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Old 02-29-2016, 05:16 PM   #2621015  /  #101
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Well, I think it's probably two-way. Most things are.
man, I wish I could use this sort of logics when talking about causal effects in science. I would never have to do a controlled experiment again.
You don't have positive feedback loops in palaeontology, then?
My point is that positive feedback loops are a thing you have to demonstrate. You have to get rid of things like autocorrelation, common causes, etc. It's very hard to argue that monotheism is the main cause of science when the very foundations of modern science and logic were established by polytheists. It's very hard to argue that monotheism is the main cause of scientific progress when monotheistic societies then and now are intellectual backwaters that are totally unable to function because they believe that god intercedes on the individual's behalf. It's very hard to argue that monotheism is the main cause of scientific progress in Europe specifically when Christianity was, for much of that time, effectively polytheistic if not straight-up animist. It's very hard to argue that wealth and literacy aren't the common cause when changes in wealth and literacy in both directions dramatically effect societies' involvement in scientific exploits AND how philosophically complex arguments for god become. In fact, those increasingly complex, nuanced, and ad hoc arguments for the existence of God seem to be a stopgap in the erosion of religious belief in general in countries with strong literacy and good technical advancement.

We can line up a series of natural experiments here, even, to see whether monotheism improved the scientific capability of societies.

Russia converted to monotheism arguable in 988. You don't see a lick of science in Russia until the 18th century, when Peter the Great starts investing a shitton of money into science and really starts limiting the power of the church. Scientific innovation then is tightly connected to the economic and political gains of the Russian empire in both Europe and Central Asia. This occurs alongside a flourishing of Russian art and music, as well as a general trend towards libertinism and atheism. There's also a replacement of a fully hereditary aristocracy system with one that allows some degree of social mobility, allowing the formation of both bourgeoisie and bureaucratic classes.

No way there to align the uptick in scientific productivity with monotheism.

Similarly, American science doesn't really turn up until the 19th century, when it seems to be tied to western expansion, industrialization, and massive waves of immigration. But you only really see successful scientific programs in northern industrial centers with lots of money, rich patrons, and class mobility. The South and West fail to get involved in rich scientific research until quite late in the game.

And so on.

Basically, any actual case studies you look at will show that monotheism is not a driver of scientific innovation at all. There is no feedback mechanism. Monotheism is more adaptable in that it is easier to implement nuanced philosophical arguments for why god exists even though miracles never happen and god never personally intercedes in the day to day life of anyone, but that doesn't mean that monotheism is actually driving things like literacy or scientific innovation. That's just goofy.
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Old 02-29-2016, 06:24 PM   #2621035  /  #102
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I remember a discussion on IIDB, way back in the day, about the same topic (whether Christianity and/or monotheism helped science develop).

I suggested that in order to answer that question, you'd need some sort of experiment (perhaps like the natural experiments that teeth! just mentioned). Otherwise, the discussion is just a battle of conflicting intuitions.

I was smacked down for that. Accused of "scientism".

One of the historians there tried to explain to me that the thesis in question was rather more modest than the one that would need an experiment to answer it: That is, the question isn't whether Christianity had to help science along, but merely whether it did. That's pretty close to the wording he used IIRC.

I still can't make head or tail of it. Yeah ok, you can point to scientific advancements happening in places that happened to be Christian-dominated or whatever, and you can dig up all kinds of cool stuff about the excuses scientists-who-happened-to-be-Christians made for thinking that the universe somehow works in a way that doesn't look like it's subjected to constant (or indeed any) divine meddling. But that's a far cry from supporting the idea that the religion actually helped.
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Old 02-29-2016, 08:10 PM   #2621060  /  #103
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I know Christians, my father among them, who know very well that the weather can be predicted and that lightning is just an electric arc manageable by way of lightning-rods, but the same people will pray for rain or no rain and interpret someone being hit by lightning as God's punishment. It is not even that they keep these in different compartments; the need doesn't even arise.
Yup. Anyone who believes in the power of prayer, at all, is someone who believes in a deity that will interfere with the natural course of events, on a whim, at any time, regardless of which laws of physics it breaks.


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And so, I expect, would happen with a lot of other things. Even today's YECs, with their insistence on literal Biblical truths, draw the line at creation; very few lunatics even argue for demons causing illnesses.
Hate to break it to Pingu, with her attempted boosting of "non-Christian monotheisms", but Islam is full of people who think illnesses are caused by the djinn.
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Old 02-29-2016, 08:12 PM   #2621063  /  #104
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The One God, in special circumstances, like rampant wickedness, or someone begging especially humbly for some small thing, occasionally, temporarily, breaking his own law
This would be an interesting god, but not the Christian one, who keeps everything in motion and takes care of sparrows and hairs on one's head; biblical references available upon request. The current, castrated idea of the Christian god is already a result of science, evolved through the theological quest for an unfalsifiable and still relevant god, and believed only by the intellectual fringe with enough brains to be embarrassed.
Yes, for example clocks showed that a god actively upholding his laws and animating the universe was unnecessary and silly. God became a watchmaker.
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is not really the same as many gods of about equal power constantly trying to break each others rules, or just piss each other off for fun.
I know of no pantheon where gods are responsible for parts of physical law, so breaking each other's rules is more of mischief within the rules. What examples do you have in mind?
Why do gods have to be responsible for natural law at all? Why even call them laws?
My point was that one singe supreme lawmaker has less need to break his own rules than several arguing gods with conflicting interests want or need to break each other's rules. So, the rules of this one supreme god can be seen as more dependable, and finding and knowing these rules would not be entirely futile.
Yep.

And even better, if you can square it with Free Will and Why Is There Anything Rather Than Nothing, is one god fewer.

And if you can't, then one is the optimum.
That's rather tyrannical and certainly not democratic. Why not have a whole panel of gods where they discuss reality and come to a consensus? Monotheism would seem to be non-inclusive.
No, it's not very inclusive. It excludes all gods but one. Only atheism is more exclusive.
One can not exclude what does not exist.
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Old 03-01-2016, 12:06 AM   #2621093  /  #105
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And so, I expect, would happen with a lot of other things. Even today's YECs, with their insistence on literal Biblical truths, draw the line at creation; very few lunatics even argue for demons causing illnesses.
Hate to break it to Pingu, with her attempted boosting of "non-Christian monotheisms", but Islam is full of people who think illnesses are caused by the djinn.
or djews.
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Old 03-01-2016, 12:14 PM   #2621151  /  #106
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dmossad?

(nah, doesn't work)
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