Evangelicals vs. science

When the Evangelical Environmental Network first launched, the core of our message was simple: If you love the Creator, you ought to care for the creation.

I still find the logic of that message compelling and unassailable. If you believe that God made this world, then love of God ought to entail a corresponding love for the world that God made. To be disdainful of creation is to show disdain for the Creator.

It’s right there in American evangelical Christianity’s favorite Bible verse, “For God so loved the world.”

The original word there in John’s Gospel was “cosmos” — a word that was, for John, as vast and comprehensive as it would be centuries later for Carl Sagan.

John 3:16 isn’t mainly about God as Creator, but about God as Redeemer, which only intensifies the point about God’s passionate love for the cosmos. God created the world and declared it good. Then God redeemed the world, thus dispelling any doubt about the Creator’s enduring love for the creation. (And yes, John 3 teaches, as Paul did, that God is redeeming “the world.” Jesus may be your “personal Lord and Savior,” but Jesus is not only your “personal Lord and Savior.”)

So that was the core of our basic message: If you love the Creator, you must love the creation. And caring for creation must also mean caring about creation. And that means wanting to know more about it — wanting to learn as much as you can learn about every facet and aspect, every realm and region, nook and cranny, quark and quasar.

Imagine someone who didn’t know their spouse’s middle name, or favorite foods, or hobbies, occupation, background or family. You would assume — rightly, I think — that such a person couldn’t possibly really love their spouse, because to love someone is to desire to know them better.

So that core message we had with the Evangelical Environmental Network shouldn’t just apply to environmentalism. It ought to apply to all of science. To all the many practical and pleasurable reasons anyone has to explore the sciences and to be excited and enthralled by science, evangelical Christians can add one more: It’s God’s world, God’s cosmos. God made it. God is redeeming it. God loves it. Anyone who loves God ought to love the world as well — and to love learning about the world.

We Christians ought to be famous for our love and devotion to the best, deepest, broadest and most ambitious science. We ought to be known for the same half-goofy, starry-eyed wonderment that the late Carl Sagan showed toward science.

But that’s not the case. Perversely, the opposite is true. We Christians have a long history of ambivalence and antipathy toward science. Sure, we can point to dozens of examples of devout Christians who were also top-notch scientists — Newton, Mendel, Francis Collins, etc. — but they stand out as exceptions.

And for American evangelical Christians the track record is even worse. American evangelicals tend to treat science as the enemy and to regard scientists as guilty until proven innocent. This is due to a host of reasons, foremost among them being the perception that evolution poses a threat to the Bible. But this unlovely (and, frankly, sinful) antipathy to science preceded Darwin — his work was not the first natural explanation rejected as a perceived threat to supernatural beliefs. And while the Scopes trial got the headlines, the formative main event in the 1920s for American evangelicals was the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy — another dispute in which science, particularly scientific criticism, was engaged in battle as the enemy.

That long history and the many causes and roots of evangelical Christian distrust of science are worth exploring in more detail, because if we want to overcome that distrust, then we need to understand it. I want to return to this topic in future posts to discuss some of the responses and approaches that I think are most promising and/or necessary for challenging and overcoming this anti-science reflex. But since I started thinking about this topic again due to a series of recent articles and posts, let me just wrap up for now by highlighting some of those.

I’m looking forward to reading the new book from Physicist Karl Giberson and historian Randall Stephens, The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Scientific Age. Giberson has been on something  of an online publicity tour for the book, publishing a series of articles on its basic themes.

Why Do So Many Evangelicals Prefer to Get Their ‘Science’ From Ken Ham Rather Than Francis Collins?” Giberson asks at science + religion today:

Anti-evolutionists like Ken Ham—and his colleagues at places like the Discovery Institute—constantly bash science as ideology claiming that its conclusions derive from “assumptions” rather than observations. After years of seeing science bashed, many evangelicals simply don’t trust it. And so they embrace a “science” that seems to agree with the Bible, oblivious to the fact that it has no support of any kind.

My only quibble there is with the word “oblivious,” which is inaccurate unless it’s qualified as, say, “mostly oblivious” or “willfully oblivious.” At the very least, this obliviousness is a choice, and having to make that choice means that one cannot ever quite be wholly oblivious.

At The Guardian (UK), Giberson writes that “Millions of evangelicals, including GOP candidates, are trapped in an alternative ‘parallel culture’ with its own standards of truth“:

By the time we were in college our generation of evangelicals had been educated into a profoundly different worldview than that of the secular, anti-Christian, Satan-following Ivy League elites we had been taught to fear. We understood the world to be a spiritual battleground with forces of good pitted against forces of evil. Real angels and real demons hovered about us as we prepared to wage these wars.

And at the Huffington Post, Giberson writes on “Why Evangelicals Are Fooled Into Accepting Pseudoscience“:

Why have evangelicals been so ready to reject the generally accepted conclusions of the scientific community on global warming?

I want to suggest that the reason has nothing to do with climate science per se, but derives from the generally dim view that many evangelicals have of science and scientists — views that make it hard to distinguish credible science from fake challengers.

One of the strategies employed most effectively by evangelicals in their crusade against evolution, which does pose real, although soluble, biblical and theological problems, has been to undermine the entire scientific enterprise. If science is a deeply flawed, ideologically driven, philosophically suspect enterprise, then why should anyone care if almost every scientist supports the theory of evolution? If the scientific community is just a bunch of self-serving ideologues with Ivy League appointments, then we can ignore anything it says that we don’t like.

All spot on and very true, but not the whole explanation for evangelicals’ rejection of climate science. The whole explanation would also include the very important factors of politics and money. Evangelical Christians who say they reject climate science explicitly indicate that this rejection is political, not scientific. And the subject of evangelical hostility toward science has become a hot topic lately for explicitly political reasons. The Republican presidential primary has become a contest to capture the evangelical Christian voting bloc, bringing about the spectacle of what Phil Plait calls “The increasingly antiscience Republican candidates“:

Each candidate on the right is simply scrambling to be even more antiscience than the next.

Of course, if that “next” is Rick Perry, then I doubt anyone could sprint away from reality more than he does. He’s a dyed-in-the-wool creationist … and when it comes to denying climate change he also apparently had no problem with simply making things up. …

Even the candidates people are calling “moderate” are falling over themselves to appease the base when it comes to science and the lack thereof. Mitt Romney tried to eat his cake and have it too about accepting evolution, and even Ron Paul has now distanced himself from evolution.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Well, the “why” implies some kind of overarching cause. Like “Why did you do Thing X?”

    “How” you did Thing X can be easily described – but why? Not always so much.

    Here’s another “why?” question:

    “Why is it that the electromagnetic interaction, upon breaking symmetry with the weak interaction, lose all parity nonconserving behavior while the weak interaction keeps it?”(*)

    We know the “how”; it’s in stuff I’m not going to quote here to avoid breaking brains –

    But the “why” is pretty much answerable only with the unsatisfying “Well, it seems to have just been the nature of our universe that causes this.”

    —–

    (*) A little bit extra: Basically the weak interaction can tell matter from antimatter, while the electromagnetic cannot. It is bound up with a thing called nonconservation of parity. The electroweak unification produces two unphysical gauge bosons which mix together to create the photon and the Z0. Somehow the photon “loses” all the ability of the weak interaction to violate parity while the Z0 retains part of it.

    Blew my mind when I first saw it.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Well, the “why” implies some kind of overarching cause. Like “Why did you do Thing X?”

    “How” you did Thing X can be easily described – but why? Not always so much.

    Here’s another “why?” question:

    “Why is it that the electromagnetic interaction, upon breaking symmetry with the weak interaction, loses all parity nonconserving behavior while the weak interaction keeps it?”(*)

    We know the “how”; it’s in stuff I’m not going to quote here to avoid breaking brains –

    But the “why” is pretty much answerable only with the unsatisfying “Well, it seems to have just been the nature of our universe that causes this.”

    —–

    (*) A little bit extra: Basically the weak interaction can tell matter from antimatter, while the electromagnetic cannot. It is bound up with a thing called nonconservation of parity. The electroweak unification produces two unphysical gauge bosons which mix together to create the photon and the Z0. Somehow the photon “loses” all the ability of the weak interaction to violate parity while the Z0 retains part of it.

    Blew my mind when I first saw it.

  • Tonio

    NOBODY in this thread — either the OP or any of the commenters — are
    saying “You must accept some form of religious faith, or be devoid of
    ethics or morality or meaning or art or anything else.”

    I wasn’t accusing anyone of saying that, so I don’t know why you brought it up.

    I want everyone to find a world view — atheist, theistic, agnostic, or
    I-don’t-care-ic — that keeps them healthy and happy and leads them to
    make the world better and more joyful.

    I would make a small but significant exception for people like LaHaye, if he finds happiness in believing that others who don’t share his beliefs deserve excruciatingly painful deaths in an apocalypse. That’s a big if, by the way, because I have difficulty imagining that someone who is capable of the hatefulness in the LB series would be all that happy.

    If they want to explain it to me, I’m interested.  If they want me to
    accept it, I’ll give them a hearing, but reserve the right at any point
    to say, “Nope, sorry, not for me.”  If they want to force it on me, by
    legislation or other means — well, I’m going to resist that by every
    means my pacifist beliefs allow.  And I expect — no, I INSIST — that
    those who share my basic beliefs extend the same courtesy to others.

    No disagreement there.

    The only possible reading I can make of this post is, “Hey, all you Evangelical Christians who already share
    the basic tenets of my faith:  if we agree that we worship a God who is
    like THIS, and who told us THAT, how can we do other than eagerly
    embrace science as a technique for learning about the natural world, and
    using what we learn to inform our policies?”

    That more or less matches my reading of Fred’s post as well. That’s partly why I brought up Francis Collins, who is certainly not a creationist, and has forgotten more about genetics than I’ll ever know. That doesn’t stop me from pointing out that Collins uses faulty god-of-the-gaps reasoning in rejecting the suggestion that morality arose through natural selection. My issue is not with his conclusion but with the method he used to reach it.

    No, I don’t see acceptance of science as rejection of religion. I’ll attempt to explain what I do see as the conflict…No one asserts that science can answer the question “Who is the greatest guitarist of all time” because it’s a matter of opinion, even though some opinions on the subject are more informed than others. Similarly, “what should the purpose of my life be” is a matter of opinion formed partly through knowledge and experience. But when the question of meaning presupposes the existence of a governing intelligence, that takes the question out of the realm of opinion. That doesn’t necessarily mean it enters the realm of science. However, it does bring up the additional question of whether that intelligence exists or not, and I see no way that new question can be a matter of opinion even if there’s no way to verify either answer.

  • Tonio

    NOBODY in this thread — either the OP or any of the commenters — are
    saying “You must accept some form of religious faith, or be devoid of
    ethics or morality or meaning or art or anything else.”

    I wasn’t accusing anyone of saying that, so I don’t know why you brought it up.

    I want everyone to find a world view — atheist, theistic, agnostic, or
    I-don’t-care-ic — that keeps them healthy and happy and leads them to
    make the world better and more joyful.

    I would make a small but significant exception for people like LaHaye, if he finds happiness in believing that others who don’t share his beliefs deserve excruciatingly painful deaths in an apocalypse. That’s a big if, by the way, because I have difficulty imagining that someone who is capable of the hatefulness in the LB series would be all that happy.

    If they want to explain it to me, I’m interested.  If they want me to
    accept it, I’ll give them a hearing, but reserve the right at any point
    to say, “Nope, sorry, not for me.”  If they want to force it on me, by
    legislation or other means — well, I’m going to resist that by every
    means my pacifist beliefs allow.  And I expect — no, I INSIST — that
    those who share my basic beliefs extend the same courtesy to others.

    No disagreement there.

    The only possible reading I can make of this post is, “Hey, all you Evangelical Christians who already share
    the basic tenets of my faith:  if we agree that we worship a God who is
    like THIS, and who told us THAT, how can we do other than eagerly
    embrace science as a technique for learning about the natural world, and
    using what we learn to inform our policies?”

    That more or less matches my reading of Fred’s post as well. That’s partly why I brought up Francis Collins, who is certainly not a creationist, and has forgotten more about genetics than I’ll ever know. That doesn’t stop me from pointing out that Collins uses faulty god-of-the-gaps reasoning in rejecting the suggestion that morality arose through natural selection. My issue is not with his conclusion but with the method he used to reach it.

    No, I don’t see acceptance of science as rejection of religion. I’ll attempt to explain what I do see as the conflict…No one asserts that science can answer the question “Who is the greatest guitarist of all time” because it’s a matter of opinion, even though some opinions on the subject are more informed than others. Similarly, “what should the purpose of my life be” is a matter of opinion formed partly through knowledge and experience. But when the question of meaning presupposes the existence of a governing intelligence, that takes the question out of the realm of opinion. That doesn’t necessarily mean it enters the realm of science. However, it does bring up the additional question of whether that intelligence exists or not, and I see no way that new question can be a matter of opinion even if there’s no way to verify either answer.

  • Tonio

    But the “why” is pretty much answerable only with the unsatisfying
    “Well, it seems to have just been the nature of our universe that causes
    this.”

    “We don’t know” isn’t a satisfying answer, either, but the answers to such questions have nothing to do with the emotional reactions we have to them. I would argue that if we find a proposed answer to be satisfying, we should subject it to extra scrutiny, to avoid choosing an answer simply because we like it. We shouldn’t expect answers to any questions to be satisfying for us. The universe may or may not care how we feel, but we shouldn’t expect it to care.

  • Tonio

    But the “why” is pretty much answerable only with the unsatisfying
    “Well, it seems to have just been the nature of our universe that causes
    this.”

    “We don’t know” isn’t a satisfying answer, either, but the answers to such questions have nothing to do with the emotional reactions we have to them. I would argue that if we find a proposed answer to be satisfying, we should subject it to extra scrutiny, to avoid choosing an answer simply because we like it. We shouldn’t expect answers to any questions to be satisfying for us. The universe may or may not care how we feel, but we shouldn’t expect it to care.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    Religion is not a monolithic entity. Christianity is not a
    monolithic entity. American, Protestant, Evangelical, Christianity is
    not a monolithic entity, as suggested by the fact that our American,
    Protestant, Evangelical, Christian host posts about the ways he
    disagrees with his peers about how God wants them to treat humanity and
    the world. If you need to find one such post, scroll up. There’s plenty
    of room in religion for an appreciation of reality. Heck, during Islam’s
    golden age they were making advances in astronomy and navigation and
    algebra specifically because of their religion.

    You know, I really need to make that boilerplate text in any religious discussion I get into, because the number of people who reject these facts is scary.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    Religion is not a monolithic entity. Christianity is not a
    monolithic entity. American, Protestant, Evangelical, Christianity is
    not a monolithic entity, as suggested by the fact that our American,
    Protestant, Evangelical, Christian host posts about the ways he
    disagrees with his peers about how God wants them to treat humanity and
    the world. If you need to find one such post, scroll up. There’s plenty
    of room in religion for an appreciation of reality. Heck, during Islam’s
    golden age they were making advances in astronomy and navigation and
    algebra specifically because of their religion.

    You know, I really need to make that boilerplate text in any religious discussion I get into, because the number of people who reject these facts is scary.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    Wait, religion is supposed to involve getting answers to questions? I’ve been doing it all wrong…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    Wait, religion is supposed to involve getting answers to questions? I’ve been doing it all wrong…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    Wait, religion is supposed to involve getting answers to questions? I’ve been doing it all wrong…

  • Rikalous

    If I have an inaccurate belief about souls, how do I determine that, so I
    can stop believing that wrong thing?  How am supposed to believe
    accurate things about the soul if I have no robust way to distinguish
    between true facts about the soul and false facts about it?

    You can’t. That’s kind of my point. We’re incapable of making tests about any aspect of souls or gods or afterlives, from their existence on down. The vast bulk of religious teachings are not testable claims.

    Yes, claims of the usefulness of homeopathic “remedies” are testable. We can, and have, determine that homeopathic medicine is bunk, and we can determine that using homeopathic medicine is harmful if it means the poor sucker isn’t getting real medical care. We can’t determine if souls are bunk, but we can determine, to an extent, if believing in them has good or bad consequences. Some people derive strength and comfort and a willingness to help others from a belief in a loving god. Some people derive strength and comfort and a willingness to help others from a belief that this life is all we got, so we better make it count. Some people derive asshattery from both sources. Neither side consistently produces better or worse people. It’s silly to say that picking one side or the other is incompatible with science.

    Why is it a bad “moral imperative” to want to believe as few false things as possible?

    It’s certainly not bad to not want to believe false things. Hell, I’m agnostic because I’m not interested in taking a stand on an issue that doesn’t have evidence on either side. Thing is, I may be guaranteed not to believe anything false on the issue, but I’m also guaranteed not to believe anything right.

  • Rikalous

    If I have an inaccurate belief about souls, how do I determine that, so I
    can stop believing that wrong thing?  How am supposed to believe
    accurate things about the soul if I have no robust way to distinguish
    between true facts about the soul and false facts about it?

    You can’t. That’s kind of my point. We’re incapable of making tests about any aspect of souls or gods or afterlives, from their existence on down. The vast bulk of religious teachings are not testable claims.

    Yes, claims of the usefulness of homeopathic “remedies” are testable. We can, and have, determine that homeopathic medicine is bunk, and we can determine that using homeopathic medicine is harmful if it means the poor sucker isn’t getting real medical care. We can’t determine if souls are bunk, but we can determine, to an extent, if believing in them has good or bad consequences. Some people derive strength and comfort and a willingness to help others from a belief in a loving god. Some people derive strength and comfort and a willingness to help others from a belief that this life is all we got, so we better make it count. Some people derive asshattery from both sources. Neither side consistently produces better or worse people. It’s silly to say that picking one side or the other is incompatible with science.

    Why is it a bad “moral imperative” to want to believe as few false things as possible?

    It’s certainly not bad to not want to believe false things. Hell, I’m agnostic because I’m not interested in taking a stand on an issue that doesn’t have evidence on either side. Thing is, I may be guaranteed not to believe anything false on the issue, but I’m also guaranteed not to believe anything right.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Wait, religion is supposed to involve getting answers to questions? I’ve been doing it all wrong…

    I think that was unnecessarily condescending.

    If you choose to answer life questions through faith or religion or whatever, fine. But you don’t have to.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Wait, religion is supposed to involve getting answers to questions? I’ve been doing it all wrong…

    I think that was unnecessarily condescending.

    If you choose to answer life questions through faith or religion or whatever, fine. But you don’t have to.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-Hickey/30117548 Patrick Hickey

    “You can’t. That’s kind of my point. We’re incapable of making tests
    about any aspect of souls or gods or afterlives, from their existence on
    down. The vast bulk of religious teachings are not testable claims.”

    And the point people are trying to make is that these facts have consequences for the reasonableness of having committed beliefs about a topic.  When someone tells you that they have no good reason to believe something, that they KNOW they have no good reason to believe something, and yet they still believe it, then either that person is the literal definition of irrational, or else they are using “belief” in a non standard manner.

    See, the fact that these claims aren’t testable doesn’t mean we can’t prove that believing them is irrational.  Its actually quite easy- observe that for any given 100 people, you can probably come up with 50 equally supported, largely incompatible beliefs about religion, all gleaned through roughly the same mechanism of internal subjective examination and acceptance of communal tradition.  When you’ve got multiple equally well supported possibilities, believing one of them to the exclusion of the others is again the definition of irrationality, unless you’re using “belief” in a non standard manner.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-Hickey/30117548 Patrick Hickey

    “You can’t. That’s kind of my point. We’re incapable of making tests
    about any aspect of souls or gods or afterlives, from their existence on
    down. The vast bulk of religious teachings are not testable claims.”

    And the point people are trying to make is that these facts have consequences for the reasonableness of having committed beliefs about a topic.  When someone tells you that they have no good reason to believe something, that they KNOW they have no good reason to believe something, and yet they still believe it, then either that person is the literal definition of irrational, or else they are using “belief” in a non standard manner.

    See, the fact that these claims aren’t testable doesn’t mean we can’t prove that believing them is irrational.  Its actually quite easy- observe that for any given 100 people, you can probably come up with 50 equally supported, largely incompatible beliefs about religion, all gleaned through roughly the same mechanism of internal subjective examination and acceptance of communal tradition.  When you’ve got multiple equally well supported possibilities, believing one of them to the exclusion of the others is again the definition of irrationality, unless you’re using “belief” in a non standard manner.

  • Anonymous

    We’re incapable of making tests about any aspect of souls or gods or
    afterlives, from their existence on down. The vast bulk of religious
    teachings are not testable claims.

    Sez who? How do you know that?

    If the soul is supposed to be a real thing housed in each person, why wouldn’t you be able to devise a test for it? Why should it be any harder than detecting quarks?

    There are also many claims of fact in the Bible and other religious books. Some of these are certainly testable.

  • Anonymous

    We’re incapable of making tests about any aspect of souls or gods or
    afterlives, from their existence on down. The vast bulk of religious
    teachings are not testable claims.

    Sez who? How do you know that?

    If the soul is supposed to be a real thing housed in each person, why wouldn’t you be able to devise a test for it? Why should it be any harder than detecting quarks?

    There are also many claims of fact in the Bible and other religious books. Some of these are certainly testable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.condrey Steve Condrey

    Galileo was legendary for making enemies and negatively influencing people long before the Inquisition got hold of him.  He ended up in Florence because he got turfed out of Pisa and Venice after antagonizing the powers that be…Urban VIII (when he was still Cardinal Maffeo Barberini) was actually one of his early supporters until Galileo turned on his ‘legendary’ charm.  A cautionary tale about a man shooting himself in the foot by shooting his mouth of if there ever was one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.condrey Steve Condrey

    Galileo was legendary for making enemies and negatively influencing people long before the Inquisition got hold of him.  He ended up in Florence because he got turfed out of Pisa and Venice after antagonizing the powers that be…Urban VIII (when he was still Cardinal Maffeo Barberini) was actually one of his early supporters until Galileo turned on his ‘legendary’ charm.  A cautionary tale about a man shooting himself in the foot by shooting his mouth of if there ever was one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.condrey Steve Condrey

    Galileo’s reputation for making enemies and negatively influencing people was well-established long before the Inquisition got hold of him.  He was turfed out of Pisa and Venice for antagonizing the powers-that-be…and Urban VIII when he was still Cardinal Maffeo Barberini was one of his early supporters until Galileo labeled him as ‘Simplicio’ in the Dialogue.  A cautionary tale of letting your mouth write checks your body (or professional reputation) can’t cash.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.condrey Steve Condrey

    Galileo’s reputation for making enemies and negatively influencing people was well-established long before the Inquisition got hold of him.  He was turfed out of Pisa and Venice for antagonizing the powers-that-be…and Urban VIII when he was still Cardinal Maffeo Barberini was one of his early supporters until Galileo labeled him as ‘Simplicio’ in the Dialogue.  A cautionary tale of letting your mouth write checks your body (or professional reputation) can’t cash.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.condrey Steve Condrey

    Jesus always directed attention *away* from the miracles and *toward* His teachings and the claims He made.  Jesus would still be Jesus even if He never healed a single person or turned the water to wine…but He chose to do so because Jesus knew some people would not believe without a demonstration.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.condrey Steve Condrey

    Jesus always directed attention *away* from the miracles and *toward* His teachings and the claims He made.  Jesus would still be Jesus even if He never healed a single person or turned the water to wine…but He chose to do so because Jesus knew some people would not believe without a demonstration.

  • Mark Z.

    Its actually quite easy- observe that for any given 100 people, you can probably come up with 50 equally supported, largely incompatible beliefs about religion, all gleaned through roughly the same mechanism of internal subjective examination and acceptance of communal tradition.

    Different religions have different practices–that’s how we know they’re different. So if you look at a hundred people of a mix of different religions, they didn’t all develop their beliefs through the same mechanism. Though they might look like the same mechanism from far enough away, especially if you have an ideology that divides everything into “science” and “ridiculous fairy tales”.

  • Mark Z.

    Its actually quite easy- observe that for any given 100 people, you can probably come up with 50 equally supported, largely incompatible beliefs about religion, all gleaned through roughly the same mechanism of internal subjective examination and acceptance of communal tradition.

    Different religions have different practices–that’s how we know they’re different. So if you look at a hundred people of a mix of different religions, they didn’t all develop their beliefs through the same mechanism. Though they might look like the same mechanism from far enough away, especially if you have an ideology that divides everything into “science” and “ridiculous fairy tales”.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    If you choose to answer life questions through faith or religion or whatever, fine. But you don’t have to.

    If that’s “you=one”, fine. But if you mean no one has to then no. *I* do have to. I don’t work properly without my faith.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    If you choose to answer life questions through faith or religion or whatever, fine. But you don’t have to.

    If that’s “you=one”, fine. But if you mean no one has to then no. *I* do have to. I don’t work properly without my faith.

  • Matthew Funke

    hapax: Oddly enough, so is “religion.”  The history of the faith I have studied the most — Western Christianity — begins as a “correction” of the dominant religion of the founder’s culture, and went through constant periods of expansion and pruning, openness and “purification”, reformation and counter-reformation…

    Let me be more plain.  Science, when practiced correctly, uses evidence-based self-correction.  Newtonianian mechanics were undermined by Einsteinian mechanics when the latter proved more capable fo making accurate predictions.

    I suppose one could argue that religion makes evidence-based corrections periodically, too; when its members are thoughtful, they can often see that certain interpretations or rules aren’t “working” (for whatver value of “working” is deemed important), and seek to change their understanding or their teaching when necessary.  That seems a little slipperier when we’re talking about other aspects of religion, though, like which gospels should be considered canonical.

    For the record, I should also mention that I think faith and science have important parallels, and that both are better practiced according to similar attitudes: being willing to humbly wait and observe and follow wherever the truth goes, being willing to change one’s mind in the light of newly revealed information, acknowledging that the truth is independent of your feelings about it, and so on.  The same attitudes that are supposed to keep you humble and curious as a scientist should make you humble and curious as a religious adherent.

    Science and religion generally occupy different spheres, but I also think that in those places where their subject matter does intersect — e.g., the reason for the diversity of life on this planet — we would do well to allow one to inform the other in a way that preserves truth as best as we can manage.

    hapax: Just because *right now*, the noisiest Christians in one country on Earth have decided to pitch their tent on a particularly vile, cruel, and ignorant patch of barbarism and self-deception, doesn’t mean that defines Christianity, let alone “religion.”

    Re-reading my most recent message, I can see how you came away thinking that I meant to characterize religious folk as blindly ignorant folk who have no way to determine whether or not they are advocating complete nonsense.  I apologize for that; it was never my intention.  Frankly, I consider myself quite religious, and think it would be a grave mistake to claim that reason and evidence-based self-correction can only exist in the sphere of science.

    At the same time, though, I acknowledge that it’s not as easy to falsify many of my religious ideas as it is to falsify many scientific concepts (assuming that it’s even possible).  Science makes falsifiability a desirable thing, and frankly, I think that’s a virtue.  It’s at least an attempt to keep people honest.  (Obviously, it’s not perfect, but I still think it’s nice to have.)

    hapax: But I think your absolute faith in “peer review”, while touching, is a bit naive.  Yes, it certainly can operate the way you describe; it definitely should;  but it doesn’t have to.  I have seen many many times the peer review process used to enforce institutional biases and traditional assumptions, not to mention being used as a vehicle for personal vendettas.

    As have I.  I think I was clear that some ugly things still come out of scientific endeavors and scientifically-minded people, and that the eventual resolution to eliminate that error can be frustratingly slow.

    hapax: And as far as “notoriety” as a corrective mechanism — well, I can’t think of *any* living scientist who is exactly a household name in the USA, but the nearest equivalent I can think of are those who are quoted in the various pseudoscientific “documentaries” that clutter up cable television.

    That is an excellent point.  I meant notoriety among one’s peers, though I wasn’t perfectly clear about that.  And, as you point out, this path to “notoriety” is not perfectly practiced, and is not a guarantee that you will become notorious for following the truth.

    hapax: And if we’re talking money, not fame… all I can think of is spouse, who has spent decades building up a certain reputation in his field, but who literally cannot afford to send his children to college on his income.  However, he knows for a fact (because he’s had former colleagues who have done exactly this) that he could quadruple his earnings if he were willing to go work for the cryptozoological hunters, and add a whole ‘nother zero to his salary if he was willing to shill for the Discovery Institute.

    That, I am afraid, is something I’m familiar with as well.  I enjoy critical thinking, and the landscape is littered with people who make a quick buck by repeating the same lies that people have fallen for for centuries.  It’s pretty obvious that I could get rich if I were to invent a substance-free medicine that one applies directly to the forehead, for example.  I respect the scientists and inventors who don’t fall prey to charlatanism.

    hapax: So yes, I have great respect, admiration, and appreciation of the discipline of science, its accomplishments, and many of its individual practicioners.  Just as I do for the tradition of Christianity.

    As do I.  At the same time, I have great anger and frustration for people who, in the name of my Savior and my faith, deliberately blind others to the truth or manipulate them emotionally and financially.  It seems that got in the way of my my admiration of real scientists and genuinely thoughtful Christians in my most recent missive.  I’ll try to be more careful in the future.

    hapax: But I see no particular reason why I have to choose one or the other.

    And I did not desire to imply that that choice is a necessary one to make.

  • Matthew Funke

    hapax: Oddly enough, so is “religion.”  The history of the faith I have studied the most — Western Christianity — begins as a “correction” of the dominant religion of the founder’s culture, and went through constant periods of expansion and pruning, openness and “purification”, reformation and counter-reformation…

    Let me be more plain.  Science, when practiced correctly, uses evidence-based self-correction.  Newtonianian mechanics were undermined by Einsteinian mechanics when the latter proved more capable fo making accurate predictions.

    I suppose one could argue that religion makes evidence-based corrections periodically, too; when its members are thoughtful, they can often see that certain interpretations or rules aren’t “working” (for whatver value of “working” is deemed important), and seek to change their understanding or their teaching when necessary.  That seems a little slipperier when we’re talking about other aspects of religion, though, like which gospels should be considered canonical.

    For the record, I should also mention that I think faith and science have important parallels, and that both are better practiced according to similar attitudes: being willing to humbly wait and observe and follow wherever the truth goes, being willing to change one’s mind in the light of newly revealed information, acknowledging that the truth is independent of your feelings about it, and so on.  The same attitudes that are supposed to keep you humble and curious as a scientist should make you humble and curious as a religious adherent.

    Science and religion generally occupy different spheres, but I also think that in those places where their subject matter does intersect — e.g., the reason for the diversity of life on this planet — we would do well to allow one to inform the other in a way that preserves truth as best as we can manage.

    hapax: Just because *right now*, the noisiest Christians in one country on Earth have decided to pitch their tent on a particularly vile, cruel, and ignorant patch of barbarism and self-deception, doesn’t mean that defines Christianity, let alone “religion.”

    Re-reading my most recent message, I can see how you came away thinking that I meant to characterize religious folk as blindly ignorant folk who have no way to determine whether or not they are advocating complete nonsense.  I apologize for that; it was never my intention.  Frankly, I consider myself quite religious, and think it would be a grave mistake to claim that reason and evidence-based self-correction can only exist in the sphere of science.

    At the same time, though, I acknowledge that it’s not as easy to falsify many of my religious ideas as it is to falsify many scientific concepts (assuming that it’s even possible).  Science makes falsifiability a desirable thing, and frankly, I think that’s a virtue.  It’s at least an attempt to keep people honest.  (Obviously, it’s not perfect, but I still think it’s nice to have.)

    hapax: But I think your absolute faith in “peer review”, while touching, is a bit naive.  Yes, it certainly can operate the way you describe; it definitely should;  but it doesn’t have to.  I have seen many many times the peer review process used to enforce institutional biases and traditional assumptions, not to mention being used as a vehicle for personal vendettas.

    As have I.  I think I was clear that some ugly things still come out of scientific endeavors and scientifically-minded people, and that the eventual resolution to eliminate that error can be frustratingly slow.

    hapax: And as far as “notoriety” as a corrective mechanism — well, I can’t think of *any* living scientist who is exactly a household name in the USA, but the nearest equivalent I can think of are those who are quoted in the various pseudoscientific “documentaries” that clutter up cable television.

    That is an excellent point.  I meant notoriety among one’s peers, though I wasn’t perfectly clear about that.  And, as you point out, this path to “notoriety” is not perfectly practiced, and is not a guarantee that you will become notorious for following the truth.

    hapax: And if we’re talking money, not fame… all I can think of is spouse, who has spent decades building up a certain reputation in his field, but who literally cannot afford to send his children to college on his income.  However, he knows for a fact (because he’s had former colleagues who have done exactly this) that he could quadruple his earnings if he were willing to go work for the cryptozoological hunters, and add a whole ‘nother zero to his salary if he was willing to shill for the Discovery Institute.

    That, I am afraid, is something I’m familiar with as well.  I enjoy critical thinking, and the landscape is littered with people who make a quick buck by repeating the same lies that people have fallen for for centuries.  It’s pretty obvious that I could get rich if I were to invent a substance-free medicine that one applies directly to the forehead, for example.  I respect the scientists and inventors who don’t fall prey to charlatanism.

    hapax: So yes, I have great respect, admiration, and appreciation of the discipline of science, its accomplishments, and many of its individual practicioners.  Just as I do for the tradition of Christianity.

    As do I.  At the same time, I have great anger and frustration for people who, in the name of my Savior and my faith, deliberately blind others to the truth or manipulate them emotionally and financially.  It seems that got in the way of my my admiration of real scientists and genuinely thoughtful Christians in my most recent missive.  I’ll try to be more careful in the future.

    hapax: But I see no particular reason why I have to choose one or the other.

    And I did not desire to imply that that choice is a necessary one to make.

  • Matthew Funke

    hapax: Oddly enough, so is “religion.”  The history of the faith I have studied the most — Western Christianity — begins as a “correction” of the dominant religion of the founder’s culture, and went through constant periods of expansion and pruning, openness and “purification”, reformation and counter-reformation…

    Let me be more plain.  Science, when practiced correctly, uses evidence-based self-correction.  Newtonianian mechanics were undermined by Einsteinian mechanics when the latter proved more capable fo making accurate predictions.

    I suppose one could argue that religion makes evidence-based corrections periodically, too; when its members are thoughtful, they can often see that certain interpretations or rules aren’t “working” (for whatver value of “working” is deemed important), and seek to change their understanding or their teaching when necessary.  That seems a little slipperier when we’re talking about other aspects of religion, though, like which gospels should be considered canonical.

    For the record, I should also mention that I think faith and science have important parallels, and that both are better practiced according to similar attitudes: being willing to humbly wait and observe and follow wherever the truth goes, being willing to change one’s mind in the light of newly revealed information, acknowledging that the truth is independent of your feelings about it, and so on.  The same attitudes that are supposed to keep you humble and curious as a scientist should make you humble and curious as a religious adherent.

    Science and religion generally occupy different spheres, but I also think that in those places where their subject matter does intersect — e.g., the reason for the diversity of life on this planet — we would do well to allow one to inform the other in a way that preserves truth as best as we can manage.

    hapax: Just because *right now*, the noisiest Christians in one country on Earth have decided to pitch their tent on a particularly vile, cruel, and ignorant patch of barbarism and self-deception, doesn’t mean that defines Christianity, let alone “religion.”

    Re-reading my most recent message, I can see how you came away thinking that I meant to characterize religious folk as blindly ignorant folk who have no way to determine whether or not they are advocating complete nonsense.  I apologize for that; it was never my intention.  Frankly, I consider myself quite religious, and think it would be a grave mistake to claim that reason and evidence-based self-correction can only exist in the sphere of science.

    At the same time, though, I acknowledge that it’s not as easy to falsify many of my religious ideas as it is to falsify many scientific concepts (assuming that it’s even possible).  Science makes falsifiability a desirable thing, and frankly, I think that’s a virtue.  It’s at least an attempt to keep people honest.  (Obviously, it’s not perfect, but I still think it’s nice to have.)

    hapax: But I think your absolute faith in “peer review”, while touching, is a bit naive.  Yes, it certainly can operate the way you describe; it definitely should;  but it doesn’t have to.  I have seen many many times the peer review process used to enforce institutional biases and traditional assumptions, not to mention being used as a vehicle for personal vendettas.

    As have I.  I think I was clear that some ugly things still come out of scientific endeavors and scientifically-minded people, and that the eventual resolution to eliminate that error can be frustratingly slow.

    hapax: And as far as “notoriety” as a corrective mechanism — well, I can’t think of *any* living scientist who is exactly a household name in the USA, but the nearest equivalent I can think of are those who are quoted in the various pseudoscientific “documentaries” that clutter up cable television.

    That is an excellent point.  I meant notoriety among one’s peers, though I wasn’t perfectly clear about that.  And, as you point out, this path to “notoriety” is not perfectly practiced, and is not a guarantee that you will become notorious for following the truth.

    hapax: And if we’re talking money, not fame… all I can think of is spouse, who has spent decades building up a certain reputation in his field, but who literally cannot afford to send his children to college on his income.  However, he knows for a fact (because he’s had former colleagues who have done exactly this) that he could quadruple his earnings if he were willing to go work for the cryptozoological hunters, and add a whole ‘nother zero to his salary if he was willing to shill for the Discovery Institute.

    That, I am afraid, is something I’m familiar with as well.  I enjoy critical thinking, and the landscape is littered with people who make a quick buck by repeating the same lies that people have fallen for for centuries.  It’s pretty obvious that I could get rich if I were to invent a substance-free medicine that one applies directly to the forehead, for example.  I respect the scientists and inventors who don’t fall prey to charlatanism.

    hapax: So yes, I have great respect, admiration, and appreciation of the discipline of science, its accomplishments, and many of its individual practicioners.  Just as I do for the tradition of Christianity.

    As do I.  At the same time, I have great anger and frustration for people who, in the name of my Savior and my faith, deliberately blind others to the truth or manipulate them emotionally and financially.  It seems that got in the way of my my admiration of real scientists and genuinely thoughtful Christians in my most recent missive.  I’ll try to be more careful in the future.

    hapax: But I see no particular reason why I have to choose one or the other.

    And I did not desire to imply that that choice is a necessary one to make.

  • http://lightupmy.wordpress.com Jessica

    One of our dogs does it.  As soon as I saw the picture I shouted: “Yes! That’s exactly the noise it makes!” LOLOLOLOL

  • http://lightupmy.wordpress.com Jessica

    One of our dogs does it.  As soon as I saw the picture I shouted: “Yes! That’s exactly the noise it makes!” LOLOLOLOL

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    I think that was unnecessarily condescending.

    If you choose to answer life questions through faith or religion or whatever, fine. But you don’t have to.

    I’m sorry, that obviously came across poorly. I should have gone into detail instead of trying to be pithy.

    For me, personally, religion has involved asking lots of questions that lead to more questions. It’s a process, not a manual, and it has led to my continued growth as a person.

    I worry about anyone who does view things, or at least needs to view things, as a binary “here is the answer to your question and anything else is false.” Because such a lack of critical thinking, or simple willingness to ask followup questions, is how authoritarianism flourishes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    I think that was unnecessarily condescending.

    If you choose to answer life questions through faith or religion or whatever, fine. But you don’t have to.

    I’m sorry, that obviously came across poorly. I should have gone into detail instead of trying to be pithy.

    For me, personally, religion has involved asking lots of questions that lead to more questions. It’s a process, not a manual, and it has led to my continued growth as a person.

    I worry about anyone who does view things, or at least needs to view things, as a binary “here is the answer to your question and anything else is false.” Because such a lack of critical thinking, or simple willingness to ask followup questions, is how authoritarianism flourishes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    I suppose one could argue that religion makes evidence-based corrections
    periodically, too; when its members are thoughtful, they can often see
    that certain interpretations or rules aren’t “working” (for whatver
    value of “working” is deemed important), and seek to change their
    understanding or their teaching when necessary.  That seems a little
    slipperier when we’re talking about other aspects of religion, though,
    like which gospels should be considered canonical.

    For the
    record, I should also mention that I think faith and science have
    important parallels, and that both are better practiced according to
    similar attitudes: being willing to humbly wait and observe and follow
    wherever the truth goes, being willing to change one’s mind in the light
    of newly revealed information, acknowledging that the truth is
    independent of your feelings about it, and so on.  The same attitudes
    that are supposed to keep you humble and curious as a scientist should
    make you humble and curious as a religious adherent.

    This is pretty much how Faith and Practice and other Quaker “Books of Discipline” get revised.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    I suppose one could argue that religion makes evidence-based corrections
    periodically, too; when its members are thoughtful, they can often see
    that certain interpretations or rules aren’t “working” (for whatver
    value of “working” is deemed important), and seek to change their
    understanding or their teaching when necessary.  That seems a little
    slipperier when we’re talking about other aspects of religion, though,
    like which gospels should be considered canonical.

    For the
    record, I should also mention that I think faith and science have
    important parallels, and that both are better practiced according to
    similar attitudes: being willing to humbly wait and observe and follow
    wherever the truth goes, being willing to change one’s mind in the light
    of newly revealed information, acknowledging that the truth is
    independent of your feelings about it, and so on.  The same attitudes
    that are supposed to keep you humble and curious as a scientist should
    make you humble and curious as a religious adherent.

    This is pretty much how Faith and Practice and other Quaker “Books of Discipline” get revised.

  • eyelessgame

    Apropos nothing except mentions of Galileo and Kepler, the more I read about those two fascinating people the more I think there ought to be a biopic made of the two of them — such an amazing study in contrasts. They were total opposites in virtually every way (incidentally each one approaching science in a way at odds with their own life and personality, and much like the others’), but they converged on the same discovery/realization at the same time. The two are such mirror images that a good filmmaker could do wonders with it.

  • eyelessgame

    Apropos nothing except mentions of Galileo and Kepler, the more I read about those two fascinating people the more I think there ought to be a biopic made of the two of them — such an amazing study in contrasts. They were total opposites in virtually every way (incidentally each one approaching science in a way at odds with their own life and personality, and much like the others’), but they converged on the same discovery/realization at the same time. The two are such mirror images that a good filmmaker could do wonders with it.

  • Rikalous

    Sez who? How do you know that?

    If the soul is supposed to be a
    real thing housed in each person, why wouldn’t you be able to devise a
    test for it? Why should it be any harder than detecting quarks?

    There are also many claims of fact in the Bible and other religious books. Some of these are certainly testable.

    Well, my understanding of religion comes from cultural diffusion rather than any actual study, so it’s possible I am talking entirely out of my ass here. However, from what I’ve gathered the important things about any given religion aren’t the testable claims, but the parables and unfalsifiable claims. It’s not important that the bible says that pi = 3, but it is important that it says that you should love even those who hate you, and that the righteous will be rewarded after death.

    WRT your question about souls, I don’t have a clear understanding of what a soul is supposed to be, so I have no idea if it should be detectable or not.

  • Rikalous

    Sez who? How do you know that?

    If the soul is supposed to be a
    real thing housed in each person, why wouldn’t you be able to devise a
    test for it? Why should it be any harder than detecting quarks?

    There are also many claims of fact in the Bible and other religious books. Some of these are certainly testable.

    Well, my understanding of religion comes from cultural diffusion rather than any actual study, so it’s possible I am talking entirely out of my ass here. However, from what I’ve gathered the important things about any given religion aren’t the testable claims, but the parables and unfalsifiable claims. It’s not important that the bible says that pi = 3, but it is important that it says that you should love even those who hate you, and that the righteous will be rewarded after death.

    WRT your question about souls, I don’t have a clear understanding of what a soul is supposed to be, so I have no idea if it should be detectable or not.

  • Bayes

    That’s really a nice a nice way of looking at things, and I think a reasonable way to interpret christian doctrine. So by all means spread it, hopefully it will catch on. But here’s why I think some people fear it: if you truly love creation in the way the compels you to understand the truth of it in every way, you will learn things that test your faith. A true understanding of quantum and classical physics leaves no room for “free will” in the sense it used used to solve many theological problems. We continue to search in vain for any evidence of an extra-physical  ”soul” or any sort of god particles/forces (higgs boson excluded). This is not to say that accepting such things forces you to be an atheist; as long as you have faith you’ll find a way to either reject scientific evidence or incorporate it into your understanding of the world and of god.

    But a lot of people see this potential and reject science. While I know you can be religious and still be a good scientist, I think there’s something to these worries. If you love reality so much that you pursue the truth as far as it takes you, you will not be able to dismiss the evidence. You will know that anything that has an effect on the universe must in some way be measurable, so the soul or evidence of god’s intervention must be somewhere, or else you must constrain yourself to some sort of deistic theology. Even if you can somehow account for the clear rejection of theodicy in modern philosophy and meta-ethics, your god becomes a god of the gaps, significantly deflated. I think many people of faith have a right to fear that.

    But I still think some good can be done by encouraging a cautious, creation loving approach to the love of science, so I wish you the best of luck.

  • Bayes

    That’s really a nice a nice way of looking at things, and I think a reasonable way to interpret christian doctrine. So by all means spread it, hopefully it will catch on. But here’s why I think some people fear it: if you truly love creation in the way the compels you to understand the truth of it in every way, you will learn things that test your faith. A true understanding of quantum and classical physics leaves no room for “free will” in the sense it used used to solve many theological problems. We continue to search in vain for any evidence of an extra-physical  ”soul” or any sort of god particles/forces (higgs boson excluded). This is not to say that accepting such things forces you to be an atheist; as long as you have faith you’ll find a way to either reject scientific evidence or incorporate it into your understanding of the world and of god.

    But a lot of people see this potential and reject science. While I know you can be religious and still be a good scientist, I think there’s something to these worries. If you love reality so much that you pursue the truth as far as it takes you, you will not be able to dismiss the evidence. You will know that anything that has an effect on the universe must in some way be measurable, so the soul or evidence of god’s intervention must be somewhere, or else you must constrain yourself to some sort of deistic theology. Even if you can somehow account for the clear rejection of theodicy in modern philosophy and meta-ethics, your god becomes a god of the gaps, significantly deflated. I think many people of faith have a right to fear that.

    But I still think some good can be done by encouraging a cautious, creation loving approach to the love of science, so I wish you the best of luck.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    Well, I’m a panentheist, so I don’t see God as being apart from the universe. Transcending it, yes, but also part of every subatomic particle of creation. We are star-stuff, the entire universe is God made manifest.

    This is also where I get heretical about the whole “Jesus as the Incarnation of God” thing, because I think everything that exists is part of God. Jesus was much better at seeing and acting on That of God in All of Us, but for the the important thing about Jesus is not that he performed miracles, or died, or rose and ascendended (maybe?). The important thing for me is that he loved and taught.

    Probably another reason I’m a Quaker, since this kind of thinking doesn’t sit well with most American Protestantism. Especially since I reject the whole “eternal torture” thing so many of them are fond of.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    Well, I’m a panentheist, so I don’t see God as being apart from the universe. Transcending it, yes, but also part of every subatomic particle of creation. We are star-stuff, the entire universe is God made manifest.

    This is also where I get heretical about the whole “Jesus as the Incarnation of God” thing, because I think everything that exists is part of God. Jesus was much better at seeing and acting on That of God in All of Us, but for the the important thing about Jesus is not that he performed miracles, or died, or rose and ascendended (maybe?). The important thing for me is that he loved and taught.

    Probably another reason I’m a Quaker, since this kind of thinking doesn’t sit well with most American Protestantism. Especially since I reject the whole “eternal torture” thing so many of them are fond of.

  • Anonymous

    That right there?  That’s some bullshit.
    What kind of gender essentialist garbage is that?  No seriously, how the fuck do you justify that kind of crap?
    Women are no less rational than men, and men are just as emotionally capable as women – if there is a correlation at all (and I doubt there is) it’s because society spends our entire lives trying to ram us into one of two different boxes, no matter who or what we really are.

    It’s not essentialist.  The correlation is precisely what you state at the bottom – if the general culture states that women *are* and should be more emotional than rational… eventually, exactly that is going to happen.

    If the soul is supposed to be a real thing housed in each person, why wouldn’t you be able to devise a test for it? Why should it be any harder than detecting quarks?

    So what, you’re proposing we ram people against each other at relativistic speeds and see if souls come out?  What would the detection mechanism even *look* like?

  • Anonymous

    That right there?  That’s some bullshit.
    What kind of gender essentialist garbage is that?  No seriously, how the fuck do you justify that kind of crap?
    Women are no less rational than men, and men are just as emotionally capable as women – if there is a correlation at all (and I doubt there is) it’s because society spends our entire lives trying to ram us into one of two different boxes, no matter who or what we really are.

    It’s not essentialist.  The correlation is precisely what you state at the bottom – if the general culture states that women *are* and should be more emotional than rational… eventually, exactly that is going to happen.

    If the soul is supposed to be a real thing housed in each person, why wouldn’t you be able to devise a test for it? Why should it be any harder than detecting quarks?

    So what, you’re proposing we ram people against each other at relativistic speeds and see if souls come out?  What would the detection mechanism even *look* like?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VN7YPFLPHP7E2RSFJI4PVCE7HY Richard

    “The pastor’s response was to laugh in my face. In the fourteen years since then, no one has ever laughed in my face when I’ve told them what type of science I’m doing.”
    Omigosh! Did you kill him? In such a horrible manner that no one since has dared… Are you perhaps, in an institution of some kind now?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VN7YPFLPHP7E2RSFJI4PVCE7HY Richard

    “The pastor’s response was to laugh in my face. In the fourteen years since then, no one has ever laughed in my face when I’ve told them what type of science I’m doing.”
    Omigosh! Did you kill him? In such a horrible manner that no one since has dared… Are you perhaps, in an institution of some kind now?


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