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Religion no excuse for promoting scientific ignorance - Comments

Bernard Hurley's Avatar Comment 1 by Bernard Hurley

Religion is no excuse for anything!

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 19:38:52 UTC | #591310

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 2 by Stafford Gordon

As usual from Professor Krause, clarity and concision.

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 20:10:25 UTC | #591317

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 3 by Neodarwinian

The case in several paragraphs.

Keep religion out of education. Relegate it to " story time. "

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 20:24:01 UTC | #591321

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 4 by Mr DArcy

I wonder if this fellow has difficulty with big bang cosmology as well as evolution. Yes the big bang has problems as does evolution, but they present the best currently known explanations for the facts. He may have changed his mind since he made those silly comments about evolution, but there again, he might not. As long as he kept God out of the universe, I wouldn't have minded his astronomy!

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 20:37:05 UTC | #591327

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 5 by Alan4discussion

But it offers ALL the answers: GOD-DID-IT-BY-MAGIC. Think of the savings on the research budgets and the time saved on science courses!

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 20:37:27 UTC | #591328

MajorTomWaits99's Avatar Comment 6 by MajorTomWaits99

But without research....They get no moneys....

Unless they want to research as to what color socks God Wears...or why the Bible didn't use a Gregorian calendar when it was written and therefore isn't an accurate representation of time..or

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 20:45:20 UTC | #591330

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 7 by Steve Zara

Religious viewpoints need not conflict with science

How do I cope with this view without seeming sarcastic. I don't want to be sarcastic, or cutting, or snide. I really like Lawrence Krauss. He's a great teacher of science, and his ideas are exciting.

All I can do is just write, and hope that it's taken in good spirits. Or, I could write nothing. But that's no fun. So I will write, and hope.

"Religious viewpoints need not conflict with science."

As a child I used to like the green robes of the priests. They added even more colour to the proceedings, along with the sunlight that shone through stained glass to tint the marble of the altar. Religious fashion need not conflict with science.

The communion wafer was white and crisp. I had no flavour, but somehow tasted of white and crisp. It had symbols pressed into it that you could almost read with your tongue. Religious diets need not conflict with science.

The music was quite and experience. On the days when the organist was seen to walk in, we sat in anticipation of the joyous chaos of missed beats and wrong notes. Religious music need not conflict with science.

But then there was this god business. The priest as magician, the wafer as flesh, the music as worship. It did seem to conflict with science to me, as a child. Just a bit. I mean, a person in the sky was not meant to be taken seriously, was it? And as for the resurrection? A bit too much like vampires and zombies. I asked too many questions. They didn't like it. Could I keep away from their religious groups, please?

Of course religion conflicts with science. It's everything science should reject, and nothing science needs. It may be a source of music and poetry and imagination but so is gin. Or opium.

Religion is everything that science needs to defeat. It's meaningless supernaturalism, it's paternalistic and masochistic theism. It's the celebration of ignorance, the worship of ego, the promotion of emotion over the filter of reason.

Just look at Miller, and Collins. Their religion can't cope with science. It hangs around, skulking in the shadows. Thank goodness it runs to hide when science appears. Their faith is apparent because of its incongruity. For Collins a frozen waterfall reveals not the elegant crystals of water, that most astonishing molecule, but some illogical aspect of an impossible triune monotheism. For Miller evolution must be both everything to do with science, but in the end, nothing, as here we are, God's chosen.

I like them both. They are good men. But boy are they deluded.

Please let's not say religion goes with science. It doesn't. It's like boozing for sobriety, or shagging for virginity. Science is the right way to find things out, religion is the wrong way. We have to choose.

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 20:49:51 UTC | #591331

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 8 by mordacious1

I'm sure U of K settled because they're in Kentucky. What kind of jury would they have? Or what kind of judge? They probably just didn't think it was cost effective to take the case to the Federal level where it would have gone to the U.S. 6th circuit which leans to the right of the political spectrum.

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 20:56:11 UTC | #591332

Vorlund's Avatar Comment 9 by Vorlund

We must have a campaign to expel religious teaching from all schools no matter how long it takes.

Most adults are 'educated' beyond their analytical capabilities (quote - Sir peter Medawar) and children are too vulnerable to be exposed to the lies of religious and supenatural belief.

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 21:45:58 UTC | #591341

rrh1306's Avatar Comment 10 by rrh1306

For starters the creation stories of the major religions certainly conflict with science. There's no way around that.

Comment 7 by Steve Zara :

Religious viewpoints need not conflict with science

Of course religion conflicts with science.

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 21:57:31 UTC | #591344

ridelo's Avatar Comment 11 by ridelo

If you skipped comment 7 by Steve Zara, go back and read it. I enjoyed it.

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 22:26:01 UTC | #591348

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 12 by Stevehill

The important question is whether, as a potential science educator, he has a firm grasp of the science and an ability to communicate it accurately. Given the evidence at hand there is reason to believe not.

I'm quite bored with this apologia - I've explained why a thousand times. His alleged beliefs (about biology, which are in any case disputed by him) are irrelevant to his ability to teach astronomy. And under US law, in any event, his beliefs are not a legal reason to not hire what the university admits (many times, and in contemporary emails) to be the best qualified person for the job.

It's at least debatable whether Gaskell is really a Creationist. It's not debatable that 40% of Americans are.

Is it OK for anyone, on account of their personal preferences and beliefs, and for no other reason, to declare that 40% of Americans are unemployable?

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 23:11:41 UTC | #591354

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 13 by Steve Zara

His alleged beliefs (about biology, which are in any case disputed by him) are irrelevant to his ability to teach astronomy.

Sure, unless you don't mind someone teaching facts that they don't, deep down, have much confidence in.

And under US law, in any event, his beliefs are not a legal reason to not hire what the university admits (many times, and in contemporary emails) to be the best qualified person for the job.

Depends what you mean by 'best qualified'.

Is it OK for anyone, on account of their personal preferences and beliefs, and for no other reason, to declare that 40% of Americans are unemployable?

Sure. How many of them would you hire as nuclear engineers?

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 23:17:25 UTC | #591356

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Comment 14 by Rich Wiltshir

@ SteveZara, comment 7. Yet another wise and insightful offering from Steve. Maybe there's an New Scientist editorial influence on Krauss' words? I know he's eminently reasonable and appropriately forceful in his presentations, but could this hue be to show tolerance to the religoon that reads this somewhat diluted magazine? The days of New Scientist being consistently worth the cover price are gone.
Just a thought!

I wholly agree with Steve in calling for the expulsion of myth from the science class. Religoons still have their vile influene in morning gatherings, hotel bedrooms, government, currency, tv scheduling and "Thought For The Day" (BBC Radio 4 kowtow to fairy story peddlars). Let's allow the gravity of reason use the tide of science to educate over these rancid indoctrinations!

Religoon's on it's way out: just in time for the next generation to apply all the reasoning it can against the problems and opportunities well pass on.

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 23:25:40 UTC | #591358

chawinwords's Avatar Comment 15 by chawinwords

Alan4discussion, said: "But it offers ALL the answers: GOD-DID-IT-BY-MAGIC." Exactly! First there was the word, and God was the word, and God simply spoke the universe into existence (not instantly though, it took 6 days for such a big spell-casting job). There are words for such phenomenon: "incantation and conjuration." The universe is merely a God-spoken magic spell -- and how do I know: the Bible (Hebrew tribal creation story) tells me so -- cased closed. Not only that, a stick touching the Nile can turn trillions of gallons of water into blood -- or, a human body can survive for an extended amount of time in a fish's stomach, swimming in highly concentrated, bone eating hydrochloric acid, and magically raising a putrefying dead body is easy. Magic spell after magic spell spoken in the Bible, and I thought the Bible was against witchcraft!

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 23:35:53 UTC | #591361

sanban's Avatar Comment 16 by sanban

Comment 12 by Stevehill :

The important question is whether, as a potential science educator, he has a firm grasp of the science and an ability to communicate it accurately. Given the evidence at hand there is reason to believe not.

I'm quite bored with this apologia - I've explained why a thousand times. His alleged beliefs (about biology, which are in any case disputed by him) are irrelevant to his ability to teach astronomy. And under US law, in any event, his beliefs are not a legal reason to not hire what the university admits (many times, and in contemporary emails) to be the best qualified person for the job. It's at least debatable whether Gaskell is really a Creationist. It's not debatable that 40% of Americans are.

Is it OK for anyone, on account of their personal preferences and beliefs, and for no other reason, to declare that 40% of Americans are unemployable?

What if Gaskell had declared that there were serious problems with meterologist's explanation of rainbows, monsoons and tornadoes? After all, the faithful know the rainbow is a sign from God sent to remind his people that he will never destroy the entire world by flood again. Monsoons are the result of the cyclical struggles between the dragon and Vidra and tornadoes are the rage of a powerful warrior who periodically escapes from the great spirit. These have nothing to do with his work as an astronomy prof, so what's the harm in his expounding them in a speech?

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 23:37:09 UTC | #591363

aussie_atheist's Avatar Comment 17 by aussie_atheist

In the spirit of contrarianism, Krauss didn't say that that religion as a whole can coexist with science. I'm reasonably sure he's not an accomadationist. He said that religious viewpoints can coexist with science. A deistic Christian (not that there's many of those) ought to have no problem accepting evolution, nor should any religious person who believes that human evolution was completely driven by natural selection. Some forms of Buddhism perhaps, or some non-interventionist monotheisms. On the other hand the Pope would argue that God vaguely guided evolution, and to me this is completely incompatible with the scientific account of evolution.

Despite their logical inconsistencies, religious viewpoints like the first three can coexist with scientific explanations of evolution. On the other hand they are probably exceedingly rare, and might only flourish amongst the Christian intelligentsia that Krauss seems friendly with. Should we encourage borderline religious types into this more science-aligned belief structure, or is it so rare that there is no hope of this, and ignoring it is the best option?strong text

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 23:40:07 UTC | #591364

AlexP's Avatar Comment 18 by AlexP

Science and religion will always be in conflict, even in cases where both happen to come to the same conclusions.

Their approach is fundamentally different. Religion means seeking the truth through revelation and interpretation. Science means seeking the truth through observations, experiments and accumulating evidence.

Imagine watching two boys, both with remote controls, and a single toy car, driving in circles around them. Only one remote controls the car. The other doesn't do anything. One remote works, the other is a fake. It doesn't cease to be a fake even when its owner copies the exact motions of his counterpart and allows us to uphold the illusion they're somehow "both in control".

Of course religion can follow every scientific discovery and bend over backwards to agree with everything. That does not make religion valid as a means to learn about the nature of our universe the same way the boys remote won't control the car even if he painstakingly takes care to push the little levers exactly the same way as his friend does.

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 23:42:53 UTC | #591365

aussie_atheist's Avatar Comment 19 by aussie_atheist

In the spirit of contrarianism, Krauss didn't say that that religion as a whole can coexist with science. I'm reasonably sure he's not an accomadationist. He said that religious viewpoints can coexist with science. A deistic Christian (not that there's many of those) ought to have no problem accepting evolution, nor should any religious person who believes that human evolution was completely driven by natural selection. Some forms of Buddhism perhaps, or some non-interventionist monotheisms. On the other hand the Pope would argue that God vaguely guided evolution, and to me this is completely incompatible with the scientific account of evolution.

Despite their logical inconsistencies, religious viewpoints like the first three can coexist with scientific explanations of evolution. On the other hand they are probably exceedingly rare, and might only flourish amongst the Christian intelligentsia that Krauss seems friendly with. Should we encourage borderline religious types into this more science-aligned belief structure, or is it so rare that there is no hope of this, and ignoring it is the best option?

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 23:49:55 UTC | #591369

rrh1306's Avatar Comment 20 by rrh1306

Not if they're a ditch digger, or a cable guy, or a mailman. But if they're a scientist...maybe. But in the Gaskell case. If he really was the most qualified person for the job, and his ideas that the universe is designed by a deity don't seep into his teaching of astronomy, then I think he deserves the job. I think the main question is whether the person teaches their beliefs or science.

Comment 12 by Stevehill :

Is it OK for anyone, on account of their personal preferences and beliefs, and for no other reason, to declare that 40% of Americans are unemployable?

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 23:55:35 UTC | #591371

Jasonjay's Avatar Comment 21 by Jasonjay

Can anyone give me an example of something being created? Things seem to come about as a result of exsisting materials either combining or changing.

Sun, 13 Feb 2011 00:03:03 UTC | #591372

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 22 by Steve Zara

Should we encourage borderline religious types into this more science-aligned belief structure, or is it so rare that there is no hope of this, and ignoring it is the best option?

I think everyone should be encouraged to either learn more about science. What I think is wrong for several reasons is to insist that science and religion are compatible. They are not just philosophically incompatible, but also factually incompatible and morally incompatible. They are factually incompatible because people who work in science have a significantly reduced likelihood of retaining their faith than those who don't - in the USA around half lose their belief in God. So, saying that science and faith are compatible is not generally true - it's misleading at best. Finally, they are morally incompatible because of this loss of faith. Trying to lure people into science by insisting that their faith is safe is just not true. Telling untruths is a bad thing. It's particularly bad because science is about truth. It's a pretty poor idea to try and promote the search for truth with a lie.

We should promote science all we can, but not with untruths. A statement that religion is generally compatible with science is philosophically false, factually false, and morally wrong. We should try and avoid mention of religion in any way.

Sun, 13 Feb 2011 00:09:13 UTC | #591374

rrh1306's Avatar Comment 23 by rrh1306

Hi Jasonjay. I could give you examples like stars creating gamma rays, and Neutrinos. I could talk about virtual particles popping in and out of existence in quantum vacuums. But I guess you'd would probably filed that under the category of things changing and combining. Though I'm not sure that applies to virtual particles. What your really asking I think is how can something come out of nothing ( though if your religious, I doubt you apply this same logic to god). To which I ask you. What proof do you have that a state of complete nothingness ever existed?

Comment 21 by Jasonjay :

Can anyone give me an example of something being created? Things seem to come about as a result of exsisting materials either combining or changing.

Sun, 13 Feb 2011 00:17:42 UTC | #591376

Jasonjay's Avatar Comment 24 by Jasonjay

Thanks for the reply rrh. Firstly i dont belive in anything at the mo, am completly open minded and just gathering info. Yes i suppose the question always goes back to how can something come from nothing. The thing is that when i talk about nothing people studdle to understand what nothing is.

In the big bang theory, what went bang and if it expanded in to space were did space come from.

Surely space time should be called space change rither than man made time?

Sun, 13 Feb 2011 00:40:06 UTC | #591380

DocWebster's Avatar Comment 25 by DocWebster

What proof do you have that a state of complete nothingness ever existed?

That is an interesting question. Not interesting in the way watching whales playing is interesting, more like "Why is there existence?" interesting. I would say that whatever answer Mr. Gaskell comes up with would have a direct bearing on his fitness for teaching anything.

Sun, 13 Feb 2011 00:40:48 UTC | #591381

locutus7's Avatar Comment 26 by locutus7

Science is reality-based. Religion is based on wishful thinking.

Religion is an hypothesis of how the world works THAT IS WRONG. And its only place in university is history class or abnormal psychology courses, or perhaps a history of science course that highlights the God of the Gaps.

Sun, 13 Feb 2011 00:41:15 UTC | #591382

Quine's Avatar Comment 27 by Quine

Comment 7 by Steve Zara :

Religious viewpoints need not conflict with science

How do I cope with this view without seeming sarcastic. I don't want to be sarcastic, or cutting, or snide. I really like Lawrence Krauss. He's a great teacher of science, and his ideas are exciting.

I, also, liked comment 7 by Steve. I think Lawrence was very carefully picking his words for this publication re a hot potato issue; few lawyers could have done better. Using "religious viewpoints" is not the same as saying "religion" and "need not conflict" leaves wiggle room from "can be compatible." Believing in something you can't support by evidence (string theory) is not necessarily "in conflict" with science as long as there is nothing to show against it, whereas, believing an intelligent entity just popped into existence, or selectively influenced recovery from disease is not "compatible" with science because it goes against all the evidence we have for cause and effect situations.

So, I would agree with Lawrence that religious viewpoints need not conflict with science, but I will add what he, diplomatically, left out: in the real world, it seems they always do.

Sun, 13 Feb 2011 00:57:47 UTC | #591387

Jasonjay's Avatar Comment 28 by Jasonjay

God and religion r 2 completly difirent things. God is a theory of how things began, religion is a man made belief, we need to ensure we separate these 2 things. For instance steven hawkins thinks god is the laws of pysics or some other creative force or substance or being.

Sun, 13 Feb 2011 01:04:50 UTC | #591389

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 29 by Ignorant Amos

HAWKING.....STEPHEN H-A-W-K-I-N-G......ffs make an effort.....Stephen HAWKING as opposed to Richard DAWKINS.....it's not HAWKINS or DAWKING! ....strewth and heavens to Murgatroide or should that be Betsy?.

Sun, 13 Feb 2011 02:08:32 UTC | #591401

sanban's Avatar Comment 30 by sanban

Comment 28 by Jasonjay :

God and religion r 2 completly difirent things. God is a theory of how things began, religion is a man made belief, we need to ensure we separate these 2 things. For instance steven hawkins thinks god is the laws of pysics or some other creative force or substance or being.

You've got it bass-ackwards, man. God is not a theory of anything at all.

And if you've heard anywhere that Hawking is a theist, or has accounted for god in his scientific research, you've got the wrong end of the stick completely! Not only did Hawking dismiss the idea that there is any such being that existed at any point in the universe, but most recently has declared any creator/god as completely irrelevant and unnecessary.

Sun, 13 Feb 2011 02:17:32 UTC | #591403