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Apr 12 2013

Beware the Scientists

Christian Post is onto the latest and greatest threat to face down our society (or at least American Society).

That’s right! It’s Science! Or indeed the Christian Notion Of Scientism.

One of the most subtle and influential religions of America is “Scientism.” Not the ever controversial “Scientology” or the so-called “Christian Science” of the “Christian Science Reading Rooms,” but Scientism, the voluntary limitation of our beliefs and behaviors to only what is taught to us by the natural sciences. It is a non-supernatural religion as much as Taoism, animism, Botánica and some Native American spirituality. Nevertheless, it is often promoted as the whole truth in competition with broader understandings of the world, such as taught in churches.

Right the notion of scientism is that the entire universe can be understood through science and the scientific understanding of events. That in order to understand an event we would have to deconstruct it to find out how it works.

To claim it’s a voluntary limitation of our belief and behaviour by only believing in things that are scientifically proven is fine, but that implies that Christianity accepts unproven statements on the basis of faith which implies an extremely shaky, illogical and unfounded belief. This isn’t a bad thing. Your world doesn’t improve by thinking that the rainbow is a magic covenant from god to not murder everyone again. The beauty of a rainbow is not reduced by understanding refraction.

Which is the very definition of superstition.

And no, Native American Spirituality is “Animism” and Animisim is entrenched in superstition just as much as Christianity is.

Scientism often has the endorsement of the public school teaching – contrary to the establishment clause of the First Amendment to our American Constitution. Naïvely, the media often goes along without either understanding or communicating the limitations of scientific methodologies. A study of the history of scientific discovery would reveal the frequent role of dreams, prayers and revelations that help push the edges of physical knowledge. Science’s content is physical knowledge

There is a distinct drive by Christian Apologists to declare “Science” as a religion. Never mind the fact that science is the best chance we have for explaining how the world works and is effectively a massive collection of knowledge acquired by observation, testing, experimentation and understanding. The reason for this is if science is either Science is established as a religion and removed from the classroom providing them with a new regiment of ignorant children to flog fairy tales to.

Or that they can be treated as “equal” to religion in the classroom, so you would have to teach the validity of the “Flood” alongside the validity of acceleration due to gravity. That they claim that both have answers to questions that are equally valid rather than one being entirely entrenched in superstition.

The study of scientific discovery shows that dreams, prayer and revelations from divine sources are less important than observance, luck and hard work. That for every time there is such an event there are countless hours of effort put in by lots of people to achieve something. This is like suggesting that the pyramids were built by the Pharaoh’s will rather than say the efforts of thousands of peasants and artisans.

Spirit is the most distinct difference between a God-centered view and a God-absent view of the world and ourselves – including God’s precious Holy Spirit and our own human spirits. Each of our spirits is related to the Holy Spirit, because at the beginning God breathed his Spirit into that engineered complex matter for us to become breathing images of him, living humans. Emergency “resuscitation” can be a wonderful life-giving reenactment of this divine original “suscitation.”

What? No…

The “soul” can be demonstrated as a construct of the brain. Which is why children who are starved of oxygen during birth never develop beyond a certain age and why people with head injuries may change. Or indeed how alcohol, dementia or SSRIs work.

And emergency resuscitation is only “wonderful” to the people who have never seen it outside TV.

As a matter of method, the natural sciences are limited to examining only physical phenomena, and only in terms of other physical phenomena – considering both matter and energy. It is certainly not that any scientists have discovered that God did not make phenomena occur the way they do. The original causes or ultimate sources of the patters of nature are not proper concerns within any of the natural sciences. If you ask a physicist or astronomer who lit the fuse for the Big Bang, there is no scientific answer – even you and I know very well. And something or Someone had to cause it. The questions of ultimate Origin necessarily remain outside scientific focus. At the same time, any scientist, like any other human, can come to know the Creator and his awesome work – because any scientist is also a living, envisioning, breathing, believing human being, and much greater than his or her scientific role.

Even if that were right what makes you think it’s Jehovah and not Brahma?

If you ask a physicist or astronomer whether the universe requires the existence of a divine being to exist, they would respond with “Not Necessarily”. There are perfectly valid hypothesis and mathematical models that explain a non-divine universe.

If we consider the total understanding of existence as the truth and indeed as “god” then I can totally nerd out and quote the Full Metal Alchemist.

It’s ironic that the closest people to The Truth are scientists rather than priests.

Religion MUST require a divine, supernatural being to kickstart the universe and so cannot accept any answer that indicates that the universe exists for the sake of them.

Unfortunately, what is a matter of method for natural science is often falsely and tragically promoted as a useful method for all of life. That is when good science morphs into Scientism. Ignoring the Spirit and our spirits when we do natural science helps us focus more carefully on natural phenomena when doing science. Ignoring the Spirit in our lives as whole people is a foolish disaster, a kind of dangerous blindness, a debilitating religion, pagan Scientism.

What this person hates is when science starts trampling on the feet of religion or on territory religion says Science cannot explain nor should it ever TRY to explain.

What many religious people want is not “science” but “applied theology”. Where science is used to uphold religion and strengthen it’s grasp. Where scientists declare the power of the atom as the power of a deity. Or the mechanism of evolution the mechanism of the engineer of reality.

Not “natural” processes.

The splendid goal of inquiry in the natural sciences is to establish explanations of any natural phenomena in terms of other natural things – such as natural laws, fields, probabilities. Any explanations that make reference to supernatural beings or powers are properly excluded from natural science. For example, if I let go of my pencil and it immediately falls to the floor, how should we explain that phenomenon? It would be completely scientifically irrelevant to say, “God made it that way.” Scientific explanation would be in terms only of gravitational forces, minor air resistance, and such like.

Well if we are invoking mythical beings then my gravity fairies theory (the heavier something is the more gravity fairies are attracted to it) is equally valid to your “god of gravity”.

When we deal with the god of gravity we achieve nothing.

When we deal with the science of gravity we are able to do this

If we kept dealing with “Gravity Fairies and Gods” we would have simply never left the planet. We would not understand nor be able to analyse the “divine force of gravity” and never be able to use it to our own advantage.

We would be no different from the people who pray for rain.

Similarly, scientists would not explain a particular rain storm in terms of a farmer’s prayers or a Native American’s rain-dance. We all know that rainstorms are explained in terms of natural factors, such as air pressure, humidity, wind and temperature – all factors that themselves depend on other natural factors. However, my wife and I personally lived through two severe droughts where 100,000s of people were desperate for rain, and in which we helped schedule and promote intensive prayers. In both cases, on those prayer days – in 1977 in Virginia and in 1995 in New York – the local TV and radio meteorologists insisted there was “no rain in the forecast.” Nevertheless, we prayed earnestly. Then almost immediately – within ten minutes in one case, and within four hours in the other case – there were giant, many-hours-long, massive rainstorms. Each time our geographic region received much more rain that was specifically needed, and reservoirs were filled.

There are plenty of people who die due to famine from drought across the world. Plenty of Indians prayed to Varuna during the 1940s and instead were rewarded by 2 million deaths due to drought. Plenty of people in Africa pray for rain to the very same “Christian” god and are promptly rewarded with “fuck all”.

I cannot help but laugh at the very notion that praying to a “god” alleviated white people’s droughts through magic rain rather than say “evaporation followed by favourable winds”.

On their next TV and radio weather reports, the same meteorologists that had predicted “no rain in the forecast” now somewhat sheepishly explained that there were “surprising” cold fronts that caused the huge quantity of much desired liquid precipitation. I never doubted that there was a cold front that they had not noticed earlier (for some reason!), and that the cold fronts were caused by some other natural factor, which was caused…and so on. You get the idea. Nevertheless, in the bigger picture, not limited by meteorological methods, our prayers were clearly and quickly answered, and the farms, gardens and empty city reservoirs received their needed rain, in spite of hopeless “no rain” scientific predictions.

I actually was in the USA during the 1995 heat wave. I remember that it wasn’t prayer that brought the rain and indeed weathermen were predicting rain “over a week in advance”.

The thing is meteorology isn’t an exact science and even a slight change in a parameter can cause effects. And really? You would rather believe you have god who is happy to let hundreds of people die from heat waves to get “Mad Prayers” than say “A Meteorological Impersonal Phenomenon”?

Therefore, freely use a naturalist method for natural science lab or class! And even more importantly, completely free yourself for the Spirit, and for your spirit, and for all the splendid aspects of your grace-filled life on earth. After all, at the beginning of humanity the Spirit made you a human when he breathed into you, when you were merely the complex physical matter, or protoplasm, designed and developed by God.

Prove the spirit/soul exists as a tangible entity rather than the illusive effect of having a brain and then we can talk.

And today, the Spirit still makes all the difference. It is through the Spirit that we can utilize what we learn in science, and Spirit can direct us to new discoveries within creation, and that advance science. And as we approach “Earth Day,” let us give thanks to the true Father of creation, and protect the endowment He gave us to manage.

Wait? This is flogging Earth Day? I Am confused!

And do not be deterred by those who refuse to take off their dangerous Scientism blinders. Their stubborn rejection of creation’s God is a character flaw, not a cosmic fact.

To quote Ned Flanders?

“Oh, we thank you Lord for this mighty fine intelligent design!”

Science has to be denigrated to the superstition of religion in order to fight it.

6 comments

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  1. 1
    JJH

    I’m no meteorologist, but this line just struck me as wrong: ” Then almost immediately – within ten minutes in one case, and within four hours in the other case – there were giant, many-hours-long, massive rainstorms.” It would seem to me then, that the temperature and barometer would have already been falling before they started praying (at least in the 10 minute scenario). Maybe Thor knew they were going to pray and acted preemptively?

  2. 2
    smrnda

    A main difference between scientific ideas and religious ones are that scientific ideas have to be falsifiable. Religious ideas tend to be unfalsifiable – gods answer prayers and prove they exist to believers, but no amount of unanswered prayers prove the gods aren’t real, or don’t care.

  3. 3
    machintelligence

    Actually, it’s more along the lines of: if you need an example just make shit up. Oh, and ignore opposing examples: the recent drought in Texas went on for nearly a year in spite of all the prayers, but ended when the atheists held a convention there.;-)

  4. 4
    Sercee

    “There is a distinct drive by Christian Apologists to declare “Science” as a religion.”

    It disturbs me a little how religious-folk so often try to label everything as a religion. Considering so many of them think they have the only religion, it could only mean that eventually everything else that’s a religion has to go because it competes (atheism, science, hockey… lol). Really, I think they can’t fathom or handle the idea that something doesn’t have to be religion to be real, and that someone can exist without religion makes their head explode. Seriously, why does everything need to be about faith?? Talk about living dangerously…

    Everything must be religion, but eventually that means everything but the True Religion must go.

  5. 5
    JJH

    I also think there is a deeply moral issue here (if a scientifically minded person is also allowed to have a moral perspective). Let’s say the author of the article in question was correct and his group’s prayers did bring rain to drought stricken areas. How can he get up in the morning and write for some online mag when he could be taking his group to areas where people suffer deeply and and die daily from a want of fresh water and save them? What possible reason could he have for not alleviating a huge degree of suffering on the planet?

    After reading his article, the kindest thing I could say about Paul de Vries is that he is a lying charlatan. If I thought he was honest in his deeds, I would have to say he is guilty of crimes against humanity.

  6. 6
    mikmik

    Naïvely, the media often goes along without either understanding or communicating the limitations of scientific methodologies.

    LMAO! Are they saying that the media should express the limitations of prayer methodologies, then? That prayer is the equivalent to wishful thinking?
    WTF do they think science education teaches? Methodologies and limitations. Critical thinking. You know what? I agree with the CSM on this. The press should communicate methodologies, understandings, and limitations.
    That’s a dream scenario – that the media understood scientific method. Fuckin ay!

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