Christianity and science

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nobspeople
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Christianity and science

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Post by nobspeople »

Christians don't seem to have any problems believing in the science that created the computer they're typing on. Or phone they use. TV they watch. Yet some don't believe science that thwarts their understanding of, or causes issues with, their religion (evolution, abortion issues, homosexuality, etc).

It seems science is OK so long as it doesn't interfere with their beliefs that come from a book written by long, dead men, edited by other men (all of which were imperfect) about a perfect (many say) being.

For discussion:
Is this distrust of science stemming from the distrust of science itself, lack of faith in science and the flawed men that support said science (ironically they have no issues with the imperfect men that wrote and edited the bible but that's something for another topic), lack of faith in their holy book, or something else entirely (please submit YO on what the 'something else' is)?
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Re: Christianity and science

Post #111

Post by Purple Knight »

nobspeople wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 6:35 am
Purple Knight wrote: Wed Jan 19, 2022 4:06 pmI'm talking about reverse engineering from the answer and getting the process, then confirming your answer. People who start with evolution tend to confirm evolution. People who start with creator tend to confirm creator.
Ah. Then this is simply justification of an already accepted principle, not an honest need for an answer.
Yes, exactly, and there was a point in my life when I was justifying evolution this way. I was taught the answer, so I gleefully worked backwards, "confirmed" my answer, and thought I had everything right.

I only realised what I was doing when I became an animal breeder and started believing in evolution for real. In other words, because I saw it working in front of my eyeballs. I understand how difficult it is to improve a breed and how many bad mutations you pick up along the way and frankly, how Nature is actually perfect, and how man can only pick up and hone flawed pieces of this perfect whetstone. Nonetheless, we can do some things, and we can create wonderful, beautiful or useful animals by sacrificing technically more, but that the animal no longer needs in domestication. Maybe more, with gene editing, but we'll see.
Sherlock Holmes wrote: Wed Jan 19, 2022 4:12 pmYes, this is why we shouldn't emphasize "confirm" unduly, the real meat here is where we fail to confirm (aka falsification), that's where evolutionists tend to slack off, ignoring elephants in rooms etc.
If you're talking about holes, I don't think it's a 100% fair playing field between evolution and intelligent design. Of course evolution has holes and intelligent design doesn't. It's between something with practically infinite steps and something with one step. Now I'll give you, intelligent design is the Occam's Razor winner, because it's simpler, but this also creates a playing field that artificially inflates those elephants in importance, since evolution requires all of them to be in a beautiful continuous parade, each one holding the tail of the one before it in its trunk, and there are practically speaking, infinite places we can fail to find one of those continuous elephants.

What I will admit is that since some of these events (cells invading other cells and eventually becoming mitochondria) do not constitute evolution, even according to the best ideas about evolution, evolution itself must be an incomplete model according to itself. And if some of these events proceed according to other processes, there might be any number of such other processes and they might be anything. What I will never concede is that evolution doesn't happen, as it happens in my house in front of my eyeballs.

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Re: Christianity and science

Post #112

Post by Jose Fly »

Purple Knight wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 3:37 pmNow I'll give you, intelligent design is the Occam's Razor winner, because it's simpler
I'd describe it as "simplistic" rather than "simpler". It's simplistic because it completely avoids providing any sort of practical explanation for...well...anything. All it really does is rely on "if not evolution, then design" and a belief in "goddidit", without even attempting to provide anything beyond those two simplistic (and fallacious) concepts.

It's the same as a toddler saying "It was magic" when asked how all the Christmas presents got opened while mom was in the kitchen. Technically that's also a "simpler" explanation, but that doesn't really mean much, does it?
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Re: Christianity and science

Post #113

Post by Difflugia »

mgb wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 2:01 pm
Jose Fly wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 12:44 pm But not all faiths are equivalent. Like I explained, the type of "faith" one has when flipping a light switch is not the same type that Muslims have in believing that Mohammed visited heaven.
That's a detail within a faith. I'm talking about people who have a strong faith - many such people have thought deeply on many levels about what it is they believe. From philosophy to science to mysticism to their own experience. They have come to the conclusion that God is the most comprehensive answer to many questions in many areas.
That's not a mere "detail" and the difference has little to do with how "deeply" one thinks, but much to do with the quality of evidence. The quality of the evidence that the light will come on when the switch is flipped is extremely high. In the science biz, we would say that it is robust. The experiment is repeated so often and with such consistent results that even people that are terrible at things like math and logic get the same answer. If one repeats the experiment dozens of times every day and gets the same answer, the result is so sure that nearly all people would call the relationship between light switches and lights a fact.

The answer is so certain that on the day that we get an unexpected answer, the conclusion isn't that light switches don't turn on lights, but that something else is wrong. Is the bulb burned out? Is a power line down? The data are otherwise so robust that few people will arrive at the conclusion that light switches don't really control lights. Things like philosophy or mysticism simply aren't needed because the data are so robust that neither the worst math skills nor the inability to identify confounding variables can overcome data of that quality.

On the other hand, relationships that aren't so generally obvious require a little more work. Accurate data recording? Double-blinded experiments with proper controls? The ability to calculate and compare ratios? Chi-squared calculations? Humans aren't wired to do these things or intuitively filter data noise, so we have to be trained to do so. We need to think "deeper" about the relationships and apply more complex analyses to tease a bit more signal out of the noise. At some point, whatever training we have is no longer sufficient to cope with evaluate the data analytically and our kneejerk reaction as human beings is to switch from analytical thinking to intuition. The problem with intuition is that it's much, much less reliable than mathematical and logical analysis, but we're wired so that it feels much, much more reliable. Because of our evolutionary history, a heuristic that's fast and accurate most of the time is better than one that's slow, but perfect.

Science is mathematical and logical analysis. Faith is intuition. It's still analysis, but it's a different kind of analysis.

The thing about the light bulb example is that, like most everyday examples, analysis and intuition give the same answers. Most of the data we run into on a day-to-day basis are of such high quality and intuition works so quickly that we're not even conscious of the analysis. Turn on the light switch and the light comes on. Let go of your keys and they fall. Put your foot on the brake and the car slows down. The problem arises when math and intuition give different answers. Even then, the result isn't usually that bad. Liking the foods you grew up with, avoiding snakes, and the fear of heights aren't that limiting and can sometimes save your life. On the other hand, casinos and churches both exist by exploiting the same flaw in intuition, which is that it's bad at analyzing data with low signal, but high noise. Winning in a casino and "answered" prayer both happen often enough that the heuristic labels them as winners. Do something often enough and with low enough stakes, and intuition will begin to interpret noise as signal. Even a short winning streak at a $2 blackjack table is intuitively interpreted as a winning strategy, especially if the gambler wore a lucky pair of socks. If I ask Jesus each morning to keep me from dying during my commute and I keep making it to work alive, that reinforces the certainty that intuition works. I could test it aganst not praying and making it alive, but why risk it?
Sherlock Holmes wrote: Wed Jan 19, 2022 4:12 pmYes, this is why we shouldn't emphasize "confirm" unduly, the real meat here is where we fail to confirm (aka falsification), that's where evolutionists tend to slack off, ignoring elephants in rooms etc.
To the contrary, we have the data. We don't need to rely on intuitive metaphors like "elephants in rooms." The experiment setup and analysis are a bit harder than for light switches, but the scientific results are far more robust than what intuition provides if one can overcome those particular hurdles.
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Re: Christianity and science

Post #114

Post by brunumb »

Difflugia wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 6:08 pm If I ask Jesus each morning to keep me from dying during my commute and I keep making it to work alive, that reinforces the certainty that intuition works. I could test it aganst not praying and making it alive, but why risk it?
Why risk it? I wonder if that bit is what keeps so many believers from questioning their faith. They have been brought up to believe that they will lose eternal life and bliss or even gain eternal pain and suffering when they lose their faith in God. Better not risk scrutinising those beliefs and remain in the comfort zone.
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Re: Christianity and science

Post #115

Post by mgb »

Purple Knight wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 3:37 pm If you're talking about holes, I don't think it's a 100% fair playing field between evolution and intelligent design. Of course evolution has holes and intelligent design doesn't.
I suspect that the truth of the matter is somewhere the theory of evolution and Intelligent Design; nature goes forward in leaps and bounds which explains missing links.

I you were a car manufacturer and you want to bring out the next model you would not just change the headlights and release that model. You'd make many changes at the same time and release a new model far in advance of the old model. Makes sense that way.

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Re: Christianity and science

Post #116

Post by mgb »

Difflugia wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 6:08 pm That's not a mere "detail" and the difference has little to do with how "deeply" one thinks, but much to do with the quality of evidence. The quality of the evidence that the light will come on when the switch is flipped is extremely high. In the science biz, we would say that it is robust.
But you can't reduce it to the primitive analysis of science. Consciousness has a quality of evidence above abstract intellectual analysis. Like you say: Science is mathematical and logical analysis. Faith is intuition. It's still analysis, but it's a different kind of analysis.

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Re: Christianity and science

Post #117

Post by Tcg »

mgb wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 4:31 am Like you say: Faith is intuition. It's still analysis, but it's a different kind of analysis.
Yep. It's one that can't be shown to be based on facts or reality.


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Re: Christianity and science

Post #118

Post by Purple Knight »

mgb wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 4:27 am
Purple Knight wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 3:37 pm If you're talking about holes, I don't think it's a 100% fair playing field between evolution and intelligent design. Of course evolution has holes and intelligent design doesn't.
I suspect that the truth of the matter is somewhere the theory of evolution and Intelligent Design; nature goes forward in leaps and bounds which explains missing links.

I you were a car manufacturer and you want to bring out the next model you would not just change the headlights and release that model. You'd make many changes at the same time and release a new model far in advance of the old model. Makes sense that way.
I might need to build a working model of each part, though. And I might risk a Windows Vista situation by making too many changes at once without testing that each one is really an advancement, and then testing that they work together.

Something that does make me wonder about evolution is why cats push everything off of things. I once raised and socialised a feral kitten that had never in its life seen a desk and it started doing this. Maybe they like the sensation of observing movement, but how they start deliberately pushing is still a mystery. They don't generally bat at things that don't move.

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Re: Christianity and science

Post #119

Post by Difflugia »

mgb wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 4:31 amBut you can't reduce it to the primitive analysis of science. Consciousness has a quality of evidence above abstract intellectual analysis.
The quality is speed, but it sacrifices accuracy. We're also wired such that it feels like we're getting better answers when we're not. Those are assets when finding food or avoiding danger, but is a rotten combination when we actually need an accurate answer. Our intuition is so consistently bad at certain tasks that those flaws can be exploited by the unscrupulous. I've already mentioned churches and casinos, but that also applies to things like product marketing and politics.
mgb wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 4:31 amLike you say: Science is mathematical and logical analysis. Faith is intuition. It's still analysis, but it's a different kind of analysis.
I did say that and I meant it. There are a few things that our intuition does really well, like face recognition and eye/hand coordination. The things that our intuition is bad at, though, are the things that the scientific method is designed to overcome, like dealing with noisy data and numbers that are very large or very small. Lottery tickets are another example, designed by the unscrupulous to exploit the inherent flaws of intuition. The expected return per dollar is incredibly low, but our intuition is overwhelmed trying to estimate the relationship between a tiny probability and a huge payout. If we apply scientific thinking and do the math, the "abstract analysis" shows that buying lottery tickets is a losing strategy. Our intuition gives us a different answer and we're wired to trust that answer, but that answer is wrong.

If we sacrifice a goat (or child) to Jesus every autumn, our intuition also tells us that we get better harvests. "Abstract analysis" will tell us that there's no actual effect, but the data are noisy and spread across a long period of time, both of which our intuition is bad at dealing with.
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Re: Christianity and science

Post #120

Post by Purple Knight »

Difflugia wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 6:08 pmAt some point, whatever training we have is no longer sufficient to cope with evaluate the data analytically and our kneejerk reaction as human beings is to switch from analytical thinking to intuition. The problem with intuition is that it's much, much less reliable than mathematical and logical analysis, but we're wired so that it feels much, much more reliable. Because of our evolutionary history, a heuristic that's fast and accurate most of the time is better than one that's slow, but perfect.
Assuming your post represents truth, I think this bit could be a minor error about why this particular error happens. It could be that intuition is actually making the right choice, and even that intuition is intuiting out even the complex math, but it's doing that error at the end because somebody deliberately juked some part of the input.

You and Brunumb are talking about the "why risk it" and I think this has a huge impact. Add a devastating negative possibility to one side and people will avoid that side even if it isn't terribly likely to be true. The problem is that peoples' intuition is being deliberately manipulated not to assess that this could be a deliberate deception, and not think about the gains involved in perpetrating such a deception.

I don't think ad hominem is a fallacy, or should be a fallacy. I think we need it for properly assessing by our very well-honed intuition whether we might be getting tricked. We actually need this intuition to sort good evidence from bad in almost every situation. I think we need to include it as possibly valid evidence in everything but purely deductive syllogisms and studies which have been double-blinded and controlled, and sufficiently replicated by people motivated to discredit it.

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