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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An "essentially a religious ritual" like jumping the broom? Trust me, public commitment came along long before the religious found they could make a buck out of it.

Didn't i understand you were leaving? Developing an addiction to us, aren't you?

@Bob - Actually, we are both off track - so that deflection doesn't work.

So - I will ask again, I have lost count how many times you have refused to answer.

1. Do you think contraception should be freely used by adults.

2. Do you think gays should marry, something that the rest of society takes for granted.

The questions as phrased don't have a lot of meaning for me.  My initial response I guess would be "Why would I care?"  I'll try anyways, if you go down and answer why molesting children is wrong.

1.  By which adults?  What sort of contraception? Do they have any prior medical conditions? For what purpose?  You'll have to give me more to work with. Contraception and sterilization have been used in very harmful ways, and less harmful ones, and arguably neutral or positive ones.

2. The rest of society is religious, at least culturally if not practicing.  Why would an atheist care about whether people participated in a religious commitment ritual?  I would think you'd make fun of the silly notion that people should traipse in front of an old guy wearing a dress (be he a minister or a judge) in order to have a committed relationship with someone. 

@Bob - If your belief in an idea depends on the idea's proponents being sinless -

Nowhere near it - and you class yourself as an intellectual - I know what is right and what is wrong - and it is definitely wrong to rape little boys, then threaten them, that if they say anything to anybody, nobody will believe them. I am not talking about stealing a loaf of bread, but the systematic rape of children, then the ultimate wrong of the cover up by your church ?

So, what you are saying is you don't know right from wrong, and neither do the priests who were using their penis in an inappropriate way, was wrong? and that the church also did not know this was horrific behavior, and so just ignored the trauma of what these thousands of priests did, to thousands of children. Maybe, if you do know that these crimes against humanity are wrong, maybe you should let the hierarchy in the catholic church some of your teaching power to teach them what is actually right and wrong, 'cause they obviously don't get it.

Woops, I forgot, you are the catholic that sits on his hands, and makes excuses for horrific behavior.

I am so glad you are here Bob, it shows me why the catholic church has been getting away with horrific crimes for, keeping it modern, for decades.

I know what is right and what is wrong - and it is definitely wrong to rape little boys

Good for you.  I would agree.

Now I have a question for you.

Why is it wrong?

I believe it is wrong because it is contrary to natural law and divine positive law.  Presumably you adhere to neither.  So for you, why is it wrong?

Does that mean that if you lost your faith, it would be fine by you to rape little children?  You're a very dangerous man if all that keeps you from assault and other abuses is your faith in a god.

The rest of us have inbuilt evolved societal instincts to follow the Golden Rule.

You have inbuilt evolved societal instincts to follow a precept that is generally described and passed along through religion?

Explain that to me, @Strega.

If this is in fact instinctual, how is it that so many people don't seem to demonstrate that instinct?

If it is evolved, then it is just a natural selection pressure.  Do you really want to claim that advancing the reproduction of your genetic material determines choices like this?  Genghis Khan made an awfully good case for rape in that regard.  Natural selection pressures also change with the environment.

If it is societal, then how do you explain that some societies historically were just fine with it? 

If it is inbuilt, who built it in?

What you're proposing sounds like Natural Law to me, but I honestly don't understand the claim.

@Professor Robert,

I think it's odd that you are apparently a science professor and yet do not understand something as basic as the biological evolution of morality.  I was looking for something to provide for you to read and understand the subject.  I didn't want to find something too complicated for you to understand, nor did I want to merely throw a wiki link out there (although wiki has a fairly simple entry on the subject - just Google " wiki Evolution of Morality").

In the end, from the many thousands of relevant pages, I pulled up a nice simple paper by Douglas Allchin, entitled "The Evolution of Morality".  Nevertheless, having seen you reject references to authors that you may not feel have suitable credentials, I am also offering you a selection of scholarly papers on the same matter, so you can pick out a paper from someone you deem "suitable".  There appear to be some 282,000 relevant papers on that link, so I'm sure you will find one that you can understand.

It is certainly an interesting subject, and I am delighted to be able to introduce you to it in this way.  Happy learning :)

That's all you mean by that Golden Rule claim?  That there's mild evolutionary pressure toward cooperation in packs/tribes in higher order animals?  Of course there is.

There's also rape.  Lots and lots of rape.  And violent competition for mates.  Plenty of that, too.  Rape is a great way to spread genetic material.  It's strongly selected for in most environments.  Violence does OK, too.

As individuals and a species, we violate the Golden Rule all the time, especially when we're dealing with people we identify as being outside our pack/tribe.   Just look at any middle school playground.    That doesn't suggest that a more universal Golden Rule is an evolutionary product.

I am not a Biologist, @Strega, though I do read fairly widely.  I've been aware of efforts to try to explain altruism (a different, lesser claim than what you made above) through evolutionary processes, game theory, etc.  It's not my field, but as an outside reader I'd say for the moment it's mostly speculative, and tends to originate in a certain scientific fringe that has an ideological interest in the question.  Not the best recipe for good science.

Why not?  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?

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.   The effects of poverty on children in the long term are arguably every bit as devastating as rape, if not moreso.

Does it always result in harm?  What if we were to bring it out of the closet, so it isn't as psychologically abnormal and stressful?   A society where it is accepted as an ordinary form of mentoring by youth and parents?   If that were the case, so that long term harm were minimized and social and personal/economic benefits for the child were larger, would that make it OK?

I'm not being argumentative, I'm really interested.   I have a sense for how I make ethical decisions of this sort.  How do you?

Did I call it? NAMBLA!

Actually, I was thinking in terms of ancient Greece.  I agree NAMBLA is mostly a canard, though the priest @Suzanne keeps bringing up was apparently actually involved with that group when it existed.



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