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.
My point is, that we are so individually isolated, within our bodies and minds, that we can never know for certain what another is seeing or thinking. You and I may see totally different colors, that each of us call, "blue," because when we pointed to a color - that our parents may also have seen differently from ourselves - and asked, "What color is that?" the parent said, "blue," so regardless of what you saw, the name of that wavelength, for you, will be forever "blue."
My point was our isolation, not our perceptions. The Vulcans have it easy.
So, another person's perception is conceptually a Schroedinger's Cat. Each of us is a Schroedinger's Cat, in a sense as well, except that each person's box will never be opened by someone else.
Wittgenstein analyzed the grammar of private sensations as being learned in public. Attempting to analyze it deeper than that is futile. As long as one learns to play the game in a way that rings true to other language users, that's about all the understanding you're ever going to get.
No matter what people see in their heads, the facticity of the world, colors being one example, will keep people consistent even if one person sees a daytime sunny blue sky in a color you would say is orange. As long as their perceptions are tied to a fact, such as the sky, their way of speaking about it will be consistent. That, I believe, is a point Kris Feenstra was making.
each person's box will never be opened by someone else
Did Wittgenstein also write about metaphor? I imagine that science is constantly building and refining models and metaphors to explain reality more precisely. While some theists will claim that this is the same as constantly changing our minds and scientific conclusions, it's more like we're constantly re-sculpting old sculptures, and sculpting new ones, which usually look more and more like reality every day.
I.e. wrt the topic, I trust the sculpting process, even when the sculptures are not yet perfect. I do not have faith in their perfection, but I do know that the process enables us to build cars, rockets, cure diseases, communicate instantly around the world, and so on. And our advancements are picking up speed and momentum, which people of faith have to be very uncomfortable with.
Scientists and religionists are opening up different kinds of boxes, and with wildly different (if not sometimes opposite) kinds of results, meanings, effects on our future.
Your question is astonishingly full of misconceptions and faulty assumptions. You clearly have talked to very few actual atheists except the straw men of your imagination.
Let's start with the assumption which informs your entire question, which is that Atheism is basically like another category of religious affiliation that you can tack on the end of a list beginning 'Christian, Muslim, Jewish...'. This is wrong. Atheism is not a religion; it is a lack of religion, and nothing else. A comedian compared it to thinking that Abstinence is a sex position. Lack of something is not a type of that thing, and lacking religion says nothing about the person other than that they lack religion.
Thus, the notion that all or most atheists 'parrot' scientific ideas the way Christians parrot doctrine contains two faulty assumptions. One is that most people who are non-religious are that way because they have been 'reasoned' into it by science; the other is that there is any equivalency between making an argument based on scientific evidence and making one based on doctrine. Which brings me to your next assumption,
That Science is a Thing. This is a very common perception among people who didn't pay attention in high school science class, missing not only the details of the class, which were unimportant, but the Point of the class, which was to teach you to think scientifically. Science is a method, not an object, artifact or body of knowledge. You could even define it as an attitude. When a religious person says 'believe', they usually mean it in the sense associated with Faith, i.e. accepting something blindly and without question because it's right and it will make you feel good and let you live forever to do so, or some such bundle of nonsense. When a person who thinks rationally (scientifically) uses the same word, it should be taken to mean something like 'The most logical conclusion based on my interpretation of the best evidence available to me is...' There is no monolithic folder labeled 'science' that contains the accepted truths of the day, against which all else is heresy. People who think of science this way are simply equating it with other ways of knowing such as ideology and religiosity, which are much more pervasive in many people's everyday experience, and have simply not wrapped their minds around the fact that scientific means of thinking are fundamentally democratic instead of autocratic.
Of course, there are big, established theories, such as those of evolution, quantum mechanics and gravity, which are rather hard to argue against, but (and this is crucial) they are all absolutely subject to modification or discredit the moment a credible piece of contrary evidence demands a new theory or interpretation. There's not some boardroom in Oxford full of crony evolutionists (or quanticists, or gravitists) who will defend these theories to the death in the face of any contrary evidence. Such scenes are hallmarks of the religious and political realms; by contrast, the most important people in the scientific world are the ones who are challenging, refining or redefining ideas about the nature of their subjects. The fact that the scientific consensus (which word should not be interpreted as 'dogma') about the future of the planet's climate has shifted so drastically in the past 40 years (not 'less than 30'... are you one of those curious cases whose mental clock stopped counting when we reached the year 2000?) gives me more faith in the scientific process, not less. And it doesn't bother me to use the word faith, since it's faith in a rational process, not in unsubstantiated nonsense.
As to your objection that we can't know anything for sure unless we've observed it ourselves (which, even if I've stated it with less nuance than you meant, is basically what you claim); besides your apparent ignorance of the standards of peer review for science literature, no person can function in the world solely on the basis of what they've observed and measured for themselves. No progress is possible if each person has to believe only what he's discovered on his own. Mark Zuckerburg didn't build a computer from scratch; the Wright bros didn't smelt their own ore for their airplane frame, and the man whose immortal idea it was to slice bread probably wasn't the first person to bake a loaf. I fail to see how their contributions to the world are any less worthy because of their ignorance of everything that went into their creation.
Well said, Brian!
@Reg - Luv it - but as usual, Bob won't make comment on the evil that his god is OK with killing kids, so why would Bob be bothered about kids being raped.
Suzanne, not only does @Bob approve of child rape, but I have evidence (thanks to @Arch) that proves that he purchases a dozen boxes of those Pinocchio boxers each term, and then a bunch of those shorts show up being sold by some of his male students on eBay. Some of them even have stockings sewn into them, which makes me wonder what the heck chapter in the textbook he's teaching at the time.
Suzanne, not only does @Bob approve of child rape,
This @Bob? Professor Robert?
While I'm sure you meant that to be some form of humor or irony (like the Pinocchio boxers), are you really sure it's the mark of an intelligent free-thinker to libel someone in that way?
@Bob - People make choices that cause harm to themselves or others all the time in the pursuit of pleasure. Are they wrong to do so? Why?
No, they are not wrong to do so - Stupid, yes, but as long as they don't hurt other people, I don't care. It is their choice to put their own life in danger.
You and I live in first world nations that monopolize resources and consumption in a manner that arguably leads to profound poverty in some/many places.
How lucky was I to be born white, how lucky am I to be born in a wealthy country. I cannot put myself in the shoes of a black person, either in my country or yours, because of racism - and the shite that these people get every day. You and I are very privileged, all because of an accident at birth.
Effects of poverty on children in the long term are arguably every bit as devastating as rape, if not more so -
What the???? We are not talking about poverty, and we, being well fed, and have never been raped, could not even begin comparing the two, to see which one is worse???????
We are talking about the rape of children in, so far, wealthy white countries - certainly, if the catholic church paid tax, many more millions would be saved from poverty.
But, now that the wealthy white countries now know the extent of the horrendous crimes against humanity - the catholic church will start to move a lot more priests to poor third world countries, where children are abundant, and once again the parents will give over their children to the lovely, honorable, trustworthy priest.
The third world countries, where people are uneducated, and don't know the lights have been shone on the skullduggery and the heinous crimes that have gone on in the catholic church, right around the world.
Priests in these countries will also be abundant, as they will have a better lifestyle, with a car and driver, a cook and a cleaner, a lovely place to live, plenty of food, and get trips to the vatican, and stay in an apartment worth millions.
Does it always result in harm? - Well, from what I gather, from testimony from victims who have been raped many times over many years, they didn't seem to see it as part of the 'growing' experience. To be threatened, to be called a liar, to be told that 'Jesus Loves Them'. These are children who had no idea what was happening, had no idea what sex was, just felt dirty, and it was wrong, they didn't know why.
What if we were to bring it out of the closet, -
Certainly - and tell kids and parents, do not, under any circumstances, be alone with a priest, it doesn't matter how 'nice' or how 'trustworthy' he seems, never be left alone with him.
That is the result of people like you, Bob, not getting involved in a change of the catholic stance of celibacy, who want to save their beloved church, where men become damaged and stunted in their humanity, good priests being targeted as well as the priests and bishops who raped and covered up their crimes.
A society where it is accepted as an ordinary form of mentoring by youth and parents?
Where what is accepted - homosexuality or pedophilia. I don't know if you know this Bob, but pedophilia involves male adult on small child, a naive child, who knows nothing about sex. Don't get the two mixed up - a homosexual doesn't then change to become a pedophile, he just moves his intent to innocents who can't say no, who are vulnerable, and as children, they do what an adult asks them to do, something an adult does not do. Adults give permission, children do not.
Do you have children Bob, do you have children under sixteen Bob, would you be willing to have an adult 'mentor' for your child, either male or female. What would you tell a child, that an adult parent could explain to a child, this it is OK for a male adult to put his penis into a child. Is that what you are saying?
1. By which adults? What sort of contraception? Do they have any prior medical conditions? For what purpose?
Once again, ask the people that this affects their lives, their families lives - a woman producing a child every year, who cannot feed the children she has, and whose husband can't feed the children he has. In western countries, parents ignore the catholic dogma of not using contraception.
Nobody has the right to interfere with that family, NOBODY. But your catholic church does, and it is only uneducated people who take it to heart, and believe that by using contraception, they will not go to heaven. It is a human right to control the size of a family, but not in the eyes of the catholic church. Criminal.
It only takes the guts of one pope to change the rule, less children will die at birth, less women will die because of having too many children. That is good enough for me, to tell the catholic church to 'take a hike', clean up your mess.
The really brilliant thing, is that educated catholic countries are also telling the catholic church 'to take a hike".
The really sad thing is the catholic church is now aiming at third world countries.