Catholic Church claims "We developed the scientific method and laws of evidence"

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Catholic Church claims "We developed the scientific method and laws of evidence"

They make this claim but of course don't sight any sources.

www.catholicscomehome.org/epic/Epic_%20proof.pdf  

 

As best I can figure, some medieval scientists happened to be monks and catholic(cause other religions were illegal), so the church takes credit for their work.

I don't know what they mean by 'laws of evidence', Wikipedia has no listing for this. This term just seems to apply to the legal proceeding which are unique to each country.

The scientific method was developed over many centuries and many cultures probably starting with Aristotle. Three Catholics did contribute:

Roger Bacon was a Franciscan monk that contributed to the development. He studied at Oxford, the church prevented him from publishing his own works without their approval.

William of Ockham(Occam's Razor) was also a Franciscan friar that studies at Oxford. He was charged with Heresy at one point and faced possible prison and death at the hands of the church hierarchy. He opposed their ownership of property and accused the pope of heresy for owning so much property. He was excommunicated from the church.

Galileo also contributed and we know his history with the Catholic church.

These seem to be the only Catholics involved with the development of the scientific method.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_scientific_method

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Bacon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_of_Ockham

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_affair

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas


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B.S!!!!!!!!!!!

   

 

 

       This is the same "enlightened institution"   that put Pope Boniface VIII  on trial after his death.   The precident for that was of course the ninth century trial of Pope Formosus,  the cadaver  was dug up and put on trial  TWICE!!

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I wasn't able to get anywhere by clicking the link...

...but I did succeed in going to the www.catholicscomehome.org homepage.  It's pretty much what I expected, given the name: a website devoted to trying to get ex-Catholics to reaffiliate with the Catholic Church.  In simpler language, it's a Catholic apologetics website.  Which in turn, means that it's Catholic spin doctors looking for suckers.

 

Claims like these are made all the time; I once ran into one (that I briefly discussed with His Willness on another thread,) about St. Thomas Aquinas allegedly anticipating quantum movement, in his theological discussion on the movement of angels.  I suggest that you file this under "amusing but not enlightening" and otherwise ignore it.

 

Conor

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Nero wrote:Thomas

Nero wrote:

Thomas Aquinas

What did he contribute to any of these?

Seems that his contribution was helping to stop the church from persecuting science by developing a theology that man could actually learn things through reason and not just divine revelation. Otherwise we might still be living in the dark ages.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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Link is broken now. Did

Link is broken now. Did someone clue them into the fact that they were now being examined?


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Was this before or after

Was this before or after they sentenced Galileo to house arrest?


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geirj wrote:Was this before

geirj wrote:

Was this before or after they sentenced Galileo to house arrest?

He's had quite a rehabilitation, they church went from arresting him and prohibiting him from publishing anymore works, to now they apparently take credit for his work in developing scientific methods.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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thatonedude wrote:Link is

thatonedude wrote:

Link is broken now. Did someone clue them into the fact that they were now being examined?

http://www.catholicscomehome.org/epic/Epic_%20proof.pdf

 

Try it again I guess one needs the http://

 

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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WOW...truth via ellipsis

Amazing.  Politically correct spin doctoring has reached a new level of subterfuge and obfuscation.  I actually first heard this argument about 20 years ago from a kid I knew who went to a Jesuit-run school.  One of the Jesuits posited that the RC Church was indirectly responsible for scientific advancement because certain individuals who belonged to the church, and who were initially educated by clergy, were the agents of change via inspiration from the Holy Spirit.  Now they've gone whole hog and are trying to take credit for all of it, as if it had been part of the Divine Plan all along. It's a paradox, of sorts; to say that these people were inspired by the Holy Spirit to reject the edicts of the church, the very edicts that are themselves supposed to be received from the Trinity (which includes that same Holy Spirit) is contradictory to say the least and laughable at best.  Obviously they're trying to alter perceptions to attract more people back to the church because they need donations really bad.  It's all about money with them.  Just recently the RC Church has begun to allow limited corporate advertising on their radio network in order to raise more capital; selling off the immensely valuable and completely useless art collection is never an option, apparently.

I have little poignant or anecdotal to share in this space, but I'm glad I wrote something that made someone like you waste their time reading it. HAVE SOME.


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Conor Wilson wrote:Claims

Conor Wilson wrote:
Claims like these are made all the time; I once ran into one (that I briefly discussed with His Willness on another thread,) about St. Thomas Aquinas allegedly anticipating quantum movement,

I think it's kind of like when someone's local sports team wins, and they say "we won!"

Yeah. You won by sitting on the couch watching someone else do stuff. Pretty sure it's the same thing.

"Dude, we were totally there the whole time he was discovering science and stuff. We, uh ... gave him a place to stay and everything ... um ..."

Lame.

 

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fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


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His Willness wrote:

"I think it's kind of like when someone's local sports team wins, and they say "we won!"

Yeah. You won by sitting on the couch watching someone else do stuff. Pretty sure it's the same thing.

"Dude, we were totally there the whole time he was discovering science and stuff. We, uh ... gave him a place to stay and everything ... um ..."

Lame."

 

Me: I'm not so sure that I agree with you, Will.  I think it's much more like, say, I go to a KU / K-State ball game, I cheer for KU all the way, I employ every dirty trick in the book to try to ensure KU wins...but K-State wins anyway, and I respond by saying ""Wow! We won!"

 

If the Church had been "on the couch watching," so to speak, it might not be so bad.  But the Church actually opposed the advance of science.  (It was "heresy," remember, to think that the Earth revolved around the Sun!)

 

But as for it being lame, Will...there, you and I seem to be of one mind and heart.

 

Conor


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Conor Wilson wrote:Me: I'm

Conor Wilson wrote:
Me: I'm not so sure that I agree with you, Will.  I think it's much more like, say, I go to a KU / K-State ball game, I cheer for KU all the way, I employ every dirty trick in the book to try to ensure KU wins...but K-State wins anyway, and I respond by saying ""Wow! We won!"

Hehe. Quite right.

Makes it a bit sadder, really.

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fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


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If they developed it, then

If they developed it, then what's their excuse for not using it ?


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Anonymouse wrote:If they

Anonymouse wrote:

If they developed it, then what's their excuse for not using it ?

They did let scientists examine the Shroud of Turin a little bit until the evidence was pointing to it being a lot newer than 2000 years old. Then they had to protect it's integrity.

They haven't figured out a way to make money by using the scientific method. Only taking credit for it helps them get back members that previously left.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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Catholic Church claims "We developed the scientific method..."

One wouldn't normally expect a lot of citations in a television commercial; but it can still be a springboard to further reading and discussion.

"Developed" doesn't necessarily mean "invented" - it also means "grow to a maturer state" (Collins Dict.). I think Friar Roger Bacon's contribution to the scientific method is significant enough to qualify: see

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_scientific_method#Roger_Bacon

His work preceded the Protestant Reformation. Other people of the same and other religions made other contributions before and since, down to modern times.

Like other monks, Bacon was under a general vow of obedience, and needed permission from superiors before dropping his existing responsibilities to take on new projects. He received a papal commission for his work on the scientific method. Normally when a company or other institution commissions an employee to do a project, they feel they have the right to claim credit for the results - as in "the United States developed the first atomic bomb", when it's clearly individual U.S. scientists who did the actual work.

Similarly, I think the commercial's "the laws of evidence" is what's normally called "rules of evidence, in the field of law" (which takes longer to say), and probably refers to Br. Gratian the Jurist's work as first applied to Canon Law in the 12th century: see opening paragraph of

http://www.jstor.org/pss/1291781

Happy New Year!

EXC wrote:

They make this claim but of course don't sight any sources.

www.catholicscomehome.org/epic/Epic_%20proof.pdf  

 

As best I can figure, some medieval scientists happened to be monks and catholic(cause other religions were illegal), so the church takes credit for their work.

I don't know what they mean by 'laws of evidence', Wikipedia has no listing for this. This term just seems to apply to the legal proceeding which are unique to each country.

The scientific method was developed over many centuries and many cultures probably starting with Aristotle. Three Catholics did contribute:

Roger Bacon was a Franciscan monk that contributed to the development. He studied at Oxford, the church prevented him from publishing his own works without their approval.

William of Ockham(Occam's Razor) was also a Franciscan friar that studies at Oxford. He was charged with Heresy at one point and faced possible prison and death at the hands of the church hierarchy. He opposed their ownership of property and accused the pope of heresy for owning so much property. He was excommunicated from the church.

Galileo also contributed and we know his history with the Catholic church.

These seem to be the only Catholics involved with the development of the scientific method.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_scientific_method

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Bacon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_of_Ockham

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_affair

 


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Gregor Mendel

Gregor Mendel the "father of modern genetics" was a Catholic monk who devoted his life to the study of genetics while living in a Catholic monastery  


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An interlude to the self-assuring chatter

Sorry to interupt all your high-fiving and back-patting. I hope that such an elite intellectual group like yourself wouldnt mind my pointing something out.

Sources are clearly sited for each individual claim made in the ad. If you follow your own link which you kindly provided, you will find in the 'Im not Catholic' section a link titled, 'The truth behind our tv commercials.' You will find the sources there for your own further reading. I hope they meet your great academic standard which you have so well presented by quoting Wikipedia articles.

Ironically you mention Aristotle as who the scientific method 'probably' started with. In fact, the birth of modern empirical science was founded on an outright rejection of all things Aristotelian. This is why when you mention the likes of intellectual giants such as Thomas Aquinas, it rolls so easily off your tongues, as you have no idea of the implication and depth of his work. If any of you were to look at his work in either the Summa Theologica or Summa Contra Gentiles, you would see something completely foreign to the mindset you display on these sites. For each of his questions, he presents the best arguments against his views, and refutes each one individually. He did not spend his time in dark corners (or their virtual equivlant - this webpage), drowning with like-minded people in prejudices and preconceived notions, distorting the oppositions view to a ridiculous strawman not worthy of fighting against. 

 

 


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In other words Aquinas

 

CLS wrote:

He did not spend his time in dark corners (or their virtual equivlant - this webpage), drowning with like-minded people in prejudices and preconceived notions, distorting the oppositions view to a ridiculous strawman not worthy of fighting against. 

 

spent no time in church, CLS? How pleasing to hear this. 

Regardless of which boomerang manufacturer it may have been who first exercised the empirical method 250,000 years ago, the keystone of the modern scientific method and its process of peer review, was the Oxford Circle and other experimenters who drove the enlightenment in the face of religious threat often at their peril - these men included Robert Boyle, Richard Lower, Thomas Willis, Christopher Wren, Robert Hooke and others, a group that went on to found the Royal Society with Issac Newton. 

Some empiricists have been churchmen but whether or not they were actual christians is a matter for debate. In any case, the catholic church, which only exonerated Galileo five minutes ago, can not be called the font of the scientific method. That the church owned the written word and the means and funding of higher education for 1500 years explains its involvement with learning up to the development of the printing press and highlights its failure to move forward past that point.  

In any case, Aquinas could not be called an empiricist in the modern sense of the word - he certainly would not have argued all knowledge comes from sense experience, though he did maintain some knowledge must be informed thus. Where Aquinas falls in my opinion, is his special pleading that when it came to god, truth could be established by logic. In this he projects Aristotlean concepts of illumination. In the light of neuroscience, none of this makes sense. 

Aquinas was a formidable scholar but he was not a scientist. Nor does appealing to his authority somehow elevate the church to a leadership role in scientific endeavour. But let's give jesus the last word on christianity's respect for empiricism shall we?

"Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."

John 20:29

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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In fact

irisine wrote:

Gregor Mendel the "father of modern genetics" was a Catholic monk who devoted his life to the study of genetics while living in a Catholic monastery  

 

Mendel devoted his life to growing peas for dinner. He had no idea his observations of inherited traits had anything to do with genetics nor any idea what genetics actually was. But sure, like any human, he was capable of learning through observation. Even christians don't drive through red traffic lights. In any case, I like Mendel. He undertook the basic observations that, after his death, proved early genetic theory. It's a shame he was not around to enjoy the credit the theorists awarded him when they saw the power of his painstakingly gathered data. 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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EXC wrote: Catholic Church

EXC wrote:
Catholic Church claims "We developed the scientific method..."

You mean the church want's to claim they developed the methodology of "Question everything"??

Like fuck they did.

 

How do they know it wasn't the homosexuals who invented it?...

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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redneF wrote:EXC wrote:

redneF wrote:

EXC wrote:
Catholic Church claims "We developed the scientific method..."

You mean the church want's to claim they developed the methodology of "Question everything"??

Like fuck they did.

 

How do they know it wasn't the homosexuals who invented it?...

So you DO want to give credit to the priesthood?

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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Algebra was fostered and

Algebra was fostered and developed by Arabs and Muslims, so by this standard Allah must be the one true god.

BULL SHIT

One's religious beliefs are not lab tested like the discoveries they make. And DNA is not dependent on one believing in Thor or Jesus or Apollo to understand and accept as fact.

"We contributed"

SO THE FUCK WHAT,

I write poetry, so the mere fact that I write poetry means that all poets are secret atheists?

Science is not dependent on god belief to understand. And for this church to claim it contributed to science is absurd considering that the religious dark ages kept discovery down for 1,000 years.

AND

Newton was a believer, but he also thought alchemy would become a lagit science. So being smart and right about some things does not make one right about all the claims they make.

This argument is just another attempt to prop up the absurd idea that there is a magical invisible super brain with magical super powers. SORRY, doesn't wash.

 

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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:



Regardless of which boomerang manufacturer it may have been who first exercised the empirical method 250,000 years ago, the keystone of the modern scientific method and its process of peer review, was the Oxford Circle and other experimenters who drove the enlightenment in the face of religious threat often at their peril - these men included Robert Boyle, Richard Lower, Thomas Willis, Christopher Wren, Robert Hooke and others, a group that went on to found the Royal Society with Issac Newton.



"in the face of religious threat often at their peril": can you provide some examples that are clearly "Science vs Religion"? I propose that none of the above qualify (some might have a bit of the Religion vs Religion of their time, but that's a different topic).

Robert Boyle, a founder of modern chemistry, was a devout Christian. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Boyle : "As a director of the East India Company he spent large sums in promoting the spread of Christianity in the East, contributing liberally to missionary societies and to the expenses of translating the Bible or portions of it into various languages [...] In his Will, Boyle provided money for a series of lectures to defend the Christian religion against those he considered "notorious infidels, namely atheists, deists, pagans, Jews and Muslims", with the provision that controversies between Christians were not to be mentioned (see Boyle Lectures)." His books included "1664 – Excellence of Theology compared with Natural Philosophy", "1675 – Some Considerations about the Reconcileableness of Reason and Religion, with a Discourse about the Possibility of the Resurrection", and "1690 – The Christian Virtuoso" (on this book's title page, Boyle states "that, being addicted to experimental philosophy a man is rather assisted than indisposed to be a good Christian." And this principle is what he sets out to show.)

Physician Richard Lower, pioneer of blood transfusion, was an outspoken Protestant and Orangeman. From http://www.cornwalls.co.uk/history/people/richard_lower.htm : "Following the accession of James II, Lower fell into disrepute due to his anti-Catholic beliefs; he lost his court appointment and his medical practice suffered [...] He bequeathed money to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital and to French and Irish Protestant refugees, making plain where his religious beliefs lay." Christopher Wren, who partnered with Lower on cardiovascular research, as an architect also built over 50 churches including St Paul's Cathedral, which he considered his "greatest work" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Wren).

Thomas Willis, pioneer neurologist, hosted an Anglican congregation at his lodgings in he 1650s when the bishoprics were abolished under Oliver Cromwell (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Willis). His assistant Robert Hooke, known for microscopy etc etc, was also a staunch Anglican and Royalist. From http://home.clara.net/rod.beavon/leonardo.htm "England's Leonardo":

"The radical reappraisal of how nature worked that was taking place in the early seventeenth century was also rich in perceived religious implications. Far from being persecuted by the Church, indeed, we must not forget that the Scientific Revolution was seen as fulfilling Old Testament prophecies. Hooke expressed the prophetic character of the New Science very succinctly in the Preface to Micrographia in 1665:

        And as at first, mankind fell by tasting of the forbidden Tree of Knowledge, so we, their Posterity, may be in part restor'd by the same way, not only by beholding and contemplating, but by tasting too those fruits of Natural Knowledge, that were never yet forbidden. [2]

In the spirit of Bacon's and the Royal Society's motto, Nullius in Verba, it was not only to be by passive word-exercises that mankind would reach a profounder understanding of the Divine Creation, but also by action and experiment."

As a counter-example: not all his learning and scientific achievements were able to save Lavoisier from beheading at the hands of that pinnacle of the Enlightenment, the French Revolution.

I note that, formally, the promotion of "empiricism" can only be made at the expense of "rationalism", since, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empiricism: "Empiricism asserts that knowledge comes (only or primarily) via sensory experience as opposed to rationalism which asserts that knowledge comes (also) from pure thinking." Aristotle, Aquinas, most other philosophers, and most people period, I think can agree that both experience and reflection (including, on such experience) are important for knowledge, and good Science.

Atheistextremist wrote:


Aquinas was a formidable scholar but he was not a scientist.



Nobody was a "scientist" before 1833: that's when the word was invented (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientist). Was Aquinas a philosopher? Yes. Is philosophy science? Up until the 17th century, the terms were pretty much interchangeable: what we now call "science" is  short for what was then being called (both) "natural philosophy" and "natural science". The highest university degree in the natural sciences is still "Doctor of Philosophy". In Aquinas's  day, his specialty Theology was called "Queen of the Sciences".

Atheistextremist wrote:


But let's give jesus the last word on christianity's respect for empiricism shall we?

"Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."

John 20:29


Right before the quote you mention, Jesus had invited Doubting Thomas to put his hand into the wound in his side; and elsewhere said, "Seek and you shall find" (Matt 7:7), and encouraged people to see and hear and report their findings (Luke 7:22). These are not the words of one hostile to Experience.
 

Atheistextremist wrote:

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Planck: "All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter" Max Planck, physicist and churchwarden, 1944. See also http://www.adherents.com/people/pp/Max_Planck.html .


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More than a gardener

Atheistextremist wrote:

irisine wrote:

Gregor Mendel the "father of modern genetics" was a Catholic monk who devoted his life to the study of genetics while living in a Catholic monastery  

Mendel devoted his life to growing peas for dinner. He had no idea his observations of inherited traits had anything to do with genetics nor any idea what genetics actually was.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregor_Mendel: "Besides his work on plant breeding while at St Thomas's Abbey, Mendel also bred bees in a bee house that was built for him, using bee hives that he designed.[7] He also studied astronomy and meteorology,[6] founding the 'Austrian Meteorological Society' in 1865.[5] The majority of his published works were related to meteorology.[5]"

The man studied at the University of Vienna, he presented at scientific conferences, published in scientific journals, taught physics at the Abbey's School, discovered a number of new plant species. He understood very well the significance of his work, even if nobody else did at the time: "His experiments led him to make two generalizations, the Law of Segregation and the Law of Independent Assortment, which later became known as Mendel's Laws of Inheritance."

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetics: "The modern science of genetics, which seeks to understand the process of inheritance, only began with the work of Gregor Mendel in the mid-19th century.[6] Although he did not know the physical basis for heredity, Mendel observed that organisms inherit traits via discrete units of inheritance, which are now called genes." The word "genetics" was only coined in 1905, with specific reference to Mendel's work, by one of his fans.

Let credit be given where credit is due.

 


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Yes, credit the interest,

Yes, credit the interest, curiosity, and diligence of the people who made these important contributions, not the 'faith' they also happened to hold, or at least identify with, in times and places when it would sometimes be death to deny. Give some credit to the church if it educated them sufficiently, but that only requires a good will, not a belief in God, and that education was not particularly targeted at encouraging them to make such discoveries.

The negative consequences on growth of knowledge show up areas where the discoveries conflicted with official Church teachings, as with Galileo.

Or when activities necessary to further serious investigation were frowned upon, at least partly due to religious feelings, as with obtaining bodies for dissection as part of learning necessary for advancing knowledge of the internals of the human body to advance both understanding, and the ability to respond more effectively to injury and the effects of various diseases. Or even just objections to the very idea of dissection itself.

Yes give warranted credit, but don't skip over the other bits.

There is nothing particularly remarkable or unusual about people holding views on different areas of life which we can see as having some real or potential logical conflict, so listing important contributors to science who also were religious is just ingenuous.

After all, religion is still just a purely human activity, subject to all our failings as well as potentially embodying some of our more positive qualities. The God stuff can hinder as well as help, the harm is when it inhibits valid criticism because of its claimed divine inspiration.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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Credit

BobSpence1 wrote:

Yes, credit the interest, curiosity, and diligence of the people who made these important contributions, not the 'faith' they also happened to hold, or at least identify with, in times and places when it would sometimes be death to deny.

And give some credit, too, to these people's own statements and demonstrations on the compatibility and mutual support of (natural) science and (Christian) religion, in their own lives and in general. Some Enlightenment-driving examples of which I give above, that clearly go beyond the mere lip service their society may have required of them. I note that, to accuse them of intellectual dishonesty - besides being merely speculative, if presented without support - would seem to tarnish the haloes ("the keystone of the modern scientific method" etc) under which they were first presented to this Discussion.


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Graham Darling

Graham Darling wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Yes, credit the interest, curiosity, and diligence of the people who made these important contributions, not the 'faith' they also happened to hold, or at least identify with, in times and places when it would sometimes be death to deny.

And give some credit, too, to these people's own statements and demonstrations on the compatibility and mutual support of (natural) science and (Christian) religion, in their own lives and in general. Some Enlightenment-driving examples of which I give above, that clearly go beyond the mere lip service their society may have required of them. I note that, to accuse them of intellectual dishonesty - besides being merely speculative, if presented without support - would seem to tarnish the haloes ("the keystone of the modern scientific method" etc) under which they were first presented to this Discussion.

I was not accusing anyone of intellectual dishonesty, just noting that in that context, 'faith' was such a dominant feature of society, that it would require a strong conscious effort to even think about the possibility of doubting it.

Christianity was a major institution supporting many aspects of society at the time, and that is what counted. As we see today, we have alternative and arguably better institutions to fill that role, so the majority of scientists of high achievement now are not religious.

Science leads to knowledge, revelation and faith do not.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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Sure, Graham

Graham Darling wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

irisine wrote:

Gregor Mendel the "father of modern genetics" was a Catholic monk who devoted his life to the study of genetics while living in a Catholic monastery  

Mendel devoted his life to growing peas for dinner. He had no idea his observations of inherited traits had anything to do with genetics nor any idea what genetics actually was.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregor_Mendel: "Besides his work on plant breeding while at St Thomas's Abbey, Mendel also bred bees in a bee house that was built for him, using bee hives that he designed.[7] He also studied astronomy and meteorology,[6] founding the 'Austrian Meteorological Society' in 1865.[5] The majority of his published works were related to meteorology.[5]"

The man studied at the University of Vienna, he presented at scientific conferences, published in scientific journals, taught physics at the Abbey's School, discovered a number of new plant species. He understood very well the significance of his work, even if nobody else did at the time: "His experiments led him to make two generalizations, the Law of Segregation and the Law of Independent Assortment, which later became known as Mendel's Laws of Inheritance."

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetics: "The modern science of genetics, which seeks to understand the process of inheritance, only began with the work of Gregor Mendel in the mid-19th century.[6] Although he did not know the physical basis for heredity, Mendel observed that organisms inherit traits via discrete units of inheritance, which are now called genes." The word "genetics" was only coined in 1905, with specific reference to Mendel's work, by one of his fans.

Let credit be given where credit is due.

 

 

I was being flippant with the pea dinner. But Mendel, nevertheless, did not know anything about DNA-based genetics as we understand them. He did not claim or understand that his work was the key mechanism of natural selection. Nor can his work be in any way ascribed to his faith. 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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A strong case can be made

Graham Darling wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:



Regardless of which boomerang manufacturer it may have been who first exercised the empirical method 250,000 years ago, the keystone of the modern scientific method and its process of peer review, was the Oxford Circle and other experimenters who drove the enlightenment in the face of religious threat often at their peril - these men included Robert Boyle, Richard Lower, Thomas Willis, Christopher Wren, Robert Hooke and others, a group that went on to found the Royal Society with Issac Newton.



"in the face of religious threat often at their peril": can you provide some examples that are clearly "Science vs Religion"? I propose that none of the above qualify (some might have a bit of the Religion vs Religion of their time, but that's a different topic).

Robert Boyle, a founder of modern chemistry, was a devout Christian. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Boyle : "As a director of the East India Company he spent large sums in promoting the spread of Christianity in the East, contributing liberally to missionary societies and to the expenses of translating the Bible or portions of it into various languages [...] In his Will, Boyle provided money for a series of lectures to defend the Christian religion against those he considered "notorious infidels, namely atheists, deists, pagans, Jews and Muslims", with the provision that controversies between Christians were not to be mentioned (see Boyle Lectures)." His books included "1664 – Excellence of Theology compared with Natural Philosophy", "1675 – Some Considerations about the Reconcileableness of Reason and Religion, with a Discourse about the Possibility of the Resurrection", and "1690 – The Christian Virtuoso" (on this book's title page, Boyle states "that, being addicted to experimental philosophy a man is rather assisted than indisposed to be a good Christian." And this principle is what he sets out to show.)

Physician Richard Lower, pioneer of blood transfusion, was an outspoken Protestant and Orangeman. From http://www.cornwalls.co.uk/history/people/richard_lower.htm : "Following the accession of James II, Lower fell into disrepute due to his anti-Catholic beliefs; he lost his court appointment and his medical practice suffered [...] He bequeathed money to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital and to French and Irish Protestant refugees, making plain where his religious beliefs lay." Christopher Wren, who partnered with Lower on cardiovascular research, as an architect also built over 50 churches including St Paul's Cathedral, which he considered his "greatest work" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Wren).

Thomas Willis, pioneer neurologist, hosted an Anglican congregation at his lodgings in he 1650s when the bishoprics were abolished under Oliver Cromwell (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Willis). His assistant Robert Hooke, known for microscopy etc etc, was also a staunch Anglican and Royalist. From http://home.clara.net/rod.beavon/leonardo.htm "England's Leonardo":

"The radical reappraisal of how nature worked that was taking place in the early seventeenth century was also rich in perceived religious implications. Far from being persecuted by the Church, indeed, we must not forget that the Scientific Revolution was seen as fulfilling Old Testament prophecies. Hooke expressed the prophetic character of the New Science very succinctly in the Preface to Micrographia in 1665:

        And as at first, mankind fell by tasting of the forbidden Tree of Knowledge, so we, their Posterity, may be in part restor'd by the same way, not only by beholding and contemplating, but by tasting too those fruits of Natural Knowledge, that were never yet forbidden. [2]

In the spirit of Bacon's and the Royal Society's motto, Nullius in Verba, it was not only to be by passive word-exercises that mankind would reach a profounder understanding of the Divine Creation, but also by action and experiment."

As a counter-example: not all his learning and scientific achievements were able to save Lavoisier from beheading at the hands of that pinnacle of the Enlightenment, the French Revolution.

I note that, formally, the promotion of "empiricism" can only be made at the expense of "rationalism", since, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empiricism: "Empiricism asserts that knowledge comes (only or primarily) via sensory experience as opposed to rationalism which asserts that knowledge comes (also) from pure thinking." Aristotle, Aquinas, most other philosophers, and most people period, I think can agree that both experience and reflection (including, on such experience) are important for knowledge, and good Science.

Atheistextremist wrote:


Aquinas was a formidable scholar but he was not a scientist.



Nobody was a "scientist" before 1833: that's when the word was invented (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientist). Was Aquinas a philosopher? Yes. Is philosophy science? Up until the 17th century, the terms were pretty much interchangeable: what we now call "science" is  short for what was then being called (both) "natural philosophy" and "natural science". The highest university degree in the natural sciences is still "Doctor of Philosophy". In Aquinas's  day, his specialty Theology was called "Queen of the Sciences".

Atheistextremist wrote:


But let's give jesus the last word on christianity's respect for empiricism shall we?

"Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."

John 20:29


Right before the quote you mention, Jesus had invited Doubting Thomas to put his hand into the wound in his side; and elsewhere said, "Seek and you shall find" (Matt 7:7), and encouraged people to see and hear and report their findings (Luke 7:22). These are not the words of one hostile to Experience.
 

Atheistextremist wrote:

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Planck: "All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter" Max Planck, physicist and churchwarden, 1944. See also http://www.adherents.com/people/pp/Max_Planck.html .

 

that Galileo, Descartes, Thomas Willis and the men of the Oxford Circle were acutely aware of the impact of their work on religious doctrine. Not for nothing did Willis endlessly insist his Anatomy of the Brain and Nerves did not make him an atheist. He did this for a reason. Atheism was professional and potentially, physical, suicide. Empiricism applied to god equals agnostic atheism. Agnostic atheism was considered blasphemy, punishable by torture and death until 1676 and by imprisonment and banishment from public office thereafter.

To put things in their appropriate social context, the Blasphemy Statute of 1698 made criticism of christianity a crime punishable by imprisonment in England making open atheism an offence under common law. No one was brave enough to confess to atheism until William Hammon came out in 1781. In 17th century England atheists could not give evidence in court and even enlightenment fathers like John Locke called for atheists to be denied citizenship - this despite his calls for universal toleration. Even unitarians and deists were burned at the stake in the 1700s. Earlier on, your pet pastor, Aquinas, had advocated the death penalty for atheism and nothing had changed in the 400 years since.

In this dogmatic and violent environment, Descartes delayed publication of his Treatise on the World after the incarceration of Galileo in fear. After his death his books were banned by the pope. Around the same time, Thomas Hobbes called an accusation of atheism "The greatest defamation possible". Hobbes is credited for an explosion in atheistic beliefs. Empiricist David Hume refused to put his name to much of his work for fear of religious persecution. Thomas Paine fled the country. Men were gaoled for printing his writings. 

Many of the findings of the Oxford Circle, which placed the brain at the centre of intelligence and found no evidence of soul, were heretical at a time when even deism was a belief system that could lead to persecution and death. What the real beliefs of these men were will never be known but many were clear skeptics and they sought answers in the material world. You are simply being obtuse in denying that the empiricism of the enlightenment, with its attendant questioning of truths long corralled by the church's material threat, came with serious dangers of death, imprisonment or exile.  

It's instructive that the greatest scientific advances of the Enlightenment took place far from the reach of the catholic church in protestant nations where individual rights were celebrated to a greater degree but there were grave risks associated with an open lack of belief that reverberated through the scientific establishment for hundreds of years and in muslim countries they still do. Darwin held back publication of his On the Origins for 2 decades, partly in fear of religious persecution. PB Shelley was thrown out of Oxford and lost custody of his children for writing a paper supporting atheism. 

As to the rest of your post, Christopher Wren's church designs reflect the unequal distribution of national wealth for infrastructure spend during his lifetime, not his position when it comes to religious matters. 

I am an empiricist. I think we can only learn things external to concepts of mind through sense experience. I think rationalism is partly a reflection of the human mind's innate sense of certainty, which is now becoming considered a key element of our neurology. I do think there is no need for empiricism and rationalism to always be separated. Empiricism informs the natural sciences, rationalism mathematics but I believe rationalists need to explain to us what intuition actually is. 

And yes, Graham. I consider experiments to be the only means of gathering knowledge. Regardless of Planck's appeals to complexity in relation to his personal spiritual beliefs, he was right about this. Assertions do not supply us with new information. We must not assume that behind the world of subatomics lies a 'conscious and intelligent mind'. That's downright silly and simply waddles off into vicious regress.  

Regardless of what you say about Jesus, this character blesses faith above belief through sense experience and you cannot undo it. 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Mendel

Atheistextremist wrote:

I was being flippant with the pea dinner. But Mendel, nevertheless, did not know anything about DNA-based genetics as we understand them. He did not claim or understand that his work was the key mechanism of natural selection. Nor can his work be in any way ascribed to his faith. 

Thanks for your clarification. There is a danger with (unacknowledged) flippant remarks in a public discussion, in that observers who are not themselves familiar with the subject in question may, contrary to anyone's intention, take them at face value.

I think that we can agree that, in 1866 when Mendel published his pea research, nobody knew anything about the chemical basis for heredity. Also, that the "quantization" of heritable traits was of immense practical importance in hybridization and other aspects of plant and animal breeding, even well before its incorporation into evolutionary theory (which took surprisingly long - from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_evolutionary_synthesis: "The relevance of Mendelism to evolution was unclear and hotly debated [...] Many scientists believed the two theories substantially contradicted each other.[15] This debate between the biometricians and the Mendelians continued for some 20 years and was only solved by the development of population genetics [in the 1930's].&quotEye-wink

Father Mendel (as a Canon, he was both priest and monk) was a member of the Order of Saint Augustine, that follow the Augustinian Rule and teachings from around the year 400.  From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustinians: "Augustine of Hippo taught that 'Nothing conquers except truth and the victory of truth is love' (Victoria veritatis est caritas),[8] and the pursuit of truth through learning is key to the Augustinian ethos, balanced by the injunction to behave with love towards one another. [...] This balanced pursuit of love and learning has energised the various branches of the order into building communities founded on mutual affection and intellectual advancement." By his own light, and in the judgement of his colleagues and superiors (who were to elect him Abbot, in 1867), his scientific work (teaching, research, and societal) lay entirely within the mandate of this charism and of his religious life.


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Hi Graham

 

Graham Darling wrote:

 

Father Mendel (as a Canon, he was both priest and monk) was a member of the Order of Saint Augustine, that follow the Augustinian Rule and teachings from around the year 400.  From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustinians: "Augustine of Hippo taught that 'Nothing conquers except truth and the victory of truth is love' (Victoria veritatis est caritas).

 

To me, the statement 'nothing conquers except truth and the victory of truth is love' is a bizarre attempt to meld testable explanation with human feeling. I am insensible to what such a statement could possibly mean. 

 

Graham Darling wrote:

..and the pursuit of truth through learning is key to the Augustinian ethos, balanced by the injunction to behave with love towards one another. [...] This balanced pursuit of love and learning has energised the various branches of the order into building communities founded on mutual affection and intellectual advancement." By his own light, and in the judgement of his colleagues and superiors (who were to elect him Abbot, in 1867), his scientific work (teaching, research, and societal) lay entirely within the mandate of this charism and of his religious life.

 

 

I can't but respect the work of scientific churchmen and there have been many. Nor can I denigrate the integration of learning into a religious order. I do say that combining empiricism and christianity ultimately requires compartmentalisation of each. I don't think you can actually approach material truth from a baseline of religious conviction without adopting deism or incorporating severe bias particularly when it comes to first cause and abiogenesis. And I do believe the church has historically attempted to crush empiricism where it questions god. 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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I've been

 

doing some homework on the Oxford Circle and other key figures who drove the Enlightment and I find my original position is insufficiently nuanced and does not accurately reflect the truth about these people. There are undoutedly christian scientists in this wider group who believed they were seeking god's truth, as well as outspoken atheists like Diderot, who was only released from the dungeons of Vincennes after swearing he would never write anything that prejudiced religion again. His crime? To propose thinking matter.

Thomas Willis clearly made no delineation between religion, science and philosophy. What Wren's religious convictions were is unclear. Newton had his own religious views, heretical, but godly. He apparently hung his beliefs on first cause and apparent universal design. Descartes was a staunch catholic but was loathed by protestants and catholics for his troubling ideas about the nature of reality. He spent most his time in the comparative safety of protestant Holland in fear of the inquisition.

But perhaps what's most informative to me is the lengths these fellows of the Enlightenment went to in order to assure the church they were not undermining its doctrine. Instead they claimed to be uncovering god's truth while in the process, perhaps unwittingly, they were creating a mechanism of scientific experiment the power of which ultimately called into question the existence of god in knowable space time.

I think Willis knew that to prove the brain was the seat of the person was akin to atheism - or as English philosopher Henry More put it when writing about the brain: "No spirit, no god." And I think it's clear that these men were afraid to be thought of as unbelievers.

So, I must concede the integral role of christian believers to early science but I still contend that empiricism as we know it would have been flagrant heresy in the 1660s, punishable by death, and as a result of this overarching threat, what the true convictions of these men were, we cannot tell. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Squaring the Oxford Circle

Atheistextremist wrote:

that Galileo, Descartes, Thomas Willis and the men of the Oxford Circle were acutely aware of the impact of their work on religious doctrine. Not for nothing did Willis endlessly insist his Anatomy of the Brain and Nerves did not make him an atheist. He did this for a reason. Atheism was professional and potentially, physical, suicide. Empiricism applied to god equals agnostic atheism. Agnostic atheism was considered blasphemy, punishable by torture and death until 1676 and by imprisonment and banishment from public office thereafter.

To put things in their appropriate social context, the Blasphemy Statute of 1698 made criticism of christianity a crime punishable by imprisonment in England making open atheism an offence under common law. No one was brave enough to confess to atheism until William Hammon came out in 1781. In 17th century England atheists could not give evidence in court and even enlightenment fathers like John Locke called for atheists to be denied citizenship - this despite his calls for universal toleration. Even unitarians and deists were burned at the stake in the 1700s. Earlier on, your pet pastor, Aquinas, had advocated the death penalty for atheism and nothing had changed in the 400 years since.

In this dogmatic and violent environment, Descartes delayed publication of his Treatise on the World after the incarceration of Galileo in fear. After his death his books were banned by the pope. Around the same time, Thomas Hobbes called an accusation of atheism "The greatest defamation possible". Hobbes is credited for an explosion in atheistic beliefs. Empiricist David Hume refused to put his name to much of his work for fear of religious persecution. Thomas Paine fled the country. Men were gaoled for printing his writings. 

Many of the findings of the Oxford Circle, which placed the brain at the centre of intelligence and found no evidence of soul, were heretical at a time when even deism was a belief system that could lead to persecution and death. What the real beliefs of these men were will never be known but many were clear skeptics and they sought answers in the material world. You are simply being obtuse in denying that the empiricism of the enlightenment, with its attendant questioning of truths long corralled by the church's material threat, came with serious dangers of death, imprisonment or exile.  

It's instructive that the greatest scientific advances of the Enlightenment took place far from the reach of the catholic church in protestant nations where individual rights were celebrated to a greater degree but there were grave risks associated with an open lack of belief that reverberated through the scientific establishment for hundreds of years and in muslim countries they still do. Darwin held back publication of his On the Origins for 2 decades, partly in fear of religious persecution. PB Shelley was thrown out of Oxford and lost custody of his children for writing a paper supporting atheism. 

As to the rest of your post, Christopher Wren's church designs reflect the unequal distribution of national wealth for infrastructure spend during his lifetime, not his position when it comes to religious matters. 

I am an empiricist. I think we can only learn things external to concepts of mind through sense experience. I think rationalism is partly a reflection of the human mind's innate sense of certainty, which is now becoming considered a key element of our neurology. I do think there is no need for empiricism and rationalism to always be separated. Empiricism informs the natural sciences, rationalism mathematics but I believe rationalists need to explain to us what intuition actually is. 

And yes, Graham. I consider experiments to be the only means of gathering knowledge. Regardless of Planck's appeals to complexity in relation to his personal spiritual beliefs, he was right about this. Assertions do not supply us with new information. We must not assume that behind the world of subatomics lies a 'conscious and intelligent mind'. That's downright silly and simply waddles off into vicious regress.  

Regardless of what you say about Jesus, this character blesses faith above belief through sense experience and you cannot undo it. 

I was asking for instances of Science vs Religion, not of (possible) Atheism vs Religion, of which history I agree is replete (including, of persecution and execution of the religious under atheistic regimes). That Science equals Atheism, and that the scientists you mention were insincere in denying that, remains to be proven.

I was not the one who raised Aquinas in the first place - merely commented on whether or not he could be called a scientist (which, I think, ought not to depend on one's political opinions).

"Many of the findings of the Oxford Circle [...] were heretical": could you be more specific about who there said what, and which tribunal then condemned it as heresy? "What the real beliefs of these men were will never be known": if you discount what they actually said, or how they drew up their wills. "they sought answers in the material world" - again, why is that particularly atheistic, especially if the actual questions were about the material world and its operations?

That Christopher Wren built all those churches might also depend on whether he plain liked churches.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_revolution : "James Hannam says that, while most historians do think something revolutionary happened at this time, that "the term 'scientific revolution' is another one of those prejudicial historical labels that explain nothing. You could call any century from the twelfth to the twentieth a revolution in science" and that the concept "does nothing more than reinforce the error that before Copernicus nothing of any significance to science took place" [...] More recently, sociologist and historian of science Steven Shapin opened his book, The Scientific Revolution, with the paradoxical statement: "There was no such thing as the Scientific Revolution, and this is a book about it." Stuff happened before, after, and outside the Oxford Circle: in France there were Pascal and Descartes (the latter converted Queen Christina of Sweden to Catholicism, even though she then had to renounce her throne); in Italy the scientific Accademia dei Linceie had been founded in 1603, over 50 years before the Royal Society in England.

"We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind" were not my words, but Planck's, whom you quote in your sig.

Every field of investigation uses tools appropriate to it. Not all subjects lend themselves to controlled experiment: you can't put a galaxy in a test tube; human history generally uses different methods than oceanography; mathematics, different still. All involve seeing, but also thinking about what you've seen, articulating it, deciding on its implications, and doing something about it.

For knowledge to be more than rote recitation of observed facts, there has to be explanation; and wherever there is explanation, there is rationalization (the two are practically synonyms) - thus, rationalism.

One can tie this blessing of Jesus to the other blessings in the Sermon on the Mount, including "Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be consoled" - which isn't saying that those _not_ in mourning are _not_blessed - but with the latter, their blessing is so obvious as to go without saying: the beloved who is still present. With the former, the blessing is hidden, its fruition yet to come (i.e. reunion in Heaven) - a joy that will be in proportion to the present sadness, which is thus ennobled from a mere annoying quirk of physiology, to be gotten over with as soon as possible (possibly with the assistance of pills). Jesus need not tell Thomas and the others present that they're happy (their friend and teacher is back from the dead, and standing right there!); it is to we who are not present, but still trust in him, that he is speaking - and it is the same promise. In Christianity, you see, faith is not the end: experience is. "For now we see things in a glass, darkly [mirrors were terrible in those days]; but then face to face: now my knowledge is in part; then it will be complete, even as God's knowledge of me." (1 Cor 13:12)

Even in the natural sciences, the investigator must first have faith, or remain paralyzed: if only in the intelligibility of the results to come; if only in the principle of induction, that draws general conclusions from particular observations, but that offers no other proof than itself (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_induction).

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relationship_between_religion_and_science: "Among contemporary scientists—physicists and biologists—about 40% held strong religious beliefs in 1997, which closely matched those of a similar 1916 poll.[51][74] [...] In further analysis, published in 2007, Ecklund and Christopher Scheitle conclude that "the assumption that becoming a scientist necessarily leads to loss of religion is untenable" and that "[i]t appears that those from non-religious backgrounds disproportionately self-select into scientific professions. [...] An explanation has been offered by Farr Curlin, a University of Chicago Instructor in Medicine and a member of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, that science-minded religious people instead elect to study medicine. He helped author a study that "found that 76 percent of doctors believe in God and 59 percent believe in some sort of afterlife." and "90 percent of doctors in the United States attend religious services at least occasionally, compared to 81 percent of all adults." He reasoned, "The responsibility to care for those who are suffering and the rewards of helping those in need resonate throughout most religious traditions."[78] Another survey "found younger scientists to be 'substantially more likely than their older counterparts to say they believe in God'. Among the surveyed fields, chemists were the most likely to say they believe in God.[77]"


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I think I've addressed certain points

 

you make here in my last post.

Variously, I'm well aware it was Planck's post, as my comments more carefully read infer. I believe his assumption of mind behind matter is wrong and makes no coherent sense. But I like the quote of his I use as my tagline. I believe he was correct with that.

I do not agree Aquinas was a scientist. He was more theological philosopher than anything else, in my opinion.

I believe Willis and the Oxford Circle showed mind was matter - this was heresy at a time when things that undermined the church were considered blasphemous and blasphemy carried the death penalty. Much of what they learned directly contravened religious teaching. I believe Willis knew the danger of what he found. He went so far as to contrive a soul inside the mind and an additional soul located in the blood to support his findings and was always quick to assure he was no atheist. He did this for a pointed reason.

I'm fairly certain I've been mentioning those outside the Oxford Circle as we've talked about the Enlightenment period. I initially contended the Oxford men ushered in testable explanations and I hold to this. Of course others were involved but this does not underdo the achievements of this unusual association of exceedingly bright minds. They achieved more together than they would have done apart, I think. Their legacy is profound.

Astronomy and cosmology do use tools - telescopes, spectroscopy, radio telescopes and with unmanned exploration of nearby planets, much more. We don't explore space using reason alone.

As far as rationalism and empiricism is concerned, I believe sense data informs us of what we can know, as well as informing us how we can know it. Empiricism informs initial principles. I believe there is no innate knowledge though it appears we have an instinctual sense of certainty. This is a point of general contention, I agree. I think we discuss empiricism using language and labels to describe concepts we visualise using notions derived from earlier sense data. Maths is hairier.

Your argument that christianity is based on actual experience I can only suggest is subjective and the product of internal confirmation bias. I would argue christianity is a mental journey that is informed by interpretation of ordinary events as having divine origin. There are no testable explanations here.

Further, I say that there is no absolute certainty and that scientific truth as well as it can be known is established by testing hypotheses to build theories. There is no need for faith of the sort I feel you may be implying. One might expect a particular result if certain data remains consistent. The core elements of religious faith are not open to reinterpretation in the presence of new data. Not in the past, not now.

In the absence of proof the correct position is to stay judgement and await further evidence. But christian belief systems cannot manage this. The fundamental beliefs that underlie christianity, including the acceptance of ancestral sin, the sacrifice at calvary for salvation and eternal reward, and a range of associated and unsupported biblical truth claims, cannot be remade by new facts. Instead these central beliefs inform the interpretation of data, just as they did in the past, when finding mind was matter, not soul, was considered blasphemy against god.

Finally, I don't know what the figures are for believers and non-believers in science. I will have to consider this further. But I do believe that empiricism has never showed us positive proof for god. Instead we have contrived god through the reification of human mental concepts. And as I pointed out earlier, when it comes to matters like abiogenesis and first cause, I believe religious belief and a process of testable explanation must inevitably conflict. We consistently see that where data is not complete, religion appeals to complexity. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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At a time

 

Graham Darling wrote:

I was asking for instances of Science vs Religion, not of (possible) Atheism vs Religion, of which history I agree is replete (including, of persecution and execution of the religious under atheistic regimes). That Science equals Atheism, and that the scientists you mention were insincere in denying that, remains to be proven.

 

when undermining church dogma meant death, the findings of scientific empiricism constituted Science V Religion.

The men of the enlightenment were accused of atheism and I believe the logical result of the empirical process is agnostic atheism.

As I've pointed out, Diderot was gaoled for suggesting mind was matter, not spirit.

Willis was clearly aware of this and must have known his research proved Diderot was correct.

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Induction does not require

Induction does not require faith - simply the application of statistical analysis, especially as exemplified by a the mathematical formula developed by the English Presbyterian minister, Thomas Bayes, to make it a fully rigorous process. In which case the "Problem of Induction" disappears - it arose from trying to apply a simpler form of logic to a context where many things are not simple true or false binaries, but have assessable levels of uncertainty attached.

Science does not require faith, except perhaps in the fundamental applicability of the Laws of Logic, which applies to every coherent analysis.

The quirks of human psychology revealed in the distribution of tendencies to believe in a God are interesting, but irrelevant to whether the beiief has any substance or not.

The God creator concept has little logical justification, and has enormous problems of infinite regress, which do not exist in the 'natural' framework, which recognizes the everyday experience of emergence, and the algorithm of evolution, where higher order and more complex things arise from simpler. The primitive 'God' myth no longer has explanatory power, rather it is now a strange claim requiring much demonstration of evidence for its existence, and how it would fit into what we now understand about the nature of existence. And the idea of a benevolent God flies in the face of pretty much all of history.

The accounts in the Bible do not in anyway demonstrate the existence of a loving God - at most they are testimony that some things happened which people at the time did not understand. We would need something far more solid than 2nd- or 3rd-hand eye-witness testimony to establish even the reality of what they reported with confidence, let alone establish anything whatever about the attributes and motives of a purported transcendent being. We have better evidence and more solid testimony for alien abduction and ET's than for the supernatural claims of the Bible.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

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It's beyond question that

It's beyond question that the RCC assisted the progress of Science. No other institution has had the same ability to fund research over the scope of time that it has existed. It allowed and encouraged many of its talented members tresearch - and in the case of certain clerical scientists,, it actually paid for their research and paid for their food. This wasn't always an option available to people.

 

I note that Georges Lemaître hasn't been mentioned in this thread. A true visionary. He first proposed the idea of The Big Bang from a purely theoretical basis and when The Vatican threatened to adduce this as proof of a single defining moment of creation hurried to Rome to tell The Pope not to tie ideology to a theory which could in the future, be overturned.

 

The RCC has implicitly and explicitly contributed to the development of science. It's a simple fact.

No discussion of our origins (and the origins of our planet) is complete without his theory being invoked.

 

I have some major beefs with the Catholic Church, but their various contributions to our current understanding of the universe must be ackowledged.


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Victoria veritatis est caritas

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

Graham Darling wrote:

 

Father Mendel (as a Canon, he was both priest and monk) was a member of the Order of Saint Augustine, that follow the Augustinian Rule and teachings from around the year 400.  From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustinians: "Augustine of Hippo taught that 'Nothing conquers except truth and the victory of truth is love' (Victoria veritatis est caritas).

 

To me, the statement 'nothing conquers except truth and the victory of truth is love' is a bizarre attempt to meld testable explanation with human feeling. I am insensible to what such a statement could possibly mean. 

 

Graham Darling wrote:

..and the pursuit of truth through learning is key to the Augustinian ethos, balanced by the injunction to behave with love towards one another. [...] This balanced pursuit of love and learning has energised the various branches of the order into building communities founded on mutual affection and intellectual advancement." By his own light, and in the judgement of his colleagues and superiors (who were to elect him Abbot, in 1867), his scientific work (teaching, research, and societal) lay entirely within the mandate of this charism and of his religious life.

I can't but respect the work of scientific churchmen and there have been many. Nor can I denigrate the integration of learning into a religious order. I do say that combining empiricism and christianity ultimately requires compartmentalisation of each. I don't think you can actually approach material truth from a baseline of religious conviction without adopting deism or incorporating severe bias particularly when it comes to first cause and abiogenesis. And I do believe the church has historically attempted to crush empiricism where it questions god. 

"Nothing conquers except truth" also happens to be the the first principle of Psychological Warfare (as in, the 1948 textbook by Paul Linebarger - Science Fiction's Cordwainer Smith), that the best propaganda is the truth.

If one merely plugs in "testable explanation" for "truth", and "human feeling" for "love", that indeed is what you get, and indeed it then looks a little bizarre (for one thing, isn't "hate" also a "human feeling"? as well as "acid indigestion"?). But is that really what Augustine and most of his readers (including, those today) understand by those terms?

Here's one person's thoughts about this saying : http://victoriaveritatis.com/exegesis_vv.html .

To me, it suggests that the best human feeling (caritas = charity, selfless love) is rooted in reality, and is not a meaningless artefact; that the deepest investigations into the world cannot threaten that validity, and (in respectful disagreement with H.P. Lovecraft) we have nothing to fear from the truth, including that it might lead to horror, hatred and despair (where we have not brought these in ourselves); that science itself is a work of love, and (according to Augustine) no threat to the Christian Faith.

For those who still see no connection between the Search For Truth, and Love (also often expressed as a search, such as in the Song of Solomon), I lament: where's the Romance gone?

 

"I don't think you can actually approach material truth from a baseline of religious conviction without adopting deism": one not need go so far - free will is fundamental to Christianity - God permits Man to be Man - why shouldn't He let Nature be Nature?

 

"or incorporating severe bias particularly when it comes to first cause and abiogenesis." Hoyle and others raised accusations of such bias when Lemaître, a priest, first proposed the Big Bang - still going strong today, and if anything (what with the Big Rip), Bigger and Bangier. I admit its attraction to one honouring Genesis - but theologians have long cautioned (including, in Galileo's time) against committing the Church to any particular model of Nature, and have formally asserted (in a Council of the 12th century, I think it was) the freedom of God - who lives outside time and space altogether - to create whatever spacetime & contents He likes. Abiogenesis - as in, life from non-life? As in, "Let the Earth bring forth"? No prob - indeed, casual "spontaneous generation" was once thought to not only be scriptural, but still widespread.

"And I do believe the church has historically attempted to crush empiricism where it questions god." The Church encourages all kinds of talking to God, including asking Him the tough questions (and getting some asked back) - it's called prayer. "Taste and see the goodness of the Lord" (Psalm 34:8 ). Otherwise: pointing out flaws in alleged proofs of not-God? Declaring that certain individuals are not or no longer part of the Church, or speaking for it (i.e excommunication)? All that sort of thing can be done without attacking any part of Reason - indeed, that would be bad Theology, and worse Politics.


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Hi again, Graham.

 

I agree the church encourages various ways to talk to god - now - but there was a time when your deists, ranters, quakers and the like were considered heretics. No doubt modern pentecostals would have been 'corrected' if they were to practise their evolved religious culture in a catholic nation in the 17th century.

The point I was making was that there was a time when those things detrimental to church doctrine were considered fundamentally wrong. And there were punishments for speaking openly about such ideas. I think you are ignoring the dogmatism of church history. In 1666 when Willis, Lower and Wren were dissecting brains in Beam Hall as part of their efforts to prove mind was matter, the facts they sought were heretical.

I still cannot see the concept of universal empathy - love - and its attendant mental and physical sensations - as being the victory of truth. I guess here we'd have to discuss which truth it was we were talking about. I prefer to use the term testable explanation in place of the subjective sense of truth given truth is a matter of interpretation and is shaped by earlier conclusions.

I think you make a false dichotomy saying love is either 'the best human feeling' or 'a meaningless artefact'. The point I make is that love is a feeling unrelated to the sense datum that inform truth about things in the material world. It stems from sense and assocations of senses in the mind of the feeler rather than pre-existing as the repository of ambiguous and often arbitrary truth. Love appears to be a human mental sense that developed to bond humans together into breeding pairs, families and small groups.

Projecting this small group love into universal empathy is impossible. A person might say they feel love for all 7 billion people in the world but this is not so. They have experienced a feeling based on a rush of oxytocin in the brain and have applied this feeling to thoughts about people in the world. I might say I love you like a brother but I am really playing pin the tail on the donkey with my love for my real brother. This re-application of feeling is typical of the human capacity for generalisation. Such generalisations pollute all our beliefs and this propensity and a tendency to jump to (earlier) conclusions is what makes testable explanations so important.

I think love is a very useful and powerful feeling and in my experience it's one of the more long lived feelings but it's not the tip of the arrow of truth.

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Nialler wrote: It's beyond

Nialler wrote:
It's beyond question that the RCC assisted the progress of Science.

While attempting to brainwash and subjugate all of humanity.

This isn't a eulogy.

You can put lipstick on a pig all you want, but it's still a pig.

Nialler wrote:
I have some major beefs with the Catholic Church, but their various contributions to our current understanding of the universe must be ackowledged.

I guess you've never heard the term 'skunkworks'?

That's where conversations, theories and experiments are done that are hidden from the 'powers that be'.

If individuals made discoveries from money that was coerced or forced out of citizens by church rule, the glory should go to the individuals for their scientific achievments, and to have sympathy to those who paid in taxes to fund it.

Not the the Mob, or Mob bosses.

Nialler wrote:
No other institution has ....

coerced, brainwashed, threatened, executed, critics, free thinkers and libertines....

Nialler wrote:
over the scope of time that it has existed. 
 

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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For their treatment of

For their treatment of Galileo alone, an explicit denial and rejection of what were properly scientific discoveries, the RCC deserves condemnation from those like myself who value the search for truth, the pursuit of knowledge. I rather doubt this was an isolated incident in their rejection of 'inconvenient truths'.

For every single one incident of burning at he stake or torture at the hands of he inquisition, they deserve even more condemnation as claimed bearers of a moral message. Which was all justified in the name of their Bible-derived and 'revealed' doctrine. So much for the value of 'revealed knowledge' and God as definer of moral standards.

Throw in their pedophilia, and the official attempt to cover it up, which appears to have a long history, and they should be sent the ICC, but of course that will never happen.

And the well-established delusion that prayer is more than a person talking to their imaginary friend, and the repeated demonstration that it doesn't work, except maybe to make the person praying feel better.

Aaaarrrgh!

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

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I really hate it when

I really hate it when believers, and I have seen this with Muslims and Jews as well, pick an arbitrary point in history and pick a famous smart person from that generation and try to jump the gap from their "contribution" to their god existing.

Lets take god out for a second to show how fucking absurd this tactic is.

The ancient Greeks were the first to use the word "atom", so does that mean their gods are real? And everyone knows that when they used "atom" back then, it was a concept of "the smallest imaginable thing". But that did not mean they knew what a proton or quark were.. It was just a concept, an idea.

NOW, lets take cars.

Henry Ford contributed to transportation, sure, but he was not responsible for the modern Lamborghini, and the wheel was around long before Christianity, much less cars.

If you want to know what a huge fallacy this tactic is, ask a 4 year old why the sky is blue. All they can do is say the sky is blue. They cannot tell you the scientific reason why we perceive the sky being blue.

"I invented the wheel. I contributed to transportation. Therefore I can build the space shuttle".

This is the same bullshit I even get from si fi fans. Some have claimed that Gene Rodenberry(sp) invented the modern cell phone.

NO, he was aware of microwave technology. And the idea of a hand held communication device was already around as an idea in the tech community. All Rodenberry did was pick up on this idea and popularize it in the show.

But not even the scientists were sure, at that time, if we could eventually do what we have now in cell phones.

If you look at the record of patents in the federal patent office, you will see far more ideas that do nothing and are absurd, than ideas that we find in the future being possible.

No deity/god/super natural being, by any name in human history, is true by default because those within the camps got lucky in discovering reality. Otherwise the sun is a god because the ancient Egyptians were master builders.

 

 

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BobSpence1 wrote:For their

BobSpence1 wrote:
For their treatment of Galileo alone, an explicit denial and rejection of what were properly scientific discoveries, the RCC deserves condemnation from those like myself who value the search for truth, the pursuit of knowledge. I rather doubt this was an isolated incident in their rejection of 'inconvenient truths'.

 

No, it is not an isolated incident but let get to that in due course.

 

Really, it is trivial to demonstrate the falsity, even outright absurdity of the claim to somehow being responsible for science in any meaningful way.

 

First off, where does science even begin?

 

I don't know how to even come up with an answer to that. Did it begin with a certain group of people in a certain city at a certain year? That just seems doubtful.

 

I think that it was an episode of Cosmos where Sagan discussed a colony of Ptolemaic Greece where archaeologists have found some documents relating to a primitive methodology for investigating the world but how can we say that that did not develop from an earlier form? I doubt that we could (apart from finding documents which are older still).

 

So right there, it can be demonstrated that people were at least beginning to work on the concept of science long before the RCC existed.

 

Second, it is true that science did begin to make some real developments at some point in the middle ages.

 

Even if we credit that as “a start” to science, we still have problems. We can't say where that run of science began, where or when. Also, we must account for why not much happened for over a thousand years prior. Umm, might that be because the RCC was also the group that put a stop to earlier science?

 

Now as promised, the church has abused the scientific process many times in history and I will give one example.

 

Coppernicus, who is known today as the father of the heliocentric model (also a RCC priest BTW) knew that his lifetime work was going to gore the sacred OX, so he arranged to publish posthumously. Some sources say that it was actually published just prior to his death but that is not quite the case. In truth, he started the process when he knew that his death was imminent. Legend has it that the first copy off the printing press was handed to him the day that he died and he went peacefully in the knowledge that his life's work would be remembered.

 

Now there is actually more to the story. During the process of getting the work published, a Lutheran theologian added an unauthorized preface to the work. This addition basically stated that while his work was much simple computationally than the earlier system of epicycles within epicycles, this was only a computational advantage. Doctrine was still truth and while computationally advantageous, it could not be shown to replace doctrine.

 

If Coppernicus did get the copy on his death bed and if he read the preface, then I doubt that he went peacefully.

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Also, I find that the idea

Also, I find that the idea of religion being connected to science is an old canard. We have at least two threads around here somewhere with a list of religious scientists that has been copy/pasted from some fundie site. One can tell the copy/paste from the fact that the lists are identical and stop with scientists born in the first half of the 1800's.

 

Really, I have to wonder what is up with stopping the list there? Can it be that fundies cannot wrap their minds around the idea that later scientists are just as capable as anyone else of the type of mental compartmentalization needed to do things like use the internet to deny science?

 

I believe that Max Planck and Georges Lematrie have already been mentioned as modern religious scientist. There are many more than that. Rather than reype what I have already done before, here is a partial list:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_thinkers_in_science

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Religion relies on and

Religion relies on and glorifies the ancient fallacy of mankind that 'real' knowledge can be arrived at by reason alone. Plato was fond of this, and his 'reasoning', and his 'Idealism', the concept of some realm where perfect 'prototypes' of all conceptual things necessary existed, was heartily endorsed by the early church.

It was the inspiration of much, if not most of, Theology, which took the concepts way past the point of absurdity, to graft onto the original, more animistic ideas of 'God' the ideals of all the 'omni-' attributes and His 'perfection', set against our 'imperfection' which was the cause of  'the Fall'.

The fact that the Church, and supernatural belief in general, is based on that error is reason alone to ridicule the idea that it contributed significantly to science, except in an inadvertent and accidental way as it set up various institutions, for its own reasons, which turned out to nurture individuals who had begun to 'see the light'.

The 'true' scientific idea, that reason must work on the results of real-world, empirical observations and experiment and testing and re-testing, and must always be prepared to acknowledge its limitations, and recognize and overturn earlier mistakes. This has reached the current state where the very opposite of that primitive 'rationalism' has been demonstrated in the  shining achievements of Quantum and Relativity theories, both highly counter-intuitive, violating many aspects of our naive sense of the way the world works. Yet so far passing every test devised with flying colors.

Yet the Church persists in its fundamental contradiction, that while gleefully and monotonously describing us a 'flawed', assumes that such deeply flawed and limited minds can somehow come to 'know', with perfect certainty, of the existence of a God, and worse, 'know' with confidence what his Will and intentions are for us mortals.

"Reason alone is fine, don't confuse us with facts".

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

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Prayer, Love, and Brain Dissection

Atheistextremist wrote:

I agree the church encourages various ways to talk to god - now - but there was a time when your deists, ranters, quakers and the like were considered heretics. No doubt modern pentecostals would have been 'corrected' if they were to practise their evolved religious culture in a catholic nation in the 17th century.

Private prayer was commanded by Jesus (Matt 6:6), and encouraged from the earliest days of the Church (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prayer_in_Christianity). Saint Paul did indeed caution about the uses and usefulness of ecstatic "speaking in tongues" (while also admitting that he was more prone to it than anyone), pointing out that it was not necessarily edifying to onlookers if it could not be interpreted, and suggested it was more suited for private than public worship (as opposed to something like song, in which everyone present can join); and, as with any other spiritual gift, including knowledge and oration, those who have it should use it for the benefit of all, and not for their own aggrandization.  Even so, he also said not to forbid it, and there have been various revivals of this practice (gereally, as part of movements to return to Christianity's roots - and so, to Christ), even within the Catholic Church, though in the latter, more in separate prayer meetings than in the middle of Mass. (For more on this, see CS Lewis's essay "Transposition", in the collection "The Weight of Glory" ).

Any heresy would lie in a primacy given to such "private revelations" above (and even instead of) the public one of Jesus's own life and teachings (being "Christians", and all).

Atheistextremist wrote:

The point I was making was that there was a time when those things detrimental to church doctrine were considered fundamentally wrong. And there were punishments for speaking openly about such ideas. I think you are ignoring the dogmatism of church history. In 1666 when Willis, Lower and Wren were dissecting brains in Beam Hall as part of their efforts to prove mind was matter, the facts they sought were heretical.

Every organization has the right to decide on its own membership. If there was a Church (or Club) of Atheism, with a mandate to spread a particular message across nations and generations, it couldn't very well publicly include or subsidize those who persistently taught and defended Theism, could it?

I'm still not clear about how much of what you're saying about Willis et al is historical, and how much is supposition, whether by yourself or others. What are your sources?

What awakens my skepticism is your phrase "efforts to prove mind was matter" - it seems so unnecessary. What the "orthodox" of that place and time thought about the mind and soul, mostly followed various interpretation of Aristotle (via Thomas Aquinas; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hylomorphism), that (roughly) a human being is a union of matter and form, just as a house is a union of material bricks and timbers, with a plan that is not material: that is, it is the same plan in the mind of the builder, written down on paper, or embodied in the final construction; it is what makes the house different from the initial pile of the same bricks and timbers, which is only a house in potential - it is the "actuality" of the house.

[Likewise, a story may first be set down quill to parchment; later mass-printed with moveable type; later still, stored on a hard-drive somewhere and flashed to your computer screen; always (if it's any good), remembered by those who have read it: it is the same story, though perhaps only "alive" in a human mind. In a computer performing a calculation, we have the immaterial software - an algorithm that can also be worked through by hand (though far more laboriously; yet, "computer" was a human job description before it was ever a machine) - that has become embodied in the material hardware of sparking microchips.]

"A soul is a form—that is, a property or set of properties—belonging to a living thing": mere growth, in plants ("vegetative soul" ); also motion in animals ("animal soul" ); also mind in humans ("rational soul" - whose capacity for knowledge would give it special properties, as argued by Aquinas in Summa q. 75). In studying dead bodies - as a Christian anatomist of the day might explain, to himself or anyone who asked - one may understand, even though the soul has departed, how it was able to be present in life - just as the gears and pistons inside a car are necessary for it to run (as can be seen even when the car has been switched off and dismantled), though not sufficient (as in a parked car, or one out of gas). That would have been enough for them.

If, by the way, you doubt that you can have a proper human being without a union of body and soul - well, Christianity agrees: hence the doctrine of the Resurrection of the Body (the wooden house that has rotted or burned can be rebuilt of imperishable stone). It's a very materialistic religion, compared to some others (God likes matter - He made it); as well as an atheistic one (it was for atheism that Christians were thrown to the lions: for denying "the gods" - but One).

Also: classical materialists in the mold of Lucretius would not have maintained or tried to prove that "mind was matter", so much as that there's no such thing as Mind.

Also: there are more modern examples of neurosurgeons who not only dissect dead brains, but poke around living ones, and still believe in the human soul, and God - notably Wilder Penfield (see http://thisibelieve.org/essay/16878/), who was the first to stimulate brain centers and provoke reactions in living patients, was an Elder in the Presbyterian Church, wrote a biography of Abraham, and meditated on the relation of brain and soul.

Atheistextremist wrote:

I still cannot see the concept of universal empathy - love - and its attendant mental and physical sensations - as being the victory of truth. I guess here we'd have to discuss which truth it was we were talking about. I prefer to use the term testable explanation in place of the subjective sense of truth given truth is a matter of interpretation and is shaped by earlier conclusions.

I think you make a false dichotomy saying love is either 'the best human feeling' or 'a meaningless artefact'. The point I make is that love is a feeling unrelated to the sense datum that inform truth about things in the material world. It stems from sense and assocations of senses in the mind of the feeler rather than pre-existing as the repository of ambiguous and often arbitrary truth. Love appears to be a human mental sense that developed to bond humans together into breeding pairs, families and small groups.

Projecting this small group love into universal empathy is impossible. A person might say they feel love for all 7 billion people in the world but this is not so. They have experienced a feeling based on a rush of oxytocin in the brain and have applied this feeling to thoughts about people in the world. I might say I love you like a brother but I am really playing pin the tail on the donkey with my love for my real brother. This re-application of feeling is typical of the human capacity for generalisation. Such generalisations pollute all our beliefs and this propensity and a tendency to jump to (earlier) conclusions is what makes testable explanations so important.

I think love is a very useful and powerful feeling and in my experience it's one of the more long lived feelings but it's not the tip of the arrow of truth.

I agree that truth includes "testable explanation" (which some might even further narrow to "tested explanation" ), but I think it extends beyond that. The statement "the cat is alive" can be true, without ever opening the box (as was, in fact, Schroedinger's own opinion). Galileo (d 1642) taught the truth of the heliocentric model (Copernicus before was more cautious) long before there was any test for it (namely, the Aberration of Light 1729, and Foucault's Pendulum 1851) - which would have silenced his critics, who were ready to modify interpretations of relevant scriptural passages _given good reason_ (see Arthur Kostler "The Sleepwalkers", 1959, Part Five) – not very "empiricist" of him, especially given his advocacy and good record of experiment-based conclusions elsewhere.

In Christianity, Caritas = Charitable Love is a function of the Will, rather than the Appetite: less a feeling than a choice. We don't have to wait for warm fuzzies towards someone before doing them a good turn (though they sure can help); we don't have to empathize with all the people of the world, to do something that might benefit each of them by just a tiny bit; we need not like the people who hate us, but we are commanded to love them.

It is perhaps no coincidence that knowledge "in the Biblical sense" was a synonym for the deepest expression of marital love.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth: "Philosopher and theologian Joseph Ratzinger, before his election as Benedict XVI, commented upon the relationship of truth with tolerance, conscience, freedom, and religion. For him, "beyond all particular questions, the real problem lies in the question of truth." [...] In his book Truth and Tolerance (2004), Ratzinger argued that 'truth and love are identical.' Possibly may be of help in explaining this doctrine, or at least giving something more definite to critique (I haven't read it myself).


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OK Graham, you are not even

OK Graham, you are not even trying to get on focus with the topic at hand.

 

Try reading what has already happened here and comment on that.

 

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Hi again, Graham.

 

Graham Darling wrote:

 

I'm still not clear about how much of what you're saying about Willis et al is historical, and how much is supposition, whether by yourself or others. What are your sources?

What awakens my skepticism is your phrase "efforts to prove mind was matter" - it seems so unnecessary. What the "orthodox" of that place and time thought about the mind and soul, mostly followed various interpretation of Aristotle (via Thomas Aquinas; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hylomorphism), that (roughly) a human being is a union of matter and form, just as a house is a union of material bricks and timbers, with a plan that is not material: that is, it is the same plan in the mind of the builder, written down on paper, or embodied in the final construction; it is what makes the house different from the initial pile of the same bricks and timbers, which is only a house in potential - it is the "actuality" of the house.

Every organization has the right to decide on its own membership. If there was a Church (or Club) of Atheism, with a mandate to spread a particular message across nations and generations, it couldn't very well publicly include or subsidize those who persistently taught and defended Theism, could it?

 

 

Sure - Jesus was a picture of Roman tolerance but the period we are talking of saw Tyndale strangled at the stake and burned for daring to translate the bible into English. I believe you are defending a violent dogmatism that does not seem to be part of your nature, a church that is not your church. 

My key source for Willis is Zimmer's Soul made Flesh. It's a popular title but superbly researched as all Zimmer's work is. I've also read J T Hughes' beautifully illustrated Willis: His Life and Work. I prefer Zimmer. He squarely positions Willis amid the sectarian tumult of the English Civil War and he remakes the flux of ideas and religious conjecture that surrounded the Oxford Circle. It's in the perception of the world into which neurology was born that Zimmer outlines the fear of heresy in which these men worked. 

The point I again make is that Willis was the first to take the soul - the anima as it was called then - from the vacant spaces in the human brain where it was thought to be ethereally based - and to put it inside the brain's actual substance - what Willis called "The bowl of curds". He did this using Christopher Wren's intravenous method and Boyle's discovery alcohol firmed brain tissue, which jointly allowed him to preserve brains using alcohol so they retained their structure long enough to be dissected, thoroughly examined and their parts drawn by Wren and Lower. He also used Wren's method to inject dye into blood vessels and track the path of blood through the brain. 

Using these methods, Willis turned soul into flesh. He explicitly claimed that soul resided inside the physical brain and he was worried enough about what this meant to cover himself vigorously and to constantly deny his failure to find evidence of soul inside empty brain spaces made him an atheist. The only possible motivation for this is fear. 

Perhaps he was thinking of Giordano Bruno or Michael Servetus, two great men of early science who were burned as heretics at the stake for questioning what the church considered to be its own infallible truth. I'm not sure how this sort of behaviour from the church constitutes terms of membership, Graham, nor why you would defend or sidestep it. It's certainly not commensurate with the thoughtful character you show us here. 

I must again suggest you are defending something that you would find indefensible in real time. Now, I've happily conceded there were men of the cloth and true christians among the first empiricists - Bruno and Servetus were two such churchmen murdered for their scientific beliefs. I think there were many atheists or rationalists among the early empiricists but they were not at liberty to speak openly. Galileo sought to separate church and science. Diderot was an avowed atheist. All these men were persecuted. 

I'd love you to concede the church executed, imprisoned and bullied early empiricists and in doing so, threatened them all.

 

 

 

Review of Karl Zimmer's Soul Made Flesh By H. Richard Tyler

The soul was once thought to be an ethereal thing with an interface between the macrocosm — stars and planets — and the microcosm — the individual. Its home in the body was the heart and liver, and from there it was distilled from the blood via the rete mirabile at the base of the brain into the ventricles. The brain itself was believed to be unimportant except in its support of the ventricular system.

In his book Soul Made Flesh: the discovery of the brain — and how it changed the world, Carl Zimmer concentrates on the development of ideas throughout history that eventually established a role for the brain in the modern world. The focus of his study is an examination of the ideas that developed in late 17th-century England, but concepts that were popular in earlier periods, going back to the time of Aristotle, are also introduced. Many historical books focus on individuals’ lives, but it is often difficult to understand why or how their theories developed. By providing historical background and focusing on ideas, Zimmer makes a number of disparate individuals (alchemists, anatomists, astronomers, and physicians) seem almost to interact. He develops the connections among them and the weaknesses and strengths of their views on the role of the brain against the background of the time in which they lived.

In its beginning chapters, Soul Made Flesh describes in detail the theories of early philosophers and anatomists as well as alchemists and astronomers and discusses how each set the stage for the next scientific advance. Having provided this historical platform, Zimmer then focuses on events in 17th-century England. These were difficult times for the original thinker. The world was unstable; new thoughts and ideas were often in conflict with religious beliefs and nationalistic convictions and were a challenge to church doctrine and accepted Aristotelian views.

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Galileo thought his theory

Galileo thought his theory to explain the tides was evidence of the motion of the Earth around the Sun, so he was not totally without claim for evidence of heliocentrism, although his tidal theory was ultimately shown to be incorrect. This theory followed from his studies of the dynamics of motion, which he really did 'get' to a high degree.

He also felt that the observation of the motion of the moons of Jupiter was basic disproof of the idea of perfect geocentrism, ie that everything revolved around the earth. This introduces the extremely important idea of relative likelihood, also important in the ideas of William of Ockham, that rather than knowledge necessarily being a matter of proof and certainty, that in reality, we may only be able to establish what is most likely, what explanation is the best fit to observations and experiment. So the motion of the moons of Jupiter was a definite hint that Geocentrism was not as solid an idea as was still thought by many people, including the Church authorities.

Whereas religious dogma is centered around absolute 'truths', which is its central error.

The condemnation of Galileo's ideas was based on scripture, so the Church was definitely not supporting empiricism.

And the idea was that the Cat in the Box could be alive - that is a 'truth' when expressed that way, but that is still a conjecture, ie the state of the cat cannot be known until it is tested or observed empirically, by opening the box, so I don't see any demonstration there that truth 'extends beyond testable explanations' in any useful way. You are probably conflating two kinds of 'truth' - deductive 'truth' of what is logically possible given what we have already empirically established to be most likely to be true, and the truth of the empirical data on which such account of possibilities must be based to be meaningful.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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redneF wrote:Nialler wrote:

redneF wrote:

Nialler wrote:
It's beyond question that the RCC assisted the progress of Science.

While attempting to brainwash and subjugate all of humanity.

This isn't a eulogy.

You can put lipstick on a pig all you want, but it's still a pig.

Nialler wrote:
I have some major beefs with the Catholic Church, but their various contributions to our current understanding of the universe must be ackowledged.

I guess you've never heard the term 'skunkworks'?

That's where conversations, theories and experiments are done that are hidden from the 'powers that be'.

If individuals made discoveries from money that was coerced or forced out of citizens by church rule, the glory should go to the individuals for their scientific achievments, and to have sympathy to those who paid in taxes to fund it.

Not the the Mob, or Mob bosses.

Nialler wrote:
No other institution has ....

coerced, brainwashed, threatened, executed, critics, free thinkers and libertines....

Nialler wrote:
over the scope of time that it has existed. 
 

 

A response as typically idiotic as I expect on the RRS forums. Possibly it's even more idiotic than normal.

 

Nobody - myself included (I speak as one who saw the ravages carried out against children  under quasi-official state approval) has any great respect for the Church.

 

However, as much as it hs done all of the things that you say, the historical and the recorded scientific record very explicitly shows one thing: (I'll type slowly, because it appears that you read slowly): there have been groundbreaking scientists and theorists, fully funded in their studies by the Roman Catholic Church, who have made significantly huge discoveries.

 

It is idiotic to ignore the truth simply because there are other far more troubling truths in view. Had Osama Bin Laden invented a fusion chamber which was adequate to fuel the planet for aeons, that fact would persist despite his other atrocities.

In talking about LeMaitre - a gentle soul - it is instructive that he met with a tepid reaction when he proposed The Singularity - a fact that may be explained by the fact that he *was* a Catholic priest.  I've seen some of his papers in Leuven - ha had a very serious issue with how his theories would be heard. As it was it was the scientific community which took a long time to accept them - indeed there is record of a couple of PhD students who were drawing the same conclusions thirty years later who were entirely unaware of his work in the same field and who were close to deriving the same conclusions as he had. His cosmic microwave background - a testable prediction of his theory - was eventually proven.

 

He was a Roman Catholic priest.

Funded by the Roman Catholic Church.

He is the father of Big Bang Theory.

His propositions were largely ignored not by the Church but by science.

 

I am no apologist for the RCC; I've seen its evil at close hand, but it incorrect and erroneous to say that it has hindered or otherwise covered up scientific breakthroughs. To put it in its most blunt form: the RCC (or some -indeed many - of its clergy) may have broken through the rectums or other orifices of children. At the same time there were wholly innocent adherents who have contributed immeasurably to the understanding of our universe.

 

LeMaitre was one such. There have been many many others.