To be fair, Science also involves re-structuring previous beliefs when new information is found... not just throwing them in the trash bin. For example, Newtonian physics was not thrown in the trash bin when relativity came along... rather we recognized that it was true within a certain context (that being for objects traveling very much less than the speed of light.) Relativity was a deeper understanding once we reach limits that had previously been undiscovered. I am in no way saying that religion and science are the same, but rather than human knowledge in any field can and should evolve with time. Where religion becomes frustrating is where new knowledge fails to make an impression and people stubbornly hold onto their old views (sexism, homophobia, Evolution, etc). THAT is the failing of religion, not viewing old ideas in a new light.
Science doesn't make 'truth' claims in the sense of "X is the universal truth" or "This is the divine commandment" - rather it often offers best possible explanations. Science has to be open to change since it's a human endeavor, not divine commandment.
Your parallel doesn't quite work here. Yes Newtonian physics was shown to be approximations when relativity came along (based on empirical evidence, i.e.). It's not even remotely similar to verses of extreme homophobia/sexism or those of blatant scientific errors suddenly taking a U turn (based on nothing, or at best arbitrary interpretations). I know you said "religion and science are not the same" etc. but still that is quite flawed a comparison. Whether this is for the better is a whole different question, of course, that's not what we are talking of here.
Yes, you are correct that science never (or shouldn't) make absolute claims. At best, it can claim that "no evidence has yet been found to the contrary." This is certainly a significant difference between religion and science in that regard (although many people treat their religion as a belief, not an absolute truth and that shouldn't be ignored). However, I still don't see scriptural interpretation U-turns as so very different from scientific revolutions. I think this is because I disagree with you when you say that they are based on nothing or arbitrary interpretations.
Scientific changes are rooted in new experiments/data and religious changes are often rooted in developing science and a vast wealth of new information available to our culture. Consider sexism, for example: for thousands of years, many prominent cultures have considered women to be an inferior form of life to a man. The well-known truths were that women are dumb, weak, needing protection, and suited only for raising children (sometimes not even that). Once the culture developed and both science and experience taught us otherwise, people had to re-evaluate their beliefs. That verse doesn't make sense anymore? Well, either the whole book is crap (a valid option) or it was written within a certain context that isn't valid anymore. This revolution is certainly not built on nothing. Now, some might say that rejecting the whole book as crap is the better choice, but that doesn't mean that keeping parts of it isn't a valid option. Thus my parallel with science.
If you still disagree, I can understand. Different people treat their religious experiences so differently that it is hard to box them all together. I might just be seeing a different facet of things than you. In a lot of ways, I think that religion IS a human endeavor, which I guess makes me a heretic to a lot of other religious folk. I see it as a human endeavor to understand something supernatural. It requires trial and error, and I am certain I'll never arrive at the Truth. That's okay... it's exciting. So is the exploration of science. Anyway, sorry for rambling on, but I just wanted to share a different view of things and I'm interested to hear your opinion.
Religion is too ambiguous to "falsify". What if it's a metaphor? What if it's just a story? What if they were being sarcastic? You don't know, because they never go straight to the point --with good reasons. Science, on the other hand, is very concise and clear. There is no "what if" and it's not possible to interpret it in more than one way. So obviously, when something's proven wrong, it'll be thrown in the trash pile. Religion, on the other hand, is like literature. Think: although "Frankenstein" never happened, it is still a popular book. Why? Because it's a metaphor and a warning. Religion is truth, but not in the way you'd understand it.
There are a few things about that statement I would like to address:
Firstly, Hitler was not a scientist. He was a madman, and science cannot be held responsible for politically warped versions of what it was meant to be. As it happens, science doesn't suggest models of society or dictate morals- it simply finds out what is true. Hitler did adapt a variant of evolution, but it was refitted to suit his ideological views, and this retarded German science badly.
Secondly, the scientific theory of evolution is ONE field of science. To say that science wants the strong to rule and the weak to die is a gross generalization even if we assume that's the core of Darwinism. Which is isn't.
Thirdly, everything in the society of today rests on scientific discovery. Everything. From electricity to power plants to television to the internet to the computer you're using to type your misinformed attacks on it. Science was what raised the averae lifespan from forty to seventy in just a century or so. Science has given us everything. Do not dismiss it so casually.
Moral values are there whether one believes in god or not.
First of all you're misunderstanding me. I'm not dismissing science by any stretch. Say what you want about my opinions but at least show the common sense perception of me as being a logically thinking reasonable human. What I'm saying is that science without proper moral values just makes for highly efficient monsters. You admitted just now, science does not dictate morals. Moral values, and this is true for the theist and atheist alike, are A) voluntarily imbibed or B) subconsciously internalized via osmosis through a society established by "A". In the case of Western European and American society there's absolutely no argument to be made against the fact that "A" was primarily animated by Judeo-Christian values.
You did say "Science has no moral message, outside of destroying the weak." What am I to infer from that, then? It didn't exactly sound like you were appreciative of science.
Science is morally neutral until it is applied. And yes, science does not dictate morality. It can explain its roots, but it is not a philosophy or school of thought in that sense.
What moral values? The ones to burn heretics and censor scholars whose discoveries disagreed with religious teaching? Religion has only held morality back. It gives motivation and justification for the most horrid of acts. Morality is in no way derived from religion. It predates it, because its foundations were laid before the homo sapiens was walking upright. Christianity can take no credit for the progressive values of today- those are the result of the enlightenment, humanism and profound moral reasoning, not looking to some ancient tome for morals inscribed by bronze age shepherds ignorant of how the world actually worked.
Not for our basic moral values, no. Our basic morality is older than christianity. I am not denying that christianity has had a huge impact on western philosophy and moral thinking, but christianity can not take credit for the tolerance ands equality values of today. Those represent phiolsophical and humanist progress, something christianity has failed to bring us.
It's not subjective - even if Hitler "interpreted" science like that, that's because he's a git - it has nothing to do with science. Science doesn't deal with morality, neither does it tell you what "ought" to be. It merely offers explanations for observable facts, in simple terms.
As for evolution - if anything, we know that we all descended from a common ancestor - and human race emerged from Africa. Those are facts.
Ok? Now you're agreeing with me? Science doesn't deal with morality, that's more or less exactly what I said. Moral values, the kind that have stemmed from the Bible, are just as necessary for advancing humanity as science is, or are you going to find some way to argue that too? If so, please do so without the unnecessary insults.
Morality doesn't stem from the Bible, that's true, but moral values have. Understand I'm not saying that it's the only place moral values can come from, but throughout western history it's been the primary source. We would have moral values without religion, but you have no reason to believe that would be as prevalent and influential.
No I'm not. You said "Science has no moral message, outside of destroying the weak." - which implied that Science somehow condones "destroying the weak".
"Moral values, the kind that have stemmed from the Bible" Umm no. I don't need 'moral values' stemming from Bible - which would be homophobia, sexism, and various other types of bigotry. I'm a humanist who is capable of rational thinking and reason, and I don't need any bronze age dogma to base my morality on.
Uh huh. Ya see it's really hard to have a conversation with somebody who is so defensive and easily confused. I made it clear, moral values, the KIND that have stemmed from the Bible, try and understand I didn't say the Bible is the ONLY PLACE moral values can stem from. My point is to emphasize the importance of MORAL VALUES, not specifically BIBLICAL VALUES, get it? Where in the 10 Commandments is there homophobia, sexism, and bigotry? If you REALLY want to go there, you could argue that science is full of homophobia (gays can't reproduce and are eliminated), sexism (women are physically weaker), and bigotry (unrelated genes are to be disregarded). But whatever, I'm arguing irrefutable facts on the basis of logic, and you're arguing from an ideological standpoint defending your adherence to secular humanism, so I'm spinning my wheels just explaining this.
Defensive and confused? Your reply is so full of fails, I don't even know where to even begin.
"moral values, the KIND that have stemmed from the Bible" Moral values stemmed from that have Bible? Says who?
"Where in the 10 Commandments is there homophobia, sexism, and bigotry? " Oh 10 commandments == Bible? I'm sorry, I didn't realize that, I thought there was more to it. Perhaps I was wrong?
"you could argue that science is full of homophobia (gays can't reproduce and are eliminated)" More stupidity. a. Gays not reproducing has got to do what with science exactly? And who says they're 'eliminated'? Homosexuality is found throughout various species, just because they can't reproduce, doesn't mean they are "eliminated". Get your fact straight.
"sexism (women are physically weaker)" That's the gross generalization you make - Science doesn't say that (i.e. all women are weaker than men - might be on average, but there ae various reasons other than innate differences). And EVEN IF that were true (it isn't), science again EXPLAINS facts, i.e. it's factual and demonstrable, supported by empirical evidence.
"unrelated genes are to be disregarded" "Unrelated genes"? Goodness, what the heck are "unrelated genes"?
"I'm arguing irrefutable facts on the basis of logic" LMAO - BTW no 'facts' are 'irrefutable' - if you think so, you're being dogmatic.
I can use the scientific method to discern which morals are superior to others. Whatever maximizes human happiness is clearly on the moral high ground, while a choice which maximizes human suffering is obviously the inferior choice. Your post also stumbles into irrelevance.
You can't use scientific method to directly decide what's moral and what's not - however Science does help in shaping up our understanding of natural world, which in turn helps us in shaping our moral outlook.
Why does it have to not be hypothetical? I do just that everyday, decide on whether or not something is moral by considering the outcome, if it maximizes human suffering or human happiness. It's all about empathy, really. Every endeavor really comes down to logic, reasoning and science. I don't get my morals dictated to me, I decide on them.
Science can't disprove religion and religion can't disprove science. Like science can't disprove that God is real and can't say that atoms don't exist. Why is this true? Science is a better understanding of the physical realm. Religion is an understanding of the ideal realm.
Wow, so much wrong with that statement there. Science CAN disprove religious claims (as it has been doing for centuries now), however when science falsifies religious claims, the above happens. All claims of a personal god is by definition a scientific claim. Science can't falsify the notion of a deistic god who doesn't interact with the world, however.