Needless Chasm between Faith & Science

Once again, The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart does a good job interviewing a much more interesting guest than is commonly found on the network news channels.

<td style='padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;' colspan='2'Marilynne Robinson
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It occurs to me that if journalists bemoan the state of their craft, or the blurring of its conventionally accepted role, this is partly because “professional, big-time journalism” has lost site of itself and what it is supposed to be. It has inflicted a great deal of damage upon itself by confusing reportage with advocacy, not just in the minds of consumers, but within itself. Content to feed echo chambers they’d previously thought to rise above, more focused on promoting journalistic “stars” than content, modern news networks have become incurious, dull and narrow, like a provincial old aunt who makes a housecall once a year and can’t wait to return home, because the quickened world leaves her so confused and depleted. They stick to scripts and narratives they feel safest with.

It is almost hard to imagine a mainstream journalist conducting this interview, isn’t it? Depending on the network, he or she would be busy trying to debunk or assist Marilynne Robinson’s ideas about the unnecessary and growing chasm between faith and science, instead of simply asking questions, listening well enough to ask a follow-up, and allowing the audience to receive its own impressions and ponder for themselves.

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About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://amba12.wordpress.com amba (Annie Gottlieb)

    Wow.

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  • Last Sphere

    I have always been struck by the metaphysical nature of modern quantum physic theories that struggle to explain our universe by proposing the spacetime variable of multiple dimensions of existence.

    The Many-Worlds concept proposes that an individual can be both alive and dead in different branches of the universe, both of which are equally real, but which cannot interact with each other. And yet- these same scientists scoff at the idea of a God who is beyond time itself because- well, that’s just silly of course. Even though time did not exist until the “something” that caused the Big Bang created time as a fundamental element along with the universe.

  • http://j3b3.wordpress.com jb

    I know this will seem tautological, but . . .

    God created both Faith, and “Science.” Better put, both have their essence in Him.

    Ignore either or both at your own peril.

  • http://j3b3.wordpress.com jb

    C.S. Lewis explained (I can’t remember which of his many books) the diff b/t the linear aspect of time, and eternity. We are bound by time until released into eternity by death. God knows no such boundaries, and is free to operate however He deems best in either.

    It is amusing to watch us (mortals) try to define God and eternity, or define away both. That is the premier exercise in futility, save for–

    Not believing in God. Strange thing about God, though, He will permit that choice.

    He trusts you to get it. Do you trust yourself??

    We have an odd God. :-)

  • Bill

    Those of us who watch John Stewart regularly are not surprised at his interviewing skills. Given the format, given the time restrictions, given the comedy aspect, Stewart still shines through as somebody who actually listens, and actually asks the right questions. He’s certainly not part of the “echo chambers” and he is not advocating a position. He’s intelligent and he’s fair.

    No, I can’t imagine Glen Beck conducting this interview. Or Wolf Blitzer, or (insert name here).

  • Roy Lofquist

    Anyone familiar with the history of science knows that science is usually incorrect. I am reminded of an official who said, c.a. 1890, that we may as well close the patent office because everything possible had already been invented.

  • saveliberty

    This is a wonderful interview and insightful article. Thank you for posting them.

  • Bill (#2?)

    Great interview and point of view in the interview.

  • Wolfwood

    In a different context, William Shatner also does a great job on his show of listening and asking insightful questions.

  • Steve Colby

    The interview brought to mind Michael Flynn’s essay, “The Age of Faith and Reason”, in which he states, “To the Angelic Doctor, we owe the concordance of philosophy and religion, and the admonition never to cite revelation in the proof of a philosophical proposition. Centuries before, Origen had called God the author of two books: scripture and nature. Because of this, Aquinas held that if revelation seemed to conflict with nature, one or the other (or both) had not been properly understood.”

    (Was it a link form the Anchoress that led me to this essay?)

  • bt

    “Depending on the network, he or she would be busy trying to debunk or assist Marilynne Robinson’s ideas about the unnecessary and growing chasm between faith and science, instead of simply asking questions, listening well enough to ask a follow-up, and allowing the audience to receive its own impressions and ponder for themselves.”

    How about the reporter spending time and reading Saint Thomas Aquinas, or some of Pope Benedict’s speeches on the topic?

  • Jeff the Lowly

    A very similar breath of fresh air in interviewing can be found in which Woody Allen interviewed Billy Graham on the former’s talk show many years ago.

    Allen will astonish you with his sincerity and his insightful questions, and Graham will make you smile for his grace in answering them uncompromisingly.

    I’m sure the interview is out there on YouTube.

  • EJHill

    We have spent much of the last couple of days either praying for one of the world’s most notable atheists or debating the coexistence of faith and science.

    On June 8th ABC broadcast an interview with Steven Hawking in which he declared that faith must eventually fall to science. “There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, (and) science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.”

    Should atheism triumph as Hawking and the Christopher Hitchens contend, then we are also probably finished as a free nation. As much as we contend that we are a secular democracy, the American experiment will end should man decide there is no God.

    The reasoning is simple. Before America, kings ruled by Divine Right and the rights of the people came from the king. Our founders believed that the right to be free and the right to be secure in one’s person and home came from God, and therefore were inalienable.

    But if there is no God, then there are no rights from God. And if there are only rights conferred by the whims of the political class, then there are no rights that cannot be erased.

    We must pray, indeed.

  • avenueb

    here’s the woody allen/billy graham interview
    link

  • c matt

    True, many aspects of science and religion are completely congruent. But there is a fundamental chasm between religion and science (or philosophy and science) because they answer two different questions: science is supposed to answer “can we do this”, philosophy and religion answer “should we do this”.

    The problem arises when one discipline demands to answer the other’s question. I thought Stewart was going to get into that when he mentioned the two tracks, but then he went off on something else, and his guest did not clarify.

  • Henry Hawkins

    There is and has never been any chasm between science and religion per se. The chasm is between groups of *people*, some of whom would co-opt science to denigrate religion, and others who would co-opt religion to denigrate science. Some do this knowingly, others out of ignorance of science and/or religion.

    An earlier poster laments that science accepts seemingly crazy ideas about multiple universes and quantum physics, but refuses to accept the existence of God. This is a perfect example of cooption to pursue denigration, a practice based on the wrongful idea that if you can denigrate science, religion is thereby supported (or vice versa). I cannot say if this is attempted by design or out of ignorance.

    The fact is that science has a branch of theoretical physics wherein ideas such as string theory, multiverses, and the like exist for consideration and exploration not because there is concrete physical evidence for them, but because these hypotheses do not violate the laws of physics – they are physically possible explanations for physical observations. As defined by most religionists, ‘God’ does violate laws of physics, which is why the concept of God is held as outside the purview of science. That is to say, God as typically defined is unfalsifiable in scientific terms. While God as described could be easily proved (God could simply step forth and show Himself physically), God cannot be proved not to exist. Science, by dint of its reliance on physical, testable evidences, doesn’t bother with claims that *can’t* be falsified.

    So, for science to entertain the concepts of multiple universes, string theory, and all the other theoretics while refusing to accept God as a scientific reality does not identify any lack or problem with science or scientific methodology. All it does it identify ‘God’ as an unfalsifiable claim that cannot be disproved via science. God, of course, is believed on faith.

    What we do see is sometimes religionists will try to use science to prove God and/or religion, and since this effort is typically bungled, it tends to anger scientists. We also see religionists get very angry when science fails to prove God and/or religion. History reveals a looong train of scientific discoveries that disproved formerly held religious beliefs, angering religious believers as it did so (heliocentric solar system, germ theory of disease, origin of species, etc.). We do see scientists frequently angered by the misappropriation of science to support religious, New Age, and other belief systems (faked data in efficacy of prayer studies, all sorts of faked science to sell ‘alternative’ meds, false science used to ‘prove’ immunizations cause autism, etc, etc.).

    What we don’t see is scientists angry that religion has failed to provide proof of scientific assertions.

    Any chasm isn’t between science and religion per se, it’s between groups of people generally fitting one of the above outlined scenarios.

  • Henry Hawkins

    RE: Stephen Hawkings’ prediction that faith will eventually fall to science, he is technically correct, but science will never replace or eliminate religious faith in the US.

    Science, by its own admission and by its own self-definition, has its limits. Science can tell you why you see the color blue or red or yellow (because that’s the color of the spectrum reflected onto your retinae), but science cannot tell you which color is the ‘best’, or which color ought to be your favorite. There are questions that will forever be matters of subjective choice, and thank goodness for that.

    Science is a tool for discovery, our most reliable method of determining how stuff works. Like any tool, its worth and efficacy depends on how it is used. A wheelbarrow is a tool. It can be used to carry food to the hungry or to carry bodies out of the gas chambers. The tool doesn’t decide if it’s good or bad, the person using it does. Religion is also a tool, of sorts. Many religionists will point out the murderous horrors of a Stalinist, atheist Russia – and conveniently neglect to point out the barbarous behaviors of the Crusades, the Inquisitions, witch trials, and myriad other examples of religion also seeming to foment great evil. The common denominators are not atheism or religion. The common denominators are *people*, who at times throughout history used the wheelbarrow, so to speak, for both good and evil. Blame neither religion, atheism, nor science. Blame people.

    Back to Hawkings…. while science is perfecting its ability to discover how stuff works in this universe, each discovery leads inevitably to a thousand new questions. This is what delights the scientist. Wherever the question is purely physical, science will always end up ‘winning’ over religion, but only because that’s what science is for. Religion holds different purposes. Science will *never* be able to supply the values, the goods, the substance, that religious believers derive from their religious beliefs, particularly since virtually all religion in the US is deeply and irretrievably social in its organization. The American cultural quilt is woven through with the unbreakable threads of the church community (and interestingly, science and religion are two magisteria that span all races, a overlooked and potentially critical similarity) and these threads will never be pulled out. Further, the Constitution and Bill of Rights guarantee that religion in the US ain’t goin’ anywhere anytime soon. Though an atheist, I would fight and die for the religious rights of other Americans, along the lines of “I may not agree with what you believe, but I will defend to the….”

  • bt

    As far as I can tell, science, at best, can describe a physical process, but it can never provide the ultimate “why”?

  • Henry Hawkins

    bt: “As far as I can tell, science, at best, can describe a physical process, but it can never provide the ultimate “why”?”

    Well, science can tell us ‘why’ a dropped object tends to fall to the ground, but I’m sure you mean the philosophical ‘why’ of things. Science is of little help there, but that’s because any answer to the philosophical ‘why’ will be a subjective opinion, not an objective truth or fact. Consider how many versions there are on the question of ‘why’ people exist. Who’s to say which is correct? Not science. It’s an area where the truthfulness of the answer ‘why’ is relative to the answerer – it is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Last Sphere

    (Henry Hawkins wrote – “An earlier poster laments that science accepts seemingly crazy ideas about multiple universes and quantum physics, but refuses to accept the existence of God. This is a perfect example of cooption to pursue denigration, a practice based on the wrongful idea that if you can denigrate science, religion is thereby supported (or vice versa). I cannot say if this is attempted by design or out of ignorance.”)

    Henry, please stop misrepresenting my posts. I was never insinuating that multiple universe theories or any other theoretical aspects of quantum physics was “seemingly crazy” and I most certainly was NOT denigrating science.

    I was simply pointing out that the metaphysical nature of the latest scientific theories of the universe actually validate the metaphysical in general.

    You also misrepresented another of my posts on the last Hichens thread.

    When I asked atheists to define “love” I was NOT asserting that “atheists can’t/don’t/won’t feel or express love” as you restated it.

    My point was that they DO in fact experience love as we all do. I was simply asking for their explanation of of “love”.

    From now on, please verify the point and intention of my posts before you completely misrepresent them with intentional or unintentional strawman responses.

    Thank you.

  • Last Sphere

    (Henry Hawkins wrote – “Further, the Constitution and Bill of Rights guarantee that religion in the US ain’t goin’ anywhere anytime soon. Though an atheist, I would fight and die for the religious rights of other Americans, along the lines of “I may not agree with what you believe, but I will defend to the….”)

    Of course the irony in your statement is your failure recognize that “rights” originate beyond ourselves.

  • Henry Hawkins

    Last Sphere: “I was simply pointing out that the metaphysical nature of the latest scientific theories of the universe actually validate the metaphysical in general.”

    Henry: ” This is a perfect example of cooption to pursue denigration, a practice based on the wrongful idea that if you can denigrate science, religion is thereby supported (or vice versa). I cannot say if this is attempted by design or out of ignorance.”

    I can now say it is out of ignorance. The latest scientific theories are in no way metaphysical; there are entirely physical and in noi way transcend the physical, which is the definition of metaphysics. Accordingly, they in no way “validate the metaphysical in general”.

    This is precisely what I mean when I assert that some people co-opt what science is and transpose it into something totally different in an attempt to make it support their metaphysical beliefs. You have done precisely that and I thank you for such undeniable evidence of it. BTW, you look foolish castigating others for propping up strawmen when your argument depends entirely on them (redefining basic theoretical physics as ‘metaphysical’).

    You attempted to denigrate science by implying scientific inconsistency in purporting ‘metaphysical’ theories (though they are metaphysical only in your mind, due to your ignorance of science) while at the same time refusing to support metaphysical religious beliefs.

    Last Sphere: “When I asked atheists to define “love” I was NOT asserting that “atheists can’t/don’t/won’t feel or express love” as you restated it. My point was that they DO in fact experience love as we all do. I was simply asking for their explanation of of “love”.”

    And I replied that atheists would explain love the same way anyone might – except for those who attribute the root and source of all love to their God or gods, an entirely unfalsifiable, self-centric, and self-referential nonexplanation, and one that has the specific prerequisite of religious belief in order to believe it. In other words, some people believe that love emits only from God for no other reason than they happen to believe it. At the very least, you were implying that atheists don’t understand where their love truly comes from, the very sort of condescension that creates seeming chasms between science and religion. Again, it comes from people, not from science or religion themselves. Thanks again for evidencing my assertion.

    As for my explanation of love, I have the courage to say, simply, I don’t know. However, I strongly suspect that evolution naturally selects for it, because the bonds of love help survival efforts across the board. Scientifically speaking, this explanation by far carries the most evidence for it. That love emits from God carries zero scientific evidence for it, but scientific evidence is not necessary. Faith alone suffices to believe it.

  • Last Sphere

    (Henry Hawkins wrote – “I can now say it is out of ignorance. The latest scientific theories are in no way metaphysical; there are entirely physical and in noi way transcend the physical, which is the definition of metaphysics. Accordingly, they in no way “validate the metaphysical in general”.)

    The latest scientific theories propose multiple dimensions of existence. That’s multiple dimensions of existence. These theories are conceived by mathematical formulation because the human mind cannot truly fathom such concepts. Different dimensions of “time” is about as metaphysical as it gets, only now that there is a theoretical formulation understanding of it does it now become redefined by the atheists as “physical”

    As I said before: the metaphysical nature of the latest scientific theories of the universe actually validate the metaphysical in general.

  • Last Sphere

    (“Henry Hawkins wrote – “As for my explanation of love, I have the courage to say, simply, I don’t know. However, I strongly suspect that evolution naturally selects for it, because the bonds of love help survival efforts across the board. Scientifically speaking, this explanation by far carries the most evidence for it. That love emits from God carries zero scientific evidence for it, but scientific evidence is not necessary. Faith alone suffices to believe it”)

    Those so called evolutionary “bonds of love” you speak of Henry also cause humans to suffer greatly from the loss of love. And humans tend to do seemingly irrational things in the name of love such as – prolong the death of a loved one, lie, cheat, steal, murder, and die.

    Since we are living in the age of enlightenment Henry where science has shown us the way to rise above the innate superstitions of religion- shouldn’t we also rise above our silly evolutionary impracticalities of “love”?

  • Last Sphere

    (Henry Hawkins wrote – “And I replied that atheists would explain love the same way anyone might – except for those who attribute the root and source of all love to their God or gods, an entirely unfalsifiable, self-centric, and self-referential nonexplanation, and one that has the specific prerequisite of religious belief in order to believe it.”)

    And that bit of condescending denigration of religion is brought to by- Henry. The same Henry who laments the condescending and denigrating statements of those impolite believers.

    The hypocrisy is almost too thick to penetrate.

  • Henry Hawkins

    Ah, you give up, I see. ;^)

    Don’t sweat it. Just try to accept your own culpability in fomenting and widening the aforementioned chasm.

  • Last Sphere

    Thank you Henry.

    Thank you for demonstrating that your atheistic belief system is by far the most irrational illogical and indefensible of all superstitions.

    On behalf of Sir Isaac Newton and Father Georges Lemaître (The primary author of The Big Bang Theory)- May God Continue To Bless Science.

  • Henry Hawkins

    How easy it is to lob such accusations when one doesn’t feel any requirement to support them. Then again, I guess it’s just something you believe on faith and evidences are not required.

    Correction: Blind faith.

    Correction II: Willfully blind faith.

  • Last Sphere

    (Henry Hawkins wrote – “How easy it is to lob such accusations when one doesn’t feel any requirement to support them.”)

    By all means Henry- feel free to produce evidence that shows the non-empirical character of multiple dimension theories is NOT metaphysical.

    Feel free to offer your supporting rationale that “rights” somehow originate within the animal of man without being subject to man’s animalistic survival of the fittest.

    Feel free to support your belief in the purely evolutionary origins of the “bonds of love” with a cold and clinical scientific rationale on how humans should be able to reason beyond the silly evolutionary impracticalities and superstitions of “love”.

  • Henry Hawkins

    It is the mark of the intellectually lazy, and cowardly, if I may be so bold, to demand one’s perceived opponents support their assertions while refusing to support one’s own assertions.

    You declared physics theory to be “metaphysical in nature”, and that they therefore support other metaphysical concepts, such as God, and further, that this proves the inconsistency and hypocrisy of science. I have demonstrated that’s all hogwash. A glimpse through any science textbook will prove this. Your request that I demonstrate that the “non-empirical character” of multiple dimensions is not metaphysical only shows you don’t know the definitions involved. Any scientific theory is *by definition* non-empirical because it is, well, a theory, not physically evidenced, not proved. You don’t possess the basics in science to understand any explanations and appear to be simply wailing away, hoping something will stick, something will constitute a ‘gotcha’. Well, you keep gotcha-ing yourself. Is there a point where you become properly embarrassed?

    “Feel free to offer your supporting rationale that “rights” somehow originate within the animal of man without being subject to man’s animalistic survival of the fittest.”

    Nowhere did I make any such assertion, so here we have another strawman argument, but…. The rights of man originate as a byproduct of the laws of man, and have evolved over the millenia of human history. It doesn’t take a genius to see how they have evolved from some very bad laws, hence bad ‘rights’, into current forms in the Western world where concepts of individual freedoms prevail and are incorporated into governance. The evidence for this assertion is found in thousands of history books. Or, alternately, we could simply declare that God provides these rights and laws, although this idea is supported only by the declarations of those who happen to believe it and nothing more.

    Feel free to support your belief in the purely evolutionary origins of the “bonds of love” with a cold and clinical scientific rationale on how humans should be able to reason beyond the silly evolutionary impracticalities and superstitions of “love”.

    How consistently you set up your easier to knock dow n strawmen! If you’ll bother to check the above record, I said *I didn’t know* from whence love comes, and pointed out that the body of evidence, such as it is, supported an evolutionary origin. Family-unit cooperation would increase the chances of survival of those who practiced cooperation at the family level. It is a short hop to inter-family cooperation from there, and now you’d have the beginnings of tribes, towns, communities…. society. Likewise, it is a short hop from productive cooperation to development of an emotion that reflects the success at survival – love.

    ——————————–

    Let me speak past the concreted ideologue to the general reader in pointing out that the subject of the article at the top of this discussion thread is the ‘needless chasm between faith and science’, and further, my assertion that this chasm is not found in any lab, rectory, or other ‘playing field’ of human endeavor so much as it is found in the hearts and minds of the very people involved. Chasm-creators from the atheist side would include Hitchens, Dawkins, O’Hare, and other well-known media atheists, but the worst damage is done by the many common atheists who agree with their aggressive regard for religious believers and act accordingly. Chasm-creators are thick on the religious believer side as well, particularly among the intelligent design crowd and other unbending, rigid fundamentalists. The former believe nonsensically that science is furthered
    whenever religion may be denigrated. The latter believe religion or God is furthered whenever science may be denigrated. Both are desperately wrong. One could hypothetically wipe out the entire edifice of Science, but that lends exactly zero support for any religious assertions of fact or truth – those require their own supports and evidences. It is not enough to pick out a perceived enemy, declare war, and then declare oneself the victor.

    The chasm arises when people from either side upset a very basic formula for healthy thought and philosophy, wherein E equals Emotion, I equals Intelligence (or Intellect), a formula drawn thus:

    I/E = Sanity

    (Intelligence over Emotion equals Sane, where insane would mean irrational, nonsensical, unreasonable, etc.)

    Beliefs are important, so important that when they are threatened it can cause a person to place emotion over intellect and thereby produce an ‘insane’ result, an illogical, unreasonable, and nonsensical outcome:

    E/I=Insane

    Behold our anti-science ideologue who, despite clearly knowing very little about science, has no problem lecturing those who do know science in the error of their ways, doing so not by provision of contradictive evidence, but by making mere declarations – you are wrong because, well, my beliefs say you are wrong. Please note how the objectionable science is cherry picked: while such a chasmist loves, enjoys, and uses science by accepting and enjoying the benefits of medical applications of treatment and pharmaceuticals, by enjoying central heat & air, automobiles and other transportation, technological wonders such as TV, radio, computers, and the internet, that while accepting the efficacy of science in all these things, whenever science appears to upset the applecart of one’s religious beliefs, all of a sudden science is inconsistent, worthless, the language of fools. This is the sort of thing that helps to produce the lamented and needless chasm alluded to in the article.

    To minimize the chasm, media atheists would do well to tone it down a little, but religious believers need to understand they do it largely for income – they *get paid* to go on tours, give lectures, and write books, as do their religious-minded opponents, such as the religious fellow (a rabbi?) who tours with Hitchens as his debate opponent. Media religionists could also tone it down, but will not, for the same general reasons.

    No, what needs to happen is that the science-minded must understand that, just like science, religion is woven deeply into the American social fabric and isn’t going anywhere, nor should it, because 99.9% of the results of this interweaving is goodness. Few scientists are hostile towards religion and are generally apathetic, don’t think about it much, except when a media religionist tries to replace basic science with some religous concept to affect society. At that, scientists become appropriately irate.

    Religious believers need to stop trying to get science to support their beliefs – that will never happen. It can’t happen because all the basic precepts of religion are unfalsifiable, therefore, unscientific, and may be believed only on faith. I do not say this is a bad thing, just that it is the way it is. Faith is the touchstone of religion, people are lauded for having it, particularly when they maintain faith in a thing despite evidences to the contrary. Whether this is a good or bad thing is irrelevant because those would be subjective judgments – if you feel it’s good, it’s good – and because religious people in America have a perfect right to believe as they wish. Again, I would never intrude on that and would fight to defend that right.

    The chasm is created from the religious when people misappropriate science, change its definitions, misrepresent its findings, misunderstand its abilities and limitations, and twist that product into some sort of indictment of science used to denigrate science out of the false belief that pulling down science somehow uplifts religion, a belief that sober, mature people learn on the playground as children.

    Faith and religion are one thing, science quite another. They overlap virtually no where. They have totally different purposes. They have successfully coexisted for millenia. Whenever you see evidence of argument or chasm, look closely – it won’t be religion or science causing the chasm, it will be some human being abusing the one to support the other. Refuse to allow them to affect you or your faith.

  • Henry Hawkins

    “…a belief that sober, mature people learn on the playground as children TO BE WRONG.”

    D’oh.

  • Last Sphere

    (Henry wrote – “You declared physics theory to be “metaphysical in nature”, and that they therefore support other metaphysical concepts, such as God, and further, that this proves the inconsistency and hypocrisy of science.”)

    No Henry, I declared Multiverse theory to be metaphysical by it’s very nature. And I never implied that science is inconsistant or hypocritical. I’m stating that atheists are in fact inconsistent and hypocritical.

    String Theory- From Physics to Metaphysics

    “Currently, string theory represents the only advanced approach to a unification of all interactions, including gravity. In spite of the more than thirty years of its existence, the sequence of metamorphosis it ran through, and the ever more increasing number of involved physicists, until now, it did not make any empirically testable predictions. Because there are no empirical data incompatible with the quantum field theoretical standard model of elementary particle physics and with general relativity, the only motivations for string theory rest in the mutual incompatibility of the standard model and of general relativity as well as in the metaphysics of the unification program of physics, aimed at a final unified theory of all interactions including gravity. But actually, it is completely unknown which physically interpretable principles could form the basis of string theory. At the moment, “string theory” is no theory at all, but rather a labyrinthic structure of mathematical procedures and intuitions which get their justification from the fact that they, at least formally, reproduce general relativity and the standard model of elementary particle physics as low energy approximations. However, there are now strong indications that string theory does not only reproduce the dynamics and symmetries of our standard model, but a plethora of different scenarios with different low energy nomologies and symmetries. String theory seems to describe not only our world, but an immense landscape of possible worlds. So far, all attempts to find a selection principle which could be motivated intratheoretically remained without success. So, recently the idea that the low energy nomology of our world, and therefore also the observable phenomenology, could be the result of an anthropic selection from a vast arena of nomologically different scenarios entered string theory. Although multiverse scenarios and anthropic selection are not only motivated by string theory, but lead also to a possible explanation for the fine tuning of the universe, they are concepts which transcend the framework defined by the epistemological and methodological rules which conventionally form the basis of physics as an empirical science.”

    - Reiner Hedrich

    (Institut für Philosophie, Fakultät Humanwissenschaften und Theologie, Universität Dortmund, Emil-Figge-Strasse 50, 44227 Dortmund, Germany

    Zentrum für Philosophie und Grundlagen der Wissenschaft, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, Otto-Behaghel-Strasse 10 C II, 35394 Giessen, Germany)

  • Last Sphere

    (Henry wrote – “The rights of man originate as a byproduct of the laws of man, and have evolved over the millenia of human history.”)

    Uhm Henry, a “byproduct of the laws of man” IS the same as originating from man, because the laws, the byproduct, what have you, ALL originate from man.

    Thank you for proving my point. Your own explanation clearly demonstrates that my argument was no strawman.

    You don’t even understand the circular nature of your own argument do you Henry.

    No. No you don’t.

  • Last Sphere

    (Henry wrote – “If you’ll bother to check the above record, I said *I didn’t know* from whence love comes, and pointed out that the body of evidence, such as it is, supported an evolutionary origin.”)

    Yes I got that Henry. You however, keep missing MY point:

    The problem is- you demand absolute proof of God’s existence, and yet you can not offer any absolute proof of the origins of human love.

    And yet- you point to an evolutionary origin of love which in fact is the same theory that modern atheism uses to explain the innate human tendency of the belief in God. Both love and God are an evolved form of sentimentality developed as survival coping mechanisms- so say the atheists.

    So the obvious question is: Why aren’t you atheists using science to reason beyond the silly superstions of love with all it’s irrational and detrimental characteristics the same as you are religion and God in general?

    So, once again Henry:

    Those so called evolutionary “bonds of love” you speak of Henry also cause humans to suffer greatly from the loss of love. And humans tend to do seemingly irrational things in the name of love such as – prolong the death of a loved one, lie, cheat, steal, murder, and die.

    Since we are living in the age of enlightenment Henry where science has shown us the way to rise above the innate superstitions of religion- shouldn’t we also rise above our silly evolutionary impracticalities of “love”?

  • Last Sphere

    (Henry wrote – “Faith and religion are one thing, science quite another. They overlap virtually no where. They have totally different purposes.”)

    Utter nonsense.

    The Big Bang Theory is introduced
    1927

    Father Georges LeMaitre (1894-1966) showed that religion and science — or at least physics — did not have to be incompatible. LeMaitre, born in Belgium, was a monsignor in the Catholic church.

    He was fascinated by physics and studied Einstein’s laws of gravitation, published in 1915. He deduced that if Einstein’s theory were true (and there had been good evidence for it since 1919), it meant the universe must be expanding. In 1927, the year he got his PhD from MIT, LeMaitre proposed this theory, in which he stated that the expanding universe was the same in all directions — the same laws applied, and its composition was the same — but it was not static. He had no data to prove this, so many scientists ignored it. (Another scientist, Soviet Aleksandr Friedmann, had come to the same conclusion independently, a few years earlier.) Even Einstein was reluctant to endorse this extension of his theory of general relativity (in fact Einstein was insulting towards LeMaitre because Einstein understood the metaphysical implications of the primordial atom).

    In 1929 at the Mt. Wilson Observatory in California, Edwin Hubble discovered that galaxies were moving away at high speeds. He was, like most people, unaware of LeMaitre’s 1927 theory. But LeMaitre used Hubble’s dramatic discovery as evidence for his theory. It was easy. If you imagined the galaxies rushing away from us as a movie, just run the movie backwards. After a certain time, all those galaxies will rush together. LeMaitre put forth the idea that there was once a primordial atom which had contained all the matter in the universe.

    The other support LeMaitre used was the idea of entropy, which states that everything is moving towards greater and greater disorder.

    Others took notice and named his theory “big bang.” LeMaitre’s ideas opened more questions, many of which forced physics and astronomy together: What was that primordial atom like? Why would it explode? He pursued the topic for some time, even suggesting that there ought to be some form of background radiation in the universe, left over from the initial explosion of that primordial atom. He became more interested in the philosophical ramifications of his theory, which were many. Mainly LeMaitre proved that time was created at the time of the Big Bang, and therefore whatever intelligence created the universe, did so outside of time itself. The very definition of God maintains that He is in fact beyond and outside of time itself.

    Others took up the big bang theory, and for several years there were strong debates between those supporting it and those who favored a “steady state” theory of the universe, in which the universe was eternal and unchanging. This argument ended when Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson found evidence of cosmic background radiation, which LeMaitre and other theorists had determined would be the residue of the big bang’s explosion many billions of years ago.

    You really have no idea what you are talking about Henry.

    But alas- I’m sure you will not let that trivial point get in the way of your blind adherence to your belief system.

    God Bless.

  • Last Sphere

    Behold the true insanity of Henry’s argument:

    The chasm between religion and science is the insistence of the religious to refuse to accept the chasm between religion and science.

    Henry’s living proof of the old adage:

    “Those whom the gods wish to destroy; they first make mad.”

  • JuliB

    There are so few atheists who respect religion and religious people, & I say this as a former atheist of 25 years.

    It’s a shame that LastSphere turned this into a debate instead of just accepting Henry’s opinions.

    I had wanted to send this thread to an atheistic Prof I went to High School with – it’s so uncommon for both the faithful and the non-believers to come together in peace. But now I won’t. :(

    As a very devout Catholic for about 4 years now, I’d like to point out that no one was ever argued into the faith.

  • Last Sphere

    JuliB-

    I do “accept” Henry’s opinions. However, I reject the fallacies on which they are based.

    Why aren’t you calling on Henry to accept my opinions, Juli?

  • Last Sphere

    (JuliB wrote – “As a very devout Catholic for about 4 years now, I’d like to point out that no one was ever argued into the faith.”)

    Well then Juli, I suppose Catholic Apologetics is a pointless endeavor then huh.

    (JuliB wrote – “I had wanted to send this thread to an atheistic Prof I went to High School with – it’s so uncommon for both the faithful and the non-believers to come together in peace. But now I won’t.”)

    Why Juli?

    By your logic, it wouldn’t have made any difference to the Professor anyway.

  • JuliB

    LS -

    Apologetics is educational in being corrective. Faith is a gift from God. You cannot argue anyone into Faith. Perhaps you thought I meant (by my poorly worded phrase) ‘faith’ as in becoming Catholic vs being non-Catholic.

    From an atheistic perspective, only the Holy Spirit can convert.

    Part of ‘doing apologetics’ is to be mindful of the time and place. As Father Scalia (Justice Scalia’s son), the Church Militant should be careful of accidentally being the Church Obnoxious.

    I won’t bother expanding on why I won’t send this thread since you seem to want to argue with me as well.

  • Last Sphere

    I wasn’t attempting to convert anyone, JuliB.

    And what exactly is wrong with my defense of false accusations and baseless assertions against faith?

    And still JuliB, you seem to have no criticisms of the obnoxious and erroneous atheistic assertions made by Henry do you. Why is that?

    And of course you won’t bother to explain your motives for sending or not sending this thread to your Professor, because any explanation will only contradict your criticisms toward me.


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