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Science and religion

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Guest Xmas Grinch
I won't generally answer personal questions like this. They're not germane, and they are personal. However, I'll make an exception for this question.

We definitely celebrate, and we have a tree decorated in the traditional manner. Whether you or someone else would call that celebrating Christmas would depend on how you, or they, look at things.

This sounds like it depends on what the definition of is is

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Guest Guest

Five Major Misconceptions about evolution.

1. Evolution has never been observed.

2. Evolution violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

3. There are no transitional fossils.

4. The theory of evolution says that life originated, and evolution

proceeds, by random chance.

5. Evolution is only a theory; it hasn't been proved.

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Guest Paul
One important issue highlighted by the proselytizing teacher episode is the relationship between science and theism. (I use the term theism instead of religion because not all religions invite a conflict. Buddhism, for example, does not propose the existence of a god, and Humanism is a religion one of whose highest values is the scientific method.) This is a topic that is increasingly gaining attention across the world, but perhaps not so much attention locally. So I wanted to post this thread to see if we might discuss it.

Why does science threaten some people? One clue is in the identity of whom is threatened. Almost invariably it is the ignorant (traditionally defined as deficient in knowledge) and the incurious.

Why isn't it obvious that if God refers to universal nature and reality, science is just further discovery of God. It's not as though there is no history behind the interplay of science and religion. History is loaded with examples of religious dogmas interfering with scientific progress, the Copernican and now the Darwinian examples being only two of the most outrageous. In the end, science wins the day, and religious (almost always theistic) dogmas must retreat.

The only reason this sets up a conflict between science and religion is that some theistic points of view completely misunderstand the very essence of religion. The word "religion" comes from the Latin words re (meaning to look upon all things) and ligare (to bind together, as a ligament does). So religion is the human attempt to look upon all things and bring all things together into a coherent whole. In practical life terms, religion offers a way of living in which we humbly conform ourselves to those powers that are greater than ourselves --- call it God or call it nature.

The problem comes in when people make up or simply accept stories about what those greater powers are, and rigidly adhere to them regardless of the evidence and common sense. Sam Harris has a new book out called The End of Faith, in which he argues that with the rise of militant fundamentalism in both Christianity and Islam, responsible people can no longer afford to accept this way of thinking.

The world is too interconnected, and the stakes are too high. One way or the other, something has to give: either one religion will dominate the world, in which case we can kiss freedom and democracy good-bye; or religion will become more practical and more humble, thereby returning to its more proper orientation.

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Guest Mr. Scrooge
Apparently you missed the explanation of what a theory is, both in my lead post for this topic, and in your science classes in school. Mr. Paszkiewicz obviously missed it, too, which is one reason my nose was put so far out of joint.

A theory is an organized explanation based on evidence. Scientists distinguish a theory from a hypothesis by the degree of reliability, which is based on the quality of evidence supporting the explanation. If there is enough evidence for the explanation to be considered reliable, it is called a theory; if not, it is called a hypothesis. There is, of course, no hard-and-fast rule for the distinction. These are merely general categories, but mainly scientists refer to an explanation as a theory when they are actively using and applying it; and a hypothesis when they are still in the pre-application stages of data gathering, or when it is essentially sitting on the shelf collecting dust.

For example, Newton's laws of physics are all theories (explanations). Yet they have informed science for centuries, made the industrial revolution possible, and led to the advanced technologies we have today. So yes, evolutionary science is a theory. It is also a fact. You can refuse to believe it, but that is the concensus among scientists all over the world.

I would truly be interested to know whether anyone posting here has read any significant work --- book or trade journal publication --- by any leading figure in evolutionary science.

Paul,

I will go out on a limb and say most folks on this site are probably not well read on evolutionary science. That's not a knock at them or this site but come on, let's face it, Kearnyontheweb is simply meant to be a local site about goings-on-around-the town not a think tank on theoretical beliefs.

You have proved to most of us that you have half a brain (whether we agree or disgree with you is another story) but I think it's time to move on. Your posts on this site while plentiful are growing monotonous and repititive.

Let's talk about something else? How 'bout all those ridiculous blow-up holiday decorations that are all the rage on everyone's lawn this year? Trashy or what?

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Guest a proud american
I did read Dean's book, thought it was excellent. We have an authoritarian here, don't we.

And the worst kind to boot. If you get the chance definately read Brock's book.

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Guest Guest
Let's cut through all your long-winded definitions and psudo-science spinning.  Yes, lower forms of life have evolved over the millennium and there's evidence of that.  However, there is no evidence of man having evolved from a lower life form. That is a fantasy of the radical left that wants God out of our world. There is simply no archiological evidence to support the evolution of man . You can quote all the radical left scientists you want, it doesn't change the facts.

You're simply wrong. Which of the books have you read? Obviously, none of them.

The "radical left scientists" remark reminds me of a Doonesbury line from years ago: "terrorist babies?!"

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Guest Paul
Paul,

I will go out on a limb and say most folks on this site are probably not well read on evolutionary science.  That's not a knock at them or this site but come on, let's face it, Kearnyontheweb is simply meant to be a local site about goings-on-around-the town not a think tank on theoretical beliefs.

You have proved to most of us that you have half a brain (whether we agree or disgree with you is another story) but I think it's time to move on.  Your posts on this site while plentiful are growing monotonous and repititive. 

Let's talk about something else?  How 'bout all those ridiculous blow-up holiday decorations that are all the rage on everyone's lawn this year?  Trashy or what?

I like this topic. No one is forced to participate. Those theoretical beliefs are important to this town now, at least in my view, and the view of a few others apparently. This topic is now the most frequented since KOTW started up.

However, since you mentioned it, there are a few houses I drive past in Lindhurst on my way from the train station that are especially gaudy --- but I still like them. The blow-up ones --- I'm not particularly fond of them either, but hey, "there's no accounting for taste," said the old lady as she kissed the pig.

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Guest Paul
This sounds like it depends on what the definition of is is

To you it might sound like that, but others would recognize that I don't necessarily categorize things the way you do, and that at the same time I recognize that you may or may not see what I do as "celebrating Christmas." This idea of getting beyond labels and categories has Buddhist overtones, but I wouldn't call it just a Buddhist concept. In other words, some people see things very black and white, while others see dozens of nuances in everything. I wouldn't say that about the word "is."

Anyway, it was none of your business in the first place. How's that for a definitive statement?

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Guest So typically Kearny

After reading all the posts I can only come to one conclusion.

The Teacher should have known better.

In this day and age as a professional he should have known how to phrase what he was talking about so as not to offend anyone.

Then again Kearny is an entity unto themselves. If the Mayor and Council can put the Children of Fatima in the Town Hall Park and then try to say it was a tribute to 911 and get away with it !

Why would the powers that be not think they can get away with doing what they want in the schools.

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Guest Guest
Let's cut through all your long-winded definitions and psudo-science spinning.  Yes, lower forms of life have evolved over the millennium and there's evidence of that.  However, there is no evidence of man having evolved from a lower life form. That is a fantasy of the radical left that wants God out of our world. There is simply no archiological evidence to support the evolution of man . You can quote all the radical left scientists you want, it doesn't change the facts.

So what your trying to say is that modern man is the same as early man?

Not only do you need to take your science classes over, you also need to work on your spelling.

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Guest Patriot
So what your trying to say is that modern man is the same as early man?

Not only do you need to take your science classes over, you also need to work on your spelling.

Read the thread, Kool-aid breath. He said "lower life form" not early man.

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Guest Xmas Grinch
To you it might sound like that, but others would recognize that I don't necessarily categorize things the way you do, and that at the same time I recognize that you may or may not see what I do as "celebrating Christmas." This idea of getting beyond labels and categories has Buddhist overtones, but I wouldn't call it just a Buddhist concept. In other words, some people see things very black and white, while others see dozens of nuances in everything. I wouldn't say that about the word "is."

Anyway, it was none of your business in the first place. How's that for a definitive statement?

Why so hostile? I showed no hostility to you.

And your right "I don't necessarily catagorize things the way you do, and that at the same time I recognize that you may or may not see what I do as "celebrating Christmas." Do you know if I am a Buddhist or not? I could be a follower of Allah for all you know. I think that to carry on this facade and then turn around and celebrate Christmas -with all its religious conotations- that even the youngest of "Christian" children understand- is wrong.

How old was your son when you told him the truth about Christmas?

(Santa Claus ) I mean. One doesn't exist without the other.

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Guest Guest
This theory of evolution is nonsense.  If anyone reading this is seriously interested in educating themselves on the subject of Intelligent Design as opposed to Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, they should pick up Ann Coulter's book "Godless" and read chapters 8, 9 and 10.

If the theory is such nonsense, why are all the scientists who have actually studied the subject in agreement that it has taken place, and is continuing today? Ann Coulter has absolutely no basis for what she says, and has often lied and made things up for her writing in the past. Where is Ms. Coulter's Ph.D., or even B.A. in biology? All the people who have actually studied this have seen ample evidence that evolution took place. Ann Coulter is hardly the expert on biology, or anything else for that matter, except perhaps how to believe whatever you want and convince others that your lies are true.

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Guest Guest
Why does science threaten some people? One clue is in the identity of whom is threatened. Almost invariably it is the ignorant (traditionally defined as deficient in knowledge) and the incurious.

Why isn't it obvious that if God refers to universal nature and reality, science is just further discovery of God. It's not as though there is no history behind the interplay of science and religion. History is loaded with examples of religious dogmas interfering with scientific progress, the Copernican and now the Darwinian examples being only two of the most outrageous. In the end, science wins the day, and religious (almost always theistic) dogmas must retreat.

The only reason this sets up a conflict between science and religion is that some theistic points of view completely misunderstand the very essence of religion. The word "religion" comes from the Latin words re (meaning to look upon all things) and ligare (to bind together, as a ligament does). So religion is the human attempt to look upon all things and bring all things together into a coherent whole. In practical life terms, religion offers a way of living in which we humbly conform ourselves to those powers that are greater than ourselves --- call it God or call it nature.

The problem comes in when people make up or simply accept stories about what those greater powers are, and rigidly adhere to them regardless of the evidence and common sense. Sam Harris has a new book out called The End of Faith, in which he argues that with the rise of militant fundamentalism in both Christianity and Islam, responsible people can no longer afford to accept this way of thinking.

The world is too interconnected, and the stakes are too high. One way or the other, something has to give: either one religion will dominate the world, in which case we can kiss freedom and democracy good-bye; or religion will become more practical and more humble, thereby returning to its more proper orientation.

I think you're right on track with that, I don't see why a person cannot accept the truths of science and still be religious if they choose. There is no conflict unless you take certain elements too literally and destroy the initial purpose of the religion. When the love and common humanity are put on the back burner behind fundemental trivialities, how is that religion serving any good purpose? I think it would do the world well to remeber that when it comes down to it we're all living here together.

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Guest Guest
Dinisaurs were extinct  a million years before Noah.

All at least half-brained people know that, but apparently not everyone has kept up. Those crazy scientists, at it with their extinction stuff again.

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Guest Guest
Your egotism must drive your family crazy.  You quote all this psudo-scientific  nonsense as if it were cold facts.  "1000 piece jigsaw puzzle" ??  Is that an analogy taken from a scientific journal or just your own dreamworld. Until someone, somewhere comes up with direct archiological evidence that man evolved from some lower life form, evolution remains a theory, no more no less.

Why are you so afraid that humans have evolved from some other life form?

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Guest Guest
Let's cut through all your long-winded definitions and psudo-science spinning.  Yes, lower forms of life have evolved over the millennium and there's evidence of that.  However, there is no evidence of man having evolved from a lower life form. That is a fantasy of the radical left that wants God out of our world. There is simply no archiological evidence to support the evolution of man . You can quote all the radical left scientists you want, it doesn't change the facts.

There is a lot of evidence. You're right that no direct common ancestor between chimpanzees and humans has yet been found, but the evolutionary changes distinct between various other species that both humans and chimpanzees are related to provide a lot of evidence. If you look at the dental and bone structure changes in common animals today, you can actually see the progression of evolution until humans. Some of these progressions include the number of cusps on the molars, the shape of the nasal aperture (the "nose hole" in the skull), the ratio of the distance across the eye and the distance between the eyes, and the spinal angle from flat to angled to upright. All of these things are very clear and are substantial evidence, and thats not even counting the genetic record present in all forms of life, which is clearly traceable.

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Guest Paul
There is a lot of evidence. You're right that no direct common ancestor between chimpanzees and humans has yet been found, but the evolutionary changes distinct between various other species that both humans and chimpanzees are related to provide a lot of evidence. If you look at the dental and bone structure changes in common animals today, you can actually see the progression of evolution until humans. Some of these progressions include the number of cusps on the molars, the shape of the nasal aperture (the "nose hole" in the skull), the ratio of the distance across the eye and the distance between the eyes, and the spinal angle from flat to angled to upright. All of these things are very clear and are substantial evidence, and thats not even counting the genetic record present in all forms of life, which is clearly traceable.

Absolutely right. People reading here should realize that while this may be a controversial subject among the lay public, there is virtually no controversy about the validity of evolution within the scientific community. Our challenge, both in the schools and in society at large, is not necessarily to grasp the fine points of evolutionary theory, but we should at least recognize that the theory is scientifically sound, empirically backed to the hilt and applied in more than enough practical areas that affect our lives to make widespread acceptance essential.

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Guest Greetings from a higher life for

Its amazing that a community only a stone's throw away from Manhattan, a center for culture and advanced thinking, can be caught in such a time-warp. First of all, archaeological is the correct spelling and 'incurious' is not a word in the dictionary, sort of belies your level of intelligence. Secondly, stop relying on Fox News, Sean Hannity, and a bunch of old men gathered in the desert 2000 years ago for your pontifications on science/religion. Perhaps you should try reading books that actually explain the world around us based on evidence that we can see and touch. I know learning can be scary but some of us are still evolving so perhaps you'd like to join us.

As for the teacher and his first amendment rights, I suspect that if the teacher were preaching the value of the KKK in our society or that Muslim extremists' views on religion are the only way to salvation, he'd be on the unemployment line. It has nothing to do with the First Amendment and much more to do with this pathetic, small-minded man trying to impose his views on impressionable minds. Another sad day for our education system. Maybe if we paid teachers more money we'd attract people actually qualified to teach.

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Guest Emily
There is a lot of evidence. You're right that no direct common ancestor between chimpanzees and humans has yet been found, but the evolutionary changes distinct between various other species that both humans and chimpanzees are related to provide a lot of evidence. If you look at the dental and bone structure changes in common animals today, you can actually see the progression of evolution until humans. Some of these progressions include the number of cusps on the molars, the shape of the nasal aperture (the "nose hole" in the skull), the ratio of the distance across the eye and the distance between the eyes, and the spinal angle from flat to angled to upright. All of these things are very clear and are substantial evidence, and thats not even counting the genetic record present in all forms of life, which is clearly traceable.

I believe that God is smart enough to design evolution, or not.

But the teacher was profoundly ignorant, not only of the law, but also of the varieties of Christian belief. Even the "Church Fathers" of the early centuries of Christianity included those who believed in universal salvation (Origen, for example). Thus presuming to consign anyone to hell is contrary to Gospel and God's infinite mystery and love, not to mention common sense.

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Guest Guest

I beg to differ. There is a wealth of paleobiological evidence that supports a continuity of evolution in the development of modern species. Moreover, the genetic evidence is incontrovertible in this regard. The mechanisms of evolution are well established and experimentally verifiable. The fact that one cannot return and recreate the specific events that led to the development of any one species, including man, is immaterial given that there is no scientifically viable alternative explanation of the facts. Those who would have us ignore these facts in favor of a hypothesis that is based entirely on faith should join the modern world, and learn to use the intelligence they believe God gave them to wake up and smell the roses...lest they squander this most precious of all gifts, intelligence. Recall, it was not so very long ago that faith told us that the sun revolved around the earth; the "faith establishment" in fact jailed some of history's greatest intellects for stating otherwise. Faith, when it comes to explaining the facts of life on earth, has a big credibility problem...like all those people who thought Terry Schiavo was just fine. I would prefer my tax dollars not be used to promulgate faith-based science to the next generation, lest we find ourselves sharing caves with the Taliban.

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Guest mmurphy21
An Atheist was taking a walk through the woods. What majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals!" he said to himself. As he was walking alongside the river he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to look. He saw a 7 foot grizzy charge toward him. He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the bear was closing in on him. He looked over his shoulder again, and the bear was even closer. He tripped and fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but saw the bear right on top of him, reaching for him with his left paw and raising his right paw to strike him. At that instant the Atheist cried out: "Oh my God!..." Time stopped. The bear froze. The forest was silent. As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky: "You deny my existence for all of these years, teach others I don't exist, and even credit creation to a cosmic accident. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer?" The Atheist looked directly into the light, "It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask You to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps could you make the BEAR a Christian?" "Very well," said the voice. The light went out. The sounds of the forest resumed. And then the bear dropped his right paw, brought both paws together and bowed his head and spoke: "Lord, bless this food, which I am about to receive."

Think about this! What is the moral to this story? This covered everything-God, Atheist, creation, the "big bang" and the hypocrite.

It also covered your ignorance! Do you think your cute story provides evidence of anything?

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