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July 29th, 2010
10:44 AM ET

soundoff (271 Responses)
  1. Joseph MA

    Luke/Grant – Again, Bible is not a science book. Like I've mentioned somewhere else, it was not the purpose of Bible writers to explain Scientifc truths. So, you can't validate the scientific or even historic facts from Bible for any purpose. ""...we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures." Vatican Council II => it has all the truth needed for salvation, period. What about other things mentioned like History etc. No position. Why? You dont' take a Chinese language learning book to learn English, do you?

    Luke, agreed that some principles of Christianity like non-violence, lack of perfection due to sin etc are common. Not sure whether it could be taken for having the roots of Christianity in Jainism. Grant, agreed humans in the Church have erred, but then who has not?

    NL, coincidence for you, but not for a believer. But, if the positive results are all coincidence it is too much of a coincidence to be true for sure. And talking about Astrology, anything true has to stand the test of time. Even those who believe in Astrology do not think all the astrologers are right.

    That is where the debate stops. Why should you believe in Bible or any religious book? How do you know it has the whole truth? It is possible to give reasons, but I can't convince you or anyone. Definitely not in a scientific way. Does that mean Bible is worthless? Do at your own peril ignoring a large number of people who are as educated as you, who have access to the same information, but still believe it to be true. Agnostics/atheists think they are all wrong. They (educated believers) are not intelligent to understand the difference between illusion and experiencing God? Good Luck with that assumption.

    But one thing is sure, we are convinced or not, know it or not, the truth is somewhere out there and it never changes.

    July 30, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
    • Gary

      Joseph MA, nice post Well written still no proof of a God still no proof Bible is inspired by a God, Bible still a relgious text written by men 2100+ years ago. still many contradictions in the bible itself. ....But as an agnostic I can not prove blble isnt inspired by God nor do I feel I have to......Burden of proof is on the believers.....

      July 30, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
    • Joseph MA

      Gary – that why you reamin an agnostic. Looking for proof, which noone can't give you. Church teaches, faith is a grace from God. Which implies unless it is given, it won't be there.

      That is the religious response. Can't answer what would happen to those without faith/ incorrect faith etc but God knows.

      But regarding contradictions about faith in Bible, any alleged contradition was no more a contradiction after I looked up the Church teaching on it. But then hey, I believe in God.

      July 30, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
    • Luke

      Joseph MA – I'm not letting you off so easy, like others might do. When your text makes very precise scientific claims as a foundation of its religion, you cannot simply say, "oh...uh...it's not a science book" and expect me to just say fine. Grossly misguided and evidence of your disingenuous manner. Yeah, I'm strident and unforgiving. At least I admit it.

      July 30, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
  2. jeff

    I wonder if jesus had been hanged to death would Christians wear little hangman's knots?

    July 30, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
  3. Gary

    Luke excellent reply. so much has been proven false by Geology even the manifest destination to the west and North Americas existence. I do go by the Golden rule I notice most religous folks dont.

    July 30, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
  4. Joseph MA

    He he... not so fast, Grant/Luke. No throwing out Church, no throwing out Yahweh for me. And no, Church is not going away either. But, we don't have to debate on that. Time will prove it.

    Didn't I mention throw away bad medicine is needed but not throw away doctors/scientists? Also mentioned better agree to disagree which ones are good and which ones are bad (religion).

    But I do believe religions should evolve in faith taking into account Scientific discoveries. As a Catholic and individual I fully believe the Church teaching that Scientific truths are revealed from God too. Now, I know you would have a list where Church erred with Science and otherwise. But the point is, if Science can produce bad medicine and Good Religion can produce wrong too. Because, both work through humans.

    Question is how much a religion is equipped to keep up with scientific discoveries and changing times. I believe another 1000 years Science would have evolved tremendously and so would Church's teaching would have evolved. Just like it did past 2000 years. The base principles of Science doesn't change, so is the base principles of Church.

    July 30, 2010 at 11:37 am |
    • Luke

      Joseph MA – Therein lies the rub. Religion, particularly Christianity, makes very specific scientific claims and predictions within its texts. We cannot help but bump into each another. Take for example the creation story(ies). It is simply false. The history of the bible has also since been proven false by archeologists and geologists. We cannot simply say there should be balance. Where religion makes predictions, science has been there provide the correct answer. Religion, in the end, can be boiled down to philosophies and its philanthropic work. There, we can begin a debate. Christianity finds it moral roots in Judaism, which in turn finds roots in Jainism. The Golden Rule is a good example, but is clearly not dependent on the rest of Christian faith. Furthermore, philanthropic work by secular entities such as Doctors Without Borders and The Red Cross display that morality is also independent of Christian faith. That is not to say that some of what religion does is great, but it is very clear from a macro perspective that religion itself is unnecessary. Where is the balance in your opinion?

      July 30, 2010 at 11:52 am |
    • NL

      You are liking religion to science, or medicine, which is not exactly a fair comparison. Religion may have some positive outcomes, but they are purely coincidental as religion is anchored upon a driving force (gods) that is not evident in fact. Astrology sometimes gets it's predictions right as well, and some people are quite satisfied with the quality of their readings and take the advice willingly, but does that mean that all we have to do is eliminate the "bad" readers to make astrology a system to live our lives by?

      July 30, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
  5. Grant

    Not sure why my other post is still awaiting moderation, but here's the summary:

    When you dig deep enough, there is a cause for everything, but accountability doesn't work that way with large organizations. BP and the church must be considered as entities. And as entities, they have done great wrongs that no attempt at fixing can ever undo.

    July 30, 2010 at 10:58 am |
  6. peace2all

    @Joseph MA;

    "...... religion caused *only* hinderance to science." You seem to be trying to keep some semblance of your argument, by usins the word *only*

    But, you can't deny it and get out of your poor assertion. Religion, as a whole, without a doubt vastly slowed the pace of scientific discovery, as had been said in previous posts above... religion/churches wanted to keep control over the masses, and anything that went against the prevailing religious beliefs at the time you would be considered to be a heratic.....and most likely put to death because you were of the devil, etc.... The church did everything they could to destroy and keep barried anything that went against the church beliefs. So, yes....... Religion and churches vastly slowed scientific progress. Without a doubt....

    Peace.....

    July 30, 2010 at 3:55 am |
    • Joseph MA

      My point has always been that you guys jump on to blame the religion (conveniently) forgetting the pivotal role religion – especially Christianity – played in moulding modern scientifical approach.

      Not denying that it exercised control. But then Religion had control of science because almost all scientific research was under religious supervision and even financing.

      Atheists are cherry picking when they say science would have been better off without religion as if science always existed independently in history that way.

      A Sort of analogy would be to state that parents are bad because they exercised guidance and control over the kids, cherry picking the areas of control which hindered the personality of the kid. So it would have been better off without parents? Often, once grown up, we are smart to own up the good things as our own, without relizing some/much of the goods could be attributed to the parents guidance and control. I am not talking about genes here.

      Same way, since science was under the control of religion it had its positive and negative effects. It is a moot point to argue that science would have been better off without religion, because the truth remains that if Christianity hadn't paved the way for the modern scientific approach (in terms of thinking) and nourished it (in terms of resources), science wouldn't have come to existence the way we know it now.

      July 30, 2010 at 8:19 am |
    • Luke

      I don't think anyone disagrees with you, Joseph. What you seem to be missing is the rate at which science has advanced society and how much religion, particularly the Christian Dark Ages, held it up. We also do not pick on just Christianity. Other religions also held up the pace of societal progression. But hey, they didn't know any better. I just wish people today realized that they don't know any better too. That is where I come in. It's a shame the religious want to squish me.

      July 30, 2010 at 8:54 am |
    • Grant

      Alright, so the Christian church acted as a sort of launch pad for science. I can accept that. But by that token, I'll have to be supportive of BP once they start trying to clean up the Gulf and pay people for losses, and also continue to ignore the harmful effect oil is having on our planet.

      Yes, they did something good, but it in no way makes up for how far back they set us, nor does it mean I should ignore the negative things religion continues to inject into society.

      July 30, 2010 at 9:18 am |
    • Joseph MA

      Grant, taking BP as an analogy... For you BP could be religion. But if I look at it, BP's mistakes would compare to results of practices of Scientists, if unethical. And I could only blame the religion only as much as you would blame the System for the oil leak. System failure to make sure BP had implemented perfect measures in place. Again, that is the way I would compare if I have to, with religion/science with BP.

      Luke, what Science doesn't know about, it shouldn't comment either. Those who follow Science shouldn't throw their untested theories out there just because they think religion is bad. But as I said above, religion shouldn't teach against scientifically revealed truths either. That should be the balance.

      July 30, 2010 at 10:00 am |
    • Luke

      Joseph MA – Therein lies the rub. Religion, particularly Christianity makes very specific scientific claims and predictions within its texts. We cannot help but run into one another. Take for example the creation story(ies). It is simply false. The history of the bible has also since been proven false by archeologists and geologists. We cannot simply say there should be balance. Where religion makes predictions, science has been there provide the correct answer. Don't you understand that? Religion, in the end, can be boiled down to a few philosophies and its philanthropic work. There, we can begin a debate. Christianity finds it moral roots in Judaism, which in turn finds roots in Jainism. The Golden Rule is a good example, but is clearly not dependent on the rest of Christian faith (think long and hard about that before replying). Furthermore, philanthropic work by secular entities such as Doctors Without Borders and The Red Cross display that morality is also independent of Christian faith. That is not to say that some of what religion does is great, but it is very clear from a macro perspective that religion itself is unnecessary. Where is the balance in your opinion?

      July 30, 2010 at 10:17 am |
    • Grant

      The problem with your view of it is it doesn't look at BP (or the church) as an entity. As with all things, there are specific causes once you dig deep enough, but that is not how accountability works when it comes to large organizations. The Christian church, as with BP, really messed things up, and no amount of reparations attempted will change that fact.

      July 30, 2010 at 10:18 am |
  7. TheRationale

    That rhyme was so bad it was actually funny.

    July 29, 2010 at 11:54 pm |
  8. jeff

    As nuts as she seems, the scary thing is that 40% of american's believe jesus will return by 2050.

    July 29, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
    • Luke

      And people wonder why we lag the global average in math and science. Now we know...

      July 29, 2010 at 8:38 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Luke

      Yes, that is what freaks me out. Our children are going to have to compete with the rest of the world. I pity them.

      July 29, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
    • NL

      These predictions sell books, and keep the flock afraid enough to believe there is no future. With no future, why save your money for retirement? Better to spend it on... Oh, I don't know? Church stuff!

      Simple marketing.

      July 29, 2010 at 11:42 pm |
    • Joseph MA

      Come on, do you guys seriously believe 40% of American's are doing nothing but waiting for the second coming? And that is why we are lagging in education? Blame everything on religion, b'cause that is the easy target? What is next? Recession? Global warming? Population? Can't take care of anything because they are in the churches praying, funny.

      July 29, 2010 at 11:57 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Luke

      Good advice. Stay well and keep up the fight. And it is a fight.

      July 29, 2010 at 11:58 pm |
    • Luke

      Joseph MA

      I recent survey yielded results that displayed 40% of Americans think Jesus is coming before 2050. Yes, I believe the data.
      We are lagging in education because we have a huge religiosity in this country. More than 40% do not believe in evolution. Things taught in Church pews undermine proper education. Less religious nations, such as the Nordics, most of Europe, China and Japan, have lower religosity and have seen trajectories of math/science growing in recent years. Ours is falling. The recession was started because Allen Greenspan kept rates too low for too long after the tech-bubble, and Wall Street got wise to its regulators and got the ratings agencies to give AAA ratings to crap-CDOs and then synthesized even more crap CDOs. Risk adverse investors thought they were buying AAA mortgage backed bonds, but they didn't read the fine print and got hosed. Religion didn't impact the recession in my opinion. Global warming is happening regardless of religion, but it is ironic that the GOP, which is highly religious, claims that it isn't happening. So the religious are hurting us in that way, but certainly not behind it. Population? What's wrong with our population? I don't get it. Praying has been scientifically proven to do nothing, so it can't impact anything. It merely makes the faithful feel better about themselves. That isn't so bad, but is still pointless.

      July 30, 2010 at 7:26 am |
    • Luke

      Trying to figure out why a comment I made where I merely stated that it would be wise if Americans began enrolling their children in Chinese language classes. It seems rather prudent to me.

      July 30, 2010 at 8:43 am |
    • Joseph MA

      Still incorrect to take the survey results to assume that it means 40% are just waiting for Jesus' return. It could be just that I asnwered yes to the question and moved on. Do you think the terrorists could get nuclear bomb and destroy the world in next 50 years? Answering yes doesn't change the way you live today. Slightly different, if you believe in afterlife, but doesn't have too much effect, b'cause beginning of the day it is about how to live the day athiest or religious. And hey, they have to think about surviving till 2050, right?

      You omitted countries which are hugely religious and progressing fast from your list. If religion was the cause those countries wouldn't be progressing.

      If you are really trying to find out why we lag in education there are plenty of other reasons. Why not consider the school system and the 'oh no, we should not test our kids so much' approach? Just compare it to how much the average kid studies in any of those countries and you can have only one answer.

      Could religion play a role? Theoretically. But then it could be debated whether it is positive or negative.

      July 30, 2010 at 8:46 am |
    • Luke

      Joseph MA – Which countries? Show me numbers.

      Regarding education, it is hard to pick through the hundreds of causes, except when they present themselves so obviously. Take for example the Texas Board of Education and their antics. Also, Parish, LA recently voted to teach creationism in the classroom (it won't hold up through the courts). These are direct and very clear infringements on proper education and have zero impact to progression and advancement of math/science. Taking a look at cultural, societal and other impacts takes advanced economics to tear through and we don't have time. My examples are directly correlated and cannot be refuted. You cannot simply say "the school system" and expect me to jump. What about the school system? Oh, you mean where school boards loaded with religious folks in Texas vote Thomas Jefferson out of the curriculum because he was highly against the church, and where they try to inject ID into science classrooms when it has been rejected by science teachers across the globe? Also, how they teach that global warming is a hoax when it is very clearly not. Those are religious and politically fueled debates that directly connect to our education system.

      July 30, 2010 at 9:01 am |
    • Joseph MA

      Brazil, India of the BRIC, aren't they religious? Again forgetting historical statistics. But you can interpret the numbers either way. US shouldn't have progressed this much if being religious meant going backward. And if the progress deccelerated in past few years, atheism increased in numbers too, right? So, why not blame it on atheism?

      No, not starting on educational system now. That could be another time. But agreed that education shouldn't go against scientifically revealed truths.

      July 30, 2010 at 9:56 am |
    • Luke

      Joseph MA – Brazil is a good one. Good point. As for India, it's a different sort of religion, one in that embraces scientific discovery. That cannot be said for the Abrahamic religions throughout history, unfortunately.

      July 30, 2010 at 10:29 am |
    • Joseph MA

      Actually, as a generalization could we say, Indians deep rooted religeous habits? I would even be tempted to say more than many other countries.

      If religion is all bad there could be no good religion, right? So we are talking about good religion and bad religion now? Yes, it is a fact that there is good religion and bad religion. People can agree to disagree on which ones they pick as good/bad. But it is sort of like good medicine and bad medicine. Bad medicine doesn't mean don't need scientis/doctors any more. Same way, bad religion doesn't mean throw out God.

      July 30, 2010 at 10:48 am |
    • Grant

      But it does mean you throw away the bad drugs (in an environmentally conscious way, of course). It seems most of the argument has been anti-religion as opposed to anti-God – It seems there is an agreement then? Do away with harmful religions?

      July 30, 2010 at 10:54 am |
    • Luke

      Joseph MA – Sure it does. Throw out Yahweh. We've proven the claims false and unidentifiable with good religion. You get to keep god, but you don't get to do all of the terrible bigoted things too that come with Abrahamic religions. Resort to Jainism, which in effect, has little to no history of violence associated with it.

      July 30, 2010 at 10:57 am |
    • NL

      My favorite line from Avatar is "It is hard to fill a cup that is already full." Many American kids enter college with a cup already full of religious preconceptions, biases, and misinformation. It only serves to hinder their education.

      July 30, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Luke

      You are the first person, other than me, that I have read posts from that understands the "war" that is on. The religious right, with their puppet Republicans, are really seeking to make this a Christian nation. If you listen to Fox News in general, and Genn Beck in particular, you will find there is a real "push" to convince the American people that the founding fathers did not mean there to be a division between church and state. I have said before and I will say it again now. There is very little difference between the Taliban and the Religious Right. They both would rule with a bible in one hand and a gun in the other.

      If you people love your country, vote the racist Republicans out of office.

      July 30, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  9. Mike 2: The Revenge

    You bet, Joseph MA. Thanks for the debate, and helping make it appear as though I'm actually working here at my desk. Best of luck on your quest for understanding.

    July 29, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  10. Joseph MA

    Nonimus, the quote above is to show how the mentality of scientists were different due to their faith. Ofcourse the scientists and smarties nowadays would have different explanation of why it is like that. But the fact is it took that decisive turn due to the difference in faith they possessed.

    Again, I know it is lots of quotes. But when you guys blame the religion for all the evil and for hindering progress of Science had to bring in some facts.... to show how it contributed throughout the history.

    Even as I read back, don't see anything irrelevant. But, apologies if I didn't make the relationship more clear. Anyways, time to go.

    So, Mike 2 you can discuss with more quotes from Einstein now!!

    Thanks for discussing.

    July 29, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Not sure that your quote says anything about the "mentality of scientists... due to their faith," since we don't know it's source or it's relevance to this supposed "decisive turn".

      The point of my posts was to show that Christianity is neither necessary nor sufficient for modern science.

      July 29, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
    • Nonimus

      P.s. And as for hindering science, I think there are many cases of the religion, or the church at least, hindering science. Galileo's situation is one example.

      July 29, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @nonimus

      Stem Cell research is, I believe the latest.

      July 29, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
    • Joseph MA

      It is one thing to discuss whether progress in a particular area is being hindered by religion or not.

      But, it is historically inaccurate to state that religion caused only hindrance to science.

      July 30, 2010 at 12:13 am |
    • Nonimus

      Joseph MA,
      You said, "...it is historically inaccurate to state that religion caused only hindrance to science."
      I would agree. I think it would be incredibly unlikely that one belief system could always and in all cases be a hinderance. Although, one could make a case for religion being a net hinderence in total, which is what, I think, some here have being saying.

      In addition, it is also inaccurate to say that, "Christianity laid the foundation for modern science." Which is all I was trying to point out.

      July 30, 2010 at 9:47 am |
    • Joseph MA

      Nonimus, explained more about how religion was a launching pad in lots of quotes earlier yesterday which CNN threw out!!

      Mainly it was to show how the presuppositions of Modern Science are different due to the principles of Christian faith. Definitely do not want to do the quotes again. But here is an example: One presupposition of Science is that everything in Unvierse can be intellectually understood. This is directly deriving from Judeo/Christianity – One God, One Creation – all creation at Man's disposal. Concepts like this changed the perception of Christian Scientists leading them to give birth to Modern Science. Ancient Science didnt' have that view of nature.

      July 30, 2010 at 11:06 am |
  11. Mike 2: The Revenge

    "I've always been troubled by people like Joseph MA, whom constantly quote from questionable resources without thinking for themselves and offering their own original ideas." – Albert Einstein

    July 29, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
    • Nonimus

      I agree, but did Einstein really say that. : )

      July 29, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  12. Joseph MA

    "Of course the occasional scientist has been agnostic or irreligious, but the general trend has always been otherwise. Biology, geology, physics, astrophysics, medicine, and even aspects of evolutionary biology, have all been pioneered and developed by active bible-believing Christians. Why should we believe that the world behaves rationally? Because it is made by a rational God. Why should we believe that our minds are capable of understanding truth about it? Because we are made in the image of that God. If, as atheists usually believe, we and our minds are the product of a blind undersigned process gauged only to help us survive, then why should we be able to arrive at truth at all? "

    July 29, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Why should we believe that the world behaves rationally?
      Because that's what the evidence demonstrates.
      Why should we believe that our minds are capable of understanding truth about it?
      Because we have shown time and time again that we can, hence the 'predictive' requirement for good science.
      If, as atheists usually believe, we and our minds are the product of a blind undersigned process gauged only to help us survive, then why should we be able to arrive at truth at all?
      Because we evolved in a world were better understanding of the world around us enhanced our ancestor's ability to survive.

      July 29, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
    • David Johnson

      WikiAnswers:
      In the United States, 7 percent of eminent scientists believe in God, while 40 percent of less eminent scientists believe in God. In Britain, the survey indicated that just under 5 percent of eminent scientists believe in God. A lesser proportion would believe in creation; it is known that many of the general population who believe in God do not necessarily believe in a literalist version of the Creation story. In fact, Biblical-literalist creationism is considered a fringe belief"

      It would depend largely on which discipline you singled out.

      July 29, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
    • Joseph MA

      David Johnson, I was talking about early modern scientists – who pioneered and developed "Biology, geology, physics, astrophysics, medicine, and even aspects of evolutionary biology".

      Present situation, survey results vary based on who conducted it and what the survey asked.. Still we could say, a large numbers of scientists could be agnostics and may not be atheists. Still a large number are religious as well for sure.

      July 29, 2010 at 10:59 pm |
  13. Joseph MA

    Luke it is not true that they didn't have a choice but to be Christians. "All these were sincere active Christians in times when many in their surrounding society were irreligious or disinterested. Often they were interested in understanding the physical world exactly because they believed it the creation of a personal and loving creator"

    "These great scientists were not ‘biblical literalists’ in the modern sense. They were generally sincere, bible-believing Christians but they neither took their bible “literally” eg on the creation accounts, nor derived their science from it."

    July 29, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  14. Gary

    Many early Scientist were christians...very true many engineers,scientists,Medical doctors,inventers today are christians,muslims and especially hindus....its not their religion that creates,discovers and invents its when they put down their religious texts and actually use their brains and make their own calculations and conclusions without their religion.

    July 29, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
    • Mike 2: The Revenge

      Well put, Gary. I tip my proverbial hat to you.

      July 29, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
    • Joseph MA

      I have quoted a bunch of stuff up there, so let me summarize little bit.

      "its not their religion that creates,discovers and invents its when they put down their religious texts and actually use their brains and make their own calculations and conclusions without their religion" – You are presupposing that religious texts have always sent them in the wrong direction.

      But History tells us that Christian principles which were ingrained in their brains helped them think differently than other Civilizations who didnt' have the same faith.

      July 29, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Gary

      Yep, well said!

      July 29, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
  15. Joseph MA

    Athiests, It is one thing saying you won't believe anything unless scieifically proven.

    But it is twisting facts to say Religion only hindered the progress. The fact is just because of Christianity modern science wouldn't have come this far. Simply because Christianity laid the foundation for modern science. That is how it happenned.

    July 29, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
    • Luke

      Joseph MA – Posting this again:

      Red Herring. The people alive (that were not murdered) had no choice but to be Christian. Of course scientists of that era or Christian – they had all of the power. There was no other pool of people to work with, for the most part. Given that Christianity didn't rise by the sword, other lives would have emerged.

      July 29, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
    • Mike 2: The Revenge

      Joseph, saying that "The fact is just because of Christianity modern science wouldn't have come this far. Simply because Christianity laid the foundation for modern science" is like saying that the nation of Israel wouldn't have existed without Hitler. So should all Jews be on their hands and knees thanking Hitler for Israel?

      July 29, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
    • Joseph MA

      Luke, Church sponsored most of the science at the time. So, "Of course scientists of that era or Christian" should be "they could become scientists because of Christianity"

      July 29, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Agree that this is a red herring.

      The early beginnings of the methodology go back to Egyptian medicine, Aristotle with empiricism and Euclid, Arab scholars like Ibn al-Haytham and Avicenna before getting to Christian scholars.

      July 29, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
    • Joseph MA

      Red Herring?? Then explain this "Many ancient cultures, such as the Egyptians, Chinese, and the Greeks, investigated the natural world and gave rise to many advances in mathematics and astronomy yet their practice of science was hindered and never developed the sophistication or vitality found in later European science"

      July 29, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
    • Nonimus

      "Many ancient cultures, such as the Egyptians, Chinese, and the Greeks, investigated the natural world and gave rise to many advances in mathematics and astronomy yet their practice of science was hindered and never developed the sophistication or vitality found in later European science"
      Not sure where your copy-and-paste source is but initially I would propose that this is a case of correlation without causation.
      Greeks were conquered by Romany empire in late BCs, right?
      Egypt was conquered by Roman Empire, right? early ADs?
      not sure about the Chinese.

      July 29, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
    • Nonimus

      P.S. If i wasn't clear, essentially, they were limited by the fact that they didn't exist as cultures any more.

      July 29, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
    • jeff

      The Fintstones are more believable than this stuff, well at least untill they added Kazoo anyway.

      July 29, 2010 at 7:27 pm |
  16. Joseph MA

    "Virtually All of the Early Scientists Were Devout Christians.
    Almost every major branch of modern science can be traced back to 17th and 18th century Europe. If we open virtually any textbook on science and look at the men who founded and dominated each of these fields, we find that almost all were strong Christians. Christianity provided the intellectual framework for science to develop and grow but also motivated people to pursue scientific inquiry. That is, the Christian faith of these scientists made their science possible but it also made it desirable. The list of such scientists is much too long "

    July 29, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      Most were closet agnostics or atheists who were too frightened to expose themselves as such.

      Guess what...we're not afraid anymore.

      July 29, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
    • Mike 2: The Revenge

      I'm with Sean, Joseph. Closeted scientists. It's no use trying to give credit to the religious for modern science. What irritates me though is how christians will try to use science (archaology, chemistry, etc.) as the means of validating their beliefs. But when those same scientific tools are used (by scientists) to disprove things that the christians believe in (yup that's right, the world is NOT only 6,000 years old), then the christians don't want to hear about it. ::Sigh::, now I'm all worked up.

      July 29, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
    • Luke

      Joseph MA – Red Herring. The people alive (that were not murdered) had no choice but to be Christian. Of course scientists of that era or Christian – they had all of the power. There was no other pool of people to work with, for the most part. Given that Christianity didn't rise by the sword, other lives would have emerged.

      July 29, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  17. Joseph MA

    "Judeo-Christian Scripture and Christian Worldview Gave A Basis for Modern Science to Emerge and Flourish.
    Science today is commonly taught as a methodology or process without reference to the presuppositions that are required for science to operate. Few scientists are equipped or encouraged to contemplate the philosophy of science that is the very basis for their work. As a result, most people (scientists and non-scientists) do not recognize that modern science is grounded in philosophical and theological ideas. Typically, when scientists are asked to explain the basis for science, they simply argue “science works.”

    July 29, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      This makes sense roughly 0% of the time.

      July 29, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
    • nachooooo libre

      When you write a long comment.... have a point to it, its better for the readers

      July 29, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  18. Mike 2: The Revenge

    In my heart of hearts, I believe that if religion in all its forms had been snuffed out long ago (as it should have been), we literally would have colonized Mars hundreds of years ago. Does anybody think this is an unreasonable hypothesis?

    July 29, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      Not sure about that. Might've cured cancer though.

      July 29, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
    • Luke

      It actually isn't a far off thought. The Christian Dark Ages severely inhibited scientific research. The trajectory of advancement has forever been impacted due to it. Do a Google image search for "dark ages science graph."

      July 29, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
    • verify

      Much as I'd like to think so, Mike2, I'm not so sure. Religion has been the cause of many ills, certainly, and many wars; but there have been lots of conflicts and devastation due to political reasons, greed, power-grabs, ethnic superiority quests, etc. Unfortunately, the war-like people survived and passed along their aggressive genes. I'm still hoping for better, though.

      July 29, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @Luke: Even without that intellectual black hole, we'd still have to decide whether it would be worthwhile to undertake interplanetary colonization. Other achievements, like fusion power for example, might have been pursued first.

      July 29, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
    • Luke

      SeanNJ – Sean, that's not really the point. It's an impossible prediction, but what we do know is that the gap forever destroyed knowledge, advancement and scientific achievement. There is no telling what might have (or might not have been) invented. What we do know concretely, is that the trajectory has only just begun to reemerge due to modern science.

      July 29, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
    • Woody

      Do you mean to tell me, that all the technological gadgets we take for granted today were not gifts from God? The internal combustion engine, aircraft, satellites, digital processors, the very computer on which you're typing your messages, TV, x-rays, CT scans, cell phones, etc., etc., etc. All these amazing things were actually invented by thinking people? I'm astounded!!! I'm also in total agreement with you. I'm not sure we would've been on Mars a hundred years ago, but we'd surely be ahead of where we are now, if not for the interference of religious zealots. Down through the ages. religious leaders have always been suspicious of science. Galileo was the classic example. If Ben Franklin lived a century earlier, he probably would have been accused of witchcraft for experimenting with electricity. Charles Darwin seems to be the whipping boy in current vogue.
      If you give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day
      If you teach a man to fish, he'll eat for a lifetime
      If you give a man religion, he'll die praying for a fish

      July 29, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
    • Guest

      @Woody-

      So you are claiming anything Good came from a Atheist,–funny the way you twist the Truth. Your ancestors were persecuted for having beliefs and you want to disown them! Shameful...Try looking up some inventors beliefs before you make such a general statement, and I'll pray you will not starve waiting for someone to give you a fish.

      July 30, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
    • Woody

      "So you are claiming anything Good came from a Atheist" I never made any such claim. I said that these things were invented by "thinking people". If any of these things were invented by believers, and I'm sure there were, so be it. My entire post tried to convey the idea that wishing and praying won't do it, thinking and hard work will. Prayer has a lousy "batting average" as any of the millions of people who've been praying for world peace for centuries can attest to. I posted a longer explanation of this answer earlier in the day, however, someone at CNN removed it. Why, I have no idea.

      July 30, 2010 at 9:39 pm |
    • Woody

      One last word on this. One of my favorite movies is Apollo 13. There's a part in the movie that shows thousands of people in St. Peter's Square in Rome, where the Pope is in his balcony leading them in prayer for the astronauts safe return. There's another shot of people praying at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, also for the astronauts safe return. I'd be willing to bet if you asked any of these people why the spacecraft returned safely, they'd say it was because there prayers were answered. If you were to ask that same question at the Johnson Space Center, they probably would say it was because a lot of very smart people busted their butts writing and testing new emergency procedures that conserved enough power and oxygen and creatively used the lunar landing engine to boost their speed and correct their course during their return trip. Personally, I would agree with Houston's answer.

      July 30, 2010 at 11:25 pm |
  19. Mike 2: The Revenge

    It's insulting that the religious nuts don't think that a godless person can have any kind of fulfililng, satisfying life. Rational, scientific thinking is infinitely rewarding, and I'm almost always in a constant state of awe and wonder. Real scientists live for these emotions, and no blind faith is required- just objective thinking and acute observation. Who could ask for anything more? the universe is a fascinating place, and life is too short to waste devoting mental energy to childish fairy tales like christianity. Seriously you cross-worshiping fools- the dark ages ended many years ago. Get with the freaking program and evolve already!

    July 29, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
    • NEON whip

      atheism is easy. religious people think it's easy for them cause all they have to do is think the faith thing from right where they are.

      July 29, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
  20. Mike

    Seriously people- it's SO much easier being an atheist.

    July 29, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
    • Grant

      Well, once you get passed the social stigma and always dealing with faith put forth as fact, I suppose it's not that bad.

      July 29, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
    • Luke

      Mike – Oddly, that was the purpose of Richard Dawkin's Out Campaign. He wants to show the reasonable and the rational that they are not alone. There was a time I feared my thoughts, but no longer. I wrote him a letter thanking him. He's a good man and replied sincerely. As a result of his, and other's campaigns, the skeptics are the fastest growing group in the world.

      July 29, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.