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bryanc: you won't get anywhere with that line of reasoning. You'll get told that the speed of light was--at one point--different from what it is today, or that dinosaur bones were created with all of the attributes of an object millions of years old to test you.
Alas, you're probably right. However, even if the proponents of such ludicrous arguments are not swayed by reason and evidence, one can hope that those that read the exchange may be more intellectually honest.

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For those interested in Dawkins...

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4321574955310561251&q=God+Delusion&hl=en

I find his style too harsh and demeaning... he come across to me as a sensationalist.

Personally I think that there is room for Faith and Science, however arguing that the word of 3-4000 year old manuscript written by sexually repressed obsessives is equivalent to a peer reviewed scholarly treatise is pretty feeble.

Thinking that the Bible can describe the nature or age of the Universe is a pretty ignorant position to be in.

Thinking that psychologist or bio chemist could describe the meaning and mechanisms of faith would also be pretty far fetched.

I have no tolerance of organized religion... I do have immense amount of respect for individual faith.
 

· R.I.P. Don - 06/21/2020
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Science is fallible and not absolute. I can tolerate the "faith" of others with no problem. What I find difficult to tolerate is the "holier than thou" attitude of those who stand steadfastly by science alone.
 

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There is absolutely room for science and faith, however faith should always yield to science.
Excluding creationism, I am not aware of much overlap. Most of what we talk about at church has to do with what kind of spiritual lessons can we take from the Bible and other sources and how do we apply them to our lives today. There is a strong emphasis on the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.

While I am not a scientist, one of the few subjects I enjoy reading about is science and whether I am watching Discovery, National Geographic or reading Scientific American or Nature (or National Geographic) I just don't see where the issues are outside of creationism.

On the subject of creationism, the denominations that the vast majority of Christians in Canada, close to half the population of the country, associate themselves with (Roman Catholic, United and Anglican) endorse evolution.

Roughly 8% of the population is evangelical protestant and while it is probably fair to say that a majority are creationists, there are only a small number of people who get really really excited about it. While I am an evangelical, I am not a creationist and know of others like me as well.

Back in January, the pastor of the church I attend (Christian & Missionary Alliance) was giving a sermon where he made brief reference to creationism and how it has nothing to do with the Gospel, isn't a mandatory belief and that we shouldn't run around making a big deal about it.

My personal opinion is that creationism is a terrible thing that probably keeps people away who would otherwise be interested in what we have to offer.
 

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Their final arguments solidify that the existence of God cannot be proven scientifically...
This debate is pointless in its entirety.

As a believer, we believe God exists, and created everything we see now and what we've seen in the past, including the entire universe. Believers rely entirely on faith, not scientific fact, because it can't be scientifically proven (God's existance). As Christians know and understand, we believe in God, a higher power, through faith and faith alone. We also believe that God does not to come off as being obvious in existance, as that would defeat the purpose of faith -- if his existance was unquestionable, faith in religion wouldn't exist. Christians believe that God wants us to come to him in faith, as God also gave us free will -- the will do believe in a different God or not to believe in a higher power, period. A relationship with Christ is based on your own desire to have one and through your faith only. I don't believe God will ever make his existence coincide with science to prove Himself until the day he decides (as we believe) to return to earth.

I also find it amusing that many of us enjoy creating arguments like, "Well, if God existed, why does so much suffering in the world exist?" Simple, really. In terms of one nation waging war on another, that's called free will. No need to blame God for own stupidity and short-comings as a human race. Natural disasters, diseases, etc., all exist to for a reason. If the world was perfect and pain-free, it would be overpopulated, uninteresting, and non-human like. Suffering, pain, disasters, and our own stupidity in between force us to feel emotion, change our way of living based on bad events or previous bad experiences, etc. When you really think about it, it all makes sense. Most of the world's problems are caused by us, yet we hate to take responsibility for it. God's existence doesn't mean he has to sort out all our problems for us. God's existence doesn't mean we can abuse each our and our world and just say, "Well, since God can do anything - if he exists - we should be alright, and he'll fix what we mess up." God's existence is not a free pass for the human race to be one massive moron.
 

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As Christians know and understand, we believe in God, a higher power, through faith and faith alone. We also believe that God does not to come off as being obvious in existance, as that would defeat the purpose of faith -- if his existance was unquestionable, faith in religion wouldn't exist. Christians believe that God wants us to come to him in faith, as God also gave us free will -- the will do believe in a different God or not to believe in a higher power, period. A relationship with Christ is based on your own desire to have one and through your faith only. I don't believe God will ever make his existence coincide with science to prove Himself until the day he decides (as we believe) to return to earth.
Once he decides to return then faith in religion won't exist?

faith |fāθ| noun 1 complete trust or confidence in someone or something : this restores one's faith in politicians. 2 strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Excluding creationism, I am not aware of much overlap.
Jehovah's Witnesses and blood transfusions.
Christian Scientists and medicine.
Dietary restrictions built into most religions.

Creationism is the big one. Age of the Earth and the Universe is another.

Since faith and belief can't be proven (no argument here), and science fact and theory can be proven, faith must always yield to science.
 

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The major conflict I see arising between science and religion is fundamentally psychological. In order to be a good scientist, you have to teach yourself to question your assumptions, doubt your theories, and design experiments to falsify your beliefs.

For an idea to have any value to a scientist, it must be falsifiable, and it must have withstood testing. In essence, science is practical skepticism.

Faith is the exact opposite of science. As I understand the psychology of faith (and I will be the first to admit that I don't really understand it), religious adherents see the ability to hold these beliefs without any evidence (or even in the face of contradictory evidence) as a good thing.

So to be religious in modern society you have to cultivate the exact sorts of thought patterns that prevent you from doing good science, and believe exactly the sorts of things that scientists are trained to doubt.

Obviously, it is true that there are some people who are both good scientists and religious, and I simply can't understand how they do this sort of mental gymnastics. However, it is also true that, unlike the rest of society, the scientific community is dominantly non-religious. Furthermore, it has certainly been my experience that scientific training causes many people to re-examine the faiths that they learned as children, and this often causes a crisis leading to either the loss of faith or leaving science. So science and religion are certainly incompatible in many people's minds.

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What I find difficult to tolerate is the "holier than thou" attitude of those who stand steadfastly by science alone.
Were you being intentionally ironic here? If so, this is a pretty good line :)

Science is fallible and not absolute.
Yep, this is one of the fundamental ways in which science is different (and better, IMHO) than religion. Science gets things wrong, recognizes the errors, corrects them and moves forward. Religion is stuck with what ever was revealed to the mystics in their magical cave forever.

Of course, religion does have science beat in several ways: it's much easier to understand (as long as you don't think about it too much), it's got a much better soundtrack (organs are awesome, and the acoustics in churches are generally fantastic), and religions are much better at getting money than science.

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Jehovah's Witnesses and blood transfusions.
Christian Scientists and medicine.
Dietary restrictions built into most religions.

Creationism is the big one. Age of the Earth and the Universe is another.

Since faith and belief can't be proven (no argument here), and science fact and theory can be proven, faith must always yield to science.
I would have to leave those issues to the people who belong to those religions. Although my denomination emphasizes the importance of spirituality when it comes to health issues, it encourages it along side standard medical treatment and not the exclusion of them.
 

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Jehovah's Witnesses and blood transfusions.
Christian Scientists and medicine.
Dietary restrictions built into most religions.

Creationism is the big one. Age of the Earth and the Universe is another.
There was also that little thing with Galileo and the Earth not being the center of the universe a while ago.

I think over the next few decades we'll start seeing more conflict between religion and science. As biotechnology continues to develop and genetic modifications become more viable as therapies for humans (especially in utero) we will likely see religious arguments being made against the use of such technologies. And then, of course, there is the neurobiology research into the mechanisms of these irrational beliefs... what if we could 'cure' religion like we cure other infections... should we? What if the infected individuals don't want to be cured? Very interesting times.

Cheers.
 

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It really is a matter of "Do you believe in God?". Since we have not proven it one way or another (and I don't see any need to prove it in the first place), it can't be framed as a factual question, at least without framing the answer in "I believe ... ".

If you believe in something, then as far as you are concerned, it's true, since you will always act as if it were true, no matter what others say or do. If someone offers proof that is contrary to your belief, you will dismiss it every time. If someone offers proof that is consistent with your belief, you will embrace it every time.

And you will do those things because we can't help but to act on our beliefs.
 

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Religion, to the extent that it attempts to create moral objectivity, is yet another set of coping mechanisms like any silly grocery list of ethics people fabricate for themselves. It is not something to 'cure', except to a small group of extremists throughout history who felt a need to 'cure' others for not falling in line.

Either basis (old book; 1 year old list o' crap; random morality generator) can be very harmful or benign externally, but people do seem to need these things to function to their own satisfaction (need to have a "purpose"?), so I'm not sure we'd be better off without these grocery lists of behaviour. Wanting them gone seems more like jumping to an emotional conclusion without adequate and balanced analysis and evidence.

As for getting some basic 'facts' straight, such as evolution, again, dig around the internet and find all the looneys. Once again, seems like an emotional focus on religion not a real rational look at what is going on and how many fools are milling about.
 

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Well said, Beej. I am not even sure we can take the entire species and select for a non-religion gene, or if this would even be advisable. I'd say it would most definitely not be so but I leave room for a teensy crack of a hint of a smidgen of doubt.

Among other reservations, I am simply wary of previous human attempts to select for allegedly 'better' humans.
 

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The major conflict I see arising between science and religion is fundamentally psychological. In order to be a good scientist, you have to teach yourself to question your assumptions, doubt your theories, and design experiments to falsify your beliefs.

For an idea to have any value to a scientist, it must be falsifiable, and it must have withstood testing. In essence, science is practical skepticism.

Faith is the exact opposite of science. As I understand the psychology of faith (and I will be the first to admit that I don't really understand it), religious adherents see the ability to hold these beliefs without any evidence (or even in the face of contradictory evidence) as a good thing.
In the New Testament, Jesus tells us that He has come that we might have life more fully and the early Church was known simply as “the way”. In other words, one of the primary roles of the Church is to act as a conduit towards a more full life for the people who are involved with it by teaching people to live as Jesus suggested.

The acid test for Christianity, and anyone involved, is “is this working”? Do I have life more fully than I did before I started following the teachings of Jesus?

So yes, there is a trust element involved when you, on faith, start trying to follow the path that Jesus laid out, but after a certain amount of time, it either proves itself to you or it doesn’t. Living the Christian life is an experiment and I don’t know very many people who don’t question the assumptions and the theories that underlie it as they journey through it.

While it is true that there are elements of Christianity that I doubt we will ever have the opportunity to obtain empirical evidence for, and these are important aspects of the faith (ie. God, the Trinity, did Jesus perform the miracles we are told he did, etc…), the heart of the faith resides in the teachings of Jesus and their ability to improve our lives. These things, while subjective, are testable and can be found by some people to be false.
 

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I'm not sure why it so difficult to see that people can have faith in some things, and demand logical proving/disproving for others. Most people seem to do it, whether or not they realise it. Not just religion, but on all sorts of things where standards of "proof" become a malleable continuum from none to absolute where the point on the continuum often seems to be set by a personal predisposition (ie. starting assumption).

Zoz, good points.

Too often the characterisation of religion is simply a series of blanket statements and one-sided anecdotes with, sometimes, some catchall "yeah it's not all bad" followed by more arguing from the bottom.

The instant placement of religion on a pedestal (in a pit?) so that it is easy to isolate and point at, heaping on all sorts of personal emotional baggage, is quite common. It's what religious extremists do to condemn heretics. No context, point out only the negative, identify it as a sickness or some such thing, etc. I think that adequately paints them vis a vis equivalency of style. beejacon

It seems much more rationale to not start with the pedestal (pit) assumption, and to simply look at the how, why and "so what" of the multitude of assumptions that people make, act upon and promote to others.
 

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For Me

Yeah Verily
 
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