
     
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