Is your trust in science based on faith or based on science?

What I mean is this: how much do you actually know about the science most atheists parrot? Most atheists know as little science as most Christians know as little theology. Just as a Christian trusts his priest to tell him what he believes, an atheist trusts scientists with a Ph.D. tacked to their name to tell them what they believe. But how many times have the scientists turned out to be wrong? I only ask this because it seems this is central to the problem that most atheists have. They are repulsed by the phrase “believe” – they are addicted instead to the phrase “know”. But honestly, do you really know, or are you just believing what you’re told? I would like to remind you that in the 1970′s the scientists of the day were seriously concerned that we were about to enter an ice age, and less than 30 years later they are now convinced Earth is about to turn into a desert.

Unless you’ve observed something yourself, or observed and interpreted the evidence yourself and drew your own conclusions, you are just as guilty as faith as any religious person.

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The core ideas of Christendom -

Are comprised of these, Robert:

1. Belief in God the Father, Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Holy Spirit
  2. The death, descent into hell, resurrection, and ascension of Christ
  3. The holiness of the Church and the communion of saints
4. Christ's second coming, the Day of Judgement and salvation of the faithful

The core notion of Catholicism goes like this, Robert:

The Profession of Faith

I believe in one God, the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
[bow during the next two lines:]
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come.

Amen.

Really, Robert. You make it sound like Catholics stand up in church every Sunday and recite your "core ideas of Christiandom" instead: 

The Profession of Faith

I believe....

that there is an external Truth,
that the external truth is immutable
governed by law, that the external truth
is knowable through learning and observation
   [bow during the next two lines]
that some understandings
of that Truth we hold tenuously
others more firmly,
others more absolutely,
but never completely
that the Truth is advanced
by argumentation and discussion
and common enterprise with others,
that new ideas and discoveries
can change centuries-old understandings
or practices, and should be tested,
that one's own notions should
be held with humility and
subject to evidence and argument.

Amen.

those are Catholic/Christian notions.

None of that bears the slightest resemblance to any Christian gospel or catechism of the Catholic Church that I've ever read (and I've read them).

Now that last part about being subject to evidence is a surprise, although I know it's crap (because it's always crap) but I'll take you up on it anyway.

Let's see the evidence for your notion that there is a God.

And now silence will reign, or bullshit will reign, or evasion will reign; anything but the evidence. Because those are the real Catholic/Christian notions.

The creeds are core beliefs, and your short summary at the top gets the emphases wrong.  The structure of the creeds is belief in Father, Son, Holy Spirit and Church, as four essential points.

The philosophy I described is the outgrowth of, and intimately entwined with, those beliefs.  Accepting that there is one God, creator of all things visible and invisible necessarily means that there is an external, immutable truth, that God is revealed in His creation, that the creation is not God himself and therefore is governed by laws, and that God made man "in his own image" means that we humans can come to understand that creation through operation of our natural, God-given faculties.

Yes, including being subject to evidence and argument, which is a bit different than being dependent on evidence and argument.  Like science, Catholicism believes in falsification.  It is possible to learn either from observation or from rigorous argument that something is wrong.   That's why conciliar proclamations are traditionally only done in the negative; it's possible to say what is not, but it's not generally possible to say perfectly what is.  God is too big to be knowable in that sort of definitive way. 

The notion of falsification in Catholic conciliar theology predates the notion of falsification in modern science.  I don't know that anyone has done any scholarship with respect to the connection.  Quite possibly both derive from Jewish rabbinical literature, though certainly there are echoes in other philosophical writings, like the Socratic dialogs.

And of course, we - the sane and rational - believe that Man made god "in His own image."

The T-shirt's not bad either --

Gallup: Now that last part about being subject to evidence is a surprise, although I know it's crap (because it's always crap) but I'll take you up on it anyway. Let's see the evidence for your notion that there is a God. And now silence will reign, or bullshit will reign, or evasion will reign; anything but the evidence. Because those are the real Catholic/Christian notions.

Robert: Yes, including being subject to evidence and argument, which is a bit different than being dependent on evidence and argument. [Blah blah blah blah blah....] God is too big to be knowable in that sort of definitive way. 

Translation: You were right, Gallup. That part about evidence? It's crap. There is no evidence! Not a tattered scrap of it!  But letting silence reign is embarrassing-- I'm doing it an awful lot these days-- so I went with a mixture of 85% bullshit and 15% evasion. God is soooooooooo big, we don't neeeeeed evidence. Ta-dahhhhhh! ***Bats eyelashes***

The notion of falsification in Catholic conciliar theology predates the notion of falsification in modern science.  I don't know that anyone has done any scholarship with respect to the connection.  Quite possibly both derive from Jewish rabbinical literature, though certainly there are echoes in other philosophical writings, like the Socratic dialogs.

Translation: Okay Gallup, I admit it. That part about "those are Catholic/Christian notions"? I made it up. 

I do remember Pons and Fleischmann.  In fact, like many of us, I was part of a group that immediately tried to replicate the work (and was enormously annoyed that insufficient details were forthcoming).  In some ways it was good that the thing didn't work, because we were all being a bit sloppy about neutron shielding.

What you're not really understanding is that the appearance of Mary to a French peasant girl is not really a change-the-world-forever sort of claim.  In fact, it's not in any way central to our faith.   We do dispatch investigators to such things, including scientists and psychologists, because in most cases it's just people being nutters.  There is a need for skeptics, for what we jokingly call devil's advocates. 

Where I think you're running off the rails a bit is in your desire to compare things with experimental physical science.   Experimental physical science and its techniques answer a very limited set of questions, just because most phenomenon aren't easily isolated in a laboratory.   We're closer to ecology or geology or astrophysics or the social sciences.  The interesting stuff we have to puzzle out from observations where we don't have the ability to replicate or experiment, and where effects occur in longer time scales than subatomic interactions.

Hinduism and Judaism are both older religions, but I was speaking of some things that were somewhat unique to Catholicism.   That's a weak claim, though; the early Church and rabbinic Judaism had an awful lot in common.

RE: "the early Church and rabbinic Judaism had an awful lot in common." - I've little doubt that's true, with controlling the populace and pocketing as much of their money as possible, positioned quite near the top of their common agenda lists.

RE: "There is a need for skeptics, for what we jokingly call devil's advocates." - we tend to jokingly call them rational people.

No, rationality is an orthogonal construct.  The Devil's Advocate is a role or a job.

But being rational people can BE a role or a job, but thank you for the input, Mr. Webster --

LOL.  Not Webster.  Perhaps Dictionary of Catholic Terminology.  Advocatus diaboli is a job - the assigned skeptics at a claim of miracle or sainthood, who are given the task to disprove the claim.

I would like to ask, which conclusion you trust most, the discarding of pons&Fleishman or the miracle of Lourdes?  Why?

Pons & Fleichmann, because of the preference for falsification as a matter of philosophy and theology.  Establishing that something is not true can reasonably be definitive.  Establishing that something is true is always subject to qualification.

@Professor Robert

The universe doesn't particularly care about peer-reviewed journal publications or wearing funny robes as we induct new scientists into the profession.  Those are human rituals to help us structure the quest for understanding of something that is ultimately too big for us to understand.

Peer-review isn't ritualistic in the proper sense of the term, that is to say it is not a rite. It is a functional aspect of research which has a clear and known purpose in advancing knowledge, albeit even if imperfectly.

Robes, if you are referring to graduation gowns (or if anyone still wears it as such, academic dress), this is more to the point. It is a tradition which serves social and personal needs -- which is great --, but it has nothing to do with science. It is tradition, not philosophy, and that distinction is relevant. This garb does nothing to advance human understanding.

Much of what science describes is not too big for us to understand though. Much of it has been staring us in the face for the entirety of our species' existence; we just needed to develop the right tools and techniques for describing it with reasonable accuracy or reliability.

Same with religion.  Religion like science is another community, and is a human response to the quest for understanding...

I agree that this is a facet of religion; however, it is an antiquated and inefficient structure for setting about describing the universe.

 Its rituals are rituals, with different publications and different funny hats, but they also are useful

Ah, baptism and confirmation are not useful, at least not in terms of advancing knowledge of God, the universe or the flight mechanisms of humming birds. Mass is also rather inefficient to that effect. Back to my core message, if these rites float your boat, I'm all for it, but do it because you have a personal reason to do it; there isn't any reliable means to determine whether your deity wants you to or not.

Naturally there are theological traditions which are more academic in nature, but pomp is pomp and academics are academics. There isn't a need to conflate the two. What most adherents seem to spend the most time on is the pomp.

That notion of Natural Law is what allowed modern science to come into being, because if the universe is really the product of pantheistic spirits each with independent will,

Polytheistic, pantheistic, and panentheistic religions are not typically anything goes in which deities or devas can usurp all order at whim, so no, this is nonsense. Even Brahma doesn't exceed Brahman. That would be silly.

The development of science required a monotheistic creator God, a lawgiver.

It really just requires an understanding that things have properties, characteristics and limits. If, historically, some threw a monotheistic god into the mix, no worries; it takes time to work these things out.

Now, it's possible that for human societies and human fulfillment and relations to divinity and such that there are no laws, there is no purpose.  That's the atheist position, from my perspective. 

That much is not subject to your perspective. Had you said "that's atheism", then I would agree, but atheism doesn't have an intrinsic position on the matter. It's not a philosophy in itself though there has been a great deal of philosophy attached to it by different people at different times. As an individual atheist, I have positions on the matter which are nothing like what you described. 

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