The Devil’s Delusion

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by PoliticalChic, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. PoliticalChic
    Offline

    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    55,878
    Thanks Received:
    15,686
    Trophy Points:
    2,190
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Ratings:
    +25,029
    The following is from "The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions," by David Berlinski...

    1. There are those who argue that science is in opposition to religion, and that science offers sophisticated men and women a coherent vision of the universe.

    2. There have been four powerful and profound scientific theories since the great scientific revolution was set in motion in the seventeenth century:
    a. Newtonian mechanics,
    b. Maxwell’s theory of the electromagnetic field,
    c. Special and general relativity
    d. And quantum mechanics

    3. English mathematical physicist Roger Penrose has described the theories as “sometimes phenomenally accurate,” but a “tantalizingly inconsistent scheme of things.” The result, we know better than we did what we do not know, and what we have not grasped: how the universe began, how the mind functions, why we are here, how life emerged, or, with assurance, that it did.

    4. No scientific theory touches on the mysteries that the religious tradition addresses. When and if one questions the meaning of life, the number of his days, he hardy turns to algebraic quantum field theory for the answer.

    a. Prominent figures have hypothesized that we are merely cosmic accidents. Bertrand Russell, Jacques Monod, Steven Weinberg, and Richard Dawkins have said it is so…and it is an article of their faith based on the confidence of men convinced that nature has equipped them in ways the rest of us cannot bear to contemplate.
    There is not the slightest reason to think that this is so.

    5. While science has nothing of value to say on the great and aching questions of life, death, love and meaning, what the religious traditions of mankind have said forms a coherent body of thought. It is a system of belief both adequate and more fitting to the complexities of our existence: recompense for suffering, principles beyond selfishness. Reassurance.
    While I do not know if any of this is true, I am certain that the scientific community does not know that it is false.
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 4
  2. catzmeow
    Offline

    catzmeow BANNED

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Messages:
    24,064
    Thanks Received:
    2,922
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Gunshine State
    Ratings:
    +2,974
    Does regurgitating other people's thoughts strike you as a meaningful contribution to the board?
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
  3. PoliticalChic
    Offline

    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    55,878
    Thanks Received:
    15,686
    Trophy Points:
    2,190
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Ratings:
    +25,029
    If you didn't find it interesting, it seems a less than intelligent investment of your time.

    Perhaps you should rethink your investments on the board.
     
  4. Avatar4321
    Offline

    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2004
    Messages:
    70,568
    Thanks Received:
    8,170
    Trophy Points:
    2,070
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Ratings:
    +12,199
    Makes some good points. Though I would point out that not all religions have coherent bodies of thought.
     
  5. catzmeow
    Offline

    catzmeow BANNED

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Messages:
    24,064
    Thanks Received:
    2,922
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Gunshine State
    Ratings:
    +2,974
    We actually have a fairly clear understanding of how the mind functions, and we learn more every year. We probably will never know how life emerged or how the universe began (but then, mythology/religion don't answer these questions accurately, either). And, "why we are here" also isn't something that religion can answer with any certainty. Faith is not a fact. It may be comforting, and if you require comfort over cold answers, that's fine, I suppose, but you should disabuse yourself of the notion that your beliefs are somehow more secure than theory.

    Unfortunately, religion can't provide accurate/testable/secure answers, either.

    Translation of your OP: "I'd rather have palatable imaginary answers spoonfed to me than acknowledge that I may never know the answers to some questions, or may have to make up my own."
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011
  6. del
    Offline

    del BANNED

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Messages:
    45,052
    Thanks Received:
    9,830
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +9,885
    well pasted :thup:
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 2
  7. PoliticalChic
    Offline

    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    55,878
    Thanks Received:
    15,686
    Trophy Points:
    2,190
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Ratings:
    +25,029
    1. See that, you did find something of interest in the OP.

    2. "We actually have a fairly clear understanding of how the mind functions,..."

    Sir John Maddox, editor emeritus of the foremost journal of science, Nature, wrote in a classic Time magazine essay, “How the brain manages to think is a conundrum with a millennial time scale. All animals have brains so as to be able to move about. Signals from the senses- eyes, ears, nostrils, or skin, as the case may be- send messages to the spinal cord, which moves the limbs appropriately. But thinking involves the consideration of alternative responses, many of which have not been experienced but have been merely imagined. The faculty of being conscious of what is going on in the head is an extra puzzle.” (“Thinking,” March 29, 1999, p. 206)

    3. "I'd rather have palatable imaginary answers spoonfed to me ."

    Kenneth Miller, professor of biology at Brown, has written in “Finding Darwin's God,” that a belief in evolution is compatible with a belief in God.

    Francis Sellers Collins , physician-geneticist, noted for his discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the Human Genome Project (HG) has written a book about his Christian faith.

    Then there was Stephen Jay Gould, paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science, who said that "science and religion do not glower at each other…” but, rather, represent Non-overlapping magisteria. (above from Wikipedia).

    And Einstein: Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

    Seems I'm in good company, huh?
     
  8. PoliticalChic
    Offline

    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    55,878
    Thanks Received:
    15,686
    Trophy Points:
    2,190
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Ratings:
    +25,029
    That response means that I'm more well-read than you, eh?
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
  9. Old Rocks
    Offline

    Old Rocks Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Messages:
    46,552
    Thanks Received:
    5,424
    Trophy Points:
    1,840
    Location:
    Portland, Ore.
    Ratings:
    +10,366
    Science concerns itself about observations and evidence concerning natural phenomona. It has nothing to say about the 'supernatural', is such actually exists.

    As for the 'Great aching questions of Life' that is mosty emotional philosophic claptrap. We live and die, do the best we can for ourselves and those around us. Trying to find some Great Meaning in it All is about the same as a dog or cat trying to understand what we are doing when we are on the computer.

    Enjoy life for what it is, note the beauty around you, live the day you are given, for tomorrow days may not be yours.
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
  10. PoliticalChic
    Offline

    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    55,878
    Thanks Received:
    15,686
    Trophy Points:
    2,190
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Ratings:
    +25,029
    Interesting post, Rocks.
    What I like about it is how it highlights the dif in points of view. I don't mind you having this point of view, but it seems that lots of folks on your side are put out by those of us who have faith, who look for meaning in life, and of life.

    Now, Berlinski comments on those scientists who beleive as you do, or who the WSJ has referred to as 'militant atheists,' and he has an interesting suggestion as to why this view has gained prominence today...

    Now, get this: Could not the rise of militant atheism be a reaction, albeit a cautious- even a pusillanimous one, to the violence of Islamic religiosity?

    An attempt to push back against this particular iteration of a religious viewpoint without being open to the very real possibility of physical attack?

    Take on Christianity...which is open to attack, yet will not cut one's head off.
     

Share This Page