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 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. 

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.

Same with religious robes and funny hats.

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.

Oh, perhaps in the strictest sense, but I think that's probably shaving the distinction a bit fine.  Marriage has a clear and known purpose for advancing social order, albeit imperfectly, but it's also a ritual.  Publishing and peer review is similar, especially given modern advances like the prepress servers.

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

It depends what aspects of the universe you wish to describe.  We adapt the methods and structures to the questions that face us, but the philosophy is quite similar.

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.

Ah!  I think I'll agree here.  I certainly wouldn't ascribe "want" to Deity in the way you do, for sure.  The bigger point is that religion is a human endeavor, the way science is a human endeavor.  Religion is not God any more than science is the Universe.   The rituals are human inventions, just as scientific practices are human inventions. 

If God is actually a personal and caring, then God can choose to meet us in the ritual.

Polytheistic, pantheistic, and panentheistic religions are not typically anything goes

I wasn't claiming that they were.  I was simply pointing out that if you don't believe that the world is governed by universal law, there's no point in going out and trying to figure out what the universal laws are.   Philosophical constructs or paradigms are much higher barriers to the development of new knowledge than you seem to think they are.

It's not a philosophy in itself

Fair enough, but then atheism really isn't a useful construct at all.  To replace an existing widely held theory, one must propose an alternate theory, not simply complain about the shortcomings of the current one.

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