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← WEIT review: Kevin Padian sucks me back into into the religion/science quagmire

WEIT review: Kevin Padian sucks me back into into the religion/science quagmire - Comments

Caudimordax's Avatar Comment 1 by Caudimordax

This is discouraging. A science reviewer bringing up the old "choice of truths" or "everyone has their own truth."

Edit:

Is it a philosophical choice to take antibiotics when you have an infection
Or as Tim Minchin would have it, "whether you decide to walk out the front door or the second floor window."

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 10:40:00 UTC | #342557

Needscowbell's Avatar Comment 2 by Needscowbell

This book review reeks of the "teach the controversy" nonsense. A science book's primary function is to explain the science. Philosophy is a fascinating endeavor, but not required for scientific discussions. Also, last I checked, none of the modern schools of science require a "leap of faith." Science is based on evidence, not faith.

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 10:49:00 UTC | #342564

AmericanGodless's Avatar Comment 4 by AmericanGodless

Excellent. I worry when I see Jerry Coyne saying (Why Evolution is True, pg 225) that the question of how we find our meaning, purpose, and moral guidance is outside the domain of science. But I don't think he really could mean that. Jerry, I am sure, uses antibiotics too, and his naturalism, I am also sure, does help him to formulate his own sense of meaning, purpose and morality.

Kevin should talk privately to his colleague, Eugenie, about how naturalism, as a theory, has been shown by science to be almost certainly true. She admitted that to me once, when I had the opportunity to speak to her after she gave a lecture; but she won't say so in public.

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 11:04:00 UTC | #342569

Gregg Townsend's Avatar Comment 3 by Gregg Townsend

Twenty-five years of hard work by scientific organizations like the NAS and NCSE, involving pushing religion/science accommodationism, have had no perceptible effect in changing the public’s acceptance of evolution.
This is my new favorite argument against the idea that reason needs to be respectful of religion.

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 11:04:00 UTC | #342568

root2squared's Avatar Comment 5 by root2squared

I think the ncse is taking the wrong approach, not to mention a cowardly one. They treat the religious like spoiled brats who'll throw a tantrum unless they are given a candy.

It would be sad if the majority of the ncse actually held this stance in private. To me, it seems theirs is a position of fear. Fear of the ignorant but numerous public who can cut off their funding unless their egos are catered to.

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 11:12:00 UTC | #342572

kkelly's Avatar Comment 6 by kkelly

Somehow I can’t believe that in his heart Padian accepts this philosophical equivalence, but maybe I’m wrong.


No you are not wrong. Now would have been a perfect time to call him an intellectually dishonest coward, in plain english.

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 11:23:00 UTC | #342575

friendlypig's Avatar Comment 7 by friendlypig

Whilst I agree with the above comments regards the NCSE, I think that they want to keep the religious scientists on board, rightly or wrongly, as a matter of strategy so that when there are court proceedings they can wheel out a 'believer' who can speak out against Creationism.

In this way the argument in Court does not become an 'us and them' argument.

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 11:34:00 UTC | #342577

root2squared's Avatar Comment 8 by root2squared

8. Comment #358821 by friendlypig

Whilst I agree with the above comments regards the NCSE, I think that they want to keep the religious scientists on board, rightly or wrongly, as a matter of strategy so that when there are court proceedings they can wheel out a 'believer' who can speak out against Creationism


I think religious scientists will be forced to speak out against creationism regardless of what the stance of NCSE is. When it comes to the court, the religious moderates will be against the creationists even if the atheists do not pander to them. I don't see reasonable moderates siding with creationists if the NCSE were to state that science is not compatible with religion. They might form their own bloc, which would still be fine.

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 11:42:00 UTC | #342579

dac74's Avatar Comment 10 by dac74

Off topic, but did any fellow brits (or anyone else) see 'Did Darwin Kill God' last night on BBC2[question mark]. Didn't catch all of it, but it seemed like is was pretty similar to Padian views - ie evolution and religion can be best mates 4ever and there's absolutely no contridiction at all beteween science and the first 2 chapters of Genesis etc etc etc etc

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 11:46:00 UTC | #342583

PrimeNumbers's Avatar Comment 9 by PrimeNumbers

Religion is incompatible with science in general. Religion is indeed a way of finding out how the universe works, but an unreliable and unproductive one. Science, on the other hand, is reliable and produces good results.

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 11:46:00 UTC | #342582

clintonjason's Avatar Comment 11 by clintonjason

Richard I love you... I wish you were my father.
Seriously.

ps.: Betty4x4 is indeed very stupid, but that's not repetitive at all. It's normal. She's so stupid... what a stupid old bag!

Cheers!

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 11:59:00 UTC | #342591

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 12 by Ignorant Amos

Comment #358829 by dac74

I seen the whole thing...you can download on iplayer.

Just un fucking believeable...I've mentioned it on some other threads, but this sort of thing gives...never mind I'll copy and paste....

Flabbergasted me. This type of show gives sucour to the moderates where none should be given. It also gave the imppression that scientists were doubting the full story of Evoloution in their droves. It made me feel somewhat queasy listening to the whispering commentary of Connor Cunningham.

It let the door be opened to overlapping magisteria...did ya think?

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 12:11:00 UTC | #342595

Chrysippus_Maximus's Avatar Comment 13 by Chrysippus_Maximus

What on earth is "a philosophical choice"?

Why is it being used as a synonym for Protagorean Subjectivism?

Protagoras was a sophist, not a philosopher (if you accept that distinction, as Plato did).

However, there are debates in contemporary philosophical circles about naturalism and non-naturalism - but not in the way in which you would think. It doesn't follow from say, value, being non-natural, that you are a raving creationist lunatic. Then again, it doesn't rule it out.

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 12:11:00 UTC | #342596

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 14 by rod-the-farmer

I agree with Gregg Townsend in comment # 4

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 12:18:00 UTC | #342598

Gregg Townsend's Avatar Comment 15 by Gregg Townsend

Rod,

Do you think we have a chance of convincing Old Sarum that pandering to the religious hasn't worked in the past so it merits trying a different tactic? :)

I should point out that I do think it's possible to be respectful to people while being contemptuous of religion. Philip's handling of Timothy is an example to live up to, in my opinion.

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 12:24:00 UTC | #342601

dac74's Avatar Comment 16 by dac74

Comment #358842 Ignorant Amos

I agree. It also had the distinct smell of strawman.Evolution doesn't disprove the existence of God; but it doesn't help it much either. I've always wondered why God would use such a brutal and horrible mechanism as Natural Selection to produce the diversity of life on this planet. Surely the TA DA! route seems much more sensible. I don't know if Cunningham addressed any of this, as I didn't see all of the programme

And as for reading Genesis as "metaphor". Groan. Perhaps Cunningham should go through the whole bible and mark up what's metaphorical and what's to be taken literally. It would solve a few problems, and perhaps reduce the number of Christian denominations in the process...

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 12:27:00 UTC | #342603

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 17 by rod-the-farmer

I agree you can respect individuals, without respecting their beliefs. I am certainly not the first to so state. What do you suggest re Old Sarum ?

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 12:36:00 UTC | #342606

Gregg Townsend's Avatar Comment 18 by Gregg Townsend

Well, he frequently states that NOMA is useful in getting the religious to accept the facts of evolution (or something similar)...maybe I should just ask him for evidence of his assertion? I really don't know...

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 12:42:00 UTC | #342608

epeeist's Avatar Comment 19 by epeeist

Comment #358850 by dac74:

And as for reading Genesis as "metaphor". Groan. Perhaps Cunningham should go through the whole bible and mark up what's metaphorical and what's to be taken literally.
I must admit that this is one thing that infuriates me. Given the evidence that we have now from cosmology and the theory of evolution then the Genesis account simply cannot be true.

Now, I always thought that if something had been shown to be not true then it was false. But apparently with religion things cease to be literally true and become "metaphorical" or "allegorical". Why not be upfront about it, the bible is wrong.

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 12:44:00 UTC | #342609

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 20 by Ignorant Amos

dac74

Quite

I can't understand why/how these intellectuals cannot grasp the part where an ultimate creator has been made redundant by evolution. That and the part where the bible was not written by said ultimate creator but by backward men thousands of years ago when just about everyone was IGNORANT and didn't know any better, although they were probably the intellectuals of the time. They cannot square the circle with any convincing stand point that I can see. Cunningham declared his unwavering believe in O of S and Darwin, then declared himself an OEC and Genesis is all metaphor. It was when Francis Collins was introduced as such a star for that argument and proceeded to justify the overlap of evolution and religion that made me want cry, throw up and smash the telly all at once.

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 12:50:00 UTC | #342610

dac74's Avatar Comment 21 by dac74

Comment #358856 by epeeist

Yes. Those who call for the bible to be taken metaphorically are generally trying to save the bible's face.

No one can really be sure for certain, but I don't think EITHER creation stories in Genesis were written as a metphor. They were the J and P sources best efforts to explain creation. Their knowledge was limited. It was wrong. Should be end of story. However, however, however...

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 13:00:00 UTC | #342612

PJG's Avatar Comment 22 by PJG

With friends like these......

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 13:05:00 UTC | #342614

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 23 by rod-the-farmer

What I have been doing is referring to it as the fact of evolution, and the theory being the Natural Selection part. I am trying to move past the point of arguing about evolution. I regard it as a done deal. The fundies who absolutely refuse to consider evolution is true, will likely never be convinced, they will just have to die off. I think it is useful to ask them what would convince them creationism is false, while I lay out what will convince me evolution is false. Typically, they cannot state anything will ever convince them. An unbiased observer may well think I won at least that argument.....faith versus evidence.

As for NOMA, I often describe my small Ford car as getting 175 miles per gallon, then ask people if they believe me. No ? If I offer no evidence, why should they ? Yet this is a simple claim, much more so than virgin births, raising the dead, etc. What was "evidence" 2000 years ago would not convince anyone these days, in the skeptical world we live in. Accepting my mileage claim without proof is akin to a NOMA issue. Outside the scope of science. Sure.

A local church has a sign, which I did not get a chance to read clearly, but it said something like "Atheists Welcome". I am tempted to drop by and see what that is all about.

EDIT to add

A major part of their creationism belief versus evolution is the scope of the time available. We humans simply cannot grasp the idea of that much time. I have said this before, but let me express it in slightly different terms. Proof of the time scale is more a hard science, as opposed to biology, IMHO. Geology, plate tectonics etc. CAN be understood by the average person with a high school education or less. We can SEE the evidence of folded strata, sea shells up high in the mountains, the continental shelves of S. America and Africa, etc. It doesn't take much to work from that, that the earth is older than 6,000 years. A lot older. Once THAT concept is firmly imbedded in the minds of the great unwashed, I think it will be much easier to propose evolution as able to change one species into a quite different one. We already have evidence of changes driven my man (domesticated animals) and by forced isolation (those lizards on the Adriatic island). If changes such as these can be observed in less than one human lifespan, how hard can it be to imagine much larger changes over the age of the earth ?

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 13:06:00 UTC | #342615

dochmbi's Avatar Comment 24 by dochmbi

If we all get our own reality, then next time I have to do an exam I'll just make up answers and write on the paper that these are true answers in my subjective reality, and I'm sure to get a A .

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 13:13:00 UTC | #342617

Gregg Townsend's Avatar Comment 25 by Gregg Townsend

25. Comment #358865 by dochmbi

If we all get our own reality, then next time I have to do an exam I'll just make up answers and write on the paper that these are true answers in my subjective reality, and I'm sure to get a A .

You may get your wish if you live in Texas.

Dont penalize Texas students for any belief about science bill says

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 13:20:00 UTC | #342621

Peter Clemerson's Avatar Comment 26 by Peter Clemerson

"The postmodernist claim that accepting scientific rather than spiritual truths is simply a matter of taste is a claim of breathtaking inanity."

I have often read equivalent statements that this is what Post Modernists claim but have not come across any major thinker who adheres to and defends the position that Coyne criticizes. Has anyone else and if so, can you give me references?

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 13:43:00 UTC | #342629

quantum_flux's Avatar Comment 27 by quantum_flux

KO

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 13:43:00 UTC | #342630

JonLynnHarvey's Avatar Comment 28 by JonLynnHarvey

Some religious apologists have appealed to postmodernism. But postmodernism tends frequently to be overtly anti-science, and fellows like Collins who actually try to reconcile religion and science are virtually never post-modernists.
When Coyne writes

And I’m not so sure that it is a “philosophical” choice” or a “belief” “to “accept a naturalistic versus supernaturalistic explanation of the world around us.”


followed later by

The postmodernist claim that accepting scientific rather than spiritual truths is simply a matter of taste is a claim of breathtaking inanity.


that's really about pro-religionists who actually oppose science (and there are those who do appealing to post-modernism), not pro-religionists who try to reconcile relgion and science, so Coyne has inappropriately conflated two different perspectives.

The NSE can either pander to the more open-minded religious folk, or it can just ignore them altogether. The NSE would be a bit more honest if it said there are conflicting claims about the philosophical implications of science, which it is not the business of science to resolve, but it isn't really promoting religion either, just a kind of "maybe" compatibility based on speculative thinking.

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 14:33:00 UTC | #342642

JonLynnHarvey's Avatar Comment 29 by JonLynnHarvey

Other topic.
I am unconvinced the authors of Genesis thought it to be literal truth. It is too obviously a reworking of motifs from Babylonian mythology, taking their symbols and reshaping/remolding them into a radically different metaphysical framework.

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 14:40:00 UTC | #342645

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 30 by Bonzai

JLH

Some religious apologists have appealed to postmodernism.


Well if they do they would be really stupid, as Pomo doesn't give any special status to 'revelations' either. It would be hard to invoke postmodernism to attack rationalism and then in the next breath to tell us that the Bible is truth.

Pomo doesn't believe in 'truth', including its own.

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 14:40:00 UTC | #342646