The conversation continued.
And yes, you are correct. Claiming that there is hard evidence that directly that there is no god or higher being is irrational. However it is very unlikely. There are facts, note how I say fact and not theory, that is not in line with Christianity, for example. Evolution is one of them. It is not so much that we can't disproof your god, but that nothing even points in that direction. It is simply irrational to believe in the Christian god. An all-powerfull, all-knowing supreme god, that is.
The idea that belief in God is "irrational" and is incompatible with science is in itself a faith-based statement. Issac Newton did not see belief in God as irrational, nor did Einstein, nor do John Polkinghorne (a well-known quantum physicist in England) or Francis Collins (The head of the Human Genome Project.) The charge of "irrationality" comes more out of an ideological polemic against people exploiting religion to gain power than out of facts-based assessment. If you wish to say that belief in God is irrational, that's your prerogative, but I have yet to see any "facts" that work towards a realistic denial of the existence of God.
Science, by its very definition, is not designed to answer questions about philosophy. Science, on its own, can only answer questions of causality, but cannot answer questions of meaning. To attempt to use it to do so is a twisting of the scientific method. It is every bit as bad as trying to use religion as science - which addresses your other charge about evolution. Many Christians, including myself, see no conflict between the concept of a creator God and the theory of Evolution. Genesis is about the meaning of creation, not the nuts and bolts. Our current Presiding Bishop, Katherine Jefferts Schori, was a practicing oceanographer before she became a clergyperson. She has spoken long and elegantly about the falsehood of the perceived conflict between science and religion, which both fundamentalists and so-called "secular humanists" wish to perpetuate. We have no interest in that fight.
Now if you wish to say that any organized religion that claims to hold all the truth about God is irrational, or that the Bible should not be read as a scientific text, I'm on board with you.
Do not mistake trying for fiascos. Cold fusion is years away from us as of now and only seems like a theory, however that doesnt stop scientists from trying, "fiascos" or not. And as far as I am aware, cloning has been successful lately and kind of held back by countless of laws against cloning, a technology which could save countless of lives.
I would say that editing your results to get the result you want and then publishing articles in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals are classified as fiascos. I'm not talking about "trying," I'm talking about deliberate misrepresentation or jumping to unwarranted conclusions and publishing for material or professional gain. Not good science. Likewise, I think laws against using embryos already slated for destruction in stem-cell research is really bad religion.
You also bring up Nazi eugenics. There is a difference between science and science being used for nazi ideologys. The error is in the ideology and not in science.
You somehow compare science and religion, seeing which one is worse.
You cant possible compare researching cold fusion to the religious crusades?
Thats like counting every death made by sience, people that died because of the nuclear weapons, ill-constructed bridges that falls apart when people drives on them, thus killing the driver and just general weapons that is the product of science and compared to the deaths in crusades.
You're making the exact point I want to make. In my argument, "There is a difference between religion and religion being used for political ideologies. The error is in the ideology and not in religion."
If you can group together all the horrors perpetrated in the name of religion, I can do them in the name of science, although I don't want to do that. I would say that in both cases, it wasn't religion or science, but that both were used as a tool in the name of an ideology. I simply ask why religion is being held to a different standard.
In the case of the crusades, most crusade scholars will point out that the root cause was not religion. By that time, the Church had put so many restrictions on warfare within Europe (a good thing) that the aristocratic warrior class was chomping at the bit to do something. If you look at the conduct of the crusaders, it is clear that they are simply acting like raiders on a land grab. The ecclesiastical trappings of the crusades (which were wrong) were simply icing on the cake. Was religion complicit? Yes. Was religion the root? No, it was bored, violent aristocracy hungry for lands of their own.
In the case of Nazi Eugenics, the root cause was racism and lingering shame over the defeat of Germany and the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The Nazis needed to feel superior in order to do what they were going to do. Many internationally-acclaimed scientists signed onto the pseudo-science of Eugenics. That pseudo-science was used to justify the "Final Solution." Was science complicit? Yes. Was science the root? No, it was a humiliated, prideful Nazi leadership twisting science to justify their hatred of Jews.
In both cases, religion and science were compromised by ideology. Your argument seems to be that science can be excused when overtaken by extreme ideology, but not religion. I'm unsure about the logic of this.
I mean, science has done so much more good than religion ever has. Killing people because it says so in a book is madness. Preventing such madness is possible. I claim that trying to ditch sicnce is yet again madness, because there is no logic in doing so. The things you mentioned is far from enough to dith science, while the things religion has done and what we know about the world today is more than enough to terminate religion.
Once again, I disagree. If we want to lump together "The things science has done" like you do with religion, we have to lump in the social consequences of the Industrial Revolution, Chernobyl, Global Warming, radioactive waste, nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, destruction of natural habitat, etc. From this standpoint, science has been a mixed bag. This is what happens when you put everyone involved in science in the same category. Note that I am not arguing for this - this is simply taking the method you use to judge religion and applying it to science.
Is it fair to do this kind of categorization? I don't think so. By doing it with religion you are lumping Mother Theresa in with Osama Bin Laden. Religious history is full of saints who have made a difference in the world BECAUSE they were religious people. William Wilberforce fought to abolish slavery in Britain due to his religious convictions ( Science of the time still taught that Negroes were savages), Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr., worked their theories of non-violent change out from the teachings of their religions. The Dalai Lama would not be the Dalai Lama without Buddhism. St. Francis of Assisi's followers have helped millions of the poorest and most destitute of humanity. I could go on for pages, but I'm short on time. Even more importantly, the millions of people who have done good works quietly and without fanfare because of their religious beliefs are discounted by such a statement.
When judging science OR religion, I don't look at the things that appear to be typical human barbarity. I chalk that up to human nature. I look at the examples of where science or religion has allowed us to transcend that nature (Jonas Salk or Mother Theresa) and gain inspiration from both.
The idea that science and religion are an either/or proposition is one maintained by extremists who do no justice to either science or religion.
"Every human society throughout history has had an innate
understanding that the divine exists. That 's a lot of evidence, at
least as good as that used by modern Psychology or Sociology."
Just because many people believes in something doesnt mean its right. They didnt have any "understanding" that the "devine" exists. It's just another example of how the human mind works, especially in LACK of understanding.
Let me ask you this. Isnt it possible that humans made up religion, and the "devine" to answer what they couldnt answer because of the fact that they were primative? I mean there is no way they could understand the advanced physics and science that we know today. Isnt it very logic for them to create such a myth?
You are assuming that the point of religion is to explain things. This comes from the fact that you (And me actually) are steeped in the scientific method whose point really is to explain things. Some fundamentalists believe that the point of religion is to explain things, but this is because they are trying to force religion into a scientific model, which it doesn't fit.
Read this for more on this idea:
The point of religion is relationship - relationship to the "divine" which can be construed in theistic or non-theistic terms. It is true that there are myths in all scripture, but there is a difference between myth and falsehood. Myth conveys meaning - sometimes in ways that may be materially fictional (Jesus' parables being a leading example).
Id just like to point out that there really isnt any "burden" to prove that god doesnt exist. In "our" world, there is no such thing and there is already sufficient evidence for an openminded human to come to the conclusion (ie think) that there is no God, as described in your bible.
Religion is an easier "option". But in no way the right one.
I'd say there is. General logical principles indicate that a known principle be upheld until there is convincing evidence to the contrary. Theism (or sometimes non-theistic religion) is the dominant principle throughout human history. Until good evidence to the contrary appears, the burden is on atheists. You of course can believe whatever you want, but don't be surprised when you encounter resistance. Theism may seem "illogical" to you, but for millions, it is perfectly logical. Are you qualified to judge who is logical and who is not?
And, I have to say, I have met a lot of close-minded atheists. Thankfully, you are not one of them. :-)
I do take issue with the idea that religion is "easier." Maybe it is for those who attempt to use religion to answer all their questions. For me, the older I get, the more questions religion raises for me. It is not a way to stop thinking, it's a way to enter into relationship with a force (which I identify as a personal one) larger than myself who is continually challenging me to deeper thought and personal change.