FacebookTwitter
Hatrack River Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Christian Literalist Question (Page 7)

  This topic comprises 7 pages: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7   
Author Topic: Christian Literalist Question
Glenn Arnold
Member
Member # 3192

 - posted      Profile for Glenn Arnold   Email Glenn Arnold         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Has the ambiguity of the terminology, or lack thereof, ever stopped anyone from interpreting the bible in the ways they have chosen to?
I suspect it has. If Quakers had not seen it as interpreted "thou shalt not kill" their philosophy of pacifism might never have been formed, or, even if it was, it might have been harder to sell it as a religion in its own right.
Posts: 3735 | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Among the translations that use "murder" rather than kill, is Young's literal translation (1866). The idea that "Thou shalt not kill" meant "murder" and was not an injunction against all forms of killing can be found in the writings of St Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. It is by no means an invention of the last 10 to 20 years. It's what I was taught 40+ years ago as a kid in Sunday school. It's what my parents and grandparents were taught 60 to 100 years ago.

I'm willing to believe it first came to your attention 10 - 20 years ago, but that says more about what draws your attention than it does about Christianity. From time to time, the more pacifist Christian become vocal about issues like the death penalty and wars. Whenever they do, other Christians counter with "not kill" means "not murder". The book "Dead Man Walking" was published in 1995. I suspect that spurred considerable public discussion of this issue and may be what brought the issue to your attention. It was not however a new idea. Its a very very old interpretation and is in fact the dominant interpretation used by Christians and Jews for the past 2000 years.

Posts: 12591 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orincoro
Member
Member # 8854

 - posted      Profile for Orincoro   Email Orincoro         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Arnold:
quote:
Has the ambiguity of the terminology, or lack thereof, ever stopped anyone from interpreting the bible in the ways they have chosen to?
I suspect it has. If Quakers had not seen it as interpreted "thou shalt not kill" their philosophy of pacifism might never have been formed, or, even if it was, it might have been harder to sell it as a religion in its own right.
See, that's where I think you're probably wrong. I've always been of the opinion that the teachings of any particular sect or religion is about %99.9 to do with their actual circumstances (social, historical, economic) having an effect on their philosophies than any sacred text. It's like Taroh reading to me- the cards you throw are the cards you throw- but it changes very little ultimately in what you see in them, and even less in what you eventually decide to do in light of whatever you see.
Posts: 9912 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Shawshank
Member
Member # 8453

 - posted      Profile for Shawshank   Email Shawshank         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Arnold:
quote:
Has the ambiguity of the terminology, or lack thereof, ever stopped anyone from interpreting the bible in the ways they have chosen to?
I suspect it has. If Quakers had not seen it as interpreted "thou shalt not kill" their philosophy of pacifism might never have been formed, or, even if it was, it might have been harder to sell it as a religion in its own right.
See, that's where I think you're probably wrong. I've always been of the opinion that the teachings of any particular sect or religion is about %99.9 to do with their actual circumstances (social, historical, economic) having an effect on their philosophies than any sacred text. It's like Taroh reading to me- the cards you throw are the cards you throw- but it changes very little ultimately in what you see in them, and even less in what you eventually decide to do in light of whatever you see.
Certainly one's life setting has an effect on the exegetical process. But that's not where most Christians draw the majority of their interpretation. I'd like to point out two things:

1. The most important aspect of a Christian's hermeneutical process comes from the church tradition- first from the larger, catholic church and then their own particular theological tradition. The Bible, as written and edited, was not intended for individual reading and interpretation. It was created to be used by the community of Christians and the church. This is not a bad thing, but rather safeguards the text. It also allows for divergent opinions on secondary and tertiary issues while still taking part in the same overall life of the church across time and space.

2. I would also like to point out that idea that even a sacred text like the Bible (which a person like myself would hold to be the most authoritative word on doctrine, and therefore an authority of truth) be informed by the particular circumstances of an individual or community's life is not a bad thing. Our lives should affect how the text is understood. The Bible isn't some absolute, monolithic text from which we receive all knowledge if we are "objective" enough. In fact, I think that the distinctive doctrines of Christianity require more flexibility in our understanding of truth- over and against fundamentalism's insistence on absolute inerrancy.

Posts: 980 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JanitorBlade
Moderator
Member # 12343

 - posted      Profile for JanitorBlade   Email JanitorBlade         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
Mucus, Please do not confuse my reasoning with Ron's. I am not supporting Ron's arguments.

My only point is that in the absence of proper controls, data showing a correlation between religiosity and crime in various communities are not evidence either for or against Ron's claims. I believe I have made that abundantly clear.

If you attempt to misconstrue my arguments to mean anything more than this, you are behaving as irrationally as Ron.

That's a bit over the line Rabbit. Please refrain from using Ron as some sort of measuring bar by which irrationality is measured.
Posts: 1171 | Registered: Jun 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Glenn Arnold
Member
Member # 3192

 - posted      Profile for Glenn Arnold   Email Glenn Arnold         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A quick google search on "when did thou shalt not murder appear"

Got me this page:

quote:
Traditional translations of this phrase into English have tended to use the word kill. Certain scholars have suggested that this is not the most accurate translation. The key phrase, often translated "to kill" ( rasah ), began in the twentieth century to be translated "Thou shalt not murder," is seen in newer translations of the Bible such as the New Revised Standard Version. The scholar Terence Fretheim notes, "In view of certain passages (e.g., 1 Kings 21:19) it has been suggested that the verb means murder" (1991, p. 232). He goes on to note that this phrase can refer to unintentional killing (Deut. 4:41–42) or the execution of a convicted murderer (Num. 35:30). A growing number of scholars now agree that this term for killing in Hebrew that is used in the Ten Commandments is never used in Hebrew Scripture to refer to the type of killing that takes place in a war.
As I said, my copy of the Bible (not the KJV) says kill, and from this writing it appears that although the translations began to change in the early 20th century, it wasn't a complete changeover, and has picked up steam more recently.

Regardless, this is just a diversion from my point, which is that if it's going to be a "commandment," it shouldn't be ambiguous, regardless of the source material.

And going back to my original post, my standard for morality isn't the bible, or even religion, but I still taught my kids that "thou shalt not kill" is a fundamental rule of morality. If faced with a situation where killing may be necessary, I want people to at least be internally conflicted, even if they choose to do it anyway.

Posts: 3735 | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ron Lambert
Member
Member # 2872

 - posted      Profile for Ron Lambert   Email Ron Lambert         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Here is the entry I get from my on-line copy of Thayer's Bible Dictionary:
quote:
07523 ratsach {raw-tsakh'}
a primitive root; TWOT - 2208; v
AV - slayer 16, murderer 14, kill 5, murder 3, slain 3, manslayer 2,
killing 1, slayer + 0310 1, slayeth 1, death 1; 47
1) to murder, slay, kill
1a) (Qal) to murder, slay
1a1) premeditated
1a2) accidental
1a3) as avenger
1a4) slayer (intentional) (participle)
1b) (Niphal) to be slain
1c) (Piel)
1c1) to murder, assassinate
1c2) murderer, assassin (participle)(subst)
1d) (Pual) to be killed

Also note that in the original for Exodus 20:13, the expression translated "kill" is modified by qual. As noted in the above 1a, this signifies an emphasis on the connotation "to murder."

Besides, what ever happened to the basic principle of taking things in context? Shortly after the announcement of this commandment, the sons of Levi were instructed to take their swords and execute all those who refused to repent of their worship of the golden calf. Rather than jumping to the conclusion that this is a contradiction that no one had the wit to notice, we should recognize what is clearly implied: the forbidden kind of killing is not all types of killing.

Posts: 3742 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by JanitorBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
Mucus, Please do not confuse my reasoning with Ron's. I am not supporting Ron's arguments.

My only point is that in the absence of proper controls, data showing a correlation between religiosity and crime in various communities are not evidence either for or against Ron's claims. I believe I have made that abundantly clear.

If you attempt to misconstrue my arguments to mean anything more than this, you are behaving as irrationally as Ron.

That's a bit over the line Rabbit. Please refrain from using Ron as some sort of measuring bar by which irrationality is measured.
I'm sorry. I'm curious, would it have been acceptable if I had said, "as irrational as you accuse Ron of being". That was my intent.
Posts: 12591 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Aris Katsaris
Member
Member # 4596

 - posted      Profile for Aris Katsaris   Email Aris Katsaris         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Arnold:
And going back to my original post, my standard for morality isn't the bible, or even religion, but I still taught my kids that "thou shalt not kill" is a fundamental rule of morality.

This may sound a silly remark -- but do you understand, that "thou shalt not kill", without use of context, means not killing *anything*, any live creature? Not even bugs and spiders.

Even vegetarians kill living plants. You'd need to be a fruitarian (e.g. a Jain) to not kill anything.

If you understand 'thou shalt not kill' to mean *kill people* in general but NOT kill animals, you are already using a certain context to interpret the words.

And once one realizes that, one also realizes that the ancient Hebrews would have had a different interpretative context -- one with which they understood the commandment didn't refer to all the other forms of authorized killing.

Posts: 676 | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Samprimary
Member
Member # 8561

 - posted      Profile for Samprimary   Email Samprimary         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
What world are you living in? Sam, you report things that are exactly opposite of the way they really are. Kids killing kids for shoes and jackets, etc., happens most commonly in schools in poor, gang-infested neighborhoods. And the manifest disregard for the sanctity of human life is increasing on all levels of society, not decreasing. Maybe we might wish it were not true. But don't confuse what you wish were true with what is really true.

Please show me data indicating a trend towards more murders today than were present a generation or more ago in our history. Absent this data, justify your assertion that 'manifest disregard for the sanctity of human life' is increasing in a way you can demonstrate.

note: do not expect to have your claim accepted at face value without some actual data. Your perceptions are frequently at odds with what can be demonstrated since — hypocritically — you imagine things to be the way they should be in order to support preconceptions.

Short version: put up or shut up. Show the data or admit you don't have any.

Posts: 15419 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Samprimary
Member
Member # 8561

 - posted      Profile for Samprimary   Email Samprimary         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
In order for this point to represent anything more than a rush to judgement against religiosity, we would need data that controlled for poverty and intelligence.

No. There are many other ways this point can represent plenty besides 'a rush to judgment against religiosity,' including but not limited to simply noting that actual real-world measurements manifestly disprove what ron is saying (a shocker).
Posts: 15419 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BlackBlade
Member
Member # 8376

 - posted      Profile for BlackBlade   Email BlackBlade         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by JanitorBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
Mucus, Please do not confuse my reasoning with Ron's. I am not supporting Ron's arguments.

My only point is that in the absence of proper controls, data showing a correlation between religiosity and crime in various communities are not evidence either for or against Ron's claims. I believe I have made that abundantly clear.

If you attempt to misconstrue my arguments to mean anything more than this, you are behaving as irrationally as Ron.

That's a bit over the line Rabbit. Please refrain from using Ron as some sort of measuring bar by which irrationality is measured.
I'm sorry. I'm curious, would it have been acceptable if I had said, "as irrational as you accuse Ron of being". That was my intent.
That would grab me a bit better yes.
Posts: 14316 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
In order for this point to represent anything more than a rush to judgement against religiosity, we would need data that controlled for poverty and intelligence.

No. There are many other ways this point can represent plenty besides 'a rush to judgment against religiosity,' including but not limited to simply noting that actual real-world measurements manifestly disprove what ron is saying (a shocker).
Samp, I'm sorry but you fail. Unless you control for confounding factors, a lack of correlation does not disprove a causal relationship.
Posts: 12591 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Raymond Arnold
Member
Member # 11712

 - posted      Profile for Raymond Arnold   Email Raymond Arnold         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I haven't been able to find anything that controls for individual factors, but atheism does appear to correlate with lower crime, lower poverty, and higher education. My guess is if any of the three is the cause of the others, it's education. Adding atheists to your community won't make it richer or less crime ridden, but improving education will, and also happen to increase the number of atheists.

In any case, I think Samp's actual point is just fine. He's not proving atheism causes anything. But Ron specifically was claiming that atheism DID cause something - higher crime. He also claimed crime was going up. And he's wrong on both accounts: Crime overall is going down, in particular in areas that happen to have more atheists. If atheist had any link with increased crime, it'd have to be such a minimal effect that it managed to be completely obliterated by the other relevant factors. Ignoring the fact that crime is going down in the first place.

[ January 18, 2011, 02:17 PM: Message edited by: Raymond Arnold ]

Posts: 4136 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 124

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Rabbit, what are you on about?
Posts: 37421 | Registered: May 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Juxtapose
Member
Member # 8837

 - posted      Profile for Juxtapose   Email Juxtapose         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If I were betting (and this is mostly speculative), I'd guess that atheism is caused by many factors, including education and genetic predisposition for cognitive functioning that tends to lead to an atheistic worldview. Environment must be considered, as well. In short, I think it's many of the same factors that lead to a person being religious.
Posts: 2907 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ron Lambert
Member
Member # 2872

 - posted      Profile for Ron Lambert   Email Ron Lambert         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Sir Isaac Newton was arguably one of the most brilliant human beings in history--he invented calculus, and enunciated his laws of motion which are still today only superceded when we approach the velocity of light in a vacuum. He also was very religious, believed in the Bible and in Bible prophecy, and even wrote his own commentaries on Daniel and Revelation. Nearly a century in advance, he correctly predicted on the basis of Bible prophecy that "something terrible" was going to happen to the Papacy near the end of the 18th century--and in fact in 1798 the Pope was taken prisoner by the army of Napoleon led by General Berthier, and a few months later the Pope died in prison. At the time, many people believed it might mean the end of the Roman Catholic Church.

[ January 18, 2011, 06:23 PM: Message edited by: Ron Lambert ]

Posts: 3742 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BlackBlade
Member
Member # 8376

 - posted      Profile for BlackBlade   Email BlackBlade         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ron: Are you a Catholic? I am extremely skeptical of the claim that the Bible discusses a Pope's, (and one of no major import) kidnapping and death in prison unless those events weave into a larger narrative.

edit: Or, of course if it turns out that I am completely wrong about the Catholic Church not being God's kingdom here on earth.

Posts: 14316 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 124

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Newton was also an Arian and believed himself to be a prophet.
Posts: 37421 | Registered: May 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
natural_mystic
Member
Member # 11760

 - posted      Profile for natural_mystic           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It is also a little known fact that Newton wrote more on alchemy than he did on math & physics. Read into that what you will.
Posts: 644 | Registered: Sep 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Samprimary
Member
Member # 8561

 - posted      Profile for Samprimary   Email Samprimary         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
In order for this point to represent anything more than a rush to judgement against religiosity, we would need data that controlled for poverty and intelligence.

No. There are many other ways this point can represent plenty besides 'a rush to judgment against religiosity,' including but not limited to simply noting that actual real-world measurements manifestly disprove what ron is saying (a shocker).
Samp, I'm sorry but you fail. Unless you control for confounding factors, a lack of correlation does not disprove a causal relationship.
You pretty much started this exchange by inferring my point had to be something it did not have to be (and in fact is not) — a 'rush to judgment against religiosity.' After stuffing that motive in my mouth, you've ... defended it so irrelevantly that I don't know where you're going with this or, really, what you're talking about. Or how you're reading my posts. Step back and think about it!
Posts: 15419 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
fugu13
Member
Member # 2859

 - posted      Profile for fugu13   Email fugu13         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Another interesting question is, is there a single large organization at the time that did not have some sort of event that could be termed "something terrible" at some point in time that could be called "near the end of the 18th century"? Major problems happen in all long-existent very large organizations, with fairly high frequency. Predicting something that vaguely enough that it is nearly guaranteed to happen is not predicting at all.
Posts: 15770 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MattP
Member
Member # 10495

 - posted      Profile for MattP   Email MattP         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Unless you control for confounding factors, a lack of correlation does not disprove a causal relationship.
Rabbit, why are you being so pedantic on this point? Ron's made a claim so outrageous and superficial that noting the inverse correlation really should be a sufficient answer in this forum. If Ron thinks there are confounding factors, let him present them or withdraw the claim. If you think there are confounding factors, that would also be interesting to hear about.

But if you merely want to insist that confounding factors can render any correlation meaningless, well sure - that's always the case, even in a study that accounts for suspected confounding factors but which might miss others.

Posts: 3275 | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Aris Katsaris
Member
Member # 4596

 - posted      Profile for Aris Katsaris   Email Aris Katsaris         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
Another interesting question is, is there a single large organization at the time that did not have some sort of event that could be termed "something terrible" at some point in time that could be called "near the end of the 18th century"?

Before judging the vagueness or preciseness of Newton's prophecy, we must know the exact wording of it.

You're putting the cart before the horse, fugu, offering explanations and rationalizations before you have the facts.

Posts: 676 | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 124

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
We also, of course, have to rule out the idea that Newton engineered a two-hundred-year-long plot to capture and kill the pope. [Smile]
Posts: 37421 | Registered: May 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Geraine
Member
Member # 9913

 - posted      Profile for Geraine   Email Geraine         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
We also, of course, have to rule out the idea that Newton engineered a two-hundred-year-long plot to capture and kill the pope. [Smile]

Sounds like a good plot for Assassin's Creed 3. [Big Grin]
Posts: 1937 | Registered: Nov 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ron Lambert
Member
Member # 2872

 - posted      Profile for Ron Lambert   Email Ron Lambert         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The point is that atheists have no corner on intellect. Sir Isaac Newton may have been the most brilliant human being in history, and he was very religious.

BlackBlade, the larger narrative is Daniel chapter seven--especially the portion about the "Little Horn" power, that would persecute the saints for 1260 years. As Protestants have historically seen it, the Papacy became a persecuting power wielding secular authority to punish dissenters about 1260 years prior to 1798.

Posts: 3742 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 124

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
The point is that atheists have no corner on intellect.
Has anyone been claiming that only atheists can be intelligent? I suspect that you're trying to change the subject again.
Posts: 37421 | Registered: May 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
fugu13
Member
Member # 2859

 - posted      Profile for fugu13   Email fugu13         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Before judging the vagueness or preciseness of Newton's prophecy, we must know the exact wording of it.

You're putting the cart before the horse, fugu, offering explanations and rationalizations before you have the facts.

Or we could let the person making strong claims, who has the incentive to make it sound as good a prophecy as possible, be the one to have to deal with it. He used quite vague wording, including the part that appears to be intended as a quotation, and this is when trying to make Newton sound impressive!

Of course, if you happen to be able to find a copy of the prophecy, I'd be happy to destroy it more specifically. However, this prophecy doesn't seem well known at all (I do keep finding that some people think Nostradamus made a similar one), so I'll await someone else finding the wording.

Posts: 15770 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ron Lambert
Member
Member # 2872

 - posted      Profile for Ron Lambert   Email Ron Lambert         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Tom, I brought up the point about Sir Isaac Newton being brilliant and yet religious in response to what Juxtapose said:
quote:
Originally posted by Juxtapose:
If I were betting (and this is mostly speculative), I'd guess that atheism is caused by many factors, including education and genetic predisposition for cognitive functioning that tends to lead to an atheistic worldview. [Emphasis supplied.]


Posts: 3742 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Samprimary
Member
Member # 8561

 - posted      Profile for Samprimary   Email Samprimary         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
'cognitive functioning that tends to lead to an antheistic worldview' is not equal to 'only athiests have cognitive functioning' or 'atheists cognitive functioning is necessarily superior to theists'

not that i would agree anyway, i think it would have more to do with western culture beginning to shed the influence and pervasiveness of of christianity that leads to early-life indoctrination environments essentially necessary for propagating a cohesive faith between generations.

Posts: 15419 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Aris Katsaris
Member
Member # 4596

 - posted      Profile for Aris Katsaris   Email Aris Katsaris         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I agree that atheists have no monopoly on education and even brilliance -- however the Newton example is a weak rebuttal: his intelligence may have been extraordinary, but his education necessarily lacked the advances made by human knowledge in the last few centuries.

In more recent times, neither Laplace nor Tesla nor Einstein nor Planck nor Hawking believed in a personal god. I have difficulty remembering a modern famous scientist, e.g. in the last century or two, that believed in any particular religion. (though some of these used "God" as a metaphor for the universe while still disbelieving in any personal god)

Posts: 676 | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rivka
Member
Member # 4859

 - posted      Profile for rivka   Email rivka         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:
I have difficulty remembering a modern famous scientist, e.g. in the last century or two, that believed in any particular religion. (though some of these used "God" as a metaphor for the universe while still disbelieving in any personal god)

Then that is a limitation on either your memory or what it takes to be "famous". Quite a few Nobel winners in the sciences in the last 20 years alone have been devoutly religious.
Posts: 32919 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Javert
Member
Member # 3076

 - posted      Profile for Javert   Email Javert         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:
I have difficulty remembering a modern famous scientist, e.g. in the last century or two, that believed in any particular religion. (though some of these used "God" as a metaphor for the universe while still disbelieving in any personal god)

Then that is a limitation on either your memory or what it takes to be "famous". Quite a few Nobel winners in the sciences in the last 20 years alone have been devoutly religious.
Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project, jumps immediately to mind. He is a devout Christian. He also is a pretty good scientist. (From what I, a layman, can tell.)
Posts: 3852 | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Juxtapose
Member
Member # 8837

 - posted      Profile for Juxtapose   Email Juxtapose         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
'cognitive functioning that tends to lead to an antheistic worldview' is not equal to 'only athiests have cognitive functioning' or 'atheists cognitive functioning is necessarily superior to theists'

not that i would agree anyway, i think it would have more to do with western culture beginning to shed the influence and pervasiveness of of christianity that leads to early-life indoctrination environments essentially necessary for propagating a cohesive faith between generations.

I would guess (again, speculation) that the trend you're talking about has a greater effect on the number of out-of-the-closet atheists than it does the absolute number.

This also touches on what I meant by education, which was not simply a code word for intelligence. Rather it had to do with scientific education, comparative religious education, and most importantly awareness of atheism as a legitimate option. It makes me sad to think about how many people must have spent large parts of their life unhappy because they didn't realize there were other possibilities.

Posts: 2907 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Aris Katsaris
Member
Member # 4596

 - posted      Profile for Aris Katsaris   Email Aris Katsaris         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Then that is a limitation on either your memory or what it takes to be "famous". Quite a few Nobel winners in the sciences in the last 20 years alone have been devoutly religious.
Well, ofcourse it's a limitation on my memory. I'm sure there must exist *some*: my point was that my failure to remember any name off the top of my head, is itself evidence that they much fewer in proportion than non-religious ones.

quote:
Francis Collins
Is he the most famous religion-believing scientist in the past two centuries?

I have to say I'm not impressed, not when the non-religious have names like Einstein and Tesla and Hawking and all the others I mentioned on their side.

Posts: 676 | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Paul Goldner
Member
Member # 1910

 - posted      Profile for Paul Goldner   Email Paul Goldner         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Gregor Mendel, and a couple others, Aris.

But yes, the believers in a personal god are WAY underrepresented in the sciences compared to the general population.

Posts: 4112 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rivka
Member
Member # 4859

 - posted      Profile for rivka   Email rivka         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:
my point was that my failure to remember any name off the top of my head, is itself evidence that they much fewer in proportion than non-religious ones.

Or of confirmation bias on your part.

I'm done arguing this one. I happen to know lots -- which is surely confirmation bias on my part as well. But hardly proof of anything.

Posts: 32919 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mucus
Member
Member # 9735

 - posted      Profile for Mucus           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It's like someone should take a poll or something [Wink]
Posts: 7593 | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rivka
Member
Member # 4859

 - posted      Profile for rivka   Email rivka         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Too bad most of the scientists of the last 200 years will find poll taking out of their reach.
Posts: 32919 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BlackBlade
Member
Member # 8376

 - posted      Profile for BlackBlade   Email BlackBlade         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Just throwing Henry Eyring out there as another great believer scientist. According to him, the concept for his equation came to him while he was at temple praying about this problem. Oh man, God cares about science, who knew?
Posts: 14316 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mucus
Member
Member # 9735

 - posted      Profile for Mucus           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It goes back to 1914 and the numbers are fairly stable, I'd be fairly surprised if the proportion changed all that rapidly before that and the total number of scientists is rapidly increasing anyways which decreases the ability of the earlier century to change the proportions as much.

If anything I'd expect the American sample of the poll to bias the poll toward more belief rather than less.

Posts: 7593 | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Aris Katsaris
Member
Member # 4596

 - posted      Profile for Aris Katsaris   Email Aris Katsaris         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
"Or of confirmation bias on your part."
I didn't purposefully exclude some scientist's name that I knew to be religious, I instead started thinking up names of famous scientists and THEN I looked them up to see if they were religious. That's the proper methodology.

A few (like Madame Curie) I couldn't find information about their religious beliefs, but all the ones I thought up and found information about weren't religious.

Posts: 676 | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Paul Goldner
Member
Member # 1910

 - posted      Profile for Paul Goldner   Email Paul Goldner         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"Too bad most of the scientists of the last 200 years will find poll taking out of their reach."

Considering how many scientists are working today compared to how many were working in, say, 1890, I wouldn't want to make any major wagers on this statement. When one further considers that, as has been pointed out, the polling goes back 100 years, I'd say the statement would probably be more correct if one said "The vast majority of the scientists who have ever worked have been alive when polls have been taken on this subject."

Posts: 4112 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 7 pages: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2