26 Comments

Science and Religion: Are they always opposing?

We all know that science and religion can often be at odds with each other.  Some examples include Evolution vs creation, DNA and the Book of Mormon;  the list could be endless.  In a recent comment, Book1830 makes the claim that Science and Religion (he refers to them as Scholarship and Apologetics) are at odds with each other.  His summarized comments are below:

Science and Religion are opposed:

  • We should have a discussion sometime about Scholarship and Apologetics. (and how never the twain shall meet)
  • Apologetics: Formal argumentation in defense of something, such as a position, system or institution.
  • Scholarship: Knowledge resulting from study and research in a particular field.
  • These two ideas are actually opposed to each other. One draws on the information to form the knowledge, the other defends the idea, often formed before the defender was ever born. When I typed these two words side by side into Google. I found that of the top 10 websites that came up. Six were Mormon.

While I agree that there can be some tension, I think that there can be a middle ground, and I am going to propose that apologetics and scholarship can influence each other.  We are all familiar with common examples of scholarship affecting apologetics:  Columbus proving the world is not flat, Galileo proving that the sun is the center of the universe and not the earth, but few scientists will talk about how apologetics can influence scholarship.

I wanted to provide some formal definitions for these two terms.  Here’s what I found from the dictionary.com website, and it pretty much agrees with Book1830’s definitions, although I wanted to add the theology part to the definition.

American Heritage Dictionary

a·pol·o·get·ics
n.   (used with a sing. verb)

  1. The branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines.
  2. Formal argumentation in defense of something, such as a position or system.

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)

schol·ar·ship [skol-er-ship]
–noun
1. learning; knowledge acquired by study; the academic attainments of a scholar.

Here are some recent examples of how apologetics has influenced scholarship.

Sodom and Gomorrah.

Many scientists have claimed that the story in Genesis of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are a complete myth.  The story of Lot’s wife turning to a pillar of salt seems to support this mythical story.  There is no evidence that the cities exist near the Dead Sea, and the story of God destroying the city by fire and brimstone seems very mythical.

However, some scientists in Jordan have found “five cities of the plain” on the eastern edge of the Dead Sea in what is now the country of Jordan.  There is an episode of Digging For the Truth which explores this claim.  While there are 3 different theories claiming to know where these lost cities of the plain are, the most compelling site is in this episode.  So, it seems apologetics is debunking the myths

King David

Outside of the Bible, there has been no evidence that King David (the one who killed Goliath) existed, prompting some scholars to question the historicity of David.  However in 1993, the Tel Dan Stele was found, where an Assyrian claims to have defeated “the House of David.”  This is the first non-biblical reference to David, and though it is an indirect reference, it seems to lend some credibility to the Bible.  More information can be found in this episode of Mysteries of the Bible.

I could list other references, but I’ll stop here.  While I agree with Book1830’s contention that religion and science can conflict, I think that they can come to accomodations of each other’s point of view.  Comments?

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26 comments on “Science and Religion: Are they always opposing?

  1. May I suggest that the difference between apologetics and scholarship is more apparent than real? I believe their opposition is due to a distorted paradigm that creates those conflicting views.
    One such distortion, which you refer to in your ‘King David’ example, is a good example. Scholars create a straw man, then proceed to demolish it. But, it’s a contrivance. They use the Egyptian chronology to create a timeline for the entire Middle East, including the Israelite nation. But, in my view, the Egyptian kings list they rely upon to create that timeline is greatly inflated, creating vast periods of time that didn’t exist. That, in turn, distorts Hebrew history when making cross-cultural comparisons. Hence, when Kenyon excavated Jericho, she found considerable evidence to substantiate the Joshua story. But, because the accepted, but flawed dating system used by archeologists, she dated the Jericho wall collapse amost 600 years before the date scholars accept for Joshua’s arrival there. Hence, they concluded that the Bible story is a myth or a “borrowing” of cultural tradition.
    There are hundreds of such examples.
    I’ve written briefly on the subject in an article I wrote called “A Matter of Time.” I’d be happy to make it available to you or anyone else who would like to read it.
    Bottom line, most Bible mysteries actually result from scholastic distortions and our own ignorance of the facts.
    I defend the historical LDS position because it is a much better fit with my interpretation of the past, not the other way around. I came to my views from a unique, but valid, interpretation of the past, only to find that it fit with Joseph Smith’s views. A true apologist would be motivated by a desire to defend the faith, based on selective citation of the evidence. I defend the faith because the evidence led me to do so – a subtle, but crucial difference.
    In my opinion and from my perspective, the scholarship vs. apologetics idea is only one more fabricated illusion that allows the scholars to say, “See. I’m right and you’re wrong. So there!” It’s really so much intellectual snobbery.
    I invite you to scrutinize the larger view I espouse in order to see these and many other issues from my perspective. When you do so, all the so called ‘mysteries’ in the restored gospel, religion and antiquity simply vanish. But, in order to do so, you have to take a significantly different view than the one taught in our educational institutions and in our culture. I think it’s called “a paradigm shift,” and that’s tough for even the brightest among us to do. Nevertheless, I appeal to you to make the attempt. If you succeed, it’s well worth the effort. It’s a journey of tremendous discovery and enlightenment.

  2. My apologies in advance for the over-long and rambling nature of my comments.

    Scholarship and apologetics are not two intellectual pursuits that stand diametrically opposed to one another. Historically speaking scholarship grew out of apologetics. Apologetics was developed by early Church Fathers to defend Christianity against attacks fro Greco-roman philosophers and intellectuals. These pagans were dismayed by the growing popularity of the many cults being imported to the heartland of the empire from the Middle East. Christianity was just one such cult. An example of Christian apologetics comes to us from Origin’s “Contra Celsus” in which he responds to and counter attacks the criticism of pagan philosopher, Celsus. Celsus had attacked Christianity in his “The True Dialogue” as a cult built on blind faith rather than on reason. Over the first centuries since Christianity’s birth, such apologetic writings also served to firm up and establish Christian theology. Medieval church scholars based their theological arguments almost entirely upon these texts from the early Christian fathers. This narrow foundation for argument is known today as “scholasticism.” It wasn’t until the Protestant Reformation that some Christians returned to founding their theology solely upon the scriptures.

    The problem here is that both scholasticism and scripturally based argument involves personal interpretation, which is influenced not so much by the Holy Spirit as by the combination of culturally inherited perspectives and idiosyncratic biases.

    The battlefront for bible-believing Christians is two-fold. On the one hand, science has disproved several beliefs about the way the world works, which were based solely upon scriptural interpretation and/or scholasticism. The creation myth of Genesis is one example of this. We could also add to this Adam and Eve as primal parents and the Noachian inundation of the entire world. Science uses the empirical model to seek proof. The empirical model cannot be argued with because it can be tested by anyone who can replicate the conditions of the experiment. Religious conviction is not the product of the empirical model.

    This does not mean that scientific theories are always accurate. There are many speculations that grow from empirical experimentation (usually developed through mathematical modeling) that exceed for the time being science’s ability to test them empirically. Nevertheless, most scientists are happy to alter their speculations as the experimental data starts weighing in against them.

    Modern historians often speak of their craft as a science, but it is not strictly a science because it does not involve the use of the empirical model. Historians are interpreters of artifacts – evidence from the past that may or may not bear the weight of fact: newspaper articles, diaries, letters, legal documents, etc. Historical interpretation changes as it is influenced by the immeasurable influence of changing public tastes, changes in interpretive methodologies, and by the discovery of new (or formally unknown) artifacts. This, however, does not place history in the same camp as religion. The religious base their faith upon personal experience and/or upon intellectual arguments built upon unproven suppositions. History is based upon the interpretation of artifacts. One can argue with the interpretation, but one is obligated then to present a more reasonable interpretation of the artifacts.
    When empirical science contradicts one’s religious assumptions, it is time to adjust or be rid of those assumptions. When history contradicts one’s religious assumptions, it may be discomfiting, but it is not necessarily disprobative of those assumptions. It is incumbent upon the seeker of truth to examine the historical data and the interpretation of that data by the historian in question. If the historian’s interpretation appears reasonable, then a seeker of truth will absorb it and keep it for further consideration. The historicity of Sodom and Gomorrah and King David are not really examples of this. Scholars speculated that such biblical stories were not historical in the absence of data. This is not the soundest platform for argument. As more data is discovered, however, more reasonable arguments will be made.

    The origins and history of Mormonism is temporally much closer to us than the Bible’s historical assertions. This makes it a more reasonable subject for historical analysis. There is plenty of data to be examined and interpreted. Unfortunately, the official history of Mormonism almost ignores the historical scholarship of the past thirty years almost completely. But a “church” by its very nature is an organization dedicated to the creation and propagation of myth. I do not use this word pejoratively here. Myths are psychologically important to both individuals and to whole cultures, but they address inner “truths” and not historical data.

    This is best illustrated by the mythologizing of the Martin-Willie handcart tragedy. The church has re-invented it as a story of unshakable faith in the face of insurmountable odds. Today we are told that no survivor of that trial ever left the church. This speaks to the heart and give s one goose-pimples, but is simply not true. Apostle Franklin D. Richards was in charge of sending the handcart companies West. Levi Savage, a missionary returning to Salt Lake from the east Indies, had much more experience with the trail than Apostle Richards. When he discovered that Richards was sending handcart companies West so late in the season, he objected. Richards pulled rank on Savage. He was a apostle to the Lord while Savage was simply a rank-and-file member who was expected to accept the inspired guidance of his ecclesiastic leadership without question. Richards promised the saints that the arm of the Lord would stay the storms for them. Savage wept as he begged the saints to wait until spring. Richards set out on horseback (a much faster means of transport that the lowly handcart) and made it safely to Salt Lake before the major storms hit. Savage accompanied the die-hard saints who took Richards at his word. He knew they would need his experience if any of them were to survive. Brigham Young publicly excoriated Richards for his arrogance. Nevertheless, the tale that is told today doesn’t seem to take into account any of the relevant historical data that would contribute to portraying this tragedy as a moral tale of ecclesiastical hubris and “unrighteous dominion.”

    The story of the Martin- Willey handcart companies is today a myth of faith. Historical analysis does not deny the faith of those saints, but it expands the story to be a moral instructive moral tale about ecclesiastical hubris and “unrighteous dominion.” But few members want the latter story despite the fact that is a real life example of the warning contained in Section 121.

    Faith is fine as far as long as it leads one toward truth, but the believer who engages in the anti-intellectual argument that faith supercedes both science and history is a fool. It doesn’t matter how rigidly logical his arguments are. One can build an infinite number of strictly logical arguments that do not remotely resemble the truth because they stand upon arbitrary and unfounded assumptions. The majority of “scholastic” apologetics do just that. Unfortunately, logic alone cannot reveal truth. The examination of the evidence must be included in the search.

  3. The Mormon Transhumanist Association promotes the syncretization of Mormonism with contemporary science and technology. Check it out.

  4. MTA deals little with either mainstream Mormonism or established science. TMA attempts to mold radical, 19th century Mormon theology to highly speculative theories about the future of science and technology. It’s all completely off-topic here, but what does that matter when the opportunity presents itself to plug one’s favorite hobby?

  5. I was expecting some more disent, but perhaps Book1830 just hasn’t checked out this post yet. It’s nice to see some supportive views, and I think you both expressed excellent opinions.

    Anthony, I’d love to learn more about “A Matter of Time.” I came across a website called the “Kings Calendar “at http://www.kingscalendar.com which tries to reconcile biblical chronology by using a lunar calendar of 336 days instead of 365 days. The author claims that it solves all the pesky chronological problems in 1 and 2 Kings. He also says that his theory is neither proved nor disproved, and challenges someone to test out his theory from academia. This is certainly not my specialty, but I’m curious if anyone has heard of it, and what their opinions are about his theory.

    I agree that both apologists and scholars can engage in “intellectual snobbery”, and are often not humble enough to admit that their theories might be wrong. Of course we all do this to a point , but some people can take this to extremes.

    El Pibe, I think you’ve explained the nature of apologetics and scholarship well, and I learned some interesting points of history about the Martin-Willie handcarts that I was not aware of previously. I don’t really have much to add, because you’ve stated it so well. I was expecting some more dissenting opinions.

  6. Well, El Pibe has clearly exerted a bit more cerebral effort into the topic than myself. I’ll just bask in his or her light for the moment while I think of something brave to say.

    Tom

  7. MH,

    To better understand the genesis of recent thought on chronology, I suggest you begin with Immanuel Velikovksy’s writings on the subject. While most of his work went to the planetary events of the past, a great deal of it also concerned ancient chronology. Of course, among the most recent expositors is David Rohl, but there are many, many others. I’m pretty sure you can find most of them by searching online.
    I find most calendrical efforts unsatisfying. Like computer regressions into the past, they are based on the notion of a constant solar system. My research tells me that our history is punctuated with near collisions that altered everything astronomical having to do with Earth. Therefore, restructuring any chonological sequence from the past must take that reality into consideration. In fact, such catastrophes become benchmarks that can be correlated from culture to culture.

  8. As a newcomer, I really like this site!

    but the believer who engages in the anti-intellectual argument that faith supercedes both science and history is a fool. It doesn’t matter how rigidly logical his arguments are.

    I like the way that El Pibe puts this. I find that the distinction between apologetics and scholarship is more about one’s motives and intellectual values, then about the content or mode of reasoning.

    I have found a great many theologians and philosophers of religion who agree that the best argument should always win and to only use the tools of reason in their arguments.

    However, what seems to separate those who are engaging in scholarship, from those using reason as a means only if defense is whether or not their motives allow a personal revision of their beliefs. In other words, to the degree that they see dogmatism as intellectually acceptable.

    I would prefer to use the term “genuine inquiry” to distinguish those who engage in polemics with dogmatic intent and those who do not.

  9. Though having an exchange about the viability of world chronology is tempting, it’s also little too much kookiness for me to handle for a Tuesday. Yet, it reminds me of my first year Geology class where we learned about Uniformitarianism. “The present is the key to the past.”

    I accept that the ancient Greeks believed that the sky was the god Kronos and his wife Gaia represented the earth. The Mongol Temujin, who gave name to the Dahli Lama, believed in the God of the big blue sky and we Mormons believe in Father and Mother in Heaven and our Gods built the world some six thousand years ago and this hodgepodge of documents we call the Bible is their way to impart their wisdom to us? And we accept this uncritically? At some point in a healthy maturation process, one has to cast a serious critical eye on any such claim. Uniformitarianism was an early step for scholars to break from their religious traditions and honestly analyze the world around them. The bottom line is that this collection, we call the bible has failed miserably in the history department. At least the Iliad has Schliemann who actually found the lost city of Troy. It doesn’t prove Achilleas pulled Hector around it’s walls from the back of his chariot or that the war actually raged for ten years. But the city walls exist. A second hand reference to David, quoted on the discovery channel simply does not go far in resurrecting the Dravidic myth. Unless you’re an apologist. Then you already have the answer and one just needs to fill in the blanks, however tenuous the evidence may be.

    Scholarship may well be the pinnacle of human development. Apologetics may well represent the last refuge for the worst that is in us. And it may be that only the most simplistic Mormons, overzealous Catholics and ordinary Evangelical Christians will think the two somehow complement each other.

    How was that for brave?

    Tom

  10. A couple of minor side-issues:

    Columbus proving the world is not flat…

    Not at all true.

    Science uses the empirical model to seek proof.

    I assume that you are referring to the Hypothetico-deductive model of Popper. However, not all science is based in empiricism. Some notable examples are mathematics, classical economics, and large swaths of modern physics.

    And Tom, though I disagree with your unsubstantiated conclusions, you raise a very good point: no amount of evidence for the historicity of the Bible would prove that its spiritual content is valid.

  11. Eyquem, welcome. It seems we have much in common. Perhaps you can add some gnostic comments to my other posts….

    Tom, thanks for being brave. 🙂

    Many mormons and christians accept things uncritically. However, I welcome critical reasoning skills here. I find it truly annoying when so-called christians love to attack mormonism with science and act as if Biblical science is perfect. This is such a fallacy. They sure don’t like having the tables turned on them.

    While I understand that many stories in the Bible are not supported well by archeaology (like Noah’s ark, and the Exodus, for 2 examples), there are other examples that seem quite plausible, such as Jericho being located along a fault, making an earthquake quite likely as the Israelites marched around the walls 7 times. Yes, there is some chronology problems with Kenyon’s dating, but there are plenty of chronological problems with the Egyptian pharoahs too. Archeologists readily admit the problems with Egyptian chronology, so while I will admit that there could be a problem with Jericho dating, it is not a deal-killer to me. I think the biblical story matches well-enough with the archeology. But I understand the limitations as well.

    The bigger spiritual problem to me is the general acceptance by most mormons and christians that it was ok for Joshua to kill all the inhabitants. This is called a massacre, or genocide, and I think far too many people gloss over this. Yes, I understand it was a different time period, but it is still quite disturbing to me, and I really don’t think God wanted a massacre. But this is a topic for another time…..

    RWW, thanks for the correction on Columbus. It is certainly not common knowledge that his peers knew the earth was round. Even though I may have mischaracterized Columbus, I think the point about scholarship vs apologetics is still valid. Perhaps I could have used a better example than Columbus to illustrate my point, but I think it resonates with most people.

    Anthony, I’m not well read on those authors you mention, and it seems to me that “the notion of a constant solar system” is quite solid. Can you give me more information on these “near collisions” that affect calendrical systems? I’m not familiar with comets affecting our calendars. I would expect that there would be plenty of stories like “Joshua’s Longest Day” or the “3 days of darkness” at Jesus death, and light for a 2 days in the Book of Mormon at Jesus resurrection, in other cultures as well. Perhaps I am just unaware of them, but I don’t recall that any similar stories exist in non-scriptural sources, and I’m not aware of any major scientists who support this idea either.

  12. Aaahaaa! Consider this fact, MH. There are plenty of stories from various cultures about a event where the sun went out of its given course. Velikovsky devotes an entire chapter to this subject in his “Worlds in Collision.” I have written extensively on this subject. The most certain example is in our own Book of Mormon! (Talk about Mormons who don’t even read their own book!) Try reading Helaman 12. You can learn all about it by watching my 23 minute video, “Joshua’s Long Day” on You Tube. (http://youtube.com/user/toeknee1943)
    I’ve made every effort to inform the Saints about this and other vital bits of gospel doctine – especially the symbolism of prophetic language, which matches and explains temple symbolism and ritual. But after 30 years of trying, I get the feeling I’m swimming against the current.

  13. Anthony,

    I was talking about Helaman 12 when I made that comment above. I’ll check out the youtube video. I watched the 1st part, but not the other 2, as I did not have time to watch the whole thing.

  14. Good. Take the time. It’s well worth it, MH.
    Also, you may wish to read my post on the same subject over on LDS Anarchy’s blog.
    (http://ldsanarchy.wordpress.com/2008/07/02/learning-from-the-scriptures/)
    In fact, I’ve posted many of my monographs there. If you wish to understand the context of my remarks, you would serve yourself well to read my books and my papers on a wide variety of gospel subjects. If you do, you will come to see the gospel in a whole new light, one that will provide you with insight and understanding you’ve never thought possible. It’s a remarkable adventure of discovery and wonder. I strongly recommend it to you, and I urge you to do so sooner rather than later.

  15. RWW: “unsubstantiated conclusions”

    Tom: I’m not sure which unsubstantiated conclusions you were referring to. But if you wanted a good start on an honest historical rendering of the bible. One could start with The Oxford History of the Biblical World.

    http://www.amazon.com/Oxford-History-Biblical-World/dp/0195139372/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1215029553&sr=8-11.

    A nice, scholarly volume for students and a gentle introduction to the problems faced by a literal reading. It’s true, there were no children of Israel enslaved as a people in Egypt. the Exodus was from Babylon not Egypt. No King David. Just epic myths like the Iliad, Aeneid and the Odyssey. Very powerful stories, but not meant to be taken by the reader as an honest history of events. The New Testament has similar problems.

    It’s unfortunate that RWW thinks that any of this is meant to be an attack on ones spirituality. Personally, I find a much more honest and valued spirituality as a Mormon skeptic than I ever did as an apologist. When I have spiritual moments, I’m aware that they are hard won. Not something flimsy or shallow like some of the Sunday School lessons I’ve sat through lately.

    It’s like the old phrase. “A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again.”

    Don’t take the plunge unless you’re ready for the results.

  16. Book1830,

    The Exodus is one of my favorite topics–thanks for bringing it up. I’m sure we could get into dueling scholars, but there are plenty who have a different take on the Exodus. National Geographic did a presentation last year where they outlined 13 different theories, and it is found at http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/episode/exodus-revealed-2566/Overview

    I also enjoyed a film produced in 2001, called The Exodus Revealed, which gives me some compelling reasons to believe that Mt Sinai is actually located in Saudi Arabia, and there has been a dive showing coral in the shape of Egyptian chariot wheels in the Red Sea. Coral takes the form of whatever it attaches to, and while the wood is long-gone, it is hard to imagine what else would make wheel shaped coral. They also show an Israeli settlement in the land of Goshen, Egypt that dates to the time of the Pharoahs. Anyway, the video is found at http://www.amazon.com/Exodus-Revealed-Searching-Red-Crossing/dp/B00005AUE2

    I’ve already talked about David. I’ll just add that biblical scholars come to different conclusions regarding the myth/truthfulness of Biblical stories. Clearly, there is no consensus on these matters.

  17. MH

    Respectfully, I think you have, with out thinking, laid out the issues of Scholarship and Apologetics. Once again, scholarship draws it’s knowledge from the data and Apologists feel that they have the answer already. Biblical scholars have for some time had a consensus about the people we refer to as Hebrew. The know where the come from, what people they descend from, why they splintered from the Canaanites and generally what they have done since. By definition, it’s only the apologists who defend the myth, and each time a portion of it is disproved, they must create new myths, to continually prop up the old. I don’t care if someone has a Ph. D. If they defend the myth. They are an apologists.

    In this case, it’s has become clear that the myth of Hebrews released from their enslavement in Egypt roamed around the small Sinai valley for forty years is completely absurd. So instead of looking into the actual scholarship that shows that the Children of Israel where in fact never enslaved as a people in Egypt, the apologists continue to choose to prop up the myth and attempt to make the geographic area larger.

    Similarly Mormons have done this with the DNA issues also. Scholars currently find that all the Native American populations have Siberian origins. In order to defend the Book of Mormon myth that Native Americans are Hebrew in origin, the Apologists at BYU and FAIR have had to make the Nephite populations so small that their DNA wouldn’t survive into modern times among so many Asians.

    I’ve sited a very good source for modern scholarship of Hebrew origins. The Oxford book would give a good overview of the scholarly consensus.

  18. Tom,

    I respectfully disagree. You said, “Once again, scholarship draws it’s knowledge from the data.” While every scientist wants to believe that they are perfectly unbiased, it is not always the case. For example, some scientists have pre-concieved notions that evolution is correct, creationism is wrong, and set out to prove their hypothesis. This is just as biased approach as you accuse apologists of being. It’s a little disingenuous to imply that every scientist is unbiased, whereas every apologist is biased. Let’s be fair.

    Let me quote from El Pibe, as I think he made an excellent point earlier. “Scholars speculated that such biblical stories were not historical in the absence of data. This is not the soundest platform for argument.”

    Additionally, El Pibe makes the case that scholasticism is a subset of apologetics. I’m not sure I totally agree with that, but he has some pretty interesting reasons to back up his point of view.

    I’ll check into the Oxford book, it seems quite reasonably priced.

  19. religion is a made up thing, it’s not a source for real information. it doesn’t observe the world for what it is. science observes. it’s a method of finding truth. to even ask the question are they always apposing is just weird. they are apposing, or if not, it’s because the religion has decided to agree with science. religion can side with science if it likes but how could science side with religion? it’ll never happen.

  20. I’d love to hear someone refute El Pibe’s argument: “Scholars speculated that such biblical stories were not historical in the absence of data. This is not the soundest platform for argument.”

    Once again humanbeing and book1830 seem to imply that scientists are not biased. I know this is an ideal, but it is completely impossible not to exhibit some bias. And so-called “scientists” who protest too much that they are unbiased cause me to wonder why they are deluding themselves.

    I will say that science and religion are searching for truth in different ways, and neither adequately explains the other. Yet scientists can be quite arrogant to dismiss religious arguments.

    I’m not saying that religious arguments are always right, just noting that there is can be a certain disdain by both sides that is not necessarily a good thing. Scholarship can be just as bull-headed and stubborn as religious apologists.

  21. I’m not sure why you can’t see that Apologetics is not based on data or knowlege but orthodoxy, or pre existing concepts. Scholarship is based on trial and error, accepting the data and changing paradime as data unfolds.

    These are conflicting concepts, not subsets of one or the other.

    Yes, some scientists bring bias into their work. Take the scientists who have written for FARMS as an example. But this makes then apologists, not scholars.

    Tom

  22. Tom, that’s not what I’m saying at all. I can see that apologetics is based on orthodoxy. But perhaps we should start referring to some scientists as “evolutionary apologists”, or something similar, so that we can remove the negative stigma that you have of apologist. I am glad to hear you say that “Yes, some scientists bring bias into their work”, despite the fact that you merely applied it to FARMS.

    In the 1800’s, scientists, disguised as marketers, claimed that cigarette smoking actually purified your lungs. It was the christian apologist Galileo who claimed the sun was the center of the universe. Most of the early work on plant genetics was done by christian monks, who simply experimented in their gardens. A large body of the good helpful science that we have can be attributed to catholic monks.

    See, christian apologists have contributed greatly to science, but I don’t see you dismissing their contributions to the world of science, despite their orthodoxy.

  23. Clarke, who wrote “2001: A Space Odyssey and created the concept of the communications satellite, formulated the following three “laws” of prediction:
    “When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”
    I’m totally with Clarke here. And, I agree with Anarchist in that scientists are as biased in their views as apologists. The simply like to wrap themselves in the cloak of authority. It doesn’t mean all science is misguided or wrong, any more than all apologetics is one or the other. Like Anarchist, I suggest you drop the facad of infallability and admit you’re truly as clueless as the rest of humanity.
    Clarke also made some other observations that you might find useful.
    “The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.”
    Your philosophy would not allow that to happen, yet it is there that most of the great advancements in science and technology have occurred. Shoot, they were certain that AC current was useless until Tesla created his polyphase, AC motor. Scientists were certain that flight was impossible, even long after the Wright brothers were buzzing cornfields.
    So, come down off your high horse already. Let’s leave off with the polemics.
    Oh, and one more thing that Clarke wrote:
    “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
    What application do you think that has to the restored gospel and the career of Joseph Smith?

  24. i get the impression that you guys don’t believe in other mythical beings. and i’m sure your reason for this is lack of evidence. the reason people think mormonisn is any different is because it was sold to them from a young age age, or it appealed to their emotions, rather than their rational side, and then they get so caught up in it because feelings can not be falsified. in fact, that’s the same with every religion. i agree with that quote about someone being wrong if they say something’s impossible, but the truth is, god is so improbable that there is no point in thinking about it. what we know about the universe doesn’t leave room for a god. certainly not a god described in the religions of today.

  25. Humanbeing,

    I respectfully disagree with your statement, god is so improbable that there is no point in thinking about it. what we know about the universe doesn’t leave room for a god.

    As El Pibe says, “This is not the soundest platform for argument.”

    Your statement illustrates a scientific bias. I am comfortable admitting that Anthony and I illustrate a Christian apologetic bias. I guess time (probably not in our lifetimes) will tell which bias is more reasonable.

  26. The reason for all these confusions- man does not know his origin.Next problem is-which of the oracles best account for the present and the future? I will say the Bible.Thanks

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