Re: “Taking Science On Faith.

Someone posted a link to this article with the above title, to which I gave this response:

This article annoys me.  It attempts to claim that science is faith-based by distorting science.  The idea that you are not allowed to speculate about the origin of the properties of physics is a complete lie, you are just expected to provide testable evidence if you come up with a hypothesis.  And the idea that laws of physics are not allowed to be questioned is also a lie, many laws of physics have been “broken”, including many of the ones he mentioned, newton’s laws of motion and gravitation.  He also said you’re not allowed to suppose that the speed of light “changes with the hour” when ALL scientists today knowledge that light travels at different speeds depending on the medium it is moving through, and that only the speed of light in a vacuum is constant.  And if it is observed that that is not correct, the physics books will again be amended.  A law of physics is not immutable, and isn’t supposed to be.  It is an observation which has never been observed to not be constant, which is why they are today often called “Principles” of physics rather than the misleading “laws” because they are not laws, but properties which are in principle universally constant.  The term “law” originated with the antiquated concept that “laws” are commands given by a creator which must unalterably be obeyed by the universe.  The concept he is attacking is religious, not scientific, and was formed under christian theocracies toward the end of the middle ages and later abandoned by secular science as an unfounded assumption.  He is attempting to portray science as faith-based, narrow and dogmatic to justify similar qualities in his own reasoning.  Ironically the author is actually aware of the origin of the term and states it later in the article.

While it is true that “laws” of physics are axiomatic building blocks that science builds off of – for instance if you wanted to build a rocket and calculate where it will land if aimed at a certain trajectory, this is impossible without using constants in your equation – while this is true, the author acts as if science, if it found out the properties of physics had shifted, would just plug up their ears and go “la la la la, this contradicts my anti-god dogma, I don’t hear it”.  Which is ridiculous if you know anything about how science works.

As far as the claim that the existence of life depends on “fine-tuned” laws, this notion is mostly held by physicists and engineers and rarely held by people who actually study life.  Because anyone who studies life knows that not only is there no absolute definition of “life”, and that the forms of life that exist on earth are just some possible forms of life, they also know that what will make one organism thrive will instantly kill another.  To suggest that “life” could not function without exactly the properties of physics we see around us (not just the forms of life we see around us, but all possible forms) because a certain group of organisms depend on those properties, is like suggesting that “vehicles” could not function without train tracks, because some vehicles need train tracks to function.  “Life” is the broadest possible term for living things, and it includes far more than what you see on the discovery channel.  “Life” is not specifically mammals or reptiles or fish or insects or plants any more than “vehicle” is specifically a train or plane, car, bicycle etc, these are forms of life we are familiar with.  Life, in it’s broadest sense, is a self-replicating pattern.  And that can, in principle, exist in any universe which has any properties which are stable at some level of magnification, just as a vehicle of some sort could exist in another universe with different properties, though it might not function like a Buick.

The concept of a multiverse, while it has been speculated by scientists, is not scientific and cannot be tested.  To pretend an idea is a part of science and then pretend that science is un-scientific is a strawman.

And invoking a god who inexplicably has certain properties to explain how the universe inexplicably has certain properties is a waste of time.  Not only does it lead to the same dead end – just push it back a step and pretend to “solve” the problem, and not only is it not supported by evidence (other than the fallacy of an argument from ignorance, the same argument that was used to support belief in Zeus and Thor when we didn’t understand what lightning was) but it doesn’t even explain anything.  Just claiming that Yahweh created the universe “somehow” is as much an explanation of the origins of the universe as claiming fairies created it “somehow”.  It doesn’t give any new information whatsoever.  All it does is allow the believer to pretend they understand that which they do not and stop looking for an answer, which is actually harmful to human scientific progress.

The idea of a god is vague and completely useless, and if that passed for science then scientists would be saying they found a “god particle” that somehow popped protons and electrons and photons into existence and hold out their hand waiting for their nobel prize.

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About agnophilo

Nerd.
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50 Responses to Re: “Taking Science On Faith.

  1. SerenaDante says:

    Haha, I loved your last sentence here 😀 Well said.

  2. agnophilo says:

    @SerenaDante – Thanks : )  And thanks for the rec’.

  3. I wish there was a like button on here because you’re awesome.

  4. robbiearnold says:

    NY Times from the Opinion section, I wouldn’t get too fussed over it. However this is something I personally take issue to these days. Did y’know that some researchers are testing the temporpartial junction and it’s involvement with possibly “creating” God in our minds? I myself choose to believe in a Higher Power, but as a researcher I also say:…REALLY? Stop wasting our NIH grants and do something that’ll actually help the human race instead of boost your ego….sorry. needed to vent. good post though.

  5. agnophilo says:

    @thepsychoticraccoon – Um, there is, lol.  It’s called “recommend”.  But yeah, thanks : )@robbiearnold – You might enjoy this video.  And I think people create god by either indoctrination, or by reinforcing interpretations which create positive feedback in the brain.But yeah, if science can show that religious belief is an illusion, it may help to reduce the harm done in the name of those religions.

  6. Richard Feynman on Science and Uncertainty: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3846497984030197366#“My interest in science is simply to find out more about the world.” 🙂 

  7. robbiearnold says:

    @agnophilo – comme ci comme ca, by the same token some religions are a source of inspiration (in a positive manner) for people. it’s very difficult for us to empirically study religion (at least in my fields) and our studies aren’t exactly cheap to run. so every grant we get is based off whether we are doing something productive with our research or not.   thanks for the video, i believe i shall take a gander later.

  8. Crono09 says:

    One of the core concepts of science is falsifiability, the principle that nothing is science is unquestionably true and that every scientific discovery can be rebuked if there is sufficient evidence to contradict it. It is one of the greatest strengths of science since it means that science is self-correcting and is willing to abandon beliefs once they are no longer supported. It is true that some scientific theories are so well-supported that it is unlikely that they will ever be overturned, but even those principles constantly go through change as we discover more about the universe.

  9. agnophilo says:

    @thegoldenchicken – Good video, just blogged it : )  I can express a lot of those ideas more clearly, but I know what he’s trying to say.@robbiearnold – What field is that?  Neurobiology I’m guessing?  I understand the sentiment.

  10. agnophilo says:

    @Crono09 – I’ve often heard the fact that science changes it’s mind with new information given as a weakness of science, and a reason why faith is superior.  Which is wrong on just so many levels.  The obvious ones about being unwilling to change your mind being an extreme weakness etc, as well as the fact that religions change all the time, just much more slowly.  Or are we still performing exorcisms, executing witches, stoning our children for disobedience, barring women from using anesthetics in childbirth because the multiplied pain is god’s punishment for eve’s transgression, etc, etc, etc?I agree with socrates that the only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance.

  11. robbiearnold says:

    @agnophilo – Neuroscience and Psychology. It’s been called BioPsych a few times.

  12. agnophilo says:

    @robbiearnold – You could call it wetware psychology : )

  13. @agnophilo – “I can express a lot of those ideas more clearly.” Are you saying that you can express the nature of science more clearly than Richard Feynman?   

  14. TheSaltMine says:

    @thegoldenchicken – Let’s face it: Feynman is an intelligent man but he’s just not that eloquent or succinct. He likes to talk. 

  15. \Let’s face it: Feynman is an intelligent man but he’s just not that eloquent or succinct. He likes to talk.\ @TheSaltMine – Which scientists, past or present, would you consider to be eloquent or succinct?  Eloquent and succinct? (are the two mutually exclusive?).

  16. The article is interesting. If I’m understanding it right, though, I have to disagree with it. And if I’m understanding you right, I agree with you–at least in this point. When either a theist or nontheist speaks of scientific laws, they understand it to mean a different thing from moral laws. A scientific law is what has been established by observation, how matter and energy behave. A moral law is more of an (I’m struggling for a suitable word) inner urge of how to act.And invoking a god who inexplicably has certain properties to explain how the universe inexplicably has certain properties is a waste of time.This too I, a theist agree with. In fact, I would be hard pressed to name anyone living, either professional scientist or layperson, who would want scientists to stop doing what they do; discovering how things work. People are naturally curious. They want to know how and why, whether they are Johan Kepler, who was jazzed that he was “thinking God’s thoughts after Him,” or Francis Crick who had “a strong inclination towards atheism.” Outside of a few zealots on the fringe, does the rational person even exist who would want to hinder scientific study for the sake of doctrinaire faith?

  17. TheSaltMine says:

    @thegoldenchicken – Hitchens is pretty damn eloquent – not succinct though. Dawkins is succinct but not usually eloquent when speaking unprepared.The two are definitely mutually exclusive.

  18. agnophilo says:

    @thegoldenchicken – He was talking more about philosophy than explaining scientific facts.  But yes a lot of the ideas he was expressing I got what he meant but I’m good at verbalizing hard to express ideas.@TheSaltMine – He did a pretty good job though : )  Smart people are good at thinking but many aren’t as good at translating those concepts into words.@wrybreadspread – “The article is interesting. If I’m understanding it right, though, I have to disagree with it. And if I’m understanding you right, I agree with you–at least in this point. When either a theist or nontheist speaks of scientific laws, they understand it to mean a different thing from moral laws. A scientific law is what has been established by observation, how matter and energy behave. A moral law is more of an (I’m struggling for a suitable word) inner urge of how to act.”I don’t think in terms of moral “law”.  You can describe many things as morality.  I think the broadest definition of “morality” is anything (good or bad) which guides or influences human behavior.  Under this heading are things like religious ethics, cultural trends, moral philosophy etc.  And of course biological impulses to do things which benefit the species and not to do things which are a detriment to the species, most or all of which are not unique to humans.  “This too I, a theist agree with.” Thanks : )  I thought I was gonna get some flack when I saw you quoted it.”In fact, I would be hard pressed to name anyone living, either professional scientist or layperson, who would want scientists to stop doing what they do; discovering how things work. People are naturally curious. They want to know how and why, whether they are Johan Kepler, who was jazzed that he was “thinking God’s thoughts after Him,” or Francis Crick who had “a strong inclination towards atheism.”If I were a theist I would think it would be amazing to try to understand god by understanding how he created the universe.  Though scientists who study nature have the lowest rates of theism, because while an understanding of nature (especially life science) doesn’t make it hard to believe in a god, it does make it hard to believe in a personal god.”Outside of a few zealots on the fringe, does the rational person even exist who would want to hinder scientific study for the sake of doctrinaire faith”Yup.  The law that made the snopes trial possible got repealed in 1967.  To date a majority of americans want ID/creationism taught in the schools, the only thing keeping it out (sometimes) is the courts.

  19. agnophilo says:

    @TheSaltMine – Dawkins is actually very intelligent and well-spoken when speaking off the top of his head as far as I can tell.  If you’re referring to those “dawkins gets stumped by a creationist” videos, they are fakes.

  20. @TheSaltMine@agnophilo Richard Feynman is widely regarded as one of the most original and brilliant scientists of 20th century physics. He is also widely regarded as being one of the greatest communicators of science as a body of knowledge and science as the human activity of discovery and exploration.  His written lectures on physics are a goldmine of succinct and eloquent writing on the subject of everything from Newtonian kinematics to gnarly cutting-edge (for the time) quantum mechanics.  He was an engaging speaker who chose his words very carefully and used clear and easy to grasp metaphors to explain and highlight salient points of challenging and subtle scientific ideas.  I highly recommend his Messenger Lectures (Available at Project Tuva) for examples of this kind of speaking.  I am glad to read / watch scientists who you feel do a better job of communicating various aspects of their respective subjects. It just seems like you’re both trivializing his work.  Thinking Feynman was not an effective communicator of science is like saying “Mozart used too many notes.”  Which notes/words do you suggest be removed? :-p 

  21. agnophilo says:

    @thegoldenchicken – I was just going by this one video, where he doesn’t finish some sentences etc.  I was not criticizing him as an intellectual, nor was I saying he was bad at explaining science – the video you gave was more about philosophy, as I said.

  22. @agnophilo – Gotcha.  Feynman was describing the scientific process, so maybe this was more ‘philosophy of science’. 🙂  Either way I’d enjoy reading your thoughts about it in a future blog, I would be glad to point you to more videos if you’d like. 🙂

  23. black_lie says:

    wow, that sounds ridiculous.

  24. agnophilo says:

    @thegoldenchicken – If you like.  I blog where the wind takes me though : )  @black_lie – By which I hope you mean what I was replying to.

  25. valis10 says:

    My personal belief is that Science and belief in God are not incompatible.   Though in a minority there are many scientists who do believe in God, or a Higher Power.  The pew Forum did a very interesting, dare I say scientific poll, on Religion and Public Lifehere

  26. valis10 says:

    From Big Questions on Line:Why is there something rather than nothing? There are at least ten answers to this, arguably the biggest Big Question of all time.1. God2. Wrong Question3. Grand Unified Theory4. Boom and Bust cycles5.Darwinian Mulitverse6. Inflationary Cosmology7. Many-Worlds Multiverse8.Brane-String Universes9. Quantum Foam Multiverse10. M-Theory Grand DesignWhat do you think?

  27. agnophilo says:

    @valis10 – None of those propose answers to that question and several on the list are duplicates.  God, a multiverse, the big bang singularity etc would all be in the “something” category.  My money is on “wrong question” personally, though of course that isn’t an answer to the question either.

  28. agnophilo says:

    @valis10 – Very punny : P  And while belief in a creator is not scientific, it is not incompatible with science as science makes no claims about whether there is or isn’t a creator.  However some religious beliefs, like those of biblical literalists, conflict with a number of areas of science and history.

  29. jazbajunoon says:

    as a person who puts faith first all i can say is that science is faith based, they go hand in hand and faith leads to education, knowledge and ultimately science, while science ponders on all the microscopic miracles of God. but then again, one will argue my statement if the faith isnt there.  

  30. agnophilo says:

    @black_lie – : )@jazbajunoon – What you are saying does not make sense, you do not define your terms.  Faith is belief without evidence.  Science is a methodology for testing natural explanations for things, a way of gathering evidence. Science does not ever deal with supernatural claims which are by definition un-testable.A person can have faith and do science, but faith has no place in an experiment or study, and if scientists based their conclusions on prayer or inner conviction rather than experimental data, science would not work.  It wouldn’t even exist.

  31. TheSaltMine says:

    @agnophilo – No, not those. Some of the interviews and debate I’ve seen him participate in involved a pretty decent amount of sentence fragments and some stuttering. Perhaps he has improved his game since I last saw him; or I may have just gotten a poor selection of his speaking. 

  32. agnophilo says:

    @TheSaltMine – He’s very intelligent regardless.

  33. Yes. I agree. Except for the parts of there not being a God, but that’s okay. Something I like : “Science tells us whether or not a thing is. It does not tell us whether a thing is wrong or not.” But, despite those things, I think that it could be okay for science and religion to get along. I think that could just happen. Someday, over the rainbow, when religion stops rejecting science and science stops rejecting religion because the things are unfamiliar to them. It’s happened before, right? Gregor Mendel was a monk. Badass.

  34. valis10 says:

    @agnophilo – you are right science makes no claims as to the existence of a Creator, and rightly so, science is not equipped to answer metaphysical questions or moral questions.  Thank God for science and thank God for a moral system that helps science to make good decisions.  Scientists, often the ones who don’t believe in a Creator, tend to follow the “if it can be done it will be done” credo.On a side note:  You seem angry, I am genuinely interested in why you are angry.  Obviously I don’t know you so you might have good reason.  Maybe you are just passionate and I am mistaking that passion for anger, but I have noticed that when ever anyone disagrees with you, you become aggressive and demeaning. You seem to be especially angry at Conservative Christians, and Biblical Literalists in particular.  Have you been wronged by them or abused by them?I had a professor in college who used to say “the more you learn the less you know” have you ever heard anyone say that before?  The idea is that the more you learn the more you realize just how much there is to learn, and that you have really just scratched the surface.  The same professor said that arrogance and knowledge are antithetical.oh I would visit your page more often if you had a better selection of music; as it is I have to mute it.

  35. agnophilo says:

    @howsaboutsomemilk – “Science tells us whether or not a thing is. It does not tell us whether a thing is wrong or not.”Yes that’s what philosophy is for.  That’s sort of like saying “biology tells us how life works, but it doesn’t tell us how atoms work”.  It isn’t supposed to – that’s not it’s area.  Abstract concepts and physical claims are tested in very different ways.  You cannot put morality in a test tube any more than you can explain quantum strangeness with a poem.  Different areas.  Evangelists often cite this as a “weakness” of science, but that just as silly as citing a failure to explain the quantum world as a weakness of poetry or failure to fix your car as a failure of modern medicine.  Not saying that you’re saying that though of course.And religion needs to learn to get along with science.  All science ever does is occasionally disagree with fringe religious view when they can be proven, not believed but actually proven to be wrong.  Imagine if you had scientists going into churches and telling religious people what they could and couldn’t say in their sermons.  How is that different than religious people trying to dictate what should and shouldn’t be in science class despite not even having support among christian scientists in the relevant fields?All non-believers and scientists and philosophers ever have to do to piss off (some) religious believers is just exist and not believe what they do.

  36. agnophilo says:

    @valis10 – “you are right science makes no claims as to the existence of a Creator, and rightly so, science is not equipped to answer metaphysical questions or moral questions.”  Science is the branch of philosophy which deals with physical claims.  As I said in an earlier comment, citing it’s science’s inability to deal with moral questions as a weakness of science is akin to citing a hospital’s inability to fix your car as a failure of modern medicine.”Thank God for science and thank God for a moral system that helps science to make good decisions.”  Yahweh didn’t give us modern morality any more than the vikings gave us modern mathematics.  While some ethics in the better parts of the bible (the same ethics that are found in countless other religions and philosophies as well) are worthwhile and relevant in a modern society, most of our ethics today are completely at odds with many judeo-christian ethics.  If we followed biblical morality we would be executing people for hundreds of offenses, own slaves, perform exorcisms on sick people (like jesus did) to cast the demons out of them etc.  “Scientists, often the ones who don’t believe in a Creator, tend to follow the “if it can be done it will be done” credo.”That is not a credo, it is a statement that anything that can be done will be done eventually by someone, mainly because some people have no conscience.  If it is possible to pluck out someone’s eye and eat it in front of them, someone will eventually do it because some people are psychopaths.  I have no doubt this kind of thing has happened, and can think of historical very similar events off the top of my head.  That concept is not an avocation of any or all behavior, and it’s very sleazy of you to twist it into evidence that scientists that don’t believe in a creator are what?  Sociopaths?  Screw you.”On a side note:  You seem angry, I am genuinely interested in why you are angry.  Obviously I don’t know you so you might have good reason.  Maybe you are just passionate and I am mistaking that passion for anger, but I have noticed that when ever anyone disagrees with you, you become aggressive and demeaning. You seem to be especially angry at Conservative Christians, and Biblical Literalists in particular.  Have you been wronged by them or abused by them?”I don’t know how you got anger from anything in this blog unless you were looking for it.  I didn’t express any anger in this blog or the comments as far as I can tell, that is until some tool suggested atheist scientists had no conscience and insulted my taste in music, all the while asking why I would ever be mad at fundamentalists.  I mean it’s not like they ever insult atheists or anything.  I guess in your book it’s not insulting to be routinely assumed to be a heartless evil scumbag by people who know nothing about me except that I do not belong to their religion.”I had a professor in college who used to say “the more you learn the less you know” have you ever heard anyone say that before?  The idea is that the more you learn the more you realize just how much there is to learn, and that you have really just scratched the surface.”  The operative word is “know”.  The more you learn the more you realize you do not know the things you thought you did, make fewer assumptions and are less arrogant in stating your opinions.  I think it was aristotle who said the mark of an educated mind is the ability to entertain an idea without necessarily accepting it.  A very similar idea.  Alexander pope stated perhaps more eloquently:A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again”The same professor said that arrogance and knowledge are antithetical.”A more common and less “ivory tower” way of stating it is “arrogance and ignorance go hand in hand”.”oh I would visit your page more often if you had a better selection of music; as it is I have to mute it.”I’ve gotten more comments praising my music selection than I can count, and you’re I think the second or third person who has ever said they don’t like it.  So perhaps I’m not the one with bad taste.All the same, thanks for being rude and making it personal.

  37. valis10 says:

    @agnophilo – don’t have time for a more in depth response now, but if it is any consolation I mute almost all Xanga blogs that have music playing;  yes I do have different taste in music, and also it is annoying because I am listening to my own music.

  38. agnophilo says:

    @valis10 – You level huge insults at both me and all atheists everywhere and only have time for a non-apology about one dig.Very christian of you.

  39. agnophilo says:

    @howsaboutsomemilk – I don’t mean to be jerky to you, my animus (such as it is) is not directed toward you. 

  40. @agnophilo – hahahah I didn’t think you were being. I’m not worried at all.

  41. jazbajunoon says:

    @agnophilo – <link rel=”File-List” href=”file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5CGk%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtmlclip1%5C01%5Cclip_filelist.xml”><link rel=”themeData” href=”file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5CGk%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtmlclip1%5C01%5Cclip_themedata.thmx”><link rel=”colorSchemeMapping” href=”file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5CGk%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtmlclip1%5C01%5Cclip_colorschememapping.xml”> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;mso-style-noshow:yes;mso-style-priority:99;mso-style-qformat:yes;mso-style-parent:””;mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;mso-para-margin-top:0in;mso-para-margin-right:0in;mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;mso-para-margin-left:0in;line-height:115%;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;font-size:11.0pt;font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}It’s a high possibility that someone like you would notfind sense in what im saying. Although my terms are clearly defined, I thinkthat the acceptance of them depends on belief, or disbelief in God. Faith, isnever belief without evidence. God has given us many articles of evidence. 1)his prophets, 2)his scriptures, 3) his miracles (just to name a few).  All it takes is a little faith. To those ofus who have faith, these are cold hard facts. If science is a methodology for testing natural explanationsfor things, a way of gathering evidence, then religion adds to it every bit.  And as for the bit about dealing with supernaturalclaims which are by definition un-testable, then this depends on eachindividual and the capacity of true belief they hold. Faith is the basis of experimentand study, faith encourages one to learn. Scientists don’t have to base theirconclusions on prayer, but without religion, yes science would exist, but itwould not work because without religion, science is blind. http://www.sunnahonline.com/ilm/quran/qms.pdf -read here.

  42. agnophilo says:

    @jazbajunoon – “It’s a high possibility that someone like you would notfind sense in what im saying.  Although my terms are clearly defined, I think” Well that’s condescending.  And there is no sense to find in what you are saying.  Your sentences do not make sense given what the terms you use mean, and you refuse to give your definitions for them (if you have any), then say that the terms are “clearly defined”.  You are speaking gibberish.  Faith is belief without evidence.  You do not have faith if you have proof of something.  That the earth is round is not an article of faith.”that the acceptance of them depends on belief, or disbelief in God.” Acceptance of what?”Faith, is never belief without evidence.  God has given us many articles of evidence. 1)his prophets, 2)his scriptures, 3) his miracles (just to name a few).  All it takes is a little faith.” You’re right, what other religion has miracle stories, scriptures or prophets?  Aside from pretty much all of them, I mean.  That is not evidence.  If “evidence” supports thousands of mutually exclusive claims, by definition it cannot support any of them.”To those of us who have faith, these are cold hard facts.” Yes, in every religion.  It seems like a waste of time if you want to know if the beliefs are correct.  No evidence requires faith to be believed.  By definition evidence is something which strongly points to a certain thing being true, makes it evident.”If science is a methodology for testing natural explanationsfor things, a way of gathering evidence, then religion adds to it every bit.”  No, it doesn’t.  Explain where religion enters into science.  Say you’re doing a clinical, double blind controlled study to test a new medicine.  Where does faith enter into your methodology?  You are just saying these things and assuming they are true, making it up as you go along.”And as for the bit about dealing with supernaturalclaims which are by definition un-testable, then this depends on eachindividual and the capacity of true belief they hold.” Only a fool thinks every belief he has is a “true” belief.  And no, it does not depend on what is in someone’s head.  Science tests things objectively, not by subjective conviction.  That’s why it actually works.”Faith is the basis of experimentand study, faith encourages one to learn.” You keep saying these completely untrue things with no argument or explanation.  In fact there is not one bit of reasoning or argument or support for a single sentence in your comment, you are just dictating “Truth”.”Scientists don’t have to base theirconclusions on prayer, but without religion, yes science would exist, but itwould not work because without religion, science is blind.”The quote says that without science religion is blind and without religion science is lame.  And einstein (who said it) described your kind of religion as feeble, and was talking about secular pantheism when he said positive things about religion.  He did not mean that science needs christianity or a deity or your kind of “faith”, and his statements are a matter of public record.  Though christians typically cherry pick out a few vague quotes like that one and twist them.”http://www.sunnahonline.com/ilm/quran/qms.pdf -read here.”Yes, christians read complex ideas into vague and simple biblical statements too.  And simultaneously ignore the vast number of scientific absurdities in scripture.  Are you muslim?

  43. jazbajunoon says:

    so i guess your an atheist? it seems nothing i can say will be absorbed by that skull of yours but then again, its not about the mind, but the heart, what can i say if you lack faith? its useless explaining my self, because you will “scientifically” denounce that too. i would appreciate it if you actually read through the link i provided instead of calling it “cherry picking” or calling it a “few vague quotes”.  these are very real true and anything but vague quotes. and as the Quran, i also believe that the Bible has true miracles.(when posting the link, somehow i knew this would happen). and yes i am a Muslim, proudly. 

  44. agnophilo says:

    @jazbajunoon – I wasn’t asking if you were muslim as an accusation, I was just asking.And thanks for insulting me for being an atheist.  Not being muslim doesn’t make me closed-minded, and blowing off everything I say because I’m not muslim kind of makes you closed-minded.As far as claiming advanced scientific ideas are in your religion’s scripture, every religion does this.  Here is a website claiming that the book of mormon, which has been completely debunked historically and scientifically, is accurate in both areas, for instance.In your .pdf document it quotes the following: “From Whom is not hidden The least little atom In the Heavens or on earth: Nor is there anything less Than that, or greater, but Is in the Record Perspicuous.’”and claims that this proves that the author knew about subatomic particles.  When the word “atom” is greek, not arabic, and whenever I look up “dharrah”, the word they claim means atom in arabic in online english-arabic dictionaries I get no results every time.  But even if it meant the greek concept of an atom, the term did not refer to an element in the concept of modern physics, that concept did not exist at the time of the koran.  The greek concept of the atom was just “indivisible”, referring to a theoretical particle that could not be divided.  The chemical elements were called “atoms” for a brief period when they were thought (by chemists, not physicists) to be the smallest particles that existed.  In order to believe that the koran had mystical knowledge about subatomic particles, you have to assign values to the word “dharrah” from a very narrow period in human science centuries after the koran was written.Anyone can play these word games and read between the lines.You may find this a bit insulting, but it seems informative on the historical context of the subject.

  45. jazbajunoon says:

    @agnophilo – i never said u were asking if i were a muslim in b/c i think ur accusing me, i dont know where u got that from? and not being muslim doesnt make you close minded, nor have i insulted you, i only assumed you were a atheist, because you refued to acknowledge that science is a miracle (which most god loving people would agree to), i guessed you didnt belive in religion. i dont mean to insult. and i havent blown off any thing you say, because im not  “close minded”. from the whole post that you originally posted i have nothing to aruge against it, except for that little part where God comes in. as far as your comment on “claiming advanced scientific ideas are in your religion’s scripture,” my religion hasnt claimed anything its in there already. as far as the morman scriputes goes, i have no knowledge of their book to agree or deny, all i can say is that i know that its one god who reveled the torah, bible and quran. if He can reveal the beauty of science in the Quran, then he can also do so in the rest of his revelations.now, to clear away your misconceptions:1) you wont find the word “dharrah” (zarrah) online because its origins is of OLD classical arabic, a dialect kept alive by ONE single family that speaks this language in Saudia Arabia. the word has been redefined many times by modern society and has been incorporated into many arabic-orign languages and their respective dialects. so no, you wont find the correct and exact meaning on google, but you will find its meanings in the Quaran becaue it has been translated by those who hold true to that very old dilect of arabic, which by the way, if was spoken to someone who was familiar with the modern dialects only, would not even understand what was being said. -to that extent have the words of the arabic language been redfined with generation. 2) how can the concept of an atom not exist in the time of the Quran? when it is clearly stated already?? what hinders God from knowing what he creates? (lemmie guess, your answer is a microscope?)and yes, the greek term does not or did not difine the particle for what it really is, but that does not mean that the Quran cannot contain the word zarrah, which in clasical arabic is the perfect equivelent of :the smallest portion into which an element can be divided and still retain its properties,  the greeks are not the sole fouders of the atom, god created it, god knows it, sure,they had a word which’s definition doesnt even come close to the modern day definition of the atom.the problem is not in the Arabic text, but rather in the greek and English text, you see, the English language adopted and redefined the word atom for what it is known today, now, when translating the Quran what other word will they then use to describe an atom if not the word atom? for the standards of modern day english, the word atom was used, becaue it holds the same meaning as zarrah, not the original greek word which reffered to “invisible” to capture that definition the word atom had to be used, because to other word in the english dictonary can correctly define the tinyest part of a elemet.so….now whos playing word games?3) mind you, the Quran was revelaed by god, and written by his Prophet. no one conducted “experiments” and then collected that data in the Quran. 4) at the time the Quran was revealed, the people knew what the word zarrah meant, they just didnt know what its was. the definition was also revealed to the Prophet.but it is that the particale itself was not revealed to the people.the puropse being that in todays world, after the invention of microscopes people can confim that his is what was revealed in the Quran. 5) the very “narrow” period that you refer to did not even exist (get your history straight) at that time no one was interested in science, only after the full revelation of the Quran and  Isam had spread thurougly, did then people learn from the Quran and take interest in maths, and science. the Pre-Islamic period is reffered to as Jallalah roughly meaning darkness or ignorance. kind of like the dark ages of arabia. being without faith is like being without eyes. blind.p.s. ur “insulting” link doesnt work…

  46. agnophilo says:

    @jazbajunoon – “i never said u were asking if i were a muslim in b/c i think ur accusing me, i dont know where u got that from?” I never said you said that.  I was trying to be polite in case you got that impression.”and not being muslim doesnt make you close minded, nor have i insulted you,” You did condescend to me a good deal.”i only assumed you were a atheist, because you refued to acknowledge that science is a miracle (which most god loving people would agree to), i guessed you didnt belive in religion.” No, I don’t.  And I didn’t “refuse to acknowledge” your religious beliefs to be true, that kind of language is obnoxious when talking about things there is no evidence or basis for.  Just like if I acted like you were closed-minded for “refusing to acknowledge” the divinity of christ.  As if it were something you know to be true, but just won’t admit.”i dont mean to insult. and i havent blown off any thing you say, because im not  “close minded”.” Yes, you did.  By definition.  I gave a long response which you blew off (ie did not respond to any of the substance of).  And why?”so i guess your an atheist? it seems nothing i can say will be absorbed by that skull of yours…”You’re right, how silly it is to get the idea that you blew off my comment because I was an atheist. I’m sick of dealing with childish people who will not be genuine.”from the whole post that you originally posted i have nothing to aruge against it, except for that little part where God comes in. as far as your comment on “claiming advanced scientific ideas are in your religion’s scripture,” my religion hasnt claimed anything its in there already.” No it isn’t.  The “advanced science” passages do not explicitly say any of the things religious believers say they do and in every case you must read into the passages heavily, which is why the “modern science” isn’t ancient science.  If all of these advanced scientific concepts are actually explicitly mentioned in scripture, why did it take muslims until decades after western science discovered them to realize they were in there?  If they were explicitly, clearly stated then it should’ve been obvious.  But it wasn’t, because it’s not.”as far as the morman scriputes goes, i have no knowledge of their book to agree or deny, all i can say is that i know that its one god who reveled the torah, bible and quran. if He can reveal the beauty of science in the Quran, then he can also do so in the rest of his revelations.”It is vastly different from the koran.  If it’s one of god’s revelations then god is insane and can’t keep his story straight.  Either way you’re missing the point which is that many “infidel” religions play the same game yours does because it’s very easy to read complex scientific ideas into simplistic statements.”now, to clear away your misconceptions:1) you wont find the word “dharrah” (zarrah) online because its origins is of OLD classical arabic, a dialect kept alive by ONE single family that speaks this language in Saudia Arabia. the word has been redefined many times by modern society and has been incorporated into many arabic-orign languages and their respective dialects. so no, you wont find the correct and exact meaning on google, but you will find its meanings in the Quaran becaue it has been translated by those who hold true to that very old dilect of arabic, which by the way, if was spoken to someone who was familiar with the modern dialects only, would not even understand what was being said. -to that extent have the words of the arabic language been redfined with generation.”Fair enough.  Though it is suspicious that the only references to it on the internet are in the claims that the bible contains advanced science and a handful of names.  You’d think there would be one academic reference to it.”2) how can the concept of an atom not exist in the time of the Quran? when it is clearly stated already?? what hinders God from knowing what he creates? (lemmie guess, your answer is a microscope?)”So when the koran was written the words had definitions that other words in other languages would have 1500 years later?  You’re right, you aren’t manipulating the text at all!  Unless by manipulating you mean arbitrarily changing the values of words to fit evangelical arguments.  Oh wait, that’s manipulating it…You know what, I’m gonna say that dharrah meant “umbrella”.  Hey, if it did then the sentence is gibberish!  And apparently we are allowed to assign values to words that didn’t exist until 15 centuries after the text was written if it supports our position, so I guess I just disproved the validity of the koran using your logic.  Or are only muslims allowed to make it up as they go?”and yes, the greek term does not or did not difine the particle for what it really is, but that does not mean that the Quran cannot contain the word zarrah, which in clasical arabic is the perfect equivelent of :the smallest portion into which an element can be divided and still retain its properties,”And therefore the text is nonsensical, because by definition there is no smaller particle than whatever the smallest particle is.  Like if the koran said “god is bigger than the largest star and all the larger ones”.”the greeks are not the sole fouders of the atom, god created it, god knows it,” The greeks had no modern concept of the atom or what we call subatomic particle.  The word atom just meant indivisible or uncuttable, it referred to a then hypothetical particle of wood or stone or any substance which was so small it could not be divided.”sure,they had a word which’s definition doesnt even come close to the modern day definition of the atom.the problem is not in the Arabic text, but rather in the greek and English text, you see, the English language adopted and redefined the word atom for what it is known today,” And you are not adopting and redefining the word dharrah for what it is known today?”now, when translating the Quran what other word will they then use to describe an atom if not the word atom?” If they are using the old world definition then the sentence is gibberish, and they cannot be using the modern definition because it’s modern.”for the standards of modern day english, the word atom was used, becaue it holds the same meaning as zarrah, not the original greek word which reffered to “invisible” to capture that definition the word atom had to be used, because to other word in the english dictonary can correctly define the tinyest part of a elemet.so….now whos playing word games?“I have no idea what you just said.  But no, I’m not playing word games.”3) mind you, the Quran was revelaed by god, and written by his Prophet. no one conducted “experiments” and then collected that data in the Quran.”I know…”4) at the time the Quran was revealed, the people knew what the word zarrah meant, they just didnt know what its was. the definition was also revealed to the Prophet.but it is that the particale itself was not revealed to the people.the puropse being that in todays world, after the invention of microscopes people can confim that his is what was revealed in the Quran.”So if I’m understanding you correctly, you’re saying that every non-islamic religion and culture re-purposed and re-defined ancient words to fit new concepts like “atom”…  except the koran whose words magically meant the modern concept of an atom, though nobody knew it back then!That is ridiculous.  One of the reasons I am not religious is because believing in gods, spirits and demons gives people license to make stuff like this up and believe it.”5) the very “narrow” period that you refer to did not even exist (get your history straight) at that time no one was interested in science, only after the full revelation of the Quran and  Isam had spread thurougly, did then people learn from the Quran and take interest in maths, and science. the Pre-Islamic period is reffered to as Jallalah roughly meaning darkness or ignorance. kind of like the dark ages of arabia.” I don’t see what any of that has to do with what I was saying.   The “narrow period” I was referring to was the period between the discovery of the modern atom and the invention of the nuclear bomb when people thought the modern concept of an atom was the smallest constituent of matter which fit the bill of the early greek concept.  And no, the world was not a bunch of blathering idiots until islam came along, science has it’s roots as much in greek philosophy as in later islamic science, and christian science, and of course, modern secular science which is the most advanced yet.  There’s enough credit to go around, you don’t have to pretend it’s all due to the koran.”being without faith is like being without eyes. blind.”Actually in every way it is the opposite.  Faith is basing your beliefs on hope and desire of what you wish to be true (or what you were raised to believe) instead of observed evidence.  As benjamin franklin put it, “the way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason”.”p.s. ur “insulting” link doesnt work…”Yes, it does.

  47. JKirsh says:

    Agnoph,I guess I see some flaws in your argument. Or, put more succintly: you’re full of ****.#1: If string theory is completely unscientific, then why are many scientists actively exploring it? Why is my former roomate, now at MIT, getting his PhD and able to study it in the process? To say that string theory is an idea that is not a part of science is..well…false.#2: You have a short rant on how we don’t know what conditions are necessary for life. This smacks of faith on a religious level. If we haven’t ever encountered life on other planets, isn’t faith at least one necessary component to believe that other forms of life exist? Then doesn’t it follow that faith is partly a good, positive aspect in the scientific process? Every moment you sit here and wax philosophical on your blog, you are taking acts of faith — like faith in your own ability to reason about the universe. So it’s pretty hypocritical that you choose to criticize faith the way you do.#3: You said: “And invoking a god who inexplicably has certain properties to explain how the universe inexplicably has certain properties is a waste of time.” Not true. Being psychologically prepared for the possibility of a much more powerful higher being (or multiple beings) that influence the universe or that have an interest in human affairs could be beneficial to future generations. You claim that if the laws of science suddenly changed one day, scientists would not close their ears and say ‘la la la’. But why is that the case? Because scientists acknowledge that their laws could change. They are prepared for that possibility. Please tell me, then, why in the world it is harmful to be prepared for possibilities that involve higher intelligent forces or beings. OH — and please do so without using a straw man from a religious doctrine.

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