I saw this video today and had some thoughts about it I wanted to share with the world.  So first, here’s the video:

You can tell Dr. Dawkins is more of a theologist and less of a scientist.  While I believe his campaign to rid humanity of traditional religious belief in a god or gods good and just, he does indeed go about it the same way the religious go about instilling those beliefs in the first place.  If someone can be convinced that there are one or more gods out there who simply exist and have always existed and created our universe and so on, then they can be convinced that it is not true.

The natural sciences (the study of our perceivable reality) can only go so far in teaching us about ourselves, but as philosophers and mathematicians have told us, we are limited by the fact that we exist in our universe, and therefore cannot perceive reality as a whole, rather, can only see shadows and repercussions.  The classical example is to look at your own eye.  We need a mirror, an imperfect tool for reflecting light, in order to see our own eyes.  The light reflects off our eye, then into the mirror, then back into our eye.  Physicists have understood that much of the light information is lost along this path, and therefore we will never have a 100% complete picture of the truth; and philosophers have stated that this measurable effect begs the question, “is anything truly real?”

Without going too deep into that right now, I just wanted to say that belief in science is very similar to belief in a god/gods: once you believe in it, you can use its inherent methods to prove its existence and validity.

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6 Responses to On Religion and Science

  1. matt says:

    hey Mike how is it going?

    When you do have the time please do go more into detail. I’m interested in hearing the rest of your thoughts.

    I am saddened to hear the opening line that you “believe in his campaign”. The world has greatly benefited from Christianity. Granted there are some religions that do the opposite. Christianity though has taught people to help out one another. To love one another, and we benefit from that anytime anyone helps us out in any snap or fashion. Eastern religions where karma is prodominant you don’t help someone out because if you do it is only prolonging there suffering. Better to let them pay back there karma debt that way they can move on. but you and i both know the God of the bible didn’t come up with karma, or religion for that matter.

    I would agree he is going about it the same way, same as many religions do to gain followers. There is quite a parallel to evolution and religion in the sense they are looking for answers to our origin/existence. They also operate on the fundamental principal of faith. Faith that nothing happened to form something or faith that God created. Thirdly there is a blindness similarity that evolutionist seem to share with man made/false religions about truth. some times it seems it doesn’t matter how blatantly obvious the truth is they just won’t have it. And that is primarily because both evolutionist and false religions want a god they can control. evolutionist are there own god (only accepting an answer that doesn’t have a higher being in it), false religions have there own god that benefits them. A god they can put in a box and due what suits them best.

    Curios to why you think someone can be “convinced” there is a god, but then later be convinced there isn’t? Convinced by definition is to be “completely certain about something”. I would say if someone has changed their stance on this issue, they were never convinced in the first place.

    Little confused about your eye example, are you talking about the mirror inside the eye and how it pulls the light from the front or looking in a mirror literally at your own eye? Could you give me some more clarification? no pun intended.

    Take care Mike.

  2. mikeb says:

    Well, I opened the proverbial “can of worms” – I guess it’s time to consume my meal. I’d quickly say that belief is belief, and its personal, and it needs not follow logic. If I believe that I was never born, you can try to convince me, but in the end I have to personally believe it myself. Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “a man with an argument is never at the mercy of a man with an experience.” Here’s the kicker, though: how can one truly know they’ve had an experience or not? I mean, I might BELIEVE that I went to the bathroom last night, but did I really? Ok, there are photos or video footage, but those can be faked. Maybe someone saw me, but I’d have to believe their testimony as well. What if I have a medical condition where I forget things? What if I forget that I have this condition? What if what I think “going to the bathroom” is is considered something else to others (the age-old “is my colour green the same as your colour green” perception vs. reality thought experiment).

    So, basically, I personally BELIEVE that our beliefs are our own and reflect only the way we think about and perceive reality. Therefore, we are (or at least should be) free to choose to believe what we want. The “good” aspects of Dawkins’s campaign against organised religion are, for me, summed up in one of the sentences he said in the video: “people should choose their beliefs based on personal experience and their own logical reasoning and not because of tradition.” OK, maybe I paraphrased or changed the quote, but that’s basically it. Everyone can choose what they want to believe, but I personally believe that we shouldn’t push beliefs on future generations for sake of tradition. Of course, my belief is also a belief and could even be debated. But I’d like to think that this way of thinking is ultimately the most accepting and non-threatening one. And I definitely know that some folks religiously follow “science” blindly and also are a danger to free-thinking.

    Perhaps “convinced” was not the proper word. Again, we can choose to believe in the meaning of a word we choose to 😉 The German word I would have used would have been “überreden” – so maybe persuade. Because, in the end, we have to choose to believe. And I believe we can choose to believe whatever we want, whenever we want. The very idea that I cannot change my beliefs scares me a bit. Without going into predestination or similar topics, I’ll give the example of the microscope. Before a microscope, we would observer our skin closely and think, “gee, I see a lot of tiny holes in my skin. Therefore I am convinced that my skin is a surface with holes.” Then as our technology increases, our findings convince us that our skin is made up of many cells, and those cells with different parts that eventually go to atoms. And this is indeed what the scientific method tells us: we can speculate and conjecture all we want based on the data we have at the time, but we can never really know anything for sure. Further reading: Heisenberg, Plato.

    This flows nicely into the eye example. Light particles (or waves if you’re in that camp) hit the surface of our eye and are interpreted by the brain as images. When we view an object, light reflects off that object and then goes into our eye as described. If I look into your eyes, I see the light reflecting off of your eye and into mine. If I look into a mirror, I see the light reflecting off my eye that then reflects off the mirror and then back into my eye, creating an endless loop. Now, our pupils are extremely dark and therefore reflect very little light. So perhaps what we are seeing when we look at a pupil is the “lack of light” as opposed to light itself. But there is presumably some light bouncing back out. Not to mention there is a thin skin-like layer (the lens) over the eye that is clear, although there are likely impurities that reflect and refract the light. Lastly, the nature of light is dependent on its atmosphere. It behaves differently in polarised magnetic fields as it does in a vacuum, or in high-gravity or even on a humid day. Therefore, no device that exists today (or conceivably ever) can 100% accurately measure the true nature of light. We can do many many tests with many many different instruments and experimental set-ups, but we will only ever approximate the truth. We also are limited by our own eyes and brains, which means some non-measurable and non-perceivable information (if it exists) will be incomprehensible to us or even give false results. Lastly (and perhaps most importantly), we can never prove, even to ourselves, that our ways of measuring and categorising natural (or un-natural) phenomena are correct or even on the right path. WE came up with the idea of understanding our reality; WE came up with the tools to measure our reality; WE invented the language (or so we think – again, we can’t prove any of it due to our limitations.)

    This brings us back nicely to our mantra of the day: belief.

    What do you choose to believe right now and why? What have you chosen to believe in the past? What would it take for you to choose to believe something else in the future? What is your favourite colour?

  3. matt says:

    this is good stuff. I’ll try to dissect it in between meal times and changing dippers so excuse the grammar and spelling errors.(previous and to come)

    Agreed 100% belief is personal and you have the ability to choose. I’m not a a Calvinist by any means, nor Arminian. I do believe in predestination though, kind of have to if I believe in the God of the Bible. A God out side of time no begging or end. The best way I can logically explain it, you can make the decision to repent or not, he knows the decision you will make. So those that he new will repent are elect. An analogy that fits this would be you apply for a job, fill out the application, get ready, go to the interview and even though you wanted to work for the employer the employer still would say I choose you. You didn’t choose me.

    At first I would say “belief is logical” but I see your point, evolution/false religion are illogical still people choose to believe in them. So in after thought maybe belief doesn’t need to be logical, but I would say truth is logical most of the time. Your analogy of being born, I would say could be a belief someone holds, but it would not be the truth whether you believe it or not, you are alive. Which would infer that there are beliefs based on lies and beliefs based on facts. You could say who determines what is a lie or a fact. You can feel right from wrong and I think you would agree. And for those that are so far gone they no longer feel convicted when they steal or lie it will take them investigating the truth n there own. unfortunately honesty with the findings is required. and if it doesn’t bother them to lie it won’t bother them to be dishonest and it all goes down hill from there.

    What you personally believe will keep you at peace w/yourself. Again I can believe I was never born, but that will not/can not change the fact that I was born. On top of that I can go through life ignoring the fact that I was born and wonder everyday why I need to eat and drink or I can look at the facts. facts like after being born food no longer comes from the mother and I have to sustain myself. with that I can draw the conclusion that I was born. to put it simple and short there are two types of truth relative and absolute. you can’t have one with out the other. quick link here on the subject that explains it with out going to deep.

    http://carm.org/are-there-absolutes

    To answer your questions wether they were rhetorical or not. I can honestly say I believe in the God of the Bible. I’m not talking about a specific religion. In reading the Bible Jesus’s enemey was/is the religious people. They were the ones who killed him, and are still leading people astray(evolution included). I believe that God created a perfect world and once sin entered the world it has been going down hill ever sense. I also believe that God is perfect, loving, humble, gracious, just and all powerful. He came into the world to take our sins and provide a way for us to have life in him, we were dead in the sense we were separated from him. I believe that we were created by him and as all inventors with products would do, He has created a “care and use manual” (Bible) and by follow it life is better, and we can have a relationship with the living God. I believe because I don’t have a choice, there have been events in my life that can only be explained one way. I guess I have a choice, but it would be me rejecting logic and turning form God. Some people can do it….. I don’t want to. Better yet why would I? So i can be my own little god of my little life that last for 80ish years. and live that short life to be miserable deprived of what I was designed for? only to go onto eternity and be in torment permanently separated from God. It blows my mind how much God loves us, the all powerful creator allowed his creation to torture and kill him on a cross so you and I could be in communion with him. he care about you that much.

    what do you believe right now?
    why did it change from your past?

    take care.

  4. matt says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTh43O4r2vI

    hey man just watched this and it had some of the things we are talking about in it let me know what you think.

  5. matt says:

    here is another one on a faith start for creation or evolution.
    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xd6bas_creationist-john-mackay_tech

  6. matt says:

    hey bro check out this video

    http://creation.com/creation-tv?fileID=Ben5Hayomd0

    I would like to hear your opinion on the above videos and reply. thanks, I hope you have a nice weekend. you should come out to england some day and visit.

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