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1 Steve Dutch  Wed, Feb 16, 2011 4:05:03pm

When I was younger and told people I didn't drink, they'd ask if it was a religious thing. When I said no, I just didn't like alcohol, then I'd get the hard sell about learning to like it, etc. (I've now educated my palate to the point where I can tell wine from anti-freeze, though clear anti-freeze and white wines still give me trouble). See, if it was a religious thing, they could pat me condescendingly on the head and write me off as a nut case, but someone who honestly didn't like alcohol and was content not to drink challenged their assumptions uncomfortably.

Similarly, lots of nonbelievers can be very tolerant of religion, smile amiably and pat believers condescendingly on the heads, until someone challenges the unspoken assumption that nonbelief is the inherently superior viewpoint. Then the veneer of civility can fall off. The article quoted above is very even handed, as befits its source. On the other hand, P.Z. Myers over at Pharyngula practically froths at the mouth at the name Templeton Foundation. Something from the Vatican, or Discovery Institute, well, what ya gonna do? But when you have a well funded endowment giving money to mostly moderate theologians and - horrors - scientists, well, that shakes the tree. Is it possible that those people aren't nuts?

Standard Scientific Method:
Hypothesis: Religion is inherently unscientific.
Empirical test: There should be no religious scientists capable of giving informed arguments in favor of belief.
Observation: There are religious scientists capable of giving informed arguments in favor of belief.
Conclusion: Hypothesis is invalidated. (Not the equivalent of saying religion is vindicated, merely that dismissing it as unscientific is unjustified).

Modified Scientific Method:
Hypothesis: Religion is inherently unscientific.
Empirical test: There should be no religious scientists capable of giving informed arguments in favor of belief.
Observation: There are religious scientists capable of giving informed arguments in favor of belief.
Conclusion: They're either rationalizing internalized indoctrination or have been venally bought by the Templeton Foundation. Hypothesis is validated.

2 freetoken  Wed, Feb 16, 2011 4:34:24pm

re: #1 SteveDutch

Well, you've mischaracterized the scientific method.

Beyond that, you've missed the point - the Templeton Foundation funding has had negative consequences. That's why I bold-faced the part about their involvement in funding some of the IDers.

I mentioned Bloggingheads explicitly because a couple of the very best science bloggers/writers flounced from that site - after Blogginheads repeatedly aired uncritically some pro-creationism/ID content.

The ability to distinguish valid scientific constructs - hypotheses and theories - from pseudo-science is what separates the real scientist (whether professional, student or amateur) from the quack.

My point is simply this - the issue isn't whether one can both be religious (or hold religious ideas) and a scientist, but rather that misdirected intentions funded by large amounts of cash will color our society's ability to differentiate science from religion.

3 Irenicum  Wed, Feb 16, 2011 8:43:27pm

I find the hyperventilating fear from the fundamentalist atheist crowd concerning the Templeton Foundation and especially Biologos almost as funny as the same reaction from the YEC and anti-evolution crowd. They're mirror images of each other and desperately need each other to maintain their reason for being. Having Christians (or other theists) and scientists actually getting along and in fruitful dialogue scares them both to no end.

In other words: "Death to the infidel!" (anyone who disagrees with me and my little circle)


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