Can religion tell us more than science?
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18-09-2011, 06:14 PM
Can religion tell us more than science?
Can religion tell us more than science?

Shockingly I would say no but the writer of this article on the BBC website doesn't seem too sure. What does anyone else think? Has this guy got any sort of valid point, or is he talking out of his arse?

This particular sentence irritated me more than the rest I think;

'They [atheists] think human life would be vastly improved if only everyone believed as they do'

It irritates me as it can easily appear to be a fair comment but on closer inspection is completely invalid when used in that context. It is invalid as it tries to dismiss atheism as just another belief system alongside the worlds religions when in actuality atheism is not that at all. It takes a valid comment but uses it in a context in which it is not applicable to try and make a cheap attack on the secular society.

Best and worst of Ferdinand .....
Best
Ferdinand: We don't really say 'theist' in Alabama. Here, you're either a Christian, or you're from Afghanistan and we fucking hate you.
Worst
Ferdinand: Everyone from British is so, like, fucking retarded.
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18-09-2011, 06:19 PM
 
RE: Can religion tell us more than science?
(18-09-2011 06:14 PM)Hughsie Wrote:  Can religion tell us more than science?

Without having (yet) read the article, my answer to the title of this thread is:

Religion can talk and talk and talk and talk till blue in the face and all it tells me is how unbelievably stupid people can be.

Science, on the other hand, tells me everything I need to know about the world I live in.

Sorry for the rant, but the title of the thread got to me.

I will calm down in a minute and read the article with less than an open mind (I don't want my brain to fall out) Sad
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18-09-2011, 06:23 PM
RE: Can religion tell us more than science?
I did try and go into the article with an open mind but it's difficult when the title makes it very clear that whoever wrote it is talking pure biased shit. Smile

Best and worst of Ferdinand .....
Best
Ferdinand: We don't really say 'theist' in Alabama. Here, you're either a Christian, or you're from Afghanistan and we fucking hate you.
Worst
Ferdinand: Everyone from British is so, like, fucking retarded.
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18-09-2011, 09:14 PM
RE: Can religion tell us more than science?
Good grief, the BBC yet!

Quote: In most religions - polytheism, Hinduism and Buddhism, Daoism and Shinto, many strands of Judaism and some Christian and Muslim traditions - belief has never been particularly important. Practice - ritual, meditation, a way of life - is what counts. What practitioners believe is secondary, if it matters at all.

Ritual... like cutting the living heart out of a young warrior, or burning heretics at the stake. Yup, it's all about the way of life and inexplicable goodness.

It's not the mean god I have trouble with - it's the people who worship a mean god.
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19-09-2011, 01:23 AM
RE: Can religion tell us more than science?
(18-09-2011 06:14 PM)Hughsie Wrote:  This particular sentence irritated me more than the rest I think;

'They [atheists] think human life would be vastly improved if only everyone believed as they do'

It irritates me as it can easily appear to be a fair comment but on closer inspection is completely invalid when used in that context. It is invalid as it tries to dismiss atheism as just another belief system alongside the worlds religions when in actuality atheism is not that at all.

The author was talking about "evangelical atheists", who "are copying religion at its dogmatic worst". I have to agree that such people do exist, and their atheism actually IS a religion. In my opinion, what author is doing wrong is only talking about this kind of atheism, like if free-thinkers never existed at all.

(18-09-2011 06:19 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  Science, on the other hand, tells me everything I need to know about the world I live in.

Unless the theory of relativity and quantum physics are joined into one single theory, we unfortunately can't say the science tells us everything we need to know.
That is not to say that a religion has better answers, though Big Grin
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19-09-2011, 05:37 AM
 
RE: Can religion tell us more than science?
(19-09-2011 01:23 AM)evilflower Wrote:  
(18-09-2011 06:19 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  Science, on the other hand, tells me everything I need to know about the world I live in.
Unless the theory of relativity and quantum physics are joined into one single theory, we unfortunately can't say the science tells us everything we need to know.

They are.

Look up "relativistic quantum field theory" on Google.

...and, most people on Earth do NOT need to know it.

Big Grin
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19-09-2011, 11:35 AM
RE: Can religion tell us more than science?
I saw that story, started to read it, stopped when i saw that the writer talks out their arse, "In most religions - polytheism, Hinduism and Buddhism, Daoism and Shinto, many strands of Judaism and some Christian and Muslim traditions - belief has never been particularly important. Practice - ritual, meditation, a way of life - is what counts. What practitioners believe is secondary, if it matters at all."
.. erm...what? the whole point of religion(other than control) is beliefs. Did it change was there a memo that i missed?

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19-09-2011, 02:26 PM
RE: Can religion tell us more than science?
(19-09-2011 05:37 AM)Zatamon Wrote:  Look up "relativistic quantum field theory" on Google.

First of all, this theory also does not explain everything, see e.g. http://www.mtnmath.com/whatrh/node75.html .

As with every theory, we deal with models - be they precise or not, scientific or religious. And these models don't really "tell us everything we need to know", they just explain it from one point or another.

(19-09-2011 05:37 AM)Zatamon Wrote:  ...and, most people on Earth do NOT need to know it.

People DO need to know it. At least we all need to know that science is honest and admits its inconsistencies.


Back on topic, I finally took my time to read the full article. It's actually interesting, because in fact many points are very neutral and can easily be agreed on, but what matters is his delivery. Take, for example, this one:
Quote:Human beings don't live by argumentation, and it's only religious fundamentalists and ignorant rationalists who think the myths we live by are literal truths.
Any time I talk to my grandma I get convinced that some humans definitely DON'T live by argumentation Big Grin

Note he also actually said that no model is perfect, and that's true.
But now look at his wording: fundamentalists are "religious", but rationalists are "ignorant"... sounds kinda biased, to the very least.

Quote:There's nothing in science that says the world can be finally understood by the human mind.
Again, the idea is correct. But he doesn't mention that there's also nothing in science that says the world CAN'T be understood...

Quote:Science hasn't enabled us to dispense with myths. Instead it has become a vehicle for myths - chief among them, the myth of salvation through science. Many of the people who scoff at religion are sublimely confident that, by using science, humanity can march onwards to a better world.

But "humanity" isn't marching anywhere. Humanity doesn't exist, there are only human beings, each of them ruled by passions and illusions that conflict with one another and within themselves.
He mentions the myth of salvation through science, which really is a myth. And then, without even saying a word that every religion is one big myth of salvation through it, he starts bashing the notion of "humanity".

But at this point he's actually trapped in his own words... because, as we just have read before,
Quote:Myths aren't relics of childish thinking [..] They're stories that tell us something about ourselves that can't be captured in scientific theories.
If they can't be captured in scientific theories, why he talks about "scientific myths"? If they are nothing bad, what's wrong with the idea of "salvation through science"?

Quote:In most religions [..] belief has never been particularly important. Practice [..] is what counts. What practitioners believe is secondary, if it matters at all.
As I understood this one, the point was that your religion does never know and does never care about your beliefs, as long as you do everything you're demanded to (pray and pay). This is also true, but only from a cynical atheist point of view, so it is rather strange to read it in an overall God-fearing article.

If the belief was not important, why "Believe and you'll be saved"?
Quote:That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
(Romans 10:9)

My conclusion: The article is as inconsistent as any religion it's trying to defend.
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19-09-2011, 03:11 PM
 
RE: Can religion tell us more than science?
(19-09-2011 02:26 PM)evilflower Wrote:  At least we all need to know that science is honest and admits its inconsistencies.

Three short answers:

1. If it ain't honest, it ain't science.

2. No sane scientist (or theory) ever claimed to explain everything (only religion does that).

3. I said: "Science, on the other hand, tells me everything I need to know about the world I live in." -- I stand by that statement.


... and one correction:

You said: "Unless the theory of relativity and quantum physics are joined into one single theory"

Correction: They are joined into one theory: it is called: "Relativist Quantum Field Theory"

Smile
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19-09-2011, 04:30 PM
RE: Can religion tell us more than science?
What they believe is secondary? It's the ritual and way of life that count.

Okay, then, a bunch of scientists, who all wear white lab-coats and shave their heads (for hygiene; those shower cap thingies look so lame!), play chess every lunchtime, donate to Doctors Without Borders, and get together for a softball game every Friday afternoon. And they can still all go to different kinds of worship, or none, believe anything outside of science, or not.

Christians, Muslims, Jews! All are invited to a community stoning this weekend! BYOB*
Ya, that'll work.






(*Bring your own blasphemer.)

It's not the mean god I have trouble with - it's the people who worship a mean god.
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