Atheism explained scientifically

I’m posting this under the category of “Obama the Messiah” because of his personification of the obsolete, intellectually dinosauric 19th century beliefs of materialist “progressives”, cf the prophets Marx and Lenin.   H/T to Mark Shea, who captioned this clip:   “Trust a Python to Take Apart the Brainless Materialist Reductionism of the New Atheism”


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5 Responses to Atheism explained scientifically

  1. Jorg says:

    Quite funny, but of course, has very little to do with the reality of philosophical naturalism. By the way, as someone who is not a stranger to QM/QFT/QCD and related shenanigans, I must affirm that they in no sense undermine a naturalistic view of the Universe.

  2. Ned Kelly says:

    Welcome, Jorg!

    By the way, your avatar needs either an eye doctor or a cosmetic surgeon.

    What you call “philosophical naturalism”, or a “naturalistic view of the Universe”, is by no means inconsistent with the teachings of Roman Catholicism or of any other related traditional Christian theologies such as Orthodox Christianity or mainstream Protestantism. (I’m leaving serious heretics like Mormons and Jehovahs Witnesses out of this.) But as Catholicism is what I know best – and is after all the oldest and most sophisticated branch of Christian theology, of which mainstream Protestant theologies are derivatives and Eastern Orthodoxy is a virtual twin – I’ll address your comment from a Catholic perspective:

    The Catholic Church’s view of the “Universe” as you call it – or of “Creation” as the Church calls it – is essentially naturalistic. The principal difference between your view (or what I infer is your view) and the Church’s view, is that the Church’s view includes an acknowledgement of the “supernatural” as PART OF “the Universe”, and in fact as the foundation of the Universe.

    However, the Church teaches that Man’s peculiar qualities among all animals, are the gifts of Reason and Free Will. Thus, Man’s role as the “lord” of the Earth (or rather, as God’s steward of this Earth), is to use his reason, logic, and science and technology, as Man’s MAIN means of engaging with and experiencing the Universe, preferably in loving and responsible ways.

    Furthermore – and please correct me if I’m wrong in assuming you’re not familiar with this Catholic teaching – Catholics are admonished to refrain from dabbling in, or speculating too much about, “the supernatural”. There are many reasons for this, including the belief in supernatural intelligences (aka “angels and demons”, and the main concern is about the demons) who are literally far more intelligent than any Humans, and therefore pose spiritual AND PSYCHOLOGICAL perils to Humans who dabble too much in supernatural speculations. But even if you don’t believe in “demons”, I think you WOULD agree with me that people who speculate too much about “the supernatural” tend to become psychologically unhinged. And the Church says so too, based on practical experience of 2,000 years.

    But the MAIN reason why the Church teaches us to remain MOSTLY focused on reason, logic and science, is because the peculiar quality of Man is to be an INCARNATE spirit, who functions best when he focuses on THIS world! Now, obviously this doesn’t mean the Church teaches disregard of the supernatural, but it DOES mean the Church teaches that while we’re alive in this material world, our job – and literally our “nature” – is to engage with this material world in rational, practical and scientific ways, albeit informed by the MORAL truths taught by Christ, which cannot be derived through reason.

    Or more simply, the teaching is that MORAL truths are supernatural, but ALL OTHER TRUTHS important to Man, belong to the realm of science.

    And so I’m just suggesting that the Church does not really conflict with your belief in a “naturalistic view of the universe”, except insofar that the Church acknowledges the reality of the supernatural – and the Church teaches that “the supernatural” is MARGINAL at best, to the proper interests of Man, with the exception of Man’s supernatural engagement with Christ, whose significance is that he is, after all, a “natural” creature (“the Son of Man”) and thus he is Man’s only proper AND NATURAL doorway to the supernatural.

    In sum, the Church teaches that Man must make a scientific respect for nature, and for the truths of nature, the main focus of Man’s attention in this world. And the Church teaches that the ONLY UNNATURAL phenomena in the Universe, is willful evil.
    (Gloss: “unnatural” and “supernatural” are NOT synonyms!)

  3. Jorg says:

    Mostly agreed, except for one (quite important) point. Whence spirit? Since the assumption of an immortal spirit is not necessary to describe our function, why assume its existence? Science, in and of itself, does not specify a particular religious belief as being more “correct” than others; it follows that most theistic people believe what they do for no particularly good reason. One can hide one’s God in the gaps, but we all know where that leads.

    As far as “people who speculate too much about “the supernatural” tend to become psychologically unhinged.”, perhaps that is putting the cart before the horse! I’d venture to say that the predilection–call it “unhingement”, if you will…;)–precedes such dabblings.

  4. Ned Kelly says:

    Jorg asked, “Whence spirit?”

    That’s a qualitative question, which cannot be measured.

    The Buddha’s answer, in circa 500 BC, was his “Lotus Sermon”. The Buddha simply held up a lotus flower, for his disciples to contemplate its beauty, and that was his most important sermon which encompassed “the Universe”.

    And that’s what “spirit” is. It cannot be measured. It just is what it is, and its nature is beauty and love, in accord with nature but transcending the superstitious 19th century Darwinian concept of “Nature” as meaning nothing more than “survival of the fittest”. Later scientific discoveries have demonstrated that “nature” is far more subtle, and more personal, than what the charlatan Dawkins has called “The Selfish Gene”, and I submit to you, Mohandas Gandhi as exhibit number two, and Jesus Christ as exhibit number one.

  5. hkyson says:

    Science and Religion

    Science is different from religion. It does not pretend that it knows everything. There are even now deep questions about the origins of the universe that we don’t have answers to now though it is possible we may be able to answer some of them in the future.

    But the inability of science to provide answers to these questions does not prove that religious faith, tradition, or an ancient holy text has the ability to answer them. Science cannot prove that God does not exist, but this in no way establishes that God exists. There are millions of things whose lack of existence cannot be established.

    The philosopher Bertrand Russel had an analogy. Imagine that there is a teapot in orbit around the sun. It is impossible to prove that the teapot does not exist because it is too small to be detected by our telescopes. Nobody but a crazy person would say “Well, I’m prepared to believe in the teapot because I cannot establish that it doesn’t exist.” This means that maybe we have to be technically agnostics, but really we are all atheists about teapots with orbits around the sun.

    But now let us suppose that everybody in our society including our teachers and the sages of our tribes all had faith in a teapot that orbits the sun. Let us also suppose that stories of the teapot have come down to us for many generations as one of the traditions of our own society and there are ancient holy texts about the teapot. In this case people would say that a person who did not believe in the teapot is eccentric or mad.

    There are infinite numbers of things like celestial teapots whose lack of existence we are unable to establish. There are fairies, for example, and there are unicorns and goblins. We cannot prove that any of these creatures of the imagination do not exist in reality. But we don’t believe they exist, just as we don’t believe that the gods of the Scandinavians, for example, have any true existence.

    We are all atheists about almost all of the gods created by societies in the past. Some of us, however, take the ultimate step of believing that the god of the Jews and the Christians, like the gods of the Greeks and the Egyptians, also does not exist.

    Now here’s a version of this text in Interlingua. (For more information about Interlingua, use a search enging to search on the title “Interlingua in interlingua” or go to http://www.interlingua.com.

    Le scientia es differente del religion. Illo non pretende que illo sape toto. Il ha etiam nunc questiones profunde sur le origines del universe al quales nos nunc non ha responsas ben que il es possible que nos potera responder a alicunes de illos in le futuro.

    Ma le incapacitate del scientia de provider responsas a iste questiones non proba que le fide religiose, le tradition, o un texto sancte e ancian pote responder a illos. Le scientia non pote probar que Deo non existe, ma isto non establi de ulle maniera que Deo existe. Il ha milliones de cosas cuje existentia non pote esser establite.

    Le philosopho Bertrand Russell habeva un analogia. Imagina que il ha un theiera in orbita circum le sol. Il es impossibile probar que le theiera non existe proque illo es troppo parve pro esser detegite per nostre telescopios. Nemo excepte un folle dicerea, “Multo ben, io es preparate a creder in le theiera proque io non pote establir que illo non existe.” Isto significa que forsan nos debe esser technicamente agnosticos, ma vermente nos es omnes atheistas sur theieras con orbitas circum le sol.

    Ma que nos nunc suppone que omnes in nostre societate includente nostre professores e le sagios de nostre tribos habeva fide in un theiera que orbita le sol. Que nos anque suppone que historias del theiera ha venite usque nos trans multe generationes como un del traditiones de nostre proprie societate e que il ha textos sancte ancian sur le theiera. In iste caso le gente dicerea que un persona qui non credeva in le theiera es eccentric o folle.

    Il ha numeros infinite de cosas como theieras celestial cuje manco de existentia nos non pote establir. Il ha fees, pro exemplo, e il ha unicornios e gnomos. Nos non pote probar que iste creaturas del imagination non existe in le realitate. Ma nos non crede que illos existe exactamente como nos non crede que le deos del Scandinavos, pro exemplo, ha ulle existential ver.

    Nos es omnes atheistas sur quasi omne le deos create per societates in le passato. Alicunes de nos tamen prende le ultime passo de creder que le deo del judaeos e del christianos, como le deos del grecos e le egyptianos, anque non existe.

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