Today’s Science Hates Faith

first_imgThere are individual scientists who believe in God, but their institutions ridicule any and all forms of “faith.”Don’t take our word for it. Here is how leading journals and scientific representatives characterize any view that does not emanate from the halls of Big Science.The reaction was predictable. Nature allowed Kathryn Pritchard, a member of the Archbishops’ Council for the Church of England, to express her view that “Religion and science can have a true dialogue.” It didn’t matter to readers that the dialogue is all one-way, as she describes it (i.e., scientists inform believers how and what to think). When letters to the editor came in, sparks flew. “With the rise of religious fundamentalism worldwide and the expansion of education in ‘faith’ schools, I consider that promoting the idea that religion and science have some kind of equivalence risks making societies more divisive and backward-looking,” one wrote, with other commenters chiming in. “Religion fulfills a basic human need, and so has evolved and survived through the ages despite all the progress science has made in explaining the world.” Too bad believers don’t understand how Charles Darwin rendered their religion an artifact of natural selection.Big Science can appear tolerant in one sense. As long as a formerly religious person shows a bona-fide conversion to Darwinism, then a few lingering feelings of nostalgia can be overlooked. Current Biology interviewed paleo-entomologist Michael Engel, who grew up in a religious home. Asked about his views on the “faith vs science debate” (note the wording), Engel replied,As the son of a minister, I’ve met people on diverse fronts in the discussion of faith and reason. This ‘debate’ has been paramount, and brought Kansas to the national stage, albeit not necessarily for flattering reasons. Politicians and fundamentalists on each extreme stir discord, each with their own ulterior agenda, and from this foment there appears a stark dichotomy and a war for the minds and souls of those residing between the poles. … Faith is not science, and so should not be covered in such curricula, just as the experimental method should not form the basis for theological inquiry. Both should be taught within their own context, and approached openly by those of either persuasion. Science is a communal effort which organizes and grows knowledge through evidentiary observation, testable explanations, and rational predictions. Scientific conclusions should not be rooted in faith. Faith is personal and while precepts may be shared, it remains fiercely individual and need not rely upon an impartial adjudication of evidence….His view is like the NOMA position advocated by the late evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould: each view has its own place. Faith is OK for making you feel good in times of crisis, but don’t pretend it has anything to say about the real world. Materialists can tolerate that. Just admit that faith is a product of evolution.What really makes Big Science erupt with indignation is any request for a seat at the table of knowledge by a “religious” person who doubts Darwin. That is intolerable. And to really fan the flames, let that person suggest that schools should be free to question the adequacy of Darwinian evolution. Evolution News & Views shares one recent reaction when Darwinist Michael Zimmerman suspected (incorrectly) that the Bearded Buddha might be questioned in Texas science standards. “The creationists are back in Texas attacking high quality science education,” he says, and off he goes on his tirade against the bogeymen.A favorite tactic against “religion” is the Yoda complex. The materialist imagines himself on a higher plane of consciousness, looking down on the “people of faith,” using quasi-scientific theories to explain how the peons evolved their backward religious beliefs. In Science, Carter T. Butts portrays “those who reject evolutionary theory” as stuck in some kind of evolutionary backwater, tossed to and fro by conflicting thoughts between the facts they know from science and the faith in their religion. He uses mathematical models to explain their cognitive dissonance. Another, more subtle example was published in PLoS One, titled, “Collective Dynamics of Belief Evolution under Cognitive Coherence and Social Conformity.” The authors portray beliefs as things that evolve like any other natural phenomenon: e.g., “Each individual is endowed with a network of interacting beliefs that evolves through interaction with other individuals in a social network.” One can only wonder if they ever considered their own beliefs in this paper as reducible to such network interactions.In some circles, Big Science is softening its stance on religion. Pritchard’s article in Nature is one example. Materialists don’t want to position themselves as bigots. This is seen in PhysOrg‘s report about a study that found “Most British scientists … feel Richard Dawkins’ work misrepresents science.” It’s not that they feel Dawkins is wrong. They just don’t care for his combative style: insulting and deriding religious people on his crusade to promote atheism. That’s not politically expedient. You can hate religion; just don’t look hateful. “The best science communication does not begin with insults and arrogance,” says David Johnson, co-author of the study. “It encourages curiosity, open-mindedness and appreciation for” –what? religion? faith? philosophy? No; appreciation for “science.”And that’s the point. Science must dominate. Be nice to religious people, but don’t listen to them. Don’t take their views seriously. Communication is good, as along as it is one-way, from scientist to person of “faith.” Encourage religious people to convert to Darwinism. Maybe, with carrots instead of sticks, they will mend their ways.By now, regular readers know how to respond. They know it’s a false dichotomy to characterize individuals as “scientists” vs. “people of faith.” Everyone is a person of faith! Don’t let the atheists define the debate in those terms. Atheists have lots of faith – in fact, much more faith than average churchgoers. Not only do they have faith in their perceptions and powers of reason, they have faith that the universe is comprehensible. They have faith in induction (a questionable premise, philosophically). They have faith that the laws of logic are reliable. They have faith in folk psychology. They have faith that they can communicate with other members of Homo sapiens who will understand them, and whose responses indicate they have minds similar to their own.Atheists have so much faith, in fact, that it is tantamount to belief in magic. They believe that universes and living things can just pop into existence, showing exquisite fine-tuning, without mind or plan. Contrary to all reason and mathematical probability, they believe that atoms organized themselves into proteins, DNA and cells. And talk about cognitive dissonance: they deny anything beyond matter and energy, yet rely on immaterial realities of consciousness, intentionality, and reason. They have no reason to believe in reason if they are materialists. They depend on moral values like honesty that cannot be reduced to atoms and forces. They are supernaturalists in spite of themselves!So please, don’t let atheistic materialists set the table their way. They stole the table and the silverware from creationists. If they had to set their own table, they would be sitting on dirt, or hanging in the air. Everyone belongs to “people of faith,” but some believe in absurd, self-refuting faiths, like materialism. We need to reason with such people. Help lead them from absurd faith to reasonable faith. Like Tim Standish says at the end of Illustra’s new film Origin, “There is nothing magical about living things. I’m a scientist. I don’t really believe in magic. I believe in mechanisms and causes that are sufficient to achieve the phenomena that I observe.  Intelligence is sufficient. Intelligence is necessary. Therefore, intelligence is the conclusion that I come to.”(Visited 81 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

South African scientists depart on whale studying expedition

first_img2 November 2015 Scientists have set off on a research voyage to collect data on humpback whales between Dassen Island and Groenriviermond off the west coast of South Africa.Two ships, the Department of Environmental Affairs’ RV Algoa and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ FRS Ellen Khuzwayo, left on the expedition on 28 October.The team on the RV Algoa will focus on environmental sampling for analysis of the chemical make-up of the region – checking the available nutrients, and available food for whales. Researchers will record every whale seen along a pre-designed research path.Those scientists on the FRS Ellen Khuzwayo will be dedicated to biological sampling of humpback whales encountered in the region – collecting DNA samples, taking photographs of whale tails/flukes and attaching satellite tracking instruments in order to understand their movement and behaviour, both on the west coast and on their return to Antarctic feeding grounds.“Small cameras will be attached on selected whales using suction cups in order to have a whale’s view of the ocean,” said the Department of Environmental Affairs. “This will help us to identify the prey types on the west coast while supplementing prey sampling from the prey (food) sampled from the RV Algoa.”The department said it was important to understand the dynamics of the whales for population identification, abundance estimation and conservation management.“Humpback whales are a charismatic and acrobatic large whale species that typically visits the west coast of Africa every winter for breeding. Upon completion of breeding activities, they begin their 2 500km swimming journey to Bouvet Island, south-west of Cape Town, in late spring/early summer.”Tourist attractionTourists flock to South Africa to view two types of visiting large whales – the southern right and humpback whale. “These whales gather in South Africa for a feeding frenzy that scientists believe is unique to South Africa in the southern hemisphere,” the department said.“It is suspected that changes driven by climate change have influenced this ‘unusual’ behaviour. Although an estimated 500 humpback whales are found in South African waters, no evidence of breeding has been recorded off the west coast of South Africa, raising questions around their breeding locality.”The research is being done in conjunction with the departments of Environmental Affairs and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; the University of Pretoria’s Mammal Research Institute; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (USA); Oregon State University (USA); Aqualie Institute (Brazil); and invaluable contributions from BirdLifeSA and the Australian Department of Environment’s Marine Mammal Centre.SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

Govt ropes in private firm to shore up jobs in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh

first_imgWith Assembly polls just a few months away, the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in Madhya Pradesh has roped in a private talent management company to shore up job prospects and impart necessary skills to youths. The Opposition Congress has, however, dubbed the move as an “eyewash” aimed at “misleading” youths in the time of elections which are due by the year-end. Madhya Pradesh has created an average of 17,600 jobs every year in the past 13 years of the BJP rule (2004-2017), according to an official data presented in the Assembly during the budget session. Now, a private player has been entrusted with the task of scouting employment opportunities in the non-government sector and enhancing job-getting skills of the state’s unemployed. Speaking to PTI, Madhya Pradesh State Skill Development and Employment Generation Board chairman Hemant Vijayrao Deshmukh said, “In a bid to generate more jobs for youths, the state government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Pune-based Yashasvi Academy for Talent Management Pvt Ltd.“This company would turn the employment exchanges in 15 districts into placement centres under the public-private partnership (PPP) mode.” The MoU will cover 15 districts – Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur, Rewa, Gwalior, Sagar, Ujjain, Hoshangabad, Shahdol, Dhar, Khargone, Dewas, Singrauli, Satna and Katni. The Congress, however, said this step of the BJP government would benefit only the private company. The Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Ajay Singh of the Congress said, “Why has the BJP government woke up after 14 years? It is just trying to mislead youths. In any case, the BJP is going to be defeated in the coming elections.“In the recent budget session, the government admitted that unemployment has gone up by 16.4 %.” Singh said the BJP government has failed to deliver on the employment front.“Where are two crore jobs that the BJP had promised.Youths are under depression due to lack of jobs.” Deshmukh, however, believes the MoU with the Pune firm would definitely benefit the state’s unemployed youths. He said, “We have set a target of facilitating jobs for one lakh youths. Apart from making job opportunities available in the private sector, the company would also impart skills in writing curriculum vitae (CV) besides working for personality development of unemployed youths.” The agreement would boost the job sector as employment exchanges were fast losing their relevance, the board chairman said. Apart from preparing unemployed persons as per market demand, job fairs and career counselling sessions will be organised by the company, Deshmukh said. Jobs will be made available to applicants in their respective area of interest, he said. Deshmukh said Yashasvi Academy would manage the cost of running placement centres in coordination with companies which would provide jobs. The Berojgar Sena, an outfit of unemployed youths, however, is not enthused by the move. Instead of improving employment exchanges, the government has been making efforts to shut them down, it said.“According to private estimates, there are over 75 lakh unemployed youths in the state and through this PPP agreement, the government plans to provide jobs to one lakh youths.“So, it will take 75 years to provide jobs to the current number of the unemployed,” said Sena convener Akshay Hunka. More than five lakh unemployed youths are getting added every year, he said.“This MoU was signed only to mislead youths ahead of the Assembly elections. The state government has completely failed on the employment front,” Hunka maintained. The Economic Survey-2018, presented during the budget session, said the number of registered educated unemployed in MP stood at 11.24 lakh by 2016-end.last_img read more

Returning Roger Federer eases into Monte Carlo third round

first_imgFormer world number one Roger Federer returned from a 10-week layoff with a 6-3, 6-4 second-round victory against Spain’s Guillermo Garcia Lopez at the Monte Carlo Masters on Tuesday.The third-seeded Swiss had knee surgery on Feb. 3 and was forced to delay his scheduled comeback in Miami because of gastroenteritis.Federer, who has failed all 12 attempts to win the first claycourt Masters of the season, was barely bothered by the world number 38. The only glitch he suffered came when he was broken as, leading 5-2 in the second set, he was serving to win.He will next face either Germany’s Alexander Zverev or Spain’s Marcel Granollers, who was picked in the main draw after fellow Spaniard David Ferrer withdrew with a leg injury.Back in Monte Carlo for the first time since 2013, world number two Andy Murray laboured into the third round with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 defeat of France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert.last_img read more