Intelligent Design Philosophy Religion Science

Is Buddhism really the most “science-friendly religion”?

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Look, given what a racket science has become in some places, that wouldn’t necessarily even be a source of pride any more. But never mind. What are people talking about when they say that a religion is “science-friendly”?

Here are some thoughts from the author of Why I am not a Buddhist (January 28, 2020):

Science can devolve into narrow-minded ideology no less than religion can, and religion can nurture and inspire science. Asking whether science and religion are compatible or incompatible is like asking whether art and science or art and religion are compatible or incompatible: it all depends on the larger culture that contains them.

Buddhist exceptionalism presents Buddhism as uniquely suited to the modern world, but we can sanitize any religion in this modernist way.

Evan Thompson, “Beyond Buddhist Exceptionalism” at Yale University Press Blog

Yes. “Theistic” evolutionists, for example, start with the premise that God wouldn’t “create” anything. That is really a message about God, not about nature, and it is bound to be a church-closer.

The “new atheists” recognize that religion and science can’t be separated in the way that Gould proposes, but their campaigns to stamp out religion in the name of science misunderstand the meaning-making activities of religion. Religions don’t explain the universe as science does; they create meaning through rituals, communities, textual traditions, and ways of understanding life’s great events—birth, aging, sickness, trauma, extraordinary states of consciousness, and death. The new atheists also misunderstand science. They fail to see that when science steps back from experimentation in order to give meaning to its results in terms of grand stories about where we come from and where we’re going—the narratives of cosmology and evolution—it cannot help but become a mythic form of meaning-making and typically takes the structures of its narratives from religion.

Buddhist modernism encourages a kind of false consciousness: it makes people think that if they embrace Buddhism or just pick out its supposedly nonreligious parts, they’re being “spiritual but not religious,” when unbeknownst to them religious forces are impelling them.

Evan Thompson, “Beyond Buddhist Exceptionalism” at Yale University Press Blog

Author Evan Thompson is a professor of philosophy at the University of British Columbia and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

The guy makes a lot of sense. What many people seem to like about Buddhism is that they feel free to take it or leave it and make it up as they go along. Not at all what the Buddha had in mind, we may be sure.

Hat tip: Philip Cunningham

See also: Faith: Even mathematics depends on some unprovable assumptions David Hilbert wanted all mathematics to be proved by logical steps. Kurt Gödel showed that no axiomatic system could be complete and consistent at the same time:

A cautious defense of panpsychism (everything is conscious) as an alternative to naturalist despair of the whole field of consciousness

and

What great physicists have said about immateriality and consciousness

28 Replies to “Is Buddhism really the most “science-friendly religion”?

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Speaking personally, as an agnostic/atheist/naturalist/materialist, I think those atheists who believe religions could be “eradicated” in the foreseeable future are whistling in the wind. That’s not going to happen while humanity is as it is. Believers have nothing to fear in spite of all the intemperate claims made by some atheists.

  2. 2
    abc says:

    I just finished this beautifully written and beautifully read audio book by a Tibetan monk who left the faith and became a Christian. Most of the book is about the inside of the faith, and it is certainly not the pretty thing that is celebrated by Hollywood and many elites in the west. https://christianaudio.com/leaving-buddha-tenzin-lahkpa-audiobook-download

  3. 3
    Ed George says:

    ABC, I think it is fair to say that all religions have their darker side. This is due to the fact that it is people who lead them.

    I agree with Sev that religion will never disappear. But I think it is reasonable to predict that as we gain more knowledge, the realm that religion lays claim to will shrink, as it has over the past few centuries.

  4. 4
    Silver Asiatic says:

    EG

    But I think it is reasonable to predict that as we gain more knowledge, the realm that religion lays claim to will shrink, as it has over the past few centuries.

    Sociologists are predicting otherwise, and I think it’s reasonable. Religious populations tend to have much larger families than atheists.

    According to a religious forecast for 2050 by Pew Research Center the percentage of the world’s population that unaffiliated or Nonreligious is expected to drop, from 16% of the world’s total population in 2010 to 13% in 2050.[291] The decline is largely due to the advanced age (median age of 34) and low fertility among unaffiliated or Nonreligious (1.7 children per woman in the 2010–2015 period). Sociologist Phil Zuckerman’s global studies on atheism have indicated that global atheism may be in decline due to irreligious countries having the lowest birth rates in the world and religious countries having higher birth rates in general.

  5. 5
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Interesting article, thanks for posting. I did not know that about Buddhist modernism. I have argued with a Buddhist for many years (strongly pro-evolution) and I only now realize that he’s a modernist and not of the traditional Buddhist belief (as he had me believe he was). The modernist view is a westernization which secularizes Buddhist belief, as this article points out.
    The author also talks about ‘cosmopolitanism’ – which sounds like classic modernism or something like secular humanism, where there are “universal values” that supposedly everybody agrees upon. It’s like the religion of the U.N. – or any global government agency.
    This sort of thing runs into a lot of problems when confronting Islam or even Right Wing Nationalism where there is a rebellion against supposed “universal values”.

    Some of it does make good sense as they try to go back to Greek philosophy and the natural moral law, which is a legitimate and reason-based morality. But unlike in Plato’s day, the teachings of Christ (for one example) have to be explicitly rejected and that’s a big problem in itself.

  6. 6
    ET says:

    Religion will never disappear because the evidence points to a Creating Intelligence for our existence. Atheism will never disappear because it seems there will always be the willfully ignorant who depend on wishful thinking.

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    Since science was not born out of Buddhism I certainly would not call it “The Most ‘Science-Friendly’ Religion” in the world.

    That honor belongs to Christianity and Christianity alone

    Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict* – Robert C. Koons
    IV. The Dependency of Science Upon Theism (Page 21)
    Excerpt: Far from undermining the credibility of theism, the remarkable success of science in modern times is a remarkable confirmation of the truth of theism. It was from the perspective of Judeo-Christian theism—and from the perspective alone—that it was predictable that science would have succeeded as it has. Without the faith in the rational intelligibility of the world and the divine vocation of human beings to master it, modern science would never have been possible, and, even today, the continued rationality of the enterprise of science depends on convictions that can be reasonably grounded only in theistic metaphysics.
    http://www.robkoons.net/media/.....ffd524.pdf

    Jerry Coyne on the Scientific Method and Religion – Michael Egnor – June 2011
    Excerpt: The scientific method — the empirical systematic theory-based study of nature — has nothing to so with some religious inspirations — Animism, Paganism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Islam, and, well, atheism. The scientific method has everything to do with Christian (and Jewish) inspiration. Judeo-Christian culture is the only culture that has given rise to organized theoretical science. Many cultures (e.g. China) have produced excellent technology and engineering, but only Christian culture has given rise to a conceptual understanding of nature (that enabled the rise of modern science).
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....47431.html

    The War against the War Between Science and Faith Revisited – July 2010
    Excerpt: …as Whitehead pointed out, it is no coincidence that science sprang, not from Ionian metaphysics, not from the Brahmin-Buddhist-Taoist East, not from the Egyptian-Mayan astrological South, but from the heart of the Christian West, that although Galileo fell out with the Church, he would hardly have taken so much trouble studying Jupiter and dropping objects from towers if the reality and value and order of things had not first been conferred by belief in the Incarnation. (Walker Percy, Lost in the Cosmos),,,
    Jaki notes that before Christ the Jews never formed a very large community (priv. comm.). In later times, the Jews lacked the Christian notion that Jesus was the monogenes or unigenitus, the only-begotten of God. Pantheists like the Greeks tended to identify the monogenes or unigenitus with the universe itself, or with the heavens. Jaki writes: Herein lies the tremendous difference between Christian monotheism on the one hand and Jewish and Muslim monotheism on the other. This explains also the fact that it is almost natural for a Jewish or Muslim intellectual to become a pa(n)theist. About the former Spinoza and Einstein are well-known examples. As to the Muslims, it should be enough to think of the Averroists. With this in mind one can also hope to understand why the Muslims, who for five hundred years had studied Aristotle’s works and produced many commentaries on them failed to make a breakthrough. The latter came in medieval Christian context and just about within a hundred years from the availability of Aristotle’s works in Latin,,
    If science suffered only stillbirths in ancient cultures, how did it come to its unique viable birth? The beginning of science as a fully fledged enterprise took place in relation to two important definitions of the Magisterium of the Church. The first was the definition at the Fourth Lateran Council in the year 1215, that the universe was created out of nothing at the beginning of time. The second magisterial statement was at the local level, enunciated by Bishop Stephen Tempier of Paris who, on March 7, 1277, condemned 219 Aristotelian propositions, so outlawing the deterministic and necessitarian views of creation.
    These statements of the teaching authority of the Church expressed an atmosphere in which faith in God had penetrated the medieval culture and given rise to philosophical consequences. The cosmos was seen as contingent in its existence and thus dependent on a divine choice which called it into being; the universe is also contingent in its nature and so God was free to create this particular form of world among an infinity of other possibilities. Thus the cosmos cannot be a necessary form of existence; and so it has to be approached by a posteriori investigation. The universe is also rational and so a coherent discourse can be made about it. Indeed the contingency and rationality of the cosmos are like two pillars supporting the Christian vision of the cosmos.
    http://www.scifiwright.com/201.....revisited/

    Robert Sheldon deciphered exactly what Stanley Jaki was getting at, fairly clearly, in the following quote:

    “Because Science existed between the two poles of a Designer and Design, between Transcendence and Immanence, between Law and Chance. The late Stanley Jaki explains this tension that brought about the Enlightenment in his books “The Savior of Science”, “God and the Cosmologists” among others. The point he makes is that if the Designer is purely transcendent, doing as he wills, then the Laws are arbitrary and reflect no underlying unity. On the other hand, if the Design is purely chance, then the Laws are mutable, and reflect no underlying unity. Only the weird situation where the Designer submits to his Design, where the Designer makes rules that he then keeps, where the Transcendent is also Immanent, permits the development of Science.”
    – Robert Sheldon

    Supplemental note. It turns out that Einstein was far less of an atheist than many atheists have tried to portray him as being:

    “In the view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who says there is no God. But what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support of such views. “
    (The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University, page 214)”

    And, as an ID advocate, I particularly like this following quote from Einstein,

    “I’m not an atheist and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but it doesn’t know what it is. That it seems to me, is that attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations.”
    – Einstein

    Might I give a little hint as to Whom the mysterious author is?

    Acts 3:15
    You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.

    And here is a quote from Boyle that I ran across today that is in the same vein as Einstein’s quote:

    “Wishing them also a most happy success in their laudable attempts to discover the true nature of the works of God, and praying, that they and all other searchers into physical truths may cordially refer their attainments to the glory of the Author of Nature, and the benefit of mankind.”
    — Robert Boyle (1627-1691) largely regarded today as the first modern chemist, speaking of the Royal Society in his will

    Funny how Boyle and Einstein were both talking about this mysterious “Author of Nature” decades, even centuries in Boyle’s case, before it was discovered by modern science that both the universe and life happen to be ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis:

    48:24 mark: “It is operationally impossible to separate Reality and Information”
    49:45 mark: “In the Beginning was the Word” John 1:1
    Prof Anton Zeilinger speaks on quantum physics. at UCT – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3ZPWW5NOrw

    “The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information–and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena.”
    Vlatko Vedral – Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies) at the National University of Singapore, and a Fellow of Wolfson College – a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics.

    Verse:

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.

  8. 8
    Seversky says:

    Silver Asiatic @ 4

    Sociologists are predicting otherwise, and I think it’s reasonable. Religious populations tend to have much larger families than atheists.

    According to a religious forecast for 2050 by Pew Research Center the percentage of the world’s population that unaffiliated or Nonreligious is expected to drop, from 16% of the world’s total population in 2010 to 13% in 2050.[291] The decline is largely due to the advanced age (median age of 34) and low fertility among unaffiliated or Nonreligious (1.7 children per woman in the 2010–2015 period). Sociologist Phil Zuckerman’s global studies on atheism have indicated that global atheism may be in decline due to irreligious countries having the lowest birth rates in the world and religious countries having higher birth rates in general

    I suspect that’s an oversimplification. Belief in a specific faith is not a heritable property although it is culturally transmissible. I think a spread of wealth and political stability would be a much greater threat to faith. The wealthier and more stable states show a greater tendency towards non-belief and you also need to factor in the tendency of some adolescents to rebel against the principles and beliefs of their parents. Again, religious belief won’t be eradicated but non-belief will nibble away at the edges of the faithful.

  9. 9
    Axel says:

    Even with a cursory, informal familiarity with Roman Catholic theology, I was stunned to see the kinship of its rational nature, of its pursuit of logic with the rigour required by mathematics and physics.

    Both the Shroud of Turin and the ’tilma’ of Our lady of Guadalupe could have been claimed as proof positive of the claims of Christian faith, but no ; like the miracles at Lourdes, other pilgrimage sites and the causes of the beatification and canonisation of saints, the RC church has always emphasised that the Faith does not, never has and never will, depend on such matters at all.

    Just imagine if atheists had recourse to such apologetic supports ! Instead they burble on about Evolution and ID, as if the former had been confirmed beyond the certainty reflected in the proof to twelve decimal places proffered by quantum electrodynamics, and the latter, ID, were a baseless fantasy – instead of an immanenet, ubiquitous, ineluctable truth, whether to the mind of an Einstein and or to that of a dimwitted child.

    And what about the prediction of the former head ‘honcho’ of NASA, Robert Jastrow, about the painfully-laboured ascent of the mountain of scientific knowledge by the atheists… only to find Christian theologians had been comfortably sitting there, on its peak, for ever and a day ! Well, let’s say, ‘judaeo-Christian’, since that Talmudic rabbi effectively discovered that personal consciousness was the primordial reality, even before Max Planck.

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky states,

    religious belief won’t be eradicated but non-belief will nibble away at the edges of the faithful.

    So again we see Seversky simply ignoring facts that he does not want to believe to be true.

    But regardless of Seversky’s inherent tendency to make up his own reality to suit what he wants to believe beforehand, the real world of hard facts are, once again, not too kind to his preferred imaginary reality.

    Why do atheists have such a low retention rate? – July 2012
    Excerpt: Only about 30 percent of those who grow up in an atheist household remain atheists as adults. This “retention rate” was the lowest among the 20 separate categories in the study.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....tion-rate/

    No wonder militant atheists have to be so persistent, and dogmatic, in trying to ‘evangelize’ their false nihilistic religion. Even their own children have a inherent tendency to not believe the lies that atheists are telling themselves.

    And to add to what Silver Asiatic stated at 4,,

    According to a religious forecast for 2050 by Pew Research Center the percentage of the world’s population that unaffiliated or Nonreligious is expected to drop, from 16% of the world’s total population in 2010 to 13% in 2050.[291] The decline is largely due to the advanced age (median age of 34) and low fertility among unaffiliated or Nonreligious (1.7 children per woman in the 2010–2015 period). Sociologist Phil Zuckerman’s global studies on atheism have indicated that global atheism may be in decline due to irreligious countries having the lowest birth rates in the world and religious countries having higher birth rates in general

    To add to that, In both the former Soviet Union and in present day communist China, where Christianity was and is brutally suppressed, Christianity is witnessing an explosion.

    Pew: Here’s How Badly Soviet Atheism Failed in Europe
    In 18 nations across Central and Eastern Europe, religion is now essential to national identity. (massive study based on face-to-face interviews with 25,000 adults in 18 countries}
    Jeremy Weber – 5/10/2017
    Excerpt: “The comeback of religion in a region once dominated by atheist regimes is striking,” states Pew in its latest report. Today, only 14 percent of the region’s population identify as atheists, agnostics, or “nones.” By comparison, 57 percent identify as Orthodox, and another 18 percent as Catholics.
    http://www.christianitytoday.c.....#038;w=380
    http://www.christianitytoday.c.....ntity.html

    China on course to become ‘world’s most Christian nation’ within 15 years – 19 Apr 2014
    Excerpt: Officially, the People’s Republic of China is an atheist country but that is changing fast as many of its 1.3 billion citizens seek meaning and spiritual comfort that neither communism nor capitalism seem to have supplied.
    Christian congregations in particular have skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao’s death in 1976 signalled the end of the Cultural Revolution.
    Less than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world’s number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation.
    “By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon,” said Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule.
    “It is going to be less than a generation. Not many people are prepared for this dramatic change.”
    China’s Protestant community, which had just one million members in 1949, has already overtaken those of countries more commonly associated with an evangelical boom. In 2010 there were more than 58 million Protestants in China compared to 40 million in Brazil and 36 million in South Africa, according to the Pew Research Centre’s Forum on Religion and Public Life.
    Prof Yang, a leading expert on religion in China, believes that number will swell to around 160 million by 2025. That would likely put China ahead even of the United States, which had around 159 million Protestants in 2010 but whose congregations are in decline.
    By 2030, China’s total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted.
    “Mao thought he could eliminate religion. He thought he had accomplished this,” Prof Yang said. “It’s ironic – they didn’t. They actually failed completely.”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new.....years.html

    Update:
    China’s war on religion, academics: Xi Jinping moves to reassert Communist Party dominance – 14 Aug, 2018
    Excerpt: Images of Christ are being replaced with posters of President Xi. As with the Tibetans and Uighur’s before them, Christian children are no longer allowed to attend church.
    “The move is aimed at Christian families in poverty, and we educated them to believe in science and not in superstition, making them believe in the party.”
    One Beijing pastor told AP otherwise: “A lot of our flock are terrified by the pressure that the government is putting on them,” he said. “It’s painful to think that in our own country’s capital, we must pay so dearly just to practice our faith.”,,
    Beijing sees Christianity as a Western threat, and its 67 million followers as infected by dangerous Western ideals.
    President Xi stated in 2016: “We must resolutely guard against overseas infiltrations via religious means.”
    And any community that places any entity above himself is not putting the Party first.
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=12106917

    It is no wonder atheism failed so miserably as a political system. It simply is a horribly false worldview that has horrid consequences for any people who are caught under its control:

    Who Killed More: Hitler, Stalin, or Mao?
    Ian Johnson – February 5, 2018
    Excerpt: In these pages nearly seven years ago, Timothy Snyder asked the provocative question: Who killed more, Hitler or Stalin? As useful as that exercise in moral rigor was, some think the question itself might have been slightly off. Instead, it should have included a third tyrant of the twentieth century, Chairman Mao. And not just that, but that Mao should have been the hands-down winner, with his ledger easily trumping the European dictators’.
    https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/02/05/who-killed-more-hitler-stalin-or-mao/

    Hitler’s 11 million dead (low end estimate)

    Mao’s 70 million dead:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M.....nown_Story

    Stalin’s purges kill 61 million
    https://democraticpeace.wordpress.com/2008/11/30/what-only-35000000-killed-in-20th-century-war/

    From 1900-1987 over 250 million dead through Atheism’s grasp for domination:
    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/COM.TAB1.GIF

    continues on post 12

  11. 11
    Axel says:

    ‘“The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information–and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena.”
    Vlatko Vedral – Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies) at the National University of Singapore, and a Fellow of Wolfson College – a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics.

    But, but… what about the randomness of what only appears to be ‘design’, i.e. information-based, to the scientist…. er… er let me rephrase that … it only looks like it, you know…. empirically sort of thing…

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    continued from post 10

    Atheism’s Body Count *
    https://www.scholarscorner.com/atheisms-body-count-ideology-and-human-suffering/

    Atheist Murderers
    http://www.thomism.org/atheism.....erers.html

    As to ‘man being a god unto himself’, and not humbling himself before God almighty, the creator of heaven and earth, it is also interesting to point out that many, if not all, of the totalitarian hellholes built on atheistic/Darwinian ideology have had a ‘cult of personality’ built around their Atheistic leader in which the leader was elevated to an almost god-like status. For example Stalin, Mao, and Hitler

    Joseph Stalin’s cult of personality became a prominent part of Soviet culture in December 1929, after a lavish celebration for Stalin’s 50th birthday.[1] For the rest of Stalin’s rule, the Soviet press presented Stalin as an all-powerful, all-knowing leader, with Stalin’s name and image appearing everywhere. From 1936 the Soviet journalism started to refer to Joseph Stalin as the Father of Nations.[2]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalin%27s_cult_of_personality

    Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party and the founding supremo of its People’s Republic, is not a man who has retreated from history quietly. During the last decade of his life, during the Cultural Revolution he unleashed in part to shore up his command, his presence was inescapable. His words, his actions, the objects he touched, and above all his image reached a peak of talismanic power. His face was everywhere and he loomed—literally—over town squares and public parks, in front of hospitals and above schoolyards, in concrete and stone reminders of who was boss.
    Today, relatively few of these statues of Mao remain; many were torn down after Mao’s death and in the early years of the Reform era.
    http://www.chinafile.com/multi.....ns-statues

    A personality cult was built around the Führer. Hitler’s portraits and photographs were displayed everywhere in Germany. “Heil Hitler!” (“Hail Hitler!”) became legally obligatory as a common greeting, as did the Hitler salute of the right arm fully thrust forward with the palm facing downward.
    https://www.britannica.com/topic/Fuhrer

    Not too subdued examples of this ‘cult of personality’ exist still today in Atheistic China

    Why Xi Jinping’s (Airbrushed) Face Is Plastered All Over China
    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/11/09/world/asia/xi-propaganda.html

    Whereas Atheistic North Korea still has a full blown cult of personality built around its current leader:

    The North Korean cult of personality surrounding its ruling family, the Kim family,[2] has existed in North Korea for decades and can be found in many examples of North Korean culture.[3] Although not acknowledged by the North Korean government, many defectors and Western visitors state there are often stiff penalties for those who criticize or do not show “proper” respect for the regime.[4][5] The personality cult began soon after Kim Il-sung took power in 1948, and was greatly expanded after his death in 1994.
    The cult is also marked by the intensity of the people’s feelings for and devotion to their leaders,,,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Korean_cult_of_personality

    So apparently if atheists take control of a government and tries to implement an atheistic utopia where man basically becomes a god unto himself, they end up having to worship an evil tyrant who wants his people to basically think of him as a god.

    It would be humorous if not for the untold misery involved for the people under that madman’s control.

    Moreover, contrary to Seversky’s belief, the death of Christianity in America, much like Mark Twain’s death, has been greatly exaggerated.

    No, Non-Believers Are Not Increasing In America – APRIL 24, 2019
    Excerpt: The stats are given as often and with as much confidence as they are wrong. The story goes that our nation is growing more secular with every passing day. Christianity is tanking, and atheists and generic non-believers mushrooming.,,,
    Stark gets more precise: “The entire change [toward none-ness] has taken place with the non-attending group.” “In other words,” he adds, “this change marks a decrease only in nominal affiliation, not an increase in irreligion.” Stark says the wealth of data he has studied, as well as that his peers have, “does not support claims for increased secularization, let alone a decrease in the number of Christians. It may not even reflect an increase in those who say they are ‘nones.’”,,,
    In fact, Professor Barry A. Kosmin, director of the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, the man who coined the term “the nones,” expresses frustration that the larger press has not really gotten the story right on what belief group is actually seeing the largest size increase. He told me, “The rise of nondenominational Christianity is probably one of the strongest [religious growth] trends in the last two decades” in the United States.
    He added that the percentage gain among the “nons,” or nondenoms, is “many times larger” compared to those we have come to know as the nones. Read that again. The growth of nondenominational churches has been many times larger than that of the nones. Is it likely that one group that is growing—the nones—are gaining folks from a particular group that is growing at even greater pace? That answer would be no.
    Greg Smith, the long-time associate director of research at the Pew Research Center, adds heft to the conclusion that evangelicalism is actually growing. He confidently explains that while the more liberal mainline churches have been tanking dramatically, losing from 5 to 7.5 million members since 2007 (!), things are completely different for evangelical and non-denominational churches….
    The Harvard/Indiana University researchers found the same thing, explaining “evangelicals are not on the decline” but “grew from 1972 when they were 18 percent of the population, to a steady level of about 28 percent” from the late 1980s to the present. This “percentage of the population” measure is very significant because it shows not only growth in terms of real numbers, but enough growth to keep up with or even exceed the rate of population growth. That’s not nothing.
    https://thefederalist.com/2019/04/24/no-non-believers-not-increasing-america/

    New Harvard Research Says U.S. Christianity Is Not Shrinking, But Growing Stronger – Jan. 2018
    Excerpt: New research published late last year by scholars at Harvard University and Indiana University Bloomington is just the latest to reveal the myth. This research questioned the “secularization thesis,” which holds that the United States is following most advanced industrial nations in the death of their once vibrant faith culture. Churches becoming mere landmarks, dance halls, boutique hotels, museums, and all that.
    Not only did their examination find no support for this secularization in terms of actual practice and belief, the researchers proclaim that religion continues to enjoy “persistent and exceptional intensity” in America. These researchers hold our nation “remains an exceptional outlier and potential counter example to the secularization thesis.”
    http://thefederalist.com/2018/.....-stronger/

    Verse:

    Psalm 33:12
    Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.

  13. 13
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    The wealthier and more stable states show a greater tendency towards non-belief and you also need to factor in the tendency of some adolescents to rebel against the principles and beliefs of their parents.

    That is true, although there are some cultures (Islamic) where there is less of that. We see a lot of rebellion in the United States because we really don’t have a religious culture. It’s more of a revolutionary culture, so kids are expected to break away from standards and values. Muslim countries don’t have that as much.

    Again, religious belief won’t be eradicated but non-belief will nibble away at the edges of the faithful.

    In a weird coincidence, just after reading your comment about the eradication of religion (attacks by atheists), I clicked on an ad posted here on UD for the book “Dark Agenda” by Horowitz which has a long list of various threatening responses against religious believers. Whether that’s just meant to scare people and sell more books or as a real indicator of the culture, I don’t know. But I think the language of anti-religionists can get violent and intemperate.

  14. 14
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Axel

    Both the Shroud of Turin and the ’tilma’ of Our lady of Guadalupe could have been claimed as proof positive of the claims of Christian faith, but no ; like the miracles at Lourdes, other pilgrimage sites and the causes of the beatification and canonisation of saints, the RC church has always emphasised that the Faith does not, never has and never will, depend on such matters at all.

    True – the Faith is dependent on the public revelation of Christ. But those other things can really help a lot. The miracles at Lourdes happened during a time when atheistic-rationalism (Freemasonry also) was very popular in France. The wisdom of the little peasant girl, Bernadette, astounded the powers-that-be as she held up under brutal questioning.
    As humanity moves farther away from belief, I think God often does some surprising things to change that direction.

  15. 15
    Truthfreedom says:

    Atheists: which genes are correlated with buddhist belief?

    And which genes are correlated with Christian belief?

    Everything is determined ‘via’ genes, so finding the appropriate co-relation will make your life easier. Once you have mapped those genes, you can delete/ inactivate them and ‘poof’, buddhism and Christianianity will be gone .

    ‘Religious Final Solution’ anyone?

  16. 16
    Bob O'H says:

    Everything is determined ‘via’ genes,

    This simply isn’t true – many characteristics are determined by the environment (and characters are even more complicated).

  17. 17
    Truthfreedom says:

    @16 Bob O’H: ‘This simply isn’t true – many characteristics are determined by the environment (and characters are even more complicated).’

    Fine. Environmental conditions are physical. Genes are physical. Create a mathematical model of this interaction. Once you have done it, you will be able to modify the ‘amount of belief’. (And even make it 0!).

  18. 18
    ET says:

    Actually, we don’t have any idea what determines form. But there isn’t any evidence that it is in the genome.

  19. 19
    Axel says:

    @ your #14, silver Asiatic

    Absolutely. With the stone-cold proof of a plethora of mind-blowing miracles, atheists are left without excuse for their failure to commit themselves to Christ. They only need to make the choice between commitment to the truth, to Christ and his teachings, to self-denying love…… or to remain on the ‘dark side’. As James put it in an Epistle : ‘The devils believe and tremble.’

  20. 20
    Bob O'H says:

    Truthfreedom @ 17 – Wikipedia has a summary of the studies: basically, there’s a moderate effect of genetics.

    The models used are standard quantitative genetic models.

  21. 21
    Truthfreedom says:

    @20 Bob O’H: good news then. Once you have the correct: % is this genetic material % are this environmental conditions, you will be able to modify religious belief.

    Or you will not. I am not holding my breath. Reductionism is stupid. Eugenics failure anyone?

  22. 22
    Bob O'H says:

    Eh? Religiosity is mostly environmental, so eugenics won’t work very well.

    Stupid reductionism is, of course, stupid.

  23. 23
    Truthfreedom says:

    @22 Bob O’H : ‘Eh? Religiosity is mostly environmental, so eugenics won’t work very well’.

    ‘Mostly environmental’ is very very inaccurate. You have to identify which conditions are those and how much each of them does contribute to ‘religious belief ‘. (Similar to global warming models).

    If you can not, you will forced to live with the real complexities of what naturalists call ‘bags of chemicals’ = human beings.

    Religious belief = x+y+z…
    Option a): modify some of the para meters (change the outcome).
    Option b): forget the silly idea and accept reality as it is. Scientism is nuts and materialism is a superstition.

  24. 24
    Bob O'H says:

    You have to identify which conditions are those and how much each of them does contribute to ‘religious belief ‘.

    Under the range of environments of the people in the studies. Read the papers cited for more details.

    It’s not obvious to my why you’re so interested in trying to throw science at trying to change religious belief, and frankly it feels a bit creepy.

  25. 25
    Truthfreedom says:

    @24 Bob O’H: ‘It’s not obvious to my why you’re so interested in trying to throw science at trying to change religious belief, and frankly it feels a bit creepy.’

    Oh, I do not care about ‘erasing’ religious beliefs. (I am not dawkins and in fact I do not even think it is possible). I am highlighting the logical options for those folks who believe that everything is reducible to matter/measurable/amenable to scientific manipulation.

    Human beings are not what reductionist materialism says we are. The ‘evolved bag of chemicals’ nonsense has to die.

  26. 26
    bornagain77 says:

    at 22 Bob O’Hara claims that

    “Religiosity is mostly environmental”

    Really??? Let’s examine Bob’s belief a little more closely. Bob is a reductive materialist. He believes that all life on earth accidentally originated approx. 4 billion years ago in a ‘warm little pond’ by the random mixing of chemicals, are something similar to that. In other words, all life is ultimately reducible to chemistry in Bob’s worldview.

    From that simple self replicating chemical molecule, all life on earth, in all its unfathomable complexity and diversity, is said to have eventually spawned via natural selection.

    From that it necessarily follows that our conscious minds, and all of our beliefs, religious and otherwise, themselves ultimately must be reducible to chemistry and/or material processes. In other words, Bob, since he believes Darwinian evolution to be true, is inextricably wedded to the philosophy of reductive materialism.

    Yet, here is the irresolvable dilemma for Bob. If Darwinian evolution were actually true. and all of our thoughts and beliefs really are reducible to chemistry or some such physical/material process as that, then none of our beliefs (religious or otherwise), including belief in Darwinian evolution itself, would be reliable.

    “Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”
    – C.S. Lewis, The Case for Christianity, p. 32

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter”.
    J. B. S. Haldane [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.

    As Alvin Plantinga pointed out in his Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism, “if you accept naturalism and evolution you can’t think of your cognitive faculties as being reliable,”

    ALVIN PLANTINGA’S EVOLUTIONARY ARGUMENT AGAINST NATURALISM
    July 9, 2016
    Plantinga notes that if human beings are a result of the evolutionary process then one needs to maintain that the main purpose of our cognitive faculties are for survival and reproductive fitness. In other words, as a process, evolution doesn’t care about truth or true beliefs. Rather, it only cares whether or not our actions are adaptive and whether or not they contribute to our fitness. As Plantinga argues, if this is the case then the naturalist would be unwarranted to expect his or her cognitive faculties to be aimed at truth.
    The implications for the naturalist are significant. If one’s mind is merely aimed at survival then it follows that the mind cannot be trusted when it thinks it knows the truth. This would undermine the trustworthiness of the human cognitive faculty as atheists themselves such as Friedrich Nietzsche and Thomas Nagel have noted. Even Charles Darwin, the mind who established that all species of life descended over time from common ancestors, likewise saw this dilemma,
    “But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would anyone trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?”
    According to Plantinga,
    “This argument has to do with the reliability of your cognitive faculties like memory and perception, intuition, and mathematical or logical intuition… I think if you accept naturalism and evolution you can’t think of your cognitive faculties as being reliable, as giving you the actual truth about the world… The argument goes like this. If you’re a naturalist you will probably also be a materialist about human beings. You’ll think that human beings are material objects. They are not immaterial souls that have a body. Now suppose we think about some creatures on an alien planet that are a lot like us. Let’s suppose for them that naturalism holds, that evolution holds, and that these creatures are material objects. So what is it that causes their behaviour? What causes their behaviour will be neurology, the states of which their neurons are firing sending a signal down to a muscle causing it to contract. And their beliefs and the content of these beliefs are also caused by neurology. Now given that evolution is true these creatures have come into being by virtue of natural selection we can take it for granted that their behaviour is adaptive, it enhances their fitness which leads to survival and reproduction. If that is true the same thing will go for what causes their behaviour, namely their neurology which also promotes survival and reproduction. The neurology that causes their behaviour also causes their beliefs, but now the question is “suppose their behaviour is in fact adaptive what about the truths of these beliefs?” Well, I think that you can see that it doesn’t matter about the truths of these beliefs. If their neurology causes the right behaviour what they believe makes no difference. The belief, one might say, floats along like an extra that’s caused by the neurology. But the beliefs don’t have to be true for the neurology to be adaptive. If the neurology causes false beliefs but causes the right actions it makes no difference whatsoever. So, if you take a given belief on the part of one of these creatures and ask “What is the probability given that naturalism and evolution and materialism that the belief is true?” It’s got to be fairly close to 50/50, it is likely to be true as false, or it likely to be false as true. If that is the case then the probability that their cognitive faculties are reliable, which produces a substantial proportion of true beliefs that reliability requires, the probability that their faculties will be reliable will be very low” (1).
    https://jamesbishopblog.com/2016/07/09/the-evolutionary-argument-against-naturalism/

    And as Nancy Pearcey pointed out, “The theory (Darwinian evolution) undercuts itself.,,,”

    Why Evolutionary Theory Cannot Survive Itself – Nancy Pearcey – March 8, 2015
    Excerpt: Steven Pinker writes, “Our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth. Sometimes the truth is adaptive, but sometimes it is not.” The upshot is that survival is no guarantee of truth. If survival is the only standard, we can never know which ideas are true and which are adaptive but false.
    To make the dilemma even more puzzling, evolutionists tell us that natural selection has produced all sorts of false concepts in the human mind. Many evolutionary materialists maintain that free will is an illusion, consciousness is an illusion, even our sense of self is an illusion — and that all these false ideas were selected for their survival value.
    So how can we know whether the theory of evolution itself is one of those false ideas? The theory undercuts itself.,,,
    Of course, the atheist pursuing his research has no choice but to rely on rationality, just as everyone else does. The point is that he has no philosophical basis for doing so. Only those who affirm a rational Creator have a basis for trusting human rationality.
    The reason so few atheists and materialists seem to recognize the problem is that, like Darwin, they apply their skepticism selectively. They apply it to undercut only ideas they reject, especially ideas about God. They make a tacit exception for their own worldview commitments.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....94171.html

    You don’t have to take Plantinga’s and Pearcey’s word for it, Donald Hoffman, a Darwinist himself, has proven, via population genetics, that if Darwinian evolution were true than ALL of our perceptions of reality would be illusory.

    The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality – April 2016
    The cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman uses evolutionary game theory to show that our perceptions of an independent reality must be illusions.
    Excerpt: “The classic argument is that those of our ancestors who saw more accurately had a competitive advantage over those who saw less accurately and thus were more likely to pass on their genes that coded for those more accurate perceptions, so after thousands of generations we can be quite confident that we’re the offspring of those who saw accurately, and so we see accurately. That sounds very plausible. But I think it is utterly false. It misunderstands the fundamental fact about evolution, which is that it’s about fitness functions — mathematical functions that describe how well a given strategy achieves the goals of survival and reproduction. The mathematical physicist Chetan Prakash proved a theorem that I devised that says: According to evolution by natural selection, an organism that sees reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that sees none of reality but is just tuned to fitness. Never.”
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/20160421-the-evolutionary-argument-against-reality/

    And since, as the following article explains, there is no reason why Hoffman’s results from population genetics cannot be extended to our cognitive faculties in general, then Plantinga’s argument is actually validated and Darwinian evolution defeats itself in its claim to be a true and reliable belief system.

    The Case Against Reality – May 13, 2016
    Excerpt: Hoffman seems to come to a conclusion similar to the one Alvin Plantinga argues in ch. 10 of Where the Conflict Really Lies: we should not expect — in the absence of further argument — that creatures formed by a naturalistic evolutionary process would have veridical perceptions.,,,
    First, even if Hoffman’s argument were restricted to visual perception, and not to our cognitive faculties more generally (e.g., memory, introspection, a priori rational insight, testimonial belief, inferential reasoning, etc.), the conclusion that our visual perceptions would be wholly unreliable given natural selection would be sufficient for Plantinga’s conclusion of self-defeat. After all, reliance upon the veridicality of our visual perceptions was and always will be crucial for any scientific argument for the truth of evolution. So if these perceptions cannot be trusted, we have little reason to think evolutionary theory is true.
    Second, it’s not clear that Hoffman’s application of evolutionary game theory is only specially applicable to visual perception, rather than being relevant for our cognitive faculties generally. If “we find that veridical perceptions can be driven to extinction by non-veridical strategies that are tuned to utility rather than objective reality” (2010, p. 504, my emphasis), then why wouldn’t veridical cognitive faculties (more generally) be driven to extinction by non-veridical strategies that are tuned to utility rather than objective reality? After all, evolutionary theory purports to be the true account of the formation of all of our cognitive faculties, not just our faculty of visual perception. If evolutionary game theory proves that “true perception generally goes extinct” when “animals that perceive the truth compete with others that sacrifice truth for speed and energy-efficiency” (2008), why wouldn’t there be a similar sacrifice with respect to other cognitive faculties? In fact, Hoffman regards the following theorem as now proven: “According to evolution by natural selection, an organism that sees reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that sees none of reality but is just tuned to fitness” (Atlantic interview). But then wouldn’t it also be the case that an organism that cognizes reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that cognizes none of reality but is just tuned to fitness? On the evolutionary story, every cognitive faculty we have was produced by a process that was tuned to fitness (rather than tuned to some other value, such as truth).
    http://www.gregwelty.com/2016/.....t-reality/

    In short, Darwinian evolution commits epistemological suicide.

    And please note, the preceding falsification of Darwinian evolution is not even taking into consideration the catastrophic epistemological failure that results when Darwinists deny the reality of their own free will.

    (1) rationality implies a thinker in control of thoughts.
    (2) under materialism a thinker is an effect caused by processes in the brain (determinism).
    (3) in order for materialism to ground rationality a thinker (an effect) must control processes in the brain (a cause). (1)&(2)
    (4) no effect can control its cause.
    Therefore materialism cannot ground rationality.
    per Box UD

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

    In conclusion, if Darwinian evolution were actually true then all reason and rationality, even all true beliefs, would be undermined. In short, we need God in order to be able to ground reason and rationality, even to ground all our true beliefs. In other words, If God is not the primary true belief of all possible true beliefs then it is impossible for there to be any other true beliefs!

    What is the Logos?
    Logos is a Greek word literally translated as “word, speech, or utterance.” However, in Greek philosophy, Logos refers to divine reason or the power that puts sense into the world making order instead of chaos.,,,
    In the Gospel of John, John writes “In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). John appealed to his readers by saying in essence, “You’ve been thinking, talking, and writing about the Word (divine reason) for centuries and now I will tell you who He is.”
    https://www.compellingtruth.org/what-is-the-Logos.html

    John 1:1
    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”

    John 14:6
    6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

  27. 27
    Truthfreedom says:

    @ 22 Bob O’Hara:

    “Religiosity is mostly environmental “. And that means exactly? Is it hanging in the air?
    Or do you mean humans are influenced by the communities where they are born?

    If you are suggesting the latter, those ‘communities’ are groups of people. According to reductive materialism: people are simply ‘DNA conglomerates’ (sic). Somewhere in that DNA is hidden ‘dawkins’s treasure’ = the genes that, once erased/inactivated will ‘purify’ humanity from superstitious religious belief.

    Not my logic. Materialism is nuts and self-refuting and I laugh at it.

  28. 28
    Axel says:

    Don’t confuse them with rational arguments, BA77, there’s a good chap. To them, it’s just ‘cut and paste’.

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