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Mnemonic

Can you be a scientist and still believe in religion?

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Posted (edited)

According to the bible Jesus Christ was a supernatural character who could walk on water, occasionally talked to Satan, and could turn water into wine, amongst many other marvels.

Can you be a scientist and still believe in this stuff? As far as I am concerned, you should not be called a scientist or be allowed anywhere near any scientific endeavour if you believe in fictitious myths.

Am I being too aggressive in my attitude? Probably, however science and the scientific approach to research application is a serious technical field that should not be sullied by ridiculous fairy tales.

 

>Please move to the Religion section..

Edited by Mnemonic

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My opinion is that you cannot seriously believe in god if you've studied science in any length. Specially biology.

But many scientists believe in believing in god. That is, they decide that it's a good social deal to keep saying they believe in god and, if pressed, talk about an abstract god, as in "god is the order in the cosmos" or something like that. Just to escape hostility from believers.

Scientists discuss science even when the gathering has finished and the discussions keep going while they go back home, or to their respective hotel rooms.

But I've never seen anybody discuss theology when they go back home from the church, the synagogue or the mosque. Religious people will leave you alone if you just say you're a believer. For all they care your "god" could be a telepathic giant cat living in another planet and handling the universe from there. As long as you say "I believe."

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39 minutes ago, joigus said:

My opinion is that you cannot seriously believe in god if you've studied science in any length. Specially biology.

But many scientists believe in believing in god. That is, they decide that it's a good social deal to keep saying they believe in god and, if pressed, talk about an abstract god, as in "god is the order in the cosmos" or something like that. Just to escape hostility from believers.

Scientists discuss science even when the gathering has finished and the discussions keep going while they go back home, or to their respective hotel rooms.

But I've never seen anybody discuss theology when they go back home from the church, the synagogue or the mosque. Religious people will leave you alone if you just say you're a believer. For all they care your "god" could be a telepathic giant cat living in another planet and handling the universe from there. As long as you say "I believe."

You might like this: 

 

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5 hours ago, joigus said:

My opinion is that you cannot seriously believe in god if you've studied science in any length. Specially biology.

But many scientists believe in believing in god. That is, they decide that it's a good social deal to keep saying they believe in god and, if pressed, talk about an abstract god, as in "god is the order in the cosmos" or something like that. Just to escape hostility from believers.

Scientists discuss science even when the gathering has finished and the discussions keep going while they go back home, or to their respective hotel rooms.

But I've never seen anybody discuss theology when they go back home from the church, the synagogue or the mosque. Religious people will leave you alone if you just say you're a believer. For all they care your "god" could be a telepathic giant cat living in another planet and handling the universe from there. As long as you say "I believe."

Is that the truth?

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The answer is yes.  Einstein was clearly a scientist and believed in a God.  

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7 hours ago, Mnemonic said:

Can you be a scientist and still believe in this stuff?

Depends on what you believe this stuff is?

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7 hours ago, Mnemonic said:

According to the bible Jesus Christ was a supernatural character who could walk on water, occasionally talked to Satan, and could turn water into wine, amongst many other marvels.

You are equating religion with a single example of religion. That's not a very convincing opening for an argument that values science and the scientific method. It casts your own thought processes, and consequently your argument, in an unflattering light.

Moreover, you completely ignore the possibility (probability? certainty?) that some/most/all of the miracles were metaphors. An argument against religion that fails to recognise the multiplicty of interpretations of religion is not an argument but a worthless ipse dixit.

7 hours ago, Mnemonic said:

Can you be a scientist and still believe in this stuff?

Many scientists believe, though not necessarily in the fatuous strawman you have erected.

7 hours ago, Mnemonic said:

As far as I am concerned, you should not be called a scientist or be allowed anywhere near any scientific endeavour if you believe in fictitious myths.

Based on your lack of logic, affection for strawmen and emotional bias, you should be allowed near any scientific endeavour either.

7 hours ago, Mnemonic said:

Am I being too aggressive in my attitude? Probably

That we can agree on.

7 hours ago, Mnemonic said:

however science and the scientific approach to research application is a serious technical field that should not be sullied by ridiculous fairy tales.

And there we go again with the emotion and the strawman. The vast majority of religious scientists have no problem applying the scientific method independent of their beliefs. You assert it is not so - provide the evidence.

You could have made this an interesting discussion by enquiring as to how such a separation is achieved, instead you have just vented.

5 hours ago, joigus said:

But I've never seen anybody discuss theology when they go back home from the church, the synagogue or the mosque.

You should get you more. :)

I don't discuss science with those who have no interest in science, or even a declared antipathy towards it. It's called courteous behaviour.

33 minutes ago, Bufofrog said:

The answer is yes.  Einstein was clearly a scientist and believed in a God. 

My understanding is that he was, at best, a diest or pantheist, certainly not a theist of the type decried by Mnemonic.

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7 hours ago, Mnemonic said:

Am I being too aggressive in my attitude?

Yes... and not just aggressive, but flawed.

The human capacity for compartmentalization of thought is tremendous.

I love sparring with theists (less so now than years ago), but if we're to pretend to have any sort of moral or intellectual high ground as atheists in this discussion then we need to avoid the types of sweeping generalizations and logical fallacies you have currently embedded in your own thinking. 

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3 hours ago, iNow said:

Yes... and not just aggressive, but flawed.

The human capacity for compartmentalization of thought is tremendous.

I love sparring with theists (less so now than years ago), but if we're to pretend to have any sort of moral or intellectual high ground as atheists in this discussion then we need to avoid the types of sweeping generalizations and logical fallacies you have currently embedded in your own thinking. 

A part of the issue  is that folks thinking that they are in the right tend to make intellectual shortcuts. In the early 2000s I was somewhat interested in various atheist movements, in part because I was worried about rising anti-intellectualism and creationism. But apparently once enough folks gather things go quickly to a self-congratulating group of folks who cannot stop emphasizing how rational and therefore superior they are (without actually putting in the work).  There were plenty of folks, including academics who did a great job in outreach and educating. But some of their followers were sketchy and did not put in the intellectual work before succumbing to insufferable smugness (the result being attitudes that are way closer to religious organizations than folks would admit) .  

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4 hours ago, dimreepr said:

Is that the truth?

I recognize no truth, but degrees of certainty.

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You're such an optimist …
I only recognize degrees of uncertainty.

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Some religions, fundamentally, aim to teach moral principles and give guidance on how to live a useful, productive and happy life.  Some dress that up with lots of improbable features in order to connect with people who need that sort of thing.  One need not believe the improbable to believe in the value.

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17 hours ago, Mnemonic said:

As far as I am concerned, you should not be called a scientist or be allowed anywhere near any scientific endeavour if you believe in fictitious myths.

I was wondering when the thought police would show up. I'm glad you have no real authority to ban people from doing real science just because you personally don't like a particular thought that is banging around in their head.

Standing at a lab bench and trying to determine the role of a kinase in a cell shouldn't be off limits just because you think you are more enlightened than that person is.

One of the fundamental principles of science is that a person's work is judged on its merits, not on what you think of the person who did the work.

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I saw a video on YouTube where a priest, who is also an associate Professor of physics at Moscow state University, proved that God did not violate the laws of physics when he created the Universe. "God first created the Universe, and only then the laws of physics, and the law has no retroactive force."

You can laugh, but our world is sinking into obscurantism.

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8 hours ago, MigL said:

You're such an optimist …
I only recognize degrees of uncertainty.

I'm there too. It's all a ying-yang thing. ;)

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3 hours ago, joigus said:

I'm there too. It's all a ying-yang thing. ;)

So you do believe in religion... 😇  

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4 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

The Vatican has a perfectly competent astronomy research department.

And the big bang theory comes from Georges Lemaitre who is the first person to propose the Big Bang theory was a catholic priest. 

Georges Lemaitre was also professor of physics at the Catholic University of Louvain when, in 1931, he proposed in an academic paper that the expanding universe must have originated at a finite point in time.
 

3 hours ago, joigus said:

It's all a ying-yang thing. ;)

Or Kabbalah...

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Am I the only one bothered by the question? Believe in religion? Of course religions exist. No belief required. We have evidence of it.

I "believe" the question is trying to explore something else entirely, but lacks the type of specificity we require in science. 

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42 minutes ago, iNow said:

Am I the only one bothered by the question? Believe in religion? Of course religions exist. No belief required. We have evidence of it.

I "believe" the question is trying to explore something else entirely, but lacks the type of specificity we require in science. 

Believing anything based on faith alone is antithetical to a methodology that needs to trust only empirical evidence. That's always been a sticking point for me. The religious folks I know are joyously proud that they believe using just their faith. They claim it's strong and abiding, and the more blasphemers claim there is no God, the stronger their faith and certainty becomes. 

To me, if we aren't using our reasoning powers to explain things, then we're using our emotions to convince ourselves we're right. I think it's easier but less intelligent to let ourselves be led like that. Using our brains to move beyond our primitive reactions is always harder, but it's always our best long-term investment.

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54 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

Believing anything based on faith alone is antithetical to a methodology that needs to trust only empirical evidence. That's always been a sticking point for me.

Which is why religious people who do good science don't let the two realms collide.

Whether you believe the universe to be infinitely old, to have begun just prior to the BB, or to have been created, the way you study Hellbender salamanders is unchanged.

 

 

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2 hours ago, iNow said:

Am I the only one bothered by the question? Believe in religion? Of course religions exist. No belief required. We have evidence of it.

I "believe" the question is trying to explore something else entirely, but lacks the type of specificity we require in science. 

My answer --before I read your post-- was going to be "Yes, I believe religion exists."

 

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2 hours ago, Phi for All said:

That's always been a sticking point for me. The religious folks I know are joyously proud that they believe using just their faith.

Indeed, and worse still when you push back on that concept, they conflate faith with trust or predictability. For example, they often assert "you have faith the sun will come up tomorrow, too" as if that's in any way equivalent to "I have faith that not eating meat on Friday or wearing clothing of different fibers will guarantee me an eternity floating on clouds with half naked angels."

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On 10/1/2020 at 1:43 PM, joigus said:

I recognize no truth, but degrees of certainty.

But the faith-driven believer is 100% certain, and you'll never be more than 99.9%, so that's not a good benchmark.

I think how you arrive at your certainty is the key here. Do you just have a gut-feeling about it that won't go away, or have you rigorously researched, observed, tested, discussed, and predicted enough about the subject that you've come to trust the explanation? 

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1 hour ago, Phi for All said:

But the faith-driven believer is 100% certain, and you'll never be more than 99.9%, so that's not a good benchmark.

Mmm. I don't think faith is a good benchmark of anything. It's too vague a concept.

How many among the believers are really 100% certain about anything concerning their faith? I'm convinced that if an experiment were possible to set up measuring the degree of certainty that people personally obtain from their religion, it would show very poor levels in general.

Most people "believe" only because it's a necessary step to be accepted in their community. In that sense, they believe in believing in god, as some illustrious atheists have said.

A declaration of faith is just a declaration of faith. It's  not faith.

1 hour ago, Phi for All said:

I think how you arrive at your certainty is the key here. Do you just have a gut-feeling about it that won't go away, or have you rigorously researched, observed, tested, discussed, and predicted enough about the subject that you've come to trust the explanation? 

I agree. And I abide by it. That's why I'm so uncertain about so many things.

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