Science Flies You to the Moon

Science Flies You to the Moon

Courtesy Richard Dawkins: http://richarddawkins.net

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13 Responses to Science Flies You to the Moon

  1. Chucky says:

    Atheism flies you to the gulag.

    Seriously, can we quit making sweeping generalizations which have nothing to do with the overwhelming majority of people we’re characterizing?

    • Sure Chucky.

      But, I think you’ll have to admit that science has given us planes, trains, automobiles, space probes, computers, televisions, radio, refrigerators, electric lighting, modern medicine, commercial fertilizers (not necessarily a good thing IMHO), telephones both old and new, and a whole host of both good and bad inventions. Some have helped us; some have harmed us; some have simply made us more numerous, a hugely bad thing.

      Religion has taught us absolutely nothing.

      The morals and ethics that are usually cited as coming from religion simply don’t. In order for one to read any version of the Bible or Quran and not become a violent and xenophobic maniac, one must apply morals that evolved in humans long before these books were written and weed out all of the places where these books mandate murder for such minor infractions as working on the sabbath or wearing a mix of linen and wool.

      So, what do your bronze-age shepherds bring to the table for the modern world?

  2. Chucky says:

    Believe it or not (and who believes people on the internet) I’m a theoretical physicist by day, and am a massive fan of science.
    What I dislike is Dawkins and other new atheists using the work of myself and my colleagues to promote atheism.

    One thing us bronze age shepherds brought to the modern world is, ironically, science itself. We also brought a system of morality which formed the intellectual grounding for social contract theory and human rights. This commitment has lead to the traditionally Christian nations of Europe, the Americas and Australia/NZ consistently being the most open and tolerant in the world.

    Most importantly though, IMHO Christianity bring the truth about God to the table.

    But I guess we’re just ignorant bronze agers, so what would we know?

    • I certainly don’t want to call you a liar. But, there are things you’ve said that make me at least question the truth of your first statement. First, if you are a theoretical physicist, you are not a fan of but are a participant in science.

      Second, claiming that you bring the truth about God to the table is inconsistent with someone for whom critical and rational thinking is a huge component of one’s day. I know there are some true scientists who do believe in one or more deities. However, claiming the truth of Christianity in the same way that one can speak of truths from science is inconsistent with true scientific knowledge.

      Perhaps you are an unusual scientists who believes in God and believes that your belief equates to truth in the same way as experimental verification of scientific theories. But, is sounds a tad fishy to me, pun intended.

      Interesting that you point to the system of morality that your religion brought to the table when current neuroscience and tests of animal morality deny that fact almost as explicitly as the fact that the bible has moral teachings in it that are considered morally repugnant today by all who have more modern sets of morals ingrained in them.

      For example, would you really stone a rape victim to death for her part in the rape? The bible says you must, if she was raped within city limits. If the rape takes place outside city limits, her fate may be better or worse depending on how she feels about her rapist, for the penalty there is that the rapist must marry her. She gets no say in this to my knowledge.

      Remember, Jesus affirmed the old law. It says so in your book.

      I would also like to retract a small part of my first post. I meant only that I would agree not to characterize large groups by the actions of a few. I did not mean to accept the statement that atheism flew people to the gulag. It did not.

      Communism, not atheism, sent people by train, not plane, to the gulag.

      Communism is the ideology that caused the deaths of the 60 million people Stalin killed, not atheism. That communism in the former Soviet Union mandated atheism is no fault of atheism. In short, ideology is required to unite people in a common purpose, whether for good or for bad. Atheism is not an ideology. Try creating a non-stamp-collectors’ society and you’ll see why.

  3. Chucky says:

    > But, there are things you’ve said that make me at least question the truth of your first statement.

    Take it or leave it.

    > Interesting that you point to the system of morality that your religion brought to the table when current neuroscience and tests of animal morality deny that fact…

    How can neuroscience deny parts of history? I’m struggling to see what point your making.

    > Communism, not atheism, sent people by train, not plane, to the gulag.

    You have no problem lumping all religious believers together, unable to distinguish between beliefs, even between the teaching of Jesus and radical Islam. Atheists thousands advertise that point on the side of buses, and you repeat it your blog. But faced with atheism’s violent history, all of a sudden making such mass generalizations isn’t so attractive…

    > For example, would you really stone a rape victim to death for her part in the rape? The bible says you must, if she was raped within city limits..

    You appear to wrong about this passage, which I’m assuming is Deuteronomy 22. The woman is explicitly *not* a rape victim. That is why it talks about the city limits, which is to say, if she had a reasonable chance to cry out, but did not. So, ironically, a part of the text which guards against rape you’ve somehow managed to interpret as describing rape.

    In fact, following the passage you’re referencing it goes on to describe rape victims, saying “Do nothing to the woman; she has committed no sin deserving death. This case is like that of someone who attacks and murders a neighbor…”

    To me these types of accusations are intellectually dishonest. Making basic mistakes show you haven’t taken even the first steps at an honestly understanding others’ beliefs. Cheap charicatures of others beliefs might be enough for you, but its not for me.

    > Atheism is not an ideology.

    And yet, you advertise you ideology on buses.

    • How can neuroscience deny parts of history? I’m struggling to see what point your making.

      Neuroscience isn’t denying history. It is stating where our morals come from, in direct contradiction to your claim about them.

      Further, one can see that the bible is not the source of morals just by knowing that we don’t follow the morals in the bible. So, clearly they come from elsewhere. When someone follows the morals of the bible, we prosecute them for their crimes. Were someone to actually stone someone to death for working on the sabbath, they would probably get life without parole in most states or the death penalty in Texas.

      You have no problem lumping all religious believers together, unable to distinguish between beliefs, even between the teaching of Jesus and radical Islam. Atheists thousands advertise that point on the side of buses, and you repeat it your blog. But faced with atheism’s violent history, all of a sudden making such mass generalizations isn’t so attractive…

      Personally, I do consider the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religion as singular with many flavors that have minor differences. But, if you prefer, I’ll stick to Christianity.

      I could go back to the crusades or inquisitions. But, if you prefer, I’ll stay within the time span of my own lifespan thus far. In the name of Christianity and for no other reason, we have had doctor shootings, clinic bombings, the IRA, violence against gays, and violence against Jews (myself included, for I was raised Jewish).

      Now, what violence was actually committed in the name of atheism, not communism or some other ideology?

      You appear to wrong about this passage, which I’m assuming is Deuteronomy 22. The woman is explicitly *not* a rape victim. That is why it talks about the city limits, which is to say, if she had a reasonable chance to cry out, but did not.

      Yes rape. Yes Deuteronomy 22. See below. Read carefully. In both cases, in and out of the city, we do not know. But, in the case of a rape within city limits we assume that the woman did not cry out solely because it was within the city. Her own testimony is inadmissible for some bizarre reason. She said no. No one heard her despite being in the city. And we assume it was not rape. She said it was rape. I would take her word for it. You would not. And you would stone her to death.

      23 If there be a damsel that is a virgin betrothed unto a man, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; 24 then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die: the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife; so thou shalt put away the evil from the midst of thee. 25 But if the man find the damsel that is betrothed in the field, and the man take hold of her, and lie with her; then the man only that lay with her shall die. 26 But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death; for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter. 27 For he found her in the field; the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her. 28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, that is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; 29 then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he hath humbled her; he may not put her away all his days.

      So, reading this again, do you still think we know that this was not rape? If it was not rape, why stone anyone to death??!!? What horrific morals those would be!! Thank the gods who do not exist that we do not follow biblical morality.

      Note also that in the case where it was determined to be rape by not being in the city (because rape never happens in the city) and the woman is a virgin, the woman is sentenced to a lifetime of further rape being married to her rapist!! Are you fucking kidding me??!!?

      And yet, you advertise you [sic] ideology on buses.

      Also advertised on buses: museums, Broadway shows, CocaCola, etc. None of which are ideologies. Sorry.

  4. Chucky says:

    > Neuroscience isn’t denying history. It is stating where our morals come from, in direct contradiction to your claim about them.

    Sorry? What claim was it that I made that neuroscience denies? I just presented some historical facts.

    > When someone follows the morals of the bible, we prosecute them for their crimes. Were someone to actually stone someone to death for working on the sabbath, they would probably get life without parole in most states or the death penalty in Texas.

    The moral here is that people should be given a break from their work, as Jesus clearly pointed out,

    23 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”
    25 He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”
    27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

    Your free to disagree that we should be given a day of rest, but I wouldn’t agree with you. I personally think we don’t do take this command seriously enough, happily buying goods produced under sweatshop conditions.

    The whole objection though is convoluted though. You’re taking a civil law, and assuming that an individual can take the law into his or her own hands (or that’s what the Bible says). We can’t. Were someone to kill someone else for rape in Texas, we would rightly try them for murder as well. States, such as Israel or the United States do have the right to try and execute people under the civil laws of that country. Individuals don’t.

    So how do Christians like me actually relate to Jewish law in reality? A lot of the New Testament discusses the way we gentiles do actually relate to Jewish law, such as Acts 15, large chunks of Hebrews, Galatians and Romans. TLDR, is that we aren’t bound by Jewish ceremonial law (which Jesus has fulfilled) or the civil law (which doesn’t apply to us) but should keep the moral commandments. So in the case you’re talking about, yes, we are bound to give workers enough rest, but no, we’re not bound to impose the death penalty on the heads of Walmart, even if they make their workers work 100 hours a week, that being the civil law of a culture we’re not a part of.

    http://geneva.rutgers.edu/src/christianity/law.html
    http://web.archive.org/web/20100811102116/http://geneva.rutgers.edu/src/christianity/law.html

    > In the name of Christianity and for no other reason, we have had doctor shootings, clinic bombings, the IRA, violence against gays, and violence against Jews

    All terrible things, and all in direct contradiction to the teachings of Jesus. If Jesus says to turn the other cheek, not to take revenge, to do good for your enemies and pray for them – and someone goes and shoots a doctor, or (ironically, considering Jesus was Jewish) bashes up a Jew are they accurately reflecting Jesus teachings? I humbly submit to you that disobeying Jesus teachings isn’t what Christianity is about.

    > If it was not rape, why stone anyone to death?

    As I read it, it’s because they’re tried because they’re committing adultery (cheating on their spouse and taking someone else’s) and therefore breaking the law given in Deuteronomy 5:18.

    > No one heard her despite being in the city. And we assume it was not rape. She said it was rape. I would take her word for it.

    Jewish law requires at least two witnesses to establish anything and so my guess is that in the situation you describe nobody would be convicted of anything. Personally I don’t think it is wise to convict people of rape based on one uncorroborated allegation.

    > You would not. And you would stone her to death.

    I explained above how I view Jewish civil law. If this is what you really think Christians believe (as opposed to simply throwing dirt for the sake of it) I humbly ask you to take a look at my link above.

    It seems like we don’t even agree on basic facts or on simple understanding. I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree. If it helps any, if Christianity was your strawman, I’d reject it too. The irony is that Christ’s teachings would make me reject it.

    • This is the claim you made that neuroscience denies.

      Chucky says: January 28, 2012 at 11:24

      … We also brought a system of morality which formed the intellectual grounding for social contract theory and human rights.

      This is simply false. This is not the place from which human morality originated, nor even the current system of it, as I detailed above. Were one’s morals to have originated in the bible, that person would be arrested for their violent crimes.

      Further, neuroscience shows where our morals come from, our brains. Specifically areas like the orbito-prefrontal cortex for higher morals processing and the amygdala for lower.

      Read a bit about the trolley problems and you will learn that morals are far too similar across far too many cultures, including those without any knowledge of the bible, for the bible to be the source of our system of morality.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem

      Your free to disagree that we should be given a day of rest, but I wouldn’t agree with you. I personally think we don’t do take this command seriously enough, happily buying goods produced under sweatshop conditions.

      I certainly agree with a day off and with your statement about sweatshops. I’d even prefer two days off.

      What I do not agree with is the idea of killing someone who chooses to work on one particular day of the week. Why can’t I work Friday through Tuesday and take both Wednesday and Thursday off, provided my work allows me to be flexible? The bible says I should be stoned to death for working on the sabbath [Numbers 15:32-36].

      And, again, what day is the sabbath? Friday, Saturday, or Sunday? Jesus, being Jewish, presumably thought it was Saturday. Most of his followers disagree.

      You’re taking a civil law, and assuming that an individual can take the law into his or her own hands (or that’s what the Bible says).

      Correct. Because it does. Here’s a sample of where the bible specifies that no court of law take action but rather family members of the person to be stoned must do it themselves. And, note that the crime is not a crime by any modern standard. There is no victim. No one was harmed.

      Deuteronomy 13:7-11.

      7 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, that is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying: ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;
      8 of the gods of the peoples that are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;
      9 thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him;
      10 but thou shalt surely kill him; thy hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.
      11 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to draw thee away from the LORD thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

      As I read it, it’s because they’re tried because they’re committing adultery (cheating on their spouse and taking someone else’s) and therefore breaking the law given in Deuteronomy 5:18.

      And, you’re OK with that??!!? I disagree. However, even if you are correct, is this your idea of a moral code? It is my idea of a highly immoral one. Were this to be handled in this way today, we would probably not have the overpopulation problem we have.

      Personally I don’t think it is wise to convict people of rape based on one uncorroborated allegation.

      Do you believe rape exists? What would constitute proof of rape in your mind? Video evidence? Additional witnesses? Would bruising be enough? In short, why do you hate and mistrust women so badly? Most rapes do not happen conveniently in front of an audience.

      Do you have similar mistrust of store or home owners who claim that there was a burglary? What about victims of muggings? Do you treat them all the same way you treat female victims of violence?

      I explained above how I view Jewish civil law. If this is what you really think Christians believe (as opposed to simply throwing dirt for the sake of it) I humbly ask you to take a look at my link above.

      No. I do not think most Christians believe this. I believe it is what is stated as morality in the bible. That most Christians do not believe it and follow it in this way shows that most Christians (and most Jews and Muslims) have better morals than the bible (or the Quran).

      This is precisely my point!

      Christians have better morals than the bible. Therefore, Christians did not get their morals from the bible but rather applied their per-existing and far better morals to the bible, thus ignoring large swaths of it.

      Christianity is not my strawman. The bible says what the bible says. What I am doing is pointing out that the bible is not the source of morals for most Christians or Jews.

      The irony is that Christ’s teachings would make me reject [Christianity].

      Really??!!? Then why call yourself a Christian? What am I missing?

    • Sorry, missed one of your paragraphs above on my first read.

      All terrible things, and all in direct contradiction to the teachings of Jesus. If Jesus says to turn the other cheek, not to take revenge, to do good for your enemies and pray for them – and someone goes and shoots a doctor, or (ironically, considering Jesus was Jewish) bashes up a Jew are they accurately reflecting Jesus teachings? I humbly submit to you that disobeying Jesus teachings isn’t what Christianity is about.

      Agreed. So, Jesus said turn the other cheek. He also said that he was not here to abolish the old law but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17).

      So, which is it?

      Does Jesus support the death penalty or not? What about you personally? Do you support the death penalty?

      Oh, and I think we have more agreement than you realize. I’m not personally ready to just agree to disagree just yet. I think the big disagreement we’re having is simply that you are not quite realizing my point. The one point I am trying to make in all of this is that both neuroscience and the differences between biblical morals and the morals of those who claim to believe in the bible do not support the idea that any flavor of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religion is the source of modern day morality.

      Where religious writings from any flavor of this religion are used as a moral code, most of us recoil in disgust. Biblical law is not far different from Sharia law. Luckily, most nations of the world have better morals than either … for a little while longer.

  5. Chucky says:

    This is becoming one of those massive “Someone is wrong on the internet!” threads.

    > Really??!!? Then why call yourself a Christian? What am I missing?

    What you’re missing is that the picture you paint of Christianity is not reality. It might be fine among your atheist buddies, but present it to a Christian, and you just seem out of touch with the real world.

    > No. I do not think most Christians believe this.

    … aha.

    > I believe it is what is stated as morality in the bible

    Even when talking about the subject you brought up, the Sabbath law, what you say is the exact opposite of Jesus taught. You seem to focus on civil law’s penalty, but completely ignore the moral lesson. Jesus turned that on its head. According to your interpretation, Jesus should be stoned, right? According to the Pharisees too. They missed the point of the law, and I humbly suggest that you missed the point too.

    Have you ever stopped to consider that maybe, just maybe, Jesus had a point? It would massively change how you viewed Jewish law. Particularly much for you! 🙂

    > Christians have better morals than the bible.

    And in the example you gave, I’m just following Jesus lead in how to interpret OT law. So that must mean,

    “Jesus has better morals than the Bible!”

    > So, which is it?

    My view is that Jesus fulfilled the law. I’ve explained in great detail how I view OT law, and why.

    > Does Jesus support the death penalty or not? What about you personally? Do you support the death penalty?

    I’m not sure. Me, personally, no.

    > Correct. Because it does. Here’s a sample of where the bible specifies that no court of law take action…

    No, it doesn’t. I see how you can fit your view in with the passage, but it fits just as well if you’re wrong. Which leaves you making absurd claims, and having flimsy to back them up. I know you won’t agree, and will probably just respond with a bunch of other dirt.

    Yeah. I guess I’m just bored of it.

    • You’re still missing my point. One last time.

      The fact that you must interpret the book, rather than read it literally, to force a message of good out of it means that the book is not the source of your morals.

      Therefore, your morals drive your religion, not the other way around.

      Religion has brought nothing to the table.

  6. Cerberus Guardian the Gate of Black says:

    Hello Mr. Scott, how are you?
    Chucky said:
    “What I dislike is Dawkins & other new atheists using the work of myself & my colleagues to promote atheism. ”

    I don’t know whether you realized it or not Mr. Chuck, but judging from what I see, and your speech, you do realize you’re promoting religion, Right?
    What’s the difference, and why shouldn’t you be able to promote atheism in a free nation?
    Do you really think that only your religious words and book matter? Why.?
    Would you not want people to be able to think for themselves, or just keep following blindly?
    I think your bias is showing, and without objective reasoning, you’re not much of a scientist.

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