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Author Topic:   Is science atheism?
PaulK
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Posts: 17009
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.7


(1)
Message 1 of 126 (886142)
05-07-2021 12:03 PM


On the face of it the question is absurd. There are many theistic scientists even now - and not just Christians. Many Christian denominations have little problem with science. And yet Marc tries to argue otherwise: Message 92

So let’s look at his arguments.

quote:
The proof was the scientific community's kneejerk meltdown in 1996 over the "Darwin's Black Box" book. It got plenty of attention in the coming years, not for any interest in the science, but to shout it down and discredit it

In reality the book was praised for it’s descriptions of biochemistry (Behe’s speciality) and criticised for it’s argument against evolution (which is not). That hardly proves atheism. Criticising bad arguments is what scientists do. And it was bad. Behe tried to save it by changing the definition of “irreducible complexity” but seems to have abandoned it since.

Kenneth Miller is not an atheist but his review followed that pattern. So did the review written by Peter Atkins who is.

quote:
It got plenty of attention in the coming years, not for any interest in the science, but to shout it down and discredit it. The scientific community was completely unified in its anger. Any religious biologist who dared do anything but toe the line knew he'd lose his job if he didn't.

I will repeat the point that criticism is a very important part of science, so hardly proof of anything. Behe, by the way was not sacked from his position at Lehigh.

quote:
That book was not a threat to AMY religion, only to pure atheism

Since nobody has alleged that it was a “threat to AMY [sic] religion” that’s just a bizarre non-sequitur. Although his endorsement of an old Earth and a large degree of common descent seem to be things that you take as threats to your religion.

quote:
Their first, and most effective reaction was tie it to the "Wedge Document", as if that document was the sole purpose of Behe's work.

That is not even possibly true since the Wedge Document wasn’t even written when Behe published. Although after the document was leaked, it would not be inappropriate to link the two given Behe’s (lucrative) relationship with the Discovery Institute. And his involvement with Of Pandas and People or his endorsement of Wells’ Icons of Evolution (both books targeting school education).

quote:
When questioned about books like The God Delusion", or the many articles about atheism we see in "The Scientific American" website and magazine, or the love of "science" at the American Atheists website, the constant THINLY DISGUISED ATHEISM in what the scientific community wants to teach in public schools, we always hear "oh that's just those atheist's personal opinions - has nothing to do with the science".

More accurately we point out that they are not equivalent to the Wedge Document since they are not produced by any major scientific organisation and do not lay out objectives and strategies for any such organisation. The Wedge Document was produced for the Discovery Institute - the heart of the ID movement - and does those things.

quote:
Strange how the Wedge Document writers weren't allowed to have personal opinions apparently. The double standards really are glaring.

Of course nobody says that the authors of the Wedge Document aren’t allowed opinions. That doesn’t change the fact that the Wedge Document was intended as an official publication of the Discover Institute, nor that it sets out aims and strategy for that organisation. There simply isn’t any double standard in rejecting a false equivalence. Because it is false, and clearly so.

quote:
Again, proven by Behe's demonization.

We have yet to see any evidence of demonisation. And coming from someone who claims that the “first response” to Behe’s book was to link it to a document which hadn’t even been written it’s not something to be believed.

quote:
Many people who pay taxes to support science don't believe that all of reality can be jam-packed into re-arrangement processes, the only scientific thing that humans can actually study.

The fact that some people don’t like the conclusions science reaches is hardly a valid criticism. Nor is it a reason to equate science with atheism.


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Percy, posted 05-07-2021 5:48 PM PaulK has responded
 Message 7 by Raphael, posted 05-07-2021 9:22 PM PaulK has not yet responded
 Message 125 by Sarah Bellum, posted 06-22-2021 10:27 AM PaulK has not yet responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17009
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 5 of 126 (886148)
05-07-2021 6:03 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Percy
05-07-2021 5:48 PM


Sure, but the idea that all biologists were terrified of speaking out is undercut by that fact - Behe is hardly the only biologist with tenure. We might also note that Dembski and Bruce Gordon - while not biologists were given positions at Baylor for their support of Intelligent Design.

And, of course Behe’s argument was not good, so why should anyone support it anyway ?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Percy, posted 05-07-2021 5:48 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17009
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.7


(1)
Message 25 of 126 (886312)
05-15-2021 4:48 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by marc9000
05-15-2021 3:39 PM


Re: Non-Creation Christianity
quote:
Creationism is ORGANIZED, all Protestant denominations don't seem to take exception to it. While I don't see many of them making a big deal of it, they all preach and believe that every word of the Bible is true. Including the first 5 words; "In the beginning God created..."

Take a look at the plaintiffs in McLean vs Arkansas. The United Methodists were the main force opposing creationism in this case. But the Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Presbyterians were in on it, too.

Then you have the Old Earth Creationists who take the Bible less literally (while still insisting that it’s true). And the Intelligent Design crew are generally in that camp, too. Behe isn’t even a creationist.

quote:
Why has Ham never debated a well known non-creation Christian? Maybe because there aren't any? WHY NOT?

Maybe Howard Van Till, Francis Collins, Rowan Williams, Kenneth Miller, Simon Conway-Morris and the many others aren’t - or weren’t - interested in debating Ken Ham?

quote:
If the majority of Christians are not creationists, I'd expect there to be tons of names of "SCIENTIFIC BIBLE SCHOLARS", who could answer tons of questions, since they would be halfway between atheists like Richard Dawkins, and creationists like Ken Ham. Who are they, what are some names of syndicated high profile scientific Bible scholars, that I can learn from and listen to on radio, and watch on television on Sunday mornings?

Real Bible scholars aren’t “syndicated” or generally even “high profile”. I bet you’d be hard put to name one - creationist or not.

quote:
If atheism has plenty of organization in science (and it does), and creationism has plenty of organization in protestant religion, (and it does) where is the organization in all this COMMON non-creation Christianity?

If atheism has “plenty of organisation in science” I’d like to see it. Naming scientists who happen to be atheists hardly counts.

Edited by PaulK, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by marc9000, posted 05-15-2021 3:39 PM marc9000 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 30 by marc9000, posted 05-19-2021 5:33 PM PaulK has responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17009
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 31 of 126 (886423)
05-19-2021 5:51 PM
Reply to: Message 30 by marc9000
05-19-2021 5:33 PM


Re: Non-Creation Christianity
quote:
And all four of those denominations use the 66 book Bible, creation references and all. Why would they oppose creationism "in this case"?

I can think of a number of reasons. The (correct) belief that Creationism is bad theology is an obvious one. That it is also an embarrassment to Christianity is another. And why would a Christian Church want the sectarian dogma of another - that they disagreed with - to be taught as science?

quote:
They know how much atheism is organized, they know how big the ACLU war chest is.

Atheism is nowhere near as well organised as the major Christian denominations, and if the ACLU was so powerful, why not leave it to them?

quote:
Or maybe they're afraid to

Debates are pretty much just a show, as we’ve recently seen.

quote:
I did name a few, in the last message. Charles Stanley, John McArthur, David Jerimiah - you might have recently heard of McArthur, he stood his ground against those who tried to use covid 19 to close down his church. He was ready to go to jail, but his opponents backed down, they probably realized it would help his publicity if he did.

None of those names are familiar. And a disregard for health risks is not a sign of scholarship. What academic publications do they have?

(Rowan Williams by the way was Archbishop of Canterbury which makes him very high profile, but hardly syndicated).

quote:
You'll be seeing it, before I'm done in this thread.

I somehow think not.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 30 by marc9000, posted 05-19-2021 5:33 PM marc9000 has not yet responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17009
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.7


(1)
Message 45 of 126 (886472)
05-21-2021 11:30 AM
Reply to: Message 43 by Phat
05-21-2021 11:14 AM


Re: Non-Creation Christianity
Phat, can you please save the silly scare-mongering for a more appropriate thread.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 43 by Phat, posted 05-21-2021 11:14 AM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 47 by Phat, posted 05-21-2021 2:57 PM PaulK has not yet responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17009
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.7


(2)
Message 54 of 126 (886490)
05-22-2021 2:13 AM
Reply to: Message 52 by Raphael
05-21-2021 10:21 PM


Re: Non-Creation Christianity
quote:
Here's a test demonstrating this: If you were on an abandoned island and you never heard of any religion, would the position you come to naturally be atheism?

Arguably yes. You wouldn’t necessarily make up a God and start believing in it. You wouldn’t necessarily take up the position that there might be some sort of God.

So I’d argue that if the idea wasn’t considered your position would effectively be atheism.

quote:
If yes; how would you test or prove such a thing? In reality, you cannot and couldn't, therefore this would merely be a faith decision on your part. The answer any serious scientist would come to then, would be agnosticism, or at least agnostic atheism (though still debatable).

I’d argue that the scientific default would be non-existence. Unless there are reasons to consider the existence of the thing at least plausible. Unfalsifiability is a bad thing in science and another reason for rejection.

quote:
In conclusion, this (admittedly non-scholarly, ) model demonstrates the issue I have with atheism. It's a belief stance. Nobody growing up in a space where theism is absent becomes an atheist, why would they?

As I’ve argued above they wouldn’t be theists or agnostics in any meaningful sense either. Atheism makes more sense as a label then either of the other two.

quote:
To me, atheism is just as arrogant as fundamentalist religion or dogmatic scientism, and I have the same issues with all three.

You certainly do not. In fact the arrogance is yours. Here you are declaring a belief off-limits for no reason. Agnostics seriously consider that belief a possibility so to be consistent you should condemn them too.

quote:
What objective knower of truth confirmed to you that your belief is true?

There is nothing wrong with taking a provisional view on the available evidence or on the use of valid heuristics like parsimony. And yet here you are condemning that very thing. What gives you the right to declare this conclusion out of bounds ?

The fact that theology has retreated to unfalsifiability is itself evidence that God doesn’t exist. It’s not the winning move that your view proclaims it.

quote:
We have no way of knowing what percentage of knowable information we know about the universe, so to make such a definitive claim is wild to me.

The idea that something that is supposed to be everywhere is hiding somewhere out of our sight seems pretty wild, too. Again, there is nothing wrong with coming to provisional conclusions on the evidence available. That you object to one particular conclusion and condemn it so strongly with no valid reason says a lot about you and nothing about the conclusion.

Edited by PaulK, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 52 by Raphael, posted 05-21-2021 10:21 PM Raphael has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 58 by Raphael, posted 05-22-2021 9:33 PM PaulK has responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17009
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 65 of 126 (886520)
05-23-2021 2:10 AM
Reply to: Message 58 by Raphael
05-22-2021 9:33 PM


Re: Non-Creation Christianity
quote:
Really? I don't think you actually believe that. What about essentially every culture known to mankind throughout history that did exactly this? Superstition, creating a shared mythos or understanding of how the world works, this is what almost every people group we have ever observed does.

So you are assuming ignorance about the way the world works, too? Religious belief, I’ll add is not necessarily theistic. Nor is that degree of cultural development necessarily going to occur in a single generation. So I have to say that I don’t agree.

quote:
I agree in the first half, but disagree with the second; atheism would be equally as much of a nonsense term. What's more, as seen throughout history, the human default seems to be attaching spiritual significance and meaning to things, even if they are not inherently spiritual. We are spiritual beings, it seems.

I think you are exaggerating here, too. I think a lot of people pay lip service to “spiritual significance” without considering much of it truly significant. And, again, the ‘spiritual” is not limited to the theistic.

Further, “atheism” is often extended to include the absence of the belief that a God exists, which would cover the situation perfectly.

quote:
Whew, a lot to unpack here. Haha. I never declared any belief off-limits!

You’ve declared that holding the belief that there is no God is arrogant in itself. No matter how it’s held or why.

quote:
I have been an atheist and have atheist friends who I love. If you're an atheist, cool man. I'm not mad about it, and I'd love to understand how you got there. However, to not acknowledge that atheism is a faith stance, and for one to act as if they are more objective than anyone else, or have received some objective truth nobody else has is pretty intellectually arrogant.

You’re adding to your original claim:

To me, atheism is just as arrogant as fundamentalist religion or dogmatic scientism, and I have the same issues with all three

None of the things you object to above are necessary parts of atheism. Even if you stick with the common definition of “atheism” as the belief that there is no God.

Now, I will contend that my view is not a “faith position” unless you extend that term to include any belief that is not held with absolute certainty. I would further contend it is rational - and more rational than many of the arguments I’ve seen here to the contrary. I certainly don’t claim to “received some objective truth nobody else has” and I regard such a claim as ludicrous.

quote:
It's the same sort of dogmatism non-religious folks dislike in fundamentalist religious people, and I would come against that just as strong.

So you were claiming that all atheists display that dogmatism? Because you didn’t include any qualifications - you just referred to “atheism” - and therefore all atheists.

quote:
You define atheism as a provisional stance

No, I don’t. I define “atheism” as holding the belief that there is no God (in deference to common use). That does not say anything about how the belief is held. Dogmatic atheism is possible, but it’s certainly not the only possibility.

quote:
Curious how this differs in your mind from a more agnostic stance?

Under the original definition it is agnosticism, since I don’t claim to know that there is no God. However agnosticism is more commonly thought of as not taking even a provisional position on the existence of God. So that is a pretty clear distinction.

quote:
To me, when the word "atheism" is used, it is used to mean a non-openness to supernatural data. Do you feel like this is an accurate representation of where you are at?

I don’t think that is part of any definition of “atheism” I’ve ever seen. I take a very sceptical view of supernatural claims and I believe that is justified. False claims of the supernatural are certainly common, while stringently confirmed claims seem to be non-existent. For instance we had an extended discussion of an alleged “prophet” here, some years ago, and I have to say that the evidence gave no reason to believe that there was anything supernatural going on.

Edited by PaulK, : Correct a couple of typos


This message is a reply to:
 Message 58 by Raphael, posted 05-22-2021 9:33 PM Raphael has not yet responded

  
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