My run-in with a pastor
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20-03-2013, 06:37 PM
My run-in with a pastor
A friend on Facebook posted an article regarding the possibility of microbial life on Mars. He asked if this discovery (if confirmed) would (or should) have any impact on theology.

I chimed in saying that given religion's history of altering its dogma to remain in line with the discoveries of science, it would be no surprise if relgion somehow adjust its teachings to fit this new reality.

At this time, a third person, a pastor, said that it was a mistake to say that religion and science were in opposition to one another. I tried to find a spot of agreement, asking if he concurred with Stephen J. Gould's notion of relgion and science belonging to "non-overlapping magisteria." He disagreed with Gould saying that the magisteria did overlap in the works of folks like Blaise Pascal and Roger Bacon. He also mentioned colleagues in the clergy having degrees in the sciences. I took this to be an irrelevant bit of information, citing some of the strange notions held by Isaac Newton- obvious a brilliant scientific figure- regarding alchemy and the temple of Solomon. Scientifically schooled minds could also harbor decidedly non-scientific ideas.

Also, he claimed to oppose something he termed forensic apologetics. I had never heard this term before. He defined this as demonstrating god's existence with science and reason. He supported the knowing god through metaphyscial means.

I generally don't engage with theists- mostly because I'm not a big fan of conflict or confrontation. Also, I admit a short temper and sometimes find it hard to avoid the "Because I SAID so. Fuck you!" school of rhetoric and debate.

Anyway, what do we think about the idea of non-overlapping magisteria? And has anyone ever heard of "forensic apologetics?" I hope to better hone my discussion skills and this forum is proving an invaluable resource towards that end.

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20-03-2013, 06:44 PM
RE: My run-in with a pastor
Forensic apologetics Laughat

Keep your rosaries out of my ovaries, and your theology out of my biology.
"If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people." --Dr. House
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20-03-2013, 06:46 PM
Re: My run-in with a pastor
The regions of science and religion are completely non-overlapping; one is a reasonable representation of reality, and the other is bollocks.
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20-03-2013, 07:18 PM (This post was last modified: 20-03-2013 07:23 PM by StorMFront.)
RE: My run-in with a pastor
(20-03-2013 06:37 PM)TheMrBillShow Wrote:  A friend on Facebook posted an article regarding the possibility of microbial life on Mars. He asked if this discovery (if confirmed) would (or should) have any impact on theology.

I chimed in saying that given religion's history of altering its dogma to remain in line with the discoveries of science, it would be no surprise if relgion somehow adjust its teachings to fit this new reality.

At this time, a third person, a pastor, said that it was a mistake to say that religion and science were in opposition to one another. I tried to find a spot of agreement, asking if he concurred with Stephen J. Gould's notion of relgion and science belonging to "non-overlapping magisteria." He disagreed with Gould saying that the magisteria did overlap in the works of folks like Blaise Pascal and Roger Bacon. He also mentioned colleagues in the clergy having degrees in the sciences. I took this to be an irrelevant bit of information, citing some of the strange notions held by Isaac Newton- obvious a brilliant scientific figure- regarding alchemy and the temple of Solomon. Scientifically schooled minds could also harbor decidedly non-scientific ideas.

Also, he claimed to oppose something he termed forensic apologetics. I had never heard this term before. He defined this as demonstrating god's existence with science and reason. He supported the knowing god through metaphyscial means.

I generally don't engage with theists- mostly because I'm not a big fan of conflict or confrontation. Also, I admit a short temper and sometimes find it hard to avoid the "Because I SAID so. Fuck you!" school of rhetoric and debate.

Anyway, what do we think about the idea of non-overlapping magisteria? And has anyone ever heard of "forensic apologetics?" I hope to better hone my discussion skills and this forum is proving an invaluable resource towards that end.
When religious people that are scientists (at least the ones that matter and contributing to science), they leave their religion at the laboratory door. They dont take their faith into the lab, it would be pointless to do science if you thought (or "knew") the answer before entering. So when you hear religious people say science started because of religion. speak up and say ..."if it did, why would the scientists of the past look for other answers, outside of the bible or doctrines of the religion."

No matter what anyone says, remember that science and religion are on opposites sides of the spectrum.
One Asserts an answers, the other looks for an answer.

As an ex Catholic, I have a lot of family members that try to point this out to me. Using examples like "Well, Mendel was a christian and he founded genetics." (which if Mendel talked to the Inca, South Pacific tribes and North American Indians, he would have had his answer in 5 mins. Corn, Tomatoes and Bananas derived from the same method he was using with peas, long before he had the "answer". Mendel just like Ken Miller (a good, yet religious, biologists) leaves his faith at the lab door....and is quoted saying so.

Arguing with a Christian is a lot like playing chess with a pigeon. You can be the greatest player in the world, yet the pigeon will knock over all the pieces, shit on the board and strut away triumphantly.
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21-03-2013, 07:44 AM
RE: My run-in with a pastor
Mr. Bill: You asked serious questions, and as is typical, got blustery air for it from freethinkers. The "separation of magisteria" are a necessity as long as mainstream modern science is completely naturalist. In some ways, this is GOOD. I appreciate the scientists who help debunk the talk shows where people "talk to the dead" and all that nonsense. And the Bible asserts that God speaks today primarily through the scriptures and not by revelation. But for the individual, the wise scientist will keep certain things out of his lab but not out of his heart IMHO. Many scientists do--and are afraid to speak their hearts for fear of loss of research dollars, tenure, etc.
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21-03-2013, 07:58 AM
RE: My run-in with a pastor
(20-03-2013 06:46 PM)Phaedrus Wrote:  The regions of science and religion are completely non-overlapping; one is a reasonable representation of reality, and the other is bollocks.
I like Gould's phrasing better.

Religious people and scientists can be one in the same, but scientists don't use religion, metaphysics, or any theological method for doing science. If they try, they find themselves doing pseudoscience and are not taken seriously by the scientific community, for the obvious reason that pseudoscience isn't science.

People like Pasteur, Bacon, Newton, or any man/woman of science who also happened to be a believer, lends no credibility to theology. And their theology lends no credibility to their science. Only the merits of their scientific accomplishments matter to science.

Science makes observations about the universe and hypothesizes and theorizes explanations for how and why.

Religion/theology/metaphysics, attempts to join the known universe with some unknown universe, some realm outside of the known universe, and/or some never observed supernatural presence. These deal in terms of supernature. Which is definitively not science.

“Science is simply common sense at its best, that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.”
—Thomas Henry Huxley
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21-03-2013, 08:48 AM
RE: My run-in with a pastor
(21-03-2013 07:44 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  Many scientists do--and are afraid to speak their hearts for fear of loss of research dollars, tenure, etc.
Name one time this has happened in the last, say, 100 years.

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21-03-2013, 08:57 AM
RE: My run-in with a pastor
There is a domain of conflict between science and religion whenever religion makes a claim that can be tested by natural means. When they do so it is common for their claim to be in conflict with the current body of scientific knowledge, and to often be provably false.

Likewise, the deeper science peers into our cognitive processes the more prone it is to come with natural explanations for divine experiences.

There can only be non-overlapping magisteria while science deals only in the testable and religion in the untestable - but neither are particularly good at staying within those boundaries.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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21-03-2013, 09:30 AM
RE: My run-in with a pastor
Oh wait... I found the definition.

forensic apologetics: v. Of or related to the act of ponitificatory prevarication.

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. - Chinese Proverb
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21-03-2013, 10:34 AM
RE: My run-in with a pastor
There are a couple of hints in PJ's post that give it away... it's subtle but obvious as to why the two areas are separate.


It's anatomical.






......... Huh ..... <-- Thoughts, reason, science
..... ~---¦---~
......... Heart ..... <-- Feelings, wishes, religion
.......... /\
......... / .\

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