Truth or wishful thinking?
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29-10-2013, 03:00 AM
RE: Truth or wishful thinking?
Upholding religious beliefs might not affect her current work as a scientist, but it affects her quality as a scientist. In our conversation, she challanged me to explain evolution and since we both are in the field, we went very much into detail.

The problem was that the moment she had difficulties grasping an argument, she attributed the cause to the existence of a god. Her belief made her lazy in understanding a difficult idea and undermined her sincerity as a scientist.


Obviously, the current state of human kind is that people in general do not think rationally about religion and a lot of other things. However, if a person possesses a certain intellect and a certain education and is not neurotic, then I expect him to make use of that and apply it to every possible topic there is. We are human after all. We have brains.

At this point and judging from a few other posts of mine, I think it becomes apparent that I am not able to tolerate unreasonable behaviour much. Big Grin

Fun "paradox": The higher the selection pressure, the slower evolution takes place.
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29-10-2013, 05:37 AM
RE: Truth or wishful thinking?
I can completely understand her desire to want to believe.

Perhaps Why we believe in Gods by Andy Thomson will be helpful to you to understand te psychological aspects of religion.

I consider myself a rational person. I generally don't assume things and draw reasonable alter able conclusions based on the evidence. It's my job as an investigator for white collar crime.

I'm educated and well read. But, having said all of this - every time I'm in a situation where a stupid pun pops into my head - I *want* to believe it's my dad whispering it into my ear. I miss him terribly. He was a big pun fan, and would make up the dumbest puns. Eye rolling, groan worthy puns. I never came up with them until after he was gone. So - for that brief moment - I want to feel him there with me, sharing the groan worthy moment.

So suspending disbelief because it makes you feel good, what's the problem with this?

A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day - Bill Watterson
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29-10-2013, 06:00 AM
RE: Truth or wishful thinking?
(29-10-2013 05:37 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  I'm educated and well read. But, having said all of this - every time I'm in a situation where a stupid pun pops into my head - I *want* to believe it's my dad whispering it into my ear. I miss him terribly. He was a big pun fan, and would make up the dumbest puns. Eye rolling, groan worthy puns. I never came up with them until after he was gone. So - for that brief moment - I want to feel him there with me, sharing the groan worthy moment.

So suspending disbelief because it makes you feel good, what's the problem with this?

It is a very beautiful story about your father and I am very sorry for your loss.

You say you want to believe it, which makes me think you are actively deluding yourself solely for the sake of comfort. Please correct me if I am wrong. If so, I would absolutely not object to that.
But would you tell somebody else that your father was really standing there and whispering to you?

Fun "paradox": The higher the selection pressure, the slower evolution takes place.
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29-10-2013, 07:21 AM
RE: Truth or wishful thinking?
That's a fair statement. I'm actively deluding myself because it makes me feel better.

I've only told people what makes *me* feel better but I don't tell them it's a reality. If it makes her feel better to think she has an eternal caretaker, so what? As long as it doesn't affect her behavior to where she is no longer rational about reality...

A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day - Bill Watterson
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29-10-2013, 07:42 AM (This post was last modified: 29-10-2013 07:45 AM by Youkay.)
RE: Truth or wishful thinking?
But that is the difference. She says, it is reality. And she also doesn't accept how evolution works in the very detail. She escapes to the idea of a god, who had his hand in all of this, instead of spending a lot of effort to understand what really happened.

Fun "paradox": The higher the selection pressure, the slower evolution takes place.
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29-10-2013, 09:20 AM
RE: Truth or wishful thinking?
Perhaps you could say: Maybe yes, and maybe no[1]. A god could have been involved in the process. How would you go about finding out? How would you go about convincing me?

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Maybe-Yes-No-Dan-B...0879756071

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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29-10-2013, 09:30 AM
RE: Truth or wishful thinking?
Simple. I could make it very plausible that the evolution from the primeval soup to the first replicating molecule to the first living cell does not require external influence, only time.

Fun "paradox": The higher the selection pressure, the slower evolution takes place.
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29-10-2013, 11:56 AM (This post was last modified: 29-10-2013 12:01 PM by Cathym112.)
RE: Truth or wishful thinking?
(29-10-2013 07:42 AM)Youkay Wrote:  But that is the difference. She says, it is reality. And she also doesn't accept how evolution works in the very detail. She escapes to the idea of a god, who had his hand in all of this, instead of spending a lot of effort to understand what really happened.

Ohhh. I misunderstood - well, actually misread - your OP. I thought she acknowledged the inconsistencies, incompatibility with science as she knew it, but still chose to believe in the concept anyway (not necessarily the literal). Like she was more of a Deist than a Theist.

For example, I have a friend who is a scientist. She understands how the fallibility of man subjected the interpretations or renditions to their own agenda. Therefore - she takes the stories of the bible with a "grain of NaCl" (salt - she is a medicinal chemist - she can't help herself). Anyway, she still chooses to believe in the concept of god. She is what I picture when I think of the liberal Christian.

That's what I thought you meant.
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29-10-2013, 12:48 PM
RE: Truth or wishful thinking?
(29-10-2013 11:56 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  For example, I have a friend who is a scientist. She understands how the fallibility of man subjected the interpretations or renditions to their own agenda. Therefore - she takes the stories of the bible with a "grain of NaCl" (salt - she is a medicinal chemist - she can't help herself). Anyway, she still chooses to believe in the concept of god. She is what I picture when I think of the liberal Christian.

That's what I thought you meant.

Instead of a grain of NaCl, she should take it with a bag full of (5α,6α)-7,8-didehydro-4,5-epoxy-17-methylmorphinan-3,6-diol, because that's what it takes to read the bible and still believe in the concept of god.

It is a difficult topic, and I came to realise it more and more.

In case of my friend, she has the means to understand evolution to her satisfaction, if she wanted to. But she chooses not to. And I don't agree with that.

But even if she understood that theory, she would continue asking: Which conditions gave rise to self-replicating molecules, and how? How was the earth generated, the sun, the stars and galaxies? What is the big bang and why was there a big bang?

In the end, as her life and her capabilities are finite, she will have to surrender and simply have faith in the scientific method.

Eventually, it is nothing but choosing what you want to have faith in. The divine or science?

For a scientist, the answer should be crystal clear: We are familiar with the scientific method and the excessive scrutiny with which each finding is inspected. Therefore, we find it easy to trust the findings and predictions of our colleagues.

But what about a person, who is not familiar with the scientific method? If we do not educate that person in basic science, the outcome is pretty clear. That person will put his faith into the divine instead of science, because the concept of god is so much more tangible by intuition and common sense than the theories of science.

In conclusion, I think that a person who is familiar with the scientific method should have faith in science and abandon his belief in the divine. On the other hand, I cannot expect anything from a person who is unfamiliar with the scientific method unless I introduce him to it.

Fun "paradox": The higher the selection pressure, the slower evolution takes place.
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