Jump to content

Can you be a scientist and still believe in religion?


Mnemonic
 Share

Recommended Posts

9 minutes ago, mistermack said:

What I don't like is when people expect me to respect their beliefs. I respect the people and their right to believe whatever they want. But not the belief itself. And I thoroughly hate the way that they indoctrinate their children in the same garbage. I view it as abuse. Abuse of a privileged position of authority. Some say that when the child grows up, they are free to believe whatever they like. But in truth, once you recieve religious indoctrination as a child, you are never free of it, not even the ones who reject it. 

Pot, meet Kettle...

The truth is, we're never free from the enthrall of our teacher's, but we are free to question their conclusion's... 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

The truth is, we're never free from the enthrall of our teacher's, but we are free to question their conclusion's... 

No, that's where I think you're wrong. We are free in theory to question religious indoctrination, but not in practice. Because indoctrination affects the brain to such an extent, that it takes away your true ability to question. You can pose the question, but the answer you will come up with is pre-programmed. Obviously not 100% successfully, but for a high percentage of cases.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

33 minutes ago, mistermack said:

What I don't like is when people expect me to respect their beliefs. I respect the people and their right to believe whatever they want. But not the belief itself.

Do you have a way to determine whether these people are asking for "respect", or just "tolerance" of their beliefs? It sounds like you give an "acknowledgement" that they have a right to their beliefs, so maybe that's all they're asking for in many cases. Does "respect" mean you have to "accept" their beliefs as valid? There seems to be enough terms to describe behavior on a spectrum, and thus be more accurate in descriptions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, iNow said:

 

 

Consider treating it as a fact within a given framework instead of treating it as a truth. That will help alleviate these silly issues with words having different meanings depending on who you ask and when you ask them. 

Not sure what framework would have a fact (which is a,  cough, true statement about something in the world) that is different in regards to Saturn.  Do you know of a framework where Saturn is NOT farther from the sun than Earth is??   If you are concerned about "silly word issues" then you might well wonder what sort of truth phobia makes someone suggest that Saturn's location is contextual and observer dependent such that it can sometimes be closer to the Sun than Earth.   

My guess is that science has been often berated for expressing certainty and so there is an urge to back away even from states of affairs where there actually IS certainty (as with my Saturn example).   While we can all acknowledge that inductive reasoning only offers,  in the purely technical sense, probabilities, I doubt you would find an astronomer who considers Saturn's relative placement to us to be uncertain and merely a probable.   

We attach truth value all the time,  and assert where Saturn is without any epistemological qualms.  As for Gods, absent any empirical basis,  any belief derives from a personal wager rather than any epistemic warrant,  and so lies beyond science.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Phi for All said:

Do you have a way to determine whether these people are asking for "respect", or just "tolerance" of their beliefs?

Well, neither tolerate nor respect is a great word. I have no rights not to tolerate someone's beliefs, unless thay try impose them aggressively or with undue force on me or people I care about. Very often, I feel obliged to show respect that I don't really feel, like at funerals and baptisms and weddings. I'm really respecting the people's wishes for a dignified ceremony, rather than their beliefs. So I turn up, and stand and kneel in time, and keep my opinions to myself, rather than cause offence or miss the occasion. 

I would dislike being included as a believer, without my consent though. As in "in god we trust" etc. Or my entire childhood. 

And having a right to their beliefs doesn't extend to a right to indoctrinate in my book. Although parents do have that legal right, and it's widely accepted socially as a parent's right, I personally hate it and thoroughly disrespect it.

Just as I do disrespect cutting off body parts of babies for religious reasons. I tolerate it, of course I do, I can't change the world, and don't want to upset people for the sake of a losing battle. I restrict my intolerance to voting, and saying what I think if the subject comes up for debate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, TheVat said:

Not sure what framework would have a fact (which is a,  cough, true statement about something in the world) that is different in regards to Saturn.  Do you know of a framework where Saturn is NOT farther from the sun than Earth is??

Let's say one day we figure out how to open wormholes, and it turns out for some reason that it's easier to wormhole to Saturn from the Sun than to wormhole to Earth from the Sun. Seems unlikely, but at least my framing is future-proofed and accounts for those possibilities. My framing is less likely to be inaccurate as new things are learned and discovered... it's a fact within the current framework, and if the framework some how changes later it will not necessarily be a fact in that other framework. Hope this helps. 

12 minutes ago, TheVat said:

you might well wonder what sort of truth phobia makes someone suggest that

"Truth" is a term with lots of baggage. If there's a better path to letting go of that baggage, then it's generally a good idea to take it, IMO. 

12 minutes ago, TheVat said:

We attach truth value all the time

It's not a truth value, though. We're actually asserting a likelihood of validity or accuracy. Truth has too many skeletons in the closet :D 

My position here about respecting the distinction between truth and facts is quite similar to respecting the difference between faith and trust that so often comes up in these god conversations. 

Edited by iNow
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, mistermack said:

Well, neither tolerate nor respect is a great word.

That's why I offered "accept". It could basically mean you accept their rights to a particular religious belief system. It doesn't have to mean you accept it as gospel. It has a more affirmative meaning than "tolerate", which seems more neutral to negative, while not being as positive as "respect".

14 minutes ago, mistermack said:

Very often, I feel obliged to show respect that I don't really feel, like at funerals and baptisms and weddings. I'm really respecting the people's wishes for a dignified ceremony, rather than their beliefs. So I turn up, and stand and kneel in time, and keep my opinions to myself, rather than cause offence or miss the occasion.

In the case of a funeral, I would say you "respect" the individual's wishes, you "accept" that they worshipped in a way you never did, and you "tolerate" the religious aspect that you feel isn't necessary for you to "respect" your acquaintance. You're not an adherent, you understand that they are though, and think enough of the deceased to participate in a way you think they'd appreciate. This hopefully removes any perceived obligation on your part to adhere to religious practices. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/27/2021 at 3:32 PM, iNow said:

There's nothing odd in what I said, and I said the same thing as you did here myself throughout this thread. To clarify this latest comment, I will revert to you with a question:

Where exactly in the Methods section of your research paper will you be putting God? In what part of the analysis will God be used to explain the results and outcome?

No where, that's where, hence my point. 

A belief in God may motivate you. It may drive you to undertake science so you may better know the mind of god(s), but god will have nothing whatsoever to do with the methods or processes of science itself, nor will god(s) ever be a valid scientific explanation or model of how the universe functions. 

Or, precisely as I said yesterday, individuals must: "leave their beliefs out of the picture entirely and pretend their personal version of god(s) don’t actually matter while engaged in that science."

And not once have I suggested otherwise, neither in this thread nor in any of the countless others where this same question has been asked through the years

Consider treating it as a fact within a given framework instead of treating it as a truth. That will help alleviate these silly issues with words having different meanings depending on who you ask and when you ask them. 

But where is the "pretence"? There is nothing in most religious beliefs that demands a God that continually intervenes in natural processes. Considering natural processes as unfolding according to laws that we can discover is something that can be done without any intellectual dishonesty on the part of the believer, surely?

 

 

Edited by exchemist
Link to comment
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, exchemist said:

Considering natural processes as unfolding according to laws that we can discover is something that can be done without any intellectual dishonesty on the part of the believer, surely?

It's unclear to me why you think we disagree. I mentioned nothing of intellectual dishonesty.

I said they must leave their beliefs out of the picture entirely and pretend their personal version of god(s) don’t actually matter while engaged in that science. 

Is it that I used the word "pretend" when mentioning their god was irrelevant to the processes they are studying?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, iNow said:

It's unclear to me why you think we disagree. I mentioned nothing of intellectual dishonesty.

I said they must leave their beliefs out of the picture entirely and pretend their personal version of god(s) don’t actually matter while engaged in that science. 

Is it that I used the word "pretend" when mentioning their god was irrelevant to the processes they are studying?

Yes, pretending to oneself does imply intellectual dishonesty, I think. .

But what I am really after is why you claim that any pretence would have to be involved.  You have not explained that so far. Whereas I have explained why there need not be any pretence. Where is my explanation at fault, in your view?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, exchemist said:

what I am really after is why you claim that any pretence would have to be involved.  You have not explained that so far

I'm fairly sure we're not as far apart on this as you're making it seem. My core point is that God will never be mentioned in the Methods section of their paper. The reason? It's totally and completely irrelevant to the experiment itself, even if on a personal / psychological level it is motivating factor. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

37 minutes ago, exchemist said:

But what I am really after is why you claim that any pretence would have to be involved.  You have not explained that so far.

As an example, when she was part of the McCain ticket in 2008, many people worried about Sarah Palin and her religious stances, and whether she could put aside her deeply held beliefs that an apocalypse is prophesied in the Bible if she was ever put into the position of deciding to pursue nuclear warfare or not. Based on her past stances, many thought she would only be pretending to consider it a choice. 

And if you're not Catholic, or believe in a religion that claims the Earth is only thousands of years old instead of billions, how do you find success in biology or another field that requires a healthy understanding of the evolutionary process? How can you simultaneously believe your deity created your species out of dust AND that millions of years ago all us vertebrates were tiny fishes, without pretense of some kind?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, iNow said:

Within our current framework, you are correct. 

Though I agree with you on "truths" (to a certain degree),

From the dictionary:

  • the quality or state of being true
  • that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality
  • a fact or belief that is accepted as true

I think though some truths can evolve over time but are generally accepted in their current state. So I would say its fair to say that it is "true" that Saturn is farther away from the sun than the Earth regardless of what might change in the future. 

Interestingly, in the last definition it mentions "belief", this implies that there are different kinds of truths and they should be applied and interpreted in context. For example -

1. I don't believe in god(s),  This statement is true (at least for now)

2. There is no scientific evidence to prove/validate the existence of god, This statement is true (at least for now)

No 1 is based on belief, number 2 is based on facts (current scientific data).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’d like to throw in two more notions, if I may.

Firstly, a “negative” belief in the absence or falsity of something is itself a belief, same as believing “in” something. And before anyone says it - no, I do not come from any kind of theistic angle. It’s a general notion.

Secondly, the concept of epistemic responsibility seems pertinent to the discussion. Basically it means we have a moral responsibility to critically evaluate the beliefs we hold in terms of available data. Are these beliefs justifiable? This goes equally for positive and negative beliefs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, mistermack said:

No, that's where I think you're wrong. We are free in theory to question religious indoctrination, but not in practice. Because indoctrination affects the brain to such an extent, that it takes away your true ability to question. You can pose the question, but the answer you will come up with is pre-programmed. Obviously not 100% successfully, but for a high percentage of cases.

So, we're free to question but not to ask?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

39 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

So, we're free to question but not to ask?

Are you truly free to question, when you can only give one answer? When that answer is implanted in your brain by endless indoctrination as a child? You can form the question in words, rhetorically, but if you have no intention whatsoever of considering any answer except one, then you are not really questioning. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, mistermack said:

Are you truly free to question, when you can only give one answer? When that answer is implanted in your brain by endless indoctrination as a child? You can form the question in words, rhetorically, but if you have no intention whatsoever of considering any answer except one, then you are not really questioning. 

Do you think that everyone brought up 'religious' has been indoctrinated?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, geordief said:

Are we all indoctrinated because we listen to an advert on the radio or see a billboard by the road?

If that's all you ever see, then yes, to a teeny tiny degree. 

Or do you think that indoctrination is a binary yes/no state? Or that there is a start threshold? 

I'm indoctrinated in the belief that things go better with Coke. But not to the state where I would drink that crap.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, mistermack said:

If that's all you ever see, then yes, to a teeny tiny degree. 

Or do you think that indoctrination is a binary yes/no state? Or that there is a start threshold? 

I'm indoctrinated in the belief that things go better with Coke. But not to the state where I would drink that crap.

So why doesn't that apply to religious upbringing? There can be degrees of brainwashing Some are also "teeny tiny", some are all invasive and oppressive.

 

Religious belief is an integral part of society . We all need to be informed as to its characteristics 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, mistermack said:

I can't think of any exceptions right now. What do you think? I'm open to suggestions.

Based on me as an example, I would say being brought up religious doesn't necessarily mean you are indoctrinated. 

I was brought up Catholic, which around here is as much about family events with lots of beer as it is about going to church. Learning about Catholicism seemed similar to learning about history.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, geordief said:

So why doesn't that apply to religious upbringing? There can be degrees of brainwashing Some are also "teeny tiny", some are all invasive and oppressive.

I didn't say that it didn't. Of course I agree that there are degrees. That's completely obvious. 

What that means is that there are degrees of loss of freedom in forming your beliefs.  Which is bourne out by the many cases like mine, where people who were thoroughly indoctrinated as kids, still kick the religion. And others, who were less thoroughly worked on, still stuck to the religion. Indoctrination is not just one thing, it covers a huge spread of behaviour and success. 

Having said that, it works. The figures prove it works. Or can you seriously claim that all these billions of people follow the religion they were brought up with, just by chance ???

10 minutes ago, zapatos said:

Based on me as an example, I would say being brought up religious doesn't necessarily mean you are indoctrinated. 

But if you are taught a religious doctrine, what else CAN it mean? 

Maybe you feel that the word should be kept for others, who were more intensively indoctrinated, like the Hitler Youth or North Koreans. 

I would say that you were indoctrinated, but mildly, by the sound of it. But kid's don't even know that they ARE being indoctrinated. The religions put on a show, and there's a lot of dressing up, and the moral message can sound enticing. It's not all hammered into people. You can be softly indoctrinated in a pleasant way. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.