That School Prayer Banner in Cranston

By now I’m sure we are all familiar with the Jessica Ahlquist case in Cranston, RI. The New York Times provides a helpful summary:

She is 16, the daughter of a firefighter and a nurse, a self-proclaimed nerd who loves Harry Potter and Facebook. But Jessica Ahlquist is also an outspoken atheist who has incensed this heavily Roman Catholic city with a successful lawsuit to get a prayer removed from the wall of her high school auditorium, where it has hung for 49 years.

A federal judge ruled this month that the prayer’s presence at Cranston High School West was unconstitutional, concluding that it violated the principle of government neutrality in religion. In the weeks since, residents have crowded school board meetings to demand an appeal, Jessica has received online threats and the police have escorted her at school, and Cranston, a dense city of 80,000 just south of Providence, has throbbed with raw emotion.

State Representative Peter G. Palumbo, a Democrat from Cranston, called Jessica “an evil little thing” on a popular talk radio show. Three separate florists refused to deliver her roses sent from a national atheist group. The group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, has filed a complaint with the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights.

Looks like they have some charming folks up there in Cranston.

The banner is labeled “School Prayer” and reads:

Our Heavenly Father: Grant us each day the desire to do our best to grow mentally and morally as well as physically, to be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers, to be honest with ourselves as well as with others. Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win. Teach us the value of true friendship. Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West. Amen.

You might be inclined to think that this is all innocuous, and that maybe some fights just aren’t worth picking. The hysterics and threats, coming from elected representatives no less, shows precisely why this is such a big deal. Tell the people who are outraged about the court’s decision that this is no big deal, and that they should just shrug their shoulders and move on. That so many people have this much emotional energy wrapped up in the banner is precisely why it was so important to challenge it.

Farther into the NYT article we come to this:

Many alumni this week said they did not remember the prayer from their high school days but felt an attachment to it nonetheless.

“I am more of a constitutionalist but find myself strangely on the other side of this,” said Donald Fox, a 1985 graduate of Cranston West. “The prayer banner espouses nothing more than those values which we all hope for our children, no matter what school they attend or which religious background they hail from.”

That’s total nonsense of course. The main value taught by the prayer has nothing to do with moral character or kindness or any of the other good stuff. Rather, the point of the banner is that we must ask for God’s help to strengthen our character. That certainly is not an idea that can be supported by people of any religious background. This point was made very well by a letter writer to the Times:

There are only six words in the text posted on the wall of Cranston High School West that are the cause of the problem. They are “School Prayer,” “Our Heavenly Father” and “Amen.” Take them out. The text can then read, with slight modification:

“May we each day desire to do our best, to grow mentally and morally as well as physically, to be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers, to be honest with ourselves as well as with others. May we be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win. May we value true friendship and always conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West.”

Who could possibly object to that?

Indeed. That really would be a banner that espouses universal values everyone could get behind. But do you think for one second the outraged town’s folk would be mollified by that? Would the people currently exhorting Cranston to embark on a hugely expensive and likely doomed appeal would think that’s an acceptable compromise? Of course not, because the outrage has nothing to do with a desire to build moral character in school children. It has everything to do with promoting religion. It has to do with the fact that there’s a huge segment of the religious population that simply cannot accept that it is not government’s job to promote their religious beliefs.

Jessica Ahlquist is a hero. Brown University should offer her a full scholarship. I’ll let her have the last, very eloquent, word:

Does she empathize in any way with members of her community who want the prayer to stay?

“I’ve never been asked this before,” she said. A pause, and then: “It’s almost like making a child get a shot even though they don’t want to. It’s for their own good. I feel like they might see it as a very negative thing right now, but I’m defending their Constitution, too.”

Comments

  1. #1 bmkmd
    February 2, 2012

    I think the Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes. The Catholics in this case, it’s in RI, get very angry when one points that out to them, that by itself there isn’t any reason to give deference to religiously correct thinking or behavior.
    She’s as good a spokesperson as we could have about aetheism, constitutional law, freedom of religion and American History and she’s only 16.

  2. #2 JimR
    February 2, 2012

    Funny that a colony founded by a Baptist to promote religious freedom is now predominantly Catholic. What is there about religious freedom, including from, that current residents don’t get?

  3. #3 Umlud
    February 2, 2012

    Apparently, the school board were allowed the option of changing the prayer banner’s wording by taking out the religious language. The school board refused, and so it was taken to court.

    This is what I read over at the “What would JT Do?” blog (http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd/)

    The judge’s ruling is also a really good read.

  4. #4 James Sweet
    February 2, 2012

    There are only six words in the text posted on the wall of Cranston High School West that are the cause of the problem. They are “School Prayer,” “Our Heavenly Father” and “Amen.” Take them out. The text can then read, with slight modification:

    It’s important to emphasize that Alqhuist and the ACLU offered exactly that as a compromise, and the school board turned them down.

    In any case, regarding whether there are “some fights worth picking”, I agree with your analysis here, but even without that point, even if we accept for the sake of argument that Alqhuist should have just ignored the banner, the school board’s actions were still indefensible: This was a lawsuit that they could not possibly win, with an inevitable verdict that rested on case law that has been well established for decades. Even if Alqhuist was in the wrong by objecting to the banner (and she wasn’t), the school board’s decision to pursue the case in court was a flagrant abuse of taxpayer money, literally just flushing it down the toilet for nothing. Very sad.

  5. #5 Tony P
    February 2, 2012

    As a Rhode Islander myself I’m rather appalled by the religious idiots here. And Palumbo, what a piece of work he is.

    I’ve seen a lot of the same in the marriage equality fight in this state. And I’ve had a little fun with it too, my favorite:

    I’m at a hearing on the marriage equality bill and sitting next to an obvious supporter of NOM’s agenda. A lesbian couple gets up and talks about their daughter. The guy sitting next to me starts on how intolerant they are, and I looked him straight in the eye and said “You really want to talk about intolerance while you’re wearing a NOM One Man, One Woman button?”

    Then at one point he made the comment that the child probably was adopted. I looked at him and asked how he could tell that it wasn’t one of their biological children. He got up in a huff an left the room.

    Then there’s the fun you have when you can shout down the perennially crazy Chris Young that the better part of him dribbled down his mothers leg.

  6. #6 Omer
    February 2, 2012

    I’m as fierce an atheist as anyone here, but I have to admit that this ruling makes me queasy. There’s something Victorian about the idea that we have to shelter the young from corrupting influences. The rush to remove crosses, to cover up prayers, to delete every aspect of religion in the public sphere reminds me of Henry VIII and Bismarck’s struggles against the Catholic Church; Can’t we leave 50 years old Theistic monuments as a legacy of a less enlightened and more religious age? Do we have to, Taliban-like, destroy the symbols of past foolishness?

    Regards

    Omer

  7. #7 BobFromLI
    February 2, 2012

    I agree with Ms. Ahlquist. As someone who grew up going to a public school where in the 4th grade, an old maid teacher insisted we recite the Lord’s Prayer after the Pledge everyday. I have never been a Christian and should not have been subjected…much less essentially propagandized upon, by an alleged adult. When, a few years ago, I mentioned this while at a Jewish institution to Congressman Peter King, he rejected the notion that prayer in school is wrong. Ahlquist was right, King is still wrong.

  8. #8 tomh
    February 2, 2012

    @ #6 Omer wrote:
    I’m as fierce an atheist as anyone here…

    I don’t believe you.

  9. #9 Owlmirror
    February 2, 2012

    There’s something Victorian about the idea that we have to shelter the young from corrupting influences.

    This has nothing to do with “sheltering the young from corrupting influences”, and everything to do with separating church from state.

    The young are completely permitted to receive religious instruction by their parents, pastors, and priests — and even their teachers, if the teachers and students are in a private religious school.

    The rush to remove crosses, to cover up prayers, to delete every aspect of religion in the public sphere reminds me of Henry VIII and Bismarck’s struggles against the Catholic Church

    It is not so much the public sphere as the government-sponsored sphere.

    Can’t we leave 50 years old Theistic monuments as a legacy of a less enlightened and more religious age?

    The massive overreaction of Ms. Alqhuist’s neighbors strongly suggests that the current “age” is not particularly enlightened and is still exceedingly religious in many places.

    Do we have to, Taliban-like, destroy the symbols of past foolishness?

    Don’t be silly. No-one ordered that the banner be destroyed. The banner can be modified to remove the religious language (per the compromise suggested by Ms. Alquist herself); it can be donated unaltered to a religious school or church or private home; or it can molder in storage indefinitely, if the school board so chooses.

  10. #10 Ross Brisbane
    February 2, 2012

    In another galaxy far away there was this special school. It declared by a banner over the school entrance that no higher God then themselves existed. The Banner read: Dear Great Civilisation of we who are no higher or lower: We declare this that our civilisation will go forever and forever as a memoriam Amen.

    But one cry went from one student in that school: I know a higher being exists – for I felt the higher being in my mind and body. Under my rights as just one citizen on this planet I find this banner offensive. I want either changed or removed.

  11. #11 Vince Whirlwind
    February 2, 2012

    [i]But one cry went from one student in that school: I know a higher being exists – for I felt the higher being in my mind and body.[/i]

    That child should be offered counseling by a local psychiatric service. Sounds like they are suffering from delusions which could interfere with its studies.

  12. #12 Lenoxus
    February 2, 2012

    Ross Brisbane: your post is a bit confusing, since by itself, “we who are no higher or lower” is plain vague. However, I will unconditionally agree that if any school somehow had a public banner with an atheist message, it would need to be taken down, for both Constitutional and ethical reasons – and I suspect nearly all athiests would agree. There’s really no “gotcha” contradiction in “the state must be neutral on religious matters”. It’s pretty straightforward. You, on the other hand, seem to be arguing for something like majority rule? I can’t quite tell.

    Vince Whirlwind: Cute, but please don’t feed the paranoids. Many USans really do expect that to be the next policy from the “government schools” any day now. And they think it’s the bottom of a natural slippery slope from “taking God out of the classroom.”

    Religion is only a “delusion” in a complex and collective sense; it’s not by itself a sign of anything wrong or abnormal in an individual chilld. Or do children who believe in Santa Claus also have to be crazy?

  13. #13 Wow
    February 3, 2012

    “I will unconditionally agree that if any school somehow had a public banner with an atheist message”

    What, however, would one look like?

    “There is no God” is what Christians say about Zeus worshippers. It’s what Bhuddists say too.

    So, what would an atheist message be?

    “Religion is only a “delusion” in a complex and collective sense;”

    If that means “in a real sense”, then yes. Religion is only a delusion in the sense of it being an actual delusion. It’s a sign of parental abuse of power over their children.

    We don’t call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder sufferers abnormal. We call them troubled. And we don’t leave them a shaking wreck of a human being because we think they’re happier left like that.

  14. #14 Another Matt
    February 3, 2012

    So, what would an atheist message be?

    “Religion is only a “delusion” in a complex and collective sense”

    Ha ha, I thought you were saying that an atheist message might be “Religion is only a ‘delusion’ in a complex and collective sense,” and I was imagining it on a wall in a cafeteria.

  15. #15 rork
    February 3, 2012

    I don’t live in a really backward place, but the some of the teachers and principals have managed to inject Christian remarks here and there when they can manage it. It’s not always clear whether they know they are being outlaws or not, but either way, some work is needed.

    Another one that really hurts me: Remarks about whatever war is going on just before the anthem plays at a sporting event. How does one show disapproval of speaker’s remarks then? Do I don my brown shirt and salute the flag in an old American manner that folks commonly think is German?
    (I guess I’ll have to carry my Godwin statue with me.)

    We may have more of the Pledge of Allegiance in MI (we have republicans) schools. What acts of disobedience are acceptable? I rather expect some trouble.

  16. #16 Lenoxus
    February 3, 2012

    Wow:

    “There is no God” is what Christians say about Zeus worshippers. It’s what Bhuddists say too.

    That first sentence doesn’t quite compute. Christians may tell Zeus worshippers “Your god does not exist”, but not “There is no God”. Meanwhile, many (probably most) Buddhists do in fact believe in God; that they are a “god-free religion” is simply a common myth. Specifically Western Buddhists may have a different outlook (though I doubt even that), but in terms of the religion as a whole, for most adherents, there’s usually some notion of a Higher Power which is roughly synonymous with God.

    Regardless, an atheist message would say something like “There is no God.” Pretty simple. Christian students would not look at that and say “Well, I certainly don’t disagree or have any problem with that; after all, I too am an atheist with respect to Hinduism.” They complain, and their complaints have a good foundation in Constitutional case law.

    Meanwhile… is religion child abuse? That’s a very, very tough one. I do think that telling children Hell exists is abuse, and ought to become as socially unacceptable as teaching them to be racists, but I’m less certain about milder religious ideas.

    Do you, Wow, believe that the state ought to take a decidedly atheistic stance, not a religiously neutral one? Should all theists be labeled as delusional by the government? I have to disagree, but can’t think of a knock-down argument at the moment (except that it is a very, very bad idea for “thoughtcrime” to be in law) because my own ideas about religion are such a complicated mess.

  17. #17 eric
    February 3, 2012

    Should all theists be labeled as delusional by the government? I have to disagree, but can’t think of a knock-down argument at the moment (except that it is a very, very bad idea for “thoughtcrime” to be in law)

    Well, but thoughtcrime is exactly the argument to make. The goverment should care about how you do act on your beliefs. It should largely not care what hypothetical future actions your beliefs would entail, assuming you were wholly committed to them. Human beings brag, we bluster, we bluff. We vent our emotions with words. We say one thing and do another. We wear different hats, and act differently depending on which one we’re wearing. What we claim to believe at any moment is, cynically, not always a good indicator of what we will do. If Ken Miller wants to proclaim on Sunday morning that the Lord almighty made heaven and earth, what do I or his university employers care, so long as on Monday morning he’s a damn good biologist?

    There ARE cases where we prevent action based on perceived intent. But stopping a gun-toting guy in a ski mask from entering a bank is quite a bit different from stopping a student from believing in God because it might lead to some unspecified illegal behavior at some unspecified time in the future.

  18. #18 complex field
    February 3, 2012

    I am proud to have Jessica as my facebook friend. She is an inspiration to all who long for and strive toward true equality.

  19. #19 Footface
    February 3, 2012

    Religious wording aside, have any of the petty bullies outraged by the court’s decision even read the banner? They are acting like they don’t believe in the banner’s message.

  20. #20 Lenoxus
    February 4, 2012

    Eric: You’ve articulated what I hadn’t quite brought to the forefront of my mind. Very well put. Thank you!

  21. #21 Chiefley
    February 4, 2012

    I am a devout Christian and I agree with both Jessica Alquist and the Supreme Court. The issue is that the Constitution protects religion from the actions of the government, and a public school is a government institution.

    The Supreme Court has upheld the ban on school prayer and the like in public schools because they have correctly judged that no government employee is competent in determining matters of faith.

    The same goes for what is taught in science class or in other classes. The last thing we need is the local school board determining what matters of faith are taught to our children. And the very last thing we need is for schools to confuse the epistemology of science with that of belief. The American adult population is already confused enough about that.

  22. #22 Anthony McCarthy
    February 6, 2012

    Of course, the display of religion should be removed from a public school. Plenty of religious folks would agree with that.

    Though the reaction to it on the blogs shows that what was probably a fairly innocuous violation of the wall of separation, which probably had no or the most ephemeral of effects, can expose the blanket bigotry of neo-atheists as well as religious fundamentalists. As such, it’s valuable that it was there.

    The wall of separation has to be maintained and it should include separating the faith of atheism as well as more overtly asserted religious faith. Protecting the wall of separation will become more and more difficult if it is distorted into a promotion of atheism. Though, since atheists will hog the issue, it’s necessary to prepare for the unfortunate results of that usurpation.

  23. #23 eric
    February 6, 2012

    AMC – what bigotry do you think the ‘neo-atheists’ showed in this case? Can you give an example of some bigoted act? Likewise, what event of ‘promotion of atheism’ made defending the wall of separation more difficult in this case?

    Or, were you just speaking hypothetically? I.e., trying to say that if neo-atheists had done x, it would have been bigoted. If they had promoted atheism, it would’ve made the case more difficult.

  24. #24 Wow
    February 6, 2012

    “what event of ‘promotion of atheism'”

    And, since we learn as we grow, surely atheism is the default.

    Since nobody believes in all the gods, atheism is the one common thread we all have: we don’t believe in all but one or none of the gods proposed.

    Since you have to teach children about your religion, there is no promotion necessary of it. What is demanded is the promotion of The Right Religion. Xtianity in the USA, Islam in Saudi Arabia, and so forth.

  25. #25 Raging Bee
    February 6, 2012

    Excuse me, Anthony, but the “neo-atheists” (looks like you got tired of typing “scientistic fundamentalists” over and over again, eh?) are not the ones calling teenage girls “evil little things” and trying to ostracise them with lies and threats. In additiuon to being pure hypocricy, your accusations of “bigotry” are as bogus and unsubstantiated as just about everything else you’ve ever said.

  26. #26 Anthony McCarthy
    February 7, 2012

    AMC – what bigotry do you think the ‘neo-atheists’ showed in this case? eric

    Do you mean “this case” as in what happened in court? Because I doubt that would have been allowed into the case. If you mean “this case” as in the comments I’ve read on the blogs (including here) commenting on this case – as I specified in my comment – then your question is absurd because it’s ubiquitous. Of course, since it was you and not me who used the phrase “in this case”, it’s also your basic new atheist dishonesty in discourse, as well.

    Since nobody believes in all the gods, atheism is the one common thread we all have: we don’t believe in all but one or none of the gods proposed.

    Well, no one believes in all of the species of psychology or string-membrane-M Theory, so disbelief in physics is the common thread we all have.

    I wish I could say it was a privilege to see so much absurd assertion but it really isn’t. It’s nothing like an unusual experience on the blogs. See Raging Bee.

    Oh, yes. Everyone knows the neo atheists are the model of polite disagreement. You can see it every time one of them posts something they disagree with. Which brings us back to eric’s tactic.

  27. #27 Owlmirror
    February 7, 2012

    Do you mean “this case” as in what happened in court?

    It’s pretty obvious that’s what was meant, given the sentences that follow.

    Because I doubt that would have been allowed into the case.

    What do you mean by “allowed into the case”?

    If you mean “this case” as in the comments I’ve read on the blogs (including here) commenting on this case – as I specified in my comment – then your question is absurd because it’s ubiquitous.

    Where in this thread — “here” — do you feel that bigotry has been shown? Cite three examples, and explain how they are bigoted.

    Of course, since it was you and not me who used the phrase “in this case”, it’s also your basic new atheist dishonesty in discourse, as well.

    It’s dishonest of you to accuse someone of dishonesty when no dishonesty has been demonstrated.

    Of course, you usually demonstrate dishonesty in exactly that way.

  28. #28 Anthony McCarthy
    February 7, 2012

    Owlmirror, your toe needs darning.

  29. #29 Owlmirror
    February 7, 2012

    Anthony McCarthy can’t even be bothered to make the effort of an honest response, I see.

    Dishonest and lazy.

  30. #30 Gilbert
    February 7, 2012

    “In the weeks since, residents have crowded school board meetings to demand an appeal, Jessica has received online threats and the police have escorted her at school, and Cranston, a dense city of 80,000 just south of Providence, has throbbed with raw emotion.State Representative Peter G. Palumbo, a Democrat from Cranston, called Jessica “an evil little thing” on a popular talk radio show. Three separate florists refused to deliver her roses sent from a national atheist group.”

    A Price you must pay when you go around stirring up trouble and causing misery for everyone else around you. Stupid liberals simply cannot leave thing alone. They have to always be “moving forward” and dragging everyone else along with them. it’s time people stood up and stop going along with their pathetic little tirades and fetishes for evil.

  31. #31 Owlmirror
    February 8, 2012

    A Price you must pay when you go around stirring up trouble and causing misery for everyone else around you.

    A couple thousand years ago or so, Jesus, and the early Christians, went around stirring up trouble and causing misery for everyone around them.

    I guess they paid the price, eh?

    Stupid liberals simply cannot leave thing alone.

    Indeed, Jesus and the early Christians simply could not leave the Jewish state and Roman and Hellenic paganism alone. I guess you agree that it was stupid of them to do so.

    They have to always be “moving forward” and dragging everyone else along with them.

    Are you serious suggesting that the proper direction to move is backward? Or are you merely in favor of stagnation?

    it’s time people stood up and stop going along with their pathetic little tirades and fetishes for evil.

    Like the Romans did to Jesus and the early Christians?

  32. #32 Wow
    February 8, 2012

    “Well, no one believes in all of the species of psychology or string-membrane-M Theory, so disbelief in physics is the common thread we all have.”

    Unlike religion, belief isn’t necessary in science.

    You can go look for yourself. Only the woomancers like yourself insist that you can’t question. That’s why only religion has the term heresy.

  33. #33 Wow, God
    February 8, 2012

    I wish I could say it was a privilege to see so much absurd assertion but it really isn’t.

  34. #34 eric
    February 8, 2012

    AMC:

    Do you mean “this case” as in what happened in court? Because I doubt that would have been allowed into the case. If you mean “this case” as in the comments I’ve read on the blogs (including here) commenting on this case – as I specified in my comment – then your question is absurd because it’s ubiquitous. Of course, since it was you and not me who used the phrase “in this case”, it’s also your basic new atheist dishonesty in discourse, as well.

    I asked for YOU to give an example of what YOU consider to be atheist bigotry in the actions surrounding the Jessica Alquist case. I didn’t put any conditions on that. YOU tell ME what you think was an example of bigotry by athiests, or an example of promotion of atheism that made separation more difficult in this case.

    Gilbert:

    A Price you must pay when you go around stirring up trouble and causing misery for everyone else around you. Stupid liberals simply cannot leave thing alone.

    IOW…stupid first amendment, always getting in the way of majority requested state-sponsored prayer!

  35. #35 Raging Bee
    February 8, 2012

    Incoherent trolls are incoherent. Both Anthony and Gilbert have demonstrated the deep, implacable hatred that any change in their lives elicits, no matter how minor. It seems they quite literally cannot control themselves, cannot take the time to form a coherent verbal response, cannot step back for even a second to put anything in perspective or ask themselves how they sound to others. Seriously, with all the shit going on these days, these people freak out over a prayer they can still say at home on their own steam whenever they want to? This is precisely the sort of undisciplined mob hysteria our government is supposed to keep in check.

  36. #36 Anthony McCarthy
    February 8, 2012

    Owlmirror, say something worth responding to and I might respond to it.

    Unlike religion, belief isn’t necessary in science. wow

    If only it wouldn’t be entirely futile to bring up the various theorems of mathematics and principles of modern physics that show that belief is necessary in science because it can’t get off the ground without those. Anyone who believes that belief isn’t necessary in science, not to mention mathematics, only shows themselves to be fundamentally superficial.

    Hey, Jason, do you believe in the most basic axioms or postulates of mathematics or not? Or has someone changed the idea that those can’t be proven since I took the relevant courses going on fifty years ago? And what, as a mathematician, do you think about the most basic assumptions of science being believed. How about the principle of the uniformity of nature, which can’t be proved and is certainly not known in the absolute sense of the word?

    Scientism, the stupidest and most basically self-refuting superstition prevalent among the so-called educated population today.

  37. #37 Gilbert
    February 8, 2012

    I am in full favor of moving backwards a few years on a few things and then we we get there we stagnate fo eternity.

    Everytime some liberal decides to “move forward” we usually end up moving downwards.

    Yeah keep us in check. We all know how paying cahs for coffee and storing food is terrorist activites. Somehwo methinks a left winger is running things in that FBI office. They call coffee drinkers and cahs payers terrorists but never label left wing commie protestors who desecrate cop cars with feces. Who are the real terrorists here? One clue. Can you say OCCUPY?

    People can also be gay at home too. And they can be atheist at home as well. The point is that this banner should have been left alone. I say someone sneak another one back in.

    While we are on the subject we should also resurrect the cross on Mt. Soledad as well. Make some “judge” and some liberals go crazy again. I say evertime a liberal tears it down we put up four more in its place or we retaliate by tearing something of theirs down. Maybe if itgoes on long enough (a few thousand years?) they will learn to leave things alone.

  38. #38 Owlmirror
    February 8, 2012

    I am in full favor of moving backwards a few years on a few things and then we we get there we stagnate fo eternity.

    I bet you voted for Kodos.

    Everytime some liberal decides to “move forward” we usually end up moving downwards.

    “…and always twirling, twirling, twirling…”

    we should also resurrect the cross

    And nail someone to it?

    I say evertime a liberal tears it down we put up four more in its place

    Why think so small? Go for forty.

    Fill your front yard with crosses, and your back yard, and put a bunch on the roof. And why stop there? Fill your house with them, too. Living room, dining room, kitchen, basement, bedroom — crosses everywhere!

    If people ask, you can say that you can give a long speech about how much you love Roman torture and execution implements.

    Maybe if itgoes on long enough (a few thousand years?) they will learn to leave things alone.

    A thousand years from now, archaeologists will puzzle over the remains of cross mania.

      “We think they got upset about the separation of church and state, and got carried away in protesting their privilege to have government-sponsored enforcement of their religion, and government-sponsored respect for their religion.”

  39. #39 Owlmirror
    February 8, 2012

    Owlmirror, say something worth responding to and I might respond to it.

    Or in other words, you have nothing.

    We can rest assured in the knowledge that Anthony McCarthy is no longer the stupidest and most dishonest commentator on this thread, given the advent of the representative of the “Vote for Kodos!” party.

  40. #40 eric
    February 8, 2012

    AMC:

    If only it wouldn’t be entirely futile to bring up the various theorems of mathematics and principles of modern physics that show that belief is necessary in science because it can’t get off the ground without those.

    If one observes that math and physics can’t get off the ground without some axiom, that is a pragmatic and empirical reason for adopting said axiom. And, therefore, its not mere belief.

    Some things we adopt for utility reasons. But that is still a form of empiricism; you are adopting some principle or practice based on your experience that it is easier to find success when you do, than when you don’t. Peer review is like that. Its not philosophically necessary for the discovery of how nature works. It just makes the discovery process more efficient by increasing the chance we will catch an error before significant resources are wasted “investigating” that error.

  41. #41 Wow
    February 9, 2012

    “Scientism, the stupidest and most basically self-refuting superstition”

    Problem is, you’re the only one who believes in scientism, AMC.

    The rest of us have rationality and science, the result of application of rationality to our interactions with the universe.

  42. #42 Anthony McCarthy
    February 9, 2012

    If one observes that math and physics can’t get off the ground without some axiom, that is a pragmatic and empirical reason for adopting said axiom. And, therefore, its not mere belief. eric

    A belief adopted out of pragmatism is still a belief. It can’t be backed up with evidence because, in many of these cases, the number of examples you provide is no guarantee that it is true in other cases, which would be required for its universality to be valid. It also can’t be proved logically like ideas developed taking it as an assumption can be in terms of it.

    And that’s not even getting to the scads of belief such as we’ve gone over here the last several weeks, many of those believed in for no more reason that it’s convenient to the ideology of materialism among scientists. I came across the curious case of John Maddox, the former editor of “Nature” magazine, who railed against the Big Bang theory as it was becoming more accepted because it might not be supportive of materialism. He, apparently, thought that some kind of steady state of the universe should be believed because it was more in keeping with the Brit school of materialism.

    The new atheism contains enormous amounts of ideological belief which is adopted out of pragmatism and dishonesty.

    wow, you lie as much as JR does and as incompetently. Google “scientism”, skip over the ideologically “edited” Wikipedia and other such sites and look at what intelligent people have to say about the topic and you’ll see that scientism has been exposed and discussed for a long long time. This site is one of many where scientism is the established religion.

  43. #43 Anthony McCarthy
    February 9, 2012

    That would be “JR” as in the neo-atheist who also goes by the name “Freki” and likely other pseudonyms on these blogs. Not the owner of any blog using their real name.

  44. #44 Wow
    February 9, 2012

    “A belief adopted out of pragmatism is still a belief.”

    Nope.

    Because you can test these axioms.

    Belief is not required.

    “the number of examples you provide is no guarantee that it is true in other cases”

    Correct.

    However, since it applies, and there’s no reason to suspect it doesn’t, why do you insist it won’t?

    THAT requires belief. “There must be a pony in here somewhere!!!”.

    “the ideology of materialism”

    So real things don’t exist?!?!?!?

    “because it might not be supportive of materialism”

    I call rubbish on this one.

    “The new atheism contains enormous amounts of ideological belief which is adopted out of pragmatism and dishonesty”

    You seem to have this dogmatic faith that there MUST be dishonesty in there.

    Why?

    “skip over the ideologically “edited” Wikipedia”

    You mean sources that aren’t biased in your favour..? Creationists do the same thing.

    Every turn you make is one that proves you’re a relegionist.

    “look at what intelligent people have to say about the topic”

    Intelligent being “Agrees with Anthony McCarthy”..?

    “you’ll see that scientism has been exposed and discussed for a long long time”

    You’ll also see that Han Shot First has been exposed and discussed for a long long time. In a galaxy apparently far, far away.

    This doesn’t stop it from being a story.

  45. #45 Wow
    February 9, 2012

    ++++
    Scientism, in the strong sense, is the self-annihilating view that only scientific claims are meaningful, which is not a scientific claim and hence, if true, not meaningful. Thus, scientism is either false or meaningless. This view seems to have been held by Ludwig Wittgenstein in his Tractatus Logico-philosophicus (1922) when he said such things as “The totality of true propositions is the whole of natural science…” He later repudiated this view.
    ++++
    Michael Lerner and other spiritual progressives see the West in thrall to the worldview of scientism
    ++++

    So, the only one who claimed science as the one and only answer to all things retracted that claim. That leaves those who claim it exists but assert THEY don’t believe in it themselves.

    That makes for a total of ZERO people believing in scientism.

    And the only ones who believe it exist are you and the other woomancers.

    You are their only believers.

  46. #46 Wow
    February 9, 2012

    Carl Sagan: Prophet of Scientism
    http://www.bestbiblescience.org/sagan.htm

    Why Scientism is False
    http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/philosophy/ph0025.htm

    I think we can see where AMC’s ideas come from.

    He’s a faithiest.

  47. #47 AM
    February 9, 2012

    I thought I told you to wade past the dodgy sites, wow.

    Looky what Michael Shermer had to say about it.

    What is it about Hawking that draws us to him as a scientific saint? He is, I believe, the embodiment of a larger social phenomenon known as scientism. Scientism is a scientific worldview that encompasses natural explanations for all phenomena, eschews supernatural and paranormal speculations, and embraces empiricism and reason as the twin pillars of a philosophy of life appropriate for an Age of Science.

    Scientism’s voice can best be heard through a literary genre for both lay readers and professionals that includes the works of such scientists as Carl Sagan, E. O. Wilson, Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Dawkins and Jared Diamond. Scientism is a bridge spanning the abyss between what physicist C. P. Snow famously called the “two cultures” of science and the arts/humanities (neither encampment being able to communicate with the other). Scientism has generated a new literati and intelligentsia passionately concerned with the profound philosophical, ideological and theological implications of scientific discoveries.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-shamans-of-scientism

    His definition is about as favorable a one as I’ve found to the scientistic POV, but he obviously admits scientism exists.

  48. #48 Wow
    February 9, 2012

    “What is it about Hawking that draws us to him as a scientific saint?”

    Nothing.

    1) Nobody is drawn to him as a scientific saint

    2) There is no such thing as a scientific saint.

    And Michael too says he isn’t a believer in scientism.

  49. #49 Raging Bee
    February 9, 2012

    A belief adopted out of pragmatism is still a belief.

    Pure fucking bullshit. WHY would a “belief” be “adopted out of pragmatism?” Because it is observed to square with reality better than any alternate beliefs. That’s the evidence that proves the “belief” is true.

    Anthony, your tired-assed subjectivist arguments have been disproven long ago, and you’ve never been able to back them up. Neither were the other creationists who tried to trot out “presuppositional bias” to back up their “science is just another religion” rubbish.

    Seriously, Anthony, list all the specific “beliefs” on which math and science are based, and which lack any supporting evidence. You can’t, can you? There’s a reason for that.

  50. #50 Raging Bee
    February 9, 2012

    Shrter Anthony: “Ignore every source and publication except the ones that agree with me!”

    Oh, and using the word “pragmatism” to imply that accomodating reality is somehow dishonest won’t work either. Every simpleminded ideologue has tried it, and it’s not convincing. Who did you learn dishonest labeling from — Newt Gingrich?

  51. #51 jim
    February 9, 2012

    She’s mad at God….let’s be honest…her anger is the real issue…she’s getting back at God by using the popularist cloak of separation of church and state to vent her deep pain from the loss of her mother..

  52. #52 Raging Bee
    February 9, 2012

    Scientism is a bridge spanning the abyss between what physicist C. P. Snow famously called the “two cultures” of science and the arts/humanities (neither encampment being able to communicate with the other).

    Since when were science and “the arts/humanities” two separate “cultures” or “encampments” (like Christendom and Islamdom?)? And when were these two “encampments” EVER unable to communicate with each other? Anthony is spouting yet more pure stupid bullshit, this bit based on simplistically imagining “encampments” instead of actual people doing specific activities. And yes, people who do science have been communicating with people who do arts and humanities all the fucking time. Hell, lots of times they’re the same people doing both sets of things! Like most deluded simpletons, Anthony can’t understand that because he’s thinking entirely in abstractions and word-games, and is totally divorced from real things and people.

  53. #53 Wow
    February 9, 2012

    http://www.northernartsandscience.com/

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/columns/Art-Science.shtml

    faithiests demand their beliefs.

    And it’s odd you should concentrate on the loss of mother, jim/amc: it’s a little freudian of you.

  54. #54 Raging Bee
    February 9, 2012

    Anthony, I just had a look at the SciAm article you cite, and in the second sentence this Shermer guy called Hawking “the scientific equivalent of the deity.” This isn’t just hyperbole, it’s BAD hyperbole — the kind that immediately flushes the author’s credibility down the toilet because it has absolutely zero connection to reality. Who actually considers Hawking in any way “equivalent” to anyone’s God(s)? No one but Shermer, apparently, who goes on to rave about “shamans of scientism” (does he even know what shamans actually claim to do?), and seems to believe, or pander to the belief, that scientists are trying to make themselves gods, with help from personality cults and fawning acolytes.

    In short, the article is an opinion piece, and it’s nothing but raving incoherent bullshit.

  55. #55 AM
    February 9, 2012

    Hilarious to see Raging Bee confuse one of the more prominent “skeptics” and atheists on the scene today for lil ol’ me.

    Bee, you don’t have the ground floor level knowledge of the subject for you to say something important about it. You are a Bee of very little brain.

    Jason, you have my condolences over the community you have here. I’ve got more respect for your efforts than to think you deserve them.

  56. #56 Wow
    February 9, 2012

    Although Shermer went to Sunday school, he says that neither his biological nor stepparents or siblings were religious nor non-religious, as they did not hold much discussion on the topic, and did not attend church nor pray together. In 1971, at the beginning of his senior year in high school, Shermer announced he was a born again Christian, which came about through the influence of his best friend, George. For the next seven years he would evangelize door-to-door as part of his profoundly held beliefs.[12]

    He graduated from Crescenta Valley High School in 1972. He began his undergraduate studies at Pepperdine University, initially majoring in Christian theology, later switching to psychology.[11] He completed his bachelor’s degree in psychology/biology at Pepperdine in 1976.[13]

  57. #57 Raging Bee
    February 9, 2012

    Notice how Anthony changed the subject to “scientism” after his bigoted claims on the original topic were debunked, then changed the subject to feverish insults after his claims about “scientism” were debunked? One-trick troll does his one trick.

    I suspect this guy isn’t just a rigid ideologue who can’t process new information; he may also be getting senile. He’s not flexible enough even to re-word his nonsensical arguments when he finds them exposed as crap.

  58. #58 Anthony McCarthy
    February 9, 2012

    Bee, it’s beyond your comprehension but the topic of scientism is begged by wow’s incoherent statement at 32 “Unlike religion, belief isn’t necessary in science.”

    The idea that science is a self-consistent system independent of the necessity of pre-existing assumptions which have to just be believed in order to use them to produce subsequent conclusions is essential to scientism. Science can’t escape the necessity of being dependent on ideas that just have to be believed to be valid to go on, science can’t be used to supply reasons to believe those to begin with.

    Bee, stick to the irrational rage, you only get into trouble when you try to reason.

  59. #59 A
    February 9, 2012

    Wow, I warned you about using Wiki. If you were my student I’d just have flunked you.

    Here’s what Shermer has to say about his school years in “Why I Am An Atheist”.

    http://www.michaelshermer.com/2005/06/why-i-am-an-atheist/

    Literacy, like reason and science are lost arts among the neo-atheists.

  60. #60 Raging Bee
    February 9, 2012

    Science can’t escape the necessity of being dependent on ideas that just have to be believed to be valid to go on…

    What are those ideas, Anthony? List those specific ideas, or (as usual) you have no case.

  61. #61 Raging Bee
    February 9, 2012

    Bee, stick to the irrational rage…

    So now you’re admitting my comments aren’t all irrational rage? Thanks, that means you have even less excuse not to provide the information I’ve been demanding to substantiate your arguments. So what are those unproven ideas that science depends on? We’re waiting…

  62. #62 AM
    February 9, 2012

    No, Bee some of them are incompetent attempts at what you clearly mistake for ratiocination. And your sci-ranger buddies seem to believe they are too.

  63. #63 Raging Bee
    February 9, 2012

    What are the unproven/unprovable ideas that science is based on, Anthony? I know you’re reading my comments, so you have no excuse not to answer my questions, or back up your allegations. We’re still waiting…

  64. #64 eric
    February 9, 2012

    AMC:

    A belief adopted out of pragmatism is still a belief. It can’t be backed up with evidence because, in many of these cases, the number of examples you provide is no guarantee that it is true in other cases, which would be required for its universality to be valid.

    Are you seriously suggesting that anything which can’t be shown to be universally valid is without evidence?

    You seem to be confusing ‘deductive reasoning’ with ‘reasoning.’

    But I will grant you this – if you are classifying anything that is not deductive reasoning and doesn’t lead to universal, proven truths as “scientism,” then you’re right, we do scientism. Of course, that classification makes all science scientism.

  65. #65 eric
    February 9, 2012

    Jim @51:

    She’s mad at God….let’s be honest…her anger is the real issue…she’s getting back at God by using the popularist cloak of separation of church and state to vent her deep pain from the loss of her mother..

    Don’t worry. When you object to a violation of the 1st amendment because you’re mad at your dog, or because you had a bad day, or for some other reason, or even for no reason at all, we’ll support you too. Because a violation is a violation regardless of one’s motive for objecting to it.

    Raging Bee:

    Notice how Anthony changed the subject to “scientism”

    Well, its not like there really were any examples of what he claimed was occurring in @22. What did you expect him to do?

  66. #66 Wow
    February 10, 2012

    “if you are classifying anything that is not deductive reasoning and doesn’t lead to universal, proven truths as “scientism,” then you’re right, we do scientism. Of course, that classification makes all science scientism.”

    It also makes what AMC is doing scientism.

  67. #67 Wow
    February 10, 2012

    “I warned you about using Wiki.”

    Yes, it did seem like a “there be dragons” warning.

    Like the xtian fundamentalists behind conservapedia, they insist that there is nothing there that is honest and true.

    Mostly because they, like you, are completely nuts.

    So, are you saying he DIDN’T say he was a born-again xtian? That he DIDN’T go to a faith college? That he DIDN’T get a psychology/biology postgrad?

    Or are you just hateful at accurate and unbiased reporting in Wikipedia and therefore just pretend it’s all automatically wrong?

  68. #68 Wow
    February 10, 2012

    Also note that like Martin, AMC insists he’s not a faithiest.

    But theyre’s a lot of waddling, quacking, eating bread and swimming on lakes going on. Despite the insistence they’re not, they certainly act like ducks…

  69. #69 Anthony McCarthy
    February 10, 2012

    Raging Bee, I gave examples at #36 above, the axioms of mathematics and the principle of the uniformity of nature. Those would be enough to prove my point, if you understood what I said.

    Are you seriously suggesting that anything which can’t be shown to be universally valid is without evidence? eric

    I’m saying that believing anything to be universally valid in every single case is believing it is universally valid in every single case. Explain how you would know that it was universally valid in every single case without examining every single case. Science is permeated with such beliefs, as is every single other aspect of human life. The utility of believing that doesn’t change the fact that they are believed. If I knew it wouldn’t be futile I’d type in some very long passages of prominent scientists making the same point, to show that it’s not an unknown idea among successful scientists. Of course, one of the most widespread of beliefs among scientists, is that things their fellow scientists say are reliable in the absence of the ability to check their work. Which might be true quite often but the evidence is that that belief is prone to being quite wrong.

    wow, now I’m convinced you’re one of Freki’s sockpuppets. You lie the same way.

  70. #70 Raging Bee
    February 10, 2012

    Anthony: the comment you cite has only ONE specific example, the “uniformity of nature.” And uniformity of nature is NOT an unfounded belief, it’s a conclusion based on what we’ve observed about the Universe so far. The preponderance of currently-available evidence supports this conclusion, and there is not enough (if any) currently-available evidence to dispute it.

    If that’s all you’ve got, then you’ve got nothing. Your assertion that math and science are based on unsupported beliefs is false.

  71. #71 Anthony McCarthy
    February 10, 2012

    Uh, Raging Bee, maybe you should go look up the meaning of “axioms of mathematics”. I don’t recall, were you one of those commenting here who didn’t seem to realize that science is absolutely dependent on mathematics? Well, you’ll just have to believe me when I tell you that it is. It is also absolutely dependent on the unprovable axioms of logic, on which it is also absolutely dependent.

    Though the principle of the uniformity of nature would be enough to prove my point, I gave eric another example in my last comment. Scientists and their work is absolutely dependent on the belief in the good faith and rigor of the work of other scientists because no one has the time to check on the validity of work they accept. Even in the face of repeated evidence of cases when that faith was grossly misplaced.

    Belief is an inherent part of science, it is in every single aspect of human thought. Pretending that isn’t the case is also a belief, one that is very easily shown to be a false belief.

  72. #72 Raging Bee
    February 10, 2012

    What, exactly, are the unprovable axioms of logic? I’m sure that if you list them, we’ll see that none of them are unsupported beliefs; they’re in fact based on observation of what works and what doesn’t in the real world. Seriously, stop bluffing and show us what you’ve got.

    An unprovable axiom is NOT the same thing as an unsupported belief.

    Scientists and their work is absolutely dependent on the belief in the good faith and rigor of the work of other scientists…

    Again, that’s not an unproven or unfounded “belief,” that’s a conclusion based on previous experience, subject to revision if new evidence turns up. Trust me, if one scientist’s work was shown to be less reliable than previously thought, his work would cease to be trusted.

  73. #73 Raging Bee
    February 10, 2012

    The utility of believing that doesn’t change the fact that they are believed.

    Yes, it does: the “utility” of a “belief” is evidence that the “belief” is true, valid, and useful as a predictive tool. If we observe that adopting a “belief” gets us reliable and useful results in the real world, and adopting a contrary belief gets us no such good results, that’s EVIDENCE for the validity of the “belief;” and we can safely stop calling it a “belief” and start calling it a fact, conclusion, valid working premise, or some such.

    Using words like “utility” and “pragmatism” is nothing but obfuscation. They’re just two more words for “it works,” and your assertions are still proven false.

  74. #74 Wow
    February 10, 2012

    If you find that every time you put your hand in the fire, it hurts your hand, then in what way is it a belief that putting your hand in a fire will cause you pain?

  75. #75 tomh
    February 10, 2012

    Geez, you don’t look at the blog for a few weeks and then find McCarthy is still posting the same blather. No matter what the topic it’s all about materialism, scientism, blah, blah, blah. Guess I’ll go back to my old system of ignoring any blog that allows him to post. I’ll be back when he’s banned.

  76. #76 eric
    February 10, 2012

    AMC

    Explain how you would know that it was universally valid in every single case without examining every single case. Science is permeated with such beliefs,

    All scientific conclusions are tentative and open to revision. So no, science is not permeated with such beliefs. Name a conclusion you think is not tentative, and I bet I can name some set of evidence which, if confirmed, would cause science to revise its conclusion.

    This is like your claim that the Ahlquist case exposed atheist bigotry; you have no actual cases of what you claim is occurring.

  77. #77 Anthony McCarthy
    February 10, 2012

    All scientific conclusions are tentative and open to revision. So no, science is not permeated with such beliefs. eric

    So you don’t really think that nature is uniformly ruled physical laws? I find it hard to believe that. If the answer is that you do think that nature is uniformly subject to the same physical laws, without the possibility of proof (if you disagree, prove it to me) and the impossibility of verifying that with the only possible evidence to back up that belief, inspecting every possible instance of the application of any given physical law throughout nature, then that is called “a belief”. Go on, be brave. Admit that you believe things about science, it won’t hurt you to because there isn’t a single person in the world who doesn’t. Unless they are entirely ignorant of the existence of science. If your fellow new atheists don’t like it and make fun of you it won’t make it any less true, it will only make you more honest.

    It isn’t the court case that is responsible for the bigotry, it’s the blog blather by obnoxious atheists that does that. For all I know the young woman isn’t obnoxious and bigoted. And she was entirely within her rights to object to a part of the state promoting religion. I’m really big on the wall of separation between church and state. I believe I said it also exposed religious fundamentalist bigotry, I certainly don’t blame that on Ms. A.

  78. #78 Anthony McCarthy
    February 10, 2012

    Yes, it does: the “utility” of a “belief” is evidence that the “belief” is true, valid, and useful as a predictive tool. Raging Bee

    Oh no it doesn’t, it provides evidence that it is useful for a given purpose. It certainly doesn’t prove that it is universally true in every case. It doesn’t tell you much of anything. And it still doesn’t do a thing to alter that it is believed and not known.

    If the best minds in mathematics and logic haven’t ever established the proof of those axioms I am sure I couldn’t and I’m at least as confident that you couldn’t.

    If someone finds that a belief in God is useful to them and their purposes, I’m sure you’d be the first one to acknowledge that validates their idea, wouldn’t you.

    Are you an Odin Pagan or some other species of Pagan? Do you worship at the alter of Tlazolteotl? Because, as I had to point out to someone recently, it’s stuff in, stuff out with that one.

  79. #79 Raging Bee
    February 10, 2012

    Oh no it doesn’t, it provides evidence that it is useful for a given purpose.

    Yeah, the given purpose being the explanation of observed phenomena.

    It certainly doesn’t prove that it is universally true in every case.

    It’s true for every case we’ve observed so far, and there’s no evidence of any cases where it is not true. Therefore, as I said before, it’s a conclusion based solidly on available evidence, NOT an “unfounded” “belief.” So your assertion that math and science are based on unfounded beliefs is still demonstrably false.

    If the best minds in mathematics and logic haven’t ever established the proof of those axioms I am sure I couldn’t and I’m at least as confident that you couldn’t.

    I didn’t ask you to prove them, I asked you to STATE them. And you’re making hasty excuses and running away again, because you know you’re losing the same argument you always lose.

    Are you an Odin Pagan or some other species of Pagan?

    Yep — changing the subject and running away again. Why am I not surprised?

  80. #80 Raging Bee
    February 10, 2012

    it’s the blog blather by obnoxious atheists that does that. For all I know the young woman isn’t obnoxious and bigoted.

    The local bigots aren’t attacking the woman because of “blog blather,” you lying fuckhead, they’re attacking her because of the court case. Once again you prove yourself to be a lying bigoted asshole; and your mindless anti-rationalist bigotry is clearly the basis of just about every false and disproven assertion you’ve relentlessly droned on here. Go fuck yourself. You’re not fooling anyone.

  81. #81 Anthony McCarthy
    February 10, 2012

    Jason, is Raging Bee’s corprolalia acceptable to you? Not that I want to imitate it, just as a point of information.

    Raging Bee, if you act like that every day, off line, you need custodial care. Though, thank you for being an example of what’s acceptable behavior among the self-appointed “rational community”.

  82. #82 eric
    February 10, 2012

    AMC:

    So you don’t really think that nature is uniformly ruled physical laws?

    I think it, sure, but that thought is tentative and open to revision. IOW, I do not claim to know with philosophical certainty that this conclusion is universally valid, I simply claim that it is the conclusion that follows from the evidence we have available to us.

    If the answer is that you do think that nature is uniformly subject to the same physical laws, without the possibility of proof (if you disagree, prove it to me) and the impossibility of verifying that with the only possible evidence to back up that belief, inspecting every possible instance of the application of any given physical law throughout nature, then that is called “a belief”.

    If this is your definition of “a belief,” then every empirical claim is “a belief,” since no empirical statement can meet the criteria you have set. Repeating @66 somewhat, if the only conclusions you will accept to be non-scientism are deductively proven ones, all of science is scientism.

    It isn’t the court case that is responsible for the bigotry, it’s the blog blather by obnoxious atheists that does that.

    So, link to a bit o’ blog blather you think shows atheist bigotry. If your accusation is founded on something you actually read, this shoud be easy – just link to what you read. If you accused atheists of being bigoted with no proof, however, it might be harder to do.

  83. #83 eric
    February 10, 2012

    Hmmm….post got lost. Try #2. My apologies if this is a repost.

    So you don’t really think that nature is uniformly ruled physical laws?

    I think that, yes. But my conclusion is tentative and open to revision.

    You claimed science is permeated with beliefs that scientist’s say we ‘know are universally valid in every single case.’ This is bullflop, because scientists don’t make that strong knowledge claim.

    If the answer is that you do think that nature is uniformly subject to the same physical laws, without the possibility of proof (if you disagree, prove it to me) and the impossibility of verifying that with the only possible evidence to back up that belief, inspecting every possible instance of the application of any given physical law throughout nature, then that is called “a belief”.

    If that is your standard, then all empirical statements are “beliefs,” and all scientific conclusions are “beliefs.” Which still doesn’t really help you since, IIRC, you are trying to argue that some scientific conclusions such as abiogenesis are scientism, while others like QM are good science. By setting the standard at “proof via inspection of every possible event,” you have lumped everything into scientism.

  84. #84 Anthony McCarthy
    February 10, 2012

    You claimed science is permeated with beliefs that scientist’s say we ‘know are universally valid in every single case.’ eric

    Where did I claim that scientists say “we know are universally valid in every single case”? I don’t find that phrase in anything except your last two posts. It would be rather odd for me to claim that scientists say that when I have been saying that they believe it. It doesn’t sound like something I’d say because, while I’m certain that some might say it, I doubt any who have an understanding of scientific epistemology would.

    I think that, yes. But my conclusion is tentative and open to revision.

    So? I do too, only I’m honest enough to say “I believe that” whereas you are allergic to the idea that you believe things even as you confirm that is exactly what you do.

    Is the new atheism based in an emotional horror of the fact that they believe things? That their one true oracle, science, is permeated with and based on beliefs? I believe that might be part of it.

  85. #85 Jason Rosenhouse
    February 10, 2012

    Anthony, I stopped reading the comments here days ago. Raging Bee, I have a no profanity rule at the blog, so knock it off.

    Come to think of it, both of you should knock it off. I’m tired of having to close threads because you two have little else going on beyond using other people’s blogs to yell at each other. You both need to learn how to let things drop.

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