Has Christianity done more for science than atheism ever could?

I got sent this article, which is apparently being heralded as a “checkmate atheists” moment.  It’s so full of wrong I need to go through it line by line.

Our governor here in Kentucky has decided to implement the new Common Core “Next Generation” science standards. Progressives are celebrating this move for a few reasons : 1) It will put us in line with many other states, which is great because we all know a diverse and enriching education must be in utter uniformity with the national collective and in compliance with the federal agenda.

The thing about snark is that it only makes you look clever if you’re making a solid point.  If you’re being snarky about something in which you’re wholly wrong, your wrongness combines with your overconfidence to make you look…not good.  Such is the case here.

Education is about teaching children the facts, not just what people believe.  This is how teachers can mark questions wrong on tests.  In terms of teaching the facts, yes, we need to be in uniformity.  If all the schools are teaching kids that the earth is round and one school is teaching kids that the earth is flat, the kids from the flat earth school are going to be hosed in adulthood.  Schools should be uniform in the aversion to teaching things that are not true.

2) The criteria calls for a renewed emphasis on man-caused climate change and, of course, evolution. Evolution — atheistic, nihilistic, materialistic, mindless evolution — must be taught as fact, without other ideas presented to compete with the theory.

Because there are no ideas that are legitimately competing.  The author is clearly hinting at creationism.  The thing is, creationist advocates have sometimes tried to go through the proper channels to have their ideas integrated to the body of science, but every time they have failed to live up to scientific standards.  So they don’t get taught.  Ideas don’t get taught just because they exist – they must establish that they are in line with the facts.  Evolution is, creationism is not.

We don’t teach alchemy along with chemistry.  We don’t teach geocentrism along with heliocentrism.  We don’t teach that the earth is tortoises all the way down.  We don’t teach these things because there is no evidence for them, not because of some evil atheist conspiracy.  You want your ideas to be taught?  Gather your evidence and take it to peer review like every other scientific idea.  Once you have credible beliefs, then we’ll teach them to kids.

Proponents say that atheistic evolution is the only thing that belongs in the classroom because religion and science just don’t mix. I agree, partially at least. Some religions don’t gel with science — religions like Scientology or, say, Atheism.

Yes, because the absence of a belief in god is a religion, much in the same way that not playing baseball is a sport.

The followers of the COA (Church of Atheism)…

Oh, he’s a witty one.  The irony is that the author almost certainly thinks church is a great thing, yet he calls atheism a church to denigrate us.  Remember what I said about being snarky?

And if atheism is a church, when do I get to stop paying taxes?  What book do atheists accept as fact without question?  What do we believe that is as ridiculous as someone rising from the dead?

…are not only hostile to science, they are aggressively allergic to history and philosophy as well.

Which atheists are hostile to science?  Name one.  I see a Christian writer decrying science in this very paragraph (with his sneering at evolution).  It takes quite a bit of hubris to turn around in the next breath and accuse atheists of being the ones hostile to science.

They are the ones who constantly need to alter and warp these subjects, so as to fit them all in their tiny little box of nihilism and emptiness.

Says the guy who thinks people can’t ordinarily rise from the dead or walk on water except for when it makes his faith true.

A Christian doesn’t need to be so selective and manipulative because he is part of something full, rational, multi-faceted and universal.

A Christian doesn’t need to be manipulative?  What do you tell children will happen to them after death if they don’t believe a guy rose from the dead or that a talking snake really convinced a woman to eat an apple?

And anybody who thinks eating shrimp is fine and homosexuality isn’t (even though god mentioned hating shrimp eight times compared to homosexuality twice) doesn’t get to lecture anybody else about being selective.  Yes, the universe is rational.  Believing a person rose from the dead is not rational.

He is part of something that, as Chesterton said, has “a multiplicity and subtlety and imagination about the varieties of life which is far beyond the bald or breezy platitudes of most ancient or modern philosophy. In a word, there is more in it; it finds more in existence to think about; it gets more out of life.”

You’re asserting that Christians are happier.  You give no evidence for this, so I reject it.

This is where some of my Christian brothers and sisters fail mightily. So often they cede “science” to the atheist and shrink away from his challenges, backing off in defeat while muttering something about “faith” and “belief.” “Well, you might have your fancy science books, but I’ve got faith.” Yes, faith and belief are important, but you, my Christian compatriot, are standing on the Mountain of Truth. You have the high ground. YOU have the facts and the science on your side.  Your faith does NOT conflict with science.

This would be an excellent time, if YOU have science on your side, to explain how a person rising from the dead is not in conflict with biology.  This would be an excellent time, if YOU have science on your side, to explain how a person walking on water is not in conflict with physics.  This would be an excellent time, if YOU have science on your side, to explain how a global flood that left no trace is not in conflict with geology.  This would be an excellent time, if YOU have science on your side, to explain how a woman being turned into a pillar of salt is not in conflict with chemistry.

These things are called miracles because they conflict with the way we know the universe to work.  You know what doesn’t make exceptions for how we know the universe to work?  Science.

Christianity built this civilization; your Christian ancestors are the pioneers behind the greatest advancements in many fields of study.

Wrong.  Christians built some things and discovered some things, but Christianity did not.  Muslims conceived of algebra, not Islam.  If the schematics for a telescope were in the bible, then we could talk about Christianity giving us something (although, since the bible was written by people, it would still be the product of humans, not god), but they aren’t.

Christianity illuminates the sciences and invigorates the passion for discovery.

Christianity illuminates the sciences?  For most of the time Christianity was in power its leaders had the nasty habit of burning scholars at the stake for reaching scientific conclusions that the church didn’t like.  The passion for discovery is a human quality, shared among people of all faiths and no faith.  You don’t get to claim human impulses as the property of your religion.

As a Christian, you aren’t just a member of a religion — you’re a member of a rich intellectual tradition unmatched by any group, anywhere in the world.

Really?  The majority of anti-science sentiment to this day emanates exclusively from pulpit.  Your very piece sneers at the conclusions of science when you speak of evolution.  Also, find me an atheist group throughout all of history that murdered scientists for asserting positions (which were correct) which offended the group.

So don’t just sit there and let the atheists blabber about how your faith hates science. Speak up, damn it. Fight back. Get angry.

And submit papers to peer review about how your faith makes scientific sense.  Show us how your faith doesn’t conflict with known science.  Or just get impotently angry.  Y’know…whatever.

I have heard this “you can’t mix religion and science” argument so many times, and so many times the atheist gets away with making such a silly and irrational claim.

Talking snake.  Walking on water.  You don’t have the first clue what science is.

A guy actually told me today that “Christians have always hated science.”

Not all Christians always have.  But many Christians have and still do.  That’s why we have the displeasure with evolution present in your very article.

But take heart, your caricature atheist wasn’t entirely correct.

What a bizarre and stupid thing to say; easily refuted, if only we take the time and endure the frustration.

And the very next sentence is:

Modern science, despite the incoherent ramblings of historically illiterate fools, wouldn’t exist without religion.

Say what?  You think without religion people wouldn’t be curious and try to figure out how the universe works?  News flash bucko: people were curious long before they fashioned the story of the Old Testament.

Christianity hasn’t stifled science.

The organizational body of Christianity has certainly done so in the past.  Galileo was put under house arrest for the remainder of his life for claiming the universe did not revolve around the earth.  This was actually a kindness afforded to Galileo because he was buddies with the pope.  For others the Church ensured that the remainder of their life was a very small amount of time.

To this day Christians stifle science by opposing the conclusions of science that do not align with their faith (i.e. evolution).

Christianity has been its driving force and, for hundreds of years, virtually its only significant contributor.

This is simply untrue.  Christianity gave us demons as the cause of illness.  Science gave us medicine.  Now while it’s true that some of those scientists were Christian, this does not mean that Christianity gave us squat.  The methods of science are secular, and even a religious person can deploy them.  No faith owns the scientific method.

Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Pascal, Descartes, Newton, Kelvin, Mendel, Boyle — all devout Christians. You want to remove your science from my religion? Fine. But we’re keeping these dudes. You can have Richard Dawkins and his tales of “mild pedophilia.” Enjoy.

Yes, they were all devout Christians.  One can only wonder why they never applied the same scientific standards as they did toward their discoveries that every intelligent person now accepts to the Christian god.  Even now there are Christian scientists who submit their work on various things to the process of peer review.  Yet none of them try to prove, by that same avenue, that their religion is true.  The explanation for this is quite simple: there are not scientific reasons to believe Christianity is true.

Scientific credence stands on the reliability of one’s work and nothing else.  All the people mentioned above could have been Muslims or genocidal maniacs.  Their scientific conclusions would still stand based on the reliability of their work, and would say nothing to the nobility of Islam or genocide.  Newton was a Christian…and an enormous asshole.  His work on gravity had everything to do with the rigor of his methods, not with him being an enormous asshole.   Christians can have good methods on their scientific work, but believing a guy rose from the dead is still ridiculous.

Father Steno was a priest. Geologists call him “father,” but for none religious reasons: he’s considered the father of modern geology.

If he were a racist, would you attempt to give credit, through him, to racism for modern geology?  Steno was admirable for his scientific contributions, none of which were in defense of a guy rising from the dead.

The Basilica of San Petronio is a beautiful church. It was also, for many years, one of the most sophisticated solar observatories in the world.

Because of the equipment inside and its location.  Rest assured the steeple and the crosses on the wall did not contribute to its efficiency as an observatory.  Take them away and the telescope still works.

In fact, for five or six centuries no institution funded and supported the sciences more than the Church. They don’t teach that in school, which yet again demonstrates the danger of mixing atheism and education.

I actually learned about how the Catholic Church integrated with science in one of my astronomy courses in college.  It gave funding in the interest of particular conclusions.  When the funding and assistance resulted in conclusions the church did not want they created the concept of heresy (nothing could be more anti-scientific than that) and applied it liberally.

And the author seems to be confusing secularism with atheism.  No school teaches atheism.  Literally none of them.  No biology teacher would put the question “Is atheism true?” on a test.  However, your religion has failed to live up to scientific standards, and so it doesn’t get taught as science.  We teach of religion in religion classes, and of how the church influenced science in history classes, because those facts are relevant.  But you don’t get to imprint your faith over facts of science when it hasn’t even attempted to play by scientific standards.

When western scientific knowledge came to places like China and India in the 1600′s, it came by way of Christians and their science-hating Christianity. You’d be hard pressed to find a single bit of modern scientific knowledge that wasn’t discovered, or heavily influenced by, the work of devout Christians.

You act like its a revelation that Christians can use the scientific method.  That’s like saying we should be thankful to Christianity for transportation because some Christians drive cabs.  It’s the method that makes it science, which is why Christians, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, and everybody else can do science.  But while anybody can do science, science does not support every conclusion – many of the claims of Christianity are such conclusions.

Atheism has to hide from so much, deny so much, and twist and manipulate so much, because its existence is always jeopardized by the scorching light of truth.

You have a whole article in which you make no scientific arguments for god’s existence (let alone the truth of Christianity), but here you are pounding your chest about how true it is and how atheists are so afraid.  First off, atheists generally love the truth.  If proof for god’s existence arose tomorrow, we’d change our minds.  We’re not married to particular beliefs, we’re married to reliable methods.  You act like changing one’s mind is something to be ashamed of, so much so that we resist it with all that we are.

Compare this to Christians who, in the face of various disciplines that conflict with the nonsensical claims of their faith (people rising from the dead, the earth stopped spinning, walking on water, talking snake, global flood, and more), cite faith as a way to remain unbound by consistency.  This is the very zenith denial and manipulation.

But if you’re going to talk about how we’re evading the “scorching light of truth” (which, to this point, strikes me as more the bloviating and offensive scent of bullshit), maybe you could explain why someone rising from the dead makes sense somewhere in your article.

To paraphrase CS Lewis, an atheist has to be careful about what he reads and which facts he encounters. There are traps everywhere.

CS Lewis was wrong.

Do the progressive science lovers, who use the Big Bang to “disprove” God, even know the name of the guy who originally formulated the hypothesis? Well, they think the universe and the human mind came about my happenstance, so I guess it follows that the Big Bang Theory just appeared magically in text books one day. But, unfortunately for them, just like the Big Bang itself, the theory has an originator. His name was Monseigneur Georges Lemaitre. “Monseigneur,” for the uninitiated, means “priest” in France-talk.

You act like any atheist would attempt to suppress Lemaitre’s religion.  His faith is of zero consequence to his discovery.  Had Lemaitre been a Hindu car thief, his work in physics would be just as revered (and just as correct) because he had so much evidence.  If Lemaitre had applied the scientific method to god’s existence, this would be a whole different discussion.  Instead, he applied it to the Big Bang and found a demonstrable fact about the universe that required no appeal to god.

You keep saying Christians can do good science, which nobody has disputed.  Ever.  But you keep saying that because Christians can do good science that Christianity must be in harmony with science, which is simply not the case.  Take a great astronomer like Kepler, who believed in astrology.  Is astrology now to receive credit for Kepler’s ability to use the scientific method?  If not, why does Christianity get the credit for Lemaitre?

It was also Lemaitre who, in 1951 when Pope Pius XII was trying to say that Lemaitre’s work confirmed the genesis account (the one where the earth preceded the stars) of creation, told the pope to stop doing that.

Those who broadly mock religion, and who pretend that Christianity inhibits education and discovery, aren’t just arrogantly dismissing Joe Schmoes like me.

Take a moment to read over the UN’s Human Development Index.  You’ll find that the more religious a country (on the average) the less educated they tend to be.  Religiosity and lack of education often go hand in hand.

And yes, I’m dismissing you.  Not because you’re a Joe Schmoe, but because you’re writing about a subject you clearly don’t know anything about, you’re making shit arguments (when you make arguments at all), and you’re doing it with such a nauseating amount of overconfidence that I want to go take a shower.

Yesterday I received a typical email from a tolerant progressive atheist.

Which you’ll no doubt use to construct a strawman.

It read, in part, “f**ck you and your Jesus bull sh*t. You people are all idiots constantly afraid of real education.”

Am I good or what?  Yes, atheists can be assholes.  I guess if a Christian can make a scientific discovery and all of Christianity gets the credit, then you can look at an atheist asshole and decide that “typical” atheists are assholes.

What happens when a Christian is an asshole?  Inception!

Oh, don’t worry, he then segues from calling billions of people “idiots” who believe in “Jesus bull sh*t” to railing against Christians for being “bigoted” and “hateful,” just as you’d expect. Masters of unintentional irony, these left wing atheists.

You take one person being a jerk and apply it to all of the people in your out group as a means of insulting them, right after you bitch about being insulted, and have the gall to accuse others of irony?  Ok…

But are we Christians all “idiots”?

No.  However, you specifically are not doing much to escape the label.

Well, I don’t mind if you say that about me, but was Da Vinci an idiot? Aquinas? Shakespeare? Mozart? Washington? Locke? Martin Luther King Jr? Edison? Tesla? Alexandar Graham Bell? Adam Smith? Marconi? Chesterton? Lewis? MacDonald? Dickens? Faulkner? Tolkein? Marco Polo? Neil Armstrong? Magellan? Columbus? Henry Ford? All of these guys are idiots, along with the scientific pioneers I mentioned earlier?

No, they were not idiots.  But even smart people can have bad ideas rattling around their heads (see Kepler and astrology).  Blaise Pascal was a brilliant mathematician, but his argument’s for god’s existence were absolutely terrible.

One does not need to be an idiot to be wrong.

They all hated education?

One person, who we only know of through your word (which I don’t exactly trust), is the only person who has said that so far, yet you’re attempting to transpose the words of an email troll onto every one of your interlocutors.  This is either mind-bogglingly stupid or flagrantly dishonest.

Science, just like any other subject, is multidimensional. There is the fact, and then there is the meaning behind the fact, and then there is the motivation to pursue the fact and its meaning, and then there is the issue of how to apply and interpret all of these things. In other words, science does advance or regress drastically depending on the prevailing philosophy of any civilization.

Wrong.  Science has measures in place to remove as much bias as possible (double blind tests ftw!).  While civilizations can fund, de-fund, or even suppress science, this says nothing about the conclusions of good science.  Those will always be the same.  A Muslim who performs and experiment will receive the same result as a Christian (assuming they both performed it properly).  In this way, science transcends the vagaries of our various cultures.

For instance, the Catholic Church attempted to silence Galileo (and did successfully silence Copernicus), but despite the assertions of the Church Galileo was right.

Christian civilizations advanced science immeasurably because they were Christian civilizations.

No evidence is provided for this claim, and there is plenty of evidence to the contrary.  Leave the resources when the Catholic Church was in power and take away the dogma and murder of academics whose opinions conflicted with those of the Church and you would’ve seen far more discovery.

If you take God out of the study of the origin of life, not only are you left with a confused and arbitrary thing, riddled with holes and inconsistencies, but you’ve also stripped the subject, and the study of the subject, of its meaning and purpose.

This is so ludicrously asinine as to be offensive.  Scientists are studying life right now, with god being nowhere in any of their experiments or equations.  Far from there being holes and inconsistencies, we have multiple means by which life could’ve arisen naturally (like the RNA world model), all in compliance with known science, all with no appeal to god being necessary.  The issue is that we don’t know which one was responsible.

And what’s more, how does not believing in god strip the subject of meaning and purpose?  We’re curious!  We want to know the answer through reliable means, not just believing some story that makes no scientific sense.  That’s the purpose!  That’s the meaning!  If you think curiosity itself isn’t enough, then you have no idea what science is about (not that the rest of your article didn’t already confirm this).

Our understanding of the universe deepened so profoundly during the Christian era because of the Christian tradition that brought a sense of order and rationality to the universe. Now political and ideological forces wish to decapitate existence from the Mind that created it, thus shredding its order and meaning, and leaving us with a “science” that has regressed back into something incoherent and archaic. Atheism does not advance science — it doesn’t advance anything — it does only what it is designed to do: confuse and destroy.

Yes, atheism has nothing to do with science.  Science is a method that functions independently about what anybody thinks about god.  Christianity also has nothing to do with science.

And in science evidence is given supreme authority over all other authorities.  In science when somebody makes a bunch of assertions which they do not then defend with evidence (like you did in this whole paragraph), that person is ignored.

And atheism confuses and destroys?  This is just an insult with no backing whatsoever.  It’s fearmongering.

You can’t take Christianity out of the classroom no matter how hard you try.

It depends on what you mean by that.  Christian students can still pray and wear religious jewelry.  They can still talk about god to other students and read their bibles at lunch.  But if you think that Christianity is being taken “out of the classroom” because we don’t teach unscientific ideas in science class, then you’re wrong.  Those things have no place in science class any more than Kepler’s astrology.

If you want Christianity in science class, it’s time for religious people to start submitting papers to peer review defending god’s existence.  This would actually solicit the change (if you’re right, which you’re not) that you want, far more so than a pissy blog post that misses every conceivable point on a subject the author clearly knows nothing about.

If you take it out, most everything — especially science — goes with it.

Really?  Because science seems to be doing just fine without the idea that god exists.

Christianity is woven into the fabric of most every academic subject (except gender studies).

Because Christianity is the dominant religion and it has opinions on those subjects, often opinions that conflict with the conclusions of the experts in those subjects (like gender studies).  It is not interwoven with these subjects because their conclusions only make sense if Christianity is true.

You can, however, remove Atheism, and I think it’s time we do that.

You can’t remove atheism from science because it isn’t there.  Anybody can do a gold foil test to confirm the structure of an atom.  It has zero to do with whether god exists or not and everything to do with figuring out how the universe actually works.  It is secular, but not atheistic.  At no point in the test do you require a variable that says god does/doesn’t exist.

Such a silly superstition — uncaused causes removed from the Ultimate Cause, human consciousness that develops accidentally out of lifeless material, order coming from chaos, rationality coming from irrationality, everything coming from nothing — has never done anyone any good, and it doesn’t belong inside a school.

Yes, this guy just can’t stand it when “typical atheists” insult him.

First, your caricature is unfair.  The universe is rife with uncaused causes (virtual particles, decay of a radioactive nucleus, etc.).  The “Ultimate Cause” is something you are proposing, so its on you to defend it, not us.  As far as human conscience, we understand the evolution of the brain.  Also, if you believe computers work, you must believe that lifeless material, arranged in the proper way, can perform logical functions (and “think”).  Also, order does come from chaos – see thermodynamics.  Everything coming from nothing is, again, your assertion.  Can you defend why you think non-existence is a more natural state than existence?  What you call “silly” is either your own unsupported assertions or your own ignorance which could’ve been cured if you were more interested in using google than griping.

Really, we must get atheism away from education before we all end up like the modern atheist’s greatest prophet, Nietchsze, who died insane and naked, eating his own feces in a mental institution. This is not the sort of fate we should wish upon our children.

You’re now saying that atheism is the cause of mental illness?  Christians are as susceptible to mental illness as anybody else.  More so if you’re talking about depression:

The study, published in the October issue of Psychological Medicine but online now, followed more than 8,000 people in rural and urban areas in seven countries for one year. During the research, they were each examined at six- and 12-month intervals.

In those time frames, 10.3 per cent of religious participants became depressed, compared with 7.0 per cent for atheists and 10.5 per cent for those with a “spiritual understanding of life,” the study found.

In fact, why does atheism get the blame for mental illness when god supposedly designed everything?  Way to leap upon a person’s suffering to condemn a whole group of people.  Tell me more about how atheism corrupts people.

And look at all the Christians piling on in the comments, who can’t pick out that the author of this piece just dug at atheists and never, ever, defended any of his points.  The author should be sure to enjoy it, since if he ever presented anything like this to scientists he’d be lucky if they even exerted the effort to glare.

Debating people like this is capture in a song I heard recently (go here and listen to “progress”).  Seriously, go listen.  It will help mitigate the frustration of debating people too dense to do research or to have their ignorance negatively impact their confidence.

  • baal

    I’m alergic to Kem Hem’s version of history (he wasn’t there) and WLC’s version of philosophy (not enough interest in truth).

    • Pofarmer

      I listened go some of the Craig/Kraus debate today. The thing that is maddening is that Craig uses arguments and conclusions which he full well knows have already been refuted-in his own debates. Het be goes on with them anyway.

      • Jason Mooneyham

        Craig is a PR man, and PR men aren’t interested in the truth. Their interested in appearance and the presentation of the product. And how do you get the product out there? Repitition. If you repeat garbage enough times, people begin to think it’s good stuff.

        Craig also uses weasel tactics quite a lot. In his debate with Sam Harris, he tried to steer clear of the existence of God by saying that they weren’t there to debate it when Harris brought it up. Yet, Craig’s own claim was that God forms the only legitimate objective basis for morality.

        All in all Craig is dishonest as a debator and as a representative of a deity that supposedly embodies justice.

  • Nemo

    I love how he acknowledges that the Big Bang Theory was first formulated by a priest, but then insists that evolution is somehow a synonym for atheism. If he’s claiming the guy who came up with the Big Bang Theory as one of his camp, then he already discarded Young Earth Creationism. So why the hostility to evolution in the classroom?

  • sparkyb

    His argument is nonsense because his premise is just wrong. He keeps mentioning “atheist evolution” but nothing about science or evolution is inherently atheist. Atheists may use evolution as an argument that atheism is right, but the theories themselves don’t say anything about the existence or non-existence of a god. If the rest of his argument is that Christians don’t have to be anti-science, then why did he start by rejecting evolution and other established parts of science? He is completely right that you don’t have to reject science because you’re Christian, but then why do so many Christians reject science, including the author? I think he’s trying to redefine the word science.

    • Jonathan Merritt

      I think you’ve made an excellent point here. The original Christian author is demonstrating a rejection of science “de novo”, as it were. What does this say about his claims regarding the historical role of Christianity in promoting science?

      I would suggest that modern science is gradually progressing, despite being practiced in repressive, Christian-dominated societies. So why are we to believe that the situation was any different historically? Why would the role of the Church have been a positive one in times past, yet a negative one today?

  • baal

    “Christianity is woven into the fabric of most every academic subject (except gender studies).”

    I laughed at that one. Chemistry, calc., biology, physics, writing, judo, various labs, and nearly every class I had in college (including my higher degrees (plural)) didn’t have anything to do with christianity. The two that did were history and art appreciation.

    I suspect the fisk target in OP is claiming ‘all reasoning’ as an xtian invention hence all academics (except the oh so very unreasonable gender studies! (i think he missed a few)) must be xtian.

  • Stev84

    In the middle ages the Catholic Church was a patron to some scientists because they dominated ALL life. They also controlled entire governments and countries. There simply was no competition. The church was so obscenely rich and influential that they had a monopoly on public works. Same with architects, painters and sculptors. Besides royalty, the church was simply the biggest customer. Doesn’t mean the artists were inspired by their faith. They just wanted to make a living.

    • JO

      not only, but they were quite selective in judging science, philosophy and literature, they frequently convicted, tortured and killed scientists they were not agreeing with.
      And basically proceeded to delete everything conflicting or challenging their vision of religion. So, while religious people managed to salvage, sometimes scarcely, being barely able to read, some latin books (greek ones were salvaged by Arabs), they had been responsible for the destruction of at least as much as they salvaged.
      Wouldn’t trust them even for conserving what we have already without censure and modification, improving and widening would be out of question.

  • Compuholic

    Wow, an impressive example of fractal wrongness.

    And I also have a question for this guy. If Christianity is so great at inspiring curiosity and science how come that most (adjusted by population) Nobel Prices have been handed out to Jews ?

  • Baby_Raptor

    I just can’t. All the bullshit in this guy’s post…I think my head is going to explode.

  • Drakk

    Portable belt-fed machine guns were developed by German engineers in 1934, therefore Nazism invented machine guns!

    • islandbrewer

      … and Volkswagens.

    • Spuddie

      Maxim invented the machine gun, therefore ‘MURICAN FREEDOM invented machine guns.

      • Stev84

        He emigrated to Britain and Maxim was a British company.

        He was also an atheist.

  • greg1466

    As is often the case when dealing with wingnuts, I find that the entire thing can be explained in two words. “Psychological projection”.

    • David Manhart

      And their anger is due to “cognitive dissonance” (the discomfort experienced when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions: ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions. In a state of dissonance, people may sometimes feel “disequilibrium”: frustration, hunger, dread, guilt, anger, embarrassment, anxiety, etc.). Thier innate sense of right and wrong and what is true stands opposed to their religious beliefs.

  • Jeff

    The whole thing is incredibly Euro-centric, also. It doesn’t even try addressing the many scientific advancements and awesome devices that have been made in Asia, pre-Colombus America, or Africa in the hundreds/thousands of years before missionaries got to those places.

    • Pofarmer

      Heck, what about all the Greek and Roman science and knowledge that the early church lost? I mean, how do you lose the ability to make something like concrete to the point it takes a thousand years to get that knowledge back?

      • Loren Petrich

        Richard Carrier would skewer that guy if he had the desire to. He’s written a lot about ancient science, and in some of John Loftus’s collections about Xianity, he’s skewered the notion that Xianity was responsible for modern science. He’s also delivered some interesting talks about ancient science on YouTube. I can dig up links and references for anyone who’s interested.

      • Stev84

        The standard Christian counter to that is that the church preserved knowledge in monasteries. Which is true in some cases, but can’t be generalized. They also suppressed other things or held onto old ideas and concepts for too long just for tradition’s sake.

      • closetatheist

        Yeah, how about all those book burnings and the immesurable amount of priceless history we lost because of them? The religious assholes in charge would sometimes demand the burning of medical, midwifery, and gardening books!

  • Aaron Johnson

    Geologists do not consider Nicolas Steno the ‘Father of Modern Geology.’ We consider James Hutton to be the father, with Charles Lyell his mouthpiece. Steno is known for his fundamental principles of stratigraphy, but it is Hutton who outlined the concept of Uniformitarianism, which is central to any geology study.

    • Loren Petrich

      Nicholas Steno was indeed an important early geologist. He successfully argued that “tongue stones” were fossilized shark teeth, and he proposed some Laws of Stratigraphy that are still valid. But after the persecution of Galileo, he feared that he could get in trouble for his geological researches, and he became a Catholic priest.

      • badphairy

        I’m sticking with William Smith.

  • Realitycheck

    Increasingly the psychiatric field is considering religion a mental
    illness. Certainly we incarcerate many of those who claim to be Napoleon
    etc. When people insist on believing in something in the face of hard
    facts showing they are wrong or no facts to prove they are right, that
    is a sign of mental illness.

  • Daniel_JM

    Is the original author seriously trying to say that Washington, Edison, Tesla, Ford, and Graham Bell were Christians?

    Bell identified as an agnostic. Edison was very critical of Christianity. Ford believed in reincarnation, so he wasn’t an orthodox Christian. Tesla also wasn’t an orthodox Christian and did make several statements endorsing materialism. George Washington’s religion is very unclear, he refused to take communion and almost never publicly mentioned Jesus, and one of his pastors even said that Washington wasn’t a Christian.

    The author also just ignores the fact that until fairly recently you could be publicly rejected, or much worse, for not following some form of Christianity. When you could be jailed, tortured, or killed for rejecting Christianity it isn’t a surprise that most of the scientists in that time period at least publicly endorsed Christianity.

    • tsara

      Also Newton. Newton believed some really weird shit.

      • paulsimon

        It was 500 years ago, most people believed a lot of weird shit.

      • Loren Petrich

        Newton was a Trinity denier who was very interested in Biblical prophecies — he wrote an enormous amount on rying to interpret them. The fundies might like his Biblical-prophecy work, but not his Trinity denial.

    • James_G

      Washington and the Founding Fathers we’re Deists.

  • Joshua Mcateer

    I love how the author mentions Magellan as a devout christian, if I remember correctly ‘The Church says that the Earth is flat, but I know that it is round. For I have seen the shadow of the earth on the moon and I have more faith in the Shadow than in the Church.’ Which has always been a quote I have rather liked…

    • Spuddie

      Actually the whole Earth is flat thing is a myth from the 19th Century started by Washington Irving who wanted to jazz up a biography of Columbus. People knew the earth was round since Archimedes. Anyone who sailed knew it was.

      Records of Magellan’s life prior to his voyage are scant. The author is just making shit up because Magellan was Spanish and they had their little Inquisition thing going on back then.

  • Andy

    Hear, hear

  • David Marshall

    I’m not surprised with he sermon. This is typical rallying of the idiots and uneducated or under educated folks. Religion is in its end times and the faithful don’t like it and can’t allow themselves to move past their superstitions and myths. In 20 years it will be even less relevant than it was 20 years ago. But I have religious family and friends and they all roll their eyes and think I’m the crazy militant atheist and to some degree I’m a little militant but I don’t accept their claims and I don’t allow them to force those ridiculous beliefs into conversations by being polite or accepting of tolerant.

    • Debby Devlin

      While I agree with you, at the very least, be polite, David. As you can see by the ranting insults of the above lunatic, being an ass gets you nowhere.

      • David Marshall

        Many think being polite is allowing the religious to spew their crap and not telling them to shut up or keep it to themselves. That’s what I refuse to do I will leave or just tell them to knock it off. I vehemently disagree with religion and how it permeates hatred towards the different people of the planet. I don’t love everybody I’m not a hippy type personality but I am all about fair and religion is anything but fair. Religious folks always have a high and mighty attitude when you question them on their asinine ideas and so why is it my responsibility to be polite when most of the time they are being jerks telling me I’m the one who’s wrong when I’m not the one making these ridiculous claims?

  • oisteing

    Pretty much a high quality rant of some length! An enjoyable read.

  • frank

    Great article, evolution is obviously what happened, people of all kinds look like apes, espeically africans and we kept evolving from them.

    • RobMcCune

      frank, what really matters is on the inside.

      Try to get that through your evil racist monkey brain.

      • frank

        Statistics shows clearly who commit most crimes, murders, rapes. Dont even bother use an example, but hey, life rewards the people who contribute to a society, asians and caucasians.

        • RobMcCune

          Statistics shows clearly who commit most crimes, murders, rapes.

          You mean men?

          Dont even bother use an example,

          What example? You mean an example of good reasoning, like you can’t conclude innate behaviors from raw social science statistics, let alone “evolution.”

          life rewards the people who contribute to a society,

          You’ve got it backward, society rewards people based on the status of their birth. This a huge factor your aping of science deliberately ignores.

        • Amy Newman

          I love how racists and more specifically nationalist idolegly tries to point to behavioral statistics. There’s only one human speices with no sub species. We’re all homo-sapian sapin. Please take your pseudoscience else where.

        • Rob

          Yes, let’s look at the statistics, like the “Stop and Frisk” program in NYC.

          1/147 blacks stopped had something found.
          1/20 whites stopped had something found

          What do you suppose the ratio of blacks stopped to whites stopped was?

        • Spuddie

          “Statistics shows clearly who commit most crimes, murders, rapes.”

          CHRISTIANS!

          They make up the majority of those accused of crimes and in prisons.

        • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

          Of course, there’s also that tiny little nagging fact that while African Americans and Hispanics are over-represented in the prison system they actually have roughly comperable rates of criminal activity to Caucasians. The difference is that they get prosecuted at far more disproportionate rates.

          That MIGHT have something to do with assholes like you. Self-fulfilling prophecy anyone?

    • Zinc Avenger

      Aww it’s so cute you think it’s a fun way to use your time to eat your shit in public and revel in the horrified attention you get. Who’s a cutie? You are! You are!

      • frank

        Well your comment is gross like the lyrics found in blacks music. I agree with this article, and i believe evolution is what happened, problem?

        • Zinc Avenger

          Awww roll over and let me rub your tummy. You just need the right sort of affection so you can stop acting out for attention.

        • RobMcCune

          Well your comment is gross like the lyrics found in blacks music.

          You mean jazz?

          i believe evolution is what happened, problem

          Yet you hold a backward 19th century view of “progression” to “higher” forms.

          • Spuddie

            “You mean jazz?”

            I was thinking anything in a 4/4 meter.

    • Don Gwinn

      Blah blah blah I’m a racist it’s so transgressive you all can’t handle my bold stance etc. etc. etc.
      I think we get it, sunshine.

    • Spuddie

      Your asylum gives internet privileges now?

      I think you need to stop hiding your meds and take them as the good doctors tell you.

    • DavidMHart

      Who is the ‘we’ in that sentence? Are you suggesting that ‘we’ non-Africans ‘kept evolving’ from ancient Africans, while the people who stayed in Africa didn’t also continue to evolve? Because that’s deeply implausible – apart from some superficial physical adaptations to cooler climates, there’s no reason to think Europeans or the various Asian populations are more evolved than the various African populations. If you think there is, then you will need to back that up with some hard evidence.

      (Though if by ‘we’ you mean ‘we humans’ who ‘kept evolving’ from earlier apes, then that’s not contentious, but it sounds rather like that wasn’t what you meant).

  • Yael Farache

    There are legitimate reasons why Common Core is not in the best interest of the people. You can be an atheist and be against Common Core in principle. Those two are not mutually exclusive like your article suggests, nor every person who is against Common Core is against it because of creationism.

    1) Remember when the evil principal in movies and TV shows, how he would say “This will go into your permanent record!”? Under Common Core permanent records will be a reality. Schools will track and share a common database with records of every student’s trajectory. This information will be available not only to schools and universities but also to the government, potential employers, etc. There are many privacy concerns over this kind of record. Even the Department of Education, admits that privacy is a concern, and that that some of the data gathered may be “of a sensitive nature.” The information collected will be more than sensitive; much of it will also be completely unrelated to education. Data collected will not only include grades, test scores, name, date of birth and social security number, it will also include parents’ political affiliations, individual or familial mental or psychological problems, beliefs, religious practices and income. Given that the biggest sponsors of this law are politicians such as Bill Clinton, this will probably be used as a data mining paradise for political campaigns.

    2) If you are worried about scientific curricula and facts, then Common Core is a problem for you too. Because now, thanks to Common Core, a child will be able to respond “2 + 2 = 5″ on a math test and as long as he can explain how he arrived to that conclusion, he wont get a bad grade. Meaning that accuracy and results are no longer important in our education system.

    3) Education is the backbone of a society because as much as some people would like to deny it, along with scientific fact, schools also educate children in ideology. You dislike religious ideology, as well as I do, but I don’t believe political ideologies are any less dangerous. So if you wouldn’t leave the education of your children in the hands of religious leaders, why should we leave it in the hands of political ones? There is a conflict of interest. We must fight to keep education in the hands of parents and communities who know what is best for their children, and not in the hands of the federal government who are eager to push their agendas.

    • Don Gwinn

      I’m calling shenanigans on you here.

      I don’t know where your point #1 came from, but it’s nothing to do with the quality or lack of quality in the standards. I suspect it’s bullshit, but even if it weren’t, it wouldn’t discredit the new standards at all.

      As for point #2, short-answer and extended-response questions on standardized tests have always worked that way, and for good reason. In practice, students aren’t asked to add 2+2 in an extended response. They’re asked to solve more complex, realistic problems and explain their thinking and processes. A typical question might require a child to figure out what’s being asked, figure out what information is missing, make a plan to find that information, find it, then select the appropriate math strategy and carry it out. There might be eight steps in that process that need to be explained for full credit. If a child makes an arithmetic error (such as finding that 2+2=5) in one of the early steps, the solution to the problem will be wrong. But they’re not being tested on anything as easy as “get the right answer, by guesswork if necessary.” If they can explain their strategy step-by-step, they not only deserve credit for that, but it would be useless to pretend you were assessing their math skills otherwise.

      For instance, if I have a student who’s trying to master a ten-step process, and they’ve learned all ten steps, they understand all ten steps, but they forgot to move a decimal point in step four, does it make sense to reteach the entire process, or simply to point out the error? If it doesn’t make sense to reteach the majority of a process the student clearly understands, then of what use would be an assessment that doesn’t assess how much of that complicated process the student understands?

      Your point #3 seems to mirror what I keep hearing from my friends in the local gun-rights organization, who are convinced that the Common Core standards somehow teach socialism and collectivism (which would be a neat trick for Math and Language Arts standards, the only ones being used in my state.) I tell you now what I tell them every month: the standards are available online in their entirety. They’re public documents. Find the political ideology that worries you so much in those standards, bring it back and show it to me, and then we can talk. There’s a little mini-outrage-industry popping up with people giving lectures at Tea Party and 9-12 groups on why you have to resist the statist, leftist Common Core evil, but I’ve read them, I use them, and I’m here to tell you, they’re just (yet another) set of standards for content knowledge and skills. They’re not going to destroy us, and they’re not going to save us. They’re not radically different from what most states had five years ago; the major difference, as implied by the name, is that the standards will be standardized from state to state in the states that adopt Common Core. And most will, not because an evil cabal of ideologists try to force it on them by wily political chicanery, but because they’re desperate to save money and raise performance on standardized tests.

    • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

      *BZZZZZT* While I won’t go into #1 and #3, because #2 is such glaring bullshit that it’s reached Point Refuted A Thousand Times (PRATT) levels.

      http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/08/19/fox-selectively-edits-video-to-attack-common-co/195461

      In short, this whole “Common core has no wrong answers!” meme started from, wait for it…a quote mine!

  • Eve

    In 1600, when the Christians invaded India and China, they used biological weaponry in the form of addicting the general population on opium. Additionally, insinuating that they brought science over is just excessively false. The Chinese frequently produced scientific geniuses, in areas from engineering to forensics. They were the original inventors of paper, fireworks, black powder (though incredibly rudimentary), rapid fire weaponry (the Chu Ko Nu), certain economic methods, black powder weapons (this could fall under the black powder/fireworks category, but is slightly different. The weapons were rudimentary, again, but primarily used as distractions rather than effective weaponry), along with various military strategies and governing styles. Additionally, in India, they had several significant advances in zoology and animal taming (though, this could be contested with the Carthaginians).

    Attributing Christianity to any of these things is, quite simply, false.

    • RobMcCune

      It’s also quite frankly, racist, presuming that western europe is the only place these things could have been developed. This ignores that western europe was a christian shithole for about a thousand years before this so called civilizing occurred.

      • Lesa Smart

        Yes, it was the Renaissance that brought back the Greek and Roman philosophies (with help from the middle east) that would be build upon to create modern science. This would later give rise to the Enlightenment that encouraged secularism.

    • http://www.kungfuology.com/andybest Andy Best

      China had magnetism and a working compass down hundreds of years before Jesuits scientists were prominent in Chinese society.

      • Eve

        That’s cool, I hadn’t known about the compass and magnetism bit. Learn new stuff every day, I guess. ^_^

  • melvin lafleur

    i didn’t read darwin’s work but i’ll bet there is no mention of god or atheism in it. religion is a philosophy and should not impose itself into natural science where it does not belong. i think a lot of atheists are passive about being atheists and believe religion is totally irrelevant but when bullied by christian crusaders are forced to draw a line when the nonsense denies us the right to reality.

    • Zinc Avenger

      Actually there was a mention of a God in Darwin’s work, right at the end, in the second through sixth editions of Origin of Species.

      There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

      “By the Creator” was added to the second (published 11 years after he ceased attending church with his family) through sixth (23 years after he ceased attending church) edition after the sudden onslaught of the very first wave of Christian anti-evolution rage, because Christians love science so much. Subsequent editions published before his death reverted to the first-edition wording.

  • Jason Mooneyham

    The point-counterpoint about the dependency of science on the prevailing culture is particularly interesting, not least because if an evangelical were today to come up with air tight empirical evidence of the truth of his religion in particular, he or she would not hesitate to trumpet to the skies for all to hear, cultural relativism be damned. The truth is, evangelicals have no qualms about laying claim to science when it suits them; and while they talk about Galileo and Kepler and Copernicus and Newton as if they are paragons of what Christianity has done for science, they conveniently ignore that all of them used classical geometry which was discovered/invented by pagan Greeks. Not ONE of them referenced anything peculiar to Christianity that is critical to the validity of their hypotheses. What they did do was reference Euclid’s elements. Euclid was not a Christian. If anything, the gusto with which evangelicals claim that science flourished because of Christianity shows that evangelical Christianity is something of an intellectual parasite.

  • http://www.kungfuology.com/andybest Andy Best

    Let’s mention his China comment as well. I live in a neighbourhood of Shanghai with an observatory built by the Jesuit visitors he (she?) was referring to. The area was set up by Xu Guang Qi – already a scientist and mathematician who worked with the Jesuits on translating existing texts like Euclid (non-Christian) because he was annoyed at the lack of investment in science in China. Non-Christian China who’d already sorted out magnetism and a working compass hundreds of years prior to the arrival of Christians. They worked together out of common respect for method and made many advances, especially in agriculture. It’s quite a different picture to the ignorant comments in the quoted article. How inconvenient facts are.

  • Scott Phillips

    On the “Christianity = happiness” claim, I’d like to quote (paraphrase) G.B.Shaw. “The fact that a religious man is happier than a non-religious man, is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober man”.
    Note that there is no reference to ANY specific faith !

  • tonylocn

    Ah, yes, remember how supportive was of Galileo’s ideas.

    • RobMcCune

      Hey hey now, Galileo professed strong Catholic beliefs. After being put on trial for heresy… and threatened with torture.

  • Peter O’Donnell

    The comments on the original article are pure gold. Absolute gibberish, but a fun read.

  • http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/search?q=j.+m.+green&max-results=20&by-date=true J. M. Green

    Brilliant response!

  • Ben Kirkby

    2 quotes that always spring to mind when dealing with apologists and numpties:

    1. I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us
    with senses, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use
    and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by
    them. (Galileo Galilei)

    2. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know
    well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how
    are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the
    resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of
    heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts
    which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of
    reason (St. Augustine)

  • Moose McNuggets

    You could list communism as an atheist institution that frequently opposed science it disagreed with, but since it functioned in essentially the same way as religions (requiring total subservience to the teachings of its texts, promising a wonderful future that never arrived, building endless monuments to itself, excommunicating and often even executing heretics, et. al.), I suppose that argument is moot.

    • Spuddie

      Communism was simply a religion with a substitute for a supernatural God.

    • Loren Petrich

      In the Soviet Union, this included support for crop-plant breeder and quack geneticist Trofim Lysenko. He believed that genes do not exist and that his experimental treatments could alter organisms’ heredity in controlled ways. There’s a bit of that Lamarckian belief in the Bible: Genesis 30.

      Lysenko got the support of Communist Party officials, all the way up to Joseph Stalin himself. Biologists who disagreed were made to recant their Mendelist Weismannist Morganist idealist heresies, sent to gulags, or executed.

  • Brett William

    I
    am a Philosopher and so neither a Christian nor an Atheist, and I was
    pleased to see some good philosophical arguments being made in this
    article.
    Generally
    I fully agree with this sentiment, “We teach of religion in religion
    classes, and of how the church influenced science in history classes,
    because those facts are relevant. But you don’t get to imprint your
    faith over facts of science when it hasn’t even attempted to play by
    scientific standards.”

    However
    “What book do atheists accept as fact without question?” I think it
    should be acknowledged that most, if not all atheists accept Darwins
    origin of species as fact, without question. It may be a touch semantic,
    but this work is not specifically science, it is a strong philosophical
    argument, one which is as yet incomplete. Thus should it be accepted
    as categorical fact?…. Then… “What do we believe that is as
    ridiculous as someone rising from the dead? “ As ‘atheism’ is a non
    belief, by ‘we’ I am assuming you mean ‘scientists’, and so I would say
    that science does seem to believe or at least begin with the premiss
    that ‘chaos’ does not exist. However this is a consequence of ‘the
    method’ being a mechanism (like our brains) of pattern recognition. Such
    a premiss will of course find what it set out to find while overlooking
    alternatives.

    Finally
    “ Scientists are studying life right now.” I wonder how this will be
    objectively possible without first having philosophically defined what
    ‘life’ is?

    • Compuholic

      I think it should be acknowledged that most, if not all atheists accept Darwins origin of species as fact, without question.

      I don’t know if that is true. Do you have data that supports your assertion? Everyony who even knows only the basics of evolution (such as myself) knows that there are some things darwin got wrong. “The origin of species” is a good book. But it is only a book and it’s not that it is the bible of atheists.

      [...]but this work is not specifically science, it is a strong philosophical argument[...]

      Would you care to elaborate? I have no idea what you mean that.

      I would say that science does seem to believe or at least begin with the premiss that ‘chaos’ does not exist.

      Again I have no idea what you mean by “chaos”. Of course chaos exists. There is the mathematical discipline of chaos theory. But I get the feeling that you mean a different kind of chaos. Please clarify what exactly you mean by that.

      I wonder how this will be objectively possible without first having philosophically defined what ‘life’ is?

      Why would philosophers get to define what life is? Life is the subject of biology so why shouldn’t we let biologist take care of that?

      • Brett William

        Compuholic you said,
        “I don’t know if that is true. Do you have data that supports your assertion? Everyone who even knows only the basics of evolution (such as myself) knows that there are some things Darwin got wrong. “The origin of species” is a good book. But it is only a book and it’s not that it is the bible of atheists.”

        I don’t know if that is true. Do you have data that supports your assertion? … Im just kidding, you are right I dont really have any data beyond my own experience… and Im pleased to see that you and Don are prepared to question and develop.

        You said, “Again I have no idea what you mean by “chaos”. Of course chaos exists.
        There is the mathematical discipline of chaos theory. But I get the
        feeling that you mean a different kind of chaos. Please clarify what
        exactly you mean by that.”

        Chaos has been redefined by science to fit the deterministic view of the Universe. Chaos theory is basically that chaos does not exist. Scientifically chaos is assumed to be something which is just far too complex for us to recognize its pattern, rather than being something which just does not have a pattern.

        Thus if chaos is truly chaotic then, there can not actually be a mathematical discipline for chaos, because mathematics is limited in that it can only be applied to patterns.

        To elaborate on my statement that ‘origin’ is a strong philosophical argument … I would say we could be getting into a big subject but in brief, philo – ‘love’, sophy – ‘wisdom’. ‘Origin’ is an explanation of scientific evidence. The evidence is knowledge, the explanation of how that knowledge fits together is wisdom.

        Finally you say, ‘Why would philosophers get to define what life is? Life is the subject of biology so why shouldn’t we let biologist take care of that?” – Biology is one division of the sciences, Life is profound and far reaching, to best see it in its entirety we should not look at it with only one eye open (so to speak).

        To presume that life begins and ends with biology is an assumption unworthy of the scientific method and in short is not wise.

        • Compuholic

          chaos is assumed to be something which is just far too complex for us to recognize its pattern, rather than being something which just does not have a pattern.

          A very simplified definition but I guess it is possible to run with it. In case you are wondering: A chaotic system is usually defined as a system where small changes in the initialy state cause a completely different development of the system. In other words if it would be possible to completely re-create the initial condition the same pattern would emerge. The weather is a chaotic system and can therefore only be predicted for a few days (with decreasing probability of being right).

          Thus if chaos is truly chaotic then

          So your version of chaos means that absolutely no rules apply to it meaning that even if you re-create the initial conditions perfectly something completely different may happen? In this case every scientific discipline breaks down because any prediction would be impossible. But since we never observed anything like that we son’t even know if such a thing exists.

          ‘Origin’ is an explanation of scientific evidence. The evidence is knowledge, the explanation of how that knowledge fits together is wisdom.

          Erm what? You are redefining scientific terms. Evidence is evidence and the explanation how the evidence fits together is called a theory. But ok: you want to play word games so that “philosophy” means “origin”. Ok great, now what? Just because you can bend the word origin to philosophy doesn’t make the “Origin of species” a philosophical argument.

          To presume that life begins and ends with biology is an assumption unworthy of the scientific method and in short is not wise

          It is unworthy of science to presume anything. So we have plenty of evidence that life is just a chain of chemical reactions. Have you got evidence to the contrary? If not there is no reason to assume that life is anything but those processes.

          • Brett William

            Compuholic,

            Firstly, I apologize for not being
            clear, when I said ‘origin’ I was abbreviating ‘origin of the
            species’ and not trying to suggest that the word ‘origin’ is
            synonymous with the word ‘philosophy’.

            As I said this particular point could be entering a large subject, and may be a little semantic, so if you prefer to use the word ‘theory’ rather than ‘philosophy’ then its of
            little real consequence. However I personally see the ‘cogitation of theories’ as a field of philosophy, and the testing of evidence as a field of science.

            Secondly, you gave the definition of a chaotic system as being, “…where small changes in the initial state cause a completely different development …”
            Wow! This sounds more like a definition of ‘ramification’ than it does of ‘chaos’ which my dictionary defines as, “1 utter confusion, 2 formless matter supposed to have existed before the existence of the universe.” which I think illustrates how the definition of chaos is being changed, but not necessarily with the evidence to support it.
            It seems to me that a system and chaos are non compatible as they are the antithesis of one another. A system which is wholly chaotic ceases to be a system at all.

            You said, “So if your version of chaos means that absolutely no rules apply to it …. In this case every scientific discipline breaks down because any prediction would be impossible.”
            No I do not see that this follows, because chaos exists it does not prohibit the existence of order. Thus those things which are orderly can be predicted, while only those things which are chaotic can not.
            It seems to me that many Scientist are unwilling willing to accept this reality because it suggests a limit to the
            capabilities of science as a tool. (An attitude which I believe was referred to by the physicist Herman Bondi as the ‘lure of completion.) And even Newton referred to this limitation when he said, “I can predict the movement of the heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.”

            You said, “It is unworthy of science to presume anything.” and I agree. But I maintain it is unwise to presume that chaos does not exist just because it has yet been unrecognized by the observer.

            “We have plenty of evidence that life is JUST a chain of chemical reactions.”
            JUST being the operative word here. I have no doubt there is much evidence which associates life with chemical reactions but I doubt the existence of evidence which proves that this is the full extent of life.
            Take you and I for example, do you truly believe that this conversation is purely the result of chemical reactions?

            “Have you got evidence to the contrary? If not there is no reason to assume that life is anything but those processes.”
            Well I may not have evidence but I have
            philosophical theory such as, because chemical reactions exist, it does not follow that life is present. Chemical reactions are ordered sequences, however mutation which is the cornerstone of evolutionary theory must be a product of chaotic change. If it were not then adaptation would not be possible and replication would be akin to cloning which would then have resulted in no divergence of species.

          • Compuholic

            However I personally see the ‘cogitation of theories’ as a field of philosophy, and the testing of evidence as a field of science.

            I can live with that although I would disagree strongly.

            [...]And I think this illustrates how the definition of chaos is being changed, but not necessarily with the evidence to support it.

            Well that is the definition that mathematicians usually use. But I don’t get what you mean by “not necessarily with the evidence to support it”? I assume you mainly refer to the 2nd definition from your dictionary. This definition is very wierd: I don’t even know what “formless matter” is supposed to mean. And I’ve never heard this term before. How old is your dictionary? As to what came before our universe. The correct answer is: “We don’t know”. We don’t even know if “before the universe” is a coherent concept.

            No I do not see that this follows, because chaos exists it does not prohibit the existence of order.

            If something is ordered in any way there must be an underlying pattern. Even if this pattern is only probabilistic. If there is no pattern at all no predictions are possible. One of the things that comes closest to true randomness is radioactive decay. It is impossible to predict exactly when a given atom is about to decay. But you can still talk about the probability of it decaying in a given time.

            I maintain it is unwise to presume that chaos does not exist just because it has yet been unrecognized by the observer [...] I have no doubt there is much evidence which associates life with chemical reactions but I doubt the existence of evidence which proves that is its full extent.

            You have a fundamental misunderstanding of science. Science never proves anything to a “full extent”. It is impossible to do so. It only accumulates so much evidence to a point where it would be perverse to deny it. Using your logic I would be required to accept any proposition no matter how unplausible or removed from reality: Are there unicorns? I cannot definitely prove that they don’t exist. May be we have been looking in all the wrong forests. Still if somebody claimed that unicorns existed I would call him an idiot since we don’t have any good reason to think that they exist.

            Likewise: All the evidence points to the fact that life is only a chain of chemical reactions. Can I absolutely prove that there are no angels tweaking the reactions or that I have something like a soul that just has remained invisible so far? No I cannot. But until somebody shows me evidence that this is the case I am not justified in such a belief.

            I have philosophical theory, such as because chemical reactions exist, it does not follow that life is present.

            True. Just because chemical reaction exist it does not mean that life exists. This is evident from all the chemical reations that don’t involve life. As far as I know there is no universally accepted definition of life. But I’ve heard the definition of a “self-replicating molecule” which makes sense if you are talking about life in general and you don’t care about conciousness.

            Chemical reactions are ordered sequences, however mutation which is the cornerstone of evolutionary theory must be a product of chaotic change.

            Chemical reactions viewed on a microscopic scale are messy. They are not ordered in the sense that there is a well defined starting point and a well defined and point. Often the reaction goes in both directions at the same time and only reaches an equilibrium. But that is largely irrelevant. For the mutations the mathematical definition of a chaotic system is completely sufficient. They are not random in the sense that you proposed earlier.

          • Brett William

            The definition I quoted came from a 1992 edition of the Oxford dictionary, but I should note that this would not be my own definition of Chaos. I am sure more recent editions will give definitions more in line with the deterministic view of the universe.

            “But I don’t get what you mean by ‘not necessarily with evidence to support it’?” I mean it is an extrapolation from unrelated evidence. Again I assert; the existence of order does not preclude the existence of chaos. Both exist within the Universe.

            “[Science] only accumulates so much evidence to a point where it would be perverse to deny it” – I am not denying the existence of order.

            “Using your logic I would be required to accept any proposition no matter how unplausible or removed from reality: Are there unicorns? I cannot definitely prove that they don’t exist.”

            – No my logic is not suggesting that you do that. I don’t know why you have bought unicorns into the equation (that’s pretty random), my analogy is more along the lines of; because I produce extensive evidence of the existence of gravity I would not accuse people of being perverts for allowing for the possibility of ant-gravity.

            If I carry out experiments in search of the limits of height I
            would not be so overwhelmed by the abundance of evidence that I would rule out the simultaneous existence of depth. So why would the evidence of order blind us to the existence of chaos?

            “But I’ve heard the definition of a ‘self-replicating molecule’ which makes sense if you are talking about life in general and you don’t care about consciousness.”

            It also makes sense if you’ve already made up your mind that, that is the answer you wish to find.

            “For the mutations the mathematical definition of a chaotic
            system is completely sufficient.”

            - I can only reiterate the above sentiment. But thanks for the discussion.

          • Compuholic

            Again I assert; the existence of order does not preclude the existence of chaos. Both exist within the Universe.

            Those a two separate statements. The first one is certainly true since it is impossible to prove the negative. The second one requires evidence. I am not aware of a single instance of a chaos like the one you are talking about.

            I don’t know why you have bought unicorns into the equation (that’s pretty random) [...]

            The reason I brought it up is because unicorns obviously are an invented concept to illustrate my point. Isn’t it possible that unicorns exist?

            , my analogy is more along the lines of; because I produce extensive evidence of the existence of gravity I would not accuse people of being perverts for allowing for the possibility of ant-gravity.

            Again. Anything is possible (meaning a non-zero chance of being true), be it anti-gravity, the existence of unicorns or whatever anybody can dream up. The real question that science answers is how likely a proposition is true. And this question can only be adressed by evidence. If you would claim that anti-gravity exists I would require evidence.

            It also makes sense if you’ve already made up your mind that, that is the answer you wish to find.

            How ironic. You spent the better part of the last two posts telling me what could possibly be true while I only accept things that are evidently true. Yet you accuse me of “wishing to find a specific answer”.

          • Brett William

            “[...] I only accept things that are evidently true. Yet you accuse me of “wishing to find a specific answer”.”

            This observation was not intended as a personal accusation directed at you alone. It is relative to the limitations of both the scientific method and the human tendency as a whole.

            The scientific method is an out growth of the mind, the aim of science is to identify order in the universe. The mind seeks order as what we call knowledge because as you mentioned earlier, order enables us to make predictions. In essence order is a stable or consistent pattern. A pattern is something which repeats in an unchanged form, or at least changes slowly enough that we can predict through projecting its behaviour into the future. (usually using some form of formula for this purpose).

            This kind of pattern recognition is obviously useful to us,
            in that it then enables us to adapt to achieve the outcomes which are beneficial to us. But if the emphasis of the mind is pattern recognition, how then can the mind comprehend chaos?

            If we are flooded with the evidence of light, can we not also comprehend the existence of darkness? If the evidence was provided by turning out the light, most would say ‘no I still cant see what you mean because there isn’t enough light.’

            Perhaps to demonstrate chaos a war zone would be adequately evident? But no I think it would not be pure enough chaos to be accepted as evidence, because war still contained elements of order most would be blinded to the chaos.

            So how do you demonstrate chaos in an orderly enough way to be recognised by those who seek order?

            I will try this; If reason and demonstrability are the new messiah of science, then I think it is evident (as this clip demonstrates) that string theory has wandered off, and gone on holiday by mistake. Science needs to bring it home, make it a nice cup of tea and remind it that the PH in Ph.d is an abbreviation of Philosophy (the love of wisdom).

            It seems to me that Einstein led the hands of science to the wound where its philosophy had once been, but
            string theory is a desperate attempt to deny this fact.

            …but no I dont think unicorns exist, and nor do I believe we are insects stuck on the surface of a bubble.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYAdwS5MFjQ

          • Compuholic

            A pattern is something which repeats in an unchanged form, or at least changes slowly enough that we can predict through projecting its behaviour into the future.

            Typically yes but it is not limited to that. It does not need to be repeating or changing slowly in order to be predictable. A counterexample would be a random number generator in a computer. It is fully deterministic: If you know the state of the RNG all following outputs can be predicted. But if you only look at the output the defining characteristic is that the output is all over the place. It looks chaotic but there is a pattern although it is far too complex to deduce by just looking at the output. The pattern can be reproduced if the RNG is initialized to the same state again.

            But if the emphasis of the mind is pattern recognition, how then can the mind comprehend chaos?

            By the definition of chaos (using your version of chaos) we cannot. Fortunately we have never observed such a thing so there is no need to comprehend something that (at least as far as we know) does not exist.

            So how do you demonstrate chaos in an orderly enough way to be recognised by those who seek order?

            I don’t know. But since I didn’t come up with the concept I also don’t see why that should be my problem. This also addresses your concern that science changed the definition. Maybe so. The reason probably was that this new definition is much more useful than the original one. And since so far I’ve never seen a single instance where we would need anything beyond the mathematical definition of chaos, I don’t see how the philosophical concept of chaos is useful.

            [...]that string theory has wandered off, and gone on holiday by mistake.

            You are absolutely right. And that is also why many scientists are very critical of string theory. At the moment it is just a mathematical construct with very little connection to the real world. So far it has made no testable predictions. This XKCD-Cartoon sums up the problem nicely.

            [...] and remind it that the PH in Ph.d is an abbreviation of Philosophy

            I never liked this abbreviation. Fortunately this is only the convention in the English speaking world. In Germany the title is just Dr. (short for Doktor) and then is followed by an abbreviation of the field of study like “med.” for a medical doctor, “ing.” for engineering disciplines and “rer. nat.” for the sciences.

          • Brett William

            Interesting points, but you have never actually asked me what my definition of chaos is: Of course its hard to define something which cannot be contained by a pattern, verbal or mathematical, but my definition is, ‘something which changes in a way which cannot be predicted.’

            I see a sliding scale of order to disorder or vise versa. Most of this scale can be comprehended through the scientific possibilities as you have outlined, but at the extreme disorder end of the scale these formulas become useless, nothing more than guess work.

            The more chaotic something is (i.e the more it changes) the shorter period of time it will exist before it become progressively more orderly. The reason being that it is brought into stability by the existing forces of stability.

            The current mathematical definition of chaos is a description of ‘ramification’ and not ‘chaos’, or ‘the absence of order’.
            When mathematicians try to impose order on chaos, string theory is the type of insane drivel which results.

            Science will be able to play with life and influence it, possibly even destroy it, but what is now commonly called science will never be able to understand life until it can accept the existence of chaos.
            Both order and chaos go make up life. Too much chaos is death, but also too much order is death.

            Ph.d – Its more than just a convention of the English speaking world, it is a mark of history. Science grew from Philosophy. The word scientist was only first used in the eighteen hundreds. In the sixteen hundreds Newton considered himself a natural philosopher.

          • Compuholic

            but you have never actually asked me what my definitin of chaos is

            Oh. I assumed that you meant “complete randomness” meaning that the future cannot be predicted even if you know the initial state of a system perfectly.

            [...] ‘something which changes in a way which cannot be predicted.’ I see a sliding scale of order to disorder or vise versa. Most of this scale can be comprehended through the scientific possibilities as you have outlined, but at the extreme disorder end of the scale these formulas become useless, nothing more than guess work.

            That is not far off the mathematical definition of chaos. But as outlined by the random number generator example there is an important distiction to be made which your definition so far does not address: It is completely impossible to predict the future behavior of the system in principle (1) or only for practical reasons (2) e.g. because the initial state is unknown or not known to a sufficient accuracy. In both cases the change cannot be predicted.

            In my previous posts I assumed you were talking about the former. The mathematical way is the latter.

            My original points were two:

            1. is that we have never experienced anything like (1). Everything in this universe we have looked at so far had underlying rules and things like throwing a dice only appears random because a miniscule change of state produces vastly different results. But if it were possible to completely and perfectly re-create all conditions every throw would return the same result. The only possible exception to this may be quantum physics.

            But even in quantum physics there are still underlying rules. But those rules only talk about the probability of an event actully happening. But for the details you would have to talk to a physicist.

            2. If a system like (1) actually existed. Science would break down. Because by the very definition of it, you couldn’t say anything about the system (except that it is random). And not only science: Nobody could say anything useful about it.

            When mathematicians try to impose order on chaos, string theory is the type of insane drivel which results.

            Well it is not insane drivel. It may be true for all we know. But until we have testable predictions it is not really science. My question would be: How do we know that mathematicians are trying to impose order on chaos? Or differently: How do we know that the mechanics that mathematicians try to describe is unpredictable at its core?

            Science will be able to play with life and influence it, possibly even destroy it, but what is now commonly called science will never be able to understand life until it can accept the existence of chaos

            That is a bold claim. But again: I would see the problem in this statement here: We have never seen true chaos. It might not even exist. So why would you assume that it is necessary to understand life? So far we have done great without that assumption.

          • Brett William

            Science or should I say mathematics does not see a sliding scale of (order –to- chaos), it sees a sliding scale of (simple order –to- complex order.)

            comp – “That is a bold claim. But again: I would see the problem in this statement here: We have never seen true chaos. It might not even exist. So why would you assume that it is necessary to understand life? So far we have done great without that assumption?”

            Well we would all like to write our own reviews. :)

            comp – “How do we know that mathematics are trying to impose order on chaos? Or differently: How do we know that the mechanics that mathematicians try to describe is unpredictable at its core?”

            Firstly, let me say, I know of nothing wrong with the mechanics of mathematics, it is 99.9% useful as I see it. I’m sure that even your imaginary numbers serve a purpose in some way, but Im fucked if I know how. You are obviously far more knowledgeable in that field than I am. So, I am not saying your science is unpredictable at its core.
            However, in my field of reason, logic and wisdom, I am trying to give mathematicians the heads up with regards to application.

            comp – “If a system like (1) actually existed. Science would break down. Because by very definition of it, you couldn’t say anything about the system (except that it is random).”

            No! and I will explain why: Once you reduce the functions of the mind to their essence, there are two basic processes with which to process and objectify information; 1] Analysis OR, 2] Synthesis, in other words, 1] division or, 2] reintegration.

            It is the nature of mathematical thought to begin with analysis by assigning number values to the objects of the universe. In doing this we effectively name these objects, and so impose on them our perception of their perimeter. Detaching them from the Universe as a whole.

            This detachment is an objectivity of the mind but, actually
            changes nothing in the physical reality. This is of course a highly useful ability of mankind, but one which can also create a false reality.

            Einstein – “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.”

            Einstein – “A human being is part of a whole, called by us
            universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences
            himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest …a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.”

            When you separate things numerically, you impose clear divisions on these things, which were never clearly divided. You begin to think in terms of black and white without consideration for the infinite shades of grey between (and the further shades of grey between these.) Example: Between 1 and 2 is not only 1.5 but also 1.555555555555 recurring.

            Mathematics and science will not break down in their
            entirety in fact they will be stronger for it. The reason being that the existence of disorder does not remove the existence of order to which mathematics applies.
            However what the existence of type (1) does mean is that science will never be able to predict the future with no possibility of surprises.

            comp – “Things like throwing a dice only appears random because a minuscule change of state produces vastly different results”

            OK, so you are talking about ramification again.

            comp – “But if it were possible to completely and perfectly re-create all conditions every throw would return the same result.”

            As you know this to be an impossible scenario, how can it tell us anything about reality?

            comp – “[...]because the initial state is unknown [...] in both cases the change cannot be predicted.”

            The initial state is not relevant to the existence of chaos (1) because chaos (1) is the initial cause, it is the stone hitting the water surface. Chaos (2) (your definition) is the unpredictable wave resulting from that impact.

            comp – “My original points [...] 1. is that we have never experienced anything like (1).”

            We experience (1) every day, but it is only that we do not recognise it.
            Let me put it to you as a question; Have you ever witnessed, an object which does not persist in a state of uniform motion, and does not continue in a straight line, regardless of whether it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed on it?

          • Compuholic

            Science or should I say mathematics does not see a sliding scale of (order –to- chaos) [...]

            Sure it does. We even have a unit of measurement for it: Entropy. We can objectively compare the degree of “disorder” of systems.

            It is the nature of mathematical thought to begin with analysis by assigning number values to the objects of the universe.

            That might be true in physics. Mathematics has very little to do with “objects of the universe”. The core of mathematics is set theory. Everything else flows from there.

            When you separate things numerically, you impose clear divisions on these things, which were never clearly divided. You begin to think in terms of black and white without consideration for the infinite shades of grey between (and the further shades of grey between these.) Example: Between 1 and 2 is not only 1.5 but also 1.555555555555 recurring.

            Sorry, but this is nonsense. Pure and simple. You are aware of real numbers, are you? And they are special precisely because they form a continuum. And although in general you can only approximate real numbers to a certain accuracy in a computer (like sqrt(2)) you can still get exact results by referring to symbolic computation. And even symbolic computation can be performed by computers (albeit much slower than numeric calculations).

            We experience (1) every day [...] Have you ever witnessed, an object which does not persist in a state of uniform motion, and does not continue in a straight line, regardless of whether it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed on it?

            A very wierd and ambiguous question. There is no way to answer that question correctly. Although by the way you phrased the question it dawns on me that you might not have heard of the concept of inertial reference frames which is essential to a correct understanding of Newtons Laws. But I’ll try to answer anyways:

            In an inertial reference frame: I have never witnessed an object changing its speed or direction of motion without the influence of a force. And everytime I have witnessed an object do that it wasn’t in an inertial frame of reference. What is your point?

          • Brett William

            Comp – “Sorry but this is nonsense pure and simple”

            Well that’s your opinion. I see a lot of symbolic computation and irrational numbers but I’m not seeing evidence.

            Comp – “Mathematics has very little to do with objects of the universe.”

            Well, what can I say? So you would agree that mathematics should not be the primary method of analysing our reality then, and that it is no substitute for logic and reason?

            Alan Turing whos thoughts first made possible the computing machine, described that he did so as a result of making one elemental observation; mathematics actually requires no thought. Thus after subtracting the higher human functions all that is required is to follow a set of memorized rules. Something ideally suited to a lifeless machine.

            Comp – “You are aware of real numbers are you?”

            These would be real numbers which have little to do with the objects of the universe would they?

            As soon as you assign something a number, real or otherwise, you are already lagging behind the reality of that object, because that thing of the physical world has already moved forward to a new point of time.

            On the subject of science not recognising actual chaos, you replied;

            Comp – “Sure it does. We even have a unit of measurement for it: Entropy.”

            Ah Entropy. Having raised this subject Im sure you will recognise the contribution of the brilliant mathematician Boltzmann, who after cheerfully concluding from his study of entropy that the natural order of the universe is the descent into disorder, eventually hung himself.

            Entropy is the description of the return to equilibrium, originally developed in the calculation of energy efficiency of man made machines. However the natural universal
            flow towards rising entropy, is usually described as being synonymous with rising disorder.

            In the original context of this area of science ‘order’ is relative to the productive functioning of the machine. Thus it is order in the sense of the machine being in good working order. By contrast the loss of potential energy from the system is considered ‘disorder’ or chaos.
            But again this is a deceptive view which is relevant only to the human objective in this scenario .i.e. to get work done is good, & to loose energy from the system is bad.

            In a naturally objective view of the universe it would be more common to see the initial potential energy as disorderly (due to it being an unstable imbalance) and the subsequent return of that energy to equilibrium as a return to order.
            This would then mean that the natural flow of the universe would be towards order.

            Perhaps, no practical change to the reality but it does further illustrate the scientific confusion between ‘complexity’ and true chaos.

            On the subject of the application of Newtons laws.

            Comp – “A very weird and ambiguous question. There is no way to answer that question correctly.”

            I wasn’t looking for the correct answer according to the teachings of past scholars, I was looking for an honest answer based on your own experience.

            Comp – “(In an inertial reference frame) I have never witnessed an object changing its speed or direction of motion without the influence of a force.” [impressed on it]- my addition.

            Comp – “[...] What is your point?”

            My point is that, when we observe through an inertial frame of reference we are observing only an artificially controlled environment. This then gives us evidence
            abstract from our normal reality.

            When as a scientist you claim never to have seen any evidence of chaos this is precisely because the scientific methods first priority is to sterilise the experimental environment. In other words to ensure as far as possible
            that there is no chaos present that would corrupt the data to be observed.

            I suggest that a fine example of, an object which does not
            persist in a state of uniform motion, in a straight line, unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed on it, would be you yourself.

            Newtons laws are 100% correct so far as they are applied to one of the two fundamental manifestations of substance in the universe: i.e. dead or living.

          • Compuholic

            Well that’s your opinion.

            No it’s not. That is a fact. It is simply dead wrong to assert that by assigning numbers you need to impose a “black and white” thinking. And even furthermore: science is perfectly capable to work with uncertain data. My specialty is computer vision and we work with uncertain data and noisy information all the time. And again by quantifying your uncertainty you can also predict how likely it is that your conclusions are wrong.

            and that it is no substitute for logic and reason?

            You are aware that although logic came from philosophy it is now a mainly a mathematical area of reasearch?

            Alan Turing whos thoughts first made possible the computing machine, described that he did so as a result of making one elemental observation; mathematics actually requires no thought.

            Here is a proposal: I give you a list of mathematical problems. And since mathematics doesn’t require thought you should have no troubles solving them. You can call me when they award you the fields medal.

            And although his quote is a ridiculously oversimplyfied statement he is right at the core: And you can go even further: There is nothing in this world that requires human thought. Computers can find formal proofs: Mathematical or logical. Computers can understand language. One of my areas of reasearch is to teach computers to recognize objects better. Hell, computers even can program themselves. Currently only for relatively simple tasks but it still shows the potential. Robots nowadaways literally learn to walk for themselves. Their movements are not pre-programmed. They learn from their past mistakes.

            Entropy is the description of the return to equilibrium, originally developed in the calculation of energy efficiency of man made machines [...] is relevant only to the human objective in this scenario .i.e. to get work done is good, & to loose energy from the system is bad.

            Well you look to a particular application of entropy and you are surprised that it is used for a human porpose? What a surprise. Entropy is a much wider concept.

            When as a scientist you claim never to have seen any evidence of chaos this is precisely because the scientific methods first priority is to sterilise the experimental environment.

            So in reality there are no natural laws because what we percieve as natural laws is only the result of us sterilizing the environment? A great example of why science has produced useful results, applicable to the real world and philosophy has become a useless disciple.

          • Brett William

            So basically you are saying you don’t love me any more?

            Your work sounds very interesting and I’m sure its useful and rewarding, so I am genuinely pleased for you.

            Firstly I have to say, where you’ve quoted me re: Entropy you have changed the context of what I ‘m saying by using the omission [...]. I was not saying Entropy is relevant to the human objective, I was saying that the definition of ‘order’ is relevant to the human objective.

            Comp – “So in reality there are no natural laws [...]?”

            No what I’m saying is that, while Newtons laws are fully applicable to dead substance, they are only partly applicable to living substance.

            OMG, how many times do I have to say this? (In fact this is the last time I am going to say it).

            THE EXISTENCE OF CHAOS DOES NOT PROHIBIT THE EXISTENCE OF ORDER,

            in the same way – the existence of darkness does not prohibit the existence of light.

            This is exactly what I mean by, you mathematicians can only see in black and white, there are no shades of grey with you guys.

            Comp – “…although logic came from philosophy it is now a mathematical area of research [...] and philosophy has become a useless discipline.”

            Well wile you’re researching that, you might want to consider the fact that logic and mathematics are not the same thing.

            Comp – “There is nothing in this world that requires human thought. Computers can find formal proofs: Mathematical or logical. Computers can understand language.”

            Ok well I have one word for you – ‘Oedipus’ – you let me know when one of your robots can join up the dots on what I mean by that.

            Comp – “Hell computers can even program themselves.”

            I agree, you have certainly demonstrated that point.
            Ok! ok! I admit defeat. You have proved your point, I now see that you are an object which entirely conforms to Newtons first law.

            Einstein – “You can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking that you used when you created them.”

          • Compuholic

            So basically you are saying you don’t love me any more?

            I never have. It is incredibly frustrating to talk to someone who is stuck in the past. All you have offered so far is your definition of chaos (which is completely useless as far as I can tell) along with your assertion that this obscure form of chaos is somehome needed to understand life. Proving along the way that you don’t understand various concepts in science. The only thing you have done so far is playing word games.

            you have changed the context of what I ‘m saying by using the omission [...]. I was not saying Entropy is relevant to the human objective, I was saying that the definition of ‘order’ is relevant to the human objective.

            Nevertheless is changes nothing about the original point that entropy is an objective unit of measurement used to measure the “degree of disorder”. Nobody gives a flying fuck about whether “the definition of order is relevant to the human objective” (which in itself is a great non-statement).

            No what I’m saying is that, while Newtons laws are fully applicable to dead substance, they are only partly applicable to living substance.

            Again a reminder that we are living in the 21st century now. There is no difference between “dead” and “living” substance. But since you showed that Newton’s laws don’t apply to humans would you consider publishing your groundbreaking research. It seems so unfair that you wouldn’t let physicist partake of your wisdom.

            [...] logic and mathematics are not the same thing.

            Technically no. But it has become a part of mathematics. There are plenty of mathematicians are doing research in that area. And it is also telling how little philosophers you find. As an example: Temporal and modal logic are a large research topic in computer science because they can be used to prove the correctness of programs. Strangely enough we have no philosophers working in this department but plenty of mathematicians.

            You have proved your point, I now see that you are an object which entirely conforms to Newtons first law.

            I know that is supposed to be an insult but it is more funny than insulting because it actually reveals your ignorance about Newtons laws.

            Einstein – “You can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking that you used when you created them.”

            Yeah and I will take you or your wierd definitions seriously when they actually solve any of the problems you mentioned.

          • Brett William

            Comp – “The only thing you have done so far is playing word games.”

            No that’s what Socrates named sophistry, there is still plenty of that about in today’s world but that is not what I am doing. I am simply preventing you from corrupting the meaning of words, while hoping that you will consider the implications of those meanings.

            Comp – “ I will take you or your wierd definitions seriously when they actually solve any of the problems you mentioned.”

            My original points from the article:

            1] –“What do we [science] believe that is as ridiculous as someone rising from the dead? “ —

            I will let you illustrate this one;
            Comp – “There is no difference between “dead” and “living” substance.”

            2] — science does seem to believe or at least begin with the premiss that ‘chaos’ does not exist.
            However this is a consequence of ‘the method’ being a mechanism (like our brains) of pattern recognition. Such a premiss will of course find what it set out to find while overlooking alternatives. –

            Comp – “Nobody gives a flying fuck about whether “the definition of order is relevant to the human objective”

            3] — “ Scientists are studying life right now.” -I wonder how this will be objectively possible without first having philosophically defined what ‘life’ is? –

            Me – “logic and mathematics are not the same thing.”

            Comp – “Technically no. But [...] Strangely enough we have no philosophers working in this department but plenty of mathematicians.”

            Comp – “since you showed that Newton’s laws don’t [fully] apply to humans [living organisms] would you consider publishing your ground breaking research? It seems so unfair that you wouldn’t let physicist partake of your wisdom.” [my additions]

            So that is your final argument is it? – You are wrong because you are not published.

            Funnily enough getting published is not as easy as you may think, particularly when you are expressing an opinion which people do not want to hear.

            Its almost as if people are no longer interested in wisdom, the emphasis seems to be more weighted towards buying and selling products. I cant help but wonder if this has something to do with the substitution of mathematics for logic in our core values.

            Comp – “It is incredibly frustrating to talk to someone who is stuck in the past.”

            Well on that, we agree.

    • Don Gwinn

      Wait . . . so being a philosopher means you aren’t Christian or atheist? What are all the Christian philosophers and the atheist philosophers doing with their lives?

      Also, the example of Darwin’s Origin of the Species being accepted without question betrays ignorance. Darwin’s work was seminal, obviously, but it wasn’t right about everything–not even close–and modern evolutionary biology does NOT simply follow Darwin’s word as if it were infallible. That’s the opposite of what you claimed to be illustrating with your example. There’s no apologetics of Darwin, with people explaining away what Darwin got wrong or didn’t grasp by explaining that “This is what he really meant” or “You have to read through to the deeper meaning.” Darwin’s mistaken ideas are explained as “Darwin made a mistake.” His ideas that have been superseded by ideas that better fit the evidence are explained by telling students, “Darwin didn’t know about X, so he thought Y. We now know that X, so we teach Z.”

      It’s the absolute opposite of infallibility, inerrancy, all that stuff.

      I’ve never met a science teacher or scientist who thought chaos doesn’t exist, so I can’t help you there.

      • Brett William

        Thanks for your response Don,

        Christian philosopher, and atheist philosophers? I think one of the major aspects of effective philosophy is not having made your mind up before you start. Socrates – “The only true wisdom is knowing that you know nothing.”

        You said, “Darwin didn’t know about X, so he thought Y. We now know that X, so we teach Z.”
        I think its a pity that fundamentalist Christians cant interpret the Bible with the same kind of lateral thinking. If they could then they wouldn’t have such difficulty with science in schools. Or we might actually get more proper Christians rather than just book followers.

        You’ve never met a science teacher who thought chaos didn’t exist? Thats probably because the word chaos still exists in science, but its meaning has been redefined to fit the deterministic view of the universe.

    • Spuddie

      I think your point would be better made with some key paragraph breaks and block quote signals. I see what you are getting at, but I think people responding are taking what you are using to quote from and attributing it to your own point of view.

      • Brett William

        Thanks Spuddie, sorry for any confusion, this was my first time posting.

  • Volker Dittmar

    There is so much wrong in the article who tries to show that science is a christian invention that it is hard to decide where to start. So I just grab some points: He gives us a list of names with the remark “but was Da Vinci an idiot? …”. Certainly not, but he was as anti-religious in his days you could be without getting killed. He made his religious art just to stop them from killing him. Edison was definitely an atheist. Tesla we don’t know. Adam Smith was definitely an atheist, the pupil of David Hume. Henry Ford was an atheist, too. So firing of names without checking shows that even this was done wrong. Not that he wouldn’t find enough examples, there are plenty of them. He just doesn’t care to get his facts right!

    The basic fallacy, of course, is that if an ideology accompanies a society, every positive finding of that society belongs to the ideology. Not to mention the negative ones, of course, we don’t want to use arguments, just rhetoric.

    If we use this argument, we could do the following: Slavery was done by christians, so slavery is a christian idea. Every christian slave owner proves that!

    Of course, this isn’t done because we think slavery is a bad idea – and because it is older than christianity. What about ideas that are new? The atom bomb, for example – is this a christian idea? According to the “logic” of that article: YES. Really? It was a scientific idea, due to scientific thinking – which is much older than christianity, and therefore, science cannot be a christian idea. Like, for example democracy.

    What IS typical of christian thinking is the selective thinking: Take any idea that we think is good and put the label “christian” on it. Take any bad idea and put the label “atheistic” on it. Use all arguments that speak for that labeling, if there is something to be found, and ignore any counter-argument. That’s the opposition of scientific thinking, therefore, it is proved that science has not much to do with christianity. It could only develop “in spite of christianity”, not “because of”.

    You will find examples for this throughout the article, even in the simple list of names.

    BTW, that is done with god, too: Everything positive that happens has god as a “cause”, everything bad is man’s fault, or has to be re-interpreted as good. You can’t get much farther away from scientific thinking, can you? This method is applied to “science and christianity”, and it shows how thinking can get wrong.

    • Don Gwinn

      Tesla may or may not have been religious, but he was seriously mentally ill, believing that pigeons spoke to him and that, near the end of his life, he loved one of them “as a man loves a woman,” in his words.

      I’d ask whether mental illness was the key to great scientific achievement, but actually, there are people who believe that, too, so I guess it’s not as ridiculous as I would find it. Bottom line: if you start with the end in mind, you can find a pigeonhole for every historical figure you need to use to illustrate your point. But in the comment section, people who know better will show up in droves and poke it full of holes. ;)

  • Franjo Tušek

    “As far as human conscience, we understand the evolution of the brain”

    What the hell dude? The very first sentence of the article you link is “The principles that govern the evolution of brain structure are not well understood”.

  • SecularAtheist

    Man…way to tear that ignorant punk to pieces. I couldn’t have done it better myself. I applaud you for even taking the time to do it in the first place.

    http://secularatheist.blogspot.com/

  • Kyle Filiault

    I can’t say how thankful I am for finding this, after reading that moron’s blog. Thank you so much!

    • Scarlet Ibis

      Yes! I read it last week and I immediately went into a frustrated brain twist. I’m not clever enough to dismantle it line by line, so I’m really glad someone did. Thank you, Someone! :)

  • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

    Christianity isn’t compatible with women’s studies? Finally, something in that vapid article I can agree with! Yes, the source material that Christianity draws from is absolutely incompatible with women’s studies, because women’s studies doesn’t teach that women should be turned into obedient brood-sows that are passed from father to husband as chattel.

  • SB

    “Yes, because the absence of a belief in god is a religion, much in the same way that not playing baseball is a sport.”

    I didn’t know that not baseball players had not baseball blogs where they talked about not playing baseball and how everyone shouldn’t play baseball? Is there not baseball conventions and gatherings? Some people regard Atheism as a religion because many atheists tie their atheism to their core identity, gather in groups to discuss it and actively proselytize for their belief system.

    • Andy_Schueler
    • Cake

      When Baseball saturates 90% of the world and you can’t be seen as good or trustworthy without following some sort of baseball team you might have an argument there.

    • RobMcCune

      I didn’t know baseball players had people who go around and police how not baseball players do not play baseball. Maybe this is something not baseball players can organize against.


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