Religion and science are not comparable.

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Commander Lock: Dammit, Morpheus. Not everyone believes what you believe.
Morpheus: My beliefs do not require them to.

I wish more religious, non-practicing or even self-described spiritual people held such simple wisdom. As someone that describes himself as the latter, it's painful to hear of the stubbornness of one idiotic man simultaneously damage our society and religion in one performance.

Arguing, "selling" or trying to convert people to a system or your own beliefs defies the very notion of faith. Faith can be questioned, but I ultimately believe what's to be tested is the faith of the individual, not faith itself. Forget the science vs. religion argument for a moment and look at how we continue to test faith against science. It doesn't work this way and never should. As we discover we must continue to question all things, but we are not capable of fully understanding that which is beyond us.

thaluikhain:

In theory, yes, in practice you have to let the thing simmer for a few billion years to get the right results.

So if time doesn't matter, it's really quite elegant.

Skeleon:

And also let trillions of lifeforms suffer, get eaten or fall ill and die, not to mention the countless life that's not even capable of suffering. What kind of monster would employ such a method? Or, well, it would at least have to be some kind of utterly amoral entity. Not for nothing did Dawkins say that a society based on Darwinian ideals would be an awful thing: As elegant as evolution is, nature is actually pretty cruel and careless in its trial & error.

Suffering is relative to happiness and comfort. Bad things are a logical consequence of good ones. The whole "God must be cruel to make so much suffering" line is total bs in a world where we are perfectly capable of deciding good and bad. And if we count immortal souls, death isn't bad. Give it a rest.

tstorm823:

Evolution is intricate and complex? Isn't that opposite the idea? Isn't evolution supposed to be the brilliantly simple theory?

The mechanism is simple (or, at least, can be reduced to a fairly simple principle).

The result involves incredible diversity and complexity.

Zeh Don:

You'll need to explain how this equalisation occurs objectively for "Science" to have any kind of determinable base objective morality.

Not sure what you mean. As I said, it's an analogy. It's just a way of ordering the universe. Besides, for me it just seems obvious, reasonable, and natural that there to be a link between the physical and spiritual.

Zeh Don:
As it stands, all you've done here is made a very large assumption, asked that we go along with it, and then used skewed thinking in conjunction to agree with yourself. "Gravity makes things fall down, so down is good" doesn't really translate in any meaningful way.

Well of course that's a distortion of what I said. "Down" is simply a consequence of warped space. It's the warping that's important. It slows time and shrinks space.

Zeh Don:

This reminds me of Sam Harris' talks about scientific morality...

Sorry, not familiar with Mr. Harris. Personally I believe in link between the physical and spirital.

Zeh Don:
Its one of the many reasons why I believe religion will never be killed off. Pull down the Gods, and we'll just worship something else.

I agree. In fact I'm counting on it.

Third-eye:

Well of course that's a distortion of what I said. "Down" is simply a consequence of warped space. It's the warping that's important. It slows time and shrinks space.

Why should it be objectively "good" to slow time and shrink space? The forces that cause this to happen have no will or consciousness.

Zeh Don:
Personally I believe in link between the physical and spirital.

What is the "spiritual", precisely? It doesn't sound very scientific.

Silvanus:

Why should it be objectively "good" to slow time and shrink space?

I suppose its a kind of naturalism, a faith in the fundamental "wisdom" of the universe, in the way the universe works. Understand, 95% of the mass of the universe does nothing more than capture and corral the other 5%, and thereby cause gravity. Gravity slows time and shrinks space. So 100% of the mass of the universe is involved in the process of slowing time and shrinking space. Can 100% of the mass of the universe be wrong?

Silvanus:

The forces that cause this to happen have no will or consciousness.

I agree, no consciousness. But no Will...?

Silvanus:

What is the "spiritual", precisely? It doesn't sound very scientific.

The spiritual is simply the desire to be "one" with the universe, to be part of the universe, and, most importantly --- of highest spirituality --- to understand our place and purpose in the universe, beyond mere notions of survival and existence. It's the opposite of nihilism. It's the answer to the age-old question, "What's it all about?" And yes, its not very scientific.

Third-eye:

I suppose its a kind of naturalism, a faith in the fundamental "wisdom" of the universe, in the way the universe works. Understand, 95% of the mass of the universe does nothing more than capture and corral the other 5%, and thereby cause gravity. Gravity slows time and shrinks space. So 100% of the mass of the universe is involved in the process of slowing time and shrinking space. Can 100% of the mass of the universe be wrong?

It cannot be wrong or right-- those are terms you can't meaningfully apply to natural, unguided processes.

Third-eye:

I agree, no consciousness. But no Will...?

How can you have a will without consciousness? A will requires thought. The moon cannot be said to have a will when it causes the tides.

Third-eye:

The spiritual is simply the desire to be "one" with the universe, to be part of the universe, and, most importantly --- of highest spirituality --- to understand our place and purpose in the universe, beyond mere notions of survival and existence. It's the opposite of nihilism. It's the answer to the age-old question, "What's it all about?" And yes, its not very scientific.

"Being one with the universe" doesn't really mean very much either, when it comes down to it.

Understanding our place in the universe is one thing-- and what we understand of it so far has been gleaned from scientific process. That's how we understand what we do about cosmology, about the ecosystem, about biology.

Understanding our "purpose" is quite another (assuming we have an objective one). Even if we did, I see no reason to connect it to the existence of spirits, or "higher" planes of existence.

tstorm823:

Evolution is intricate and complex? Isn't that opposite the idea? Isn't evolution supposed to be the brilliantly simple theory?

Simple in concept, complex in process.

Think about an electronic calculator: very simple gizmo to describe and use. But there's a lot of intricacy and complexity going on as it is working.

Agema:

Simple in concept, complex in process.

Think about an electronic calculator: very simple gizmo to describe and use. But there's a lot of intricacy and complexity going on as it is working.

I'd rework your analogy, because evolution is not a thing to describe and use, it's the process beneath. And with that regard, it's opposite a calculator; the variation of species on the earth is very complicated and difficult to describe, but the mechanism is surprisingly simple.

It's like people are saying "why wouldn't God spontaneously generate every individual organism on the earth seperately? That's WAY less complicated than just setting a few characteristics to nature and letting the rest happen."

Silvanus:

It cannot be wrong or right-- those are terms you can't meaningfully apply to natural, unguided processes.

Is it unguided? I'm a Teleolgist. I believe the universe, or a large part of it, has a purpose and a goal, and that is to eliminate time and space and the baryonic matter that can not exist without it.

Silvanus:

How can you have a will without consciousness? A will requires thought. The moon cannot be said to have a will when it causes the tides.

Well of course simple cause and effect needs no will.

Perhaps "Will" isn't the best term, but we do talk about the "will to survive". Does that require thought? We see it in the most basic and simplest one-celled organisms. Is there a thought process going on? When you pull your hand away from an open flame do you think about what you're doing? No, but you certainly "willed" your hand away. Again I believe mass seeks a result and has a goal, and so I say it "wills" the elimination of time and space.

Silvanus:

Understanding our "purpose" is quite another (assuming we have an objective one). Even if we did, I see no reason to connect it to the existence of spirits, or "higher" planes of existence.

I agree. I don't believe in any of that crap.

tstorm823:

I'd rework your analogy, because evolution is not a thing to describe and use, it's the process beneath. And with that regard, it's opposite a calculator; the variation of species on the earth is very complicated and difficult to describe, but the mechanism is surprisingly simple.

I hear what you're saying about the analogy. But I suspect we're thinking around the same issue with different ideas and semantics, such as what a process is and what the complexity is, etc. For instance, if you want to discuss complexity in terms of the diversity of organisms, I'd think you're talking about a product more than a process.

At any rate, I don't think it's worth unpicking it all just to find common terms when - as I suspect - we agree on the substance anyway: it's simple in a way, yet also very complex in another.

Third-eye:

Is it unguided? I'm a Teleolgist. I believe the universe, or a large part of it, has a purpose and a goal, and that is to eliminate time and space and the baryonic matter that can not exist without it.

You said earlier you agree the universe does not have a consciousness. In what sense can it have a "goal"? The usual definition of the term requires intention.

Third-eye:

Well of course simple cause and effect needs no will.

Perhaps "Will" isn't the best term, but we do talk about the "will to survive". Does that require thought? We see it in the most basic and simplest one-celled organisms. Is there a thought process going on? When you pull your hand away from an open flame do you think about what you're doing? No, but you certainly "willed" your hand away. Again I believe mass seeks a result and has a goal, and so I say it "wills" the elimination of time and space.

Instinct and self-preservation are present without conscious thought, that's true-- but they've also only ever been observed in life-forms. There's no evidence whatsoever to suggest the laws of physics can exhibit the same traits as organisms.

Besides, it's arguable whether such instinctual survival mechanisms actually do require a will. A single-celled organism preserving itself is probably more akin to a chemical reacting with another.

Third-eye:

I agree. I don't believe in any of that crap.

Ah, my mistake. The term "spiritual" has a lot of baggage, keep in mind-- for the majority of people, that's exactly what it implies.

Agema:

At any rate, I don't think it's worth unpicking it all just to find common terms when - as I suspect - we agree on the substance anyway: it's simple in a way, yet also very complex in another.

And since that still totally undermines the point I was responding to, it's ok by me!

Almost every question that starts "why would God..." is swiftly resolved with perspective.

There's a Penn and Teller: Bullshit episode that covers creationism pretty well and how it cannot be a science. My only fear is no one in the US at least will see Nye's point of view and Ham will lead us into a stagnant period.

Those who understand science and religion should have no problem with scientific ideas contradicting religious believes. Science and religion can exist 100% separate from each other. If through science we deduct that A = B, yet a religious belief holds A =/= B, than that contradiction should not be a problem. One can scientifically reason A = B, yet religiously believe A =/= B. Of course there are examples where such contradictions could cause problems, but that does not mean it'd be fundamentally problematic.

rutger5000:
One can scientifically reason A = B, yet religiously believe A =/= B. Of course there are examples where such contradictions could cause problems, but that does not mean it'd be fundamentally problematic.

Are you really referring to holding two contradictory beliefs simultaneously? I'd like an example of that not being "problematic".

Not sure why Bill Nye did this. To debate Ken Ham is for a professor to sit down and debate the village idiot. But Ken Ham got what he wanted. To be seen on the same platform with someone who has actual knowledge.He can use this later to promote his own validity.

Religion is not a science but science is certainly a religion. It explains why events occur and tries to provide comfort to humans in time of need. And it does a much better job than religion. Science that is not explained is essentially magic. Apple called their iPad magical!

Belief is a big part of science except they call it assumption. We assume or believe there was a big bang at the start of our universe though it could have been a slow gradual expanse.

Also creationism and literal interpretations of the bible are stupid.

tstorm823:

Suffering is relative to happiness and comfort. Bad things are a logical consequence of good ones. The whole "God must be cruel to make so much suffering" line is total bs in a world where we are perfectly capable of deciding good and bad. And if we count immortal souls, death isn't bad. Give it a rest.

Obviously this is not the thread for me to bring up natural disasters, but the 'total bs' phrase made it impossible to resist.

kalakashi:

Obviously this is not the thread for me to bring up natural disasters, but the 'total bs' phrase made it impossible to resist.

What? You think natural disasters are objectively bad?

tstorm823:

kalakashi:

Obviously this is not the thread for me to bring up natural disasters, but the 'total bs' phrase made it impossible to resist.

What? You think natural disasters are objectively bad?

Probably a bit more "objectively bad" than failing to honor thy parents or worshiping other gods before Yahweh or women priests. Because of omniscience and omnipotence, we may cite God for criminal negligence and pursue damages. Wonder how much money He has...

Seanchaidh:

Probably a bit more "objectively bad" than failing to honor thy parents or worshiping other gods before Yahweh or women priests. Because of omniscience and omnipotence, we may cite God for criminal negligence and pursue damages. Wonder how much money He has...

I mean, He has all of the money, so no big deal. But citing God is like citing the weather. It doesn't go very far. The actions of God are no more capable of being bad or criminal than events of nature without a god. "Bad" and "criminal" are only characteristics of human actions.

tstorm823:

What? You think natural disasters are objectively bad?

No, because "bad" can't be an objective term.

But suffering is bad by any reasonable definition, and natural disasters cause lots of it.

tstorm823:

Seanchaidh:

Probably a bit more "objectively bad" than failing to honor thy parents or worshiping other gods before Yahweh or women priests. Because of omniscience and omnipotence, we may cite God for criminal negligence and pursue damages. Wonder how much money He has...

I mean, He has all of the money, so no big deal. But citing God is like citing the weather. It doesn't go very far. The actions of God are no more capable of being bad or criminal than events of nature without a god. "Bad" and "criminal" are only characteristics of human actions.

They are only characteristics of persons. Most believers seem to picture God as personal, as a someone who can make choices and understand their consequences. To say that God is not capable of being evil veers toward deism, not Christian theism.

Silvanus:

No, because "bad" can't be an objective term.

But suffering is bad by any reasonable definition, and natural disasters cause lots of it.

No, suffering isn't bad by any reasonable definition. It takes all of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" to get past that notion. And beyond that, "suffering" at least in the context you're using it is also a relative term.

Seanchaidh:

They are only characteristics of persons. Most believers seem to picture God as personal, as a someone who can make choices and understand their consequences. To say that God is not capable of being evil veers toward deism, not Christian theism.

Jokes on you, buddy. This isn't the first time I've heard someone think my Catholicism is deism. Go figure, Catholic doctrine doesn't state that God has a beard.

tstorm823:

Seanchaidh:

They are only characteristics of persons. Most believers seem to picture God as personal, as a someone who can make choices and understand their consequences. To say that God is not capable of being evil veers toward deism, not Christian theism.

Jokes on you, buddy. This isn't the first time I've heard someone think my Catholicism is deism. Go figure, Catholic doctrine doesn't state that God has a beard.

Catholic doctrine is not, however, Deist. It states that God is good.

See Catholic Catechism: "604 By giving up his own Son for our sins, God manifests that his plan for us
is one of benevolent love"

If it is conceptually impossible for God to be evil, as you seem to indicate, then it is also conceptually impossible for God to be good-- it's one spectrum. So my mistaking your "Catholicism" for Deism is more of an indication of your inconsistency with Catholic beliefs than it is an indication of what Catholic beliefs actually are. Your Catholicism appears to be unique-- and that's fine. I'll be the first to say that Deism is far more defensible than theism.

tstorm823:

Silvanus:

No, because "bad" can't be an objective term.

But suffering is bad by any reasonable definition, and natural disasters cause lots of it.

No, suffering isn't bad by any reasonable definition. It takes all of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" to get past that notion. And beyond that, "suffering" at least in the context you're using it is also a relative term.

Causing suffering to others, however, is not excused by "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger." :)

tstorm823:

No, suffering isn't bad by any reasonable definition. It takes all of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" to get past that notion. And beyond that, "suffering" at least in the context you're using it is also a relative term.

Good point. But I don't quite get what you mean by suffering is relative. "Lots of suffering" is relative, but "suffering" itself seems an absolute.

tstorm823:

No, suffering isn't bad by any reasonable definition. It takes all of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" to get past that notion. And beyond that, "suffering" at least in the context you're using it is also a relative term.

Oh, come on, now-- that's pretty flimsy.

Nobody reasonable (other than a masochist) seeks out suffering on that basis. Nobody reasonable causes suffering to others on that basis. In fact, reasonable society seems in pretty solid agreement that avoiding suffering is the best course.

Besides, that old adage-- "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger"-- isn't even true. It isn't even close to true.

Seanchaidh:

Catholic doctrine is not, however, Deist. It states that God is good.

See Catholic Catechism: "604 By giving up his own Son for our sins, God manifests that his plan for us
is one of benevolent love"

If it is conceptually impossible for God to be evil, as you seem to indicate, then it is also conceptually impossible for God to be good-- it's one spectrum. So my mistaking your "Catholicism" for Deism is more of an indication of your inconsistency with Catholic beliefs than it is an indication of what Catholic beliefs actually are. Your Catholicism appears to be unique-- and that's fine. I'll be the first to say that Deism is far more defensible than theism.

Nooooooo. The statement "God is good" not only doesn't mean God can be evil, it necessarily implicates that God is never evil. Assuming something isn't good and evil at the same time, God will never be evil so long as God is good. And we don't say that God is good sometimes or occassionally, we say "God is good." Therefore God can't be evil. It's not that complicated.

tstorm823:

Causing suffering to others, however, is not excused by "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger." :)

Well I wasn't trying to suggest that cliche fixes all suffering. I was just giving an example of suffering taken in a positive light. It's not uncommon for a person to suffer deliberately on the path to a difficult goal.

Stephen Sossna:

Good point. But I don't quite get what you mean by suffering is relative. "Lots of suffering" is relative, but "suffering" itself seems an absolute.

If you live all your life on a tropical island, and then suddenly get dropped into the arctic winter, you'd be suffering in the cold. But if you lived your whole life there, you might not think that way. If I told you that you're only alloed 3 foods for the rest of your life, it might be suffering. I'm sure people in the past wouldn't have had the same opinion and were happy about what they had. Suffering is relative to your expectations.

Silvanus:

Oh, come on, now-- that's pretty flimsy.

Nobody reasonable (other than a masochist) seeks out suffering on that basis. Nobody reasonable causes suffering to others on that basis. In fact, reasonable society seems in pretty solid agreement that avoiding suffering is the best course.

People run marathons. Do you think the fatigue just doesn't hurt them?

tstorm823:

People run marathons. Do you think the fatigue just doesn't hurt them?

They do not marathons in order to suffer. They run them for charity, or fitness, or to prove to their ex-fiancées that they aren't afraid of commitment anymore.

Natural disasters provide none of these benefits. Hence why people don't head to stricken areas just for fun, but they do to alleviate the suffering of others.

tstorm823:

Well I wasn't trying to suggest that cliche fixes all suffering. I was just giving an example of suffering taken in a positive light. It's not uncommon for a person to suffer deliberately on the path to a difficult goal.

They attain their goal despite the suffering, though. They only do the above if they believe the goal outweighs the suffering.

Your argument is analogous to saying that losing money can be good, because people willingly part with money to buy things. That doesn't mean losing the money is good; it's a cost-benefit analysis, and the loss of money is the "cost". People do not like to lose the money: they would just prefer to own the item. If the loss of money were avoidable, people would be happier to avoid it.

Silvanus:

They do not marathons in order to suffer. They run them for charity, or fitness, or to prove to their ex-fiancées that they aren't afraid of commitment anymore.

Natural disasters provide none of these benefits. Hence why people don't head to stricken areas just for fun, but they do to alleviate the suffering of others.

They don't run in order to suffer. But they don't care about the suffering if there's something more important. Clearly natural disasters have nothing more important going on, not the stability of the earth or anything like that.

tstorm823:

They don't run in order to suffer. But they don't care about the suffering if there's something more important. Clearly natural disasters have nothing more important going on, not the stability of the earth or anything like that.

If we assume an omnipotent deity, the stability of the earth doesn't come into it. He could have clicked his fingers and made the disasters unnecessary.

Silvanus:

If we assume an omnipotent deity, the stability of the earth doesn't come into it. He could have clicked his fingers and made the disasters unnecessary.

Which is a slippery slope to boring soulless uniformity. Suffering is only considered suffering if its different from normal. If there were no natural disasters, other lesser things would just scale upwards on the list of things to suffer and you'd want them gone until life is perpetual unfeeling.

tstorm823:

Which is a slippery slope to boring soulless uniformity. Suffering is only considered suffering if its different from normal. If there were no natural disasters, other lesser things would just scale upwards on the list of things to suffer and you'd want them gone until life is perpetual unfeeling.

You believe that if natural disasters didn't exist, we would all experience something else much worse to compensate? Why on earth would that happen, and what could possibly "replace" natural disasters? There's no reason to think something else would arbitrarily increase in its severity.

As for "boring soulless uniformity", it's fairly self-evident that those of us who have not experienced natural disasters don't lead boring soulless uniform lives. I certainly don't. That's a pretty clear attempt to rationalise needless suffering. Hell, millions of people throughout history have lived their lives without ever hearing about natural disasters, and there's no evidence that they lived some kind of robotic, unfeeling life.

Silvanus:

You believe that if natural disasters didn't exist, we would all experience something else much worse to compensate? Why on earth would that happen, and what could possibly "replace" natural disasters? There's no reason to think something else would arbitrarily increase in its severity.

As for "boring soulless uniformity", it's fairly self-evident that those of us who have not experienced natural disasters don't lead boring soulless uniform lives. I certainly don't. That's a pretty clear attempt to rationalise needless suffering. Hell, millions of people throughout history have lived their lives without ever hearing about natural disasters, and there's no evidence that they lived some kind of robotic, unfeeling life.

I'm not saying that something else bad would magically pop into existance. I'm saying that what we think of as ultimate suffering is the worst thing we can think of. You may say things like "why doesn't God snap His fingers and get rid of natural disasters" but if He did, and there weren't natural disasters, then there would be something else that's the worst thing in the world by virtue of said disasters being gone. Why not get rid of natural disasters? Why not get rid of disease? Why not get rid of war? Why not get rid of hatred? Why not get rid of allergies? Why not get rid of that music I don't like? No matter how many layers of bad you get rid of, you'll only ever be aware of the things that exist, and of the things that exist, there will always be a worst thing. So if you say "Why wouldn't God get rid of the worst thing in the world?" it inevitably leads to nothing existing.

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