Tuesday, August 17, 2010

“What is Science Without Religion?”

my CFI Forum post
Lord Monckton replied to my letter by sharing a 3070 word essay he’d written a while back: “What is Science Without Religion?” Unfortunately, it side stepped rather than answered my questions. The essay drifts, in that it’s about religion and science, but he manages to fit in all sorts of political rants (DDT, HIV, dishonesty of money grubbing, and serial cowardice of scientists, etc.). I’ve tried pruning the essay to its salient points and it still weights in at 850 words. I have only cut, otherwise I haven’t changed a word.

It would be very cool if some of you deeper thinkers could skim through this list and please comment on whatever talking points catch your attention - be sure to include paragraph #.

Why am I pushing this?: I believe this sort of misleading Pied Piper song should stop being left standing without objection - which is happening too much and is a main reason serious science understanding is in such dismal shape. Please help.


Dear Mr. M, - Thank you for your enquiry. The following essay, “What is Science Without Religion” which appears on SPPI’s blog (http://www.sppiblog.org), should answer your questions. Lord Monckton

(I couldn’t find the essay at sppiblog, but I have the full text, should any one want to see it, send me an email: citizenschallenge.pm{at}gmail)

... Our* reply – (*There he goes a la Pluralis Majestatis)

Accordingly, science can never prove wrong the proposition that it was Almighty God who, directly or indirectly, caused the Big Bang to occur and thus brought our universe into existence. Nor can it dismiss the notion that an all-powerful, all-knowing Creator might have designed the Big Bang to occur in just such a manner, and according to just such laws, as would allow the universe to unfold in accordance with His will.

... Likewise, it is not possible to prove that God intended the universe to unfold precisely as it does, by intelligent design. He may or may not have designed the universe in this way, but we cannot prove it and science cannot disprove it.

Yet science and religion are both directed to the same end: namely, the discernment of and meditation upon the truth, and the meaning of the truth ...

The scientist, like the theologian, sees the world sub specie aeternitatis ...

The theologian takes the revealed truth handed down to him by those who came before him marked with the sign of his faith, and meditates upon it. He does not question it: for there is no rational basis for questioning it ...

The scientist accepts no truth as given, unless it be a theorem – a proposition formally proven by mathematics in a logical sequence ultimately derived from fewer than a couple of dozen mathematical axioms that are agreed by all to be true even though they, too, are not susceptible of truth. ...

Religion and science are, therefore, agreed – or should be agreed – that “truth alone is worthy of our entire devotion.” ...

The scientist may legitimately demonstrate that all religions except one, to the extent that they teach matters that are contradictory to one another, must be false. ....

The theologian may legitimately demonstrate that the teachings of his religion cannot be disproved ...

For in that enlightened age – an age that has now passed away – a scientist who had committed an error did not gang together with other scientists to try to persist in that error. Instead, he admitted and corrected his mistake, so that knowledge of the truth among his fellow-scientists was not delayed or confounded by his persistence in the error.

... scientists led by Sir Fred Hoyle at Cambridge University were bent on trying to disprove the Abbe’s demonstration ...

Can science function without religion? Science would like to think so. And yet … and yet. ...

Or consider Lysenko, ...

Or meditate upon the response of the world to the emergence of HIV. ...

With HIV this was not done, because a particular pressure-group with a direct vested interest lobbied heavily to prevent the usual public-health measures from being put into place. So skilful and so powerful was this interest group that, in no time, the governing class – worldwide this time – ganged up against anyone who, like me, dared to suggest that perhaps applying the standard, if not exactly libertarian, public-health protocol would save tens of millions of lives. ...

Or consider DDT. ...

Such thinking is repellent to any man of religion. To us, every human life, regardless of the color of its skin or its age or its sex or its nationality or its opinions, is of immense value, and is to be protected and respected.
Now consider “global warming”. Once again, the science is nonsense. ...

Yet once again the State bureaucracies and politicians worldwide, hectored and pestered by vested-interest pressure groups of selfish disposition and limited vision, have declared a pseudo-scientific nonsense to be a “consensus.” ...

Many more (too many), however, are what Lenin used to describe as “useful idiots.” ...

And people are dying in their millions again, ...biofuel scam ...

In each of these accounts of the dismal contribution of State-sponsored science to the numerous mass slaughters that have occurred in the Age of Science and in the name of science, the cravenness of the scientists who could see the truth and yet were silent is startling, and disfiguring.

And why? Why this widespread, serial cowardice on the part of the scientific community? Yes, that community is now heavily, indeed almost exclusively, dependent upon the taxpayer for its funding. Science is a monopsony, with the State more or less the only paying customer. Yes, that community may legitimately say that most of its members do not specialize in the increasingly narrow fields in which the scientific debate about “global warming” is taking place. Yet there is another and more terrible reason why our scientists have so often and so catastrophically let down the millions whose deaths their cringing passivity has allowed.

Precisely because the worst sort of scientists are prone to say, intolerantly, that religion is not a legitimate pastime for any scientist, many scientists have come to the view that they no longer need to adhere to any moral precept at all. ...

Perhaps, therefore, no one should be allowed to practice in any of the sciences, ... unless he can certify that he adheres to one of those major religions ...

The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
Carie, Rannoch, Scotland

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