Joined: May 2006
PZ, I wasn't in the later posts really taking aim at what you had written before, I was disagreeing with Popper's Ghost. Lenny responded in a poor enough manner to you, however I don't think that the troubles should be portrayed--by PG--as entirely one-sided.
And truth be told, when I was complaining about what you did it was more to skewer the idiot RU than any lasting unhappiness with you. Not that I'm saying all you did was entirely fair, but perhaps it is close enough in horseshoes and in here.
I'm going to include the response I made to PZ's latest on Pharyngula, here:
I still don't think that PZ quite gets how some theists use the honest that they think is their Xian duty, along with the universal and rationalistic parts of Xianity (and other religions) to combine both science and religion into a whole life. And because this does relate to the thread here, my response follows:
|I'm not one who thinks that we should go to any trouble to accommodate religion, but I also don't think we should (ordinarily) go to any trouble to antagonize religion.|
Yes, it is all the same to PZ whether he is a scientist or an atheist. But I would maintain that for some theists there is also no difference between being theistic and being scientists, and their universal search for knowledge is based on logical/universalistic notions gained from their religion.
It has not gone unnoticed that science benefitted from the Greek/Xian belief that unities and numbers exist across the phenomena that we see in the universe. Some scientists still believe in this in a religious way, and at that point, at least, religion and science are not different for them.
Some theistic scientists wouldn't dream of controverting the evidence from science because they do science to know something about God. This was especially true in the past, when many scientists essentially saw science as another avenue to find out about God.
Religious scientists will add on religious ideas to the beliefs found through evidence, but the most honest ones are not going to make the same claims about religion as about evidence-based science.
Wes Elsberry has written that one of the reasons why he opposes creationism/ID is that it is so dishonest, something contrary to his religious--and personal--sensibilities. Is this not a happy coincidence between a kind of theism and science?
After all, Nietzsche was willing to bite the bullet and ask why we even want "truth", as if we were adherents of Xianity. He really was more than a little willing to point out that desires for truth, and other attributes of the scientific endeavor, are a legacy of Xian beliefs and attitudes (he seems not to have paid enough heed to the fact that we all desire "truth" in some manner or other, but the push for "truth" was emphasized in Xianity more than it has been in many religions, almost certainly to science's benefit). This is not as true today, I would claim, however the aims and ethics of science often do coincide with those of the most honest and open religious folk.
The fact of the matter is that religion is just a collection of human thoughts and beliefs of a bewildering variety and form. Some of those varieties share the ethics and beliefs necessary for science, while a good many do not. Any theist whose honesty requires acceptance of the evidence and its implications should be able to do science.
That is to say, a metaphysical basis for a scientist's work is adequate for science, and indeed a number of past scientists, and even some present ones, have had a kind of religious/metaphysical drive to discover "God's creation".
Some theists have simply accepted a metaphysical view of the world and they do science with it (others, no doubt, are religious but not wedded to metaphysics). The "mistake" that they make is that they have never questioned their a priori beliefs, because Xianity (and presumably all other religions) cannot be justified philosophically from the ground up. However, within their limited range of views, they are combining their morality, honesty, and desire to know, as a kind of religious/scientific endeavor to know the world/god.
I wrote more about these things here:
Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of coincidence---ID philosophy