This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Religion: Faith in science

Religion: Faith in science - Comments

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 1 by Peter Grant

Putting "faith" in your science is a the most effective way to ensure that others will loose faith in your "science".

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 16:23:13 UTC | #592741

rrh1306's Avatar Comment 2 by rrh1306

It's hard to trust any of these "Religious Science" institutions because they're so often dishonest about their goals. When they're talking to the skeptical Scientist they assure them it's all about the science. But catch them talking about the goals of their institute in their church and it's often a different story.

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 16:51:00 UTC | #592747

wald0h's Avatar Comment 3 by wald0h

As much as I like Michael Shermer, he is dead wrong about the templeton foundation.

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 17:10:00 UTC | #592751

JumpinJackFlash's Avatar Comment 4 by JumpinJackFlash

Lies, damned lies and religious science.

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 17:24:20 UTC | #592754

CarlaTrumper's Avatar Comment 5 by CarlaTrumper

I don't feel comfortable with a foundation linking itself with theologians to intergrate with science. I too am a fan of Michael Shermer, but agree with wald0h. The "Science & The Big Questions" video on their site did not give me a warm fuzzy on the integrity of who may be answering them.

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 17:55:38 UTC | #592756

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 6 by Neodarwinian

Insinuate is the right word, but some scientists will take money from just about any source to fund their research. In fact many scientific findings are questioned on the research money provenance rather than the work itself. If scientists can get the money with no ideological strings attached then they will take it and take a chance with those that funded them coming to a wackoloon conclusion from the data.

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 18:15:17 UTC | #592760

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 7 by Stafford Gordon

Um!

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 18:25:49 UTC | #592763

MilitantNonStampCollector's Avatar Comment 8 by MilitantNonStampCollector

When is this bogus blending of religion and science going to end?

It's like leaving a notorious paedophile to babysit the kids and hoping that it will work out.

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 18:27:30 UTC | #592764

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 9 by aquilacane

Bringing your faith into science is like bringing your good luck into poker. Neither have any influence on how the cards are dealt; they just irrationally influence how you perceive your hand.

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 18:36:10 UTC | #592766

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 10 by crookedshoes

aquilacane; dead on accurate. I have a shiny green rock that is luckier than any other shiny green rock.... your shiny green rock pales in comparison to mine -- let's have a war.

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 18:51:20 UTC | #592768

DocWebster's Avatar Comment 11 by DocWebster

Comment 3 by wald0h :

As much as I like Michael Shermer, he is dead wrong about the templeton foundation.

Yes, He of the Baloney Detection Kit has an unseemly soft spot for that particular loaf of baloney.

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 18:53:36 UTC | #592769

JuJu's Avatar Comment 12 by JuJu

If your not an accommodationist or apologist for religion there's a slim chance you'll win a Templeton prize.

Sam Harris digs as deep as anyone into the correlation between science and morals. He also has a bit of a soft spot for spirituality and meditation. Seems like he would be the perfect example of a scientist attempting to find answers to what the Templeton foundation thinks of as the 'big questions'. Since Sam doesn't have a positive outlook on religion I doubt he will ever be considered.

If Sam Harris were awarded the Templeton prize, I might start to look at them as an organization that has changed course and begin moving in the right direction. Until then I will remain skeptic of their underlying intentions.

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 18:59:03 UTC | #592772

Sample's Avatar Comment 13 by Sample

Dear Board Members of the Templeton Foundation:

For your consideration allow me to present some research of my own:

Position: Clarify namesake

Methods: Occam's razor

Findings: Temple Foundation

Keep your grant,

Mike

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 19:08:34 UTC | #592776

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 14 by aquilacane

crookedshoes I once asked my geography (there was a section on geology in geography) teacher what kind of rock I had found. Being an expert on rocks, he was quite certain it was igneous. When I ate it, he knew it was rock candy.

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 19:12:00 UTC | #592778

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 15 by aquilacane

"The Templeton Foundation has never in my experience pressured, suggested or hinted at any kind of ideological slant," says Michael Shermer, “They just reward ideological slants with millions of dollars in grants.”

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 19:42:04 UTC | #592781

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 16 by Peter Grant

Comment 12 by JuJu

If Sam Harris were awarded the Templeton prize, I might start to look at them as an organization that has changed course and begin moving in the right direction. Until then I will remain skeptic of their underlying intentions.

Agreed, a similar thought occurred to me. Harris' "spirituality" is firmly based in the real material world, I see no problem with studying religion from this perspective.

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 20:22:11 UTC | #592785

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 17 by Cook@Tahiti

Scientists should take the money (science funding is not unlimited) on the condition that they reserve the right to say anything they want including trashing the Templeton Foundation and religion if they want. If it's genuinely no strings, then a transfer of money from the religious to the secular is good. Better than the other way around. We always complain when Obama, etc gives money to faith-based groups. Why can't faith-based groups give money to scientists/atheists (so long as there are no conditions).

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 21:29:23 UTC | #592794

HenkM's Avatar Comment 18 by HenkM

Comment 8 by The patron saint of headaches :

When is this bogus blending of religion and science going to end?

Give or take a few centuries. When religion is banned to another planet. When there are more truly secular states. That is, if we re not drowned by then.

This feel like the scientific department at the vatican. And still maintain they re doing 'real' scientific research. Hmmmm ....... probably marketing and psychology: how can we lure more suckers ???

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 21:36:22 UTC | #592798

katt33's Avatar Comment 19 by katt33

I can see why militant and narrowly focused on semantics atheists and others might be offended or scared of the word faith in front of anything and why it might worry them, as there are those who will deceive and not be honest about their belief in a deity while pursuing science at the same time, which they should be if they are. Personally,I don't understand why the word faith is such a problem and why one can't simply choose not to attach a religious significance as I have done. When I say I have faith that science can explain the development of the universe, that is what I mean. I believe in the ability of science to explain how it all came about, developed, and even how deviations happen. The who it can't tell me and the why, not fully. That is okay, as that is not the job of science, that is left to philosophy and spirituality, not man made or constructed religion please as I have not much like for man made religion.

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 21:42:04 UTC | #592800

HenkM's Avatar Comment 20 by HenkM

See here the list of 'winners' : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templeton_Prize

I need not say anything more.

But I will .... See the first winner: mother Teresa. Commendable work, no doubt, but was she a scientist?

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 21:45:36 UTC | #592801

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Comment 21 by Rich Wiltshir

Never trust someone claiming to be your friend!

Never trust someone claiming to be someone else's friend!

"Friend" is a title or description others might give you: not worth a gnat's left testicle otherwise.

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 21:54:23 UTC | #592804

Dave H's Avatar Comment 22 by Dave H

"The foundation is still a work in progress, says Jack Templeton — and it always will be."

The debate between religion and science never stops because the reconciliation never works.

Both religion and science build up towering hypotheses and philosophical houses of cards. Science is the one that says, "Now let's see if it's true."

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 22:52:56 UTC | #592810

Agrajag's Avatar Comment 23 by Agrajag

Comment 11 by DocWebster

Yes, He of the Baloney Detection Kit has an unseemly soft spot for that particular loaf of baloney.


Pardon me, but that phrase originates with Carl Sagan:

Baloney Detection:
How to draw boundaries between science and pseudoscience

By MICHAEL SHERMER

When lecturing on science and pseudoscience at colleges and universities, I am inevitably asked, after challenging common beliefs held by many students,Why should we believe you'' My answer:You shouldn't''

I then explain that we need to check things out for ourselves and, short of that, at least to ask basic questions that get to the heart of the validity of any claim. This is what I call baloney detection, in deference to Carl Sagan, who coined the phrase Baloney Detection Kit. (SOURCE)

Steve

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 22:56:28 UTC | #592812

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 24 by Alan4discussion

Comment 18 by HenkM

Give or take a few centuries. When religion is banned to another planet.

Hey!! Have some consideration for scientists with no escape route!

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 22:58:10 UTC | #592814

Andrew B.'s Avatar Comment 25 by Andrew B.

Comment 19 by katt33 :

I can see why militant and narrowly focused on semantics atheists and others might be offended or scared of the word faith in front of anything and why it might worry them, as there are those who will deceive and not be honest about their belief in a deity while pursuing science at the same time, which they should be if they are. Personally,I don't understand why the word faith is such a problem and why one can't simply choose not to attach a religious significance as I have done. When I say I have faith that science can explain the development of the universe, that is what I mean. I believe in the ability of science to explain how it all came about, developed, and even how deviations happen. The who it can't tell me and the why, not fully. That is okay, as that is not the job of science, that is left to philosophy and spirituality, not man made or constructed religion please as I have not much like for man made religion.

I think a better word for faith (as you use it) is trust. Trust is actually built on something. We have trust-building exercises, or we ask whether or not someone is trustworthy, and these are built on actual, easily understood experiences and evidence.

The problem is, one definition of faith is "belief without evidence" and another definition is synonymous with trust. "Have a little faith in me" could also be said "Trust me." In his debate with Richard, John Lennox tried to trip him up by asking "do you have faith in your wife?" to which Richard quickly answered "yes..." before realizing that Lennox was being duplicitous; he used one definition of faith (trust) while Richard had made it clear he was using another (belief without evidence).

So, let's make that distinction between trust as belief with evidence and faith as belief without, and call out those who knowingly use a different definition and try to pass it off as though it were the only one.

Thu, 17 Feb 2011 23:15:57 UTC | #592819

Brother 2/5 Brooke 's Avatar Comment 26 by Brother 2/5 Brooke

"Blind faith in nothing", is neither science nor religion. But it might be evidence of the need to try harder to see all possible views clearly, and in doing so, be able to judge them all more fairly. All hypothesese require a large degree of faith. Especially those that defy proof. e.g.almost all recent quantum theories and of course, the existance of God. Perhaps if we start again from first principals and redefined all the terms involved in the old argument, I'm sure we could all reach a common agreement. Another two thousand years should do it. It's just semantics.

Fri, 18 Feb 2011 01:44:07 UTC | #592849

biorays's Avatar Comment 27 by biorays

Comment 25 by Andrew B. :

Comment 19 by katt33 :

I can see why militant and narrowly focused on semantics atheists and others might be offended or scared of the word faith in front of anything and why it might worry them, as there are those who will deceive and not be honest about their belief in a deity while pursuing science at the same time, which they should be if they are. Personally,I don't understand why the word faith is such a problem and why one can't simply choose not to attach a religious significance as I have done. When I say I have faith that science can explain the development of the universe, that is what I mean. I believe in the ability of science to explain how it all came about, developed, and even how deviations happen. The who it can't tell me and the why, not fully. That is okay, as that is not the job of science, that is left to philosophy and spirituality, not man made or constructed religion please as I have not much like for man made religion.

I think a better word for faith (as you use it) is trust. Trust is actually built on something. We have trust-building exercises, or we ask whether or not someone is trustworthy, and these are built on actual, easily understood experiences and evidence.

The problem is, one definition of faith is "belief without evidence" and another definition is synonymous with trust. "Have a little faith in me" could also be said "Trust me." In his debate with Richard, John Lennox tried to trip him up by asking "do you have faith in your wife?" to which Richard quickly answered "yes..." before realizing that Lennox was being duplicitous; he used one definition of faith (trust) while Richard had made it clear he was using another (belief without evidence).

So, let's make that distinction between trust as belief with evidence and faith as belief without, and call out those who knowingly use a different definition and try to pass it off as though it were the only one.

I strongly suspect the difficulty most people have is in what constitutes 'evidence'?

And too their 'capability' of dealing with 'new evidence' as well as sorting out the 'current and relevant' evidence from 'historically defunct' evidence. How to move on from arcane ways of thinking has become a science all of its own.

For example, thousands of 'gods' have been used by humans down the ages to prop up all sorts of atrocious standards and ways of life and 'class' to enslave people to. Does this stop them making up new gods- not at all. Current gods are much newer than say ones of past mythologies but the ones that 'survive' are those which have attached to the more literate ancestors of ours. They survive because records of them were kept and as such more transferable across time and ironically thus claiming to be 'original'.

But does a believer utilise this evidence to inform themselves? Well no due their closed mind to what constitutes present evidence PLUS their incapability to accept present evidence. (this last point becomes even of greater relevance than the evidence itself) Past generations may be excused for so massively getting their pseudo science wrong due the lack of alternative enlightening science they had access to. Todays people - one would hope for more!

In this respect a 'faithhead' is rendering themselves incapable of employing certain mind concepts and even a clear view of the 'critical' evidence. In this case that there can be (as far as real science is concerned) no god of their own 'suspicion'. However to them this character must exist because their mind sees it as existing and so they congregate with other similarly mutated thinkers about this especially 'script written god guess'. Can they change? - well absolutely yes! -as many examples amongst us prove. But to do so will usually take critical mind/emotion reformations. This is the painful mindset of the 'faithful' follower of a delusion - sometimes and often used to pass on the suffering to non-believers in their brand of woo! It is this which 'blinds' their comprehension to the real state of reality. Their 'suspicions' are perverted by past less educated ways of thinking, tribal group style 'follow my leader' and reluctances to liberate their minds away from fears about fears. A failure to employ intellectual honesty to the situation before them.

In this respect faith (and what is seen as evidence) is a liar and a corrupter of truth. Faith in this context is the opposite to the concept that has traditionally been attributed to it as altruistic and rooted in goodness. History has changed its 'aura'. Education has seriously dimmed its light except inasmuch as it might become transferable to one persons view of another!

Fri, 18 Feb 2011 02:08:35 UTC | #592854

Vicktor's Avatar Comment 28 by Vicktor

A telltale sign of academic dishonesty or lack of integrity is when the reliance on "top" researchers from "top" institutions (e.g. Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, MIT) is the main selling point. The public really buys into stuff like this - since most know next to nothing about the actual people or research involved, they have to rely on the supposedly "higher standards" and appeals to authority. Presumably the requirements for obtaining a Ph.D. are higher in Harvard than they are in other accredited universities (including the top institutions in other countries). Perhaps the professors there are better teachers too. Asian students, please don't be disheartened. We still want your money. :)

Fri, 18 Feb 2011 02:31:59 UTC | #592858

titmouse's Avatar Comment 29 by titmouse

Eh I stopped reading the article when it lapsed into anecdotes.

It's not what is funded but what the Templeton people know they ought not fund. What is their rule-out rule? Is it subjective and arbitrary? If so, then science is in trouble.

How will the Templeton Foundation ensure that autistic children are not deprived of their pizza FOR NO GODDAM REASON (an allusion to the gluten-free/casein-free fad popularized by "integrative medicine," in case you didn't know).

Can you answer me, Mr. Templeton?

Using my rule, the kids are safe.

So show me your rule, Mr. Templeton. Then I'll let you know if the science-minded will continue to hate you, or not.

Fri, 18 Feb 2011 02:38:44 UTC | #592859

titmouse's Avatar Comment 30 by titmouse

Comment 19 by katt33 :

Personally,I don't understand why the word faith is such a problem...

Because the word is not reliably defined.

I believe in the ability of science to explain how it all came about, developed, and even how deviations happen. The who it can't tell me and the why, not fully.

If there is no "who" there is no "why" so justify your belief in the "who" first.

In other words: DOX OR GTFO.

Fri, 18 Feb 2011 02:53:22 UTC | #592863