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Maverick
Skeptic Friend

Sweden
385 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2004 :  02:07:08  Show Profile Send Maverick a Private Message
Sometimes I have wondered how so many scientists can be religious. After all, wouldn't it be difficult to believe in the scientific methods and demand evidence for this and that, and at the same time claim to believe in a God? Where's the demand for evidence then? I mean, I can imagine such a scientist, who demands evidence for some claims but not when it comes to god, but upon hearing a claim for, say, telekinesis he would once again ask for evidence. Does god have some sort of immunity in that we need not question his existence, only everything else? Or, perhaps, to make it more general, is evidence not needed when it comes to a person's pet belief? I'm sorry if I sound intolerant or simply silly (which I suspect that I do, since so many people doesn't think it's strange, and so I suppose they have a great explanation), but I had to ask.

"Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of this astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy." -- Carl Sagan

Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2004 :  10:36:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
Many scientists separate the two things into two different categories. Now I don't agree with this, I look at god as just another paranormal claim. Actually, it is the largest paranormal claim.

And their may have been events in that scientist's life which lead him/her to believe in a god. Now of course, this is just anecdotal evidence, but when you see such things first hand, they are a bit stronger.

Maybe this should go under the religion section?

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Maverick
Skeptic Friend

Sweden
385 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2004 :  12:03:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Maverick a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Ricky

Many scientists separate the two things into two different categories. Now I don't agree with this, I look at god as just another paranormal claim. Actually, it is the largest paranormal claim.

Exactly. If there are good reasons to believe in their particular god, then why not put this evidence forward for scientists, so they can look into it? As you say, it is a claim that is made about the universe and possibly also a superverse or metaverse etc. I am fully convinced that if there were really good reasons to believe in any of the gods from all around the world, then the theists would not waste a second to jump at the chance to convert us all. But no, they use other methods instead. Sure, as a mindgame the concept of god might be fun, but as a literal belief?

quote:
And their may have been events in that scientist's life which lead him/her to believe in a god. Now of course, this is just anecdotal evidence, but when you see such things first hand, they are a bit stronger.

Sure, but for an event to be sure reason to believe in a particular god, it has to be quite an extraordinary event, one that leaves little room for doubt that it is a god, and in that case which one. I'm guessing that many people in the western world would turn to the christian god, and in other parts of the world, other gods.

quote:
Maybe this should go under the religion section?

Makes sense I suppose. I wasn't sure where it should go as I was thinking it's about religion but also skepticism, etc.

"Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of this astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy." -- Carl Sagan
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2004 :  14:04:52   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
Religion is so ingrained in society that scientists who hold to the belief in god just live with the cognitive dissonance. In other words, they just don't deal with it. If forced to, they rationalize. I'm not trying to be judgmental, it's just the way people deal with their beliefs and conflicting beliefs, rationalization and suppression.

Cognitive dissonance is common in many areas besides belief in god. A Christian Bush, for example, that knows his campaign is strong on lies, must not be connecting that to the 9th commandment, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour."

Most of us wouldn't let a child starve, but the pictures of starving kids in Somalia don't lead us to action.

We might not believe stealing is OK then take home lots of stuff from work.

And so on....
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9688 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2004 :  14:42:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
Beskeptical is so right in this. It's one of the things I found lacking in Christianity.
What word is most appropriet? This is a blank area in my knowledge of Engish: hipocricy or sanctimonious. Going to church, speaking to your friends how great it is to be Christian. And after the sunday morning sermon in church takling behind people's backs, gossiping about the latest news... "...did you hear, John got Rachel knocked up! Now they better get married quickly."

This is my evidense against the existance of the Christian god: If he was real, he should not have allowed stuff like that to happen.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

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Skyhawk
New Member

33 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2004 :  15:29:41   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Skyhawk a Private Message
Has anybody watched the Elegant Universe documentary? Well, Einstein's purpose in doing science was to "go into the mind of God." To know what God was thinking and ow this world works.

My engineer teacher believes this (eventhough he isn't a scientist): The more we find out how perfect the world is made, with all its complexities can be boiled down to simple equations that embody the rules of our Universe; how can you not believe in God?

My own beliefs run on the line of both of paragraphs above. But you guys are right on one thing, its something I do accept and if I'm forced to give proof the only thing I can do is rationalize. And truthfully, that's what I do. So why do I continue to believe without real evidence? I guess all I can say is my own personal experience and necessity of believing. Believing in God doesn't in anyway intervene my search to scientifically understand this world. In actuality, I think believing in my religion forces me to want to learn more about my Universe through science. My Prophet said that education is more important than prayer. So that is what I do, feed my curiosity. Also, it does help with forming my own moral judgements.

Though I've stated something like this before,(paraphrasing Feynman) we are a people that are trying to find out the rules of the chess game. IMO, I think God is the creator(of the rules) and the referee of the chess game and the cosmos are the players. In other words, I believe that God created and triggered the Big Bang and allowed the cosmos to play it out in such a way to form our solar system nad the Earth, creation of life, allowed evolution to finally form us. Can I prove it? Again, no but I rationalized and sorry that is the best I can do. I don't know if my analogy worked, hope you understand.

I'm sure there are a lot of religious people in the field of science that doesn't interfere with their work. Well, I hope so.
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2004 :  16:15:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
quote:
Believing in God doesn't in anyway intervene my search to scientifically understand this world.


That is the one line which seperates you from the Creationist woo-woo, and I'm very glad you feel that way. Thats really the only problem that I have with religion, when it blocks us from advances in science. Well, that and faith healers.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9688 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2004 :  16:58:35   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
Skyhawk, if it works for you, then I think it's great.


However, Fundies(tm) tend to be vocal, and for them to call themselves scientists is tenuous at best. Those are the guys that demand and get way too much exposure. We skeptics see them for what they are, lying bigots and hypocrites, but I'm not so sure the "general public" are analytical enough to see through it.
Scientists like Einstein and Feynman were good scientist/theists, because they did not let their religion interfere with the scientific process.

When Kent Hotwind calls himself scientist it is out civic duty to expose him as the fraud he is. the Institute for Creational Research are the opposite of true scientists: They have already decided what conclusion any evidence must be force-fitted to point at, instead of the reverse.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26022 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2004 :  18:38:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
Maverick wrote:
quote:
Or, perhaps, to make it more general, is evidence not needed when it comes to a person's pet belief?
Not just pet beliefs.

No matter how skeptical a person is, when another person says, "my favorite color is blue," asking for evidence of that assertion would simply get a person labelled as a lunatic. Same with "my dog pooped today." Or even "my car can do 95 mph." It's only when we get into the realm of the last part that we need to really start thinking critical and questioning, as a lot of today's crapboxes wouldn't do 95 mph if dropped from a plane.

And yes, I'm getting right to the "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" line we've all heard. Boring, ordinary claims like favorite colors, canine defecation, or top auto speeds tend not to require verification at all. They're all day-to-day statements which few people ever investigate because they're all familiar, and we can trust a person's word on such matters.

And the thing is, people often grow up with the god idea from day one. They've been told, all their lives, that a god exists and behaves in certain ways. God is familiar, and their priests/rabbis/pastors/etc. reinforce that familiarity all the time. That this god exists is simply a fact, and not extraordinary at all. Questioning that belief would be like questioning someone else's statement of their favorite color. It just isn't done.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Maverick
Skeptic Friend

Sweden
385 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2004 :  22:54:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Maverick a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by beskeptigal

Religion is so ingrained in society that scientists who hold to the belief in god just live with the cognitive dissonance. In other words, they just don't deal with it. If forced to, they rationalize. I'm not trying to be judgmental, it's just the way people deal with their beliefs and conflicting beliefs, rationalization and suppression.

I don't think this makes it less of a mystery, though. There must be a lot of people who can see that religion do offer many claims about the universe, many that contradicts what we know, even. Why would we choose to close our eyes just to be able to keep that belief?

quote:
Cognitive dissonance is common in many areas besides belief in god. A Christian Bush, for example, that knows his campaign is strong on lies, must not be connecting that to the 9th commandment, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour."

Most of us wouldn't let a child starve, but the pictures of starving kids in Somalia don't lead us to action.

We might not believe stealing is OK then take home lots of stuff from work.

Everyone lies now and then, which means that in some cases we do think it's alright to do it - at least as long as it doesn't happen to us, and as long as we don't get caught. Also, it wouldn't be popular to actually say that lying is not completely wrong, so few of us would say that. The other two examples are very interesting too, and might reveal things about human nature that we don't want to know. I'm not saying that we are all as good as we claim to be, because clearly we're not, or that if we say that we only should do "good" things, that we only do good things. I don't think we avoid doing things that we say we think are good, or decide to do things that we say we think are bad. I think it's more like what we think we should say about certain things, such as "one should never steal" or "one should always help someone in need". Obviously few of us follow those rules at all times, and I think that the reason we think those things are morally right is because it sounds good, and because it's a goal that is higher than any of us and therefor something to try to live up to.

"Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of this astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy." -- Carl Sagan
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Maverick
Skeptic Friend

Sweden
385 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2004 :  22:58:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Maverick a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse

Beskeptical is so right in this. It's one of the things I found lacking in Christianity.
What word is most appropriet? This is a blank area in my knowledge of Engish: hipocricy or sanctimonious. Going to church, speaking to your friends how great it is to be Christian. And after the sunday morning sermon in church takling behind people's backs, gossiping about the latest news... "...did you hear, John got Rachel knocked up! Now they better get married quickly."

This is my evidense against the existance of the Christian god: If he was real, he should not have allowed stuff like that to happen.

That's because christians, and others who claim to be morally superior, are human beings too. The great difference is that they have slightly more incentive to hide their unchristian nature than others?

"Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of this astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy." -- Carl Sagan
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Maverick
Skeptic Friend

Sweden
385 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2004 :  23:05:51   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Maverick a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Skyhawk

Has anybody watched the Elegant Universe documentary? Well, Einstein's purpose in doing science was to "go into the mind of God." To know what God was thinking and ow this world works.

Perhaps it would be good to know that Einstein was not a theist.

quote:
My engineer teacher believes this (eventhough he isn't a scientist): The more we find out how perfect the world is made, with all its complexities can be boiled down to simple equations that embody the rules of our Universe; how can you not believe in God?

Which god would that be? How do you define your god?

quote:
My own beliefs run on the line of both of paragraphs above. But you guys are right on one thing, its something I do accept and if I'm forced to give proof the only thing I can do is rationalize. And truthfully, that's what I do. So why do I continue to believe without real evidence? I guess all I can say is my own personal experience and necessity of believing. Believing in God doesn't in anyway intervene my search to scientifically understand this world. In actuality, I think believing in my religion forces me to want to learn more about my Universe through science. My Prophet said that education is more important than prayer. So that is what I do, feed my curiosity.

I'm not a scientist myself, but I have a great interest in it. And this is because I want to know and understand as much as I can, and that's the reason why I think science is better at this than religion ever could be.

quote:
Also, it does help with forming my own moral judgements.

The question is: did you get your morality from god, or did you attribute your morality as coming from god?

"Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of this astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy." -- Carl Sagan
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Maverick
Skeptic Friend

Sweden
385 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2004 :  23:10:35   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Maverick a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.
And the thing is, people often grow up with the god idea from day one. They've been told, all their lives, that a god exists and behaves in certain ways. God is familiar, and their priests/rabbis/pastors/etc. reinforce that familiarity all the time. That this god exists is simply a fact, and not extraordinary at all. Questioning that belief would be like questioning someone else's statement of their favorite color. It just isn't done.

I'm sorry, but to claim that there is a god that does all sorts of things, from creating the universe and our solar system, to forgive sins and stop Earth's rotation around it's axis IS pretty extraordinary. It seems to be very important to understand this god if we ever wish to understand the universe. And that's just christianity. Clearly it's necessary to treat these claims as separate from science, or else they would all have to be thrown away.

"Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of this astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy." -- Carl Sagan
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2004 :  00:46:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
Maverick, you may be missing my point. Of course everyone lies. Of course everyone is human. That wasn't the point. The point is when we lie we often don't think it is wrong, yet for some people, if you ask them if it is wrong they will say yes. So how do you square your beliefs with your actions? It can't always be done.

What do you think? Does George W ask forgiveness for lying? Does he rationalize that it isn't lying if someone else says it? Or does he just not think about it at all? Those are the ways we deal with cognitive dissonance.

Frankly, I don't care if Einstein was or wasn't a theist. It isn't relevant to his science other than it may have impacted him in some subtle way. The fact a renown scientist believes in god doesn't make god any more believable because of cognitive dissonance. In other words, a person's belief in god isn't evidence no matter how intelligent or learned the person might be, because many people believe in things on the one hand that they discount on the other.
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Maverick
Skeptic Friend

Sweden
385 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2004 :  01:34:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Maverick a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by beskeptigal

Maverick, you may be missing my point. Of course everyone lies. Of course everyone is human. That wasn't the point. The point is when we lie we often don't think it is wrong, yet for some people, if you ask them if it is wrong they will say yes. So how do you square your beliefs with your actions? It can't always be done.

Yes, but even if most people say that lying is wrong, doesn't necessarily mean that they honestly believe it to be wrong in all situations, and that would mean that some people say it is always wrong, because that is what is expected of them to say, or, it wouldn't be good for them to say that lying is sometimes justified from their point of view, because that might make people trust them less.

quote:
What do you think? Does George W ask forgiveness for lying? Does he rationalize that it isn't lying if someone else says it? Or does he just not think about it at all? Those are the ways we deal with cognitive dissonance.

I doubt he will ask forgiveness for anything. I suspect that he knows, in many cases, when he's being dishonest, and no matter if he thinks it's right or wrong, he might think it is necessary to do it anyway.

quote:
Frankly, I don't care if Einstein was or wasn't a theist. It isn't relevant to his science other than it may have impacted him in some subtle way. The fact a renown scientist believes in god doesn't make god any more believable because of cognitive dissonance. In other words, a person's belief in god isn't evidence no matter how intelligent or learned the person might be, because many people believe in things on the one hand that they discount on the other.

The reason I said he wasn't a theist is because theists have said, many times, that Einstein was a theist and that it would somehow make it so much more rational, or something. I've never said that a person's belief is true just because he's a scientist. I am confused though why evidence is demanded for some claims about the universe but not other. The existence of many of the gods would be extraordinary. Some of the claims are pretty big and not insignificant at all.

"Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of this astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy." -- Carl Sagan
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2004 :  02:20:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Maverick

quote:
Originally posted by beskeptigal

Maverick, you may be missing my point. Of course everyone lies. Of course everyone is human. That wasn't the point. The point is when we lie we often don't think it is wrong, yet for some people, if you ask them if it is wrong they will say yes. So how do you square your beliefs with your actions? It can't always be done.

Yes, but even if most people say that lying is wrong, doesn't necessarily mean that they honestly believe it to be wrong in all situations, and that would mean that some people say it is always wrong, because that is what is expected of them to say, or, it wouldn't be good for them to say that lying is sometimes justified from their point of view, because that might make people trust them less.
That would be rationalizing, "lying is bad but this situation is different". I didn't say everyone believes lying is bad all the time. It was an example. A person can believe lying is bad but still lie. Why they do it isn't relevant. The fact that not everyone fits this description isn't relevant. Are you saying there is no such thing as cognitive dissonance?

quote:
quote:
What do you think? Does George W ask forgiveness for lying? Does he rationalize that it isn't lying if someone else says it? Or does he just not think about it at all? Those are the ways we deal with cognitive dissonance.

I doubt he will ask forgiveness for anything. I suspect that he knows, in many cases, when he's being dishonest, and no matter if he thinks it's right or wrong, he might think it is necessary to do it anyway.
Of course he would think it was necessary. And if you believe in the 10 commandments, and you believe god didn't list any exceptions, when you lie despite that belief most of the time people just do it and suppress the thoughts of it altogether. That's what happens with cognitive dissonance.
quote:
..... I am confused though why evidence is demanded for some claims about the universe but not other. The existence of many of the gods would be extraordinary. Some of the claims are pretty big and not insignificant at all.

Which claims are you referring to?
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