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Is science incompatible with religion?

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This is not a scientific issue. This is a meta-scientific issue. It is about whether science is compatible with another field of knowledge.

Consequently, practicing scientists in this thread should not be surprised that their opinions have not ended the conversation. How much training do you have in theology or philosophy of science? Appeal to authority arguments work only if the the question falls under the authority's domain of expertise.

the two are intertwined. and the question is easily answered: the body of knowledge that we call 'science' necessarily requires evidence to be a part of the body of knowledge. another body of knowledge, which i guess we can call 'theology,' necessarily requires faith in order to assert the knowledge contained within the field. science rejects faith, though theology does not necessarily reject evidence. but, because of the former, and given the fact that the so-called 'search for god,' is empirically impossible, the two bodies of knowledge are consequently incompatible. science cannot study the behavior of the supernatural--they are wholly incompatible. when you try to investigate the nature of god using scientific principles, or study string theory, or study 'before the big bang,' you'll run into the same brick wall--none of these subjects can be investigated because scientific principles can't have anything to say about them. any conclusion, any premise, any assumption made is unfalsifiable and therefore cannot be studied.

so really, it's not that science doesn't have anything to say on these types of subjects, it's that it cannot say anything about them. because the two bodies of thought are not compatible with each other.

there's a similar issue that people run into when studying quantum mechanics. when we first learn about heisenberg's uncertainty principle concerning the momentum and position of a particle (or energy and time), we find that there's inherent uncertainty in measuring the two characteristics/quantities. a more precise measurement of position results in a less precise measurement of momentum and vice-versa. on an initial run-in with qm, one may find this to be a limitation of qm, but it's not. with the way particles work according to qm, that's all there is to know. there's no such thing as knowing more than that. supposing that we could know more is incompatible with the framework of quantum mechanics.

Let's not mock an entire discipline because you happen to be an atheist. At the very least theology is useful for clarifying theoretical details of the divine (its nature, operation, and consequences) even if the divine does not exist.

I did not catch your edit. I would half-agree with what you say: science can investigate the effects of miracles and try to investigate causes, but when it comes to causes its investigations will be fruitless. The most that could be concluded is "No empirical explanation seems to fit" which is no surprise.

I agreed with this earlier in the thread:

"Miracles are not scientific (supernatural) but they have observable consequences (empirical). If a god suspends a natural law to perform a miracle, the cause cannot be understood through science. Scientists can investigate but will never "find god" under a microscope. The most they will be able to conclude is that an otherwise absolute natural law was violated in this sole instance."

If a scientific explanation for the miracle cannot in principle be produced, I see no reason why a supernatural explanation is incompatible.

this is precisely why they're not compatible. science is not able to provide insight into the cause of a miracle, hence applying scientific principles to miracles is faulty from the start. supernatural explanations to natural phenomena are incompatible, pretty much by definition, else the phenomena wouldn't be defined as 'super'natural.

if we are to assume that techniques exist which allow one to study the supernatural, one would find these techniques to be completely different from those found in science because scientific principles simply don't apply.

Edited by Phoenix Wright

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@eclipse

I would caution against accusing others of being closed-minded. It adds nothing to the conversation and we can't know for sure whether people are willing to broaden their horizons. Better to treat those who disagree with you charitably.

Given the context, that was charitable. Your arguments make it very clear that you're here to defend, not learn. Therefore, trying to teach you in your current mindset is a waste of everyone else's time. Especially mine, because I have to keep an eye on this subforum.

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this is precisely why they're not compatible. science is not able to provide insight into the cause of a miracle, hence applying scientific principles to miracles is faulty from the start.

I defined "compatible" earlier in this thread: "Both could be true without contradiction."

You may be using a different definition of compatibility. I suspect this is so because when you say...

it's not that science doesn't have anything to say on these types of subjects, it's that it cannot say anything about them.

...I agree with you, and have said this in my own words many times. Science cannot speak to the non-empirical, but this demonstrates compatibility (rather than the opposite) according to the definition I provided.

I apologize for wasting eclipse's valuable time. Although I wonder why eclipse assumes I am mistaken and need to be taught by others. That doesn't sound very open-minded.

Edited by feplus

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i don't think that's a valuable definition--it's actually pretty much wrong. it sweeps the fundamental issue between the two bodies of knowledge under the rug and goes from there. i prefer what most dictionaries define it as,

(of two things) able to exist or occur together without conflict.
in which science and theology do not. they are incompatible (for reasons stated in the first paragraph btw, which you decided to ignore completely)

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I did not feel the first paragraph was worth responding to. Since you've asked I am happy to address the points I believe are relevant:

1. Theological claims only require faith to believe. They do not require faith to formulate and examine.

2. Science does not reject faith. Its method deals in empirical content, so non-empirical content is left to other disciplines.

The definition you've provided is no different from mine except that "contradict" is replaced with "conflict." Please explain what you mean by conflict, how specifically it differs from contradict, and then provide an example of scientific (empirical) and religious (non-empirical) knowledge conflicting.

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I apologize for wasting eclipse's valuable time. Although I wonder why eclipse assumes I am mistaken and need to be taught by others. That doesn't sound very open-minded.

1. Being passive-aggressive is a good indicator of hostility, which is an impediment to education (which also violates the spirit of the Code of Conduct, which is "don't be a dick"). You're also violating the very core of the religion you profess to be a part of (passive-aggressiveness is a sign of contempt, not love), but that's a tangent for another topic.

2. If you take the time to comprehend what Phoenix Wright posted, as opposed to only responding to it, you'd see the motivations behind his post.

3. Since you are ignoring Phoenix Wright's motivations, as well as being extremely snippy to the person who pointed out one possible motivation for your actions, my conclusion is that you're here to talk, not learn. If your mouth is open, your ears are shut, which means that as long as you're only here to talk, you don't have the mindset to learn.

That's why trying to teach you in your present state is a waste of time. It also means that responding to your arguments is pointless, because your actions indicate that you're interested in proving yourself, instead of trying to see the other person's view point.

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it's not the best article, but read this http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/11/faith_in_science_and_religion_truth_authority_and_the_orderliness_of_nature.html

I did not feel the first paragraph was worth responding to. Since you've asked I am happy to address the points I believe are relevant:

1. Theological claims only require faith to believe. They do not require faith to formulate and examine.

2. Science does not reject faith. Its method deals in empirical content, so non-empirical content is left to other disciplines.

The definition you've provided is no different from mine except that "contradict" is replaced with "conflict." Please explain what you mean by conflict, how specifically it differs from contradict, and then provide an example of scientific (empirical) and religious (non-empirical) knowledge conflicting.

if the first para was 'not worth responding to,' you're not here to discuss the op. what are you here to discuss?

1. yes they do. the theological claim that god exists requires first that you have faith, any examination following it requires that first assumption (based on faith).

2. this is simply incorrect. for what reason do you think 'non-empirical content' is left to other disciplines? also, read the article.

if you google both words, that's where i feel they differ. science conflicts with theology on the whole because its methods cannot be applied to study theological claims. that you need an entirely separate discipline with its own set of tools to 'study' theological claims is evidence of this. if the scientific method cannot be applied, that is a conflict between science and theology. in other ways, science directly contradicts the claims of some teachings in theology/religion (eg, creation myth). if science operated on faith, we'd all believe the creation myth today (provided we have the same religion).

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Ok this thread is old and I may have already posted in it since the subject interests me but there's a glaring mistake in the OP which caught my attention.

Science, for the most part, doesn't answer "whys". It's the domain of "whats". The "whys" science answers are smaller scale "whys" based on simple causality, but the biggest "why" for mankind, the "Why are we here?" question, science can't answer. As a friend told me once, we are a bunch of coincidences that worked. The "greater purpose" is something far beyond the limits of science. It's more like the field of philosophy. Religion includes some rudimentary philosophy, but can't be confused with it because it's linked to the unseen and is essentially dogmatic.

Big Bang, Evolution theory, etc. don't answer any "whys". They only answer "what" happened for us to exist the way we are today.

I think you are mistaking scientific knowledge with philosophical knowledge. Yes, science doesn't answer what our purpose in life is (if there is one) or what the meaning of life is, those are philosophical questions that exist within the field of philosophy, not on science's. But science does say about the causes of empirical phenomena happening on our world, thus it does answer whys (although not all whys, as some of them are beyond science's reach and more appropriate on other fields of knowledge). Why do volcanoes erupt? Why does our planet change seasons? Those whys are possible of being answered by science.

Big Bang and Evolution theory answer respectively why the universe (and we) exists and why we are the way we are by showing what it is all about. Answering "what" is a way of telling "why". I don't understand your confusion.

After all, isn't science's purpose to provide answers about the causes and effects of empirical phenomena? If it provides answers about causes then it provides "why"s.

the amount of ignorance on the scientific method shared among like 8 people in this thread despite 3-4 separate people saying the same (correct) shit and attempting to, not share an opinion with, but literally educate them, and having it go in one ear and out the other is incredibly frustrating. that's what's actually disrespectful. i mean you've got literal scientists saying "this is how science actually works," and it's still not enough to sway an opinion. it's as if they believe we're not trained, not that we are at least somewhat trained/not completely ignorant of its practice. it's bonkers if you ask me. and i'm not even purporting myself an authority--dd151 and lord raven have likely conducted research for several years now.

normally i guess you could call that a false appeal to authority or whatever you wish, but i feel when it's a scientist educating a non-scientist on science, it's probably best to listen to a scientist.

About the first paragraph, if this is how you feel about my posts so far, I apologize. My intent isn't to arrogantly clash with people who are clearly better than me and claim that I know more than them. Every post I've made in this section was with the intent of learning with those who are smarter and more knowledgeable than I and expand my horizons. It is, for me, more of a learning exercise than a discussion where I attempt to bash others with my limited knowledge. If you think I know little of a topic, then by all means correct me and help me improve or, if it is a bother to waste time arguing, warn me and I won't insist. This applies to everyone else who I've argued with so far.

The second paragraph is only incorrect if we take it on a purely deductive view (because experienced people are fallible), but it is not inductively wrong. Chances are someone who is older and more experienced knows best, and it is usually worth it to listen to them and give yourself the benefit of doubt (which is not to be mistaken with complete submission to authorities).

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it's not the best article, but read this http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/11/faith_in_science_and_religion_truth_authority_and_the_orderliness_of_nature.html

if the first para was 'not worth responding to,' you're not here to discuss the op. what are you here to discuss?

1. yes they do. the theological claim that god exists requires first that you have faith, any examination following it requires that first assumption (based on faith).

2. this is simply incorrect. for what reason do you think 'non-empirical content' is left to other disciplines? also, read the article.

if you google both words, that's where i feel they differ. science conflicts with theology on the whole because its methods cannot be applied to study theological claims. that you need an entirely separate discipline with its own set of tools to 'study' theological claims is evidence of this. if the scientific method cannot be applied, that is a conflict between science and theology. in other ways, science directly contradicts the claims of some teachings in theology/religion (eg, creation myth). if science operated on faith, we'd all believe the creation myth today (provided we have the same religion).

Additionally, it can be argued that because the methods for reaching conclusions are incompatible, the ideas that result will also be incompatible. The probability of two opposing types of research--one using direct testing while ignoring outlying data (faith in the hypothesis) and the other using indirect testing while accounting for all data (doubting the hypothesis)--coming to the same conclusion is practically nil.

Edited by Makaze

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eclipse, I want you to pause and reflect on what you've typed.

You interrupted a relatively civil conversation to call me closed-minded. I asked you to please stop, as this wasn't charitable.

You did not stop; instead, you escalated. You implied I was wrong and needed to be "taught." I pointed out, honestly, that this was itself rather closed-minded.

You now have characterized me as passive-aggressive and called my religious convictions into question.

This hostility is uncalled for. It totally kills my interest in this or any future Serious Discussion conversation. I will again ask that you please reconsider your attitude towards me, and if you cannot be polite then I would ask you not respond to my posts. I feel both are reasonable requests.

Phoenix and Makaze gave good replies, so I will think on them and respond later tonight.

Edited by feplus

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I think you are mistaking scientific knowledge with philosophical knowledge. Yes, science doesn't answer what our purpose in life is (if there is one) or what the meaning of life is, those are philosophical questions that exist within the field of philosophy, not on science's. But science does say about the causes of empirical phenomena happening on our world, thus it does answer whys (although not all whys, as some of them are beyond science's reach and more appropriate on other fields of knowledge). Why do volcanoes erupt? Why does our planet change seasons? Those whys are possible of being answered by science.

Big Bang and Evolution theory answer respectively why the universe (and we) exists and why we are the way we are by showing what it is all about. Answering "what" is a way of telling "why". I don't understand your confusion.

After all, isn't science's purpose to provide answers about the causes and effects of empirical phenomena? If it provides answers about causes then it provides "why"s.

About the first paragraph, if this is how you feel about my posts so far, I apologize. My intent isn't to arrogantly clash with people who are clearly better than me and claim that I know more than them. Every post I've made in this section was with the intent of learning with those who are smarter and more knowledgeable than I and expand my horizons. It is, for me, more of a learning exercise than a discussion where I attempt to bash others with my limited knowledge. If you think I know little of a topic, then by all means correct me and help me improve or, if it is a bother to waste time arguing, warn me and I won't insist. This applies to everyone else who I've argued with so far.

The second paragraph is only incorrect if we take it on a purely deductive view (because experienced people are fallible), but it is not inductively wrong. Chances are someone who is older and more experienced knows best, and it is usually worth it to listen to them and give yourself the benefit of doubt (which is not to be mistaken with complete submission to authorities).

fwiw, you didn't come to mind at all when i made that post. i threw numbers out because i know it's more than 5 over the course of the 15 pages. i think it was more of a post out of frustration than anything else, but yeah, i still view it that way.

"clearly better than me" is a bullshit phrase and i don't think you should carry that mindset anywhere. i'm fairly certain no one in this topic is making posts in response to you or anyone else with the mindset that they're "better." i can only speak for myself, i suppose, though.

it's mostly frustrating when people say science requires faith to operate and insist on it, because that's so incredibly incorrect i feel like people only say that internally because the cognitive dissonance is there. i was that way when i was religious, for example. many people don't understand the scientific method here, and that's okay because science is taught poorly in most of the united states (where many folks are from here). most don't comprehend the rigor, and that's okay too (i personally didn't 'get it' until like my junior year of college). but when you've got folks here that can tell you about it, and the information is still rejected, that's just not being respectful imo. but i guess i shouldn't be too surprised, since science is very much a "learn-by-doing" profession...

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eclipse, I want you to pause and reflect on what you've typed.

You interrupted a relatively civil conversation to call me closed-minded. I asked you to please stop, as this wasn't charitable.

You did not stop; instead, you escalated. You implied I was wrong and needed to be "taught." I pointed out, honestly, that this was itself rather closed-minded.

You now have characterized me as passive-aggressive and called my religious convictions into question.

This hostility is uncalled for. It totally kills my interest in this or any future Serious Discussion conversation. I will again ask that you please reconsider your attitude towards me, and if you cannot be polite then I would ask you not respond to my posts. I feel both are reasonable requests.

I think clipsey was calling you out in the most reasonable manner possible, cause it is definitely irritating that you ignore points that you don't feel are "worth responding to" and that is really condescending. If you don't want your character questioned, then do a better job of making it seem like you're listening.

Also, whatever she quoted was pretty damn passive-aggressive.

Edited by Lord Raven

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It is not condescending to respond to points I feel are relevant, especially when I am happy to respond to other points anyway if people ask.

It is not appropriate to call my character into question because I am not "listening" (i.e. changing my mind over arguments I find unpersuasive).

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There's a difference between listening and changing your mind. Listening implies you're understanding where the other is coming from, which you haven't shown in this thread. Not everyone changes their mind over understanding the point.

Furthermore, you twisted the words a bit, because you definitely mark more things as irrelevant than you should, and you definitely said this:

I did not feel the first paragraph was worth responding to.

... which is frankly condescending and it shows that clipsey's analysis of your character is warranted.

it's mostly frustrating when people say science requires faith to operate and insist on it, because that's so incredibly incorrect i feel like people only say that internally because the cognitive dissonance is there. i was that way when i was religious, for example. many people don't understand the scientific method here, and that's okay because science is taught poorly in most of the united states (where many folks are from here). most don't comprehend the rigor, and that's okay too (i personally didn't 'get it' until like my junior year of college). but when you've got folks here that can tell you about it, and the information is still rejected, that's just not being respectful imo. but i guess i shouldn't be too surprised, since science is very much a "learn-by-doing" profession...

I am pretty bad with experiments but I like to think I have a general understanding of the scientific method. I'm a theorist (or training to be one) though so my focus is more on analyzing models rather than investigating them. So I've been purely arguing this from a "how would a miracle affect a scientific model?" standpoint and my response is "... depends on the features of the miracle." Whereas you and dondon seem to have more practical knowledge of science and therefore argue it from the standpoint of how to measure a miracle and conclude that it is a miracle. So I've definitely learned a bit from this conversation myself, if only from a more practical and less theoretical standpoint.

Just goes to show not all of us are created equal or the same, despite studying a self-consistent topic.

Having that said, I think only one person in this thread said that it requires faith to operate on and they peaced out so I think we're good on that front.

Edited by Lord Raven

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Because I said I did not feel certain points were worth responding to, and then responded to them anyway when prompted, eclipse is right to attack my character and religious conviction. That is not at all reasonable.

@Phoenix

I read your article. I think it was pretty good.

1. Theological arguments do not require faith. Simple example: atheists opining on theodicy. The compatibility of God and evil is certainly a theological question but atheist philosophers can make (and have made!) strong arguments on this topic without believing in the divine.

2. Non-empirical content is left to other disciplines because science only has the tools to deal with empirical content. It is an empirical method. Science cannot do philosophy, science cannot do theology, science cannot do literature.

You say: "science conflicts with theology on the whole because its methods cannot be applied to study theological claims."

Do you think science and literary interpretation are in conflict? What about science and philosophy? What about science and mathematics? These disciplines have some overlap in methodology but are more dissimilar than similar. Because the knowledge they produce does not contradict, they seem compatible, which is why I gave the definition I did.

I did not address Makaze's post specifically because I believe I've covered his points in my reply to Phoenix. Please don't interpret this as me being condescending. As before, if there are points I overlooked you feel are relevant just let me know.

Edited by feplus

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Because I said I did not feel certain points were worth responding to, and then responded to them anyway when prompted, eclipse is right to attack my character and religious conviction. That is not at all reasonable.

@Phoenix

I read your article. I think it was pretty good.

1. Theological arguments do not require faith. Simple example: atheists opining on theodicy. The compatibility of God and evil is certainly a theological question but atheist philosophers can make (and have made!) strong arguments on this topic without believing in the divine.

2. Non-empirical content is left to other disciplines because science only has the tools to deal with empirical content. It is an empirical method. Science cannot do philosophy, science cannot do theology, science cannot do literature.

You say: "science conflicts with theology on the whole because its methods cannot be applied to study theological claims."

Do you think science and literary interpretation are in conflict? What about science and philosophy? What about science and mathematics? These disciplines have some overlap in methodology but are more dissimilar than similar. Because the knowledge they produce does not contradict, they seem compatible, which is why I gave the definition I did.

I did not address Makaze's post specifically because I believe I've covered his points in my reply to Phoenix. Please don't interpret this as me being condescending. As before, if there are points I overlooked you feel are relevant just let me know.

The bolded statement blatantly ignores the examples Phoenix gave in his post. We have already agreed that philosophical causes and science do not contradict. You are conflating religion with religious philosophy whether you think you are or not. Firstly, religion is not definitively restricted to non-empirical claims. Secondly, religion as we experience it begins and ends with faith in empirical claims. That is to say, the bolded statement is true if and only if religion and faith categorically stay away from describing empirical events. They do not.

On the eclipse situation: eclipse didn't say anything revolutionary about your approach, feplus. I said the same thing she did, albeit with a more respectful tone:

When you just deny the claim "your argument is circular" without addressing dondon's reasoning for that conclusion it sends a message. The message that you aren't interested in reasons and methods, just conclusions. I suspect this is the root of the problem; forgoing the reasons for claims and criticizing the claim as if it was made in a vacuum.

Your response to her proves her point. "This post is passive aggressive and shows disrespect." "It's not proper to call an opponent passive aggressive." Denying the claim while ignoring the reason for making it is disrespectful. Despite many claims that your behavior disrespects other posters, you have not claimed to be respectful. You're more concerned with calling them out for bringing it up.

If they say "you are being insincere, sarcastic and defensive" instead of calling you passive-aggressive, can we reasonably expect you to respond to that? The evidence says no. If one person lays it out without using obviously offensive language and one uses offensive language, you will only respond to the one who used offensive language, critique them for using offensive language, and consider the points the more polite person brought up to be refuted along with them. I gave you the benefit of the doubt but you've played right into expectation. As far as I and anyone else can tell, eclipse has you pegged.

Edited by Makaze

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In the very first post I made I acknowledged that religions wade into empirical territory, and here science can corroborate or reject such claims.

This does not lead to contradiction or conflict. Any discipline can make empirical claims. Some will be true and some will be false. Religion making and promulgating false empirical claims is no less compatible with science than something like sociology making and promulgating false empirical claims.

There are many obvious differences between your post and eclipse's. I will list some of them. You:

* made contributions to the conversation

* did not derail the conversation

* did not question my character

* did not question my religious conviction

I have been respectful and have not ignored points unless I feel they are not relevant or have been addressed already. I have been happy to respond to overlooked points other users feel are indeed relevant.

I am surprised by these reactions. If the consensus here is that eclipse's tiring hostility is not only acceptable but even appropriate, this is not a good place for serious discussion and I can find better ways to spend my time.

Edited by feplus

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In the very first post I made I acknowledged that religions wade into empirical territory, and here science can corroborate or reject such claims.

This does not lead to contradiction or conflict. Any discipline can make empirical claims. Some will be true and some will be false. Religion making and promulgating false empirical claims is no less compatible with science than something like sociology making and promulgating false empirical claims.

Except religion requires faith in a hypothesis. The hypothesis that everything is created by god, directed by god in his all encompassing plan. That is ignoring evidence and sweeping it under the rug. There is no evidence that suggests a god exists, therefore there is no reason to believe as such. Therefore a theological explaination cannot be compatible with a scientific mindset.

Yes, just like an uneducated bum on the side of the street can also speak the truth. It is a matter of probability, and why the scientific method is a thing. How likely it is to be right. Just as Makaze said: "The probability of two [directly] opposing types of research--one using direct testing while ignoring outlying data (faith in the hypothesis) and the other using indirect testing while accounting for all data (doubting the hypothesis)--coming to the same conclusion is practically nil."

Except how scientific sociology is, is debatable.

The only way in which theology and science are not incompatible is if you chance the definition of compatibility itself. Which is exactly what you went on to do.

"Both could be true without contradiction."

Sure a PP3 battery isn't going to fit in my clock. Sure if I tried to mash it in, it's not going to work. But their existance is not contradictory, therefore they're not incompatible, right? Yeah I do think this is a pretty poor definition and is pretty much wrong. When people say, this car battery is not compatible with this TV remote, they don't mean that the existence of these objects contradict. They mean the battery doesn't fit in the battery sockets on the remote.

Edited by Autumn

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I wouldn't disagree about sociology's unreliability, but that's true of all soft sciences: dealing with human behavior and social structures, which don't lend themselves as cleanly to controlled experimentation, will produce less reliable data. I would still say the findings of hard and soft sciences are compatible.

Science does not compete with religion in the way you are describing. "God probably does not exist because there is no empirical evidence to suggest this" is, in addition to a category mistake, not a scientific claim. It is a philosophical claim.

Consequently, talking about which method is "more reliable" does not make sense. There is no competition between methods because they deal with separate domains of knowledge. If you want to learn about the empirical world, you would not turn to a theologian; if you wanted to learn about justifications for God's existence, you would not turn to a scientist.

I did not "change" the definition of compatibility. I took the dictionary definition and replaced the vague word "conflict" with the precise word "contradict." Many disciplines conflict that we nevertheless consider compatible because the truth found in those disciplines aren't contradictory, and I provided examples of this earlier.

The clock analogy is exceptionally poor: no one has suggested that mere existence is enough to make things compatible. According to your strawman, I would concede that science (which exists) is compatible with pseudoscience (which exists). Yet I would say no such thing. I have argued that science and religion are compatible because they:

* use different methodologies and forms of justification

* to study different types of knowledge

* that are mutually exclusive

That third bullet has been the sticking point. I believe everyone's made their position on that point clear and there is nothing I can add to this conversation that I haven't said already. There's been some decent debate so I hope others respond and make good rebuttals, but I am moving on to other topics.

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I wouldn't disagree about sociology's unreliability, but that's true of all soft sciences: dealing with human behavior and social structures, which don't lend themselves as cleanly to controlled experimentation, will produce less reliable data. I would still say the findings of hard and soft sciences are compatible.

Not if you're a behaviorist.

Consequently, talking about which method is "more reliable" does not make sense. There is no competition between methods because they deal with separate domains of knowledge. If you want to learn about the empirical world, you would not turn to a theologian; if you wanted to learn about justifications for God's existence, you would not turn to a scientist.

Which is why they are incompatible by the traditional definition of compatibility.

I did not "change" the definition of compatibility. I took the dictionary definition and replaced the vague word "conflict" with the precise word "contradict."

Which is changing it because "conflict" and "contradict" are NOT interchangeable.

Many disciplines conflict that we nevertheless consider compatible because the truth found in those disciplines aren't contradictory, and I provided examples of this earlier.

Yeah but those that ARE true from those disciplines are sometimes not the scientific truth because they are not testable by the scientific method. Look, if you say something enough times, it *becomes* the mundane truth, but not a provable definite scientific one.

According to your strawman, I would concede that science (which exists) is compatible with pseudoscience (which exists). Yet I would say no such thing.

Because you're doublethinking to the extreme. From what you just said in that same post- It it doesn't *contradict* therefore they are not incompatible. I don't know what you might be referring to that does NOT contradict between science and theology beyond mere existence as different methods of perception- Everything they perceive DO contradict because scientific truth is different from common truth, that is common sense. This was in no way, a strawman.

* use different methodologies and forms of justification

Neither of which you can use on the other. Therefore incompatible.

* to study different types of knowledge

Which science cannot accept due to the sheer lack of evidence.

* that are mutually exclusive

Which is why they're incompatible by every definition but yours. You cannot have a scientific mindset while still believe in theology without preforming mental gymnastics.

Moreover, none of these points shows that my analogy was a strawman.

Edited by Autumn

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Welp, it's sermon time.

[spoiler=Tangent for forum attitudes featuring Christianity]First off, I'm going to skip a lot of the Bible references, because I am not patient enough to look for them. Second, any and all debate on this can go in another topic.

Jesus' commandments to His followers were to love the Lord with all their hearts, and to love their neighbors as themselves. I'm sure most, if not all sects of Christianity will agree on this.

So, what are the responses to what I posted?

eclipse, I want you to pause and reflect on what you've typed.

You interrupted a relatively civil conversation to call me closed-minded. I asked you to please stop, as this wasn't charitable.

You did not stop; instead, you escalated. You implied I was wrong and needed to be "taught." I pointed out, honestly, that this was itself rather closed-minded.

You now have characterized me as passive-aggressive and called my religious convictions into question.

This hostility is uncalled for. It totally kills my interest in this or any future Serious Discussion conversation. I will again ask that you please reconsider your attitude towards me, and if you cannot be polite then I would ask you not respond to my posts. I feel both are reasonable requests.

Phoenix and Makaze gave good replies, so I will think on them and respond later tonight.

"You're doing this to me"

It is not condescending to respond to points I feel are relevant, especially when I am happy to respond to other points anyway if people ask.

It is not appropriate to call my character into question because I am not "listening" (i.e. changing my mind over arguments I find unpersuasive).

"Something that affects me"

Because I said I did not feel certain points were worth responding to, and then responded to them anyway when prompted, eclipse is right to attack my character and religious conviction. That is not at all reasonable.

"Rather than looking at why she posted that, I'm going to complain about the thing against me."

I am surprised by these reactions. If the consensus here is that eclipse's tiring hostility is not only acceptable but even appropriate, this is not a good place for serious discussion and I can find better ways to spend my time.

"I'm going to do something"

Do you see the pattern? How can you possibly love others if your focus is on you and your own feelings? How can you love others if you won't even consider WHY they're acting the way they are towards you?

Why do I bother? Because you claim to be Christian, just as I am. Yet the behavior I see from you is completely opposite to everything I've been taught about Christianity. 1 Corinthians 13 lays this out plain as day - without love, actions mean nothing. I'd be a really happy mod if you'd actually listen and take the time to ponder what I say, why, and consider that maybe, just maybe, I might be right. I'd be outright ecstatic if you became someone who listens without judging, argues with compassion, and understanding of those who don't agree with you. It doesn't mean you have to agree with everything other people say. But no matter what, show respect for others, whether it be through answering their questions, apologizing for your slights, or agreeing to disagree (which can and will happen). The Lord forgives all debts.

To everyone else: So, if you're not interested in being Christian, the more practical parts of this can still apply! When debating/discussing things, don't automatically dismiss the other side. Try to understand where they're coming from and why their logic is the way it is. No matter what, the goal isn't to change the other person's mind/berate them for their opinion! The former MIGHT happen but probably won't, and the latter's just disrespectful. If you need a practical example, think of how absolutely wonderful you'd feel if someone came up to you and tried to convert you to a religion you're not interested in.

And now for something more relevant. . .

Except religion requires faith in a hypothesis. The hypothesis that everything is created by god, directed by god in his all encompassing plan. That is ignoring evidence and sweeping it under the rug. There is no evidence that suggests a god exists, therefore there is no reason to believe as such. Therefore a theological explaination cannot be compatible with a scientific mindset.

Can you prove that God doesn't exist? I post this because I want to see the logic behind this.

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Can you prove that God doesn't exist? I post this because I want to see the logic behind this.

I'm curious to see if you have thought about this before. If I did not exist, how would you prove it?

(My position is that such questions shift the burden of proof like Russell's teapot.)

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I'm curious to see if you have thought about this before. If I did not exist, how would you prove it?

(My position is that such questions shift the burden of proof like Russell's teapot.)

I don't think we can conclusively prove that God exists. I don't think we can conclusively prove that God doesn't exist, either. Not yet.

Right now, humanity's knowledge about science is incomplete. If/when we figure out everything (in some distant future, assuming the sun doesn't blow up before then or something), we'll have an answer as to whether or not God exists in scientific terms.

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I don't think we can conclusively prove that God exists. I don't think we can conclusively prove that God doesn't exist, either. Not yet.

Right now, humanity's knowledge about science is incomplete. If/when we figure out everything (in some distant future, assuming the sun doesn't blow up before then or something), we'll have an answer as to whether or not God exists in scientific terms.

No matter how much knowledge we gain it is impossible to know that which you do not know; that includes how much you do not know. Therefore it will always be impossible to prove that something does not exist. By extension, it is impossible to know the difference between obtaining all knowledge and reaching your own finite capacity for knowledge. Even if our knowledge becomes complete we cannot know that it is complete. We will always have room to wonder if there are things we simply cannot observe. At some point we have to come to terms with that and decide how to filter the possibilities into a model to apply to reality. The scientific approach is to decide that something is valid if and only if its existence has observable features distinct from its non-existence; if it has meaning outside of the hypothetical. Religion is a concept that people create to fill the void of the unknown instead of embracing it. This problem will not go away until people change into rational beings that can embrace uncertainty without despairing. The question of whether god exists may become more remote and esoteric, but the problem is such that if he exists we can stop wondering, but if he does not exist then we will wonder forever. The believer tends to ask the question "Can you prove that God does not exist?" precisely because it is tilted in favor of their belief.

Edited by Makaze

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Can you prove that God doesn't exist? I post this because I want to see the logic behind this.

I'm an agnostic. I don't know if God exists or not. I have no way of proving it and I will not make a judgement on it, beyond saying it is thus far, something you cannot make a scientific claim about. I really wish he does, you know. I don't want to die and have nothing after it, it sounds boring. But for now, I'll go under the belief that an afterlife does not exist, and just enjoy my life in this world, the best I can.

I only think scientifically, because it is pragmatic to do so.

EDIT: Just read this

To everyone else: So, if you're not interested in being Christian, the more practical parts of this can still apply! When debating/discussing things, don't automatically dismiss the other side. Try to understand where they're coming from and why their logic is the way it is. No matter what, the goal isn't to change the other person's mind/berate them for their opinion! The former MIGHT happen but probably won't, and the latter's just disrespectful. If you need a practical example, think of how absolutely wonderful you'd feel if someone came up to you and tried to convert you to a religion you're not interested in.

I agree. Christianity, and other religions (I also like Buddhism and Taoism a lot for this), teach many moral values that I think would definitely beneficial for them. That's why I think you can be both a scientist and a religious person. It's because it's so practical to do so. If someone can be a good person and think that the religion is beneficial for them to continue doing good? All the power to them! The world isn't so pedantic that you can't do what you want.

Edited by Autumn

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