• t0m
    319
    Basically, scientific evidence is "taken on faith" for the average citizen in the West, in the same way that theological conundrums were taken on faith by the average person for centuries. Rather than having ditched religion, the West has transferred the religious need to another sphere of inquiry; or more accurately, to another perspective from which to view "reality".Noble Dust

    You make an important point. I'd call it expert culture. But even participants in this expert culture (scientists or engineers in one field among many) are themselves in this situation. There is just too much knowledge. Becoming proficient in a single field is the work of many years. No one sees the machine as a whole anymore. It's impossible.

    But I think it's politics that has absorbed much of the interest that religion proper has lost. Wasn't the lost traditional religion largely political to begin with? One could argue that only the operant "theology" has changed --in the direction of individual liberty. My interpretation of scripture, my sex life, my dietary choices, etc., are mine. This freedom comes at the cost of angst. I can't rest in the certainty of the government-enforced one-right-way to worship-obey the official god as officially conceived by experts. I have to stand in a "field" of disagreement. Others may laugh at me, mock what I hold most sacred.

    I personally embrace this burden. I speculate that frustration with our "godless" world (a frustration that refuses to see just how full of belief we really are, even if the beliefs modulate) is a desire to escape this burden blended with a desire to impose one's own vision on others. These desires are deeply and perhaps inescapably human.
  • andrewk
    907
    I don't agree with that at all. Why 'obviously'? And why this anthropomorphism of the gene? The last person I saw doing that was Richard Dawkins - not, I thought, one of your heroes.
  • Meta
    185
    Yes, and my response to that is that that's not how science works, and that the text is not something that a thoughtful scientist would say.

    A politician would never say that we are slaves but in fact a lot of us are wage slaves. Same with the physicist. The scientific community has an institutional hierarchy with informational monopoly at the top. They also get a lot of tax money from everyone. (We are forced to believe in science.)
  • Meta
    185
    I agree with you; I've tried to make similar arguments before. Basically, scientific evidence is "taken on faith" for the average citizen in the West, in the same way that theological conundrums were taken on faith by the average person for centuries.

    I'm glad that someone agrees with me. However I think science and religion are different, I'm just looking for a criteria that tells the difference. The self being the subject or being observeble are not correct ones (in my opinion).
  • Meta
    185
    If you are a scientist, or a priest, or even a mathematician, you still have the same problems. One cannot check everything, and must rely on the community.

    But then being a creationist does not directly imply being ignorant or stupid. It means you believe in the truth of a community different from the scientific community.
    They teach the physical theory and not creationism at schools. How do they explain that? They surely have a criteria.
  • charleton
    260
    Basically, scientific evidence is "taken on faith" for the average citizen in the West, in the same way that theological conundrums were taken on faith by the average person for centuries. Rather than having ditched religion, the West has transferred the religious need to another sphere of inquiry; or more accurately, to another perspective from which to view "reality".Noble Dust

    So what? Since the findings of science are gathered with a strict method they are deserving of that faith. Mythical stories written by goat farmers 2000 years ago are not deserving of the same degree of faith.
  • unenlightened
    1.7k
    But then being a creationist does not directly imply being ignorant or stupid. It means you believe in the truth of a community different from the scientific community.

    They teach the physical theory and not creationism at schools. How do they explain that? They surely have a criteria.
    Meta

    There are two traditions that conflict. We are in a community where those two traditions are meeting, and it is necessary to choose. But then one examines and chooses.

    Suppose I came up with some universal criteria for choosing, and another came up with some different criteria. By what criteria would you choose the criteria by which to choose? It is an impossible question, and when one arrives at an impossible question, one has to answer with ones's life. Choose!
  • Noble Dust
    1.5k


    The problem is what sort of meaning the belief system imputes. Religion imputed a telos that gave every day life a purpose; science as a belief system only imputes data.
  • Noble Dust
    1.5k
    There is just too much knowledge. Becoming proficient in a single field is the work of many years. No one sees the machine as a whole anymore. It's impossible.t0m

    Yes, this is important.
  • Janus
    4k


    Right! I am convinced that people never choose their overarching 'life' beliefs on the basis of so-called pure rationality; and this is because there is no such thing. Any movement of thought is based on (in rational terms) baseless axioms or presuppositions.

    People choose their life beliefs in diverse ways; on the basis of habit, acceptance or rejection of authority, in light of intuition or what feels right to them, or of how things have come to seem to them through lived experience, or in the context of profound epiphanic experiences, and so on. It is always an existential and affective, and never a coldly rational, process, as I see it.
  • andrewk
    907
    A politician would never say that we are slaves but in fact a lot of us are wage slaves.Meta
    I agree
    Same with the physicist.Meta
    I wouldn't say a lot of physicists are wage slaves, but you're probably right that some are. The reason not many would be is that physics is fun, plus physicists are generally very good at maths, so if they don't like their job they can move into finance, make a load of money very quickly then retire and do whatever they want. Not many physicists do that because, as I said, physics is fun (more fun that finance), but plenty do.
    The scientific community has an institutional hierarchy with informational monopoly at the top.Meta
    It's not very hierarchical. Power over budgets and people is hierarchical, but real power in science is influence, which tends to be driven by the value of one's discoveries, and that is not very hierarchical. Nor do I think there is an informational monopoly at the top, unless you're referring to the obsession with paper publishing, citation counts and the power of the big journals. If so, I agree that that's a very bad thing (I could rave about it for hours) but I wouldn't call it an information monopoly.
    They also get a lot of tax money from everyone. (We are forced to believe in science.)Meta
    Being forced to pay tax for something doesn't mean that one is forced to believe in it.

    Some of the tax I have to pay is used to spy on and incarcerate my fellow citizens in the name of the phony 'war on terror', and some of it is used to lock up and mistreat refugees. And my government has just wasted $122 million of taxpayers money to hold a postal ballot on whether to allow marriage equality, even though it knew a large majority of the population wants it, just because if they did their job properly and had a free-conscience parliamentary vote on a bill to introduce marriage equality (which would almost certainly have passed), that would cause some of the hard-right members of the ruling party to get irritated at the PM.

    I don't like my tax being used to pay for those things, but it doesn't make me believe in those things.
  • charleton
    260
    No, religion does not do this at all.
    Without religion I am free to determine with honesty my own telos.
  • Meta
    185
    All right the speech of the physicist was purely a metaphore for the belief system in science. The point of my claim is that a leap of faith is needed even in the most rigorous sciences. Also there are other similarities between science and religion.

    Power over budgets and people is hierarchical, but real power in science is influence, which tends to be driven by the value of one's discoveries, and that is not very hierarchical.

    I would argue this. People who answer questions originally raised by the scientific community are rewarded but try to build a new theory or say something completely new and your are f...ed.
  • Sapientia
    4.3k
    Who should we believe: the priest or the scientist? And based on what?

    Well, who do we find the most convincing, and why?

    I don't find anything that the priest says convincing. Why would I? I don't even know what he's talking about when he talks about the soul and about spirituality, because those terms are vague and undefined. How would going to church verify anything that he has told me? The part that seems the most testable, although not scientifically, is the part about whether the people there are of a high moral standard.

    The scientist, on the other hand, I find much more convincing, because I've seen science work. I have conducted scientific experiments and seen the results. I have seen how science explains things better than alternatives. With each confirmation in the scientific method, my confidence in it gains. It's more plausible that if I went to CERN and witnessed what they do there, it would be as they say, then that it would turn out to be an elaborate ploy.

    Your analogy is, of course, a false analogy.
  • Meta
    185
    False why? Would you explain?

    The priest could say theres technology and such but did science make people happier? Maybe, maybe not. I think most of the everyday technologies are useless and make people depressed. Does religion make people happier and morally better? He could claim that. So the priests evidence is psychological in nature.

    There is a cult in my country that has a farm. A police magazine made an article about them a couple of years ago: there were zero crimes committed there in the 20 year history of the farm. Thousands of people go there every year. Thats something.
  • Sapientia
    4.3k
    False why? Would you explain?Meta

    I just did. (Also, see the edit).

    The priest could say theres technology and such but did science make people happier? No. Does religion make people happier and morally better? He could claim that.Meta

    That's just changing the subject. Your opening post wasn't about which of the two would make someone happier. I don't care to discuss that. I thought that this was about who is more plausible based on the sort of examples that you originally gave.

    There is a cult in my country that has a farm. A police magazine made an article about them a couple of years ago: there were zero crimes committed there in the 20 year history of the farm. Thousands of people go there every year. Thats something.Meta

    Yes, that's something. Something of very little discernible relevance. Are you attempting to show that people who join a cult can be good people? Okay, granted. So what? I don't need a priest to tell me that, and I don't need a cult or a religion to be a good person.
  • Meta
    185
    Well you have a point. But as I said the evidence of the priest is psychological (and can be indirect like happiness) and not scientifically measurable.

    My example with the farm is an observable example of a place with very high moral standards. This place can be argued to be not as good as but collectively morally a much better place than other places.

    You did not explain why the analogy is false you just answered the OP. The structure of both claims are the same: somebody asking for faith which will be later verified by (subjective or objective) evidence.

    Edit: I suppose you also know that the interpretations of quantum mechanics are just as mystical as that of the soul.
  • Sapientia
    4.3k
    Well you have a point. But as I said the evidence of the priest is psychological (like happiness) and not scientifically measurable.

    My example with the farm is an observable example of a place with very high moral standards. This place can be argued to be not as good but collectively morally better than other places.
    Meta

    That neglects to take into consideration the individualistic nature of psychology and moral standards. I know what would make me happy better than this priest, who doesn't know me at all, and I'll be the judge of what's a high moral standard.

    You did not explain why the analogy is false you just answered the OP. The structure of both claims are the same: somebody asking for faith which will be later verified by (subjective or objective) evidence.Meta

    The big dissimilarity, which I think was clear enough from my previous comment, is that I have far greater reason to believe the one than the other. And I gave reasons as to why.

    It isn't even clear whether the priest's claims can be verified. How does one verify that there is such a thing as a soul? What even is a soul? As I said, the term is vague and undefined. I don't have this problem regarding quarks.

    I have greater reason to believe that the priest's claims would be falsified, rather than verified - at least in relation to myself. The converse is the case with regards to the claims of the scientist.

    Faith doesn't even need to come into it. It's a matter of belief, and of whom one has greater reason to believe. For me, the answer is clear. It's no conundrum. Your comparison is therefore misleading.
  • Meta
    185
    It is unreasonable to say that the comparsion is misleading. A religious person would argue that religious metaphysics is completely justified. Just because religious claims are more subjective and depend more on psychological factors doesn't mean religion is total bs. I think a person's opinion depends heavily on which group has indoctrinated him: scientific or religious.

    On the other hand science is not as exact and objective as one would think. The paradigms of reason and rationality of the enlightenment have completely failed in the context of society.
  • Sapientia
    4.3k
    It is unreasonable to say that the comparison is misleading.Meta

    No it's not, because it is misleading.

    A religious person would argue that religious metaphysics is completely justified.Meta

    So? A cultist might argue that a cult metaphysics is completely justified. That doesn't mean that it actually is.

    Just because religious claims are more subjective and depend more on psychological factors doesn't mean religion is total bs.Meta

    That's not a claim that I've made. I wouldn't go that far. It's only partial bullshit.

    I think a person's opinion depends heavily on which group has indoctrinated him: scientific or religious.Meta

    False dichotomy. I have presented for your consideration another kind of person: the person who has not been indoctrinated, but instead has good reason to have confidence in the scientific method.

    On the other hand science is not as exact and objective as one would think. The paradigms of reason and rationality of the enlightenment have completely failed in the context of society.Meta

    I'm sure that that's a fallacy of some kind: judging something after taking it out of an appropriate context. Have you noticed how sumo wrestlers make terrible sprinters? Such failures! Ah, that's it: category error.

    Besides, your claim is far too vague and broad to make much sense of.
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