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Thread: Combatting Creationists

  1. #1 Combatting Creationists 
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    The peculiar beliefs of fundamentalists in at least two major religions become a problem when those beliefs impact on education and fields of research. This has become increasingly (arguably) true in the USA, but other countries are not immune to it. What strategies, if any, do you believe the science community, in a broad sense, should follow to address this issue? Have you been involved in any activities to counter the problem?

    I believe it to be an important issue, but have almost no idea how to deal with it. Your thoughts?


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    I don't think the science community can do very much else than it is already doing right now - provide the science. Everything else is a matter of politics and public policy; the problem is not that people choose to believe things that are irrational and unscientific, but rather that those things are presented as facts to initially neutral third parties, who may not necessarily possess the faculties to tell apart facts from beliefs ( such as children ). Hence, I think more emphasis should be placed by the scientific community on promoting the scientific method itself, which will then provide people with a tool to make informed decisions for themselves.

    It should be noted here though that everyone needs to remain free to make that decision for him/herself - some people may choose to take on a scientific worldview, and some people choose to take on a religious one. Truth be told, I see nothing wrong with this so long as everyone recognises things for what they actually are. For example, creationism is in itself not a problem - people may choose this as their view on the world if they so wish. The problem starts only if it is misrepresented as a fact, or an established science, whereas in actuality it is a belief system. There is no conflict here, since these are two distinct domains of enquiry into the nature of the universe. We just shouldn't mix them up, or misrepresent one for the other.

    Therefore it is the job of politics and public policy makers to make sure things are labelled and represented correctly. Religious beliefs need to be labelled as such, and the results of scientific enquiry needs to be labelled as such - and crucially, the limitations and foundations of both of these need to be pointed out. We need to stop treating people as machines who are incapable of making decisions for themselves, and hence need to be fed "the truth" - this is a very limiting view. Instead, present the options honestly and truthfully, explain their nature and what they really represent, and then allow people to exercise their freedom to make the decision for themselves. Cramming anything down peoples' throats as "the truth" is fundamentally wrong - and that's true for both religion and science. Just present things for what they really are, that's all that's needed. As such, religion and science can coexist harmoniously in life and society - but it is important to recognise which is which.

    The issue with fundamentalists isn't their choices of what they believe or how they live their lives, it's that they try to sell these convictions as universal truths, and force them upon others : "We've got the truth, everyone else is deluded". Sadly though, I have seen this exact same attitude in scientific circles as well. This is wrong, no matter which side it comes from.

    So in my mind the answer is one of public policy - there must be freedom of religion, so long as religion is always recognised and acknowledged as a belief system. There must also be scientific enquiry, so long as science is seen and represented as a method of enquiry based on rationality, with its contingent limitations. The only conflict here is the one we create in our own minds, so the policy needs to be to keep them apart, and teach people the strengths and weaknesses of both - and then let them decide for themselves.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Melancholy Tim View Post
    The peculiar beliefs of fundamentalists in at least two major religions become a problem when those beliefs impact on education and fields of research. This has become increasingly (arguably) true in the USA, but other countries are not immune to it. What strategies, if any, do you believe the science community, in a broad sense, should follow to address this issue? Have you been involved in any activities to counter the problem?

    I believe it to be an important issue, but have almost no idea how to deal with it. Your thoughts?
    Well, there are several approaches to this, but keep in mind, trying to convince them of this, is to them like having 10% of the population claim that their father is not their actual father. And add to this, that this father has been telling this person that he really is its father, and all of his close relatives tell him that he is its father. Not only that, all of its beliefs are based upon its father being really its father. This is how people like this feel about their religion.

    They would claim that even if their father isn't real, they still raised him, and thus makes him the father. And all the feelings they had connected to this person, would be real to them. But you aren't even saying that his father isn't real. You are telling them he doesn't exist. Well this person "KNOWS" he exists, because he was there for him all of his life.

    Basically, if you let someone grow up with the notion that someone is there for them. It will be ingrained in their being as being true, and almost impossible to remove. No evidence would prove to you that the father you grew up with is not real. You possibly would believe that he is not your real father, if provided with evidence, but you cannot let go of the notion that he exists.

    1: Start promoting free thought at schools!! (going the other way right now, as any belief not set as mainstream suppressed by thought policing)
    2: Teach critical thinking skills from a very young age!! (5 or 6) This is to offset any damage done by the parents being permanent. Kids need to be able to defend themselves.
    3: Teach the impact of religion on history, rather than teaching kids that the bible is real.
    4: Anyone who is already an adult can only convert/learn if they are curious, so make them curious.

    About 4, how do you make a christian curious about a possibility of a god to not exist. Well... Knowledge?
    1: Assume god made everything a certain way.. Wouldn't you like to know why he created everything a certain way? (Christians love the "WHY" part.. play around with that)
    2: If we can observe the universe, and we can interpret information with the brain god would have made for us, wouldn't it be obvious that we could use that brain to make our own conclusions based on the notion that we want to prove his existence rather than it being on blind faith without any evidence.
    3: Basically, make a critical person, give one example of proof for anything claimed by the bible, but debunked by science, years ago. (flat earth, geocentrism, noahs ark, 6000 year old earth, or basic critical thinking of everything in the bible that disproves itself.)
    4: Ask them the question, how can god create night and day, before creating the sun? How did he create the sea before he created the land? These are logical fallacies impossible for a god, but not impossible for a human putting his own words on paper.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    So in my mind the answer is one of public policy - there must be freedom of religion,
    But i disagree. If a religion dictates that it is more important than a states laws. And dictates you should decapitate people who disagree with you. It shouldn't be free to choose this religion.

    Besides, there is no freedom of religion inside religion itself. People don't choose a religion, it is forced upon them since childhood. There is no freedom in religion, thus it doesn't deserve freedom in itself.

    People have the habit of radicalizing when faced with opposition, so i know having freedom of religion will be good for the people on the short term, but on the long term it will only bring more conflicts. As religion takes away responsibility, and responsibility is what makes people good and just.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    As religion takes away responsibility, and responsibility is what makes people good and just.
    Z, I'm sure you're a very nice person so don't take this the wrong way. The last thing anyone would want to do to combat creationists is to do as they do. What I mean is your above statements are baseless claims, they need backing (evidence, citation). If you can show it to be true(or an oversight) and I've misjudged then I'll be the first to admit the mistake and say 'sorry about that.' I'm as ignorant about stuff as the next guy, maybe I should have known about responsibilities, but I'm very leery about accepting a claim without support even if I may agree with it.

    edit: sorry, the word 'not' was an error in the 2nd sentence. Been removed so the rest made sense
    Last edited by zinjanthropos; August 7th, 2017 at 09:10 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    The last thing anyone would want to do to combat creationists is to do as they do. What I mean is your above statements are baseless claims, they need backing (evidence, citation). If you can show it to be true(or an oversight) and I've misjudged then I'll be the first to admit the mistake and say 'sorry about that.'
    Yes..

    You want to combat a religious fanatic using logic, evidence, and explanation.

    They will tell you that all your evidence is false, because god created everything, and it doesn't say in the bible that it took 13 billion years to form the universe. Thus they "prove" all your evidence is false, and a conspiracy by the devil to test their faith.

    I will tell you that this will not work.

    I do not have baseless claims, i used logic to use the bible to contradict the bible. If they believe the bible to be true, and the ultimate word of god, how can it contradict itself.

    How can an all knowing god, have regrets of doing anything. (creating mankind, thus flooding the earth)
    Why would an all powerful god, need us to worship him?
    If he is all knowing and all powerful and omnibenevolent, how can there be evil? If he simply does not care about us, he isn't omnibenevolent, or he doesn't know all, or cannot act, he isn't all knowing or all powerful.

    If you claim that evolution is real, they would go as far as agree (that organisms can change), up until you say we came from a common ancestor as chimps. As we as humans are special.. Or that we share an unbroken lineage to all the life on this planet.

    The last bit you said
    I'm as ignorant about stuff as the next guy, maybe I should have known about responsibilities, but I'm very leery about accepting a claim without support even if I may agree with it.
    Is why you are an atheist, or agnostic. You critically evaluate data. They don't. They ignore all data or evidence that refutes their beliefs.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    What strategies should the science community do to combat fundamentalism and what if the fundamentalist is a scientist?

    You need to keep a checklist in your head. I've bumped into all sorts of professional people of a science background who suddenly spout Adam and Eve, the Fall of Man and so on.

    In the case of Adam and Eve: 'So you believe woman was made from a rib?'
    The Fall of Man: 'So you believe before then people lived for 950 years?'
    Noah's Ark: 'So did dinosaurs make it into the Ark?'
    6000 year old earth: 'So you believe fossils were put there by the devil?'

    Reduce their arguments to absurdity can be the only strategy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    In the case of Adam and Eve: 'So you believe woman was made from a rib?'
    The Fall of Man: 'So you believe before then people lived for 950 years?'
    Noah's Ark: 'So did dinosaurs make it into the Ark?'
    6000 year old earth: 'So you believe fossils were put there by the devil?'
    People who could be considered apologists could claim the following to this.

    - The rib was meant to be a figure of speech. They meant a mans essence.
    - We were granted extra years to prove ourselves, which we should do by bowing down to god and praising him for letting us live as long as we do.
    - The bible never stated anything about dinosaurs that made it into the ark. They weren't brought on board, died and fossilized (a claim easily made by someone who doesn't understand this science).
    - Both could be claimed, some would argue that god placed them there, to test our faith. Others that the devil did. Even others would say that fossilization like this is also possible in a 6000 year earth.

    None of these checks would convince a fundamentalist. They always have an apology ready.

    Asking is more useful than trying to teach them by throwing facts at their heads. Even better if you pretend to be a theist that has doubts.

    Reduce their arguments to absurdity can be the only strategy.
    This is the worst strategy you can have. Let me put this straight. You basically do the following;

    1- You tell them they are stupid.
    2- You tell them their family is stupid.
    3- You tell them that their hopes, dreams, and everything they ever did for their religion was stupid and useless.
    4- You tell them that you know better and they should listen to you.

    Their experience is different than yours. They believe their prayers are answered. That all the good things in their lives are because of god. By telling them that it wasn't, they feel like you attack everything that is good in their lives.

    Imagine, you walking through a rainforest, no idea which way civilisation is, nor which way you should go. You walk for days in one direction Then you meet someone who says you should go all the way back. This person doesn't seem like he is better in any shape than you, his clothes are just as thorn, and just as thirsty and hungry as you. Would you go back walking for 10 days? Or would you simply continue because you know you at least are 10 days closer to something?
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    How can an all knowing god, have regrets of doing anything. (creating mankind, thus flooding the earth)
    Why would an all powerful god, need us to worship him?
    If he is all knowing and all powerful and omnibenevolent, how can there be evil? If he simply does not care about us, he isn't omnibenevolent, or he doesn't know all, or cannot act, he isn't all knowing or all powerful.
    I was like you Z, said the same things, scratched and shook my head over this kind of stuff all the time. I am an atheist who despises religion. I abhor it. Don't get me wrong, I agree with most of what you say. However I have really mellowed out. I stay away from accusing theists of being this or that but I see nothing wrong with attacking the religion by defending. Couple terms you don't see much of anymore describing theists are brainwashed and delusional, so popular once and many of us used it consistently. I think times have changed. Those terms have practically disappeared and I think it's because of their personal attack nature, an ad hom of sorts, useless against weakening the theist stance.

    One thing I will say is that I admire a theist who has the fortitude to launch an offensive here, a head on collision with science. Sure they lose every time but it takes nerve. I'm sure there are atheists who post on religious forums where they can just banish you. I like the way our moderators tolerate theists. They're generally not quick with the axe, ask the correct questions, usually in a polite manner and give the theist an opportunity to prove themselves. I don't know what more theists can ask from a science forum. Each time they're beaten is another grain eroded away from the rock of religion. Going to take time. I kind of like this new easy going approach. IMHO it is rare to see an atheist get agitated in religious debates. Can't say the same for the theists at the table. Maybe it's because we have science as a partner.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    I was like you Z, said the same things, scratched and shook my head over this kind of stuff all the time. I am an atheist who despises religion. I abhor it.
    I don't despise religion. It was a necessary evil. It brought order to a world of chaos. And i say, it WAS. As now, religion has changed, from the offensive, to the defensive one. So, christians are victims now for the first time. And i don't like people who play the victim.

    Couple terms you don't see much of anymore describing theists are brainwashed and delusional, so popular once and many of us used it consistently.
    Brainwashed we are all.. Religion no difference.. Only few people didn't pick up any trait from their parents. Delusional, we are all also. We see the world differently from what it really is.

    One thing I will say is that I admire a theist who has the fortitude to launch an offensive here, a head on collision with science. Sure they lose every time but it takes nerve.
    I don't think it is nerve. I think it is the feeling of superiority. They believe we are ignorant for needing evidence, and not having faith. They don't see themselves as beat, they see us as stupid fools who disobey god and who will be punished for eternity in the afterlife.

    You say, they lose every time. I say, most of the time they think they won as well...
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    [QUOTE=Zwolver;604958]
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    I don't think it is nerve. I think it is the feeling of superiority. They believe we are ignorant for needing evidence, and not having faith. They don't see themselves as beat, they see us as stupid fools who disobey god and who will be punished for eternity in the afterlife.
    I can't imagine going through life thinking a belief will punish me in an afterlife, when there is absolutely no sane reason to believe in the first place, none whatsoever. At least leave me a bread crumb. If I'm wrong and I get to face God, I think he'll pat me on the back and say, 'you did the right thing kid, there was no way you could've known.'

    You say, they lose every time. I say, most of the time they think they won as well...
    There's a difference between thinking you've won and actually winning, IMHO.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post

    I was like you Z, said the same things, scratched and shook my head over this kind of stuff all the time. I am an atheist who despises religion. I abhor it. Don't get me wrong, I agree with most of what you say. However I have really mellowed out. I stay away from accusing theists of being this or that but I see nothing wrong with attacking the religion by defending. Couple terms you don't see much of anymore describing theists are brainwashed and delusional, so popular once and many of us used it consistently. I think times have changed. Those terms have practically disappeared and I think it's because of their personal attack nature, an ad hom of sorts, useless against weakening the theist stance.
    I agree with the jist of this; there are a lot of believer in god(s) and co-believers in evolution (via evolution guided by a god). It is a start. It seems to work much easier if you can fit some smattering of existing god belief into the science explanation. A long time ago as a young teen, several of us were out skipping school and got into a discussion on evolution (because two of the skippers were avoiding the science class they hated). We got into a rousting discussion and I lead them through it via things they understood and already accepted. Dogs came from wolves and we (people) pushed the evolution of dogs into all these different specialty breeds, and that is a micro evolution. Evolution of life doesnt have a guiding man selecting the best puppy for pheasant hunting or duck hunting and creating spaniels or labradors, rather its a slow process guided by changes in the environment, or competition from other life forms, etc... it was a longer discussion but the pattern clicked for them. For them, the abstract god is everywhere/everything could allow evolution after all, because man had created all these different breeds of dog in a very short time.

    Anyways, its not about 'combatting' creationist/theist, its about finding a way to bring them to a more complete understanding of life, the world, and everything.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    If I'm wrong and I get to face God, I think he'll pat me on the back and say, 'you did the right thing kid, there was no way you could've known.'
    You wouldn't assume this if you read the old or the new testament. God in there is ruthless. Changes his mind constantly, he acts like a force of nature, sweeping whole tribes from the face of the earth, smashing children onto rocks, simply for having the wrong parents. And you think he can "forgive" a life long of this "sin"?

    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    There's a difference between thinking you've won and actually winning, IMHO.
    Is there, really?

    More of a philosophical question, yes. But if you are 100% sure you won an argument, you basically did win the argument.

    You simply block the person you had the argument with, stay anonymous on the internet and nobody can ever hold that against you anymore. All there is left is the idea that you were right.

    Do this all the time, and you will think you are right all the time, and that you are some kind of a genius.

    Quote Originally Posted by JaneD View Post
    Anyways, its not about 'combatting' creationist/theist, its about finding a way to bring them to a more complete understanding of life, the world, and everything.
    Yes, but that is logical. It is difficult to find one with an open mind to your ideas about evolution though.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    If I'm wrong and I get to face God, I think he'll pat me on the back and say, 'you did the right thing kid, there was no way you could've known.'
    You wouldn't assume this if you read the old or the new testament. God in there is ruthless. Changes his mind constantly, he acts like a force of nature, sweeping whole tribes from the face of the earth, smashing children onto rocks, simply for having the wrong parents. And you think he can "forgive" a life long of this "sin"?
    If God pats me on the back and says there's no way I could have known then that pretty much eliminates the Bible has a source of divine literature. It would mean that God's just confirming the bible is bullshit.


    Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    There's a difference between thinking you've won and actually winning, IMHO.



    Is there, really?

    More of a philosophical question, yes. But if you are 100% sure you won an argument, you basically did win the argument.

    You simply block the person you had the argument with, stay anonymous on the internet and nobody can ever hold that against you anymore. All there is left is the idea that you were right.


    Do this all the time, and you will think you are right all the time, and that you are some kind of a genius.
    Not sure if it's what you intended but sure sounds like you agree or at least answered your own question.


    Why is this thread in biology?
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Why is this thread in biology?
    Yeah, I just noticed that.
    I think it's because the OP was roughly predicated around acceptance/ denial of evolution.
    Moved...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    This is the worst strategy you can have. Let me put this straight. You basically do the following;
    1- You tell them they are stupid.
    2- You tell them their family is stupid.
    3- You tell them that their hopes, dreams, and everything they ever did for their religion was stupid and useless.
    4- You tell them that you know better and they should listen to you.
    Then they smile at you because it's the very thing they want you to say.
    They love to take it on the chin for Jesus and will feel total exhileration.

    Tell them instead that whereas they believe in the supernatural, you don't.
    Be rational and reasonable rather than aggressive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    So in my mind the answer is one of public policy - there must be freedom of religion,
    But i disagree. If a religion dictates that it is more important than a states laws. And dictates you should decapitate people who disagree with you. It shouldn't be free to choose this religion.

    Besides, there is no freedom of religion inside religion itself. People don't choose a religion, it is forced upon them since childhood. There is no freedom in religion, thus it doesn't deserve freedom in itself.

    People have the habit of radicalizing when faced with opposition, so i know having freedom of religion will be good for the people on the short term, but on the long term it will only bring more conflicts. As religion takes away responsibility, and responsibility is what makes people good and just.
    You are making some good points 🙂 Obviously religion must never override the law - that goes without saying.
    But the thing is - not having freedom of religion is not a viable option under any circumstance, because that means you end up with a system that dictates to you what you can and cannot believe. So I guess the answer is to find the middle ground between freedom of belief, and the law of the land. That is of course never easy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    Obviously religion must never override the law - that goes without saying.
    Does it? I know of one religion (at least) for which God's law takes priority over the law of the land (they are expected to obey the law of the land except where it conflicts with the law of God). For example, in countries where voting is compulsory, they do not vote; and in countries where there is conscription, they will not serve in the military or go to war.

    Your statement makes the presumption that a country's laws are more right than God's laws. Even if one does not believe in God, history tells us that not all countries do the right thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KJW View Post
    Your statement makes the presumption that a country's laws are more right than God's laws. Even if one does not believe in God, history tells us that not all countries do the right thing.
    I would say that the presumption is that we need a societal framework that applies equally to everyone, regardless of what their beliefs are; such a framework can make allowances for religious beliefs, but only up to a certain point. Where that point is, becomes a matter of public policy. I think this is basically what we are doing in most modern nations. Of course, you will always have people who reject such a notion, and proclaim their own version of religion to be the only law they follow.

    What I advocate is simply a balance between personal freedom, and public interest. This is not at all easy, and history is full of examples where this went wrong. Nonetheless, the alternative - not permitting freedom of religion - seems much worse to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    , and proclaim their own version of religion to be the only law they follow.
    Interestingly, many in the West seem to do that anyhow, in reality accepting softer versions of Christianity or proclaiming that societal changes, mostly driven by secular ideas (e.g. abolition, women's equality), are actually due to "true" Christianity--all the while completely ignoring vast period of history where Christian ideas were radically different.
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    One problem I think is contained in the layperson's everyday phrase, "Scientists believe..."

    They think that "scientist" is an exclusive group, that they themselves just aren't qualified to do science or appraise it. So to the average Joe "Scientists" and "Fundamentalists" are equally alien purveyors of opposing truths. Flip a coin? Yet though the majority rather esteem scientists, that esteem reinforces the basic problem: they can't do science because scientist is an elite class of professional. Meanwhile they reckon they or any idiot may adequately do Faith.

    I tangle with that attitude when people relate some junk-science reporting or woo "documentary", and I presume to judge it bad science. Who am I to disagree with Scientists?

    Some years ago the certified hairstylists (mostly female beauticians) of Newfoundland moved to take over the (male) barber industry. Their sentiment was that qualification to cut hair should belong to an exclusive group, and be regulated. This raises a philosophical question: If you're styling hair are you a hairstylist? If you're cooking are you the cook? If you're doing science are you a scientist?

    I think that science would practically destroy fundamentalism if ordinary people felt themselves qualified to engage the world as scientists. They really are. Even toddlers innately perform valid experiments e.g. testing outcomes by systematically isolating variables. We need reminding that doing valid science is natural and easy... more than maintaining a faith!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melancholy Tim View Post
    The peculiar beliefs of fundamentalists in at least two major religions become a problem when those beliefs impact on education and fields of research. This has become increasingly (arguably) true in the USA, but other countries are not immune to it. What strategies, if any, do you believe the science community, in a broad sense, should follow to address this issue? Have you been involved in any activities to counter the problem?

    I believe it to be an important issue, but have almost no idea how to deal with it. Your thoughts?
    I suspect it is mainly the job of education to deal with this issue, rather than for scientists. The danger with involving scientists is that this tends to create a sense that science is inherently anti-religion which, given the widespread nature of religious belief, is extremely damaging.

    I favour an education system in which religious studies are taught, as well as science lessons. This allows for a more mature understanding of various religious teachings, which helps people understand the various traditional belief systems that underly modern culture, while not confusing them with science.

    Creationism is, after all, only a minority belief among mostly poorly educated people in Western societies, whereas some combination of religious belief, tradition, or cultural practice is followed to some degree by the majority. Given the deep-seated nature of religion in our cultures, it would be a great service to social cohesion if education were able to show that science and religion do not have to conflict, and that scientists and religious people do not have to spend their time hurling custard pies at one another.

    I suspect the UK education system gets closer to this than the US one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melancholy Tim View Post
    The peculiar beliefs of fundamentalists in at least two major religions become a problem when those beliefs impact on education and fields of research. This has become increasingly (arguably) true in the USA, but other countries are not immune to it. What strategies, if any, do you believe the science community, in a broad sense, should follow to address this issue? Have you been involved in any activities to counter the problem?

    I believe it to be an important issue, but have almost no idea how to deal with it. Your thoughts?
    Perhaps a good way to address this concern is for more scientists to be more honest about what is known and what is not, more honest about the scope of science with respect to epistemology and overall less dogma.

    Yes there are cranks out there but the mistake made by "mainstream science" (the modern institution called "science") is to regard rational skepticism of philosophical materialism as the same intellectual position as fire-n-brimstone uneducated fundamentalists.

    This dishonesty is doing just as much harm as the "fundamentalists" by misleading young fresh minds into regarding ALL skepticism of materialism as the realm of the lunatic which is of course completely untrue.
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    "skepticism of materialism" <- This is a result of science how?
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Holmes View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Melancholy Tim View Post
    The peculiar beliefs of fundamentalists in at least two major religions become a problem when those beliefs impact on education and fields of research. This has become increasingly (arguably) true in the USA, but other countries are not immune to it. What strategies, if any, do you believe the science community, in a broad sense, should follow to address this issue? Have you been involved in any activities to counter the problem?

    I believe it to be an important issue, but have almost no idea how to deal with it. Your thoughts?
    Perhaps a good way to address this concern is for more scientists to be more honest about what is known and what is not, more honest about the scope of science with respect to epistemology and overall less dogma.

    Yes there are cranks out there but the mistake made by "mainstream science" (the modern institution called "science") is to regard rational skepticism of philosophical materialism as the same intellectual position as fire-n-brimstone uneducated fundamentalists.

    This dishonesty is doing just as much harm as the "fundamentalists" by misleading young fresh minds into regarding ALL skepticism of materialism as the realm of the lunatic which is of course completely untrue.
    I take your point but I do not myself believe that "mainstream science" takes a philosophical materialist position. What it seems to me has happened is that a certain number of publicists of science have taken that position and misrepresented their own philosophical position as being that of "mainstream science". Dawkins and De Grasse Tyson spring to mind. (The latter has earned my undying contempt for belittling the subject of philosophy, apparently unaware of the crucial role of philosophy in defining science in the first place!)

    I do not think it is "dishonesty", as you put it. I think it is simple ignorance, naivety and prejudice on their part. And politically foolish as well - by setting up this false antagonism between science and religion, they make science a political football and encourage anti-science views to take hold in society at large. A really serious own-goal!

    I would like to see more scientists who have religious belief (the biologist Ken Miller is one example) be prepared to show that the perceived antithesis is false. I would also like to see more moderate churchmen being enthusiastic and knowledgeable about science. After all, in the c.19th, a lot of the scientists were men of the cloth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    "skepticism of materialism" <- This is a result of science how?
    Rephrase your question please, it isn't clear.
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Holmes View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Melancholy Tim View Post
    The peculiar beliefs of fundamentalists in at least two major religions become a problem when those beliefs impact on education and fields of research. This has become increasingly (arguably) true in the USA, but other countries are not immune to it. What strategies, if any, do you believe the science community, in a broad sense, should follow to address this issue? Have you been involved in any activities to counter the problem?

    I believe it to be an important issue, but have almost no idea how to deal with it. Your thoughts?
    Perhaps a good way to address this concern is for more scientists to be more honest about what is known and what is not, more honest about the scope of science with respect to epistemology and overall less dogma.

    Yes there are cranks out there but the mistake made by "mainstream science" (the modern institution called "science") is to regard rational skepticism of philosophical materialism as the same intellectual position as fire-n-brimstone uneducated fundamentalists.

    This dishonesty is doing just as much harm as the "fundamentalists" by misleading young fresh minds into regarding ALL skepticism of materialism as the realm of the lunatic which is of course completely untrue.

    I take your point but I do not myself believe that "mainstream science" takes a philosophical materialist position. What it seems to me has happened is that a certain number of publicists of science have taken that position and misrepresented their own philosophical position as being that of "mainstream science". Dawkins and De Grasse Tyson spring to mind. (The latter has earned my undying contempt for belittling the subject of philosophy, apparently unaware of the crucial role of philosophy in defining science in the first place!)

    I do not think it is "dishonesty", as you put it. I think it is simple ignorance, naivety and prejudice on their part. And politically foolish as well - by setting up this false antagonism between science and religion, they make science a political football and encourage anti-science views to take hold in society at large. A really serious own-goal!

    I would like to see more scientists who have religious belief (the biologist Ken Miller is one example) be prepared to show that the perceived antithesis is false. I would also like to see more moderate churchmen being enthusiastic and knowledgeable about science. After all, in the c.19th, a lot of the scientists were men of the cloth.
    Well said, I particularly enjoyed "God's undertaker" by Prof. John Lennox, he goes to the core of what you describe and it was refreshing read, not a huge book either.

    I share your view of Dawkins and Tyson (and others - e.g. Krauss) with regard to their belittling of philosophy, a crucially important aspect of this debate.
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    I don't see religion as the problem so much as the adoption of an oppositional identitiy. Or sense of 'rightiousness' Ie, when religion is viewed as a construct that can serves all humanity, it can have beneficial effects. But when a religion indicates its to be served by humanity, or is exclusive by nature, then you are going to create conflict. Its going to oppose an alternative to its own identity.

    If identity is an environment for what it contains, then it would make sense that
    How the religion as an identity defines itself has a lot of bearing on the diversity it can contain, or the diversity it will oppose. Nothing wrong with finding value in a certain environment, until those values are imposed on the broader environment that supports it.

    If religion is a condition of the environment, then a sense of rightiousness in that condition should(?) see a direction to replicate those conditions overall.
    Last edited by naitche; January 15th, 2018 at 07:22 PM.
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    I know quite a few scientist and it seems pretty clear to me Dawkins and Tyson represent their views pretty well, though more vociferous and willing to engage the public.

    I've listened to Lennox a few times.... finding him not even a good philosopher and most of his arguments filled with rudimentary presumptions and fallacies all too common among Angengelicals willing to look past such failures of reasoning necessary to reach their particular views.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    I know quite a few scientist and it seems pretty clear to me Dawkins and Tyson represent their views pretty well, though more vociferous and willing to engage the public.

    I've listened to Lennox a few times.... finding him not even a good philosopher and most of his arguments filled with rudimentary presumptions and fallacies all too common among Angengelicals willing to look past such failures of reasoning necessary to reach their particular views.
    He doesn't claim to be a philosopher Lynx, he does however draw upon many philosophers in that book, he uses their arguments (for and against) from history as part of his discussion.

    His main thesis of course is that the "science vs religion" theme is artificial and disagreements between materialists and deists do not and never have amounted to any dispute between "science" and "religion".
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    Agreed Lennox is not a philosopher. Nor does he construct well-reasoned arguments... his vids and I would guess his books are a combination of arguments from authority (why he uses pasts famous scientist--such and such had faith), incredulity (it couldn't be something from nothing!) and god of gaps (so it must be god!).
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; January 17th, 2018 at 04:53 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melancholy Tim View Post
    The peculiar beliefs of fundamentalists in at least two major religions become a problem when those beliefs impact on education and fields of research. This has become increasingly (arguably) true in the USA, but other countries are not immune to it. What strategies, if any, do you believe the science community, in a broad sense, should follow to address this issue? Have you been involved in any activities to counter the problem?

    I believe it to be an important issue, but have almost no idea how to deal with it. Your thoughts?
    Even if there were some way to disprove their beliefs like a time machine they would also have to trust you to give them accurate information about your discovery which they don't. Religious fundamentalism will exist as long as there is a mind capable of conceptualizing it.

    Have you tried arguing with fundamentalists? There is no way to convince them they are wrong or acting incorrectly. The only solutions are solutions no one would want to implement. Even if you use those heinous methods religion just comes back, just ask China and it's growing christian population.
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    Re-reading Atheist Universe by David Mills, I accept this is the perfect text to combat creationists, but nobody can force them to read it. Even Dawkins describes it as an admirable work.
    It certainly gives me the impression that creationists having an incomplete brain would either not want to read it or would be incapable of understanding it.

    As one reviewer puts it 'The author takes apart the creationist and id argument in an excellent readable book, it seems that having had the laughable notion that the universe was created in 7 days destroyed we now have intelligent design, I have read how the eye could not have evolved but was designed, well any designer who designed the eye would be sacked, the retina is back to front, human's night vision is poor, it suffers from myopia, hypermetropia, astigmatism, ARMD, cataracts, glaucoma, I could go on...
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Re-reading Atheist Universe by David Mills, I accept this is the perfect text to combat creationists, but nobody can force them to read it. Even Dawkins describes it as an admirable work.
    It certainly gives me the impression that creationists having an incomplete brain would either not want to read it or would be incapable of understanding it.

    As one reviewer puts it 'The author takes apart the creationist and id argument in an excellent readable book, it seems that having had the laughable notion that the universe was created in 7 days destroyed we now have intelligent design, I have read how the eye could not have evolved but was designed, well any designer who designed the eye would be sacked, the retina is back to front, human's night vision is poor, it suffers from myopia, hypermetropia, astigmatism, ARMD, cataracts, glaucoma, I could go on...
    That's great but creationists don't respond to arguments and reason. They have faith and justify it any way they can. They've already decided on a predetermined conclusion. No amount of argument can combat that.
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    My favourite on this line is the area below the waist... What competent designer would put the playground so close to the sewage outlet
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    ^^^I had always heard “snack bar next to the shitter”.
    Anyhoo, what is the point of trying to debate creationists? I looked “futility” up in the dictionary, it said “Go debate a creationist”. It also said to reference “pigeon chess”.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GiantEvil View Post
    ^^^I had always heard “snack bar next to the shitter”.
    Anyhoo, what is the point of trying to debate creationists? I looked “futility” up in the dictionary, it said “Go debate a creationist”. It also said to reference “pigeon chess”.
    It's such a common theme that it's actually a quote. Dozens of memes made about it. Having debated creationists myself I know it's absolutely true. I frequented an alternate history website for a number of years and never got them to admit any fault or fallacy on their part. Their entire logic is : Bible is true -----> I am right. It's just that simple.

    Last edited by Angelo_Maligno; October 4th, 2018 at 11:16 AM.
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    Interesting how Christians need the Bible to tell them how to behave, while declared atheists are far more likely to behave.
    I posted for a while on the Worthy Christian Forum until I was thrown off. They decided as a non-believer I could access only the outer court. Having been subjected to all the usual stuff about burning in hell I was given the impression that Christians are at least half mad.
    One thing they do not like pointed out is that the original followers of JC believed they were living in last times (a doomsday cult). Only in recent times has Christianity been reinterpreted as a religion of love.
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    Why did millions of sperm die just so God could get credit for creating me? Why isn't one little swimmer sufficient? What purpose do all the others have when it's me that God's creating?

    Anyway I don't debate them if I can avoid it. When I do engage, I always feel like I'm speaking to someone who's either missing something or has something I could catch.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Why did millions of sperm die just so God could get credit for creating me? Why isn't one little swimmer sufficient? What purpose do all the others have when it's me that God's creating?
    The creationist argument: It's the Lorrd Gahd showing His power.

    Anyway I don't debate them if I can avoid it. When I do engage, I always feel like I'm speaking to someone who's either missing something or has something I could catch.
    When they are challenged they act in a non-Christian way, or the subject is quickly changed. They want you to catch the Christian message which is if you do not convert you will burn in Hell, when all they are after is your money.
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    I lead a humanist group. I agree that science is doing what it can to alert us to problems, though it is true that science is used (abused?) by corporations for profit these days, rampant consumerism, rather than a pure scientific endeavour for truth.

    When people talk of religion as if it is an alternative to science, I find it ridiculous. Science is evidence based, religion is not.

    The more one looks at religion in an objective way, that is, the more one searches for truth, the more absurd and hypocritical it becomes. For instance, a big deal is made of the fact that Jesus healed a few lepers, but it is overlooked that there are millions of other lepers that were not healed, or the fact that the Loving God that the Christians push, created leprosy and many other diseases. Science has helped with leprosy far more than any religion ever has. If God did exist (he does not) then every day he stands aside whilst various sickness, sufferings, catastrophes, abuse and neglect plays itself out every day. Not only humans of all kinds, but also animals, suffer indescribably for no good reason at all, it does not matter if you are a Pope or a pauper, you can get struck down. This is called the problem of evil" in philosophy. Religious solutions are often ridiculous. Praying cannot cure Malaria.
    Looking further at Christianity the very basis, that God had a son and then sacrificed him, is a remnant of the time when child sacrifice was viewed as having some perverse purpose. If I sacrificed my son I would end up (rightly) in jail. This still goes on in many countries in Africa for the sake of "religious beliefs" and the very solution to this evil is more religion "exorcism" ceremonies that cost a pretty penny for the poor and gullible.

    Similar practices exist in other religions.

    Feeding these ideas to children is not a "freedom" which we should exercise. Just as we are taught from an early age to be rampant consumers, so also the "believers" teach their children fairy tales about virgin births and "wise" men, or Angels revealing the final message to mankind to some obscure warlord etc. Children are indoctrinated before they have a chance to develop critical reasoning skills.

    Although we have some very limited ability to reason innately, these skills need to be enhanced by learning logic, scepticism, the scientific method and other critical skills. Most people are not familiar with the concept of logical fallacies, and do not possess the intellectual skills to look at religion rationally. Many people think that "belief" is key, as if it were true that the stronger one believes something the more likely it is true, or they surmise, the fact that millions of people share a belief, makes it somehow beyond reproach.
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    Freedom of religion is the granted choice to hold faith in and express your religion without lawful prosecution, not social construct.

    Sure, if you think about it, it's not fair from the beginning - but what is? Some people are born way better looking than others, some people are born forced into believing god is real, some are not. Expressing your religion without getting executed for it [instead of believing in, say, christianity] is why Columbus and his crew, in 1492, sailed the ocean blue. (Like my rhymes?)
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuinnMcChief View Post
    Expressing your religion without getting executed for it [instead of believing in, say, christianity] is why Columbus and his crew, in 1492, sailed the ocean blue. (Like my rhymes?)

    Who said anything about executing anyone? That's a religious approach - Islam for example. Religion is a false construct, it is used to convince people to hand over power and money and in return gives them a promissory note for a life to come, and a lot of other BS as well. It controls minds and rejects rational evidence. Bringing up a child this way is tantamount to child abuse, the only possible defence is that the parents are ignorant of the falsity of their religious claims.

    We need children to understand the truth about humanity, we have some serious problems and religion is not going to solve them
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuinnMcChief View Post
    Freedom of religion is the granted choice to hold faith in and express your religion without lawful prosecution, not social construct.
    And a licence to kill, as witnessed in the crusades, the witch hunts, the inquisitions, the jihads.
    As an alternative, maybe we should all learn the Price Equation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by QuinnMcChief View Post
    Freedom of religion is the granted choice to hold faith in and express your religion without lawful prosecution, not social construct.
    And a licence to kill, as witnessed in the crusades, the witch hunts, the inquisitions, the jihads.
    As an alternative, maybe we should all learn the Price Equation.

    Thirteen countries punish apostasy by death, many more punish with life imprisonment, floggings and worse and in many Islamic countries you would not be safe on the streets if you were known as an athiest.
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