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Prayer Takes Precedence Over Science?

A Bill of Rights amendment reaffirming the right to pray could have negative consequences for the teaching of evolution.

By | August 14, 2012

image: Prayer Takes Precedence Over Science? Learning about fossils FLICKR, WOODLEYWONDERWORKS

Last week (August  7), Missouri voters overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment that at first glance looks harmless, but has some people worried it provides ammunition for undermining the teaching of evolution in public schools.

The amendment reaffirms the rights of citizens to express their religious beliefs, and specifically highlights the right of school children to "pray and acknowledge God voluntarily in their schools." This right to freedom of religion is already protected under the Bill of Rights, and science education experts like Joshua Rosenau, the programs and policy director of the National Center for Science Education in Oakland, California, are worried the vague wording of the new amendment could allow many actions that disrupt students' learning of evolution.

In particular, Rosneau told ScienceInsider, the clause "that no student shall be compelled to perform or participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate his or her religious beliefs" gives students the legal right to refuse assignments that conflict with their beliefs, such as the concept of evolution denying a literal interpretation of Genesis.

The amendment does not provide an alternative to evolution lessons, though, so students who choose to skip those sections will have to face the academic consequences. Because of this, the Missouri Catholic Conference executive director, Mike Hoey, who supported the amendment, told ScienceInsider he doesn't think many students will opt out.

Missouri teachers are concerned, though, as many already face challenges from students who resist learning the concepts of evolution. While middle school teacher Susan German, president of the Science Teachers of Missouri (STOM), explains to students that science is not a belief system, and she is not trying to challenge their beliefs, many teachers in the state are not so confident, waiting for advice from the state education department before taking action in their own classrooms.

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Avatar of: J.w. Saret

J.w. Saret

Posts: 1457

August 15, 2012

welcome to the morlocks

Avatar of: melanchthon

melanchthon

Posts: 5

August 15, 2012

Very encouraging development.

Avatar of: xlinkr

xlinkr

Posts: 3

August 15, 2012

As a scientist and a Christian, I believe prayer is very important. The Lord created an incredibly complex universe that we may never fully understand. The ability to acknowledge God in prayer should never be infringed, even by those who may want to worship the creation instead of the Creator who made it all possible. Too often magazines like The Scientist assume that all their readers are atheists; however, I think you will find that faith is very much alive and well among scientists in all fields. Good for Missouri!

Avatar of: cireader

cireader

Posts: 18

August 15, 2012

This article, especially the title, is misleading. It attempts to
co-opt science for the purpose of opposing religion. The Missouri
amendment clearly falls under the right to conscientious objection, which has nothing to do with science per se. The reference to catholic support of the amendment is a non sequitur, since catholics do not oppose the teaching of evolution. The editors of The Scientist should apologize for promoting this type of anti-religion propaganda by labeling it prayer vs. science. Shame on you!

Avatar of: Lovato, D. V.

Lovato, D. V.

Posts: 1457

August 15, 2012

I agree with you on everything you said! I did not see anything that could harm evolution teaching in this amendment. Science and faith are not enemies and The Scientist should be and important way of information about that, not the opposite! I hope neoatheists do not contaminate this magazine and do not create here a pseudo intellectual Jihad against all kind of religious free speach!

Avatar of: Guest

Anonymous

August 15, 2012

I love science. I relish reading peer review articles. I relish talking with friends and family members who are in sciences and (science-dependent) technology. I know of no science that proves God or disproves God; and, therefore, I do not believe it is the place of science to teach either that evolution disproves God, NOR that it proves God. The greatest problem in the veritable "war" between dogma and dogma, in things empirical evidence cannot prove nor disprove, is that it plays futile prognosticator against futile prognosticator. I have a friend who earned a PhD in Chemistry, and who is brilliant. He had no problem getting grants until he was asked if he had any religious beliefs and answered in the affirmative. He has never argued with hard evidence. Yet he has been barred from grants by certain sources, and this has caused him to have to work outside his chosen field of research. Which side is "wrong?" As a lover and relisher of science and scientists, and a friend and sibling to a brilliant surgeon and a rocket scientist (yes, literally) I see no clash between science and religion other than a choice of interpretation in some issues for which there is, as yet, not empirical way of testing or falsifying. I am on the side of open-minded quest for MORE empirical evidence. When every fact in the universe is known, we shall know a lot of things we have no way of knowing now. I am AGAINST any blocking of INFORMATION that is honest and accurate from EITHER side of what is a war over who is right about something that neither side can prove nor disprove. What is the real issue? There are SOME on each side of the war going on, who are unwilling to admit what they cannot "know" and are welcome (by me) to choose whichever stance each wishes. Many "wars," of many kinds are unproductive, destructive in fact, and are fought over idiotic things. When EITHER side's radicals claim that facts or reasons are on their side, they demonstrate an inability to recognize and accept the limits of man's current KNOWLEDGE and fail to respect the right of another to choose a different choice of a working (also, living and thinking style) hypothesis. Granted some who pose as spokespersons for God with a capital G are bigots. Granted some who pose to speak for nature -- beyond what they presently know of it -- are bigots.
Let the bigots be seen as bigots. Let those who live and let live, think and let think, and do not lie or falsify any evidence, work together. I personally know some who DO EXACTLY THAT, and who work side by side and get on with observing, analyzing, interpreting in productive ways. Therefore, I KNOW the war is not between science and alternative ways of viewing evidence. It is only a war, like many other wars, between bigot and bigot.

Avatar of: Alix Kemp

Alix Kemp

Posts: 1457

August 15, 2012

"I do not believe it is the place of science to teach either that evolution disproves God, NOR that it proves God."

Nobody is saying that evolution proves/disproves the existence of a god. All they're saying is, "This is evolution -- it happens." Some religious folks have a problem with that because it doesn't agree with their beliefs.

Avatar of: Guest

Anonymous

August 15, 2012

I have a recorded university course on cosmology in which the professor goes on and on and on and on, giving details and their interpretations, which he says make all the nonsense about a God ridiculous. A particular narrator on NOVA made similar remarks. I've read numerous sources by atheist bigots who make assertions about what science reduces to nonsense which -- in each and every case -- asserts opinions as fact, and asserts the individual's own opinions as fact. I have a friend in the faculty of a Texas university who tells me the majority of the faculty in the Department of Physics do have religious beliefs, while the majority of the faculty members in biology are avowed atheists, and make no bones about that with students, as well as other faculty members. You have just given me to realize that if I have not condensed and made a quick reference of specifics of such samplings the fault is all my own. If you are under the impression no atheist biology professors have asserted that biology refutes things it cannot refute, you are sorely mistaken. But, again, if I do not have a collection of footnotes to provide you, the fault is mine. Thank you for making me aware of this, because from this moment forward I shall collect a bibliography of examples.

Avatar of: Angelise Evony

Angelise Evony

Posts: 1457

August 15, 2012

This is ridiculous. The assumption that if one student opts out then everyone has to opt out is flawed. If even 10% of students decide not to study evolution, opting for alternate curriculum, and you know teachers will offer alternate assignments along the lines of "write an essay....", you'll still have 90% of the students taking the standard course. And further, it's not as if students don't KNOW that there's an evolutionary theory out there, they just choose not to become involved with it's detailed study.

Avatar of: TheSciAdmin

TheSciAdmin

Posts: 56

August 15, 2012

While I'll admit the headline is a little sensationalist, I would hope people could appreciate the full article and its context. We are not pitting religion against science - only discussing some of the concerns people involved in science education have about the Bill. They are not against the right to pray or have anything explicit against God - they are simply concerned that the wording of the Bill is vague enough that it could make it easier for some to undermine the teaching of evolution in public schools. More discussion can be found in the original Science Insider article referred to in the text:
http://news.sciencemag.org/sci...

Thanks,
- Hayley Dunning

Avatar of: cireader

cireader

Posts: 18

August 15, 2012

Yes, the Science Insider certainly is a more balanced article, so why did you change the message? Perhaps you noticed the irrational, hate-religion comments that it generated, so you decided to join in with this admittedly sensationalist headline? A discerning writer can easily see that Joshua Rosenau has an agenda to pit science against religion. NCSE leaders give regular talks to atheist groups at no charge (see foxhole atheists). Shouldn't writers at The Scientist be looking for a less biased source? I repeat, shame on you for inflaming this manufactured science vs religion conflict.

Avatar of: jhnycmltly

jhnycmltly

Posts: 65

August 15, 2012

"Joshua Rosenau has an agenda to pit science against religion"
Christians, run the gamut. Newthought Christians , for one , have not fully accepted the Bible is to be taken literally. They are one group. Essene Christians believe Jesus was vegetarian , contrary to what all other Christians believe. Since there are many different types of Christians , will throwing the gauntlet down in a Science forum achieve anything but derision ? Joshua wants proof , scientifically ? The treatment for all disease , found in the Bible , bloodletting , is now being recommended for more diseases than any treatment in history. So , merit wise , the Bible wins hands down. Now we can argue about what other Christians don't believe , evolution , no people riding dinosaurs , which will have no benefit , or prove the treatment for all disease to be wrong since it has already been proven right. The ball , scientifically , is in Joshuas' court , prove man is not a herbivore , as found in the Bible , and how iron is NOT the 'villain' in this "story" , and how bloodletting to remove this iron is not being being recommended in every disease. Making himself useful.

Avatar of: Jake Trexel

Jake Trexel

Posts: 1

August 15, 2012

“that no student shall be compelled to perform or participate in
academic assignments or educational presentations that violate his or
her religious beliefsâ€쳌
This is the most stupid thing I have ever heard. When will some one put a stop to the "Bible Thumpers"? They have too much power. We are headed back to book burings and the the witch trials. The kids in the US are far to undereducated as it is, and its getting worse every day due to the type of people that live in the Bible Belt. I cannot imagine having to teach undergrads of today. I hear so many stores from fellow faculity members about how stupid the freshmen are today. Its a shame the courts are uphold the Bible Thumpers. Schools are giving away grades as it is, let alone not teaching the hard core science courses. Our kids are a joke compared to the rest of the world. Something needs to be done to stop us from regressing back to apes.
Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering and Ph.D. Mathemtaics

Avatar of: cireader

cireader

Posts: 18

August 15, 2012

Jake, just because Joshua Rosenau says MAYBE this could allow SOME students to opt out, you suddenly see book burnings? Think about it rationally before you jump to these extreme conclusions.

Avatar of: jhnycmltly

jhnycmltly

Posts: 65

August 15, 2012

They may have brought this upon themselves by forcing the teaching of evolution in the schools. Evolution ? What is that , some new subject , in which , it has been proven some of the professors "relish" the thought of teaching evolution to Christian students ? Get a friggin life. Activist atheists , everywhere in the education system. Show them the door and teach science , evolution , is for evolutionists , and looking about , there isn't many jobs out there for strict , evolutionists , other than , teaching.

Avatar of: TallySkeptic

TallySkeptic

Posts: 14

August 16, 2012

To you I recommend Jerry Coyne's book "Why Evolution is True." You appear to lack a basic understanding of biology and evolution in particular.

Avatar of: jhnycmltly

jhnycmltly

Posts: 65

August 16, 2012

I don't really think you understand the gist of my post. I said , evolution is a subject , a portion of science , a very small part of science. Atheist activists have taken it upon themselves to try to convince everyone , evolution , NEEDS to be studied. We have fared very well until now in all science field WITHOUT the useless subject , evolution. Now , let's see if we balance out another useless subject in the science field. Let's force everyone to study religion in science class too. Understand how that works ? If something doesn't NEED to be taught , it isn't taught. The very fact activist atheist professors come right out and say the "relish" the thought of teaching , attempting to mind rape , a Christian , because they WISH to , rather than HAVE to , makes the atheist activist , someone to be avoided.

Avatar of: TallySkeptic

TallySkeptic

Posts: 14

August 16, 2012

The article refers to a specific clause -- the clause “that no student shall be compelled to perform or participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate his or her religious beliefs." I predict that this clause will be used by some student in Missouri public schools to refuse to participate in assignments on evolution and the Big Bang. Want to bet on it? This clause is terrible.

Avatar of: TallySkeptic

TallySkeptic

Posts: 14

August 16, 2012

The science and religion conflict isn't imagined or manufactured. it has been going on for centuries. The two areas are fundamentally different in methods, attitudes, and conclusions, probably incompatible.

Avatar of: TallySkeptic

TallySkeptic

Posts: 14

August 16, 2012

Hayley, I think this part is very problematic:

"In particular, Rosneau told ScienceInsider,
the clause “that no student shall be compelled to perform or
participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that
violate his or her religious beliefsâ€쳌 gives students the legal right to
refuse assignments that conflict with their beliefs, such as the concept
of evolution denying a literal interpretation of Genesis."

What I predict will happen next is that some students (pushed by their parents) will refuse to answer questions pertinent to evolution (or the Big Bang) on tests and demand that their test scores be pro-rated, leaving out performance on the evolution questions.

I see a new court case looming on the horizon. This will be Scopes and Kitzmiller all over again.

Avatar of: Dan Arel

Dan Arel

Posts: 1457

August 16, 2012

if a student opts out, they should be failed on that section of the course. evolution isnt an optional belief. it happened and if you refuse to learn about it, you should be graded a such. I dislike algebra, doesnt mean I can "opt out" because I conjured up some belief that says algebra isnt true.

Avatar of: TallySkeptic

TallySkeptic

Posts: 14

August 16, 2012

Thanks, Dan, for a very good comment.

Avatar of: TallySkeptic

TallySkeptic

Posts: 14

August 16, 2012

The students should be taught evolution. That is part of a well rounded education. If the students refuse to do homework assignments or answer test questions on evolution, then they should pay the price -- low test scores, failing biology class, failure to be admitted to some universities, etc.

Avatar of: Dan Arel

Dan Arel

Posts: 1457

August 16, 2012

this has to be one of the most idiotic rants i have ever read. teaching evolution in public schools has no mention of God at all. Not once. It discusses the scientific evidence that supports evolution.

they don't address religion, mythology, anything other than evolution happened, its driving force is natural selection and this is how it works.

your only argument is you heard a university professor mention not believing in god? college is much different that public schools, at a university, the professor is not bound to teaching direct from a book and can in fact express their beliefs, I have had atheist and theist professors, neither told us what we needed to believe, but they did when asked addressed their beliefs.

prayer has no place in public schools in the classroom during school time, and if a student wants to opt out of learning about evolution, they should be graded for such and fail that portion of the class.

And to call Atheists bigots because we use logic and reason to come to a conclusion that there is no such use nor evidence for a deity, than you need to head over to dictionary.com and look up the word bigot, because your ignorance is shining through.

Avatar of: TallySkeptic

TallySkeptic

Posts: 14

August 16, 2012

I recommend that you read Victor Stenger's two books:
God: The Failed Hypothesis
God and the Folly of Faith
These books might open your mind just a little. You have too many misconceptions to tackle in such a small amount of space.

Avatar of: Guest

Anonymous

August 16, 2012

Thank you. My mind is very open. Yours obviously is not. As my avid atheist friend and I have come to understand about the human experience, and about each others, we each have a CHOICE. He and I agree with argumentations made in many, many books as to why each and every human has to -- cannot live WITHOUT -- making some choices and taking some stances relating to things we cannot falsify. We each understand logic far better than you, evidently, do, and know that all logic is circular and arrives back at the original postulates fed into it. We both understand that if one BEGINS with the postulation that God exist, than every empirical experience merely authenticates it; whereas, if we BEGIN with the postulation that God does not exist, then every experience thereafter authenticates it. Also, if we begin with the postulate that we cannot know one way or the other (what some call the agnostic's postulate) then everything following therefrom authenticates that. As Charley, my atheist friend, and I both agree, each of us has a CHOICE of not just this one postulate in regard to an UNKNOWN, the many. Yes, we humans deal with so many, many, many... unknowns in a single day that we do indeed tend to lose track of the distinction between things we opine versus things we "know."

Allow me to assure you that I certainly WILL read Stenger's books. And if I find any empirical evidence there, as opposed to a CHOSEN POSTULATION Stenger might base all following from it, then I shall immediately call my friend Charley and tell him, "Charley, you are right. There is not God with a capital G."

I have been looking all my life for anything conclusive.

Charley, you, I... each and all us humans... take hundreds or thousands of things we can neither prove nor disprove into account in our every day job, and lifestyle and philosophic thinking process. If we did not and therefore insisted upon proving each and every "tick" of our reasoning process to having to ascertain it by way of empirical validation to the level of CERTAINTY, we would run instantaneously into not only the Shroedinger's Cat paradox, but also into the efficiency paradox whereby we would bog down in a veritable "infinite series," dilemma. The reason this is so is comparable to why mathematicians do not insist that, before using Pi in a mathematical computation, they would "choose" to carry it out to its ultimate last decimal place. There IS no such ultimate final decimal place, so the result would be that the mathematician would -- even if he lived forever -- never get through and, thus, would be, in effect, paralyzed in regard to being able to do ANYTHING ELSE.

If I have misconceptions they are misconceptions which are formed out of searching philosophers, historians, logicians I can tell, from your narrow, simplistic message to me, you would need to spend the next twenty years of your life acquainting yourself with, and if you were OPEN MINDED, as you so pathetically solicit me to be as an inference that you are not -- and that only those who agree with YOUR choices of unfalsifiables are open minded (:>)-- you probably would learn nothing in the process.

My stance is that YOU have a choice. My stance is that YOU may be right and YOU may be wrong. My stance is that you are free, as I am free, to EXERCISE what choice you make, not merely in regard to just ONE unfalsifiable postulation but to many.

You evidently perceive that I cannot hold these stances and be rational, as YOU are rational. I give YOU acceptance and embrace YOUR choice of postulations as to what you would choose to postulate and thence get on with your life and thoughts, and not be bogged down, but YOU indicate I am not entitled to such a choice.

You invited ME to read something. I shall.

Let me invite YOU to read about the Science Wars between the postmodernist critics and the so-called science realists. You may spend the next twenty years reading and NEVER find closure. That is because there IS no closure.

The closure, let me say with utmost empathy for the common epistemological and ontological dilemma of all humans is attainable ONLY in your own mind.

One brilliant theologian has posited -- not offered a conclusion, mind you, but POSITED -- that the Copenhagen School of physics theory, having established the phenomenon of super position in quantum analysis, has given cause for a superposition of a spiritual nature whereby God neither exists nor does not exist but exists as a super-position, such that for those who "believe" he is, and for those who do not, He does not.

That is no more far fetched than many contradictions between what physicists are discovering at levels of
physical scales smaller than the scale range in which we humans can experience anything. Much lies beyond the scale band of human experience.

I fear that much I am saying here is so enormously far beyond the pale of your conceptualization and thinking that it is for you comparable to speaking to you a foreign language.

But, if you are capable of following it, then you will appreciate that it is not I who have told you that you are wrong, nor that I am right, in our several perceptions of the nature of things we cannot falsify, yet must consider in our daily coping. I have embraced your right and your rational option to choose as I have chosen and as my friend Charley has chosen.

Thus the one whose mind is CLOSED, is yours.

I invite you to read not just two books, but several hundred. Then perhaps we might get back together and compare notes at a less closed-minded level than you propose I join you in.

Avatar of: TallySkeptic

TallySkeptic

Posts: 14

August 16, 2012

Science has not disproved God, but it has undermined the hypothesis that God exists. Our K-12 schools are not quite ready to teach this; maybe in a few hundred years they will be. Our colleges and universities, however, are ready for it.

You speak as if science can only prove or disprove, and you claim that the God theory is safe from disproof and therefore can be embraced by a reasonable person. But this is not the case at all. Science can support and undermine hypotheses and it has and continues to undermine the God theory which now, in the 21st century, can not be embraced by any reasonable person.

The clash between science and religion goes far beyond “a choice of interpretation in some issues...â€쳌 They are in fundamental conflict in their foundational principles.

We do not have to wait for the time “when every fact in the universe is knownâ€쳌 (in essence a straw man idea) to conclude right now that God, as defined by the Abrahamic religions, very probably does not exist. This is a matter of probability, not certainty. But from an ethical standpoint, you should not continue to believe and promote very improbable propositions.

Let us work together to think rationally and to relinquish improbable claims. The bigots today are mostly those who suppress, harass, and persecute those who are beginning to communicate in a straight-forward assertive way that God very probably does not exist.

Avatar of: Guest

Anonymous

August 16, 2012

You said: "Science has not disproved God, but it has undermined the hypothesis that God exists."

False. As with all human reasoning, augmentations have been made, based on postulations that can neither be proved nor disproved. Most human reasoning is based upon such postulations.

Not to know this is to bee too naive. And it is beyond my ability or my inclination to take you all the way through to the whole of this.

But, seriously, you have totally sought to put words in my mouth and respond to those (your) assertions.

Possibly reading in Epistemology and Ontology might help you. Whether they do has much to do with both your capacity and your openness to do the very thing you recommend I do, to weigh all the arguments.

None is so unlearning as one who resists learning.

As for me, I read and study and ponder daily, and have done so for years and, indeed, I am ready, this very instant, to embrace any and every jot of empirical evidence.

The straw man is the straw man YOU created, in saying that I took the stance God exists as a certainty. Of course, you made several other false assertions about what I said. And then you proceeded to argue with YOUR straw man.

You are welcome to continue making false statements and trying to put words in my mouth if you wish.

For me to simply sit here and p9int out how false are your assertions about my "position," as if that were a productive exchange.

Unless you begin to quote me and respond only to my words, you demonstrate things about you, not me.

I invite the open-minded, intelligent reader to read each and every word I said, and then read what you have SAID that I said, and then argued with.

As diplomatically as I can say it, if you want to argue with yourself, go for it. No man can make a fool of another man. He can only make a fool of himself.

Avatar of: TallySkeptic

TallySkeptic

Posts: 14

August 16, 2012

You are sadly mistaken. Science and faith are enemies! Faith is belief untuned to evidence and science is belief tuned to evidence. Faith is reliance on authority, scripture, and "revelation," but science is reliance on observation, experimentation, and rational thinking. Faith is closed-minded and uncritical, science is open-minded and critical. Faith is dogmatic, science is flexible and adaptable. The two could not be more different. The conflict has been going on for several centuries now and will continue until science prevails.

Avatar of: TallySkeptic

TallySkeptic

Posts: 14

August 16, 2012

Students have always been able to pray silently to themselves and to pray aloud in groups outside class time; that should be sufficient. Missouri is getting itself into big trouble.

Avatar of: TallySkeptic

TallySkeptic

Posts: 14

August 20, 2012

Don't take titles too seriously. They are written to attract attention. Read the content and take it seriously.

Avatar of: Nathan Unseth

Nathan Unseth

Posts: 3

August 20, 2012

As a non-scientist, am I disqualified from offering an opinion? (Or will the participants concede that a person without a science degree also may be a thinking person?) My view: I don't see the Missouri amendment as a threat to true academic discourse. After all, both theists and theists can be rock-headed bigots. Instead, the amendment defines ground rules whereby religious belief and worldview may not be arbitrarily sanitized from the classroom. Anything that protects free speech for both sides is a good thing and should be viewed as such. And please, anti-religionists, stop painting conservative Christians as evolution-deniers. They will be happy to acknowledge micro-evolution as a common phenomena. It's the the macro-evolution that gives them pause. Against that skepticism, rabid evolutionists often display far more religious bigotry than the so-called religious bigots.

Avatar of: TallySkeptic

TallySkeptic

Posts: 14

August 21, 2012

Of course, you are not disqualified from offering an opinion. Has anyone tried to disqualify you?

The Missouri amendment is a threat to education. Particularly problematic is this clause: “no student shall be compelled to perform or participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate his or her religious beliefs.â€쳌 What is likely to happen is that some students are going to claim that participating in assignments or presentations on evolution violates their religious beliefs. Do you think this will not happen? If it does happen, then this is bad for education. All students should learn about evolution whether they agree with it or not and whether it conflicts with their religion or not. They should listen to lectures about evolution, read books about it, participate in discussions about it, do homework assignments about it, and take tests on it.

It is not bigotry to require that students in public schools learn about evolution.

I don’t see any problem in discussing different worldviews in a Comparative Worldviews class, but not in biology.

This really isn’t a free speech issue; it is an education issue.

I think the polls show that most conservative Christians, not all of them, are evolution-deniers.

The evidence supports macro-evolution and micro-evolution. In fact, biologists typically don’t even make that distinction. It is not bigotry for schools to require students to learn about evolution, both the macro and micro aspects. It does not prevent the free exercise of religion to require students in schools to learn about evolution. They can freely exercise their religion at lunchtime or before or after school.

Avatar of: Y2KJillian

Y2KJillian

Posts: 5

August 21, 2012

TallySkeptic; you are measured, reasonable, rational, and brilliant. I have enjoyed tremendously watching you here, replying to all comers with intelligence and decency.
Thank you for your "scientific" approach. Wish more people were just like you.

Avatar of: cireader

cireader

Posts: 18

August 21, 2012

In general, the commenters here do seem far more rational that those who responded at the original science Insider site. However, what you call "scientific" is more accurately described as a set of beliefs called "scientism". Specifically, I refer to the belief that nothing real is "beyond the scope of scientific inquiry". Anyone is, of course, entitled to express these beliefs in a rational way, as long as they accept that it is only a belief, and not subject to scientific proof. But, from all that i've read here, TallySkeptic would not be as generous to anyone who does not agree with scientism. This indicates a deep-seated intolerance of other beliefs, which will ultimately end in logical contradictions. So, in this respect,TallySkeptic is as irrational as any person who puts "blind faith" in a set of beliefs.

Avatar of: cireader

cireader

Posts: 18

August 21, 2012

I take a dim view of liars, whether in headlines or content. When people read a science article here, they expect objective journalism. The author admits the headline was sensationalism... her word, not mine. Has The Scientist become just another blog, with no respect for truth?

Avatar of: cireader

cireader

Posts: 18

August 21, 2012

I'm afraid The Scientist is filtering the comments now, since my last two got cut. Nice talking, even though we disagree about nearly everything.

Avatar of: TallySkeptic

TallySkeptic

Posts: 14

August 21, 2012

Why do you believe prayer is very important? Is there convincing scientific evidence that intercessory prayer works? How do you know or why do you believe that a super person (the "Lord") created our universe? How are faith and reason different? I encourage you to put on your "scientist thinking cap" and think scientifically about the issues of the existence of God and the efficacy of prayer. I recommend to you Victor Stenger's book: God -- the Failed Hypothesis. It is a good start.

Avatar of: TallySkeptic

TallySkeptic

Posts: 14

August 21, 2012

Very discouraging development.

Avatar of: Guest

Anonymous

August 24, 2012

Dear readers:

YOU are the only person who can decide what you will believe about things that cannot and never have been disproved nor proved empirically.

It cannot be taken away from you by anyone. Some individuals at Auschwitz found that out. Way down in the very core of your being, if your assessment of all you have experienced directly, heard, read, thought about is that there is no higher intelligence and no higher power than humans, that is your right. And if everything you have experienced directly, heard, read,thought about is that there is some higher intelligence and power, and that whatever or whoever it is cares about you personally, that is your right.

Also, if books are banned, if prayer is banned, if you are not allowed to speak freely anywhere and say what makes sense to you, or if anyone tries to intimidate you or make you feel stupid, or small, or confused for thinking anything other than what THEY have arrived at in THEIR inner core, you are the master of your innermost choice.

As a lifetime student of many subject, including political philosophy, philosophy of science, and dozens of others, I can tell you that science has NEVER disproved that you have a rational choice. Some of the greatest thinkers in history have had religious beliefs, and some of the greatest thinkers in history have been atheists. I encourage you to read the ideas of BOTH. I encourage you to then think FOR YOURSELF.

I began searching for answers as a child and still search to this very day. And my choice is to choose for myself, and for YOU to be free to choose for YOUR self.

My parents were happily married over seventy years. My wife and I have been married over fifty years. We raised out children to believe that THEY HAVE A CHOICE as to whom and what they would believe until and unless someone proves it wrong.

I have a handful of friends who are atheists, each of whom is highly, highly intelligent, and each of whom, like me, may read as many as a hundred books a year. We have enormous tolerance for each other's ideas. I have far more friends who are Christians, and only one friend who is a Muslim. They are most of them highly, highly intelligent.
And the fact that so many of them are has more to do with the fact that I am drawn to highly intelligent people who are TOLERANT of opinions other than their own.

Among my Christian friends and family members are several PhDs, two of them PhDs in bio-sciences, a PhD in chemistry, a brother who literally before retirement worked on outer space research and development. One of my siblings was a great thoracic surgeon and worked under one of the greatest of all in heart surgery research. One Christian friend of my is a gynecologist and another, who lives just two doors down is a neurosurgeon.

Let me be abundantly clear in divulging that I know people who CLAIM to be Christians and do not practice what they avow. I know at least one atheist who has done time in a federal penitentiary for criminal fraud, but I know another who lives an exemplary life and, in fact, loves music and sings in a choir in an Episcopal Church. He is not a bigot.
Some self-proclaimed religious persons ARE bigots, and some atheists are bigots. They are not content for you child to hear ALL SIDES of all the arguments both empirical and arguments as to how different individuals perceive what lies BEYOND the yet empirically ascertained facts.

I would not ban EITHER the teaching of evolutionary theory in public schools NOR exposure of kids to atheistic stances. The very classics portray multiple deities. And we encouraged our sons when they were growing up to read the classics. And, yes, we were open to their discussing where they were in their own searches for meaning. My wife and I raised our sons to study all sides of things, to think deeply and much, and to know that their mother and I NO CONFLICT between those things that are science's and those things science has never been able to answer.

Here is my offer, dear reader. Let anyone tell me the person, the experiment, the collection of experiments that rules out God, without a bunch of OPINION OR SUBJECTIVE INTERPRETATION presented under color of facts certain, and I will personally congratulate, support and spread that message. The same goes for any empirical evidence that RULES IN the existence of a loving God, and I will do likewise.

I am FREE. You are FREE. I would not take your FREEDOM away from you or your child.

It is a part of my personal political philosophy that if there are two or three or ten students in a public school who are atheists, or whose parents would BAN any book, or practice of a religion in a school, then let some arrangements be made to free those kids from whatever they or their parents are unwilling for their children to be exposed to.
It would be tyrannical to force the children who do not want to know what other children or their parents believe to listen. As for me, I wanted my children, and now my grandchildren to hear it ALL. Let it all hang out.

And if, at a football game, ten thousand people want to hear, or have nothing against hearing, a prayer, and ten do not, then let the ten bring sound-cancelling earphones with them. Ten thousand should not be forced to roll over and play dead for ten... even if I am one of those ten. Yes, if an atheist wants equal time, let him have equal time. And if the crowd wants to drown out the prayer, and listen in silence to the atheist, let them
do the one or the other.

If something is so, then it is so, and all the opining in the world will not make it otherwise. If something is not so, then it is not so, and all the opining in the world will not make it otherwise.

I will be attacked by bigots for this message and for talking AGAINST censorship of anyone. I will be accused of being the bigot and the bad guy. But you are FREE to choose. I would not take it from you. And science has NEVER established that it should be taken from you.

Exercise your freedom. Read and think on any and every subject by any and every author you can find. But you cheat yourself if you read ONLY ONE SIDE. And you cheat others if you strive to deprive THEM of opportunity to get both sides, rather than only one side.

I wish you freedom, and hope that you will wish others freedom to learn ALL the arguments, and choose each for himself/herself.

P. S. This very day I am reading a book titled "The Beak of the Finch." It supports evolutionary theory in a way that is captivating, compelling, reasonable, rational.
It is excellently and beautifully written.

I am a Christian not by empirical certainty but because I have listened to all sides, and have found none to establish that I cannot choose for myself, and be as scientifically literate and rational and intelligent as another who chooses the other side.

Anyone who tells you you cannot believe in God and be in accordance with science is
either suffering under the delusion that his opinion is the only correct opinion, or he is a deliberate liar. I try to give the benefit of the doubt to ignorance, until established otherwise. But many, many highly intelligent Christians are in the sciences. And if you think that some of them are not under pressure from atheists who have clustered in certain academic circles, check it out. There IS pressure in some areas to shut them up, sandbag them, or run them off? Yes, there is. I know first hand of specific instances. I know some of the individuals involved. And I would NOT encourage a child from a Christian family to go where he or she cannot speak freely without having cause to regret it.

But do not believe me. Check it out for yourself. Get all the facts and then believe whomever you wish. Do whatever your conscience dictates. Be a bigot if it suits you. But if you are not, then my hope is that there are enough non-bigots in the world to keep us FREE from the few who are.

Dear reader, I believe in YOU. Most of you will find your way, no matter what I say and no matter what anyone else says.

I would die for you to be free to make any choice you chose for yourself, but not for me or for others... just for yourself.

Avatar of: Guest

Anonymous

August 24, 2012

Is it permitted to ask who decides what are the "best" comments?

Is the panel representative of the majority of U. S. citizens, most of whom are pretty decent people, and not terribly one-sided on average.

Is "best" determined by how many "likes" get voted?

Surely "best" does not mean someone in house is pushing the keys so as to support his or her personal biases.

Avatar of: Michael Cohen

Michael Cohen

Posts: 1457

September 17, 2012

What happens to these people when they enter the real world?

Avatar of: escrow

escrow

Posts: 1

September 18, 2012

Yo guys stop arguing about this science is out toreveal the facts and it pisses people off just smoke a blunt and do what u do no need to fight just convert to pastafaryanism and be done with it

Avatar of: David Hill

David Hill

Posts: 1457

September 21, 2012

Pappy tol' me that all them numbers are jus the work of the devil. Then I had som fool teacher argue agin what we all see plain as day is a dome over the Earth. I like this new law, now I kin jus stay away from dem math and science idolators.

Avatar of: Dov Henis

Dov Henis

Posts: 14

December 17, 2012

Origin And Nature Of Earth Life, An Update…

Liberate your mind from concepts dictated by religious trade-union AAAS.

1) Life is just another mass format. 2) re-comprehend natural selection. 3) natural selection is ubiquitous, for all mass formats.

Life Evolves by Naturally Selected Organic Matter

I.

Homegrown Organic Matter Found on Mars, But No Life

http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/05/homegrown-organic-matter-found-o.html?ref=em

II. EarthLife Genesis From Aromaticity/H-Bonding

http://universe-life.com/2011/09/30/earthlife-genesis-from-aromaticityh-bonding/

September 30, 2011

A.

Purines and pyrimidines are two of the building blocks of nucleic acids. Only two purines and three pyrimidines occur widely in nucleic acids.

B.

Pyrimidine is a heterocyclic aromatic organic compound similar to benzene and pyridine, containing two nitrogen atoms at positions 1 and 3 of the six-member ring.

A purine is a heterocyclic aromatic organic compound, consisting of a pyrimidine ring fused to an imidazole ring. Purines, including substituted purines and their tautomers, are the most widely distributed kind of nitrogen-containing heterocycle in nature.

Aromaticity ( Kekule, Loschmidt, Thiele) is essential for the Krebs Cycle for energy production.

C.

Natural selection is E (energy) temporarily constrained in an m (mass) format.

Natural selection is a universal ubiquitous trait of ALL mass spin formats, inanimate and animate.

Life began/evolved on Earth with the natural selection of inanimate RNA, then of some RNA nucleotides, then arriving at the ultimate mode of natural selection – self replication.

Aromaticity enables good constraining of energy and good propensity to hydrogen bonding. The address of Earth Life Genesis, of phasing from inanimate to animate natural selection, is Aromaticity.Hydrogen Bonding.

Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century)

http://universe-life.com/2012/02/03/universe-energy-mass-life-compilation/

tags: life genesis, natural selection, life mass format

========================

Earth Life

In plain English, not in academEnglish verbiage.

- Earth life, self-replicating mass format, is just another naturally selected mass format.

- The primal base organisms of Earth life are the genes, i.e. the RNA nucleotides.

- All Earth life formats are progenies of genes evolution.

- Genomes are organisms evolved, and continuously modified, by the genes as their functional templates.

- Genetics is a progeny of culture, which is reaction to circumstances.

- The drive and goal of evolution of ALL mass formats is to enhance their energy constraint, to postpone their reconversion to energy, which goes on at constant rate since the Big Bang.

Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century)

http://universe-life.com/

http://universe-life.com/2011/09/30/earthlife-genesis-from-aromaticityh-bonding/

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