Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Common Sense is Tingling - Debunking Christianity: Can You Not See What It Takes to Believe? You Must Bash Science!

John Loftus has posted another mind bending affront to common sense...correction he quotes some mind bending affront to common sense and agrees to it.

Yep, that what Vic Reppert and gang must do, and Vic is supposedly an intellectual whom Christians say stands head over heels above me! lol Is this not completely and utterly ignorant? This is why I cannot believe. To do so you must be ignorant! I need not even respond since someone named Doctor Logic already did. See below:
This letter smacks of "scorched earth", postmodernist anti-intellectualism.

What disgusts me about the sort of rhetoric here is the suggestion that science doesn't advance, or that science is a form of pop cultural entertainment that doesn't deserve our trust.

99% of our knowledge about the world comes from science. The most reliable knowledge we have is scientific. Did a modicum of trust get us to the Moon or eliminate smallpox?!

Science has vastly improved our lives. The Bible never taught us a damn thing.

Christian apologists are more than happy to throw science under the bus if it will save their religion by making scientific inquiry look as arbitrary as the spiritual prejudice that lies at the core of their worldview.

Oh, if only science could be reduced to mere recordkeeping and endless data gathering like in the good old days of the scholastics. Then, there would indeed be no conflict between science and religion. This is what Bob really meant when he said there was no conflict, but, Bob, data collecting isn't science! There is a real conflict between real science and religion.

Science is about control and the elimination of bias, so we can see the world as it really is. Religion is the opposite: it's about the maximization of bias and amplification of prejudiuce and preconception. Science and religion are mortal enemies.
I've read Dr. Victor Reppert's post I can find no "science bashing" in it. Atheists like John Loftus are so quick to label theists as people who hate science - as if there are no scientists who are also theists. Really, really, an affront to common sense. They also will cry foul. All I see that Reppert do in his post is describe the limits of science and why it's not a smart thing to put all of your eggs into its basket if you want to know what reality is. What is wrong with that? Loftus sounds like a religious person who just had his idol spit on. Loftus basically attempts to respond to Reppert's post by quoting a comment by "Dr. Logic". I think to anyone who read this thread should go and see the original post and comments. I think that Bob Prokop's comments bear reading.

"Dr. Logic",

I still fail to understand how you can employ that moniker with a straight face. Everything you wrote in your comment does nothing more than provide yet more evidence for my thesis. You obviously read the posting, but brought along with you your own prejudices and blinders, and saw only what you wanted (or perhaps expected) to see.

Of course science does not "deserve" our trust, any more than our government or my church does. We are dealing with human beings here, who have the same weaknesses and failings that I can so easily see in myself.

(Warning: I'm going to ramble a bit here, but I want to get a lot of points in with my morning coffee.)

As a professional analyst of the Soviet Union for some decades, I learned extensively about the history of scientific research in that country, to include the infamous Lysenko period, where no conclusions were allowed to be drawn in genetics that might conflict with the party line. And you don't have to look to totalitarian societies to see the same dynamics at work. In our own country, the Bush administration routinely manipulated, suppressed, and spun data to push its own line on (i.e., against) global climate change. Corporations such as oil companies brazenly distort data to hide the ecological damage their activities are causing. And don't get me started on the food industry, which does everything in its power to selectively use data to promote its "health" messages.

So no, even the data itself does not exist in some idealistic values-free Zone of Objectivity. Quite often, we have to consider the source.

But when it comes to big-picture conclusions drawn from that data, now we are entirely within the realm of the greater environment (spanning everything from the small scale of the interpersonal dynamics withing the individual research unit to contemporary culture as a whole). There's just no escaping it. This is neither a bad nor a good thing - it just is!

Now my own expertise happens to be in astronomy, so forgive me for using a lot of examples from that field. Might I suggest reading the (short) book "How I killed Pluto, and Why it had it Coming" by Mike Brown, a quite readable and frankly hilarious account of the politics, personalities, shenanigans, skullduggery, and at times even borderline criminality that surrounded the decision to demote Pluto from the status of "planet". This is a perfect example of how, even when absolutely no one contests the actual data involved, the issues of "World View" that might be affected by such information are the furthest thing possible from objectivity.

I could go on, but this post is getting too long as it is. My point is in no way to denigrate science. (I love my healthy teeth, thanks to the science of dentistry!) But let's not endow it with properties (such as objectivity) which it does not deserve.

Debunking Christianity: Can You Not See What It Takes to Believe? You Must Bash Science!
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