Science as an End Instead of a Means

One of the more popular atheist memes is the idea that ‘science and religion aren’t friends’. The basic notion is that there is a fundamental incompatibility between science and faith, that both ideas cannot be held by individuals or a society; one must be accepted and the other rejected as one advances the other must necessarily retreat.

The first problem with this idea of course is that it completely ignores the history of the matter – not only did the first scientists see science and their Christian faith as compatible, they frequently saw them as interdependent. One need only consider the men who formulated the essentials of modern science, men like Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon, Blaise Pascal, Robert Boyle, Christopher Wren, and John Ray. Each of these men was integral to the formation of modern scientific thought, and they were invariably men of faith – frequently they wrote not only of the sciences but extensively on theology as well. Robert Boyle, considered the Father of modern chemistry wrote at length in A Christian Virtuoso about how scientific thought affirms rather than contradicts the Christian faith.

So as much as Jerry Coyne and other New Atheists claim an antagonism between science as a methodology and the Christian faith, they propagate historical ignorance.

But I think the source of their error goes deeper than mere ignorance of history – indeed it goes to a fundamental misunderstanding of what the original purpose of science was, and what the New Atheists have perverted it to be.

In its original inception science was considered to be a methodology or means of understanding the natural world. It wasn’t considered the sole or primary means of gaining knowledge or an end in and of itself, but part of an intellectual toolkit that included philosophy, revelation, historical knowledge and personal experience. The ultimate purpose of such knowledge in the Western world was to further the pursuit of truth or more particularly to understand the nature of God and the place man played in the universe God created. The originators of science considered it an extension of knowledge gathering methods they already possessed and a gift from a Creator who wanted relieve men of ignorance and superstition.

However for the New Atheist science is not a method or a means to gain knowledge, but an end in and of itself. The purpose of gaining knowledge about the natural world is simply to gain more knowledge – our existence is inherently purposeless and ultimately without meaning but we can find meaning in understanding the universe in which we live. In this sense science becomes something other than a tool – it becomes a metaphysical pursuit, a spiritual quest.

I think no finer example of this can be the recent video, produced by a New Atheist for other New Atheists, called ‘Science Saved My Soul’ (warning – a bit of explicit language here)

We can overlook for the moment the fact that the main theme of the video is inherently contradictory – if atheism is in fact true then we have no souls to be saved. And we can also disregard the straw man caricature of Christianity presented by the narrator as we have dealt with that previously in this article. What is notable is the reverie with which the speaker presents the subject matter. He is in effect describing the experience of the numinous C.S. Lewis spoke about; that is the overwhelming sense of the presence of Divinity.

It is telling that the only way in which to describe that which is truly great or meaningful is to invoke the spiritual. His characterization is not surprising to the Christian since Scripture affirms in Psalm 19 that, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.” Despite himself, the narrator is experiencing this glory as he observes the universe and understands its vastness – this is itself evidence for the universe’s Divine origin, not a contradiction of it. The problem with ascribing such meaning to scientific knowledge is that in and of itself such knowledge conveys no actual meaning or purpose or significance. If the universe is all there is, then how we regard it is completely irrelevant, even to our own existence.

I think a brief thought experiment will help here to understand why this is problematic.

 Imagine for a moment sometime in the future where scientific knowledge is ‘complete’. We have the capability to trace the trajectory of every particle from its original form and location to its final destination. We understand how every element interacts with every other and all forms of physical interaction are chronicled and understood. We understand how fundamental forces work and are related, and can manipulate them at will to suit our needs. We have a complete history of the universe, life, and mankind. Imagining this future, we can ask a few questions – for example, what then? How does such knowledge change who we are as human beings? How does such knowledge give us more purpose or meaning? How are we different than we are right now? Will it help us treat each other better, be more happy, more committed or loving? Though it could conceivably make us healthier or longer lived, there is no reason to believe such knowledge would in and of itself alter our fundamental experiences as humans, lessen our suffering or cause us to treat each other better since the current knowledge we have hasn’t necessarily done so. In short, science by itself cannot give us the truth we need to save our souls as the video suggests. It cannot imbue us with meaning or bring us joy.

So while science is a useful methodology and important tool for gaining knowledge, it can never replace actual sources of life and joy giving truth, chief among them being the knowledge of Christ. Science is an important means, but ultimately knowing God is the only worthwhile end of man.

Advertisements

17 Responses to Science as an End Instead of a Means

  1. Justin says:

    His viewpoint on science is correct to acknowledge the overwhelming amount of energy, size and distances in the universe. It just misses a few things:

    1) Where did it come from?
    2) Why did it make life?
    3) Why does higher life recognize the moral law?

    By the time you get to number 3, and examine it honestly, you will want to bow down.

  2. Michael Hawkins says:

    So as much as Jerry Coyne and other New Atheists claim an antagonism between science as a methodology and the Christian faith, they propagate historical ignorance.

    Coyne has said it again and again – and he has even been explicit on his site – the claim isn’t that science and religion and incompatible in that scientists cannot hold belief to both at the same time. The claim is that they are philosophically incompatible. That you can cite religious scientists says nothing of the claim being made.

    The originators of science considered it an extension of knowledge gathering methods they already possessed and a gift from a Creator who wanted relieve men of ignorance and superstition.

    Two things.

    1) What are the details of these other methods of which you speak? How do we know, say, revelation to be true? How would we distinguish it to be false? How can we show the truth or falsity of revelation to others?

    2) Well, I guess if Jack Hudson says science was designed to support a particular set of goals, then that’s not only how it was, but also how it still should be.

    However for the New Atheist science is not a method or a means to gain knowledge, but an end in and of itself. The purpose of gaining knowledge about the natural world is simply to gain more knowledge – our existence is inherently purposeless and ultimately without meaning but we can find meaning in understanding the universe in which we live. In this sense science becomes something other than a tool – it becomes a metaphysical pursuit, a spiritual quest.

    I personally see science as a worthwhile pursuit in and of itself. In fact, my blog name is derived from a series of points Carl Sagan makes in The Pale Blue Dot where he says the general public is going to need significant justification in order to fund major scientific endeavors. It’s a pragmatic view and he’s right, but I dislike that people don’t favor science for the sake of science. Its power alone makes it worthy to pursue. But that doesn’t mean it is the only reason I – or anyone else – pursues and encourages the pursuit of science. There are other interest, such as the well-being of ourselves, our families, our fellow humans in general.

    So Sagan is very unlikely to say we should pursue science for the sake of science; my blog name is in opposition to the fact that the general public forces pragmatism upon science, a point Sagan makes and explores. So the point you ought to take from this is that Sagan is but one example of someone who didn’t believe in God, who loved science, and who doesn’t see science as an end.

    We can overlook for the moment the fact that the main theme of the video is inherently contradictory – if atheism is in fact true then we have no souls to be saved.

    As someone who cares about language, I find this offensive.

    And we can also disregard the straw man caricature…

    Didn’t you just make a strawman when you said the video is contradictory because it uses the word “souls” when you damn well know it’s a literary reference?

    It is telling that the only way in which to describe that which is truly great or meaningful is to invoke the spiritual. His characterization is not surprising to the Christian since Scripture affirms in Psalm 19 that, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.”

    Or that suggests that the rare literate individual who wrote that (and perhaps the scribes who translated it) has a sense of awe and wonder in the same sense as the author of the video, but he decides to interpret that awe and wonder as deriving from a paternalistic source. That we sometimes say “Wow!” is not evidence of divinity. That thousands of years ago someone literate said “Wow!” and asserted that his feeling is evidence of divinity is, well, not evidence of divinity.

    The problem with ascribing such meaning to scientific knowledge is that in and of itself such knowledge conveys no actual meaning or purpose or significance.

    So when will you be retracting your fundamentally dishonest posts about evolution leading Hitler?

    Though it could conceivably make us healthier or longer lived, there is no reason to believe such knowledge would in and of itself alter our fundamental experiences as humans, lessen our suffering or cause us to treat each other better since the current knowledge we have hasn’t necessarily done so.

    Two things.

    1) No, seriously. When are you going to retract your fundamentally dishonest posts about evolution and Hitler? Everything you’ve said contradicts all those lies you’ve been posting over the years. We already know you have an ulterior motive when you post those things, and we already know you’re lying. Just come clean, Jack.

    2) Science has fundamentally changed the world, how we live, how we interact, how we come to our morals and values. So the reasoning for your conclusion is overtly wrong, but you do offer one valid question based upon your thought experiment: “How does such knowledge give us more purpose or meaning?”

    And that leads to two more things.

    (a) It might change how we interact in some way, and it might change what meaning we get out of life, and that in turn can give us more meaning, but I realize when you say “meaning”, that isn’t what you’re trying to articulate. What you’re really trying to say is “ultimate meaning beyond life”. Since science will still be telling us that the afterlife doesn’t really exist in all likelihood, it doesn’t give us more ultimate meaning beyond life.

    (b) Incidentally, the thought experiment is flawed because 1) we literally cannot know the destination of every particle. We can only know its probabilities. And 2) we will have answered the origin of the Universe, but that just pushes the question back another step. It’s a good way of pushing it back since it would be via evidence, but it seems that even complete knowledge of our Universe will tell us nothing of the origin of all things which exist. People could conceivably derive a greater purpose and meaning from there, if they desire.

    In short, science by itself cannot give us the truth we need to save our souls as the video suggests.

    I only quote this to bolster the point I made in (a). You really didn’t mean “meaning”. You did mean “ultimate meaning beyond life”. You’re rigging the game.

  3. jackhudson says:

    Coyne has said it again and again – and he has even been explicit on his site – the claim isn’t that science and religion and incompatible in that scientists cannot hold belief to both at the same time. The claim is that they are philosophically incompatible. That you can cite religious scientists says nothing of the claim being made.

    That is exactly what the originators of science thought. They not only thought their beliefs were compatible on a philosophical level, they were certain that both means of ascertaining truth led them to the same conclusions. That is what Robert Boyle was saying in A Christian Virtuoso. Not only did they hold both at the same time, their scientific beliefs were a product of their Christian faiths.

    Two things.
    1) What are the details of these other methods of which you speak? How do we know, say, revelation to be true? How would we distinguish it to be false? How can we show the truth or falsity of revelation to others?

    As a Christian I understand Scripture to be true because it comports with other realities – the origin of the universe, life, and humanity, the origin of Israel and the Church, the life and Resurrection of Christ, the lives of Christian past and present. Also because it is proved in my personal experience and is consistent with what I believe to be logically and reasonably true about thought, philosophy and human nature. If it ceased somehow to comport with other things I understand to be true, then I would have reason to question its veracity.

    2) Well, I guess if Jack Hudson says science was designed to support a particular set of goals, then that’s not only how it was, but also how it still should be.

    I didn’t say it, Robert Boyle did, and I would say there is more reason to accept his view of it than either yours or Jerry Coyne’s.

    I personally see science as a worthwhile pursuit in and of itself. In fact, my blog name is derived from a series of points Carl Sagan makes in The Pale Blue Dot where he says the general public is going to need significant justification in order to fund major scientific endeavors. It’s a pragmatic view and he’s right, but I dislike that people don’t favor science for the sake of science. Its power alone makes it worthy to pursue. But that doesn’t mean it is the only reason I – or anyone else – pursues and encourages the pursuit of science. There are other interest, such as the well-being of ourselves, our families, our fellow humans in general.

    There is a difference between seeing science as a worthwhile pursuit (something I believe to be true) and seeing it as the primary purpose of humanity or the salvation of humanity. Or that it will somehow save our souls.

    So Sagan is very unlikely to say we should pursue science for the sake of science; my blog name is in opposition to the fact that the general public forces pragmatism upon science, a point Sagan makes and explores. So the point you ought to take from this is that Sagan is but one example of someone who didn’t believe in God, who loved science, and who doesn’t see science as an end.

    I personally don’t have a beef with Sagan, (in fact he was a bit of a hero in my youth) but he was not nearly as dogmatic as the New Atheists of today, and the current veneration of him at some sort of patron saint of New Atheism certainly doesn’t seem warranted by his own views or attitudes. New Atheists should actually emulate him.

    As someone who cares about language, I find this offensive.

    As someone who cares about truth, I find you offense amusing. It has nothing to do with you.

    Didn’t you just make a strawman when you said the video is contradictory because it uses the word “souls” when you damn well know it’s a literary reference?

    I don’t care what its supposedly a reference to; it’s a careless and illogical use of the term.

    Or that suggests that the rare literate individual who wrote that (and perhaps the scribes who translated it) has a sense of awe and wonder in the same sense as the author of the video, but he decides to interpret that awe and wonder as deriving from a paternalistic source. That we sometimes say “Wow!” is not evidence of divinity. That thousands of years ago someone literate said “Wow!” and asserted that his feeling is evidence of divinity is, well, not evidence of divinity.
    Or that suggests that the rare literate individual who wrote that (and perhaps the scribes who translated it) has a sense of awe and wonder in the same sense as the author of the video, but he decides to interpret that awe and wonder as deriving from a paternalistic source. That we sometimes say “Wow!” is not evidence of divinity. That thousands of years ago someone literate said “Wow!” and asserted that his feeling is evidence of divinity is, well, not evidence of divinity.

    My primary purpose in writing that was simply to contradict the notion that somehow having faith diminishes ones appreciation of the universe; obviously it doesn’t. Long before this guy started babbling about science Jewish poets and musicians were conveying the awesomeness of God’s creation.
    And as I have made clear, for the men who developed science it was their faiths that motivated them to systematically investigate the universe, which they were rightfully awed by.

    TSo when will you be retracting your fundamentally dishonest posts about evolution leading Hitler?

    You do have the logical fallacy of the loaded question down pat. 
    That being said, when someone can show me that the clear link between Darwin and eugenics I have delineated doesn’t actually exist, I will cease relating Hitler’s policies to evolutionary thinking in the early part of the 20th century.

    Two things.

    1) No, seriously. When are you going to retract your fundamentally dishonest posts about evolution and Hitler? Everything you’ve said contradicts all those lies you’ve been posting over the years. We already know you have an ulterior motive when you post those things, and we already know you’re lying. Just come clean, Jack.

    See above.

    2) Science has fundamentally changed the world, how we live, how we interact, how we come to our morals and values. So the reasoning for your conclusion is overtly wrong, but you do offer one valid question based upon your thought experiment: “How does such knowledge give us more purpose or meaning?”

    The scientific method does nothing and can do nothing to change who we are, or how we should live. There are no scientifically derivable morals to be had.
    However, the idea that science can be used to alter human nature, to alter how societies are fundamentally structured, that we can live without revealed truth and morality because we have scientific knowledge has had a tremendous impact on humanity – it made the 20th century one of the deadliest and most destructive in human history.
    That is because ne can give an Islamic terrorist or Marxist dictator tremendous scientific knowledge which can allow them to build nuclear weapons – but that won’t make anyone’s lives better because such knowledge by itself isn’t sufficient to that purpose.

    (a) It might change how we interact in some way, and it might change what meaning we get out of life, and that in turn can give us more meaning, but I realize when you say “meaning”, that isn’t what you’re trying to articulate. What you’re really trying to say is “ultimate meaning beyond life”. Since science will still be telling us that the afterlife doesn’t really exist in all likelihood, it doesn’t give us more ultimate meaning beyond life.

    I am saying both intrinsic and ultimate meaning –it isn’t ultimate meaning ‘beyond life’ (which I don’t think exists), it is ultimate meaning in reality for this life. If atheism is true and all there is to the world is the material, there is not in fact any intrinsic or ultimate meaning.

    And science says nothing about an afterlife in the Christian sense.

    (b) Incidentally, the thought experiment is flawed because 1) we literally cannot know the destination of every particle. We can only know its probabilities. And 2) we will have answered the origin of the Universe, but that just pushes the question back another step. It’s a good way of pushing it back since it would be via evidence, but it seems that even complete knowledge of our Universe will tell us nothing of the origin of all things which exist. People could conceivably derive a greater purpose and meaning from there, if they desire.

    It’s a thought experiment Michael; the purpose is to convey the idea that we would have absolute knowledge of the physical world, something I don’t think we will ever have.
    Nonetheless, I agree that science is limited in regard to actual knowledge of our origins. I didn’t attempt to convey anything beyond that in the thought experiment.

    I only quote this to bolster the point I made in (a). You really didn’t mean “meaning”. You did mean “ultimate meaning beyond life”. You’re rigging the game.

    I do mean meaning Michael; what I don’t mean is the atheistic idea of pretending there is meaning when it does not exist in reality.

  4. Michael Hawkins says:

    That is exactly what the originators of science thought. They not only thought their beliefs were compatible on a philosophical level, they were certain that both means of ascertaining truth led them to the same conclusions. That is what Robert Boyle was saying in A Christian Virtuoso. Not only did they hold both at the same time, their scientific beliefs were a product of their Christian faiths.

    First, are you retracting your claim that Coyne is being historically ignorant? You skipped over the whole point that he is saying science and religion are philosophically incompatible, not that it’s impossible for someone to hold contradictory views.

    Second, you are literally the boldest person I’ve personally encountered when it comes to lying. Science is not derived from Christianity or Christian values and you know it. But if you want to actually try supporting your lie, you can cite where the Bible promotes the idea that faith is an unacceptable premise for belief.

    As a Christian I understand Scripture to be true because it comports with other realities – the origin of the universe, life, and humanity, the origin of Israel and the Church, the life and Resurrection of Christ, the lives of Christian past and present. Also because it is proved in my personal experience and is consistent with what I believe to be logically and reasonably true about thought, philosophy and human nature. If it ceased somehow to comport with other things I understand to be true, then I would have reason to question its veracity.

    So Scripture is objective true because of your subjective interpretations? Interesting.

    Also, you aren’t interested in science, that much is clear. No part of the Bible is scientifically accurate (except perhaps where it is trivial), especially as it pertains to biology.

    There is a difference between seeing science as a worthwhile pursuit (something I believe to be true) and seeing it as the primary purpose of humanity or the salvation of humanity. Or that it will somehow save our souls.

    I have a choice right now. Either I can act as an English teacher for you or I can tell you to go re-read that section of my post so you can actually respond to what was said. Since teaching you basic philosophy didn’t take (“The problem is with the logistics of the thought experiment!”), I’m going to forego the English lesson and just ask that you go back to my last post.

    I personally don’t have a beef with Sagan, (in fact he was a bit of a hero in my youth) but he was not nearly as dogmatic as the New Atheists of today, and the current veneration of him at some sort of patron saint of New Atheism certainly doesn’t seem warranted by his own views or attitudes. New Atheists should actually emulate him.

    The arguments are the same. The tone is different.

    As someone who cares about truth, I find you offense amusing. It has nothing to do with you.

    I don’t care what its supposedly a reference to; it’s a careless and illogical use of the term.

    I combined these two sections because you clearly didn’t get what I was saying in my first section. I was offended by your abuse of the word English language when you implied that “soul” being used to reference the religious idea of souls. It wasn’t. And, in fact, the “careless and illogical use of the term” is on your end. You are being careless with the language because you aren’t carefully looking at the context; you are being illogical because the context dictates that the narrator is using the term as an allusion.

    So to recap: First, when you say “It has nothing to do with you”, that makes no sense and I have no idea what you’re prattling about. Second, the word is an allusion; it is being used as a clear and distinct literary tool. It is not being defined as you purport.

    My primary purpose in writing that was simply to contradict the notion that somehow having faith diminishes ones appreciation of the universe; obviously it doesn’t. Long before this guy started babbling about science Jewish poets and musicians were conveying the awesomeness of God’s creation.

    And as I have made clear, for the men who developed science it was their faiths that motivated them to systematically investigate the universe, which they were rightfully awed by.

    Your topic sentence was that in order to describe great awe, one must invoke the spiritual. This doesn’t speak to the new point you’re trying to make. As a result, I am retroactively offended by your use of language.

    Also, faith does not motivate science; faith is belief without evidence. It is in inherent conflict with science.

    The scientific method does nothing and can do nothing to change who we are, or how we should live. There are no scientifically derivable morals to be had.

    Read what I wrote again. You aren’t even coming close to responding to what was said.

    However, the idea that science can be used to alter human nature, to alter how societies are fundamentally structured, that we can live without revealed truth and morality because we have scientific knowledge has had a tremendous impact on humanity – it made the 20th century one of the deadliest and most destructive in human history.

    Stop lying. Hitler was a Christian creationist who had brand spankin’ new technology at his hands. You’re naive if you think previous Christian leaders wouldn’t have done as much killing with the sort of power he had.

    (As for Stalin and everyone else you dishonestly have in mind – I know you can’t sleep easy when you reflect on what you know is fundamental dishonesty – they acted out of political ideology and/or nationalism. In fact, despite invoking God and Jesus over and over, Hitler was doing just the same.)

    I am saying both intrinsic and ultimate meaning –it isn’t ultimate meaning ‘beyond life’ (which I don’t think exists), it is ultimate meaning in reality for this life. If atheism is true and all there is to the world is the material, there is not in fact any intrinsic or ultimate meaning.

    And science says nothing about an afterlife in the Christian sense.

    So far you’ve said two valid things. First, you posed a valid question among a sea of junk. Second, you clarified some phrasing here. (Though the same thing is understood with either wording.)

    Science indicates no need for a creator because of evolution, the laws of physics, and (probably) M-theory. No creator gives little hope for an afterlife. Deal.

    It’s a thought experiment Michael; the purpose is to convey the idea that we would have absolute knowledge of the physical world, something I don’t think we will ever have.

    Absolute knowledge of our Universe does not mean we would have absolute knowledge of everything. The experiment would need to go further and allow us to have absolute knowledge of all universes. But then we’d just be giving ourselves traits generally reserved for the idea of God.

    Nonetheless, I agree that science is limited in regard to actual knowledge of our origins. I didn’t attempt to convey anything beyond that in the thought experiment.

    For the purpose of your thought experiment, which is limited to our Universe, science is not limited. Our own abilities and short life-spans limit our knowledge, but science is not theoretically limited. It is the only method which has the potential to reveal everything there is to know about the Universe. But for the purposes of what I said science is limited because even if we are to know all there is to know about this Universe, we cannot apply science to universes with fundamentally different laws.

    I do mean meaning Michael; what I don’t mean is the atheistic idea of pretending there is meaning when it does not exist in reality.

    As I said, you’re rigging the game. You’re asking how knowing everything can give us more meaning, but meaning, for you, is not dependent upon anything in reality. It is dependent upon the existence of an afterlife.

  5. jackhudson says:

    First, are you retracting your claim that Coyne is being historically ignorant? You skipped over the whole point that he is saying science and religion are philosophically incompatible, not that it’s impossible for someone to hold contradictory views.

    I didn’t skip over anything – are you even reading what I wrote in the article? For Boyle, Bacon, Newton and the rest of the men who originated the scientific method, there was no philosophical incompatibility. There is no reason to for there to be.

    Second, you are literally the boldest person I’ve personally encountered when it comes to lying. Science is not derived from Christianity or Christian values and you know it. But if you want to actually try supporting your lie, you can cite where the Bible promotes the idea that faith is an unacceptable premise for belief.

    Michael, I know it is difficult for you, but I have to ask you (again) to refrain from making personal accusations about people’s intention or motives on this blog – keep the incivility to your own blog please. You don’t have to post here.

    I sincerely believe science is the product of Christian thinking. I don’t think it is coincidental that the Scientific Revolution was born in Western Christian Europe, occurred concurrent with the Reformation and that so many of those involved in early scientific advancement were Christian believers who also shared an interest in theology and wrote about how their scientific explorations coincided with their faith. I think the idea of a universe amenable to exploration, run by laws that were discernible by human minds is perfectly compatible with Scripture’s depiction of an eternal, external, and immutable law giving Creator of the universe who produced the minds of men.

    So Scripture is objective true because of your subjective interpretations? Interesting.

    I think you may be the only person who would conclude that based on what I wrote. I think you are just phoning it in now.

    Also, you aren’t interested in science, that much is clear. No part of the Bible is scientifically accurate (except perhaps where it is trivial), especially as it pertains to biology.

    I appreciate your attempts at reading others motive Michael, but you are no psychic and I was interested in and studying science before you were born.

    I have a choice right now. Either I can act as an English teacher for you or I can tell you to go re-read that section of my post so you can actually respond to what was said. Since teaching you basic philosophy didn’t take (“The problem is with the logistics of the thought experiment!”), I’m going to forego the English lesson and just ask that you go back to my last post.

    I appreciate your undergraduate zeal for conveying knowledge you recently acquired but again, as some who was reading Shakespeare and Chaucer, as well as studying Latin, Greek, and Hebrew before you were born I am not all that interested in your imagined English lessons. I responded to your post, you are free to dissemble.

    The arguments are the same. The tone is different.

    And tone is what made him worth listening to and reading.

    I combined these two sections because you clearly didn’t get what I was saying in my first section. I was offended by your abuse of the word English language when you implied that “soul” being used to reference the religious idea of souls. It wasn’t. And, in fact, the “careless and illogical use of the term” is on your end. You are being careless with the language because you aren’t carefully looking at the context; you are being illogical because the context dictates that the narrator is using the term as an allusion.

    I am familiar with the phrase and how the narrator used it – I just find it ironic and contradictory. Like an atheist saying “Thank God it’s Friday!”

    So to recap: First, when you say “It has nothing to do with you”, that makes no sense and I have no idea what you’re prattling about. Second, the word is an allusion; it is being used as a clear and distinct literary tool. It is not being defined as you purport.

    I was referring to your claim of being offended as if you somehow have a personal stake in how people state things; grown-ups are only offended when something offensive has been done to them.

    Your topic sentence was that in order to describe great awe, one must invoke the spiritual. This doesn’t speak to the new point you’re trying to make. As a result, I am retroactively offended by your use of language. .

    My ‘topic sentence’? This isn’t a first grade essay. I was pretty plain about where I was going in the first paragraph.

    Also, faith does not motivate science; faith is belief without evidence. It is in inherent conflict with science.

    Human curiosity and interest in what is true motivate science, just as they motivate an interest in religious ideas – which is why the founding scientists were involved in both.

    Stop lying. Hitler was a Christian creationist who had brand spankin’ new technology at his hands. You’re naive if you think previous Christian leaders wouldn’t have done as much killing with the sort of power he had.

    (As for Stalin and everyone else you dishonestly have in mind – I know you can’t sleep easy when you reflect on what you know is fundamental dishonesty – they acted out of political ideology and/or nationalism. In fact, despite invoking God and Jesus over and over, Hitler was doing just the same.)
    .

    This has all been covered before elsewhere. I have plainly delineated the scientific underpinnings of eugenics which Nazis utilized in their policies have been plainly delineated. Learn a little history at least.

    So far you’ve said two valid things. First, you posed a valid question among a sea of junk. Second, you clarified some phrasing here. (Though the same thing is understood with either wording.)

    Science indicates no need for a creator because of evolution, the laws of physics, and (probably) M-theory. No creator gives little hope for an afterlife. Deal. .

    None of these things does anything to either satisfy the need for a cause to the origin of either the universe, life, or unique human characteristic, the truth of the history on which the Christian faith I based, or the experiences of billions of Christians .

    Absolute knowledge of our Universe does not mean we would have absolute knowledge of everything. The experiment would need to go further and allow us to have absolute knowledge of all universes. But then we’d just be giving ourselves traits generally reserved for the idea of God. .

    Actually I agree; science is essentially limited to the observable universe. I didn’t intend to say otherwise.

    For the purpose of your thought experiment, which is limited to our Universe, science is not limited. Our own abilities and short life-spans limit our knowledge, but science is not theoretically limited. It is the only method which has the potential to reveal everything there is to know about the Universe. But for the purposes of what I said science is limited because even if we are to know all there is to know about this Universe, we cannot apply science to universes with fundamentally different laws.

    This paragraph appears to be internally contradictory – I assume in my thought experiment that science is limited to the observable universe, because in fact science is limited to to the observable universe.

    As I said, you’re rigging the game. You’re asking how knowing everything can give us more meaning, but meaning, for you, is not dependent upon anything in reality. It is dependent upon the existence of an afterlife.

    Meaning, if the word has any objective definition, depends on the universe having a purpose for its existence. That would require something outside of the universe to exist, and have a reason for the universe to exist. That doesn’t require an afterlife, per se.

  6. I didn’t skip over anything – are you even reading what I wrote in the article? For Boyle, Bacon, Newton and the rest of the men who originated the scientific method, there was no philosophical incompatibility. There is no reason to for there to be.

    Whenever we get into these sort of things, I go back and reread each section. It always turns out that I’m actually staying on point. So let me recap this one for you. (But don’t be shy – feel free to go back and read what you originally said here, what I then said, what you said, etc.)

    (a) You claimed Coyne was ignoring history because scientists in the past believed in both science and their religion.

    (b) I said Coyne’s point isn’t that people cannot hold two conflicting views at the same time. He has been explicit – yes, people can and do hold conflicting views. But because people hold those views does not mean they are therefore not in conflict – no matter how prestigious the individual being cited.

    (c) Now you have repeated your point. You have also added in the declaration that there is no reason for science and religion to be incompatible. That second part is a non-sequitur, incidentally.

    (d) I will tell you again: Coyne is not ignoring history. He is not saying two people cannot hold conflicting beliefs. Your whole point here rests on the notion that Coyne believes otherwise and that the claim he is making is that scientists don’t actually hold conflicting beliefs. In fact, he knows scientists past and present hold conflicting beliefs by holding to science and religion simultaneously. He has acknowledged this again and again because, despite you perhaps thinking there is novelty to your awful argument, he has encountered this misunderstanding before. His point is that there is a conflict between science and religion. For instance, science rules out miracles in the sense that physical laws can be suspended. Most religions say miracles in the sense can and do happen. That is conflict. That Newton may have believed otherwise is irrelevant – someone holding conflicting beliefs does not mean they are therefore not in conflict.

    In short, no. Coyne is not ignoring history.

    I sincerely believe science is the product of Christian thinking. I don’t think it is coincidental that the Scientific Revolution was born in Western Christian Europe, occurred concurrent with the Reformation and that so many of those involved in early scientific advancement were Christian believers who also shared an interest in theology and wrote about how their scientific explorations coincided with their faith.

    None of that says science is a product of Christianity.

    You still have not cited where the Bible craps all over the idea that faith is an acceptable means for coming to belief.

    I think you may be the only person who would conclude that based on what I wrote. I think you are just phoning it in now.

    Whoa! Please refrain from the personal insults! You don’t have to respond here!

    Anywho.

    You cited your own personal interpretation of the origins of the Universe and humanity. Since neither one of your interpretations is based upon science, nor since you have no significant background in science, is either one of those interpretations more than subjective guesswork; you don’t have the objective basis of scientific findings to back up any of your claims. (And, in fact, most of your beliefs concerning origins rest upon a bad analogy.) You then cited personal experience. If I need to explain to you why that is subjective, I guess I will have to stop posting.

    I appreciate your undergraduate zeal for conveying knowledge you recently acquired but again, as some who was reading Shakespeare and Chaucer, as well as studying Latin, Greek, and Hebrew before you were born I am not all that interested in your imagined English lessons. I responded to your post, you are free to dissemble.

    That you are old and have read a few things doesn’t mean you’re good at it. Please re-read or stop responding to this section.

    And tone is what made him worth listening to and reading.

    The reading things well thing? Yeah, this is what I meant.

    (a) You said Sagan is not dogmatic like the Gnu Atheists.

    (b) I said his arguments are the same. You’re problem and confusion lies with tone.

    (c) You admitted that tone is at least a difference. Good for you. But the point remains that the arguments from the Gnu Atheists and Sagan are largely the same. Please address the primary points being made. Thanks.

    My ‘topic sentence’? This isn’t a first grade essay. I was pretty plain about where I was going in the first paragraph.

    I cited your topic sentence because it has little to do with the new point you’re trying to squirrel into the discussion. That this isn’t up to the quality of a first grade essay is an auxiliary issue.

    Human curiosity and interest in what is true motivate science, just as they motivate an interest in religious ideas – which is why the founding scientists were involved in both.

    You can say interest in what is true motivates just about anything – including things which are in conflict: Muslims and Christians are both motivated by an interest in truth, but that doesn’t somehow mean their beliefs aren’t in conflict. Furthermore, you did say faith motivated scientific endeavors.

    This has all been covered before elsewhere. I have plainly delineated the scientific underpinnings of eugenics which Nazis utilized in their policies have been plainly delineated. Learn a little history at least.

    The scientific underpinning of their V2 rockets and other weapons also used gravity. When will you start ranting about that? Or is it just that you’re fundamentally dishonest and you have an agenda to try and discredit evolutionary theory by claiming that it leads to bad things?

    None of these things does anything to either satisfy the need for a cause to the origin of either the universe, life, or unique human characteristic, the truth of the history on which the Christian faith I based, or the experiences of billions of Christians .

    M-theory isn’t here to make you feel philosophically comfortable. It pushes back the question of origins to ‘multiverses’, but it will do so through science rather than faith.

    As far as unique human characteristics are concerned, evolution explains how our species gets here. That we can speak, engage in art, explore abstract thoughts,etc is all interesting, and it’s largely all in the arena of neurology and psychology on the individual level, but they don’t somehow weaken the fact that we evolved. You’re just using a cruddy God of the Gaps argument without overtly stating it because you know it’s so risible.

    This paragraph appears to be internally contradictory – I assume in my thought experiment that science is limited to the observable universe, because in fact science is limited to to the observable universe.

    When I read that you agreed with the previous section, I knew you had severely misunderstood what I had said.

    Science is limited in its study of place where there are laws of Nature – if not the laws of Nature as we know them, then in the sense in which we know them. But the laws of Nature are not required to be in accord with what we understand – they aren’t even required to exist. In fact, it is virtually certain that there will be instances in which we cannot apply science beyond study of our Universe because there will not be such laws. That does not mean we cannot ever use it in such studies beyond the Big Bang.

    So even if we are to know all there is to know about our Universe, that doesn’t mean we will know absolutely everything. Think of the potential to know everything there is to know about Minnesota. That doesn’t mean you know anything about Idaho. Except instead of Idaho just being another place you can study, it’s inaccessible to you and your tools for knowledge.

    Meaning, if the word has any objective definition, depends on the universe having a purpose for its existence. That would require something outside of the universe to exist, and have a reason for the universe to exist. That doesn’t require an afterlife, per se.

    Yes, I know. You’ve rigged the game. “Meaning” can only be worth discussing if everyone uses it according to your definition.

    Incidentally, your definition is subjective.

  7. jackhudson says:

    Whenever we get into these sort of things, I go back and reread each section. It always turns out that I’m actually staying on point. So let me recap this one for you. (But don’t be shy – feel free to go back and read what you originally said here, what I then said, what you said, etc.)

    (a) You claimed Coyne was ignoring history because scientists in the past believed in both science and their religion.

    Etc., etc.

    The beliefs didn’t conflict for the men who developed the methodology. How would it be if Christian beliefs conflicted with scientific methodology that devout Christians would both develop that methodology and write extensively how it comported with their Christian beliefs? I mean how is it that Coyne, who uses the methodology they developed, who has perverted it into a belief system, and who knows nothing about either philosophy or theology would be more certain of this than Robert Boyle who helped create the methodology to begin with? And how is it you never ask yourself these questions?

    None of that says science is a product of Christianity.

    You still have not cited where the Bible craps all over the idea that faith is an acceptable means for coming to belief.

    Michael, it doesn’t make sense to quote mine me when what I wrote is right above. I continued:

    “I think the idea of a universe amenable to exploration, run by laws that were discernible by human minds is perfectly compatible with Scripture’s depiction of an eternal, external, and immutable law giving Creator of the universe who produced the minds of men.”

    That understanding is the derived from Christian beliefs (based on Scripture) and was necessary for the development the scientific method.

    You cited your own personal interpretation of the origins of the Universe and humanity. Since neither one of your interpretations is based upon science, nor since you have no significant background in science, is either one of those interpretations more than subjective guesswork; you don’t have the objective basis of scientific findings to back up any of your claims. (And, in fact, most of your beliefs concerning origins rest upon a bad analogy.) You then cited personal experience. If I need to explain to you why that is subjective, I guess I will have to stop posting.
    .

    I have as much or more of a background in science as you – and more of an understanding of theology, history, and philosophy. Why you keep thinking being a bank teller makes you more of an expert than everyone else on every subject is beyond me. Unlike you, I don’t care what someone’s background or age or looks or beliefs are is as long as they can present their points clearly and reasonably and civilly. But as you seem to be able to fail in this regard as well, appealing to your own authority as compared to others is rather silly.

    And I have consistently referred to the relevant historical figures, their writings and the relevant Christian beliefs in this discussion. Where you get ‘personal experience’ out of that, I don’t know. You seem to be typing randomly now. Seriously are you posting for a particular reason – because you are no longer making a cohesive argument.

    That you are old and have read a few things doesn’t mean you’re good at it. Please re-read or stop responding to this section.

    Good enough to respond to a bank teller without similar experience and education.

    The reading things well thing? Yeah, this is what I meant.

    (a) You said Sagan is not dogmatic like the Gnu Atheists.

    (b) I said his arguments are the same. You’re problem and confusion lies with tone.

    (c) You admitted that tone is at least a difference. Good for you. But the point remains that the arguments from the Gnu Atheists and Sagan are largely the same. Please address the primary points being made. Thanks.
    .

    My point was his tone was what made him worth reading and listening too; he was an agnostic and hardly dogmatic about being an atheist. That puts him light years from any New Atheist.

    You can say interest in what is true motivates just about anything – including things which are in conflict: Muslims and Christians are both motivated by an interest in truth, but that doesn’t somehow mean their beliefs aren’t in conflict. Furthermore, you did say faith motivated scientific endeavors.

    Well yes, exactly – science and faith share the quality of being concerned with what is true.

    The scientific underpinning of their V2 rockets and other weapons also used gravity. When will you start ranting about that? Or is it just that you’re fundamentally dishonest and you have an agenda to try and discredit evolutionary theory by claiming that it leads to bad things? .

    That point doesn’t even make sense. How would one apply the physics and chemistry that underpins the technology of a V2 rocket to human evolution? Eugenicists considered the science of eugenics to be ‘evolution applied’. Just as evolutionary theory wouldn’t have played a role in the development of rockets, other sciences wouldn’t have been as readily applicable to human development – but evolution through eugenics was purported to apply to human development by a consensus of scientists at the time.

    M-theory isn’t here to make you feel philosophically comfortable. It pushes back the question of origins to ‘multiverses’, but it will do so through science rather than faith. .

    I am familiar with M-Theory. What sort of experimental and observable evidence is there to demonstrate the existence of multiverses?

    As far as unique human characteristics are concerned, evolution explains how our species gets here. That we can speak, engage in art, explore abstract thoughts,etc is all interesting, and it’s largely all in the arena of neurology and psychology on the individual level, but they don’t somehow weaken the fact that we evolved. You’re just using a cruddy God of the Gaps argument without overtly stating it because you know it’s so risible.

    I am just pointing out there is no evolutionary reason why we should be awed by the universe, or care what other people think about how it originated. There are good spiritual and Scriptural reasons however.

    Science is limited in its study of place where there are laws of Nature – if not the laws of Nature as we know them, then in the sense in which we know them. But the laws of Nature are not required to be in accord with what we understand – they aren’t even required to exist. In fact, it is virtually certain that there will be instances in which we cannot apply science beyond study of our Universe because there will not be such laws. That does not mean we cannot ever use it in such studies beyond the Big Bang.

    We can of course theorize about what exists outside of the observable universe, but it can’t be measured, it can’t be observed, there are no experiments to do on it. We can extrapolate from what we know about this universe to some aspects of a possible cause of the origin of the universe, and through reason, logic and science make some conclusions about what was necessary for it to exist as it does – but the rest Michael certainly involves faith. In fact, your confidence that science will somehow make these determinations is by definition a statement of faith.

    So even if we are to know all there is to know about our Universe, that doesn’t mean we will know absolutely everything. Think of the potential to know everything there is to know about Minnesota. That doesn’t mean you know anything about Idaho. Except instead of Idaho just being another place you can study, it’s inaccessible to you and your tools for knowledge.

    This point is irrelevant to the thought experiment; it simply extrapolates to a time when everything that can be known scientifically is known – the conclusion remains the same.

    Yes, I know. You’ve rigged the game. “Meaning” can only be worth discussing if everyone uses it according to your definition.

    Incidentally, your definition is subjective.

    I just explained that I don’t define meaning the way you claimed I did, and now you are moving the goalposts. I have no idea how my point about meaning is subjective.

  8. The beliefs didn’t conflict for the men who developed the methodology. How would it be if Christian beliefs conflicted with scientific methodology that devout Christians would both develop that methodology and write extensively how it comported with their Christian beliefs? I mean how is it that Coyne, who uses the methodology they developed, who has perverted it into a belief system, and who knows nothing about either philosophy or theology would be more certain of this than Robert Boyle who helped create the methodology to begin with? And how is it you never ask yourself these questions?

    Evasive and non-responsive. Specific editing of my post in order to avoid engagement. Please correct your response or move on.

    Michael, it doesn’t make sense to quote mine me when what I wrote is right above. I continued:

    “I think the idea of a universe amenable to exploration, run by laws that were discernible by human minds is perfectly compatible with Scripture’s depiction of an eternal, external, and immutable law giving Creator of the universe who produced the minds of men.”

    I asked you to cite where the Bible says faith is not a reasonable method for coming to a conclusion. You still have not done that.

    (Good job on finally getting at least one comma correct, though.)

    I have as much or more of a background in science as you – and more of an understanding of theology, history, and philosophy. Why you keep thinking being a bank teller makes you more of an expert than everyone else on every subject is beyond me.

    1) I thought you said you weren’t interested in faulting me for my employment? The lying is hard to cover up when you let emotion overtake you.

    2) You have a few college bio courses from 20 years ago under your belt. I have virtually all the credits required for a bio degree, and more than enough for a minor (which I choose not to get since I’m a major in the subject).

    3) You aren’t familiar with most philosophers, especially Kant. I will have completed my minor in philosophy shortly before Christmas.

    4) Excuse me while I go grab some water. I’m running out of piss.

    Unlike you, I don’t care what someone’s background or age or looks or beliefs are is as long as they can present their points clearly and reasonably and civilly.

    One would presume you wouldn’t mention my employment and age several times over the past 2 hours, then.

    But as you seem to be able to fail in this regard as well, appealing to your own authority as compared to others is rather silly.

    I said you have no significant background in science – it’s all subjective guesswork when you lack that background. This is evidenced by the massive conflict you have with your beliefs versus the findings in the scientific community. I then said you cited personal experience, something which is clearly subjective. If you dig back through all your obscuring, you will see that this all goes to my point that your claims that Scripture is objective is based upon subjective positions and beliefs. None of this has to do with my own authority.

    And I have consistently referred to the relevant historical figures, their writings and the relevant Christian beliefs in this discussion. Where you get ‘personal experience’ out of that, I don’t know.

    Once these arguments start getting so long, I sometimes find myself typing out responses which claim you didn’t say this or that, but it turns out you did and I just forgot. Of course, you don’t see those responses because I realize I might be wrong, so I go back through the past posts. You should have done that here.

    [I understand Scripture to be true] because it is proved in my personal experience… ~Jack Hudson, Nov 13, 2010, 11:04pm EST.

    My point was his tone was what made him worth reading and listening too; he was an agnostic and hardly dogmatic about being an atheist. That puts him light years from any New Atheist.

    So when you said “dogmatic”, you really meant “tone”? And do you think Sagan was any less sure there was no evidence for any gods than Dawkins or Hitchens or Harris all are?

    That point doesn’t even make sense. How would one apply the physics and chemistry that underpins the technology of a V2 rocket to human evolution?

    Christ.

    You’re saying eugenics is the application of evolutionary theory. I’m saying the use of V2 rockets is the application of gravitational theory.

    I am familiar with M-Theory. What sort of experimental and observable evidence is there to demonstrate the existence of multiverses?

    There is good reason to look towards M-theory and there are supporting experiments for it. But I’m not going to add another 8 paragraphs to this already lengthy post.

    I am just pointing out there is no evolutionary reason why we should be awed by the universe, or care what other people think about how it originated. There are good spiritual and Scriptural reasons however.

    Every characteristic a species may have does not need to be explained in terms of adaptability in order for evolution to be true.

    but the rest Michael certainly involves faith. In fact, your confidence that science will somehow make these determinations is by definition a statement of faith.

    And the lack of correct comma usage returns. Come on, Jack, don’t be stubborn. Just because I’m the one telling you you’re making an error – and a constant error, at that – doesn’t mean you somehow lose face by correcting it.

    As for the substance here, my statements are based upon the workings of quantum mechanics as explained by those in the field. Furthermore, my belief that science has the theoretical ability to discover all there is to be known in our universe is based upon its obvious inherent power and the fact that the Universe is governed by regular laws.

    This point is irrelevant to the thought experiment; it simply extrapolates to a time when everything that can be known scientifically is known – the conclusion remains the same.

    I am genuinely impressed. As much as I know this sounds sarcastic, I am genuinely impressed that you actually managed to return to a point rather than continue meandering through a sea of words.

    However, the point was an aside that is relevant in terms of practicality. If the thought experiment was, ‘What meaning is added if we know absolutely everything about absolutely everything?’, then it would be more accurate to get to your point. As it is, the experiment is restricted the our Universe. So if we are just part of a multiverse, then knowing everything about this Universe doesn’t mean we know everything. But if we know everything about absolutely everything – even beyond this Universe – then we’ve basically defined ourselves as God. Perhaps that wouldn’t add anything. But we need more facts. We can speculate that no more meaning is added in our lives, but if we’re effectively gods, I need more facts; I am currently unaware of what it is like to be omniscient.

    I just explained that I don’t define meaning the way you claimed I did, and now you are moving the goalposts. I have no idea how my point about meaning is subjective.

    I did not move the goal posts. We agree in how you mean “meaning”. Based upon that I am saying you have rigged the game. That isn’t moving the goal posts. We’ve agree some place and then I’ve continued on from that point. We found the goal posts, dug the holes, installed the posts, agreed that their position was good, and now I’ve moved on to a new field.

    Since “meaning” to you is based upon your opinion that God exists, and since you don’t objectively know God exists, your definition is subjective.

  9. jackhudson says:

    Evasive and non-responsive. Specific editing of my post in order to avoid engagement. Please correct your response or move on.

    Now you are simply dissembling as you often do when asked direct question and found wanting in your arguments.

    I asked you to cite where the Bible says faith is not a reasonable method for coming to a conclusion. You still have not done that.

    The Bible doesn’t say anywhere that faith is reasonable method for coming to a conclusion. It’s a nonsense question.

    1) I thought you said you weren’t interested in faulting me for my employment? The lying is hard to cover up when you let emotion overtake you.

    2) You have a few college bio courses from 20 years ago under your belt. I have virtually all the credits required for a bio degree, and more than enough for a minor (which I choose not to get since I’m a major in the subject).

    3) You aren’t familiar with most philosophers, especially Kant. I will have completed my minor in philosophy shortly before Christmas.

    4) Excuse me while I go grab some water. I’m running out of piss.

    I didn’t fault you for your employment; I think it’s good you are employed. I think you are being a bit defensive here – are you ashamed of what you do?

    And I have had all my courses for a bio degree.

    And I am actually attending a philosophy conference this week.

    But what this has to do with anything I have no idea.

    One would presume you wouldn’t mention my employment and age several times over the past 2 hours, then.

    Actually you are the one who made it a topic of discussion – if you don’t want to discuss it, don’t bring it up.

    I said you have no significant background in science – it’s all subjective guesswork when you lack that background. This is evidenced by the massive conflict you have with your beliefs versus the findings in the scientific community. I then said you cited personal experience, something which is clearly subjective. If you dig back through all your obscuring, you will see that this all goes to my point that your claims that Scripture is objective is based upon subjective positions and beliefs. None of this has to do with my own authority.

    My ‘background in science’ is at least equivalent to your own, and more than most. I briefly cited personal experience as one aspect of knowing. Are you saying personal experience isn’t a way of knowing? How would you know this? From personal experience?

    Once these arguments start getting so long, I sometimes find myself typing out responses which claim you didn’t say this or that, but it turns out you did and I just forgot. Of course, you don’t see those responses because I realize I might be wrong, so I go back through the past posts. You should have done that here.

    Yes, they are long, you should learn how to state your arguments more concisely.

    [I understand Scripture to be true] because it is proved in my personal experience… ~Jack Hudson, Nov 13, 2010, 11:04pm EST.

    Seriously, what is with the quote mining? The whole statement please:

    “As a Christian I understand Scripture to be true because it comports with other realities – the origin of the universe, life, and humanity, the origin of Israel and the Church, the life and Resurrection of Christ, the lives of Christian past and present. Also because it is proved in my personal experience and is consistent with what I believe to be logically and reasonably true about thought, philosophy and human nature. If it ceased somehow to comport with other things I understand to be true, then I would have reason to question its veracity.”

    Michael, everyone can read when you do this stuff, I’m embarrassed for you.

    So when you said “dogmatic”, you really meant “tone”? And do you think Sagan was any less sure there was no evidence for any gods than Dawkins or Hitchens or Harris all are?.

    I was pretty clear – he was a tolerant, humble, forthright agnostic who didn’t feel the need to attack or berate others. Which is why both Christians and atheists enjoyed listening to him.

    You’re saying eugenics is the application of evolutionary theory. I’m saying the use of V2 rockets is the application of gravitational theory.

    I didn’t say it, the scientists who developed eugenics said it. In fact the motto of the International Eugenics Society was “Eugenics is Self-Direction of Human Evolution

    There is good reason to look towards M-theory and there are supporting experiments for it. But I’m not going to add another 8 paragraphs to this already lengthy post.

    There are no supporting experiments for multiverses.

    Every characteristic a species may have does not need to be explained in terms of adaptability in order for evolution to be true..

    There is no evolutionary explanations for why we are awed by the universe or feel the need to define our beliefs about our origins. You never actually answer the point made.

    As for the substance here, my statements are based upon the workings of quantum mechanics as explained by those in the field. Furthermore, my belief that science has the theoretical ability to discover all there is to be known in our universe is based upon its obvious inherent power and the fact that the Universe is governed by regular laws.

    As for the substance here, my statements are based upon the workings of quantum mechanics as explained by those in the field. Furthermore, my belief that science has the theoretical ability to discover all there is to be known in our universe is based upon its obvious inherent power and the fact that the Universe is governed by regular laws.

    You cannot know through scientific means what science will or won’t be able to explain in the future therefore your belief that it will explain the origins of the universe (or the origin of life, or the origin of unique human characteristics) is a statement of faith.

    However, the point was an aside that is relevant in terms of practicality. If the thought experiment was, ‘What meaning is added if we know absolutely everything about absolutely everything?’, then it would be more accurate to get to your point. As it is, the experiment is restricted the our Universe. So if we are just part of a multiverse, then knowing everything about this Universe doesn’t mean we know everything. But if we know everything about absolutely everything – even beyond this Universe – then we’ve basically defined ourselves as God. Perhaps that wouldn’t add anything. But we need more facts. We can speculate that no more meaning is added in our lives, but if we’re effectively gods, I need more facts; I am currently unaware of what it is like to be omniscient..

    Michael, your posts are among the most verbose responses I have ever read; you shouldn’t blame others for the length of responses. Being concise is not your strong point. Nonetheless, my point was about science – even if we know everything science can tell us it still does not tell everything we need to know to live fully as human beings.

    I just explained that I don’t define meaning the way you claimed I did, and now you are moving the goalposts. I have no idea how my point about meaning is subjective.

    I did not move the goal posts. We agree in how you mean “meaning”.

    No, we do not agree, I was clear about how we disagreed.

    Based upon that I am saying you have rigged the game. That isn’t moving the goal posts. We’ve agree some place and then I’ve continued on from that point. We found the goal posts, dug the holes, installed the posts, agreed that their position was good, and now I’ve moved on to a new field.

    As your previous point was wrong this one is as well. You are the one trying to come up with a novel definition of meaning and purpose, mine is standard.

    Since “meaning” to you is based upon your opinion that God exists, and since you don’t objectively know God exists, your definition is subjective.

    No, I am saying meaning is based upon the notion that the universe and human life exists for a purpose; if that is not true life and the universe can have no intrinsic meaning. One can act like it has meaning, one can say I like to think it has meaning for me, but apart from the basis I outlined it does not actually have any meaning.

  10. Michael Hawkins says:

    The Bible doesn’t say anywhere that faith is reasonable method for coming to a conclusion. It’s a nonsense question.

    So if I go searching for passages in the Bible where faith is good, I won’t find anything?

    Actually you are the one who made it a topic of discussion – if you don’t want to discuss it, don’t bring it up.

    I brought up your education history.

    My ‘background in science’ is at least equivalent to your own, and more than most. I briefly cited personal experience as one aspect of knowing. Are you saying personal experience isn’t a way of knowing? How would you know this? From personal experience?

    I asked you how you know your methods to be true and how we are to show that truth to others. You can’t show personal experience to be true to others without availing yourself to other methods.

    Seriously, what is with the quote mining?

    The other ways you think scripture to be true have been discussed. The topic here is your citation of your personal experience as being a way to know something is true.

    I was pretty clear – he was a tolerant, humble, forthright agnostic who didn’t feel the need to attack or berate others. Which is why both Christians and atheists enjoyed listening to him.

    You never said any of this until I mentioned the only difference between Sagan and any other atheist.

    I didn’t say it, the scientists who developed eugenics said it. In fact the motto of the International Eugenics Society was “Eugenics is Self-Direction of Human Evolution”

    You are saying it. Don’t lie to me. Or maybe you can clear it up right here and now: Does a correct understanding of evolutionary theory as explained in any given college biology course logically lead to eugenics? And why don’t you attack Newton for leading to V2 rockets?

    There is no evolutionary explanations for why we are awed by the universe or feel the need to define our beliefs about our origins. You never actually answer the point made.

    I don’t have time to dispel in detail the common creationist misconceptions you have about adaptations and the complexities of the human species. But you keep repeating your rhetoric.

    You cannot know through scientific means what science will or won’t be able to explain in the future therefore your belief that it will explain the origins of the universe (or the origin of life, or the origin of unique human characteristics) is a statement of faith.

    Then you have proven to me that you have an even worse concept of what science is than I thought. Science is not limited in theory, only practice.

    Michael, your posts are among the most verbose responses I have ever read; you shouldn’t blame others for the length of responses. Being concise is not your strong point. Nonetheless, my point was about science – even if we know everything science can tell us it still does not tell everything we need to know to live fully as human beings.

    1) I never complained about the length of these posts. Stop lying.

    2) When I spoke of the length of these posts, I was talking about the ever-increasing number of points being made, not the word count.

    3) I begin all of my posts here in a very concise manner. My writing style, I say with no shame or modesty, crushes yours. The problem lies in the fact that I need to explain things to you over and over – you still think the problem with Thompson’s thought experiment is logistics. As a result, I have taken to saying the same thing in different ways. (For instance, I just said I explain things over and over and then I said I say the same thing in different ways. History has shown you otherwise will not get it.)

    No, we do not agree, I was clear about how we disagreed.

    “Meaning” for you depends upon there being something beyond life. That’s what you believe, that’s what I said. We agree.

    As your previous point was wrong this one is as well. You are the one trying to come up with a novel definition of meaning and purpose, mine is standard.

    What makes something meaningful to you does not make that something meaningful to anyone else. It’s risible that you would try and claim you have a standard definition of such a loaded word. You’re going to probably want to keep a low-profile at your philosophy conference. (Incidentally, is this really a philosophy conference or is it a theological conference cloaked in philosophy?)

    No, I am saying meaning is based upon the notion that the universe and human life exists for a purpose;

    Which is defined by the existence of God. Good job, you said the same thing I said but in another way. We agree.

    One can act like it has meaning, one can say I like to think it has meaning for me, but apart from the basis I outlined it does not actually have any meaning.

    Link

  11. jackhudson says:

    Michael, there isn’t a single question here that hasn’t been asked and answered a few times here. I mentioned elsewhere that it’s probably best for you to be done here, and I think this pretty much confirms why. This just doesn’t meet the standards for civility here.

  12. Michael Hawkins says:

    I think the problem is just with the logistics of your blog.

  13. jackhudson says:

    Its a simple request, please honor it.

  14. Justin says:

    “Test all things, hold fast what is good.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:21

  15. Justin says:

    I also liked this one from Aldous Huxley:

    “We are living now, not in the delicious intoxication induced by the early successes of science, but in a rather grisly morning-after, when it has become apparent that what triumphant science has done hitherto is to improve the means for achieving unimproved or actually deteriorated ends.”

  16. jackhudson says:

    Yes, science doesn’t change human nature.

  17. […] have elsewhere touched on the fact that not only is Christianity not historically antagonistic to science; Christian thinkers […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: