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Even great science tells us nothing about God - Comments

helena!'s Avatar Comment 1 by helena!

I don't care to read the rest of this recycled rubbish especially if it means paying to Murdoch's lie & propaganda industry.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 15:22:15 UTC | #509886

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 2 by SaganTheCat

That is what scientists do not understand.

haha stupid scientists!

not paying to read the rest sorry

They even occupy different hemispheres of the brain. Science — linear, atomistic, analytical — is a typical left-brain activity. Religion — integrative, holistic, relational — is supremely a work of the right brain.

is this a scientific or religious assertion about the human brain?

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 15:24:20 UTC | #509887

ajs261's Avatar Comment 3 by ajs261

“I do not need God to explain the Universe.” We never did. That is what scientists do not understand.

On the contrary, scientists know this full well. Sadly religious people need continuous reminders of this. It also works well to show everyone that science can come up with much better explanations (or the only explanation, considering creator god ones explain nothing at all).

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 15:25:43 UTC | #509890

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 4 by AtheistEgbert

"There is a difference between science and religion."

Yes, science is rational and religion is irrational.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 15:25:53 UTC | #509891

godsbelow's Avatar Comment 5 by godsbelow

"EVEN GREAT SCIENCE TELLS US NOTHING ABOUT GOD"

Correct.

Because science can only describe empirical reality.

"God" is a subject for students of literature majoring in fiction.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 15:27:48 UTC | #509892

Hammert1me's Avatar Comment 6 by Hammert1me

Oddly enough, science has a very hard time testing things that do not exist.

This just in:

"Even great science tells us nothing about invisible werewolves"

Where did they come from? What do they want? How did they fashion our existance? How should we organise our lives to appease or invisible canine masters? Why does rupert murdoch expect us to pay for regergitated drivel?

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 15:39:53 UTC | #509906

helen sotiriadis's Avatar Comment 7 by helen sotiriadis

“I do not need God to explain the Universe.” We never did. That is what scientists do not understand.

sticks fingers in ears, sings la la la

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 15:40:30 UTC | #509907

PrimeNumbers's Avatar Comment 8 by PrimeNumbers

Science is about finding out how things work, religion is about fighting over which God did it.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 15:45:04 UTC | #509912

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 9 by Stevehill

When Napoleon asked Laplace, two hundred years ago, where was God in his scientific system, the mathematician replied, Je n’ais besoin de cette hypothèse. “I do not need God to explain the Universe.” We never did.

Good, neither did we. Let's move on then. Preferably after you've told all the other theists out there the good news.

That is what scientists do not understand.

No, they understand it very well, always have, always will. Laplace is one of "ours", you know.

Muddled stuff, rabbi.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 15:48:31 UTC | #509916

LWS's Avatar Comment 10 by LWS

Theology is justification for the existence of priests and rabbis without which they'd be forced to work at real jobs.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 15:58:31 UTC | #509925

Marc Country's Avatar Comment 11 by Marc Country

Don't feed the trolls.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 16:06:00 UTC | #509927

Mattmon's Avatar Comment 12 by Mattmon

They put it behind a paywall so that we won't be able to read it, and thus we won't be able to tear it apart.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 16:11:07 UTC | #509931

GodExposed's Avatar Comment 13 by GodExposed

I love it when the comments are far better than the article. Keep up the good work fellow commenters, and thank you to RDF for posting it.

The article is indeed a very confused piece. If the opening paragraph is anything to go by, it's not worth paying Murdoch to read the rest. I'm sure a free version will be available in this week's Jewish Chronicle.

I'd like to know where in the Bible it speaks for the scientific left-side of the brain and the religious right-side of the brain. Can the Chief please provide Bible citations in future. Thanks.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 16:12:07 UTC | #509932

elmo14's Avatar Comment 14 by elmo14

It is important for us to understand the misinterpretation Professor Hawking has made, because the mutual hostility between religion and science is one of the curses of our age, and is damaging to religion and science in equal measure.

Wrong. It is true that science does damage to religion. Anyone who is even moderately scientifically literate will begin to see the falsehoods and self contradictions contained in scripture. But on the other hand religion cannot hurt science. Yes it can hurt the public perception of science or the public's scientific literacy, and can therefore hurt scientific progress. But it doesn't actually damage scientific concepts.

At least his title was accurate. Science is utterly useless in defining the non existent.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 16:14:28 UTC | #509935

TIKI AL's Avatar Comment 15 by TIKI AL

"Religion puts things together to see what they mean."

...Reminds me of those black 8 balls that you shake up and various answers appear in a clear plastic window.

A religion could easily be started with one of them, claiming that a thoughtful and wise god resides within the ball.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 16:24:51 UTC | #509942

GodExposed's Avatar Comment 16 by GodExposed

Excellent point elmo14. I feel a new bumper sticker in the making with your:

"Science is utterly useless in defining the non existent."

In one sentence that sums up the amount of time science should spend on religion.

Of course psychology and evolution have a lot to say on why our mamalian species should be so prone to believing in the non-existent, but I have a funny feeling the religious mindset would simply retort as "mattpryor" already has done over at the Jewish Chronicle, namely that

"Bigotry and intolerance of the worst kind mixed with a smug sense of intellectual superiority."

We know we're definitely in a Monty Python sketch when the religious lecture others on bigotry and intolerance.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 16:27:59 UTC | #509948

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 17 by Cartomancer

There is a difference between science and religion. Science is about explanation. Religion is about interpretation. Science takes things apart to see how they work. Religion puts things together to see what they mean. They are different intellectual enterprises. They even occupy different hemispheres of the brain. Science — linear, atomistic, analytical — is a typical left-brain activity. Religion — integrative, holistic, relational — is supremely a work of the right brain.

Would somebody please show this ignorant little man Jacob Bronowski's The Ascent of Man to help him overcome this ridiculous little misconception. The third episode "The Grain in the Stone" is particularly relevant here. It might also show him what a proper jewish intellectual is supposed to look like...

Updated: Thu, 02 Sep 2010 16:33:02 UTC | #509954

Reginald's Avatar Comment 18 by Reginald

One purpose of the scientific enterprise is to find a Theory of Everything. I would call that holistic and integrative. Religion moans and carps and criticises,-I would call that destructive and belittling. To paraphrase Laplace: we do not need religious nonsense in science.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 16:33:32 UTC | #509957

Reginald's Avatar Comment 19 by Reginald

Tiki Al "15 by TIKI AL

"Religion puts things together to see what they mean."

You mean airliners and sky-scrapers?

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 16:35:19 UTC | #509960

GodExposed's Avatar Comment 20 by GodExposed

Good point, Reginald. I laughed when I saw the Chief quote a scientist to accuse scientists of not getting the uniquely scientific point.

Could you imagine the employer-employee relationship being defined thus:

Employer: I'm the boss.

Employee: That's right, I'm the boss.

Religion today is only really in the business of that level of dialogue. And it is Big Business measured mathematically in all and every currency on the planet.

Now if they'd only share the wealth they hoard, they might have an evolutionary chance in hell of survival :)

Updated: Thu, 02 Sep 2010 16:48:43 UTC | #509970

Logicel's Avatar Comment 21 by Logicel

Sacks' simplistic grasp of reality is only matched by his simplistic and ignorant grasp of brain function. He is a silly, folksy, trite character, what ever would he be able to do if he was not a religious leech?

Updated: Thu, 02 Sep 2010 16:46:06 UTC | #509971

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 22 by crookedshoes

Hilarious!!!! I love it. He prescribes what science "should" know. What about what religion should stay the fuck out of??You know, reality??? Hello, science does explain. Religion does NOT interpret. Interpretation requires rational thought or else you arrive at INCORRECT interpretations. Religion is, in fact, exactly that, an incorrect interpretation of reality. I always use the word ILLUSION to describe what religion is. It is an illusion of explanation, not an actual explanation.

 Further, there is a strong illusion of design inherent in all living things.  This illusion, when religious "interpretation" is applied leads to the bullshit of creationists.  ILLUSIONS.  DELUSIONS....dangerously close to the same exact thing.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 16:45:53 UTC | #509972

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 23 by Nunbeliever

because the mutual hostility between religion and science is one of the curses of our age, and is damaging to religion and science in equal measure.

Well this comment made it very clear that paying for a crap article like this is worse than throwing money in the lake... Exactly in what ways have science suffered from the ever-growing marginalization of religion in scientific circles?

As far as I am concerned science is doing just fine. In fact better than ever... The fact that many people turn away from science these days is a whole other question and might in part be attributed to the great success of science in the past. In fact science has been so successful that ignorant people seem to regard science as omnipotent. Forget ALL the great discoveries made and that are constantly being made. If science can't do the trick for ME right HERE and right NOW! Then screw you, I'm going home! (pronounced with a Cartman accent)... All these new-agers are so damn spoiled, and who is to blame? Science of course. Science has spoiled us all and will continue to do so if allowed to proceed without constraints. Still, there are always these ignorant morons who can't appretiate how well off they are. They are looking for cheap thrills and there are no shortage of wackos out there more than willing to label science the great evil in our world...

Updated: Thu, 02 Sep 2010 16:54:54 UTC | #509973

Dax's Avatar Comment 24 by Dax

hey even occupy different hemispheres of the brain. Science — linear, atomistic, analytical — is a typical left-brain activity. Religion — integrative, holistic, relational — is supremely a work of the right brain.

Strange... never noticed this in any of the labs I worked in. In fact, I find science to require both my brain hemispheres. Do people really think scientists are linear automatons, just plodding away following a set pattern, never following up on a wild hunch, never integrating their research in a more holistic view of the world, never finding relational patterns, never allowing for any emotion to creep through, like we're from the planet Vulcan?

I guess I am not a scientist then, and neither is anyone I have ever worked with.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 16:51:35 UTC | #509978

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 25 by Stafford Gordon

What a silly statement. Of course science can't tell us anything about god, for the simple reason that there is no evidence to work on

S G

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 16:56:50 UTC | #509981

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 26 by crookedshoes

I thought the idea of the brains hemispheres working independently and some people being "right brained" and some left had been left behind. I am not a brain scientist but, thought that this mode of thinking was outdated. Am I wrong???

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 17:12:55 UTC | #509991

tboulay's Avatar Comment 27 by tboulay

It is important for us to understand the misinterpretation Professor Hawking has made...

This irritates me to no end. It's like Sam Harris said in a number of his talks; when you say something like this to someone like Hawking you're essentially telling him

"look Stephan I see you've got a lot of equations and stuff over there .. but honestly I don't think you know enough about physics and cosmology .. I mean, it says here in Genesis that god created the earth in 7 days, and I don't think you've wrestled with the subtle nuances."

It drives me nuts to hear this from the religious, it's like a 5 year old lecturing an adult because they don't believe in the tooth fairy..

No, we don't need to grasp the subtle nuances of religion, just like we don't all need to get 5000$ university degrees online in toothieology in order to properly dismiss the tooth fairy.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 17:17:54 UTC | #509996

man with stick's Avatar Comment 28 by man with stick

They are different intellectual enterprises. They even occupy different hemispheres of the brain. Science — linear, atomistic, analytical — is a typical left-brain activity. Religion — integrative, holistic, relational — is supremely a work of the right brain.

Science is left-brain and linear? Is darwins tree linear? Are non-linear differential equations linear? what does that mean?

We are all know who sat on god's left hand side don't we and he was indeed sinister like science.

Religion occupies the right side bit of the brain that is really good at inventing nonsense and making destructive use of the stuff generated by the left hand side, whilst simultaneously ignoring and denying that the left hand side has come up with a demonstrable fact that contradicts the right sides nonsense.

Christ my brains tired!

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 17:24:41 UTC | #510002

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 29 by Jos Gibbons

In view of the pay wall, I'll debunk what I can afford to.

Even great science tells us nothing about God

Whereas bronze age literature tells us plenty about him?

What would we do for entertainment without scientists telling us, with breathless excitement, that “God did not create the Universe,” as if they were the first to discover this astonishing proposition?

1.Do you really have no ideas what else to do? 2. Since when have scientists making such a statement thereby exhibited "breathless excitement"? The choice of "breathless" seems especially unsympathetic in the case of a man so seriously physically hill as Professor Hawking. 3. This whole first-to-discover thing illustrates the follow-the-prophet mentality of theists. We need to keep saying something for many centuries before religions will concede it. 4. You must bear in mind Hawking is making a personal contribution here, as his latest book aims to show the laws of physics already familiar to us complete the solution.

When Napoleon asked Laplace, two hundred years ago, where was God in his scientific system, the mathematician replied, Je n’ais besoin de cette hypothèse. “I do not need God to explain the Universe.”

This discussion of Laplace's explanation of the emergence of certain large-scale properties of the solar system is having its scale exaggerated here. Worse still, the translation is utterly specious; all Laplace said was "I've no need of that hypothesis", which doesn't discuss the place of God in work besides that of Laplace. (Also, given what Napoleon was like, this encounter probably never happened. Next you'll be expecting me to believe Napoleon really proved the theorem which bears his name.)

We never did. That is what scientists do not understand.

No. Scientists have been trying to explain it to theists for a long time. It is theists who do not understand it.

There is a difference between science and religion.

Oh, here it comes. The fact that they do differ will be used to argue they should differ, and that each should be held to different standards, and therefore religion needn't back up its claims as science. in short, religion is allowed to break rules because it decides that breaking them is its business.

Religion is about interpretation.

As exhibited by you guys never agreeing over the meaning of your own texts? Or perhaps by "interpretation" you were referencing how you guys keep pretending your book wasn't refuted on a factual issue by claiming it was a metaphor all along? Listen up: the existence of metaphor as a trick in language is not a limitless get out of jail free card for he whole of theology.

Science takes things apart to see how they work. Religion puts things together to see what they mean.

No. Science identifies how everything is made layer by layer, then works upwards again, understanding how the first layer works and how each subsequent one works given how its predecessor works; science alone both dismantles and rebuilds. Some things mean something; others do not. Religion makes unfounded claims aiming to inflate the former camp, then act as if there must be something in religion because only it answers the questions which without it do not even arise. They declare themselves experts on purposes no-one else even think exist, which they themselves have dreamed up. All, of course, without any evidence.

They even occupy different hemispheres of the brain. Science — linear, atomistic, analytical — is a typical left-brain activity. Religion — integrative, holistic, relational — is supremely a work of the right brain.

Aside from mischaracterising science and pretending certain virtues of it instead belong only to religion, this comment is wrong about the brain. It is not just that his hemisphere analysis is empirically mistaken (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_hemispheres#Hemisphere_lateralization); research due to people such as Sam Harris also shows that religious beliefs are no different from others at the level of the brain. What we do know about religion at the level of the brain is pretty damning. While thinking about one's own opinions and those of others involve different brain patterns, thinking about God's opinions reproduces the former, thus showing God is a projection of one's own prejudices. This would explain why however much people of different and common religions differ on moral questions, they always think they and God are in agreement.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 17:44:07 UTC | #510026

GodExposed's Avatar Comment 30 by GodExposed

Jos Gibbons, excellent rebuttal. I shall be twittering it. Thank you.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 18:02:04 UTC | #510043