January 29, 2015

Science vs. religion? There’s actually more of a three-way split

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Science vs. religion.

Photos courtesy of Shutterstock

Science vs. religion.

(RNS) Meet the “Post-Seculars” — the one in five Americans who seem to have gone  unnoticed before in endless rounds of debates pitting science vs. religion.

They’re more strongly religious than most “Traditionals” (43 percent of Americans), and more scientifically knowledgeable than “Moderns” (36 percent) who stand on science alone, according to two sociologists’ findings in a new study.

“We were surprised to find this pretty big group (21 percent) who are pretty knowledgeable and appreciative about science and technology but who are also very religious and who reject certain scientific theories,” said Timothy O’Brien, co-author of the research study, released Thursday (Jan. 29) in the American Sociological Review.

Put another way, there’s a sizable chunk of Americans out there who are both religious and scientifically minded but who break with both packs when faith and science collide.

Post-Seculars pick and choose among science and religion views to create their own “personally compelling way of understanding the world,” said O’Brien, assistant professor at the University of Evansville in Indiana.

O’Brien and co-author Shiri Noy, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Wyoming, examined responses from 2,901 people to 18 questions on knowledge of and attitudes toward science and four religion-related questions in the General Social Surveys conducted in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

Many findings fit the usual way the science-religion divide is viewed:

— Moderns, who stand on reason, scored high on scientific knowledge and scored lowest on religion questions regarding biblical authority and the strength of their religious ties.

— Traditionals, who lean toward religion, scored lower on science facts and were least likely to agree that “the benefits of scientific research outweigh the harmful results.”

However, the data turned up a third perspective — people who defied the familiar breakdown. The authors dubbed them “Post-Secular” to jump past a popular theory that Americans are moving way from religion to become more secular, O’Brien said.

Post-Seculars — about half of whom identify as conservative Protestants — know facts such as how lasers work, what antibiotics do and the way genetics affects inherited illnesses.

But when it comes to three main areas where science and Christian-centric religious views conflict — on human evolution, the Big Bang origin of the universe and the age of the Earth — Post-Seculars break away from the pack with significantly different views from Traditionals and Moderns.

Areas where the factions are clear:

RNS science graphic by Tiffany McCallen; click to view full size

RNS science graphic by Tiffany McCallen; click to view full size

The universe began with a huge explosion:

  • Traditional:  21 percent
  • Modern: 68 percent
  • Post Secular: 6 percent

Human beings developed from earlier species of animals:

  • Traditional: 33 percent
  • Modern: 88 percent
  • Post-Secular: 3 percent

The continents have been moving for millions of years and will move in the future:

  • Traditional: 66 percent
  • Modern: 98 percent
  • Post-Secular: 80 percent

“Post-Seculars are smart. They know what scientists think. They just don’t agree on some key issues, and that has impact on their political views,” said O’Brien.

When the authors looked at views on the authority of the Bible and how strongly people said they were affiliated with their religion, Post-Seculars put the most faith in Scripture and were much more inclined to say they were strongly religious. And where science and faith conflict on hot-button issues, they side with the religious perspective.

For example, Moderns are the most supportive of embryonic stem cell research and abortion rights for women, but Post-Seculars, who are nonetheless largely positive about science and society, are more skeptical in both areas, O’Brien said.

Candidates running in the 2016 elections might take note.

Where people fall in these three groups can predict their attitudes on political issues where science and religion both have claims, O’Brien said, even after accounting for the usual suspects — social class, political ideology or church attendance.

KRE/MG END GROSSMAN

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  • Larry

    Ugh. There is no real difference between “Traditional” and “post secular”. They both feel the need to attack reason and scientific ideas. The only difference is degree and functionality in a non-fundamentalist environment.

    The alleged skepticism of the “post seculars” is not based on reason or rational thought. They are just more selective about airing their purely sectarian religious views in public. They are only selectively positive about science. Its very typically hypocritical. One wants the practical benefits of a process but none of the limitations. Post seculars want the benefits of modern science but don’t feel the need to adhere to its principles and methods. Especially when it inconveniences their religious belief.

    According to these definitions, a Young Earth Creationist would be “traditional” and an Intelligent Design proponent would be a “post secular” but the reality is they believe in the same exact thing. Only one group is better at pretending to be rational than the other.

    If one’s religious belief conflicts with scientific ideas, then they do not understand either.

  • Outrageous

    Where do Catholics fit into this? They have faith, yet also believe in the Big Bang and evolution.

  • Oh, btw, as a prophesy bearer bearing true prophesy, here’s one I predicted in 1979: From The Aquariana Key, My Biomystical Religious Conversion Experience chapter.

    Resurrection of the Dead

    “Dinosaurs haven’t become extinct. The dinosaurs who managed to get their eggs off the ground and out of harm’s way of the new little egg sucking mammals scurrying in the bushes beneath the giants, are here with us today–the birds*.

  • Folks, some of you may have noticed that I’ve come aboard RNS comment boat and am hogging the oars trying to steer the boat my way. Well, there are two basic reasons for this, one; I really was a cartoonist in my younger days and am righteously pissed off with Muhammadan madmen murdering my fellow cartoonists in France. Before I was converted to Christianity I too found a great deal to satirize in religious bunk and bullhockey being sold as “God’s Word”. So I am on jihad against Abrahamic religious madmen including the quiet ones behind the scenes causing murder and mayhem in secret, e.g. the Zionists. Reason two is I’m 70 years old and while I’ve actually blossomed in spiritual consciousness by not having public recognition for my works, some amazing stuff like the Story of Paxcalibur and the Vision of Josephine, it’s time to get this really authentically New Jewish Christianity out to the world. Christianity needs it bad as its still going on past revelation that has now been superseded by new revelations, e.g. the recovery of the lost Celestial Torah that was supposed to form the foundation of the earthly Torah. But scribes and priests of Judah couldn’t compete with professional astrologers like the Magi with their access to great architectural astrolabs while Hebrews were living in mud hovels. So they dumped the astro-theological connection to God’s Sign Language to make their own definitions they wrote so they control what they wrote as high priests. No one can control the stars and planets, at least not yet. So Celestial Torah Christianity is still pure of man-made religious agendas. This needs to be told to my fellow Jews and to the world. It makes Christianity truly universal and “fits” New Testament prophesy amazingly well despite Paulists objections following Jewish priestly custom.

  • Larry

    They would be considered “moderns”. it appears only Protestants have a problem with accepting scientific findings due to their religious faith.

    Catholics may raise issues of ethics in science but they don’t question its factual findings. Some Protestant sects feel the need for their own facts when it doesn’t gel with their beliefs.

  • MarkE

    Speaking as a descendent of the original Protestants, many Lutherans (including myself) ascribe as truth many scientific facts and theories – we believe God created humans with brains and curiosity to pursue knowledge. I agree the universe probably began with a huge explosion (what exploded and what caused it?), that evolution is supported by the fossil and biological record (it’s a method for growth and change, people), and am fully onboard with continental drift, human-exacerbated climate change, necessary immunizations to eradicate viral diseases, and the freedom to make decisions about personal health and well-being issues (whether to carry an embryo to term, using genetic testing to learn about inheriting medical predispositions, and to end one’s life in face of excruciating terminal diagnoses). And I will never be persuaded that I am not a Christian through and through.

  • I’ve read this article twice and I can’t get my head around what these statistics are saying. ‘Post-secular’ sounds ridiculous since society never arrived as ‘secular’ in the first place.

    We know from other research that wherever religion is strong education is pathetically awful. That should be enough evidence to do whatever we can to decrease the influence of religion everywhere.

  • “And I will never be persuaded that I am not a Christian through and through.”

    Fair enough.
    But I wonder why some of us grant a religion (which is just a manmade idea) to define who we are. If we follow evidence, the manmade ideas are generally the most weakly defended and often are reduced to clutter.

    Think of how easy it is to go from Protestant to Unitarian to Evangelical. Happens all the time with people who get married and convert for their spouse’s sake. Yet to realize that none of these ideas have any lasting credence is somehow forbidden? Makes me doubt that religion has any good use to society or individuals.

  • Sinbad

    There’s a vast body of literature showing the pro-social effects of religion, which will lead you to change your views on the matter, unless of course, you’re anti-science.

  • Larry

    Protestant is such a wide category, it runs the gamut of beliefs (about 500+ sub-sects and counting). But if one was to classify Creationists they would be entirely from that category of sects. Neither Catholicism, Orthodox, or Coptic sects buy into it.

    Those who think your agreement with those scientific ideas is antithetical to Christian belief are a small, but vocal subset of Protestant Christianity. Ones who are delusional enough to pretend they speak for all of Christendom.

  • Larry

    “There’s a vast body of literature showing the pro-social effects of religion”

    You read about it all the time in the Middle East, Africa, Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka… 🙂

    I think the word you were looking for is not “pro-social”, its “tribal”.

  • “Traditionals, who lean toward religion, scored lower on science facts”, and yet were much more likely than Post-Seculars to accept the Big Bang theory and human evolution.

    Something is amiss here.

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  • Sinbad:

    “pro-social effects of religion”

    It might be argued that the Heroin trade has some pro-social effects too. But that doesn’t mean it is good or desirable.

    Throwing virgins into volcanoes seemed to have pro-social effects also – the priests believed is stopped volcanoes from erupting.

    Far better are the pro-social effects of science. Contraception for example.

  • Chaplain Martin

    Larry,
    To quote: “If one’s religious belief conflicts with scientific ideas, then they do not understand either.” It might be a bit of an oversimplification, but I generally agree. Post secular seems to be making the statement: “I believe in the advances of science until it conflicts with my overly simple understanding of the Bible, and the Christian Religion.” I don’t expect every Christian to take every bit of the theory of evolution as proven fact, there is too much learn and research. In fact nothing wrong with a questioning mind religious or not.

  • There is no observing evidence about the links in evolution. There is evidence for “transfiguration” and metamorphosis. There is evidence for “evolution” in short span of time. There is no conclusive evidence about the reasons why monkeys, fish and other animals who have yet to evolve in the world!

  • What kind of PHD rejects evolution!?
    Ridiculous.

  • “In fact nothing wrong with a questioning mind religious or not.”

    Then who could reject Evolution? seriously – this is childish.
    That is like rejecting the fact that water freezes at 32 degrees.

    Evolution is proven completely. Humans share common ancestors with all living things.

  • Bob

    I am a catholic and I agree with you. Science and religion should not mix. The earth is old and we evolved does not even conflict with the theology of the pope or the Archbishop of Canterbury or for that matter most Christians. The big bang theory was developed by a catholic priest. You cannot pick and choose with science.

  • Tony

    If there is an infinite possibility for something to happen it is inevitable despite the odds.

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  • “You cannot pick and choose with science” you are correct: science is real, tangible, verifiable, empirical, reasonable, quantifiable and true. Religeon, on the other hand, is pure myth. Yes, (catholic) George Lemaitre was the first to understand the expansion of the universe, later elaborated by Hubble, so what? The old saying is: you can not talk a Christian out of his religeon as he was never talked into it. Theists have a psychological block against anything that contravenes their myth which is why they back peddle whenever science trumps their ancient scriptures. (Whatever science has yet to understand-insert God here). To say your a “catholic” is simply to admit you are blinded by the inculcated mythological nonsense of your childhood that you are unable, or unwilling to jettison from your psyche. Learn something here:https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AjHk9nKUNNs

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  • EngineerSenseHere

    This article attempted to explain an important fact, but didn’t do it very well.

    The fact is that there is a large body of scientists who believe in God and are religious. I am in that category. Many atheists just assume anybody religious doesn’t believe in evolution or rejects the big bang, etc. But most scientists believe in a supreme Creator. Einstein and Newton certainly did.

    If you don’t believe it can be done, I’ll give you this challenge. Name one thing you think I believe that isn’t true.

  • Engineer,

    “But most scientists believe in a supreme Creator. Einstein and Newton certainly did.”

    First, “Most Scientists” do not believe in a creator.
    90% of the National Academy of Sciences (more than 3000 scientists)
    are Atheist. This is a well-known study by pew research.

    Einstein certainly did not believe in God. He was an Atheist who believed in ‘spinoza’s god’ – which was NOT a god but a metaphorical concept similar to saying that America is a ‘Melting Pot’. This is what most Atheists call ‘god’.

    Newton had crackpot ideas.
    But anyone who rejects Evolution is going against science. Anyone who claims a ‘supreme creator’ has the burden of proving it.

  • Larry

    Not one in a scientific field. My guess would be Divinity or Art History.

  • Strato

    To Stephen Lewis,

    With all respect, what you promulgate says nothing for the veracity of your esoteric knowledge, and a great deal about you. I don’t have grandiose notions with the imperative to spread or defend them as I am simply an atheist.

    Showing intellectual courage is an existential responsibility one has to oneself, How are we seeking to influence young minds? This is a moral question carrying an onerous burden. They must be equipped with the tools for critical thinking, healthy scepticism, be enabled to understand how substantive knowledge is obtained.

    That is through empiricism. Truth-claims or hypotheses must be vulnerable to Popperian falsifiability, be testable to destruction, to be worth even considering. The notion of the ‘soul’, a spiritual entity is conveniently exempted from the falsifiability criterion, and so the notion has no relevance. I will make so bold as to assert, the material is all there is, and which can be universally experienced, by the senses, ultimately. Only observations which survive peer review, independent experimental testing survive and get added to cumulative knowledge, tentatively. Do not trivialise the really hard work, training and intelligence applied in gaining scientific understanding, enabling progress, like the computer you probably take for granted.

    In scholarship such as doing authentic historiography on the actual existence of Jesus, Abraham or Moses for example, or methodology used in the social sciences, these disciplines are becoming ever more rigorous and evidence based.

    Where’s your evidence?

    Critical thinking is protective of one’s mental health. Cheers.

  • “Do not trivialise the really hard work, training and intelligence applied in gaining scientific understanding, enabling progress, like the computer you probably take for granted.”

    Bravo. Well said.

  • Strato

    Love your work Max.
    I am on the Atheist Foundation of Australia Forums.
    Cheers.

  • The article describes people who, when some religions make unscientific physical claims, reject science. The article fails to describe those persons who, confronting the same questions, reject the unscientific claims of some religions while still remaining theistic.

    Many notable religious denominations embrace science and evolution; the Roman Catholic Church being only one example. (Of course, not all self-declaring Roman Catholics will agree with church policy but this is the official stance from Rome.) As both an astrophysicist specializing in time series analysis (read: professional evolutionist) and a Lutheran Lay Minister (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which makes no unscientific physical claims), I am able to personally attest and represent that such persons are active in the scientific and faith communities.

    Sadly, this article appears to perpetuate the false dichotomy between science and religion by failing to include theists whose religion does not make claims regarding physical science.

  • Larry

    The whole issue itself shows a clear Fundamentalist Protestant bias and perspective. Even to the point of labeling very selectively sectarian views under the aegis of “religion”. This is despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of religions and sects do not have a problem with accepting scientific ideas.

    I find the whole approach typical to the kind of arrogance of such sects. They pretend to speak for all of Christianity and all religions in general. That unless one follows their beliefs, it is not “real”.

  • Paul A. Martin

    I would argue that there is a fourth category, those who believe in both religion and evolution. Perhaps it is small, but it is my entire church (Episcopal). And, our belief in evolution is not limited to that of scientists and engineers. For instance, my wife is an artist and a writer.

    Genesis is not a story about how God created the earth. It is a story about who God is, and how different he is from other stories of creation. More specifically, the first chapter of Genesis is based on the Babylonian creation story. It is built to make fun of the Babylonian religion, and to show how different Jewish beliefs were. The concept of a god as a creator was universal at that time. I don’t think anyone of that era (perhaps 8th or 9th century BCE) cared how the world was made. That was not the point, and is never discussed in the Old Testament.

    Scientists have their own problem. The professionals in biology have the highest percentage of atheists, and chemistry is very close to that. It would be difficult to make a living in the science community without believing the basic scientific principles which support evolution. The problem is biggest in biology, where evolution is a fundamental principal. Yet it is physics that created the big bang theory, and calculates the age of the universe.

    One of the problems that scientists face is that Catholics, Lutherans, Episcopalians, and other churches have not focused advertisements and public statements on evolution vs. creationism. The public arguments are only made by extremist creationists. Public arguments in favor of creationism are most largely made by atheists. The public makes the most obvious choice, and I cannot blame them. There is an alternative sitting right in the middle, and we need to be speaking publicly about that opportunity.

  • Stephen Lewis, sequester your mustard and abolish your putrid leotards. Don’t obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent. Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently.

    So there brown stare. Feed your inner walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril. Think about how you can stripe the sea.

    Regale the storm to those who (6) would thump the parrot with the armband. Corner the market on vestiges of the apparent closure but seek not the evidential circumstance. Therein you can find indignant mountains of pigs and apples. Descend eloquently as you debate the ceiling of your warning fulcrum. Vacate the corncob profusely and and don’t dote on the pancreas.

    Next up, control your wood. Have at the cat with your watch on the fore. Aft! Smarties (12)! Rome wasn’t kevetched in an autumn nightie. (42) See yourself for the turntable on the escalator. Really peruse the garage spider definitely again again with brown. Now we have an apparent congestion, so be it here. Just a moment is not a pod of beef for the ink well nor can it be (4) said that Karen was there in the millpond.

    Garbage out just like the candle in the kitty so. Go, go, go until the vacuum meets the upward vacation. Sell the yellow. Then trim the bus before the ten cheese please Louise. Segregate from the koan and stew the ship vigorously.

    And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

  • Stephen Lewis, sequester your mustard and abolish your putrid leotards. Don’t obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent. Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently.

    So there brown stare. Feed your inner walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril. Think about how you can stripe the sea.

    Regale the storm to those who (6) would thump the parrot with the armband. Corner the market on vestiges of the apparent closure but seek not the evidential circumstance. Therein you can find indignant mountains of pigs and apples. Descend eloquently as you debate the ceiling of your warning fulcrum. Vacate the corncob profusely and and don’t dote on the pancreas.

    Next up, control your wood. Have at the cat with your watch on the fore. Aft! Smarties (12)! Rome wasn’t kevetched in an autumn nightie. (42) See yourself for the turntable on the escalator. Really peruse the garage spider definitely again again with brown. Now we have an apparent congestion, so be it here. Just a moment is not a pod of beef for the ink well nor can it be (4) said that Karen was there in the millpond.

    Garbage out just like the candle in the kitty jar so. Go, go, go until the vacuum meets the upward vacation. Sell the yellow. Then trim the bus before the ten cheese please Louise. Segregate from the koan and stew the ship vigorously.

    And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

  • Paul A. Martin, gabblefuzzit. Sequester your mustard and abolish your putrid leotards. Don’t obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent. Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently.

    So there brown stare. Feed your inner walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril. Think about how you can stripe the sea.

    Regale the storm to those who (6) would thump the parrot with the armband. Corner the market on vestiges of the apparent closure but seek not the evidential circumstance. Therein you can find indignant mountains of pigs and apples. Descend eloquently as you debate the ceiling of your warning fulcrum. Vacate the corncob profusely and and don’t dote on the pancreas.

    Next up, control your wood. Have at the cat with your watch on the fore. Aft! Smarties (12)! Rome wasn’t kevetched in an autumn nightie. (42) See yourself for the turntable on the escalator. Really peruse the garage spider definitely again again with brown. Now we have an apparent congestion, so be it here. Just a moment is not a pod of beef for the ink well nor can it be (4) said that Karen was there in the millpond.

    Garbage out just like the candle in the kitty so. Go, go, go until the vacuum meets the upward vacation. Sell the yellow. Then trim the bus before the ten cheese please Louise. Segregate from the koan and stew the ship vigorously.

    And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

  • @Jill,

    “Regale the storm to those who (6) would thump the parrot with the armband. Corner the market on vestiges of the apparent closure”

    A perfect example of the diaphanous corrugations pontificated from whisps aft of the mast as in, creaking embers of chortled oak, fleshwise punished and thrust anew through tripping rails of skulduggery. Who would sweeten not the plants of gardens old and webbed with spidered songs and speckled and red-footed geckos. 🙂

  • @Paul Martin,

    “The public makes the most obvious choice, and I cannot blame them. There is an alternative sitting right in the middle, and we need to be speaking publicly about that opportunity.”

    I don’t see what is gained by sticking a god onto something
    which appears to not need it. An enormous amount of BS would have to be produced (I’m sure theologians are working on it somewhere) to support the idea that a God exists despite the obvious evidence that no god is apparently at work.

    This is where religion should die off like any other falsified hypothesis.

    If there is no evidence for a claim, it is just mischief to pretend it exists. That is what Theologians do and we need them to quit that “work.”

    The paradox of our era is the increase in science
    and the breathtaking increase in ignorance about science (anti-vaxxers, Creationist nonsense, GMO conspiracy nuts).

    None of this is helped by talking about ‘god’ – a primitive fable of a non-existent fairy from ancient stories.

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  • Jill, Chill your jets, honey-suck. I am on board the stellar rocket to value village of Celestial mallrats delights and you are welcome to join when you cast away former bilbo bimboisms and regale the heavenly Signs of singularity, God’s Sign-ature in the nightly skies. I could go on and on but alas, I have work to do tearing out the terrors or tares from the Garden so that the good nourishing spiritual crop can grow.

    Strato, same old athiest dribble, dude but nicely phrased. Still the athiest Fatal Flaw always exists, doesn’t it? No actual experience with true spiritual consciousness yet a whole lot of opinion about it by atheists not understanding basic logic requires experience with the subject matter one tries to be an authority about.

  • Stephen:

    “No actual experience with true spiritual consciousness yet a whole lot of opinion about it by atheists”

    I’m fascinated by your astounding lack of discernment.
    You have no personal experience with Allah – but you deny him.
    You have no personal experience with UFO abductions – but you deny they are real.
    You have no personal experience with Zeus – yet you deny it is the real god!

    And you have the gall to accuse others of being ignorant or blind because they do not have a special experience with YOUR particular spiritual BS? Which you claim is superior to all others?

    Selfishness is truly baked into religion.

  • Ahmad Kashmiri

    The following book is a useful read:
    The Bible, the Quran and Science
    http://www.islamicbulletin.org/free_downloads/quran/bible_quran_science.pdf

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  • You Are A Mad Kashmiri

    The bible and the quran don’t fit science well no matter how hard you try to spin it otherwise. I’ll see your cognitive dissonance and raise you a fossil record.

  • It’s true, Ahmad. If you try to use Muhammad’s 7th Century science knowledge to go up against modern science you only fall victim to the reason we should never allow ancient Scriptures to bamboozle us. Logic informs the intelligent person that nobody can freeze knowledge acquired by human beings at any one place in time. Muhammad tried to do this by successfully turning millions of ignorant believers into dummies by installing his words and his words alone into their heads five times a day. This massive brainwashing works to make Muhammadan clones as they are taught never to go against their Idol’s words. In short, Muhammad idolators cannot think rationally anymore, not until they stop the brainwashing and look critically at Muhammad’s belief system–which is pure religious totalitarian fascism killing personal freedoms and destroying intelligent thinking as like the RCC in times of Galileo and Bruno, Muhammadan societies will not tolerate any knowledge that contradicts the Idols, Muhammad and his book.

    No, science and Muhammad don’t mix any better than science and fundamentalist Evangelicalism mix. Celestial Torah Christianity, having no dog in the organized religions warfare scenario, is completely neutral and let’s people decide for themselves about spiritual reality of God being real or not.

  • guest

    Sort of like how evolutionists who claim that life formed out of random chemicals has the burden of proving it.
    Funny enough, none of your 90% atheist scientists can recreate this seemingly random event. And there is zero evidence of lifeforms spontaneously existing of the nonliving earthly substances. So the evolutionists meet this roadblock by saying nothing and hoping nobody notices. Sadly, it’s working.

  • Evolution is not ‘random chemicals.’

    Besides your argument boils down to this:
    “I don’t know how the universe started therefor I know – God did it”

    Why stop at one God? Why not replace your ignorance of science with 20 gods or 110? or 20 leprechauns? What tells you only one god did it?

    You are not educated about science. That doesn’t mean everyone else is in your situation. Your situation is sadly very common in America.
    Not knowing science is nothing to be proud of.

  • Rob Bane

    This is a criminal misuse of pie-charts.

  • Stephen Lewis

    Jill, chill, your jealousy is showing. Several bimbos like Celestial Torah Christianity, you could be one too if only you’d stop and think first before lashing out against new to you ideas you haven’t a clue about, not ever even thinking of researching astro-theology, that effort now involving many professional historians who don’t agree with your slander of how ancient peoples created their religious frameworks using solar and astral measurements and astrological meanings.

  • Stephen, really, even bimbos don’t fall for your spaced out celestial nonsense. Go find a new schtick. You suck bigtime.

  • Stephen Lewis, your obese nasal drip is not sentient no matter how voluminous. Sequester your mustard and abolish your putrid leotards. Don’t obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent. Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently.

    So there brown stare. Feed your inner walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril. Think about how you can stripe the sea.

    Regale the storm to those who (6) would thump the parrot with the armband. Corner the market on vestiges of the apparent closure but seek not the evidential circumstance. Therein you can find indignant mountains of pigs and apples. Descend eloquently as you debate the ceiling of your warning fulcrum. Vacate the corncob profusely and and don’t dote on the pancreas.

    Next up, control your wood. Have at the cat with your watch on the fore. Aft! Smarties (12)! Rome wasn’t kevetched in an autumn nightie. (42) See yourself for the turntable on the escalator. Really peruse the garage spider definitely again again with brown. Now we have an apparent congestion, so be it here. Just a moment is not a pod of beef for the ink well nor can it be (4) said that Karen was there in the millpond.

    Garbage out just like the candle in the kitty so. Go, go, go until the vacuum meets the upward vacation. Sell the yellow. Then trim the bus before the ten cheese please Louise. Segregate from the koan and stew the ship vigorously.

    And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

  • Stephen Lewis, collapse your elaboration more diligently. Sequester your mustard and abolish your putrid leotards. Don’t obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent. Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently.

    So there brown stare. Feed your inner walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril. Think about how you can stripe the sea.

    Regale the storm to those who (6) would thump the parrot with the armband. Corner the market on vestiges of the apparent closure but seek not the evidential circumstance. Therein you can find indignant mountains of pigs and apples. Descend eloquently as you debate the ceiling of your warning fulcrum. Vacate the corncob profusely and and don’t dote on the pancreas.

    Next up, control your wood. Have at the cat with your watch on the fore. Aft! Smarties (12)! Rome wasn’t kevetched in an autumn nightie. (42) See yourself for the turntable on the escalator. Really peruse the garage spider definitely again again with brown. Now we have an apparent congestion, so be it here. Just a moment is not a pod of beef for the ink well nor can it be (4) said that Karen was there in the millpond.

    Garbage out just like the candle in the kitty so. Go, go, go until the vacuum meets the upward vacation. Sell the yellow. Then trim the bus before the ten cheese please Louise. Segregate from the koan and stew the ship vigorously.

    And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

  • Larry

    Evolution is not a belief, it is a scientific theory. To attack it you need scientific evidence and methods. It does not get challenged with rhetorical arguments and displays of ignorance. Your inability to grasp and accept it is irrelevant. Your approval is not required.

    What you call evolutionist is in reality just scientists and people with an honest understanding of science.

    Your religious belief neither provides answers or leads to any knowledge gained. It is merely narcissistic dishonesty. The unviverse doesn’t conform to your ideas so it must be wrong.

  • Stephen, seriously, even bimbos don’t fall for your spaced out celestial nonsense. Go find a new schtick. You suck bigtime.

  • Atheist Max, indeed, so it is pontificated. May your musical elephants have good health and long lives. 🙂

  • Jack

    Max, there’s an obvious problem with the study purportedly showing that 90% of NAS scientists are atheists:

    It shows nothing of the kind.

    Here is what they were polled on:

    I believe in a God in intellectual and effective communication with humankind, i.e., a God to whom one might pray in expectation of receiving an answer. By ‘answer’, I mean more than the subjective psychological effects of prayer.

    Rejecting the above statement does not mean one is an atheist. It simply means one does not believe in a personal God with whom one can communicate.

    That leaves open all kinds of possibilities….mostly revolving around deism, a believe in an impersonal God who, while creating the universe, has no direct dealings with people, since He is completely transcendent. Since the Enlightenment, this has been an especially popular view among scientists who are theists. Deists believe that the idea of the infinite and the finite having a conversation is impossibe.

    Ironically, Albert Einstein, whom you cite, would fit into this category. While he insisted he believed in a God and was no atheist, he evidently did not believe in a personal God, who answered prayer. He, too, was evidently a deist.

  • Jack

    Strato, I agree with you on intellectual rigor and evidence-based methodology, but when it comes to historiography, you might be surprised that what’s needed for refutation of claims such as Jesus’ existence is not the absence of corroboration, but the presence of contradiction. Put another way, once a document mentions the existence of a person, the tentative conclusion is that the person existed until we find either contradictions that are relevant and material within the document itself or contradictions between the document and other documents which specifically refute or contradict its claim.

    Historical evidence operates similarly to legal evidence. Just substitute witnesses for documents; the principle is largely the same. When witnesses are sworn in and give testimony, they are presumed to be telling the truth until proven otherwise. Even if a witness is the only witness, the premise is that the witness is factually correct unless the testimony is contradicted internally, by other witnesses, or by already-acknowledged facts.

  • Jack

    Max, your premise that God’s existence can be falsified scientifically is simply not the case. The question of His existence is by definition beyond scientific inquiry. That is why one can be a scientist and be a theist, an agnostic, or an atheist. Science’s realm concerns matter and energy; it cannot tell us whether there is or is not a Being beyond its realm. And for the same reason, it cannot speak to the question of whether human beings have souls.

  • Jack

    Max, it’s impossible to know from the other person’s post whether or not he is scientifically literate. As the article notes, “post-seculars” are fairly literate scientifically, yet choose answers that are often at odds with scientific consensus. Thus if they’re wrong, it isn’t due to lack of scientific literacy, but to their own personal world views that clash with the consensus.

    And likewise, regurgitating what science says does not prove scientific literacy. A child can be taught to memorize conclusions, but that doesn’t mean the child understands. The key is an understanding of the concepts and being able to speak intelligently about them.

  • Wayne4

    Not exactly true, Jack. We can falsify certain claimed characteristic sets of claimed gods such as the Christian one by logic alone, and that’s before we even bring in science. Start with omnipotence, add claimed omnibenevolence, and the whole Christian charade collapses on its own nonsense.Might help if the Christian stories in, well, pick whatever language, were more self-consistent too, but they aren’t.

    And then there’s the issue of a god that can’t show up more than once in thousands of years, or not at all.

  • Jack

    I don’t agree with Stephen on much of anything, but to be fair to him, the above post doesn’t read like his. And the fact that the poster misspells the key word, “atheism” not once but twice is interesting and perhaps telling. It would make sense if the poster (or poser) were himself an atheist.

  • Jack

    That last post by Stephen sounds a lot like an earlier one by Atheist Max:

    Atheist Max
    January 31, 2015 at 1:03 pm
    @Jill,

    “Regale the storm to those who (6) would thump the parrot with the armband. Corner the market on vestiges of the apparent closure”

    A perfect example of the diaphanous corrugations pontificated from whisps aft of the mast as in, creaking embers of chortled oak, fleshwise punished and thrust anew through tripping rails of skulduggery. Who would sweeten not the plants of gardens old and webbed with spidered songs and speckled and red-footed geckos. 🙂

  • Jack

    Wayne4, we can debate that, of course, but I specifically restricted my post to the question of whether a general belief that there exists a deity can be falsified scientifically….I did not address the question of whether beliefs in specific deities in specific religions can be falsified — scientifically or otherwise.

  • Jack

    Jerry, science is limited to studies and methodologies pertaining to matter and energy. By definition, it cannot tell us whether or not something or someone exists beyond that realm — whether there is or there isn’t a deity or deities.

  • Jack,

    “Einstein … was no Atheist”

    Good grief.

    A Jesuit priest claimed he had spoken to Einstein and claimed exactly what you claimed – that Einstein believed in a God.
    Guy Raner evidently participated in spreading that lie during WW2.

    But Mr. Raner received an angry letter from Einstien:

    “I received your letter of June 10th. I have never talked to a Jesuit priest in my life and I am astonished by the audacity to tell such lies about me. From the viewpoint of a Jesuit preist I am, of course, and always have been an Atheist.”
    – Albert Einstein, Letter to Guy H. Raner Jr., July 2, 1945

    If Einstein repeatedly uses the word Atheist
    to describe himself who are you to say otherwise?

  • @Wayne, well said. Exactly so.

    @Jack – The God described in the Bible is simply not possible.
    All-knowing and All-powerful cannot coexist.

    If a God is all knowing then he knows what he will do tomorrow.
    If God is all powerful he can change his mind. Which means he can’t know what he will do.

    The claims about God as they appear in the Bible are not merely contradictory – they are falsifiable.

    Some god may exist somewhere – but not the one of the Bible. Unless the Bible is completely wrong about that God.

  • Deism has no religion and it claims no God lives.
    There is no name for the deist god and it makes no demands.

    “Defining the essence of English deism is a formidable task. Like priestcraft, atheism, and freethinking, deism was one of the dirty words of the age. Deists were stigmatized – often as atheists – by their Christian opponents. …Leslie Stephen argued in retrospect, the Deists shared so many fundamental rational suppositions with their orthodox opponents… that it is practically impossible to distinguish between them. …..what sets the Deists apart from even their most latitudinarian Christian contemporaries is their desire to lay aside scriptural revelation as rationally incomprehensible, and thus useless, or even detrimental, to human society and to religion. While there may possibly be exceptions, … most Deists, especially as the eighteenth century wears on, agree that revealed Scripture is nothing but a joke or “well-invented flam.” About mid-century, John Leland, in his historical and analytical account of the movement [View of the Principal Deistical Writers], squarely states that the rejection of revealed Scripture is the characteristic element of deism, a view further codified by such authorities as Ephraim Chambers and Samuel Johnson. … “DEISM,” writes Stephens bluntly, “is a denial of all reveal’d Religion.”
    —James E. Force, Introduction (1990) to An Account of the Growth of Deism in England (1696) by William Stephens

    Deism is Atheism. And nothing more than saying “I believe a god started the universe and then left it to run itself – and REASON is our method wherever it leads.”

    There is no worship.
    No afterlife.
    There are no rituals.
    There are no deist churches.
    There is no set of rules, no dogma.
    No ‘plan’.

    Deism is not a belief worthy of being called ‘a belief.’
    It is far more likely to be a cover for an Atheist who doesn’t want to be tagged as a non-believer.

    You are free to believe that Deists are not Atheists. Help yourself.
    But Deism does not have ‘faith’ in a god. No ‘faith’, no prayers to a living god and no belief in a living god.

    That is Atheism – simple non belief.
    Atheism is not a claim that gods are impossible.
    Atheism is simply non belief in any gods.

  • JACK,

    “A god…who is completely transcendent.”

    Completely meaningless. White noise.
    Such a god would be a nothing.

  • Jack,

    “science is limited to studies and methodologies pertaining to matter and energy….it cannot tell us whether or not something or someone exists beyond that realm — whether there is or there isn’t a deity or deities.”

    Which is why nobody should believe in a supernatural realm.

    Because if the God does not interact with the material world (where we live and where things can be measured) then it is worthless and irrelevant to our lives. And if it does interact with this world there should be a measurable fingerprint of this god somewhere – but there isn’t.

  • Stephen,
    There is so much white noise (hollow claims) in your posts
    I cannot get through them:

    “There will be still another religious perspective building up across the intellectual world”
    Not buying it.

    “Animal people rule the news using modern weapons for their teeth and claws”
    What?

    “As a Jewish Christian prophesy bearer I predict the End Times”
    Not original. You may have heard that this ‘prophesy’ has been going around a lot for a while now.

  • Wayne4

    I’m beginning to think that Jack is a parody.

  • Wayne4

    Did you have a point, for a change?

  • Wayne4

    Thanks, Max.

  • Rick67

    An interesting article. I am disappointed post-seculars do not seem to be much more than religious fundamentalists who know their science. They do *not* seem to break past the tiresome science-versus-religion (which almost invariably seems to mean some form of biblical Christianity) debate.

    The last quote from O’Brien is irritating and represents the common confusion moderns make between science and scientism. Stem cell research and elective abortion are not simply matters of science. They also involve ethics. Science does not in and of itself say “use embryos for research and abort fetuses”. Some people might say “we should do those things”. Okay fine. But spare us the lazy assumption that Science says so. Just because we *can* do something does not mean we should.

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  • Rick67

    Thanks for making this comment. Especially appreciate the last paragraph (which raises some interesting questions about how and why the public debate appears thus). My Christian faith is of a more traditional-orthodox-evangelical flavor and yet I have no problem accepting many of the findings of “modern science”. (Which is not to ignore that sometimes there is some confusion about exactly what those findings are and who is making them.)

  • snsar asiejd

    If your litmus test for saying that they attack reason is that they don’t have the same conclusions as you, which is the gist I get, then you are attacking reason yourself. I get this gist because you said, “scientific ideas”, which indicates the Atheist/Agnostic view and conclusions drawn from science. For instance the multi-verse is claimed to be a scientific idea by Atheist/Agnostic proponents but to disagree with that is not an attack of reason or science, though it could be called an attack on a scientific idea. Attacking those Atheistic scientific ideas is probably the route you go to then conclude that they attack reason. In reality, the multi-verse is pure speculation that the Atheist world view needs to have to try and explain the actual science that points to creation i.e. BBT.

    The multi-verse is no more a scientific idea than the God hypothesis, when it comes to models of the universe’s origin that make sense out of the data.

    //They are only selectively positive about science.//

    This probably means that they agree with the scientific method and the use of logic to interpret evidence but they come to some different conclusions about some of the data than the Atheist does. This is exactly mirrored in the way Atheists interpret the data and then come to Atheistic conclusions like the aforementioned multi-verse idea. As long as a person agrees with the sceintific method, the scope that science can truly speak to and the logical process, then they are positive about science end of story. To label them selective because they have different conclusions is to be a hypocrite yourself. Scientists have different conclusions sometimes.

    //Post seculars want the benefits of modern science but don’t feel the need to adhere to its principles and methods.//

    I get the sense that you think that these post-seculars go against the principles of science when they say that the supernatural exists. An adherence to science methods and principles is not equivalent to the philosophical position of scientific naturalism, which states that science is the only validation of truth. Science cannot even validate that statement and so it is self defeating. One can adhere to the principles of science and also reject the philosophical position of scientific naturalism. They are not add odds.

    I know that I did a lot of interpreting your gist. Feel free to correct what I mistook.

  • annie9656

    I once read, “A scientist who is religious is really an engineer, not a scientist.” Could be a very good engineer. It seems to me that when science butts heads with religion, you have to make a choice.

  • annie9656

    I think saying evolution is a theory is incorrect. It is a known fact… what’s theoretical (and evolving) is our knowledge of just HOW it happened.

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  • ReligiousModern

    A few questions for Athiests and non-religious scientists:

    What are the unproved assumptions that are the basis of your practice? Such as the conviction that truth is worth persuing, and worth promulgating?

    What are the conclusions beyond reason that come either before or after your reasoning? Such as, life is valuable and suffering should not be inflicted on others? Or based on this, that some of the products made possible by modern science should not be used, such as weapons of mass destruction and certain chemicals which cause great destruction to the environment?

    Do you think that people who are not trained in scientific thought should still respect the conclusions of the scientific community? How are these ideas best communicated? Most of us do not have direct access to the data or the technical reasoning supporting global warming and its eventual effects. Yet it is very important that we get the big picture, which can be expressed in a very large yet simple story. Which most of us will have to accept on the basis of something resembling faith.

    And what are your reasons for doing what you do outside of your practice? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Why do you treat the people you meet with respect and decency, if you do? And if not, why not? Why do you love those who are close to you? Why are you concerned even with people that you will never meet?

    Are you willing to accept that this marvelous 13.8 billion year experiment is without meaning, and that your own experience is simply a self-sustaining illusion produced by the patterned firing of billions of synapses that may result in other biological events that will allow for another generation to also think it is experiencing something significant?

    My point is that even many athiests and non-religious scientists seem to live by something resembling a religion, even if you find it necessary to reject most of the myth and tradition that has been used to represent some of the same convictions that you still live by.

  • Alan

    There is no evidence in your post that you have even a cursory understanding of what the theory of evolution is, the evidence for it and the unassailable conclusions drawn from that evidence which include the fact (not theory or hypothesis or guess) that human beings share a common ancestor with all living creatures, most recently with Chimpanzees, Gorillas and Orangutan.

  • Alan

    Huh, did you read the article? The evidence it provides supports that assumption that religious people educated in science don’t believe in evolution and reject the big bang – heck, it is the only thing it provides evidence for.

  • Hubert Fitts

    Based on your knowledge of the general theory of evolution=particle to people,if a dead person was placed in the” primodial soup” to seed it, when would you expect life to emerge 1) a million years 2) 500,000 yrs. 3) almost instantly?

  • Hubert Fitts

    The actually debate should be the theories of Darwin vs the teachings of Jesus Christ. Science should be more clearly branched as to operational science and origin science. It is the origin science by the model of particle to people and the model of special creation that holds the clash of the worldviews and passions. Shifting the meaning of evolution causes most of the confusion. We all observe present day changes. It is the interpretation of the evidences of the past that is disputed. Presuppositions color these interpretations. That is the way humans are.

  • jassiem scott

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  • Jassiem Scott

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  • save me from this crisis please i have been disowned and my mother beats me everyday why dosent any one love me

  • jassiem scott

    Can someone help me! There is this girl, named Megan, who I love with all my heart! If only I could stop watching hentai and just OPEN MY EYES!!!

  • josh hobbs

    James just makes me so wet, every night I crave him to the point of my climax !!!

  • amahri williams

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  • Angelpoetheart

    How delightful to read all these fun and entertaining notations, especially those by Atheist Max and Jill.
    Why is it not possible to think in terms of evolution and religion both? Is paradise on this planet? Were Adam and Eve the first man and woman or first man and woman with souls? I know right from wrong in my heart. Does everyone? No. We have proven that again and again. Some people have difficulty with right and wrong and we call them psychopaths. They imitate empathy well like parrots imitate language, and still they do not truly feel a concern for others as they just don’t have the ability.
    How can we know for sure there is a God? Because E really does equal MC2. Energy is, was, and ever will be. The same goes for love. No matter how much we try to deny it, even the hardest criminal finds it. That is God. God has a true ability to change things. That is love. That is the energy of God. It’s not a fairy tale, it’s reality and you cannot prove God does not exist. Sorry.

  • Bob, Unfortunately the clash remains, even with liberal Catholics like you. Science says both transubstantiation and parthenogenesis never happen.They are impossible according to what we know about physics, chemistry, and biology. The cracker and wine’s molecules do not change to those of flesh and blood and virgin births don’t happen in humans. Those are deal breaker tenets of the Catholic Church. If you think transubstantiation is merely a metaphor, you are a Protestant. And if you fully understand the virgin birth as described only in Matthew and Luke is a myth, it is difficult to call yourself a Christian. You are correct one cannot pick and choose with science. All religions make empirical claims falsified by science. You cant have it both ways. You seem to be avoiding the same cognitive dissonance the Post-Seculars do by compartmentalizing your beliefs away from each other, which all religionists must do to maintain supernatural beliefs such as yours.

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