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Faraday and Templeton brainwash British kids - Comments

Alan Canon's Avatar Comment 1 by Alan Canon

A travesty that the giant name of Faraday, perhaps the greatest experimental scientist who ever lived, is being dragged through the mud in this way. I'm going to curl up in a fetal position with a copy of "Chemical History of a Candle" and have a little quiet time.

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 14:34:12 UTC | #905280

Alan Canon's Avatar Comment 2 by Alan Canon

Actually, looking at various quotations of Faraday, he does appear to have been a committed Christian. Pity, that.

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 14:40:17 UTC | #905281

Virgin Mary's Avatar Comment 3 by Virgin Mary

Can we not just purge this world of all things metaphysics? It would make life so much easier.

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 14:41:29 UTC | #905282

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 4 by Richard Dawkins

I love Jerry's 'hot beverage fallacy'. Very witty, and spot on. It is truly pathetic that these 'sophisticated theologians' seriously think it is a good argument.

More and more I think we need to fight the accommodationists head on. They insidiously seek to undermine everything science stands for, and they have lots of money set aside for the purpose.

Richard

PS Michael Faraday was not only Christian, he belonged to a more than usually bonkers sect, the Sandemanians. Here are some extracts from the Wiki entry on the sect:-

In all the action of the church unanimity was considered to be necessary; if any member differed in opinion from the rest, he must either surrender his judgement to that of the church, or be shut out from its communion.[7] To join in prayer with anyone not a member of the denomination was regarded as unlawful, and even to eat or drink with one who had been excommunicated was held to be wrong. The Lord's Supper was observed weekly; and between forenoon and afternoon service every Sunday a love feast was held at which every member was required to be present. . . . The practice of washing one another's feet was at one time observed; and it was for a long time customary for each brother and sister to receive new members, on admission, with a holy kiss.

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 14:51:52 UTC | #905286

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 5 by rod-the-farmer

Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't remember reading that Darwin set out to prove any hypothesis of his father. I always thought of it as a voyage of discovery, and the throw-away line that some of his data came from foreign countries ? Good grief. We all know that foreign data can't be trusted......

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 15:08:08 UTC | #905291

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 6 by AtheistEgbert

More and more I think we need to fight the accommodationists head on.

As I suggested in a comment on Jerry's article, there might be a neo-conservative agenda behind the science and religion agenda. If true, then the science and religion debate is a smokescreen for something more sinister--using religion as propaganda for a right-wing agenda where powerful and rich elites control the state, rather than the people.

Atheism is most certainly not the same as anti-theism or anti-religion, and thus we're facing a losing battle trying to fight against atheists who fail to understand the harm religion does. It also distracts us from our real enemies--those who wish to force religion on others and take away free thought, free speech and other such freedoms.

I am anti-theism or anti-religious but not anti-theist, there is an important difference. And I am anti-theism and anti-religious because I'm also a radical liberal, not because I'm an atheist, nor because I'm pro-science. This is a political matter, and it means we have to focus on the reasons why we're fighting against religion in the first place--not only because it's untrue, but because it's harmful and against individual liberty.

Liberals are as bad as atheists when it comes to focusing on specific goals, but I think time is running out, and the religious attack on liberty is now a serious threat. We need to mature, and become more politically focused, and most definitely not lose sight about the importance of freedom.

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 15:34:27 UTC | #905296

HenkM's Avatar Comment 7 by HenkM

Comment 4 by Richard Dawkins :

I love Jerry's 'hot beverage fallacy'. Very witty, and spot on. It is truly pathetic that these 'sophisticated theologians' seriously think it is a good argument.

More and more I think we need to fight the accommodationists head on. They insidiously seek to undermine everything science stands for, and they have lots of money set aside for the purpose.

Richard

PS Michael Faraday was not only Christian, he belonged to a more than usually bonkers sect, the Sandemanians. Here are some extracts from the Wiki entry on the sect:-

In all the action of the church unanimity was considered to be necessary; if any member differed in opinion from the rest, he must either surrender his judgement to that of the church, or be shut out from its communion.[7] To join in prayer with anyone not a member of the denomination was regarded as unlawful, and even to eat or drink with one who had been excommunicated was held to be wrong. The Lord's Supper was observed weekly; and between forenoon and afternoon service every Sunday a love feast was held at which every member was required to be present. . . . The practice of washing one another's feet was at one time observed; and it was for a long time customary for each brother and sister to receive new members, on admission, with a holy kiss.

Is this enough to conclude that Faraday was, in actual fact, bonkers? Then again, I am not English.

Also, can we not be very glad this fraction didnt make it mainstream?

Well ... in response to your beginning: we do need to fight, along with education. But where do WE find that money. Perhaps if church repairs was paid by themselves, rather than with tax money.

It ll be a long hard battle, for sure

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 15:40:23 UTC | #905298

Dark Matter's Avatar Comment 8 by Dark Matter

@Richard Dawkins

"I love Jerry's 'hot beverage fallacy'. Very witty, and spot on. It is truly pathetic that these 'sophisticated theologians' seriously think it is a good argument.

More and more I think we need to fight the accommodationists head on. They insidiously seek to undermine everything science stands for, and they have lots of money set aside for the purpose.

Richard"

It is amazing how often one hears the extremely fatuous Hot Tea Argument from people who really should know better - even on the BBC and Radio 4!

It is little more than an infantile attempt to erect "no go areas" for science. IE, Science may explain the mechanics of beverage making but couldn't possibly explain why anyone would want to make a cup of tea or coffee.

  1. It is a brainless fallacy - there are whole areas of science dedicated to studying what motivates human beings from Anthopology, Psychology, Behaviourism, etc, etc that can and do explain why human beings perform certain actions and disposed into particular habits on the basis of empirical evidence and stastical data.

  2. It is a false dichotomy - if scientists explain the how then they often explain the why. EG Why is the Sun hot? Because science tells us that the sun is giant nuclear fusion reactor releasing vast amounts of energy in the form of light and heat as its extreme gravity and conditions fuse Hydrogen into Helium.

  3. Imposes a Telelogical view point where one isn't needed or at all necessary - IE, Life and the Universe simply MUST have a purpose even if they apparently don't.

Why does a person want a cup of Tea? Because a pattern of neurons fired in the brain of an individual who became conscious of the net result of this firing a few milliseconds later making him aware of a physiological need to quench a thirst and the awareness of a psychological disposal to have a hot drink.

Explaining the How very often explains the Why and this needs to be systematcally pointed out to anyone who ever attempts to make "no go areas" for science on the basis of such a pitiful excuse for "reasoning".

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 15:43:05 UTC | #905300

HenkM's Avatar Comment 9 by HenkM

In reply to that second question: A destiny beyond death, that s very easy: nothing

Small, dark, 6 ft below: grave, alternatively

Firy, hot, dust: cremation

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 15:44:08 UTC | #905301

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 10 by AtheistEgbert

Imposes a Telelogical view point where one isn't needed or at all necessary - IE, Life and the Universe simply MUST have a purpose even if they apparently don't.

Did you mean tea-logical?

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 15:57:34 UTC | #905308

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 11 by Mr DArcy

Jesus creeps in mysterious ways!

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 15:58:17 UTC | #905309

Dark Matter's Avatar Comment 12 by Dark Matter

@Athiest Egbert

"Did you mean tea-logical?"

Ha, ha - love it.

We can call it the Tea-Logical Fallacy.

I just hope it catches on.

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 15:59:57 UTC | #905310

Alan Canon's Avatar Comment 13 by Alan Canon

I like "tea-leaf-ological," as it preserves more of the syllables of "teleological."

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 16:18:50 UTC | #905317

stellier68's Avatar Comment 14 by stellier68

" The Cold Beer Pallacy"

a. I want a cold beer

b. I put the warm bottle in the fridge

c. Physics makes the beer cold

d. But I drink the beer

e. Ergo Satan.

...There's also one which involves a Cup-A-Soup and Muhamad, but I can't remember it :(

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 17:40:05 UTC | #905333

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 15 by Alan4discussion

a. I want a cup of tea

b. I put the water on the boil

c. Physics makes the water boil

d. But I made the tea!

Nope! It grew on a bush! Then someone picked it, dried it, shipped it and packaged it. Then "I" put it in boiling water.

@8 - Because a pattern of neurons fired in the brain of an individual who became conscious of the net result of this firing a few milliseconds later making him aware of a physiological need to quench a thirst and the awareness of a psychological disposal to have a hot drink.

..Simple and complex science in the same activity - Utter theological incredulous confusion!! Physics of heat, biology of plant growth, and the psychology of thirst simultaneously!! Surely science can't explain things like that to theists???

e. Ergo: god-did-it/Jesus/ Zeus/ Leprechauns/fairies/Harry Potter's wand etc

Well named as: “The Hot Beverage Fallacy”:

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 17:46:25 UTC | #905335

Galactor's Avatar Comment 16 by Galactor

Now that the gloves are off, should we not be setting up similar "research" and "education" for young people to see that accommodation is nothing other than creationism?

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 18:18:44 UTC | #905337

Byrneo's Avatar Comment 17 by Byrneo

The term "lol" is thrown around with general disregard a lot these days, but I genuinely could not help a burst of laughter when I read: "The Hot Beverage Fallacy.” Very sharp. Brilliant, it cheered me up.

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 19:16:54 UTC | #905348

pittige maki's Avatar Comment 18 by pittige maki

comment by atheistegbert :

I agree with you that beyond religion there is something else and that's teaparty and fascism (merger of state and corporate power), but especially dangerous is the power they have to dominate, they want to create religous people because religious people are most naive people trusting their masters, therefore religion is ceated. So like you said it's an attack on freedom, real freedom. But we must also take attention on the liberals who's freedom is more egoistic. I mean ayn rand for example is not a good example for liberal freedom. And warren buffet is a bad example too :"There's class warfare, allright, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning." So the real battle is not for theism-antitheism, it's the battle who gonna dominated who, and who's gonna paid the bill.

See : http://ampedstatus.org/exclusive-analysis-of-financial-terrorism-in-america-over-1-million-deaths-annually-62-million-people-with-zero-net-worth-as-the-economic-elite-make-off-with-46-trillion/ for the article. and this : http://www.greanvillepost.com/2011/12/17/how-ayn-rand-seduced-generations-of-young-men-and-helped-make-the-u-s-into-a-selfish-greedy-nation/

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 19:19:04 UTC | #905349

Corylus's Avatar Comment 19 by Corylus

... Faraday has some science street cred, too, as it’s based at St. Edmund’s College at Cambridge University, so, unlike Templeton, it’s affiliated with a respectable academic institution.

Oxford has been accepting some serious Templeton pennies recently as well. £1.3 million to be exact.

For research in religious epistemology with the aim

...to forge links between religious epistemology and other academic disciplines, including both analytic theology and relevant areas of empirical science, and to cement the credibility of religious epistemology as both a relevant and fertile locus for research within mainstream philosophy.

'Relevant areas of empirical science'. Wonder what they are?

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 19:32:01 UTC | #905351

Nordic11's Avatar Comment 20 by Nordic11

Wikipedia: Faraday was a devout Christian; his Sandemanian denomination was an offshoot of the Church of Scotland. Well after his marriage, he served as Deacon and for two terms as an Elder in the meeting house of his youth. His church was located at Paul's Alley in the Barbican. This meeting house was relocated in 1862 to Barnsbury Grove, Islington; this North London location was where Faraday served the final two years of his second term as Elder prior to his resignation from that post.[14][15] Biographers have noted that "a strong sense of the unity of God and nature pervaded Faraday's life and work."[16]

Faraday married Sarah Barnard (1800–1879) on 12 June 1821.[17] They met through their families at the Sandemanian church, and he confessed his faith to the Sandemanian congregation the month after they were married

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 19:48:48 UTC | #905354

mikenewton's Avatar Comment 21 by mikenewton

Surely it would be more accurate of such institutions to talk about science and deism rather than science and religion, if they constantly focus on agency and prime movers. Religion is theistic in nature and involves more such as faith in prayers, the divinity of Jesus, original sin, divine-ordained morality, heaven, etc. A deistic argument to validate a theistic conclusion is just plain dishonest.

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 19:57:39 UTC | #905355

Stonyground's Avatar Comment 22 by Stonyground

Isn't this a really desperate rearguard action by the religious? Religion used to be the playground bully, giving science the chinese burn, sticking science's head down the toilet and flushing, making science's life a misery. Science has now grown much stronger and has the upper hand, now the playground bully wants to be freinds. Science is behaving far more morally than religion did when it had power. it is happy for religion to just sulk in the corner of the playground with hardly any freinds. But religion is now desperate to suck up to the new popular kid. The accomodationists are saying, "Oh come on, he wasn't all that bad, let's cut him some slack now that he's down on his luck" oblivious to the fact that the second that he has some real power he will become the playground bully again and have them burned alive.

Kids today are surrounded by technology, even the ones who have no interest in science, and no knowledge of the scientific method, see the fruits of science every single day. What does religion have to offer in competition? Well basically a really fat and boring book that is wrong about just about everything and contains fairy stories involving talking animals and magic food. Talking birds are compatible with science, talking snakes and talking donkeys are not. This is really obvious, unless you think that Shrek is a documentary as well as the Flintstones.

All the Gnu Atheists have to do is keep on pointing out how stupid religion is and, in the free world at least, we will win.

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 20:55:13 UTC | #905365

njwong's Avatar Comment 23 by njwong

Yeah. The pushing of Jesus at the 2:00 minute mark in the video was a real downer. If they really have to, educational institutions should be promoting religion with cultural studies, history, or literature (where every thing is made up and reality doesn't matter). They really should stop commingling religion and science.

Well, at least the piano music accompaniment in the video was beautiful. I noticed from the end credits that the music was from a musician called Kevin MacLeod. I was surprised on googling him that he provides royalty free music under a Creative Commons 3.0 license (according to his FAQ, you can use his music anywhere for free but he must be credited. And of course, a donation is most appreciated). If RD.NET has future videos that need some musical backing, it might want to consider using some of Kevin MacLeod's royalty free music.

I found the quirky silent film piano music used in the Faraday video here under the title "Plucky Daisy". I really like its upbeat tempo.

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 22:05:02 UTC | #905376

Aleatorica's Avatar Comment 24 by Aleatorica

The Geoffrey Cantor biography of Faraday is fascinating, and raises the possibility that Faraday's aversion to describing the world in mathematical terms (in stark contrast to the slightly later physics of James Clark Maxwell, say) may have been psychologically linked to his religious views. So that in a sense he was the kind of scientist he was because of his religion.

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 22:24:58 UTC | #905382

AsylumWarden's Avatar Comment 25 by AsylumWarden

Simple question/proposal for these people:

If science were to actually throw up evidence thoroughly, clearly, positively and undeniably destroying the very idea of God, would you accept it?

If the answer is no, then Science and Religion are most definitely irreconciable and at polar opposite to each other and must always remain so.

If the answer is yes, then yes, one could argue that Science and Religion are compatible. For the answer to truly be 'yes' however, one would have to acknowledge the following:

  1. Religion (and therefore God) is disprovable as is any scientific hypothesis or theory.
  2. As there is no material evidence to support it, as far as scientific ideas go, it remains in the realm of a former: a hypotheis and not a very strong one at that.
  3. This hypothesis must throw up some actual evidence which can be peer-reviewed to enter the scientific literacy.
  4. To advance further into scientific mainstream, it must be compatible with other branches of science to be independantly verified and thus upgraded to theory.
  5. There are currently many scientific theories about different areas, at different levels of strength and it would be impossible to teach them all in school due to the constraints of both time and complexity of some of the theories.
  6. It therefore makes sense that only the strongest theories (those that common sense would happily call fact) that are integral to our understanding of the world and that can be explained either directly or by analogies and models that are taught in schools.
  7. For any new theory to be accepted into the school curriculum it must satisfy this theory.
  8. Religion is nowhere near, having not made it past the level of hypothesis.
  9. It therefore doesn't fulfil any criteria to be taught in school so **** (insert expletive of choice) OFF OUT OF OUR CLASSROOMS!!!

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 22:26:44 UTC | #905383

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Comment 26 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

A question to parents of British schoolchildren:

While we may debate the issue of religious interference in our schools here on this website, and at other specialist forums, is it an issue that is ever raised by the average parent? Are most parents even aware that there is a basic controversy concerning religion in schools, let along a concern about agencies such as those mentioned in this article?

I'm not a parent, so I've no experience of what concerns are discussed among parents at the school gate or at meetings, etc. Yet, I ask the question because I have a lot of friends and relatives with children at school, and never once have I heard anyone talk about religion in schools. The impression I get is that they just take it for granted that religion is a part of life in most British schools, just as it was when they were children, just as it always has been.

If, as I suspect, most parents either don't give a toss on this issue or, like the Prime Minister, they are under the impression religion is generally a good thing, I can't see what can be done about it. It's all very well academics, intellectuals and those with a specialist interest in these matters talking about it, but for any campaign to be really effective we need to engage the wider public.

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 23:03:15 UTC | #905392

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 27 by Red Dog

Why are we calling this "brain washing"? It seems to me to be nothing more than the course materials to teach a particular point of view on religion and science. Its one that I don't agree with but I'm not going to start labelling every attempt to teach something that I don't agree with as brain washing.

Lets look at it another way. If RD.net put together a similar set of course materials teaching the Magic of Reality to children would we think its fair for theists to call that brain washing?

More and more it seems that atheists are adopting the very worst aspects of theists, to villify anyone they don't agree with rather than just using reason to show that they are wrong.

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 23:35:54 UTC | #905399

Starcrash's Avatar Comment 28 by Starcrash

Comment 27 by Red Dog :

Why are we calling this "brain washing"? It seems to me to be nothing more than the course materials to teach a particular point of view on religion and science. Its one that I don't agree with but I'm not going to start labelling every attempt to teach something that I don't agree with as brain washing.

Perhaps you're right. The definition seems to be forcible indoctrination, not just bad teaching. However, is it fair to call it propaganda, as it attacks the scientific consensus? Maybe I'm out of line. I'm an atheist, so I'm biased.

It sounds like a pejorative, but these words do have meanings. Even though they sound hurtful, they may be equally applicable. For example, the God "delusion" was an appropriate word, even though it sounds insulting.

Either way, it's a good thing to consider. We don't want to adopt the "very worst aspects of theists".

Thu, 05 Jan 2012 00:51:19 UTC | #905406

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 29 by Cartomancer

There aren't many jobs going in academia these days, least of all for someone with a doctorate in Medieval Intellectual History and very little else. But even though I could just about claim some small measure of suitability for it, I am now very glad that I refrained from applying for a job with these people. Unemployment is infinitely preferable to greasing the wheels of the religious misinformation machine.

Thu, 05 Jan 2012 02:58:08 UTC | #905424

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 30 by susanlatimer

Comment 27 by Red Dog

Why are we calling this "brain washing"? It seems to me to be nothing more than the course materials to teach a particular point of view on religion and science. Its one that I don't agree with but I'm not going to start labelling every attempt to teach something that I don't agree with as brain washing.

I understand your concern. "Brainwashing" is not a term that should be used lightly. But, I think there's a real case here, worthy of discussion.

brainwashing any method of controlled systematic indoctrination, especially one based on repetition or confusion:

Now, this is a program based on making the christian god and science cozy. They used the word "God" in a a very specific way. We're not talking about Hindu beliefs here, unless there's more to it. Based on the links I read and the little movie, this is definitely the christian god.

These are people with money and organization behind them in a position of authority in the world of education, suggesting that science and the christian god are not incompatible. They talk about "agency" but they mean the christian god. This is not deism. If it were, there would not be this kind of money and organization behind it.

There is no evidence for "agency". They use words like "just" and "only" to describe the discoveries science has made.

It appears that there is propaganda going on here in an "educational" arena, and it's very well-funded propaganda.

As far as the Magic of Reality goes, it's based on evidence. It's all about examining the evidence. Brainwashing is never based on asking people to examine the evidence.

Thu, 05 Jan 2012 03:48:01 UTC | #905429