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Tag: Origins and Science

John Loftus’s God-Answer to Animal Suffering: A World Without Nature, Science, Human Freedom, or Moral Significance

John Loftus’s God-Answer to Animal Suffering: A World Without Nature, Science, Human Freedom, or Moral Significance

Book Review The Problem of Animal Suffering In a chapter of his own in his edited book The Christian Delusion, John Loftus says there is no possible justification for God to have allowed all the enormous suffering that animals in our world have experienced. It’s a question on which I have done no study at all, so I found his survey of eight Christian answers quite informative — albeit with some cracks in his logic I don’t have space for here — until answer seven. There’s no…

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Some Belated Comments On Lawrence Krauss’s Enforced Ignorance in the New Yorker

Some Belated Comments On Lawrence Krauss’s Enforced Ignorance in the New Yorker

So here I am, finally getting around to responding to Lawrence Krauss’s New Yorker article last September, “All Scientists Should Be Militant Atheists.” Someone posted a reference to it on Facebook that reminded me of it again. He thinks he’s correcting “enforced ignorance.” We shall see. I’m compelled to respond to several things: The Kim Davis story raises a basic question: To what extent should we allow people to break the law if their religious views are in conflict with…

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Another Reader Wonders: Does the Success of Science Tell Us There’s No God?

Another Reader Wonders: Does the Success of Science Tell Us There’s No God?

A reader emailed me this week with a couple of questions about methodological naturalism and burden of proof. He told me it would be fine if I posted his questions and my answers here. The questions start out very promising; I’m not used to being called “professor.” (I’m all too accustomed to being called other things.) The first question has to do with a principle often spoken in science: Act as if there is no God interfering with your experiments and…

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“Making It All Up” — The Weekly Standard: Science is a Human Enterprise

“Making It All Up” — The Weekly Standard: Science is a Human Enterprise

Interesting article from Andrew Ferguson in The Weekly Standard: “Making It All Up:” “Behavioral science suffers from these afflictions only more so. Surveys have shown that published studies in social psychology are five times more likely to show positive results​—​to confirm the experimenters’ hypothesis​—​than studies in the real sciences. ” This has been swirling around the science community for years. The article refers to a ten-year-old study by Ioannidis showing how statistical manipulation can be used to cook scientific results, and…

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Faith vs. Fact? No, Jerry Coyne’s Theology vs. Whatever

Faith vs. Fact? No, Jerry Coyne’s Theology vs. Whatever

Book Review With all its sloppiness, error, and bias, it’s hard to know where to start in on evaluating Dr. Jerry Coyne’s latest book, Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible. Throughout the book I highlighted sentences and paragraphs where his facts were dubious or his reasoning questionable. My impression (I didn’t count) is that I averaged one of these “highlights” per page. Maybe I’m off by a factor of two, and there was just one every other…

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Jerry Coyne’s Confirmation Bias

Jerry Coyne’s Confirmation Bias

One of Jerry Coyne’s chief complaints about religion in Faith Versus Fact is that it’s overly subject to confirmation bias. This, he says, stands in contrast to science, which has protections against bias built in to it. He might be overly optimistic about the social psychology of scientists there, but I’ll let that pass for now. What’s immediately interesting in this context is that this isn’t a science book, and therefore Coyne doesn’t have scientific methodology protecting him from his…

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Assume You’re Wrong and Jerry Coyne Is Right. Now Discuss Which of You Is Right.

Assume You’re Wrong and Jerry Coyne Is Right. Now Discuss Which of You Is Right.

I’m reading through Jerry Coyne’s new book, Fact Versus Faith: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible. I’ve been looking for overall themes to comment on, and while it’s premature to say what those might be, I’m getting clues. Where I’m currently reading, he’s trying to make the case that if there is a God he should be detectable on scientific terms–indeed, on naturalistic scientific terms. That is, if there is a God, we ought to be able to assume there…

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Why Don’t Scientists Call People Out for Unscientific Scientism?

Why Don’t Scientists Call People Out for Unscientific Scientism?

It came up again yesterday in a Facebook discussion: “The historic progress of science assures us that eventually it’s going to be able to answer all the hard questions it hasn’t answered yet.” Those questions take myriad forms. Yesterday it was about how the human brain could explain our mental lives. “Science is progressing, science will solve it.” This is a version of a view called scientism: that every important question is the kind of question that can be explained…

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Jerry Coyne, Neuroscience, and Research Methods 101

Jerry Coyne, Neuroscience, and Research Methods 101

Dr. Jerry Coyne, atheistic biologist and blogger, thinks it’s surprising some people still believe in dualistic free will. To add to V.J. Torley’s excellent extended response to his post on Uncommon Descent, I want to focus on this question of Coyne’s. “In fact, when you think about more abstract things, like God or faith, parts of the brain light up in brain scans. Why should they if such notions are immaterial?” My answer: why shouldn’t they? What does he think…

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