Can you reconcile your faith with science?

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Re: Can you reconcile your faith with science?

Post  Niels on Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:55 am

SyntheticSylence wrote:So the generation of contemporary ethics is the same thing as the contemporary conception of the dignity of the human person and individuality?
You posted that in reply to a question of mine:
Niels wrote:but when I want to know about ethics, why would I reach for a Bible instead of an episode of Star Trek?
Further on, you say:
SySy wrote:A lot of our morality gets its context from the Biblical story. In fact, I'd argue, a lot of our morality gets its context from the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ.
I'm sure you'll argue that "morality" is not the same as "ethics" - but do you have evidence for any of the claims that I quoted?

And my point is not that you don't have a right to be here. My point is that you don't have the knowledge base required to have the dialogue you think you should have with me. You think you're calling bullshit when in fact you're proving that you haven't read any theology.
When talking about delusions and mental disabilities, I rely on my (admittedly limited) knowledge of psychiatry, not theology.
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Re: Can you reconcile your faith with science?

Post  Niels on Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:11 pm

SyntheticSylence wrote:
Truth is not subject to opinions, tradition, scripture or authority! ;-)

What does that even mean?

@SySy: If you buy a beer that costs 2 dollars and you pay with 100 dollars, then the bartender owes you 98 dollars in return. Is that true or false? If he says he only owes you 20 dollars, is he telling the truth or telling a lie?
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Re: Can you reconcile your faith with science?

Post  SyntheticSylence on Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:13 pm

Niels,

I now see your problem is not limited to skimming, but also suffers from imputing assumptions of your own into what I say.

From what I gather I said that the contemporary idea of human dignity and contemporary individuality find their genesis in the Bible. I also said that a lot of our morality don't make sense outside of the context of the Gospel. And you took this to mean that our ethics are all from the Bible?

Nothing I said adds up to what you said I said. And you want to lecture me on logic?

To be clear, when I said that a lot of our morality doesn't make sense outside of the context of the Gospel I was referring to altruism. It doesn't seem to make sense outside of the Resurrection.

If you buy a beer that costs 2 dollars and you pay with 100 dollars, then the bartender owes you 98 dollars in return. Is that true or false? If he says he only owes you 20 dollars, is he telling the truth or telling a lie?

Have you read Alasdair MacIntyre?
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Re: Can you reconcile your faith with science?

Post  Niels on Thu Feb 11, 2010 4:18 pm

From what I gather I said that the contemporary idea of human dignity and contemporary individuality find their genesis in the Bible. I also said that a lot of our morality don't make sense outside of the context of the Gospel.
That's not what you said. Your earlier claims seemed to make sense, even if they were not backed up by evidence and possibly wrong. This last claim is gibberish.

Whatever your point is, though, what is your evidence? How did you discard all other sources of whatever you attribute to the bible? How do you know that those things didn't exist long before the bible was written?

SyntheticSylence wrote:
If you buy a beer that costs 2 dollars and you pay with 100 dollars, then the bartender owes you 98 dollars in return. Is that true or false? If he says he only owes you 20 dollars, is he telling the truth or telling a lie?

Have you read Alasdair MacIntyre?
Do you really need a catholic philosopher to answer such a simple question?
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Re: Can you reconcile your faith with science?

Post  SyntheticSylence on Thu Feb 11, 2010 4:30 pm

That's not what you said.


No, that's exactly what I said. At least based on everything you quoted.

Show me where I said any more than that.

Whatever your point is, though, what is your evidence? How did you discard all other sources of whatever you attribute to the bible? How do you know that those things didn't exist long before the bible was written?

Greek and Roman law codes, tragedy, epics, and comedy. The works of philosophers. Just read them, it's pretty obvious. I already gave an example with Peter. Have you read the 12 Tables?

Do you really need a catholic philosopher to answer such a simple question?

Nope, but I could preempt whatever you're going to say by pointing him.

In regards to your question, you never told me whether I'd been to the bar before or what my tab was. So there is no way for me to answer.

Which, is something Alasdair MacIntyre points out in After Virtue. He creates a hypothetical where all science books were burned, and all that was left was some snippets of Euclid's The Elements. What are the chances we rebuild our system of mathematics the same way? Things need context to make sense, and that context is provided by traditions. And tradition is held up by authority and the written word.

Truth is only intelligible in a tradition. Which is my point.
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Re: Can you reconcile your faith with science?

Post  Niels on Thu Feb 11, 2010 4:55 pm

SyntheticSylence wrote:In regards to your question, you never told me whether I'd been to the bar before or what my tab was. So there is no way for me to answer.
I would expect you, if you received 68 dollars too little, to complain. You would claim as fact that you handed over a 100 dollar bill. You would claim as fact the pricelist that states that a beer costs 2 dollars. You would claim as fact that 100-2=98, and that 100-2-20 is 68 dollars short. That's more or less the point Clint made in his original post: That Christians inhabit one reality in daily life, while switching to a different, even conflicting reality when practicing their faith.

As long as we can't agree on such everyday facts, there's little point in discussing the tougher questions.

Truth is only intelligible in a tradition. Which is my point.
Tell it to the judge, when you've been accused of a crime and get a chance to defend yourself. Let's see what sentence you receive, if you defend yourself with "Truth is only intelligible in a tradition". Or are you pleading insanity?
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Re: Can you reconcile your faith with science?

Post  SyntheticSylence on Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:07 pm

That's more or less the point Clint made in his original post: That Christians inhabit one reality in daily life, while switching to a different, even conflicting reality when practicing their faith.

Let me repeat myself, I am not disagreeing because I don't understand. I am disagreeing because I have not yet faced a compelling argument.

Being a Christian does not necessitate that one give up mathematics. Likewise, it does not necessitate giving up on science, if that were the case science would have never gotten a start anyway. I am not inhabiting two realities, I inhabit one reality. My religion encompasses all of this. If you can't tell this, that shows your ignorance of my religion.

Prove to me there must be a conflict between faith and science. Give me an argument, not an assertion, that says that as a person of faith I cannot accept that the scientific method is reasonably accurate (if not the most accurate) method we have to determine truth in the physical world.

Let's see what sentence you receive, if you defend yourself with "Truth is only intelligible in a tradition". Or are you pleading insanity?

It's pretty obvious truth is only intelligible in a tradition. If I were to go to an african tribe and tell them that everything is made up of atoms which contain neutrons, protons, and electons. And the electrons orbit a nucleus but we don't know exactly how they do because to look at them directly would make them change course... they'd think I'm nuts. It doesn't fit in with their tradition. Now, if I were to educate them in the ways of science it would begin to make sense. And they would not longer doubt.

Things need their context, Truth only has context in a tradition. You yourself inhabit a tradition, every time you make sense out of it you make sense out of it according to your tradition. The scientific method is part of this tradition.
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Re: Can you reconcile your faith with science?

Post  Niels on Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:36 pm

SyntheticSylence wrote:Give me an argument that says that as a person of faith I cannot accept that the scientific method is reasonably accurate (if not the most accurate) method we have to determine truth in the physical world.
You do not except that, as you plainly state further on:

Things need their context, Truth only has context in a tradition. You yourself inhabit a tradition, every time you make sense out of it you make sense out of it according to your tradition. The scientific method is part of this tradition.

There is no tradition, anywhere on earth, where bricks fall up instead of down. There's no tradition where water doesn't freeze when it gets cold. There's no tradition where you don't die if you don't eat or drink.
Those are the facts that science is about. You can describe them in any tradition and language you like, but the facts stays the same.
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Re: Can you reconcile your faith with science?

Post  SyntheticSylence on Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:47 pm

I think it's funny that Niels evidently knows more about what I'm saying, what I'm believing, and all of that sort of thing than I do. Perhaps we should study this phenomenon. We'll scientifically validate the existence of mind reading. Very Happy

The scientific method doesn't change gravity. However, we can all agree that there are societies where the scientific method does not exist. Indeed, we can agree there are societies where, when introduced, the scientific method would not make sense to them. They would know that bricks fall down, but they wouldn't be able to say why according to the scientific method.

Truth is not the same as a fact. The fact is bricks fall down. This is not going to be disputed, but whether they fall down by gravity or whether spirits allow them to fall or whatever will be disputed. This is not to make a statement regarding the truthfulness of gravity (I hold the scientific view). But to say that there is this thing called spacetime and when it bends there's gravity, is part of our tradition. Take it outside of modern physics and it is incoherent. You won't see aboriginals accepting this at face value.
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Re: Can you reconcile your faith with science?

Post  Niels on Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:29 pm

SyntheticSylence wrote:Truth is not the same as a fact.
Clint and I don't agree. Neither does the Cambridge dictionary:
the truth: "the real facts about a situation, event or person"
If I understand you correctly, then "fact" should be reserved for science, while "truth" is anything a theologist sells as such. Correct?
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Re: Can you reconcile your faith with science?

Post  SyntheticSylence on Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:37 pm

I see you speak for Clint as well, does your mind reading know no bounds!? (Though, to be fair, you are probably right in that regard.)

I'm distinguishing between truth and Truth. This is common in philosophical jargon, and it would make sense seeing as we are having a philosophical discussion. Truth has to do with more philosophical truths, truth has to do with like, gravity.

Anyway, back to my question, what argument can you give me saying that as a person of faith I must distance myself or reject science? Don't see one yet...
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Re: Can you reconcile your faith with science?

Post  Clint on Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:40 am

SySy, your getting "beliefs" confused with "truth". You can believe what ever you want, but that doesn't alter the true factual nature of what reality is. I can have a cultural tradition that Santa flies around the sky once a year and comes down the chimney and puts presents in every single house around the world in 1 night. Is that a cultural and traditional belief? Yes. Is it rational? No. Is it true? No. Truth can not, and will never vary depending on what someone believes because of their contextual tradition.

Stop re-defining dictionary words and re-labelling things that already have labels.

You still haven't answered my simple questions properly.

The only response I got from you was
My entire disagreement with you is saying that science is the only good reason to believe that anything exists. I think this is blatantly false. And I'm asking for a good argument to support his assumption.
It clearly isn't the only reason to believe something. Of course its not. People believe things because they're convinced of it. You can be convinced for good reasons or bad reasons. Science, is demonstrably by far the best reason to be convinced of something. Re-read my 2nd and 3rd paragraph, and give give me a good reason.

I want a short, concise and to the point response. Do not dance around it. Do not refer other philosophers. Do not use symbolic non-sense. Do not rant on for ages about something irrelevant. Do not re-label words. Do not re-define words that already have meanings.

Oh and "Discursive reason", a great thing yeah. But guess what - If you add the benefit of evidence and measurable data with proper trialled, tested, documented and controlled methods of inquiry, with critical analysis to that reason, it becomes even more powerful. Have a single guess what that is called!


Last edited by Clint on Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:50 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Can you reconcile your faith with science?

Post  Niels on Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:17 am

SyntheticSylence wrote:
I'm distinguishing between truth and Truth. This is common in philosophical jargon, and it would make sense seeing as we are having a philosophical discussion. Truth has to do with more philosophical truths, truth has to do with like, gravity.
This reminds me of the "electric monk" in one of the books of the immortal Douglas Adams:
The door was the way to... to... The Door was The Way. Good. Capital letters were always the best way of dealing with things you didn't have a good answer to.
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Re: Can you reconcile your faith with science?

Post  Clint on Fri Feb 12, 2010 8:16 am

haha, and then when someone asks "why" you believe what you do, the response may come in many different forms, but always ultimately ends up (once you remove the charismatic wrapping from the response) with the same unjustifiable non-answer of "just because". It's intellectual failure.

But I do admire people who critically analyse their beliefs and come to the realisation that they are unable to properly justify what they believe and actually to the honourable thing and stop believing it and change their way of thinking. It's courages.

I think what has been demonstrated in this particular thread is exactly the type of argument theists use to wriggle out of actually providing an answer. The utilization of circular arguments, intellectual dishonesty, double standards of rationality, pseudo-talk, untestafiable conclusions and unknowable claims. The exact thing which represents that horrible little word "faith". And this type of thinking isn't just restricted to religion either. There are some reputable authors out there that have written books on these things, like Michael Shermer's "why people believe weird things" + many many more.
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Re: Can you reconcile your faith with science?

Post  SyntheticSylence on Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:02 am

SySy, your getting "beliefs" confused with "truth".


Not at all. This is a necessary distinction, otherwise we end up with what I'm seeing here. This is exactly what I was talking about in my first post. If we want to make a distinction between belief and factual truth, you necessarily must have some beliefs that are not factual truth. I will show this in a jip.

I can have a cultural tradition that Santa flies around the sky once a year and comes down the chimney and puts presents in every single house around the world in 1 night. Is that a cultural and traditional belief? Yes. Is it rational? No. Is it true? No. Truth can not, and will never vary depending on what someone believes because of their contextual tradition.

That's not what I'm talking about. This would be so much easier if you had read Alasdair MacIntyre. I'm talking about a cultural linguistic system along with the beliefs, stories, ect. that make it up. To go back to my previous example, an African tribe will not believe in space time unless you provide the context for this belief. Truth does not exist in a vacuum. Now this is not to deny absolute truth, but I thought we weren't talking about that anyway?

You still haven't answered my simple questions properly.

I did, prove to me my answer wasn't proper. If you want me to repeat myself, God is a non empirical entity. And establishing his existence based on miracles is much like establishing the existence of the Dodo by a random unidentified feather. Science has no claim here. This is why I'm asking you to prove to me that science is the ultimate arbiter of truth claims, your questions are based on this assumption. So far all you've done is repeat your assumption.

So to be brief, the only reason why you think I'm dancing around is because I deny the status you give science. I see no good reason for it, and I'm waiting for one.

It clearly isn't the only reason to believe something. Of course its not. People believe things because they're convinced of it. You can be convinced for good reasons or bad reasons. Science, is demonstrably by far the best reason to be convinced of something. Re-read my 2nd and 3rd paragraph, and give give me a good reason.

I never said the only reason, I said the only good reason. Apparently if God can't be scientifically validated then there's no point in believing in him. Why? Why is science the method we have to go to? You don't prove anything. All you do is give me these clichés about how it's the best thing we got, and yadda yadda yadda. Prove it. Prove to me science can answer metaphysical questions. It would seem obvious to me you're making a category mistake that wouldn't get past Philosophy 101.

Maybe I have to be even more direct and pedantic (if only I was at the beginning, my apologies). An argument is an assertion supported by reasons. You're not giving me any reasons. You're just repeating your assertion at me. Why must my theological truth claims be validated by science? It's a simple question, but you're not answering. Saying that science is the best method we got, or saying that if God were to exist he must be scientifically identifiable (and if that's not the case he's identical to a nonexistent God) are not arguments, they are only assertions. Back them up with reasons.

Oh and "Discursive reason", a great thing yeah. But guess what - If you add the benefit of evidence and measurable data with proper trialled, tested, documented and controlled methods of inquiry, with critical analysis to that reason, it becomes even more powerful. Have a single guess what that is called!

Oh, you don't know what discursive reason is. That explains things. Discursive reason is a form of reason using argument, that is: having assumptions and supporting them with reasons. It must follow laws of logic. Science utilizes discursive reason to give it a reason to exist. What I'm asking you for is a philosophical argument for the importance you place on science.

So I'm going to be totally, absolutely, completely direct with what I'm trying to get at.

I think if you were totally honest, and not combative (not that I blame you at all), you would come right out and say that you will only accept truth claims validated by the scientific method just because, which is a circular argument. You haven't considered ontology, epistemology, ect. Philosophy doesn't interest you. In fact, you seem to have trouble conceptualizing it. You accept science purely on the basis of authority and tradition. Your scripture is the writings of scientists. Your priests wear lab coats.

So what we see here is not a matter of rationality and irrationality, but your tradition colliding head on with those of a religious tradition. You imperialize thought, so when I say that there is no conflict between my faith and my science, you take that to mean I must not be thinking straight. Clearly the Bible says 6 days. This is how thought works in your head. Which is not entirely wrong. That is one way to interpret something. But you are an imperialist, you don't care about the belief system of the person of faith. It's axiomatic that it's wrong. So when I talk about hermeneutic, your eyes glaze over and you are forced to make something up about me cherry picking. It's not about taking one part and ignoring another, it's about a different sort of hermeneutic. And this is only one example, there seems to be a problem on this site with conceiving a religion as it is, as opposed to acting like everyone is a fundamentalist from America.

So there is an unspoken philosophical foundation to your claims, I'm asking you to dig them up and you are either unwilling or unable. I have a different philosophical foundation which allows me to accept science fully, while accepting theism. They do not conflict. Historically there was never much of a conflict anyway, that's a myth created by atheists. This philosophical foundation is what's relevant, not the claims of science because science in a way services the philosophical foundation. It is your philosophy that leads you to reject God, not science, so if we are going to have a meaningful discussion your philosophy must be discussed.

And it is through philosophical discussion that we will more greater approximate a discussion on the existence of God. This is because God is non-empirical, and because by definition he is believed to act upon (and in some cases, be a part of) νουσ.

So let's run a checklist.

I find that most of the time it ends up with the bending of facts, intellectual dishonesty, contortion of truths, circular arguments, denialism and straw men concepts.

I think it's safe to say you've bent facts. I don't think you've been intellectually dishonest. But you have contorted truths, your argument is circular, you're response to my response is to deny its existence, and any attempt to knock down my faith has been done with the benefit of a strawman.
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Re: Can you reconcile your faith with science?

Post  Clint on Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:28 am

I know what discursive reason means. What I was trying to point out was, people could discursively reason with themselves all day long and still easily arrive at false conclusions, if the raw data their dealing with is fundamentally flawed. Religious apologetics such as yourself do this all the time. Discursive reason is reasonable in itself for every day uses, etc. But when it comes down to the accuracy of real stuff - the investigation and discovery of the reality of our world & universe we live in. Without the other tools of science such as measurable data, controlled tests, experiments and trials, validation and evidence); discursive reasoning alone is inadequate.

You say "God created reality" - is simply a claim, with no evidence in support. You don't offer any 'whats', 'whys' or 'hows', but just bold untestable and unproven pseudo-assertions that have no basis in discussions that deal with what's real and what's demonstrably real. Life is proof of life, existence is proof of existence. To get to a cause ...you need evidence!

What I asked was whether you could square your faith with science. The answer is a very clear "no", you are unable too. You haven't in any way, shape or form done this. What you have done is square it with philosophy. In which I nor anyone else gives a hoot about.

"Faith is belief in the absents of evidence. Believing when there is no compelling evidence is a mistake. You should withold belief until there is compelling evidence. If the universe does not comply with our predispisitions, then we have the wrenching oblications to accomodate to how the universe really is." - Carl Sagan
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Re: Can you reconcile your faith with science?

Post  Clint on Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:38 am

I think we've done this one to bits.

To prevent unnecessary repetition in this particular discussion and further bloating that will prevent others from having their say. Unless anyone has anything new or valid to say, please withhold from posting.
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Re: Can you reconcile your faith with science?

Post  eccles on Tue Jun 15, 2010 6:09 pm

It was my study of Science, especially Cosmology that resulted in me escaping from the Poison of Religion. I suffered the fate of any child born into a Roman Catholic family. I was baptised a Roman Catholic without my consent. I believe I did bite the priest's thumb. That should have been a sign of my protest.

RELIGION POISONS EVERYTHING
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