Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby daydalus » Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:39 pm UTC

The bible contains a number of genres - Poetry, history, law, literature, parables, proverbs, first hand accounts, letters, philosophy, visions, prophecy. Judging the entire thing as a single genre can inevitably lead to problems.

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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby oxoiron » Thu Mar 13, 2008 3:17 pm UTC

Blubb3r3ng3l wrote:If I were to market it as 'The ravings of a man with dementia' and try to put it on the shelves next to the latest Ann Coulter hardcover, I could deal with it.
I thought that was the title of Ann Coulter's latest hardcover.

Mods, please don't delete this. I know this is serious business, but that was too good of a straight line to pass up.
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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby AvalonXQ » Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:36 pm UTC

TheAmazingRando wrote:I'm not trying to generalize Christians as any one particular thing, but I don't think the religious expectation for Christians to be loving actually changes their character, just their outward expression of character, to the point where I don't find that there's really a difference between the love and acceptance that Christians and non-Christians actually have.


Like I said before -- I saw Christians and non-Christians acting and reacting to serious, meaningful, real-world situations. I saw the difference first-hand. In my experience, at least, there is a real difference.

Blubb3r3ng3l wrote:To be honest, I have a bit of experience with exactly what Rando said. Specifically, I've been really, really good friends with some very practicing Christians, and the topic has been brought up with 3 different people about dating. Key note here, I didn't ask them, they kinda just said after a few quasi-sexually charged conversations/evenings that (and this is verbatim for one of them) "I really like you, and think that you'd be great to date, but I don't think you would be able to stimulate the Christian in me, so I can't."


The experience you just related doesn't demonstrate what Rando said, at all. There's no indication whatsoever about how those girls understand love or forgiveness from the fact that they chose not to date a non-Christian. Some of the most genuinely loving people I know have decided not to pursue a relationship with me or someone I care about; that doesn't make them any less caring or any less fantastic as people.

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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby Freakish » Fri Mar 14, 2008 12:39 am UTC

I've had more then enough religious experience to know that being a Christian doesn't make you a good person.
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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby AvalonXQ » Fri Mar 14, 2008 12:54 am UTC

Freakish wrote:I've had more then enough religious experience to know that being a Christian doesn't make you a good person.


I'm considering the source: Someone who's only contributions to this thread have been judgmental, demeaning, ridiculing, and/or without even any attempt at logic or background.
You, sir, are simply a jerk. And your "experience" is meaningless, because you don't have the qualities it would take to judge a good person.

EDIT: It occurs to me that this is off-topic. SB discussions aren't supposed to go off-topic. We should move this line of discussion somewhere else, correct?
Last edited by AvalonXQ on Fri Mar 14, 2008 1:01 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Nath
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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby Nath » Fri Mar 14, 2008 1:00 am UTC

AvalonXQ wrote:
Freakish wrote:I've had more then enough religious experience to know that being a Christian doesn't make you a good person.


I'm considering the source: Someone who's only contributions to this thread have been judgmental, demeaning, ridiculing, and/or without even any attempt at logic or background.
You, sir, are simply a jerk. And your "experience" is meaningless, because you don't have the qualities it would take to judge a good person.

Wait, you're seriously disagreeing with that? Surely, you aren't claiming that being Christian automatically makes someone a good person?

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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby AvalonXQ » Fri Mar 14, 2008 1:04 am UTC

I reiterate the need, as I perceive it according to the forum rules, to move this particular line of discussion to another thread. I have to be particularly careful about adhering to the forum rules right now, because it looks like Belial is starting to consider himself on the opposite "side" from me in another thread. Any mistake is therefore likely to result in discipline against me, and I'm far from perfect.
Last edited by AvalonXQ on Fri Mar 14, 2008 1:05 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby Freakish » Fri Mar 14, 2008 1:05 am UTC

AvalonXQ wrote:
Freakish wrote:I've had more then enough religious experience to know that being a Christian doesn't make you a good person.


I'm considering the source: Someone who's only contributions to this thread have been judgmental, demeaning, ridiculing, and/or without even any attempt at logic or background.
You, sir, are simply a jerk. And your "experience" is meaningless, because you don't have the qualities it would take to judge a good person.


You know nothing about me, yet you're willing to make this personal. I make jokes about God, and the people that believe in him. He's a fictional character, and I can't help but find it amusing when some believe in him so I crack jokes.
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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby AvalonXQ » Fri Mar 14, 2008 1:05 am UTC

Freakish wrote:
AvalonXQ wrote:
Freakish wrote:I've had more then enough religious experience to know that being a Christian doesn't make you a good person.


I'm considering the source: Someone who's only contributions to this thread have been judgmental, demeaning, ridiculing, and/or without even any attempt at logic or background.
You, sir, are simply a jerk. And your "experience" is meaningless, because you don't have the qualities it would take to judge a good person.


You know nothing about me, yet you're willing to make this personal. I make jokes about God, and the people that believe in him. He's a fictional character, and I can't help but find it amusing when some believe in him so I crack jokes.


Once again, this is the wrong thread for this discussion.
I made it personal when YOU made it personal. Take my name out of your signature; it's the civil thing to do.

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Nath
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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby Nath » Fri Mar 14, 2008 1:20 am UTC

AvalonXQ wrote:I reiterate the need, as I perceive it according to the forum rules, to move this particular line of discussion to another thread. I have to be particularly careful about adhering to the forum rules right now, because it looks like Belial is starting to consider himself on the opposite "side" from me in another thread. Any mistake is therefore likely to result in discipline against me, and I'm far from perfect.

Fair enough. Could you respond in the religion thread?

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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby Kaiyas » Fri Mar 14, 2008 1:41 am UTC

AvalonXQ wrote:
Freakish wrote:
AvalonXQ wrote:
Freakish wrote:I've had more then enough religious experience to know that being a Christian doesn't make you a good person.


I'm considering the source: Someone who's only contributions to this thread have been judgmental, demeaning, ridiculing, and/or without even any attempt at logic or background.
You, sir, are simply a jerk. And your "experience" is meaningless, because you don't have the qualities it would take to judge a good person.


You know nothing about me, yet you're willing to make this personal. I make jokes about God, and the people that believe in him. He's a fictional character, and I can't help but find it amusing when some believe in him so I crack jokes.


Once again, this is the wrong thread for this discussion.
I made it personal when YOU made it personal. Take my name out of your signature; it's the civil thing to do.

You're both wrong. Calm down, and please, take the sig out, have some respect. On the flip side, I also believe religion doesn't automatically make one a good person.
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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby Blubb3r3ng3l » Fri Mar 14, 2008 3:27 am UTC

TheAmazingRando wrote:I know quite a few self-identifying Christians who show universal surface-level love and compassion, but with whom I can't seem to really connect. It seems to bring with it a holier-than-thou and judgmental attitude, even if it isn't directly expressed, and ultimately a lot of it just seems fake. I also know some for whom it is genuine.


This is what I was referring to. The 'holier than thou' part of it, because that was essentially it. A majority of her theological discussions are with me, and if nothing else they seem to re-affirm her beliefs. I'm like rice, she's like white. She has told me if I was a practicing Christan we would be dating. I'm not, we aren't, and that is the 'holier than thou' conclusion I come to.

Back to the subject people. Apathetic Scientists. Science. Ok Go.

I think someone said they hurt science... what are YOUR thoughts on it?
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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby Robin S » Fri Mar 14, 2008 12:14 pm UTC

I disagree, as I think I've said before. I count myself as an "apathetic" scientist by the OP's definition, meaning that I do not object to religion in principle, merely to its abuse (as I object to abuse of more or less anything else).
This is a placeholder until I think of something more creative to put here.

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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby Kaiyas » Fri Mar 14, 2008 8:27 pm UTC

Apathetic as in Religion doesn't go into Science? <3.

I can tolerate religion, (woot for tolerance! lol.) but not as fact. Everyone's entitled to their own fantasies... :lol:
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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby Robin S » Sat Mar 15, 2008 2:44 am UTC

No, apathetic as defined in the original post:
SneakyMongo wrote:saying "Oh I don't care if someone believes a gaint invisible man exists in the sky, so long as they don't force it on me"
This is a placeholder until I think of something more creative to put here.

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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby Kaiyas » Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:49 pm UTC

I find that a bit ambiguous.

Someone arguing for ID may be forcing their religion on me, albeit indirectly, which could be loosely construed as unacceptable, while the stricter interpretation would be more along the lines of "so long as they aren't proselytizing me I don't care".

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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby theonlyjett » Wed Mar 19, 2008 1:58 am UTC

Sorry I haven't responded earlier. (Super Smash Bros. Brawl!)

Nath wrote:Anyway, I agree that religion deals with the 'can't see' category: but only the 'absolutely can't see' category.
Yes, with the strict definition of religion used on these forums (but not necessarily mine), religion should only be used to deal with the unseen. The real problem I have though is one of bifurcation. I already believe that "God did it," I want to know how he did it. If God runs the universe, then I want to know what tools he uses. If God made the universe to run itself, then I want to know the machine he created. If God IS the universe, then I want to know more about him. But just using "God did it" is indeed useless to learning in all these cases. In this way, it is useless to use religion in science and not useless to use science in religious beliefs. But that doesn't make religious beliefs useless.
Kaiyas wrote:I must've missed something there. Incompatible and mutually exclusive are more or less synonymous.
How so? If we agree that, for the most part, you use science for the seen and religious beliefs for the unseen, then why not use both to try to get the big picture of what we both can and cannot see? Using religious beliefs only where science cannot help, of course. Just because the scientific method doesn't apply to religion and religious beliefs shouldn't apply to the observable universe (without science first) doesn't mean that one is completely invalid. They just are two different things that need to be used for their purpose and only for their purpose.
Nath wrote:If there's limited evidence, you can apply the scientific method. Indeed, there's always limited evidence.
Absolutely, however, individuals will view the evidence with their own paradigm in all occasions, even those who are honestly trying to be open minded.

For instance, the example with the pastor I already mentioned. Those believing in God already have no trouble associating the alleged word of knowledge to God, especially when it's accurate. Me, considering myself to be considerably more open minded than most Christians, tend to be a lot more skeptical, but they are, in fact, accurate and there is further evidence (in my point of view) to confirm them. I think there's still the chance that one or more of them may not be from god, but I doubt it at this point.

Now, from other individuals, there may be a reason in which they would see the evidence differently, or often, more likely, they would dismiss something as mere coincidence to help better support their already strongly held belief that God does not exist.

So we have evidence. We have something to measure, and something to compare, but it is still, in the end, a question of faith in your beliefs. I'm sure, it works much the same way with scientists in many situations.

I know that we want to use science to tell us everything, we want easy, simple answers, and we certainly don't want to feel like we have to admit that we may be entirely ignorant of these answers. But the truth is the truth, and despite tons of evidence that can be used either way to support whatever belief you may have, we have not hard proof. We could all be very, very wrong about a lot of stuff.
Nath wrote:Now, in what sense do you understand him? In science, to understand something is to be able to make testable predictions about it. What does 'understand' mean in the context of religion?
I don't know the answer that everybody would give you, but mine is not really different than what you say for science. With the exception that it is of course based on evidence that may be interpreted differently based on the observer. I suppose science often has this problem, though, as well.
++$_ wrote:It's not a scientific claim, but it's not an irrational claim.
Thank you so much for this very necessary distinction.
Kaiyas wrote:Uh, who said we can't prove science?
Nobody, I said we cannot prove our beliefs in the existence or nonexistence of god. That is, science cannot prove either and therefore, must make the statement of "no comment" in regards to the supernatural.
Kaiyas wrote:May sound gruff, but treat it as porno, but without the age limit.
I guess this doesn't answer my question. You want to make it considered obscene? I'm not sure how you could even do that. How, practically, can you do this. What laws could you set forth to accomplish this?
cypherspace wrote:But there is a difference between faith in something that can be disproved and faith in something that cannot.
Can somebody please prove to me with logic and/or science that god cannot possibly exist. I keep hearing this, but I honestly cannot conceive how such a thing can even be done. Now, if somebody said, "Based on my admittedly sparse experience, I do not currently believe in a god of any form," I could buy that, as my reasoning is similar: "Based on my admittedly sparse experience, I do currently believe in a god of a form of which I either cannot or do not completely understand." But I cannot accept "Science disproves god!" as a valid answer.

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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby AvalonXQ » Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:33 am UTC

I'll reiterate that what you can "prove" is based upon the assumptions you choose. There's nothing "better" or "magical" about the assumptions that scientists choose except that they've DECIDED they're the "right" assumptions.

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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby TheAmazingRando » Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:27 am UTC

AvalonXQ wrote:I'll reiterate that what you can "prove" is based upon the assumptions you choose. There's nothing "better" or "magical" about the assumptions that scientists choose except that they've DECIDED they're the "right" assumptions.

So you don't think a belief in the validity of observable phenomena and evidence is any more reasonable than in a belief in the validity of unobservable phenomena?

If I say I'm the president of the united states, one person believes me without question, and one person asks for proof, are both acting equally reasonable?

If I drop a marble a thousand times, and each time it falls to the ground, would you be just as reasonable to expect it to fall again as someone who expects it to fly upwards?

I'm just trying to decide if you honestly think there's nothing inherently reasonable about these things, any more than assuming that, say, rocks are sentient, or pillows can procreate.

I'm not saying religion is as ridiculous as these things (I'm religious myself) but I'm also not the one saying that all assumptions are created equal.

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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby theonlyjett » Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:58 am UTC

I'm with TheAmazingRando on that one, but that has nothing to do with the proof I'm asking for. By purely scientific standards (I have a belief in the validity of observable phenomena), can the existence of god be strictly disproved? I assert that it cannot. I believe, almost as surely as I believe in god, that I'll never get it. It's impossible to do at this time, with our level of technology, or in this state of existence.

The use of science to disprove the existence of god is just as ignorant of an idea as the use of science in an attempt to prove him.

But this was just an annoying point to me. This is not an argument, nor part of an argument for my beliefs. This is just an attempt to curb ignorant ideas on an otherwise intelligent forum.

Now that I'm dragged into this argument, too, I will only say that there is no way to validate the truth of scriptures, the logic of philosophy, the evidence of science, or anything else if we do not trust what we see.

I understand the point Avalon XQ is trying to make, that there is some level of faith involved in ALL decisions. However, the faith required for what we cannot see is "more" than the faith required for what we do see. I know that I may wake up one morning to find that my floor doesn't even exist. That I fall through 'till I reach the first turtle. But every morning I get out of bed, it does not happen. I will continue to believe that it will not happen based on this.

It would certainly, however, be wise of us to consider that we may be the part of some elaborate dream whenever we take ourselves too seriously.

For all intents and purposes, there is no reason to assume that what we see is not real, and it is the only thing we can touch and measure, so we must do so. It's pointless to disregard it because the level of it's truth is sometimes in question.

And damn it people, somebody play smash brothers with me!

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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby AvalonXQ » Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:38 pm UTC

TheAmazingRando wrote:
AvalonXQ wrote:I'll reiterate that what you can "prove" is based upon the assumptions you choose. There's nothing "better" or "magical" about the assumptions that scientists choose except that they've DECIDED they're the "right" assumptions.

So you don't think a belief in the validity of observable phenomena and evidence is any more reasonable than in a belief in the validity of unobservable phenomena?

If I say I'm the president of the united states, one person believes me without question, and one person asks for proof, are both acting equally reasonable?

If I drop a marble a thousand times, and each time it falls to the ground, would you be just as reasonable to expect it to fall again as someone who expects it to fly upwards?

What do you mean when you say "reasonable"? If you mean, "based purely on reason" -- then, no, one is just as "reasonable" as the other. If you mean (as I believe you do), "based on assumptions that are held extremely commonly by the people I associate with and care about" -- well, then, yes. But it means you're missing my point. In the realm of logic, all assumptions ARE created equal. They're assumptions. And you've chosen one to have faith in -- empiricism. You have a faith in it so strong that you find it RIDICULOUS that anyone could choose not to have faith in it. Which is fine, but that doesn't change the fact that it's an assumption you've chosen.

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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby TheAmazingRando » Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:37 pm UTC

That doesn't really answer my question. I already know that you've said that faith in empiricism is the same as faith in anything else.

My question though, is...say I have this marble, I'm holding it right here in my hand, I'm about to let go, I bet you a thousand dollars on the outcome. Will you say "hmmm, 50/50 odds, it could fly up or fall down, nope, too risky" or would you side with the outcome that empirical evidence shows to be definite?

It's one thing to say "empiricism is just as likely to be true as any other assumption" but it's another to actually put that belief into practice. I'm willing to bet that you put faith in empiricism every day. Otherwise you would sit down at your computer, stare at it for a few seconds, try a dozen methods of turning it on before finally pushing the power button. After all, who's to say that that's how it actually turns on?

And I would still argue that it doesn't take as much faith as other assumptions. I can see empiricism work every day. I program computers, every time I write code I can see my computer work deterministically. I assume that the same code will do the same thing in the same conditions. Likewise, I've seen empiricism correctly predict innumerable outcomes every day of my life. It quite simply doesn't take as much faith to believe in something that constantly shows itself to work as it does to believe in something whose existence cannot be confirmed.

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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby AvalonXQ » Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:52 pm UTC

TheAmazingRando wrote:It quite simply doesn't take as much faith to believe in something that constantly shows itself to work as it does to believe in something whose existence cannot be confirmed.


This is precisely the same as saying, "God exists. So obviously it doesn't take as much faith to believe in God as it does to believe in something else."
When you say, "I accept empiricism because I observe it working repeatedly," you're really saying, "I accept empiricism because I accept empiricism". It's circular. If you can't justify your faith in empiricism without relying on empiricism, then I would argue it takes "as much faith" as anything else.
As for your other point -- I have faith in empiricism. But my faith in certain other ideas you DON'T agree with is just as strong, and probably more fundamental.
Remember the reason we're having this discussion -- people who put their faith in science want to claim that their belief system is fundamentally different in character, and superior to, those who put their faith in religion. I'm trying to describe why I genuinely believe there's no objective way to put one above the other.

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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby Belial » Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:01 pm UTC

AvalonXQ wrote:If you can't justify your faith in empiricism without relying on empiricism, then I would argue it takes "as much faith" as anything else.


I would argue that "faith" in empiricism is basically a baseline for human existence. Nearly everyone has it. The ones who don't end up sticking their finger in a light socket repeatedly (because it probably won't shock them next time) or otherwise ending up in a mental institution.
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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby AvalonXQ » Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:04 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
AvalonXQ wrote:If you can't justify your faith in empiricism without relying on empiricism, then I would argue it takes "as much faith" as anything else.


I would argue that "faith" in empiricism is basically a baseline for human existence. Nearly everyone has it. The ones who don't end up sticking their finger in a light socket repeatedly (because it probably won't shock them next time) or otherwise ending up in a mental institution.


What does that have to do with elevating one assumption above another? If an assumption is near-universal, does that somehow make it no longer an assumption?

...EDIT: Also, while most humans practice some basic empiricism, I would argue that most of them actually DON'T necessarily have faith in the deeper, more certain empiricism that those of us (like myself) who have particularly strong affinity for science will usually have.

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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby Belial » Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:07 pm UTC

If one assumption is necessary for basic function, and the other is not, then there's a fundamental difference between the two: one of them is extraneous. Not to mention there's no binary between the two. It can't be "a or b", it has to be "a or ab".

What that means to your argument is up to you, I'm just pointing it out.

Also, while most humans practice some basic empiricism, I would argue that most of them actually DON'T necessarily have faith in the deeper, more certain empiricism that those of us


There's not really a "deeper" just a "more complex".
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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby TheAmazingRando » Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:09 pm UTC

AvalonXQ wrote:But my faith in certain other ideas you DON'T agree with is just as strong, and probably more fundamental.

I never said I didn't believe in God. Quite to the contrary.

AvalonXQ wrote:Remember the reason we're having this discussion -- people who put their faith in science want to claim that their belief system is fundamentally different in character, and superior to, those who put their faith in religion. I'm trying to describe why I genuinely believe there's no objective way to put one above the other.

I think it's wrong for scientists to lay claim over religious matters of faith than cannot be analyzed empirically. The scientist may not be able to prove empiricism through non-empirical methods. What is proof without empiricism anyway? But if everyone already accepts empiricism (you do, I do, probably everyone you will ever meet, if you really questioned them, does, animals certainly do, otherwise they would never learn from their experiences) then scientists don't really have a belief system that other people don't. They're merely practicing the principles that everyone else already agrees with.
Last edited by TheAmazingRando on Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:15 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby AvalonXQ » Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:13 pm UTC

Belial wrote:If one assumption is necessary for basic function, and the other is not, then there's a fundamental difference between the two: one of them is extraneous. Not to mention there's no binary between the two. It can't be "a or b", it has to be "a or ab".


Mainly what it means is that anyone who claims to be operating in a "purely rational manner" or "without faith" is full of crap.
Belial wrote:
Also, while most humans practice some basic empiricism, I would argue that most of them actually DON'T necessarily have faith in the deeper, more certain empiricism that those of us

There's not really a "deeper" just a "more complex".


Disagreement. A lot of people will hold dogmatically to simple beliefs about the world even in the face of repeated failure and evidence to the contrary. Many of us with training in science, or simply a true belief in empiricism, demonstrate a much greater flexibility according to actual observed circumstances. But there's a serious inertia of belief that is consistent with a static worldview and inconsistent with deeply held faith in empiricism such that I really think "deeper" is the right word.

EDIT: Rando, this "deeper faith" idea deals with the point you ninja'd me with, above. Also, I dispute that animals have any true sense of induction -- just the antipathy/sympathy I mentioned earlier. But if I am empirically wrong here, that's okay.

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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby Belial » Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:26 pm UTC

Disagreement. A lot of people will hold dogmatically to simple beliefs about the world even in the face of repeated failure and evidence to the contrary. Many of us with training in science, or simply a true belief in empiricism, demonstrate a much greater flexibility according to actual observed circumstances. But there's a serious inertia of belief that is consistent with a static worldview and inconsistent with deeply held faith in empiricism such that I really think "deeper" is the right word.


I'm not quite sure I'm following the last sentence. "There's" a serious inertia of belief? Among whom? And how is it incompatible with "deeply held" belief in empiricism? In other words, can you rephrase that sentence and maybe the sentences around it in such a way that I can maybe parse it more easily?
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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby Quixotess » Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:30 pm UTC

All right, but we can say "I am only operating on those assumptions necessary for basic function." Where as those who have faith in God do not. If it's an assumption that isn't necessary for basic function, there is every reason not to make that assumption.
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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby AvalonXQ » Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:33 pm UTC

Quixotess wrote:All right, but we can say "I am only operating on those assumptions necessary for basic function." Where as those who have faith in God do not. If it's an assumption that isn't necessary for basic function, there is every reason not to make that assumption.


Okay, go for it. Explain how it is best/optimal/rational to operate only on those assumptions necessary for basic function, and how scientists do so to arrive at their scientific belief structure.

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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby Quixotess » Wed Mar 19, 2008 8:14 pm UTC

It's pretty much Occam's razor again.
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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby theonlyjett » Wed Mar 19, 2008 8:48 pm UTC

Quixotess wrote:It's pretty much Occam's razor again.
Can you explain, or link to, how this works? I'm genuinely curious.

I get how religious beliefs need not even be considered in science. I do not get how science invalidates all religious beliefs. I know that certain things can be shown to be unlikely to have happened. The flood for instance. In a sense, it can be "proved" not to have happened (well, as much as anything can be proved). But how does that relate directly to my belief in the existence of god? My beliefs do not rely on the flood to have actually happened.

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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby AvalonXQ » Wed Mar 19, 2008 8:55 pm UTC

Quixotess wrote:It's pretty much Occam's razor again.


Sorry, no. I want a real answer.
Which beliefs are essential for operation, and which are superfluous? How do we know?
Are there only one set, or are there other sets that may or do work?
Does science only use this basic set, while religion uses more?

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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby TheAmazingRando » Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:16 pm UTC

First, I'm unsure of the extent to which you disagree with me, rather than with other posters in the thread.

It seems I can only really discuss this using examples:
a rock falls to the ground. Which is more fruitful: trying to determine why it does so naturally, or assuming that it falls because it is more evil?

There is nothing wrong with religious beliefs in regards to things that cannot be analyzed scientifically, which is why I disagree with the statement in the OP of this thread.

Empiricism is basically the same as learning from your own experiences. It is expecting that which has happened before to happen again. All learning is basically empirical, otherwise we would never really learn anything. Animals may not reason through it, but they learn that A leads to B. All people act empirically, otherwise they would start every day unsure who they were, where they are, or how to do anything. Who's to say that what you did to walk yesterday will make you walk today? Who's to say that the way your car worked yesterday will be the way it works today, if not for some empirical reasoning?

It is impossible to function without empiricism, because then everything is unexpected and impossible to rationally predict. However, plenty of people function perfectly well without religious beliefs. A faith in God doesn't practically help you cook your breakfast, a faith in empiricism does. There are benefits to religious belief, but they aren't necessary for basic functioning.

Science accepts only empiricism because it is something that everyone shares in common. If I say that my lamp is alive, the only way I can make you believe that is by using a method that you accept, namely, empiricism. Empiricism is accepted by everyone, and is therefore the closest you can possibly get to non-objective.

Would you care to explain the difference between everyday and "deeper" empiricism? I would argue that the only difference between everyday observation and science is that science takes more thought, but it is the logical conclusion of everyday empiricism. It isn't a fundamentally different process.

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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby Belial » Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:20 pm UTC

TheAmazingRando wrote:There is nothing wrong with religious beliefs in regards to things that cannot be analyzed scientifically, which is why I disagree with the statement in the OP of this thread.


I would argue that. Religious belief about things science can't currently explain makes people complacent. It stops them seeking the real answer, because they've made up what, to them, seems like a perfectly good one.
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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby TheAmazingRando » Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:29 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
TheAmazingRando wrote:There is nothing wrong with religious beliefs in regards to things that cannot be analyzed scientifically, which is why I disagree with the statement in the OP of this thread.


I would argue that. Religious belief about things science can't currently explain makes people complacent. It stops them seeking the real answer, because they've made up what, to them, seems like a perfectly good one.

I don't just mean what it can't currently explain, I mean what it can't possibly explain, because it exists outside of the scope of what science looks at.

For example, history has been full of examples of "God in the gaps" where whatever we cannot explain, is God. See Intelligent Design. I think this is problematic because it keeps people from seeking answers AND it places religious faith on shaky ground.

Whether you believe there is a God who first set creation in motion (through natural means), or who cares about people, I don't see that science can ever address that issue, since the existence of such a God doesn't cause a tangible physical difference. There are philosophical arguments about such a God (why would he allow pain if he cares about people? how could a loving god do this? etc.) but these are matters of ethics and opinion which science can't really approach.

I think there can certainly be harmful religious beliefs, but I don't think they must be harmful.

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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby Quixotess » Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:40 pm UTC

Sigh.

I prefer to look at the world as rationally as possible. I realize that I do not do this perfectly. I have plenty of irrational beliefs and prejudices. These are all based on assumptions, that is, accepting that something is true without proof. This is not an efficient way to look at the world. It leads to prejudices. Sort of that "but everyone *knows* X" kind of deal and then no one ever examines it. Therefore, when I recognize assumptions I try to weed them out. Consciously taking on an assumption is even worse for these reasons. (In case you missed them: inefficiency, leading to prejudice, when accepted it is difficult to get rid of.)

Now. There is one assumption that I know I have, and that I have to live with, because living without it would be impossible. I have to trust in empiricism. This is not an assumption I can remove and then hope to get anything done. Like Belial said, I'd be stuck wondering how to open any door I came across. It wouldn't just hurt my worldview; it would prevent me from functioning. I'll never prove that it works, but I have to assume it does.

Assuming that (having faith that, acting as though) God exists is not similarly necessary. Belief in a god is inefficient, not falsifiable, and not necessary. Therefore I choose not to believe in him.

It's pretty much Occam's razor again.
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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby Kaiyas » Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:48 pm UTC

theonlyjett wrote:
Quixotess wrote:It's pretty much Occam's razor again.
Can you explain, or link to, how this works? I'm genuinely curious.

I get how religious beliefs need not even be considered in science. I do not get how science invalidates all religious beliefs. I know that certain things can be shown to be unlikely to have happened. The flood for instance. In a sense, it can be "proved" not to have happened (well, as much as anything can be proved). But how does that relate directly to my belief in the existence of god? My beliefs do not rely on the flood to have actually happened.

In essence, it's the concept of simple is best/no more than absolutely necessary.

Or, if you find that lacking, Wikipedia knows all.
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Re: Apathetic Scientists Hurt Science

Postby theonlyjett » Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:23 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Religious belief about things science can't currently explain makes can make people complacent. It stops them seeking the real answer, because they've made up what, to them, seems like a perfectly good one.
On the surface, I can agree with this statement. The thing is, I don't think it has to do with what knowledge or belief one has, theoretical or otherwise, but more to do with one's insecurities and maybe some sort of psychological need to be "right," rather than willing to be wrong in the process of learning as well as potentially a lack of curiosity on what makes the world tick. Certain beliefs can be used as an excuse to not learn further, but, I think we all realize that, unfortunately, people use (or twist) their beliefs to support their own selfish goals.

From another aspect, I completely believe in god, yet that seems, to me at least, a separate thing from science. I want science to seek answers. Why wouldn't we? As I've said before, more or less, I already believe that "god did it," but how did he do it? Just knowing that god did it is not good enough for my learning of, what I believe, is his creation.
Kaiyas wrote:In essence, it's the concept of simple is best/no more than absolutely necessary.
Ok, so I can see how that relates to adding god as a valid answer to a scientific question. This is still not proof of god's nonexistence. Nor is it convincing enough to persuade me to set about denying all the previous evidence I have experienced concerning god's existence. A logical argument such as Occam's Razor is certainly useful, but when I have experienced what I believe to be evidence of his existence, then he is not wholly unknown to me anymore.

I'm not trying to push my beliefs on anyone. Indeed, I could be crazy. But obviously, we have all had different experiences. Mine have led me to believe in god, yours have not. How does that make either of us stupid or irrational people for believing what we believe?

@ Kaiyas
I think we are at least partially agreeing on the negative aspects of religion in the sense it is used on this thread. We at least have an abstract idea of the things that we do not like or agree with. I don't want to argue this, but I do seriously want to know if you have any ideas about what kind of laws could be made to curb this. I have tried to think of them myself, but I cannot think of any that do not compromise other freedoms in some way mostly unacceptable to me.

Baring that, I'd like to further discuss the negative aspects of religion so that we may come up with a few guidelines to help people out when deciding their religion, lack thereof, or when put in the position to judge an individual religious group. I think, that, when law cannot apply in some instances, that education must. (CoS as an example.)


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