Physicists and religion

  • Imagine you are sipping tea or coffee while discussing various issues with a broad and diverse network of students, colleagues, and friends brought together by the common bond of physics, graduate school, and the physics GRE.

User avatar
Helio
Posts: 809
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 7:11 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by Helio » Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:28 am

grae313 wrote:
grae313 wrote:enough said
Oops, I made a mistake. Now, enough said

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: sry just too funny.... out it goes... the purity of humanity

User avatar
xudis149
Posts: 148
Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2008 12:03 am

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by xudis149 » Wed Feb 11, 2009 6:45 am

grae313 wrote:
grae313 wrote:enough said
Oops, I made a mistake. Now, enough said

What about this then :)

User avatar
naseermk
Posts: 93
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 8:47 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by naseermk » Wed Feb 11, 2009 5:13 pm

dlenmn wrote:Let's examine:

Do they not look at the birds, held poised in the midst of (the air and) the sky?
Nothing holds them up but (the power of) God.
Verily in this are signs for those who believe.
source[/quote="dlenmn"]

Now, you could argue that physics is the power of god, that's holding up the bird, etc. But that would not be in line with your other fairly literal interpretations. I'm sure a little google action would turn up more examples (such as the biology your mention later).[/quote="dlenmn"]

I have given you some literal quotes, but, that does not necessarily mean that there are no metaphorical references in the Qur'an just like the one you have quoted above - an obvious reference to the wings God has bestowed upon birds.
I'll take responses 1 and 3 (you've got 2 covered).
Argument 1: Depends on opinion
Argument 2:
Like I mentioned earlier, I believe that Bible was a true word of God. But, human (~prone to error) interpretations were added to it extensively (you might be familiar with the arguments among early disciples of the Christ regarding the very foundational principles of Christianity)
Argument 3:
Reflects a complete misunderstanding of the purpose of the Qur'an i.e. its primary purpose was moral upliftment not meant to be a science textbook. Looking upon the Islamic civilization after Qur'an, was revealed one can easily see the fruits of the society Qur'an provided inspiration for.

Qur'an encourages everyone to ponder over God's creations which was witnessed in the golden ages of Islam (8-13th Century AD) and the immense cultural/scientific changes that it brought about.
Yes, the description of biology in the Quran has some things right. This is isn't too surprsing since they were going off preexisting Greek knowledge (and the Greeks had some things right).
Like I mentioned above, the fact that Greek had insights into such knowledge in no way contradicts the revelation contained in the Qur'an (it was not meant to be a research paper). What is probably more amazing is that an illiterate man could have said such words if he did not have direct communion with God.
The embryology expressed by the Qur'an follows the Greek knowledge of embryology prevalent at the time. The Qur'an refers to nutfah, which translates as "semen" and does not refer to both sperm and eggs as Moore proposes. Sura 86:6 says that the fluid issues from between the loins and ribs, not, as we know today, from the testicles. This reflects a mistaken view of Hippocrates, common in the 5th century, that semen comes from all the fluid of the body and passes through the kidneys on the way to the penis.
[/quote][/quote]

Regarding the verse on loins and breastbone how about the interpretation that human beings are seeded by the sperm and nurtured by the milk of the mother?

kaosgrace
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2008 4:19 am

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by kaosgrace » Wed Feb 11, 2009 5:16 pm

grae313 wrote:
grae313 wrote:enough said
Oops, I made a mistake. Now, enough said
There is no god but sex, and the Internet is its profit?

kaosgrace
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2008 4:19 am

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by kaosgrace » Wed Feb 11, 2009 5:17 pm

sidharthsp wrote:
grae313 wrote:
grae313 wrote:enough said
Oops, I made a mistake. Now, enough said

What about this then :)
Interesting...look at Pakistan :)

markl
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 11:09 am

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by markl » Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:51 pm

Many contend they are compatible but they fortunately are not in the long run. For an individual to have such a dichotomy is possibly, but as a species, if we continue on for an indefinite time and advance scientifically and technologically, it will be impossible to reconcile superstitions from our infancy with the powerful tools of science. I'm sad to see more scientist are not more vocal in this position following in the footsteps of Richard Dawkins. You can bet when I get my Ph.d. I will be outspoken against the idea that religion and science are compatible. Can science answer every question? Not now, maybe not ever! But making up answers(religion) isn't a valid substitute.
Last edited by markl on Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

markl
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 11:09 am

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by markl » Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:58 pm

2. Sciences deal with nature and the material world, whereas I think religion should only deal with the spiritual world. To me, religion and science have clearly defined domains, and should not ideally encroach on each other's domain. Philosophy and religion may mingle, but science and religion should not.
There is no spiritual world, religion has no domain, no relevance to any question with a meaningful answer. Science usurps religion in every conceivable way. Which is more inspiring to you, the 6th day creation myth or the Big Bang Cosmology? Religion is a crutch of a mammalian mind which finds itself pondering questions it hadn't evolved to understand. I invoke Carl Sagan, who says it far more elegantly:

" Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of this astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy."

Ben5504
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 6:42 am

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by Ben5504 » Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:27 am

With regard to the original question of the thread, my answer is yes, it is possible to be both a religious person and a physicist. At least, it's possible for me. I fully accept the Big Bang and the theory of evolution (gasp!), and am, nonetheless, a Christian.

I would like to point out, however, that the "young Earth" view is hardly the majority opinion, as far as Christianity is concerned. Rather, there are many people (at least based on my experience as a Christian) who are open to accepting Big Bang cosmology and, perhaps to a lesser extent, the theory of evolution.

Also, it took a long time to read through the previous posts, and I initially thought of a lot of things I wanted to reply to, but now I've forgotten most of them.

However, I do remember this one: the only people who can judge whether or not it is possible to believe current scientific theories and a major religious belief system at the same time, are naturally only people who understand both. So it's great that some of you flat out say that it's impossible, but I'm afraid you only get credit if you've actually tried it.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1530
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by twistor » Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:07 pm

I believe in Santa Claus AND the theory of relativity. Don't make fun of my beliefs.

User avatar
elzoido238
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by elzoido238 » Sat Mar 07, 2009 3:16 am

Why the *** does this need any discussion? My *** dog could tell you that science and religion are incompatible. Practicing faith is the exact opposite of practicing science. Faith means blindly accepting what some "spiritual authority" pedals as truth in the pathetic hope that there is an afterlife and that one's dumb-assed acceptance of that "truth" will gain them reward in that afterlife. Faith is just the con-artists' word for "you're a *** sucker, and I'm going to *** you in the ass because it's just too easy to take advantage of someone who is bending over." Scientists, by definition, do not practice faith; as a scientist, you are not supposed to accept anything as truth unless you have quantifiable grounds for doing so, and even then, you only accept it as being truthful within the precision of your measurements. Religion and science are incompatible, period.

Furthermore, religion is, as Marx put it, "the opiate of the masses." It is just a means for making you fear the wrath of God so that you will obey your king and give your money to the church so that your pastor can go buy crystal meth and *** male prostitutes.

The more pertinent question would have been "Are spirituality and science compatible?" But even this question is *** stupid because, again, spirituality is based on faith, and faith is incom-***-patible with science!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Does God exist? Who *** cares? Because even if he/she/FSM does, god is relegated to a spectator's position in the universe because the concepts of omniscience and omnipotence (on which the concept of God is based) are mutually exclusive. So even if the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists, he doesn't interact with the universe and is therefore a moot point.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1530
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by twistor » Sat Mar 07, 2009 11:38 am

Well put.

markl
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 11:09 am

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by markl » Sat Mar 07, 2009 6:54 pm

3 cheers for Zoidberg!

markl
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 11:09 am

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by markl » Sat Mar 07, 2009 7:05 pm

Ben5504 wrote: However, I do remember this one: the only people who can judge whether or not it is possible to believe current scientific theories and a major religious belief system at the same time, are naturally only people who understand both. So it's great that some of you flat out say that it's impossible, but I'm afraid you only get credit if you've actually tried it.

Why you accept the current scientific theories? Why do you believe Christianity? The reasons CANNOT be the same. There is nothing to "understand" about religion, do you suppose that I would be better qualified to say something about it if I was a biblical scholar? The point is religion's premise is entirely wrong, the details of this religion or that don't matter! There is no evidence so show that any of the religions are true, what you point to of evidence of understanding religion, I'm assuming the bible or similar is not infact that at all. Understanding a book of fiction doesn't give you any ground to stand on.

Want someone who understands science and religion? Maybe an neurosciencist or psychologist who understands how religious people get duped into these things.

Religion isn't a real thing, the universe is.

I understand what it is like to feel really moved by something, to feel at one with the universe. To say you have anything special to say about the universe because you are religious is BS! What you are saying is totally arbitrary.

User avatar
grae313
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:46 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by grae313 » Sun Mar 08, 2009 2:00 pm

Let me start off by saying I'm an atheist.

To the OPs original questions, can you be a physicist and believe the earth was made 6,000 years ago and all the rest of that horseshit, I don't think so. However, if you interpret the bible metaphorically and believe that "god" is what set things in motion, well, nobody can know if that is true or not and at that point it is a matter of faith. The basic natures of religion and science are contradictory, but that doesn't mean that they are necessarily mutually exclusive (although they usually are). I think it is perfectly possible for someone to be a rigorous, intelligent, and excellent scientist and believe that there is a higher power behind what they observe. There is no tension here, because science can't answer that question, and it is just a matter of faith. Now if you insist that there is a god and deny the reality that nobody knows and nobody can know--if you deny the chance that you might be wrong--then you are not the type of person I'm talking about here.

User avatar
elzoido238
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by elzoido238 » Sun Mar 08, 2009 3:52 pm

grae313 wrote:I think it is perfectly possible for someone to be a rigorous, intelligent, and excellent scientist and believe that there is a higher power behind what they observe. There is no tension here, because science can't answer that question, and it is just a matter of faith.
I think that we can all agree that the existence of God or of a higher Power is scientifically unknowable because the concept of God is not scientifically falsifiable. However, philosophy and theology cannot answer the question "does God exist," either (although there are logical inconsistencies in most religions' definition of what God is.) You believe the answer to that question is that God does not exist, twistor believes that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the one true God, nasseermk believes that it is Allah, and Ben5504 believes in the Holy Trinity. Because the existence of all of these beings can neither be confirmed nor refuted, these are all merely opinions about the existence of God. The problem is that none of you have any argumentative ground to stand on. Neither you, twistor, nasseermk, nor Ben5504 have any information (nor can you ever gain any information) that would render any of your opinions more valid than any of the other opinions. Therefore, in a discussion of the existence of God, no one (not even the pope) can claim to have an authoritative opinion on the question. Because the truth value of the existence of God cannot be known, there is no such thing as a spiritual authority (there are plenty of religious authorities that are very erudite in the dogma of their respective religions, but this does not given them any quantifiable evidence on the existence or non existence of God.) This renders any discussion on the existence of God meaningless because we are left only with opinions, and no one person's opinion holds any more weight than any others'.

I repeat the question: Does God exist? WHO *** CARES? Any discussion on the topic ultimately leads to argument leads to fights leads to wars (if taken far enough) because everyone is so concerned about being right and no one has any grounds for righteousness. I'm not saying that no one should have an opinion on the question (i.e.-believe in their religion or lack thereof), just that none of you are any closer to the truth than any other (and neither am I for not having an opinion.) The bottom line is that no one knows, and no one will know until we die (and maybe not even then.) It's not even that we don't know, we don't have the faintest *** idea, and the world would be a much better place if everyone realized this and realized the futility of endeavoring to answer this question.

As to the original question on this thread, I acknowledge that there are people who practice physics and faith, and there are probably a substantial amount of Christian physicists that take the Bible quite literally (believe in the young earth scenario, Noah's ark, the whole nine yards.) Furthermore, I agree that "it is perfectly possible for someone to be a rigorous, intelligent, and excellent scientist and believe that there is a higher power behind what they observe." But, fundamentally, faith and science are diametrically opposed. Faith requires no justification nor criteria for belief, just that one does believe. Science requires non-belief until there is justification for doing so.

But, on second thought, *** all that! Twistor is right; FSM is clearly the one true God; thanks be to pasta! May the meatball be with you! Go forth to love and serve his noodly appendage!

User avatar
metric
Posts: 64
Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2008 5:17 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by metric » Sun Mar 08, 2009 6:27 pm

elzoido238, you're the man!!! With your post I think that you've solved almost 3000 years of philosophy!! Why should anyone care? I'm going to call my university to get those philosophers on the street, they're just a bunch of slackers after all! Kick out Plato, Averroes and Sartre, learn some QM instead! Sublime...

User avatar
Helio
Posts: 809
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 7:11 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by Helio » Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:55 pm

metric wrote:elzoido238, you're the man!!! With your post I think that you've solved almost 3000 years of philosophy!! Why should anyone care? I'm going to call my university to get those philosophers on the street, they're just a bunch of slackers after all! Kick out Plato, Averroes and Sartre, learn some QM instead! Sublime...
i got the agree... even when the other posts are a bit weird a times :lol:

User avatar
grae313
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:46 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by grae313 » Sun Mar 08, 2009 9:41 pm

elzoido238 wrote: Neither you, twistor, nasseermk, nor Ben5504 have any information (nor can you ever gain any information) that would render any of your opinions more valid than any of the other opinions.
I agree with you completely here: my atheist belief is, at its core, as much a matter of faith as the religious beliefs of others. I claim no special knowledge, just as I pointed out that a Christian that fails to realize that he/she is as clueless as I is not thinking very well. I also agree that discussing it is completely pointless and I've thought so for a long time. What can I say, I'm bored.
elzoido238 wrote:Go forth to love and serve his noodly appendage!
I don't like serving noodly appendages.

mhazelm
Posts: 193
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 3:33 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by mhazelm » Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:31 pm

I thought that physics was a religion. I guess I will have to go to the store and buy pasta...

Now, also, many of us find it difficult to accept the religions we're exposed to. Our scientific demands for logic and rigor seem to preclude the notion of faith. But you can't deny the fact that religion has long been used as a tool of power. And from some kind of Machiavellian standpoint, you might consider the argument that there are benefits to the whole thing, whether it agrees with your scientific intuition or not. In this sense I think I could have a balance between religion and physics. Unfortunately, it would make me a very wicked person according to the common idea of "virtue". But to Machiavelli, it would be the right thing to do to gain power!

User avatar
Helio
Posts: 809
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 7:11 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by Helio » Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:09 am

grae313 wrote: What can I say, I'm bored.
*hands qual exam* that will keep your busy for a couple hours
Last edited by Helio on Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1530
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by twistor » Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:52 am

If you want an example of Christian physics in action check out the physics program at BJU:

"While offering scientific and philosophical refutation of the theory of evolution, our program teaches each course within a Biblical creationist framework."

http://www.bju.edu/academics/majors/vie ... hp?id=1191

This is a physics BS, which in this case is highly appropriate. What's particularly interesting, besides the hardcore religious fundamentalism and the attempt to apply physics to prove religion, is that they offer a 4th year course specifically on x-ray crystal diffraction. They also offer a BS in biophysics, but a review of the curriculum reveals it's just a lot of biochemistry classes plus modern physics.

Anyway, Christopher Hitchens put it very concisely: religion poisons everything.

vicente
Posts: 195
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 12:24 am

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by vicente » Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:51 pm

Ben5504 wrote:With regard to the original question of the thread, my answer is yes, it is possible to be both a religious person and a physicist. At least, it's possible for me. I fully accept the Big Bang and the theory of evolution (gasp!), and am, nonetheless, a Christian.
Many Christian Fundamentalists would consider you misguided. If you say that the Six-Day Creation of the heavens and the Earth was allegorical, then why couldn't you say that the Virgin Mary and the Resurrection be allegorical as well? And then the whole Bible goes out the window according to their Slippery Slope argument. Their argument is biblical inerrancy and infallibility. If you accept the scriptural basis that Jesus died for your sins because it was the Word of God, then you must accept that birds were created before reptiles, plants before the Sun, that the Sun stood still for several hours, that the whole world was flooded for 40 days, Jonah was swallowed by a fish and lived inside for 3 days, etc. To them, you can't pick and choose what to believe in the Bible. Either it's the Word of God or it's a book of fiction.

The problem is when holy books make scientifically falsifiable statements. If everything was about transcendental stuff and a religious worldview, then I see no contradiction with science and religion.

User avatar
elzoido238
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by elzoido238 » Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:56 pm

metric wrote:elzoido238, you're the man!!! With your post I think that you've solved almost 3000 years of philosophy!!
Actually, I made two posts, but the way you put it does make my accomplishment sound all the more impressive. :D
metric wrote:I'm going to call my university to get those philosophers on the street, they're just a bunch of slackers after all! Kick out Plato, Averroes and Sartre, learn some QM instead! Sublime...
While were at it let's go grab as many copies of The Will to Power, Ethics, and Critique of Pure Reason as we can get our hands on and have a bonfire in the middle of campus! :evil:

markl
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 11:09 am

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by markl » Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:58 pm

vicente wrote: The problem is when holy books make scientifically falsifiable statements. If everything was about transcendental stuff and a religious worldview, then I see no contradiction with science and religion.

I think the real problem is that so many people actually think that these made up stories hold any merit , to make faith a virtue is to fly in the face of reason. Don't let their BS off the hook so easily.

User avatar
elzoido238
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by elzoido238 » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:07 pm

grae313 wrote:
elzoido238 wrote:Go forth to love and serve his noodly appendage!
I don't like serving noodly appendages.
Come to think of it, neither do I...suddenly I find myself completely disillusioned with FSMism. Now where am I going to turn for an answer to all of life's mysteries...

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1530
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by twistor » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:18 pm

Critique of Pure Reason
You don't need to burn this because no one has the time to read it.

And as everyone knows, Critique of Practical Reason is the far more useful volume.

User avatar
Helio
Posts: 809
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 7:11 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by Helio » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:28 pm

twistor wrote:
Critique of Pure Reason
You don't need to burn this because no one has the time to read it.

And as everyone knows, Critique of Practical Reason is the far more useful volume.
if you would not need an hour to read a single page in it at times

User avatar
elzoido238
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by elzoido238 » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:32 pm

twistor wrote:
Critique of Pure Reason
You don't need to burn this because no one has the time to read it.

And as everyone knows, Critique of Practical Reason is the far more useful volume.
It probably wouldn't ignite anyway since I pee on it all the time...

User avatar
metric
Posts: 64
Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2008 5:17 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by metric » Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:13 pm

What we can do to solve the physics-God dilemma is to request the government to remove the part of the brain that hosts religious belief from everybody, it would cost billions but it will we will save big bucks in the long term. Maybe as a part of the stimulus package for science? what better stimulus than taking those crazy creationists out of the way?

User avatar
elzoido238
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by elzoido238 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:27 pm

And they could commission Dr. Zoidberg to do the lobotomies!!! wub wub-wub-wub-wub-wub-wub-wub-wub-wub-wub-wub!

Ben5504
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 6:42 am

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by Ben5504 » Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:36 am

Ben5504 wrote:
However, I do remember this one: the only people who can judge whether or not it is possible to believe current scientific theories and a major religious belief system at the same time, are naturally only people who understand both. So it's great that some of you flat out say that it's impossible, but I'm afraid you only get credit if you've actually tried it.
Why you accept the current scientific theories? Why do you believe Christianity? The reasons CANNOT be the same. There is nothing to "understand" about religion, do you suppose that I would be better qualified to say something about it if I was a biblical scholar? The point is religion's premise is entirely wrong, the details of this religion or that don't matter! There is no evidence so show that any of the religions are true, what you point to of evidence of understanding religion, I'm assuming the bible or similar is not infact that at all. Understanding a book of fiction doesn't give you any ground to stand on.

Want someone who understands science and religion? Maybe an neurosciencist or psychologist who understands how religious people get duped into these things.

Religion isn't a real thing, the universe is.

I understand what it is like to feel really moved by something, to feel at one with the universe. To say you have anything special to say about the universe because you are religious is BS! What you are saying is totally arbitrary.
Look, all I was trying to say with what you quoted is that I think it's a little ridiculous to ask people if two things are incompatible when they have little knowledge of one (beyond cliches or gross generalizations). The problem here is the same as what elzodio said: whether you believe in a God or not is your own opinion, and has nothing to do with the OP's question. So you've never believed in a God, well that's awesome, but then you aren't able to answer the original question of "Is it possible to be a physicist and be religious?".

I'll repeat what you quoted: the only people who can actually answer the question of combining physics and religion are people who have tried it. If you know nothing about religion, then how can you know if it's incompatible with science?


...Honestly, this is *** ridiculous. The predominant opinion here is that religion is completely contradictory to science, and I'm fine with that, been dealing with it for a long time. But just because religion and science are of a different nature doesn't mean that they are incompatible. Seriously, what the ***, I mean, I'm here, telling you that I'm a religious physicist, and what do you do? You tell me I'm wrong!

I don't care if you don't believe the things I do, but what you cannot do is tell me that I can't reconcile my personal beliefs with science.

Edit: Sorry another thought: I think I should point out that the approach to religion is totally incompatible to the approach to science. I have not been trying to say that they are compatible.
Last edited by Ben5504 on Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

Ben5504
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 6:42 am

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by Ben5504 » Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:48 am

vicente wrote:
Many Christian Fundamentalists would consider you misguided.
I remember hearing from one of my professors about how he and his family left their church (which had been in the process of becoming a Young Earth church) because his kids were told that anyone who didn't believe that the Earth was only 6,000 years old was going to hell.

For that case, I don't know which would concern me more: the gross misunderstanding of doctrine, or the blind eye to all science.

And you're right, it is difficult for me sometimes to correlate Bible stories with science. But I think trying to perfectly explain everything in scripture with a scientific basis is really subordinate to the core necessities of Christian faith.

User avatar
quizivex
Posts: 1036
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:13 am

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by quizivex » Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:31 am

It's funny how the religoius people hide behind the fact that the existance of God is unfalsifiable and bring up all this philosophy, logic and theology jargon to say that we have no right to question them. Just because it can't be proven false doesn't imply it has or even could have any validity. The stories and tales behind the popular religions seem like they were pulled out of their asses. They may have some moral value, but they're just as fictional as any other story, like Pinnochio. Even if you can't refute Noah's Ark, despite the difficulties of cramming millions of animals onto a primitive boat, there was no reason to believe such a ludicrous story in the first place. Unproven scientific theories are only taken seriously if they have motivation, rationale, sensibility...

Rutherford's gold foil experiment is a good example. Based on the scattering profile, he surmised that the atoms were made of a positive nucleus surrounded by electrons or whatever. This doesn't mean the model was correct, but it was a sensible explanation for the observed results which was verified later. You could also say (at Rutherford's time) that the plum pudding model was correct but there was a pac-man-like mouth inside that would gobble up the alpha particles and spit them out in random directions with overall preference corresponding, by coincidence, to whatever theoretical forumula you like. But there's no sensible reason to do that. Nobody would accept that theory because it's absurd, but at Rutherford's time, nobody could've proven it wrong either. Religious tales have no sensibility, motivation, or rationale, but unlike science, people will accept them with no basis whatsoever. So while it's possible to be a devout Christian, muslim or whoever, and still do valuable work in scientific research (happens all the time), a religious person ideologically can't be a "scientist" by the literal definition of the word.

I'm not offended by people who claim that the universe was created by a higher power and left to evolve on its own. This really doesn't answer anything since if the universe couldn't have existed on its own, then someone must've created this higher power? But I'm not offended because these ideas aren't so dangerous. But when you go from just believing in God and common sense stuff like "thou shalt not kill" to believing all the dogma, the whole Bible, or Koran (which I've heard openly subordinates women) or the Torah (which I've heard looks down upon non-Jews), saying that everyone who doesn't believe in it will go to Hell, you must go to church every sunday, and that sex before marriage or anything pleasurable is a vile sin, and that we're all sinners and must strive for forgivness and we have no value compared to the greatness of God (who is also the #1 cause of death) etc... What's really scary is all the destruction religious groups, hiding behind the "name of God/allah" have had on society over the past few thousand years. I think religions are starting to lose support and I really hope they die out within the next hundred years.

The only true god is garden:
garden wrote:Ha ha ha, I did not realize that I have been hitting to the back door, thanks to crapy dude!

Life is so short to waste time to hate anyone!
This commandment is far more profound than "Thou shalt not hate" :lol: !

User avatar
elzoido238
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by elzoido238 » Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:07 am

FSMism was not just pulled out of someone's ass! :D :D

sonikajohri
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 2:01 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by sonikajohri » Mon Mar 16, 2009 6:42 am

quizivex wrote:It's funny how the religoius people hide behind the fact that the existance of God is unfalsifiable and bring up all this philosophy, logic and theology jargon to say that we have no right to question them. Just because it can't be proven false doesn't imply it has or even could have any validity. The stories and tales behind the popular religions seem like they were pulled out of their asses. They may have some moral value, but they're just as fictional as any other story, like Pinnochio. Even if you can't refute Noah's Ark, despite the difficulties of cramming millions of animals onto a primitive boat, there was no reason to believe such a ludicrous story in the first place. Unproven scientific theories are only taken seriously if they have motivation, rationale, sensibility...

Rutherford's gold foil experiment is a good example. Based on the scattering profile, he surmised that the atoms were made of a positive nucleus surrounded by electrons or whatever. This doesn't mean the model was correct, but it was a sensible explanation for the observed results which was verified later. You could also say (at Rutherford's time) that the plum pudding model was correct but there was a pac-man-like mouth inside that would gobble up the alpha particles and spit them out in random directions with overall preference corresponding, by coincidence, to whatever theoretical forumula you like. But there's no sensible reason to do that. Nobody would accept that theory because it's absurd, but at Rutherford's time, nobody could've proven it wrong either. Religious tales have no sensibility, motivation, or rationale, but unlike science, people will accept them with no basis whatsoever. So while it's possible to be a devout Christian, muslim or whoever, and still do valuable work in scientific research (happens all the time), a religious person ideologically can't be a "scientist" by the literal definition of the word.

I'm not offended by people who claim that the universe was created by a higher power and left to evolve on its own. This really doesn't answer anything since if the universe couldn't have existed on its own, then someone must've created this higher power? But I'm not offended because these ideas aren't so dangerous. But when you go from just believing in God and common sense stuff like "thou shalt not kill" to believing all the dogma, the whole Bible, or Koran (which I've heard openly subordinates women) or the Torah (which I've heard looks down upon non-Jews), saying that everyone who doesn't believe in it will go to Hell, you must go to church every sunday, and that sex before marriage or anything pleasurable is a vile sin, and that we're all sinners and must strive for forgivness and we have no value compared to the greatness of God (who is also the #1 cause of death) etc... What's really scary is all the destruction religious groups, hiding behind the "name of God/allah" have had on society over the past few thousand years. I think religions are starting to lose support and I really hope they die out within the next hundred years.

The only true god is garden:
garden wrote:Ha ha ha, I did not realize that I have been hitting to the back door, thanks to crapy dude!

Life is so short to waste time to hate anyone!
This commandment is far more profound than "Thou shalt not hate" :lol: !
noooooooo, no please, i love my religion, i certainly don't want it to die out. I am not really sure what exactly my feelings are on the God question though.

The thing is, religion is an excuse to enjoy and celebrate life. I can't imagine how boring life would be without Holi(the festival of colours), Diwali(the festival of lights), Raksha Bandhan (celebrating brothers and sisters), Janmashtami(tasty pure vegetarian food).... and I could go on and on. Its an excuse to splurge on new clothes and presents and stuff yourself full of sweets and of course take a holiday off from work. And celebrate weddings with a lot of rituals and pomp and dancing. And help the living to mourn the dead.

Hinduism doesn't treat enjoyable things as sins, doesn't look down on other religions as kafirs or pagans. On the question of God, it says that there are many paths to achieving nirvana. And that path can be doing physics as much as it can be devoting yourself to meditation in the Himalayas or just being a good human being.

a bucket
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:02 am

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by a bucket » Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:51 pm

sonikajohri wrote:The thing is, religion is an excuse to enjoy and celebrate life. I can't imagine how boring life would be without Holi(the festival of colours), Diwali(the festival of lights), Raksha Bandhan (celebrating brothers and sisters), Janmashtami(tasty pure vegetarian food)....
This should cure your boredom for a bit.
sonikajohri wrote:Hinduism doesn't treat enjoyable things as sins, doesn't look down on other religions as kafirs or pagans. On the question of God, it says that there are many paths to achieving nirvana. And that path can be doing physics as much as it can be devoting yourself to meditation in the Himalayas or just being a good human being.
That's exactly why I think Hinduism is less of a religion and more a principle of social behaviour, which is what I believe most religions will end up becoming anyway, regardless of those try to dogmatically stand behind the Bible or the Qur'an or an enormous bowl of spaghetti.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1530
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by twistor » Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:57 am

You should think carefully before you make blanket statements about religion. Hinduism is no better than any other religion. It is responsible for the mass oppression of a large segment of its population (an act which wasn't made illegal until the last century, but persists de facto until this very day). Numerous acts of religious violence are perpetrated by Hindus each day. Many of these are superstitious acts committed in small villages where beliefs in magic still persist.

Not that I have a problem with Hindus in particular. *** all religions.

User avatar
quizivex
Posts: 1036
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:13 am

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by quizivex » Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:48 am

sonikajohri wrote:The thing is, religion is an excuse to enjoy and celebrate life. I can't imagine how boring life would be without Holi(the festival of colours), Diwali(the festival of lights), Raksha Bandhan (celebrating brothers and sisters), Janmashtami(tasty pure vegetarian food).... and I could go on and on. Its an excuse to splurge on new clothes and presents and stuff yourself full of sweets and of course take a holiday off from work. And celebrate weddings with a lot of rituals and pomp and dancing. And help the living to mourn the dead.
Celebrating and enjoying life are important, but this can be done without religion. In America, we have various non-religious holidays holidays, the most important being Thanksgiving. (Yes it has a religious history but it's celebrated by all cultures as a family holiday.) Also, Valentine's day and New Years. Individual communities and ethnic groups have additional ones... for ex. if you live in New Orleans, Mardi Gras is a big deal. Further, most non-religious people still exchange gifts and decorate for X-mas like my family does.

Religion brings unnecessary baggage and more negatives than positives. The idea of Hell, for those who believe it, is terrifying, for instance. "Religion" would be fine if it was merely a set of ethical standards, values and traditions, but good conduct should be common sense. The extra stuff is what sucks. Once people start worshipping things that don't exist, that's when it does more harm/waste than good. And once they assembe into large groups, conflicts start with other groups.

Respecting and acknowledging what the dead have left society is good. But believing they still magically influence the world, or that they're alive in some other place, is detaching people from reality, which will alter their abilities to think sensibly and solve real life problems. From what little I recall learning about Hinduism in HS, I know it had its valuable lessons, but there was still an abundance of supernatural stuff and idolatry that would be better off expunged from the religion.

sonikajohri
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 2:01 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by sonikajohri » Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:30 am

twistor wrote:You should think carefully before you make blanket statements about religion. Hinduism is no better than any other religion. It is responsible for the mass oppression of a large segment of its population (an act which wasn't made illegal until the last century, but persists de facto until this very day). Numerous acts of religious violence are perpetrated by Hindus each day. Many of these are superstitious acts committed in small villages where beliefs in magic still persist.

Not that I have a problem with Hindus in particular. *** all religions.
If you're referring to the caste system, it isn't connected to Hinduism. Don't tell me that just because slavery existed in America and most Americans are Christians, therefore Christianity=slavery.

Acts of religious violence??? Only ones that I know of are lead by unemployed goons who are given money by political parties in order to solidify their vote banks. How is this connected to any religion, I don't know.

Magic?? Ha ha ha. Would you care to elaborate or would that take too much effort? Despite what you may believe, dear twistor, we are not an uncivilized people of snake charmers and elephants, not even in those 'small villages'. Being poor and being idiotic are two different things. And no, no one here believes in intelligent design.

And of course, when I say 'here' and 'we', of course I mean most Indians as a whole, not those of any particular religion.

sonikajohri
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 2:01 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by sonikajohri » Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:00 am

quizivex wrote:
sonikajohri wrote:The thing is, religion is an excuse to enjoy and celebrate life. I can't imagine how boring life would be without Holi(the festival of colours), Diwali(the festival of lights), Raksha Bandhan (celebrating brothers and sisters), Janmashtami(tasty pure vegetarian food).... and I could go on and on. Its an excuse to splurge on new clothes and presents and stuff yourself full of sweets and of course take a holiday off from work. And celebrate weddings with a lot of rituals and pomp and dancing. And help the living to mourn the dead.
Celebrating and enjoying life are important, but this can be done without religion. In America, we have various non-religious holidays holidays, the most important being Thanksgiving. (Yes it has a religious history but it's celebrated by all cultures as a family holiday.) Also, Valentine's day and New Years. Individual communities and ethnic groups have additional ones... for ex. if you live in New Orleans, Mardi Gras is a big deal. Further, most non-religious people still exchange gifts and decorate for X-mas like my family does.

Religion brings unnecessary baggage and more negatives than positives. The idea of Hell, for those who believe it, is terrifying, for instance. "Religion" would be fine if it was merely a set of ethical standards, values and traditions, but good conduct should be common sense. The extra stuff is what sucks. Once people start worshipping things that don't exist, that's when it does more harm/waste than good. And once they assembe into large groups, conflicts start with other groups.

Respecting and acknowledging what the dead have left society is good. But believing they still magically influence the world, or that they're alive in some other place, is detaching people from reality, which will alter their abilities to think sensibly and solve real life problems. From what little I recall learning about Hinduism in HS, I know it had its valuable lessons, but there was still an abundance of supernatural stuff and idolatry that would be better off expunged from the religion.
I think there is a difference of definition here. I totally agree with all of what you say. Its just that the way I define Hinduism is composed of all the festivals, foods, rituals, songs, stories, pilgrimages which other people don't do. And of course, its very necessary that the malpractices that get ingrained over time be done away with.

As for idolatory, I don't know that its that bad or hurts anyone. If it gives people strength to believe that someone's watching out for them, thats OK. There are I think 330,000,000 deities - seems to me like everyone makes up their own whenever they want to so its not like there's intolerance - "You better pray to my God or else...."

"Supernatural stuff" is more for story-telling. No one believes literally in it. And there are so many versions of each tale, its not like theres some official book which is the RIGHT one.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1530
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by twistor » Tue Mar 17, 2009 10:34 am

You are wrong.
If you're referring to the caste system, it isn't connected to Hinduism.
"Early Indian texts like the Rigveda (10.90.12),Manusmriti and the Puranas speak of 'Varna,' which means order, category, type, colour (of things), and groups the human society into four main types as follows."

The Rigveda is a religious document. (source: wiki)
Don't tell me that just because slavery existed in America and most Americans are Christians, therefore Christianity=slavery.
The Bible has quite a few rules about slavery. Slavery is acceptable within the context of the bible. Don't assume I'm biased towards Christians.

As for religious violence, one only need peruse the headlines of Indian news sources to find examples:

"Girl found dead in Chitrakoot, human sacrifice suspected"
(http://www.indianexpress.com/news/girl- ... ed/371997/)

"Indian temple revives 'human sacrifice'"

(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/1908706.stm)

"Indian woman batters toddler to death in sacrifice to reform husband"
(http://www.religionnewsblog.com/5404)

Yeah, sounds like a wonderful *** religion to me.

I'm not singling out Hinduism for criticism here, you just happened to bring it up. The same criticisms apply to most religions. You are taking this personally and you shouldn't be.

sonikajohri
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 2:01 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by sonikajohri » Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:27 am

twistor wrote:You are wrong.
If you're referring to the caste system, it isn't connected to Hinduism.
"Early Indian texts like the Rigveda (10.90.12),Manusmriti and the Puranas speak of 'Varna,' which means order, category, type, colour (of things), and groups the human society into four main types as follows."

The Rigveda is a religious document. (source: wiki)
Don't tell me that just because slavery existed in America and most Americans are Christians, therefore Christianity=slavery.
The Bible has quite a few rules about slavery. Slavery is acceptable within the context of the bible. Don't assume I'm biased towards Christians.

As for religious violence, one only need peruse the headlines of Indian news sources to find examples:

"Girl found dead in Chitrakoot, human sacrifice suspected"
(http://www.indianexpress.com/news/girl- ... ed/371997/)

"Indian temple revives 'human sacrifice'"

(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/1908706.stm)

"Indian woman batters toddler to death in sacrifice to reform husband"
(http://www.religionnewsblog.com/5404)

Yeah, sounds like a wonderful *** religion to me.

I'm not singling out Hinduism for criticism here, you just happened to bring it up. The same criticisms apply to most religions. You are taking this personally and you shouldn't be.

Yes, it is wonderful. You are as narrow-minded and rigid as any religious bigot when you refuse to accept different points of view.

Source: Wikipedia (not always the most correct, but since you seem to like it.)
"In historical Indic traditions the varna and caste systems are not the same system, although they are related.[2] Hinduism categorizes the people into four "Varnas" according to the body part of the divinity Purusha from which each group was created (Rigveda 10.90) and these categories define the group's social standing. Originally this division was based on the social class and not always on birth. For example, according to Hindu tradition, Valmiki, the composer of the Ramayana was a hunter by profession and Veda Vyasa, the composer of the Mahabharata and the compiler of the Vedas, was born into a fisherman family. Yet on account of their intellectual and spiritual prowess, they achieved the highest position in social hierarchy and are regarded as Maharishis."

Caste system is based on birth - this is not validated by the Vedas. I do think I would know a bit more about it than you.

And as for those sacrifices made by a few crazies. Oh please, are you really passing them off as representative of an entire civilization?

On a similar scale, assuming things on the basis of isolated examples:

1. Should I assume George Bush represents all Americans?

2. Here's what an American in his twenties told me on the bailout that's been borrowed from China. "When its time to pay back, we'll just bomb them out of existence." I guess I should assume most people think like this?

3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_se ... by_country : List of serial killers by country. USA has the most in the whole world. According to an FBI Behavioral Unit study 85% of the world's serial killers are in America. Call it a human sacrifice or a serial killing, a senseless murder is a murder.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1530
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by twistor » Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:43 am

A better way to convince me would be through human sacrifice. You are incapable of dealing with reality.

Your religion, like all religions, is ***.

sonikajohri
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 2:01 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by sonikajohri » Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:51 am

Too bad you can't live in the Soviet Union anymore.
La la la, living in a dream suits me though.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1530
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by twistor » Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:54 am

sonikajohri wrote:Too bad you can't live in the Soviet Union anymore.
La la la, living in a dream suits me though.
If religion is the peoples' opium, it's too bad more people don't overdose. Opium is responsible for your dreamlike state, but unlike Coleridge's trance the trance of religion doesn't result in great poetry but rather great violence.

sonikajohri
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 2:01 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by sonikajohri » Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:06 pm

twistor wrote:
sonikajohri wrote:Too bad you can't live in the Soviet Union anymore.
La la la, living in a dream suits me though.
If religion is the peoples' opium, it's too bad more people don't overdose. Opium is responsible for your dreamlike state, but unlike Coleridge's trance the trance of religion doesn't result in great poetry but rather great violence.
Most wars are based on more practical concerns like land, resources, wealth, revenge or self defence. No powerful person would invest money and resources if there were not some material gain. Now how do you plan to go about banning these?

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1530
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by twistor » Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:36 pm

sonikajohri wrote:
twistor wrote:
sonikajohri wrote:Too bad you can't live in the Soviet Union anymore.
La la la, living in a dream suits me though.
If religion is the peoples' opium, it's too bad more people don't overdose. Opium is responsible for your dreamlike state, but unlike Coleridge's trance the trance of religion doesn't result in great poetry but rather great violence.
Most wars are based on more practical concerns like land, resources, wealth, revenge or self defence. No powerful person would invest money and resources if there were not some material gain. Now how do you plan to go about banning these?
/mode #universe +b *revenge*!*@*

etc.

User avatar
xudis149
Posts: 148
Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2008 12:03 am

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by xudis149 » Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:52 pm

It would be naive to assume that religion has solely given violence to the world [though it has been too much throughout the history of civilization and even now in present times].

Similarly if someone claims that science and rationality sucks because our knowledge in atomics physics has caused severe violence [..nuclear bombs] ....... that would be naive too.

Religion has inspired lot of creativity too in the forms of paintings, sculptures, poetry so on... For the sake of example, poets John Milton, Kahlil Gibran, Rabindranath Tagore [nobel prize in literature 1913] have composed beautiful poetry, often inspired by religous symbols and concept of god.

As I see, it is more of a statistical phenomenon. Some people take good stuffs from religion and some people take bad or do bad, all for the cause of religion [and some god whom no one has seen yet - the irony :) ].

Hopefully time turns out to be a good judge and weeds out all the hypocrisy, violence, stupid dogmas, crazy superstitions, rigid unreasonable beliefs.... not just from religions but also from society.

User avatar
metric
Posts: 64
Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2008 5:17 pm

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by metric » Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:20 pm

Great, this forum it's reaching its maturity! We have already started 2 threads out of the 3 that are known to be endless: "Women in Physics" and "Physics and Religion". We should start the 3rd one ASAP: "Physics and Politic Ideas", and probably the 4th one will follow next "My personal beliefs kick ass and yours suck!!" :D

a bucket
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:02 am

Re: Physicists and religion

Post by a bucket » Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:51 pm

twistor wrote:Hinduism is no better than any other religion.
Never claimed it was. I was just stating an observation. IMO all religions except the Church of emacs are boring as hell.



Post Reply