Ask a Theistic Scientist

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Ask a Theistic Scientist

 

 

Most of the statistics I've seen show that the overwhelming majority of scientists are either atheist or agnostic, something to the tune of 93 to 97%. Just depends on what stat source you're reading from. That said, a scientist who also happens to be a devout Christian would seem to be something of an enigma, kind of like a gay Republican.
I've mentioned this man a few times here and on other forums as he's an old school chum of mine from long ago that I've sporadically kept in touch with over the years.
Dr. Ben Schumacher is a physics professor at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. Here,on his Wiki page are his credentials http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Schumacher
To get insight on his religious pursuasions, you can read his blogs, religious and secular here http://zerothorderapprox.blogspot.com/. Ben comes from a family of four males all of them scientists except one who is a theologian (isn't theology god science?).

In the next few weeks, when and if I can catch him at home, I'll see if he's conducive to an interview to discuss his faith and his discipline and how he balances the two. I'm thinking of compiling a list of no more than 25 questions to publish on a series of forum posts and blogs. If you have any questions you would like to ask Dr. Scumacher concerning faith and science post one question and I'll try to get it in.

 

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."


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I have just spoken to Dr.

I have just spoken to Dr. Scumacher over the phone and he has agreed to an interview. Please post any questions here and I'll try to get them in. Anything regarding Christian faith and quantum physics, this is the time and place to post them.

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."


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Marty Hamrick wrote:I have

Marty Hamrick wrote:

I have just spoken to Dr. Scumacher over the phone and he has agreed to an interview. Please post any questions here and I'll try to get them in. Anything regarding Christian faith and quantum physics, this is the time and place to post them.

 

Proof of God would be nice


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Ask him if he has an

Ask him if he has an empirical model that is testable and falsifiable and can be independently peer reviewed that shows that it is possible for a thought to arise from a non-material process?

My point is that ALL god concepts throughout history require willful ignorance to swallow the claim of a non-material thinking entity.

Of course the answer is no, and to this date you will not find any theist of any label that can do such.

But since he claims to be a "scientist", I'm always interested how believers try to stick their myth into science.

I am in no way taking him seriously. But it is entertaining to see them try to fit a square peg into a round hole.

 

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I remember reading an

I remember reading an article by a qualified Earth Scientist who actually was a YEC. He conceded there needed to be some explanation for why radiometric dating gave such old dates, but figured decay rates must have been much faster in the past...

So, it can happen.

 

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

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Marty Hamrick wrote:I have

Marty Hamrick wrote:

I have just spoken to Dr. Scumacher over the phone and he has agreed to an interview. Please post any questions here and I'll try to get them in. Anything regarding Christian faith and quantum physics, this is the time and place to post them.

How about:

1. Define God.

2. Why do you believe this being exists.

3. What's his take on empiricism, as a scientist.

4. How does he compartmentalize faith and critical thinking.

5. How can anyone with half a brain believe an extraordinary claim with no proof.

Go from there, the empirical question should give you a lot of material to work with, you can go down that road and hand him a nice big shovel to dig a nice big hole for himself.

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Thanks folks. I spoke with

Thanks folks. I spoke with Dr. Schumacher the other night by phone and he has agreed to an on camera interview. He will be lecturing at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario which is less than two hours away and this has afforded me an opportunity not only to get the "professional soundbite" that we documentary filmmakers need, but to see an old friend with whom I haven't seen since childhood. I have your questions down and will try to get them all in. Very good questions, thanks again.

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."


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 In case you're still

 

In case you're still taking questions:

1) Considering that humans are one species out of millions that has been around for a couple hundred thousand years in a universe 13 billion years old; does he believe we are the end goal of his god's creation?  

2) Did god create the physical laws, or are they independent of him?

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Very good questions, Z, I'll

Very good questions, Z, I'll try to get those in. BTW, I'm not looking to debate this guy on camera, just to get his insight and perspective on things.

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."


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 OK Marty, here are a few

 

OK Marty, here are a few from me:

 

If god made the universe, from what did he make it?

 

This would be interesting because of the creationists who posit the watch maker argument. Well, a watch implies not only a make but also materials. If the argument can have any value at all, then it also requires that the universe maker had material to work with.

 

Where was god before he made everything?

 

Again, as a watch maker has a work shop, so too must a universe maker.

 

Who made all the stuff that god used to make the universe and how would your scientist friend deal with the infinite regress?

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Thanks, got the questions. 

Thanks, got the questions.

 


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 Hey Marty, me again.   I

 

Hey Marty, me again.

 

I took a look at your first post and the wikipedia link was broken. I fixed that for you. If you notice a flag that the thread was “updated”, that is because that happens any time the first post in a thread is edited.

 

Anyway, now that I know who we will be talking to, I would ask you to see if he would also be willing to field a few questions regarding his scientific work?

 

In order for them to be of much use to anyone outside the few of us who are willing to sort out the arcana, I would have to start in English (as poor a tool as it may be) and see if the questions actually go anywhere useful. Let me give you a sample and see what he thinks:

 

For today's nanometer scale electronics, quantum effects are not yet a problem. However, as electronics continue to shrink in size, is it likely that at some point quantum coherence would result in a loss of resolution? Basically, if transistors ever made it down to the scale of moving a handful of electrons, would tunneling become an issue such that the state of a transistor would become uncertain?

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I would actually like to

I would actually like to know how he deals with scientifically false statements in the Bible (flat earth, things the people didn't know back then, but God obviously should have(like the fact that rabbits don't chew cud)).


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Good questions. I emailed

Good questions. I emailed some of the preliminaries to Dr. Scumacher and I he has been very receptive. Non religious questions are welcome. My plan is to shoot enough soundbites to use in several projects, religious or not.

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."


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Just to add...

 

 

 

                   ........other claims from the bible that god should have kown better then;   Pi = 3 ,  if this were true the wheel could not exist and we would still be living in caves [ not even a spoon or sewing needle is possible if Pi = 3. 

 

 

                    Bats are birds,  shouldn't god know the big difference between a mammal and an avian? Eggs vs. live birth...etc.

 

 

                    Jonah swallowed by a great fish,  now we have a mammal vs fish I D  problem how un-godly.

 

 

                    Makeing bread with Human excrement. (Ezekial 4:12)   I'm not eating at his house.

 

 

                     Joshua bade the sun to stand still, and it did.  1st  the sun doesn't move the earth does. 2nd "Are you effin' kidding".

 

 

 

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 Could you ask him to

 Could you ask him to describe the process by which he hypothesizes God created the universe?


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Kevin R Brown wrote: Could

Kevin R Brown wrote:

 Could you ask him to describe the process by which he hypothesizes God created the universe?

"Poof"

What, is that not good enough?

 

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Hello

Hello,

I personally know at least a dozen Christian scientists in all sorts of fields. Most of them are evidential in nature. Mean that proof, in which Brian speaks of, must be empirical.

Thus, via their starting point in science, they allow the probable data to speak for the Bible, verses the Bible to interpret the data, thus making science a reality.

Thus, what is his mode operandum in his philosphy of science. Does he feel that archeology prooves the Bible. Also, if he is an evidentialist, ask him how he can support the inerrance of Scripture via Sola Scriptura, if the probable data dictates the interpretation of the Bible itself.

This happened in the early 20th century, and led to the gap theory, Literary Hermenutics, Progressive Creationism, among other things.

Thus, his philosphy of science would be a place to start Since I have never heard of him.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

A Rational Christian of Intelligence (rare)with a valid and sound justification for my epistemology and a logical refutation for those with logical fallacies and false worldviews upon their normative of thinking in retrospect to objective normative(s). This is only understood via the imago dei in which we all are.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).


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Jean Chauvin wrote:Hello,I

Jean Chauvin wrote:

Hello,

I personally know at least a dozen Christian scientists in all sorts of fields. Most of them are evidential in nature. Mean that proof, in which Brian speaks of, must be empirical.

Thus, via their starting point in science, they allow the probable data to speak for the Bible, verses the Bible to interpret the data, thus making science a reality.

 

Which is to say:  They have a preconceived belief in the bible, and cherry pick any empirical evidence to fit their preconceived belief.

There are no theists on operating tables.

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Hello My Gay Friend

Hello Gay Friend,

Of course that is an ad hominem abusive. And you didn't understand my post. I said most are evidential, meaning that allow the data to speak for the Bible, verses the Bible speaking for the Data.

Since interpretation is not in the area of proof, this is a dillema for faggots and atheists. Thus, only in Christianity can such a dillema be solved in the inerrant Word of God.

The only means to know.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

A Rational Christian of Intelligence (rare)with a valid and sound justification for my epistemology and a logical refutation for those with logical fallacies and false worldviews upon their normative of thinking in retrospect to objective normative(s). This is only understood via the imago dei in which we all are.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).


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 Thanks for the new

 


Thanks for the new questions. I have recieved some preliminary replies and am planning to film an interview with Dr. Schumacher in the first week of June. Here are some of his replies to this site.

Quote:

Ask him if he has an empirical model that is testable and falsifiable and can be independently peer reviewed that shows that it is possible for a thought to arise from a non-material process?

My point is that ALL god concepts throughout history require willful ignorance to swallow the claim of a non-material thinking entity.

Of course the answer is no, and to this date you will not find any theist of any label that can do such.

But since he claims to be a "scientist", I'm always interested how believers try to stick their myth into science.

I am in no way taking him seriously. But it is entertaining to see them try to fit a square peg into a round hole.

Dr. Schumacher responds:

Quote:

 

 

This fellow seems rather hostile. I suppose I would take his objection more seriously if we had a sound theoretical understanding of how mind and consciousness can arise in a purely material system. We simply don't. There are some intriguing partial speculations, but as yet that's all they are. So where does that leave us? I'm not sure, but the question interests me -- which seems like the appropriate scientific attitude.

 

As for my "claim" to be a "scientist", the questioner seems to mean something different from what I mean. My "claim" is based on my training, my knowledge, my accomplishments, the recognition of my peers, and my continuing scientific work. I was not aware that any particular philosophical views were required.

 

I don't like bullies and I really don't like ad hominem attacks. If the gentlemen wants to engage in a pissing contest to compare scientific credentials, by all means bring it on. I write this at one of the world's leading theoretical physics institutes, where I am presently a research visitor. I have given invited lectures and seminar talks at conferences and universities all over the world. I was one of the founders of an entire new branch of quantum physics. How about you, chum?

 

I should not let this sort of nonsense get under my skin, but it does.

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."


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Ktulu wrote: How about:1.

Ktulu wrote:

 

How about:

1. Define God.

2. Why do you believe this being exists.

3. What's his take on empiricism, as a scientist.

4. How does he compartmentalize faith and critical thinking.

5. How can anyone with half a brain believe an extraordinary claim with no proof.

Go from there, the empirical question should give you a lot of material to work with, you can go down that road and hand him a nice big shovel to dig a nice big hole for himself.

Dr. Schumacher responds:

Quote:

 

 

 

Another hostile questioner. I'll try to keep my temper in check this time.

 

Defining God is a big job. Indeed, there are good logical reasons to believe that the Creator cannot be fully defined within the Creation. For our purposes, let us define God as an objective reality, existing outside of spacetime, properly conceived as personal and rational, who is the ultimate ground of both existence and morality.

 

Why do I believe such a being exists? I believe that some elements of the definition -- e.g., that the ulimate ground of existence should be conceived as rational -- are warranted inferences from the evident rationality of the physical universe. Others are similarly derived from our experience as conscious persons, and from our moral sense. I am aware of no other hypothesis that does full justice to these dimensions of human existence.

 

Empiricism is a great tool and a profound regulating principle for science. It does not seem adequate for certain situations. For instance, the validity of a mathematical argument is not really an empirical matter. It is something that we apprehend by our exercise of reason, independent of this or that sense-experience. Thus, logical consistency is another profound regulating principle for science, even though it cannot be derived empirically.

 

Why should I compartmentalize faith and critical thinking? If my faith were the sort of thing that I could only maintain by keeping it carefully insulated from my intellect, then it would not be worth having. (And at some level I wouldn't really believe it, would I?)

 

The last question is a bit slippery! Who gets to decide what is "extraordinary" here? Most people throughout history have believed in supernatural realities. Which claim is extraordinary, the claim that they do exist or the claim that they do not? And what is "proof" in this context? I assume the questioner does not mean inescapable logical demonstration, which is pretty rare outside of pure mathematics. So "proof" must mean "evidence". Belief with "no evidence" at all would indeed be irrational. Belief without conclusive evidence is simply the human condition -- for you as well as me, buddy. We look at things and take our best shot. We might be wrong, either of us. Agreed?

 

With that, I think I'll hand the shovel back to you. What are you shoveling?

I have more answers and will be posting more soon. Thakns for your input Jean, I will be adding your questions in the next installment.

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."


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Quote: let us define God as

Quote:
let us define God as an objective reality

NO, we cannot nor will we blindly start from a position that has no prior data to back it up.

That would be like saying, "Let's assume that there is an invisible pink unicorn in the trunk of my car"

Used car salesman, "Buy the car, it is blue"

Potential buyer, "How's the engine"

Salesman, "Don't know, but it is blue"

Potential buyer, "Can I have an independent mechanic check it out before I buy it?"

Salesman, "No, you have to buy it first, then you can check it out"

Quote:
let us define God as an objective reality

Translation: "Let us pretend he is real and then start from there"

Nope, cant and wont do that. You don't do that for other people's god claims so don't expect me to give your pet god claim special treatment either. You can pretend all you want, all that makes for is mental masturbation.

 

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Quote: I am aware of no

Quote:
I am aware of no other hypothesis that does full justice to these dimensions of human existence.

Really? Big Bang has been around for quite a while.

Why are you so desperate to insert a "who" in as a cause when a "what" is much more simple with no magical baggage?

The origins of our universe are not the cause of a who, but CONDITIONS, much like the hot African coast during the summer has a tendency to produce hurricanes in the Atlantic. I hope you don't think Posiden causes or allows hurricanes.

"Invisible friends" are inventions of human's wishful thinking. It is a placebo, a projection of our own narcissism as a species. It is a strong emotional appeal and nothing more. It is a side affect of human evolution and a comic book reflection of our real evolutionary drive to continue.

 

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What does it mean to say the

What does it mean to say the physical universe is "rational"? Is that a version of seeing 'design' or 'order' in the Universe? Because if so, that is a poor argument. What we observe as order only depends on there being a regularity to the fundamental elements of physical reality, ie a finite variety of types of particles, which within each type are identical and simple in structure.

Rationality is not the signature of a conscious mind - it can be perfectly modelled by logical alogorithms/computers. The signature of a high-level consciousness would be inexplicable departures from mechanical and ordered consistency.

Mathematical and logical results follow by rigid logical inference from the starting axioms, and are not strictly 'knowledge' about the universe at all. Their conclusions and theorems follow from the axioms and definitions, and are actually statements of the form "IF a THEN b". IOW they are only true if the initial axioms match reality. They are ultimately tautologies or definitions.

They are essential tools for the analysis of empirical data and construction of explanatory frameworks to model reality.

The primary Laws of Logic (Law of Identity and Law on Non-contradiction), which are arguably empirical, in that they appear to describe basic perceptions of reality, and provide a workable starting point for coherent discourse. Without empirical data to base our understanding on, we have only intuition and emotion and feeling, which are notoriously fallible in anything beyond our personal experience, and even there supply a poor basis for understanding our own minds.

A God cannot logically be the ground or origin of all that IS, since such a being is part of what IS. It is a sad dodge to talk about some realm 'outside' space-time, since that leaves us with a bigger 'problem' of explaining the origin of that part of reality.

Morality is only meaningful within the context of a society, and based on consensus on what is 'harmful' to the individuals and to the 'proper' functioning of society as a whole, as measurable by the well-being of the population in general. It is not something that can be defined from 'outside'.

The evidence of the Universe is that if there is a super-being behind it, then he is uncaring and incompetent.

I am honestly very disappointed with these responses - I had hoped we might hear something new...

Sorry.

 

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

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Theistic Scientist:This Just In

In the interest of brevity, I emailed Dr. Schumacher a link to this thread. This was his response:

Quote:
One reply so far seemed to think that I was trying to smuggle in God's existence by definition -- which (a) is false as to my intention, and (b) would make my following comments about evidence redundant. Do people really argue in such an underhanded fashion in these forums? Let's hope not.

Another reply seemed to think that the Big Bang is a pretty good hypothesis to explain rationality, morality, and human existence. It does not seem to have occurred to him that there might be some difficulties in the intermediate steps. God is an "invisible friend" and a "placebo", a projection of our own "narcissism", a "side effect" and a "comic book reflection" of evolutionary realities. Wow. Just wow. I suppose he might be referring to real arguments in this rhetorical fusillade, but he doesn't actually make them. I suppose that's what I get for showing up late.

A third commenter, much more worth reading, challenged what I meant by "rationality" in the universe, which is fair, since that is a topic that needs a great deal more discussion than my sketchy answer. And he is quite right that rational coherence is not necessarily the signature of a conscious mind -- though he does come pretty close to saying that irrationality is. He said that God cannot logically be the ground of all that is, since God himself (hypothetically) is one of the things that is. But this is a subject that has been discussed in Christian theology since the beginning. The thing that makes God "God" is precisely the fact that he is the ground of his own existence. If the commenter thinks this idea is nonsense, then he had better exhibit the contradiction involved. This commenter later posits the "social consensus" theory of morality. That's not a stupid idea, and it might be the only move available if you reject any transcendent role for morality. But it does not really do justice to our intuition that people are especially moral when they stand against social consensus (e.g., Galileo, Wilberforce); and it is not an approach I would wish to apply to to the concept of "truth". Anyway, I'm sorry I did not have anything "new" to impress this guy.

 

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Quote:Since interpretation

Quote:

Since interpretation is not in the area of proof, this is a dillema for faggots and atheists.

I'm sorry but I'm somewhat confused with your usage of the terms. What has homosexuality to do with atheism or were you referring to a pile of tied together sticks? The latter definition confuses me even more in this context.

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."


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Marty Hamrick

Marty Hamrick wrote:

Quote:

Since interpretation is not in the area of proof, this is a dillema for faggots and atheists.

I'm sorry but I'm somewhat confused with your usage of the terms. What has homosexuality to do with atheism or were you referring to a pile of tied together sticks? The latter definition confuses me even more in this context.

He isn't being serious, he used the word "fagot" to provoke a response. He is nothing but a childish troll looking for attention.

 

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In the interst of

In the interst of clarification, Dr. Schumacher speaks about his specific brand of Christianity. Here is a segment of our conversation.

Quote:
I have reffered to you as a "lay minister" since you by your self description you do "sermons" as opposed to "lectures" at your church. Am I accurate?
 


I believe that "lay minister" has a technical definition in the Episcopal Church, and I am not one. However, it is safe to call me a "lay leader", since I've done a little preaching and was Senior Warden for our parish.
 

 

Several other questions I want to clarify.
As you know the spectrum of those who ID themselves as "Christian"(including those who hold onto denominational labels such as "Catholic" or "Baptist", believe it or not, I've met mystic Baptists who differ radically from what one would associate the moniker with) is very wide. Can we get some vital specifics? Do you believe in:
The literal virgin birth and resurrection of Christ.
 

 


Yeah. The resurrection is quite central to Christian doctrine. The virgin birth does not seem like much of a stretch after that!
 

 

Salvation in this diety alone and none other.
 

 


Yes, since I believe no other deity exists. However, this does not imply that adherents to other religions (or none) cannot receive salvation. Christians have differed on this question, and I tend to come down in the "big tent" camp. Pagans can be saved. They just get saved by the real guy, not Zeus.
 

 

Christ's return (I remember the Tribulation map you sent me back in 1974, I found it very entertaining, still do)
 

 


Yes, although I (still) find those "end times" tracts highly amusing. The one thing the Bible does guarantee about the End Times is that we won't see it coming.
 

 

Literal existence of the Devil
 

 


Unfortunately yes. It is quite possible to take too much of an interest in devils, however.
 

 

Heaven and Hell, what it takes to get to either "place", what are they in your opinion and why do you believe they exist?
 

 


I do believe in these. Briefly: Hell is the condition of the soul that is ultimately left to itself. Heaven is the other place. Hell is a theorem deduced from introspection of my own fatal imperfections and the possibility of existence after death. Heaven is a hope with a more complicated basis.

 

 

 

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."


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Brian37 wrote:Marty Hamrick

Brian37 wrote:

Marty Hamrick wrote:

Quote:

Since interpretation is not in the area of proof, this is a dillema for faggots and atheists.

I'm sorry but I'm somewhat confused with your usage of the terms. What has homosexuality to do with atheism or were you referring to a pile of tied together sticks? The latter definition confuses me even more in this context.

He isn't being serious, he used the word "fagot" to provoke a response. He is nothing but a childish troll looking for attention.

 

I had surmised that. My response was thinly disguised sarcasm with a point in semantics. When my niece was around 6, one of her friends called her and her cousin "dykes" and it hurt her feelings so she went to her dad and asked him to define the word. Being a skilled technician, he held up a pair of boltcutters and said, "This is a pair of dykes, honey." She asked why someone would call her and her cousin a pair of boltcutters, he replied, "Because he doesn't know any better."

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."


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Dr. Schumacher

Dr. Schumacher wrote:

 

Another hostile questioner. I'll try to keep my temper in check this time.

 

Defining God is a big job. Indeed, there are good logical reasons to believe that the Creator cannot be fully defined within the Creation. For our purposes, let us define God as an objective reality, existing outside of spacetime, properly conceived as personal and rational, who is the ultimate ground of both existence and morality.

I didn't mean to come across as hostile Smiling When you said Christian Scientist I automatically thought Ray Comfort (even though he's not a scientist).  It was an assumption on my part.  Anyways, that out of the way.  Just so I understand the definition given clearly, god is a fixed point of reference for existence and morality within space-time.  God does not exist within space-time.  I'm not sure about the "properly conceived as personal and rational".  I'm going to assume you mean that he is a personal god (as in listens/cares/relates to you personally), and that he may be on par with the platonic forms, in that he cannot be detected empirically but must be arrived at rationally.  

That's a loaded definition, I particularly like how the omni-xes are avoided but implied Smiling.  My one objection at the self consistency of the definition would have to be that if god is outside space-time he's not omnipresent, which is to say he can't really be a personal god if he can't be within space-time.  

 

Dr. Schumacher wrote:

Why do I believe such a being exists? I believe that some elements of the definition -- e.g., that the ulimate ground of existence should be conceived as rational -- are warranted inferences from the evident rationality of the physical universe. Others are similarly derived from our experience as conscious persons, and from our moral sense. I am aware of no other hypothesis that does full justice to these dimensions of human existence.

Since this deals with a subjective belief I really can't comment on it. 

Dr. Schumacher wrote:

Empiricism is a great tool and a profound regulating principle for science. It does not seem adequate for certain situations. For instance, the validity of a mathematical argument is not really an empirical matter. It is something that we apprehend by our exercise of reason, independent of this or that sense-experience. Thus, logical consistency is another profound regulating principle for science, even though it cannot be derived empirically.

Of course mathematics and logic are not directly an empirical matter.  My reply on this is that empiricism is the ultimate fundamental way that we understand reality.  Rational concepts such as mathematics, logic, and by your definition, god are all completely meaningless without the concepts and symbols that we have acquired empirically since birth.  In other words mathematics, logic and god cannot be arrived at by someone that was born blind/deaf/numb/unable to taste/unable to smell.  If such a being as you have defined exists to make a claim that he exists is complete non-sense, because you cannot know. (pun on the word sense intended).

Dr. Schumacher wrote:

Why should I compartmentalize faith and critical thinking? If my faith were the sort of thing that I could only maintain by keeping it carefully insulated from my intellect, then it would not be worth having. (And at some level I wouldn't really believe it, would I?)

I thought faith was a belief that is not based on proof... that's what I was implying when I stated compartmentalization.  Critical thinking would have created a dichotomy in that context... a weak question on my part.  What I meant to imply is that belief in god implies that you believe something without proof (I mean proof as in evidence).  Critical thinking conversely would imply that you belief nothing without evidence... I realize how vague this could be interpreted but I think you know what I'm trying to get at. Smiling

Dr. Schumacher wrote:

The last question is a bit slippery! Who gets to decide what is "extraordinary" here? Most people throughout history have believed in supernatural realities. Which claim is extraordinary, the claim that they do exist or the claim that they do not? And what is "proof" in this context? I assume the questioner does not mean inescapable logical demonstration, which is pretty rare outside of pure mathematics. So "proof" must mean "evidence". Belief with "no evidence" at all would indeed be irrational. Belief without conclusive evidence is simply the human condition -- for you as well as me, buddy. We look at things and take our best shot. We might be wrong, either of us. Agreed?

 

With that, I think I'll hand the shovel back to you. What are you shoveling?

I like that, intellectual honesty Smiling yes of course either one of us may be wrong.  Myself and most others on this forum are what we refer to as agnostic atheists. 

Thank you for your time 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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I was not positing the Big

I was not positing the Big Bang as the ground of existence, I was positing the existence of a basic and intrinsically simple regularity of the fundamental 'elements' of being, which are currently somewhere at or below the level of quarks and leptons. This regularity and self-similarity is all that is needed to give to orderly patterns and structures, along with the formation of the essential 'matter' particles, which are the basis of persistent complex patterns and processes, which seem to be essential for emergent complexity, such as life and self-awareness.

An immaterial realm, beyond space and time, or some higher dimensional equivalent of such, seems to me to be incapable of sustaining anything of consequence.

Science sees complex forms arising from simpler every day, as as crystalline structures form from formless liquid solutions, and as living organisms reproduce and grow, so there is simply no logical necessity for something already well beyond a basic sea of particles or 'quantum foam', or some such, to pre-exist.

And if you are going to include the conventional 'omni' attributes, you are definitely positing something extraordinary, by any definition, any beyond any logical necessity for a creator being.

Which makes the idea of a God unnecessary, and indeed only a complicating factor to be explained, rather than an explanation in itself.

The contradiction is that God cannot be the origin of himself.

I was not verging on proposing 'irrationality' as signs of a consciousness, but rather non-rationality, such as preferences, emotions, drives, etc, IOW all signs of the subjective. I hope you recognize the important distinction.

Science and philosophy were once obsessed with 'rationality' as the ultimate attribute of an ideal mind, but we have come to recognize, with the arrival of complex computer systems, that that is something that can be derived from complex logical structures. We once thought mental skills such as playing chess at a high level was a test for a 'mind', but now we know better, or should.

Rather, it is things like self-awareness which are more important, and a sense of ethics, and altruism which are the goals of the latest AI research. There are currently at least four groups of life-forms which show unmistakable signs of self-awareness: the higher primates, including ourselves, elephants, cetaceans, especially dolphins, and some bird species, such as parrots and corvids.

If find 'transcendent' an unnecessary qualification for anything.

We have a pretty good idea where our moral intuitions come from, from evolution, as being highly important for the success of a social, mutually cooperating species, and have identified key parts of the brain, the 'mirror neurones', as fundamental to developing feelings of empathy, the basis of love and compassion, and other positive drives. I agree that 'social consensus' does not really capture what I was referring to, but rather I mean a minimum degree of shared instincts and urges, not a consciously arrived at 'consensus'.

'Moral' rules based on the edicts of an authority figure are not the basis of a morality, but rather a form of legal system, but one inferior to that in modern advanced democracies, as lacking adequate appeal mechanisms.

AN important aspect of our nature is some diversity of dispositions and desires, which is vital to our ability to adapt, as a society or civilization, to new circumstances, and to evolve socially and intellectually. So there will always be some individuals who stand out against the masses, at all margins of the 'moral' and intellectual landscape: Darwin, Galileo, Einstein, Pasteur, Giordano Bruno, Wilberforce, some strongly criticised or even persecuted by the intellectual or 'moral' authorities of the times, as against the likes of Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, at a darker boundary.

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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BobSpence1 wrote:.The

BobSpence1 wrote:

.

The evidence of the Universe is that if there is a super-being behind it, then he is uncaring and incompetent.

I am honestly very disappointed with these responses - I had hoped we might hear something new...

Sorry.

 

My sentiments exactly Bob. I think much of the discussion is almost over. The " Theist Scientist" is not producing anything that hasn't been heard before, in my opinion.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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Dr. Schumacher responds

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
This fellow seems rather hostile. 
 

And you could be a total douche who is convinced his shit don't smell.

What's that got to do with the price of tea in China?

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
 I suppose I would take his objection more seriously if we had a sound theoretical understanding of how mind and consciousness can arise in a purely material system.  
 

That knife cuts both ways, Einstein.

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
We simply don't.
 

That's not a point in the theists favor, whatsoever.

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
 There are some intriguing partial speculations, but as yet that's all they are.
 

False.

There are mountains of factual data derived from experiments, on the fallibility of human perception.

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
 So where does that leave us?
 

It leaves you not knowing what you're talking about.

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
 My "claim" is based on my training, my knowledge, my accomplishments, the recognition of my peers, and my continuing scientific work. 
 

No amount of posturing is going to help you overcome the same problems that theism suffers from, which is that it's perched precariously on nothing but legend, folklore, personal intuition and 'experiences', to posit that they know the 'truth'.

Theism (and theists) would be best to start be more intellectually honest, and learn to make the distinction between 'opinion' and 'facts', when they communicate.

I will concede that due to common grammar and syntax, that it would be difficult and tedious to always preface dialogue with 'supposed' god 'entity', and 'supposed' 'person' Jesus, but, it is what it is. Both are 'supposed' to be real, yet all there is that is examinable, is legend, folklore, and 'personal' experience, which is to say, "Not much"...

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
 I don't like bullies and I really don't like ad hominem attacks. 
 

Grow a pair, FFS.

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
If the gentlemen wants to engage in a pissing contest to compare scientific credentials, by all means bring it on. I write this at one of the world's leading theoretical physics institutes, where I am presently a research visitor.  
 

So?

You've not lived billions of years to see how this universe formed, or how life emerged in it, so your posturing has little to do with the price of tea in China, or whether Bigfoot is actually fact, or fiction.

Some of us are actually quite 'gifted' in intellect, and work in science and technologies, as well, and put our pants on one leg at a time, just like you do. 

So, just get over yourself.

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
I have given invited lectures and seminar talks at conferences and universities all over the world.

And the price of tea in China was never effected.

Nor will that effect on what you will succeed, or fail, in proving...

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
 I should not let this sort of nonsense get under my skin, but it does.
 

Then you're not well suited to debating...

 

 

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:Dr. Schumacher

redneF wrote:

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
This fellow seems rather hostile. 
 

And you could be a total douche who is convinced his shit don't smell.

What's that got to do with the price of tea in China?

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
 I suppose I would take his objection more seriously if we had a sound theoretical understanding of how mind and consciousness can arise in a purely material system.  
 

That knife cuts both ways, Einstein.

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
We simply don't.
 

That's not a point in the theists favor, whatsoever.

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
 There are some intriguing partial speculations, but as yet that's all they are.
 

False.

There are mountains of factual data derived from experiments, on the fallibility of human perception.

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
 So where does that leave us?
 

It leaves you not knowing what you're talking about.

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
 My "claim" is based on my training, my knowledge, my accomplishments, the recognition of my peers, and my continuing scientific work. 
 

No amount of posturing is going to help you overcome the same problems that theism suffers from, which is that it's perched precariously on nothing but legend, folklore, personal intuition and 'experiences', to posit that they know the 'truth'.

Theism (and theists) would be best to start be more intellectually honest, and learn to make the distinction between 'opinion' and 'facts', when they communicate.

I will concede that due to common grammar and syntax, that it would be difficult and tedious to always preface dialogue with 'supposed' god 'entity', and 'supposed' 'person' Jesus, but, it is what it is. Both are 'supposed' to be real, yet all there is that is examinable, is legend, folklore, and 'personal' experience, which is to say, "Not much"...

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
 I don't like bullies and I really don't like ad hominem attacks. 
 

Grow a pair, FFS.

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
If the gentlemen wants to engage in a pissing contest to compare scientific credentials, by all means bring it on. I write this at one of the world's leading theoretical physics institutes, where I am presently a research visitor.  
 

So?

You've not lived billions of years to see how this universe formed, or how life emerged in it, so your posturing has little to do with the price of tea in China, or whether Bigfoot is actually fact, or fiction.

Some of us are actually quite 'gifted' in intellect, and work in science and technologies, as well, and put our pants on one leg at a time, just like you do. 

So, just get over yourself.

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
I have given invited lectures and seminar talks at conferences and universities all over the world.

And the price of tea in China was never effected.

Nor will that effect on what you will succeed, or fail, in proving...

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
 I should not let this sort of nonsense get under my skin, but it does.
 

Then you're not well suited to debating...

 

 

Is this Doctor going to argue his "credentials"? If so, what about Muslims and Jews with PHDs or Japanese scientists with the same area of education? Are their god/s real because they have the same education?

Or is it that this Doctor simply falsely equates, "I'm smart so I must be right about everything"

No, Newton got gravity right, but he also postulated Alchemy.

You doctor are emotionally mistaking your good fortune and education as justification for a deity. This is no different than when the Pharos of Egypt mistook their kingships and fortunes for the sun being a god. Success and wealth and accomplishment didn't make the sun a god, even if the Egyptians were master builders.

I am sorry Doctor. A microbiologist is going to be able to prove the existence of DNA. But no matter their label, no matter what country they are from, or what pet god they believe in, knowing about DNA does not make a god real. Just like knowing what electricity is would not make Thor real.

Mixing deity belief with science is like trying to use Superman to explain the science behind flight and air travel.

God/deities/ entities explain nothing. Human emotions and a history of humans making up myths and falsely believing them to be fact we have abundant evidence for. For you to use your credentials to sell your own pet deity is intellectually dishonest and no credible scientist is going to want you in their lab.

Now, if you really want some understanding as to why, even a smart person like you can fall for a deity claim, it can be explained quite well in "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins (an evolutionary biologist) So if you want to argue credentials.

He describes the placebo of god belief in his book as "a moth mistaking the light bulb for the natural moonlight it guides itself by".

Your belief is only natural in the sense a sugar pill works. It brings you comfort and can create a collective social structure, but the god itself is not real, no matter how much you want the god to be real or how much you "feel" the god is real. Just like the light bulb is not the moon no matter how much the moth may think it is.

Our senses and feelings are notoriously wrong. Just like we can falsely believe that the bowl of olives on the Halloween party table are a bowl full of eyeballs when we touch them. Religion is merely a form of mass delusion.

If you can accept the fact that at one time most of the world's population falsely believed the earth was flat you should be able to accept, even today, smart people, just like the other smart people of other religions, can and do believe false things.

Just don't expect us to go, "Oh he has this degree so his pet god must be real". Other people of other religions can have the same degree you do yet you don't believe in their gods.

 

 

 

 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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Dr. Schumacher responds

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
Another hostile questioner.

More comments from the peanut gallery...

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
I'll try to keep my temper in check this time.

Maybe it's time to grow up a little...

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
Defining God is a big job.

It seems like a simple concept. The 'maker' of all things. 

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
Indeed, there are good logical reasons to believe that the Creator cannot be fully defined within the Creation.

No.

That's a non sequitur.

There's an unbroken stream by which events occur.

Unless you want to posit that if you could have a conversation with god, he would say 'I dunno, I'm not quite sure how I made that happen', which is absurd, if you want to posit that he is 'all knowing'.

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
For our purposes, let us define God as an objective reality, existing outside of spacetime

How do you know that's possible?

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
...properly conceived as personal and rational

Ad hoc reasoning. 

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
...who is the ultimate ground of both existence and morality.

Ad hoc reasoning.

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
Why do I believe such a being exists?

The question is more in line with "Why is it useful to you to conclude that this being exists?"

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
I believe that some elements of the definition -- e.g., that the ulimate ground of existence should be conceived as rational -- are warranted inferences from the evident rationality of the physical universe.

That's where many skeptics differ, from theists.

In a universe with universal constants, things could only occur 1 way. And they did.

Like a round peg fitting in a round hole. 

Extending that to pontificating about how 'rational' that is, is merely navel gazing...

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
Others are similarly derived from our experience as conscious persons, and from our moral sense. I am aware of no other hypothesis that does full justice to these dimensions of human existence.

Here, let me help you fix that.

"It is, what it is"

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
Empiricism is a great tool and a profound regulating principle for science. It does not seem adequate for certain situations.

Bullshit.

This is where the equivocations begin.

The theories of 'gods' are based on imaginations of the natural world experienced 'empirically'.

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
For instance, the validity of a mathematical argument is not really an empirical matter. It is something that we apprehend by our exercise of reason, independent of this or that sense-experience.

Pure bullshit.

There is a huge distinction between a bunch of apples, and 100 apples, or 49 apples to your left, and 51 apples to your right.

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
Thus, logical consistency is another profound regulating principle for science, even though it cannot be derived empirically.

Logical fallacy.

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
The last question is a bit slippery! Who gets to decide what is "extraordinary" here?

The individual.

That's why it's subjective, and not any means to posit that any gods exist.

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
Most people throughout history have believed in supernatural realities.

Argumentum ad populum

Ignorance is nothing new.

Many people today believe in Astrology, and pattern their lives after it, despite the fact that it has been proven to be pure bunk.

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
Which claim is extraordinary, the claim that they do exist or the claim that they do not?

Rhetorical question.

At the very best, you have no better than 50/50 odds of being correct/incorrect on a speculation.

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
And what is "proof" in this context?

Proof that a god exists would be evidence that without one, the universe (reality) could not possibly have occurred, or (reality) could not have always existed, in another 'form', without a deity.

Theism has got miles to go before it has anymore veracity than any other 'god' theory, from antiquity.

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
  Belief with "no evidence" at all would indeed be irrational.

This is why most atheists consider thiests to be irrational. They have lower standards of what they'll adopt as 'evidence', and are willing to be 'elastic' in their imaginations when it confirms their bias, and dismissive when an antithesis does not confirm their bias.

Pure and simple.

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
 Belief without conclusive evidence is simply the human condition -- for you as well as me, buddy.

Speak for yourself.

Whether there's a god or not, has never concerned me one bit.

I simply don't care.

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
 We look at things and take our best shot.

Sometimes we're apathetic to a question.

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
 We might be wrong, either of us. Agreed?

Sure.

But how could you conclude, and live your entire life based on legend and folklore?

 

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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Dr. Schumacher responds

Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
Most people throughout history have believed in supernatural realities.

So the Muslim Arabs of antiquity contributed to algebra, does that mean you will get 72 virgins in an after life?


Dr. Schumacher responds wrote:
 We might be wrong, either of us. Agreed?

NO,

You are not going to get away with trying to make everything a 50/50 proposition. You don't believe in Vishnu and would not even give that a 50% chance.

Your pet deity was not confirmed in antiquity in a modern lab with modern science. Your pet deity was invented in a scientific age of ignorance by people who merely wanted their pet deity to be real. There is no need to treat ancient myth as equal to competing claims in real science. Just like you would not try to say there is a 50% chance that Thor is real because we observe lightening in science.

There are competing theories as to how the universe will end. There are competing theories even in quantum physics. But those were not based on ancient myth of any kind. Ancient fairy tales have no chance of being a reality any more than getting presents under the tree makes Santa a 50-50 proposition.

 

 


 

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 Coming in late to this

 

Coming in late to this thread, there's a lot to scroll through and I'm too dyslexic to read it all.  I did have a question for Dr. Schumacher, if he's still reading -- forgive me if it's already been touched upon.  I've been curious about how Christians defend their belief in a 6K year-old universe.  Some Christians don't believe this, of course.  But for the ones that do, I'm wondering if they then believe that none of the celestial bodies we can observe from Earth are further away from our planet than 6,000 light years?

 

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Our intuition deserves no

Our intuition deserves no respect as a source of 'knowledge'. Our intuition told us that the Sun revolves around the Earth, and that the Earth was flat, that the stars are in a separate realm of perfection, that heavy objects must always fall faster than heavy objects, that if the earth was rotating we would be left behind if we jumped off the surface, etc, etc.

Our native 'reasoning' has evolved to make useful models of our immediate perceived reality, so we can catch food animals, detect potential predators, etc., but not grander ideas about the nature of reality.

Logic only depends on there being identifiable subsets of reality, such as objects, entities of all kinds, etc, and that we can make a formal distinction between what is object A and what is not A. All deductive disciplines, such as math and logic, follow from such axioms, and are actually implied by those axioms, so are not, of and by themselves, sources of knowledge and understanding, but only when applied to empirical observations.

Empirical reasoning trades the certainty of deduction for the reality of the only way to gain fresh insights and understanding, by studying reality itself, for a measure of uncertainty.

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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Marty Hamrick wrote:I have

Marty Hamrick wrote:

I have just spoken to Dr. Scumacher over the phone and he has agreed to an interview.

 

Wow! What is this thread?!  A transcendental connection session with a "theist scientist"? 

After reading his replies, it seems to me that his skin is indeed too thin to debate anything (religious).  Perhaps his most telling comment was on credentials.  He is totally missing the number of people with degrees and university appointments on this forum in case he is serious about credentials. 

 

Faith and God can serve as a mental lift that helps to achieve breakthroughs in science.  But as a scientist, I can't imagine how can a scientist proudly parade a belief in a deity. 

 

No questions, just this comment.


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100percentAtheist

100percentAtheist wrote:

Marty Hamrick wrote:

I have just spoken to Dr. Scumacher over the phone and he has agreed to an interview.

 

Wow! What is this thread?!  A transcendental connection session with a "theist scientist"? 

Sure, why the hell not? You object? I'm a journalist and filmmaker and I happen to be an atheist myself, but I don't hold to the idea that religion is necessarilly a bad thing for everyone or that in order to be rational you must embrace atheism. I offer the opportunity here for ideas to be exchanged and hopefully, all can and will learn from it. Isn't that the purpose of forums?
Quote:

After reading his replies, it seems to me that his skin is indeed too thin to debate anything (religious).  Perhaps his most telling comment was on credentials.  He is totally missing the number of people with degrees and university appointments on this forum in case he is serious about credentials. 

I didn't think the bulk of this thread was going to be about comparing credentials. I posted a link to them to provide forumists with a profile so each could decide on their own if they thought Dr. Schumacher would be credible enough to warrant at least a few pages of posts. I see by the number of responses that a good majority of RSS posters must be at least slightly impressed with Dr. Schumacher's credentials or else they wouldn't have bothered reading past the OP.

Thanks for your input 100%.

 

No questions, just this comment.

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."


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A brief (?) rejoinder

 

I've signed onto this forum to save my old friend Marty some time and trouble, but I do so with some trepidation. As I put it to him, I've no interest in playing the starring role in a bear-baiting. This may be amusing for the spectators, but it is a waste of the bear's precious time. With all due respect, I really have many better things to do, including actual science.

 

But some of the most recent comments really do require a response.

 

My initial responses to some of the questions Marty sent me -- before I had ever looked at this forum -- contained intemperate language. I regret this not at all. I was properly irritated, still am, at the use of scare quotes by the fellow calling me a "scientist". My answer was designed to establish that I am a no-quotes scientist, full stop, by any reasonable definition of the word. This is not credential-waving, though I do understand how it could be taken that way. Let me therefore be clear: My credentials as a quantum physicist do not automatically make my statements about theology more reliable. (The same might apply to Stephen Hawking.) My intention was to counter a textbook example of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy. Surely no "real" scientist could believe such stuff! Well, I am a real scientist, respected by my peers; I am a real Christian, of a fairly traditional sort; the two sets have a non-null intersection. Fact. Deal with it.

 

Some commenters have said things that are well worth engaging. BobSpence1, for instance, seems to be a smart guy with interesting stuff to say and the ability to say it clearly. He makes an excellent point about the way in which complexity emerges in the natural world. Anybody who has spent a lot of time on, say, cellular automaton theory will know that this is itself a remarkable feature of the "rule-set" by which the system is governed. Our universe is a remarkably friendly place for the emergence and persistence of extremely deep complex systems. (You might regard this as a recycling of the well-discussed anthropic "fine-tuning" of cosmic parameters. I view it as a larger point about the form of the laws also, not just the numerical value of a handful of constants.)

 

Similarly, BobSpence1 expands his view on the source and meaning of human morality. His remark about the species survival value of diversity is excellent. But the fact that some existing moral systems can be judged to be "adequate" or "inadequate" suggests an ideal standard for that judgment -- a standard that does not actually exist in real moral systems. Could a never-instantiated standard be the result of evolution? No; nothing which does not exist in the phenotype can be subject to natural selection. So this standard is something else. I could propose several theories, some of them consistent with BobSpence1's beliefs and some not. I am honestly interested in which ones he would endorse.

 

He may go a bit too far to say that "We have a pretty good idea" of where morality comes from in the evolutionary scheme of things. We have some clues and intuitions, but evolutionary psychology is far less well-founded than either evolution or psychology. It is not altogether honest to treat the most recent speculations as sound, well-tested theory; but perhaps he only meant to argue that evolutionary psychology has the potential to really explain all this stuff. Maybe it does. We'll see.

 

He does a little less well with more specifically theological matters. For instance, he says that the idea that God is the ground of his own being is contradictory because "God cannot be the origin of himself." First, the "origin" language is a bit misleading if God does not exist "within" spacetime. Our experience does suggest that nothing in spacetime can be its own cause. This is one of the reasons that theologians long ago concluded that God's existence is not confined to spacetime. Frankly, this is elementary stuff, metaphysicswise-speaking. It might not be correct, but it is a well-developed logical system with lots of serious thinking behind it. Simply asserting that it does not make sense is like those people who say that relativity is nonsense because observers in relative motion could not possibly both see each other's clocks running slowly. I talk to people like that all the time, and they are quite convinced that they have noticed the fatal flaw in Einstein. But you have to do the math.

 

Participant harleysportster seems to regard the conversation as over, as I have nothing new to offer. OK then. Bye.

 

RedneF sees me as "posturing" and perhaps too timid to engage in a real debate. ("Grow a pair.&quotEye-wink OK. I freely admit that the debates and discussions I usually engage in have a different flavor from discussions here. For one thing, they generally involve more equations. They also involve much less personal animosity -- or rather, impersonal animosity, since RedneF would not know me from Adam. Yes, I've led a pretty sheltered life. I haven't spent many hours engaging in flame wars on the web. (Have you seen that great XKCD cartoon?) But seriously, when you think about how brief and precious the hours of this life are -- and I regard them so, even if I also believe in Heaven -- and about how little we accomplish of the great things that are possible for us, why get caught up in such things?

 

Have I answered and refuted RedneF? Not really. Did he answer and refute me? Not really. So we're even.

 

Brian37 calls me "Doctor" and says that I am attempting a covert argument from authority, based on my own authority as a scientist. As I explained above, I am not, but let me follow his response. He makes the reasonable point that scientists of other religions should have the same claim to authority for their religious views, which differ from mine. Some of us, maybe all of us, have to be wrong. Ergo, the argument from authority fails. Well, despite the sarcasm and ill-feeling that pervade his remarks, his argument is exactly right. It also applies to atheist scientists.

 

Brian37 goes on to make some further -- not arguments, exactly, but some strong images. Neal Stephenson once said that very few people do actual thinking, not in the sense of following a line of thought or developing an idea. Instead, they put pictures together in their heads. I think Stephenson was a bit too cynical here, but the distinction is worth pondering. Or perhaps the discussion around here has such a deep history that Brian37 is only calling to mind by icons some very careful and battle-tested arguments that I missed somewhere. (I often feel the same about Dawkins's writing.)

 

By the way, has everyone here read Stephenson's book Anathem? This has as thoughtful and humane a discussion of the relation between science and religion as I have ever read -- and is also (among other things) a rousing and imaginative science fiction adventure. Great stuff -- 800 pages, true, and a little slow at first, but well worth the time. I can't quite tell whether I agree with Stephenson's philosophical positions. I very much admire his human outlook.

 

I hope my endorsement here has not cost him any readers.

 

Anyway, Brian37 also goes on to attempt to dismantle some other explanations I gave. For example, he objects to my definition of God because I haven't established that such a being is possible. But without a prior definition, the question of God's possibility is meaningless. Similarly, he rejects some parts of my definition as "ad hoc reasoning". For the life of me, I can't figure out what this means. No, really. Something is "ad hoc" if it is chosen or done for a particular instance. This can be a criticism if the choice or deed is wrongly inconsistent with other things. How does this apply to the "reasoning" in my (very tentative) definition?

 

Later on he calls "bullshit" on a number of things I say. The accusation of an "argumentum ad populum" is plausible, and it would be a fair cop if I had pushed the argument any further. The point I was trying to make, of course, was to question the unexamined term "extraordinary". That point is a weak one, though, so I happily concede it. The claim of God's existence and nature is extraordinary. I would not expect someone to accept it on trivial grounds. Then Brian37 calls something I say a "rhetorical question", which it is. So what? (Another rhetorical question!) Finally, at the end of his heated and passionate rejoinder to all I have said, he answers my last point (that all conclusions are tentative and fallible) by saying that he is "apathetic" to the question of God. Ummm. I don't think that word means what you think it means.

 

OK, I do not wish to make him angry, and I do think I understand him. What he probably means is that, because he does not believe God exists, he has never regarded the question as an important one. The reason he is here is not to bat around the question, or even to persuade anyone, but to take shots at idiots like me. Fair enough.

 

He comes back for another go, bringing up the 72 virgins of Muslim paradise and Vishnu and all the rest. He also likes the phrase "pet deity", which he has used before and uses again, twice, presumably because it expresses the right air of contempt. "Fairy tales" and "myths", too. If he is trying to upset me with his word-choice, well, it all just sort of beads up and rolls off. But digging a little, I recognize an familiar point. I have a good friend and long-time collaborator, an eminent physicist (NAS member, etc.), whose principal objection to any particular religion is the fact that there are so many of them. It seems unjust to him to believe one set of scriptures and reject all the others. Since they can't all be equally right, the simplest hypothesis is that they are all equally wrong. This is not exactly logic, but it is based on a sense of fairness -- a sense that those people in ancient India or Africa or China were just as smart, and just as ignorant, as our own forebears. I do respect that. But doesn't this amount to a kind of inverse argumentum ad populum? Since so many people have thought otherwise, in many different ways, the idea is clearly wrong . . . .

 

To respond to commenter roseweed, I have to say that Christians who believe the world is 6000 years old are wrong and misguided -- bad science, bad thinking, even bad theology. Many of them have been told that to accept the antiquity of the earth and the evolution of life would mean that they had to reject God, about whom they think they have personal knowledge and to whom they feel strong loyalty and gratitude. Some of the people who have told them these things are so-called "teachers" of Christian doctrine. Others are atheist foes of religion. What strange allies! (It reminds me of what my Dad used to say about "Baptists and bootleggers" opposing the end of Prohibition.) I am saddened that many of my co-religionists have been taken in by this stuff. I am not much interested in recounting their (atrocious) arguments in its favor.

 

BobSpence1 returns with good points about intuition. He is a little hard on our "native reasoning", though, since historically it did give rise to all the good and sound forms of reasoning (like mathematics and natural science). It has enabled us to recognize sound arguments when we learned to make them. And in practical matters, including pretty much all of our human relationships, we rely on heuristics, analogies, and intuition a great deal. I do not believe that we are wrong to do so, partly because we are not only reasoning beings. We have passions and relationships and individuality and obligation. And even in the realms of math and science, a trained and informed intuition invariably "leads the way" toward new discoveries. We can only prove what we have first guessed. Even if most intuition is just flat wrong -- a thing I am far from conceding -- it is an indispensable tool in the practical application of reason to the world.

 

OK, that is about all I have time for. Actually, it is a good deal more than I have time for. By the time I post this, there will perhaps be more comments and responses; I'll have to leave them unanswered for the present.  And it may be some time before I can engage this fully again.  If that makes me a coward in your eyes, so be it.  You all must understand that my intention is not to provide an ironclad argument that completely establishes belief in the Christian God as an inescapable deduction from our common objective experience. I do not know that such an argument exists. I am even less sure that I could construct it. And even if I could and did, would anyone read it? My goal is much more modest: to persuade you that it is possible for a single person to hold both the Christian faith and a passionate attachment to (and some expertise in) contemporary science, without doing violence to either. The two can coexist with integrity and harmony, and without serious psychological pathology, in a single mind and heart. This by no means establishes that Christianity is true or that atheism is false. Indeed no. But it does suggest that some arguments (and a great deal of rhetoric) presented in favor of atheism are both unjust and unsound. If you're the smart guys, you should do better.


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Thanks for channeling

 

 

Quote:

 

Defining God is a big job. Indeed, there are good logical reasons to believe that the Creator cannot be fully defined within the Creation. For our purposes, let us define God as an objective reality, existing outside of spacetime, properly conceived as personal and rational, who is the ultimate ground of both existence and morality.

Why do I believe such a being exists? I believe that some elements of the definition -- e.g., that the ulimate ground of existence should be conceived as rational -- are warranted inferences from the evident rationality of the physical universe. Others are similarly derived from our experience as conscious persons, and from our moral sense. I am aware of no other hypothesis that does full justice to these dimensions of human existence.

 

 

Dr Schumacher, Marty. And thanks, Doctor, for taking the time to reply - your position is instructive even if not everyone agrees with it.

What I'm interested in here is the definition of god - I agree with you god cannot be properly defined and is probably impossible to define from our perspective. The trouble for me is that in the absence of a definition we have labels that seem to me difficult to reconcile. Outside space time is the first challenge for me, as is the existence of a being that is 'the ultimate ground of existence and morality'. I wonder at this fundamental linking of subatomic reality and a neurological property. Then there are those anthropomorphic qualities god attains - rationality and personality/personability. We are no position to test any of these assertions adequately and the sources of proof for god are always bible and complexity.

Given a cogent definition of an exo-universal god is not possible the point I'm crabbing up to here is that in the absence of a definition, we are obliged to say we can't be sure of the nature and role of god in the universe without succumbing to an argument from complexity. God and his asserted characteristics represent a proposed explanation for which further study should be undertaken after which process a theory of supernatural deities might or might not be considered adequately supported. At this time, God, to me, is an insufficiently supported hypothesis.  

I have long struggled in debates with christians who employ what I see as complete adherence to testable explanations until such time they consider the nature and the particulars of their particular god. It seems to me that when some christians are faced with the absence of what they see as a proper explanation for a neurological process of logic or the brain's cascade of feelings and reactions we call morality, they will posit a god, linking this god to matters of cosmogony, the whole generally aligned with the doctrine of whichever holy book they embrace. I wonder why they feel so pressed? Personally, I have no trouble admitting that I do not know. That no one yet knows. That we may never truly know. 

I understand you will not agree with any of this - perhaps you maintain as many of my family do that the unknowability of god is further proof of his existence - but I do wonder why an undefinable god is afforded the respect of an absolute belief when all other things about our universe must battle their way through due process in order to be nominally accepted as a theory. Given your position and your major accomplishments in the study of subatomics, I also wonder at what point it is you make a distinction between qubits that can only be studied using empiricism and a god who can never be? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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


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This thread seems to have

This thread seems to have started with good intentions, but some of the questions were definitely hostile. So I'm going to ask a 3 questions I don't think have been asked yet:

 

How, if at all, does your faith inform your work? This is only relevant primarily because he's a theoretical physicist.

 

How do you feel about the fact that most of your fellow scientists reject religion?

 

Related to #1, what do you think of Michio Kaku's thoughts that we don't need to separate science and god? Link


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Atheistextremist wrote: At

Atheistextremist wrote:
 At this time, God, to me, is an insufficiently supported hypothesis.  

I guess it depends on what one is willing to consider as evidence...

 

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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 Welcome Dr. Schumacher.

 

Welcome Dr. Schumacher. It is good to see that you decided to post directly. One thing is that you are not fully registered yet and you will have to reenter your details every time that you post. If you are interested in keeping up the dialogue, you might want to consider finishing off the process so that your account is actually saved on the server.

 

In any case, having read your lengthy post, yes, it is true that you will get some level of hostility here. I think that that should b pretty much expect though. This is, after all, an atheist forum and some people are going to pull out their “pet god” and similar terms. Nature of the beast and all that.

 

One bit that stands out for me is that you mentioned that part of your motivation was to demonstrate that it is possible to b both a scientist and a christian at the same time. Well, since you would stand in the same company as Max Planck, Georges Lematrie and Arthur Compton, I assure you that I am not really either surprised or concerned on that point.

 

I do see that you seem to have passed over my earlier questions. I don't really know the motivation for that. I can tell you that when I posted them, we had yet to meet you and thus part of where I was going was to try and determine what perspective you would take on the matters which would likely come up.

 

Now that you have posted and specifically on the nature of god being outside of spacetime, that would actually bring me back to the watchmaker questions. In all honesty, I have never seen anyone try to follow the watchmaker analogy up before. It is as if it is in some manner valid to throw it out there with the expectation that it just be accepted.

 

Related to that would be Hoyle's tornado in a junk yard analogy. Well, if the junkyard simply lacks the parts needed to build a machine of some specified complexity, then I don't think that anyone could make a valid probabilistic argument in the first place.

 

Anyway, are you specifically asserting that god must be outside of space time because he could not cause himself to exist inside of space time? If so, that would lead me to other questions.

 

First, what does “outside of space time” even mean?

 

Don't misunderstand me. At first glance, that question might make as much sense as asking what is north of the north pole. However, if theologians wish to assert that there is a meaningful concept which obtains to understanding the nature of god, then that concept should be one which, at least in principal could be understood.

 

If you wanted to advance that god hangs out in the Calabai Yau manifold, that would be fine (those are of course my words, not yours but it provides some structure for such a discussion). Now as it happens, that would fill the requirement of being beyond space time. We do not even know if the idea is valid or, if it is valid, what it may actually be like. Even so, if it is real, then it is, in some meaningful sense, a place and it will have a structure. That structure is, in principal possible to understand even if we never actually get the details down pat.

 

Second, granting that god does inhabit some in principal definable location with definable rules, then that location would seem to allow for the spontaneous generation of at least on conscious entity. However, why stop there?

 

If god can come into existence once, then why not a dozen or a million gods? The rules of that game either allow it or not. Under fairly standard christian theology, god seems to want to populate his realm with his favorite people. Yet, if he is really that lonely, who better to populate it with than more gods? Unless there is something basic about that realm that only allows for the one being to come into existence ever. However, if that is the case, then there is clearly at least one thing which god simply cannot do.

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Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

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Intuition is indeed a source

Intuition is indeed a source of ideas, and of assistance in our thinking about things, but it only represents a set of shortcuts in thinking based on repeated experience, and also a distillation of basic proven 'rules of thumb' inherited from our predecessors over the eons of evolution, such as 'unexplained movement in the grass may be predator, run away', or 'unusual events may indicate an agent'. Add to this all the other less formal methods of reasoning where we have little hard evidence to work with, such processes may be better than 'wild guesses', but not necessarily any more likely to be 'true', especially at the limits of experience.

But as I pointed out, in many areas, and novel situations, it can be completely wrong. It was only in the 17th Century that the idea emerged, from ever more detailed study, that the brain was the seat of our consciousness, and even a bit later that it was realized that it was in the apparently structureless mass of grey matter, and not the cavities, were where the 'mechanism' of the brain resides.

So without empirical evidence to validate what your intuition and heuristics seem to point to, you have just an idea, not a truth.

Non-empirical 'reasoning' is not a source of actual knowledge - only after the ideas suggested by such processes are tested against reality via observation, careful empirical testing and study, do they warrant being regarded as likely to be true. It is only a useful tool in the informal aspects of study, such as in hypothesis building, and deciding where next to investigate, etc. But it is also a hindrance when it blocks certain paths as being 'counter-intuitive'.

The same applies to non-empirical 'disciplines' such as metaphysics, theology, and philosophy in general. They are extrapolating from a set of assumptions, often long discredited. Philosophy is valuable in being free to come up with different ways of thinking about things, including thinking itself, but such processes have generated more nonsense than light, even though the few gems that have emerged and survived being tested against reality have been extremely valuable, including Logic and Natural Science themselves. Science has long outgrown its roots in Philosophy, of course.

The ideas that can come from purely instinctive and intuitional 'reasoning' have pretty reached their limits, and truly novel insights now come from direct study of reality itself, ie, scientific investigation. This is the only way we could have arrived at such successful but deeply counter-intuitive ideas as Quantum Theory and Relativity.

As Answers in Gene Simmons has already discussed, and I more than hinted at, the idea of postulating that God is 'outside of space-time' would surely not allow him to bypass logic, and 'will' himself into existence, let alone whatever state of existence is necessary for him to exist in. IMHO, it is a blatant and intellectually dishonest attempt to bypass that fundamental problem.

I already referred explicitly to the importance of 'non-rational' aspects of our thought processes, which do indeed include our "passions and relationships and individuality and obligation", and they are what make us more than just reasoning robots. And they all steer us to a significant extent as to what we regard as important 'truths', and I personally have a passion for pursuing Truth. But part of the Truth I am well convinced of, is that if we are to make progress in that endeavour, we must not be swayed by those passions and other beliefs to bypass rigour and proper justification of even our most basic ideas.

This seems to have been amply born out by the History of Science, and its relentless progress into areas once held to be 'beyond' its purview. Plus of course the wonders of technology which demonstrate every second the fruitfulness of applying such knowledge. As a holder of University degree in Engineering (with Honours), and a lifetime of reading and now listening to regular podcasts and documentaries reporting this progress, I have little to no patience or respect for most philosophy, none for metaphysics, and only contempt for the foolishness of Theology. Sorry if I come over a bit harsh there, but I am trying to be as honest as to my outlook.

FYI, my favorite Philosophers are David Hume, Bertrand Russell, and Daniel Dennet.

======

Moral 'reasoning' does not require outside reference points. The assessment of the 'best' outcomes from various collections of moral precepts is the thriving of the societies to which they are applied, and on this measure, when comparing the USA with other democracies, less governed by Theistic outlooks, Theism seems to fail.

The Universe beyond our speck of dust is vast beyond measure, and largely hostile to life as we know it. The scale of the Universe, and the very significant degree of 'random' or chaotic variation in environments that it generates, are very much in support of the likelihood of the emergence of life in a completely non-directed way, as is the far less-than-perfect 'design' we find in the organisms making up our 'niche'.

Add to this the indications now surfacing that the particular instantiation of the Laws of Physics may vary across the vastness of even our Universe, let alone the possibilities of other whole Universes starting from very different initial states, and the naive study of 'fine-tuning' that did not account for the variation of more than one 'constant' at a time, thereby only investigating the edges of the total volume of possibilities for viable life-compatible universes, then I see no credible or logical justifications for a 'supreme being' of any kind.

And did you seriously propose the fallacy of the Argument from Popularity in support of the reasonableness of religious belief?? You could use the same 'reasoning' to justify sexual promiscuity...

That is not even consistent with Christian ideas, in that we are flawed beings, which means we are prone to erroneous and otherwise 'wrong' thoughts and actions. I will agree with that doctrine, to an extent - certainly ideas of 'perfection' are not to be taken seriously - and the inclination to religious belief itself is clearly one of those flaws, IMHO.

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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Marty Hamrick

Marty Hamrick wrote:
 
100percentAtheist wrote:
 
Marty Hamrick wrote:

I have just spoken to Dr. Scumacher over the phone and he has agreed to an interview.

 

Wow! What is this thread?!  A transcendental connection session with a "theist scientist"? 

Sure, why the hell not? You object? I'm a journalist and filmmaker and I happen to be an atheist myself, but I don't hold to the idea that religion is necessarilly a bad thing for everyone or that in order to be rational you must embrace atheism. I offer the opportunity here for ideas to be exchanged and hopefully, all can and will learn from it. Isn't that the purpose of forums?

Marty,

 

Frankly, this is the first time I see an interview format for a debate on a forum.  I don't think many on this forum will share the view that religion is bad for EVERYONE.  For instance, when religious people question atheism as a "worldview" that lacks morals, I wonder if they are going start murdering people if they stop believing the Bible.  For such "moral" theists, I think religion is a good think, always was and will be.  I think we are on the same side on this. But it would be interesting to know your opinion on why you think religion isn't a bad thing for everyone.  

 

Following a very specific religion doctrine (Christianity, Scientology, Islam, etc.) is a dangerous path for a scientist in my opinion.  What if some of scientific finding are in odds with religious teachings?  Which one will win?  Would such a scientist-theist be willing to change his religious view or commit an academic fraud?  And how do you think this scientist-theist can justify for him self that in one part of his life he used to applying scientific method to every hypothesis and theory, and in another part of his life he needs to reject setting up the same standards for falsifiability of the claim.  For me, I guess, this dilemma would lead to a bipolar disorder of some sort. 

 

Marty Hamrick wrote:

 

100percentAtheist wrote:

After reading his replies, it seems to me that his skin is indeed too thin to debate anything (religious).  Perhaps his most telling comment was on credentials.  He is totally missing the number of people with degrees and university appointments on this forum in case he is serious about credentials.  
I didn't think the bulk of this thread was going to be about comparing credentials. I posted a link to them to provide forumists with a profile so each could decide on their own if they thought Dr. Schumacher would be credible enough to warrant at least a few pages of posts. I see by the number of responses that a good majority of RSS posters must be at least slightly impressed with Dr. Schumacher's credentials or else they wouldn't have bothered reading past the OP.

 

Thanks for your input 100%.

Of course he seems to be credible in his field, but I was surprised he brought this as an argument in his reply, as if the religious beliefs of the NIH director make his God anymore real.  I feel that many people here on the RRS have not seen a Christian scientist on this forum for quite a while and the very idea that such scientists exist attracts enough interest to start reading and posting. 

 

If you are a journalist, I think one good question for a religious scientist will be if he feels any pressure or discrimination from his peers because of his beliefs.  In respect to his professional environment, he is swimming similar waters as an atheist would swim in the Bible belt.  Atheists are known to be treated and accepted really bad in many american communities.  Would the opposite (the treatment of a theist by an atheist community) be true or false?  

 


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100percentAtheist

100percentAtheist wrote:

 

 

Frankly, this is the first time I see an interview format for a debate on a forum.  I don't think many on this forum will share the view that religion is bad for EVERYONE.  For instance, when religious people question atheism as a "worldview" that lacks morals, I wonder if they are going start murdering people if they stop believing the Bible.  For such "moral" theists, I think religion is a good think, always was and will be.  I think we are on the same side on this. But it would be interesting to know your opinion on why you think religion isn't a bad thing for everyone.  

For some people, religion isn't about beliefs so much as lifestyle,family, community, mystery, whatever and it offers an outlet. Some people need that dogmatic structure to be functional. I don't make faces at people who tell me that they are alive because god delivered them from something or that they believe in god because they see evidence in their own lives. I'm not worried about the liberal and moderate theists, they're not the ones flying planes into buildings and I don't feel that it's fair or accurate to label them as "enablers". To me that's like calling a responsible pet owner an enabler to the pet over population problem.

Quote:
 

Following a very specific religion doctrine (Christianity, Scientology, Islam, etc.) is a dangerous path for a scientist in my opinion.  What if some of scientific finding are in odds with religious teachings?  Which one will win?  Would such a scientist-theist be willing to change his religious view or commit an academic fraud?  And how do you think this scientist-theist can justify for him self that in one part of his life he used to applying scientific method to every hypothesis and theory, and in another part of his life he needs to reject setting up the same standards for falsifiability of the claim.  For me, I guess, this dilemma would lead to a bipolar disorder of some sort. 

That's the crux of the question here. The Christian Church's track record isn't too good with regard to changing according to the demands of science. I think what happens in the more rationally minded theists is that scripture interpetation is called into question. It becomes a question of literal vs. metaphor, such as the Muslim's argument that "jihad" doesn't mean "holy war", it means "struggle" and most Muslims look at it as an inner struggle within the heart of the believer.

 

 

 

Quote:

Of course he seems to be credible in his field, but I was surprised he brought this as an argument in his reply, as if the religious beliefs of the NIH director make his God anymore real.  I feel that many people here on the RRS have not seen a Christian scientist on this forum for quite a while and the very idea that such scientists exist attracts enough interest to start reading and posting. 

 

If you are a journalist, I think one good question for a religious scientist will be if he feels any pressure or discrimination from his peers because of his beliefs.  In respect to his professional environment, he is swimming similar waters as an atheist would swim in the Bible belt.  Atheists are known to be treated and accepted really bad in many american communities.  Would the opposite (the treatment of a theist by an atheist community) be true or false?  

 

I posted those questions originally to Dr. Schumacher. Here was his response:

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Bill Maher’s "Religulous" and other media sources give the statistics as being showing an overwhelming majority of scientists to be atheist or agnostic. Is this accurate based on your professional experience?

 

It certainly seems to be the case that highly educated Americans tend to be less religious than other Americans. Beyond that trend, I'm not sure of the actual facts, and I'm much less sure of what they signify. In my own College I do not find that the natural scientists are less religious than, say, the social scientists. Also, if you include a wider group of people who have substantial scientific and analytical training -- medical people and engineers -- then you might not have the same trend. (At the church I attended in Los Alamos, for instance, I met relatively few physicists but a lot of world-class engineers. It is possible that religious faith moves people toward professions that are of more practical use to others, rather than simple abstract research. I propose this, not as a serious hypothesis, but as a tentative speculation. In any event, it doesn't seem to have worked in my case!)

 

Does identifying yourself as a Christian estrange you from any of your professional peers?

 

No. First, it simply does not come up much. Second, those with whom I have discussed such matters -- both atheist and believer -- are tolerant and broad-minded people.

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."


butterbattle
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Awww, how could you guys

Awww, how could you guys have a thread like this when I wasn't here?

I don't have any question or comments at this time, but welcome to the forum, Dr. Schumacher.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


Marty Hamrick
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Quote:If so, what about

Quote:
If so, what about Muslims and Jews with PHDs or Japanese scientists with the same area of education?

 

As this project progresses, I plan to be talking to scientists of other nationalities and faiths as well. If you want to suggest any that are or will be in or near Toronto, please let me know. Scientists of all disciplines are welcome, however genetics research, evolutionary biology and physics are of particular interest. Anything that sparks controversy in the religion/science arena is of interest here.

I want to avoid the creationism/ID argument, I consider it on the level of arguing the existence of Bigfoot and it inspires trolls and posts from Kooksville.

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."