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Hdier

Do atheists believe that non-atheists are against science?

143 posts in this topic

I was watching the news when the had a discussion about the new movie 'The Golden Compass'. They had two people, one was an atheist and the other one was, if memory serves, a catholic. The atheist was saying that atheism promotes science and not superstition, implying that religion promotes superstition over science. I thought this was ridiculous, but wondering what more rational people thought (the person seemed very emotional to me), and was also wondering if that belief is widespread among atheists.

Also, do you think that The Golden Compass promotes atheism? I saw (didn't like it, but loved the books) and read the first two books, but I didn't really see anything that would promote atheism. I think that the people are grasping at straws here.

BTW, if I offended anyone then I am sorry, as I did not want to, and that was not the purpose of this thread.

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Probably. Religion inhibits logical thought, which is a prerequisite for science. Religious explanations have been losing ground to science for thousands of years and the pace of change is increasing. In response, religious types are fighting back against science. They feel threatened, so they are responding accordingly, which makes religion anti-science. Of course, most religious people are open-minded enough to accept, and even embrace, many of the fruits of science. . .but not all of them.

There aren't many people who think that a scientific explanation for why it rains is un-Godly, but there are a lot who think that a scientific explanation for why gays are attracted to members of the same sex is un-Godly. So, they push back against the advancing boarders of science.

It's okay with me. I don't care what atheists or theists believe. The truth exists independant of our interpretation of it, so maybe a time will come when humans set aside their fear of the unknown and think for themselves.

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Do atheists believe that non-atheists are against science?

I think they tend to be, to the degree that they hold to their theism. A theistic means of understanding the world is a mystical one. And while conflicting duality in belief is both possible and common, such that a person could be a devout mystic and simultaneously a scientist, it is my opinion that the perpetuation of mystical means of understanding the world is an effort contrary to scientific empiricism. They have conflicted, they do conflict, and I imagine that they will continue to conflict.

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Science promotes a different criteria that must be satisfied than general religions require so they will conflict in certain areas on the surface. More indepth analysis shows a great deal of flexibility in both systems to allow each to co-exist. Not necessarily useful to this point, but a nice little tidbit I always found interesting is that Isaac Newton actually devoted most of his research to religious and theological inquiry--more than 60%, and only 20% of his work was actually in his natural philosophy. Anyways, I can't speak for atheists, I think they might be just as, if not more, susceptible to jumping the gun as non-atheists in these issues.

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I have a strong belief in my religion, however I also believe in science. I chase after scientific answers for things, even if religion already explains it, because I believe that there is always a scientific answer, and learning it will benefit us. Just because I believe in Jesus doesn't mean that I'll believe in superstitions, simply that I believe in a religion. I believe that we need to learn scientific explanations for things, in order to learn how our universe works. In me, science and religion are side-by-side, not clashing at all, because I can accept both, even if they are contradictory. Not only do I accept science, but I am going to be a Neurologist, even though I have such a strong belief in my religion.

How many of you are atheists? I assume that all of you are, from the way you talk, however I just want to make sure.

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Some understand that either side could never be truly proven. Under this, you can believe whatever you want as far as toss-ups go, but don't ignore the facts we have. Although science often goes against religion, it is incorrect to conclude that science goes against the concept of God and that it is any bastion of atheism.

Frankly I don't think any other understanding besides this is right, whether that's religious who feel slighted by science or refuse to believe what we know so far, or atheists who think that science holds anything or will ever hold anything against the existence of God.

I don't know about the Golden Compass, I thought it was pretty good but I wasn't really looking for some sort of thiestic or atheistic agenda, it's a fantasy movie that's meant to be enjoyed.

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I see nothing contradictory about believing in religion and science. In fact I think that the more I understand about science, the more I have my faith confirmed. Science explains the mechanism of the universe (or at least attempts to) but it doesn't say much about why that mechanism exists. For me that is where religion comes in. I don't see what the big deal about saying sure God created man, and evolution was his tool for doing so is. The Creationist vs Evolutionist debate has always kind of amused me. I see no conflict there. Of course I don't hold to a literal interpretation of everything in the bible either. To quote a filk song I like, "the profoundest act of worship is to try to understand."

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In me, science and religion are side-by-side, not clashing at all, because I can accept both, even if they are contradictory.

Now, I have a hard time telling anyone they're wrong, especially about things which are possibly still open to debate. That being said, if you meant what you said to be taken literally, I think you're wrong.

There is no such thing as a contradiction. Contradictions cannot exist in nature, so if you think you've found one you should check your assumptions again because at least one of them is wrong.

A rational person cannot happily accept two contradictory philosophies at the same time. Therefore, either you are not rational, or you are using the terms "science" and "religion" very loosly. I think it's more likely to be the latter, so could you please explain why you think that science and religion contradict each other and why you can still accept both at the same time.

I see nothing contradictory about believing in religion and science. In fact I think that the more I understand about science, the more I have my faith confirmed. Science explains the mechanism of the universe (or at least attempts to) but it doesn't say much about why that mechanism exists.

How can science confirm faith? Science is pure logic and faith is trust without logic. The two are mutually exclusive because scientific explanations are always more useful than religious ones.

The biggest difference between science and religion, after the one I just mentioned of course, is that science is always in agreement with itself while relgion is always in disagreement with itself. Two scientists from opposite hemispheres, who both study electricity in their region, will arrive at the same explanation of electricity. Two theologists, who both study religion in their region, will arrive at different explanations of religion. No matter where you are the "how" is always the same. The "why" depends directly on where you happen to be when you ask it. That is because the "how" is derived from nature and the "why" is derived from people.

If religion really did describe an actual natural phenomenon then it would be consistent just like science is. However, religion is not consistent, in fact even people who claim to practice the same religion can easily find points they disagree on. No one in the world is going to disagree on whether or not plants need water, but a lot of people disagree on whether or not God came to Earth in the form of Jesus, or whether or not Jesus existed at all, or whether or not there is one God or many Gods, or how the Earth/Universe was created, etc. . .

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I was using the terms in my own definitions, which I forgot to clarify (I use them this way so often in my head that I forget other people don't). This may be a bit confusing, after the simpler definitions, but I'll try my best.

Religion: Faith in some higher power, weather it be a pantheon, god, or collective thoughts of peoples' subconscious minds'. Cannot be proven.

Science: A logical way to describe things that almost always uses a method. Can be proven

These might match up with your definitions, and they might not, but accept these for my posts on this thread (or don't read them). Now, I will use an example that was used earlier: creationism v. evolution. The bible says that God simply created man, while science says that we evolved from monkeys. In my mind, God crated humans, but 'inserted' us on Earth when monkeys had sufficiently evolved. That is what I mean by a contradiction existing. It is a lot more complex than that (I guess I was able to do a better job at simplifying it than I expected), however that is the version that should work for now.

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No but I think atheists know that religion is contradictory to the principles of science. I.e. making a hypothesis and testing it, over, and over, and reproducing the results before accepting the conclusion.

That said, I'm not an atheist, but I'm a science advocate.

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Belief in the supernatural pretty much clashes with the scientific approach on a fundamental level.

What does it say for physics, in example, if you believe that a supreme being that can and does "overturn" the laws of nature according to their will? It radically shifts the entire basis of what your understanding of reality is and how it works.

It isn't that much of a problem if you're a deist or pantheist, but believing in monotheistic gods that pay attention to us and interact with us really can't peacefully coexist with science, in my opinion.

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The bible says that God simply created man, while science says that we evolved from monkeys. In my mind, God crated humans, but 'inserted' us on Earth when monkeys had sufficiently evolved.

Why would you accept a literal interpretation of one story in the Bible that requires you to interpret almost everything else in the Bible non-literally?

Your belief seems to imply that everything science has to say about the world is correct, except for the part about humans evolving from monkeys. Your belief implies that the Big Bang happened billions of years ago, dinosaurs ruled the planet for a while, the moon is a chunk of sheered off Earth, the Flood never happened, all life on Earth (except humans) evolved from lower organisms. . .but most of all, that Humans COULD have evolved from apes but God created them spontaneously so that they would LOOK like they'd evolved from apes, but really they didn't.

Please point out where I'm interpreting your beliefs badly, I've never heard of your interpretation of the Bible before and I'm interested in hearing more.

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Both sides make leaps of faith at one point or another. We religious people are simply honest about it. Atheists believe everything either always was or spawned from nothing, and the rest of us believe God was involved in the process.

As for the Genesis story, it's rather nonspecific as it was written to Stone Age/Copper Age farmers and shepherds, not physicists and biologists.

And religion does not "inhibit" scientific thought. Rather it provides explanations to inexplicable things, like how bees having been making perfect hexagons in their hives for some millions of years and how baby kangaroos know to head for the pouch as soon as their born.

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Both sides make leaps of faith at one point or another. We religious people are simply honest about it. Atheists believe everything either always was or spawned from nothing, and the rest of us believe God was involved in the process.

This is untrue. Why would I need to harbor a belief in the specificity of something I don't know about? Rejecting somebody else's belief on total absence of proof only requires an appeal to logic; it certainly doesn't require postulating my own alternative in its place. That "place" is itself a postulate of the belief.

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This is untrue. Why would I need to harbor a belief in the specificity of something I don't know about? Rejecting somebody else's belief on total absence of proof only requires an appeal to logic; it certainly doesn't require postulating my own alternative in its place. That "place" is itself a postulate of the belief.

So, you are choose to "know" that we are here now, but are absolutely refusing to have anything to do with the question of where we come from because there is no proof involved. Okay. Then you are essentially benching yourself on the topic of how the universe came to be. I have no objections to that.

I would just ask that you not catcall the players on the field.

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So, you are choose to "know" that we are here now, but are absolutely refusing to have anything to do with the question of where we come from because there is no proof involved. Okay. Then you are essentially benching yourself on the topic of how the universe came to be. I have no objections to that.

What I "essentially" said is that I have no means of answering the question at this point in time. I would go on to essentially say that the 'god question' itself doesn't appear meaningful in the first place. But the point of making this observation is to respond to your assertion that atheism need be some kind of reverse theism. That's false. When somebody brings up an unsubstantiated idea about the general unknown, that idea can be rejected on appeal to logic without the necessity of replacing the idea with something else. I mean, would you say that people who don't believe in astrology are forwarding some belief in an anti-astrology to explain the claims astrologers make about the stars? I'd think it clear that those claims can simply be ignored where they're baseless. It's just that astrology isn't culturally significant enough for there to be a term for people who don't believe in it, like "atheism".

I would just ask that you not catcall the players on the field.

If only it were contained to a field.

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The atheist was saying that atheism promotes science and not superstition, implying that religion promotes superstition over science.

Religion IS superstition. More precisely, someone else's religion is viewed as a superstition. Wouldn't you, as a Christian (I presume) call "superstition" the belief in gnomes, roman deities (Apollo etc.), kidnapping aliens, etc.? we atheists, lacking belief, are 100% honest and straightforward: they are all superstition, and it is impossible to differentiate.

Clearly, you have total freedom in believing what makes you feel good. So, if you feel like believing in the almighty, omni-present, all-knowing, father-like figure of a creator who "loves" us and walks on water to expound its power, please do. However, don't ask rational and intelligent people to refrain from calling it "superstition", because that's the plain simple truth.

And it's also true that atheism promotes science. The metodology (skepticism, need for evidence, verification, falsification, etc.) is identical, and no faith whatsoever is required either in science or in atheism.

I want to stress this last remark to prevent objections: no, you don't need faith to "believe" in scientific postulates, because although they cannot be demonstrated and they have to be taken as a foundation of theories describing nature, you can (and you should) always verify their validity according to the scientific method itself. So, please don't say (like one of the posters above) that also science requires faith. You don't have to believe in the equality between inertial and gravitational mass. You can't demonstrate it, and yes you have to take it as a postulate, but you can verify that it is true with experiments. Different is a religious dogma or axiom, which you can't demonstrate, AND you can't verify by any conceivable means. This, and this only, takes faith.

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Both sides make leaps of faith at one point or another. We religious people are simply honest about it. Atheists believe everything either always was or spawned from nothing, and the rest of us believe God was involved in the process.

As for the Genesis story, it's rather nonspecific as it was written to Stone Age/Copper Age farmers and shepherds, not physicists and biologists.

And religion does not "inhibit" scientific thought. Rather it provides explanations to inexplicable things, like how bees having been making perfect hexagons in their hives for some millions of years and how baby kangaroos know to head for the pouch as soon as their born.

It's funny how religious people always claim to know what atheists believe.

Personally, I disagree with the statement in the OP where they guy said that "atheism promotes science". Atheism is simply a lack of belief in a big magical skydaddy or anything of the sort... it is NOT a cohesive belief system that "promotes" anything.

That said- religion has been steadily losing ground to science for millenia. At one time, God controlled the motion of the heavens... now we know better. At one time he controlled the weather- now MOST of us know better. At one time he controlled disease- now we know better. This "Incredible Shrinking God" will continue to shrink as we highly evolved primates pull ourselves out of blinding ignorance. But there'll always be an asymptotally shrinking list of questions that science simply can't answer... and superstition will fill that void for some people. Of course, superstitious answers are not real or verifiable in any sense... but they make people feel good.

So, yes, religion is inherently anti-science. Some religious folks are overt about this- like the creationists here in Kansas. Some just fill in the scientific gaps (or gaps in their own knowledge) with Gawd. But those gaps are constantly closing (in science)... God is getting squeezed out- and religion, by its nature, resists this... theists resist new ideas because they don't want to lose their invisible friend.

Personally, I'm comfortable not knowing exactly how the universe came into being. Theists don't know either... they just THINK they do. And even if one accepts that a big magic-man-in-the-sky made all this... who made HIM? Even though theists are essentially making things up... they still aren't answering the question.

But I reckon I have "faith" in some sense. I definitely have "faith" that science will one day explain trivial matters like bees and kangaroos. I have my doubts about a definitive explanation of the origin of the universe, though.

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"Personally, I disagree with the statement in the OP where they guy said that "atheism promotes science". Atheism is simply a lack of belief in a big magical skydaddy or anything of the sort... it is NOT a cohesive belief system that "promotes" anything."

True. Atheists may be simply ignorant to religion. There exists a name/classification for these types of atheists (who just don't think about religion and are therefore non-religious/atheists), but I believe it to be implicit atheists, but I'm not real sure ;) Search on wikipedia. This doesn't mean that they have scientific knowledge or support science at all. In fact, most of my atheist friends haven't a clue as to what Quantum Theory might be, or the slightest understanding of the Chaos Theory. Many of them believe in "mystical connections" (at this point I might say that they are a little agnostic. They believe in fate).

I don't think that all non-atheists are against science, coming from an atheist's point of view. Sure, some might be, but I think that most never really thought about it, just like implicit atheists never really thought about religion. I do agree though, religion itself is anti-science.

"Personally, I'm comfortable not knowing exactly how the universe came into being. Theists don't know either... they just THINK they do. And even if one accepts that a big magic-man-in-the-sky made all this... who made HIM? Even though theists are essentially making things up... they still aren't answering the question."

I've developed a set conclusions to challenge his existence, but everyone, of course, is welcome to challenge it.

God, if he exists, is NOTHING like the one depicted in the Bible and he did NOT create the world as we know it, at least in my logic. Using a college professor's argument: If you see a terminally ill individual and you have the power to cure him, would you? (I'm hoping the answer would be yes) But would God?

To Defeat Omnipotency: Can he create a rock so heavy that he himself cannot lift?

To Defeat Omniscience: He knows everything (here specifically I'm talking about the future), therefore he is powerless to intervene, which also defeats his omnipotency

To Defeat Omnibenevolence: How can one be omnibenevolent if he/she allows the killing of innocent individuals, spear-heads a massacre of first born children and accept human sacrifices?

To Defeat Perfection: He cannot be perfect as he created an imperfect world. If the Bible is truly inspired by God, then it also defeats His perfection because the Bible is imperfect (for an example, take a few moments to read the self-contradictions within)

My Conclusion?

Either he doesn't exist

OR he simply sat there and let everything happen and only intervenes when it's 'time' for him to (in other words his powers are very much limited and all of the 'omni' descriptions of him are false)

The latter is very unrealistic to me.

"The Lord works in mysterious ways." This argument is vague and gives me the sense that the theist is trying to avoid the question because in stating that we humans cannot understand the said subject, the statement requires no justification.

I have a hard time understanding how God would have the power to create the world when he cannot even interfere to change the course of the future, but that, of course, is my humblest opinion.

So... Answering your question, who made HIM, I would say that he had never existed in the first place.

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I don't think atheists think non-atheists are against science. Religion indeed, doesn't promote science, in fact, it tries to reject it.

I just think non-atheists can't study science in the truest sense. How can you be motivated to know how/what/why when you think at the bottom of everything is God's work? On the other hand, how can you trust/have faith in your religion if you believe science keeps explaining things differently from what your religion says?

I think (no offense) that non-atheists are a closed-minded bunch. They restrict their thinking to God. They have strong sense of what is "right" and what is "wrong" when the study of science requires one to look at everything with a neutral point of view. Like Thomas Aquinas, they accept what science supports God and reject what doesn't despite proof; and bend science to work with religion.

I guess there are exceptions, but I really can't understand where they stand... essentially they're sitting on the fence and will fall on one side or the other eventually.

Agh, I'm going to go off topic from here so this is where I stop.

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"I just think non-atheists can't study science in the truest sense. How can you be motivated to know how/what/why when you think at the bottom of everything is God's work? On the other hand, how can you trust/have faith in your religion if you believe science keeps explaining things differently from what your religion says?"

I'm inclined to think that logic is easily twisted (just take a look at all those pointless debates all over the world wide web. Reason is being horribly distorted). I've had theists ask me (should we call them theists? It's shorter :)) why would I not believe in God for life so complex cannot evolve from random chance. Life IS the evidence of God, says he. This is a fairly easy-to-spot fallacy (I believe it to be non-sequitur), but others are much more subtle and I sometimes find myself at loss of what to say. Besides, to theists, atheists or those who question God are sinners. Just look what happened to them in the Bible.

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Why would you accept a literal interpretation of one story in the Bible that requires you to interpret almost everything else in the Bible non-literally?

Your belief seems to imply that everything science has to say about the world is correct, except for the part about humans evolving from monkeys. Your belief implies that the Big Bang happened billions of years ago, dinosaurs ruled the planet for a while, the moon is a chunk of sheered off Earth, the Flood never happened, all life on Earth (except humans) evolved from lower organisms. . .but most of all, that Humans COULD have evolved from apes but God created them spontaneously so that they would LOOK like they'd evolved from apes, but really they didn't.

Please point out where I'm interpreting your beliefs badly, I've never heard of your interpretation of the Bible before and I'm interested in hearing more.

Now I see where I explained myslef badly!

OK, first you need to understand that I believe in the existance of alternate dimensions. You also need to understand that I am only working with one example here, and that it is universal for the majority of science-religious contradictions.

What I was saying is that on this world we evolved from apes. However, we started out in a different dimension (I am talking about our souls), and were put into our earthly physical bodies at a certain point in time.

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"What I was saying is that on this world we evolved from apes. However, we started out in a different dimension (I am talking about our souls), and were put into our earthly physical bodies at a certain point in time."

I have a hard time understanding the concept of souls. Can you brief me? I apologize for my lack of knowledge.

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By soul, I mean the 'essence' of a person. This includes things such as morals, personality, etc.

And Blueback, before you start telling me that those things can be found in your brain, just because it is in your brain doesn't mean that it can't be in your soul as well.

By The Way, if you were wondering, Camelopardalis, you can click on the 'Quote' button in the bottom left-hand corner of the post to make it look like this:

I have a hard time understanding the concept of souls. Can you brief me? I apologize for my lack of knowledge.

Except that it will incude your name.

PS: Why are you apologizing for a lack of knowledge? I hate it when people call others stupid simply because they haven't run across a piece of knowledge.

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Interesting debate. How about trying this thought on for size; Science uses theory to explain the operation of the universe and all of its components whereas Religion uses faith to explain the same. Reduced to its simplest level "theory" is just a guess to explain what happens (albeit, sometimes a complicated guess, and one backed up by repeatable observations often accompanied with mathematic calculations, or "proofs"). Reduced to its simplest level "faith" is just another guess about how things happens, but a guess that is not required to be proven by any rigorous methodology. As such, religion is not antithetical to science – one is simply an extension of the "vision" of the other (i.e. what I cannot explain by science can be explained by religion and vice versa).

So, one can "scientifically" explain the formation of the cosmos from the Big Bang, but the math breaks down trying to describe what came before, and why the Bang occurred in the first place. At that point, religion can (but not necessarily should) step in and ascribe those things to some deity. On the other hand, one can "religiously" explain the creation of the earth from the void, but that breaks down in the face of geologic evidence. At that point all manner of science can step in and ascribe those processes to plate tectonics, geology, etc…

At some point, both break down and members of each camp are left with questions that their discipline cannot completely answer. Leaving them each to ponder the validity of the other.

As far as "The Golden Compass" is concerned…people need to stop trippin'!! This is a fantasy movie and nothing more. Just because the words "demon" and "spirit" are used, religious zealots have labeled the movie as demonic, heretical, ??? C'mon! How many of those people balked at Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings, or Narnia? Some people really need to get a life!

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