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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Catholic elementary school, non-Catholic high school.  Catholic (Jesuit) college, degree in Physics with a minor in Mathematics, but also a number of credits in Theology.   Masters from Notre Dame; took some canon law and theology on the side as I dabbled with the notion of the priesthood, even spent time in the major seminary there for a year.   Doctorate from a major public research university.  Consult with the National Catholic Education Association on science curriculum issues, still have a number of friends who are genuine theologians or canonists, including a couple Jesuits who know Pope Francis personally.

Really, though, while religion is an important part of my life, it's functionally a small part.  My professional life is in physics and increasingly in physics/science education.

Thank you, Professor. I majored in mathematics, minored in physics. In grad school more math and physics. About the math: after 12 years of being told to believe what priests said, I loved the mental exercise of having to prove conclusions.

I don't remember any anti-evolution dogma in the Catholic schools I attended but there must have been some. In the Univ. of Fla. natural history museum I saw skeletal similarities and, amazed, asked How can humans and [other] animals not be related?

Until recently Catholicism has avoided Protestant fundamentalism's excesses. Sexual politics makes strange bedfellows.

I don't remember any anti-evolution dogma in the Catholic schools I attended but there must have been some.

Why must there have been some?  We have no particular problem with evolution.

Until recently Catholicism has avoided Protestant fundamentalism's excesses.

Yes, we are being afflicted by the creeping morass of reactionary fundamentalism, at least on some levels.  One can only roll one's eyes at times at the inanity of individual members of the episcopate, or right now groups of them.  Those positions attract the same sort of people that are attracted to political positions or CEO-type positions, and they can suffer from the same myopia.  

Happily, they are not the Church, or even the religion. 

@Bob - I dub thee "Complacent Catholic" - Let the children, who have been sacrificed on the Alter of Catholicism, fight their own battles. Obfuscate, defect, 'Oh, catholics can't do anything about it".

You just sit on your hands, while other catholics fight the power system that is the catholic church. Let other catholics start partitions to wake up, shine a light on the latest pope, the same as his predecessors have done, protected criminals at the vatican.

Let other catholics, who love their church, help to clean out the rats in the ranks. Let other priests and archbishops get thousands of signatures from all over the world, to let the latest pope, the world knows what they are up to. Let other catholics fight for the children and adults involved, that this church has ruined their lives.

Let other catholics fight to stop the rot that is in the catholic church.

You just keep sitting on your hands - and make light talk. Just not good enough.

@Suzanne, you may dub me whatever you like.   However, in honesty you must admit that you know very little about me, and certainly not enough to make the claims that you do.  I was in actuality one of the early members of VOTF, and an active party with some of the clergy who got Bernard Law removed. 

It's not my calling, though.  I teach and do research. 

I forget whether you are a U.S. citizen or somewhere else, but the same argument can be used when addressed to the abuses of states.  NSA wiretapping, overbroad warrants, drone strikes in sovereign nations against U.S. citizens, torture of captives.  Do you sit on your hands for these?  Let other people fight for you?

I suspect, like me, you do what you can when it's in your neighborhood, you support organizations that try to make change, you are an informed citizen who tries to keep a focus on correcting these abuses while for most of your life you do other work. 

Are you truly judging me and others by the same yardstick you judge yourself?

@Professor Robert

If you click on the persons picture/avatar against their name, you get taken to their page, where in the vast majority of cases (some people are extraordinarily private) you can see their basic info, notably in the top left hand side just under their picture on the page

That way you can usually see where the person lives, and their gender. Some of our names are not so obvious to determine gender from, and the location is often helpful when you want to make a point referencing a particular country.  Hope this helps.

She's a droneless, NSAless Australian.

And no doubt one of those awful people living with gun control too!

Thanks @Strega/@arch for the tip.

Professor, I wrote above, "In the Univ. of Fla. natural history museum I saw skeletal similarities and, amazed, asked How can humans and [other] animals not be related?"

You asked "Why must there have been some [anti-evolutionary dogma]?"

You saw the word "amazed" and it didn't penetrate the screen you keep in place to protect your dogma. Even my boldfacing it didn't help it penetrate.

You are indeed well protected.

I referred to the Catholic schools I attended and you reply "We have no particular problem with evolution."

Note my first person singular pronoun, here both bolded and underscored.

Your screen kept you from seeing that your plural pronoun differed from my singular pronoun.

I understand your difficulty. I worked for about three years with a man who'd done well on the math portion of the GRE and poorly on the language portion. I beat him at chess and he cleaned my clock at table tennis.

I saw him let opponents score twenty unanswered points before he scored twenty two consecutive points. Is something other than language your strength?

@Tom, I'm sorry.  I thought you were trying to make an argument, not simply relate personal experience.

I respect your personal experience, and have to take at face value as what you remember of your childhood. 

Anecdote is not the singular of data, however.  I apologize if you had poor teachers, but what you describe has not been the teaching of the Catholic Church in many lifetimes.

@Gallup, unfortunately your claim doesn't hold legal water, because Bernard Law clearly did not learn of the abuse of children through a religious confession.  He learned about it through his administrative position as local ordinary.  So the religious exception in the law did not apply.

I didn't claim Cardinal Law and his predecessors learned of six decades of child sexual abuse and covered it up for six decades through a religious confession.

I referred to the state's child abuse reporting law, which did not require priests to report child abuse until 2002. And I didn't make the claim, the Massachusetts Attorney General did:
"Although evidence gathered during the investigation establishes that senior Archdiocese managers did not report suspected child sexual abuse to public authorities, the state’s child abuse reporting law is not applicable because it was not expanded to include priests until 2002."
I raised as a separate issue that the exception granted for child abuse information gained in a confession-- or gained "in a similarly confidential religious communication"-- is still on the books.
Even today, child abuse and neglect in most states can only be committed by a parent or other legal custodian, and only child abuse is subject to reporting requirements.   Citizens, supervisors, employees are not, in U.S. law, required to report crimes more generally.  
I wonder about you sometimes, Robert. Is this wilful ignorance or boldfaced lying? I'm inclined to think the latter, since you've told this whopper before, and it's been falsified before.
Here it is, falsified yet again.
All 50 US states have mandatory reporting laws for child abuse. The laws specifically mention physicians; medical interns; hospital personnel engaged in the examination, care or treatment of persons; medical examiners; psychologists; emergency medical technicians; dentists; nurses; chiropractors; podiatrists; optometrists; osteopaths; photo developers; the general public; and allied mental health and human services professionals, and clergy.

Failure to report is a felony or misdemeanor in 46 states and a punishable offense in all 50 states. But one occupation on that list get a special exemption from facing criminal charges for failing report the rape, beating, or neglect of a child in most states. And we've covered that occupation already.

The information at those links comes from the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network. And your gainsaying of that reputable source is based on what, and comes from where?

From the definitions of the legal term "child abuse" in the statutes of those states.  You can peruse them at .   For example, in the current statutes in Massachusetts, reportable child abuse is defined as the "nonaccidental commission of any act by a caregiver upon a child under age 18 that causes or creates a substantial risk of physical or emotional injury..."

Then one must look at the legal definition of "caregiver" in the state, in both statute and case law.  Massachusetts definition is very broad compared to most states, and yet even now it likely does not include priests outside of a school/foster care setting.  "Caregiver" does include parents/guardians, household members entrusted with a child's care, and other persons providing child care or services (schools, daycare, foster/group care, etc.). 

Most states are more restrictive than Massachusetts, though the trend has very definitely been toward expanding the definitions.

Again, it is not enough to quote isolated text that you feel is authoritative, in this or any discipline.  There are reasons why people who practice in the field engage in many years of specialized study and internship.   Absent that study, there is a high burden to do sufficient research on principles, context, and actual practice which govern interpretation of the text if you wish to build a genuine understanding.


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