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Everything posted by jryan

  1. I used that term first in a response to John Cuthbert pages ago and your first response to that characterization of HIS argument (not yours) was something about a blind squirrel finding nuts, nothing at all about religion being a net negative on science. And again, you have no actual way of showing this assertion in either version given that in an real comparison of cultures against their contemporaries it was the Christian religions that excelled while the secular ones didn't. Had you argued that Christian cultures in the middle ages were the most nurturing to science among a sorry lot then you and I wouldn't be arguing. Many atheists are secure enough to admit that simple fact rather than spout poorly supported screeds against religion, you should try it, it's liberating. If it were human nature then it wouldn't need to be taught. As for the second question: Here is an article of examples. I can only imagine the uproar if a 5th Grade science textbook spent three pages on Biblical Genesis before getting around to the physics of planet formation.. hell, I don't even have to imagine it! As for outright fabrications, the latest edition of Huck Finn with all the objectionable words removed is a good example.
  2. You missed the joke there. Unless you are denying that the Golden rule was written in an old book that was read by theologians.
  3. To pick a nit here, no, "technology" is not synonymous with "discovery". Technology is the end result of science and engineering... and on that ground the West crushed China even more soundly than in scientific discovery rate alone. And you continue to miss my point. Scientific discovery was dominated by the west. You simply say "gunpowder" and think that that equates to dominance in chemistry, which ignores about 100% of the science of chemistry in the process. Looking at the timeline of discoveries in Chemistry, for example, shows several thousand years of discovery before the middle ages taht we know about precisely because monastic orders saved them from destruction in the dark ages, and after the dark ages the discovery is dominated by the West... but yeah, gunpowder... I suppose that is the beginning and the end of chemical discovery... The Chinese also discovered the compass, but that is immaterial given that fact the European superiority in astronomy allowed them to far outpace Chinese navigation abilities using the skies to find their way. Which is not what I am trying to prove, so good! I am showing that stating that Christianity is anti-science is an absurd argument as there is ample evidence that controls and hindrances on innovation are far more uniformly true in human societies. If you want to claim that Christianity is anti-science, then you have to make a case for an inordinate amount of anti-science on display in Christian society, but you can't. In fact, when you look at the bigger picture it was the Christian societies that were excelling in science even while you claim they were being stifling. But you singled it out even while the evidence proves that it was, in direct comparison, the LEAST stifling of science among the worlds disparate cultures. But it doesn't fit your narrative to admit the far more accurate "least stifling" descriptor or even "among the least stifling", or even, *gasp* "most nurturing" since that is where the evidence leads.
  4. And if I tell you to hand me your wallet because Vishnu commands it you are less likely to do so than if I demand your wallet or I will shoot you. The original argument against the contribution of universities of the middle ages to the advancement of science was that these institutions were religious in nature and that scientific discovery was just some insignificant side effect from their initial purpose. This is both wrong and ignorant. Your "cave men" analogy made no sense, and you are free to explain it more clearly however. By my reading you argue that we shouldn't care what happened to Galileo and his theory since modern astronomy is independent ancient discovery. (remarking on the bolded bit) Ummmmm... what? "Science" started after the middle ages? That must come as a great shock to the ancient Greeks. This statement is rather absurd and incredibly bigoted. The fact that you can hold such a bigoted stereotype of the majority of your fellow humans is evidence of your own intellectual dishonesty more than evidence of the lack in anyone else. I mean, you are saying this to someone who IS a theist and it doesn't even apply to me. Your bigoted stereotype failed to pass it's immediate comparison. It's like you arguing that all Corvettes are yellow while staring at a red corvette. Of course, I am also rather confused by what you intend to prove to me about theism by showing me the moons of Jupiter... And you have broken the cardinal law of scientific inquiry in the process when you claim to have proof of a negative. Again, you are simply spouting ignorance. If having your own arguments applied to you makes you uncomfortable then I suggest finding arguments that are more universally applicable and that you can apply to yourself comfortably. I would teach you the Golden Rule, but that is in some old book that theologians read and is therefor false by your estimate. I didn't claim that your thoughts are politically correct. I simply pointed out a wholly secular trend in today's culture that plays havoc with writing truthful textbooks. It is also far more ingrained in modern textbooks than is creationism.
  5. Again, as I pointed out to iNow, I am not arguing that Chinese invention was non-existent, only that Western civilization far outpaced China in discovery in that time period. ...while the Christian west didn't. This doesn't counter my point. This point simply makes the argument that the Chinese were a more closed society than the West.. which supports my assertion. I am not arguing that the Western people were more ingenious than Eastern people, only that Western people excelled while the Chinese didn't. Arguing why Chinese innovation slowed is certainly interesting and informative, but my assertion was simply that the Western Christian countries outpaced the Chinese, which is contrary to the argument that Christianity stifled scientific discovery.
  6. Well sure, but the same argument on what goes into text books is happening on any number of subjects with just as entrenched sides. I argue with those very same kinds of people all the time because they suffer the same kind of intractable thought patterns as those who argue mind numbingly superficial historical anecdotes to prove that atheism is morally superior to theism while showing themselves to be deeply ignorant in the process.
  7. But, again, you have no evidence of this as systematic, or unique to "powerful clergy". You have failed to show any reason for leveling this particular accusation against religion specifically rather than against humanity in general. Let's pick the last 2000 years. I will give you a wide birth for showing Chinese excellence in a scientific discipline that was held back by religion in other cultures. And religion isn't inherently totalitarian by that definition. Threatening a person with eternal hellfire doesn't carry much weight with those who don't believe in Hell. Now show me where any religious government is exceptionally more totalitarian than any communist nation of the last 100 years. Your argument fails to differentiate your anecdotes from an entire human history of contrary evidence or even address the anecdotes as evidence beyond the most superficial examination of them. You limit your evidence for no other reason than the evidence you are willing to accept supports your premise. At worst you could probably argue successfully from history that religion isn't particularly good at overcoming human nature, but that is a lot different than arguing religion as the cause of any given observed human frailty. But you choose to do just that anyway.
  8. Yes, very different. Especially if you don't believe in an afterlife. No, it's nothing like that. The point against which I am arguing is, however, like saying that Roman Cathedrals are not architecture because they were built by a religion. Indeed it has, and you get a really screwy view of history when you skip over it. Surely you need to actually educate yourself in the universities of the middle ages rather than speculate in a manner that best fits your personal bias. And no, religion doesn't want things to "stay the same". That is simply absurd and ignores the very history you want to use as evidence. Again, the common anecdotal evidence is against the assertion as the propensity of humanity to resist change, especially powerful human organizations, is well documented regardless of how religious the organization is. As I said, science and religion are two separate pillars of intellectual devotion. One focuses on the how, the other on the why. All that atheists have managed to argue in their rejection of theism is that there is no why... which is as lacking in compelling thought as arguing that religion answers the how so the scientific debate is over. I bet those theology students studied more than that "one old book". In fact, I would argue that on your myopic interpretation of theological study that your education is better defined as "avoiding old books". Nope, nor does political correctness.
  9. And more to the point, can anyone making that claim show where such behavior is unique or even more pronounced in religious regimes? As I pointed out, there is evidence of this same anti-intellectualism throughout history regardless of whether or not there is a religion involved. I posit it is a weakness of human nature, not of religion. The most anti-science regimes of the last century were atheistic, but I wouldn't use it as an argument that atheism is anti-science, however. That is because such a conclusion on anecdotes is no better or less specious than the falsehoods perpetuated by atheists as they try and prove the moral superiority of atheism.
  10. Ah, Ok. And yes, in terms of astronomy and mathematics the torch was passed from India, to China to the Middle East to Europe. After about 1500 the Islamic states fell behind as Europe began to dominate. It's interesting in comparison because the spark for the Renaissance began in Turkey, but for various reasons the proceeding centuries saw Turkey's Renaissance never fully realized, and by later 1800s they were a rather brutal and insular culture. Your failure to comprehend the depth and function of dark age monasteries and their scholarship doesn't change the function of dark age monasteries and scholarship. Not only did the monasteries preserve the scientific works that preceded them, but they were busy retrieving, translating and adding to the discoveries of Greek and Roman achievements. Furthermore, as the barbaric nations began to crumble in 1300s these same monasteries and their collected, and translated works and further discovery formed the institutional basis for the founding of the first European universities, and the scientific discovery was not only carried out by monks, but widely taught as well. The great scientists of the day learned their disciplines in these very same universities and form these very same texts, and there furtherance of understanding was protected by these very same religious institutions. Your disregard for this monumental contribution to science and understanding of the function of the early church is an artifact of your own bias, not based on any actual facts. I didn't say that advancement didn't happen in China. I said that scientific discovery was dominated by the west, especially in the one discipline, astronomy, so often used as an example of Christianity holding back scientific discovery. But if you want to find a discipline in which China excelled in that era far beyond the West then by all means offer it up. Seamanship, mathematics, metallurgy, chemistry... none of these are dominated by Asian discovery, and certainly by the 1700s the gap between Western and Asian technology was tremendous. Religion isn't inherently totalitarian, iNow. This simple bias is how you have managed to go so far wrong. You can stare in the face of all of history filled at every turn with religion and religious institutions building the very fabric of scientific discovery and still feel you can invalidate it with an anecdote. That isn't "free thinking", iNow, it's confirmation bias. No it doesn't. It is religious institutions that built the very educational systems on which the modern world was built. You are simply arguing the unprovable and illogical position that without religion it would have happened faster.. even while history shows that cultures that had no overarching religious government fared more poorly against the more religious cultures. Even today many of the oldest and most respected universities in the world are religious institutions or built by religious institutions. History stands in denial of your assertions, iNow.
  11. No, you would have a hard time arguing that any Islamic nation was not religious. Also, if that were true then you would still have to explain why Islamic scientific discovery in that time was dominated by Islamic clergy.
  12. Well, I think more Western civilization does value "productive soil". The History of Europe is filled with great wars fought, at their root, over productive soil. There is a tangent here for the differences in cultures the grow in areas of abundant resources versus those in limited resources.. but I will leave that for another thread. Anyway, places like Rhodesia were clawed out of inhospitable wilderness and turned, using Western technology, into lands of plenty. When Mugabe took over the country and named in Zimbabwe, on a largely anti-colonialism platform, he rejected the technology of the west, and the country has all but reverted to it's inhospitable wilderness yet again. Trying to help the people of Zimbabwe with the current government is unproductive, but being a regime willing to use unbridled violence to gain and keep power means that Mugabe isn't leaving until he's dead. The only way to accelerate that eventuality is with bullets. Self sufficiency is anathema to tyranny. The Mugabes of the world work diligently to make their people dependent, not independent. It's nice in thought, but there will always be people willing to use force rather than sweat to get what they need. There is no avoiding this because pointing a rifle is a lot easier than operating a shovel.
  13. You can't have it both ways. If the church were anti-science then they would have had no interest in preserving scientific discovery, much less furthering it. No they didn't. We know about Hobbes and others because they were published and read. If we discovered Western atheist philosophers from unpublished hand scrawled notes tucked in a clay pots buried in the ruins of their hovel then you would have a point, but we don't. Leviathan has been in print uninterrupted for 360 years. Wrong. Galileo's example, again, belies that. Galileo's problems were not that his discoveries challenged scripture, but they challenges rather influential fellow astronomers. The church, as the state, was the tool used to silence Galileo's competing theory. But you don't need a religion in play to see that happening even today. The atheistic Soviet Union, especially up to the 1950s was about as backward a scientific culture as could be found. The state held beliefs in agriculture and medicine were completely false and dangerous (and proved quite deadly) but those who opposed these views were imprisoned and put to death. It is hard to pin the plight of Galileo on religion when the same process plays out in the absence of religion. I am here to point out that if you believe that Christianity was a great hindrance on science, especially in the age of Galileo, then you really need to explain why Christian nations dominated the scientific fields in that time while more secular nations fell behind. "Anti-Science Christianity" is simply a form of atheistic dogma that many atheists hold as a tenet of faith but refuse to examine openly. While it is certainly true that there are people who use religion as science and arrive erroneously at a 6000 year old Earth, there are just as many misguided individuals who arrive at the conclusion that religion is anti-science and claim to get their through "free thinking". For me the science and religion are completely separate, and only intertwine where morality and ethics are concerned. It is arguable that pure science should be immoral (I used "amoral" before but that was wrong). The scientific strides we could make if we ignored personhood and bred humans solely for scientific experiments seems "rational" but immoral. But this belief in personhood and the sanctity of life also restricts scientific progress. This restriction, as one example, is not uniquely a religious limitation... at least I assume most atheists here would be opposed to such practices as well. That is rather absent rational introspection, iNow. It seems more fit for the imaginary anti-science Christian you hold in caricature than a free thinking atheist you believe yourself to be. There is 6 centuries of direct comparison between the three dominant cultures of the time and in direct comparison it is the secular culture that fell behind in science. Hell, it was the non-religious Huns and barbarians that nearly crushed Western civilization and froze scientific discovery in the west. The flame of discovery was kept lit by a dispersed organization of monasteries throughout Europe that not only "preserved history" as you so disingenuously put it, but promoted the furtherance of scientific study.
  14. This is also a wonderfully crafted fallacy of the history of Science and the Church. Even using Galileo as the example is completely illogical if you look beyond the blinders placed on history by many atheists. Consider this: If Christianity was so terribly anti-science, and was the great burden on astronomy that atheists wish to paint it then why, pray tell, did the major strides in astronomy from that era come predominantly from Christian nations? Galileo's discoveries came a century into the Western dominance of the field, beginning with Copernicus in in 1540s. And before that, speaking more generally on the subject of religion as anti-science, Astronomy before Copernicus was dominated by Islamic Clerics in the three centuries before Copernicus. China in that same period was largely a secular, philosophical society and they barely contributed to the furthering of astronomy. How do you explain this using the same "Christianity is anti-science" narrative?
  15. That is also untrue. Thomas Hobbes, a famous philosopher and atheist, lived at the same time as Galileo and seemed to have a choice in his beliefs.
  16. This is simply false. Religion and Science are tools to explain two completely different aspects of human existence. Science seeks to explain the how while Religion seeks to explain the why. It has always seemed to me that using religion to explain the how and using science to dismiss the why are both misuses of the tools provided to you. Atheists simply argue there is no why. Also, the "numerous examples" throughout history that are used to prove your argument generally manage to accomplish this by ignoring some rather large and glaring faults in the example. Galileo, it is argued, was silenced by religion... yet Galileo remained a devout Catholic his whole life. Gregor Mendel, Isaac Newton, and on and on were religious people. The scientific discoveries of Western civilization survived the dark ages due to dedicated monastic efforts to protect and maintain the records in the face of a destructive barbaric occupation. The idea of religion holding back science as an argument for atheism is about as useful as an argument for ammorality as the only true path to scientific discovery.
  17. The problem is that at it's root the notion of getting corporations out of politics is really getting money out of politics. But the big regulatory government mentality makes that impossible as it gives government increasing control of the corporate world, who will always have money. But everyone likes money and everyone likes power... giving government officials more power and more access to money doesn't lead to a more independent government. How do you fix this? It is a system that invites greed.. but then so do all economic, governmental systems.
  18. There is a huge flaw in your and CaptainPanic's assessments here. The problem with the developing world and the people dying in poverty in the third world is their governments. Zimbabwe was once a jewel of the African continent until Mugabe and the kleptocrats took over and ruled their nation with an iron fist. Likewise, Somalia is a pirate state for all of the warlords vying for power in that region. Millions die in refugee camps all over the world, driven from their homes by power hungry juntas ruling their countries. It's not lack of funding, it's oppressive governments and terminal civil war that create the countries in which these people starve. Now, how do you fix this? By dumping more money on these blood thirsty tyrants in a hope that eventually civilization will take root? Of course not. The tyrants need to go before anything can change. Now explain how you propose to accomplish that peacefully.
  19. I read an interesting and fairly well balanced article by Theodore Dalrymple regarding the effects of colonialism on Africa. The article is often misread as a celebration of colonialism, but it really isn't. Dalrymple (Anthony Daniels) was an outspoken opponent of apartheid. But as he observes in this article, African culture has been inundated with western values that it is not prepared for and that are at odds with traditional African culture. Anyway, it's thought provoking: After Empire - By Theodore Dalrymple
  20. That looks familiar... DCCC campaign map for 2009: DLC 2004 campaign map:
  21. Teen pregnancies is one of the leading factors in low birth weight babies, and in turn low birth weight is a leading factor in infant mortality.
  22. When you consider that the US is also far ahead in teen pregnancy (and per capita teen pregnancy) it becomes clearer why we have a higher infant mortality rate. Especially when you consider that the US rate is 6.8 per 1000 while the Canadians are at 4.8.... while they have less than half the teen pregnancies. Granted, there is more at play in the numbers, but to claim that the difference is due to health care is not really being accurate.
  23. Huh, well you don't see that every day. I wonder if this is his way of getting back at the Democrats for putting him under investigation?
  24. A final post on this because I think what I have is the definitive bit of evidence on the Bush -vs- Obama budget claims that are swirling around. First: Bush never signed a FY2009 budget. What he signed was a continuance. Here is a WaPo article on off shore drilling that started my search.. The point of interest is in the second paragraph: "Democrats said they gave in to White House demands rather than risk a showdown over the "continuing resolution" Congress must pass to fund the federal government through March." So Bush signed the continuance into law. But what happened to the FY2009 budget? Well... Second: The FY2009 Omnibus bill was introduced into Congress by Democrat David Obey on February 23rd, 2009 and signed into law by President Obama on March 11th 2009. But that isn't all. I kept looking and found something else interesting... Third: The $1.41 trillion debt in 2009 was calculated from the March 2009 budget Conclusion: The 2009 budget was entirely under the watch of President Obama and the Democrats in the House and Senate. So did the Obama administration just forget that the 2009 budget was theirs?
  25. Well, and tax incentives are iffy to categorize as a "tax cut". Once upon a time they were categorized as incentives. I think that is why Obama has a problem "convincing" America that he cut taxes. A $10/paycheck tax reduction (or whatever is comes to) is hard to notice even if you aren't one of the many Americans who has seen little or no growth in their take home pay for two years. Likewise, unless you were one of the small minority that bought a house, or a car you likely didn't enjoy any of those tax incentives either. And spending in general was raised more than taxes were cut, so in the final accounting all he did was spend somewhat less of of the taxes from some of us.
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