Opt in or opt out?

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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Qwertyuiopasd on Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:53 pm

Here's a thought. Just looked up wikipedia's definition of science.

wikipedia wrote:Science is an enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the world.[1][2][3][4] An older meaning still in use today is that of Aristotle, for whom scientific knowledge was a body of reliable knowledge that can be logically and rationally explained


Doesn't exactly line up with the wikipedia definition of religion, to me.

Also, would you classify science as a philosophy? Because it looks like the only thing that would make it not a religion at this point is your caveat of believing in God(s), which would then make it a philosophy. Unless you have some other way of designating these things.

For me though, it's quite simple. Science is a process, whereas Religion is a belief system. One can identify as a particular religion, whereas someone can't really identify as a science believer. This is where atheism ends up being thought of as a religion, because when someone asks what religion an atheist is, they say "oh, I'm an atheist."
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby daftbeaker on Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:06 pm

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:Here's a thought. Just looked up wikipedia's definition of science.

wikipedia wrote:Science is an enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the world.[1][2][3][4] An older meaning still in use today is that of Aristotle, for whom scientific knowledge was a body of reliable knowledge that can be logically and rationally explained


Doesn't exactly line up with the wikipedia definition of religion, to me.

Well, no, it wouldn't, science isn't a religion. That was the whole point of my last few posts. If a definition of 'religion' can be used to classify things that are patently not religions as religions then it's not a very good definition. Mine doesn't give false positives :wink:

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:Also, would you classify science as a philosophy? Because it looks like the only thing that would make it not a religion at this point is your caveat of believing in God(s), which would then make it a philosophy. Unless you have some other way of designating these things.

I honestly don't know, I haven't thought about it that much :idiot: I suppose you could call it a philosophy but I don't think I would, for me philosophy has strong connotations of 'talking out of one's arse without any evidence' (much like economics). You can philosophise all you want but in science if your idea doesn't match up with the data then it's wrong. That great Feynmann quote is rather appropriate here:

Richard Feynman wrote:It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong.


Qwertyuiopasd wrote:For me though, it's quite simple. Science is a process, whereas Religion is a belief system. One can identify as a particular religion, whereas someone can't really identify as a science believer.

I believe in reality :scientist:
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Qwertyuiopasd on Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:45 pm

daftbeaker wrote:Well, no, it wouldn't, science isn't a religion. That was the whole point of my last few posts. If a definition of 'religion' can be used to classify things that are patently not religions as religions then it's not a very good definition. Mine doesn't give false positives :wink:


Neither does the wikipedia definition. :wink:

If you think about it, no definition gives false positives. If something fits the definition, it, er, fits the definition.

The wikipedia definition is along the same lines as what I've heard from academia, and it doesn't include science. Of course, we're not even arguing that, are we? All this is is you objecting to the idea that there can be a religion without god(s), or anything of that nature, which I believe is covered by the part of the wikipedia definition that mentions the holy, divine, sacred, or otherwise spiritual.
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby daftbeaker on Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:02 pm

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:
daftbeaker wrote:Well, no, it wouldn't, science isn't a religion. That was the whole point of my last few posts. If a definition of 'religion' can be used to classify things that are patently not religions as religions then it's not a very good definition. Mine doesn't give false positives :wink:


Neither does the wikipedia definition. :wink:

Is science a religion? We're both in agreement that it's not (I hope), yet I have just shown it fits that definition of a religion. That is a false positive, incorrectly generating a positive result.

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:If you think about it, no definition gives false positives. If something fits the definition, it, er, fits the definition.

'A dog is a four legged animal with fur and a tail'. That definition is accurate, yet I can use it to describe a cat as a dog. A cat is not a dog, therefore that definition gave a false positive.

Just for reference, 'A cat is a four legged animal with fur and a tail' would give false negatives for Manx cats and the hairless ones.

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:The wikipedia definition is along the same lines as what I've heard from academia, and it doesn't include science. Of course, we're not even arguing that, are we? All this is is you objecting to the idea that there can be a religion without god(s), or anything of that nature, which I believe is covered by the part of the wikipedia definition that mentions the holy, divine, sacred, or otherwise spiritual.

I don't understand. If you can have a religion without a god then the holy, divine, spiritual or whatever you want to call it then it doesn't apply. See this:

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:The first paragraph of the Wikipeida page on Religion seems to be more in line with academia, though.

"Religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of life and the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a supernatural agency, or human beings’ relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, spiritual, or divine."

Okay, so obviously atheism lacks the supernatural agency, anything holy, sacred, spiritual, or divine. But the word used is "especially," so just taking the first clause, I think atheism certainly fits.


So does it have to have the mumbo-jumbo to be a religion or not?
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Qwertyuiopasd on Sun Jan 16, 2011 9:34 pm

daftbeaker wrote:Is science a religion? We're both in agreement that it's not (I hope), yet I have just shown it fits that definition of a religion. That is a false positive, incorrectly generating a positive result.


Well, no, you haven't, because I'm not convinced. :moon: Though to be more serious, neither is Ubi Dubius, or probably most of the people who read that or a similar definition. I mean, your stretching of the definition to fit science in wasn't too far off from my stretching to fit atheism in.

daftbeaker wrote:I don't understand. If you can have a religion without a god then the holy, divine, spiritual or whatever you want to call it then it doesn't apply.


You can have something be spiritual or sacred without it having anything to do with anything even remotely describable as a god.

daftbeaker wrote:
Qwertyuiopasd wrote:The first paragraph of the Wikipeida page on Religion seems to be more in line with academia, though.

"Religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of life and the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a supernatural agency, or human beings’ relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, spiritual, or divine."

Okay, so obviously atheism lacks the supernatural agency, anything holy, sacred, spiritual, or divine. But the word used is "especially," so just taking the first clause, I think atheism certainly fits.


So does it have to have the mumbo-jumbo to be a religion or not?


I have no idea what this quote has to do with anything right now, and I have no idea what you mean by "mumbo-jumbo."
daftbeaker wrote:But if I stop bugging you I'll have to go back to arguing with Qwerty about whether beauty is truth and precisely what we both mean by 'purple' :moon:


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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby daftbeaker on Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:56 am

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:
daftbeaker wrote:Is science a religion? We're both in agreement that it's not (I hope), yet I have just shown it fits that definition of a religion. That is a false positive, incorrectly generating a positive result.


Well, no, you haven't, because I'm not convinced. :moon: Though to be more serious, neither is Ubi Dubius, or probably most of the people who read that or a similar definition. I mean, your stretching of the definition to fit science in wasn't too far off from my stretching to fit atheism in.

I didn't stretch it. I gave evidence for each part of the definition, except the bit that you yourself discounted as not mandatory.

daftbeaker wrote:I don't understand. If you can have a religion without a god then the holy, divine, spiritual or whatever you want to call it then it doesn't apply.

You can have something be spiritual or sacred without it having anything to do with anything even remotely describable as a god.[/quote]
Like what?

daftbeaker wrote:
Qwertyuiopasd wrote:The first paragraph of the Wikipeida page on Religion seems to be more in line with academia, though.

"Religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of life and the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a supernatural agency, or human beings’ relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, spiritual, or divine."

Okay, so obviously atheism lacks the supernatural agency, anything holy, sacred, spiritual, or divine. But the word used is "especially," so just taking the first clause, I think atheism certainly fits.


So does it have to have the mumbo-jumbo to be a religion or not?


I have no idea what this quote has to do with anything right now, and I have no idea what you mean by "mumbo-jumbo."[/quote]
The point I was trying to make was you originally argued that the word is 'especially' and therefore having holy, sacred, spiritual or divine things (the mumbo-jumbo) is not necessary for something to be called a religion. Is it now necessary? :confused:
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby MakkaPakka on Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:16 am

Sure atheists don't have supernatural beings as part of their belief but what about scientific theories?

Christians say we believe that God made everything including life, atheists say prove it and Christians burble on about belief (what they are really saying is that they can't). Atheists talk about the big bang theory and evolution, Christians say prove it, and we burble on about their being lots of evidence but no actual ultimate proof (what we are really saying is that we can't).

We talk about string theory and again all we can say is that it closely matches our theories. Ultimately strings might be our equivalent of supernatural beings. No I realise they have no intelligence but it takes a certain amount of belief to say that string theory is anything other than a theory.

Current wisdom has it that we cannot travel faster than the speed of light. Does that stop some scientists speculating that it might be possible with some form of space warping drive? Is it not absurd to even start looking when we already know you cannot go faster than light? What I am saying is that if you take what you see at face value then you might just be closing your mind to the real truth that has so far eluded us.

We might ridicule the religious for not wanting to seek the truth, but what about those atheists that ridicule those who refuse to give up looking to see if they can make the impossible, possible? Are they not as closed minded as the religious?
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby daftbeaker on Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:33 am

MakkaPakka wrote:Christians say we believe that God made everything including life, atheists say prove it and Christians burble on about belief (what they are really saying is that they can't). Atheists talk about the big bang theory and evolution, Christians say prove it, and we burble on about their being lots of evidence but no actual ultimate proof (what we are really saying is that we can't).

What actual ultimate proof are we missing?

MakkaPakka wrote:We might ridicule the religious for not wanting to seek the truth, but what about those atheists that ridicule those who refuse to give up looking to see if they can make the impossible, possible? Are they not as closed minded as the religious?

Yes, I am incredibly closed minded. More than that, I am actually prejudiced, bigoted and even violently inclined against some people. The kind of people that believe that vaccines are a Western plot to kill muslims and so prevented polio being wiped from the face of the Earth would be near the top of my list of a deserved kicking. I mean they might be right, it could be some evil conspiracy rather than an attempt to stop thousands of children being needlessly deformed and paralysed.
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby MakkaPakka on Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:01 am

daftbeaker wrote:
MakkaPakka wrote:Christians say we believe that God made everything including life, atheists say prove it and Christians burble on about belief (what they are really saying is that they can't). Atheists talk about the big bang theory and evolution, Christians say prove it, and we burble on about their being lots of evidence but no actual ultimate proof (what we are really saying is that we can't).

What actual ultimate proof are we missing?


If it were a court of law (in most countries) I think we could get a conviction. That is to say all the evidence suggests that evolution did it but ultimately in a free thinking society we cannot 100% say that evolution is the explanation for life as we know it. I shall certainly not be teaching my child that creationism is the right answer but I will be giving her the information to know that some people believe it.

daftbeaker wrote:
MakkaPakka wrote:We might ridicule the religious for not wanting to seek the truth, but what about those atheists that ridicule those who refuse to give up looking to see if they can make the impossible, possible? Are they not as closed minded as the religious?

Yes, I am incredibly closed minded. More than that, I am actually prejudiced, bigoted and even violently inclined against some people. The kind of people that believe that vaccines are a Western plot to kill muslims and so prevented polio being wiped from the face of the Earth would be near the top of my list of a deserved kicking. I mean they might be right, it could be some evil conspiracy rather than an attempt to stop thousands of children being needlessly deformed and paralysed.

That's because with a little research you can prove the good intentions of those involved and that any side effects for a particular vaccine (if there are any) were simply down to poor testing and not a conspiracy. Likewise we (well not me personally) can prove that we did go to the moon and that with a little digging we can show the attacks on New York were not a Jewish plot (or whatever the current crackpot theory is).

What I am saying is that open minded atheists are prepared to be proven wrong on almost any subject, not being able to go faster than light, time travel, string theory, big bang etc. As long as nobody tells us that evolution is a crock or that God exists. These last two seem to have become our sacred cows.
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Qwertyuiopasd on Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:42 am

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:First of all, since you haven't seem to have picked up on this, I'm not longer playing with that idea.


daftbeaker wrote:I don't understand. If you can have a religion without a god then the holy, divine, spiritual or whatever you want to call it then it doesn't apply.

You can have something be spiritual or sacred without it having anything to do with anything even remotely describable as a god.[/quote]
Like what?[/quote]

UUism, Buddhism, Taoism, probably a bunch of funky new age stuff, if I looked. :P But particularly those three come to mind.

daftbeaker wrote:The point I was trying to make was you originally argued that the word is 'especially' and therefore having holy, sacred, spiritual or divine things (the mumbo-jumbo) is not necessary for something to be called a religion. Is it now necessary? :confused:


Qwertyuiopasd wrote:First of all, since you haven't seem to have picked up on this, I'm not longer playing with that idea.


I'm no longer trying to argue that atheism is any kind of religion, why are you still trying to show me how science is a religion?
daftbeaker wrote:But if I stop bugging you I'll have to go back to arguing with Qwerty about whether beauty is truth and precisely what we both mean by 'purple' :moon:


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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby daftbeaker on Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:59 pm

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:
daftbeaker wrote:
Qwertyuiopasd wrote:You can have something be spiritual or sacred without it having anything to do with anything even remotely describable as a god.

Like what?

UUism, Buddhism, Taoism, probably a bunch of funky new age stuff, if I looked. :P But particularly those three come to mind.

But what about them is sacred or spiritual? A general respect for life and a sense of wonder at the Universe is not holy, sacred or spiritual (I have those things and I'm a horrible grumpy Dawkins-esque atheist :haha: ) For example, this Bad Astronomy post neatly communicates the sense of amazing awe that the Universe can generate without being sacred or spiritual.

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:
daftbeaker wrote:The point I was trying to make was you originally argued that the word is 'especially' and therefore having holy, sacred, spiritual or divine things (the mumbo-jumbo) is not necessary for something to be called a religion. Is it now necessary? :confused:
First of all, since you haven't seem to have picked up on this, I'm not longer playing with that idea.

I'm no longer trying to argue that atheism is any kind of religion, why are you still trying to show me how science is a religion?

Three reasons: I'm annoyingly sober and in pain, I felt like being argumentative and the definition you were using is too broad to be accurate. Take your pick :idiot:
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby daftbeaker on Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:05 pm

daftbeaker wrote:
MakkaPakka wrote:We might ridicule the religious for not wanting to seek the truth, but what about those atheists that ridicule those who refuse to give up looking to see if they can make the impossible, possible? Are they not as closed minded as the religious?

What I am saying is that open minded atheists are prepared to be proven wrong on almost any subject, not being able to go faster than light, time travel, string theory, big bang etc. As long as nobody tells us that evolution is a crock or that God exists. These last two seem to have become our sacred cows.

That's because there's a big difference between 'this theory may need some tweaking when we do more experiments' and 'this theory is wrong, despite the mountains of evidence supporting it and none backing the assertion it's wrong'.

I've always stated I am quite happy to believe in a god if there is sufficient evidence to do so. If, for example, the words 'There is a god and to prove it the solution to the Schrodinger equation for a multiple-electron atom is X' appeared on the moon I'd consider that pretty compelling evidence (obviously there would have to be more specifics than that but you get the idea). Someone's piles disappearing after they prayed to a dead bloke doesn't cut it for me. Saying that evolution is a crock is not necessarily wrong, providing the person making the claim has some evidence to support their assertion. Simply saying 'evolution is wrong because my book says it is and my book also says my book is correct' doesn't count.
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Tigger_the_Wing on Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:06 pm

daftbeaker wrote:
Qwertyuiopasd wrote:I'm no longer trying to argue that atheism is any kind of religion, why are you still trying to show me how science is a religion?

Three reasons: I'm annoyingly sober and in pain, I felt like being argumentative and the definition you were using is too broad to be accurate. Take your pick :idiot:


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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Qwertyuiopasd on Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:49 pm

daftbeaker wrote:But what about them is sacred or spiritual? A general respect for life and a sense of wonder at the Universe is not holy, sacred or spiritual (I have those things and I'm a horrible grumpy Dawkins-esque atheist :haha: ) For example, this Bad Astronomy post neatly communicates the sense of amazing awe that the Universe can generate without being sacred or spiritual.


You know, for me, it actually is. Science may be how I come to understand the interconnected web of life, but science has nothing to do with how I relate to it.

One thing I keep wanting to say (I think I have mentioned it before), but I keep not finding ways to fit it in, so I'm just going to put it here, is that science is just a process, nothing more. Unless I'm somehow horribly wrong about science. For instance, when shoving science into the wikipedia definition of religion, you brought up certain symbols, or certain scientists lives. Those aren't science. Said persons life may have a lot to do with science, and you can take what meaning or lessons you will from them, but they aren't science. Science is a process for discerning what is true. What do biographies have to do with that? What do symbols, which may be used with that process, or are used because of things we've learned from that process, have to do with the process itself?

Science may lead us to an understanding of how big the universe is, how we work in it, etc, but how we relate to it has nothing to do with science. Your secular sense of awe, my spiritual sense of awe, in response to that knowledge, is entirely irrelevant to the science itself.

As far as defining what's spiritual/sacred about Buddhism, Taoism, or whatever... do you really need me to do that for you? Do you look at those religions and their practices and say "Nope, I don't see anything sacred or spiritual. No matter what these people feel, no matter what they say about what's sacred or holy, there's clearly nothing, because there's no God involved."?
daftbeaker wrote:But if I stop bugging you I'll have to go back to arguing with Qwerty about whether beauty is truth and precisely what we both mean by 'purple' :moon:


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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby daftbeaker on Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:47 pm

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:
daftbeaker wrote:But what about them is sacred or spiritual? A general respect for life and a sense of wonder at the Universe is not holy, sacred or spiritual (I have those things and I'm a horrible grumpy Dawkins-esque atheist :haha: ) For example, this Bad Astronomy post neatly communicates the sense of amazing awe that the Universe can generate without being sacred or spiritual.

One thing I keep wanting to say (I think I have mentioned it before), but I keep not finding ways to fit it in, so I'm just going to put it here, is that science is just a process, nothing more. Unless I'm somehow horribly wrong about science. For instance, when shoving science into the wikipedia definition of religion, you brought up certain symbols, or certain scientists lives. Those aren't science. Said persons life may have a lot to do with science, and you can take what meaning or lessons you will from them, but they aren't science. Science is a process for discerning what is true. What do biographies have to do with that? What do symbols, which may be used with that process, or are used because of things we've learned from that process, have to do with the process itself?

(This bit is christianity-centred, feel free to substitute in other religions.) I used scientists lives as a parallel to saints and warning symbols as a parallel to the crucifix. What saints are there in the bible? None (to my knowledge), they are things that have been tacked on after. Same with the symbols, there is no crucifix in the bible. The earliest symbol I know of for christianity is the fish, the crucifix as a symbol came later. Are you arguing that just because they're added later and not included in the original idea that somehow they're not part of that religion?

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:Science may lead us to an understanding of how big the universe is, how we work in it, etc, but how we relate to it has nothing to do with science. Your secular sense of awe, my spiritual sense of awe, in response to that knowledge, is entirely irrelevant to the science itself.

You're missing my point. If we both have the same sense of awe and I have no spirituality/religion/mumbo-jumbo, then that is not necessary to have the sense of awe, ergo the sense of awe is not related to it.

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:As far as defining what's spiritual/sacred about Buddhism, Taoism, or whatever... do you really need me to do that for you? Do you look at those religions and their practices and say "Nope, I don't see anything sacred or spiritual. No matter what these people feel, no matter what they say about what's sacred or holy, there's clearly nothing, because there's no God involved."?

I didn't say that, I asked you to say what about them is divine or sacred or spiritual without a god. What I'm willing to bet is that the answer will be the same general sense of awe and respect I have but misattributed to some theological waffle :wink:
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