Thursday, March 26, 2009

Does Science Have the Best Explanation - For EVERYTHING?

It's a claim I made a couple of posts back and was disputed by commenter "cl" (not of the Hanson variety). I've asked him to give a couple of examples of things science does not explain better than religion does. So far, he hasn't met the challenge. He did offer up the notion (I assume now know facetiously) that religion itself is better explained by religion, than by science. (For instance - The Crusades or the Papal rejection of Galileo's claims re: heliocentric solar system. I tossed in the Inquisition and Pope Johnny The Rat's notion that the AIDS epidemic in Africa is better battled with faith than with condoms). But really, that's a weird circular reasoning. "We some crazy-ass mother fuckers and no one can explain how fucked up we are like we can"! Theories of mind and consciousness have already made great strides in explaining why people gravitate toward religion or cult figures and why they can do evil things while claiming moral high ground (and being able to convince most people that they are indeed righteous).

"Great Strides" you say, eh Evo? Sounds like science hasn't fully explained it yet.

True. But that doesn't change my position.

A mere 500 years ago, the following questions were beyond the scope of man's knowledge - The Universe (how it began, how long ago, the immensity of it, it's expansion), disease caused by microbes such as bacteria and viruses, atomic structure (everything being made up of trillions of atoms), evolution (that every life form is connected to every other life form in common ancestry), Consciousness (that there is no need to invoke a ghost in the machine. That everything we know and feel happens within the material structure of the brain and that once there is no chemical and electrical activity, there is no consciousness).

Back then, all of these and many more could have been explained as "rationally" by any religious belief as from the empirical knowledge humans had gathered. We can look back at the knowledge achieved in 500 years and say, "well sure. We know all that. But there is still a place for religious explanations of some things".

What things?

Yes, there are many mysteries that science has barely begun to scratch. There are mysteries coming that we aren't even aware of now - in much the same way that Pope Pius III in 1509 didn't dispute particle physics because no one knew what an atom was. But how different are any of today's (or tomorrow's) mysteries from those of 500 years ago? "Love" may be great challenge, but it is not beyond science's scope. Science has proven itself over and over, as the battered and dead bodies of religious certainty littering it's march attest. I won't be around to say I told you so, but today's "religious mysteries" will be chuckled at in 500 years if we are wise enough to keep from destroying civilization. And science will be our best guide in how to avoid that calamity. Religion will be, as it always has been, our worst enemy.

I could be wrong. I kind of hate using an absolute like "everything". But so far I've yet to hear a convincing argument to contrary.


Anonymous said...

Why tell me to read this if you just want to make snark in a backhanded way? Seriously, what's the point? I've got better things to do than relive high school and see who's boner is bigger than who's. From the OP:

"But really, that's a weird circular reasoning."

Yeah, an intentionally circular rebuttal to your own circular argument, and you were told as much:

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

cl: 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.

Evo: (provide) Anything you think is better explained by religion than by science.

cl: The Crusades and the Church-sanctioned denial of heliocentrism come to mind.

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

cl: 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."

Exterminator was right. Apparently this is all just a joke and a time-passing mental masturbatory exercise. As for the rest your "piece", I couldn't bring myself to read it.

John Evo said...


You need a hug? Listen, we have both done our share of misunderstanding the point the other was trying to make.

And who, exactly, is the sensitive one among us?

Whatever... I understand you have more important things happening. Go to it.

John Evo said...

And no, Exterminator is full of shit. We're changing the world.

The Exterminator said...

Hey, don't get me involved in this thing. I've been busy trying to figure out where the missing socks go when I do my laundry. I've concentrated on the scientific approach, but it consistenly fails big time. So maybe the god thing is right.

Now, though, I'm trying to figure out why any god would need a collection of my socks. How come he can't just buy his own damn clothes?

John Evo said...

I've often sat alone in the dark, heart filled with sadness and injury thinking, if there was really a god, would he allow Ex to simultaneously live within human society AND own socks....

Then my heart rejoiced as I saw the possibilities of His perfect plan for us! No! he would not bring forth such cruelty. My god is a MIGHTY god and just one! (I don't believe in whole trinity thing so, he's "just one" - what, you thought I meant "fair"? Oh HELL no. MY god is a MIGHTY GOD, but being Just is not a strong suit).

Anyway - His plan. Ex should never be allowed to own socks. UNLESS, "socks" is the name of a CAT! Every time Ex loses a sock, God changed that sock into a cat. I love cats! My heart cries out, "My god, My GOD! Thanks for not forsaking me!!"


No ILLEGAL drugs were used while writing this comment. This comment is as completely on-topic as all previous ones. This comment is only about cl the degree he chooses to think I'm being snarky. If Ex was offended, I do not apologize. His socks are more offensive than anything. Have a good weekend folks. As you can tell, I'm starting ahead of you.

Unknown said...

Pssht. Socks go to sock heaven to worship their sock god.

Anonymous said...

I'm just glad to hear from a certain someone, and no, I wasn't trying to involve that certain someone, just concurring with an observation I once heard a certain someone posit.

"And who, exactly, is the sensitive one among us?"

Hard to say sans inflection, posture, demeanor, etc., i.e. evidence, now, isn't it?

"We're changing the world."

You're a product of evolution. The world's changing you, but I'm a fan of your optimism and on that point perhaps we can hug.

John Evo said...

Hmmm... well, like you said about "sans inflection, posture, demeanor, etc" I suppose you would have had to have been here (or known me better) to get that I was being sarcastic about "changing the world". I was just taking your comment about mental masturbation to the polar opposite. As you've said elsewhere, look for the truth somewhere along the middle road.

I think you were just cranky before a late bedtime (admittedly - no evidence). That said, hugs still available. And "Certain Someone" is always a welcome sight; though I'd personally be happier if a "Certain Blog" had an occasional update. Just sayin'....

You're a product of evolution. The world's changing you

Not so much any more.
Homo sapiens have stepped across the evolutionary Rubicon.

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John Evo said...

In a brief escape from reality, a video tuned into the unique posturing of Giddy.

OK, so I occasionally feed the trolls. Take me before the Atheist Grand Master and flog me 40 times.

Anonymous said...
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Mamacita Chilena said...

The comments in this post are just as entertaining as the actual post itself. Always love when a good lively discussion amongst atheists and sock worshippers comes up. :)

Anonymous said...
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Rachel E. Bailey said...

"We some crazy-ass mother fuckers and no one can explain how fucked up we are like we can"!


And might I add: "Zing!"

Still, I like that kind of reasoning, I mean, I can say "I'm so awesome that only I am awesome enough to understand the true magnitude of my awesomeness."

Any kinda logic that lets me say that is a-ok in my book.

PhillyChief said...

I didn't know we had a grand master.