what is the definition of science?

Nouveau

Well-known member
I still think you have the burden of proof backwards.
No, I do not. Steve has made a claim: That these two authors treat science as a religion. And he has utterly failed to support it. He's also claimed that atheists here do the same thing, and he's failed to support that too.

The statement that one thing does not follow from another is the null hypothesis. The claim that it does is the positive hypothesis. Steve is claiming the null hypothesis, which is circumstantially supported by the fact that other scientists, who presumably have access to the same scientific skills, are people of faith.
You would first need to show that these authors draw religious conclusions from science. Neither you nor Steve have done so. Again, the positive claim here is that these authors treat science as a religion. That claim has not been supported at all.

As for treating science like a religion, what can that mean other than that someone draws religious conclusions from it? By drawing religious conclusions from science, that science is essentially elevated to the level of being a religion in itself. With the correct understanding of the sense of the term, it is not that far fetched to say that those who draw religious conclusions from science are treating science like religion.
'Treating science as a religion' could mean many things, some innocuous such as experiencing awe and wonder at the world as revealed through science, and some not so innocuous such as believing certain scientific pronouncements dogmatically and refusing to countenance contrary evidence. But again, what needs to be shown is that these authors are drawing religious conclusions from science. No-one here has so far even tried to support that claim.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
I just checked and Neal DeGrasse Tyson does not actually claim to be an atheist. That is interesting.
He doesn't believe in God, but prefers to use the term agnostic so as to avoid having people make assumptions about what else he may think about religion or politics, etc. Here's a video of him explaining his choice of terminology:

 

Komodo

Active member
I still think you have the burden of proof backwards. The statement that one thing does not follow from another is the null hypothesis. The claim that it does is the positive hypothesis. . . .
It is also the null hypothesis that atheists do not make a religion of science, or Hillary Clinton, or themselves, or Dormammu. If Steve claims otherwise, the burden is on him to support that claim.
 

LifeIn

Active member
He doesn't believe in God, but prefers to use the term agnostic
...which is not the same thing as denying God. An agnostic is open to the possibility of God.

However, there is a sense in which one must make a decision about God one way or the other. This is different from something like, say, being open to the possibility that there is life on Mars. For if one is agnostic about life on Mars, his mindset is such that he could accept there being life on Mars and he could accept there being no life on Mars. Either outcome is in some sense OK with him.

But with belief in God it is different. At least the belief in a Christian God is different. That is because if one does believe in such a God, he would be compelled to at least try to live his life in accord with that belief, by developing a relationship with God through prayer, etc. But if he lives his life as if there is no God, he has made the decision in his mind that such a God does not exist, for the existence of such a God would demand a response. This is different from the life on Mars question because belief in life or non-life on Mars does not demand any specific response. But belief in God does. Since a person can either have a response or not have a response, there is no middle ground in the same way there is as middle ground on so many other questions. So I doubt DeGrasse-Tyson's sincerity when he says he is merely an agnostic. By his choice not to respond to God, I think that in his heart he is an atheist.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
...which is not the same thing as denying God. An agnostic is open to the possibility of God.

However, there is a sense in which one must make a decision about God one way or the other. This is different from something like, say, being open to the possibility that there is life on Mars. For if one is agnostic about life on Mars, his mindset is such that he could accept there being life on Mars and he could accept there being no life on Mars. Either outcome is in some sense OK with him.

But with belief in God it is different. At least the belief in a Christian God is different. That is because if one does believe in such a God, he would be compelled to at least try to live his life in accord with that belief, by developing a relationship with God through prayer, etc. But if he lives his life as if there is no God, he has made the decision in his mind that such a God does not exist, for the existence of such a God would demand a response. This is different from the life on Mars question because belief in life or non-life on Mars does not demand any specific response. But belief in God does. Since a person can either have a response or not have a response, there is no middle ground in the same way there is as middle ground on so many other questions. So I doubt DeGrasse-Tyson's sincerity when he says he is merely an agnostic. By his choice not to respond to God, I think that in his heart he is an atheist.
Sure, I'm an agnostic atheist exactly as he is. The point that remains is that neither he or Harris have been shown to treat science as a religion.
 

Komodo

Active member
...which is not the same thing as denying God. An agnostic is open to the possibility of God.

However, there is a sense in which one must make a decision about God one way or the other. This is different from something like, say, being open to the possibility that there is life on Mars. For if one is agnostic about life on Mars, his mindset is such that he could accept there being life on Mars and he could accept there being no life on Mars. Either outcome is in some sense OK with him.

But with belief in God it is different. At least the belief in a Christian God is different. That is because if one does believe in such a God, he would be compelled to at least try to live his life in accord with that belief, by developing a relationship with God through prayer, etc. But if he lives his life as if there is no God, he has made the decision in his mind that such a God does not exist, for the existence of such a God would demand a response. This is different from the life on Mars question because belief in life or non-life on Mars does not demand any specific response. But belief in God does. Since a person can either have a response or not have a response, there is no middle ground in the same way there is as middle ground on so many other questions. So I doubt DeGrasse-Tyson's sincerity when he says he is merely an agnostic. By his choice not to respond to God, I think that in his heart he is an atheist.
Would you call people atheists who believed God existed but had no particular interest in human beings, and demanded nothing of them?
 

Komodo

Active member
That is why I specified a Christian religion.
I don't want to badger, particularly over an issue of definitions/semantics, but you referred simply to belief in "God" in claims like "one must make a decision about God one way or the other" and "By [DeGrasse-Tyson's] choice not to respond to God, I think that in his heart he is an atheist." Should we substitute "the Christian God" for "God" in both places?
 

LifeIn

Active member
I don't want to badger, particularly over an issue of definitions/semantics, but you referred simply to belief in "God" in claims like "one must make a decision about God one way or the other" and "By [DeGrasse-Tyson's] choice not to respond to God, I think that in his heart he is an atheist." Should we substitute "the Christian God" for "God" in both places?
Yes, obviously. Because there are plenty of religions that have a concept of God that requires no interaction or response from Man.
 
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