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Can Science and Religion Co-Exist Peacefully?
#1
This podcast is a fun, informal debate between Larry Wilmore... a talk show host (The Colbert Report, The Nightly Show) who is a Christian... and Neil deGrasse Tyson, an Astrophysicist who believes in (a) God but prefers to remain 'unaffiliated' in terms of defining his beliefs.

I don't know how to link the specific podcast, but it's near the top.  Episode 25, the conversation starts at 8:25, I believe.  Tyson takes the critical side while Wilmore takes the affirmative side.  It ends at 24:15

Yes, this is what I do for fun when I'm not writing...  8 D

https://art19.com/shows/larry-wilmore
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#2
It's lots of fun, no?! I tend to spend my time reading books on logic and philosophy. It was a very interesting podcast, I will say. However, it never really answered the question posed. If anything, it sort of implied that it wasn't possible, because atheists jump to hasty conclusions.

That being said, Tyson did bring up a couple of things that I've actively studied, in University. First off, he explained the Problem of Evil. It is the philosophical argument that God cannot exist in His "All Good; All Knowing; All Powerful" state. The podcast summed up the general argument, but never really addressed the critique of said argument. (Of course, this could be due to time constraints)

For those that didn't listen:
The Problem of Evil is this. With the existence of evil as the pretext...
If God is all-knowing and all-good, then he mustn't be all-powerful, because he would want to stop evil but can't.
If God is all-good and all-powerful, then he mustn't be all-knowing, because he would and could stop evil but doesn't know about it.
If God is all-powerful and all-knowing, then he mustn't be all-good, because he knows about evil and could stop it but chooses not to.
The conclusion ends up being that the Christian God cannot exist, in its current incarnation.

This argument makes certain faulty assumptions. The first being that it assumes that the concepts of all-good, all-knowing, and all-powerful are as we understand them to be. They are anthropocentric, meaning they are done in the image of humanity and not a divine being. You cannot hold a divine being to the same standards as mortal humans. The standards don't mesh. This is because humans have 2 things on the mind: survival and reproduction. We have a fairly short life-span, whereas God's is eternal. Everything we tend to try to understand is constrained by that very distinction.
The second assumption is that "Evil" exists in two forms, and God should stop both. The first incarnation of evil is that borne out of free will. Individuals have the option to perform acts of "good" or "evil", relative to how humanity views the content of their acts. This is done according to current societal values and not based on objective logic. Thus, the concept of what evil is can be extremely unreliable, depending on the conditioning of a society/civilization. The second form of evil is that of "Unnecessary Evil". In the podcast, this was described as an "Act of God". Usually weather phenomenons or earthquakes, volcanoes, etc. This is made potent by the suffering of those who are considered "innocents".
Unabated suffering is the main critique in the Problem of Evil.

Up until this point, evil has always had intent behind it. An agent can commit to an "evil" act. Here, we are implicating God's being not "all-good", by saying that he could stop and knows that unnecessary evil exists, yet he does nothing to ease or prevent the suffering of others. This is an act of omission. The part that implicates God is essentially holding him to the same standards as medical practitioners who choose not to perform life-saving first aid. Essentially, you can be charged due to an obligation you have to perform first aid, as a practitioner who has been trained and expected to perform in emergencies. God is being held to that standard.
The problem with this is that we are forcing the scenario to be viewed by our limited perspective. There could be a greater good to come out of the circumstance, which we cannot see. Furthermore, unnecessary evil also assumes that a malicious being started the act of evil that God chooses to ignore. The entire argument is contingent on evil existing according to our limited perspective. That is why it was, originally, a very powerful argument against God. (Just as the ontological argument was potent for the existence of God) On both counts, modern philosophers don't hold the logic as accurate or convincing.

That the general scientific community still appeals to that reasoning is quite disconcerting, to be honest...
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#3
The short answer is no. Logic is extremely offended when it comes to faith and belief.
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#4
There is so much wrong with that statement, I don't know where to start. How about: Logic isn't a conscious being that can be offended.
Besides the snarkiness, there is still more. Science is offended with faith and belief. Science ‡ logic. Logic is a process through which faith and belief can become emboldened. There has long been a debate between which faith is better: Blind faith or faith with reason.

Blind faith is what takes offense, figuratively -a page out of your book-. The idea is that logic and reason isn't what ought to drive faith, merely belief and trust in your God. Faith with reason is what has been argued to be much more meaningful. As religions tend to be linked to a moral system, morality is more then just a set of principles. It is also the correct application of those principles. The only way to be able to fully understand how to live a moral life, and live faithfully to your beliefs, is through logic.

Therefore, logic is integral to faith and belief. Without it, you get a weak set of people easily manipulated.
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#5
I have much to say on this matter but unfortunately do not have the time. But I will throw this out there... 'Logic' is not offended by religion. And individual person's sense of logic might be offended, but there are plenty of rational arguments for faith. Here's one from hundreds of years ago.

Pascal's Wager (paraphrased... I'm not gonna bother to look it up.)

God is (supposedly) not of this Earth. Therefore, a religious person cannot prove his existence. Neither can an atheist prove his lack of existence. Therefore, whether we believe in God not, we're taking that belief on feith

There are 4 options you can choose to believe and 4 possible outcomes:
A You believe in God - If God exists, you go to Heaven
B You believe in God - If God doesn't exist, you simply die
C You don't believe in God - If God doesn't exist, you simply die
D You don't believe in God - If God does exist, you go to Hell

Pascal argued that the only logical choice was to believe in God, because you have nothing to lose and much to gain. It's illogical to not believe in God because you have nothing to gain but everything to lose.

Personally, I disagree with the 'going to hell for not believing in God' part, but the point is... there are logical arguments to be made for the belief in a deity of some sort 8 )
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#6
I like Pascal. I think he makes some good points about a lot of things. However, his wager doesn't fully grasp the nature of spirituality/religion. Essentially, it is assuming that you can "fool" a divine being into letting you into heaven, by saying "I believe in you". God is still capable of knowledge and keeping heaven from you, even if you believe. It's a matter of genuine faith. Unless of course, it isn't a matter of believing in Him at all. Maybe it's a matter of living life according to his moral principles and being a good person. That way, regardless of your beliefs, you end up in heaven anyways.

The problem with Pascal's Wager is that it refuses to address the idea that a person might not want to have faith in a God, whose principles they don't agree with. In that sense, logic can be the undoing of an individual who refuses to accept god on principle.
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#7
There is a difference between not wanting to believe in a God whose values you disagree with and not believing in God.  In the former, you repudiate an existing God, in the other, He doesn't exist.  There is also a difference between agreeing with God’s principles and believing in those of the Church.  You know who understood that difference?  Jesus Christ.  He came to Earth, in large part, to clarify the word of God, which was being misinterpreted by the religious leaders of the time.


Anyways, there are plenty of logical reasons to choose to be a religious person.  Faith can give someone comfort in trying times.  Maybe you (generalized) don’t have a strong social support system through family or friends.  You can get that through religion.  Maybe you want to be part of a larger community.  Maybe yr life has gone to trash and you just need to believe in something.  There’s this cool movie that came out when I was a teenager… Unstrung Heroes.  It’s about a Jewish Atheist who is unhappy with his home life and moves in with his two uncles.  They’re kinda weird. 

But anyways, in one telling scene about how he doesn’t want his son raised to believe in god, he argues that ‘Religion is a crutch.’  His uncle’s response?  ‘A crutch isn’t a bad thing for someone who needs one.’

Organized religion can be a way to give back to the community.  I used to work with a bartender who, every year, convinced our boss to allow her to put up donation boxes for a holiday food drive and a back-to-school backpack drive.  In my area, all the ‘soup kitchens’ are set up by local churches.  Many of the churches in the area have ‘Spaghetti Thursdays’ or ‘Pancake Sundays’ so people can rely on a good meal at least one day of the week.  It likely adds up to several if you go to them all, because anyone is allowed in, no questions asked, no pressure given.  And yes, there are ways to volunteer outside of the church… but maybe you want to be there at the base, not simply a volunteer.

None of this is claiming you can only get these things through organized religion.  AA can give you support and a sense of community.  So can Mensa or any other number of secular organizations.  But for some people, religion is the clear, logical choice.

So… um, I guess I’m saying that religion and logic can peacefully co-exist  8 )

Back to Pascal.  Times were different back then.  ‘Individuality’ was not as big a thing as it is today.  He probably never even considered the idea of someone basing their beliefs on agreeing with a religion’s principles.  This was, what?  The 16th or 17th century?  If you went to church and said yr prayers, you were Christian.  Even now, there are some denominations that insist that God doesn’t so much look at what’s in yr heart or even yr actions as they do claiming the title of ‘Christian.’  Mahatma Gandhi?  No Heaven for you.  Marie Curie?  Sorry, no room.  You should have read up on Pascal’s Wager.  Norman Borlaug?  Straddling the fence is no excuse.  Get out.

But again, the principles taught by organized religion, of any sort, are not necessarily the principles of their God.
Finally… can science and religion peacefully co-exist?  Of course they can.  Putting aside the vast majority of people, who believe in both in fact based science and faith based religion, all we have to do is respect each other.  No calling Atheists ‘heathens,’ no mocking people who believe in a ‘magical sky daddy.’  Just respect each other.

Oh, one last thing… that guy who came up with the ‘Big Bang Theory?’ 

He was a Christian  8 )
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#8
There a lot that I agree with you on. There are plenty of logical reasons why people turn to religion and belief in God. I just pointed out that anything short of genuine belief/faith would get you sent off to hell, by that period's standards. However, there are stricter times that saw more radical types of philosophers, who's pieces had still been accepted as major religious works. Aquinas had been revered as such. However, if you read a lot of his argumentation, it didn't follow proper doctrine at all.

Whenever I see the question "Can science and religion co-exist peacefully?", I tend to read it not as "can they respect each other?", but as "Can they stick to what they do best?".

What I mean by that is: Science has it's own sphere of operation. Religion has it's own sphere of operation. Truthfully, neither sphere overlaps in any way. Literally, in no way do they cross paths. One deals with claims of a physical universe. The other deals with matters of the soul and morality. Science cannot discuss morality, because it is within the realm of intent. Religion cannot discuss topics in the science sphere, because it doesn't deal with evidence.

It is possible for a scientist to be religious, and vice versa. Can they exist within their own spheres and leave each other alone? Of course! Will they? ...meh...
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#9
(01-17-2018, 01:47 AM)KaelisRa Wrote: There is so much wrong with that statement, I don't know where to start. How about: Logic isn't a conscious being that can be offended.
Besides the snarkiness, there is still more. Science is offended with faith and belief. Science ‡ logic. Logic is a process through which faith and belief can become emboldened. There has long been a debate between which faith is better: Blind faith or faith with reason.

Blind faith is what takes offense, figuratively -a page out of your book-. The idea is that logic and reason isn't what ought to drive faith, merely belief and trust in your God. Faith with reason is what has been argued to be much more meaningful. As religions tend to be linked to a moral system, morality is more then just a set of principles. It is also the correct application of those principles. The only way to be able to fully understand how to live a moral life, and live faithfully to your beliefs, is through logic.

Therefore, logic is integral to faith and belief. Without it, you get a weak set of people easily manipulated.

You play semantics well.
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#10
I have a master's in philosophy, which is why I don't have a job worth a damn, but I can roll with the best of 'em. ;P
That being said, this isn't about semantics. There is a clear distinction between science and logic. Science being a discipline and a method. Logic being a process. A utility, even. Logic can be used in science, but science isn't necessarily logic.
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