Really Recommended Posts

Really Recommended Posts 11/21/14- St. Francis, Science, gender, and more!

snowl-owl-post-arpingstoneI have rustled up another set of links for you, dear readers, to enjoy! Let me know what you thought of them, and be sure to drop a comment or “like” on their posts as well! We have a diverse set today, so everyone will find something to read!

A Pictorial Representation of the Perils of Pornography (Comic)- Pornography is a major struggle in the lives of many. Sometimes, a wake up call is needed. Here’s a poignant image on the perils of pornography.

St. Francis of Assisi was No Lover of “Nature”– A provocative title with an interesting point related to St. Francis of Assisi. What was his view of nature and the natural world? Check it out!

What I would Tell my 12-year-old self about gender roles– How might we think about gender roles? How can we discuss these with children? Here’s an excellent post on this topic.

Mt. Sodom: A Huge Pile of Salt– Who wants to discuss geology and young earth creationism? *Raises hand ecstatically!* Seriously, check out this excellent post on some difficulties the massive Mt. Sodom causes for a young earth perspective.

Science and God: Is there a conflict?– Is it true that there must be conflict between theism and science? Here are a few points related to this alleged conflict.


About J.W. Wartick

J.W. Wartick is a Lutheran, feminist, Christ-follower. A Science Fiction snob, Bonhoeffer fan, Paleontology fanboy and RPG nerd.


5 thoughts on “Really Recommended Posts 11/21/14- St. Francis, Science, gender, and more!

  1. Regarding Science and God: Is there a conflict?

    The answer from the site is ‘No’ because faith is misunderstood. (Quelle surprise… a la Not a True Scotsman fallacy.) It really means ‘trust’, you see, so the author has no clue why the accusation continues to have legs. naturally, such trust is best served when there are good reasons for it… good, that is, meaning backed by reasons that appeal to scriptural authority, personal revelations, and anecdotes.

    The problem with this ‘answer’ is that it doesn’t treat the question honestly. And the honest answer is ‘Yes, Virginia, there really is a conflict’ – not based on word substitution games but by compelling evidence from reality.

    YEC stands contrary, for example, to geology, radiometric dating, tectonics, paleontology, biogeography, and of course evolution including genetics. This conflict is not imaginary and it’s not a question about simply trusting the YEC explanation for such ‘good’ reasons. Science doesn’t work in some equivalent way. There are no good reasons in the scientific sense of the word, meaning well supported by compelling evidence from reality that translates into practical applications, therapies, and technologies based on it that just so happen to work for everyone everywhere all the time. The only reasons to support YEC is as an exercise of religious faith. This faith is contrary to and in conflict with these related branches of science.

    Remember, this is the SAME science that when applied produces these marks on this screen you are reading. No trust is necessary. The monitor either works or it does not. It does not ask for your trust first. To put aside the SAME methodology that produces your computer screen as much as it does the field of genetics only to make room for trust in the contrary and conflicting ;’explanation’ called YEC is not reasonable. By ANY stretch of the imagination. Trusting YEC to be a reasonable claim is an exercise of special privileging. It is exercise of an unreasonable trust on behalf of a religious faith claim. This willingness to put aside a method worthy of trust by demonstration is unreasonable and it reveals the difference between faith and science: the integrity adduced from reality for trust.

    Because religious belief does not require reality to arbitrate its claims about reality – see YEC as a stellar example – but demands a special exemption, a special privileging for these claims, we see demonstrated the conflict, the incompatibility of methodology, between them. And it’s very real a swell as ongoing.

    To wave away the conflict (that continues to have a global impact on billions of people living under varying degrees of religious authority, that directly and negatively affects education in general and science education in particular, that fights against the establishment of equality law, that interferes with medical research, that promotes gender discrimination, that funds campaigns to first constrain and then eliminate abortion services, that seeks tax exemptions amounting to more than a hundred billion lost dollars in tax revenue per year in the States, that widely distributes misinformation about euthanasia, that uses public money to promote religious aims, and so on) with a pitiful word game about the ‘proper’ definition for faith is hardly “alleged”. These conflicts are real. They are ongoing. They are not about trust; they are about conflict produced by competing and incompatible religious ideas with the method of science.

    Posted by tildeb | November 21, 2014, 3:31 PM
    • I would like to bring this comment of yours into conversation with the below:

      tildeb: It’s called making meaning and we – you and I – do it constantly without any external causal agency directing us in how we assign importance to the meaning we make. That’s why the same input experienced by thee and me can be held to radically different levels of importance as to its meaning. We do the assigning.

      To what extent do you think many religionists think that religion dwells 100% in the realm of ‘meaning’? It strikes me that such people could indeed say that religion is not necessarily in conflict with science. Indeed, one could even say that YEC folks are only in conflict with science if they want something (e.g. better antibiotics) which is thwarted by their YEC beliefs. Otherwise, why do they have to want what your standard evolutionary biologist wants? I can even imagine the equivalent of Kosher labels for anything that only exists because people believe that “evolution is a fact”, to see if YEC believers can manage to stay away from any object thusly labeled. But I digress; I’m only lightly interested in YEC.

      I would also like to understand to what extent your values—your concept of ‘the good’—depend entirely on that meaning-making process you describe, whereby no “external causal agency” directs you. (Does ‘direct’ mean “100% determine”, or “> 0% influence”?) Some religionists would say that their religion exclusively deals with values, while others want to extend their religion further (a paradigm example is YEC).

      Now, it is obvious that science can help shape our values. When we learned that DDT had the effects it did, we changed our actions. Nevertheless, it is crucial to acknowledge how the facts, at the very least, underdetermine one’s values. That means it’s important to talk about the sources in addition to science, which shapes our thought and behavior. I’m very interested in this “in addition to“, and how it interacts with the topics at hand—your comment on meaning, and your comment on science vs. religion.

      To really connect this to your comment, can you see how my trust in a person/​principle/​method needs to involve more than just the results of science? It has to involve a ‘sufficient matching’ between my telos, and the other telos. After all, isn’t my trust founded in the idea that acting on that trust (which defines what ‘trust’ is) will [perhaps optimally] further my purposes? Given that science is anti-teleological, it seems iffy for you to dismiss it as you have. It strikes me that one’s telos is inextricably connected to one’s sense of ‘the good’. Indeed, there is a strong case to be made for a deep connection between (i) orientation toward ‘the good’; (ii) telos; and (iii) personal identity:

          What this brings to light is the essential link between identity and a kind of orientation. To know who you are is to be oriented in moral space, a space in which questions arise about what is good or bad, what is worth doing and what not, what has meaning and importance for you and what is trivial and secondary. I feel myself drawn here to use a spatial metaphor; but I believe this to be more than personal predilection. There are signs that the link with spatial orientation lies very deep in the human psyche. In some very extreme cases of what are described as “narcissistic personality disorders”, which take the form of a radical uncertainty about oneself and about what is of value to one, patients show signs of spatial disorientation as well at moments of acute crisis. The disorientation and uncertainty about where one stands as a person seems to spill over into a loss of grip on one’s stance in physical space.[1] (Sources of the Self, 28)

      Maybe you’re fine with all this, but comments like the one I’m responding to seem to obscure the issues. It strikes me that additional clarity might help resolve some of the conflict, or at least elucidate it better than I think your comment does. I hope my contribution does bring more clarity, although I cannot say I’m all that confident that it will, given our past interactions and how confused a person you seem to think I am. I post this in hope.

      Posted by labreuer | November 21, 2014, 6:07 PM
      • Your “additional clarity” seems to me to be inversely proportional to the stated objective.

        Perhaps this graphic will help demonstrate why there is a such a pronounced conflict between religious claims about reality and scientific claims about reality. Your diversion into subjective meaning and the hope/trust/confidence you assume it deserves (presumably as a secondary role to claims made about how reality operates and what causal agencies it contains) fails to “bring more clarity” to why there really is an ongoing conflict between the two methods of inquiry.

        Posted by tildeb | November 21, 2014, 10:21 PM
      • Would you agree or disagree, that how people assign “subjective meaning” is extraordinarily important to how individuals function and how society functions? I don’t understand your apparent derogation of this matter. When a person decides whom to trust on the political scene, how can he/she avoid using his/her chosen meanings? Science alone doesn’t tell you whom to trust, unless you smuggle in value and meaning.

        With respect to “two methods of inquiry”; there is no single method of inquiry for science which can be defined in any rigorous fashion. Even Penelope Maddy, an ardent naturalist, has this to say in Second Philosophy: A Naturalistic Method:

            A deeper difficulty springs from the lesson won through decades of study in the philosophy of science: there is no hard and fast specification of what ‘science’ must be, no determinate criterion of the form ‘x is science iff …’. It follows that there can be no straightforward definition of Second Philosophy along the lines ‘trust only the methods of science’. Thus Second Philosophy, as I understand it, isn’t a set of beliefs, a set of propositions to be affirmed; it has not theory. Since its contours can’t be drawn by outright definition, I resort to the device of introducing a character, a particular sort of idealized inquirer called the Second Philosopher, and proceed by describing her thoughts and practices in a range of contexts; Second Philosophy is then to be understood as the product of her inquiries. (1)

        So it’s really not clear that your focus on method can withstand critical scrutiny. There’s also Paul Feyerabend’s very influential Against Method, which probably contributed to Maddy’s statement, above.

        But let’s put aside the above, and discuss the method for assigning meaning, given that science doesn’t [fully] determine our meanings. What is your method for assigning meaning? Is it well-articulated? Can you show that it solves the problems you attribute to religion and religious thinking?

        Posted by labreuer | November 22, 2014, 1:26 PM


  1. Pingback: This Week’s Links « Timothy Siburg - November 25, 2014

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