Seth Macfarlane on Religion vs Science

  • Paul

    The problem with any dogmatic belief is that those who hold those beliefs will argue fiercely for even the most patently false bits of that dogma for fear that like when you play Jenga, that bit may be the bit that makes if all come tumbling down.

    I would love to see theologians treat scripture or papal bull as a hypothesis and demand that the propensity of the evidence rather than the number of believers be the factor that determines their dogma.

  • Paul H.

    Religion changes fact in the light of dogma, science changes dogma in the light of fact. Don’t know who said it but I have always liked it.

  • smrnda

    Religion tries to escape this problem by relying on unfalsifiable assumptions as much as possible.

    • Reginald Selkirk

      Religion tries to escape this problem by relying on unfalsifiable assumptions as much as possible.

      This is a fairly recent development. The retreat of religion to the unfalsifiable corresponds to the advancement of science in explaining the world.

      • smrnda

        Good point. Makes me wonder if this is a conscious development or else just that, without any other tools of persuasion, religious apologists are grabbing whatever arguments happen to remain, no matter how defective. My inclination is the former since I don’t think most religious people understand the notion of falsifiability.

      • Sarah

        Bullshit. Citation needed.

        • smrnda

          Citation for which? The religion relies on unfalsifiable assertions or that religious people don’t understand the notion of falsifiability?

          On the first, because we know a lot about the physical laws governing the universe, we know that certain things cannot happen. However, I am frequently told that I cannot reject accounts of miracles that violate physical laws because I cannot prove that miracles cannot occur, and that miracles provide evidence for religious claims and that we can rely on alleged eyewitness testimony. The problem there that there is no room for any way to prove that miracles cannot happen to the person who believes they are possible.

          On the second, there’s a huge push for presuppositional apologetics where it is believed that one cannot start reasoning without relying on assumptions from the Bible. It provides an unfalsifiable worldview because you can’t test the validity of the source document – if something contradicts the Bible, it is wrong. No test can prove the Bible wrong by that view, so that would be an unfalsifiable belief system.

          Also, please, I am speculating on a blog about the role of unfalsifiable assertions in propping up religious belief. Note that in my post I used expressions like “makes me wonder,” “inclination” and “I think.” I didn’t publish definite statements on the role of unfalsifiable beliefs in the Journal of the Psychology of Religion.

          Also, if someone said “a lot of people died in WWII” are you going to complain about the lack of a proper citation? Typically people don’t provide citations for facts which can be easily checked – citations are provided for facts that a person could not easily find evidence for by a simple search. If I said that 20% of collisions are caused by cell phone use, that, unlike the WWII example, would be a good place to demand a clear citation. You seem to take ‘citation’ in an overly legalistic fashion, as if “turn to this book and look at page 10″ is adequate but “look up information on topic and you will find it” is inadequate.

  • http://www.brgulker.wordpress.com brgulker

    This is something that amazes me.

    When I talk to people who believe in Young Earth Creationism and reject the old Earth, evolution, etc., I try to explain this very thing to them. There would be no more effective way to become the most well-known scientist in history than to prove that evolution is false.

    • trj

      Except, of course, every creationist worth his salt knows that Science (capital S) is one big secular conspiracy with the purpose of preventing the Truth from getting known – for some reason or other. I bet they tell you something to that effect.

  • Sarah

    Wow Seth “smug twat” McFarlane is worth quoting? I’ve got one better for you. “That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence” Hitchens.

    McFarlane… dismissed.

    • Troutbane

      Doesn’t that apply to every religion since no actual evidence has ever been proven for any gods or miracles?

      • Troutbane

        Actually, I should address the evidence for McFarlane’s quote. Its called History. Some people study it.

        Re Religion Trying to Make An Idea True by Force or Propaganda: See Condemnations of 1210-1277, Galileo, Snopes Monkey Trial, or Providentissimus Deus

        Re Science Fact Checking Itself: See Scientific Method

        • Sarah

          It’s clear you don’t understand evidence or citations, but good on you for trying!

          “Doesn’t that apply to every religion since no actual evidence has ever been proven for any gods or miracles?”

          Yes. And to the Hitchens quote itself. Hitchens…. dismissed!

          • Troutbane

            I’m not sure what semantical angle you are trying to go for here. By your logic, anything anyone claims ever is automatically dismissible unless it also contains citations, including your posts. In wonderful logical irony,
            Sara…dismissed!

            Hitchens (and McFarlane) were merely making observations, which you could counter argue, but you don’t. You merely dismiss them for not backing them up with evidence and citation. Hitchens himself was making a basic scientific claim: you have to have evidence for anyone to believe a claim. This is rather basic human sense and no citations are needed. If you disagree with this, I would love to see the counter-argument.
            I posted historical incidences that back up at McFarlane’s quotes which you could easily Google. Since you insist that they be brought to you on a silver platter, I’ll just post a few links to Wikipedia from which you can easily backtrack the original sources and read at your heart’s content:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condemnations_of_1210%E2%80%931277
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_science#Galileo_Galilei
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scopes_monkey_trial

            • Sarah

              Yup. Except you missed that I dismissed the dismissing principle in the previous post so it can no longer be used. It didn’t have any evidence.

              Thanks for the evidence, it doesn’t show what you believe it says, but it is at least a step in the right direction and means that you cannot be dismissed like Seth “Comedy? I think you’ll find this repeated gay joke to your liking” McFarlane can be. Well Done, Troutbane is better than Seth!

            • UrsaMinor

              You also missed the fact that Sarah started off with an ad hominem attack in her very first sentence, Troutbane. That should have clued you in to the fact that this train has no track.

          • Kodie

            Do you have anything else to do?

            • Sarah

              *comes back from doing other things*

              Ah, I see somebody has decided to waste her time and mine! Well done, you have achieved your objective….

              And just for fun. Kodie… dismissed! (If you want to come back and assert something so this is fair feel free, but I suspect the dismiss-all principle is now wide enough to dismiss anything as it itself has been dismissed)

            • Troutbane

              Now Sara is just trolling.
              Dear Sara, please grow up. If you want to have an honest debate, you need to bring relevant points, not play some stupid word game.
              Your blatent dismissal of the above posted quotes also indicates you didn’t actually check them out, for example on the FIRST LINE for the Condemnations there was this quote:
              “The Condemnations at the medieval University of Paris were enacted to restrict certain teachings as being heretical.”

            • Kodie

              Plenty of evidence that you’re just being an asshole, Sarah.

  • mark

    who is this guy that talks and looks like a gay?

    • Yoav

      Go fuck yourself.

  • Clear Waters

    If only the religious would stop making idiots of themselves while trying to ‘prove’ their faith is something of substance.

    I was also raised to believe “I Dream of Jeannie” blinked us all into existence but I grew up and tossed that concept away, as many still need to do. Nobody has absolute answers, stop pretending you do.


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