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Peaceful coexistence between scientists and theologians

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Full-blown mind/body dichotomization, dude. Get a grip!

Not necessarily -- why do you jump to that conclusion? There are a few possibilities that make possible a peaceful coexistence between science and theology. Someone here posited that religious scientists compartmentalize their thinking, which I suppose is possible. Another view would posit that science and theology are separate, unrelated spheres of knowledge. Another view is that all knowledge is one, and that science and theology are areas within that unified body of knowledge, but with distinct and separate modalities.

Obviously I can't know what approach individual religious scientists, past and present, take or have taken, but those are possibilities that make for peaceful coexistence between the two.

My position is that the explicit claim you made in your previous post (that science and philosophy are two unrelated areas) is false.

See above. I don't know what particular approach individual religious scientists take. Nor do you.

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I see. So the persecution of Galileo made no difference to his productivity?

Galileo's main detractors were his fellow scientists, many of whom he had ticked off. But your point is well taken....However, someone here took me to task and clarified that the discussion was about intellectual coexistence ("The discussion is about intellectual peace, not physical peace" was the statement). So you're changing back to the physical realm? In that case, you don't have a whole lot of Galileos to rest your outrage on, whereas the atheist persecution and slaughter of religious scientists, artists, writers and teachers has a very extensive body count. Just on a personal level, I had grandparents and great-grandparents who were research scientists and teachers in the Soviet Union who were stripped of their positions and shipped to camps where they died or were killed -- because they were also devout Orthodox Church members. I wouldn't use that argument, if I were you, as it doesn't serve you well.

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Galileo's main detractors were his fellow scientists, many of whom he had ticked off. But your point is well taken....However, someone here took me to task and clarified that the discussion was about intellectual coexistence ("The discussion is about intellectual peace, not physical peace" was the statement). So you're changing back to the physical realm? In that case, you don't have a whole lot of Galileos to rest your outrage on, whereas the atheist persecution and slaughter of religious scientists, artists, writers and teachers has a very extensive body count. Just on a personal level, I had grandparents and great-grandparents who were research scientists and teachers in the Soviet Union who were stripped of their positions and shipped to camps where they died or were killed -- because they were also devout Orthodox Church members. I wouldn't use that argument, if I were you, as it doesn't serve you well.

Wait ... because bad people who didn't believe in God did bad things, I'm supposed to believe in God? Because the God-believers did less bad things?

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In answer to your question, then, yes -- there are scientific questions that cannot be addressed by theology, and theological questions that cannot be addressed by science. That this is so is demonstrated by religious scientists, past and present, who see no conflict in pursuing both.

Religious scientists demonstrate the fact that some people in the past have thought that this approach makes sense. It does not demonstrate that it actually makes sense. In fact, as I argued earlier, it does not. All "theological" question about human values can be answered scientifically, and all other questions commonly thought to be "theological" refer to things which do not exist. There is nothing left in theology's sphere.

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Wait ... because bad people who didn't believe in God did bad things, I'm supposed to believe in God? Because the God-believers did less bad things?

That's a rather far-fetched conclusion to draw from what I wrote. I suggest you use your reason, not your emotion, when responding.

I never suggested that you ought to believe in a god at all, which would be an amazing thing for me to suggest to anyone, given that I am not a theist. But to use the well-worn case of Galileo to showcase religious persecution of scientists simply isn't an effective argument, because atheist persecution dwarfs it. It doesn't demonstrate what you would like to demonstrate, namely, that religion and science can't coexist. By that standard, sceince is far less able to coexist with atheism.

Religious scientists demonstrate the fact that some people in the past have thought that this approach makes sense.

It is not a relic of the past: one of my Physics professors was a Catholic priest as well as a brilliant physicist. I have worked with astronomers and biochemists who were also clergymen. Why do you imagine that this is something that occured only in the past?

All "theological" question about human values can be answered scientifically, and all other questions commonly thought to be "theological" refer to things which do not exist. There is nothing left in theology's sphere.

Since theologians currently exist, clearly your opinion is not universal. Perhaps you've failed to demonstrate this in a scientifically verifiable manner.

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It is not a relic of the past: one of my Physics professors was a Catholic priest as well as a brilliant physicist. I have worked with astronomers and biochemists who were also clergymen. Why do you imagine that this is something that occured only in the past?

I'm well aware that it's not, thanks. My point, yet again, is that these people's mere existence does not tell us anything about whether or not their beliefs make sense.

Since theologians currently exist, clearly your opinion is not universal. Perhaps you've failed to demonstrate this in a scientifically verifiable manner.

Creationists exist too. And faith healers. And reflexologists. Cryptozoologists, psychics, people who claim alien abduction, people who claim encounters with ghosts.... The existence of people who believe something indicates nothing.

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I'm well aware that it's not, thanks. My point, yet again, is that these people's mere existence does not tell us anything about whether or not their beliefs make sense.

I never suggested that people's existence tells us of the truth or falsehood of their beliefs. Again, it does tell us that your opinions are not universal, and so perhaps you have failed to demonstrate them in a scientifically conclusive manner.

Creationists exist too. And faith healers. And reflexologists. Cryptozoologists, psychics, people who claim alien abduction, people who claim encounters with ghosts.... The existence of people who believe something indicates nothing.

Agreed. And it is true of your opinions as well. If, as you say, "All "theological" question about human values can be answered scientifically, and all other questions commonly thought to be "theological" refer to things which do not exist", then scientifically verifiable proof of this must exist. However, despite my years of acquaintance with scientists of various disciplines (many of whom were quite interested in philosophy and questions of this nature), and with the scientific community in general, I have yet to see this utterly conclusive, world-changing scientific fact demonstrated, and the consenus that it has been demonstrated is remarkably absent.

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I never suggested that people's existence tells us of the truth or falsehood of their beliefs. Again, it does tell us that your opinions are not universal, and so perhaps you have failed to demonstrate them in a scientifically conclusive manner.

What does it matter about who believes what? That is irrelevant.

If, as you say, "All "theological" question about human values can be answered scientifically, and all other questions commonly thought to be "theological" refer to things which do not exist", then scientifically verifiable proof of this must exist.

What, proof that theology refers to things which do not exist? Or proof that all so-called "theological" questions about human values can be answered scientifically? The second I can prove. The first I can't prove because asserting that something exists requires some objective justification. Theological beliefs are premised in the existence of a supernatural force, so there is really no theological belief which has any justification.

Edited by Eiuol
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The second I can prove.

Go for it....and give me some concrete examples: for example, give me scientific proof that killing an unwanted, mentally retarded year-old child is wrong.

Does science support or condemn the eating of dead humans? (Not killing them, mind you...) What is the conclusive proof, either way?

Does science prove that Mozart is beautiful, and if so, how? Does science demonstrate that rap music is inferior, and if so, what is the scientific proof?

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I never suggested that you ought to believe in a god at all, which would be an amazing thing for me to suggest to anyone, given that I am not a theist. But to use the well-worn case of Galileo to showcase religious persecution of scientists simply isn't an effective argument, because atheist persecution dwarfs it. It doesn't demonstrate what you would like to demonstrate, namely, that religion and science can't coexist. By that standard, sceince is far less able to coexist with atheism.

I'm sorry, but YOU are the one who seems to want to surf on context, and change waves whenever it suits.

What you suggested is: because (in your reading of history, not mine) atheists have done more persecution than theists, the persecution of scientists by theists is not pertinent to your question. Have I got that?

Assuming so, I just can't get your logic. It seems to boil down to "because self-professed theologian/scientists exist, the two methodologies are simpatico". That is just horridly improper logic, akin to saying that because I can "coexist" with a tapeworm, my life and its are in peaceful coexistence. No.

- ico

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I never suggested that people's existence tells us of the truth or falsehood of their beliefs. Again, it does tell us that your opinions are not universal, and so perhaps you have failed to demonstrate them in a scientifically conclusive manner.

Oh come on. You aren't going to stoop to that old chestnut, "Hey, it's all a matter of opinion anyhoo", are you? Subjectivist drivel.

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Go for it....and give me some concrete examples: for example, give me scientific proof that killing an unwanted, mentally retarded year-old child is wrong.

Ah, you've come to the right place! That's the whole POINT of Objectivism as a philosophy; it lays a groundwork in which to make objective decisions about right or wrong.

It's not science *per se* that can answer these questions. To be clear, by science, I mean objective thought based on reality. It can help in answering what happens when you eat dead humans. Really you would only answer questions about cannibalism like any other food: what are the nutritional benefits? Likely, there are none, plus it probably doesn't even taste good.

Philosophy can indicate what defines the standard of beautiful music, science can help understand what music is made up of.

I hope you notice here that theology cannot help answer these questions, and if anything, makes it impossible to answer all these questions objectively. People have an amazing power of compartmentalization, so in some regards, theistic ideas won't completely stop scientific progress. But if at any point you allow a supernatural force to explain things, that leaves room for saying that certain phenomena cannot be explained objectively no matter how hard you try. In terms of knowledge, this is dangerous; it slows and halts scientific and objective thought in all fields. Sorry, I have to do it:

Edited by Eiuol
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If, as you say, "All "theological" question about human values can be answered scientifically, and all other questions commonly thought to be "theological" refer to things which do not exist", then scientifically verifiable proof of this must exist. However, despite my years of acquaintance with scientists of various disciplines (many of whom were quite interested in philosophy and questions of this nature), and with the scientific community in general, I have yet to see this utterly conclusive, world-changing scientific fact demonstrated, and the consenus that it has been demonstrated is remarkably absent.

In the third post of this thread, I indicated where the main argument for the objective basis of values could be found: Rand's essay "The Objectivist Ethics." This viewpoint is fleshed out even more in Tara Smith's book Viable Values. If you've read one of these, we could actually discuss this argument for the objective basis for human values, instead of relying on simple consensus to try to make arguments.

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What does it matter about who believes what? That is irrelevant.

Then why are you bothering to comment on a thread regarding the peaceful coexistence of science and religion, wherein the subject is quite connected to people's beliefs?

Oh come on. You aren't going to stoop to that old chestnut, "Hey, it's all a matter of opinion anyhoo", are you? Subjectivist drivel.

No, nothing I said could be boiled down to "it's all a matter of opinion". You might want to brush up on your reading comprehension skills.

It's not science *per se* that can answer these questions.

Well, then that seems to be in direct contradiction to the assertion (and I quote...), "All "theological" question about human values can be answered scientifically". Or is the person who made that assertion merely broadening the meaning of the term "science"? I am looking for evidence that is testable, measurable, repeatable, and conclusive.

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Then why are you bothering to comment on a thread regarding the peaceful coexistence of science and religion, wherein the subject is quite connected to people's beliefs?

Because I am asserting (and you are denying) that belief leads nowhere, scientifically. I "coexist" with my neighbor whom I have never spoken with. Similarly, scientists can coexist just fine with theologians if the latter leave the former alone to pursue their ideas. Scientists have no use for theologians; the reverse is not true, as theologians clearly want to embrace science as a means of furthering their social ends. Hmmm. Can you say "adulteration"?

No, nothing I said could be boiled down to "it's all a matter of opinion". You might want to brush up on your reading comprehension skills.

And you, on your expository writing skills.

Well, then that seems to be in direct contradiction to the assertion (and I quote...), "All "theological" question about human values can be answered scientifically". Or is the person who made that assertion merely broadening the meaning of the term "science"? I am looking for evidence that is testable, measurable, repeatable, and conclusive.

Well, yes, all theological questions can be answered scientifically. Here's the answer: they are all either not well-posed and thus deserving of dismissal out of hand; or they are well posed, and the answer is always negative in regards to whether theological beliefs have anything to do with reality outside the floating abstraction heads that banter faith about as if it had substance.

- ico

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Because I am asserting (and you are denying) that belief leads nowhere, scientifically.

I did not deny it. I observed that, for many scientists, they hold their religious beliefs to be consistent or at least not in conflict with science. This could be for a number of reasons, of which I gave two and another poster gave one.

Similarly, scientists can coexist just fine with theologians if the latter leave the former alone to pursue their ideas.

Science deals with measurable, verifiable facts -- philosophy (theology being a sub-set) deals with morality and ethics, among other subjects. Science unconnected from morality and ethics can be quite destructive. The application of ethics may indeed properly intrude upon the applications of science -- do you deny that?

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Science deals with measurable, verifiable facts -- philosophy (theology being a sub-set) deals with morality and ethics, among other subjects. Science unconnected from morality and ethics can be quite destructive. The application of ethics may indeed properly intrude upon the applications of science -- do you deny that?

Philosophy is the science that studies the fundamental aspects of the nature of existence. The task of philosophy is to provide man with a comprehensive view of life. This view serves as a base, a frame of reference, for all his actions, mental or physical, psychological or existential.

Philosophy studies the fundamental nature of existence, of man, and of man’s relationship to existence. As against the special sciences, which deal only with particular aspects, philosophy deals with those aspects of the universe which pertain to everything that exists. In the realm of cognition, the special sciences are the trees, but philosophy is the soil which makes the forest possible.

Nevertheless, I urge you to take the advice of most that have said this before me and read Rand's books treating epistemology (Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology) and ethics (Virtue of Selfishness) that address quite well the false dichotomy that you seem to keep upholding. And she does deal with them in a scientific manner of 'measurable, verifiable facts' or 'testable, measurable, repeatable, and conclusive' (your words) which you keep stating have no value applied to human nature. Essentially, measurable and verifiable facts is the whole point of Objectivism, as an objective philosophy as understood by its relation to reality.

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Nevertheless, I urge you to take the advice of most that have said this before me and read Rand's books treating epistemology (Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology) and ethics (Virtue of Selfishness) that address quite well the false dichotomy that you seem to keep upholding.

Done that, been there. So -- what is the false dichotomy that I am upholding? I'm curious to find out. Again, the initial questions had to do with the peaceful coexistence of science and theology. I observed that, for many scientists, they hold their religious beliefs to be consistent or at least not in conflict with science. This could be for a number of reasons, of which I gave two and another poster gave one.

And she does deal with them in a scientific manner of 'measurable, verifiable facts' or 'testable, measurable, repeatable, and conclusive' (your words) which you keep stating have no value applied to human nature.

I "keep stating" that, do I? I have merely asked for someone to give me testable, measurable proof of, for example, why it is or is not wrong for the parents of an unwanted mentally-retarded year-old child to kill it. Why or why not should we not make use of corpses, and either eat them or otherwise put them to profitable use. And so on...and no one has answered my questions. Please prove to me, in a measurable, verifiable manner, why or why not a father should have sexual intercourse with his daughter or step-daughter, if she is of age and she agrees to it.

Telling me "go read this book", is not an adequate answer. I have taught for a number of years, and am convinced that people may think they know or have incorporated a body of knowledge, but the act of explaining or teaching someone else will expose just how superficial this can be. Therefore, answer the questions I asked about the specific situations.

Edited by dakota
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Ahh, deafening silence....my request that my specific examples of human behavior that ought to be (as claimed) proven scientifically, has gone unanswered. It's amusing, by the way, that the standard "answer" seems to be "Read this book/essay by Rand". It's curious that, about a dozen years ago, the exact same response was given to me by a die-hard Objectivist who is now comfortably sucking at the government's teat.

If you Objectivists here who have engaged in this thread can't explain your philosophy or answer concrete questions without resorting to "read this", then maybe you ought to be a bit more circumspect in your claims as to its infallibility.

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Ahh, deafening silence....my request that my specific examples of human behavior that ought to be (as claimed) proven scientifically, has gone unanswered.

I don't understand the question really, can't help you. You should use a specific, concrete example to work through. I would suggest another thread, because that'd be derailing this thread.

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....my request that my specific examples of human behavior that ought to be (as claimed) proven scientifically, has gone unanswered.

Well one of your problems is that you assume that a question such as "is human cannibalism wrong?" or "is Mozart more beautiful than rap music" should have a definite, yes/no answer. Morality as conceived by Objectivism is contextual. Perhaps you should familiarize yourself with this aspect of Objectivism before asking it to answer questions that it has no intention of ever addressing.

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Morality as conceived by Objectivism is contextual.

Ahhh...situational ethics. Relativism, in other words.

Perhaps you should familiarize yourself with this aspect of Objectivism before asking it to answer questions that it has no intention of ever addressing.

Yet another suggestion to go and read about the subject elsewhere. Can none of you here explain your philosophy and answer questions on your own?

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