Talk:Science as religion/Darwinism

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I don't think it's appropriate to be using the Alba article as the primary jumping-off point for this discussion. After reading some of her other stuff, I have trouble taking her seriously. Perhaps an article from a philosophy journal or textbook would be more appropriate? The Alba article seems to be pretty poor quality material to base an entire course on. -zach

I selected that article because it is an example of the kind of thing that gets said and it influences people (such as voters and politicians), even if it would be hard to find similar comments in a scholarly source. --JWSchmidt 18:57, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
Actually, the text is so bad it makes for a good introduction and motivation. The main points are not well laid out and argued one-sidedly at best. This forces the avid student to try to distill those first! Usually with good texts this is all laid out and must therefore never be done explicitly. Pedro.Gonnet 18:54, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
Ah, ok I see. I guess I would agree then.


here's a good article on speciation


www.trueorigin.org may have some more intelligent articles relating to evolution, etc., though I don't think any of them take a specifically sociological perspective. The Jade Knight 03:29, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

yeah, its also got a lot of information if you want to learn about young-earth creationism. (The preceding unsigned comment was added by 206.99.249.218 (talkcontribs) )
Yes, I meant as an anti-evolution source which (primarily - it is a collection of articles) treats subjects on a very scientific, analytical level. Some of the articles have clear religious overtones, or discuss direct Christian concepts. The Jade Knight 21:09, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Perspective[edit]

One should be careful with the spectrum of this project; is it exclusively limited to the US? How are these subjects treated in other countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East? The Jade Knight 03:29, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

The topic is rather moot here in Switzerland, where we still have a division of Church and State. The same goes for the rest of western Europe. Darwinism (or Darwinian Evolution) is taught in school and if you want to hear creationism you can go to church. For some reason people don't get as emotionally involved as in the US regarding many religious topics. I guess for most people religion or faith is a very privat thing and they won't fuss too much about what others believe or want to believe, as long as they are not bothered by it -- which is quite contrary to the attitude percieved in the USA... --Pedro.Gonnet 11:40, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
The US also has a clear division of Church and state—the US has no national religion, unlike several European nations. However, what a division of Church and State means is very, very subjective, as the past 300 years of Western history has shown. The Jade Knight 21:14, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
Something to keep in mind—many Americans would be outraged at the kind of taxation to support churches that occurs in many of the cantons of Switzerland, violating (in American minds) the separation of Church and State. The Jade Knight 20:51, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
This is a bit OT, but the taxation is not mandatory. If you are not a member of a given denomination or you simply don't want to pay, you don't pay a cent. The money collected is re-distributed directly to the religious groups. The whole scheme is more of an administrative process for the churches to collect funds. As far as I know there is no government money going to churches directly, i.e. by financing of "faith-based" initiatives. --Pedro.Gonnet 11:14, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
I know, but this would still be overstepping the line in the minds of most Americans. My point is simply to illustrate how concepts of the separation of Church and state differ—if nothing else, many Swiss cantons have official religions (which is a violation of the American concept of separation of Church and State). The Jade Knight 00:00, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
To put this back to the original discussion, I personally consider this topic to be entirely US-centric. The public dispute over evolution and intelligent design in public schools is, as far as I know, exclusive to the US. 121.208.144.199 09:42, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Compassion as both religion and evolution[edit]

As I started studying education to become a middle school teacher, I encountered the Constructivist concept of a "community of knowledge." I have spent a significant part of my life in forests, and I could seen the "community of knowledge," or all the collected information be it the knowledge of the animals about food sources, or the information about growth in the DNA of all the beings as a "natural community of knowledge." As I followed this line of thought, I came into contact with lot of recent research linking evolution to the development of morality. Much of the research showed that the natural morality that we get from evolution is vastly more sophisticated than the morality that is handed down by, say, a judge in a court of law. This natural morality was referred to as "natural affection" Darwin, and he wrote about it extensively. People who study Darwin say his work extends Aristotle's, especially with regard to the concept of Eudaimonia, which roughly translates to "having a good life through moral living." Darwinism appears to me to be linked to compassion, which to me is what all religions have common; compassion is also biologically healthy for those who feel it a lot.

A lot of people wonder aloud what the fuss is all about, including me. I see no conflict between evolution and religion; I see science simply as an explanation of religion.

Possibly to strengthen what I am trying to say, it is literally science in the form of social science that has brought me to church. I attended a service with a friend mostly to be social, and in this tiny church, I found nearly every aspect of an ideal and healthy society as described by the Constructivists in this church, so I keep going back -- though I have to fake the praying part a little ;)

My research was for my final paper for my undergraduate work: "Spiritual Darwinism". My professor/mentor, Alan Mandell, credited me with "tuning his head around" on many issues surrounding empathy, and also the moral nature of the natural world.--John van v 02:43, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

I wonder if you have read any of the work of Edward Wilson. In his book, "Consilience", he discusses some of the issues that you mention above. --JWSchmidt 03:25, 1 August 2007 (UTC)


about the title[edit]

This is a disgrace! Evolutionary biology at the university level is absolutely NOT concerned with discussing religion. Evolution is hard science. Don't believe me? Search evolution in PubMed and see the vast quantities of non-philosophical literature that result. I suggest that "--- as religion" articles be moved to their proper locations in philosophy, sociology, or religious studies. Doing so will encourage actually helpful entries populate the Evolutionary Biology section. -Tom (The preceding unsigned comment was added by 132.206.33.49 (talkcontribs) 22:40, 29 September 2007)

Concerns[edit]

My biggest concern with this continuous discussion is how people seem to confuse tools with dogmas. Science is merely a tool, an extension of what we think we know currently, and it is questioned, adjusted, and adapted to suit peoples' needs and new discoveries. Science is used by both the secular, and the ecclesiastic. So, where is the issue here? Also, Darwin's ideas are not "isms". I mean, who ever heard of natural selectionism? The addition of the "ism" suffix is a recent development. Only aspects of his ideas are even relevant today- look at his theories from then and compare them with what we currently know. This is the beauty of science as a tool. Darwinian evolution might be a more appropriate term, but it's more palaeontological in the sense that its old propositions have steadily been replaced. With which theological philosophy can you see everyone, from the layman all the way up to the leadership, changing the dogma of the faith in question to suit what is currently known? I am no theology major, but I certainly question, for it is my nature. For hundreds of years, people have either accepted a creationist world view, or they have looked to other ideas for whatever reason (not my place to question them doing so). The ideas themselves have never truly been in conflict, except when I look at how I went through nearly twelve years of grade school never learning anything about evolutionary concepts because of all the conflicts with teaching it, which we're seeing yet again. I do not see anyone questioning mathematics- would you remove math from school because someone called it a religion? To a mathematician, his world is numbers. But that does not mean it is his religion- he could thank God every night for being able to express the beauty he sees with a language which is utterly human (I do not see any squirrels writing algebraic equations). Math is also a tool. Do you see what I see? --Amanda 07:11, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

The whole page needs some attention and organization. There could be an introductory paragraph that tries to put the idea of "darwinism" into historical perspective. I agree that we need good learning resources that tackle fundamental issues about the nature of science....issues like making the distinction between the scientific method and particular scientific theories. I think it is clear from the history of science that dominate patterns of scientific thought get established and they can be deeply flawed while being essentially immune from criticism. I think Wikiversity should make clear that scientific study of biological evolution is an on-going process in which it is important to question all assumptions. We might be able to give a detailed account of how science works and how scientific ideas change through time and compare that to the way religious dogmas are not questioned and persist through time. --JWSchmidt 18:26, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree with the opinions you express and ideas you propose herein. Personally I feel like this is one of the big issues- there is a lot of misunderstanding of science, what it is, and so on. One of the questions you raise for me is, aside from the current evolution debate, which is questioned every single day, what aspects of science are so hard wired that they may need to be questioned for, well, not being questioned? One of the fundamental foundations of science is to question everything- leave no premise or treatise unturned. So many individuals in scientific fields exist so that there should be so many critics that, like Tolkien had said once some time ago, people might even be expected to venture to criticize even the critics. However, I have to add that, you make a good point in stating that theology is a stasis. Like Charles Marsh once said, "...language is a primary element of culture, and stasis in the arts is tantamount to death...", but, theology in all its various expressions persists (and I do not bemoan this). In fact it is a remarkable thing about it. --Amanda 23:08, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
We have a page called What is science?. It would be fun to have a Wikiversity page about the history of scientific ideas that became dominant memes within scientific communities but were later found to have been misguided. Maybe we need a leaning project such as Science: question everything. --JWSchmidt 18:04, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
  • I wonder to what extent it was Wallace's book "Darwinism" that brought the term "Darwinism" into popular use. --JWS 15:03, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
For a counterpoint take a look at How To Defend Society Against Science by w:Paul Feyerabend. He makes a distinction between the ideal of science and how it is implemented and taught. Another similar essay is The End of Science? Contrast those two references with these: Is Science a Religion? and Is Science Religious? All of these references are more about science in general, rather than Darwin, and might be better discussed at Science as religion.--mikeu 13:35, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
If we are doing point, counter-point I think Carl Sagan's formula of "skepticism and wonder" is a far more realistic strategy than Feyerabend's dream of engineering society to give equal time for astrologers and scientists. I suppose Feyerabend enjoyed his free plane ticket to Europe and had a good laugh that he could earn access to the fruits of science while at the same time trying to equate it with mysticism. I suspect that philosophers such as Daniel Dennett, who prefer realism over anarchism, will have far more lasting effect on philosophy, science and society. Note: I'm having trouble getting this to load to my browser. --JWSchmidt 15:11, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

overhaul[edit]

This whole article needs to be overhauled for it to be of use. My impressions are
1) The premise is inflammatory
2) It's not honouring to any deity of choice to compare him/her to a mortal
3) It's not representative of the vast literature produced by scientists of faith and none who have grappled with this question
4) And so the end result is a mess. It'd better off being deleted and replaced by something that has taken more thought to produce. Graham Hartland 16:38, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

It would be interesting to see if the Ben Stein's new film (Expelled) will renew interest in this topic and bring some revival and improvement to it. The Jade Knight 09:05, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
Graham: feel free to craft an alternative approach. The "read and discuss" format is just a starting point. The existing learning resource is a reaction to the claim that ideas from science are sometimes treated like unquestioned religious dogma. Honor for deities is not a goal for this learning resource. Rather than try to delete the resource, why not provide alternatives? --JWSchmidt 23:24, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
To anyone editing this article: please also feel free to improve the article with a complete rewrite. Do not feel pressurised to set up shop on another page or accept earlier edits. If an editor feels that a resource is of such low quality that it must be improved or rewritten, then they may express that opinion and look for consensus on that, or they can even be bold and simply go right ahead. An editor may also request deletion of an article if they have reason and try to seek consensus for that at Wikiversity:Requests for Deletion. --McCormack 04:45, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
  • This is a discussion group, a type of resource that should probably not be at the top level in mainspace. It has become a coatrack for drive by comments and claims. I'm going to prune it, and intend to move this to some resource subspace. "Darwinism" is not a subject in a university catalog. As has been pointed out, it's a polemical term. —Abd (discusscontribs) 01:40, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

Darwinism?[edit]

The word itself is pejorative. Evolution theory has changed vastly since Darwin and this word is almost 100% used by IDists & Creationists in order to further the idea that it is a religion. Also, this is almost solely confined to the USA. TheresaWilson 02:51, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

(I don't understand how this wiki works, I'm afraid, would my comment have been appropriate on the "resource" page which seems to be used for comments?) TheresaWilson 09:15, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
It's a strange one! Here, the "resource" page (equivalent to an "article' on Wikipedia) is itself a discussion, so I think your comment was more in line with the discussion, rather than the discussion around the discussion. :-) You could always copy and paste your initial comment to the resource page - it's clearly something which could do with expanding. Cormaggio talk 10:34, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, Cormaggio, I think that I will. This is only my second day around here , so I'm still learning! TheresaWilson 14:02, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
I saw your remark on the Colloquium. In my country, Holland, religion is being scorned by the majority of society nowadays. There is no chance whatsoever that the religious critique on Darwinism will get root. However, one of the ministers of te Dutch Labour Party, a well-known atheist, has said that socialism has its sources in the christian morality. I guess he is referring solely to liberation theology and not to anti-evolution theory propaganda. I think that Europe has been lost to christianity without any chance to become christian again. I am hoping for a kind of taoist humanism. I am a (mainstream) atheist, by the way.--Daanschr 16:39, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

IP chatter[edit]

In the section, "Is Christianity the religion of public schools?" an IP re-added a comment that was apparently sarcastic chatter. It was a response to a very old IP comment:

It depends on your culture, my dear. (The preceding unsigned comment was added by 200.89.69.67 (talkcontribs) )

This was the new comment, and it blanked the attribution and obscured it.

If it's a Christian school... Yes. If it's not a Christian school... No. Although it depends on your culture, my dear and upon the area of which you live combined with the colour of your hair.....and also the technique in which you salsa....left foot, right foot, right foot, hip swivel.. and then to finish it off my dear sassy hand flick. Also depending on who your partner is, because you will then end with a dip instead of a sassy hand flick. Don't forget the synchronized salsa ultimate punch, otherwise the religion of public schools will be converted to machiavellianism.”

The original comment was a bit obscure. Obviously, any religious bias or institutionalization of a "public school" will depend on the "public" or the government of the society running the school. That's perhaps what the original BON meant. The extended comment by the new BON doesn't add to the page, so I've reverted it again. --Abd (discusscontribs) 19:28, 9 April 2014 (UTC)