You can suppress theories for a while, as the church did with Copernicus or the science establishment did with Wegener, but evidence will always trump authority.
Well exactly what you just said here is the proof that basically all types of knowledge are manipulated by social circumstance. Evidence will trump authority, for sure, and if you come down to pure logic and scientific process evidence is the currency with which people speak to assert their views on the natural (and not so natural) environment. However in truth, in hands-on experience evidence is not so important as is where or from whom this evidence comes from. Often evidence coming from women researchers was not heeded until it was sanctioned by a man- from Marie Curie to a number of other ladies. It did not matter where the evidence was coming from if it did not serve the interests of society at the time.
This is no different than what happened in the church regarding knowledge of the Gospels, for example, as opposed to the selling of ‘sin relieving’ papers (I tried to look up the english term but the online dictionary won't give an entry. I hope it's clear what I am referring to).
The only thing I am saying is that the difference between science and religion is actually minimal- and in the grossest terms, it is just picking which groups of humans to place your faith on. Both categories (priests and scientists) are quite populated. ;)
Now, when it comes to the existence of God, I think this is one thing each person must go out and search for themselves to gather the evidence (or indication or what have you) rather than sit in a chair waiting for it to be offered to them. That's all. Also, that to dismiss the existence of something so great and vast in scope because there is no conclusive evidence (which does NOT mean there are no indications or in
conclusive evidence ;) ) is an error of logic we don't commit or claim not to commit in other areas. We let out murderers in the street with less evidence for ‘reasonable doubt’ ;) heheheh!
My trust comes from a process not dependent on a small number of humans. … The scientific process (a misnomer, but ok) is not perfect, but it is the best way to counteract human foibles. If people try to cheat at science, they will eventually be found out. If people try to suppress the truth, the truth will eventually be found out. It may not be pretty, or immediate, and it will most certainly be bumpy and messy. But this process is the best method we have, and IMHO is better at truth in the natural world far better than religion.
But how is that not true about religion? The history of religion is a demonstration about how perpetrators to the dogma (whatever that is) are eventually found out. It is bumpier and messier, but it happens as well. The scientific process does
depend on a small number of humans as opposed to the total of the human population: the scientists. Nobody else dares touch the scientific process than those endowed (through education) with the skill to do it or the authority, if you like ;) In the end, it comes down again to a small group of people with selective inclusion of members as well as an arbitrary method of dispersing of information. It is not the liberal process you think it to be. I am not saying to abandon it- that would be preposterous. I am a scientist myself. But to hail it as the best way to find the truth would be hailing a knife as the best way to defend a person. It can be so
, but only when this tool, this ‘knife’ is used appropriately and with the right motives. The tool in itself can be a method of suppression of the truth and knowledge just as effectively as it can be its liberating agent.
What I am seeking to show you from this: Science and Religion are actually sister concepts, and two different ways to approach the ever present question of justifying our presence within the cosmos. Just one chooses to ‘sell’ its truths in a different way than the other- but both are subject to examination and deliberation if you are brave enough to do it. And you should do it, in both areas. But because this is true, it does not mean we should invalidate the one for the other to exist.
However, science does not cover the “oughts” of the world, as in what we ought to do. Science cannot answer those questions, and that is where religion shines the greatest. Keep religion away from defining life or homosexuality or evolution. Let religion talk of how we ought to treat others with kindness and mercy, help the poor, etc. Science cannot speak to that directly.
You are wrong. Science covers MANY of the oughts of the world. Motives and other things are explained and solutions as to what to be done are given. Morality is shaped based on scientific knowledge as well as methods of dealing with things that are very much like the decision of what is right and wrong. Treating others with kindness or mercy may be scientifically explained as a biological sign of weakness. Helping the poor has been explained in many ways- biologically, socially and physically by science. Evolution, homosexuality and other issues like that have been explained arbitrarily by science, the explanation changing every decade or so, but it still does define cohorts upon cohorts of peoples' behaviors and morals. You can't really think that science steers clear away from ‘oughts’. Even adultery is being attempted to be explained by science. Isn't that an ‘ought’, as in we should not hurt our spouse by betraying him/her when having an affair with someone else? ;)
To me, my atheism is rooted in agnosticism. Of course, I have no idea whether there is actually a God or not. I can't prove it one way or another. I can't prove whether Astrology is real or not. I can't prove if ESP is real or not. I can't prove if the Loch Ness monster is real or not. I can't prove a number of things. As with these other things, my atheism is my best assumption for now given the evidence and experiences I have. And as with everything else, it is always subject to revision as new experienes roll into my life.
But atheism precludes that what you just said is not true. It specifically specifies there is no such thing nor can there be such thing as a God or any such entity. Agnosticism could be rooted in science and be legitimate- Atheism, on the other hand, is as sweeping a belief as any theist theory/religion out there. It assumes
based on inconclusive evidence that there can't be a God. Period. This is not scientific thought- nothing within atheism is subject to change, except perhaps one's ascription to it ;)
I did see those posts, but I don't understand why do you said that. The ramifications of Einstein's famous E=mc^2 equation is that there is no difference between energy and matter. Matter is just energy in another form. Everything in the Universe is energy; nuclear energy in the stars, gravitational energy, heat energy, the energy of matter, etc. It's all energy. There is nothing in the Universe but energy. So I guess I don't understand the distincion between allowing God as energy to be “just is” and not allowing the Universe as energy to be “just is.”
Actually Einstein's E-mc^2 is proven to be incomplete. I can't quote the specifics right now, but there are parts of the equation offering other insights into this process that do not allow us to equate ‘matter’ and ‘energy’ as being equal. Matter and energy do have specific differences. They are interconnected in that energy can become matter and matter can become energy, but that does not mean that matter is
energy- not in the sense, at least, of free, dynamic energy ready to be used, so to speak.
The Universe is contained within God- and so all these types of free energy exist, because God is omnipresent and the universe is part of him, within him- his creation. However, matter has different qualities. While I may be able to free energy from, say, a piece of paper by burning it, it is not the same as using solar energy or some other sort of non-thermal energy.
Matter has a tendency to evolve- it withers, it erodes, it develops into all sorts of other things. Energy does not evolve. If we do not do anything to change it- transform it, it won't wither, it won't erode, it won't develop. It will remain just what it is. Also, there is this principle stating that energy levels- the sum of energy existing in the cosmos remains the same and that energy can never be destroyed. Matter can. To me that is a huge difference. Which is why I ascribe to the universe ‘creation’ qualities and to God ‘non-creation’ qualities. After all, God is said to be immortal, omnipresent, omnipotent and indestructible. Sounds like pure energy to me ;)
Anyway, this is beyond the actual point. The point being discussed is ‘is atheism a valid theory’? Is it scientific, if you like? Or is it in essence just as valid as another religion? What my cosmology is is irrelevant. It is within the ‘package’, if you like, of my belief system. The atheist's cosmology is within the ‘package’ of the atheist's cosmology. The issue here is whether there is any reason to consider atheism as anything else than analogous to yet another set of belief system. To me it does not look scientific at all.
That's all there is to it in this thread, and it is to that that I offer my opinion.