124 thoughts on ““Science wins because it works”

      1. Right, three-buttons-in-one-mouse, not three separate mice. It may be difficult to understand, but it is definitely not polymousists.

        1. I’d say they’re more Zen.

          “Do not try to click the button — that’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth: there is no button.”

          1. I dwell in the mouse. The mouse is but a dream that creates the illusion of the button. When the mouse dies, I and the button will become one and there will be only mouse.

      1. Heretic! Unless you read all the sophisticated arguments for commercialism, you are in no position to suggest that acommercialism is the answer.

  1. With respect, i think “Science wins because it works” is pretty meaningless.

    Provokes a few thoughts:

    – Why does science work? Why is there any rationalism in the world at all? Why isn’t time / space / matter just entirely chaotic? Where did all the stuff (time / space / matter) come from so that there can be such a thing as science? Actually, what is science?

    Some of the greatest scientists were devout scientists (and including devout scientists for their day): Newton, Faraday, Planck (founder of quantum physics), Mendel (one of two main founders of genetics), Lemaitre (chief founder of Big Bang theory). The cartoon mentions antibiotics. Well devout Christian Pasteur invented pasteurization, vaccine for rabies, and was one of the chief founders of microbiology.
    So atheists don’t have a monopoly on science!

    What does “science works” mean?
    Do not the arts and philosophy “work” too? And does science or the application of science always work (i.e. myxomatosis, nuclear bombs, Satanic mills and so on) and so on.

    Is science able to tell us how to fall in love (or what love is). How to appreciate beauty (in non-organic nature, for example, in human personality, in the arts, and so on). How to be happy?

    If there is such a thing as spiritual existence, then how could science, from the world of time / space / matter gauge or measure the spiritual – let alone spot or recognize it?

    Does the spiritual exist? If we are just material beings then how do we manage to escape the predetermined laws of the material world on the one hand, and the blind chaotic nature of the natural world on the other to have free will? And what is it we escape into – what is it that allows us to have free will? Free will to: fall in love, choose good over evil and so on.

    What is science?!

    1. Ack, it’s always difficult to decide. Should I explain to Patrick the joke he doesn’t get?

      That would ruin the whole ingroup-outgroup thing – but most importantly:

      Jokes are seldom funny if they are explained.

      So I’ll think I just say this to Patrick: There are some things here you don’t understand. If you continue down this line, you might end up being the joke.

    2. Why does science work? Why is there any rationalism in the world at all? Why isn’t time / space / matter just entirely chaotic?

      Because if it were, we wouldn’t be here to observe it. (Your question presumes that all possible instantiations of “the world” would have to be rational, but that’s not the case — entirely chaotic worlds simply wouldn’t support beings that could rationally discourse about it.)

      Where did all the stuff (time / space / matter) come from so that there can be such a thing as science?

      Darn good question. Science provides the best (albeit grossly incomplete) answer to that.

      Actually, what is science?

      The rational pursuit of understanding of the world through empirical means. That’s not a perfect definition, but it will cover most of what needs to be covered.

      Some of the greatest scientists were devout scientists

      And some were astrologers, and alchemists, and spiritualists. Were they correct in those beliefs? You are making the common conflation of individuals holding incompatible beliefs (which people do all the time, like divorced Catholics), with the compatibility of those beliefs.

      Do not the arts and philosophy “work” too?

      They do indeed “work” in the sense of produce intellectual and creative material, but they don’t “work” in the same practical sense. You don’t get antibiotics from making Abstract Expressionist paintings.

      And does science or the application of science always work

      Don’t conflate science with its application. I can kill someone by clubbing them with a small statue, but that doesn’t mean the artist is a murderer.

      Is science able to tell us how to fall in love (or what love is)

      It can certainly tell us what happens in our brains when we fall in love, and it is likely not too long until those feelings can actually be induced (indeed, the drug MDMA produces some of those feelings).

      If there is such a thing as spiritual existence

      There almost certainly isn’t

      then how could science, from the world of time / space / matter gauge or measure the spiritual – let alone spot or recognize it?

      If the spiritual impinges on the world of time / space / matter, that interaction can be measured. If it doesn’t interact, it is irrelevant.

      Does the spiritual exist?

      Almost certainly not.

      If we are just material beings then how do we manage to escape the predetermined laws of the material world on the one hand, and the blind chaotic nature of the natural world on the other to have free will?

      Standard notions of the nature of free will are almost certainly wrong.

      1. I can kill someone by clubbing them with a small statue, but that doesn’t mean the artist is a murderer.

        I hereby nominate Tulse to receive 10 internetz for the above.

        Best line of the month, for sure.

        1. Tulse is right on the pulse.

          Patrick – we do not say Science is perfect – but we DO assert that it is a whole lot better, truer & more honest than superstition. S

      2. Thanks Tulse (good answers i think ..).

        I asked: “Why isn’t time / space / matter just entirely chaotic?”
        You answered: “Because if it were, we wouldn’t be here to observe it”

        But the nature of time / space / matter doesn’t depend on us to be chaotic or not .. To ask another way, why is there rationalism? What is rationalism / order? I can understand chaos mimicking order – but just for a split second (it’s not really order – just a fluke). But for there to be (relative), continuous order – as there has been in this universe for billions of years – that is what i’m getting at.

        “Darn good question. Science provides the best (albeit grossly incomplete) answer to that.”

        “The best”. What other explanations do you think are good but not as good as the scientific, then?

        “Some of the greatest scientists were devout scientists
        And some were astrologers, and alchemists, and spiritualists. Were they correct in those beliefs?”

        – (by the way i made typo, should have been “some of the great scientists were devout Christians).
        True. But Christians, unlike many atheists, don’t claim some sort of monopoly on science or rational thinking.

        I asked: “Do not the arts and philosophy “work” too?”
        You answered: “They do indeed “work” in the sense of produce intellectual and creative material, but they don’t “work” in the same practical sense.”

        True. And Christians and atheists can all partake equally in the pursuit of scientific enquiry for practical results. But in what ways can science answer questions about things such as: “how to be happy?” – arguably the most important question of all (and at the heart, perhaps, of the theist / atheist debate in general i would say).

        “You don’t get antibiotics from making Abstract Expressionist paintings.”

        – True. Which is why there have been so many devout Christians in science (again: Newton, Planck, Faraday, Mendel and others). And many in the field of microbiology (i.e. Pasteur), medicine and so on.
        But the work of devout Christians in science such as these won’t give you answers to the real questions in life, i.e. “how to be happy”, “is there really spiritual existence or not?”, and so on.

        “It can certainly tell us what happens in our brains when we fall in love”

        To what degree, though? Many of our greatest writers, poets, artists, musicians and so on have spent their lifetimes exploring “love” in their art. And even then wouldn’t claim to be more experts on the subject than anyone else. Even people who have strong, loving marriages wouldn’t claim to have more expertise on the subject than anyone else. How can scientists claim to have better knowledge of love than others beats me (i don’t believe there are many that do – certainly not theist / deist / agnostic ones – and i’m sure many atheists would disagree with your argument too). Are their love-lives and marriages happier and more fulfilled than people who have not studied love, scientifically?

        I ask “If there is such a thing as spiritual existence”
        You answer: “There almost certainly isn’t”

        Why do you have doubt that there might be spiritual existence? And why are you so certain (not complete but “almost”) that there isn’t?

        “Standard notions of the nature of free will are almost certainly wrong.”

        What are the “standard notions”, exactly (with atheists differing over the subject of free will as much as Christians or any other group of people).

        1. the nature of time / space / matter doesn’t depend on us to be chaotic or not

          Correct, but you’ve missed my point, which is that if the universe were not as ordered as it is, we wouldn’t be here to perceive it. This is a bit like a fish philosopher asking why everything isn’t a desert — if it were, there would be no fish philosophers to ponder that question.

          In other words, although the universe might indeed have been a different way, it requires a universe like this one for us to be here, and thus perceive that the universe is like this one.

          What other explanations do you think are good but not as good as the scientific, then?

          Supernatural and religious for starters. That’s what all this is about, right?

          Christians, unlike many atheists, don’t claim some sort of monopoly on science or rational thinking

          Seriously? Christians are ontological imperialists par excellence, saying that they have a monopoly on Truth with a capital T.

          in what ways can science answer questions about things such as: “how to be happy?”

          For starters, by observing humans as evolved animals and seeing what objectively makes us happy. (Psychologists and sociologists do this all the time.)

          the work of devout Christians in science such as these won’t give you answers to the real questions in life, i.e. “how to be happy”, “is there really spiritual existence or not?”, and so on

          And neither will devout Christian non-scientists — at best what they will give you is claims that they cannot defend with reason and observation (which, of course, any idiot can do).

          How can scientists claim to have better knowledge of love than others

          I didn’t say they did — you asked how science could study love, and I explained.

          Are their love-lives and marriages happier and more fulfilled than people who have not studied love, scientifically?

          Well, given that scientists tend to more atheistic than the general population, and given that divorce rates, out-of-wedlock births, and other measures of family stability are often lower in more overtly religious areas (at least in the US), I’d say an initial hypothesis would be that they are. Of course, I’m willing to consider contrary empirical data (you do realize that this is an empirical question, one we can answer using the methodologies of science, right?).

          Why do you have doubt that there might be spiritual existence?

          Because it explains nothing that is not explained by more naturalistic accounts. I doubt it for the same reason I doubt the existence of Santa Claus — do you doubt the existence of Santa Claus?

          What are the “standard notions”, exactly

          That free will is a property somehow independent of our physical existence and not subject to the material properties of our brains, but is a purely mental characteristic.

          1. Tulse,

            “This is a bit like a fish philosopher asking why everything isn’t a desert — if it were, there would be no fish philosophers to ponder that question.”

            Sorry, what exactly is this an analogy too? You’ve made the analogy following directly to what you – not what – i said. You wrote: “Correct, but you’ve missed my point, which is that if the universe were not as ordered as it is, we wouldn’t be here to perceive it”. I’m not saying you’re wrong. But please explain in more detail how you arrived at this analogy.”

            “In other words, although the universe might indeed have been a different way, it requires a universe like this one for us to be here, and thus perceive that the universe is like this one.”

            Agree. But don’t see what this has go to do with what i said.

            I wrote: “What other explanations do you think are good but not as good as the scientific, then?”

            You replied: “Supernatural and religious for starters. That’s what all this is about, right?”

            Sure. But you, also, wrote: ““Darn good question. Science provides the best (albeit grossly incomplete) answer to that.”

            You wrote: “the best” not the only.

            Based on this, what claims does Christianity / Christianity theology make that are not entirely not good?

            I wrote: “Christians, unlike many atheists, don’t claim some sort of monopoly on science or rational thinking”
            You answered: “Seriously? Christians are ontological imperialists par excellence, saying that they have a monopoly on Truth with a capital T.”

            Christian belief / theology contradicts that with: “you can have all knowledge .. know all things but if you have no love it is all useless” (or words to that effect: 1 Corinthians 13).
            Also, for a Christian to think they have a monopoly on knowledge would be pride – and pride, of course, is the deadliest of the 7 deadly sins (whether “sin” exists or not – this is what Christians believe, thus undermining your point – sure, Christians don’t have a monopoly on not being prideful – same for all human beings – but pride is antithetical to Christianity).
            As it is (i think), all people (atheists, theists, deists, agnostics ..) think they have the truth (some from these groups are more adamant than others about this). It’s not what you claim that suggests “monopoly” but how you claim it (i.e. being absolutist / dogmatic / aggressive towards others when making such claims of truths).

            “For starters, by observing humans as evolved animals and seeing what objectively makes us happy. (Psychologists and sociologists do this all the time.)”

            But to what degree?
            Chemical substances can make someone happy. So can television. But these things won’t bring someone the happiness, for example, of “falling in love”.

            I wrote: “How can scientists claim to have better knowledge of love than others”

            You answered: “I didn’t say they did — you asked how science could study love, and I explained.”

            But to what degree can they study (and explain) love? Better than a poet or a writer? Better than a couple who “fell in love” and been “in love” over 50 years?

            I wrote: “Are their love-lives and marriages happier and more fulfilled than people who have not studied love, scientifically?”

            You responded: “Well, given that scientists tend to more atheistic than the general population, and given that divorce rates, out-of-wedlock births, and other measures of family stability are often lower in more overtly religious areas (at least in the US), I’d say an initial hypothesis would be that they are.”

            With respect, that’s a real stab-in-the-dark answer ..

            “Of course, I’m willing to consider contrary empirical data (you do realize that this is an empirical question, one we can answer using the methodologies of science, right?).”

            But we’re trying to establish how effective the tool (science) is in making such a judgment. But you’re suggesting we use the scientific tool itself to make a judgment about the tool itself (as to its effectiveness in exploring the nature of “love”) …

            I wrote: “Why do you have doubt that there might be spiritual existence?”

            You answered: “Because it explains nothing that is not explained by more naturalistic accounts”

            But the spiritual is the object of enquiry. We’re looking to explore and explain the object – not for the object by its own to explain its own existence ..
            Also, the claim made by those who believe in the spiritual is that the spiritual and the natural are apples and pears. You require a different approach, entirely, to explore and explain each one.
            Lastly, there are many atheists who believe in the spiritual – for example many Buddhists atheists (and many non-Buddhist atheists) – they just don’t attribute the spiritual to a divine existence.

            You wrote (in reference to last point – about the spiritual): “I doubt it for the same reason I doubt the existence of Santa Claus — do you doubt the existence of Santa Claus?”

            But the vast majority of people believe in spiritual existence / some kind of spiritual existence. Only a small proportion of people would compare the argument for the spiritual to the argument for the existence of Santa Claus. Those who believe in spiritual existence make good arguments for the spiritual such as: beauty (in inorganic matter, in the arts, in human personality and so), free will (that enables people to escape the predetermined nature of material existence), love (i.e. the love of “falling in love” as oppose to sexual intercourse, the love of compassion, i.e. a strong, rich young man helping a poor, diseased, old beggar in a ditch), and so on.

            “That free will is a property somehow independent of our physical existence and not subject to the material properties of our brains, but is a purely mental characteristic.”

            And why do you think these notions are “wrong” (not forgetting a previous question i asked: “If we are just material beings then how do we manage to escape the predetermined laws of the material world on the one hand, and the blind chaotic nature of the natural world on the other to have free will?”)

            1. Poppycock.
              None of what you are listing is “evidence” of anything supranatural.
              Love, beauty, etc are subjective sensations. Potent feelings as they are, only thing they show is that a part of your brain is getting activated. This has been studied time and again through various techniques such as fMRI and PET scans.
              As for free will, that is only a fancy way of saying that human behavior is to some extent unpredictable. The same thing is true about weather systems: the path of a hurricane can never be predicted with total certainty. The reason is that a weather system functions according to chaos theory. No reason to think human brain is different.
              Someone once told me neuroscience is an even bigger threat to religion than evolution is. I think he was right.

            2. And yet, Christianity claims that it is the only true religion, that there is a god, and the only way to him is through Jesus (John 14:6 among others).

            3. Patrick, my “fish philosopher” example was intended as a response to your question of why the universe is not chaotic, why we can understand it. My point is pretty simple — a chaotic universe wouldn’t produce beings that could understand it. If things had worked out differently, it might very well have been that the world would be a buzzing, blooming confusion, but there wouldn’t be any beings there to note that fact. It should therefore be no more surprising that a universe with humans in it is comprehensible than it is that a world with fish in it has water. A desert world would not produce fish-philosophers, and a chaotic universe would not produce us.

              To be very clear, I’m not saying that we somehow force the universe to be comprehensible, merely that an incomprehensible universe, if it existed, wouldn’t have us in it to wonder about its incomprehensibility.

              what claims does Christianity / Christianity theology make that are not entirely not good?

              Practically any claims about the physical world (the dead can rise, seas can part, prayers can heal, etc. etc. etc.).

              the spiritual is the object of enquiry. We’re looking to explore and explain the object – not for the object by its own to explain its own existence ..

              No, we first have to determine whether the spiritual even exists. If I said to you that you have to tell me the properties of unicorns, presumably you’d object that they aren’t real. Show me the spiritual is real, and then we can enquire about it.

              the vast majority of people believe in spiritual existence / some kind of spiritual existence

              The vast majority of people used to support slavery. The vast majority of men used to believe in the inferiority of women. The vast majority of humans used to believe the world was flat. The popularity of a belief is no measure of its truth.

              If we are just material beings then how do we manage to escape the predetermined laws of the material world

              How do you know we do? Are your actions not the product of your physical brain activity? Do you have a ghost in the machine magically causing your muscles to move and neurons to fire? If so, point to the break in the physical causal chain where such a mysterious non-physical force intervenes.

          2. “…and given that divorce rates, out-of-wedlock births, and other measures of family stability are often lower in more overtly religious areas (at least in the US)…”

            I think you mean to say:

            “…and given that divorce rates, out-of-wedlock births, and other measures of family INstability are often HIGHER in more overtly religious areas (at least in the US)…”

          3. Way to shift the goal posts. “Family stability” is not a synonym for “happiness”. Many married people are not happy, but because there is still a social stigma against divorce in some areas, they develop this strange idea that it’s better to be unhappy and married than happy and divorced.

            1. “Family stability” is not a synonym for “happiness”.

              Absolutely correct, but it is at least some sort of potential proxy. If you have better data with better measures, by all means present them.

            2. “Absolutely correct, but it is at least some sort of potential proxy.”

              Let me put it this way – families in patriarchal countries where honor killing is socially acceptable are REALLY stable.

        2. True. But Christians, unlike many atheists, don’t claim some sort of monopoly on science or rational thinking.

          I think you need to take another look at this claim you’ve made here. Atheists do not claim that science and rational thinking only work for them, or that only they are capable of doing those things.

          What atheists typically do claim is that science and rational thinking can and do produce useful information about the nature of reality, and that religion does not.

          And, if you think that religious proponents don’t often claim a monopoly on methods of learning about the nature of reality, you really need to pay better attention. That is one of the more ignorant claims I’ve heard yet.

          You should stop trying to rationalize your religious beliefs into something you find more palatable and take a good non biased look at your brand of religion as it is actually practiced by its adherents, proponents and leaders.

        3. “But Christians, unlike many atheists, don’t claim some sort of monopoly on science or rational thinking.”

          I don’t think atheists claim a monopoly, just a consistency.

        4. “But in what ways can science answer questions about things such as: “how to be happy?” ”

          It can’t, because that’s mostly a subjective question. Nobody can answer that, because the answer is different for each person. There is no right answer.

          We can predict what behaviors are more likely to result in happiness within a particular social context, but the only useful tool for making these predictions is science.

    3. Actually “Science wins because it works” is very far from meaningless.

      You can demand all the philosophical justification for why science works, but science still works in the absence of such justification. We don’t use science to understand how the universe works based on deep philosophical understandings of the nature of science, we use it because it is a method that consistently and repeatedly gives good answers.

    4. Some of the greatest scientists were devout scientists

      Patrick, you should have stopped while you were still (barely) making sense.

  2. Michael Egnor recently posted questions for atheists (I link to my responses instead of the Disco ‘Tute site, but the original link is there), and in it he did not quite explicitly state, but implied, that if the Gnu-ness was only about negating another thing, that that was bad.

    That just makes no sense to me. If you are protesting racial segregation, are you forced to offer an alternative? If you are protesting Canada’s seal harvest, do you need to offer an alternative? If you are protesting a particular war, do you need to offer an alternative?

    No. If you think something is bad, and you oppose it, that’s all that is required. Certainly each individual ought to have their own affirmative beliefs… but a movement does not require universal affirmative beliefs, if the movement exists primarily in protest to something that sucks.

    1. If you think something is bad, and you oppose it, that’s all that is required…a movement does not require universal affirmative beliefs, if the movement exists primarily in protest to something that sucks.

      Standing and Cheering!!

  3. i see regulars of the blog here supporting the idea that science works and i agree with that point;

    but my question is why a scientist will feel the need to even engage with a ‘believer’ ?

    to me engaging into debate with the believer is making science your religion which a lot of people do

    mankind needs much clearer thinking than ‘believing’ in science

    we are wasting our energies on irrelevant debate

    we need to look into the challenges we face as a result of our collective ignorance of ‘the nature and course of human evolution’

    we need to understand _etiology_ of ‘human condition’ and start doing _real_ work – not substituting beliefs in god with beliefs in science

    if anyone interested in further discussion on this topic e-mail me separately at avtodorov@yahoo.com

    think about your children and grandchildren – what kind of life they will be living and why…

    1. Well. There are reason, specifically for the sake of the coming generations.
      Look at climate change, for example. Denialism is prevalent, and religion is in part to blame, though obviously it is not the only culprit. Look at the NY Times article on the subject which was covered here some days ago. For some people, god has created the earth to be taken advantage of and/or the second coming is on the horizon and so no one needs to worry.
      Are you telling me scientists should not confront such delusions? Would it not be irresponsible to stay mum and watch what belongs to the following generations destroyed?
      And don’t even start me on stem cell research.
      The debate is not irrelevant.

      1. the issues you are pointing to are all important to deal with but they are not the root cause of mankind’s problems

        scientists have more important things to do – they need to realize that they are ‘true scientists’ at blackboards (mathematicians) or in their labs (biologists, tc.) but outside of the labs they are much the same as laymen – they are interested in making life easier for themselves and their own – that is to climb up the pyramid – the pecking order of the animal kindom is much the same among humans

        because of this blindness to the bigger picture nobody really talking about the real root cause of all problems – overpopulation – too many people on earth

        why they are not talking about it?

        because they believe in ‘human rights’ and ‘democracy and capitalism being the best and final form of government’ – a _faith_ of its own

        there is tremendous momentum in overpopulation – nobody seriously discusses it and nobody is working towards setting up ‘heuristic system of government’ that is focused on the one and only goal: ‘_continuing_ human existance and viability’

        the collapse of the civilization as we know it will not happen over night – it is already under way – you sited many manifestations of it

        but the ‘belief free science’ and ‘belief-free scientists’ that can be part of dynamic-self adjusting governement are nowhere in sight …

        but they will have to step forward sooner or later – if not now then in 2050 or 2100 or 2200

        1. scientists have more important things to do – they need to realize that they are ‘true scientists’ at blackboards (mathematicians) or in their labs (biologists, tc.) but outside of the labs they are much the same as laymen

          In the current political climate, if they don’t get out of their labs to advocate, they shortly may not have labs.

        2. Why don’t you shut up and get to work not breading? That will accomplish 2 things.

          You won’t make population control into your religion by strongly making your case.

          And, you can do your part in keeping the population down.

        3. Alex, you are giving me even more reasons religion should be challeneged.
          Overpopulation is a problem? Catholic church is a legitimate target for blame.
          Worried about terrorism? Help secularization in Islamic world.
          Want sustainable growth? Turn against religious fanatics undercutting it (such as climate change denialist Glen Beck).
          These issues concern science. Scientists simply cannot stay on the sidelines.

          1. i do not disagree that religion should be challenged but i say it is not top priority

            let me rephrase:

            suppose the religion is no longer an issue – everybody adheres to ‘scientific worldview’ (i would postpone the discussion on what constitutes ‘scientific worldview’ for later

            what next?

            i know you will argue that it is not going to happen and i will agree with you on that but this is just to look at the larger picture – what next?

            how will you tackle overpopulation?

            by education?

            talking to people that it is bad for the environment?

            trying to show ‘believers’ that their ‘believs’ have no basis is almost certain to fail because each talk the same words but mean different underlying ‘substance’ – much like all other notions that mankind have ‘conjured’ into existence by squeezing ‘knowledge’ out of ‘ignorance’

            and we are still born in ignorance – every new generation we are guaranteed millions of people to “buy” into religion – because they have never been properly educated to engage ‘critical thinking’

            even among people who consider themselves ‘scientists’ or of ‘scientific worldview’ when subject matter and discussion steers towards ‘human condition’ (that is ‘all phenomenon and things human’) people mostly regurgitate ‘_institutionalized opinion_’ not ‘hard science’ and _all_ institutionalized opinion regarding ‘human condition’ has come into existance as ‘conjurations’ out of ‘ignorance’

            this is what i am talking about

            if we keep on focusing on fighting persuasion battle the world will quickly go into 7 billion next year, 8 billion by 2025 and 9 billion by 2040 – 2050 and all of those people whant to consume at the US level

            what do we do about this?

            but most importantly how?

            there are practical recommendations regarding the mode of operations not the magic bullet solutions but mankind is nowhere near to begin the transition

            if we do not do it in the organized fashion we will be forced to do it because the planet is not expandable – there is a limit to how much system can bear

            the rebalancing will be not so fun

            i think we owe to our children to look into the heart of the matter not just debate if religion makes sense – it will eventually vestigialize in much the same fashion as nobody now thinks that the earth is flat

            1. Well you make some good points, however, please do not assume what my answers would be.
              If one day the whole world becomes one giant Sweden, I will be happy to spend my times on other matters. Until then, though, we have work to do.
              I agree with you 100% that overpopulation is one of our biggest challenges. However, I think you are overlooking how much of the problem is indeed caused by religion. If you look closely, it is not happening by and large in developed, secularized nations. It is mostly happening in the third world. In a number of developed nations population is actually shrinking.
              And while association is not causation, religiosity (specifically catholicism) is a major contributor to out of control overpopulation in some of the poorest nations of Africa and Latin America. As such, I’d say that challenging religion IS the priority.
              The other side of the problem is Islam. Radicalization can happen even in muslims with no history of poverty or other excuses that are generally given. If you actually believe what the Koran preaches, becoming a radical is a very easy transition. Again, religion is the danger, and we simply cannot afford to ignore it, like other unsupported beliefs such as astrology and homeopathy.
              Secularization is every bit as important for our collective future as anything.

    2. From the moment you said “belief in science” I think it’s pretty safe to say that very few here would like to talk more with you.

      1. i do not belief in anything

        i belive in having no believs 🙂

        or rather

        ‘human deliberative capability is a machinethat goes by itself’ and

        inevitably

        ‘science and science along, free of any belifs, will be the one and only shepherd of human condition’

        1. i belive in having no believs

          Yeah, and I’m a butterfly dreaming he’s a man. As a catchphrase it’s cute, but not much more than that.

          1. Are you sure you are not a tree dreaming you’re a butterfly dreaming that you’re a man who believe in having no believes?

            1. guys – see my post to patrick – i could define ‘having no believs’ but it will take long time and not productive use of this forum

              if you are interested what i mean by those words i can e-mail you separately

              i do have ‘belief window’ as everyone else but i am aware of it an make sure i regularly wipe it clean – to the extent it is possible to do

            2. Are you sure you are not a tree dreaming you’re a butterfly dreaming that you’re a man who believe in having no believes?</blockquote?

              Gah! This solipsism stuff is hard!

              Screw it, I’m taking the blue pill.

    3. Why should we waste time on irrelevant debate with a believer?

      Maybe it could be asked, in the same vein, why you want to discuss issues with scientists?

      Instead of engaging on this blog why don’t you get to work doing “real work”, as you say?

      Learn this, believing that the process and principles of science work, and arguing that point, does not make it a religion to me.

      If you’re confused about the definition of religion or science you probably are ignorant about what fundamentalism means also.

      1. to rick t:

        there are a lot of philosophical questions that have no answers – – talking about those would be not productive use of time

        see my post to patrick re: forensic integrity in the discussion – here is not the good place to talk about ‘philosophical questions’

        as to your above comment regarding personal contribution to decreasing population – that is certainly an option for each of us and at present still a matter of personal choice, over geological timeframe (next 4.5 billions years) it will no longer be a matter of personal choice – the rigourosely developed argument of this assertion is available to you if you are interested

        1. For someone chiding others for arguing science with believers, you seem to be a wordy cuss.

          I believe it possible to do more than one thing at a time, like walk and chew gum. If you want to spread the word about over-population, go for it. Just don’t expect everyone to be as one track as you are. I appreciate a good rebuttal of creationist nonsense and I can vote too. Would you believe I have various other interests also.
          One of my interests is how people, like you, can’t seem to recognize their own hypocrisy. You want us to keep our opinions about religion to ourselves yet you’re here derailing the topic when you should follow your own advice and keep quiet.
          Why don’t you lead by example?

          1. to rick,

            i did not even get to the
            _real_ problem – the fact that so many people never learn _critical thinking_

            in any case i will be leaving you talking about your interests and not learning anything new – that is your choice

            when things will get tough and ruff – those who spend time now to learn will be better prepared

            i came to the forum to see if the people here are open minded – you can chase me away – i don’t mind

            all the best

            alex

            1. No, what you came here for was to see if people would agree with you, and it looks like they don’t.

              Trying to hide behind ‘I just wanted to see if you were open-minded’ is pissant troll behaviour, and will get you very short thrift here.

              Have you tried The Intersection? It might be more your scene.

  4. Tulse,

    Also,

    I asked “Actually, what is science?”

    You answered: “The rational pursuit of understanding of the world through empirical means.”

    – This seems, with respect, like quite a 19th century, pre-quantum-phsyics view of science. With modern science (i.e. quantum mechanics / cosmology) depending heavily on Mathematics (not entirely, of course).
    Also ..
    And even if you’re trying to empirically verify theories, based to a significant degree on Mathemaics, how would you empirically verify, for example, the nature of dimensions that exist beyond those of our material world (dimensions as proposed, for example, in string theory)?

    1. Patrick – please!
      You came into a blog post on a joke – a joke you didn’t get – and you expect your drivel to be answered with a full explanation of science that fits all modalities that you can think of.

    2. You answered: “The rational pursuit of understanding of the world through empirical means.”

      – This seems, with respect, like quite a 19th century, pre-quantum-phsyics view of science. With modern science (i.e. quantum mechanics / cosmology) depending heavily on Mathematics (not entirely, of course).

      Mathematics isn’t part of “rational pursuit”?

      how would you empirically verify, for example, the nature of dimensions that exist beyond those of our material world (dimensions as proposed, for example, in string theory)?

      I dunno, and your example is quite apropros, as there are many physicists who argue that without any possible empirical test, string theory is not science, but philosophy. (That said, there are some hints that there may be ways to test the theory empirically, or at least test some of its implications.)

    3. “And even if you’re trying to empirically verify theories, based to a significant degree on Mathemaics, how would you empirically verify, for example, the nature of dimensions that exist beyond those of our material world (dimensions as proposed, for example, in string theory)?”

      You would try to use the mathematics to predict observations that we could make about those other dimensions by their effect on this world. If we could not, then we would conclude that there is insufficient evidence to think those dimensions exist.

      Our understanding of quantum physics relies on empirical observation.

  5. Dominic

    “Patrick – we do not say Science is perfect – but we DO assert that it is a whole lot better, truer & more honest than superstition”

    – That’s not a rational argument, let alone an argument at all – but rather an opinion (when if ever an argument and a rational argument was needed it is here – in an argument that involves science!)

    Your opinion is as valuable or invaluable as someone who believes there are pink frogs that live on the moon or the hundreds of opinions that the billions of people on Earth express everyday ..

    You do however say: “but we DO assert that it is a whole lot better, truer & more honest than superstition”
    – my rational response to that is: “a whole lot better” suggests that there is still some truth, honesty (not sure what you mean by this in this context) and honest (again, not sure what you mean by this in this context) to “superstition” (and not entirely sure what you mean by “superstition” – does that include claims for the existence of the spiritual, for example)?

    1. Look, Patrick.
      Science is better than superstition because, science flies you to the moon. Superstition (like thinking there is an afterlife) flies you into buildings.

      1. “Look, Patrick.
        Science is better than superstition because, science flies you to the moon. Superstition (like thinking there is an afterlife) flies you into buildings.”

        – There are mad-dog atheists who kill others and themselves as well (not in the belief of anything – but because of a desparing belief in nothing).

        There are people who kill themselves and others, not because of religion, but because of things such as “honour” whatever that is (i.e. Kamikaze pilots flying into US ships in World War ii and killing many people).

        When it comes to killing (either yourself or others whether in suicide or not), Christianity has some tough, challenging things to say: that people must love others in order to be “Christian”, “do not kill”, that they will be judged for their actions in this life, and so on. The atheist has no such challenge (other than conscience and fear of the law, but then the Christian is challenged by these as much as the atheist).

        And as attributed to Dostoevsky “if there is no god then anything is permissible”.

        Lastly, Christianity is very much about hope (St Paul: “faith, hope and love” 1 Corinthians 13). Hope isn’t something prescriptive that theologians can explain (we all have our own – and similar – ideas of what hope is: humour, wit, the arts, friendship, poetry, film, the natural world, and so on – seeing “magic” in life). All theologians say is that it is crucial to the Christian life. That being joyful / happy / fulfilled is essential in Christianity. And that Christian life must be geared towards bringing hope to others too.
        Sure, atheists have hope too. And encourage hope in others. But Woody Allen has some devestating things to say about the nature of atheism and how it can bring despair.
        See here for more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oo9OFnHAFVM

        1. – There are mad-dog atheists who kill others and themselves as well (not in the belief of anything – but because of a desparing belief in nothing).

          Really? Name some.

          Oh, and provide details of how you know that their motivation for doing what they did was atheism – and also how atheism was responsible.

          Just a simple set of steps outlining their thought process will do.

        2. Oh, the Jesus version of god. Sigh. I think your points have been covered in previous blog entries if you look back over recent months, but yours seems a rather pick-&-mix religion.

          You say –
          “When it comes to killing […] Christianity has some tough, challenging things to say: that people must love others in order to be “Christian”, “do not kill”, that they will be judged for their actions in this life, and so on. The atheist has no such challenge (other than conscience and fear of the law, but then the Christian is challenged by these as much as the atheist).”

          Morality eh? that old chestnut. Why do you need a challenge to behave well? Are you so weak willed that without laws, human or godly, you would become a monster? I doubt it. Have some confidence in yourself. besides which plenty of other religions have strong views on behaviour, but I suppose you don’t follow them.

          I am with Feuerbach –
          “Whenever morality is based on theology, whenever right is made dependent on divine authority, the most immoral, unjust, infamous things can be justified and established.”

          As to hope (& what is wrong with despair? – don’t answer that, life’s too short) I could write a book on how hope is humanity’s curse but that was done by the biologist Angus Wilson in his 1975 book, The Last Generation.

          As Eliot said, “Human kind cannot bear very much reality”.

        3. “If there is no god then anything is permissible”.

          Permissible by whom? Strangely, all those people who believe in false gods or no gods behave more or less morally, so just how is your god’s permission relevant?

          Are you saying that the only thing stopping you from raping the kid across the road is your god?

    2. The claims made by science are consistent with what we observe about reality. The claims made by religion are not consistent with what we observe about reality. This is not an opinion, this is an objectively observable fact.

  6. to patrick

    before you will get the answer on what the true science is you need to review and understand two pieces on the limitations of language

    i sense you will begetting a lot of responses that will not be convincing to you and whatever you say will not be convincing to people in this blog

    if you think you are rational explore the below links:

    Organizational Aspects of ‘The Human Phenomenon and Things Human’
    http://www.condition.org/organiz.htm

    and companion piece

    Roget’s Thesaurus and ‘The System of Human Experience’
    http://www.condition.org/roget.htm

    if you understand these two pieces you then should read the piece on forensic integrity in the discussion here

    http://www.condition.org/forensic.htm

    after this piece you should have a clear understanding why most of the discourse, scientific or otherwise, lacks forensic integrity and therefore leads nowhere.

  7. Tulse,

    “Mathematics isn’t part of “rational pursuit”?

    – Whether it is or isn’t is irrelevant to the comment i made (a comment which wasn’t even a claim but a question ..).

    1. Perhaps then you can explain your comment further, and where you disagree with my description of science.

      1. Time spent arguing with the faithful is, oddly enough, almost never wasted. —Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian

  8. So Patrick, do all animals have suprantural aspects to their exsitence? What about plants? You know, fungi, bacteria, viruses, particles of DNA in the lab…
    Or it is this supranaturalism limited to upgright African apes with big heads, with the uniqueness of being at risk of death during childbirth?

    1. Insightful Ape

      “So Patrick, do all animals have suprantural aspects to their exsitence? What about plants? You know, fungi, bacteria, viruses, particles of DNA in the lab…”

      – Well, let’s start, first, with what we can observe and know, as humans. Then we can move onto animals and others.

      “Or it is this supranaturalism limited to upgright African apes with big heads, with the uniqueness of being at risk of death during childbirth?”

      – Christianity doesn’t make claims that this world is a perfect reflection of Paradise. Rather that there is much in this world that is magic, and that this magic reflects something of Paradise.
      If this world was a perfect reflection of Paradise then we would have full knowledge of the divine, and so our faith would be something that was injected into us. On the other hand, if there was nothing magical about this world, then our belief in the divine would be blind (we’d have no clues whatsoever as to the existence of Paradise – except for that stated in scripture, for example).
      Christians believe that if you look for it, there is plenty of magic in this world that points to the existence of Paradise and the divine. That life is a journey towards the divine, in which we have to CHOOSE to search for and know God (with the key to this being focusing on love) as opposed to having this imposed on us.

      1. Nice way of avoiding the question Patrick.
        I don’t need you to rehearse your religious doctrine. It is not like you are telling me I haven’t heard.
        Do living things other than humans have a supranatural side, or not?

        1. Insightful Ape

          “Do living things other than humans have a supranatural side, or not?”

          I’ll answer your question, but it’s doesn’t impact on whether human’s have a supernatural side, or not, and whether the supernatural exists or not.

          I see something “magical” in the natural world (animals, trees and so on). Rather like the magic i see in a painting that depicts the natural world. And i see this “magic” as being something supernatural. Subjective response, i know. But that’s the best way i can answer this. But, no, i don’t believe any other animal (or flower etc ..) has a soul (if that’s what you mean). I’m more sure that humans do – because i’m able to experience what it is to be a human from the inside plus i’m able to communicate with other humans.

          But whether other animals do or don’t have souls, i don’t see how this impacts (or not) on the assertion that the supernatural exists?

          1. “I’m more sure that humans do – because i’m able to experience what it is to be a human from the inside plus i’m able to communicate with other humans.”
            Amazing logic. The first part being, humans have soul because you are a human being, second part, because humans can communicate (nice to know my cell phone has a soul too).
            “But whether other animals do or don’t have souls, i don’t see how this impacts (or not) on the assertion that the supernatural exists?”
            Well I didn’t think you were so dense, but here is the answer:
            since the line between different forms of life is so fuzzy that if you conclude humans have souls you may have to extend the concept all the way to fungi, bacteria, and viruses, that should give you an idea of how silly the whole notion of soul is.

      2. “Christianity doesn’t make claims that this world is a perfect reflection of Paradise. Rather that there is much in this world that is magic, and that this magic reflects something of Paradise.”

        What evidence do you have to support that claim, as well as the claim that Paradise exists?

  9. Insightful Ape

    “None of what you are listing is “evidence” of anything supranatural.
    Love, beauty, etc are subjective sensations. Potent feelings as they are, only thing they show is that a part of your brain is getting activated.”

    – It doesn’t follow that because your brain gets activiated that the spiritual or something spiritual isn’t involved as well in these things.
    Christians believe, for example, that both the physical and the spiritual are involved in love. A husband “makes love” to his wife. Brain activation is involved for sure (no-one denies that). But something else happens to make the sexual intercourse more than just sexual intercouse but “making love”.

    Regarding beauty.
    Millions of people find the stars beautiful but not a lump of shit, for example (some might).
    Why do people find the stars beautiful?
    I can understand why some might find a peacock’s tail beautiful (nature made it that way for functional purposes i.e. to encourage procreation). But why the stars? Or a snowflake? Or a line of Beduin tribesman on camels crossing the dessert at night with a flock of storks flying above under the bright moon and stars … type-thing … The fact is that millions of people would find this beautiful. You could even take some inuits who might hardly ever even heard of the dessert, and take them to the dessert, and some of them would instinctively find this beautiful. Why? And, although beauty often is in the eye of the beholder, there are so many things – the same things – that so many people just find beautiful. And, we, all instinctively understand the idea of beauty. Why? What is this thing beauty (in inorganic nature, in the arts, in human personality, and so on).

    “This has been studied time and again through various techniques such as fMRI and PET scans.”

    Also no scientist has ever made some comprehensive claim about the nature of love that has gone on to be peer reviewed and accepted to the degree that science has found the key to love and how to find it and enjoy it etc … (if they had, they would be very rich and famous …).

    “As for free will, that is only a fancy way of saying that human behavior is to some extent unpredictable. The same thing is true about weather systems: the path of a hurricane can never be predicted with total certainty. The reason is that a weather system functions according to chaos theory. No reason to think human brain is different.”

    – Well there would be a lot of atheists who would disagree with you on that.
    So all your thoughts and actions are the result of preceding chemical reactions and reactions in the natural world in general?
    And this raises the nature of good and evil. If what you say is true, then the Nazis can’t be blamed for the Holocaust because their actions were the result of reactions inside and outside their minds and bodies – outside of their control.

    “Someone once told me neuroscience is an even bigger threat to religion than evolution is. I think he was right”.

    – Evolution isn’t a threat to religion. It’s the reverse (unless you’re a Creationist). Evolution just (in a wonderful way ..) tells us how much more complicated the natural world really is, and that the Bible isn’t meant to be a science book …

    Rather it is quantum mechanics and cosmology that is, in many ways, challenging the building-block view of the natural world that some atheists (and others) have(with modern science suggesting that time travel is theoretically possible, that the future can influence the present, that gravity passes out of our world of time/space/matter and passes into other dimensions and then back into our, again, and so on …).

    “If anybody says he can think about quantum physics without getting giddy, that only shows he has not understood the first thing about them”.
    Niels Bohr

    “If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet”.
    Niels Bohr

    And why creative-thinking / imagination (non-rational thinking as opposed to irrational thinking) is so important in modern science (sure, rational thinking is, of course, still crucial):

    “imagination is more important than knowledge” – Einstein.

    If imagination / creative-thinking is so fundamental in scientific enquiry, then you can understand how important it is in other areas of enquiry, i.e. in the arts and philosophy, falling “in love” and human relationships, and exploring whether the spiritual exists or not (and more ..).

    1. Patrick,
      I have to say there is nothing as impressive as your ignorant gall.
      Can a sensation of beauty, compassion, love, or “free will” be a function of the brain only? Of course not. You won’t allow it! As a person with no understanding of neuroscience whatsoever, you decide, by fiat, what human brain may or may not do.
      Nazis were dangerous people. You don’t have to think human existence has a supranatural side to understand that. A hurricane is dangerous too.
      You know what else chirstians believed, for 1700 years, human brain could not produce? Epileptic seizures. The supersistion is based on the gospel of mark. Seizures, in the word of jesus, where caused by evil spirits. They tried to treat them by exorcism and trepanation. The result was untold human misery.
      But once you discover that seizures are caused by eletrical activity in the brain, you no longer need to believe in evil spirits. And once you discover that emotions (including compassion) and “decision making) are also functions of the brain, you no longer invoke the “soul”.
      It is called the principle of parsimony, aka, Occam’s razor. Look it up.

    2. “with modern science suggesting that time travel is theoretically possible, that the future can influence the present,”

      Modern science suggests nothing of the kind. In fact, modern science suggests that time travel is theoretically [i]im[/i]possible.

    3. “So all your thoughts and actions are the result of preceding chemical reactions and reactions in the natural world in general?
      And this raises the nature of good and evil. If what you say is true, then the Nazis can’t be blamed for the Holocaust because their actions were the result of reactions inside and outside their minds and bodies – outside of their control. ”

      That doesn’t follow at all.

      1. I find most desserts beautiful probably because I am descended from ancestors who took high-energy foods to build up fat reserves against times of hunger, but a line of Bedouin crossing my pavlova might put me off.

        Oh, you mean deserts. Still, perhaps the same argument applies. Humans with a long common evolutionary history are likely to have common inbuilt responses which are then modified by cultural conditioning and circumstances.

        And perhaps we should be careful about generalising beauty standards. Reputedly, in the 18th century, English tourists doing their European tour, pulled down the shades on their coaches when nearing the Alps, as raw nature was of little interest to them. A glance at female images from prehistoric fertility goddesses to Rubens to our supermodels suggests a little modesty before making sweeping statements of aesthetic taste.

  10. Patrick, since you’re so skeptical of the value of the scientific method, what is it you’d have humanity replace it with? Self-referrential analysis of Bronze- and Iron-Age mythology demonstrated to be inconsistent not only with itself but with all other evidence? Blind trust in the contemplative meditations of the richest and most powerful men? What?

    We’ve run those experiments, over and over and over again. At best, they fail to produce knowledge that can be trusted to be applied in practical endeavors. More often than not, they end in misery for huge numbers of people.

    Science works because it’s an iterative process. Not surprisingly, it shares a great deal in common with the Theory of Evolution. Both start with a number of variations on a humble theme, pick the best of the litter, and then create variations on that.

    Religion fails because it refuses to experiment and thus never gets the raw material necessary to advance.

    It really doesn’t get much simpler than that….

    Cheers,

    b&

  11. Ben Goren
    Posted October 25, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Permalink
    Patrick, since you’re so skeptical of the value of the scientific method, what is it you’d have humanity replace it with?

    What?

    You’re attributing an argument to me i never made or suggested. Sorry, but you might as well have said i believe in pink frogs that live on the moon and that shoot fire out of their backsides.

    Can i just remind you that Christians love science as much as anyone else – I mean if it wasn’t for their love of science, devout Christians such as Sir Isaac Newton, Faraday, Mendel (one of the main founders of gentics), Lemaitre (one of main founders of Big Bang theory), Pasteur, Max Planck (founder of quantum physics, and arguably the second greatest scientist of the 20th century) and many others wouldn’t have been the great scientists they were.

    1. How convenient. I guess Cardinal Bellarmine, James Ussher, and Kem Ham weren’t/aren’t true Christians.

      1. Insightful Ape

        Sorry, don’t follow your point.
        Please expand, and i’ll try and answer.

        (and i tend / try hard to avoid coming to prescriptive conclusions about people as you do here – however it was, that is, you arrived at these conclusions).

        1. Cardinal Bellarmine, James Ussher, and Ken Ham were (or are in the case of Ham) hostile to science.

    2. Well, if you’re so fond of science, then why don’t you apply it to your articles of faith?

      As I recall, Christians believe some really goofy things, right up there with pink fire-farting moon frogs. There’s the magic garden with talking animals and an angry giant in the opening story; there’s the talking plant that gives magic wand lessons to the reluctant hero a bit later on; and there’s the man who revivified putrescent corpses, whose death was accompanied by a zombie invasion, and who himself wandered Jerusalem for a month and a half with a gaping chest wound and holes in his hands and feet at the end.

      Surely at least some of that must be amenable to scientific investigation, no? You could try to teach snakes to talk and ask them to help you select some fruit; you could set plants on fire and then ask them how to use a magic wand; and you could do a census of morgues to see how many people with gaping chest wounds, once declared dead, later got up and walked away.

      If you’re not willing to perform such an investigation but you still insist that such things can happen, then it’s not science you think you believe in, but cargo cult scientism.

      Cheers,

      b&

    3. Patrick,

      Perhaps you should start your own blog that you can clog up with your ‘arguments’. We have seen them and dealt with them thousands of times over dozens of blogs in the past few years. I, for one, am tired of each new verbose faith-head who comes to science blogs to flout his inanity.

      1. Oh, I’m sure the good doctor will exercise good judgement in deciding when enough is enough as far as Patrick is concerned.

        In the mean time…the main purpose of Jerry’s professional life is scientific education. Patrick is in dire need of rudimentary scientific education, and that’s what we’re providing him with — in the most basic manner possible. He’s obliquely presented some fuzzy hypotheses. We’re challenging him to clarify those hypotheses, and then going on to challenge his data and conclusions. That’s peer review in action.

        Cheers,

        b&

  12. Gotta a go (night-time here).
    Thanks for participation.
    Apologies if any comments were over-assertive. And there are one or two things i would retract / say differently.
    Peace.

  13. “Christians love science as much as anyone else … Newton, Faraday, Mendel …”

    Muslims love science as much as anyone else—I mean if it wasn’t for their love of science, Muslims such as Avicenna, al-Khwārizmī (the father of algebra, from whom algebra gets its name, and for whom “algorithm” is named, which allow you to emit nonsense into teh interwebs), Omar Khayyám, Ben Mousa, Ibn Sahl (who discovered Snell’s law), Abdus Salam (Nobel laureate for QED), and many others wouldn’t have been the great scientists they were.

    As a putative Muslim, I should also warn you that the Holy Qur’an assures us that you will burn in hell for asserting the nonsense that God needs a little helper:

    Surely whoever associates (others) with Allah, then Allah has forbidden to him the garden, and his abode is the fire; and there shall be no helpers for the unjust.
    Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely Allah is the third (person) of the three; and there is no god but the one God, and if they desist not from what they say, a painful chastisement shall befall those among them who disbelieve.
    Original: لَقَدْ كَفَرَ الَّذِينَ قَالُواْ إِنَّ اللّهَ هُوَالْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ وَقَالَ الْمَسِيحُ يَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ اعْبُدُواْاللّهَ رَبِّي وَرَبَّكُمْ إِنَّهُ مَن يُشْرِكْ بِاللّهِ فَقَدْ حَرَّمَ اللّهُعَلَيهِالْجَنَّةَ وَمَأْوَاهُ النَّارُ وَمَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ مِنْ أَنصَارٍ
    لَّقَدْ كَفَرَ الَّذِينَ قَالُواْ إِنَّ اللّهَ ثَالِثُ ثَلاَثَةٍ وَمَا مِنْإِلَـهٍ إِلاَّ إِلَـهٌ وَاحِدٌ وَإِن لَّمْ يَنتَهُواْ عَمَّا يَقُولُونَ لَيَمَسَّنَّالَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِنْهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِي
    —The Qur’an (القرآن), Sura 5:72–73 (The Dinner Table, سورة المائدة

    1. Battle of the dogmas !

      Time to break out the popcorn, sit back and enjoy.

      I must say, it seems much more impressive (and mysterious) in the original Arabic.

      As a putative xtian, I see your Sura and raise you several verses from the old and new testaments.

      That made my day, Thanks.

  14. Excuse me?????

    As a high priest in the order of the Flying Spaghetti Monster I would like to point out we noodly ones love science as much as the next random religious cult!!

    And I will not stand idly by while all my adversaries are claiming all of the good scientist!

    1. Plus, your god has the added bonus of edibility!

      Oh, er, but so does Cheeses of Nazareth. They eat him when he becomes wafer thin.

  15. to insightfulape

    i guess we ran out of the depth for the thread – your last point was secularization is important – i totally agree

    moreover i would argue that secularization is inevitable over geological timeframe, much like science will inevitably become the sepherd of ‘human condition’ over geological timeframe (4.5 billion years before sun burns out)

    i have been trying to invite people to learn something new about life but it appears to me that we all like the comfortable state of “knowing” all the answers about life and how we should manage ourselves collectively (mankind as an organism-whole that is)

    i will be leaving this forum

    all the best to everyone

    alex

      1. have you tried to look into essays i posted for patrick to read?

        he ignored them but there is a lot there to start looking at the old journey with the new eys

Comments are closed.