Intriguing.

An agnostic atheist stated he would believe in god.

I wonder what would that ‘god’ look like?

What would that ‘god’ tell us?

What would that ‘religion’ behave like?

Would ‘science’ accept or denounce the scientist? Would ‘science’ accept or denounce this ‘god?’

This opens up a new realm of dialogue?

Is there a common ground between science and religion? Is that common ground ‘new’ or is it an older common ground that is now being recognized again?

Can that acceptance be extended to Jesus Christ? Would all religions be considered equal. Or, would the acceptance only extend to certain religions? How would the contradictory truth claims of some religions be handled?

Muslims claim Jesus is not God; Christians believe Jesus is God; and Mormons believe Jesus is only one of many ‘gods.’ Would we resolve this? Or, would we just accept all religions?

I am intrigued.

Would evolution still be the dominant ‘scientific’ standard, or would other dogmas become the new standards?

what do you think?

ghost.

Why Evolution Is True

I didn’t know much about this video save that it’s an interview of Richard Dawkins at the Oxford Union by an unnamed interlocutor [see below, he’s Mehdi Hasan], and it appeared on YouTube about three weeks ago. Hasan turned out to be a pretty fundamentalist Muslim (he says at 14:35 that Mohamed ascended to heaven on a winged horse), is very aggressive, and asked Richard some tough questions. I don’t remember Dawkins being put on such a hot seat by a journalist! Richard looks taken aback at the beginning, but survived the grilling well and made some good points. It’s a pity that Richard didn’t get to ask the interviewer some questions!

Watch it to see some responses to the toughest questions that you’d ever be asked by believers. It covers a lot of ground and is definitely worth watching, even if you’re already familiar with Richard’s arguments against…

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21 Responses to

  1. I got this comment over on WEIT’s blog:

    “I think the answers to your questions would depend on specifics that have not been specified. Scientists don’t just speculate: they try to test their speculations and rule them out against alternatives.”

    OK. What specifics would need to ‘be specified.’

    I LOVE A TAUTOLOGY.

    Anyway, HOW would this look? WHAT would this look like?

    And how would your specifics apply to the blogger expressing a willingness to believe in god? And how would that affect what I asked about that blogger’s new found faith?

  2. Sastra says:

    You wrote:

    OK. What specifics would need to ‘be specified.’

    At his website, Dr. Jerry Coyne had stated that “if the evidence is very strong one can provisionally accept the existence of a divine being. If you later find that it’s a trick, you can change your mind.” This refers to a hypothetical event or series of events which are so incredibly unlikely given naturalism/atheism that it makes more sense to infer the existence of God than some sort of natural ‘trick.’ As I recall, Jerry used something like all the stars moving to spell out “God Exists.” And staying that way.

    You then asked what this God would look like, what it would tell us, and other questions which would depend on what happens next. That’s why I was puzzled. Your questions only make sense if Jerry was going to make God up — tell a story about what he thinks God is like, would be like, should be like. He’s not trying to do that; he’s trying to go about explaining how an investigation could be started. What “God is like” would depend on where the evidence goes.

    Like Dr. Coyne, I’m also an atheist. Most atheists — most scientific humanists, at any rate — are perfectly willing to believe in god (or ghosts or ESP or the Loch Ness Monster) given good enough reasons to do so. So I don’t understand what you mean by “new found faith.”

    • Let me work backwards. First, when you find faith, it is new found.

      When you discover faith, you find a relationship. And this is true for all religions I am aware of.

      And I believe that is true for agnosticism and atheism. You develop a relationship to what you believe.

      When you develop any set of knowledge, you grow that knowledge. So, I am not saying he would ‘make’ his ‘god’ out of thin air. Rather, I am asking Jerry what would he believe in?

      Honestly? If a ‘god’ made the start move, what would he think that ‘god’ is like?

      I believe, and I expect any honest scientist should admit, something moved the stars to where they are today?

      Honestly? Believing a set of equations (*) which defy all known physics is believing in a miracle. IMHO. Believing the Universe expanded (inflated) for a brief period at a speed greater than light speed, and then slowed down in the visible spectrum, is faith in a miracle. And that miracle is not easier to believe than believing the external force was ‘God.’

      Again, that is IMHO.

      But, if the stars miraculously appeared to move to spell out God exists, what should Jerry Coyne infer about this ‘god?’

      Ghost.

      (*) A Miraculous Big Bang.

  3. Pingback: Scientists Breed Anti-Science by Attacking Faith « Eternal Ouroboros

  4. Sastra says:

    You wrote:

    And I believe that is true for agnosticism and atheism. You develop a relationship to what you believe.

    A “relationship?” That’s an awkward way of putting it. Do you mean that atheists are emotionally attached to the theory of naturalism? Not necessarily.

    If a ‘god’ made the start move, what would he think that ‘god’ is like?

    The concept of “god” is supposed to be some sort of extremely powerful or significant nonmaterial primary mental force(s) or essence(s), so it would have to be like that — or else it wouldn’t be considered “god.”

    I think your definitions are confusing. Big Bang theory does not “defy all known physics” – it’s a theory in physics. It might be right, it might be wrong — but it wouldn’t be deemed a “miracle” unless it invoked a supernatural God or maybe just the supernatural in general.

    But, if the stars miraculously appeared to move to spell out God exists, what should Jerry Coyne infer about this ‘god?’

    It communicates — and in English.

    • How can anyone not be emotionally attached to what they believe is the correct view of nature?

      It would be a shocking experience for me to not believe in God. And I would assume it would be a shocking experience for a scientist to realize his/her equations were no longer the prime mover?

      Yes. The Big Bang does defy KNOWN physics, or is the Big Bang not a part of theoretical physics any longer?

      😉

      Either it is, or it isn’t theoretical. Theoretical is NOT known, it is theory.

      FIRST.

      Second: “Exactly what triggered this sudden expansion remains a mystery. [emphasis added} Astronomers believe it involved a runaway process called “inflation,” in which a peculiar type of energy that existed in the vacuum of space was suddenly mobilized. The inflationary expansion ended only when this energy was transformed into more familiar forms of matter and energy.” From http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/universe/historysans.html

      IF it is a mystery, and it defies simple explanation, how is it KNOWN? How does it not defy KNOWN Physics?

      I think what confuses you is I HAVE read substantive works upon the subject, and I realize the difficulty which exists in explaining ‘CREATION.’

      It IS NOT easy. No matter what Theory you choose, it can be difficult to explain even to a fellow believer in your Theory. IMHO.

      Can you explain ‘Inflation’ to me? In simple terms? What happened in the 3 primary phases of expansion of the Universe? I can – but, it still requires a certain amount of faith = and AGREEMENT …. Something Scientists do not do, is agree upon the first second.

  5. Sastra says:

    How can anyone not be emotionally attached to what they believe is the correct view of nature?

    One should not be so attached that they cannot change their mind.
    If you are wrong about God, what would change your mind, so that you no longer believed?

    • I agree, in Science we should not become emotionally attached. But, I do not see that often in the field of ‘Evolutionary Study.’

      Do you meet people in the field of Evolution you feel are open minded?

      If I was wrong about God, how would a secondary miracle cancel that out?

      I honestly believe I would be open enough to external stimuli indicating I had been mistaken about God. But, since my faith in God is based upon witnessing miracles, wouldn’t a secondary (& contradictory) miracle be necessary to cancel out that faith?

      I have to think about that one.

      ghost.

  6. Sastra says:

    But, since my faith in God is based upon witnessing miracles, wouldn’t a secondary (& contradictory) miracle be necessary to cancel out that faith?

    No; only a more plausible natural explanation for the “miracle” you witnessed. You may have misinterpreted.
    Do you think that some of the people who claim they saw a miracle are honestly mistaken?

    • I like the way you think and pose your comments!

      Yes, in some cases there could be a more plausible natural explanation. But, in some cases of miracles I have witnessed, the mathematical improbability of a natural occurrence at that point in time without an external force was not probable.

      But, it is possible I misinterpreted.

      I do not extend my observations to others, I am a true skeptic. Which is one reason I have become so skeptical of ‘modern Science.’ I have seen so many more corrections to their natural observations over the years than corrections to my spiritual observations.

      ghost.

      • Sastra says:

        Without knowing what the ‘miracles’ you claim to have witnessed were, I can’t really speculate further. Even if you told me every detail which you remember, I still wouldn’t be able to tell if what you saw was or wasn’t an actual miracle. Anecdotes usually can’t be refuted — but, by the same token, they can’t be relied on either.

        Some things to consider, though:
        Our memories are not cameras or videos. We frequently misremember events, or their order, or the exact details.
        Our senses are not cameras or videos either. We didn’t always see what we thought we saw.
        Human beings are just not perfectly objective. Our preconceptions and expectations tend to give us what we expect to see, or will subtly alter interpretations in order to make sense of ambiguous data. The more subjective, the more likely error will remain uncaught.

        That’s essentially what lies at the basis of the entire modern scientific enterprise: the realization that we are all biased — and that we ought to find ways to check this, and keep correcting errors. As the physicist Feynman said “science is what we have learned about how not to fool ourselves — and we are the easiest people to fool.”

        Science changes because people make mistakes, and have to keep fixing them. We’re better at catching each others mistakes than we are at catching our own: thus the community of experts.

        Spiritual knowledge never changes because it is presumed perfect. People, though, are not (including you and me.). That is the flaw in knowing about spiritual things through one’s own experience.

      • I still like the way you are thinking. Even though I disagree with your assumptions (implications).

        You assume: scientific experiences are not reliable; a spiritual experience cannot be verified; spiritual experiences are not reliable; the group objectivity is more reliable than individual objectivity.

        If I assume the reverse, am I being objective? Should we rule out phenomenon just because we cannot explain the phenomenon?

        If so, should I rule out the Big Bang, that would hurt. And I would rule out Evolution. I would not miss Evolution.

  7. Sastra says:

    You wrote:

    …the group objectivity is more reliable than individual objectivity.
    If I assume the reverse, am I being objective?

    No. A single person may be right and a group of people may be wrong, but all the single person can give us is their word, and nobody — not even the person themselves — can catch any mistakes they may have made. Being objective means trying to minimize our subjective errors.

    Science forces us to ask “if I am wrong, how would I know?” Don’t trust yourself — check.
    Mysticism simply encourages us to say “I know, and cannot be wrong.” Trust yourself.

    Over time, the method which is more cautious, more humble, more open, and more willing to find and error and change, is likely to be right. That’s what I mean by reliable.

    Should we rule out phenomenon just because we cannot explain the phenomenon?

    No.

    • Ironically, I fit the ‘scientific’ definition better than most scientists.

      I welcome correction – that is a biblical principal by the way. I enjoy learning new things. I enjoy discovery.

      I also discovered many years ago, scientists were making most of their mistakes in the pursuit of Evolutionary theory.

      I enjoy discovery and correction. But, that does not mean that I “want” to be wrong.

      😉

      • Sastra says:

        Ironically, I fit the ‘scientific’ definition better than most scientists.
        I welcome correction… I also discovered many years ago, scientists were making most of their mistakes in the pursuit of Evolutionary theory.

        If you really wish to test your ‘discovery,’ then you need to get a background which is as strong as that the evolutionary scientists you critique. Go to a university and get advanced degrees in the field. Form hypotheses which can be tested. Get published in journals and answer your critics using the same strong, sharp tools they use themselves. Wait for replication and a gradual turn in the consensus of your community.

        It is not enough to read a few things intended for the general public and think “hey, I caught a mistake.” The experts are all trying to catch mistakes — it is how both science and scientists advance. If they have not yet done so, then the greater likelihood is that no, you simply misunderstood what they are talking about. That is much, much more likely … as seen from a scientific perspective, rather than a romantic one.

        I think that if you really “fit the “scientific” definition better than most scientists” then you will get serious and become a scientist, deeply experienced and knowledgeable in the field of evolutionary biology, or cosmology, or what interests you the most. Or, barring that, you will immerse yourself in textbooks, technical literature, or as many well-respected works as you can. Start with popular books, but move slowly on to the more difficult. In that way, you will be better at forming and formulating any problems you still have, separating these remaining problems with the theory from problems you once had understanding it.

        Otherwise, you are not serious about being “corrected” — not serious in the scientific sense. You are only playacting at science. Disagree with experts — you need to stand on the same ground and play by the same rules.

      • Interesting. I agree in principle with what you wrote. However, your premise assumes I am not what I am.

        You read one ‘scientist’ I ‘disagreed’ with. His field is not a hard science. His field is a soft science. And with the advances in Psychiatry, I would place his field at the bottom of the soft scale, below Psychiatry and Theology.

        And since he ‘bans’ anyone who does not ‘believe’ his Religion quickly, how does one ‘disagree’ with him?

        In Evolution, you cannot put forward any theories and test them. We are unable to live that long, and we are unable to replicate what we say happened in nature.

        Further, I have that advanced degree, including logic and work in Rhetoric. And my advanced degree was based upon my Mathematics degree.

        I am serious. And 200 years ago, men just like myself were the ‘scientists’ of the day making all the discoveries.

        I would not mind going on and getting another degree I love Mathematics. And I finally started to get Physics.

        My terminal degree would most likely be Rhetoric. Since I believe the change in communication has had a much greater impact upon the discussion than the underlying Science has.

        IMHO.

        Even if you disagree, at least we can disagree well. And that is one of my biggest problems with ‘Evolutionists.’ Accept maybe Dawkins, most evolutionary evangelists are very aggressive about ‘their’ version of the theory. And they ignore most everyone else, accept for the obligatory accolades.

        Dawkins is just plain incredulous people do not ‘understand’ him. He is cute when he is on stage. But, because his body language is not in print, his books come across as very arrogant. I seeing him, I know he is genuinely perplexed by disagreement.

        And he tries to understand his opponents arguments.

  8. Pingback: Can you understand me? | thewordpressghost

  9. Sastra says:

    In Evolution, you cannot put forward any theories and test them. We are unable to live that long, and we are unable to replicate what we say happened in nature.

    You do not yet understand the theory you are criticizing well enough, because this is not a valid objection. I’ve no problem accepting that you have experience and degree(s) from a university, but you don’t have expertise in biology.

    And that — not rhetoric — is what you really need. All the eloquence in the world will not help you if you don’t know what you’re talking about. People who do understand evolution will spot you out right away. Biology IS indeed a science. Science is hard. There is no shortcut around spending time and effort in order to understand it. And if you are going to try to literally refute the overwhelming consensus, then you will need even more time and effort to understand the specifics of biology, not less. That is going to involve studying academic work.

    I only have a degree in English Literature. But I know enough to know what is well over my head — such as thinking I could just figure out major flaws in scientific theories simply by doing a bit of reading, taking a course, thinking about it, and then coming up with an opinion that means something. In my humble opinion, your opinions are not humble.

    I am serious. And 200 years ago, men just like myself were the ‘scientists’ of the day making all the discoveries.

    Not just like yourself, I think. What is your own hypothesis, how would you test it, and what have you done? I ask that seriously. If you are serious, you will ask yourself the same question.

    It is not enough to look at what others have done and say “I don’t believe that” and call it a “discovery.” If you want to consider yourself as being like a scientist, then at the very least you have to come up with an alternative hypothesis which competes with evolution, explains the same things it explains, and successfully predicts things it does not. And you ought to have a mechanism. Specifics. Something you have discovered about reality — not a complaint about how other people behave.

    I suspect that ‘evolutionary evangelists’ might be less aggressive if you asked simple questions and listened carefully to the answers before you asked other questions. They have more to teach you than you can teach them — at least at this point. Let them teach. Let yourself learn.

    • I have asked ‘simple’ questions.

      And being in the top .5% of college educated Americans, I could understand even a difficult answer if they gave a real answer.

      I am smart enough to know when someone does not believe what they teach – they intimidate.

      I expect answers. Real answers. But, those are few and far between in evolutionary biology – which is not the same as biology btw.

    • OK,

      You want me to come up with a theory of everything (which is much more than evolutionary biology has done). You want me to have a mechanism. You want testability. You want it to explain the same thing – strange set of rules.

      Specifics.

      I was developing theorems (real ones) from scratch in 7th grade because I was bored.

      Testing is not necessary to work through bad English, nor bad logic.

      I found it odd that you claimed I do not understand the theory. Attacking the person (ad hominem) does not dismiss the fact that the ‘mechanism’ and testability which you demand from me is missing in Evolutionary theory.

      That is not criticism in the normal English language, that is critique.

      The very foundational needs for Evolutionary Science to call itself a Science is missing.

      Absent.

      You can say that I am not humble, or educated, or smart enough, or whatever else.

      And I can work through each of those and show the opposite.

      And at the end you tell me to become a student of someone who is not able to teach in the classical sense of the word.

      The semantic range and domain of the words.

      Evolution is a young discipline. And it is not mature.

      I can forgive some of its softness, but coming from a hard science background, I do not forgive all of its softness.

      And why should I? I studied hard to get where I am. And I could not just wave my hand and say it is that way because we predicted it that way ….

      All of the expected predictions of evolution are not there.

      We should have new species often. 3,000 species die off each year. We should have at least 10% of that in new species if the evolutionary mechanism is real.

      We should have more than one DNA mechanism. Evolutionists teach that there were tens of thousands of original life forms before our form caught on.

      Where are they?

      And the list goes on.

      How is it we have more in common with the Monkeys than we do with the Neanderthal? We carry genes from interbreeding with the Neanderthal. Not from interbreeding with monkeys.

      There are NO intermediate forms which survive. A mule would be an evolutionary intermediate if it could reproduce. Intermediate forms are genetic zeros. All of them.

      So, how can one species mutate into another outside of being genetically mutated in a lab?

      I would like to think that with all the ‘Science’ around evolutionary biology (evo-devo) someone would get down to real study of the mechanisms they claim should be there.

      Show them to us and let us peer review them ….

      My theory has already stood the test of time – 3300 years …..

  10. Biology is hard. True. But, Evolution is NOT Biology. Biology is the study of living things. Evolution is a Theory about dead things.

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