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Old 11-30-2011, 03:15 AM   #3946
vharishankar
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That's a strawman, bullshit and not science.
Exactly my point. You portray a perfect picture of science while the reality is that science is equally vulnerable to being twisted and used as ideology but is more dangerous because it is seductively easy to fall into that trap of thinking that a particular branch of science is perfect because a scientist says so.

As I said before, you say science doesn't suggest courses of action.That is splitting hairs because scientists use their knowledge of science to suggest actions and you trust them more just because they speak in the name of science. And you apply the same principles of blind faith that you attribute to religion when you trust a scientist enough.

Are you saying that each of you could go out there are verify all of science's existing laws personally? Is that even practical or possible?

Last edited by vharishankar; 11-30-2011 at 03:18 AM.
 
Old 11-30-2011, 05:23 AM   #3947
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Originally Posted by vharishankar View Post
Exactly my point. You portray a perfect picture of science while the reality is that science is equally vulnerable to being twisted and used as ideology but is more dangerous because it is seductively easy to fall into that trap of thinking that a particular branch of science is perfect because a scientist says so.
Now where the hell did I say anything is perfect? That's your own conclusion, and it is invalid. Science does not provide moral judgement or advice.

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Originally Posted by vharishankar View Post
As I said before, you say science doesn't suggest courses of action.That is splitting hairs because scientists use their knowledge of science to suggest actions and you trust them more just because they speak in the name of science.
"suggestion made by scientist" != "suggestion made by science". Science provides knowledge. Knowledge is incapable of doing anything by itself. Scientist provides possible solution for a problem using this knowledge. Haven't heard phrase "in the name of science" being used in real life, by the way. Now, who do you think ask scientist for a solution? That's other people.

Research provides knowledge. How you're going to use knowledge is up to you.
A computer security expert could patch security holes or hack into people's machines. Lawyer could search for a ways to abuse system for his own benefit or defend people. There are always many ways to use knowledge - you can make a cure for a disease or a poison. Energy source or a weapon, and so on. Knowledge does not dictate how you're going to use it - the choice (and consequences) are yours.

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Originally Posted by vharishankar View Post
And you apply the same principles of blind faith that you attribute to religion when you trust a scientist enough.
You're jumping to conclusion. "I" don't trust anybody, including myself. People make mistakes constantly, that's how they can learn. If a scientific claim provided by somebody is of critical importance for me, I can test it myself, if this will be necessary. Religious claims are impossible to verify (how long has people been arguing about existence of god?).

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Originally Posted by vharishankar View Post
Are you saying that each of you could go out there are verify all of science's existing laws personally?
Yes. It will take time and money, though. You're free to give it a try.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vharishankar View Post
Is that even practical or possible?
It is possible. Practicality depends on area you want to test. Things like proton collider might be a bit hard to build/acquire/get access to. But the end result is the same - you can verify pretty much everything yourself. Don't american schools perform experiments during course of study, by the way? If I remember correctly, in my day every single physical law came with explanation - how it was discovered, and how it was tested. So if you had doubts, you could verify it all yourself. By the way, you may want to read about "radioactive boyscout" (a teenager build homemade nuclear reactor).

Last edited by SigTerm; 11-30-2011 at 05:35 AM.
 
Old 11-30-2011, 05:28 AM   #3948
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It is true that nazi scientists had everything at their disposal to perform experiments
The ethical dillema is about using their experiment results in today's sciences

Science without conscience is the soul's perdition.
~François Rabelais
 
Old 11-30-2011, 05:30 AM   #3949
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Originally Posted by vharishankar View Post
Exactly my point. You portray a perfect picture of science while the reality is that science is equally vulnerable to being twisted and used as ideology but is more dangerous because it is seductively easy to fall into that trap of thinking that a particular branch of science is perfect because a scientist says so.
That's BS. Science is not an ideology. It's a method of inquiry. The very essence of science is to NOT believe in something merely because a particular person, scientist or otherwise, told you so. We have a name for folks who utilize the trappings of science to support their quack ideas - pseudoscience. We have books and guides to help people tell the difference and teach people good scientific skepticism.

Were there scientists complicit in Nazism? As far as I know yes. There were also many religious people complicit. The Pope at the time has gotten a lot of flack for not taking a stronger stance against Hitler. So what? As I've said time and again, the problem is belief based on authority, on systems that discourage or limit questioning and free inquiry, on people who claim to have The Truth. Any movement can have that happen, religious or otherwise, but in religion that kind of stuff is built in. You've made it into one of the highest virtues. Everyone talks about how good faith is. That's why religion is a problem. It's equally terrible when secular or political movements do it, but it's not a core value.

And of course, we keep talking about science as though it was a philosophical life stance, which is not true. It's just a method. The philosophical life stance that I identify with by and large is Secular Humanism. I think we should keep those distinctions clear. Science is just a tool, and people can use it to poor ends, or engage in unethical research. If you want to critique my actual world view, address secular humanism.

Quote:
As I said before, you say science doesn't suggest courses of action.That is splitting hairs because scientists use their knowledge of science to suggest actions and you trust them more just because they speak in the name of science. And you apply the same principles of blind faith that you attribute to religion when you trust a scientist enough.
No, I trust scientists who I already know share my values more to suggest courses of actions, and then I look at the action and decide if I agree with it. If Jerry Coyne says something is a good course of action, I am more inclined to believe him. If Francis Collins thinks something is a good course of action, I am less. In either case, if it's on an issue important to me, I'll think long and hard about it. As far as their scientific work, though, I trust each equally. We all take cognitive shortcuts and it's impossible to do otherwise. But we should try to be aware of it.

Quote:
Are you saying that each of you could go out there are verify all of science's existing laws personally? Is that even practical or possible?
Nope, which is why you should not BELIEVE in scientific findings, but provisionally accept them, or at least not deny them, when it seems like all the experts in a field are agreed that a particular thing is true. If the experts are not agreed, then having a strong opinion as a non-expert is perverse. I also recommend reading disinterested 3rd party science papers or blogs to see what criticisms other scientists might have on issues. This is generally going to be limited to issues that matter to you personally, or are important in current events, ie, in my day to day life, I don't need to check that gravity works. You should evaluate science reporting and other claims as best as possible with an eye out for logical fallacies and other red flags. You should be especially wary of non-peer reviewed studies (though peer review is not perfect either). And ideally you should try and learn enough science to understand some basic limitations, for example, in medicine epidemiological studies cannot prove causation.

EDIT: Sigterm is talking in principle you can verify any scientific finding you choose to, which is true. I'm talking practically, no one would be able to verify more than a fraction of them.

If scientists are being open and transparent about their work, and it is being reviewed by third parties, we have reason to trust them. Not blindly accept everything they claim, but trust them. There are systems in place to try and limit sketchy behavior, and when scientists are discovered falsifying data their careers are over, no one will trust them again. It's similar to trusting, say, a major newspaper. You don't necessarily believe everything the print as the absolute truth, but you trust that they have a code of ethics, that breaches of ethics are taken seriously, that their reputation is vital to their continuing existence, and so on. You also know that budget cuts have slashed the fact checking department in newspapers, so maybe you trust them a little less now. It's a continuum of trust, from very sure to very skeptical, and new information moves you along that continuum, but it is never 100% and never 0%. There is always the possibility that you could be wrong about something or a sketchy person could be right about something.

Last edited by reed9; 11-30-2011 at 05:37 AM.
 
Old 11-30-2011, 05:46 AM   #3950
reed9
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Incidentally, where are you guys trying to go with this do you personally verify science/you have "faith" in science gambit? It doesn't make religious claims any stronger. At best it shows that most people should be skeptical of scientific claims and even more skeptical of religious ones. Right? It just shows that overall we should be less credulous.
 
Old 11-30-2011, 06:14 AM   #3951
vharishankar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reed9 View Post
Incidentally, where are you guys trying to go with this do you personally verify science/you have "faith" in science gambit? It doesn't make religious claims any stronger. At best it shows that most people should be skeptical of scientific claims and even more skeptical of religious ones. Right? It just shows that overall we should be less credulous.
I am trying to make you think about your artificial and arbitrary distinctions of "science" and "non-science" by atheists, because even your basic definition of the scientific method is incomplete and flawed. As shown by the evolution argument.

In short, I am trying to show that atheists use science in pretty much the same way as believers use religion. As a propaganda tool when it suits their purposes.

You can keep celebrating the purity of science in theory, but I care two hoots about the theory. What matters is how science and scientific developments has been used by humanity in the course of history and I've clearly shown that it is no better than religion as a propaganda weapon and as a way to justify ideologies. Especially in modern times

Last edited by vharishankar; 11-30-2011 at 06:15 AM.
 
Old 11-30-2011, 06:28 AM   #3952
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Originally Posted by vharishankar View Post
I am trying to make you think about your artificial and arbitrary distinctions of "science" and "non-science" by atheists, because even your basic definition of the scientific method is incomplete and flawed. As shown by the evolution argument.
  1. I'm not an atheist, but agnostic.
  2. The distinction is not artificial:
    1. Religion: "this is the truth, because book says so". "This is good/bad, because book says so".
    2. Science: "This is most reliable explanation at this moment, which can be demonstrated by experiment". "If you do "this", you'll have following consequences".

Quote:
Originally Posted by vharishankar View Post
In short, I am trying to show that atheists use science in pretty much the same way as believers use religion. As a propaganda tool when it suits their purposes.
You should specify whether you talk about ALL atheists, or SOME of them. From what I've seen, what you say isn't true. Haven't met scientific prophets on streets, and haven't ever been woken up by evolutionists knocking onto my door to "talk about theory of evolution". Haven't seen people using saying of some scientist to justify amoral behavior.

Why you don't demonstrate your claim in detail? Take several fields, for example: mathematics, computer science, physics, and show how are they being used as religion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vharishankar View Post
You can keep celebrating the purity of science in theory,
As far as I remember, nobody except you used term "scientific purity". If you disagree, provide post number.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vharishankar View Post
What matters is how science and scientific developments has been used by humanity in the course of history and I've clearly shown that it is no better than religion as a propaganda weapon and as a way to justify ideologies. Especially in modern times
You haven't shown anything. You're trying to blame the hammer for being a murder weapon. You're also wrote this post using a computer which is a result of collabaration between several scientific fields. Yet the only "bad" example you could come up is nazi scientists and that's from entire human history. As far as I can tell "good" uses outweigh "bad" uses, and your claim about "science equally vulnerable" would not hold even if it were valid. "science" means "knowledge" and "research method". It does not dictate moral values - it is means of achieving goals. Religion does dictate morality.

Last edited by SigTerm; 11-30-2011 at 06:35 AM.
 
Old 11-30-2011, 06:45 AM   #3953
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Originally Posted by SigTerm View Post
"science" means "knowledge" and "research method". It does not dictate moral values - it is means of achieving goals.
No, but science can hold ethical values, medicine for example (hippocratic oath)

Last edited by Cedrik; 11-30-2011 at 06:46 AM.
 
Old 11-30-2011, 06:47 AM   #3954
vharishankar
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Religion: "this is the truth, because book says so". "This is good/bad, because book says so".
Science: "This is most reliable explanation at this moment, which can be demonstrated by experiment". "If you do "this", you'll have following consequences".
Is that definition of religion widely accepted by religious people? Before you start asking for proofs, perhaps you should conduct a survey of religious beliefs all over the world.

Quote:
You should specify whether you talk about ALL atheists, or SOME of them.
Some of them, obviously. And I don't wish to quote any posts in this thread. I'm trying to keep it as impersonal as I can.

Quote:
You haven't shown anything. You're trying to blame the hammer for being a murder weapon.
No. I've actually shown how science in a particular field can be used as a propaganda tool in very similar ways to religion, and in all the more dangerous way because science can exert a lot more influence on those people who claim to be rational, critical thinkers and intelligent as well. If it happened once in history, it can happen again. Especially because of the sway science has in the modern world. So historical examples might be fewer at present, but that's no reason not to be wary of the growing power of propaganda in science.

Last edited by vharishankar; 11-30-2011 at 06:57 AM.
 
Old 11-30-2011, 06:48 AM   #3955
moxieman99
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Originally Posted by vharishankar View Post
The thing is, however much you split hairs on this issue, science did provide a justification for killing off "inferior" peoples.
Not at all. Science has no problem with different types of anything existing. Science provided no justification whatsoever.
 
Old 11-30-2011, 07:01 AM   #3956
vharishankar
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Originally Posted by moxieman99 View Post
Not at all. Science has no problem with different types of anything existing. Science provided no justification whatsoever.
OK you win.

I'm done with this thread.
 
Old 11-30-2011, 07:29 AM   #3957
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Originally Posted by vharishankar View Post
Is that definition of religion widely accepted by religious people? Before you start asking for proofs, perhaps you should conduct a survey of religious beliefs all over the world.
The definition of religion is easy to find. As far as I know, mathematics don't fit it.

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Originally Posted by vharishankar View Post
No. I've actually shown how science in a particular field can be used as a propaganda tool
Any idea, no matter how idiotic it is, can be used as propaganda. How does this prove anything?

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Originally Posted by vharishankar View Post
If it happened once in history, it can happen again.
No. You were born once. Can you be born once again? If it happened once, it doesn't mean it can or will happen again.
Another problem is that "can happen" is useless concept, because it does not demonstrate how likely something to happen. An average person can die from being struck by lightning. Does that mean that in order to reduce number of deaths there should be "danger of lightning awareness program"? No, because the same person most likely will die from heart dicease instead, and fighting this problem will have greater impact.

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Originally Posted by vharishankar View Post
Especially because of the sway science has in the modern world. So historical examples might be fewer at present, but that's no reason not to be wary of the growing power of propaganda in science.
As far as I know, religion receives much more attention in media than science. It may be a region-specific thing, though. Plus, it enjoys exemptions from certain laws and has special status. If religion and science were equally "dangerous" (they aren't), then religion would need more attention because it already is being treated as special case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vharishankar View Post
I've actually shown how science in a particular field can be used as a propaganda tool in very similar ways to religion,
You haven't. You mentioned that there were nazi scientists. And that's it. It didn't demonstrate anything.

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Originally Posted by vharishankar View Post
but that's no reason not to be wary of the growing power of propaganda in science.
Sounds like paranoia to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vharishankar View Post
OK you win.

I'm done with this thread.
Good.

Now it would be nice if somebody has disproved "indifferent/malevolent god" - it looks like because there were too many "benevolent gods" there weren't many people trying to deal with this possibility.

Last edited by SigTerm; 11-30-2011 at 07:31 AM.
 
Old 11-30-2011, 07:40 AM   #3958
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Murder can be replicated that is why they have reinactments. If you haven't seen one then go and watch one, the process is fascinating and it is scientific.
And in the same way we can "reinact" mutations in an environment with selective pressures and an accelerated timescale, via the miracle of computer simulations.
Take your own advice: if you haven't seen one running, do it. "The process is fascinating and it is scientific."
 
Old 11-30-2011, 07:41 AM   #3959
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I am trying to make you think about your artificial and arbitrary distinctions of "science" and "non-science" by atheists, because even your basic definition of the scientific method is incomplete and flawed. As shown by the evolution argument.
No, what's shown by evolution is that a lot of religious folks dismiss evolution for ideological reasons, not based on evidence.

And how exactly is our definition of the scientific method incomplete and flawed? I'll actually grant incomplete, though not for any of the reasons you have stated. What exactly science is has long been recognized as a problem in the philosophy of science. It's called the Demarcation Problem. And frankly, there is no entirely satisfactory answer, but that science involves at some level empiricism, verificationism, and falsificationism.

Quote:
In short, I am trying to show that atheists use science in pretty much the same way as believers use religion. As a propaganda tool when it suits their purposes.
Ironically, in your attempt to "show" this, you're using, poorly, the tools of science and reason. Present what you consider evidence, try to draw logical connections between propositions, etc. This is always a problem for those critical of science and reason, they must use the very tools they object to in order to make their case.

Unfortunately, you haven't shown anything. You've just made assertions and drawn a weak connection between Nazi propaganda and science. I'll just keep repeating myself. ANY ideology that is inimical to reason and free inquiry is a problem. Any ideology that claims to know the absolute truth is a problem. It doesn't matter whether the ideology is secular or religious. But religion elevates ignorance to a virtue, ie, faith. The Hebrews quote mentioned by bluegospel, right? "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."

Compare that to how science operates, as the physicist Feynman put it, "Each piece, or part, of the whole nature is always an approximation to the complete truth, or the complete truth so far as we know it. In fact, everything we know is only some kind of approximation, because we know that we do not know all the laws as yet. Therefore, things must be learned only to be unlearned again or, more likely, to be corrected.......The test of all knowledge is experiment. Experiment is the sole judge of scientific “truth”."

It is the exact opposite of the religious outlook. Or another instructive example, a letter from Steven Pinker regarding the nomination of Francis Collins, an evangelical christian, to the head of the National Institutes of Health.
Quote:
I have serious misgivings about Francis Collins being appointed director of NIH. It’s not that I think that there should be a religious litmus test for public science administrators, or that being a devout Christian is a disqualification. But in Collins’s case, it is not a matter of private belief, but public advocacy. The director of NIH is not just a bureaucrat who tends the money pipleline between the treasury and molecular biologists (which is how many scientists see the position). He or she is also a public face of science, someone who commands one of the major bully pulpits for science in the country. The director testifies before Congress, sets priorities, selects speakers and panelists, and is in many regards a symbol for biomedical research in the US and the world. In that regard, many of Collins’s advocacy statements are deeply disturbing.

For example, I see science as not just cures for diseases and better gadgets but an ideal for how to think about the most important issues facing us as humans– in particular, the ideal that we should seek truth through reason and evidence and not through superstition, dogma, and personal revelation. Collins has said that he came to accept the Trinity, and the truth that Jesus is the son of God, when he was hiking and came upon a beautiful triple waterfall. Now, the idea that nature contains private coded messages from a supernatural being to an individual person is the antithesis of the scientific (indeed, rational) mindset. It is primitive, shamanistic, superstitious. The point of the scientific revolution was to do away with such animistic thinking.

This is not just autobiographical. Collins, in his book, eggs on fellow evangelical Christians in their anti-scientific beliefs. He tells them that they are “right to hold fast to the truths of the Bible” and to “the certainty that the claims of atheistic materialism must be steadfastly resisted.” Granted, he is not a young-earth or intelligent-design creationist. But he has stated that God interacts with creation, in particular, that he designed the evolutionary process to ensure that human intelligence, morality, and Judaeo-Christian religious belief would evolve.

That is far more than just expressing an opinion. That is advocacy, which gives incalculable encouragement the forces that have been hostile to science for the past eight years. And this is not just a theoretical fear: a number of right-wing, religious apologists (e.g., Dennis Praeger, in his debate with Sam Harris) used Collins as a stick to beat secularists: “Here is a famous scientist who takes an interventionist God and the Bible seriously; who are you to contradict him?” This is going to be multiplied if Collins becomes an even more prominent face of science.

Also, the human mind and brain constitute one of the frontiers of biomedical science. Cutting-edge research treats intelligence, morality, and religious belief as products of evolution and neuroscience. The idea that there is divine design and teleology behind these functions, on the basis of Iron Age and medieval dogma, is antithetical to this vibrant research area. How will Collins preside over the allocation of research priorities if he believes in ““the certainty that the claims of atheistic materialism must be steadfastly resisted”?

Again, it’s important that there not be an atheist-litmus-test for science administrators. A person’s private beliefs should not keep him from a public position. But Collins is an advocate of profoundly anti-scientific beliefs, and it is reasonable for the scientific community to ask him how these beliefs will affect his administration of the Institute and his efforts on the behalf of the scientific enterprise in Congress and in public. At the very least, he should distance himself from the BioLogos Foundation and any other advocacy group.
How exactly is emphasizing reason and evidence propaganda? What exactly is wrong with the statement that belief should be proportional to the evidence? Is it propaganda to say the Earth revolves around the sun? Is E=MC^2 propaganda?

No one was ever murdered, no genocides committed, from an excess of reason and the desire to figure things out.
 
Old 11-30-2011, 07:50 AM   #3960
vharishankar
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Ironically, in your attempt to "show" this, you're using, poorly, the tools of science and reason.
There's no irony. I never rejected science and reason.

I request people to stop quoting me. I've withdrawn from this thread publicly.

Last edited by vharishankar; 11-30-2011 at 07:53 AM.
 
  


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