Faith Be Reasonable

It used to be said that ‘faith and reason cannot co-exist’.

But I say to you ‘Faith without reason is non-existent’.

Truth is most people’s ‘trust or faith’ is based on some reference point that makes sense to be built upon. Faith, in it’s essence, is based on the idea we can trust this person or situation more and more – so we feel free to enter into whatever it holds. Faith is always reasonable and when it is not, it is no longer a form of trust but a form of sabotage. Who would believe in something unreasonable to their own detriment?

Now I command you ‘Faith Be Reasonable!’

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61 thoughts on “Faith Be Reasonable

  1. Who would believe in something unreasonable to their own detriment?

    Oh, I don’t know, maybe the majority of Americans!

    They seem to be very good at doing exactly this… from economics to religion to foreign policy to health care to gun control to social reform to prisons to… well, you get the idea. Call any good idea ‘socialist’ and it’s doomed!

    Also, let’s be careful about defining what you mean by ‘faith’ in the religious sense. It is often switched to mean ‘belief’ and then substituted by an intellectual sleight of hand to mean ‘reasonably think’.

    Faith in the religious sense means belief not based on proof but a willingness to offer allegiance to the notion anyway.

    And that’s not reasonable but reason’s antithesis.

  2. “Faith in the religious sense means belief not based on proof but a willingness to offer allegiance to the notion anyway” (tildeb)

    Faith in a religious sense means faith not based on proof of anything ‘physical’ (ie: God)…but may have a proof to it of it’s own (ie: internal). Some things function this way, for example psychology. Now although there are some data and statistics in Psychology, some of the advice/counselling comes from more internal places (subjective experiences and interpretation) than most want to admit (ie: personal experiences and what works).

  3. Let’s be honest: the analogy that psychology and religion are similar in that they are upheld by internal proofs is absurd. Psychology is informed today by the tripartite high water mark of of cause-effect-mechanism. Although it has certainly had various ideas based on appearances and highly subjective assertions in its evolving history, it has moved significantly away from this basis and bias. Religion has no such movement, no such high water mark, no need to change to improve its efficacy. It has a belief set that provides the framework within which all answers must fit, which too often ends in the word ‘goddidit’. What’s so surprising is that so many people are satisfied with this ignoble end to curiosity.

  4. Faith in the religious sense means belief not based on proof but a willingness to offer allegiance to the notion anyway.

    Sorry, but that’s nonsense. The only place you ever hear that kind of statement is in atheist circles. They really need to get out more.
    The truth is you can’t believe something in your heart if you can’t understand it in your mind (a Ravi Zacharias quote). And if you find a Christian who fits that statement – they believe and don’t know why – I guarantee you’re going to find them easy to debate. Whether you’ve really defeated a true Christian would also be debatable. Faith without reason believers are, at best, joiners and not true believers.
    An atheist blogger named Ryan with a blog called “Repeated Measures” tried to get me to accept that premise prior to continuing our debate. When I refused, he abruptly ended the discussion. He understood that his premise would give him victory if I took it, which, of course, it would have.

  5. JimJ describes the definition I gave as atheistic nonsense.

    From Dictionary.com:

    1.
    confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.
    2.
    belief that is not based on proof
    7.
    the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one’s promise, oath, allegiance, etc..

    Thank you for the suggestion to get out more; it’s a lovely day here. But if I may return the favour with a suggestion of my own: Don’t assume that other don’t know what they’re talking about. If in doubt, simply ask. Believe it or not, it’s not about ‘winning’; it’s about finding out and revealing what’s probably true, probably accurate, probably right.

    From my own perspective, it’s about trying to get religious believers to have the best of reasons to keep the religious faith personal and private and out of the public domain. It’s about confronting the bigotry, misogyny, and disrespect – of human rights and freedoms and misplaced allegiance to that which reduces the dignity of personhood – inherent in most religions… usually based on scripture and then extended into the world as if it were the will of god.

    If your religious beliefs are private and personal, then they’re none of my business. But if they venture forth and you promote those faith claims to cause any of what I’ve just listed above, then you must expect confrontation because your extended beliefs are unethical and immoral. They cause a loss to human well-being and the welfare of others and need to be retracted. Through reason, if possible. The acceptance of that reasoning is not a ‘win’ for atheists and a ‘loss’ for a believer: that’s simply putting intellectual integrity and honesty into responsible action.

    For example, you claim one cannot believe something if one cannot understand it. The key here is to appreciate the subtle use of the word ‘understand’. I can believe in ghosts and am quite capable of imagining what a ghost may be like, but I would very hard-pressed to explain any meaningful and non trivial notion of understanding that which I have only imagined. This leads me to conclude your claim to be false: I think we are quite capable of believing something without any requirement of understanding what we believe. To then assert that faith itself indicates understanding in this sense is a tautology because the two word ‘faith’ and ‘understanding’ actually mean the same thing. That’s not a very solid basis for beginning a dialogue about why faith that causes self-harm is reasonable.

  6. Hi Tildeb
    Thanks for the dictionary.com link. Sorry, again, but you have the wrong definition. There were 8 definitions of faith, 3 of which dealt directly with religious faith, and one in particular that deals with Christian faith.
    Christian Theology . the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.

    Note that Christ is an historical figure whose life was predicted in bold clarity centuries before he was born. I can go on for hours and even days reviewing the various pieces of evidence to show why my faith in Him is reasonable.
    And, no, belief in Christ does not result in misogyny or “bigotry” (dictionary.com says bigotry is “stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own.”) I get along fine with atheists and everyone else. I respect their opinions and it is part of my belief that we are made from the same mold. I can even understand why they think the way they do. I was once an agnostic, which is intellectually inferior to being an atheist in my opinion.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but you don’t seem to think anyone in their right mind could be a Christian. Have you thought to put yourself in their frame of mind? It’s not that hard. After all, the Bible is a reliable historical book for starters, having pointed archaeologists in the right directions for centuries. Until recently, many atheist debaters cited as fact that Nazareth was not inhabited in Jesus’ lifetime, only to be corrected by an excavation a few years ago that uncovered dwellings, pottery. toys, etc from the first centuries AD and BC at Nazareth. Add to that the prophecies and the nation of Israel that exists today against all odds but in exactly the way the Bible predicts. It’s not a crap shoot. There are good reasons to take Jesus at His word. You may not like my reasons or like Jesus for that matter, but it is not unthinkable or irrational.

    I’m still confused on that point you’ve said twice now that Christianity does harm. Could you explain? Thanks

    • Those definitions are irrelevant if god is fiction. I wanted to define what faith means as a matter of epistemology, one that clearly is different from the epistemology we use in all other areas of life.

      Various scriptures have many bigotries, misogyny, and disregard of human well-being and welfare. And it harms in more ways as well. It grants the idea of intellectual submission to an incoherent belief set as a virtue. That harms our methods of inquiry when truth claims about the universe and what it contains, its origins and supposed purpose, compete with some piece of ignorant scripture. One needs to look no further than special creationism versus evolution from common ancestry to see just how much harm can be caused by faith based on scripture. We can see how the inquiry into human morality is so often derailed by the absurd claims about absolute moral truths derived from god. We see four times the rate of teen suicides who are gay in response to the notion of sin promoted only through theology. We see women denied equality of dignity under many theologies. We see gross violations of human rights under a primary allegiance to a theology than to a secular liberal democracy. We see millenia of conflicts between different groups of religious adherents.

      But I think the biggest problem with theology is its insidious epistemology that frames what is unknowable as actual.

      As for your claims about the bible as any kind of historically reliable authority, I think you can find many critics inside your local seminary far more articulate than I. Today’s bible is a collection of works carefully selected, edited, translated, re-written, interpreted. There are many editions, with differences. There are ongoing scholarly disputes about who wrote what and when in which order. If we were to shift these same problems to another collection of writings of historical significance, we would understandably include a clear warning about its uncertain authenticity as a ‘good’ authority, or should I say, a better authority in the religious sense than the Bhagavad Gita or the Bardo Thodol.

      But too often believers are so busy believing that they fail to properly compare and contrast their favourite one with other ‘holy’ scriptures that have conflicting truth claims about the nature and role of god. What differentiates them on some scale of veracity? The answer is simple: faith placed here rather than there, almost always because that’s what is most familiar. What’s true is not the central feature of determining which religious adherence some population favours: clearly it’s geography. And that fact is very telling.

  7. Hi, JT
    Hi, Tildeb.
    Those definitions are irrelevant if god is fiction.
    Not really. The first commandment is to love God more than anything else. If that is mistaken and, oops, there is no god, well, it works wonders just the same. The statement precludes that I can say I am God. In fact, it solves everything if I really believe it because it saves me from myself! And saves you from myself, too. Thank God, eh?

    I’m not going to get into defending your broad brush treatment of Christianity. The apostasies of Christians past doesn’t make Christianity false.

    There are ongoing scholarly disputes about who wrote what and when in which order.
    That’s not really a big deal. Rumor has it that the Intellectual Property rights of the Bible writings belong to God anyway. 🙂
    As for other religious books, they do not hit the problem of man anywhere near on the nose as the Bible does (problem is us and how we choose to practice sin over being good). That isn’t to say that there is no value to the Bhagavad Gita or the Qur’an. There are many principles that are true and applicable in them.
    Long story short, I’ve had these discussions many times (ask Titfortat) and it always ends in a draw. It’s better to pick a specific issue like same-sex marriage, abortion, the national debt, etc. and see how our world-views influence our opinions. As far as “God or not”, you could go on forever with no one finding the smoking gun. Take care.

  8. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for. The evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

    in that sense we all have faith, believer and nonbeliever alike. there are reasonable things to ask for, and unreasonable things. if you’re sick, commanding God to miraculously heal you falls into the unreasonable category, but asking God for wholeness and healing is reasonable. that’s not asking for a cure, but for healing. there’s a big difference between the two.

    yet there are also unreasonable and irrational elements to faith. believing that the universe was created for life seems irrational in the face of all the evidence against life out there. that would be a belief i have that can’t really be proven either way. this style of thinking drives our more science-minded brethren nuts because it exposes the fact that not everything can be measured or has utility. yet i also think that expecting everything to be measured or have utility is just as irrational as expecting a miraculous cure.

    another thing to put in is that humans aren’t rational creatures but creatures who can reason. there will always be elements of nonsense no matter how you slice us.

    • Z1G, you write this style of thinking drives our more science-minded brethren nuts because it exposes the fact that not everything can be measured or has utility. (You also repeat the absurd notion that believers and non believers all have faith, without differentiate you use of the same word to mean two different things. Tsk, tsk.)

      You repeat this old canard that science equals measurement. Let me state one more time what science is: it is a method of inquiry. It is a method based on naturalism: whatever exists in nature. What lies beyond nature is beyond our method of inquiry we call science.

      Now compare and contrast the method used by religion: revelation, dogma and authority. Nowhere in this lack of rationality is there any means to disprove, no means to test, to validate. That’s why it’s FAITH. It is not a method of inquiry whatsoever: it is a consistent answer to any and all questions: goddidit.

      For you to equate these incompatible methods to each contain the irrational and the rational is simply wrong. It’s a gross misrepresentation of what defines each. That’s why there is no such thing as Brazilian chemistry and Norwegian physics in the same way there is roman catholicism and eastern catholicism. Science is simply science regardless of those considerations of identity people use, like nationality, culture, language, religion. You either use the scientific method to do good science or you don’t. But if you don’t, you cannot claim to be doing science!

      Good grief, Z1G, will please wrap your head around this?

      As for cosmology, we know that because the method for inquiry is entirely lacking veracity for religious claims in this or any other area of human inquiry about the natural world and everything in it, we know that if we want answers we must turn to science. And when a very big brained person like Hawking tells us that god is an unnecessary consideration in cosmology, and I know what I do about the method of religious inquiry is entirely untrustworthy, then I am quite willing to grant him the benefit of my doubt when it comes to causation.

      We know, for example, that the universe is a very hostile place for life and considering the nature of evolution and the time it requires to develop and flourish, we can presume that it will be much more rare than common. But we also have a pretty good idea that the cosmos is an incredibly big place so the chances are almost certain that other life did, does, or will happen elsewhere. The theological considerations will be very funny to watch adapt to the ‘new’ reality that perhaps we are not the quite-so-special creation of a divine critter perhaps not quite-so-concerned with our use of our sensitive dangling bits.

      • we need to work on your reading comprehension skills and assumptions.

        “You also repeat the absurd notion that believers and non believers all have faith, without differentiate you use of the same word to mean two different things. Tsk, tsk.”

        please see the quote from Hebrews “substance of things hoped for. evidence of things unseen.” I believe you’re faith is placed in science and that the method will one day figure everything out. there’s no evidence for this, but that’s your hope as i understand your position from these few conversations we’ve had.

        “What lies beyond nature is beyond our method of inquiry we call science.”

        you had me up until this sentence. this makes no sense, it doesn’t follow what you were leading to in the paragraph. but i understand science and what it is, and how it works. i’m a big fan of it. but i also understand it’s limitations.

        “Now compare and contrast the method used by religion: revelation, dogma and authority.”

        i don’t believe you’ve read any ethics or foundational religious texts by Origen, Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Galileo, Newton, Rienhold Neihbur, John Polkinghorne, James Moore, or Sherwin Nuland. all of them use the scientific method and compare and contrast them with what they understand to be their articles of faith. sometimes they agree, sometimes they radically disagree, and some times they radically re-interpret their traditions. these “revelations” are grounded in the method as well as the tradition (some of which includes dogma and always includes authority, yet science also has dogma and authority in it as well, lest we be mistaken).

        “That’s why there is no such thing as Brazilian chemistry and Norwegian physics in the same way there is roman catholicism and eastern catholicism. ”
        no, not in the same way, but there are definitely cultural considerations that go into the method however. We imagine science as free of unexamined cultural assumptions. This is more or less true for some fields – say, chemistry or physics which you correctly point out. But in my own corner of science, ethology, or the study of animal behavior (my undergrad minor), is certainly not pristine. ow we look at animals reflects how we view ourselves. The founder of Japanese primatology, Kinji Imanishi, could attest to this. Imanishi argued that nature is inherently harmonious rather than competitive, with species forming an ecological whole. This rather un-Darwinian perspective so upset a British paleontologist, the late Beverly Halstead, that in 1984 he traveled to Kyoto to confront Imanishi. Unconstrained by first-hand knowledge of Imanishi’s works, which were never translated, Halstead told him that his theory was “Japanese in its unreality.”

        What accounts for this? Eastern philosophy has no counterpart to Plato’s “great chain of being,” which places humans above all other animals. In most Eastern belief systems, the human soul can reincarnate in many shapes and forms. A man can become a fish and a fish can become God. There are no grounds in Eastern thought for resisting the central idea of evolutionary theory: that all animals are historically linked. so right there is just one example among many which refutes your claim. ethics, philosophy and culture do indeed impact science in ways we must be aware of.

        this is where religion comes into help. religion states “you can do better.” it has the ethics of things like the 7 Virtues and the 7 deadly sins. those are good touchstones to hold onto. yet at the same time, as we’re humbled by religion, we’re also empowered by it. inspired by the wonder and awe of creation, we are free to explore it as we see fit. granted the religious community’s track record for accepting new insights isn’t great, but neither is science’s either. findings by Darwin, John Nash, and Malcolm Gladwell were all deemed suspect by the scientific community in their day. just as homosexuality was just recently taken off the list of mental disorders (1975). just as global warming is a hot topic in the scientific community where not everyone is on board with this (at least for me) obvious phenomenon.

        yet it’s easy for you, an outsider to religion as i read you, to label religion a bunch of close-minded, anti-intellectuals without recognizing them in your own midst. why? because science is dissipated through the universities and various journals and articles. while religious denominations have headquarters and centralized authority and thus are clearer on where they stand and thus easier to ridicule. for example, here is my denomination’s stance on science.

        ” then I am quite willing to grant him the benefit of my doubt when it comes to causation.”

        then you have faith in him. where as i don’t. nor do other physicists. his claim isn’t science, it’s philosophy. unverifiable either way. you can’t measure it or prove the claim one way or another, thus isn’t science. there are many other physicist that disagree with him. so why not read them all? isn’t that part of inquiry? not just selecting the results you want to see?

      • Z1G writes i don’t believe you’ve read any ethics or foundational religious texts by Origen, Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Galileo, Newton, Rienhold Neihbur, John Polkinghorne, James Moore, or Sherwin Nuland. all of them use the scientific method and compare and contrast them with what they understand to be their articles of faith.

        1) This is the Courtier’s Reply. That’s a problem for you.
        2) Your belief is wrong.

        Who said the practice of science is free from cultural or philosophical or ethical influences? Do you honestly think it is a surprise that I have never considered that the practice of science doesn’t exist in a vacuum separate and distinct from human concerns and issues? If I come across as such a incredible dolt, I apologize. It’s my editing, isn’t it? Of course those who practice science will have biases. But good science is a result that stands on its own regardless of the biases held by its practitioners. I didn’t think I needed to point that out to someone as familiar as you are with science.

        But for someone who so easily assumes that my comprehension skills are lacking, you fail to address the central point to my response: science is a METHOD of inquiry and not the simpleton’s oft repeated mantra that it is only empiricism. Nor is it very intelligent to assume that those who criticize the method of religious inquiry automatically transforms themselves into similarly ignorant faithist believers of some kind of supernaturalism and suddenly espouse that science answers all. The quality of the questions asked of science is actually rather important. Even scientists know this.

        You assume that I am an ‘outsider’ to religious belief. Again, you are wrong. You continue to mistake expressions of evidence-based confidence with faith, evidence-based thinking for faith, appreciate evidence-based likelihoods and evidence-based probabilities for faith. What you continue to ignore is that religious faith has no evidence-based anything, making it a different kind of faith in the sense that you wish to use it for just another kind of religious belief in oogity boogity. That’s disingenuous.

        Your comment about global warming shows just how far out of touch you are with climate science: there is no debate about global warming being real and present and a problem and growing more so. Only those with faith – the kind that has no evidence to base the assumption on – believe there is substantive controversy. There isn’t. There is quibbling about specifics but there is scientific consensus on the causal link between global warming leading to rapid climate change.

        And all Hawking has pointed out, because you obviously missed the memo, is that god is not necessary to explain cosmological origins. Before, all we had was an “I don’t know and you don’t either” statement… although the lack of knowledge has never stopped religious folk from inserting god wherever ignorance has reigned supreme. Now we have at least a natural explanation that can be further explored for its veracity, an explanation that other physicists can hotly debate without turning to the local shaman to ask for supernatural guidance and clarity on the matter.

      • “Courtier’s Reply”

        so you not reading nor knowing the broad history and writings of religion and science is MY problem? sorry, shoe doesn’t fit. it’s still your problem. if you’re argument is science and religion are mutually exclusive, you’ll have to deal with these guys who meld them so beautifully and who have influenced so many. Neihbur particularly, for his Moral Man, Immoral Society set up this generation of addiction advocates and social scientists.

        “your belief is wrong.”

        and i think your’s is. i’m rubber, you’re glue.. nah-nanna-boo-boo. seriously? who writes this? i again question your age and maturity here. it seems pretty contradictory that someone logical enough to try to argue on logical grounds would follow up with this.

        “If I come across as such a incredible dolt, I apologize. It’s my editing, isn’t it? ”

        yes. or your passionate style. or it’s really who you are. i’m up in the air on this issue.

        “The quality of the questions asked of science is actually rather important. Even scientists know this.”

        yup. i’m happy you acknowledged this. that’s all i was after.

        ” science is a METHOD of inquiry and not the simpleton’s oft repeated mantra that it is only empiricism. Nor is it very intelligent to assume that those who criticize the method of religious inquiry automatically transforms themselves into similarly ignorant faithist believers of some kind of supernaturalism and suddenly espouse that science answers all.”

        this is what i read in your replies and comments. you treat science and religion as mutually exclusive and ignore any commonalities they hold or psychological insights they gain or how religion can knit communities together and heal people. while science can cure them, healing takes more than pills. i feel you misrepresent science as often as you misread what i’m saying about science. also it seems that you feel religion is just pulling things out of their collective butts. this may be true for some aspects of religion, i’d put more fundamentalists in this camp, but it misses the rich history of mainline and catholic theologians and ethicists.

        “There is quibbling about specifics but there is scientific consensus on the causal link between global warming leading to rapid climate change.”

        someone should tell that to the Petition Project among others. i understand the vast data and the conversation going on within the scientific community. but every now and then, i hear one of these rebels pipe up and it makes me want to run screaming from the room. the scientific community are not in lock step on this issue which sucks because THEY SHOULD BE! i even had a professor at Ohio University who didn’t believe in it. thank God he was a animal behaviorist and not a “true” biologist (and i suspect you understand those differentiations of those fields).

      • Once again, my apologies, Z1G. The 2) Your belief is wrong referred to your assertion that I must not be very well read with the authors you listed. That will come as a surprise to my thesis board who accepted my paper on Galileo without revision. (Mind you, I had months to edit properly.)

        And you seem to think my argument is unfounded that the methods of inquiry between science and religion are incompatible because such an assertion is some kind of impossibility. So let me state it categorically: the method of inquiry that informs science is incompatible with the method of inquiry that informs religion. Let me be clear. They stand in contrast. They are antithetical. They are at cross purposes. They directly compete. They are in conflict. They are not mutually supportive. They do not answer different questions. They are not friendly. Clear enough? The methods are at odds.

        Those people who are both scientist and religious partition their brain to hold the two together. This is not an intellectual strength.

      • “That will come as a surprise to my thesis board who accepted my paper on Galileo without revision. (Mind you, I had months to edit properly.)”

        well pin a rose on your nose! what was the focus of the thesis? i had the privilege of studying under two of the three Galileo scholars (protestant ones at least) Jim Schwenk and Anne Thayer (the third being Justo Gonzalez). I’m sure you’ve heard of them and are familiar with their work on the subject. how do you answer their claims?

        “Those people who are both scientist and religious partition their brain to hold the two together. This is not an intellectual strength.”

        i think i’ll show this to our theology and science group that meets. we have three colleges in the area and scientists from each attend our church and lead this study. i don’t agree with you. my denomination disagrees. the thousands of Anglican and Catholic priest/scientists disagree with you.

      • Yes, I’m sorry to burst your little bubble of belief about me, that I must have not read what you have read, not attended the right institutions of mystical fabrics and schools of mystical design, to be able to claim that your emperor wears no clothes. But, you see, I have. I speak not out of ignorance but knowledge. Please drop the condescending tone and the diversion from my point:

        Ask your esteemed teachers this: how precisely did Galileo’s religious beliefs inform his methodology he presented in On the World Systems? That’s the answer you need to think about.

        You continue to throw darts that are aimed at the wrong target. All you need to do is explain how the methodology of religious belief is compatible with that of science. All the rest of it is just so much “Quick! Look over there!” diversions accompanied by some name-calling. Focus. Breathe. Think. Write. You can do it if you’re correct.

      • so how did that answer any of my questions? what was your thesis and what was it’s focus? it is my assumption that you’re speaking from a place of knowledge but your inability to answer multiple direct questions makes me wonder if you’re not doing the very thing you accuse me of. namely “look over there!”

        back up your claims.

  9. yet there are also unreasonable and irrational elements to faith. believing that the universe was created for life seems irrational in the face of all the evidence against life out there.

    I’m skeptical of those who see it as essential that we are the only life and the whole universe was designed for life to arise in only one planet. It’s just not a necessary belief to begin with. That said, God isn’t going to say, “Damn, look at all those wasted other planets. Gotta put life on ’em.” I don’t think he’d care too much.
    Yet the existence of life – a complex design only our best computers are decoding now – points to a supernatural designer. If the author of life and the author of the universe are the same being, it would appear he made the universe with life in mind.

    • The ‘author of life’ looks exactly like evolution. What a clever disguise! (But why always the need to hide? Perhaps he’s just too shy, too modest, too busy pretending it unnecessary to solidify his sagging image, to stride across the earth as a 333 meter Jesus?)

  10. “Let’s be honest: the analogy that psychology and religion are similar in that they are upheld by internal proofs is absurd” (tildeb)

    Not really. I work at a university that has programs in psychology (social science) and religious studies (humanities) and requires in both degree’s research methods analysis and statistics. Apparently a university committee would strongly disgree with this statement as to ‘equality’ in virtue.

    As for the differences there is many. But psychology is still a matter of stats and ‘faith’ whether you can admit that or not. I mean, what is the point of pschology if not to dissect the human condition, brain, and processes and how this effects the person and their actions (very similar to many religious mandates).

    Think about tildeb, counselling for example (a psychological phenomenon right now). How many counsellors will say the same thing to the same patient? If psychology is not based on much subjectivity in interpretation of the methods and models they use, shouldn’t all answers be the same? Shouldn’t there only be one form of counselling method as well? I think we both know this isn’t true of counselling.

    At some point, and you may hate to admit this, counselling is asking the patient to have faith in their method and prescriptions for change. Meanwhile in stark reality, we are finding out that humans are quite diverse and what works for one does not mean it will work for another (many medicine studies are confirming this). It would make sense that not all counselling either will work as some ‘catch all cure’ for everyone as well.

    What I am saying is simple, faith is required in this process and that process. And to tell everyone religion does not ‘work’ is as absurd as saying ‘counselling’ doesn’t work, it’s 2 pathways to similar conclusions and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution in either practice.

    You may not like religion but fact is it does work for some. (By that I mean reasonable faith obviously)

  11. Tildeb, I am going to ask you 2 questions and we will have a real conversation on the breadth of ‘faith’.

    (1) How long do you think you will live?

    (2) How many times do you think you will be married?

    2 simple questions about basic humanity.

  12. Analysis and statistics in religious studies? What, compare and contrast how many times the word god is used to allah? This is a joke, right? It’s all about analysis (almost always through the study of metaphysics) and the same problem arises: the central tenets of religious belief – its fundamental truth claims – is itself is immune to any kind of reality based testing because its central character always successfully hides. Funny, that. The central tenets of psychology is ALWAYS being tested for veracity. Night and day.

    Religious studies does not deal in determining whether or not the central tenets are true. Psychology is about study how the mind works and is scrutinized for exactly that. So it’s disingenuous to suggest that religion and psychology are both based on the same method of inquiry to determine these so called ‘internal’ proofs.

    My point remains valid: religion is not about inquiry; it’s about providing an answer. Its methodology is woo, its evidence oogity boogity. If that turns your crank, you’re welcome to it. But don’t think it adds anything meaningful to our advances in knowledge: it impedes it at every step.

  13. Jay, i think you nailed it in that last comment.

    “My point remains valid: religion is not about inquiry; it’s about providing an answer.”

    which religions? all? buddhism seems pretty open. in fact the Dali Lama stated that where tradition and science disagree, science wins and that tradition is thrown out. your point doesn’t remain valid because it’s in such broad strokes it makes no sense. it’s like saying all scientists are atheists. or all scientists don’t think they’re providing answers. the United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalists are two Christian denominations that are about inquiry. Islam has been pro-science for a long time until WWI put most of Islamic countries into a tailspin they haven’t recovered from. Egypt would be a prime example there. Hinduism and Taoism are MASSIVELY religious and scientific. there is no divide there on religion and science.

    so on the surface, it looked like your claim stood, but once you know a thing or two about world religions, you see how juvenile your claim is. and it’s a claim, not an argument, nor is it supported by anything or is able to be sustained for any length of time no matter how many times you try to bring it up in this forum.

  14. Tildeb wrote
    Answers:
    1) I don’t know.
    2) I don’t know.

    That’s the best reply you’ve come up with yet.

    The ‘author of life’ looks exactly like evolution.
    How can evolution “author” anything? Back in my drinking days, I loved to joke that “my car knew its way home” but, no, I really didn’t believe that. And you?
    One question: What difference is there between Goddidit and Evolutiondidit?

    • This string of evidence is all mutually supporting and available from all kinds of inquiry branches, and nowhere more important than in virology, but the job is yours to inquire if your interest is honest. Let;’s put that to the test, shall we? If all you can handle is a very short answer (I’m not going to rewrite and re-teach biology curriculum for a presentation to you when you are perfectly capable of investigating this on your own) then let me start you off with the story of Tiktaalik, a critter predicted to be a link, predicted to have lived during a certain geological time, its fossilized remains found where it should have been found. If the fossil was in the wrong age of rock, then it would have falsified the hypothesis. But there are hundreds and hundreds of such examples in different areas of inquiry (embryology, biogeography, paleontology, genetics, and list goes on) all mutually supportive when it doesn’t have to be this way if not true and could be so easily falsified by something as simple the fossil of a rabbit in the pre-Cambrian.

  15. “Answers:
    1) I don’t know.
    2) I don’t know” (tildeb)

    That’s kind of what I thought. However, you must make assumptions about such questions and then ‘build your life around them’.

    I am guessing you own stuff or believe you will live past tomorrow, or even for some 40+ years yet. You may not know if this is the case but you plan your life like this is the case…I will bet a dime a dollar on that one.

    As for marriage, if you are married then you likely believe this is the only marriage you will ever need. Statistically you may be right – 50% of the time. You see, you may not know how many marriages you will actually have but you probably believe you will have only this one…or if your not married then when you meet that special someone – that will be the only one you need.

    These are simply matters of ‘faith’…reasonable faith I will add.

    • You highlight exactly the point I repeatedly make here about the use of the word ‘faith’. If you want to go with notion – that faith equates with probabilities and likelihoods – then that’s fine. Using this notion, claims based on religious faith are extremely improbable, a very low likelihood, close to zero.

      But if you mean faith to mean believing in a notion in spite of an absence of evidence, then that’s fine, too. We can leave probability and likelihood out of it altogether. Believe whatever you want to believe, understanding that it is informed by faith alone and carries no weight as something probable or likely.

      And that’ my point: be consistent and don’t mix up the two meanings to write something disingenuous like probability in science equates in kind to that of religion that requires no evidence. The two are not the same whatsoever, nor ‘simply’ matter of the same kind of faith.

    • here you’re pretty much using faith that faith equates with probabilities and likelihoods. that’s part of it, but largely there are some unreasonable parts of faith that one needs. faith isn’t certainty, it’s the substance of things hoped for. like my hope that one day we’ll have true and lasting peace in the world; you know all that stuff talked about in the coming Kingdom of God where we forgive our trespasses and those who trespass against us. given human history, human nature, and our technology to completely destroy all life on this planet; it seems that this belief would fall into the unreasonable category based sole on statistics and probability.

  16. “Analysis and statistics in religious studies?” (tildeb)

    Touche. I checked on this – no stats. I guess that makes sense…Philosophy doesn’t have stats and it’s a humanities degree.

    “If that turns your crank, you’re welcome to it. But don’t think it adds anything meaningful to our advances in knowledge: it impedes it at every step.” (Tildeb)

    Good documentary on tv this week called ‘God in America’ – should check it out – if only for the historical pieces about religion in your country (I am guessing your American). Might be amazed to find that religion actually lead to the freedom to not have religion (true story unbelievably). And what else religion offered to the construction of the United States of America, very intriguing stuff.

    Kind of funny religion could offer so much to the building of a country since it impedes knowledge. Might want to reserve that sentence for a while since it just isn’t true.

    • that documentary would have saved me so much time in seminary! a 6 hour video would beat having to read Mark Noll and Milton Bennett’s stuff and i would get the same thing out of it. fantastic job by PBS as usual!

  17. tildeb—If you want to go with notion – that faith equates with probabilities and likelihoods – then that’s fine. Using this notion, claims based on religious faith are extremely improbable, a very low likelihood, close to zero.

    Sorry, tildeb. You’re trying to weave a fabric here and you just don’t have any thread. You never really dealt with the post to begin with.

    Jason wrote–Faith, in it’s essence, is based on the idea we can trust this person or situation more and more – so we feel free to enter into whatever it holds. Faith is always reasonable and when it is not, it is no longer a form of trust but a form of sabotage.

    His conclusion was that faith without reason is sabotage. That was William James’s conclusion in “The Science of Religious Experience”. He expelled all rogue faiths (faith without reason) from his study. He focused on the people who were transformed by their religious awakening.

    Faith without reason is sabotage; not real faith.
    And your tiktaalik example was great news when the story first hit but, as scientific discoveries often go, follow-up information knocks it down a few notches (like that “earth-like” planet Gliese 581-G that has since disappeared). It was not in the strata that they thought it’d be in. And neither this discovery nor any other proves Evolution or disproves I.D. I propose that we stick to the facts and enjoy the real science as it unfolds.

    PS – For a laugh, go to this Youtube video on the “importance of Gliese 581”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6_HooIJLNc&feature=youtu.be&a

    • Well Jim, that’s exactly why I disagreed with original post: the incoherent notion that religious faith is informed by reason.

      This implies a method of thinking that is reliable, that is trustworthy. And this implies some way to verify that the trust is placed well, that we can lend it our confidence that we are not deluding ourselves, sabotaging our ability to actually reason well.

      So let me ask you straight up: what evidence would you accept to prove your faith false? If you cannot answer this – and I strongly suspect you cannot – then you freely admit that your belief set is not informed by good reasoning as I have described above, but a closed circle, a closed system of beliefs that is as impervious to falsification as it is verification. After all, if you have no method available to prove your belief set wrong, that your reasoning is faulty, then you have no available method to verify that trust, that confidence. Adhering to metaphysical a priori conclusions does nothing to advance the veracity of the propositions used, and using unverified propositions does not good conclusions make. The claim that faith is only true when it is informed by reason is patently false unless unverifiable reasoning equals good reasoning, in which case the claim is incoherent.

      As for evolution, it appears to me that you seem to think that science reporting is the same thing as science conclusions. I didn’t think you were that gullible. It is a strength of science that conclusions are vigorously challenged down to the tiniest details, so we know that the original reports will almost always be moderated. That’s a given. But you tip your hand when you think like a biblical literalist that only each discovery alone represents to accumulated knowledge about evolution as the best explanation we have. ID is simply creationist theology and has not one shred of scientific evidence to back it up. In comparison to the theory of evolution, ID offers us absolutely nothing.

  18. The reliability of my faith is first in the invaluable service the Bible gives me to help me live my life at peace with God. Does the Bible teach me that pride is good, murder is good, stealing is good? No, in fact it hits the nail on the head of what is wrong with us; like Adam and Eve we want to play God. We live by our own will, not God’s will, so we are prideful, we steal, we murder, and so on.

    With respect to Jesus Christ, hundreds of Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled by him. He lived a flawless life, the only person to keep the 10 Commandments, and he was punished by religious people whose faith was sabotage because they ignored their own Scriptures.

    It’s reasonable to believe in Christ. I could go on for days about specific prophecies and explanations based on his character and the necessary attributes of God that he personified, etc, etc.

    Even if I were wrong and I was deluded; what’s it to you if I am a moral person as a result? What’s your beef there, hombre? Since you’re really interested in what would compel me to abandon my faith that bothers you so much, all I can say is that Jesus and the Gospel are pretty well established. I don’t expect a first century video to turn up of Jesus drunkenly spewing profanities. The only thing that could happen would be that nothing would happen when I die. Then I wouldn’t know anyway.

    “ID is simply creationist theology” – save us the mindless boilerplate rhetoric. All you’re saying is that Evolution will have the answers one day and ID won’t. You’re speaking self-serving jibberish and I’m bored with it. Go ahead, support Evolution. I’ll continue to follow ID as it is a more reasonable explanation when I look at the phenomenal complexity of the cell and DNA and most everything else.

    • The reliability of your faith in terms of historical review is highly critical. The argument against god is easy: there’s no evidence. The argument against scriptural accuracy in historical, anthropological, and archeological terms is christianity’s true Achilles’s heel. The scriptures simply aren’t reliable historical sources of authority. Tell me I’m wrong and that’s fine but go to your local seminary and find out why the truism exists that no one leaves a seminary a believer in biblical inerrancy.

      As for your inability to critically examine and understand why any method of inquiry that does not include some means to falsify is not reliable, I feel bad for you. This means you are wide open to delusional thinking under the banner of religious belief without any intellectual means at your disposal to hold it in check, to verify, to validate. Your starting position is one of a closed mind: no matter what anyone says or whatever evidence is offered, you not only WILL not change your mind, but you CANNOT do so without dismantling your entire belief set. And you are never going to do that, which means another mind is lost to the religious meme.

      What a shame.

  19. tildeb–The argument against god is easy: there’s no evidence.

    There you go again. You blurt out your false premise and then ramble on about how silly it is for me to close my mind and believe in such nonsense.

    Science has always been an interest of mine and has never “clashed” with what I believe. It actually led me to believe in God. I would grant you that there are Christians who adhere to flawed interpretations of Scripture that clash with solid scientific interpretations (e.g. 6,000-year-old earth, dinosaurs and man romping together, we must be alone in the universe, etc). Those bad biblical interpretations come from an inchoate knowledge of the Scriptures if not from willful deception. You should look for Young Earth blogs to harass. You’d have a lot of fun with them.

    As for Evolution, it’s success is due to being rather amorphous. Darwin stated that outside influences caused the animals to have to adapt or die, and they changed slowly over time. When it became obvious that many animals go millions of years without changing at all, Eldridge and Gould came up with punctuated equilibrium, which simply states that when animals are “in balance”, they can go long periods without changing. So you see, Evolution evolves around the need to explain away the facts. It’s kind of like a shape-shifting goo that can be stretched around anything.

    That’s why the “goddidit” mantra that evolution aficionados hurl at believers is so telling. You’re understandably sensitive to someone calling you on your “evolutiondidit” faux pas.

    One last significant point on why Evolution as Darwin defined it in 1859 (slow constant natural incremental change over time, leading to new species) is a bad scientific interpretation is that it assumes there is no guiding force behind the complex interactions that cause the real changes in animals and plants. Just like our 6,000-year earther, it’s not a necessary requirement. The evidence does not specifically say what the evolutionist argues, just as the Young Earther is overlooking Job 38 and several other passages in his desire to beat us over the head with his 6,000-y/o earth requirement.

    Taking all this into account raises the question: Who has the closed mind then? Sounds like your religion is guiding you at the potential harm to your ability to interpret scientific data. Hmmm.

    • Well, Jim, you caught me.

      You’ve correctly identified me as a worshiper at the church of evolution. To do so means that you have exposed me as someone who does not understand science, and shown how I deviously twist and turn and misinterpret its findings in such ways only to support my faith, as you have so adroitly realized and laid bare for all to see. My shame is deep and am guilty as charged. My mind is closed, truly, to the supernatural explanations which as you know is obviously far more reasonable and way less complicated to deepen our knowledge about the world than adhering to the silly dogma of Darwin. I tried to fool you, it’s true, and you caught me red handed. Kudos, Jim.

      You are also bang on to catch on to the subterfuge I have tried to use (and have failed because of your keen perception) to suggest that more than 150 years of advancements in understanding and informing evolution with hard data is a sly way to divert attention away from The Truth (TM) you keep safe and to The Lie that I support which you accurately describe as keeping faith with Darwin Darwin and what he states in his holy scripture of The Origin of Species. You’re far too clever to be fooled by the likes of me and my pitiable attempt to stand against he who sees The Truth (TM).

      Well done, sir. Keep up the Good Work!

  20. Tildeb,
    Your premises are flippant and dismissive. I’d like to see you put a little more thought into them.
    Thanks for the compliment just the same. 🙂

    • See? I can’t slip anything past you!

      What you’d like to see is what you’re blind to. I can appreciate your dilemma (being a fellow faithist and all).

  21. Tildeb, I’ve been reading your Questionable Motives blog and I think you make some good observations. I still think you’re overlooking humility. When I read about a scientific discovery, I want to be able to understand it, get my arms around the idea so to speak. I’m not comparing it to the gospel just yet. Why would I if I didn’t fully understand it? As for you exposing blockheaded Christians who are determined to drive their bad interpretation down everyone’s throat, keep on attacking them.
    Humility is needed all around when we are constantly getting new and often unconfirmed data in.
    Anyway, I added your blog to my Blogs Read Daily blogroll so I’ll be commenting again. Just thought I’d warn ya! I’m Jim, what’s your first name? That would be a good start. Cheers.

  22. “This implies a method of thinking that is reliable, that is trustworthy. And this implies some way to verify that the trust is placed well, that we can lend it our confidence that we are not deluding ourselves, sabotaging our ability to actually reason well.” (tildeb)

    I agree 100%, faith should be proveable or at least have a method and I use one with my faith (to test the premises).

    For example, an idea like blessed are the poor has no merit in a world concerned solely with ‘capital’. How to test that is the real question. However, I have been poor (in poverty) and suffered for a good while during my life in that condition. I would also say ‘blessed are the poor’ since in that condition reception of hope and possibility are amped up as compared with the middle class and rich. In fact, it is usually from ‘the poor’ the greatest changes to this world come (ie: King Jr. or even Gandhi).

    All of these societal ideas taught in the bible are testable by observation and experiential knowledge – and in fact can be documented to see if they work (ie: like a scientific method of trying and changing the hypothesis).

    For example, I believe in the idea ‘love your enemies’ and a real non-violence stance. I have tested that idea a lot during my life to see of it is in fact worthwhile or blowing hot air. This idea combined with the sacrificial elements in Christianity means I should willing to help save someone’s life at the risk of my own (not a nice idea to be honest)…but I have done it, some 30+ times. I have broken up brawls in the street, hockey fights, people with weapons wanting to hurt one another, and other basic violent altercations.

    I have found taking that route does work in the promotion of ‘peace’ and in helping a person protect themselves at the end of the day…people actually like people that do this.

    So I think the ‘beliefs’ can be tested in many ways.

    • Societyvs, you divert. What you have described above are not ‘beliefs’ in the sense of the word ‘faith’; they are moral claims that have nothing to do with the tenets that describe the faith. It is the truth claims made about these tenets that are unverifiable and that offer us no means to build confidence in their veracity.

  23. “Societyvs, you divert. What you have described above are not ‘beliefs’ in the sense of the word ‘faith’” (tildeb)

    No diversion, you don’t understand the breadth and depth of a word like ‘faith’ it would seem.

    It seems to me you want ‘faith’ to mean one simple meaning and be done with it. But faith is quite complex and not as simple as you might think.

    Exactly what I describe is concretely an aspect of faith (ie: the teachings in the faith as part of one’s committment to that faith). Faith in God is grand, but how does one ‘show’ that faith? I would contend by living according to the teachings passed down in the scriptures.

    I even believe faith is only as good one’s actions – no actions no faith (IMO). One’s actions reveals one’s intents and thoughts, so faith hinges upon the totality of one’s actions (ie: use of mind, physical being, and emotions).

    No diversion whatsoever, you just need to open your definition a bit.

    “It is the truth claims made about these tenets that are unverifiable and that offer us no means to build confidence in their veracity” (tildeb)

    True we cannot ‘prove’ God just as much as I cannot prove ‘love’. I am pretty sure we think love exists though…right? This is the field God falls into with human comprehension and this seems to make sense if God is a ‘spirit figure’. So human measurement and complete comprehension are not really adequate in this study. I also wish we could measure everything, but we cannot and we must accept this.

    So that aspect of faith – ie: God is real and He is One and Jesus is the messiah – well they require trust in what each figure has laid down or is known of them. I don’t even think that is about blind acceptance – there is scriptural writings on both which we can choose to accept with some validity or with none. You choose none, I choose some.

    I have never met God, but as sure as I can breathe I know there is something greater in this universe than humanity and I think there is some divine origin to all of this. Cannot prove that but I am not trying to either – it’s neither here nor there on any importance scale. What matters to me is if someone is living by some moral code by which their ‘actions’ are kept in check.

    • The problem here, societyvs, is what happens when there is excellent evidence that morality is based in biology. Well, according to your argument, because you assume a priori that morality equates with faith-in-action, then the biological basis of morality is evidence for morality derived from faith. This is nonsensical. Said another way, you’ve intentionally set up morality to be a stand-in for faith. And that is diversionary from your original post that faith is based on reason when you think it is equally based on morality. Is there no end to your substitutes?

      Love requires a better definition. You know it’s a word that describes a host of intense feelings of affection. Be that as it may, there is every reason to think this emotional response is entirely – entirely – physiologically based. And there is gobs of evidence how this emotional response is revealed by the body. Love is not a ‘thing’ but a word we use to describe this intense emotional experience. God is not a similar kind of word. It is meant as a noun, a real thing, for which there is no evidence but in which people hold to be true as a matter of faith alone. Belief in love and belief in god are therefore not equivalent statements. Thus, the analogy is wrong.

  24. Response of the day.

    “what happens when there is excellent evidence that morality is based in biology” (Tildeb)

    Couldnt we both agree then that science lines up with something religion proclaimed?

    “Said another way, you’ve intentionally set up morality to be a stand-in for faith” (tildeb)

    Not true, I’ve said action is a concluder of one’s beliefs. One can have beliefs they never act on, those beliefs they do not hold to be true…what they act upon is actually what they believe.

    “And that is diversionary from your original post that faith is based on reason when you think it is equally based on morality” (tildeb)

    Even morality has good ‘reason’…no diversion whatsoever.

    “Love is not a ‘thing’ but a word we use to describe this intense emotional experience. God is not a similar kind of word” (tildeb)

    My God your funny. What measurement for love have you have ever seen? Can I measure one week if my wife loves me more than the week prior? Wait she’ sweating more this week than last, oh gawd help me!

    As for that measurement, what about someone that is really searching God out in prayer and what not, should we measure his emotions to see if he is connecting to something? It’s basically the same thing…it’d be funny to see you admit that though.

    Love and God, not much difference and not much as far as measurement goes – even if you think this is the case – no one in their right mind relates to one another like this (ie: I love you mom this much).

    • Couldnt we both agree then that science lines up with something religion proclaimed?

      Wow. You are actually trying to suggest that religion teaches us to understand that morality comes from… wait for it… biology? Next you’ll be telling me that religion lines up with morality and condemns slavery.

      As a substitution master, you do it again: you confuse empiricism with the scientific method. Your projection that ‘if you can’t measure it, you’re not doing science’ is getting very tiresome. Empiricism is a part of doing good science, but science is not a part of doing good empiricism.

  25. Jay, dawg, tildeb’s mind is made up! he’s got the answers!* he knows his stuff!** prolly best to leave him be.

    *don’t confuse him with facts or evidence contrary to his view
    **by stuff i mean his own claims, without nuance, and with an inability to name his own thesis, know the experts on the religious side of Galileo, or explain the link between science and religion up until the 1900s with the fundamentalist/modernist divide.

  26. What facts? What evidence?

    That religion and science are incompatible methods of inquiry is in no way a question of nuance as you pretend it is. Your argument that because certain scientists have been religious is analogous to arguing that pedophilia is compatible with the priesthood. It’s a very stupid argument. That you can’t appreciate that nuance is no fault of mine.

    As for your claim that I have read too little to know much about religion and science yet I seemed able to write a perfectly acceptable thesis on Galileo where I lay out how he successfully overthrew Aristotelian physics (that every changeable object had an unchangeable nature), don’t confuse what I won’t do for what you think I can’t do. Suffice to say, I have read enough theology to last me a life time whether you think it is enough or not. And it remains merely a diversion from addressing my point that the epistemology of inquiry that leads to informing religious belief is incompatible with the epistemology we use to inform knowledge. But assumption, confusion, and misrepresentation seem to be your strong suits, which explains to me why you are unable to show why the method of inquiry used by science (methodological naturalism) is compatible with the kind of inquiry used by religious belief that supposedly answers ‘different’ question.

    So as difficult as it may be for you to focus long enough on the task at hand inflicted as you seem to be by some version of religious attention deficit disorder, go ahead Z1G. Focus. Explain how the method of religious inquiry is different from the scientific and then show how the two are compatible. And please, stick to the differences in epistemology.

    • “I seemed able to write a perfectly acceptable thesis on Galileo where I lay out how he successfully overthrew Aristotelian physics (that every changeable object had an unchangeable nature),”

      but any research would show that he DIDN’T. in fact, Copernicus did first. the difference is in how they WROTE! Galileo wrote so everyone could understand it, while Copernicus wrote almost entirely in formula. Copernicus’ heliocentric ideas were being digested by the higher theologians of the day when Galileo came out and ran with it. to associate Galileo, or Newton or Darwin’s name with the split between science and religion is beyond folly. They were in the tradition of seeing their work, understanding the world, the created world, as illuminating Christian tenants in the Bible. in fact, they worked really hard, Darwin especially, in writing with theological objections in mind.

      this “thesis” of yours actually sounds like a high school report paper. it offers nothing new, as thesis should and is supposed to do. so while some Christian churches have tried to go back to a medieval understanding of the world and Aristotelian physics, most haven’t.

      as for your second request, i have already sent you the UCC’s not mutually exclusive post. but that would require reading and research on your part. so i’ll put it like this:

      Our modern view of science comes from the Enlightenment. Francis Bacon was one of the prime dudes of this movement. he stated “Let no man think or maintain that man can search too far or be too well studied in the book of God’s word or in the book of God’s works, but rather let man endeavour an endless progress or proficience in both.” (Darwin put this quote at the beginning of the Origin of Species). God’s word would be the Bible and ethical and moral pursuits. The works of God would be what we can observe in nature through science. in my mind, you need both, for as Albert Einstien stated “Religion without science is lame, and science without religion is blind.”

      to account for the differing epistemologies is quite easy. Myers Briggs has two categories for “knowing” which would be “Sensing” and “iNtuitive.” The S goes through the world putting pieces together to make the whole like “tree, tree, tree, shrub, squirrel, tree… I’m in a forest!” Where as the N goes through the world “Wow! What a great forest!!! Oh, look, an oak, a pine… WOW! Look at the great forest!” with an eye on the bigger picture. i think you need both in society, and to have both in conversation so that the S’s don’t lose sight of the whole and to make sure the N’s have an accurate picture of the “whole.”

  27. No, Copernicus did not. Nor is it a nuanced version of how they wrote.

    Copernicus placed the sun at the center to achieve mathematically accurate planetary measurements and criticizes Ptolemy on the principle of the equant, yet inserts his own sun-centered equant for more precise mathematical predictions. (See Fanatoli, For Copernicanism and for the Church, Vatican Observatory Publications 1996, p. 10) Copernicus’ heliocentric mathematical model is considered by many to be a revolution in astronomical history that finally ‘gets it right’ by placing the sun at the center of the solar system, but his explanations continue to rely on assuming the bodies possess a nature. For example, Copernicus writes:

    Rectilinear movement, however, is added to those bodies which journey away from their natural place or are shoved out of it or are outside of it somehow. But nothing is more repugnant to the order of the whole and to the form of the world than for anything to be outside of its place. Therefore rectilinear movement belongs only to bodies which are not in their right condition and are not perfectly conformed to their nature. (Copernicus, On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres, various reprints.)

    Ptolemy and Copernicus may have provided mathematically based alternatives to Aristotle’s philosophical explanation of the natural world, but the underlying assumption – that all bodies possessed a nature and expressed it – remained unchallenged… until Galileo does a simple, yet brilliant, experiment to prove otherwise.

    Galileo questioned exactly this, namely, that mobility resided within the nature of a body. He replaced that assumption by articulating the principle of inertia, namely, that a body in motion will continue to remain in motion unless another force acts upon it. The thought experiment of the inclined plane, whereby a highly polished ball rolls down an inclined plane onto a smooth plane, seems to be a simple idea: if the ball rolls down an inclined plane acceleration increases uniformly and the ball gains velocity. If the ball is forced up the inclined plane, the ball will do so until the violent force is dissipated, and the ball will reverse course and descend. The important question to this experiment, however, is deceptively simple: “Now tell me what would happen to the same body on a surface that is not inclined.” (Galileo, On the World Systems, trans. M. Finocchiaro, (Berkley: California University Press, 1997, p. 167) The character Simplicio answers that the ball would remain at rest but, if the ball were given impetus he says, “I see no cause for acceleration or retardation since their is neither descent or ascent,” (Ibid, p. 167-8) and, in the absence of cause for retardation, the ball would roll perpetually if the plane extended indefinitely. Simply put, the nature of a body in motion is not an expression of the body’s nature but an expression of an exterior force placed upon the body. Mobility of a body is not an expression of the body’s form but the result of an exterior force.

    For you Z1G to claim that Galileo’s undermining of the Aristotelian physics didn’t pose an undermining of the physics of the church is incredible. After all, there is a very good reason why Galileo was prosecuted by the church and forced to recant. By transferring a god-imbibed nature out of things and into mindless natural forces that act on everything equally is no small matter, no “illuminating Christian tenets of the Bible.” Your assertion here is terribly skewed and a gross misrepresentation of why modern science stands actually does stand in stark contrast and fierce opposition to the truth claims about the nature of things that supports christianity through scripture. You claim it is folly to think this is so, and can come up with reams of accommodationist crap written to cover up this schism, but the schism is real and its growing. (All one needs to do is go back to the source material – at least, that is what I was taught to do at my universities. I’m not at all sure what you were taught to do by your Galileo ‘experts’.) To think this schism is true is where the ongoing folly resides.

  28. ““The Bible shows the way to go to heaven, not the way the heavens go” -Galileo.

    Galileo’s championing of Copernicanism was controversial as the large majority of philosophers and astronomers still subscribed to the geocentric view that the Earth is at the centre of the universe. his views were a definitely a shift in thinking of the church, but also for the world. it took the theologians a little while to understand what we understand now, and that many of us take for granted who haven’t studied history and thus retroject our current circumstance backwards onto historical events as you’re doing.

    • What unmitigated bull pucky. You write that many of us take for granted who haven’t studied history and thus retroject our current circumstance backwards onto historical events as you’re doing.

      This is not what I’m doing and in spite of your uninformed assertions to the contrary I have indeed studied history… but have not reached the conclusions you want to accept on behalf of your beliefs because they are so poorly informed. I think what I do because I have better reasons to think so.

      No, what I’ve offered is not some retrojection; I’m going straight to the sources to show you how and why Galileo was significantly different than Copernicus (when you state categorically Copernicus was first to grasp that things did not possess a nature and I show with evidence why your claim is false) and was such an important historical figure in changing the method by which we inform our understanding.

      This is a rather poignant example you step into here: you say it took theologians a little while to understand what we understand now, and fail to realize how you are proving my point.

      It took theologians and their scriptural geocentric drivel TO BE CHALLENGED… not only by what is true but with a method of inquiry that works consistently well and is reliable… before they were willing – eventually – to have to face facts. To this day many people refuse to do this and their reasoning is that it goes against scripture. We see this in all kinds of areas of study. The ONLY reason why the rest of us who are reasonable still don’t meekly go along with the geocentric model is because intellectually honest people took on the dogma and doctrine of faith not with alternative beliefs but with evidence backed reasons that have withstood informed evidence-based criticism. What you are doing is belittling this heroic effort with your playground ‘Why can’t we all just get along’ pablum, conveniently forgetting that it has been religion at the forefront of fighting knowledge that undermines its dogma and doctrine every step of the way.

      Religion adds exactly zero to our knowledge, zero to our scientific inquiries, whereas the method of science forces religion to retreat from its false claims again and again. Religion has never inspired changing its own dogma and doctrine and you suffer from some delusion if you think its reasonable to suggest this is one of religion’s central strengths. Religion only changes when it is forced to. For example, it’s not the theologians who pondered Galileo’s arguments and found them enlightening and so brought about change to our understanding of the cosmos; they made him recant and put him under house arrest after his eldest daughter died in the service of the church. What forced the theologians to change (the church forgave Galileo for his 1634 blasphemy in, what 1981?) was facing the fact that either they accepted what was true over what they believed (I think biblical scripture makes reference to geocentric nonsense some sixty-odd times) or they became irrelevant. But notice please that it wasn’t god or jesus or the bible or other divine scriptures who straightened the matter out and revealed what was true. The answer to that great mystery came from inquiring using methodological naturalism. As Hawking say, in the battle between religion and science, science will win because it works.

  29. once again you demonstrate your poor reading comprehension. partly it’s a mindset thing. when you’re a hammer, everything must look like a nail.

    “I’m going straight to the sources to show you how and why Galileo was significantly different than Copernicus”

    not really, Galileo was the next step, building off of Copernicus’ insights. he was part of the conversation, building off of a community and a tradition and firmly and irrevocably enmeshed in both. one which you’re trying to divorce him from to suit your view and show that there is indeed a divide of religion and science. there isn’t. only the illusion of one propagated by the new atheists to sell books and preach to the choir.

    there is no battle between science and religion. i find those who are fighting this charade of a battle most annoying and i wish they would devote their time to something worth while. to say religion has never offered anything is a statement made by a idiot preaching to morons. while science provides a cure, religion provides healing. while science can say how, religion states why. where science provides factual insights, religion provides practical theology in light of those. i’ve offered my differing epistemologies case and view them as complimentary and both are necessary in going forward as a species. to have just science results in a utilitarian numbers game and we saw how great that worked out in Britain in the mid-1800s. to have just science, we see the Wahabism which is keeping the Arab world shackled and locked in medieval times. one or the other does not work, it must be both.

  30. This is just tedious, Z1G. Your deepities hardly reach your ankles and you think yourself immersed.

    I quote source material to back up what I’m saying and you just wave your hand and claim it’s not really any source because, well, because there was this dialogue going on you see, and this building of community, and there were traditions, important traditions, and, and, and, well, because you say so and that’s why my source references don’t really matter. What you haven’t done (yet again) is deal with the evidence as it is and instead cover it over with your inanities. If that’s what passes for what you think is historical understanding and expertise, no wonder you think my evidence is actually a viewpoint divorced from what’s real: because it’s different than your musings. How shocking. And as long as you cling to your opinions about your beliefs that are impervious to any kind of reality check, there is nothing historical I can provide to enlighten you. So by all means believe yourself justified to think what I provide is divorced from reality; after all, the only thing you’ll accept is what already agrees with your esteemed opinion. How intellectually dishonest of you.

    But there is a battle – whether you recognize it or not – between your imaginings we call religion and the science that reveals reality. You have singularly failed to back up any different epistemology that provides any meaning to your statement that religions answers the ‘why’ questions better than science so, once again, we are left only with your assertion and nothing else. Yet the battle continues. Religion continues to stick its ugly nose into every human endeavor and pretends to be some kind of moral expert justified to pass judgments on science and society at large… issues like medicine with stem cell research, euthanasia, abortion, contraception, education with issues of sex education and the teaching of evolution in science class, organized prayers for sporting events and convocations, issues in law like gender equality and human and reproductive rights, political issues like civil rights and gay marriage, and the list goes no and on. But it can all be dismissed on the assurances of Z1G that any problem is really caused by those darned gnu atheists out to stir up trouble and that religion is benign and gets along with science just fine.

    Your position personifies the naked emperor and your responses exemplifies the Courtier’s Reply. Obviously, that’s good enough for you, but it sure isn’t good enough for me.

    It also isn’t good enough to continue to misunderstand and misrepresent gnu atheists in general (and me in particular) who argue passionately and with much evidence that religion has no different epistemology to back up such empty claims of expertise; you, of course, comprehend this to mean that atheists in general (and me in particular) think religion offers us nothing. Simply disregard – as you have a penchant for doing – that I specifically wrote that religion doesn’t add anything to our knowledge (I was – I know, call me an optimist – trying my best to stay on topic in spite of the repeated diversions thrown up by you). I realize the important difference in meaning what you think I wrote and what I wrote has been completely lost on you, bound and determined as you are to maintain your beliefs at the expense of whatever sacrifice to respecting what’s true is necessary… as is anything else I might offer you in this dialogue.

  31. this isn’t a dialog, this is you preaching against a strawman. most of the new atheists are. in fact we have a common annoyance in the fundamentalist and dogmatic Christians of the world, yet it’s easier just to lump me in with them and label me bad without really reading anything i’m saying. that’s fine. passion does indeed overwhelm logic.

    Christianity is in no way monolythic as you’re trying to make it out to be in your rant “moral expert justified to pass judgments on science and society at large… issues like medicine with stem cell research, euthanasia, abortion, contraception, education with issues of sex education and the teaching of evolution in science class, organized prayers for sporting events and convocations, issues in law like gender equality and human and reproductive rights, political issues like civil rights and gay marriage, and the list goes no and on. ” and a rant it is, because if you would stop to hear my views (and my denomination’s views and many other theologians) on many of these issues, odds are, we’d agree on more than we’d disagree.

    “nu atheists (and me in particular) think religion offers us nothing. Simply disregard – as you have a penchant for doing – that I specifically wrote that religion doesn’t add anything to our knowledge ”

    now who’s mincing words. we’ve learned a lot about the placebo effect, communal networks and anthropology from religion, and that’s what i was getting at with my answers. religion adds plenty of knowledge like: the life giving power of limitation and how the abundance of things can lead to a poverty of the soul (see Robert Corin Morris on this, as well as Franciscan theology, as well as the social gospel movement, or Fight Club for a secular twist), community and history are important, traditions can be life-giving just as they can stifle life, that creation holds it’s own wonder and awe (see the Transcedentalists and the Creation Spiritualists), that there is more to us than just breath and a developed frontal lobe, that we can’t live by bread alone (or facts alone) as we’re a story people, that belief informs action and vice versa, that there are multiple ways of knowing and we have to cast a wide net to gather all of them in and try to move forward, that it’s not good for a person to be alone and that marriage is a good thing for kids and partners alike but it’s hard work and needs a lot of support from family and community. those are just some of what i’ve learned in and from religion. i think that adds to knowledge and furthers rather than hinders human insight and understanding, and is right on track from what you’re asking. no diversion on my part, just straight forward typing on my part. just because you can’t deal with them and then must stuff me back into a category i don’t fit into isn’t a fallacy on my part. it’d be a strawman, ad hominem, and a “no true Scotsman” fallacies all being built on a false dilemma pretense of a divide between science and religion.

    odds are we’re going to disagree period. must be how we were raised. I was raised Jesuit Catholic where there is no divide. i made my way over to the United Church of Christ which, as the two links i’ve sent you show, they view science and religion as compatible just as the Jesuits do. how about you? you seem to come from a much more conservative/fundamentalist style church. is that a safe observation?

  32. “Religion adds exactly zero to our knowledge, zero to our scientific inquiries, whereas the method of science forces religion to retreat from its false claims again and again” (tildeb)

    I have to disagree 100%. Religion is primely dealing with a person’s internal self and the bulk of who they define themselves as (ie: good, bad, nice, charitable, humble, etc). If anything it functions as a measuring stick for one to bounce their ideas off and make changes to how they want to be perceived (similar to psychological counselling in many ways).

    Science is concerned with finding out what make things tick and this is a non moral process. It’s concern is not about morality, thus why science has been used for some of the most wicked things this planet has ever managed to ‘dream up’.

    Science needs to be kept in check against it’s basic non-moral nature. People, humans, will use this processes findings for their ends and means. It needs religion as much as you may hate it. It needs a moral guidline to keep it within safe limits of testing and use (namely in areas like splitting the atom and what have you concerning energy and war).

    Religion is not taking a non-moral stance – it takes a stance and provides guidelines for that stance. If it were more adhered to, one could ask – would we have nuclear weapons today? Would people be starving globally and dying by the millions generation to generation? Would we have developed a biological warfare?

    So don’t preach to me about the greatness of science and how it’s going to ‘save our’ human lives…it’s not going to…in fact I think the opposite has way more merit. As much as science is used to save lives, it’s causing the same problems needing the curing. The fact is, we humans are playing with processes we don’t test effectively (ie: chemistry).

    I think science is useful, with imposed limits. It’s like the story about a tree in the garden with a forbidden fruit. Science is Eve and has stepped into a realm of possibilities they are not responsible enough for control over. Now they leave the garden and along with it God. I am not sure this is smart.

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