The Faithful Must Stop Science.

One of the common things people of faith say to unbelievers is, “If you cannot say where the universe came from, you are forced to admit God created it.”

This is a risky strategy.  To reduce risk, people of faith must halt the march of science backward into time.  Science may discover the origin of the universe.

Here in Winnipeg I read anl article about a University of Alberta discovery.  Scientists found fossilized trails, tiny tracks, made by some kind of slug.  The importance of these imprints is they dated to 585 million years ago, 30 million years before the oldest evidence of life discovered previously. One view is life of any kind started 600 million years ago. The Alberta scientists concluded this slug may be the first form of life able to move itself.

Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion,  discussed the risk of assuming the origin of the universe will never be discovered.  He pointed out how absurd it would have seemed to talk about man going to the moon in the not so distant past.

This is not to say fundamentalists are sitting on their hands.  Their reaction to the march of discovery is to try to stop it.   They want replace evolution in school curriculums with Bible-based creationism.  Some state legislatures have required the inclusion of creationism in school curriculums.  Their intent, I assume, is to later eliminate evolution.

So far, they have not stopped the march of science. They need to redouble their efforts.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/slug-redefines-time-of-origin-of-complex-life-160801205.html

 

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About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years.
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28 Responses to The Faithful Must Stop Science.

  1. entech says:

    Obvious forgery, who created currency that long ago?
    In 687 BC the first Crude “coins” were invented in Lydia (according to Herodotus).

    Typical scientism ignoring the scriptures, what friend Emily described as the most accurate history books ever.

  2. Stan says:

    Some of the Faithful Must Stop Science.

    Fixed it.

    • entech says:

      What’s to fix? Your particular branch of the faith does a lot to advance science.

      • Stan says:

        AS written “The Faithful Must Stop Science” is too broad. Jon likes to do that.

        • entech says:

          I think I follow, I think I agree.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Stan 8:32 The term “faithful” might be an arbitrary definition. You, yourself, have referred to something like “real Christians”, alledging to know the difference between the “real” variety and something else. So, were not dealing with a world of precision in terms, here.

          • Stan says:

            Jon 11:28 I know it’s hard to keep track without a score card Jon :) but I have never used the term “real Christian” mainly because I am not sure what a real Christian is. I posted as I did because when you make a statement that includes “ALL” you are stating a fallacy. On purpose? It’s possible, even likely.

            GK Chesterton stated “The Church is a house with a hundred gates; and no two men enter at exactly the same angle.” It is not up to me to decide which is the proper one. I only have faith that the one I entered got me where I wanted to go.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Stan 3:47 I apologize for misquoting you. I don’t actually remember the term you used, but I was recalling a post way back when, when you were rebutting a statistic I used showing atheists were underrepresented in prisons while Christians were over represented. You posted that you spend time with prisoners and find many who claim to be Christian lacking in knowledge and perhaps resolve in the faith. You may well not have used the term “real Christian”.

          • Stan says:

            No John, I said many who claimed Christianity in jails have almost no idea what being a Christian means. They self identify but have no idea what living a Christian lifestyle means. For some they think it is hereditary. For others, grandma and mom are praying for me so I must be Christian too. Very few understand it is a choice, a difficult one.

          • entech says:

            It is not only the unbeliever that makes these distinctions, I remember a few months ago I had an interesting exchange on this forum, the man was a creationist and argued his case sensibly but one thing I do remember very well, I was using some of the advances in modern science made by Roman Catholic scientists (amazing, brilliant stuff in many cases) when he said, “I do wish you would stop referring to Catholics as Christians”.

            So while I agree that it is wrong, probably a fallacy named after it, to take a part and apply it to the whole, it can be difficult, when the whole is less than homogenous, to say what is applicable to the whole and conversely how much of the whole accepts some parts as being included. That is complicated and convoluted, so if I can give an example without being picked on for it.

            Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant and what may loosely be called mainstream churches talk of God as a Trinity.
            There are Unitarian Churches which have the God and the same Jesus differing simply in that their concept of God is strictly monotheistic, they are probably a small minority but still classed as Christian. Small part of the whole but not insignificant when you add up all the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Christian scientists and so on.
            Then there are the different doctrines about the path to salvation, faith alone or good deeds and so on.

            The point must finally be that without a consistent and coherent definition you cannot expect any statement or proposition to be all inclusive. A generic remark such as “The Faithfull” cannot be said to be separating the parts, surely you would not deny all who believe in the same God, who believe as a matter of faith, are not “The Faithfull”.
            I accept and agree that in the context of science versus creationism it is only the creationists that are to be included in your “Some of the Faithfull”.

            The perceived error of lumping all Christians into one homogenous group, as being contained in a single, solitary box like container must necessarily continue until an acceptable definition is formed. The mistake will continue to be made and the Christians that do not consider that statement or proposition to apply to them will continue, and need to be sorted case by case.
            Actually from an Ignostic point of view we can’t have a rational discussion without such an inclusive and complete definition.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            entech 5:11 “The perceived error of lumping all Christians into one homogeneous group, as being contained in a single, solitary box-like container must necessarily continue until an acceptable definition is formed.”

            That is exactly the case. There are some who post here who have apparently spent much of their lives spliting hairs as to which branch of Christianity believes this and which believes that. It is understandable they would find error in the generalizations I make here about “the faithful”, “believers”, and whatever else I happen to use on a particular day.

            While I understand their objection, I also think they have some responsibility for this problem. In my view, I write at about the depth of interest and knowledge most of the public has about the faith. If there is objection to how the shallowness of my presentations and to what the public knows of religion, those who advocate religion should provide simple explanations that bring about something better.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Jon; I I understand your strategy. You don’t like ANY religion. You would like to eliminate ALL religion. Understandable. The best way to do that would be to pick away, bouncing from toic to topic, and later coming back to the same. ” Divide and conqour”. Amplify the differences, and require total agreement with the introduction of Ignosticism. You have in the past indicated that you are not interested in understanding those differences. (A defensive tactic). Comparative theology embraces these differences, and tries to understand them, while at the same time, encourages dialogue between the parties with those differences. I have in the past compaired these differences to a family situation. Would it be appropriate for a neighbor from across the street to come into your house and tell you what to have for supper when one wants a steak, others want buiscits and gravy, while yet another wants spaghetti and meatballs? I think not. Yet you do, then blow the menue issue out of proportion. See my June 28-212-10:26. Topic -”Take down that cross”. I have said essentially the same thing before, but you conveniently ignore. This reveals the uselesness/futility of dialogue with you. a feigned ignorance, yet transparent.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            And that “acceptable definition” is your decision/choice? Silly. Back to your side of the street.

        • entech says:

          Michael:
          I have never been convinced by the cosmological argument.
          I don’t think you can postulate that a regress of cause and effect can be overcome by introducing some entity that brought it all into being while not being part of it all, this can lead to a regress on its own terms. The postulate that this ultimate cause must be a personal and intelligent entity that has no beginning, is timeless and spaceless, immaterial and so on and is the in fact the Christian God is, I find, an untenable hypothesis.
          Even if you grant the possibility of the uncaused first cause it is a huge leap to say it is your God; it could just as well be Brahman, ‘The One’ of the Hindus; it could be the Allah of Islam (who I am assured is not the same God as your God; Ahura Mazda; perhaps one of the Gnostic schemes would cover it (although I think this is one of the least likely possibilities); there are others in Eastern thought.
          An alternative to the creator from nothing is the idea that the Universe has always existed in some form, both are hard to imagine. I find the simplest idea is that of an eternal cyclical Universe in constant change, The creator concept in a simple deistic sense is not bad, but religious thought requires a personal creator with attributes, attributes which need to be changed and enhanced to counter every objection: ultimately in attempting to explain everything you finish up explaining nothing.

          No scientist conducts research as you say, if they did they would soon be thrown out of the club, so to speak, ostracised by their peers. There are, of course, pseudo scientists, who take an ancient text as literal, true and accurate description of the origin and nature of the universe and then from that starting point try to explain everything in terms of creation.
          The first group conduct research based on observation, from that observation the draw a hypothesis and test the hypothesis against tests made using it, if testing shows some reliability and consistency in results it may be elevated to a theory. From a theory from a theory we can propose a law of nature, note that the definition of a theory in science is a lot more rigid than popular usage and a law of nature is not the same as a Law of the land. The theory and the laws can be tested by deriving experiments to demonstrate the truth or falsehood of the theory, if the experiments yields the predicted results consistently and accurately the process of validation begins, if not the whole thing fails and the theory must be discarded. With sufficient results over time the theory can be considered a fact – something can be a fact and a theory at the same time, we say that there is a Newtonian theory of gravity, this is also considered a fact within its boundaries, the laws of gravity derived from the theory are sufficient to explain the way a rocket with enough initial velocity will enter orbit instead of falling to the ground, the motion of the planets etc. I say within its limits because the constant search for “the truth wherever it leads” has found that while sufficient to put a man on the moon Newtonian mechanics have boundary limits, in the world of the very large and the very small they don’t give accurate results, some theories are said to be incomplete, when they don’t explain everything but are correct within their limitations.
          Science can only speculate, test, develop theories about what can be observed, it can have nothing to say about what may or may not exist outside of the natural world, this is not physics it is metaphysics. This does not prevent quite a lot of speculation by serious scientists, within known science, of speculating on such things as life after death.
          Science has explained a lot of the last few hundred years, quite a few false starts, quite a lot of strange ideas taken seriously – phlogiston and the ether for example, all attempts to explain, all failures rejected, some may yet prove to be failures. The main thing is Science seeks the truth wherever it leads

          If you are in the second group you base your theories and investigations on the idea that there is an ultimate Cause and that you have books inspired by the personification of the cause(r) your observations are interpreted in the light of those writings, if it is not in those writings, those scriptures, then there must be something wrong with the observations. For example if you are committed to a biblical time scale anything outside of that time scale must be wrong, the fossils tell lies, and so on, this is not science this is distortion.

          I have said before that science with its constant search for explanations may actually find this God of yours, if such an entity exist, while so called Creation science, stuck in a fixed idea will never advance.

          • Doubtful says:

            Entech 11:29
            Nice description of the science. I only wish the actual practice of science followed the theory you describe. In the end scientists are people and act like it.

            I always wonder why you and Jon assume that the Christian God is not Allah and every other God?

          • entech says:

            Of course, scientists are only human and therefore fallible and sometimes inclined to act on what they would like to believe instead of what they can demonstrate to be believable. But there are too many in the field(s) that won’t let them get away with it.
            Exactly the opposite to some people who will tell you that they know, regardless of evidence or reason, and, get huge followings to believe with them.

            Mainly because most Christians that write here tell us that is so. Going from Abrahamic belief I tried to say that God and Allah were the same entity, heavily stomped on – you are the only one that has even suggested that they might be the same entity.

          • entech says:

            A good example of searching wherever it leads is the current data on the Higgs particle. An as yet confirmed part of the Standard Model, a description of the elementary particles and forces. Popularly known as the God Particle, the term came from a book that spoke of the Goddam particle, so called because it was so hard to find – American publishers worried about backlash about blasphemy truncated it. The latest analysis is about to be released, with a lot of speculation beforehand.
            This is what CERN is all about, they have narrowed the range where it could be found if it exists, they will not be making any positive statement exists or not until they have reduced the possibility of chance being significant to a very small figure, last year they said the possibility of chance entering the result was 0.13% they want about 6 zeros after the decimal place before thinking about being anywhere near positive.

            The interesting part is seeing the people that have been working on this for years, some of the older guys and gals say they would be disappointed to find that there life’s work was wrong, some of the young ones actually seemed excited by the idea that it was all wrong and time to start again.
            We will know more on 4th July (interesting date to choose to release the findings) and the result will be accepted regardless of any personal theories, hopes or dreams.

            A bit of humour creeps in sometimes, Dawkins was talking recently about one of his many books, this one had something about CERN and the Large Hadron Collider, somehow the printers had transposed the d and the r in hadron, he tried to convince the proof-reader to overlook it but no deal.

            http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/features/online/5740/what-higgs-boson

  3. Michael Ross says:

    Any effort to determine the cause of the universe is purely hypothetical. No human was there to observe the processes, so any attempt to understand events of pre-history (especially original events) must, therefore, be based on “belief systems,” or presuppositions. While the theories and ideas may be many, the presuppositions can only be of two sorts: 1) there is an infinite series of causes, going back into infinite time, with no ultimate Cause; or 2) there exists an uncaused First Cause that was “outside” or transcendent to the universe.

    Many scientists today conduct their research based on their presupposition or belief that nothing exists beyond the natural world—that which can be seen around us—and thus they do not accept that any ultimate Cause exists. This is not science. Science seeks the truth wherever it leads.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Michael 5:35 “…effort to determine the cause of the universe is purely hypothetical. No human was there…”

      I tried to understand this. Jesus, God and The Holy Spirit are real–they are invisible, no human has ever seen them. But, evidence of the creation can never be real because no human was there to see it.

      Apparently, if the universe was created in heaven, that would be believeable because, even if no one was there, everything about the invisible gods and heaven is real.

      Not following.

  4. Jon,
    Stan makes a good point that you shouldn’t have lumped all together with Protestant fundamentalists. Your critique might hold for them, but not for the rest. I do know Orthodox Christianity (which I’d argue is the traditional Christianity) does not conflate scientific discoveries with “see, no God.” To the contrary, one should expect to find and learn more about how things were developed and created in space-time. Take even the Big Bang theory, now the dominant one (and for good reason, as any physicist would note). Noting that there was a singularity before the “Bang” doesn’t eliminate God.

    • Stan says:

      Rev. it is a common argument to pick a characteristic of one small portion of a larger group and attribute it to the whole group. To this type of argument I usually answer.

      Stalin, Lenin, Pol pot, Ho Chi Mihn, Mao Zedong.

      • entech says:

        And a very good answer it is too, Stalin and Mao had much more in common that Martin Luther and Pope Leo.

  5. Wanna B Sure says:

    Jon; You seem to place science and religion in an all or nothing, one way or another adversarial position. This is just not so. What you call a risky strategy is no strategy at all, and would be aparent in only small sectarian elements of the church at large. This is not an accurate picture at all. I do acknowlege you used “fundamentalists”, but you effectively imply all are of the same school. There are many elements of “evolution” that need be considered. Macro, Micro, etc. To insist on the former is not to deny the latter. I assume you accept hybredization. I agree that theology should not be taught in public schools, yet I don’t believe it should be dismissed out- right, without referring that subject off campus to the various churches of their choice, (in a non condecending manner). I would want my children to be knowlegable of all the different kinds/forms of evolution, economics, politics, biology, cosmology This would be a liberal education in the original sense of the word. You seem to want to eliminate any awareness of alternative positions other than your take on it. The Alberta scientists will probably be shown to be wrong in the future with “new” discoveries, pushing the date back even farther/further? What is absolute today in many of these fields has not proven to be absolute in the long run. Time frames can be just as tricky, and much manipulation has been done over the years to “Make things fit”. I wouldn’t recomend anyone to be so sure on these matters. Even Dawkens hedges his bet by 1%. (I’d like to see his math on this). What are his absolutes, where does he start, and what modifiers does he use to “1%”. I’d bet it is no more than a philosophical exercise. I believe with the exception of a very small minority of extreme fundamentalists, there is no intent to “later eliminate evolution” (your words). What ever that means. Again indicating an all or nothing position on your part. Is not a 20 lb. rat terrior dog, a 120 lb. wolf in smaller skin? Science is not done discovering, and many of the discoveries compliment biblical understanding. Not necessarily exclusively the other way around. Take a deep breath and calm down. We all may learn something yet.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Wanna 5:31 I, too, want my children, and all children, to learn of the many various religions, cultures and patterns of thinking that are part of the human experience. I just don’t want those related vaguely to science to be taught in science courses, but in humanities and social science courses. Fundamentalists want creationism taught in science courses.

      It is true that some new science has replace older science, but your statement, “What is absolute today in many of these fields has not proven absolute in the long run”, leaves us with an undefined term “many”. It is also true, I think, that this is not true for most of science.

      Solid progress has been made in understanding the past. That can simply not be denied. I reiterate my assertion religious people are making a strategic miscalculation by assuming the origin of the universe will never be understood in a scientific sense. Religious people should, as we speak, be preparing a different justification for their belief in the super natural.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        Jon; There you go again; “I reiterate my assertion religious people are making a strategic miscalculation by assuming the origin of the universe will never be understood in a scientific sense.” Some “religious” people? All? many? most/ few? More unnecessary broad brush. Are you saying the God of the universe does not work under/with His rules of math and science? I believe He does. There are a few verses that would seem to indicate he suspends those rules. I personally don’t agree. In some of these matters, we may not know exactly what they mean or represent. A scientific study, or metaphore of ages past, yet not totally understood. There are many things we (you included) will never know. We have not asked all the questions. I don’t know everything there is to know about quantum mechanics. It’s not on the top of my bucket list. Physicists don’t either. Seems as though the more they know, more questions pop up. And it will continue to be so. It is interesting though, but not prudent to speculate to the positive, only later be shown to be wrong. I see you constantly pushing “proof”, as the final word. “Proof” is really a poor word. “Evidence” would be more appropriate, and evidence changes in many areas. Sometimes the evidence is in front of us, but we fail to recognize that evidence. Go figure.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Wanna 11:21 I agree “proof” is not a good word and I did not use it–try not to use it. And, I agree evidence is a better word. I used the word “knowledge” and “understanding”. It also seems plausable we could have knowledge, understanding and evidence of the origin of the universe without and still have questions unresolved.

          Your comments remind me of an elderly Professor of Agronomy when I was a college sophmore. He said something like, “We know everything in a seed, but we don’t know how it germinates. That is one of those answers only the almighty knows.”

          It was only a decade or so later, science knew how a seed germinates. I’m sure there are still questions about the process of germinization scientists are studying, but I’ll be willing to bet they know so much none of them say only God knows how it happens. Thus, it would be foolish for someone to say, “We know there is a God because seeds germinate.”

          I know there are other explanations given for the existance of the god. I’m just saying some of those should be used instead on ones that might become obsolete by the march of science.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Jon; Oh sure, like that professor, more discoveries broadens our understanding. However, as is usually the case, one answer exposes more questions. The “We know there is a God because seeds germinate”, is as poor a polemic, as is “obsoleteism” in opposition to the current ” evidence”, used by those of unbelief.

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