Thursday, December 12, 2013

"sort of like watching a cat playing with an incredibly arrogant and somewhat dim mouse..."

This from Mike Flynn on Jerry Coyne's ignorant rant in which Coyne denied the centrality of Christianity to the rise of modern science.

Flynn's post is brilliant.

Mark Shea describes Flynn's refutation of Coyne as "sort of like watching a cat playing with an incredibly arrogant and somewhat dim mouse. Fun!"

Heh.


51 comments:

  1. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyDecember 12, 2013 at 7:14 AM

    Fabulous, fabulous post. Thanks for linking to it. It's not the most difficult task Flynn ever put hand to, as Coynefuting is pretty much shooting fish in a barrel, but Flynn did put the time into it and the format he used is brilliantly, ironically, and beautifully done. It's a bookmark for me.

    I only have one very small quibble. Listing Paul, who I assume is who he meant when he referred to "tent-makers" in 7, is probably inappropriate. Paul was from Tarsus, a sophisticated international trade center, and his family, Roman citizens, most likely made tents for the Roman Army. If so, he was a scion from a family engaged in the military-industrial complex. :-) According to Acts 22:3, he was educated by Gamaliel I the Elder, which implies an elite status. The "StPaul clan" were multilingual, pious Pharisees and intellectuals, and Paul was even accused of being so bright and well-educated that he was crazy (Acts 26:24).

    On all other points, Flynn is on target and does an excellent job of dismissing the revisionist history ginned up in the 19th Century and still being pandered on Christian hate sites today.

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  2. Christianity also has the concept of the Apocalypse, which is supposed to happen very soon.

    What is the point of doing science when the world is going to be destroyed and replaced by a new one ruled by Jesus who would be able to reveal all the secrets of the Cosmos?

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    1. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyDecember 12, 2013 at 7:35 AM

      binfull: "Christianity also has the concept of the Apocalypse, which is supposed to happen very soon."

      But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
      --- Jesus Christ (Matt 24:36)

      Of course, there are these guys who are strangely popular amongst the atheist community...

      {R]apture theology was developed in the 1830s by John Nelson Darby and the Plymouth Brethren, and popularized in the United States in the early 20th century by the wide circulation of the Scofield Reference Bible.
      --- Wiki: Rapture

      You shouldn't believe everything you see in movies and read on the Internet, binfull.

      Now the Klimate Apocalypse, and the Poppalation Apocalypse, that's real, man. Seriously. And the TIPPING POINT is right around the corner!!!!

      Delete
    2. Georgie,

      Well, if having the concept of a Beginning is supposed to be an advantage, then why isn't the concept of End Times a disadvantage? And, don't forget - the Last Word of the Bible is Revelations.

      Delete
    3. Admiral, you should really tell that to “Jews for Jesus” and related groups that are actively engaging in mid-east politics with the intention of bringing on the apocalypse.

      One of the main reason I dislike religion is that only religious people could possibly think apocalypse is a good thing and work to actually make it happen. The fact that a whack-job like Sarah Palin came as close as she did to having her own personal nuclear arsenal should be terrifying to any rational person.

      -KW

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    4. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyDecember 12, 2013 at 8:09 AM

      binfull: "Well, if having the concept of a Beginning is supposed to be an advantage, then why isn't the concept of End Times a disadvantage?"

      Thinking of the concept of Creation and Parousia in terms of theoretical advantages and disadvantages seems very weird to me.

      "[D]on't forget - the Last Word of the Bible is Revelations."

      I haven't forgotten. But that doesn't make Darby right. Or the Mayans, or the Branch Davidians, or Malthus, or Paul Ehrlich.

      Delete
    5. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyDecember 12, 2013 at 8:11 AM

      Popeye: "Admiral, you should really tell that to “Jews for Jesus” ..."

      "Go tell it on the mountain", eh? Well, it's the season. I'll leave that evangelization task to you, Popeye.

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    6. Grandpa,

      You did read the linked article, didn't you? Christianity is supposed to have the advantage over other cultures because it has the concept of a Beginning.

      Other major cultures are supposed to have the disadvantage of being based on cycles. Why bother doing science this cycle, when everything is going to end and be repeated in a new cycle?

      So, I repeat. Why isn't having an End a disadvantage?

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    7. "What is the point of doing science when the world is going to be destroyed and replaced by a new one ruled by Jesus who would be able to reveal all the secrets of the Cosmos?"
      Well, what's the point in eating breakfast in the morning when you know you will sleep at night?
      The question for you is: What's the purpose of any inquiry when there is no purpose to anything?

      Delete
    8. "Christianity also has the concept of the Apocalypse, which is supposed to happen very soon.

      What is the point of doing science when the world is going to be destroyed and replaced by a new one ruled by Jesus who would be able to reveal all the secrets of the Cosmos?"

      Bachfield,

      What you describe is a fairly recent theological development called Dispensational Premillennialism. While it is now the predominant view among evangelicals it wasn't widely held before the turn of the 20th century -- made popular by the notes in a study bible called the Scofield Reference Bible -- and marketed with sensational but false end of the world claims supposedly matched to prophetic language in the Book of Revelations.

      It's my understanding that most of the Christians who were responsible for the advent of science, did not hold this view and saw their role as a call from God to advance the Kingdom of God by uncovering the mysteries of God's creation through science.

      The advance of the negative view you describe was made easier with world wars and the rise of the atomic age and the rebirth of Israel as a state and the resulting unrest in the Middle East -- all of which played into people's fear -- but you are right. At least in part, the diminishing of the influence of Christianity in our culture is the result of the adoption by so many of this view: "why polish the brass on a sinking ship."

      There is growing opposition to this view among many Christians who believe that man was made to explore every aspect of God's creation, and that science is a calling of God just as much as being a part of the clergy is and there is no sphere of study that should not be explored fully for the glory of God, and that the world will not end until God has made all Christ's enemies His footstool (Ps 110:1; Heb 1:13) .

      As I understand it, many if not most of the early pioneers of science from medicine to physics saw their role as advancing the kingdom of God through science. You are right that that has been lost to some degree but the ship is righting and the Kingdom will continue to march on until "the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." Habakkuk 2:14.

      "From all these observations, we discern most plainly the incomprehensible perfection, the exact order, and the inscrutable providential care with which the most wise Creator and Lord of the Universe had formed the bodies of these animalcules, which are so minute as to escape our sight, to the end that different species of them may be preserved in existence."

      — Antony van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723), father of microbiology

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    9. “The world will not end until God has made all Christ's enemies His footstool.”

      Good to know. If true, we can rest assured the world will not end while there are proud atheists around to save it.


      -KW

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    10. KW,

      You are an enemy of something you do not even believes exist? Very strange. Interesting how you have declared your hostility, however. You have, by your own words, graduated from a mere atheist, proud or otherwise, to an anti-Christian. An adversary.
      You could be apathetic to our beliefs, be proudly atheist, and still work with Christians for the good of man. You could be of a different belief system, and still work alongside Christians for the greater good. But, instead you cast yourself in the role of those who are against us, no matter our ends and means.
      Very telling.
      I am reminded of Luke 9:50

      "And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us."

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    11. I’m not the enemy of a fictional being, I oppose actual beings foolish enough to make decisions based on faith instead of evidence and reason, those who allow themselves to be manipulated by pretenders who claim divine authority, those who use religion to justify violence, cruelty, discrimination, and war, and those who spread lies, hate, and derision in service of their god. I would be apathetic to your beliefs if they didn’t have such a profoundly negative impact on the world.

      -KW

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    12. KW,

      Again, you declare your own personal war.
      You declare yourself the enemy of who we are and what we stand for. You are an ANTI-THEIST. Specifically a Christian anti-theist. An anti-Christian. Okay, so we have your number. We know what you stand against.
      Your mind is infested with a targeted hatred for us. You blame Christianity for all and credit it with nothing. In return we offer love and prayer, and that enrages you.
      Don't let such madness consume you, KW.
      It is a hollow life.
      But, you can change.
      You can move back to disbelief, and from there to reason. Even if you do not come all the way....
      All we ask is that you do not stand against us when we seek to do good.
      It's your choice.
      No one will force you.
      Just know this: There is a fellowship and a family that will welcome you, no matter how far you carry this hate in your heart and mind.
      You can always return.
      The door is open for all who wish to enter with goodness and love in their hearts.
      But, also remember this: We will defend our fellowship and family from violence and oppression. We will 'sell our cloak' when it is necessary.
      Do not mistake our love and tolerance for weakness.

      Delete
  3. From claiming scientism is unreliable one day, to taking credit for it the next. You truly can have it both ways.

    -KW

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    1. KW:

      Science is ours. Scientism is yours.

      Delete
    2. Give me a break. You are a fellow at a group that’s goal is to undermine the materialistic world view that science is based on. Your near constant attacks on the foundational theory of biology, post after post on the unreliability of science as a way of knowing things, support of political figures that would replace science education with religious indoctrination, and conspiracy theories that climate science is based on greed for those oh-so lucrative research grants, reveal nothing but distain for science. You want to make science yours so you can destroy it. You know in your heart the truth of the natural world exposes your creation myth as the ridiculous fairytale that it is, and it has turned you into an angry desperate liar.

      -KW

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    3. KW:

      Interesting conspiracy theory. Criticizing materialist ideology and blatant science fraud is "disdain" for science?

      But why is it that you guys are always going to court to restrict discussion of scientific questions, and we are always to expand the discussion?

      Isn't science inherently a process of discussion? What role has censorship-- which you incessantly advocate-- in real science?

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    4. Megnor,

      Teaching ID in American public schools as science isn't discussion.

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    5. Bach,

      "Teaching ID in American public schools as science isn't discussion."
      Neither is teaching ABG and describing it as 'science' or 'evolution'.
      How about we teach the kids about what we understand and not projecting our 'world views' in biology class? How about just teaching the facts, and not what is 'indicated' by them. Failing that reversion to common sense, balance is the next best thing. If one interpretation of the facts is to be covered, why not several? Goose and gander, old fellow.

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    6. bach:

      [Teaching ID in American public schools as science isn't discussion.]

      Sure seems like discussion. Who gets to decide if it is "discussion"?

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    7. “Interesting conspiracy theory.”

      Do you actually deny that the Discovery Institute is an organization dedicated to fostering Judeo -Christian values by casting doubt on the materialistic world view by questioning the science that follows from it?

      “But why is it that you guys are always going to court to restrict discussion of scientific questions, and we are always to expand the discussion?”

      By “expand the discussion” you mean a program to cast doubt on established science that undermines your theology. I would be all for an honest “teaching of the controversy” because the students would walk out knowing that ID is a bunch of religious clap-trap dressed up with scientific jargon to make it sound plausible to the scientific illiterate, and is specifically designed to keep them illiterate.

      “Isn't science inherently a process of discussion? What role has censorship-- which you incessantly advocate-- in real science?”

      Censorship of government is demanded by our constitution when government actively tries to influence the religious beliefs of its citizens. There is no freedom of religion when the government takes sides. If you want to religiously indoctrinate your kids feel free to send them to private school, but don’t force religious indoctrination on those that don’t want it.

      -KW

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    8. @KW:

      [Do you actually deny that the Discovery Institute is an organization dedicated to fostering Judeo -Christian values by casting doubt on the materialistic world view by questioning the science that follows from it?]

      I proudly and loudly affirm it.

      [Censorship of government is demanded by our constitution]

      Do tell. Actually,the First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech and free exercise of religion, and makes no government/subject distinction. After all, the American people are soverign, and atheists use the courts to censor the American people.

      There are only two restrictions on religious practice by government in the Constitution-- the prohibition on using a religious test to hold public office,and the restriction on FEDERAL legislation respecting an establishment of religion.

      Teaching ID or even just discussing the weaknesses of Darwinian theory is neither a religious test for public office nor a Federal Establishment of Religion.

      You atheist "scientists" are ideological thugs who know that your creation myth would be in the trash 5 minutes after it was subjected to free scrutiny in schools.

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    9. Michael,

      'You atheist 'scientists' are ideological thugs who know that your creation myth would be in the trash 5 minutes after it was subjected to free scrutiny in schools'.

      Yes it would, if it were allowed to be mis-taught by idiots such as you who claim that natural selection is just 'survivors survive'. It's much more.

      Delete
  4. I would agree that the responses to the objections are excellent.
    I cannot say, however, that I find the metaphor about the cat and the mouse admirable. There is nothing fun about watching my cat's toy with their prey. If they want to play, within my sight, it better be with a ball or some other inanimate object (preferably not my furniture). I do not expect them not to hunt when outside. Nor do I expect them to be kind to their prey. They are beasts, not men.
    I hunted for myself, for many years before my wars. I enjoyed every aspect of it save one, in those days. The single aspect I did not like was the taking of a life. It was necessary, but I did not enjoy that final moment.
    So, I did my very best to take down the animal with a single shot and at unawares. I used every piece of the beast, and wasted not a single scrap that could be used.
    My rather obscure point here is that we should not enjoy this TOO MUCH.
    It is a duty to counter this madness, but we should not revel in the cruelty of the kill. Even when the mouse is an arrogant fool.
    Pity and/or empathy will get us a lot further.
    I also think we should not cast ourselves in the role of the hunter on these issues. It is a form of pride that can lead to folly.
    Just my two pennies.
    I hope it makes some sort of sense.

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    1. Maybe you should real in the pity a bit as well Crusader; it just makes you come off as a condescending ass. The whole “I’ll pray for you” crap should never be used on anyone who you know doesn’t share your faith, it’s arrogant, annoying and insulting.

      -KW

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    2. KW:

      I'll pray for even more fervently. You need it.

      Delete
    3. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyDecember 12, 2013 at 3:49 PM

      I'll join you, Doc, as well as put his "name" on an e-mail prayer list a friend of mine runs. God even cares who the trolls are.

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    4. KW,

      I think you mistake my meaning.
      But, I suppose that is your current nature. I am simply stating that cruelty should not be seen as fun. The moment we (Christians) begin to revel in cruelty, we are no better (perhaps even worse) than the opponent we seek to defeat. That is not supposed to be our way.
      Your reaction to an offer of prayer, however indicates you need some. So, I will join the good Doctor and Boggs in a humble submission in your name.
      Don't take it the wrong way, I have had Jewish and Muslim friends offer prayer for me and my family. I have prayed by the bedside of a dying atheist friend. There is no condescension involved. Only good will.
      Rather, if you can, take a reckoning on your own attitude. Ask yourself why something that someone else finds so sacred horrifies you so.
      Why do you find it 'annoying' or 'arrogant'?
      These are most unnatural reactions towards to an act that should not mean anything to you as an atheist. Instead the sacred bothers you. Surely you can see there is something more at work in your mind than a simple rejection of the use usefulness of a prayer? After all, it is not like you asked us for food and we offered a prayer instead...

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    5. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyDecember 12, 2013 at 4:39 PM

      C-Rex: "These are most unnatural reactions towards to an act that should not mean anything to you as an atheist."

      I find many examples of that in America today.

      For example, consider the controversy over the Mt Soledad Cross in La Jolla CA. It would seem that an atheist could drive on I-5, see the cross, laugh at the silly gullibility that put it there, and go on about his business.

      But no. What we get is "AIEEEEEEE!!!! A CROSS!!! I CANNOT LOOK AT A CROSS!!!!!" and a lawsuit to have it removed.

      Now that, good Sir, is power. And it is why atheists must make every effort to go snuffling about the country like truffle pigs to unearth every instance of the manifest power of divine symbols (e.g., the Ten Commandments) and destroy them. Because they cannot bear to gaze upon the Truth.

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    6. Adm.

      "Because they cannot bear to gaze upon the Truth."
      I too take note of these strange reactions. I think you're correct. The Truth seems to reflect something in the mind of this type of so called 'atheist'. It betrays something far more profound than simple disbelief.
      As I noted in my comment above, KW openly declares himself an adversary in his own comments. I don't think he truly appreciates what that means, but either way it is a long shot from unbelief. He is either completely mistaken about what is required to call oneself an atheist, or he is using that term as a mask to hide something far deeper and darker within himself; perhaps even from himself. I suspect many people who use that term today are of the same mindset.
      Sad, really.
      For these, much prayer and contemplation is needed.

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  5. Science developed mainly in Europe because Europe, owing to geographic factors, is impossible to politically unite by physical force. It consists of a large number of independent states.

    China and the Islamic world very quickly became united empires. One bad decision by one ruler to suppress learning had disastrous consequences. A similar decision by a single ruler in Europe would be trivial because learning could occur in the next country.

    It occurred when it did because of a number of events.

    The Black Death, starting in 1347, which destroyed the feudal system. Surviving serfs liberated of their obligation to their lords became more productive and a single farmer became capable of feeding more people, including learned people in the developing cities. It also encouraged the scientific method as physicians started to look for methods that worked against the plague instead of just following long dead authority.

    Concentration of power in kings instead of the nobility. Before this happened, noble lords increased their power by diminishing the power of their neighbouring lords by killing their peasants. Kings increase their power by making the peasants safer, allowing an increasing population and hence more learned people.

    The Gutenberg press in 1450, which allowed new ideas to be be disseminated widely, quickly and cheaply. Transport even until the early 19th century was little fast than walking pace. Someone such as Newton couldn't disseminate his ideas if he had to visit individually all the centres of learning. The printing press allowed his ideas to be disseminated simultaneously, or almost so.

    Long range navigation, also starting in the 15th century. Europeans became like the American army (they traveled to a lot of interesting places, met a lot of interesting people, and killed them). New phenomena were observed instead of regurgitation of myths of the rest of the world.

    The Chinese built the Grand Canal and abandoned the construction of oceanic ships. The Ottoman Empire didn't require long range shipping because it had control of the Silk Road and India was just a short trip across the Arabian Sea. And travel through the Indonesian Islands to the Spice Islands could be done in small coastal boats. When Europe wrested control of trade, the Ottoman Empire started its slow decline as it lost its money. And the same happened to the Christian Italian cities it traded with, such as Venice and Genoa.

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    1. And of course, the Chinese used science as a toy, using gunpowder to make fireworks instead of artillery. And the Chinese developed a rich philosophy, with an alternate better way of knowing stuff. They were opposed to 'scientism' as actually developed in Europe.

      And because of their opposition to 'scientism', as Egnor has noted many times, they obviously did better than the Europeans, and went on to colonise the world, instead of vice versa.

      No, wait...

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    2. "Owing mainly to geographic factors"

      That's Jared Diamond's best-selling hypothesis, right? I'd be careful with pushing that too far. More than a a few historians have called him out on overstating the importance of geography

      - Curio

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    3. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyDecember 12, 2013 at 5:11 PM

      backfield, that recounting of "events" leaves out virtually everything of importance. One of the major factors in European technology was the existence of monasteries and their libraries. Post-Gutenberg, those libraries became less important, but they were the seed corn for the flourishing of intellect.

      Now consider the invention of the falling weight clock...

      Between 1280 and 1320, there is an increase in the number of references to clocks and horologes in church records, and this probably indicates that a new type of clock mechanism had been devised. Existing clock mechanisms that used water power were being adapted to take their driving power from falling weights. This power was controlled by some form of oscillating mechanism, probably derived from existing bell-ringing or alarm devices. This controlled release of power - the escapement - marks the beginning of the true mechanical clock.

      These mechanical clocks were intended for two main purposes: for signalling and notification (e.g. the timing of [monastic] services and public events), and for modeling the solar system. The former purpose is administrative, the latter arises naturally given the scholarly interest in astronomy, science, astrology, and how these subjects integrated with the religious philosophy of the time. The astrolabe was used both by astronomers and astrologers, and it was natural to apply a clockwork drive to the rotating plate to produce a working model of the solar system.

      --- Wiki: Clock

      There is none so blind as one who refuses to see.

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    4. The rise of modern science in only-- ONLY-- Christian civilization is one of the most remarkable aspects of the historiography of the past 1000 years. It is due entirely to Christian theology and its metaphysical/epistemological/ethical implications.

      European geography didn't change. European culture changed, as it became deeply Christianized. Modern science was only one of the consequences (Western art, music, literature, modern democracy are just a few of the others).

      Atheism has had its culture as well. The guillotine and the gulag are its most prominent fruits.

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    5. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyDecember 12, 2013 at 5:22 PM

      Doc: "Atheism has had its culture as well. The guillotine and the gulag are its most prominent fruits."

      That would make a great title for a book: "Guns, Gulags, and Guillotines: The Fates of Socialist Societies".

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    6. Curio,

      No, it's not Jared Diamond's hypothesis. Having a lot of independent European countries wasn't dependent on having a large area distributed along latitude instead of longitude.

      Sweden for example was a major power in the 17th century, despite being in a disadvantageous northern location with the effects of the Little Ice Age. It kept its independence because it was tucked away on a peninsula.

      Grandpa,

      And your point about monasteries and their libraries? Having to visit the monasteries, often in very distant places, or having to pay them enormous amounts of money for the monk scribes to make copies, would be extremely prohibitive.

      Being able to purchase cheap copies of books for personal use is much better. And the books could contain new ideas.

      And your point about clocks? Clocks were just made to keep local time. There wasn't GMT until 1830 or so, when railways made it necessary to do so. Until then Oxford and London were on different times - solar time.

      Michael,

      You keep parroting the same nonsense. Why don't you address the points I made? Europe is made up of many independent states. Learning occurred there because if it wasn't supported in one country, it got supported in another.

      The populations of Europe, the Middle East and China slowly increased from the Medieval ages and agriculture progressively improved, allowing increasing numbers of the learned to be supported potentially.

      It happened in Europe because there were independent countries and cities. A scholar could and often did move from one country to another if support wasn't forthcoming. And having Latin as a lingua franca made it easier.

      Academic books were printed in Latin to facilitate transmission.

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    7. You elide the obvious. The Scientific Revolution was a Christian Revolution. Still is, because atheist scientists still use Christian inferences implicitly-- nature is not God, is rational, consistent, capable of being understood, worth understanding, etc.

      Modern science is a Christian endeavor. Did you for get to say thank you?

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    8. Michael,

      No, it's not obvious that science was a Christian endeavour. You're claiming just one data point out of three - Europe with Christianity, the Middle East and North Africa with Islam and China with Buddhism and its moral philosophy of Confucianism.

      It's even worse. There are numerous data points, too many to count, with a very large number of independent European states, all of them Christian, some of which did science and many didn't.

      Many of the European states that didn't do science disappeared and are forgotten.

      Even so. Russia has a long Christian history. Its one time capital Novgorod has a history going back a thousand years. Novgorod means 'New Town' in Russia. But Russia didn't do much science, despite its Christian heritage, till the 19th century. Perhaps because serfdom wasn't abolished till then. Wealth was based on land, not industry. Unlike England, which underwent its Glorious Revolution of 1688, which reduced the rights of kings, removed the primacy of land as wealth and set up the beginnings of a modern banking system which financed trade and industry.

      It was around this time that Newton and other Royal Society scientists were doing their work. And Edmund Halley was suggesting that the size of the solar system could be measured by observing the next transits of Venus in 1761 and 1769 from far flung places. I wouldn't be here if England hadn't sent Captain James Cook to Tahiti to do just that, and afterwards explored the east coast of Australia, reporting that Botany Bay would be an ideal site for a penal colony.

      Europeans are a pretty fractious lot. Even a very sensible suggestion that Europe should adopt the Gregorian instead of Julian calendar didn't meet with universal agreement, with it taking 170 years for England to adopt it, Sweden opting to do it gradually one day at a time and then abandoning it and Russia not doing it till the 1920s.

      And that was for a very sensible Christian reform that was aimed to bring Easter back into synch with the Lunar calendar.

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  6. Bachfield and KW.

    I see lots of hospitals with Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist and other specifically Christian names. I see the Salvation Army helping the poor. I see missions in every community helping the addicted. I see Habitat for Humanity not only building homes but teaching the victims of relativism how to live responsibly. In Handel's Messiah, I hear some of the the most amazing music ever composed by the hand of man.

    Do you hate all these things as well? Or just the influence behind them?

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    1. Big Rich,

      I'm Australian. I take a more pragmatic approach to religion. I'm not anti-religion. It's just not for me. People can believe in whatever they want, provided their rights don't infringe my rights.

      Australia doesn't have separation of state and church, as a result religion isn't particularly important in Australia. Post office agencies (private businesses) often have Nativity scenes displayed.

      I enjoy religious music. Handel's Messiah, Bach' s St Matthew Passion, B-minor mass, Arvo Part's St John Passion, Rachmaniov Vespers, etc.

      My sole war against Christmas is to refuse to stand for the Halleluh chorus in Messiah.

      I sponsor one child in Tanzania through World Vision (go figure - an atheist supporting a Christian charity) solely because a journalist pointed out that if you have a pet dog, you're probably spending (and being able to afford) as much money as it would take to sponsor a child. So 15 years later, the dog is costing at least twice as much as the child, so I should sponsor another...

      My objection to religion is that it damages people's power of logic, as this thread shows. 'Correlation doesn't mean causation'. Egnor's argument that Christianity facilitated science is just an example of this. My suggestion that Europe developed modern science because it consisted of numerous independent states is just as, if not more, plausible, particularly since there's more data points to look at. Egnor has just 3. I've potentially got hundreds, to test the hypothesis.

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  7. Bach, I disagree with you but you are to be applauded for your compassion in sponsoring the children in Tanzania. More of those who call themselves Christian should follow your example. Pardon me if I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year, my friend.

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    1. Big Rich,

      So what are you disagreeing with? That Christianity affects one's logic? Or that my hypothesis concerning science developing in Europe is as plausible as Egnor's?

      Delete
    2. Bach, how do you know you're not a battery in the Matrix? This point has been made over and over again so it always surprises me when materialists reject it. If there is no transcendence, if all there is, is neurons sparking, how do you know anything you perceive is real?

      Delete
    3. Big Rich,

      Well, how do you know that you're not in the Matrix? And that your sense of 'transcendence' (whatever that is) hasn't just programmed into you?

      Delete
    4. Good question Bach, but with your worldview, that is the only option. You can never be sure of what reality is, what love is, what compassion is etc. but while I might be wrong, my worldview is that reality is real because it was put there by a transcendent supreme being which matches philosophically with a first cause I believe my senses and my mind were designed to detect reality and that the creation was put there for me to explore. Now which of these worldviews do you think is more conducive to scientific inquiry? If you read the words of the pioneers of the scientific method, this is what they cited as their impetus for scientific inquiry.

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    5. Big Rich,

      Well, how do you know that you're not in the Matrix with your worldview programmed into you? And your memory of scientists professing that their study of the Universe is inspired by rational reality isn't also implanted by the programmers?

      The only way you'd know you were in a computer simulation would be if you came across a computer glitch. If something that's unexpected and contrary to previous experience occurred.

      A miracle for example.

      Regularity in nature is an indication that we do actually live in reality not a computer simulation.

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    6. Bach:

      Regularity in nature is teleology. It is direct evidence for God's existence (the Fifth Way).

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  8. Again, we're talking about worldviews and their impact on how we view the world. With yours, there can be no "actually," combined with "reality" since, by definition, there is no transcendence. If there is no transcendence, you can't trust your senses since they are just products of meaningless randomness. They are just by-products of meaningless matter -- if matter exists at all. You really can't say for sure. All that you can know is that you perceive matter but you can't know for sure that your perception is real since you can have no confidence in your mind. Your mind is completely untrustworthy. You can have no confidence that what you see, hear, taste, smell, feel, physically or emotionally, is real. Do you love your kids? Do you love music, the arts, your wife? None of that can be real in your world. It is all just meaningless neurons firing in your brain which is a product of meaningless mutations. There can be no meaning in life -- none whatsoever -- if you are consistent with your worldview.

    Now contrast with my worldview. Everything in life has meaning because I was created with purpose by a Supreme Being who made the world and everything in it for His purposes.

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    1. Big Rich,

      You've moved off the topic. You asked how I could know that we don't live in a Matrix. You claim that you know we don't because of your worldview.

      But your worldview could have been programmed into you, including all your beliefs and preferences.

      There's no way of knowing definitely that we're not in a Matrix.

      Egnor,

      Regularity and teleology in nature (or at least the illusion of it) could have been programmed into the Matrix. Aquinas could have been a fictional character such as Nero.

      The subject was about how I could know we're in a computer stimulation and whether our worldviews allow us to tell.

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