Is science at war with Christianity?

There’s a popularly held belief that science and Christianity (theism in general) are at war and one must eventually win and the other lose in the hearts and minds of human civilization.  But is this actually true?

This post is a continuation of my look at science and faith. It’s been my position that this conflict is actually a myth. 

The real war is not between science and Christianity (or theism) but between scientism and theism.

For instance, Christianity includes belief in miracles (the supernatural), but science itself is not anti-supernatural; it’s just indifferent to it.  Here’s what Eugenie Scott said while Director of the National Center for Science Education:

“Science neither denies nor opposes the supernatural, but ignores the supernatural for methodological reasons.”

And most religious people (89% in America) are not anti-science (according to Max Tegmark’s 2013 UROP study, see here).

So why do we think there’s a problem?

The war is not even really between atheism and theism, but between anti-theism and theism. For instance, Christopher Hitchens was one of the leading voices of what’s been dubbed the “New Atheists” movement and he said he was actually an antitheist:

“Christopher Hitchens remarked that he was not an atheist so much as an “anti-theist.” [“Letters to a Young Contrarian,” p. 55]. Hitchens thus defines his atheism oppositionally as a polemical repudiation of theism, not as the simple absence of any theistic belief.” (From McGrath, “The Big Question: Why We Can’t Stop Talking About Science, Faith and God”, p.15)

As, Greg Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard, defined the antitheism of the New Atheists as follows:

“Anti-theism means actively seeking out the worst aspects of faith in god and portraying them as representative of all religion. Anti-theism seeks to shame and embarrass people away from religion, browbeating them about the stupidity of belief in a bellicose god.” (Less Antitheism, More Humanism,” Huffington Post, October 1, 2007).

That pretty much sums up my experience with some antitheists here on this blog. And the philosophy of antitheism is scientism.

I already talked about scientism in “Why science can’t answer everything,” so I won’t go over what I shared there again.

What I do want to do here is show a video clip from Dr. J.P. Moreland. Moreland refutes the idea that Christianity is at war with science.

As I have said here, science and religion are two very different things that attempt to find answers for very different areas of life. The problem Moreland has, and I have, is with the ideology of scientism as practiced by antitheists:

“Scientism” is basically the idea that science is the only way we can know reality. In other words, the only truths that you can know are the truths that can be proven by the hard sciences.”

He begins by explaining two problems with this reasoning:

  1. Scientism is self-refuting.
  2. It fails to recognize that there are assumptions of science that can’t be proven by science.

A couple of quotes from the video on the first point that I believe are important for us to understand:

“Scientism is self-refuting because you cannot tell whether scientism is true by the methods of science.  In other word, if you can only believe what science can prove then you couldn’t believe in scientism because it cannot be proven by scientific method.” (starting @6:25)

Then Moreland goes on to say:

“In fact, the statement that you can only know what science can prove is a philosophical statement in a branch of philosophy known as epistemology. And so the proper people to evaluate this statement would be epistemologists—people that specialize in the theory of knowledge.

The statement, you can only know what you can prove scientifically, is a philosophical statement that implies that you can’t know any philosophical statements. It is a non-scientific utterance that implies that you can’t trust any non-scientific utterances.”

Moreland goes into greater detail in the clip. Here it is:

The full lecture can be seen here.

Timothy Williamson, Wykeham Professor of Logic at University of Oxford, would agree with Moreland on the extreme naturalist’s claim of scientism:

“If it is true that all truths are discoverable by hard science, then it is discoverable by hard science that all truths are discoverable by hard science. But it is not discoverable by hard science that all truths are discoverable by hard science. “Are all truths discoverable by hard science?” is not a question of hard science. Therefore the extreme naturalist claim is not true.” (From article: “On Ducking Challenges to Naturalism,” New York Times, September 28, 2011.)

Williamson’s point is that this claim is a philosophical claim, not a claim that can be proven by hard science.

Science is not at war with Christianity, the New Atheist’s scientism is. And scientism is a philosophy not actual science.

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 40 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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134 Responses to Is science at war with Christianity?

  1. paulfg says:

    “Williamson’s point is that this claim is a philosophical claim, not a claim that can be proven by hard science.”

    Nice post, Mel. Strikes me that the same points could be pointed at religion (religiousism), at Christianity (Christianityism), the bible (bibleism). Andf I must day that I suddenly begin to see the value of “isms” and “ologies” – they are all the same – they all miss the point of the bit (that births their “isms”) 🙂

    • paulfg says:

      Reading this back – apart from the typos – it sounds a lot “harsher” than was meant. What was meant was that we (us humans) have the capacity to turn anything into “an institution” – of theism and not of theism. But if we all ever manage to agree that we are all talking/presenting “ideas” the best we are able – and not delivering empirical evidence (that will never change) – the world will be much kinder place.

      • Mel Wild says:

        But if we all ever manage to agree that we are all talking/presenting “ideas” the best we are able – and not delivering empirical evidence (that will never change) – the world will be much kinder place.

        I totally agree. Well said.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Right. Christianity is not a science either. When we try to make Christianity science we go off the rails.

  2. Well said, Mel. I had a chuckle over the Moreland clip, they met over the orderve table, having appetizers. That is the part of the story my brain is going to zero in on. I’m already in charge of that table, making appetizers, completely ignoring the rest of the conversation. But one guy is just seeing his rejection of philosophy as a teen ager and Moreland is just seeing the guy’s scientism. All those things are “reality” going on at the same time, but everybody’s looking at a different part of the story in a very compartmentalized way that shuts out all the other the background noise. Needless to say, the orderves, while factual, evidence based, verifiable, scientifically provable, simply do not tell the whole story.

  3. tildeb says:

    If this is such a cozy arrangement with problems only from anti-theists, then why is there such a problem with accepting evolution in its scientific meaning?

    • john zande says:

      And global warming. The overwhelming majority of anti-science, climate change deniers are evangelical Christian Americans (81% of whom voted for Trump, a climate change denier). They even have an organised anti-science statement: The Cornwall Alliance’s Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming.

      (I would link to numerous articles, but Mel doesn’t appreciate links)

      • tildeb says:

        And then we get into the direct correlations between religiosity and poverty, with the lowest levels of education, the highest teen pregnancy rates, the highest infant mortality, highest crime crime, and so on, and so on, and so on. This correlation not only exists nationally but state by state. And yes, it correlates to anti-evolution belief as well as to all kinds of other scientific denialism like human caused climate change. The more evangelical, the more robust the correlation. It’s not that this demonstrates a causal link between the very strong anti-scientific bent to the religious mind that chooses belief over reality (and polling information that reveals the majority will choose belief over reality when the two conflict supports this) but that the more religious a person is, the greater the likelihood that they just don’t care about the real world welfare of others. This correlation is a strong indictment against the way religious people view the world, which then draws into question the validity of the central claim – one that seems to be taken for granted as having some merit by faitheists and apologists and accommodationists who think it’s quite rude to raise reality and respect for it as an issue – that religious belief is somehow connected to the foundation for morality and ethical responsibility. Au contraire. When you don’t care enough about the welfare of others in big matters like politics and environmental issues, it’s not a surprise that contrary belief in the name of piety matters even more. Hence the anti-scientific battles about evolution and climate change and so on, which has nothing to do with being anti-theist and everything to do with respecting reality. It’s not my fault people like Mel do not respect reality but I do take issue with those who think I am wrong to push the point, who assert that religious belief – in spite of overwhelming and compelling evidence – deserves room at the table of grown-up discussions about real world problems all of us face.

        • Mel Wild says:

          And then we get into the direct correlations between religiosity and poverty, with the lowest levels of education, the highest teen pregnancy rates, the highest infant mortality, highest crime crime, and so on, and so on, and so on.

          Again, this is a popular straw man, Tildeb. The problem here is lack of education and poverty, not religion. Sure, you can take the poorest parts of the Bible Belt south (Mississippi, Arkansas) and make this stuff up. But it’s also well known that many in poverty are not religious at all and they have the same numbers. And you don’t see this among those who are well-educated and in higher income levels among religious people.

          It’s not my fault people like Mel do not respect reality but I do take issue with those who think I am wrong to push the point, who assert that religious belief – in spite of overwhelming and compelling evidence – deserves room at the table of grown-up discussions about real world problems all of us face.

          Overwhelming? Compelling? To whom? Respect reality? What reality? Do you mean your narrow-minded, myopic view of naturalist reality? Haha. I suppose this plays well among the faithful antitheists on the Internet. And, yes, it is your fault, Tildeb. It’s people like you who are the problem. Again, you represent the flip side of extreme anti-science fundamentalists. You are purposely skewing things to make it sound like religious people are stupid and superstitious. Why don’t you explain that to people like Francis Collins, or John Polkinghorne, or Ian Hutchinson, or Rosalind Picard, or Ard Lewis. It’s gets a little old hearing your antitheist prejudicial stereotyping.

        • tildeb says:

          I am, Mel. I am pointing out reality with the numbers of people who deny evolution as it is scientifically used. This is not me. This is millions upon millions of people who think their religious beliefs are reason to deny scientific understanding. That’s not my doing, Mel. And I don’t care what names you wish to present as being unwilling to admit that this is a very real problem with very real and potentially dire consequences to the welfare of real people in real life. Your religious beliefs – and the religious sensibilities so coddled by so many who know better – are not worth this cost. And vilifying me for confronting you with brute facts contrary to your beliefs is not going to do anything but increase your degree of hubris and arrogance and irresponsibility. I think have enough of that already. Now is the best time to leave these childish beliefs behind and set an example your grandchildren can be proud of rather than ashamed.

        • Mel Wild says:

          This is millions upon millions of people who think their religious beliefs are reason to deny scientific understanding.

          And that number is shrinking as the arguments are being better understood. Science is not faith, and evolution does not affect theism, only certain interpretations of Scripture. And there is a valid and growing debate between naturalistic evolution and theistic evolution in the science community. And, besides, you’ve said nothing that would warrant that these people “deny scientific understanding.” Yes, they deny your scientistic worldview, but they don’t necessarily deny science itself.

          And vilifying me for confronting you with brute facts contrary to your beliefs is not going to do anything but increase your degree of hubris and arrogance and irresponsibility. I think have enough of that already.

          I am “vilifying” what you represent, Tildeb. And rightfully so. You represent a classic example of what Greg Epstein said of antitheism:

          “Anti-theism means actively seeking out the worst aspects of faith in god and portraying them as representative of all religion. Anti-theism seeks to shame and embarrass people away from religion, browbeating them about the stupidity of belief in a bellicose god.” (Less Antitheism, More Humanism,” Huffington Post, October 1, 2007).

          I’m simply exposing your combative scientism for what it really is.

          Now is the best time to leave these childish beliefs behind and set an example your grandchildren can be proud of rather than ashamed.

          Haha. Look who’s being arrogant and full of hubris now? And what “childish beliefs” would those be, Tildeb? And can you prove it empirically, or is this just another philosophical statement dressed up as science?

        • tildeb says:

          “And there is a valid and growing debate between naturalistic evolution and theistic evolution in the science community.”

          Only in your mind. AAAS: 1% Mel. One Per Cent. There’s your ‘growing’ debate: 1 percent. That’s the extreme fringe you are trying to expand into a generality. That’s a gross misrepresentation. It’s absolutely fringe.

          The fact of the matter is that there simply is no scientific debate about evolution, no scientific debate about human caused climate change, no scientific debate about the efficacy of vaccinations, and so on… well you get the idea: when talking science, there is no debate by inserting some religious precept. The only denialism over these evidence-adduced claims comes from people investing greater confidence in faith-based belief in creationism and a special place in it for humans. That’s not a scientific compatibility, Mel. That’s an imposition of a religious concept over then scientific consensus… for reasons divorced from accurately describing reality. That’s where we find what I call hubris and arrogance and ignorance thinking this somehow makes a religious notion compatible with science.

          It doesn’t. And that’s simply a fact.

          Reality produces and provides gobs and gobs and gobs of evidence contrary to this strictly religious notion of creationism… either recent creationism or old age creationism. There is no scientific debate. But there is an artificial debate created where religiosity is highest. This is where we find the lowest percentage of accepting evolution scientifically understood. That’s a brute fact. And that correlation runs right across the globe in every population in the same inverse proportion. Religiosity -> creationism -> science denialism. That is the brute fact you are waving away and trying to pretend this incompatibility isn’t really an incompatibility when squinted at just the right way, but is just an overblown problem created by anti-theists. That claim is wrong. Factually wrong. Indisputably wrong. Contrary to reality.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Reality produces and provides gobs and gobs and gobs of evidence contrary to this strictly religious notion of creationism… either recent creationism or old age creationism. There is no scientific debate.

          Oh really? And you have “gobs and gobs and gobs” of empirically attested hard scientific evidence that disproves any notion of creation? It will be interesting to see what version of “reality” has proven that one.

        • john zande says:

          Mel, read Sean Carroll’s paper, Why (Almost All) Cosmologists are Atheists.

          It begins:

          Abstract

          Science and religion both make claims about the fundamental workings of the universe. Although these claims are not a priori incompatible (we could imagine being brought to religious belief through scientific investigation), I will argue that in practice they diverge. If we believe that the methods of science can be used to discriminate between fundamental pictures of reality, we are led to a strictly materialist conception of the universe. While the details of modern cosmology are not a necessary part of this argument, they provide interesting clues as to how an ultimate picture may be constructed.

          Introduction

          One increasingly hears rumors of a reconciliation between science and religion. In major news magazines as well as at academic conferences, the claim is made that that belief in the success of science in describing the workings of the world is no longer thought to be in conflict with faith in God. I would like to argue against this trend, in favor of a more old-fashioned point of view that is still more characteristic of most scientists, who tend to disbelieve in any religious component to the workings of the universe.

        • john zande says:

          Oh really? And you have “gobs and gobs and gobs” of empirically attested hard scientific evidence that disproves any notion of creation?

          Have you any evidence that evolution has been tampered with (guided/manipulated) by some external agent?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Tildeb made the claim, not me. I was just wondering if that was an actual fact or another philosophical opinion.

        • john zande says:

          So you accept then that evolution is entirely unguided, and human beings are nothing but an unplanned evolutionary accident; a fortuitous (for us), but completely unintended, incident in the evolutionary paradigm?

        • Mel Wild says:

          So you accept then that evolution is entirely unguided, and human beings are nothing but an unplanned evolutionary accident; a fortuitous (for us), but completely unintended, incident in the evolutionary paradigm?

          Okay, what hard empirical scientific proof do you have that it’s all a “completely unintended” accident? Or is this just another philosophical statement masquerading as science?

          And I’m still waiting for the “gobs and gobs and gobs” of evidence that disproves a creator.

        • john zande says:

          Mel, I asked a question. Please answer it.

          Yes or no:

          So you accept then that evolution is entirely unguided, and human beings are nothing but an unplanned evolutionary accident; a fortuitous (for us), but completely unintended, incident in the evolutionary paradigm?

        • Mel Wild says:

          So you accept then that evolution is entirely unguided, and human beings are nothing but an unplanned evolutionary accident; a fortuitous (for us), but completely unintended, incident in the evolutionary paradigm?

          How could I answer your philosophical statement? It really doesn’t matter what I think about it, and you cannot prove that it’s an unintended accident.

        • john zande says:

          How could I answer your philosophical statement?

          It’s not philosophy.

          It really doesn’t matter what I think about it

          Yes, it does matter.

          and you cannot prove that it’s an unintended accident.

          So, again…

          Yes or No:

          So you accept then that evolution is entirely unguided, and human beings are nothing but an unplanned evolutionary accident; a fortuitous (for us), but completely unintended, incident in the evolutionary paradigm?

          Please answer the question without your evasive song and dance

        • Mel Wild says:

          It’s not philosophy.

          How is it science, then, to say that it’s all an unintended accident? What empirical proof do you have for intention, John? That is a judgment statement, not a scientific one. All you can truly say is that it appears random. You cannot prove its intent. So, yes, it’s a philosophical statement that says the creative process is an unintended accident.

          It is YOU who are doing the evasive song and dance here. I disagree with your premise and you cannot prove you’re right with science. Your childish badgering to try to get me to answer your absurd “yes or no” questions won’t change the actual facts.

        • tildeb says:

          “How is it science, then, to say that it’s all an unintended accident? What empirical proof do you have for intention, John?”

          You’re the one making the claim for intention! Where’s your evidence? Right. You have no scientific evidence. None! THAT is what’s at issue here, not your repeated demands for scientific ‘disproof’.

          Cart meet horse.

          And lacking ANY scientific evidence for intention but having to face gobs and gobs and gobs of scientific evidence for an unguided natural mechanism long at work. you claim both notions – your religious notion of special creationism for humans and the unguided natural process of evolution are fully compatible, that there really, really, really is a growing scientific ‘debate’.

          No Mel. There isn’t. This compatibility on predominates in your mind. And it’s lunacy because it’s not related to reality. It is related to your wishful thinking that your anti-scientific beliefs are scientifically compatible… until someone can prove you wrong, but refuse to understand why this evidence contrary to your claim is widely available and in many, many areas of study. You just reject it all out of hand. For religious reasons only. But then you pretend your contrary claims have some measure of scientific respectability when they do not. You wish they did and so it must be the fault of someone else.

        • Mel Wild says:

          You’re the one making the claim for intention!

          No, I’m not, Tildeb. This was John’s claim. He wants me to agree or disagree to the following statement:

          Do you accept then that evolution is entirely unguided, and human beings are nothing but an unplanned evolutionary accident; a fortuitous (for us), but completely unintended, incident in the evolutionary paradigm?

          I’ve highlighted the claim, so don’t turn this back on me. If you make a claim that you infer is “scientific” then you must back it up with hard science. I want to see empirical proof that the process is an unintended accident. Or, should I conclude that you’re being deceitful now?

        • john zande says:

          Mel, could you please answer the question:

          Do you accept then that evolution is entirely unguided, and human beings are nothing but an unplanned evolutionary accident; a fortuitous (for us), but completely unintended, incident in the evolutionary paradigm?

          Yes, or No?

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, because your question is absurd and unprovable. It’s your worldview not science. Can you prove that it’s unintended with science?

        • john zande says:

          What’s improvable?

        • Mel Wild says:

          What I said. Can you prove that the evolutionary process is an unintended accident with actual science?

        • john zande says:

          Yes, unless you’re suggesting abhorrent genetic mutations that make an organism less fit (like Tay-Sachs, for example) are part of Yhwh’s “plan.”

          Is that what you’re suggesting?

        • Mel Wild says:

          I am wanting you to prove that it was unintended. I don’t care about the process itself.

        • john zande says:

          So, Yhwh is wholly responsible for terrible design and genetic mutations that lead to suffering, early death, and extinction, is that correct, Mel?

        • Mel Wild says:

          More evasive maneuvering, I see. I am asking you to prove empirically that there is no intent. I am trying to ascertain the validity of your question to me.

        • john zande says:

          Evasion? LOL! Do let me know when you want to answer the ten thousand questions you have run away from…

          And thank you for confirming that you are indeed anti-science.

          Evolution does not say “guided.” It does not imply guided.

          Of course, you could prove me wrong by showing me that Yhwh is responsible for, say, the GKPID mutation, but perhaps not responsible for the Hox and ParaHox gene clusters.

          That is the claim you’re making, so demonstrate it.

          Until then, the hard fact that genetic mutations and bottlenecks and shifting environmental conditions more often than not result in misery and extinction indicate the total and complete absence of a plan.

          That is, of course, unless you’re suggesting abhorrent genetic mutations and adverse conditions that make an organism less fit (like Tay-Sachs, for example) are part of Yhwh’s “plan.”

          Is that what you’re suggesting?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Can you prove that the evolutionary process is an unintended accident, yes or no? And if yes, provide empirical proof that it’s unintended.

        • john zande says:

          Yes, by all the mistakes.

          So, are you suggesting all the mistakes (the abhorrent genetic mutations that make an organism less fit, like Tay-Sachs, for example) are part of Yhwh’s “plan.”

          Is that what you’re suggesting?

        • Mel Wild says:

          How is this proof of intent, one way or the other? The best you can do is infer from the evidence to make your statement. In other words, it’s not a scientific statement, but a philosophical one.

        • john zande says:

          If intent is to cause harm, then fine.

          Is that what you’re suggesting?

          From the paper: Mutation Induced Extinction in Finite Populations: Lethal Mutagenesis and Lethal Isolation

          Most spontaneous mutations hurt organismal fitness, e.g. by destabilizing proteins.

          So, Yes or No, Mel:

          Are you suggesting all the mistakes (the abhorrent genetic mutations, lethal mutagenesis, bottlenecks, adverse genetic drift, environmental shifts, bolide impacts, etc.) are part of Yhwh’s “plan.”

          Is that what you’re suggesting, Yes or No?

          Can you for once in your life actually commit to an idea…?

        • john zande says:

          Mel, was the intent to cause harm?

          Is that what you’re suggesting?

        • tildeb says:

          There you go, back to your cart/horse order problem. Prove no intention, you insist. Well, the fact that there is no evidence for intention is a pretty robust indication… not that you’ll ever admit it, of course, pretending to be a cheerleader for science while advocating anti-scientific belief to be a growing scientific ‘debate’. You are a piece of work, Mel.

        • Mel Wild says:

          You made the claim, Tildeb. You said there’s gobs and gobs of evidence against there being a creator, yet you have given no evidence whatsoever to back up this claim.

        • tildeb says:

          I said, “The only denialism over these evidence-adduced claims comes from people investing greater confidence in faith-based belief in creationism and a special place in it for humans. That’s not a scientific compatibility, Mel. That’s an imposition of a religious concept over then scientific consensus… for reasons divorced from accurately describing reality.”

          I further explained that, “(when it comes to how life has developed over time) there is gobs and gobs and gobs of evidence of naturally occurring unguided changes leading to speciation… including the great ape line from which we descend. Our ancestry shows zero evidence of any historical creation event, any guidance, any tinkering, any intervention ever. Zero.”

          When you failed to grasp this point, I explained further, “Reality produces and provides gobs and gobs and gobs of evidence contrary to this strictly religious notion of creationism… either recent creationism or old age creationism. There is no scientific debate. But there is an artificial debate created where religiosity is highest. This is where we find the lowest percentage of accepting evolution scientifically understood. That’s a brute fact. And that correlation runs right across the globe in every population in the same inverse proportion. Religiosity -> creationism -> science denialism.”

          Now you take all of that to mean, “You said there’s gobs and gobs of evidence against there being a creator, yet you have given no evidence whatsoever to back up this claim.”

          What is your problem with comprehension? Why do you continue to misrepresent? Why do you continue to repackage commentary critical of claims to be what they are not? Why do you continue to get the order of who is making what claims wrong, time after time, always in favour of your distorted assertions and delusional assumptions?

          This falls on you, Mel.

          You.

          This raises the very real problem you have of even grasping what is being said. You have some religious filter over your eyes that reliably misinterprets anything being explained to you that threatens the merit of your religious apologetics. You then consistently blame others for importing some devious and questionable motives rather than following through on the points being raised and facing up to the legitimate criticisms. That’s why I say you’re a piece of work. That’s why I call you on your intentional deceit. That’s why I describe what you’re doing as dishonest and cowardly. BECAUSE IT IS!!!! You don’t even have the conviction of your beliefs to fall back on but go out of your way to avoid taking responsibility for them. And that tactic is cowardly, Mel. You’re trying hard to sell something but refusing to go over the highly questionable details of the deal. You are not trustworthy and have the same devious and dishonest traits of the very worst stereotypical used car salespeople, covering up the defects by pretending the fault lies with those who spot them.

        • john zande says:

          This line, right here:

          Why do you continue to get the order of who is making what claims wrong, time after time, always in favour of your distorted assertions and delusional assumptions?

          Yes.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Again, Tildeb. YOU made the claim that you have “gobs and gobs and gobs” of evidence against there being a creator. That is a claim YOU are making. Stop evading the question. Where is your empirical proof?

        • tildeb says:

          Wrong. Try again.

        • john zande says:

          Mel, is that what you are suggesting?

        • tildeb says:

          Science has not found any evidence where it should be present if the creation model were the case. This reduces the likelihood that it is true. In addition, there is no evidence at all that such an historical event took place, which reduces the likelihood even further; rather (when it comes to how life has developed over time) there is gobs and gobs and gobs of evidence of naturally occurring unguided changes leading to speciation… including the great ape line from which we descend. Our ancestry shows zero evidence of any historical creation event, any guidance, any tinkering, any intervention ever. Zero.

          Taken together, these brute facts demonstrates that there is absolutely no reason for anyone to believe in a creation event for humans. Ever. At any point. No evidence for, all evidence against.

          What are we to make of this?

          This is not to say science ‘disproves’ the creation model believed in by the vast majority of religious people but it does reveal that when the creation model is put forth as a ‘debatable’ scientific issue, the person doing so has no reasonable basis from what reality shows us is the case. It is pure, unadulterated, religiously motivated Just So story that stands contrary to and in conflict with what reality itself shows us to be most likely.

          We are fully justified to say with confidence that human beings evolved by natural selection without external guidance or tinkering or intervention at any point. These should leave evidence that is simply lacking. That’s not the fault of anti-theists.

          All areas of biology support this evolutionary claim. All areas of biology demonstrate mutually supportive modeling for its explanatory power. This is what reality demonstrates is the case. In stark contrast, the contrary creation claim is entirely religious – not scientific – and is the only reason why anyone might think otherwise or doubt the evolutionary model or maintain any doubt whatsoever about how the human species came about. And the creation model is absolutely incompatible with evolution scientifically understood: unguided, not guided, natural, not supernatural.

          Recognizing these facts is not motivated by any anti-theist sensibilities but simply respecting what reality demonstrates. To paint this otherwise is simply an exercise of religious apologetics that doesn’t care about what reality has to say in the matter, doesn’t offer greater respect to those who respect reality versus beliefs that stand in conflict with it, and is motivated purely by trying to grant to religious sensibilities and beliefs what it has not earned: compatibility and likelihood to be true. That’s not the fault of those who are not religious or are anti-theists; it is the fault of those who do not wish to respect reality’s right to arbitrate beliefs about it and try to vilify others who do by misrepresentation, false accusations, and lying about the real motivation behind this deceitful practice. It’s religion.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Science has not found any evidence where it should be present if the creation model were the case. This reduces the likelihood that it is true.

          Why does it reduce the likelihood of a creator? Since science can only test the material world how would it ever find evidence for anything before its own beginning or outside of itself? That’s nonsensical. It’s circular reasoning. It proves or disproves nothing about a creator, Tildeb. The fact that you don’t see this is astounding to me.

          And what about the Big Bang? We do have evidence for a beginning, doesn’t that at least imply the possibility of a creator/designer? And regardless of what theory you choose, how do you get something from absolutely nothing? How do you get the evolutionary process from absolutely nothing? That’s just totally irrational. And please don’t give me the quantum vacuum “nothing” or gravitation. That’s still very much “something,” not absolutely nothing.

          No, it’s deceitful to say, “Reality produces and provides gobs and gobs and gobs of evidence contrary to this strictly religious notion of creationism” when you have disproven nothing. What “reality” are you talking about? Your naturalistic worldview? The truth is, you have no evidence to prove or disprove the universe’s origin, or a creator, so you are making a philosophical statement, not a scientific one. This is classic scientism.

        • tildeb says:

          “Why does it reduce the likelihood of a creator?”

          Because you don’t even grasp this most basic concept of how science works to produce likelihood and probability, the rest of your commentary is nothing but an ill-formed temper tantrum based entirely on an astounding level of willful ignorance and vitriol for having your lack of understanding exposed. You have no excuse, Mel. And your accusation of scientism is rich considering you don’t even grasp what science is.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I understand how science works, Tildeb. And I do grow tired of your condescending remarks.

          You still haven’t told me how “Reality produces and provides gobs and gobs and gobs of evidence contrary to this strictly religious notion of creationism.”

          Science cannot prove or disprove creation, so how can you say this? You cannot prove your statement. Why should I take this as nothing more than pure scientistic nonsense.

        • tildeb says:

          You grow tired? Wow.

          Mel, I have taken pains to explain exactly this notion of why special creationism in regards to humans is an utter fiction, why all criticisms about evolution are not scientifically valid but are fully expressions of religious incompatibility. You just wave these offerings away and file them under ‘scientism’ not on merit but by fiat. You do not address them. Ever. You’re the one who keeps switching away every time I answer your specific claims with contrary brute facts and you consistently end these non responses of yours, your hand waving, your diversions, with false accusations about me and my motives even though they relate directly to addressing why and how these explanations demonstrate and justify why your claims are both false and in error. They demonstrate and explain why your claim is wrong attributing these scientific conclusions as the product of anti-theism. You simply refuse to own your religiously inspired anti-scientific beliefs but blame any factually valid criticism of them on others. Deceit and cowardice, thy name is Mel.

        • Mel Wild says:

          You grow tired? Wow.

          Yes, because you are continually arrogant and condescending toward anyone who disagrees with you. Yet, you have NO brute facts to disprove that the universe was created. You just make dogmatic statements like you do. I am not against science. You are the one lying and being deceitful when you say that I am. I am against people smuggling their antitheist philosophical worldview into science and calling it science. That is scientism.

          Of course, you can prove me wrong by giving empirical evidence that disproves the possibility of a creator.

    • john zande says:

      And let’s not forget evangelical resistance to stem cell research.

    • Mel Wild says:

      All yours and John’s comments are pointing at evangelical fundamentalists; one small but vocal segment of the body of Christ.. Sure, there is debate over what is ethical on a wider scale, but 89% are not anti-science. Most are not anti-evolution. They mostly indifferent to it.

      • john zande says:

        I won’t pollute Tildeb’s thread beyond this, but how do you explain evangelicals comprising the overwhelming majority of climate change deniers? There is even a broad “evangelical” statement on why they are anti-science.

        • Mel Wild says:

          As I said, some debate over particular issues, but most Christians are not anti-science. And what you hear in popular media is not representative of most Christians. This is more political than representing the whole.

          Why are so afraid of push-back on these issues? There are scientists who don’t agree with everything that’s popularly put forth. Debate is not the same thing as being anti-science.

        • john zande says:

          That’s nonsense Mel.

          Look at the WP article from this year: New study reaffirms the link between conservative religious faith and climate change doubt

          The OVERWHELMING majority of climate change deniers are evangelical Christians.

          That is anti-science.

          Tildeb can continue this

        • Mel Wild says:

          “…the link between conservative religious faith and climate change doubt.”

          Yes, you make my point. Conservative religious… According to Tegmark’s UROP study, that’s about 11% of all religious people.

        • john zande says:

          Evangelicals are, broadly speaking, conservative.

          81% of ALL evangelicals voted for Trump/Republicans.

          I’m guessing you did, too.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Evangelicals are, broadly speaking, conservative.
          81% of ALL evangelicals voted for Trump/Republicans.

          But evangelicals are not the majority of religious people. And many evangelicals are indifferent to science. And, again, just because there’s a debate over particulars doesn’t makes someone anti-science.

          As far as who I voted for, I’m apolitical, neither Democrat nor Republican, so who I might vote for is irrelevant. Politics is not religion, even though people often confuse the two.

        • john zande says:

          Evangelicals constitute 48.9% of the US population. Just shy of half, or 150 million.

          72% of those don’t believe in human-caused climate change.

          That, Mel, is a huge number who’re flat out anti-science.

          Tildeb’s point, and it’s a good one, is if asked a straight question regarding science, most would probably fall into your general category of “no real conflict.” HOWEVER, when the question becomes more specific, as in evolution, MOST, like you, will say Yhwh had a hand in there. That, Mel, is anti-science.

          Does that make more sense?

        • john zande says:

          PEW study (Religion and Views on Climate and Energy Issues, 2015) found a staggering 72% of white evangelicals (in the US) did not believe in man-caused climate change.

          72%!

          That’s not simply ignorance. It’s organised and coordinated science denial.

        • Mel Wild says:

          PEW study (Religion and Views on Climate and Energy Issues, 2015) found a staggering 72% of white evangelicals (in the US) did not believe in man-caused climate change.

          Again, you target while evangelicals (a minority of religious people). What about the rest?

          That’s not simply ignorance. It’s organised and coordinated science denial.

          That’s your opinion, John. I don’t see it as anti-science, per se. And how do you know that it’s not due to ignorance, empirically? Why can’t this be due to lack of education on the specific data? Climate change has become so politically charged, it’s very hard to tell where the science ends and the political propaganda begins. It’s not as cut-and-dried as you make it.

        • john zande says:

          Christian 73.7
          Protestant/Other Christian 48.9
          Catholic 23.0
          Mormon 1.8
          None/Atheist/Agnostic 18.2

          Still want to argue?

          No, not my “opinion.” Fact, as demonstrated in The Cornwall Alliance’s Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming.

          It begins:

          WHAT WE BELIEVE

          1. We believe Earth and its ecosystems—created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence —are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth’s climate system is no exception. Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history.

          This declaration has been adopted by evangelical churches across the US.

        • Mel Wild says:

          John, are you getting this PEW Research from Cornwall Alliance? Because what I saw doesn’t tell this story.

          This is from PEW Research article, “Religion and Views on Climate and Energy Issues” October 22, 2015.

          “Previous Pew Research Center studies have found only a modest effect of religion on attitudes about environmental protection. For example, a 2010 Pew Research Center telephone survey of U.S. adults found 81% of all adults, including strong majorities of all major religious traditions, favored “stronger laws and regulations to protect the environment,” while 14% opposed them.”

          “Just 6% of U.S. adults in the 2010 survey said religious beliefs have had the biggest influence on what they think about “tougher laws to protect the environment. More said the biggest influence on their views has been education (28%), the media (24%), personal experience (18%), or something else (11%). Another 6% said friends or family had the biggest influence on their views.”

          These finding don’t show the anti-science straw man you are trying to construct. It’s more based on education and other factors.

          You can read the article yourself (link above), but I don’t see some vast Christian conspiracy here against science.

        • john zande says:

          Environment protection laws is not the section on climate change, Mel.

          The study covered many areas. Try reading some more before typing.

        • Mel Wild says:

          But this report is about climate change, John. It’s called, “Religion and Views on Climate and Energy Issues.” Here’s another quote:

          However, in multivariate statistical modeling, the major religious affiliation groups did not differ from the religiously unaffiliated in views about climate change. Political party identification and race and ethnicity are stronger predictors of views about climate change beliefs than are religious identity or observance”.

          Sorry, it doesn’t sound to like some vast religious conspiracy against science. It’s other factors that play into it.

        • john zande says:

          Do you have trouble reading, Mel?

          By comparison, fewer white mainline Protestants (41%) view climate change as primarily due to human activity. White evangelical Protestants are least likely to hold this view; 28% among this group say the Earth is warming primarily due to human activity, 33% say the Earth’s warming is mostly due to natural patterns, and 37% say there is no solid evidence that climate change is occurring.

          Whichever way you cut it, this is a huge number, centered on evangelicals denying established science. Anti-science.

          Now, I can link numerous articles which address this very matter. I gave you one, from WP. Evangelicals constitute the OVERWHELMING majority of climate change deniers.

          That Mel, speaks to an anti-science attitude… and that is also expressed through things like The Cornwall Alliance’s Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming.

          WHAT WE BELIEVE

          1. We believe Earth and its ecosystems—created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence —are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth’s climate system is no exception. Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Whichever way you cut it, this is a huge number, centered on evangelicals denying established science. Anti-science.

          Yes, a large number of white evangelical males. And this is also true: “political party identification and race and ethnicity are stronger predictors of views about climate change beliefs than are religious identity or observance”.

          John, I’m not arguing with the numbers, I’m arguing with what you think the numbers mean. This does not prove that religion, as a whole, is anti-science, only a certain segment are against climate change in particular, partially for political reasons. You can’t just lump everyone into one issue and say that proves that religion is automatically anti-science.

        • john zande says:

          This does not prove that religion, as a whole, is anti-science, only a certain segment are against climate change in particular, partially for political reasons.

          If you replace “religion” with “believers” then you are half-way correct. Most religions come with a cosmogony, and these cosmogonies are all dead-wrong. Yours included. Today, in the west, to avoid this conflict with reality, many believers adopt excuses to explain away the false cosmogony. You have been forced to because religion is, inherently, in conflict with revealed reality. This, however, is not the case in poorer regions of the world. You need only spend some time among Muslims to understand just how many wholeheartedly believe their creation story, which is a reworking of the Judaic creation story.

          So, you’re not talking about religion, but rather the religious, and only the religious who’re educated and have come to understand that reality and their religion cannot coexist harmoniously without severe adaptation.

          You’re a good example. You know reality contradicts your religion. You know your cosmogony is wrong. You have been forced, therefore, to reshape your beliefs. Gone is “creation,” and in its stead, some sort of guided evolution.

          Well Mel, sorry to say, but that is anti-science. Evolution does not say “guided.” This is what Tildeb has been trying to point out to you. You accept science up to a point.

          Of course, you’re free to demonstrate this “guidance,” but both you and I know you’re not going to even attempt this… because you can’t. But you will insist on it. That is anti-science.

          Regarding politics, when it comes to the US, you simply cannot separate evangelical Christians with Conservative politics. 82% voted Republican in 2016. The Republican Party is anti-science, and evangelicals (who constitute the hardcore base of the GOP) are, too. This is exampled in evangelicals comprising the OVERWHLEMING majority of climate change deniers.

          You simply cannot hand-wave away this monstrously obvious fact. There are articles on it. The data supports it. It is a fact. Evangelicals are anti-science.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Most religions come with a cosmogony, and these cosmogonies are all dead-wrong.

          And you know this how? What empirical proof do you have that we’re “dead wrong” on the origin of the universe?

          Regarding politics, when it comes to the US, you simply cannot separate evangelical Christians with Conservative politics.

          No John, you are trying to separate them so you can dismiss the (stronger) political factor. You are cherry-picking whatever data you want to make your case and ignoring the rest, creating your straw man from evangelical white males. I told you I’m not arguing with the numbers, but with what you think they mean. This wasn’t my opinion but PEW Research on the most significant factors… “political party identification and race and ethnicity are stronger predictors of views about climate change beliefs than are religious identity or observance”.

        • john zande says:

          And you know this how?

          In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth.

          Wrong.

          In the beginning there was a quark-gluon plasma that possessed none of the qualities of this universe. The universe is 13.8 billion years old. The Earth is 4.52 billion years old.

          Shall I go on?

          dismiss the (stronger) political factor.

          How can I dismiss it when they are virtually synonymous?

          Again, 82% of all evangelicals voted for Republicans.

          82%.

        • Mel Wild says:

          In the beginning there was a quark-gluon plasma that possessed none of the qualities of this universe.

          Wait a minute. That’s NOT nothing! Were did the quark-gluon plasma come from? You are still starting with something here. This still does not touch the question, why we have something instead of nothing. Why don’t you get this? It’s as plain as the nose on your face.

          How can I dismiss it when they are virtually synonymous?

          You’re dismissing PEW Research’s conclusions….“political party identification and race and ethnicity are stronger predictors of views about climate change beliefs than are religious identity or observance”. And you’re still not talking about religion as a whole.

        • john zande says:

          Ah, so you keep pushing your god further and further back, placing it in that current gap in our understanding.

          Argument fro ignorance.

          Do you take cream or sugar with that God-of-the-Gaps?

        • john zande says:

          And are you suggesting the earth is 13.8 billion years old, Mel?

        • Mel Wild says:

          I’m not suggesting anything. I’m pointing out the absurdity of your position, the fact that you refuse to see that something does not POOF into existence from absolutely nothing. And quark-plasma gluons, magnetic fields, etc., are still part of the universe. They are still “something!” You still have not told me what caused “the beginning.”

        • john zande says:

          So, if you’re not suggesting the earth is 13.8 billion years old, then you accept your cosmogony is deaqd wrong.

          Precisely as I said.

        • tildeb says:

          You keep giving him more rope and he continues to find ways to hang himself. Remarkable.

      • tildeb says:

        Small vocal segment? Again, you are not even in the same ballpark as reality, Mel. Fewer than 1 in 5 Americans understand why evolution scientifically defined is true while about 2 in 3 believe some divine tinkering occurred outside of the wingunuts who reject the scientific basis for biology altogether in favour of POOF!ism. About 1% of AAAS members share that sentiment. Only 1%, Mel, and they’re not all or even the majority anti-theists. You have fooled yourself completely. Well done.

        So, no, it’s not some small vocal segment, Mel. It’s the vast majority.

        But of course you will ignore this fact and continue to fool yourself thinking the embedded conflict is all about anti-theists. When reality holds no sway over your beliefs than you don’t belong speaking with the grown-ups who can differentiate fact from fiction.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Fewer than 1 in 5 Americans understand why evolution scientifically defined is true…

          Yes, they don’t understand why, Tildeb. And that’s of all Americans, not religious people only. They are not necessarily anti-science, they’re just ignorant of what is known. And the reason they’re ignorant is mostly because they don’t really care one way or the other. They are not scientists (a very small percentage of the population). This is why these kinds of things will remain secondary issues for people and will never answer the deeper and more important things about why we exist.

          ….while about 2 in 3 believe some divine tinkering occurred outside of the wingunuts who reject the scientific basis for biology altogether in favour of POOF!ism.

          You mean, they believe that our universe had a designer/creator. You mean, instead of the antitheist “wingnuts” who believe the universe just “POOFed” itself from absolutely nothing. Yeah, right. That’s a devastating argument.

  4. john zande says:

    science and religion are two very different things that attempt to find answers for very different areas of life.

    Fair enough, and I generally agree with the sentiment. Can you, however, name any truth religion has ever established?

    • Mel Wild says:

      What you mean by “truth,” John?

      • john zande says:

        The general definition will do:

        the quality or state of being true/ that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality/ a fact or belief that is accepted as true.

        • Mel Wild says:

          “The state of being true” is not a definition. What is true? How are you establishing a fact? And I would also like to know how you would establish a fact that scientific method cannot establish.

        • john zande says:

          And so beings The-Great-Mel-Wild-Diversionary-Song-and-Dance-Routine.

          Just answer the question, Mel.

          Can you, however, name any truth religion has ever established?

        • Mel Wild says:

          And so beings The-Great-Mel-Wild-Diversionary-Song-and-Dance-Routine.

          John, and this baseless accusation gets very old. I’m trying to find out what you mean. Otherwise, we are talking about different things. Because, if you mean, evidence by scientific method, that’s only one type of “truth.” And even scientific “truth” changes with better evidence. And the only brute facts we are certain of are mathematical facts. The reality is, most people in the world believe in a God of some fashion. That’s a “reality,” John. And the truth is, you cannot prove anything outside of the natural world with science. That’s the “truth,” John.

        • john zande says:

          Truth:

          the quality or state of being true/ that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality/ a fact or belief that is accepted as true.

          So, rather than endure your pathetic evasive song and dance routine one more time, I’ll take your evasion to simply mean: “No. I cannot name a single truth religion has ever revealed to the world”

  5. Nan says:

    I really don’t want to get caught in the fray … and I really have no business jumping in here because I’m most certainly no expert on science, evolution, the universe, etc., etc. … but to make a statement like this: We do have evidence for a beginning, doesn’t that at least imply the possibility of a creator/designer? is completely prejudicious. The only reason one would put forth this premise is because it’s what is claimed in a centuries old religious book. (Somehow I have my doubts that the early humans concerned themselves with this question.)

    Further, scientists think the universe had a beginning, but no one can know for sure. So essentially, anyone who tries to prove their theory on the subject is guilty of “cherry picking.”

    • Mel Wild says:

      We do have evidence for a beginning, doesn’t that at least imply the possibility of a creator/designer? is completely prejudicious.

      I don’t understand how inferring the possibility of a creator/designer is prejudicial. If this is true, it’s a logical possibility, regardless of our historical reference. I understand that it’s hard, if not impossible, to separate ourselves from our religious history, but that’s not the point I’m making. If there’s a beginning it would be logical to assume the possibility of some causal agent, right? That’s all I’m saying here.

      Further, scientists think the universe had a beginning, but no one can know for sure. So essentially, anyone who tries to prove their theory on the subject is guilty of “cherry picking.”

      Yes, of course. Science cannot prove or disprove a causal agent (God/creator/designer). That’s been my point all along. When people try to use science to say there is no God, they have crossed the line over to a philosophy (scientism) because science cannot answer that question. The same is true for the theist. I cannot prove that God created the universe with science. I can only infer an explanation. Ironically. for BOTH atheism and theism, what explains causation of the universe is a faith-based argument, not one based in science.

      • john zande says:

        That’s been my point all along. When people try to use science to say there is no God, they have crossed the line over to a philosophy (scientism) because science cannot answer that question.

        What do you use, Mel, to say there are no pink unicorns?

        Could you describe your method?

        • Mel Wild says:

          What do you use, Mel, to say there are no pink unicorns?
          Could you describe your method?

          That’s simple. Have we observed pink unicorns in the natural world? We would use the method of natural observation.
          This is not analogous, John. Pink unicorns could be disproven in the natural world. God cannot be disproven this way.

        • john zande says:

          Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote.

          — Daniel 5:5

          You were saying?

      • Nan says:

        You wrote, I don’t understand how inferring the possibility of a creator/designer is prejudicial. If this is true, it’s a logical possibility …

        You’re missing the point. It’s logical only because you believe in the stories put forth in that centuries old religious book I mentioned. For those who are not religious … who prefer a more scientifically-based perspective, the idea/possibility of a “creator/designer” is fallacious, at best. For such people, it’s not a matter of proving or disproving such a being. It’s simply not considered.

        And think about the other part of what I wrote … it’s only “modern man” that has even questioned how we got here. Do you really think primitive man gave much thought to his origins?

        One more thought to ponder on. Perhaps a little “far-out,” but …

        WE live in a cause and effect world. We see “evidence” of things beginning … and ending … all around us. Thus, we assume this is the SOP of the universe. But is it? The “science” (and the religion) we use to “prove” our understanding is merely a way for us to try and comprehend our existence.

        I realize it’s difficult, if not impossible, for humans (who are interested in such things) to even imagine there is no beginning and no end. But who’s to say it’s not possible? Of course to “argue/discuss” such a scenario is grasping at moving straws. But then again … imagination is a wonderful play-toy, don’t you agree? 😀

        • Mel Wild says:

          It’s logical only because you believe in the stories put forth in that centuries old religious book I mentioned.

          Not necessarily true. Logic is logic. Remember, the premise was that there’s the possibility of a beginning. If this is true, then it would actually be illogical to assume something began but doesn’t have an initial cause that made it begin in the first place. And it’s also illogical to assume something came from absolutely nothing. And it still does not address why there’s “something” in the first place. This has nothing to do with religious beliefs. It’s just logic.

          I realize it’s difficult, if not impossible, for humans (who are interested in such things) to even imagine there is no beginning and no end. But who’s to say it’s not possible?

          Of course, it is difficult because we’re going outside of the time and space material bubble we live in. I cannot imagine the universe itself being without beginning or end, simply from the laws of nature, but I can imagine there being a “God” who has no beginning or end because He would exist outside of the natural universe He created. 🙂

        • Nan says:

          HA! So it’s OK if there’s a “God” without a beginning or end, but to consider a Universe without a beginning or end is unimaginable.

          Don’t you see? Your perspective revolves totally around your faith … and your faith originates from a religious book that didn’t even exist until a few thousand years ago.

          Imagination (the power behind Science) allows the mind to conceive without any restraints.

        • Mel Wild says:

          HA! So it’s OK if there’s a “God” without a beginning or end, but to consider a Universe without a beginning or end is unimaginable.

          Okay, fair enough. 🙂 Still, it’s much more difficult because the universe is expanding, the nature of physical laws in general, etc., all makes an endless material world much harder for me to imagine than there simply being a designer who started it all (Occam’s Razor). And you still aren’t addressing why it’s “here” in the first place. It’s a very unsatisfying explanation. A question that will never go away.

          Imagination (the power behind Science) allows the mind to conceive without any restraints.

          I agree 100%. But imagination also gets into philosophy, not just science. And natural science has its limits, no matter what you dream up. It can only measure and test the natural world. If there is something more, science cannot address it at all. So we need to also be open to something more than the natural world in all our imaginings. 🙂

        • Nan says:

          So we need to also be open to something more than the natural world in all our imaginings.

          Why? We live in the natural world. We experience it each and every day. Why is it necessary to “imagine” there is something more?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Why? We live in the natural world. We experience it each and every day. Why is it necessary to “imagine” there is something more?

          Why not? Why must we confine ourselves so? Why should that even be a satisfactory view? It certainly doesn’t explain everything.

          We should imagine these things because if you didn’t you would not be open to all possibilities. You’ve imprisoned yourself in a very narrow-minded box called a naturalist worldview. You should imagine it because you exist at all, because there are natural laws, because mathematics is logical. (Why are there laws and why is mathematics logical?) Because a designer is possible. Because it’s intuitive that we are here for a reason. And why do we think this way at all? I could go on and on, but hopefully you get the point.

        • tildeb says:

          “Remember, the premise was that there’s the possibility of a beginning. If this is true, then it would actually be illogical to assume something began but doesn’t have an initial cause that made it begin in the first place. And it’s also illogical to assume something came from absolutely nothing.”

          And yet this is exactly what you do by necessity to exempt your god from the same reasoning and then blame others for pointing it out.

        • Mel Wild says:

          And yet this is exactly what you do by necessity to exempt your god from the same reasoning and then blame others for pointing it out.

          That’s a fallacious argument. Just because some things like the universe have an external cause it doesn’t mean everything that exists must also have an external cause. First, as the Kalaam Cosmological Argument states:

          1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
          2. The universe began to exist.
          3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

          Better yet, we could use the first premise of the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument:
          Premise 1: Anything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external explanation.

          God would be, by definition, in the first clause, “in the necessity of its own nature” (a necessary being). The universe would fall under the second clause, “in the external cause.”

          The full Leibnizian Cosmological Argument:
          Premise 1: Anything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external explanation.
          Premise 2: The universe has an explanation for its existence, and that explanation is grounded in a necessary being.
          Premise 3: The universe exists.
          Premise 4: Therefore, the universe has an explanation of its existence (from 1, 3).
          Premise 5: Therefore, the explanation of the existence of the universe is grounded in a necessary being (from 2, 4).

        • tildeb says:

          Premise 2 assumes the conclusion.

          Using the logical form only means the conclusion is logical. It doesn’t mean it’s true. For a conclusion to be reflective of reality, the premises have to be reflective of reality. The Cosmological argument appears to follow correct logical form but we don’t know if the premises are reflective of reality. Hence, we cannot assume Premise 2 is correct; it’s simply a necessary premise for the conclusion you want. In fact, it is the conclusion, which makes the argument achieved by fallacy, not accuracy.

        • john zande says:

          Apologists like to ignore the fact that you cannot define a being into existence. And ignoring the fact the premise 2 is unfounded, the Cosmological Argument does not, by itself, offer any description of the being other than presenting formalised reasoning for the prescriptive qualities of non-contingency. It doesn’t explain the world. It doesn’t answer the “why” question. And if we want to insert necessity and play ontological word games, then the argument flows in any way one wishes. For example:

          1. It is possible that a maximally wicked being exists.
          2. If it is possible that a maximally wicked being exists, then a maximally wicked being exists in some possible world.
          3. If a maximally wicked being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
          4. If a maximally wicked being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
          5. Therefore, a maximally wicked being exists in the actual world.
          6. Therefore, a maximally wicked being exists.
          7. Therefore, the Omnimalevolent Creator exists.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Of course, the premise must be true for the argument to be valid. I was only using premise 1 to answer your question. But premise 2 can be defended.

          Premise 2: The universe has an explanation for its existence, and that explanation is grounded in a necessary being.

          Basically, in order for the universe itself to be a necessary being it must be eternal, lasting forever, not failing to exist and it must be changeless, as is in all possible worlds. There could be no other way space-time could’ve ever been (hard determinism). But the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theory demonstrated that any expanding universe cannot be past eternal.

          As Alexander Vilenkin stated:

          “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.” (“Many Worlds in One”, p.176)

          This is not a fallacious argument but a well-established one. You can see a fuller explanation of it here…

        • john zande says:

          After being misrepresented so often by Craig, Vilenkin himself answered the question, Does your theorem prove that the universe must have had a beginning?

          “No. But it proves that the expansion of the universe must have had a beginning. You can evade the theorem by postulating that the universe was contracting prior to some time.”

          And as Vilenkin wrote in Inflationary Spacetimes are not Past-Complete:

          “Whatever the possibilities for the boundary, it is clear that unless the averaged expansion condition can somehow be avoided for all past-directed geodesics, inflation alone is not sufficient to provide a complete description of the Universe, and some new physics is necessary in order to determine the correct conditions at the boundary [20]. This is the chief result of our paper.

        • Mel Wild says:

          You and I are not going to prove or disprove the Leibnizian Cosmological argument, John. My point in bringing up the first premise was to say that we theists have a logical reason for differentiating between a necessary being (God) and a contingent one (universe).

          In order for the universe to be “necessary” it must be eternal, lasting forever, not failing to exist and it must be changeless, as is in all possible worlds. There could be no other way space-time could’ve been (hard determinism). It would be very hard to prove that one.

        • Nan says:

          OMG! And you’re saying your god is changeless?? Have you not read the Old Testament?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Nan, you are confusing God’s essence with His energies (Most of the West does). This was something understood by the early church and still understood in Eastern Orthodox, but barely understood in the West, especially Protestant West. I wrote about it in “The Divine Essence and Energies of God.”

          Basically, His essence is His being, completely distinct from His creation. For instance, while God is self-existent, eternal, immutable, and perfect, we are finite, fallible and contingent. His “energies” are “God in action.” This is phenomenologically how we experience God. The Bible uses anthropopathic and anthropomorphic language to express this experience because there is no other way to express it. It would be like saying the river swallowed me up and I drowned. The river didn’t change. It wasn’t out to get me. It doesn’t have a mouth and doesn’t swallow. I was foolish enough to go into a river with a strong current that I could not swim safely in and the result was I drowned. So we must understand the language otherwise we end up with hopeless contradictions and absurdities.

          This is why Scripture uses anthropopathic language to describe our interactions with God, yet He Himself does not change (Mal.3:6) and there’s no shadow of turning with Him (James 1:17).

        • Nan says:

          First, I find it rather interesting that your response is so long … and you include such “big” words! Are you trying to convince/impress me or your Christian readers?

          Mel, you can assign any “qualities” you want (energy or essence), you can offer untold numbers of personal experiences that (to you) confirm “God’s” existence, you can throw out all sorts of arguments against science (or to use your words, “scientism”), but the simple truth is your god exists only in your mind. I know you will dispute this, but since I’ve been on both sides of the fence, I feel I’m speaking from experience.

          One final word … you use the terms anthropopathic (ascribing human feelings to something that is not human) and anthropomorphic (described or thought of as having a human form or human attributes) and say this is the only way to describe “god.” I rest my case.

        • Mel Wild says:

          First, I find it rather interesting that your response is so long … and you include such “big” words! Are you trying to convince/impress me or your Christian readers?

          Haha…that’s rich. You mean like Tildeb’s and John’s simple and short answers? That rather hypocritical, don’t you think? And I gave you the simple answer first. God is a necessary being because He is eternal and changeless. You challenged it so then I gave you the theological answer. But if you’re not interested in the theology behind the question you shouldn’t challenge the simplistic answer. And why would we give a simplistic answer for attempting to explain the mystery of a transcendent God? That’s not a rational conclusion at all. And the better point is, only skeptics need these kinds of answers. People who need no such explanation could care less about our conversation in the first place.

          but the simple truth is your god exists only in your mind. I know you will dispute this, but since I’ve been on both sides of the fence, I feel I’m speaking from experience.

          Simple truth? Says who? This is a pure faith statement, Nan. You have no way of proving this. And why should we trust your experience? Isn’t that what you tell us? You have just switched your “faith” to the other side, that’s all.

          One final word … you use the terms anthropopathic (ascribing human feelings to something that is not human) and anthropomorphic (described or thought of as having a human form or human attributes) and say this is the only way to describe “god.” I rest my case.

          So, what’s your point? We are human, God is not human (other than with the incarnation of Christ which is a unique hypostatic union). God is Spirit (John 4:24). We have never seen Him at any time, as He is, nor truly know Him other than how Jesus explained Him to us (Matt.11:27; John 1:18). We can only describe our experience of Him in human terms within our three-dimensional world of space and time. And this is so, theologically speaking, because our interpretation of Scripture must provide explanatory scope and not create absurdities. Saying that God is a thin-skinned deity with anger management problems is not only terrible theology, it’s an incoherent interpretation in light of the fact that He does not change.

        • Nan says:

          First, I wasn’t comparing you to John, tildeb, or anyone else. And if you consider your answer “simple,” then I guess we have different interpretations of the word.

          Also, you continue to use the word “faith” in connection with any theory or precept that is counter to a belief in the Christian god. Perhaps this is technically accurate, but for all intents and purposes, the word is usually associated with religion … and I think this is why many of us non-believers protest against it.

          As I think I’ve indicated before, Mel, I appreciate your position since I’ve been there, done that. But this statement (or any part of it): God is a necessary being because He is eternal and changeless no longer flies for me. As I explained in my book, I do sense a “Universal Presence,” but it is and never will be a “god” in any sense or meaning of the word.

          As of this comment, I’m withdrawing from any further discussion related to this post. Of course, this doesn’t preclude any of your future posts. 😉 Have a nice weekend.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Nan, I understand that faith normally has a religious connotation, it is technically a generic word. I’m using it that way.

          Thanks for your comments. I never expected you to agree with my position. And I’m getting pretty tired of this post myself. 🙂

        • john zande says:

          My point in bringing up the first premise was to say that we theists have a logical reason for differentiating between a necessary being (God) and a contingent one (universe).

          It would only be logical if you could also explain why necessity doesn’t apply to the universe itself. As you cannot, explains why the argument has been thoroughly rejected for some 2,500 years.

          You cannot define a being into existence.

          Without an understanding of quantum gravity, causal loops are far more probable than some consciousness that magically appeared from nothing. We know, after all, the quantum world exists, and as it exists then we know the natural world drifts into regions which are presently a total black hole to us.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Without an understanding of quantum gravity, causal loops are far more probable than some consciousness that magically appeared from nothing. We know, after all, the quantum world exists, and as it exists then we know the natural world drifts into regions which are presently a total black hole to us.

          You are expressing a “science of the gaps,” putting your faith that science will eventually figure it out. But yet you have no proof whatsoever that this quantum gravity or causal loops are changeless or don’t have a beginning. It’s far more likely that they do have a beginning and do change like everything else in the universe. It’s far more plausible that they are contingent and not eternal. And it still doesn’t answer a whole host of other questions. And you’re still dealing with a changing, expanding universe so, again, it’s more plausible that it’s not eternal and certainly not constant. You are arguing for hard determinism. Good luck with that!

        • john zande says:

          Science of the gaps?

          LOL!

          No, Mel. There is no such thing. Sorry, but you can’t assign your weakness (god of the gaps) to others.

          You see, we KNOW the quantum realm exists; we utilise it every day from telecommunications to the computer you’re using. We KNOW it’s very, very strange. We KNOW we don’t know everything about it, but we DO learn more and more about it every year as our technology improves.
          Conversely, we have NEVER recorded a single supernatural event, or inferred one happening. Ever.

          So, which then is more likely to produce the truth? (Feel free to use Occam’s Razor)

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, Mel. There is no such thing. Sorry, but you can’t assign your weakness (god of the gaps) to others.

          That’s funny, John. You’re telling me that the quantum realm is more likely to be eternal than an outside agency, yet you have no proof. That is a total FAITH statement. And the language you used:

          Without an understanding of quantum gravity, causal loops are far more probable…

          This infers that you think we will eventually understand it and show that it’s eternal. THAT is a faith statement…a “science of the gaps.”

          You see, we KNOW the quantum realm exists; we utilise it every day from telecommunications to the computer you’re using. We KNOW it’s very, very strange.

          Yes, and we also know it’s anything but changeless and constant. Quite the opposite. It’s interesting that you try to use quantum energy. The video uses the same to disprove that the universe is eternal.

          Conversely, we have NEVER recorded a single supernatural event, or inferred one happening. Ever.

          And you never will. How would you EVER record a supernatural event by natural means? You are saying nothing at all by saying this. And we CAN infer a lot from what we do see and observe about the universe. All of this together makes an intelligent designer a much simpler and more plausible answer.

        • john zande says:

          Thinking we’ll find an answer (based on past experience of finding lots of answers) is not starting with the fixed conclusion, Mel… which is what you do with your God-of-the-Gaps.

          See the difference?

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, there is NO difference, John. You’re making a naturalistic FAITH statement, not a scientific one. You have no way of knowing from what we know that we will ever prove that the universe is eternal.

          And I can do the same by using natural inferences, intuition, experiential history, abductive reasoning, theology, to say that God is eternal. The point is, both positions require faith.

        • john zande says:

          You have faith: belief without evidence.

          I have a rational belief: an idea drawn from the evidence.

          Unlike you, I’m not suggesting what the answer might be, just that it’s probable (given history) that we will arrive at an answer. Given, also, what we presently know and don’t know, I can say with some level of confidence that the answer might well come once we understand quantum gravity. It might not, but it’s a guess based on something.

          And again, I’m not presupposing what the answer might be… Unlike your fioxed conclusion: God Did It, which has no supporting history.

          And again, feel free to use Occam’s Razor to test who’s proposition is more reasonable.

  6. Pingback: An evolutionary argument against Naturalism | In My Father's House

  7. Good post! The science versus religion issue should actually be very simple. If you put the results of science first before your beliefs, but you still want to maintain certain private beliefs that don’t necessarily contradict those results, then I see no issue. Many people do just that and get along fine in life. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of people who don’t do that.

    The main problem originates with literalism/fundamentalism and the deeper psychological urge that “EVERYONE MUST AGREE WITH ME OR ELSE!” Many non-literal versions of religions do fine with science acceptance. Plenty of people of deep faith have managed to make important scientific and mathematical discoveries and progress. If it were the case that they were completely incompatible then that shouldn’t be possible.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks for your comments. I agree that the problem is with dogmatism on both sides (extreme fundamentalism vs. combative anti-theism). The truth is, there’s a lot than cannot be empirically proven. Science cannot answer every question for our existence and does not necessarily conflict with religion or faith. Those who are more open are having meaningful conversations in this regard at the academic level.

      And your last point is very important to note:

      “Plenty of people of deep faith have managed to make important scientific and mathematical discoveries and progress. If it were the case that they were completely incompatible then that shouldn’t be possible.”

      This was especially true during the modern science revolution that began in the sixteenth century, but is also still true today. To make science and religion enemies is a false dichotomy in my view.

    • tildeb says:

      If one keeps the two separate when addressing one or the other, then it’s quite possible. That doesn’t make them compatible. Just like pedophilia and the priesthood. Doing both at different times doesn’t mean the two are now somehow compatible together. I would think this point is obvious.

      And please note that differentiating the two as incompatible – because they are for very good reasons – in no way introduces some necessary ‘fundamentalism’. That’s a red herring, an apologetic tactic – used to divert attention away from the obvious incompatibility and make the issue about the one who recognizes this obvious incompatibility.

      • Mel Wild says:

        If one keeps the two separate when addressing one or the other, then it’s quite possible. That doesn’t make them compatible. Just like pedophilia and the priesthood.

        Thanks for finding the worst example for your comparison, Tildeb. No surprise there. Yes, we can separate them but they are not inherently incompatible if we are talking about taking all of life into consideration. They are just dealing with different aspects of life. Science deals with methodology that identifies the regularities of the natural world; religious (and philosophy and humanities, etc.) deal with the “why” questions. In that way, they are separate, but not incompatible.

        And please note that differentiating the two as incompatible – because they are for very good reasons – in no way introduces some necessary ‘fundamentalism’. That’s a red herring, an apologetic tactic – used to divert attention away from the obvious incompatibility and make the issue about the one who recognizes this obvious incompatibility.

        That is absolutely false. You are doing exactly what Greg Epstein said about combative antitheism:

        “Anti-theism means actively seeking out the worst aspects of faith in god and portraying them as representative of all religion.”

        This is what you do to a tee, as clearly demonstrated by your comment here. And THAT is a totally fallacious argument. You are painting all religious doctrines and theologies with the same straw brush. There is a wide range of beliefs within religions that vary greatly in degrees of compatibility. Your dismissive anti-theist view is what’s extreme and incompatible, not actual science and religion.

        • tildeb says:

          ” Yes, we can separate them but they are not inherently incompatible if we are talking about taking all of life into consideration.”

          You may wish to talk about ‘life’… as long as it’s generic enough in its description to allow you to claim whatever. But I’m talking very specifically about this idea of making the appearance of compatibility by dishonest little word games about causal claims contrary to reality.

          Religions have all kinds of causal claims that involve reality – many of which are incompatible with each other! One of your little word games is to try to make this incompatibility due to anti-theism, Mel. But that’s not true, is it, Mel? That’s an example of inherent incompatibility for these causal claims and that’s just within the religious circle. And that’s what I keep talking about: incompatibility specifically versus what reality tells us is true about it. You automatically switch away from this brute fact of theistic incompatibility time after time and utterly fail to deal with this brute incompatibility straight up and honestly; instead, you attack the person pointing this out and lay all kinds of false accusations against them.

          It is not a fallacious argument to point our an example of how incompatible practices can be exercised by the same person. That’s what religious scientists do: they maintain incompatible practices. ConsoledReader suggested that this demonstrates compatibility… which you fell all over yourself to agree with, of course. But when you think about it – which is what my example tries to get you to do, which you won’t do on principle – you quickly realize that one person really can have incompatible practices and so the single person is not evidence for compatibility with contrary notions.

          Is it?

          To divert yourself from having to think, from having to admit your previous thinking was broken, naturally you blame me. That’s what you do. That’s apologetic modus operandi in action. Whatever you do, Mel, don’t you dare think for yourself but keep on spewing nonsense in the hope that it will earn you the patina of pious respectability, the mirage of wisdom, one token of many you hope to someday have tallied to gain admittance to My Father’s House. That’s what this is all about, and it has nothing to do with respecting what’s true about reality or demonstrating any desire to learn about it.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Tildeb, you’ve written a very long comment and have actually said nothing here. You keep harping about me using apologetics. Yes, the word simply means to explain a position. I’m doing that. So what? But I could just as easily say you’re following the scientism playbook of the likes of Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, and others. You’re very predictable. Your tactics fit combative anti-theism to a tee, as I have shown you. That’s not me making stuff up. That’s the truth.

          But I’m talking very specifically about this idea of making the appearance of compatibility by dishonest little word games about causal claims contrary to reality.

          Dishonest little word games? Says who? You are the one lumping all religions into one straw man and making your “just so” statements of incompatibility. I’m not playing a word game. I’m telling it like it is.

          And what do you actually know about “reality?” What reality are you talking about? You don’t even know why we’re here. I could drive a Mack truck through your gaping holes of reality.

          Religions have all kinds of causal claims that involve reality – many of which are incompatible with each other!

          And science doesn’t have claims that are incompatible with one another? Haha…that’s rich.

          You automatically switch away from this brute fact of theistic incompatibility time after time and utterly fail to deal with this brute incompatibility straight up and honestly

          Brute facts of theistic imcompatibility? Which brute facts are those, Tildeb? I would love to see the empirical test data you have one that one, not just someone’s opinions or speculations. And tell me since you’re so much smarter than anyone else. How does science determine the value of a human life? How does it explain ethics? And what objective standard are you using, strictly using scientific method (not smuggling in your own worldview into it)? And WHY should mathematics work so well? You can’t even explain why we’re here in the first place!

          The brute fact is, science actually explains NOTHING about reality. It can only describe regularities. It doesn’t explain why something exists. As Ludwig Wittgenstein said:

          “The great delusion of modernity is that the laws of nature explain the universe for us. The laws of nature describe the regularities. But they explain nothing.”

          So, go on and on about how misguided we Christians are all you want and just dismiss it as apologetics, as if that’s saying anything at all. Sorry, but the emperor has no clothes here.

        • john zande says:

          You are the one lumping all religions into one straw man and making your “just so” statements of incompatibility. I’m not playing a word game.

          Hence my original question to you (on this thread or another)… A question you evaded answering time after time after time after time, but a question which you seem to be implying here that you do actually have an answer to.

          Can you name any truth religion has ever revealed to the world?

          Mel, can you please address this question now… especially considering your comment to Tildeb?

          (and just to avoid your first diversionary attempt, again: Truth: the quality or state of being true/ that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality)

        • john zande says:

          *apologies, messed up with the formatting. Second attempt.

          You are the one lumping all religions into one straw man and making your “just so” statements of incompatibility. I’m not playing a word game.

          Hence my original question to you (on this thread or another)… A question you evaded answering time after time after time after time, but a question which you seem to be implying here that you do actually have an answer to.

          Can you name any truth religion has ever revealed to the world?

          Mel, can you please address this question now… especially considering your comment to Tildeb?

          If both religion and science aim to reveal truths, and both are valid mechanisms for this endeavour, then we should see both revealing truths to the world over time. Correct? We know science has been quite successful. Has religion, in it’s broadest possible guise?

          So,

          Can you name any truth religion has ever revealed to the world?

          (and just to avoid your first diversionary attempt, again: Truth: the quality or state of being true/ that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality)

      • @Mel
        I agree that the analogy fails. Basically when one thinks about the “Why” of his analogy it’s because the TWO HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH EACH OTHER. In other words, it’s actually an analogy that supports Gould’s Non-Overlapping Magisteria, which itself is an argument for compatibility.

        It’s like saying can you be a swinger and work in a soup kitchen. Are those things compatible?

        Compatibility doesn’t mean A causes B, but rather the two can coexist, especially within an individual. The question as far as I see it is can a person believe in a deity, identify with a religious tradition, yet still make important discoveries using the scientific method?

        As I was responding directly to your original blog post, TildeB also doesn’t seem to understand what a Red Herring Fallacy actually is. After all I wrote:

        “The main problem originates with literalism/fundamentalism and the deeper psychological urge that “EVERYONE MUST AGREE WITH ME OR ELSE!” Many non-literal versions of religions do fine with science acceptance.”

        It seems to me that is DIRECTLY related to the topic. I’m making a claim that the conflict between science and religion rests with fundamentalism and literal interpretations of the Bible. If you don’t believe Genesis 1 represents a story of events that actually happened, then of course, it doesn’t prevent one from accepting the Theory of Evolution.

        If Tidleb would like to actually adddress any of my points for real I’d be happy to engage. If he wants to use logic incorrectly, go on long incoherent rants, and throw a bunch of labels out instead of real response then perhaps we shoudn’t waste each others’ time.

        • tildeb says:

          CR, the incompatibility issue has to do with contrary claims made about causal effects. That’s why I explained that one person can hold two incompatible beliefs…. as long as s/he separates when to use them. If a scientist imported a religious belief into the science being done, it would be garbage. If one imports science into religion, it would be garbage. The two are incompatible METHODS. Religion is faith-based. Science is evidence-adduced. They produce incompatible results for the SAME causal claim. As an example, I raised evolution. There is an ongoing problem when a religious claim about, say, special creationism for humans conflicts DIRECTLY with the scientific understand of human ancestry. This is a direct incompatibility. The two are not compatible. They are in conflict. Mel would have you believe the two are compatible because there are religious scientists who believe in special creationism. Hence, my analogy of pedophilia and priests. Just because one person holds incompatible beliefs does not magically make the beliefs compatible, The religious scientist if working in biology will have to use only the scientific understanding if s/he wants to do good science. Importing special creationism is incompatible with evidence-adduced human ancestry and so anything to do with human ancestry – like medicine – will not work if one assumes special creationism is compatible with genetics. It’s not. The two ideas about the same subject are incompatible. The religious doctor applying medicine will have to put aside his or her belief in special creationism and operate according to evolutionary biology. That doesn’t make the two ideas compatible as Mel continues to try to argue. But what it does is create a false assurance that two are not in conflict, that the two really don’t have adverse effects when they do. People suffer and die needlessly for just this reason, to assuage the incompatible religious sensibilities of medical practitioners, of those who fund medicine, of those who offer medical services but try to align the medicine offered with the religious sensibilities. This religious sensibility causes a huge amount of suffering and needless death when best practices medicine is constrained by concern for religious sensibilities. Everything from women’s health to end of life care, from child mortality to access to services. Religious sensibilities plays a central role of concern in all of these areas.

          And that’s just medicine.

          The incompatibility arises every time contrary claims are made about the same causal claim. Mel believes the two deserve equal consideration. I think that’s lunacy.

        • I would agree with you that sometimes parts of each can be in conflict. And sometimes they’re not. As I already pointed out if a person doesn’t believe in a literal creation event then there is no contrary claim being MADE.

          To pick one type of believer and ignore the very REAL existence of this other type is to cherrypick reality to falsely support one’s beliefs.

          The people who forsake proper medical treatment or vaccination for religious reasons are almost always people that fit into the FUNDAMENTALIST category of the spectrum and thus cannot be used to differentiate between my claim versus yours.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I agree with what you’re saying here, CR. That’s what I’ve been trying to say all along.

          And I also agree with Tildeb’s point:

          If a scientist imported a religious belief into the science being done, it would be garbage. If one imports science into religion, it would be garbage. The two are incompatible METHODS.

          CR, you can correct me if I’m wrong about what you’re saying, but I don’t think we’ve been saying that science and religion are compatible “methods,” nor do we think we should import our religious beliefs into science, or vise versa. We’re saying that religion deals with issues science cannot deal with (and vise versa). This is the way most religious scientists see this compatibility. I will post something on that tomorrow.

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