Where is he now?

Where is he now?
KOA at Salina,KS
Heading West

Why are Athiests so Angry

At a recent meeting with a group of friends, mention was made of atheists being angry. Why is that?

Individually, I told her that atheists are angry because the Christians vote. I should have added that Christians don’t seem to have any problem taking away other people’s rights. Especially, women’s rights, in the latest incarnation of the phenomenon. This is called the tyranny of the masses.

When atheists fight for their rights, they are fighting for your rights as well. If this nation should become Islamic or Rastafarian or any other religion, you will be happy that constitutionally, this country is supposed to maintain separation of church and state. Atheists have been fighting to keep it that way. Especially, in the last 35 years, the American Christian right has been trying to break down this barrier. Christians gaining secular power is what took Europe into its Dark Ages and Muslims in the Land of Islam into its current situation.

If you are one of those rare Americans who reads books, you might consider Why Are You Atheists So Angry by Greta Christina. If you don’t read, she is also available on Youtube.

DaveN

Why it was difficult to disagree during the Dark Ages in Europe

Heresy:
‘heresy’ occurs 5 times in Lindberg’s book, 2 are book titles. So, 3 times.
‘heresy’ occurs 1 time in Al Khalili’s book.
… the physician’s blindness later in life was divine punishment for his heresy.
al-Khalili, Jim (2011-03-31). The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave Us the Renaissance (p. 182). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.
‘heresy’ occurs 57 times in Hannams’s book.
Christian Church became increasingly worried about heresy in the twelfth century.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution . Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
…showing that reason could help defeat heresy.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 40). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
It became the subject that learned men aspired to master, but also one that involved high risks–not least possible accusations of heresy.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 41). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Roscelin had already made quite a name for himself teaching logic to paying students in northern France, but in 1092 had been accused of heresy.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 41). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Abelard thought he was doing, but he also had a habit of making powerful enemies who would not hesitate to use accusations of heresy against him.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 49). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
He accused Abelard’s own book on the Trinity of being heretical, and after a show trial in 1121, Abelard was forced to cast it into the flames.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 49). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
In the end, St. Bernard prevailed by denying his opponent a fair trial. Instead, he accused Abelard of heresy at a Church council in Sens in 1140. Abelard could see the way the wind was blowing and refused to cooperate.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 51). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
The story of Abelard gives the impression that the hierarchy of the Church was implacably opposed to reason and logic. He was put on trial for heresy in 1121 and 1140, losing the case both times.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 51). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
William of St. Thierry, the friend of St. Bernard who alerted him to Peter Abelard, also accused William of Conches of heresy.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 54). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

The decree went on to ban the books assumed to have inspired the heresy. “Neither the works of Aristotle on natural philosophy,” it read, “nor their commentaries are to be read at Paris in public or private. This …
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (pp. 71-72). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

During the Middle Ages, heresy was an increasing problem, being especially prevalent in the south of France, the Rhineland, and northern Italy. It was not as if heretics had only recently appeared. They had existed throughout the previous 800 years, but the Church had hardly bothered them.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (pp. 74-75). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
During the Middle Ages, there was no single monolithic institution that we can call “The Inquisition.” Inquisitors were simply individual agents of the pope who travelled to areas afflicted by heresy and used their special powers to deal with it. They …
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 76). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Someone found guilty of heresy by the inquisitor had an opportunity to recant and perform a penance. Most people took this option, and the resulting penances were often quite lenient. However, those convicted of heresy were on notice that the inquisitors would deal with a second offense much more severely. In that case, as relapsed heretics, they could face life imprisonment or worse. In the same boat as repeat offenders were those whom the inquisitor convicted but who refused to admit the error of their ways.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 78). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
In 1017, King Robert II (972–1031) of France had instituted burning as the punishment for heresy, and the penalty spread through most of Catholic Europe.22 Nevertheless, it was not universal. In England, parliament did not enact heresy laws until the fifteenth century, while in Venice the penalty was death by drowning.23
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 78). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
The local inquisitor was pursuing him for questioning, although Siger was never convicted of heresy, even in absentia.20
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 94). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Like the secret police in a communist state, inquisitors depended on a network of informers and agents to keep them abreast of heresy in their district.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 121). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
There was even an attempt to trump up heresy charges against Pomponazzi.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 214). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
What the case of Servetus does teach us is that executions for heresy were not a Catholic prerogative. In England, Unitarians continued to be burnt until 1608, and in Scotland a student, Thomas Aikenhead (c. 1676–1697), was hanged for blasphemy shortly before the end of the seventeenth century.29
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 223). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Copernicanism was not declared a heresy until 1616, and as for an infinite universe, he was simply echoing Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 313). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Galileo was summoned to Rome in February 1633 to stand trial for heresy.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 332). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Berenger of Tours (c. 1000–1088): Theologian who was accused of heresy for doubting the doctrine of transubstantiation.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 363). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153): Radical monk and reformer of Christianity. Successfully accused Peter Abelard of heresy.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 363). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Nicholas of Autrecourt (c. 1300–1369): Paris theologian convicted of heresy in 1347 for his ideas on atoms and the Eucharist. Forced to leave the University.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 367). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
William of Ockham (or Occam) (c. 1287–1347): Oxford Franciscan accused of heresy in Avignon who fled to serve the Holy Roman Emperor in Germany.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 370). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
15 S.J. Tester, A History of Western Astrology (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1987), p. 194. 16 A different but unsubstantiated source states that Cecco’s heresy was to claim that the virgin birth was a natural rather than a miraculous event. See Lynn Thorndike,
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 385). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
“Master Amalric and the Amalricians: Inquisitorial Procedure and the Suppression of Heresy at the University of Paris,” in Speculum vol. 71, no. 1 (1996), pp. 43–65.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 435). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
I didn’t include all 57 instances above. Note that Copernicus, Galileo and William of Occam are included.
‘heretical’ occurs 27 times in Hannams’s book.
He summoned William of Ockham to Avignon where a committee, headed by John Luttrell (fl. 1317–1323), the ex-chancellor of Oxford, heard his case. Some modern scholars have suggested that Luttrell lost his job at the university as a direct result of censuring William’s work.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 163). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
… committee declared that 51 propositions in William’s commentary on the Sentences were heretical. Rather than accept this and amend his work, William fled with a couple of other academics and sought protection from the prospective Holy Roman Emperor.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (pp. 163-164). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
The pope found Nicholas guilty of holding heretical opinions and ordered him to recant. The offending commentary was consigned to the flames. His academic career was over, but he received a lucrative appointment as dean of Metz Cathedral in compensation and lived out his days in peace.27
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 188). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
On 20 November 1210, in the marketplace of Champeaux near Paris, ten members of a small sect called the Amalricians were burned at the stake. As the heretics were led out to their deaths, a storm was brewing.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 69). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
They stated that it was heretical to limit God to what Aristotle said was possible.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 190). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Giordano Bruno (1548–1600). He was born near Naples in 1548 and joined the local Dominican monastery in 1563. We know very little about his early career except that in 1576 he clashed with his superiors over his strange doctrines. Bruno cast off his friar’s cloak and embarked upon a life on the road.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 311). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Bruno’s difficulties started to mount. He had discussed his ideas with his fellow prisoners, who started making depositions that needed to be investigated. Worse, the inquisitors got hold of his books which were full of alarming ideas. In the end the file ran to 600 pages and it took nine years for the case to be concluded.28
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 313). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Roscelin of Compiègne (c. 1050–c. 1125): Teacher whose writings on the Trinity were condemned as heretical.
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 369). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
The word ‘witch’ is used 10 times.
In 1615, another tragedy blighted his family when his mother was accused of witchcraft. Kepler traveled to her home town of Leonberg to defend her, but the case dragged on and on as the accusers vainly tried to find enough evidence to make the charges stick. She could not be tortured unless strong evidence was produced against her and eventually in 1620 the case was ruled inconclusive. Even then, she was kept imprisoned for another year and died shortly after her release in October 1621.37
Hannam, James (2011-03-22). The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (p. 299). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
If you want more, you can read A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages (3 volumes)
‘heresy’ occurs 14 times in Draper, John William (2012-05-12). History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science
In their secession the philosophers and historians were followed by the poets. Euripides incurred the odium of heresy. Aeschylus narrowly escaped being stoned to death for blasphemy.
Draper, John William (2012-05-12). History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science (Kindle Locations 168-170). . Kindle Edition.
It wasn’t just the Christians
The Inquisition, having already been tried in the south of France, had there proved to be very effective for the suppression of heresy. It had been introduced into Aragon. Now was assigned to it the duty of dealing with the Jews.
Draper, John William (2012-05-12). History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science (Kindle Locations 1876-1878). . Kindle Edition.
A bull was accordingly issued in November, 1478, for the detection and suppression of heresy. In the first year of the operation of the Inquisition, 1481, two thousand victims were burnt in Andalusia; besides these, many thousands were dug up from their graves and burnt; seventeen thousand were fined or imprisoned for life. Whoever of the persecuted race could flee, escaped for his life. Torquemada, now appointed inquisitor-general for Castile and Leon, …
Draper, John William (2012-05-12). History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science (Kindle Locations 1893-1896). . Kindle Edition.
‘heresy’ occurs 4 times in History of the Near East 300AD to 1922AD
The Western Church clung to the new usage. The doctors of the Eastern Church denounced it as a grave “heresy,” and to this day they teach that this addition to the Creed makes unity between the two churches impossible.
Davis, William Stearns (2012-12-23). History of the Near East, 330 A.D. to 1922 (Kindle Locations 1337-1339). Lecturable. Kindle Edition.
‘heresy’ occurs 5 times in Oman, Charles William Chadwick (2011-11-27). The Byzantine Empire
The Goths were Arians, having been converted to Christianity in the fourth century by missionaries who held the Arian heresy.
Oman, Charles William Chadwick (2011-11-27). The Byzantine Empire (Kindle Locations 879-880). . Kindle Edition.
You can also look at:
Infidel by Ayan Hirsi Ali – she is an infidel / heretic
Joseph Anton by Salmon Rushdie contains 4 references to ‘Heresy’. He was accused of heresy and there was a fatwah against him. There are 10 references to ‘infidel’ in Joseph Anton. Infidel is the Arabic word for heretic.
…the Islamic world were being accused of exactly the same thought crimes as himself, blasphemy, heresy, apostasy, insult and offense, which meant that either the best and most independent creative minds in the Muslim world were degenerates, or else that the accusations masked the accusers’ real project: the stifling of heterodoxy and dissent.
Rushdie, Salman (2012-09-18). Joseph Anton: A Memoir (Kindle Locations 5029-5031). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
It isn’t just Christianity. The problem occurs when people in power are allowed to tell others how to think. And severely punishes them for thinking differently.
Strange that you didn’t notice it in Hannam’s book!
I think that I have made my point.

Virgin birth – very popular a while back, maybe still today

I haven’t stirred things up for a while, so, here it is.
Virgin Birth was very popular then.
I have noticed something interesting; well, OK, I got some help on it.
Buddha:
born of the virgin Maya. A chaste wife, into whom in the shape of a white elephant …
12 disciples
performed miracles – fed 500 men from a small basket of cakes, helped a disciple walk on water
preached a sermon on the mount
Last Supper
betrayed by a disciple
killed on the cross, spent 3 days in hell, was resurrected
Buddha was considered the Good Shepherd, the carpenter
Baptism in the name of the Budhha, the Dharma and the Samgha
Horus of Egypt
born of the virgin Isis-Meri on December 25th in a cave/manger
baptized by Anup the Baptizer
12 disciples
performed miracles and raised the dead
walked on water
killed, buried in a tomb and resurrected
Mithra, Sun God of Persia
born of the virgin Nahid Anahita on December 25
placed in a manger and attended by shepherds
12 companions or disciples
performed miracles
buried in a tomb
omniscient
His sacred day was Sunday
His religion had a eucharist
Krishna of India
born of the virgin Devaki
born in a cave
upon birth, placed in a basket (a manger)
bright star appeared at his birth
birth was attended by angels, wise men and shepherds
foster father was in the city to pay taxes when Krishna was born
worked miracles
raised a child from the dead
miraculously fed the multitudes
humbly washed the feet of his guests
died after being pinned against a tree by an arrow (crucified)
ascended in heaven, where he lives on
2nd person of the Trinity (Vishnu)
transliteration of Krishna/Krsna as ‘Christna’
Prometheus of Greece
made the first man and woman out of clay
crucified and resurrected – sky goes dark
had a friend Petraeus (Peter) the fisherman

For instance, a number of the world’s sacrificed, suffering or crucified godmen or sun gods have their traditional birthday on December 25th (“Christmas”). This motif represents the ancient recognition that (from a geocentric perspective in the northern hemisphere) the sun makes an annual descent southward until December 21st or 22nd, the winter solstice, when it stops moving southerly for three days and then starts to move northward again. During this time, the ancients declared that “God’s sun” had “died” for three days and was “born again” on December 25th. The ancients realized quite abundantly that they needed the sun to return every day and that they would be in big trouble if it continued to move southward and did not stop and reverse its direction. Thus, these many different cultures celebrated the “sun of God’s” birthday on December 25th. The following are the characteristics of the “sun of God”[189]:
•   The sun “dies” for three days on December 22nd, the winter solstice, when it stops in its movement south, to be born again or resurrected on December 25th, when it resumes its movement north.
•   In some areas, the calendar originally began in the constellation of Virgo, and the sun would therefore be “born of a Virgin.”[190]
Murdock, D.M.; S, Acharya (2011-01-25). The Origins of Christianity and the Quest for the Historical Jesus Christ (Kindle Locations 974-989). Stellar House Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Murdock was the source of all of the above items. She provides lots of references if you want to look them up. Better yet, read the book. I dare you!
Murdock also suggests that the 12 disciples may be the 12 signs of the zodiac.
Here is a Youtube you might like – DM Murdock / Achyria

If you are going to tell me that these are all myths, prove it. And prove that your particular god is real, while all of these are myths. Is there anything special about your god, that didn’t already happen long before, with one of these gods? It does seem a bit suspicious doesn’t it? So many with the same stories. And, I didn’t even list all of the similarities.
Remember, the burden of proof is on the person making the extraordinary claims. I don’t claim that any of the above gods are true. How about your god?
DaveN
mythicist

Links for Bill Nye vs Ken Ham

Iggy provided these links which still work:
Free Bill Ney/Ken Ham Debate – it’s on Answers in Genesis YouTube Channel.
Still works

If you cannot stream it it is free at Bill Nye’s site

Bill Nye’s site

Bill Nye and Ken Ham debate young Earth creationism

Bill Nye and Ken Ham debate young Earth creationism

I watched the 2014Feb04 debate on Youtube, unfortunately, it is now being blocked by AOL
This one is still working – 2014Feb05 18:51 Starts at about 13:00 minutes
Also:
Buy the video
Ken Ham is trying to make money on this.
‘Why Nye debated a young earth creationist’ is also being blocked by AOL, The only one still available is to buy it.

A few observations:

The debate reminded me of the book group meeting we had recently (2014Jan29) on The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution by James Hannam. John Millam led the discussion, which led to a lively discussion after John’s book review. In this case, John really is a scientist, but, he is also a Christian. I don’t understand how a person can be both, but, John is doing it.

In the case of the NyeHam debate, a major difference is that Ham is a better debater than Nye. Nye knows science. Ham is a young Earth creationist and creator of the Creation Museum in Kentucky, the one with dinosaurs and humans in the same diorama. There is a dinosaur wearing a saddle at the entrance. Ham’s presentation was slick. The presentation seems to be mostly attended by local yokels around the creationist museum in Kentucky. At the beginning of the debate, Ham was introduced to applause, while Nye only got rather weak applause. My subjective applause-meter gives it about 10 or 20 to 1 in favor of Ham. And I suspect that much of the applause for Nye was polite applause, though I can’t be sure.

My overall impression is that if you are scientifically illiterate or just barely scientifically literate, Ham is very convincing, so, he would have won the debate. However, if you are scientifically literate or greatly scientifically literate, Nye clearly won the debate. There is obviously some self-selection taking place with the audience and the people viewing electronically.

I read several relevant books, a while back

Creation Museum, the dream child of an Australian named Ken Ham, who is the founder of Answers in Genesis, the worldwide organization for which the museum is meant to be the headquarters.

AiG (Answers in Genesis ed.) is dedicated to the proposition that the biblical story of the creation of the world is inerrant in every word. Which means, in this interpretation, and among other things, that dinosaurs co-existed with humans (hence the saddles), that there were dinosaurs in Eden, and that Noah, who certainly had enough on his hands, had to load two brachiosaurs onto the Ark along with his wife, his sons, and his sons’ wives, to say nothing of the green ally-gators and the long-necked geese and the humpty-backed camels and all the rest.
Pierce, Charles P. (2009-05-29). Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free (pp. 2-3). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

My thesis, in short, is that religion is cognitively natural and that science is not.
McCauley, Robert N. (2011-10-04). Why Religion is Natural and Science is Not (Kindle Locations 145-146). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

McCauley is saying that we evolved to make a lot of cognitive errors, errors which made sense on the savannahs of Africa, but not in Kansas City (my words ed.). Learning science takes effort. We evolved with what eventually became religion. Quantum Physics is not intuitive, even to physicists. A god did it, doesn’t take a lot of brainpower.

Toward the end of the debate, during the Q&A, someone in the audience asked about plate tectonics. I happen to know something about this, so, I paid extra attention. Nye correctly responded about plate tectonics, demonstrating fairly good understanding. Nye pointed out that the magnetic orientation of the rocks demonstrated that the sea floor had been laid down over a long period of time. Nye won, however, Ham was clueless. It sounded to me as if he had heard of it, but didn’t understand the science behind it.

The problem is the Ham and probably, most of his audience, didn’t know enough about the subject to know that Ham was wrong. And that, is my general comment on the debate. You have to know enough to know when you are wrong, and Ham, clearly did not.

Nye repeatedly asked Ham to name an instance where the Christian worldview enabled testable predictions, a hallmark of the scientific method. Ham, consistently avoided answering. I doubt that most of the audience noticed this.

If you want to know more, we will be having more book discussions on the subject of the Christian worldview versus the scientific worldview – stay tuned.

DaveN
amateur scientist

The Scientific Method

Deciding when and where modern science started and in some cases stopped, depends on a definition of science, scientists and the scientific method. So, here is a general definition of the scientific method from physicist Jim al-Khalili:

As commonly defined, the scientific method is the approach to investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge, based on the gathering of data through observation and measurement, followed by the formulation and testing of hypotheses to explain the data.
al-Khalili, Jim (2011-03-31). The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave Us the Renaissance (p. 170). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Karl Popper’s philosophy of science includes the:
… requirement that all the statements of empirical science (or all ‘meaningful’ statements) must be capable of being finally decided, with respect to their truth and falsity; we shall say that they must be ‘conclusively decidable’. This means that their form must be such that to verify them and to falsify them must both be logically possible.
Popper, Karl (2005-11-04). The Logic of Scientific Discovery (Routledge Classics) (Kindle Locations 671-673). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

We could look at Francis Bacon 1561-1626 and Renes Descartes 1596-1650. Some of the writings are available for free on Kindle and Nook. In the case of Descartes, they are available in French and English translation. If anyone would like to read them and report on them, I would be interested in hearing about them.

The above is not a bad start. Al-Khalili gives a good general description and Popper helps resolve some otherwise un-resolvable issues. Al-Khalili includes ‘testing of hypotheses ‘ in his description as well.

DaveN

What is Science

What is Science?

Agreeing on what science is, seems to me, to be necessary before we can decide when science started. So:

Massimo Pigliucci had this to say:
What, then, constitutes science as a distinct field, separate from philosophy, literary criticism, or whatever else? Although a precise definition of science is probably impossible because of the nature of the beast itself, I would say that science is a form of inquiry into the natural world characterized by the continuous refinement of theories that are in one way or another empirically verifiable. It is this unique blend of theorizing and empirical investigation that is at the core of the scientific enterprise. As the philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724– 1804) famously put it, “Experience without theory is blind, but theory without experience is mere intellectual play.”
Pigliucci, Massimo (2012-10-02). Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to A More Meaningful Life (Kindle Locations 261-266). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.

Thomas Kuhn had this to say:
… a paradigm is an accepted model or pattern,
Kuhn, Thomas S. (2010-10-22). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (p. 23). University of Chicago Press – A. Kindle Edition.
Paradigms gain their status because they are more successful than their competitors in solving a few problems that the group of practitioners has come to recognize as acute.
Kuhn, Thomas S. (2010-10-22). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (p. 23). University of Chicago Press – A. Kindle Edition.
Paradigms gain their status because they are more successful than their competitors in solving a few problems that the group of practitioners has come to recognize as acute. To be more successful is not, however, to be either completely successful with a single problem or notably successful with any large number. The success of a paradigm—whether Aristotle’s analysis of motion, Ptolemy’s computations of planetary position, Lavoisier’s application of the balance, or Maxwell’s mathematization of the electromagnetic field—is at the start largely a promise of success discoverable in selected and still incomplete examples. Normal science consists in the actualization of that promise, an actualization achieved by extending the knowledge of those facts that the paradigm displays as particularly revealing, by increasing the extent of the match between those facts and the paradigm’s predictions, and by further articulation of the paradigm itself. Few people who are not actually practitioners of a mature science realize how much mop-up work of this sort a paradigm leaves to be done or quite how fascinating such work can prove in the execution. And these points need to be understood. Mop-ping-up operations are what engage most scientists throughout their careers. They constitute what I am here calling normal science.
Kuhn, Thomas S. (2010-10-22). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (pp. 23-24). University of Chicago Press – A. Kindle Edition.
No part of the aim of normal science is to call forth new sorts of phenomena; indeed those that will not fit the box are often not seen at all. Nor do scientists normally aim to invent new theories, and they are often intolerant of those invented by others.1 Instead, normal-scientific research is directed to the articulation of those phenomena and theories that the paradigm already supplies.
Kuhn, Thomas S. (2010-10-22). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (p. 24). University of Chicago Press – A. Kindle Edition.

Kuhn’s entire book is the philosophy of science, specifically, the paradigm and paradigm shifts. He is one of the current masters of the subject. So, you can read the entire book and see what you think. However, for our purposes, we are probably better off with Pigliucci’s definition, which is only 1 paragraph.

DaveN

Witches

Witches:

A while back, I read the book Malleus Maleficarum -
Kramer, Heinrich (2009-06-25). Malleus Maleficarum: The Hammer of Witches (Kindle Locations 52-55). Red and Black Publishers. Kindle Edition. The translation is by Montague Summers

The state trials of accused witches, under the guidance of the Malleus Maleficarum, continued in Europe from 1486 until the beginning of the 18th century.    In England, laws against witchcraft were still being passed as late as 1604.  The last execution for witchcraft in England took place in 1716, and laws against witchcraft were not finally repealed until 1736, during the reign of King George III.  Scotland executed its last witch in 1722. Poland did not repeal laws against witchcraft until 1776.  The last witch to be executed in western Europe was in 1782, in Switzerland; the last execution in eastern Europe was in Poland in 1792. The American colonists, who were under English law from the time of their founding, were enthusiastic witch-hunters.  The most famous example, of course, are the Salem witch trials of 1692, in Massachusetts, which resulted in over 200 arrests for witchcraft (all of them ending in convictions).  Fourteen women and five men were hanged; one man refused to cooperate with the court and was killed under torture (he was “pressed” to death by having heavy rocks piled onto his chest).
Kramer, Heinrich (2009-06-25). Malleus Maleficarum: The Hammer of Witches (Kindle Locations 38-47). Red and Black Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Estimates of the number of people in Europe (nearly all women) who were executed (usually either by hanging or by burning at the stake) during the 250-year reign of the Malleus Maleficarum range from just 3,000 (the Catholic Church estuimate) to over 9 million (a figure quoted by some modern Wiccan groups), but most authorities conclude from historical records that somewhere between 50,000 and 75,000 people were legally executed for the crime of witchcraft.
Kramer, Heinrich (2009-06-25). Malleus Maleficarum: The Hammer of Witches (Kindle Locations 52-55). Red and Black Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Today, the Malleus Maleficarum is virtually forgotten.  Yet, the rise to political power of the fundamentalist Christian Right in the United States indicates that the spirit of witch-hunting remains with us still.  It can be found in the wave of “satanic cult” hysteria that swept the United States in the 1980’s and 90’s.  Fundamentalist religious figures and televangelists claimed that as many as 60,000 people had been kidnapped, ritually abused, and then sacrificed by Satanic cults.  Christian “therapists” used hypnosis and “memory regression” to uncover “repressed memories” of Satanic abuse in thousands of cases, and a number of “survivors” went on lucrative speaking tours to fundamentalist churches and Christian groups and wrote books to tell their story (all were later exposed as fraudulent).  The hysteria reached its peak in 1983, when accusations of child abuse were made against the McMartin Preschool in Manhattan Beach, California. 
Kramer, Heinrich (2009-06-25). Malleus Maleficarum: The Hammer of Witches (Kindle Locations 56-64). Red and Black Publishers. Kindle Edition.

And if it is asked how it is possible to distinguish whether an illness is caused by witchcraft or by some natural physical defect, we answer that there are various methods. And the first is by means of the judgement of doctors. See the words of S. Augustine On the Christian Doctrine: To this class of superstition belong all charms and amulets suspended or bound about the person, which the School of Medicine despises. For example, doctors may perceive from the circumstances, such as the patient’s age, healthy complexion, and the reaction of his eyes, that his disease does not result from any defect of the blood or the stomach, or any other infirmity; and they therefore judge that it is not due to any natural defect, but to some extrinsic cause. And since that extrinsic cause cannot be any poisonous infection, which would be accompanied by ill humours in the blood and stomach, they have sufficient reason to judge that it is due to witchcraft. And secondly, when the disease is incurable, so that the patient can be relieved by no drugs, but rather seems to be aggravated by them. Thirdly, the evil may come so suddenly upon a man that it can only be ascribed to witchcraft. An example of how this happened to one man has been made known to us. A certain well-born citizen of Spires had a wife who was of such an obstinate disposition that, though he tried to please her in every way, yet she refused in nearly every way to comply with his wishes, and was always plaguing him with abusive taunts. It happened that, on going into his house one day, and his wife railing against him as usual with opprobrious words, he wished to go out of the house to escape from quarrelling. But she quickly ran before him and locked the door by which he wished to go out; and loudly swore that, unless he beat her, there was no honesty or faithfulness in him. At these heavy words he stretched out his hand, not intending to hurt her, and struck her lightly with his open palm on the buttock; whereupon he suddenly fell to the ground and lost all his senses, and lay in bed for many weeks afflicted with a most grievous illness. Now it is obvious that this was not a natural illness, but was caused by some witchcraft of the woman. And very many similar cases have happened, and been made known to many.
There are some who can distinguish such illnesses by means of a certain practice, which is as follows. They hold molten lead over the sick man, and pour it into a bowl of water. And if the lead condenses into some image, they judge that the sickness is due to witchcraft. And when such men are asked whether the image so formed is caused by the work of devils, or is due to some natural cause, they answer that it is due to the power of Saturn over lead, the influence of that planet being in other respects evil, and that the sun has a similar power over gold.
Kramer, Heinrich (2009-06-25). Malleus Maleficarum: The Hammer of Witches (Kindle Locations 1853-1874). Red and Black Publishers. Kindle Edition.

I understand that there were other ingenious ways to determine if someone was a witch, which aren’t covered in the book. Usually, it involved torture of some sort and if the accused was innocent, she died, if guilty, she survived. For instance, you tie the accused up, then throw the accused in water. If the accused drowns, then the accused was innocent, if not, then a witch.

One other interesting point was made to me by a historian, that in the American colony, the witches were usually women who’s husbands had died, and so, could not protect them. When the witch was executed, the witches property was taken by the village.

DaveN

Science vs Religion

Science vs Religion

What is science?

The first assumption I will make is that scientists in 2014 CE are pretty much the same as scientists in 500 BCE. This might not be a good assumption, but, I don’t know how we would test the idea, so, I will stay with it. Also, there is a difference between technology, which can be acquired without understanding, and science, which requires understanding.

Science:

Requires a leisure class, in other words, it requires people who don’t need to produce anything in order to make a living. In ancient Greece, there were philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle and Aristophanes who could spend their day philosophizing instead of producing something. Today, in Canada, the US, and Europe, there is a group of people called professors who ostensibly teach classes, but, in fact, spend their time doing research. In many cases, this is just as well, since many of them are very poor at teaching. In this situation, students learn by determination, not by the teaching skills of their teachers. I used to say that I needed either a good teacher or a good book, both would be ideal.

Iconoclasts. You want to destroy icons.

Intense curiosity. Most people stop being curious sometime between teenage and 30 years old. There are some who remain curious for their entire lives. I should think that a scientist would stay curious.

You need some method to preserve and communicate your ideas and discoveries to others, so that knowledge will accumulate. In the contemporary earth, this means, writing, though I suppose you could include other forms of media. The internet and search engines help in this area, though this is a very recent innovation. Shamans would not fit this definition, since they passed on their knowledge by mentoring rather than writing it down. Shamanism is typically pre-literate. A priest or minister would use writing to pass on knowledge. At least that is the way I see it.

Religion Science
Based on Revealed truth, untestable Possibly theoretical, but eventually, tested empirically
Authoritarian / punish opposition Free Thinker / iconoclast
Suppress curiosity Curiosity, Lifelong Curiosity
Durable medium possible, but not necessary Durable medium necessary

In my opinion, religion and science are diametrically opposed to each other. When religion wins, science loses and the reverse.

For a scientist to also be religious, sets up a warring camp, which compartmentalizes thinking. The scientist goes to work wearing the religious hat. Upon arrival, he or she sets aside the religious hat, and puts on the scientist hat. When you go home at night, you take off the scientist hat, and don the religious hat. It would be better, IMHO, to simply not put on the religious hat at any time. I personally find it difficult to keep switching back and forth.

One of the hallmarks of science is to deconstruct a problem and to remove the unnecessary parts. Which parts can be removed and still have it work. For example, fire requires kindling, ignition and an oxidizer of some sort. A match (kindling), in an oxygen environment (oxidizer), when struck (ignition) will ignite (rapidly oxidize). If I remove the oxidizer, ignition will not occur.

Science requires people, who have leisure time, are willing to go against authority and are curious enough to pursue their ideas. If I said that they also need a Christian weltanschauung(worldview) and they need to be married with children, we would then begin the process of deconstruction. If the scientist has no time to pursue these interests, science won’t take place. If the authorities successfully suppress original thinking, science won’t happen. If people lack curiosity, science won’t happen. If the scientist isn’t Christian, it makes no difference, science will still happen. If the scientist isn’t married with children, science will still happen. Religion and married with children aren’t necessary conditions for science to take place. A further interesting problem is whether religion and married with children makes science more difficult.

Science and religion are incompatible. I suspect that married with children does not prevent science; however, religion does make science more difficult, since it requires mentally shifting back and forth between the 2 weltanschauung.

Another aspect of the scientific method is to empirically test the theories one produces. If A causes B, then removing A will prevent B from happening. Another aspect is that if there is B, then there must also have been an A. If B happens without A, then A probably did not cause B. For example, if Christianity caused science, then, finding science without Christianity would disprove the causal connection.

DaveN