Religion and science are not comparable.

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@nyysjan
Rape a baby? Just sacrifice your firstborn. That has to be moral.

Skeleon:
@nyysjan
Rape a baby? Just sacrifice your firstborn. That has to be moral.

Well i was trying to go for something that, as far as i know, god has not yet approved of.

Also moral? Giving your daughter (or was it daughters?) to a bunch of rapists so they spare your male guest.

nyysjan:

Skeleon:
@nyysjan
Rape a baby? Just sacrifice your firstborn. That has to be moral.

Well i was trying to go for something that, as far as i know, god has not yet approved of.

Also moral? Giving your daughter (or was it daughters?) to a bunch of rapists so they spare your male guest.

You raped a woman that isn't married?

Just pay her father some silver and then marry her, and it's all good.

Silvanus:
Really? I thought almost all Christians would agree on the "Omnipotence" thing. Perhaps I was wrong.

It's my opinion; I'm entitled to be wrong. Really just against lumping everyone together in one label on anything.

Silvanus:
Well, allowing people to develop as individuals as one thing. Allowing natural disasters to wrack communities on a massive scale as quite another. We can develop as individuals quite well enough without the planet murdering so many of us.

The problem we eventually run into with omnipotence that could prevent tragedy is that at some point we'd have to question why any bad thing is allowed to happen, ever.

Thinking like this, it's no wonder people hold a God in contempt. When I hear things like that it's like someone hating their parents and faulting them for everything bad that happens in their lives. I've too much compassion for the universe and nature to be that cynical. I do believe in some sort of grand design, but don't think micromanagement is what's happening, I think it would undermine the meaning of life.

AgedGrunt:

It's my opinion; I'm entitled to be wrong. Really just against lumping everyone together in one label on anything.

You're right. I'll add a footnote to my previous post.

DevilWithaHalo:

The problem we eventually run into with omnipotence that could prevent tragedy is that at some point we'd have to question why any bad thing is allowed to happen, ever.

Thinking like this, it's no wonder people hold a God in contempt. When I hear things like that it's like someone hating their parents and faulting them for everything bad that happens in their lives. I've too much compassion for the universe and nature to be that cynical. I do believe in some sort of grand design, but don't think micromanagement is what's happening, I think it would undermine the meaning of life.

Sounds quite like the deists' interpretation to me, what say you?

AgedGrunt:

Silvanus:
Really? I thought almost all Christians would agree on the "Omnipotence" thing. Perhaps I was wrong.

It's my opinion; I'm entitled to be wrong. Really just against lumping everyone together in one label on anything.

Problem is, that there are 41 THOUSAND different denominations of Christians (or so says Wikipedia), so trying to guess what this particular person believes, is all but impossible.
So people tend to go with the most common versions (Jesus was god, dog is all knowing/loving/powerful, god created the universe, original sin was a thing (how they square that with evolution i don't know)).

So if your beliefs veer lot from the standard(ish) Christian beliefs, it is really up to you to explain how.

Silvanus:
Sounds quite like the deists' interpretation to me, what say you?

I don't do labels, but disagree to an indifference of God. Prayer, guidance, divine intervention... but all natural disasters? I'd question a parent with a bomb shelter for a house that wouldn't let a child outside without security guards.

But this isn't about me. The issue is religion and science; they're not comparable. As OP said, you can't make religion into science, the debate with that creationist was a joke and it doesn't work that way. But at the same time, the supernatural wouldn't possibly be explained by using the natural (science) because it doesn't work that way, either.

nyysjan:
So people tend to go with the most common versions

So if your beliefs veer lot from the standard(ish) Christian beliefs, it is really up to you to explain how.

There are a lot of interpretations and denominations of Christianity. There are also billions of Christians; that's exactly why it's not fair to generalize them the way so many critics do.

Not being Christian, I don't veer from "standard" beliefs. The Bible is interesting and has something to offer everyone (Romans 13:9 comes to mind), but only the devout would take most of it to heart. The point is that a lot of Christians are their own Christians, not merely what a book or a label says they should believe.

AgedGrunt:

I don't do labels, but disagree to an indifference of God. Prayer, guidance, divine intervention... but all natural disasters? I'd question a parent with a bomb shelter for a house that wouldn't let a child outside without security guards.

But again, that over-protectiveness analogy represents the other extreme. We could still have a world with a reasonable amount of danger, but without the extreme levels of horror and destruction that get periodically thrown at people.

What REALLY needs to be understood by the OP and most other people having this kind of a debate is...it doesn't matter if religion is comparable with science. What they don't see is that, in a way, religion is compatible with science. All it takes it the open mind that many of the extremely devout (on either side) will not have.

If this was already brought up in the five pages in this topic, I apologize. I didn't feel like sifting through it all.

Lemme begin by explaining that religious people making an argument that most of their text is the way things are should not be taking it literally. None but the things which should seem to plain and obvious, anyway. The six-day creation of the world is a parable, deep as the hell and rife with underlying meaning, and a human's perspective on how to explain what he or she does not personally know or understand. Time was not a concept until people saw it so. Six days could be six hundred-trillion years to a god, or the day be surrounded by quotation marks to stand in for the beginning and ending of a particular event in terms of making not just the world, but the universe, "Let there be light" equating to the Big Bang beginning.

Religion becomes far more interesting WITH science. Any person who believes in god AND embraces science can look ye upon such wonders that this cosmos has to offer and, with their tests and their instruments, try to figure out how he did it. If god is indeed all-powerful and all-knowing, then he has absolute scientific knowledge and the power to make what he knows into reality. And we, ever-searching, want to know how it works and how it was done. There's nothing wrong with seeking knowledge. Human life would cease to have a point without craving to know more. Without something to strive for, we would die.

There is also nothing wrong with layering religion along with the physical universe. Was it not Spinoza who put forth the thought that god IS the universe? That it is the being's body which we are all a part of? Even if that were not true, it would again be a rather interesting parable for religious belief. There is no known greater power or other known infinite thing than the universe itself, unless someone knows differently.

Religion and philosophy go hand in hand, and philosophy - the love of knowledge - was one of the first forays into deep logical and even scientific thought. As philosophy has been used to theorize and consider certain ideals and state of being, so too the Scientific Method with its attempts to hypothesize and then either prove or disprove an idea. It's all a chain connected to each other.

Silvanus:
Well, being the creator of something does not convey ultimate authority, especially when the 'creations' have developed minds of their own.

For example, if we were to genetically create a creature or engineer a true AI, it would not be right for us to do whatever we wanted with it, if it could feel emotions and pain. Just because we created it would not give us the right to set arbitrary rules, or put it through an unpleasant existence.

He's not just the creator of "something", he's the creator of everything.

The rules come from God's character, they aren't arbitrary. God isn't cruel, the garden was a pleasant existence, humanity's choice is what made it unpleasant.

The creations may have a mind of their own, this is part of God's design. We are allowed free will to choose/not choose God, but the morality of our choices come from God. Not from some mysterious world of forms (a la Plato) that is separate from God.

Why would it not be right for us to set rules for an AI we designed? Lets pretend for a moment, and say that if morality comes from humans instead of God, and we create an AI in our own image, fashioned after our own morals. Why should we not create and judge an AI by those morals?

Silvanus:

To blame the whole human race, of course, is also to blame those millions who live good lives. It is to condemn them to the same terrible, unjust world.

Who lives a good life?

Who has never stolen,
never murdered,
never lied,
never burned in envy for what they could not have,
never hated,
never said something to hurt someone,
never put their own ego above their love for others...? (the list goes on and on)

We are all guilty of evil. Lots and lots of evil. No one has lived a good life, except for Christ.

Silvanus:
Of course, to me, this whole question is besides the point; it all simply comes down to evidence. There is none that I find compelling that Adam and Eve ever did take the apple, so the entire story isn't of much use to me. I'm not going to take it into serious consideration when I'm coming to conclusions about the world.

I think that morality is a thing to be taken very seriously when considering the truth.

I think you do too, or you wouldn't have been quite so bothered by the (mistaken) idea of an abhorrent Christian God, and we wouldn't have had this conversation in the first place.

Silvanus:
A "free pass"? I'm not sure what you mean. We recognise the awful aspects of nature, and we try to mitigate the damage they cause.

We can hardly condemn it, though. It would be like condemning the wind, or gravity, or rocks. It would be like Xerxes the First having the sea whipped for destroying the foundations of his bridge.

But we do condemn it, in the sense that we try to make things better. Why do we try to mitigate it's damage? If we are part of nature, why should we try to change it to something better? Where does this idea of something that is "better" come from?

Our moral ideas of "better" are certainly different then our natural evolutionary imperatives.

Why do people sacrifice themselves to save someone they are not related to? That's rather counter to natural selection.

Why are 1st world countries reducing their birth rate? Some people even choose to have no kids at all! Biological imperative says reproduce as much as you can, why are we going against that?

Natural Selection is big on survival, but cares not about happiness.

Silvanus:

It doesn't; I don't believe there is such a thing as objective morality.

They are not good or evil. I don't believe in those concepts.

We define our own moralities; I define mine by maximising pleasure (and equality) and minimising pain. The value I place on those concepts comes from philosophy, psychology, politics and emotion, and it is all very, very subjective.

So what prevents say serial killers from defining their morality as "to kill as many people as I can is good"?

If it's all subjective, and up to the individual, what does discussion accomplish, how can we talk or reason about morality if all it is, is an opinion, and there is nothing objective to be shared (aka, evidence)?

Stephen Sossna:

Just to adress this little point:
Good and evil are human concepts. They are value judgements we apply to other human beings, and they are not empirical. So whether or not humans do empirically have free will does not necessarily have any effect on what value judgements we can make.

We use value judgements for entities that we percieve as subjects. It's very easy to observe this: We will not generally judge animals with categories like "good" and "evil", but we will occaisionally treat our pets like this, because we percieve them not as "biological machines", but as subjects with intentions and character traits.

So actions themselves are not empirically good or evil, Hitler was not evil, only "perceived" to be so? Slavery was not evil at the time, because back then it was not perceived as evil, it's only in modern times it has become evil because we changed our perception?

Stephen Sossna:

Because we want to be more than just the arbitrary result of natural laws. We want to see humans as subjects, so we treat them accordingly.

See my 4th response in this post.

nyysjan:
Are things good because god says they are good, or does god say certain things are good because they are good?
And if god says things are good because they are good, from where comes morality?
And if things are good because god says they are god, would you rape a baby if god told you to?

See my first reply to Silvanus at the top of this post.

FalloutJack:
Religion becomes far more interesting WITH science. Any person who believes in god AND embraces science can look ye upon such wonders that this cosmos has to offer and, with their tests and their instruments, try to figure out how he did it. If god is indeed all-powerful and all-knowing, then he has absolute scientific knowledge and the power to make what he knows into reality. And we, ever-searching, want to know how it works and how it was done. There's nothing wrong with seeking knowledge. Human life would cease to have a point without craving to know more. Without something to strive for, we would die.

Well put. Far from being opposites, science and religion can go hand in hand. I'm an Electrical Engineer, and have great respect and fascination (aka through science) for the works of the Greatest Engineer. I believe that God is the source of rationality and intelligence and wants us to use those talents to discover his creation.

skywolfblue:

He's not just the creator of "something", he's the creator of everything.

The rules come from God's character, they aren't arbitrary. God isn't cruel, the garden was a pleasant existence, humanity's choice is what made it unpleasant.

The creations may have a mind of their own, this is part of God's design. We are allowed free will to choose/not choose God, but the morality of our choices come from God. Not from some mysterious world of forms (a la Plato) that is separate from God.

Why would it not be right for us to set rules for an AI we designed? Lets pretend for a moment, and say that if morality comes from humans instead of God, and we create an AI in our own image, fashioned after our own morals. Why should we not create and judge an AI by those morals?

Why would the AI's moral judgement be less "correct" than ours? Why would our creation of it convey any more validity to our opinions?

It's not moral to rob other creatures of their own moral systems.

skywolfblue:

Who lives a good life?

Who has never stolen,
never murdered,
never lied,
never burned in envy for what they could not have,
never hated,
never said something to hurt someone,
never put their own ego above their love for others...? (the list goes on and on)

We are all guilty of evil. Lots and lots of evil. No one has lived a good life, except for Christ.

Well, I've never stolen or murdered, for one thing. I don't agree that envy and hatred are, in themselves, immoral things, so long as you don't act on them in harmful ways.

If something is harmless, then I don't believe it's immoral. Envy is certainly something to overcome, but hardly immoral.

If you can convince me otherwise, I'd welcome the attempt, but keep in mind that appeals to a book I do not believe to be true will have no effect on me, just as if I quoted the Prose Edda, it would have no impact on you.

skywolfblue:

I think that morality is a thing to be taken very seriously when considering the truth.

I think you do too, or you wouldn't have been quite so bothered by the (mistaken) idea of an abhorrent Christian God, and we wouldn't have had this conversation in the first place.

I consider morality to be very important, yes, but not when discerning the truth on an objective matter.

Take nature. Do I believe the predator-prey relationship found throughout nature is moral? No; it's brutal, uncompromising, and without compassion.

But it's the truth, because there's abounding evidence for it. On objective matters, whether we would like something to be true or not lends absolutely no credence to the notion. If it did, we'd all live in giant ice-cream sundaes.

skywolfblue:

But we do condemn it, in the sense that we try to make things better. Why do we try to mitigate it's damage? If we are part of nature, why should we try to change it to something better? Where does this idea of something that is "better" come from?

Mitigating damage is not "condemning" it. If a rock fell on my head in a landslide, I would bandage myself to mitigate the damage, but I'd hardly blame the rock. That would be ludicrous.

skywolfblue:

Why do people sacrifice themselves to save someone they are not related to? That's rather counter to natural selection.

Only if we take a very simplistic, straightforward view of natural selection.

Higher brain functions and increased intelligence are easily explicable through natural selection/ evolution. Philosophy and, eventually, morality could easily be results of that.

skywolfblue:
Why are 1st world countries reducing their birth rate? Some people even choose to have no kids at all! Biological imperative says reproduce as much as you can, why are we going against that?

See above.

The birth-rate is too high, and risks overcrowding. Thanks to our high intelligence, we can reason that the world does not need every woman to give birth.

skywolfblue:
Natural Selection is big on survival, but cares not about happiness.

You're right. This doesn't change whether or not it's true, though.

skywolfblue:

So what prevents say serial killers from defining their morality as "to kill as many people as I can is good"?

Nothing. That's why the best way to understand and therefore prevent serial murder is through psychology. Condemning them as "evil" and just ending the conversation there wouldn't help us one bit. What does help us is scientific, psychological understanding of their motives, which allows us the hire skilled profilers and prevent crime.

skywolfblue:
If it's all subjective, and up to the individual, what does discussion accomplish, how can we talk or reason about morality if all it is, is an opinion, and there is nothing objective to be shared (aka, evidence)?

There is evidence, depending on what moral philosophy you adhere to. You can argue the basis of your moral philosophy against others. That's what the world's greatest moral philosophers have been doing for quite some time; Mill, Paine, Locke, etc.

The discussion is of no value if we simply point out a rule in a book and say, "This. If you argue with this, you're just wrong". That is the real discussion-killer. Moral philosophy thrives by diversity.

skywolfblue:

Silvanus:
Well, being the creator of something does not convey ultimate authority, especially when the 'creations' have developed minds of their own.

For example, if we were to genetically create a creature or engineer a true AI, it would not be right for us to do whatever we wanted with it, if it could feel emotions and pain. Just because we created it would not give us the right to set arbitrary rules, or put it through an unpleasant existence.

He's not just the creator of "something", he's the creator of everything.

The rules come from God's character, they aren't arbitrary. God isn't cruel, the garden was a pleasant existence, humanity's choice is what made it unpleasant.

The creations may have a mind of their own, this is part of God's design. We are allowed free will to choose/not choose God, but the morality of our choices come from God. Not from some mysterious world of forms (a la Plato) that is separate from God.

Why would it not be right for us to set rules for an AI we designed? Lets pretend for a moment, and say that if morality comes from humans instead of God, and we create an AI in our own image, fashioned after our own morals. Why should we not create and judge an AI by those morals?

nyysjan:
Are things good because god says they are good, or does god say certain things are good because they are good?
And if god says things are good because they are good, from where comes morality?
And if things are good because god says they are god, would you rape a baby if god told you to?

See my first reply to Silvanus at the top of this post.

Ah yes, the good old "dogs character" argument.
That does not actually answer the question.
Though i could argue that you "answer" could be interpreted as good existing outside of god, because how could we otherwise define what its nature is.
Also, until you actually answer the questions properly, i will go with the understanding that yes, you would rape a baby if you thought god wanted you to.

Also, you AI analogy is starting from the assumption that god is the source of morals, which we have not agreed to.
And you haven't even defined what kind of AI we are talking, or what kind of rules, or enforcement mechanisms would be in question.

skywolfblue:

So actions themselves are not empirically good or evil, Hitler was not evil, only "perceived" to be so? Slavery was not evil at the time, because back then it was not perceived as evil, it's only in modern times it has become evil because we changed our perception?

I am sorry for not making myself clear, but I think you misunderstand: It is the people we perceive as subjects with free will (there is no empirical evidence for free will). Based on this perception, we apply judgements like "good" or "evil" to their actions.

Those judgements are themselves not empirical, but they are not arbitrary either. If you accept that all human beings are to be treated as subjects, then it follows logically that genocide for arbitrary reasons (Hitler) and slavery are wrong or "evil". This is not more subjective than empirical science.

skywolfblue:

See my 4th response in this post.

I assume you mean this one:

skywolfblue:

But we do condemn it, in the sense that we try to make things better. Why do we try to mitigate it's damage? If we are part of nature, why should we try to change it to something better? Where does this idea of something that is "better" come from?

Our moral ideas of "better" are certainly different then our natural evolutionary imperatives.

Why do people sacrifice themselves to save someone they are not related to? That's rather counter to natural selection.

Why are 1st world countries reducing their birth rate? Some people even choose to have no kids at all! Biological imperative says reproduce as much as you can, why are we going against that?

Natural Selection is big on survival, but cares not about happiness.

I don't know what any of this has to do with natural selection. Humans are as they are, our desire to be cooperative, gain the esteem of others and the resulting drive to help is well documented. Are you know asking where that drive comes from if it's not necessary for survival? How do you know it wasn't a huge benefit to the survival of a species?

There is no empirical reason to see your fellow man as your equal, as another subject. You have no access to their thoughts, you just assume they are like you. And because you perceive yourself as a subject, you assume all other humans (and, occaisionally, animals you assign human traits to) are subjects, too.

The "but where does our moral sense come from" question is merely a distraction. Morals can be argued objectively based on a few axioms, just like empirical science can. You don't need to make assumptions about what advantage a trait confered during evolution to engage in moral philosophy.

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