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Evolution and science compared to religious belief

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  • Evolution and science compared to religious belief

    Many university students with religious beliefs (Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Bahai) take science courses. Some state their religious beliefs and sacred texts are compatible with science or evolution when this is not the case. These students start off with a disadvantage because they cannot recognize, accept, or reconcile the conflicts. Are there any particular approaches to help students like this or is it better to say nothing?

    Another issue is the religious and philosophical misconceptions these students bring to class. Some think evolutionary biologists are materialists who promote atheism and their own creation story as they practice theology instead of science. Scientists are mocked as dogmatic priests ignorant of their own history.
    Last edited by Joseph; 01-13-2015, 04:00 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Joseph View Post
    Many university students with religious beliefs (Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Bahai) take science courses. Some state their religious beliefs and sacred texts are compatible with science or evolution when this is not the case. These students start off with a disadvantage because they cannot recognize, accept, or reconcile the conflicts. Are there any particular approaches to help students like this or is it better to say nothing?
    .
    you should pray about it.

    Another issue is the religious and philosophical misconceptions these students bring to class. Some think evolutionary biologists are materialists who promote atheism and their own creation story as they practice theology instead of science. Scientists are mocked as dogmatic priests ignorant of their own history.
    ??

    you say that like its a bad thing
    To say that crony capitalism is not true/free market capitalism, is like saying a grand slam is not true baseball, or like saying scoring a touchdown is not true American football ...Stefan Mykhaylo D

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Joseph View Post
      Many university students with religious beliefs (Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Bahai) take science courses. Some state their religious beliefs and sacred texts are compatible with science or evolution when this is not the case. These students start off with a disadvantage because they cannot recognize, accept, or reconcile the conflicts. Are there any particular approaches to help students like this or is it better to say nothing?

      Another issue is the religious and philosophical misconceptions these students bring to class. Some think evolutionary biologists are materialists who promote atheism and their own creation story as they practice theology instead of science. Scientists are mocked as dogmatic priests ignorant of their own history.
      Well the literal interpretation of religious beliefs and sacred texts are most certainly not compatible with evolution (or with some other scientific facts) and those who think it is usually base their arguments on the nonsense emanating from that bastion of ignorance and misinformation, namely the Discovery Institute in Seattle.

      The creationists claim “bias” against Discovery Institute, but it has effectively eliminated itself from serious scientific discussion by going on record to say that “Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its damning cultural legacies.” The aim of the DI is not to promote science but to replace “materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God,” and to replace materialist science with a new scientific paradigm “consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.”

      http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/w...04a1-Wedge.pdf

      This is not science; it is religious propaganda and the very antithesis of scientific methodology.

      BTW: Welcome to TWeb.
      “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

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      • #4
        Science and Religion has different epistemologies.

        Conflating the two is a category error.

        Pure and simple.

        K54

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        • #5
          Originally posted by jordanriver View Post
          you say that like its a bad thing
          yes!!!
          Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
          Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
          But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

          go with the flow the river knows . . .

          Frank

          I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Joseph View Post
            Many university students with religious beliefs (Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Bahai) take science courses. Some state their religious beliefs and sacred texts are compatible with science or evolution when this is not the case. These students start off with a disadvantage because they cannot recognize, accept, or reconcile the conflicts. Are there any particular approaches to help students like this or is it better to say nothing?
            If you hail from a position of no religious beliefs, then you need to be careful not to be too general with the statement I have bolded. Religious texts are subject to a wide variation of interpretation. If the religious student interprets their texts to imply the world is 6000 years old, then you would be correct, that belief is incompatible with science. But many do not interpret the texts as having that implication. Other students will be quite comfortable expressing a Christian religious faith in God and a belief in a 4.5 billion year old earth where life has a long history and has evolved.

            OTOH - you need to be careful not to go outside what science speaks to. Science can't tell us if there is or is not a God as believed by the Christian or Muslim faith. So students with those beliefs that acknowledge what can be validated scientifically but differ from you on their view of God's existence or person should be treated with respect to the extent they demonstrate they deserve it through their other social and intellectual behavior. Respecting diversity does not mean the other guy accepts me, it means I accept, as much as possible, the other guy. Set broad boundaries for respect, encompass as much as possible in your sense of genuine goodwill. Realize there is still far more we don't fully understand as opposed to that which we do understand.

            Another issue is the religious and philosophical misconceptions these students bring to class. Some think evolutionary biologists are materialists who promote atheism and their own creation story as they practice theology instead of science. Scientists are mocked as dogmatic priests ignorant of their own history.
            That is what some evolutionary biologists are, and yet it is also a generally false generalization that is propagated by those that teach views of creation that can't be adapted to current scientific theory. It is a bit paranoid ... but not entirely without merit! You need to be the example that disproves the rule long before anything you say on the subject will be listened to or respected. You show them respect for who they are and what they believe and you might, maybe have a chance of softening or dispelling some of the false notions they have picked up. Otherwise you just confirm the message and perpetuate the misunderstandings.

            You also might just find there are some things they understand that you need to learn as well.



            Jim
            Last edited by oxmixmudd; 01-14-2015, 10:51 AM.
            He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me."

            "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets"

            Comment


            • #7
              There is the general question of what is appropriate when religious beliefs conflict with science. Science, as a rule of thumb, is inflexible in that scientific explanations must be consistent with reality, and there is only one reality. Sure, at the border we might be pretty hazy on what the reality is, but the border continues to advance, and in its wake are scientifically accepted explanations.

              So this means the religios beliefs, to avoid irresolvable dissonance, must be flexible enough to accommodate scientific developments. Most of the Christians here who understand science, possess this kind of belief -- that is, they can view scripture through the lens of science, reinterpreting as necessary to maintain compatibility. The insidious problem with this approach is that, if scripture is EITHER misinterpreted OR compatible with science, what is it good for? Science cannot disprove any gods, but by now it has demonstrated that no understanding of our universe requires any gods.

              Some scientists have no patience with accommodationists, those who "understand" that REAL reality and religious reality can get along by going along. Whether we regard such people as dognatic priests depends on which reality we find most congenial.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Joseph View Post
                Many university students with religious beliefs (Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Bahai) take science courses. Some state their religious beliefs and sacred texts are compatible with science or evolution when this is not the case. These students start off with a disadvantage because they cannot recognize, accept, or reconcile the conflicts. Are there any particular approaches to help students like this or is it better to say nothing?

                Another issue is the religious and philosophical misconceptions these students bring to class. Some think evolutionary biologists are materialists who promote atheism and their own creation story as they practice theology instead of science. Scientists are mocked as dogmatic priests ignorant of their own history.
                I think the problem comes from thinking that religion is perfected and seperate. Scientists have discovered that there are likely to be surprises ahead. With Newton we thought we understood gravity. And then came Einstein, and we are not done yet. Religion is. It looks backwards while science looks forwards but you can see the continuity if you care to look.

                In religion, tradition is more important than anything else but it can be a little soporific if the rule of observance is: repeat until death.
                “I think God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.” ― Oscar Wilde
                “And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence” ― Bertrand Russell
                “not all there” - you know who you are

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by phank View Post
                  There is the general question of what is appropriate when religious beliefs conflict with science. Science, as a rule of thumb, is inflexible in that scientific explanations must be consistent with reality, and there is only one reality. Sure, at the border we might be pretty hazy on what the reality is, but the border continues to advance, and in its wake are scientifically accepted explanations.

                  So this means the religios beliefs, to avoid irresolvable dissonance, must be flexible enough to accommodate scientific developments. Most of the Christians here who understand science, possess this kind of belief -- that is, they can view scripture through the lens of science, reinterpreting as necessary to maintain compatibility. The insidious problem with this approach is that, if scripture is EITHER misinterpreted OR compatible with science, what is it good for? Science cannot disprove any gods, but by now it has demonstrated that no understanding of our universe requires any gods.

                  Some scientists have no patience with accommodationists, those who "understand" that REAL reality and religious reality can get along by going along. Whether we regard such people as dognatic priests depends on which reality we find most congenial.
                  This comment does not recognize the spiritual nature of a set of spiritual texts. The Bible, nor the Koran, nor any religious text I know of, is ever expected to be read or treated the same as we treat scientific texts and topics. The purpose is different, and mode of communication is also often very different. There is and has always been (take some time to study the history of Rabbinical thought on what Christians call the Old Testament) a fluidity to certain elements of interpretation of the text. The text must be understood in an ancient context and applied to a modern one. It's truths do not completely rest in its form or historical literality, but rather its context and purpose. This is not to say that historicity is not also important, especially in the Christian text.

                  IF one is going to try to find some means of correlating how we understand and interpret scripture with some form of modern intellectual discipline, then one should look more to the humanities for a comparison of how to proceed, not to science.


                  Jim
                  He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me."

                  "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by firstfloor View Post
                    I think the problem comes from thinking that religion is perfected and seperate. Scientists have discovered that there are likely to be surprises ahead. With Newton we thought we understood gravity. And then came Einstein, and we are not done yet. Religion is. It looks backwards while science looks forwards but you can see the continuity if you care to look.

                    In religion, tradition is more important than anything else but it can be a little soporific if the rule of observance is: repeat until death.
                    "Separate" in what sense? Of their epistemologies are different. If they're not then one ends up with the bitter stew of ignorance that's YEC and some of the radical Muslim beliefs about homosexuality, the inequality of women, ad nauseum.

                    And other than Fundies of all stripes I don't think most people believe "religion" -- note the quotes is "perfected".

                    I'm not even sure what that means in the sense of a human institution vis-a-vis the abstract notion of the supernatural.

                    K54

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by klaus54 View Post
                      "Separate" in what sense?
                      When I wrote “separate”, I was thinking about something Frank Schaeffer once said about carrying on the tradition of the Greek Orthodox Church until Christ comes. Jews and Muslims are also waiting for something. While there is always personal development, the church itself is static or separate from progress being made elsewhere because the revelation of God, in their terms, has ended.
                      “I think God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.” ― Oscar Wilde
                      “And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence” ― Bertrand Russell
                      “not all there” - you know who you are

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by oxmixmudd View Post
                        This comment does not recognize the spiritual nature of a set of spiritual texts.
                        I think the same can be said of YECs. Their doctrine, however perverse, is a scientific doctrine and not a spiritual doctrine.
                        IF one is going to try to find some means of correlating how we understand and interpret scripture with some form of modern intellectual discipline, then one should look more to the humanities for a comparison of how to proceed, not to science.


                        Jim
                        I think I understand this. Studying the bible is much like studying Shakespeare or T.S. Elliot. All of these are wealths of insights and inspiration. Of course, insights and inspirations do not require any magic to be meaningful.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by phank View Post
                          I think the same can be said of YECs. Their doctrine, however perverse, is a scientific doctrine and not a spiritual doctrine.
                          I think I understand this. Studying the bible is much like studying Shakespeare or T.S. Elliot. All of these are wealths of insights and inspiration. Of course, insights and inspirations do not require any magic to be meaningful.
                          I think its a HISTORY doctrine, or an interpretation of HISTORIC writings.
                          To say that crony capitalism is not true/free market capitalism, is like saying a grand slam is not true baseball, or like saying scoring a touchdown is not true American football ...Stefan Mykhaylo D

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by phank View Post
                            I think I understand this. Studying the bible is much like studying Shakespeare or T.S. Elliot. All of these are wealths of insights and inspiration. Of course, insights and inspirations do not require any magic to be meaningful.
                            Phank,

                            Your disdain for things pertaining to religious belief keeps you from understanding most if not all of what I have said.

                            Here you feign understanding simply to get yet another opportunity to denigrate that which you do not comprehend.

                            Perhaps someday you can aspire to a contribution that rises above background noise.


                            Jim
                            He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me."

                            "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by oxmixmudd View Post
                              Phank,

                              Your disdain for things pertaining to religious belief keeps you from understanding most if not all of what I have said.

                              Here you feign understanding simply to get yet another opportunity to denigrate that which you do not comprehend.

                              Perhaps someday you can aspire to a contribution that rises above background noise.


                              Jim
                              Jim, I am trying to give you the benefit of the doubt. I am assuming that, if you could possibly perform a god-ectomy, that whatever might remain would make sense and be useful. Your faith in what makes most sense to me as imaginary is something I admit I cannot understand. In my eyes, it demeans you. And I know if you could only set it aside, your contributions would rise above rote preaching. I am an intelligent, interested audience. I am NOT the choir. If ONLY the choir can rise above background noise, this is something for you to think about.
                              Last edited by phank; 01-15-2015, 06:36 PM.

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