Daniel Peterson: Kepler and the supposed war between science and religion

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  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 7:36 a.m.

    procuradorfiscal,

    That's balderdash!

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Aug. 14, 2018 11:00 a.m.

    Re: ". . . atheism isn't a system or ideology any more than theism is."

    Uh, theism is a system or ideology. Just like atheism.

    Though the sophists of atheism's theological headquarters -- American Atheists -- beg to differ, most atheists are indeed as theologically-based and as organizationally-bound as they accuse many of us with differing belief systems of being.

    There is a strict orthodoxy in atheism -- as demonstrated by comments here. Though hard evidence exists that people are better off embracing religious belief than opposing it, the atheistic belief system requires atheists, not just to quietly go about their lives, uninfluenced by belief, but rather to actively evangelize those of us who choose to believe -- oddly enough, often using tactics borrowed from some zealous religious traditions.

    And, since heterodox atheists are as likely to fear criticism by others of their "faith" if they fail to recite its articles at every opportunity, it's inevitable that comments like some of those in this forum will be made whenever someone of Dr. Peterson's brilliance and persuasiveness enlightens us with his/her thoughts.

  • coltakashi Richland, WA
    Aug. 14, 2018 8:19 a.m.

    Sadly, several of the commenters are demonstrating that persistant clinging to the nineteenth century myth of a "war" between science and religion that Professor Peterson, and the book he quotes, intend to dispel.

    Ptolemy was a pagan Greek astronomer and mathematician who worked out a system for predicting celestial mechanics. Though it assumed the earth did not rotate, it was accurate in its time, and became the conventional science of the day. It was not created based on Jewish or Christian ideas in the Old or New Testaments. And the astronomers who developed an improved heliocentric system that replaced it were Christians, including Galileo (whose daughter was a nun), Copernicus (who was a church employee), and Kepler, who was motivated to derive the rules if pkanetary motion by his belief in a law abiding Creator. Newton was also a religious man, as well as a scientific genius.

    The political conditions that ended the western Roman empire were not caused by Christianity.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 10, 2018 4:43 p.m.

    Tyler D,
    "Christianity largely caused the Dark Ages and stunted our progress by at least a thousand years."
    ____________________
    That's a harsh judgment and too easy an explanation. Christianity was in ascendancy but not yet dominant throughout Europe when the early Medieval era began. It should be noted that much of what is now deemed classic literature from the ancient Greeks was rescued from being lost to history and was preserved by diligent efforts of monastic orders of the Church when Europe was going through great change and chaos. That's not to argue that medieval Christianity was without blemish. It was not.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 10, 2018 3:01 p.m.

    Tyler D. “The Bible does not consider a fetus a *person”?

    Unborn babies are called “children,”=(G 1025 brephos )infant, babe, child in arms used in (Luke 1:41, 44; 2:12,16)

    The unborn are created by God (Ps. 139:13) Unborn children possess personal emotions such as joy that are distinctive to humans (Luke1:44) .
    *Personal pronouns are also used to describe unborn children (Jer. 1:5; Matt. 1:20-21). The unborn are known personally and intimately by God just as He knows all other people

    RE: "Iceland is not eliminating Down Syndrome: They are just killing everyone who has it."

    Christians should be being a voice for the voiceless and taking seriously Christ’s command to care for the least among us.

    In a world where we are daily conditioned to expect an environment that caters to our every need and desire, we must remind ourselves that the value of our lives and the lives of others is based not on material wealth or accomplishments but on the intrinsic worth we all possess as human beings created by God and in his image.

    RE: China despite this, sex-selective abortion continues to be practiced, as it is not easily regulated by governments and because son-preference.

  • Tyler D Prescott, AZ
    Aug. 10, 2018 1:45 p.m.

    @sharrona – “From Genesis to Revelation, God provides picture after picture of ‘His entire plan for mankind…”

    The Holy Quran says repeatedly that it is the perfect word of God, lays out a coherent plan for mankind, and says non-believers (infidels) will burn in hell (and deserve death in this life). Close to 2 billion people on the planet believe this, and given demographic it will soon be the largest religion on Earth.

    Why are you not losing any sleep over whether or not you should believe the Quran and change your life accordingly?

    [Hint: for the same reason I lose zero sleep over any of your claims.]

    @CMTM (sharrona) – “Thou shalt not Murder” (Exodus 20:13)

    The Bible does not consider a fetus a person and its death does not qualify as murder (Exodus 21:22).

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 10, 2018 11:26 a.m.

    >Karen R. Atheists believe they have the ability to absolutely determine whether or not evidence is objective. many of them don’t recognize that they too have faith, they have faith that they don’t have faith!
    Evidence for God’s existence. (Amos 3:7) “He would do nothing without first revealing it to His servants, the prophets.” From Genesis to Revelation, God provides picture after picture of ‘His entire plan for mankind is in the Jewish feasts of Lev 23.

    The 7 annual feasts of Israel were spread over 7 months of the Jewish calendar, at set times appointed by God. They are still celebrated by Jews today, these special days demonstrate the work of redemption(From Adams fall) through God’s Son.
    The first 4 of the 7 feasts occur during the springtime (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Festival of Weeks( shavout)they all have already been fulfilled by Christ in the N. T. e.g..

    Passover (Lev 23:5) Points to the Messiah(Jesus) as our Passover lamb (1Cor 5:7) whose blood would be shed for our sins. Jesus was crucified on the day of preparation for the Passover at the same hour that the lambs were being slaughtered for the Passover meal that evening (John 19:14).

  • Tyler D Prescott, AZ
    Aug. 10, 2018 8:34 a.m.

    @ mhenshaw – “by definition, absent churches, science wouldn't have advanced as far as it did”

    That assumes there would have been no education without the churches (again, the logical equivalent of saying “because all chicken pluckers in the Middle Age were Christian, Christianity gave us chicken pluckers”). I trust you can see the glaring logical fallacy…

    Far more likely – Christianity largely caused the Dark Ages and stunted our progress by at least a thousand years.

    @ mhenshaw – “I wouldn't call a hundred million dead "a canard."

    Again, I have no idea what this has to do with individuals (vs. state policy enforced at gunpoint) not being theists, but nice deflection that WWII red herring.

    Until religious people can explain why the happiest, most prosperous countries in the world are the least religious, while the most religious countries tend to be hotbeds of strife and misery, I consider the question asked and answered.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Aug. 10, 2018 6:16 a.m.

    @ mhenshaw

    Your supposition assumes that education would only have occurred in the context of religion.

    Also, atheism isn't a system or ideology any more than theism is. All that either tells us is whether a person believes in gods. So your argument is a canard because it's based on the assumption that one's position on god belief is predictive of genocidal behavior. Show me the research that supports this.

    @ tiktaalik

    "I do have a problem with people that should and do know better, that are disingenuous, and purposely misleading to those that rely on them for knowledge."

    Amen. They make me wish a god did exist - one that held us accountable for such behavior. It would be a lot of fun to watch such folk stammer and stumble their way through their defense. "I gave you all this evidence to the contrary and you chose to ignore it? To teach others to ignore it, too? Aargh!"

  • mhenshaw Leesburg, VA
    Aug. 9, 2018 4:35 p.m.

    >>As I explained, the real issue is how did Christianity thwart progress in any way?

    Your supposition assumes that, absent Christianity, science would have made even more progress during the period than it did. That's a false assumption. If churches were the only institutions providing a formal education at the time; and the people that the churches educated were the ones pushing science; then by definition, absent churches, science wouldn't have advanced as far as it did because there would have been fewer educated people pursuing it. So the answer is that Christianity didn't thwart scientific progress; quite the opposite.

    >>Really… this canard again?

    I wouldn't call a hundred million dead "a canard." Sorry, but those who want to tout atheism's social benefits have to address that one. " Yes, dogmatism is bad; but atheistic dogmatism's body count is a few orders of magnitude worse than Christianity's.

    >>the majority “atheistic” countries...see what their track records are like...

    How about the ironic fact that most can enjoy those only because the US--a majority "religious" nation--protected them from officially atheistic countries like Nazi Germany and the USSR?

  • CMTM , 00
    Aug. 9, 2018 4:32 p.m.

    RE: Tyler D -"what their track records are like on things like happiness, prosperity, crime, education, health, environment, charity, etc."(Abortion,)
    According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and other surveys, abortion rates in Scandinavia, U.K. and France rate as high as 20-30 percent, Germany, Finland and Benelux 11-14 percent. Since abortion was first legalized in the 1970s, Germany has removed 120,000 annually, France around 200,000, Netherlands 30,000, Norway 15,000 yearly and Sweden 35,000. Tally the numbers; they are massive.

    In the U.S., over 50 million have been lost to abortion since 1960, according to former Newsweek editor Jon Meacham in what he calls “The end of Christian America: VS,

    Thou shalt not Murder” (Exodus 20:13,NIV “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12)

  • Tiktaalik Logan, UT
    Aug. 9, 2018 3:56 p.m.

    So the basic idea is that our general understanding of the Enlightenment is just a made up false history that doesn't give proper credit to the churches and religions for the major gains in science and understanding that we have achieved. Awesome insight! Galileo would be so relieved to hear this news.

    I haven't read Hannam's book, but my guess is that he correctly pointed out that science was able to advance and get a foothold which lead to huge gains in our understanding of our universe despite the religious dogma that existed, not because of it. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    I don't have an issue with articles that provide a new perspective or viewpoint - we can all get too caught up with our pre-conceived ideas. But, I do have a problem with people that should and do know better, that are disingenuous, and purposely misleading to those that rely on them for knowledge.

  • Tyler D Prescott, AZ
    Aug. 9, 2018 2:22 p.m.

    @mhenshaw – “Christianity must not have been knee-jerk opposed to scientific exploration and rational thought.”

    I never said it was…

    But this is a red herring. As I explained, the real issue is how did Christianity thwart progress in any way (not a simplistic binary question like “support or oppose”)?

    The answer is clear…

    @mhenshaw – “…the track record of officially atheistic governments”

    Really… this canard again?

    Can we just agree once and for all that dogmatism, especially when it is “official government policy,” is bad? Great… moving on.

    Now, how about looking at all the majority “atheistic” countries that became so organically from the bottom up, and see what their track records are like on things like happiness, prosperity, crime, education, health, environment, charity, etc.

    Countries like – Norway, New Zealand, Denmark, Canada, Japan, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Australia, Czech Republic, etc…

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2018 11:58 a.m.

    But the fact remains, it's really hard to reconcile geology with the Garden of Eden. How do you do it, Professor Peterson? Or do you do it?

  • mhenshaw Leesburg, VA
    Aug. 9, 2018 11:39 a.m.

    >>Everyone who plucked chickens in the Middle Ages was a Christian too… so what?

    So if Christian churches had a monopoly on education during Medieval times and educated Christians were expanding scientific knowledge, then, QED, Christianity must not have been knee-jerk opposed to scientific exploration and rational thought. Were some Christians and strains of Christianity hostile to scientific exploration? Sure, and many still are. But clearly, many, if not most, weren't and aren't hostile to science, so skeptical critics are unjustified in smearing Christianity-writ-large on that point.

    >>deter scientific and social achievement and suppress accepted loving human behavior.

    It can be trivially demonstrated that organized religion has been directly responsible for many social, cultural, artistic, educational, political, and scientific achievements (as Dr. Peterson has just observed). As for religion "suppressing loving human behavior," the track record of officially atheistic governments over the last century shows that atheism isn't better at encouraging people to "love one another" than is religion. Some people are just mean, no matter what philosophy they hold.

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    Aug. 9, 2018 10:45 a.m.

    "the smothering tyranny of medieval religion"

    I was disappointed that Peterson failed to mention how Kepler had to put his work on hold at the height of his career to defend his own mother against charges of witchcraft.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 9, 2018 9:49 a.m.

    Dr. Peterson seems to skirt that which is now; and has always been: the accepted fact that some people of learning and science are cloaked in spirituality and/or religion. And that is as true today, the same as it was in the middle ages. But, that is not the issue of organized religion being a major cause of ignorance, superstition and enemy to science. It is the organized church hierarchy and mandates (scriptures, doctrines, dictates, fantasies, fake history, Popes, Presidents, The Reverends, TV Evangelists, fake Prophets, etc..) that curtail individual and public development and scientific advancements. The same as it was with the church control during the middle ages, it is the same with church controls and phony dictates of religious nonsense in our present day churches. And the closer to home the more the false believes deter scientific and social achievement and suppress accepted loving human behavior.

  • Tyler D Prescott, AZ
    Aug. 9, 2018 9:06 a.m.

    An incredibly obfuscating (on purpose, I suspect) article… the reality is much more straight forward.

    Religion had a monopoly on education throughout the Dark and Middle Ages, so to say that scientific advancement happened within religious institutions during that time is a tautology. Everyone who plucked chickens in the Middle Ages was a Christian too… so what?

    The real question is how did religious superstition thwart scientific progress, or how might we have progressed faster had religion not had its monopoly? The answer is painfully obvious to anyone who knows anything about history (Dr. Peterson’s anecdote notwithstanding), and there is a direct relationship between the loss of religion’s monopoly and the speed of scientific progress.

    The fact is whenever scientific discoveries undermined theological beliefs, those putting them forward (including priests like Giordano Bruno) always ran into trouble with the ecclesiastical authorities (and “trouble” includes being burned at the stake).

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 9, 2018 8:34 a.m.

    There are some rationalists who see religion as superstitious nonsense. And there are some devout believers who see secularism as the cunning work of the devil himself. But in my experience, I've seen many reasonable people who are able to strike a healthy balance between learning and believing.