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Thread: Is religion blocking scientific achievement?

  1. #1 Is religion blocking scientific achievement? 
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    What do you feel? In the real world, is religion blocking the pathways science should be able to traverse, or is religion simply the enactment of morality through a physical means? Do the religious groups of the world have their own agendas which abandon the fundamental purposes on which they were conceived, or is paranoia simply the new universal religion?


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    Well with all the Intelligent Design garbage you hear about, it sure seems to me like certain religiously motivated groups are trying their damndest to block scientific advancement. And replace it with psuedoscientific nonsense proposed to fool the ignorant into doubting real science and accepting religious explanations.


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    Forum Senior silkworm's Avatar
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    Absolutely. It can't be denied.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    ... it sure seems to me like certain religiously motivated groups are trying their damndest to block scientific advancement...
    Hmmm... Do I detect a hint of cynicism?

    Well, I think you have a point there. Although I believe that everyone has the right to practice whatever belief, or faith that they want (so long as the area of effect is limited to themselves), it would seem that, like you say, certain religious groups are...well...rather stubborn. Say, for example, with the branches of christianity that are said to be guided by the pope (Benedict, I believe?), one of which, I was ordained as (although I am more unitarian, or rather, lax in my christian fundamentals). It would seem that the pope sort of...makes things up at points...what would you say?
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    I think so, in many ways. One of them is the religious suppression of women in certain countries of the world. Half your brain power eliminated by doctrine. Can't be good.
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    Stubborn I can live with. Intentionally ignorant, dishonest, deceitful, and dangerous I can't. Those qualities apply to many in the Intelligent Design movement.
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  8. #7 Re: Is religion blocking scientific achievement? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhibiki
    What do you feel? In the real world, is religion blocking the pathways science should be able to traverse, or is religion simply the enactment of morality through a physical means?
    Your first question is very unclear to me. On the one had you seem to be asking what religion is and on the other about whether it inhibits science in any way.

    From Webster's definition of "religious": relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity. Science has its own subject matter and methods and does not address questions of ultimate reality or deity. Philosophy may address these topics but only in so far as logic is useful in discussing them. Religion on the other hand does not admit logic as the final arbiter of truth. It accepts things given by tradition or revelation as a matter of faith. Each of these have their own histories and have accumulated human knowledge and wisdom in their own way, but the oldest of these is certainly religion.

    There is no doubt that at various times in history, people have felt that the conclusions of science were contradicted by their religious world view and have sought to silence the scientists making these discoveries. But the methods of science have proven effective at getting rather diverse people to agree on many things in enormous detail, which is something religion and philosophy has not been able to do anywhere near as well. On the contrary, the disagreements of religious people and philosophers are endless. By comparison, science is a miracle of cooperation and agreement. Well it is inevitable that the united will stand and the divided will fall, so religion has failed to halt the progress of science.

    But their are those who would take a further step and make a religion out of science. The important thing to realize here is that the result is a new and more ignorant religion (simple consequence of being new) and not any kind of science. Some have had the wisdom to recognize this and have some success at establishing a new religion that successfully addresses some human needs and has thererfore prospered, like the Church of Religious Science. Others like Nazism and Communism have been more destructive of human life and propagated more misery in a shorter period of time than any other organization in human history. The point being simply that saying that science is the reason for what you are doing is certainly no magical key to a wonderful new world or to human happiness.

    Because religion is based on faith, its truths are impossible to judge objectively. But that it plays an important part in human life is fact that must be accepted, especially if human beings are to have any freedom to choose how they will live their own lives. And if anything has proven to be a better key to a world with greater human happiness, it is freedom and tolerance.

    Quote Originally Posted by mhibiki
    Do the religious groups of the world have their own agendas which abandon the fundamental purposes on which they were conceived, or is paranoia simply the new universal religion?
    This question is even more unclear than the last one. Religion only abandons its purpose in the view of an arrogant fool who thinks that he alone can dictate what the purpose of religion is. Paranoia has nothing to do with religion. Its is often reactionary, but usually for very good reasons within the framework of what its members considers important. Your statement suggest that you have some particular issue in mind, and without revealing what that issue is, real discussion of your thought is impossible.

    The reaction of fundamentalist christians against science is a tragedy of Western society. And it is a reflection of the tendency of Western society to seek simple-minded solutions to everything. The result is that our society swings to one extreme and then another, when these simple-minded solutions fail. However, the current dangerous and frightening swing to the right that we are currently suffering (in the US) is the natural consequence of the simple-minded solution of liberals to trash and dismiss every tradition of our past without any attempt at compromise with a large portion of our population. If we do not learn again to compromise as we once were able in the past then the US will fall as these swings to extremes eventually tear the democracy (which is far more fragile than most imagine) apart. No one thought that a maniac like Hitler could gain power in Germany, but he did in just the kind of right wing swing that the US is now experiencing.
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    Religion used to have a great deal more power than it has today, certainly in the Western world. And religious dogma certainly did a great deal to hold up the advance of genuine science, most famously in cases such as that of Galileo. Relgious dogma - in the hands of a supremely powerful Church - continued to hold up scientific understanding of the world right up to the nineteenth century. This did not simply affect science, though, but also critical biblical scholarship. It was dogmatically verboten to state in a book that the Pentateuch, the "Books of Moses" were not by Moses, for instance.

    Right now, I believe that it's all a storm in a teacup. I'm not concerned that the flurry of interest in ID is going to seriously derail genuine scientific endeavour. It should be remembered that ID and Creationism spends a lot of time stating that science is "wrong", "misguided", "not 100% confirmed", "just a theory" etc etc. What they do not do, by and large, is deprive working scientists of their living and of the means to continue their research. Nor is it possible for them any more to imprison, torture and even execute those who would deny the infallibility of the Word of God.

    I'm concerned that the ID movement is going to succeed in having ID taught in science classes, and that they will seriously retard the next generation of American students in economically-essential science and technology training, through excessive adherence to the Bible. But as far as science as a whole is concerned, what America does not do will be filled in by other countries, not least China. Human advance through scientific exploration is assured.
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    Not sure why you scientifics can't get past the 700 year old rift between the Church and Galileo. The church seems to be over it. Isn't that a long time to harbor a grudge.

    It would certainly seem more logical (though no more appropriate) to harbor ill feelings toward the Germans, Japanese and Italians because of WWII. It would also seem more logical (and somewhat appropriate) to be upset with the currently religiously motivated terrorism and genocide taking place

    As Mitchell points out, science when it is accurate, prevails over all forms of objections -- religious or conflicts with other science.

    The only current aspect of science with which religious people have concerns are certain aspects of what might be considered life sciences, with a specific moral disagreement against the destruction of viable human embryos for the purpose of stem cell research.


    The thinking is that while you may willingly risk or lay down your life to preserve mine, I cannot compel you to do so against your will. This thinking also includes the concept that life begins at fertilization. These are both moral and scientific questions.

    The second area of contention is in the area of evolution. However, the objections to evolution are not limited only to people of a religious persuasion.

    I am not aware of any current organized religious objection to any aspect of scientific investigation which is not directly or indirectly related to moral objections to the destruction of human life.

    Silas says:

    Right now, I believe that it's all a storm in a teacup. I'm not concerned that the flurry of interest in ID is going to seriously derail genuine scientific endeavour. It should be remembered that ID and Creationism spends a lot of time stating that science is "wrong", "misguided", "not 100% confirmed", "just a theory" etc etc. What they do not do, by and large, is deprive working scientists of their living and of the means to continue their research. Nor is it possible for them any more to imprison, torture and even execute those who would deny the infallibility of the Word of God.
    That’s just not accurate at all. The only aspect of science about which those objections are spoken is evolution and not all religious people agree with those objections to evolution.

    The second part of that paragraph is particularly alarming to me because while the statement would be true of our Western culture of freedom of expression and freedom of religion and political process, it is not equally true of all areas of the world. These benchmarks of Western culture are not the tactics used by Muslims in an effort to quell their critics.

    If Silas thinks ID or creationism is a threat to evolution, he must lack confidence that evolution can eventually prevail on its own merits. There is a much greater threat to our freedom to express our opinions and to study those things which we find important.

    I can agree that religious morality sometimes hinders some aspects of science, but I do not know of any recorded event in which ID or creationist advocates murdered innocent evolutionists via suicide bombings or by slamming planes loaded with innocent evolutionists into tall buildings or planting bombs on trainloads of evolutionists or threatening to wipe all evolutionists off the face of the earth.

    I am shocked beyond belief that the naivety of some people can allow them such indignation at a minor annoyance while completely ignoring that which is a serious threat.

    Christianity is not the enemy of political freedom or religious freedom or freedom of expression or scientific investigation nor is it “against” science.

    One thing I do know -- there are few, if any, openly atheistic people in a country which is politically ruled by Islamic fundamentalism. You might compare that to we Christians who are content to just sit around and argue with you.

    Sorry if this is too political, but it is time to join the Danes and Dutch in standing up to those who advocate through thuggery.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Not sure why you scientifics can't get past the 700 year old rift between the Church and Galileo. The church seems to be over it. Isn't that a long time to harbor a grudge.
    I had nothing compelling to add to your post, but I thought you might be due a more positive response after my harsh criticism in the other thread. But your comment here, while amusing, is hardly fair. You cannot expect people to forget something like this and not exploit all the implications for which it may be worth.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    The thinking is that while you may willingly risk or lay down your life to preserve mine, I cannot compel you to do so against your will. This thinking also includes the concept that life begins at fertilization. These are both moral and scientific questions.

    I am not aware of any current organized religious objection to any aspect of scientific investigation which is not directly or indirectly related to moral objections to the destruction of human life.
    The question of morality in the direction and use of science is an important one on which Einsyein, for example, would strongly agree. I would also like to add that I had a philosophy professor, Dr. Appleby, who although clearly atheist himself and not hesitant about expressing his feeling that the existence of God seemed very unlikely from any objective viewpoint, also expressed the sentiment that religious people did, it seemed to him, have a better handle on the sacredness of human life. This comment came up in the discussion o abortion and the point was that our different viewpoints could strengthen rather than weaken us.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Quote Originally Posted by Silas
    Right now, I believe that it's all a storm in a teacup. I'm not concerned that the flurry of interest in ID is going to seriously derail genuine scientific endeavour. It should be remembered that ID and Creationism spends a lot of time stating that science is "wrong", "misguided", "not 100% confirmed", "just a theory" etc etc. What they do not do, by and large, is deprive working scientists of their living and of the means to continue their research. Nor is it possible for them any more to imprison, torture and even execute those who would deny the infallibility of the Word of God.
    That’s just not accurate at all. The only aspect of science about which those objections are spoken is evolution and not all religious people agree with those objections to evolution.

    The second part of that paragraph is particularly alarming to me because while the statement would be true of our Western culture of freedom of expression and freedom of religion and political process, it is not equally true of all areas of the world. These benchmarks of Western culture are not the tactics used by Muslims in an effort to quell their critics.

    If Silas thinks ID or creationism is a threat to evolution, he must lack confidence that evolution can eventually prevail on its own merits. There is a much greater threat to our freedom to express our opinions and to study those things which we find important.

    I can agree that religious morality sometimes hinders some aspects of science, but I do not know of any recorded event in which ID or creationist advocates murdered innocent evolutionists via suicide bombings or by slamming planes loaded with innocent evolutionists into tall buildings or planting bombs on trainloads of evolutionists or threatening to wipe all evolutionists off the face of the earth.

    I am shocked beyond belief that the naivety of some people can allow them such indignation at a minor annoyance while completely ignoring that which is a serious threat.
    What the hell are you talking about? Did you even read what I said??

    Let's go again:
    Quote Originally Posted by Silas
    Right now, I believe that it's all a storm in a teacup. I'm not concerned that the flurry of interest in ID is going to seriously derail genuine scientific endeavour... ID and Creationism spends a lot of time stating that science is "wrong"... What they do not do, by and large, is deprive working scientists of their living and of the means to continue their research. Nor is it possible for them any more to imprison, torture and even execute those who would deny the infallibility of the Word of God.
    You said:
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    If Silas thinks ID or creationism is a threat to evolution, he must lack confidence that evolution can eventually prevail on its own merits.
    I'm not going to write all the "not"s in bold for you, you have to read what I said for yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    The second part of that paragraph is particularly alarming to me because while the statement would be true of our Western culture of freedom of expression and freedom of religion and political process, it is not equally true of all areas of the world. These benchmarks of Western culture are not the tactics used by Muslims in an effort to quell their critics.
    The forum title is "Is religion holding up scientific progress?" Scientific progress is actually taking place in the Western World, and that was pretty much what I was referring to. It is my experience here that we are primarily from the West on this forum, and that we are generally familiar with Judaeo-Christian culture. If what is going on in the Muslim world is a threat, it is a threat to us, but our military might in defence of our freedoms is not, in my judgement, being held up by religion, Christian, Muslim or anything else. If Muslim military development is held up by excessive religious dogma, that's rather their problem. But I'm emphasising here that I'm not judging them. I am not familiar enough in either Muslim culture or science to really comment. All my comments primarily were referring to the world most of us appear to inhabit.

    Perhaps you'd care to read me a little bit more carefully in future, DT.
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  13. #12  
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    Did you read what I wrote, or did you just react?

    I was trying to agree with your claim that in Western cultures religion is little more than an annoyance in the search for scientific advancement while trying to correct your (apparent) statement that ID and creation advocates condemn the entirety of science.

    Perhaps you should re-read what you wrote. I did not disagree with your claim that our culture does not provide a means to punish or execute people on the basis of religious disagreements. I did point out that there are places in the world where that happens and it has happened in your nation as well as mine. I do not think it wise of anyone to close his eyes to and ignore that.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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