Belief and intelligence
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06-03-2010, 03:19 AM
Belief and intelligence
I have often asked myself why many otherwise intelligent and rational people (and here I mean especially biologists, chemists, physicists, doctors etc. people who intimately familiar with science) still believe in religion, in spite of the contradictions that arise between the two. The answer, I believe, lies within a concept introduced by George Orwell in his famous dystopian novel about total control of the masses, 1984. This concept is called doublethink . Here's a quote from this very book:

"To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself -- that was the ultimate subtlety; consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved the use of doublethink."

Replace the Party with the Bible and things become pretty clear. Apparently this process requires a lot of mental effort, to say nothing of repeated self-delusion. This is how Christian scientists can believe in god while knowing that the Bible is scientifically incorrect. They do not want to subject its teachings to critical thinking, but instead incorporate these two mutually exclusive notions, i.e. religious belief and scientific truth, into one worldview that would accept both, while willingly and consciously ignoring the gaping differences between them. For example, we know that the Sun does not revolve around the earth as the Bible claims. A scientist would of course know that, but if that scientist had a religious upbringing, s/he might say, 'Well it is a metaphor', or change the subject, or come up with a totally obscure and unintelligible explanation designed to confuse the person who might question this aspect and themselves, for that matter. It is simply because they were raised as Christians and they do not want to renounce their religion (being deeply embedded into their psyches) even for the sake of science.

Opinions?

All learning is quite useless if you haven't learned to question what you learn.
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06-03-2010, 06:05 AM
 
RE: Belief and intelligence
I think the reason we do have some theist scientists is largely due to the Argument from Authority:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_authority

Although, I'm not completely satisfied with that as a reason...

I honestly think more investigation would be required to understand WHY those scientists still believe in a god. A number of reasons come to mind:

1. Being outspoken about NOT believing would remove any funding they are receiving for their research.
2. The scientists polled may be working for some type of religion-sponsored institution, so speaking out is blasphemy, with risk of losing their jobs.
3. They haven't actually THOUGHT about their position regarding belief, no time to think about it (I would rather they cure cancer), their belief doesn't interfere with their core work so it doesn't bother them...etc.
4. They don't WANT to think about their position regarding belief. This may be based on ego, pride, etc.

Whatever their reason, I would only hope that their belief doesn't influence their work.

Also, my question to them is what level of belief do they have. Are they theists (a personal god, intervenes in everyday life) or are they deists (creator, but that's it). And, that in and of itself is part of the problem with polls...

If the question on the poll asks "Do you believe in god?", with a 'yes' or 'no' answer, it isn't satisfying in my honest opinion...it is too generalized. I think that the question should either be reworded or include a follow up question(s) narrowing down to theism or deism. On the flip side, if a scientist answers 'no' to the belief in god question, it should be further broken down to whether they are atheist or agnostic (simply out of fairness).
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06-03-2010, 10:15 AM
RE: Belief and intelligence
I find it hard to believe that they truly believe in the word of the bible. The parts they can say are metaphors they do, and somehow relate the metaphor to a scientific explanation. That's he problem about organized religion; they say too much. God can be reduced to an abstract idea, to the point where it makes no real claim, except that on some level, god exists. That seems to be the only way the two can rightfully co-exist.

As for how it is now. I think that most people are just a thought away from atheism. Most people who claim they are Christians don't hold the bible near. They don't keep the sabbath holy, they have pre-marriage sex, and go to church on Christmas the Easter, if that. These people just don't seem to think about god one way or the other. According to their beliefs, they will be eternally tortured, and I doubt anyone wants that.

I don't believe Jesus is the son of God until I see the long form birth certificate!
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06-03-2010, 10:35 AM (This post was last modified: 06-03-2010 10:45 AM by Juppers.)
RE: Belief and intelligence
(06-03-2010 10:15 AM)ashley.hunt60 Wrote:  I think that most people are just a thought away from atheism. Most people who claim they are Christians don't hold the bible near. They don't keep the sabbath holy, they have pre-marriage sex, and go to church on Christmas the Easter, if that.

And yet if you went to one of these people and told them you're an atheist and that god is a fable they'd regard you as a freak, as someone who's lost their mind and needs to be locked up (I'm ashamed to say I used to be a bit like that too). Ok not all of them, there are many who are open minded and tolerant, but I'm pretty sure a good part of my neighborhood would react like that. I think it's mostly a matter of habit and tradition, and also the fact that religion is often seen as a cohesive element within a society, as something that all members of a certain community share and which sometimes even defines an individual's affiliation to that specific community. They keep the appearance and the 'name' of Christians simply out of convenience because they grew up with it and have never thought of the issue in a serious, thorough manner, and because to them belonging to an organized religion is something of a social norm, regardless of what church they pertain to. It is hypocritical, of course, but also comfortable in a way, it saves you the trouble of questioning an established belief or the risk of being deemed an outcast.

All learning is quite useless if you haven't learned to question what you learn.
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06-03-2010, 11:29 AM
RE: Belief and intelligence
(06-03-2010 10:35 AM)Juppers Wrote:  
(06-03-2010 10:15 AM)ashley.hunt60 Wrote:  I think that most people are just a thought away from atheism. Most people who claim they are Christians don't hold the bible near. They don't keep the sabbath holy, they have pre-marriage sex, and go to church on Christmas the Easter, if that.

And yet if you went to one of these people and told them you're an atheist and that god is a fable they'd regard you as a freak, as someone who's lost their mind and needs to be locked up (I'm ashamed to say I used to be a bit like that too). Ok not all of them, there are many who are open minded and tolerant, but I'm pretty sure a good part of my neighborhood would react like that. I think it's mostly a matter of habit and tradition, and also the fact that religion is often seen as a cohesive element within a society, as something that all members of a certain community share and which sometimes even defines an individual's affiliation to that specific community. They keep the appearance and the 'name' of Christians simply out of convenience because they grew up with it and have never thought of the issue in a serious, thorough manner, and because to them belonging to an organized religion is something of a social norm, regardless of what church they pertain to. It is hypocritical, of course, but also comfortable in a way, it saves you the trouble of questioning an established belief or the risk of being deemed an outcast.

I guess that is the heart of the matter. We don't like questions every social aspect of our lives, and when we do, we see how stupid so many things are. Like, when you greet a person, you ask how they are. If you don't ask how they are, you're being rude. When asked how you are, you have to reply fine, because if you go off talking about how you really are, you're being self-centered.

Very good analysis, religion is becoming hallow, Christianity is becoming more of a name sake and less of a set of beliefs.

I don't believe Jesus is the son of God until I see the long form birth certificate!
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06-03-2010, 07:53 PM
RE: Belief and intelligence
(06-03-2010 03:19 AM)Juppers Wrote:  The answer, I believe, lies within a concept introduced by George Orwell in his famous dystopian novel about total control of the masses, 1984. This concept is called doublethink . Here's a quote from this very book:

"To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself -- that was the ultimate subtlety; consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved the use of doublethink."

Replace the Party with the Bible and things become pretty clear. Apparently this process requires a lot of mental effort, to say nothing of repeated self-delusion. This is how Christian scientists can believe in god while knowing that the Bible is scientifically incorrect. They do not want to subject its teachings to critical thinking, but instead incorporate these two mutually exclusive notions, i.e. religious belief and scientific truth, into one worldview that would accept both, while willingly and consciously ignoring the gaping differences between them. For example, we know that the Sun does not revolve around the earth as the Bible claims. A scientist would of course know that, but if that scientist had a religious upbringing, s/he might say, 'Well it is a metaphor', or change the subject, or come up with a totally obscure and unintelligible explanation designed to confuse the person who might question this aspect and themselves, for that matter. It is simply because they were raised as Christians and they do not want to renounce their religion (being deeply embedded into their psyches) even for the sake of science.

Opinions?

I think 1984 is one of the greatest books ever written, and that referencing it just won you the thread.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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07-03-2010, 07:40 PM
 
RE: Belief and intelligence
Give some examples of where science contradicts the Bible, you said religion, but I assume you mean the Bible.

This person did a good job of answering that question. I doubt any of you will read it all.

http://www.clarifyingchristianity.com/science.shtml

BTW "Unbeliever" you just showed what I said about you, You said "won the thread" it is not about winning when it comes to this, it is about learning.
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07-03-2010, 08:49 PM
RE: Belief and intelligence
(07-03-2010 07:40 PM)martinb59 Wrote:  Give some examples of where science contradicts the Bible, you said religion, but I assume you mean the Bible.

This person did a good job of answering that question. I doubt any of you will read it all.

http://www.clarifyingchristianity.com/science.shtml

Did you yourself read any of it? It falls flat at the first reference. It claims that Job 40:15 and onward describes dinosaurs. Even setting aside the fact that this does contradict science (as dinosaurs were, y'know, dead during the time period of the book of Job), it doesn't even describe dinosaurs. It describes dragons (though admittedly the grass-eating bit is weird).

Job 40:15, KJV Wrote:15Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.

1Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down?

2Canst thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn?

3Will he make many supplications unto thee? will he speak soft words unto thee?

4Will he make a covenant with thee? wilt thou take him for a servant for ever?

5Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens?

6Shall the companions make a banquet of him? shall they part him among the merchants?

7Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fish spears?

8Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more.

9Behold, the hope of him is in vain: shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him?

10None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before me?

11Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine.

12I will not conceal his parts, nor his power, nor his comely proportion.

13Who can discover the face of his garment? or who can come to him with his double bridle?

14Who can open the doors of his face? his teeth are terrible round about.

15His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal.

16One is so near to another, that no air can come between them.

17They are joined one to another, they stick together, that they cannot be sundered.

18By his neesings a light doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.

19Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out.

20Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron.

21His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth.

22In his neck remaineth strength, and sorrow is turned into joy before him.

23The flakes of his flesh are joined together: they are firm in themselves; they cannot be moved.

24His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone.

25When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid: by reason of breakings they purify themselves.

26The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon.

27He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood.

28The arrow cannot make him flee: slingstones are turned with him into stubble.

29Darts are counted as stubble: he laugheth at the shaking of a spear.

30Sharp stones are under him: he spreadeth sharp pointed things upon the mire.

31He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment.

32He maketh a path to shine after him; one would think the deep to be hoary.

33Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear.

34He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride.

And from then on it doesn't get much better. "Statements consistent with astronomy" states that the Bible talks about how many stars there are. Well, duh. Anyone can look up and see how there's a ridiculous googleplex of 'em. It's not exactly a huge revelation, nor does it require divine insight. And it just goes downhill from there...

Quote:BTW "Unbeliever" you just showed what I said about you, You said "won the thread" it is not about winning when it comes to this, it is about learning.

Dude, it's called a joke. Ever heard of them? You need to lighten up.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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07-03-2010, 08:59 PM
 
RE: Belief and intelligence
Again...Give some examples of where science contradicts the Bible.

And I am the funniest person I know!
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07-03-2010, 09:28 PM
 
RE: Belief and intelligence
Job 40:15 (New International Version)

15 "Look at the behemoth, [a]
which I made along with you
and which feeds on grass like an ox.

Footnotes:
Job 40:15 Possibly the hippopotamus or the elephant

Source: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?sea...ersion=NIV

Your own bible translators say it was either a hippo or elephant.
(07-03-2010 08:59 PM)martinb59 Wrote:  Again...Give some examples of where science contradicts the Bible.

And I am the funniest person I know!

potholer54 sums things up PERFECTLY in his 'Made Easy' videos, debunking creationism, noah's flood, even all the controversy non-scientists raise about climate change:

http://www.youtube.com/user/potholer54#p/u

Or even watch videos posted by AronRa:

http://www.youtube.com/user/AronRa#p/u

There, AronRa has videos also talking about the evolution of morality in excellent detail.

Watch a few of the videos (with an open mind) and even you'll be convinced, martinb59! Smile
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