Jump to content
icehorse

Cognitive load of being religious and scientific

Recommended Posts


Hi Guys,



I wasn't sure where to put this question - here or in the brain science forum, sorry.



Full disclosure, I'm a big fan of Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens, basically I'm very concerned about how religion is affecting the world.



So here's the question: Given that religious discussion must be predicated on dogma, and that scientific discussion must be predicated on a lack of dogma, do people who are both religious and scientifically minded experience a sustained, cognitive load burden in day to day life as they switch back and forth from religious situations to "scientific" situations?



(In this context, we could call jobs like programmer or sys. admin. "scientific".)


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me growing up in a religious family, having been forced to stomach Christianity from left, right and centre; that is: at home, at school, at church. I definitely felt a huge conflict, due to the moral and logical contradictions between science, and the false nature of religion. I would certainly say it was a mental "burden". But that's just me.

 

Hitchens was a huge help for me giving up religion, along with Dawkins. Needless to say I'm a big fan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could it be very individual. I had a religious Mom and atheist Dad

and to me that cognitive dissonance has been a great burden

but that could be due to me sensitive to body language and

not everybody do care that much about how parents approve

of you or not. So I vote for that it is highly individual.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My recognition/acceptance that I exist spiritually does not prevent me from functioning in the physical world as well as anyone else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My recognition/acceptance that I exist spiritually does not prevent me from functioning in the physical world as well as anyone else.

 

That was rather defensive and ambiguous. Being spiritual is a completely different thing to being religious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My recognition/acceptance that I exist spiritually does not prevent me from functioning in the physical world as well as anyone else.

!

Moderator Note

I also do not think that this is addressing the OP. Please try and stick to the topic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

do people who are both religious and scientifically minded experience a sustained, cognitive load burden in day to day life as they switch back and forth from religious situations to "scientific" situations?

 

I'm sorry to everyone.

 

I'm surprised because I didn't think that I was diverging from the topic. I rarely get my hand slapped. My dictionary says the word religious "stresses faith in a particular religion and constant adherence to its tenets" (a direct quote from my Webster's New World Dictionary & Thesaurus, copyright 2005, Wiley Publishing Inc ... and Wiley also happens to be a well-known publisher of science). I choose not to stress my particular faith. I don't want to proselytize in this forum, and I don't want to give the appearance of doing so.

 

Anyway, redacted more verbatim-ishly ...

 

I am both religious and scientifically-minded, and I am not aware of me experiencing any cognitive load burden in day-to-day life, and I am not aware of me switching back and forth between religious situations and "scientific" situations.

 

I mean that my religion is always with me, and my scientific mind is always with me, and there's no conflict between the two.

 

Perhaps if icehorse could give an example(s) or go into further detail, I could explain myself further.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

...Given that religious discussion must be predicated on dogma, and that scientific discussion must be predicated on a lack of dogma, do people who are both religious and scientifically minded experience a sustained, cognitive load burden in day to day life as they switch back and forth from religious situations to "scientific" situations?..

 

 

Only if the religious and scientific dogmas contradict each other. I'm Catholic, so I don't have that problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the religious dogma contradicts itself, does that make the problem even worse?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the religious dogma contradicts itself, does that make the problem even worse?

 

The answer is obvious. Again, I don't have that problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most functioning scientists have fairly narrow fields of expertise, from which any conflicting religious beliefs are excluded automatically in the process of their education (along with various misconceptions not religious, such as the common statistical illusions or the bias for projecting one's midrange scale abstractions). They can function smoothly in those fields, and suffer conflict only in outer world arenas such as family or politics or distant fields of research in which they have no more expertise than anyone else.

 

There are a lot of religiously schooled biologists (including Muslim and Catholic, btw, official stance or no) who regard and employ Darwinian evolutionary theory as the core theory of biology, with the exception of matters pertaining to human beings - human beings, or sometimes even further narrowed to human minds, required divine intervention. They don't do research or contribute analysis in anything directly pertaining to human minds, so they suffer no more "cognitive load" in the matter than anyone else of comparable intellect and educational level.

 

That does not settle the matter.

 

Illustration: Clearly there can be conflict between, say, a religiously supported and childhood inculcated belief that disease is a consequence of sin or evildoing, and a clear recognition of the causes or cures of various diseases. The danger is not only the cognitive load of a perceived conflict, however: the danger is also an imposed structure or framework of perception completely unconscious, a lack of conflict where there should be serious mental difficulty and growth, maintained in practice by a certain blindness or obliviousness to incoming information.

 

We see this in, say, the intellectual and societal responses to plague during the Middle Ages in Europe.

 

This danger follows from all manner of childhood inculcation, but religion figures so often prominently and so often absurdly that its treatment as a special case is probably justified. It's safe to say that there are no established religions whose normal frame of perception (the one inculcated in the children of the large majority of its believers) is free of such problems. As noted above, in many modern religions the affliction is no more serious for most scientists than for anyone else - but it is probably dangerous if unaware.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Only if the religious and scientific dogmas contradict each other. I'm Catholic, so I don't have that problem.

You might want to discuss that with Galileo.

OK, perhaps that's impractical (please don't try to write it off as "Historical" while still believing in a bronze age creation myth).

 

OK, how about a more recent example

Ask the family of Savita Halappanavar.

You can't ask her directly- she was killed by religious dogma- but could have been saved by science.

Also, I didn't realise that Catholicism had renounced the Bible.

It plainly has contradictions

http://sciencebasedlife.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/biblecontradictions-reasonproject.png

but you say your dogma doesn't contradict itself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Guys,

 

I wasn't sure where to put this question - here or in the brain science forum, sorry.

 

Full disclosure, I'm a big fan of Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens, basically I'm very concerned about how religion is affecting the world.

 

So here's the question: Given that religious discussion must be predicated on dogma, and that scientific discussion must be predicated on a lack of dogma, do people who are both religious and scientifically minded experience a sustained, cognitive load burden in day to day life as they switch back and forth from religious situations to "scientific" situations?

 

(In this context, we could call jobs like programmer or sys. admin. "scientific".)

Your general point is worthwhile, but some of your premises are, IMO, incorrect.

 

I've worn both hats, and programmers are not scientists. While both fields require the use of both inductive and deductive logic, so do banking and politics. Scientists seek to discover logical patterns within an objective reality which no humans participated in the construction of. Computer geeks work only with an arbitrary reality created by other humans. Entirely different.

 

Science is full of dogma. Get onto the "Forbidden Knowledge" site and check out Rupert Sheldrake's illustrative and amusing videos. The difference between science dogma and religious dogma is that, with considerable struggle and pain, scientific dogma can be modified without getting the modifier burned at a stake or beheaded.

 

Human nature is the same. We tend to hang onto our favorite beliefs, and when enough others agree with the same belief set, that set becomes dogma. The Darwinist explanation of biological evolution is a perfect example. The odds against the random assembly of a single, small human gene (900 base-pairs) is 1.4 x 10-542. For the rational mind, that number means "impossible," but not for Darwinists.

 

The human brain seems to come with a built-in "Nonsense Bucket" that needs to be filled. It does not matter what it is filled with, or who does the filling, so long as there is an agreement base of individuals who believe the same nonsense. The bucket is treated as "full" when enough others agree with whatever it is full of.

 

In this context beliefs such as,

 

a) The universe was created by an almighty being, and

b) The laws of the universe are the same everywhere in spacetime,

 

are just beliefs. Neither can be proven.

 

Likewise, the notions that biological life was

 

a) Created by an unknowable God, or,

b) Created by random chemical reactions within ordinary matter, without any intelligent engineering whatsoever,

 

are also unprovable beliefs. In fact, there is more legitimate evidence against these beliefs than for them, especially in the area of biology. I believe that this is only because we cannot experiment upon deep space objects.

 

Dogma will be with us for a long time, and there is one thing about dogma that is common to all who operate according to a dogma. It is the opinion, "MY BELIEFS ARE THE TRUTH, OPPOSING BELIEFS ARE DOGMA."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

!

Moderator Note

Greylorn, this is not the thread to be spreading your misguided opinions on what you term evolution (but is actually abiogenesis).

 

And please, everyone, do not drag this into yet another discussion about whether or not God exists.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...Illustration: Clearly there can be conflict between, say, a religiously supported and childhood inculcated belief that disease is a consequence of sin or evildoing, and a clear recognition of the causes or cures of various diseases....

 

Can be, not must be. There’s no necessary conflict between the belief that the ultimate cause of suffering is the loss of an original union with God, and the idea that there are mediate physical causes that can be understood and alleviated. In fact, both ideas are products of Catholic thought, as your example of the European response to the plague demonstrates: pray for deliverance, and do what you can to try to purge foul vapors. The first addresses spiritual causes, the second physical; the fact that they didn’t correctly understand the physical causes is irrelevant to the point.

 

Many people believe that only what which can be measured is real; that all causes are observable; that if the scientific method identifies a physical cause then there is no other cause; that if it cannot identify a cause then no cause exists; that the scientific method is adequate to show all real causes. These ideas are widely taken as scientific dogmas, but in reality they are presuppositions that are not supportable by the scientific method and that are self-contradictory. It’s no less difficult to rid oneself of such erroneous scientific dogmas, than it is to do so with religious ones.

 

 

You might want to discuss that with Galileo...

 

OK, how about a more recent example

Ask the family of Savita Halappanavar....

 

The Galileo affair had more to do with politics than it did with doctrine; in fact, geocentrism has never been a Catholic doctrine.

 

The death of Savita Halappanavar had even less to do with doctrine than did the Galileo affair.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The Galileo affair had more to do with politics than it did with doctrine"

Possibly, but It was Catholic politics that led to him being tried for heresy, found guilty and arrested.

​That might not be a clash between science and Christianity per se, but it's a clash with Catholicism.

 

"geocentrism has never been a Catholic doctrine."

 

Odd, the Bible is plainly geocentric.

As I said before, has Catholicism renounced the Bible?

 

Also, according to this

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_affair

On February 24 the Qualifiers delivered their unanimous report: the idea that the Sun is stationary is "foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture

 

That's the inquisition report into the matter. It was the Catholic stance on the matter at the time.

 

"The death of Savita Halappanavar had even less to do with doctrine than did the Galileo affair."

OK, how come she would have (very probably) lived, had she been born in England?

 

 

Doesn't addressing theses questions add a load which could be avoided if you gave up trying to square the Bible with reality?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The first addresses spiritual causes, the second physical; the fact that they didn’t correctly understand the physical causes is irrelevant to the point.

No, the fact that after hundreds of years of written communication and formal medical practice they had no better understanding of the physical causes of disease than they did is not irrelevant to a discussion of the cognitive load imposed by a strongly oppressive religion. It was the Church that limited medical research, autopsies, and other investigations into matters considered settled and closely connected to the soul and salvation and sin.

 

 

 

in fact, geocentrism has never been a Catholic doctrine.

That the Earth did not move was a Catholic belief enforceable by most severe discouragement of expressions to the contrary.

 

The reason for that is the clear claim in the Bible, that all heavenly bodies moved across the sky while the Earth stood still. Had Galileo been a mere philosopher with a strong opinion, his fate would probably have been quite different - as it was, the Church recognized the problem of the telescope.

Edited by overtone

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, the fact that after hundreds of years of written communication and formal medical practice they had no better understanding of the physical causes of disease than they did is not irrelevant to a discussion of the cognitive load imposed by a strongly oppressive religion. It was the Church that limited medical research, autopsies, and other investigations into matters considered settled and closely connected to the soul and salvation and sin.

 

You seem to believe that there should be no ethical limits to research, or that the existance of such limits constiutes a rejection of science. If that's true, then you've abandoned your humanity so far that we have no common ground on which to discuss anything at all.

 

 

That the Earth did not move was a Catholic belief enforceable by most severe discouragement of expressions to the contrary.

 

The reason for that is the clear claim in the Bible, that all heavenly bodies moved across the sky while the Earth stood still...

 

It was a universal belief found in all cultures, because it's what is most readily observable to everyone. It had nothing to do with Catholic doctrine.

 

 

 

Had Galileo been a mere philosopher with a strong opinion, his fate would probably have been quite different - as it was, the Church recognized the problem of the telescope.

 

I guess that's why he was given great honor in Rome when he presesented his findings.

It must also explain why the Church put telescopes in its numerous observatories.

 

Your knowledge of the actual history of the case is severely lacking.

 

 

 

"The Galileo affair had more to do with politics than it did with doctrine"

Possibly, but It was Catholic politics that led to him being tried for heresy, found guilty and arrested.

 

Exactly. Politics is not doctrine. Galileo's problems came about, in large part, because he was an asshole.

 

 

 

"The Galileo affair had more to do with politics than it did with doctrine"

"geocentrism has never been a Catholic doctrine."

 

Odd, the Bible is plainly geocentric....

 

What is plain is that the authors of the texts weren't trying to say anything about the geometry of the universe.

 

 

Also, according to this

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_affair

On February 24 the Qualifiers delivered their unanimous report: the idea that the Sun is stationary is "foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture...

The panel was wrong, and such panels by definition have no ability to establish dogmas. You might want to read the section about Bellarmine's view, he was pretty clear that heliocentrism is not heretical at all. And in fact, like Nicolaus Copernicus before him, the strongest opposition to Galileo's scientific conclusions came from Protestants. He was initially very well received in Rome.

 

 

 

"The death of Savita Halappanavar had even less to do with doctrine than did the Galileo affair."

OK, how come she would have (very probably) lived, had she been born in England?

 

She died because hospital staff failed to promptly recognize her septicaemia, and failed to monitor her condition. With that kind of care she would have died even if she wasn't pregnant, no matter what country she was in.

 

Catholic moral theology most certainly allows for medical interventions that have, as a forseeable undesired secondary effect, the unintended death of the unborn child. If she had a septic uterous such that it was necessary to remove it to save her life, then Catholic teaching is that it would be permissible to do so even though the baby would have died as an unintended result. From what I know it's apparent that if Catholic teaching had anything to do with this case at all, it was ignorance of it and not adherence to it.

 

 

 

Doesn't addressing theses questions add a load which could be avoided if you gave up trying to square the Bible with reality?

 

The problem is caused by your insistence on thinking that the Bible means things that it does not, and by a severe lack of understanding of both Catholic theology and actual history.

 

This fantasy that the Catholic Church was a force standing in the way of scientific progress is laughable. The only excuse for believing it is ignorance.

 

 

Many people believe that only what which can be measured is real; that all causes are observable; that if the scientific method identifies a physical cause then there is no other cause; that if it cannot identify a cause then no cause exists; that the scientific method is adequate to show all real causes. These ideas are widely taken as scientific dogmas, but in reality they are presuppositions that are not supportable by the scientific method and that are self-contradictory. It’s no less difficult to rid oneself of such erroneous scientific dogmas, than it is to do so with religious ones.

 

I notice that no one seems interested in dealing with this. So much for objectivity.

Edited by chilehed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

1)

You seem to believe that there should be no ethical limits to research, or that the existance of such limits constiutes a rejection of science. If that's true, then you've abandoned your humanity so far that we have no common ground on which to discuss anything at all.

 

 

2)

It was a universal belief found in all cultures, because it's what is most readily observable to everyone. It had nothing to do with Catholic doctrine.

 

 

 

3)

I guess that's why he was given great honor in Rome when he presesented his findings.

It must also explain why the Church put telescopes in its numerous observatories.

4

Your knowledge of the actual history of the case is severely lacking.

 

 

 

5)

Exactly. Politics is not doctrine. Galileo's problems came about, in large part, because he was an asshole.

 

 

 

6)

What is plain is that the authors of the texts weren't trying to say anything about the geometry of the universe.

 

7)

The panel was wrong, and such panels by definition have no ability to establish dogmas. You might want to read the section about Bellarmine's view, he was pretty clear that heliocentrism is not heretical at all. And in fact, like Nicolaus Copernicus before him, the strongest opposition to Galileo's scientific conclusions came from Protestants. He was initially very well received in Rome.

 

 

8)

She died because hospital staff failed to promptly recognize her septicaemia, and failed to monitor her condition. With that kind of care she would have died even if she wasn't pregnant, no matter what country she was in.

 

Catholic moral theology most certainly allows for medical interventions that have, as a forseeable undesired secondary effect, the unintended death of the unborn child. If she had a septic uterous such that it was necessary to remove it to save her life, then Catholic teaching is that it would be permissible to do so even though the baby would have died as an unintended result. From what I know it's apparent that if Catholic teaching had anything to do with this case at all, it was ignorance of it and not adherence to it.

 

 

 

9)

The problem is caused by your insistence on thinking that the Bible means things that it does not, and by a severe lack of understanding of both Catholic theology and actual history.

10)

This fantasy that the Catholic Church was a force standing in the way of scientific progress is laughable. The only excuse for believing it is ignorance.

 

 

11)

I notice that no one seems interested in dealing with this. So much for objectivity.

1 is a strawman.

2 It doesn't matter who believed it: what matters is that Galileo was convicted of heresy for saying it because it was contrary to the teachings of the church.

3 The opinion of the church on the telescope is well documented. For example

http://longstreet.typepad.com/thesciencebookstore/2009/12/the-church-and-the-telescope-16101671.html

They had the same problem with the microscope.

The fact that they now do astronomy indicates that they are slightly muddled. They don't know whether to stick to what it says in the Bible or to actually keep their eyes open. Do they defend tradition or not?

The answer seems to be that they try to, but when the evidence becomes overwhelming, they give up and pretend that they never had a problem in the first place. (same with evolution, BTW)

4 My knowledge may be poor, but I don't propose to seek to improve it by looking at a site written by just one side of the debate.

Did you expect that link to be taken seriously?

 

5 Way to go - insulting someone who can't defend them self.

So, in your world-view locking someone up under house arrest, threatening them with torture and death for being right (and being an arse-hole about it) is the right way to behave?

Doesn't sound very tolerant to me.

 

6 what is plain is that they would punish anyone who got the geometry right and by "right" they meant not in accordance with the (whether you like it or not) geocentric Bible.

Psalms (3:1)

The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.

 

Or Joshua

So the sun stood still,and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies,

as it is written in the Book of Jashar.

The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since,

 

7 and yet she died because they were worried about what would have been considered to be the termination of a pregnancy- banned in her country at that time. Why was it banned?- the pernicious influence of the church.

8 I don't need to insist on what the Bible says- I can simply quote it and let it say what it says.

9 case in point- Galileo

The Church did seek to impede science.

That's not a fantasy- it's history.

 

10

I don't see a lot of point replying to an unsupported assertion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am willing to engage you on this but it should be in another thread, in this one it is off topic...

 

 

Many people believe that only what which can be measured is real; that all causes are observable; that if the scientific method identifies a physical cause then there is no other cause; that if it cannot identify a cause then no cause exists; that the scientific method is adequate to show all real causes. These ideas are widely taken as scientific dogmas, but in reality they are presuppositions that are not supportable by the scientific method and that are self-contradictory. It’s no less difficult to rid oneself of such erroneous scientific dogmas, than it is to do so with religious ones.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...4 My knowledge may be poor, but I don't propose to seek to improve it...

 

That's obvious.

 

I am willing to engage you on this but it should be in another thread, in this one it is off topic...

 

 

*rolleyes*

Edited by chilehed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... It was the Church that limited medical research, autopsies, and other investigations into matters considered settled and closely connected to the soul and salvation and sin....

 

BTW, in addition to the ethical implications of your statement, this bit is a piece of fantasy even more egregious than your take on Galileo. There's not a single scrap of historical evidence for it, and in fact nearly all of the work on anatomy was conducted at Church-sponsored universities between the 14th and 16th Centuries.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

That's obvious.

 

 

Sorry, but I'm sure I read somewhere that one should not bear false witness- that is one ought not say that one witnessed someone doing or saying something unless they did.

Now I didn't actually say "My knowledge may be poor, but I don't propose to seek to improve it"

I said "I don't propose to seek to improve it by looking at a site written by just one side of the debate."

So, you are not only wrong by the standards of the site in that you keep derailing the thread (OK I might be helping you do that), but you are wrong by your own standards.

 

(And now to get back to the thread before the mods shout at me).

Surely the fact that you are prepared to break your own faith's rules to deny science means that there is a real dilemma and that trying to serve both sides of that divide must be a greater strain on mental resources than, for example, my perspective where I only have to be consistent.

 

It seems to me to be like the dodgy bookkeeping where you have two sets of records- the correct ones you use to run the business, and the bent ones you show to the auditors.

 

I only need to stick to one consistent story- the one backed by scientific evidence.

Surely, to keep the faith, you need to deal with two sets of records.

One says the the Earth stays still and the other says that the Sun and Earth both move as they orbit their combined centre of gravity.

 

How can it not be easier to just have one consistent story (which sometimes admits it doesn't know; yet), rather than to have two- where one has several hundred documented contradictions?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

!

Moderator Note

Do not purposefully misrepresent other users. And, in general, everyone play nice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Given that religious discussion must be predicated on dogma, and that scientific discussion must be predicated on a lack of dogma, do people who are both religious and scientifically minded experience a sustained, cognitive load burden in day to day life as they switch back and forth from religious situations to "scientific" situations?

 

(In this context, we could call jobs like programmer or sys. admin. "scientific".)

 

 

Who says religious discussions are predicated upon dogma?

 

For myself, I think that my religious thinking helps my scientific thinking in terms of never growing used to the marvels of the universe.

 

I'd also dispute the idea that programmers or sys-admins have scientific jobs. Technical? Yes. Scientific? No.

How can it not be easier to just have one consistent story (which sometimes admits it doesn't know; yet), rather than to have two- where one has several hundred documented contradictions?

 

If you're garnering your science from a religious/cultural anthology, you're doing it wrong. Everything they wrote was the truth as they saw it. That's all they ever claimed.

Edited by A Tripolation

Share this post


Link to post
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

×
×
  • 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.