Neil deGrasse Tyson: Science and Religion Are Not ‘Reconcilable,’ So Stop Trying (mediaite.com)

{atheismrebooted}

268 ups - 38 downs = 230 votes

75 comments submitted at 20:23:49 on Jan 21, 2014 by BadKittie83

  • [-]
  • lodhuvicus
  • -21 Points
  • 01:11:05, 22 January

Sagan is rolling in his grave at what Tyson, Harris, Dawkins, and co. have done with atheism and the public view of science. All they've done is use the stupidity of religious fanatics to puff up their movement (and sell books, ofc), just like how kids in middle school pick on each other to become popular. The amount of time they waste trying to equate faith with believing God is a big man in the sky is absolutely laughable and does nothing but discredit what they.

Don't even get me started on their incompetency with philosophy, theology, basic critical thinking skills, etc. etc. etc.

  • [-]
  • flunkytown
  • 11 Points
  • 01:38:03, 22 January

To dismiss Tyson, Harris, and Dawkins as lacking basic critical thinking skills makes you look like an apologetic. You can talk a lot of shit about tone of arguments, etc, but what they're saying is true. And you know it.

I don't have to be an expert on the occult belief systems of indigenous tribes in New Guinea to know they're complete bullshit. Why should Christianity or any other religion be afforded special treatment?

  • [-]
  • lodhuvicus
  • -14 Points
  • 01:48:45, 22 January

> To dismiss Tyson, Harris, and Dawkins as lacking basic critical thinking skills makes you look like an apologetic.

"If you're not with us you're against us" mentality. Great job promoting the "hostile atheist" stereotype. Additionally, I was more dismissing the latter two than Tyson himself. I have few relatively problems with Tyson other than the fact that he associates with them.

> You can talk a lot of shit about tone of arguments, etc, but what they're saying is true.

The Moral Landscape and The God Delusion were some of the most laughable books I have ever read. The entire basis of Harris' system can be fundamentally called into question, if not entirely dismissed, with little effort, and I seriously question whether or not he actually questioned what he was saying at any point. Dawkins, on the other hand, tried his hand at theology and I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in my life. I criticized his critical thinking skills because of what his book is missing: an investigation of science. What kind of book that advocates skeptical thinking doesn't even question the method it's using?

> Why should Christianity or any other religion be afforded special treatment?

First off, there's some pretty rational and sophisticated religious views (yes, including some forms of Christianity). Second, you didn't read anything I said, did you? I was criticizing them (mostly Dawkins and Harris) for doing two things: Dawkins for pretty much the entirety of The God Delusion, and both men for spending so much time "debating" religious fundamentalists that they've internalized the science vs religion horseshit and have started spouting it themselves. The two men, Dawkins moreso, have all but equated faith with fundamentalist Christianity or Islam and dismissed all religion on those grounds. More disturbingly, they've dismissed the notion of faith, demonstrating the fact that they have thought little about what science actually is.

I was mostly criticizing Harris and Dawkins, Tyson speaks pretty reasonably about the matter but I still have a few issues with what he says. The main thing I fault him for is associating with those morons in the first place.

  • [-]
  • xSociety
  • 13 Points
  • 01:53:12, 22 January

> First off, there's some pretty rational and sophisticated religious views

Stop right there.

  • [-]
  • lodhuvicus
  • -15 Points
  • 01:59:39, 22 January

You haven't even tried looking into the subject, have you? I guess I shouldn't be surprised, considering where I am, but I would have figured I'd have found someone on /r/atheism or /r/atheismrebooted now that has tried, especially considering how obsessed these subreddits are with religion.

But it looks like you've fallen for their straw-manning of religion, so I'll end it there.

  • [-]
  • xSociety
  • 7 Points
  • 03:07:44, 22 January

Well aren't you just superior to everyone...

  • [-]
  • Toby-one
  • 1 Points
  • 04:21:45, 22 January

He's one of those guys...

  • [-]
  • xkcd_transcriber
  • 0 Points
  • 04:22:17, 22 January

Image

Title: Atheists

Title-text: 'But you're using that same tactic to try to feel superior to me, too!' 'Sorry, that accusation expires after one use per conversation.'

Comic Explanation

Stats: This comic has been referenced 114 time(s), representing 1.19% of referenced xkcds.


^Questions/Problems ^| ^Website

  • [-]
  • lodhuvicus
  • -2 Points
  • 10:16:42, 22 January

Such an observation makes you superior to me, I take it?

  • [-]
  • lodhuvicus
  • -6 Points
  • 05:48:34, 22 January

"I have no response so here's an attempt to save face in my retreat instead."

  • [-]
  • xSociety
  • 3 Points
  • 06:48:02, 22 January

Yea, because I would love to get into an internet tough guy fight with you. Anyone who thinks faith is a virtue, or valid in any sense, is not worth my time.

  • [-]
  • lodhuvicus
  • -3 Points
  • 09:50:05, 22 January

"Who the fuck is Baruch Spinoza lol. Moses Maimonides? Who the fuck is that?"

  • [-]
  • Springheeljac
  • 2 Points
  • 08:15:59, 22 January

This is exactly the childish nonsense I'm talking about in my other reply to you. If you have examples of rational and sophisticated religious views then please express them instead of expecting us to take your word for it as you insult us for not agreeing with you.

But it looks like you're strawmanning in literally every reply you make, so I'll end it here.

  • [-]
  • lodhuvicus
  • -4 Points
  • 09:13:06, 22 January

> If you have examples of rational and sophisticated religious views then please express them

I love how, instead of asking me (or, you know, *gasp* reading!) like a normal human being, you chose to turn it into something to fault me for.

Since I'm not going to go through the trouble of listing the untold number of theologians who sought to reconcile their faith in God and what rational thinking told them, I'll give you two I can personally vouch for. A Google search probably would have turned these guys up on the very first page: Maimonides and Spinoza. And in his Guide for the Perplexed, Maimonides mentions countless other fairly well put-together systems from various Muslim and Jewish schools of thought, such as the Mu'tazilah or the Ash'ariyya (both of whom have pretty interesting notions of divine providence).

Instead of addressing more sophisticated religious notions Dawkins only (the closest Dawkins gets is namedropping Spinoza at one point), and Harris as far as I can tell, only addresses the most "vulgar" of them, and then turn it into an attack on faith itself. In fact, they don't even address the more sophisticated, less rational ones! All they're really doing is trying to legitimize their movement by making it seem as though they've 'defeated faith using LOGIC AND REASON' or some such nonsense.

In short, Spinoza and Maimonides (among others) both have pretty sophisticated religious notions and Dawkins and Harris use low-hanging fruit like creationists and people who believe that God is a big man in the sky to straw man Christianity, and more generally religion and faith.

Unlike those two, I have better things to do and am not going to waste my time arguing with idiots. I'm not asking for much here, just something that isn't one of the same old, same old responses that I get when I make these claims.

  • [-]
  • Springheeljac
  • 2 Points
  • 18:33:14, 22 January

And again, no actual arguments. Saying someone's name is an appeal to authority, not an argument, and not evidence. If you want to be take seriously then show that you have a clue what you're talking about. No one is going to sit and debunk everything that Spinoza ever said, so how about a specific example.

  • [-]
  • lodhuvicus
  • 1 Points
  • 20:02:36, 22 January

> And again, no actual arguments.

What would an "actual argument" be, according to you? Would it be "this is the most ignorant bunch of bullshit I've ever seen [therefore it is all false]"? What about "a lot of people see math as the purest form of science [therefore it is]"? Or "Post structuralism, lol." The infinity that is human stupidity never ceases to amaze me.

> Saying someone's name is an appeal to authority, not an argument, and not evidence.

Are you really this stupid? You asked for an example and I gave you a few.

> No one is going to sit and debunk everything that Spinoza ever said

Probably because most people agree with Spinoza in one way or another: his thoughts on how the Bible should be read form the basis of Biblical scholarship, he claimed that miracles didn't exist and that anything that seems miraculous is due to a lack of knowledge (encouraging advancements in the natural sciences), his critique of organized religion is devastating, etc. etc. etc.

> so how about a specific example.

And go through the trouble of explaining theology to a moron? No thanks! I will, however, give you a reading suggestion (it's an easy one, I promise! Even you could read it!) and if you want to you can come back and we can discuss it: Spinoza's critique of organized religion at the very beginning of the Tractatus.

  • [-]
  • bebobli
  • 2 Points
  • 04:00:55, 22 January

The scientific method is as critical as you can get as is. There is no other better proven method for discerning objective truth. If you think that process requires faith, you are hugely mistaken.

Harris talks about his experience meditating and with Buddhism and Jainism. He talks about it, just those myths aren't well known to the west.

  • [-]
  • lodhuvicus
  • -4 Points
  • 04:54:50, 22 January

> If you think that process requires faith, you are hugely mistaken.

It's not blind faith, it's well placed faith. However, making the jump from "here is a consistent system of explanation for this and this and this phenomena" to "this is how it is in nature" requires faith. There is no proof in science, only disproof. Proof works from the ground up, Theology from the top down (sorta), and science works both ways from the middle. Not to mention the fact that science is contained within structures it cannot escape. I'm not saying that science isn't a damn good method for interrogating nature, I'm saying that the notion of "scientific proof" or that science is the "only path to truth" is naive.

  • [-]
  • Springheeljac
  • 4 Points
  • 08:12:58, 22 January

You said absolutely nothing of worth here. Science does not rely on faith, it relies on testable and observable data. Science doesn't work because people believe in it, it works because it's refined to work. Though it's certainly hard to keep bias out of the lab, so to speak, by having hypothesis tested by a multitude of people in different countries with different cultural backgrounds we can adjust pretty well for it. Science is only contained by how how we can test different things. For example, there are entire fields that are almost purely theoretical (mostly in physics), the only proofs they have are the mathematical kind. Thinking that science is the only good way to test the universe is not in the least naive. It's literally the only acceptable answer because it's the only one that can back up it's claims. Religions never provide proof of miracles or the supernatural because those things don't exist. You can't have an entire system of inquiry that's based on ignorance and superstition and expect results.

It seems to me that you have an extremely rudimentary understanding of how science works by your description and by the so called "talking points" you tried to trot out against people that you brought up. No one tried to argue with you about the credentials of anyone you brought up. You made a little straw man argument (these scientists haven't done much, or much lately) and then tried to say that the view point they espouse is wrong because of that. Aside from the fact that you're absolutely wrong about that, your argument is a non sequiter at best.

>Proof works from the ground up

I'm only going to quote this one thing, because it 's the absolute best example of what I'm talking about. None of your arguments come from a place of knowledge. You make ad hominem attacks against anyone who disagrees with you and make blanket cliched arguments against science.

Let me end this by defining faith for you:

It's a strong belief that isn't based in evidence. The minute you have evidence for something then what you have no longer constitutes faith. I don't have faith in science, I know from experience and mountains of evidence (technology, medicine, logic systems) that the scientific method works when used properly.

If you want to come here and insult people, attack science and accuse us of "having faith" in a system that is not the "only path to truth" then you need to tell us what other system we should be using, why we should be using it and what you have to support that this system works better than science. Because right now all you're doing is talking ignorantly out of your ass about something you quite clearly no little about while trying to degrade the people in this sub for not immediately believing the inane bullshit you've been spouting.

Quite simply, educate yourself, your ignorance is showing.

  • [-]
  • lodhuvicus
  • -4 Points
  • 09:02:00, 22 January

> You said absolutely nothing of worth here.

You have brought nothing new to the table that the dozen or so people who have tried to argue with me about this haven't already.

> Science does not rely on faith, it relies on testable and observable data.

These aren't mutually exclusive at all.

> Science doesn't work because people believe in it,

Using an intentionally narrow definition of "faith", I see.

> Though it's certainly hard to keep bias out of the lab

Actually, it's not just the lab that has problems. It's the entire method. Those problems, however, are found everywhere in the human experience.

> by having hypothesis tested by a multitude of people in different countries with different cultural backgrounds we can adjust pretty well for it.

Not really, the poststructuralist critiques of science on this front are pretty damning.

> Science is only contained by how how we can test different things.

And by who's testing it, and by who's observing it, and by the method itself at times etc. etc. etc.

> For example, there are entire fields that are almost purely theoretical (mostly in physics), the only proofs they have are the mathematical kind.

Oh my! You're on a roll with the false assertions today! Those are theoretical proofs, meaning that they fall short for the same reasons that the geometric method does.

> Thinking that science is the only good way to test the universe is not in the least naive.

Yeah, fuck math! Who needs that shit? Amirite? That's what calculators are for anyway! Philosophy? What's that, lol? Sounds pretty gay if you ask me. Art? That can't examine the universe at all! What are you talking about? Theology? Psh, asking "why" questions that aren't causal is for people who are literally retarded. Only mental midgets would ask questions relating to value, worth, and purpose.

> It's literally the only acceptable answer because it's the only one that can back up it's claims.

I needed a good laugh. Thanks! Science doesn't back up its claims any more or less than geometry, calculus, (most) philosophy, etc. The big thing that's different about science is that after the theoretical part, it asks the question "is this how it works in nature?" It cannot provide proof that this is the case, only a suggestion that fits the data. This is, in part, what I mean by "faith". Another aspect to this "faith" is the fact that, unlike geometry or certain philosophies, (and this is both science's greatest strength and weakness) it does not start from first principles (Deleuze called this a "metaphysics of science", if I'm not mistaken). It examines cause and effect backwards, and this is both a strength and a weakness. However, this is the reason why most journals forbid the use of the word "proof". Science also cannot escape human structures, and so on. The list is pretty long, but not especially damning aside from the fact that it fundamentally calls into question the etymological appropriateness of the word "science".

The list is pretty long, but not especially damning aside from the fact that it fundamentally calls into question the etymological appropriateness of the word "science".

> Religions never provide proof of miracles or the supernatural because those things don't exist.

That is a classic example of the sort of argument Dawkins makes: generalization to the point where he's lying.

> You made a little straw man argument (these scientists haven't done much, or much lately) and then tried to say that the view point they espouse is wrong because of that.

It's not a straw man by any means. I've already picked apart Harris' and Dawkins' books elsewhere, and I didn't feel like typing out a 30K+ character series of posts. I wasn't arguing that they are "wrong" because of this (they're wrong for other reasons), just that Harris and Dawkins are hacks riding off of the coattails of people who actually did things to popularize science. All those two do are sell books, bitch on twitter, and "debate" fundamentalist Christians.

> Aside from the fact that you're absolutely wrong about that, your argument is a non sequiter [sic] at best.

I'd suggest reading much, much more slowly in the future if I were you: at no point did I assert that their point of view was wrong because of that. I was going further with the poster's mention that Sagan did the most, yet "learned" the least. In contrast to that, I pointed out that we now have well-educated men in the public sphere who do next to nothing for twenty year periods of time, or even entire lifetimes!

> I'm only going to quote this one thing, because it 's the absolute best example of what I'm talking about.

Science cannot prove, which is why the word is effectively banned from most journals. It can disprove, but only when it has experience to do the dirty work for it.

> None of your arguments come from a place of knowledge.

Stating this won't make it true.

> You make ad hominem attacks against anyone who disagrees with you

No, just the ones who come at me with the "us against them; if you're not with us you're against us" mentality that is the norm on atheism subreddits.

> It's a strong belief that isn't based in evidence.

You're using one sense of the word and pretending that it's the only one. In one sense yes, it isn't based in evidence. In others, it simply means "strong amount of trust". IIRC, the Koine Greek word the KJV translates as "faith" is actually closer to "trust".

Science is not infallible, and just like philosophy it paints a constantly shifting line in the sand as to what "truth" is. That sounds a lot like "strong belief" to me. Best case scenario: what science "shows" us is right opinion (not knowledge, despite what the etymology of "science" suggests). Worse case scenario: accepted theories go out the window because of reasons similar to why Ptolemy's system was pretty accurate at predicting most things for a long time, or how the epicyclical and eccentric orbits look the same from Earth.

> accuse us of "having faith" in a system that is not the "only path to truth" then you need to tell us what other system we should be using

This is exactly the sort of narrow-mindedness I'm calling you out on: it's not a "one or the other" scenario, there are many different methods for interrogating nature, be it philosophy, geometry, literary theory, or what have you. You think I'm telling you to find another system. I'm not. I'm telling you that your system cannot examine itself, nor can it escape the structures in which it exists, nor can it make the jump that geometric proofs cannot: "this is how it is in nature" (but for different reasons).

> Quite simply, educate yourself, your ignorance is showing.

You haven't read, watched, or listened to a single thing about the philosophy of science, have you? I've had this argument about a dozen times on reddit and you're bringing nothing new to the table, just the same old dogmatic views towards science that amount to nothing more than faith. The "New Atheism" movement has done nothing in its followers but replace one god with another.

  • [-]
  • Springheeljac
  • 1 Points
  • 18:37:06, 22 January

This is the most ignorant bunch of bullshit I've ever seen. A lot of people see math as the purest form of science. And as for philosophy, it was stripped of it's essential parts to create science in the first place. Asking dumb and baseless questions so you can intellectually masturbate is not even in the league with science. Note I already mentioned logic systems, where do you think those came from. Post structuralism, lol.

  • [-]
  • lodhuvicus
  • 1 Points
  • 19:51:40, 22 January

> This is the most ignorant bunch of bullshit I've ever seen.

"I have no intelligent response so here's a dismissal instead."

> A lot of people see math as the purest form of science.

"Therefore this is true because a few people think this. This is an 'actual argument', btw."

> as for philosophy, it was stripped of it's essential parts to create science in the first place.

This is the most ignorant reading of the history of science I have ever seen. The scientific method was created to get past the shortcomings of the geometric method which was popular at that time. Science has its own limitations as a result, which the geometric method does not have. However, science is more suited to make the claim that "this is how it is in nature", which was the main problem with using the geometric method for investigating nature.

> Post structuralism, lol.

Another actual argument from springheeljac.

  • [-]
  • Springheeljac
  • 1 Points
  • 20:22:35, 22 January

Last reply, I'm not arguing with an ignorant ass who has been nothing but trifling and arrogant. You're an idiot, stop acting like you're intelligent, it's very clear you aren't. I know your kind, the fact that you think post structuralism is an argument that validates alternative forms of studying the universe is laughable. Understanding and attempting to move past the constraints of bias is worth pursuing. Acting like theology is as valid science is an exercise in stupidity. Have a good life, I don't have the heart for arguments with people like you anymore.

  • [-]
  • religionisaparasite
  • 7 Points
  • 01:21:21, 22 January

What do you have faith in that you consider a worthwhile belief?

  • [-]
  • lodhuvicus
  • -9 Points
  • 01:32:36, 22 January

Science, for one.

  • [-]
  • religionisaparasite
  • 10 Points
  • 02:09:54, 22 January

Science is based on evidence, not faith.

  • [-]
  • lodhuvicus
  • -4 Points
  • 11:02:33, 22 January

It's based on both, actually. I'd say it's pretty well-placed faith, though, and even moreso when it's used with other methods, such as philosophy or even literature and art.

  • [-]
  • AnOnlineHandle
  • 4 Points
  • 13:57:25, 22 January

You are jumping between definitions of faith, conflating 'trust' with 'surety in the face of no evidence', it's called an equivocation fallacy.

Like saying:

This crow's feather is 'light'. This bright stadium floodlight is 'light'.

Therefore, if somebody asks for something light like a feather, they should accept stadium floodlights in their place, as they are the same in that regard.

  • [-]
  • lodhuvicus
  • -1 Points
  • 19:35:17, 22 January

> conflating 'trust' with 'surety in the face of no evidence',

Actually, that's what you're conflating faith with. Your entire post is oddly applicable to yourself.

  • [-]
  • AnOnlineHandle
  • 1 Points
  • 19:51:39, 22 January

Uh, what?

I know what faith is, I was a christian for many years, and am aware of the etymology behind it due to having had similar conversations before.

You can see the trust vs belief evolution here: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=faith

And you can see the religious and irreligious definitions of faith here: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/faith

  • [-]
  • lodhuvicus
  • -1 Points
  • 20:16:16, 22 January

> I know what faith is, I was a christian for many years

No you don't, you gave one sense of the word and then conflated that as being the only meaning.

> You can see the trust vs belief evolution here: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=faith

Nice etymological fallacy there, kid! Things have changed a bit since the 13th and 14th centuries! Try using the OED next time, you won't run into that problem. Besides, etymonline uses the OED as a source in the first place.

> http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/faith

reference.com is one of the worst dictionaries out there, and I've run into several different kinds of problems when using it before. The OED is a real dictionary with all of the relevant information that reference.com always leaves out.

Here's what the OED (a real dictionary, not your ghetto reference.com crap) says:

  1. "Belief, trust, confidence."
  2. "Phrases. to give faith : to yield belief to. to pin one's faith to or upon : to believe implicitly." (irrelevant idioms)
  3. "Theol. in various specific applications."
  4. "That which is or should be believed." (as in, "the Christian faith")

And the rest are obsolete or wholly irrelevant.

You're using 3 on the basis that science relies on experience, and I'm using 1 for epistemological and "existential"/"phenomenological" (as in, the self-other gap they were concerned with) reasons that experience can never overcome. I can use 1 and make the claim that "science relies on faith" without needing to concern myself with 3. However, your saying that "science does not rely on faith" means that it meets none of the definitions of the word. I've been trying to drill this into your head the entire time.

  • [-]
  • religionisaparasite
  • 2 Points
  • 21:00:08, 22 January

You're clearly arguing semantics at this point to defend your argument. Equating the "faith" (as you put it) in science with the faith in religion is a fallacy; they're completely different. From your own definition of faith, you're arguing 1 is the same as 4, when 1 so vague and open to interpretation as to be meaningless in the context of this argument.

Science takes physical reproducible evidence, and builds logical arguments from it. There is certainly doubt in most of science. There's no faith involved in me saying "I accept this theory to be the best explanation of nature based on the evidence we have, but if new contradicting evidence is found I will adapt my theory". If you want to call that faith, fine, but I wouldn't.

You also might want to adapt your style of debate a bit if you want to get your point across better. I've seen a lot name calling, hostile language, condescension, arguments from authority, etc from you in this thread. You're guilt of the very thing you accused people of Dawkins like. The one thing we agree on is that hostile arrogance doesn't convince the opposing side of the validity of your argument.

  • [-]
  • AnOnlineHandle
  • 1 Points
  • 21:43:24, 22 January

> No you don't, you gave one sense of the word and then conflated that as being the only meaning

What... the fuck...? No, I specifically pointed out that there were multiple meanings, that was the entire point trying to be gotten through your thick skull.

> Nice etymological fallacy there, kid! Things have changed a bit since the 13th and 14th centuries! Try using the OED next time, you won't run into that problem. Besides, etymonline uses the OED as a source in the first place.

Jesus mother of mercy. No. I was pointing out the evolutionary pathways of the words, and the two separate definitions still exist. Even in the vague and rather unspecific definitions given in the OED, the definition which I was referring to is still there, in #4, whereas #1 is what one would give to an engineer/driver/doctor/scientist/etc.

Your reading comprehension is rubbish, your arrogance is appalling, and your frothing is unhelpful. Here's a hint, kid, don't call people 'kid' when they give you facts which you don't like.

  • [-]
  • Negro_Napoleon
  • 4 Points
  • 02:06:53, 22 January

Which is funny since of the group Sagan was the most uneducated on paper of that list.

  • [-]
  • lodhuvicus
  • -7 Points
  • 05:04:55, 22 January

Yet Sagan is the only one who's really made a dent in the sciences: Harris is a joke in his own field, Tyson's written just over a dozen papers over about three times that many years, and Dawkins had his one or two ideas and then sat on his tenure the entire time (fun fact: he hasn't published anything of value since 1994, and the last thing he published was in like 2003: he came out of the woodwork to defend major criticisms against his theories). Sagan? He published over 600 papers among countless other projects and probably never took a day off in his fucking life.

tl;dr: Harris barely qualifies as a scientist, Dawkins has been sitting on his ass for the past 20 years (during an age that many find to be their most productive), and Tyson hasn't really done much.

  • [-]
  • Meta_Bot
  • 1 Points
  • 22:25:21, 22 January

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