Showing posts with label faith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label faith. Show all posts

February 2, 2012

Are Faith and Science At Odds?


This nonsense came at me out of the blue, but helps illustrate the topic.

Buon giorno. When discussing science, evolution and faith, people have some very strange ideas about definitions. I have encountered some interesting re-defintions (including the astonishing claim that if someone is not an evolutionary biologist, he or she is not a scientist!), misunderstandings of definitions (deliberate, I suspect, for purposes of personal attacks), equivocation (evolution is science, from people who promote the thing but do not really understand it themselves) and so on. For that matter, the word "evolution" itself has several meanings. Many misunderstandings can be avoided by a couple of things: First, know the correct definition of the word, and second, clarify terms in the first place, such as "What do you mean by...?"

Then there are the types who say that if you disagree with the tentative, tampered, tendentious "evidence" for evolution, you are a "liar". That smacks of the desperation of a fundamentalist evolutionist who cannot abide by the true spirit of scientific inquiry. Similar to one of the most glaring fits of idiocy, "Liar for Jesus". I'll let you, my clever readers, figure out how ridiculous that one is all by yourselves.

When both parties understand the terminology, they can communicate better, capice?

Greg Koukl of "Stand to Reason" had a good discussion about clarifying terms on his January 29, 2012 broadcast. The question was raised whether or not faith and science are at odds with each other. Below is his monologue, followed by my brief call about Question Evolution Day. The full, almost three-hour podcast is here. I suggest that you get that, because the third hour is his interview with Professor Michael Flannery about the video, "Darwin's Heretic" (James Russell Wallace).

November 26, 2011

Tolerance Does Not Extend to Creationists

Again, I have to say that people who claim to believe in "tolerance" (which is another form of relativism) tend to be the least tolerant. The true spirit of science is to investigate possibilities, test, repeat, verify and so forth. Except that evolution is protected as a "fact", and none dare question it (faith based on dogmatism). When creationists come along and say, "We have scientific evidence that evolution is not correct, and we have better explanations of the facts", well...
Information scientist, author and evangelist, Dr Werner Gitt, a close friend of CMI, told us that on 23 October 2008 he was subjected to the most strident opposition he had ever encountered.
The venue was the Audimax theatre at the Leibniz University in Hannover, Germany. Dr Gitt had been invited to give a lecture by the Forum Bibel-Glaube-Wissenschaft (Forum of Bible-Faith-Science). The talk was titled, ‘Why I as a scientist believe the Bible’.
The 600-seat auditorium was packed to overflowing for his address, with some seated in the aisles. Just as Werner was about to commence his lecture, he told us, about 40 students began to disrupt the event. Most were part of a large group at the back, while several individuals had positioned themselves strategically throughout the room.

November 6, 2011

The Religion of Atheism

In many practical aspects, atheism is a religion.


"How can you say that, Cowboy Bob? Atheism is a lack of belief in gods".


Yeah, sure. That's the cop-out redefinition, not the real definition. Except not all atheists got the memo, and some are confused.

As I was saying, in many practical aspects, atheism is a religion. It is a philosophy of life and conduct, and has many of the trappings of organized religion. Although atheists will tell you that they believe in "reason", they actually have a religion that is based on faith. A lot of it. I can't go there, Girlfriend.
Can't help it, I like this picture. Very appropriate.

Yes, atheism is a kind of religious cult. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, thinks like a duck... Capice?
Not only is this obnoxious and arrogant, atheism is not the fastest growing religion in the world.
OK, my observations are now concluded. It's time for even better stuff:
Atheism is the belief that there is no god. According to the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
“Atheism is the position that affirms the non-existence of God. It proposes positive belief rather than mere suspension of disbelief.”
Buddhism is atheistic in the sense of denying that there is any overarching deity such as the Creator-God of the Bible. Atheism in the western sense excludes Buddhism, and adherents claim that it is not a religion. One Atheist said:
“Calling Atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair colour”
However, atheists make such claims so Atheism can avoid legal imperatives placed on religions in many countries, and can avoid some of the ideological hang-ups people have about “religion”. It also creates a false dichotomy between science (which they claim must be naturalistic and secular) and religion.
Atheism will be defined in the contemporary western sense: not just the lack of belief in a god, but the assertion about the non-existence of any gods, spirits, or divine or supernatural beings. Atheists in this sense are metaphysical naturalists, and as will be shown, they DO follow a religion.
You can read the rest of "Atheism: A Religion" here.

September 17, 2011

Logic Lessons: Appeal to Motive

Keep an eye out for this fallacy, not only in discussions about faith and reason, but in political arenas.

In its simplest sense, the Appeal to Motive fallacy is rather easy to spot. It is a form of the argumentum ad hominem fallacy. I posted some song lyrics in the comments section of a Weblog, and someone said that I posted them "to feel better about myself". (What gave him the idea that he had insight into my mental processes, I have no idea.) It seems to me that one of the most common indicators that this fallacy has been engaged is terminology resembling, "He/She/You are doing this because...", but the accuser has no way of knowing what is going on inside your soul.

In a more difficult manifestation, the Appeal to Motive is not always a fallacy. This is when something tangible can be brought into question, such as, "Snidely is suggesting that we use General Universal Widgetarium because he holds stock in that company". Well, that may be worth further investigation, but to reject Sindely's suggestion out of hand because he holds stock in the company could have negative consequences.

Plato and Aristotle, probably
discussing the folly of Appeal to Motive
On a variation on this theme, someone could very well have an ulterior motive that is either good, or at least, harmless: "We can't let Ray give away this video because he wants to present the gospel message!" So? Either ignore or receive the message, but his motive is probably not a good reason in and of itself to refuse to allow him to give away a video.

When you are on the receiving end of the most blatant Appeal to Motive, you can easily counter it by saying something like, "How do you know what is going on inside my head?", or, "Your guess about my motive has no bearing on the validity of what I said". (That is, if you think the attack is worth giving a response in the first place.) Many times, I have seen this fallacy used simply to attack a person instead of engaging in honest discussion. Being aware of its existence can help you keep a cool head and not get wrapped up in emotional distractions and you can get back to business.

On the other hand, when you are seeing or hearing a remark from someone who is questioning the motives of someone else, exercise restraint. It may not be a fallacy if the questioner has some kind of insight about the motives. Also, you may be right about someone's motives based on your own experiences, interactions and evidence. But it may not be a good idea to speak up too quickly, or even to speak up on that at all.

So, the Appeal to Motive fallacy is a frequent kind of ad hominem attack, and you can parry the thrusts of your opponent. But be careful, sometimes it is valid to question someone's motives if you have actual knowledge and want to examine their statement or proposition further.

July 30, 2010

Science and Faith



"For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; and as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."
— Robert Jastrow, from God and the Astronomers


May 30, 2010

Is There a Conflict Between Science and Religion?

Buon giorno. Today is the three-year anniversary of Stormbringer's Thunder. (Waits as cheering and thunderous applause quiets down.) I'm on vacation. To celebrate this momentous event, I'm referring you to an article posted elsewhere. Also, I'm going to ask you to come back tomorrow for something really important.

But first...



"It was my science that drove me to the conclusion that the world is much more complicated than can be explained by science ... It was only through the supernatural that I can understand the mystery of existence ...
Many scientists are now driven to faith by their very work."

- Allan Sandadge

Take a look a "A Scientist Reflects on Religious Belief". Click here.


January 29, 2010

Fear of Faith?

"There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. One of the latter sort comes at length to know at once whether a thing is true the moment it comes before him; one of the former class grows more and more afraid of being taken in, so afraid of it that he takes himself in altogether, and comes at length to believe in nothing but his dinner: to be sure of a thing with him is to have it between his teeth."

— George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie
 

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