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

From: Ant McWatt (
Date: Thu May 05 2005 - 01:48:10 BST

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    Sam Norton responded to Mark Heyman May 3rd:

    On the specific points, I would suggest that those theologians who
    seek a scientific imprimatur are using an understanding of theology
    which makes verifiable claims (ie scientifically verifiable), which
    is therefore derived from Descartes/SOM. As Scott says, all the
    decent theologians avoid pseudo-scientific arguments (as they also
    avoid SOM).

    Ant McWatt observes:

    Sam, Mark, Scott,

    You might be interested to note that Ian expands on this point at his

    Wednesday, May 04, 2005
    Posted 09:26 by Ian
    I Need You To Keep This Secret - OK ?

    I genuinely don't want to waste the breath - like Dennett, amongst others
    who "peremptorily dismiss" such issues of faith in any kind of purposeful
    causal god, my preferred tactic is just to ignore and if necessary reject
    out of hand any such suggestions. However there are good and bad theologians
    and some, after overcoming the initial offence, do seem prepared for open
    debate - open to everything except a change of premise it seems. What is the
    point ? Well none it turns out, if I explain to you my thought for today,
    really just another re-statement of my Catch-22 I guess.

    I think I've stumbled on something. Clearly religious faith is in deep in
    all socio-political structures. Religious faithful were never my target -
    are still not a "target" at all - I really would ignore them if they went
    away to mind their own business. There is clearly another suggestion
    (equally offensive, no doubt) of an element of religious faith for the
    non-intellectual who just want something convenient to plug the mysterious
    gaps in the world - isn't that Marx's opiate of the people ? Anyway, as long
    as people who'd really rather not worry about difficult questions never get
    into positions of power and influence then we might be OK.

    The dangerous ones are those who are either cynically exploitative (I might
    say evil) in their power, or worse still, the buggers who seem to want to
    argue using "dishonest intellect" - and this is the key point - that
    dishonesty is of course generally NOT pre-meditated NOR evil NOR a
    conspiracy (see exceptions above). What it is, is the same widespread
    misplaced western faith in objective / logical positivism. Exactly the same.
    As in exactly. Using that misplaced style of argumentation, you can indeed
    convince / be convinced you are right in your faith. The intellectual
    argument is not so much "dishonest" as plain misguided.

    The very problem I was trying to find a solution to for more parochial
    "business management" reasons. I always knew it spread across all
    "organisational decision making", right to the highest national and
    international government and non-government organisations, but until this
    moment I had never spotted it was exactly the same problem "western"
    churches suffered from. How right Pirsig was with his "Church of Reason" -
    even if he was using "church" in the more figurative sense.

    Oh my god, this is truly awful. The logical positivist memeplex reinforces
    the religious memeplex. Science has unwittingly been it's own worst enema.

    So back to plan A. The original plan was in fact correct. Ignore them as
    politely as possible and keep working to get "higher quality" argumentation
    and decision rationale in at a very simple level, far away from the
    battlefront. Evolution always needed segregation and nurture as well as
    comptetition for survival. We need a domain where the meme has space to
    replicate, re-inforce, meet complementary memes, breed a nice healthy
    memeplex and some suitably supportive environmental conditions, and then
    find opportunities for stealthy break-out into the wider world.

    So, we're looking for a godless place to breed. Don't you just love the
    dirty jobs.

    (And psst - as I said, it needs to be a conspiracy, kept secret from those
    other buggers. Talk about Catch-22. Mum's the word.)

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