Sunday, March 22, 2009

America and the Prince Charles Syndrome

A couple of posts to the rear, we saw how American "true believers" are much more likely than skeptics to seek aggressive (some would argue "excessive") medical treatments when faced with likely death. If you think you are going to paradise and that it is the most wonderful thing possible, then why not allow nature to take its course? At the very least, it's a bit unseemly that one would go into manic overdrive in an effort to stick around for a few more breaths of the polluted air that they did nothing about while healthy.

But Philly made an interesting point (as he is known to do) that kind of caught my attention. He said, "How amusing that believing your god will save you means putting more faith in science by opting for aggressive treatments." Indeed. Funny how the religious pick and choose with science (inevitably "choosing" science, when their own mortal life is on the line) rather than simply accepting that science provides that best explanations we have - of everything. There isn't a single time when a factual matter is better explained by some holy scriptures written by people who were closer to being cave dwellers than to being modern Homo sapiens.

Then I happened across this article which talks about Prince Charles' penchant for accepting science - whenever it agrees with his prejudices. He's a crusader in the battle against climate change, so he quotes the wide scientific consensus there. Then he turns his back on it when it comes to homeopathy, since he's been known to promote all manner of weird remedies.

Schizo-religious Americans do the same thing. They virtually fall on their knees in worship of modern medicines and medical technology when on their death beds. But the biological knowledge that underwrites medical advances is founded on the principles of evolution via natural selection. But if they don't happen to be flat-lining when you ask them about it, they'll swear that evolution is a fraud.

They will swear up and down that the moral fabric of America is being shredded by the fact that we allow women to choose whether or not to carry a fetus all the way to birth. They are adamant that terminating a zygote is exactly equivalent to murder. At least until they are in desperate need of medical help in conceiving a child. Then they turn a blind eye to the fact that every time a pregnancy occurs through assisted reproductive technology laboratories, up to 20 fertilized eggs end up being destroyed. At the rates that young Christian couples seek such treatments, it's a fair guess that they end up "murdering" more fetuses annually than all abortions combined!

Ah, the hypocrisy. Wouldn't it strengthen everyone's intellectual honesty if we just dropped the religious ignorance and accepted science in its totality?

21 comments:

the chaplain said...

Wouldn't it strengthen everyone's intellectual honesty if we just dropped the religious ignorance and accepted science in its totality?

Of course it would. But, what would we do with all those preachers, priests, rabbis, shamans, religious academics and political activists, etc., who would be out of work?

John Evo said...

Actually, THEM being out of work might be good for the economy...

Gideon said...
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cl said...

Gideon,

No offense, but I'm going to be blunt here. Neither John Evo nor any other atheist with a functioning brain in their head is going to take your outdated, conflated arguments seriously.

1) Many atheists do not believe matter and energy "came from nothing" and research with the Higgs Boson is pertinent.

2) Carnot's Principle states that a closed system decreases in efficiency and always entails an irrecoverable loss of energy in the form of heat. This fact does not challenge biological or cosmological evolution.

3) No atheist I know believes that "living organisms arose from non-living matter."

4) I think most atheists would argue that people were caused by evolution.

5) You said, "Everyone knows Mount Rushmore was the result of intelligent design. Do you think the human body is the result of intelligent design?" The problem is made evident in the question.

To top it off, the entirety of your comment related absolutely zero to the original post. You can't just waltz in here and parrot Henry Morris, Lee Strobel, Hugh Ross, or Geisler and Turek to win this game; you gotta be on topic. Your comment is literally filled with strawman arguments, and although you probably sincerely think you're illuminating these atheists, you are actually screaming from the top of your lungs that you are wrong and uninformed, not correct and educated.

Again, I'm sorry if any of that seemed rude, I don't mean to offend, but I just couldn't stay quiet. Of course, never one to dish it out and not take it, you're free to stop by my blog and tell me where you think I've blown it all day long.

John Evo,

As for me, I'm no atheist, I generally love science, and generally despise hospitals. I'm definitely a "let nature take its course" type-of-guy, the type who rarely even wears a seatbelt unless my soon-to-be-wife makes me. Now, most any belief system fails when taken to its extreme, so I'm not gonna get all Jehovah's Witness about it and refuse badly needed clavicle surgery next time I get drunk and fall off my bike. The middle path of common sense is what I'm looking for here.

Anyways, I enjoyed this post and in spirit I agree with you and Philly on most of this one. Yes, in every conceivable way, shape and form, the overwhelming majority of organized religions and religious people amount to a steaming pile of hypocrisy. What else is new? They say actions speak louder than words, and we can certainly glean something from that here.

On the other hand, I'm not so sure we can conclude that since the religious in this study sought aggressive medical treatment, that they acted hypocritically. Although generalities are certain, each case is also individual. You said,

"If you think you are going to paradise and that it is the most wonderful thing possible, then why not allow nature to take its course?"

Well sure, that seems pretty straight-forward. However, isn't it possible that any of those who opted for aggressive treatment might have been motivated by their loved ones, or the idea that they have unfinished work to do in life?

In other words, that any religious person seeks aggressive treatment to "stick around" doesn't necessarily entail that said religious person is acting hypocritically.

"...science provides that best explanations we have - of everything."

That's an opinion I can't say I share.

John Evo said...

Man, it's too early to wake up to a "Gideon"! You know what I do at these moments? I sick my pit-philly on them. To me, these really "intense" cases with all the ancient arguments aren't even worth the time.

But here comes good ol' CL to do the dirty work. Thank you.

And you ARE worth the time, my friend. So, though it's early, please allow me.

As for me, I'm no atheist, I generally love science, and generally despise hospitals. I'm definitely a "let nature take its course" type-of-guy, the type who rarely even wears a seatbelt unless my soon-to-be-wife makes me. Now, most any belief system fails when taken to its extreme, so I'm not gonna get all Jehovah's Witness about it and refuse badly needed clavicle surgery next time I get drunk and fall off my bike.

That's fine. I completely understand. I even understand why lots of reasonable people get very pissed at Big Pharma. On the one hand, they are driving very important research. On the other, they are driving company profits. There can be many conflicts of interest there, and it's yet another reason why government regulation is important.

But the important thing is that you don't refuse to use a seatbelt because you have, on your dashboard, a sweet Madonna, dressed in rhinestones sittin' on a pedestal of abalone shell.

You won't refuse the surgery because you are going to get some prayer warriors together and git you a miracle.

Although generalities are certain, each case is also individual.

Of course. Anyone who reads me often (and I know you don't) would realize that I skip over making that clear every time I write, but I'm very much a believer that each of us is unique. The fact though, is that religious people not only cling desperately to life, but statistically do so at a much higher rate than non-believers. And so, when you say, "isn't it possible that any of those who opted for aggressive treatment might have been motivated by their loved ones, or the idea that they have unfinished work to do in life? I can only respond Yes, I suppose so - if it's god's will....

Finally, please don't end the conversation like that! Enlighten me with a single material fact that is better explained by religion than by science.

cl said...

"But here comes good ol' CL to do the dirty work. Thank you."

No problem. My patience for more of the same seem about as short as yours.

"Enlighten me with a single material fact that is better explained by religion than by science."

When you say "material fact" it seems the challenge is loaded in your favor to begin with. Explaining material facts is the very thrust of science.

John Evo said...

OK, you caught me loading up - sort of...

You specifically objected to "science provides that best explanations we have - of everything."

Then again, I went on to clarify in the very next sentence, "There isn't a single time when a factual matter is better explained by some holy scriptures..."

I would wonder - if it isn't a "material" fact, what kind of fact is it? An "immaterial" one? Yeah, but I have no use for those and it's always been one of the points of this blog that I think we should all agree to set those aside until/unless they can be considered from a factual viewpoint.

But I'll let you cherry pick the paragraph. What is your "something" which would refute my "everything"?

I'm guessing I know where this will go....

Vitamin R said...

At the very least, it's a bit unseemly that one would go into manic overdrive in an effort to stick around for a few more breaths of the polluted air that they did nothing about while healthy.

Hah!

They virtually fall on their knees in worship of modern medicines and medical technology when on their death beds. But the biological knowledge that underwrites medical advances is founded on the principles of evolution via natural selection. But if they don't happen to be flat-lining when you ask them about it, they'll swear that evolution is a fraud.

I think that if they don't "believe in" evolution, then they shouldn't be allowed access to or offered certain medical treatments. And by certain, I mean all of them that've come about as a direct study of human evolution.

And since evolution was fabricated by the Devil's imp, Charles Darwin, then the good Christians of the world will have nothing to do with vaccines for polio, rubella, tetanus, small, pox or even the steroid-ridden beef they cram into their faces like it's going out of style.

Like many people, Christians need to have their hypocrisies constantly shown to them, to shame them into using their reason.

cl said...

When you say "material fact" I get the impression you're talking about natural phenomena. Lightning, evolution and the transforming principle are all examples "material facts" I think science explains better than religion.

And I'm not so sure I've cherrypicked, because I'm pretty certain I disagree with your statement in its entirety. I feel there are things best explained by ~science in general, and I also feel that religious ideas have more explanatory power than science in certain areas. As always, proper scope is key.

"There isn't a single time when a factual matter is better explained by some holy scriptures..."

What's the effective difference between material fact and factual matter? Could you offer a few specific examples of things you feel science explains better than holy scriptures?

John Evo said...

What's the effective difference between material fact and factual matter?

None! That was my point. See, I included that in what I originally said about science but you cut it down to simply "science provides that best explanations we have - of everything" in your contention. Hey, no big deal.

Could you offer a few specific examples of things you feel science explains better than holy scriptures?

Absolutely I can. After all, I DID claim "everything", but is your response to my question - a question? I'm just questioning.... :)

So far, you've seemed a little skittish about answering

1. a couple of pieces of evidence for god(s) that should NOT be considered "unwarranted" (hey, I'll settle for ONE).

2. Anything you think is better explained by religion than by science.

I don't know how to help you on the 1st problem. On the second, I could give you a theistic kick-start... Consciousness? Compassion? hate? greed? eternity? LOVE?

I guess you know that if you toss up any of these softballs, I'm gonna hit 'em out of park, eh?

cl said...

"..you cut it down to simply "science provides that best explanations we have - of everything" in your contention."

But I also disagree that "there's not one thing better explained by religion than science", so no, it's not really the case that I narrowed the scope of my disagreement to the general claim.

And as I said at Philly's, we'd have to have quite the discussion about warrant and what is and is not acceptable as evidence before we can even begin to touch your 1). As for your 2), the Crusades and the Church-sanctioned denial of heliocentrism come to mind.

John Evo said...

Ah! I see. The Prince of Clarity.

You know, it's awfully difficult to have a discussion if we don't assume certain points to be given,
but you still run into a problem with your reasoning. See, I think that a science of the mind *can* explain things like the Popes declaration that AIDS is better fought through spirituality than with condoms. You are looking at the proximate problem, when you look at the Inquisition as being something best explained by religion. Think "ultimate".

John Evo said...

Anything ABOUT religion is best explained BY religion.

I don't think so.

cl said...

"You know, it's awfully difficult to have a discussion if we don't assume certain points to be given,"

Hey! That's exactly what I said when you tossed out, "Enlighten me with a single material fact that is better explained by religion than by science."

"I think that a science of the mind *can* explain things like the Popes declaration that AIDS is better fought through spirituality than with condoms."

Well whoop-dee-doo. I think a lot of things, so where do we go from here?

John Evo said...

I don't think we need to go anywhere. You've been given a couple of fairly straight-forward challenges. The fact that you repeatedly dodge around them by invoking tools of reason, is quite good enough for me. Thanks for stopping by.

cl said...

The loaded Crusades comment was a direct response to your loaded material facts comment. If you can do it, why can't I? That's all I was getting at, don't get so sensitive about it.

Then you ask for a piece of warranted evidence for God. I say we need to discuss warrant. You tell me I'm dodging with reason. What else can I do? Honestly. We both have been through far too many of these types of discussions and observed far too many of them. We know better. There's no point in me telling you this or that when I really have no idea what you mean by warranted evidence. Are you gonna pull a Philly and change to warranted "in part" later in the discussion? And no matter what I say, there's a high chance it's not going to be warranted in your eyes anyways. If you haven't seen or heard anything persuasive in 55 years, how in the world am I supposed to change your mind?

So there you go - you asked me to provide warranted evidence for God - I replied that we need to discuss warrant further. You say thanks for stopping by, possibly a hint that you're over it. So if it stops here, it's you who stopped it and you who's dodging in my opinion, and I don't see any reason you and I need to start a bad streak over nothing.

John Evo said...

You know what Philly said about needing to check ourselves when others find us "unclear"?

Well, I guess I have to check myself. I'm not being sensitive about anything, nor am I looking to end this in a bad way.

But you said it yourself - we are at an impasse with this "warranted" thing. I don't think you need to get too hung up in the definition - you know what evidence YOU would find "warranted". I was wondering if you would share what was, for YOU, warranted evidence.

But you are right that I probably wouldn't agree it was warranted and thus - impasse.

I'm still curious about the science/religion question, but you may want to move on to my most recent post if you care to take a crack at it.

cl said...

"You know what Philly said about needing to check ourselves when others find us "unclear"?"

Yeah, I do, and I wish you or anyone else would check Philly on the lack of clarity between "demonstrable" and "demonstrable in part," so we're not doing any good by bringing Philly into this conversation.

I'd love to tell you some things I think warrant belief in God, but I'm hesitant to proceed in further intellectual discussion with you about Pokemon let alone religion, simply because you were right alongside me on that thread at Philly's, and didn't once cross party lines to check Philly, when I'm pretty sure you know damn well he made some genuine blunders of logic and rationalism. Now, if you don't think he did, perhaps we can discuss that before discussing the science/religion question, but look at it from my POV: If you wouldn't admit I had even a single valid point there, why should I believe you will here?

That, my friend, actually is a claim based on demonstrable evidence.

John Evo said...

Unless I'm totally remembering that post and comments the way I choose for my own benefit (a possibility) I don't recall that I supported either you OR Philly at any point. I thought I had my own set of questions about things you said and pursued my own line of discussion with you.

Do I think the Philly sometimes let's pride get the better of him, rather than just tipping the hat and going on from there? Sure. Don't get all butt-hurt about it. He's probably done it more to me than to you. We all have strengths - and weaknesses.

But if you're uncomfortable sharing with me for whatever reason, that's absolutely your right.

cl said...

"Don't get all butt-hurt about it."

That's hilarious - I originally had "butt-hurt" in place of "sensitive" in my comment 10:57.

"But if you're uncomfortable sharing with me for whatever reason,"

Not at all.

Gideon said...
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