Re: MD Science vs. Theism: Where's The Beef?

From: Mark Steven Heyman (
Date: Tue May 03 2005 - 03:56:28 BST

  • Next message: Mark Steven Heyman: "Re: MD Science vs. Theism: Where's The Beef?"

    On 2 May 2005 at 13:16, Scott Roberts wrote:

    On 2 May 2005 at 14:36, Sam Norton wrote:

    And as, to me, it seems the core of the thread is Scott's question
    about whether science and 'contemporary non-fundamentalist theism'
    are in conflict.

    msh before:
    I agree and, as often happens, comments have galloped away from the
    original subject, so let's see if we can rein them into a new corral.

    3) Sam claimed, therefore, that no Catholics really believe they are
    eating flesh and drinking blood.

    5) I claimed that this is not the impression I got as a young
    Catechism student. But maybe Sister Mary hadn't read Aquinas.

    This was resolved, I presume, when you tasted bread and not flesh, no?

    Not really. As I wrote, Sister Mary said it doesn't taste like flesh
    and blood, but it IS flesh and blood. (I guess I'm not the only one
    rushing the reading so I feel better now).

    6) Ant said that maybe she had but was doing what the church seeks to
    do: indoctrinating members to adopt non-questioning, non-scientific,
    authoritarian explanations of what is and isn't true.

    One must distinguish between what one can tell a child and what one can tell
    an adult. How many children learn of the Big Bang as a fact, without going
    into an explanation of what a scientific theory is (and how many adults
    think it is a fact)?

    In matters other than size and body hair, I think the difference
    between adults and children is highly over-rated. I think adults
    underestimate children on a regular basis. And I know a bunch of
    adults who have no business "telling" children anything. And I've
    met children whose understanding of the world far exceeds that of
    their parents. So I guess I'm not as impressed with the
    distinction. I think we'll give the world an evolutionary boost when
    we stop telling our children fairy tales of any kind.

    msh before:
    7) In a similar vein, very recently, DMB said that this is how
    theologians protect themselves from scientific criticism, claiming,
    basically, for example in this case (TS), there is a substantial
    change that is not measurable by science, but is nevertheless real.

    msh before, before:
    If David is correct, and I think he is, then it will be IMPOSSIBLE
    for any scientist to show a conflict between science and theology.

    But this is my point, and what you and DMB are doing is putting a spin on
    it: Science cannot disprove a religious claim. Therefore religious claims
    are spurious. That spin is called scientism.

    msh says:
    Whenever I hear the word "scientism" I think of females who act
    telling us they want to be called "actors" not "actresses." I won't
    believe it till they stop accepting Best Actress Awards. There's a
    similar dishonest undertone, don't you think?

    Besides, what I've always said, from the beginning, is that
    scientific claims ARE NOT epistemologically equivalent to religious
    claims. There is no valid basis for comparison.

    msh still talking:
    This doesn't bother me much, because I've always claimed that science
    and theology are mutually exclusive areas of investigation, one with
    its roots in practical empiricism, the other stemming from
    assumptions based on faith.

    So why are you concerned that transubstantiation cannot be disproved by

    I'm not. At least I don't think I am. I'm getting confused about
    who's said what and why. What I've said is that TS is in conflict
    with science to the extent that it cannot be proved by science, at
    least up till now. Same as the belief in the Loch Ness monster. It
    is a faith-based, not a scientific belief.

    What's the problem?

    msh on and on.:
    It seems to me that, at this point, the discussion would be over but,
    because, for whatever reason, most (all?) theologians are desirous
    of science's stamp of approval, they constantly offer challenges
    exactly like the challenge offered by Scott to begin this thread.
    And the circle goes round...

    In the first place, my asking for an example of conflict was in response to
    DMB's saying that science and theism *are* in conflict. In any case, my
    challenge had nothing to do with seeking science's stamp of approval. What
    makes you think it does?

    The important point, made recently by DMB, is that theologians who
    seek scientific approval (both you and Sam agree there are those who
    do) will never have to worry about being disproved by science; they
    always have the back door of saying it is true because I have faith
    that it is true, regardless of what science can and cannot detect.

    msh on and on:
    So, to me the interesting question has always been, why do
    theologians so often appear to seek the imprimatur of science?

    This is where you and DMB are out of date. Some theologians used to make
    pseudo-scientific arguments (of the God of the gaps sort), but most have
    learned not to. There are still many theists around who continue to do so,
    but the higher quality theology does not.

    Sam says it's because they have absorbed the ideology of the age.
    You guys need to get your stories straight. It's like I've nabbed a
    couple of criminals and have them in different interrogation rooms.

    I am, in fact doing precisely the opposite of offering a scientific argument, or seeking the imprimatur of
    science. I am, instead, saying that science does one thing, and theology
    another, and there is no conflict between them.

    msh says:
    Sounds right to me. So, "Where's The Beef?" Other than what I said
    3 msh's above?

    Mark Steven Heyman (msh)
    InfoPro Consulting - The Professional Information Processors
    Custom Software Solutions for Windows, PDAs, and the Web Since 1983
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    "Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly; Man got to sit and wonder 'why, why,
    why?' Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land; Man got to tell himself he
    understand." - Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle

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