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Biologist: Science and philosophy do NOT offer more for grief than religion

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Wayne Rossiter, author of Shadow of Oz: Theistic Evolution and the Absent God, responds at his blog to a claim by Paul Thagard at Psychology Today that science and philosophy offer more for grief than religion does:

Thagard’s view is that religion is false comfort, and that science (and philosophy) can do better. He begins by outlining four major problems with Asma’s view [NYT article “which advanced the utility of religion in personal and societal spheres, even for the secular,” irrespective of the fact base]:

– “It depends on a view of how emotion works in the brain that has been rendered obsolete by advances in neuroscience.”
– It underestimates how much science can help to understand the nature of grief and to point to ways of overcoming it.
– It overestimates the consoling power of religion.
– Finally, it neglects how science can collaborate with philosophy to suggest ways of dealing with grief.

The third claim is never actually supported in Thagard’s article (nor have I seen it elsewhere). To the contrary, I’ve not seen a study in which anything has been shown to be more effective than religion (faith) in dealing with the trials of life. I offer some scientific literature to this effect below. So, the third concern is simply an unsupported charge. It’s not that religion fails to rescue believers, but that Thagard feels the rescue is false hope. I also discuss below just how false the hope from secularism is.

See also: Do science and philosophy offer more relief from grief than religion does?


Wayne Rossiter: Revolving the evolving God at BioLogos

3 Replies to “Biologist: Science and philosophy do NOT offer more for grief than religion

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    Reply to Thagard’s view on religion and grief. – 2018
    Excerpt: “No amount of scientific explanation or sociopolitical theorizing is going to console the mother of the stabbed boy. Bill Nye the Science Guy and Neil deGrasse Tyson will not be much help, should they decide to drop over and explain the physiology of suffering and the sociology of crime… [the mother] would have been institutionalized if not for the fact that she expected to see her slain son again, to be reunited with him in the afterlife where she was certain his body would be made whole…[this] gave her strength to continue raising her other two children.”
    I don’t think there can be any doubt that this omission by Thagard was not accidental. The eternal mercy, justice and salvation represent the real lifeblood and vitality of faith, and they are things no secular alternative can supply.

    Well, contrary to atheists trying to console themselves with imaginary and fraudulent comforts minus any belief in God, and contrary to what the Copernican principle suggests, Philosophy and Science both overwhelmingly support the belief that our lives truly do have meaning purpose and value in this present world, and that there truly is eternal life after the death of our material bodies.
    A few videos to that effect

    Atheistic Materialism vs Meaning, Value, and Purpose in Our Lives

    Cosmic Microwave Background Proves Intelligent Design (disproves Copernican principle) – video

    Copernican Principle, Agent Causality, and Jesus Christ as the “Theory of Everything”

    Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity, General Relativity and Christianity

    Drowning Victim’s (Mary Neal’s) Visit to Heaven – video


    1 Corinthians 15:54-55
    When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come to pass: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    Biologist: Science and philosophy do NOT offer more for grief than religion

    I don’t know why anyone would expect that they should. Science may be able to explain why we respond with grief to various tragic events and how the response works over time but that is usually of little consolation to the grieving. Religion may well have nothing to offer but comforting myths but if those myths bring comfort to the bereaved that nothing else can, where is the harm?

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky calls religion a ‘comforting myth’. That is laughable.

    If anyone lives squarely in a world of “Alice in Wonderland” illusion it is the Atheistic Materialist who has rejected God:

    Darwin’s Theory vs Falsification – 39:45 minute mark
    Excerpt: Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft).
    Bottom line, nothing is real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,
    Paper with references for each claim page; Page 37:

    Thus, although the Darwinian Atheist firmly believes he is on the terra firma of science (in his appeal, even demand, for methodological naturalism), the fact of the matter is that, when examining the details of his materialistic/naturalistic worldview, it is found that Darwinists/Atheists are adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to.

    It would be hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to modern science than Atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism have turned out to be.

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

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