Separation of Church and Hospitals

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Discussion by: nycdave
There is much debate and activity in the issue of the separation of church and state but why not the separation of church and hospitals? As I type this discussion I am sitting in the labor and delivery ward with my wife, in a hospital named after a biblical saint. It occurred to me that religious affiliation with medical science seems contradictory. The doctors here do not perform faith healing. The doctors do not prescribe holy water and there are no religious shrines in the hospital that are used for medicinal purposes. Why do we accept this unholy/un-scientific union?

80 COMMENTS

  1. Many catholic hospitals will not perform certain medical procedures, like getting one’s tubes tied during a scheduled c-section. Also, a priest will come visit you. btw, secular hospitals are better in their handling of newborns. At least in my experience. Good luck with everything.

  2. I’ve always wondered that myself. Honestly, I have no idea. It is unnecessary. It’s great that various religious organizations want to sponsor and fund the construction of hospitals, but it only provides them with the camouflage that is needed to continue to surreptitiously inculcate people with absurd, atrocious ideas. There are plenty of other poetic, secular names that they could come up with.

    • In reply to #3 by petermead1:

      I’ve always wondered that myself. Honestly, I have no idea. It is unnecessary. It’s great that various religious organizations want to sponsor and fund the construction of hospitals, but it only provides them with the camouflage that is needed to continue to surreptitiously inculcate people with abs…

      from my local hostpital

      CONSTABLE WING
      Last Updated by Pause on Jun 26, 2009
      GROUND FLOOR:
      Maternity and Gynaecology;
      Ultrasound.

      FIRST FLOOR:
      Aldham Ward;
      Fordham Ward;
      Lexden Ward;
      Stanway Ward;

      SECOND FLOOR:
      Copford Ward;
      Great Tey Ward;
      Theatres.

      not a saint in site…

  3. That, did not merit, your conclusion. I did not find that rational and balanced to the true and fair view status.

    My reasons are as below:

    In the Municipality I come from, Irirnjalakuda we had 4 hospitals, when I was young, one was run by the State Government and the other by Catholic Nuns, and by 2 doctor families. The Mission Hospital , Pullur (Catholic Nuns) was most popular and we go there with more confidence than to the other 3. It had better facilities and a wide range doctors and better nursing care. Every day there was Mass, in the morning and patients and bystanders can attend them, if they want, they did not discriminate the patients on their religion, or faith – the only criteria was “are you sick ?” and they also treated one’s who had less money to spare.

    This town is part of Kerala State in India, where for much less per capita income, the indicators on Male: Female ratio, life expectancy, literacy, infant mortality, education, is as high as Australia – making its human development index ranking as high as developed western societies (search for Amarthya Sen – Nobel Prize winner – on Kerala Development Model on google).

    In our institutional history, Church based on the parable of the Good Samaritan, had provided leading health and nursing care when the State could not reach or deliver or invest. However when the State succeded in competing with Church in delivering services of better quality, the Church’s Mission exit from the Hospital business. The fact that the Hospital bears the brand name of a biblical saint, confirms that the original investment and leadership was from the Church or related bodies at the Hospital on subject ? I think it is fair that the investor is given rewards and recognition if the contracted service is of good quality. Whether it is State, Church or other type of investors. Do you know why your wife preferred the hospital in the name of Biblical saint, instead of one without ? Availability ? Confidence ? or ? . Do you sometime feel certain “gratitude” while at the ward ? I find less rationality in your , ” Why do we accept this unholy/un-scientific union? ” in the context of the delivery ward context and reason.

    Church has a long and wide history of investing in science, education, medicine, human dignity, justice; even though some for certain period of time in history did abuse them like a State, other private and public enterprise. East India Company under the British Empire, first came to India to trade, then it took a Gandhi and several people’s life and pain to gain independence from the British Commonwealth state. State and Church have done crimes against humanity, State would have killed and abused more than the Church ? We can get the statistics, to further our reason and science behind this, I will also look for the data.

    Doctors are not expected to prescribe holy water to their patients anyway, if the patient receives the sacrement of “Annointing the Sick” then only a Priest or an Elder person administers the same, but that is usually when the doctor states, the final hours have come and doctor has nothing more to prescribe and is always at the freedom of choice of the patient or attorney. My father died of Cancer, a week before the doctors of Amala Cancer Hospital advised us that there is nothing more to prescribe than pain management. The hour before his death, he asked for the sacrement of “Annointing the Sick”, the catholic priest from the parish came and gave him at his request, and that of his family. Is there an unholy/un-scientific union ? instead I think that was within his freedom of choice.

    Johnson Edakulathur, Belmont, WA.

    • In reply to #4 by Johnson Edakulathur:

      My point is that it seems like a conflict of interest for the church to operate a medical facility, which is the most practical application of scientific knowledge and advancement. Debaser71 brings up a perfect example of how this conflict of interest can manifest when a medical institution run by a religious organization refuses to perform a medical procedure based on religious ideology and not scientific or medical reasons. What motive does the church have with its involvement with science and Medicine? It cannot be for purely unselfish reasons when the church imposes a measure of control.

  4. Upon admission, hospitals in the US collect all sorts of demographic and personal data that also includes the patient’s religious preference. I can understand this to a point. However, what I’ve seen, time and time again, is that newborns or children are automatically assigned the religion of their parents rather than “none.” You would not believe how often the religion of the child changes depending on which parent brings him/her to the hospital! Fathers are much less likely to care about the accuracy of the answer than mothers. I say this cautiously as I haven’t done a study, but I’ve witnessed this thousands of times. Also the term “none,” in our local hospital for instance, is a mnemonic that means ‘no religious preference” which visiting chaplains see as fertile ground rather than a positive rejection of religion. Patients must say agnostic or atheist to be given a chance at not being visited by a faith-head volunteer while convalescing.

    I think this is a subtle form of behavior that supports indoctrination of children and the opportunity to stamp it out looks good.

    I have been working to change this locally with some minor successes. The new electronic medical record (EMR) requirements being put into place (as a result of ObamaCare) have default programming about religion that I would like to see changed to say, “patient’s parents are X” when the child is under 18yrs old. It appears our local hospital is going to follow my suggestion and put the time in to augment the default wording by writing a different code before implimentation. That takes a little time and money (to have a staff person do this). I would rather see the change happen at the source.

    I know the RDF Team has been focusing on the rights of children and the ridiculousness of labeling a toddler a “Catholic child” or a “Muslim child” but I have not heard the Team focus on the reality of hospital admission stat collections yet. I think this is a major area that needs exposure and would urge the RDF Team to look into helping change the default programming found in EMR products being sold to hospitals all over the US now that don’t automatically allow for the delineation between adult and minor when recording religious preference.

    I don’t think I’ve ever asked Richard Dawkins to do anything, but I’m asking now.

    Mike

  5. Part of the catch is hospitals in the 1800s were built only by religious organisations, not governments. Even when governments take over hospitals they leave religious trappings in place, such as chapels, alcoves with the “virgin” Mary and her baby or statues of Jesus suffering on a cross.

    To me these are similar to photos of the holocaust since they represent the church’s persecution of gays and the Catholic insistence people bare unbearable suffering to please Jehovah at end of life.

    This decor leaves the status of the hospital in limbo for the patients.

    In the USA, churches still run hospitals and impose their dogma on non Catholic patients. I suppose the idea is you are free to go to some other hospital if you don’t like the one the ambulance took you to. I don’t think churches that impose religious dogma on non-Catholics should get any government funding. That should be illegal.

  6. The NSS have been in the news quite a lot recently regarding their campaigns against state funded chaplains, but this is one area where I disagree – as long as all faiths are fairly represented (and on the provision that there is a Humanist ‘chaplain’ as well), it would seem to cater for the emotional aspect of well being quite well. We would be doing the public a disservice if we reduced hospitals to merely places for physical treatment – but in the same regard, I think we should only allow ‘emotional’ services on the stipulation that they do not claim to be anything else (to prevent anti scientific or pseudoscience in medicine), so no faith healing or homeopathy.Otherwise where would this end? Could any treatment that made the patient feel better (inc. a placebo) have this result extrapolated and then claimed that it is an objective fact that it can really physically cure people? It’s not a road I want to go down!

  7. There are a lot of naive comments here. Not all hospitals are run by Catholics. LDS and JW run quite a few. And their motive is very, very simple: money. While these churches operate as “non-profit” corporations, the people at the top rake in millions. For a complete expose of this racket, see the article by Steven Brill in Time magazine, now I believe on line. It is eye-opening. For example, one hospital charges $194 for a device which can be purchased at Amazon for $9.99. There is a reason U.S. hospital care is the most expensive in the world and it has nothing to do with its quality.

  8. I agree with you. It does seem bizarre. I was recently in a hospital, a highly-regarded place with fine facilities and great consultants, and it seemed so incongruous to see occasional holy statues adorning the landings, religious pictures here and there, and that the hospital is named after a saint and has chaplains. No doubt many of the scientific people working there must also find it weird.

  9. I am confused about a couple of things that I am hoping someone can help me with. Since when did having a religious affiliation mean that you did not or could not appreciate science? From my perspective, the only difference between an atheist scientist and a theist scientist is their view of the origin of the universe. Why is a theist scientist, adhering to scientific process, seen as a contradiction? Theists all over the world rely on the same scientific process as atheists to examine, explore and understand the universe we live in. On the surface it seems like more of a contradiction for evolutionists to expend the resources we do on hospitals meant to keep the sick, weak and elderly alive (this statement is meant only as a philosophical one).

    • In reply to #12 by walking monkey:

      I am confused about a couple of things that I am hoping someone can help me with. Since when did having a religious affiliation mean that you did not or could not appreciate science? From my perspective, the only difference between an atheist scientist and a theist scientist is their view of the origin of the universe. Why is a theist scientist, adhering to scientific process, seen as a contradiction?

      Theism is based on “faith-thinking” (belief without proof). Science is based on evidence based methodology. The two thought processes are incompatible. “Faith thinkers”, therefore have to reject science, or compartmentalise their mental concepts to separate the contradictions. There is always the risk that a “faith-thinker” who has learned science, will flip back to unevidenced faith based decision making. This is very common where scientific celebrities endorse ludicrous faith-claims in areas of science outside their specialism. These faith-thinking processes do not necessarily have to be applied to religious questions. There are quite a few examples of religious scientists and engineers as AGW deniers.

      Theists all over the world rely on the same scientific process as atheists to examine, explore and understand the universe we live in.

      There are examples of them flipping to “faith-thinking” decisions, as soon as they move off their familiar specialist ground, or if some dogma conflicts with the science – as in evolution denial, abortion, or contraception.

      On the surface it seems like more of a contradiction for evolutionists to expend the resources we do on hospitals meant to keep the sick, weak and elderly alive (this statement is meant only as a philosophical one).

      Not really. Many social animals which rely on each other, help their fellows when those are having difficulties.

      • What exactly is “faith thinking”. I hear the phrase bantered about but I don’t entirely understand the concept. It seems to me that where the origin of the universe is concerned both side have to exercise considerable faith. Neither will ever know for sure because there were no witnesses. Nor is there any scientific test that we can use to verify/deny. All either party has at their disposal is evidence that leads to an unverifiable conclusion. This is what struck me as I read “The God Delusion”. Too often Dr. Hawkins had to rely on the words believe, think and feel. At one point he even called into play to scientific notion of “luck”
        Another point to consider is that evolution, abortion and contraception are philosophical discussions. Not scientific discussions.
        In reply to #14 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #12 by walking monkey:

        I am confused about a couple of things that I am hoping someone can help me with. Since when did having a religious affiliation mean that you did not or could not appreciate science? From my perspective, the only difference between an atheist scientist and a theis…

        • for the record I don’t agree that religious people are automatically suspect when it comes to the practice of science or medicine. As some posters appear to claim.

          In reply to #17 by walking monkey:

          What exactly is “faith thinking”. I hear the phrase bantered about but I don’t entirely understand the concept. It seems to me that where the origin of the universe is concerned both side have to exercise considerable faith.

          one side a lot more than the other…

          Neither will ever know for sure because there were no witnesses.

          this is nonsense often promulgated by creationists and such like. Your theory rules out most of astronomy, paleontology, evolution and history as sensible areas of research.

          We have no living witnesses to the Battle of Hastings. No one has seen Pluto complete an orbit. Or a uranium atom complete one half-life.

          Nor is there any scientific test that we can use to verify/deny.

          read upon it. Look at the distribution of galaxies. Look at the H:He ratio in the universe. Look at the 4K background radiation.

          there is no doubt the universe was smaller and denser in the past. The furthur back we go (looking into the distance is the same as looking into the past) the smaller and more dense it becomes. Extrapolating back it gets very small and very dense. This is all very well evidenced.

          How do you think the universe happened? Created by God in 4004BC? No evidence for this I’m afraid.

          All either party has at their disposal is evidence that leads to an unverifiable conclusion. This is what struck me as I read “The God Delusion”. Too often Dr. Hawkins had to rely on the words believe, think and feel. At one point he even called into play to scientific notion of “luck” Another point to consider is that evolution, abortion and contraception are philosophical discussions. Not scientific discussions.

          no. Evolution is a fact. It is not subject to political expediency. Abortion and contraception are part fact based and part politics.

          • In reply to #65 by nick keighley:

            for the record I don’t agree that religious people are automatically suspect when it comes to the practice of science or medicine. As some posters appear to claim.

            I don’t think anyone said “all” or “automatically”. A split tyre will not “automatically” blow out on a motorway, but are you going to take the chance?

            The extent to which theists are medically suspect, should be proportionate to their tendencies to “faith-thinking”, and the extent to which they subscribe to dogmas which contradict or conflict with individual rights, scientific evidence, or good medical practice.

            For once Dr Hawkins is being too tactful!

            BTW:- Can we sort out the “Dawkins – Hawking” confusion?

          • In reply to #67 by Alan4discussion:

            For once Dr Hawkins is being too tactful!

            BTW:- Can we sort out the “Dawkins – Hawking” confusion?

            I spotted that when I reviewed my post! In my defence I was only repeating what the post I was replying to said.
            I suppose it’s just barely possible that Hawkins said this…

          • In reply to #65 by nick keighley:

            for the record I don’t agree that religious people are automatically suspect when it comes to the practice of science or medicine. As some posters appear to claim.

            I think there are some who we can take as “automatically” unfit to be associated with advice on medical matters!

            HIV patients told by Pentecostal pastors ‘to rely on God’ – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23729684

            Some young HIV patients are giving up their medicine after being told by Pentecostal Church pastors to rely on faith in God instead, doctors warn.

            Medical staff told the BBC a minority of pastors in England were endangering young church members by putting them under pressure to stop medication.

            Healing is central to Pentecostalism, a radical belief in the power of prayer and miracles.

            Among 10 doctors who said they had encountered the problem in the last five years, 29 of their patients had reported being put under pressure to stop taking medicine and at least 11 had done so.

            The doctors and health professionals reported a variety of cases:

            • Some said they had dealt with parents who felt under pressure to stop giving their young children their HIV medicine – and some had actually done so

            • Others were breastfeeding mothers with HIV who refused the medicine that would stop the virus being passed onto their babies

            • Some were young people, making the decision for themselves

            The healthcare workers also reported that some patients had been told by their pastors they would be healed by prayer or by drinking blessed water.

          • In reply to #65 by nick keighley:

            for the record I don’t agree that religious people are automatically suspect when it comes to the practice of science or medicine. As some posters appear to claim.

            Hi Nick,

            Science seeks to understand via hypotheses how facts and evidence work in natural systems, while Religion invents justifications for unevidenced, illogical and contradictory starting conclusions, and seeks to punish, mentally or physically, those who don’t do what they’re told.

            In medicine, practitioners learn how to aid patients with effective methods proven to work by science, and primarily to ‘Do No Harm’, while theism does not use facts or proven methodologies, and in reality causes much harm, both to its own adherents and to anybody else it can affect.

            I think that, since religious people have to ignore, alter or reinterpret their dogmatic beliefs to really do science, or else manipulate scientific reality using faith-thinking to support their delusions, that makes them suspect when working in science, or medicine, or education, or church, or government, etc….

            Science may be imperfect, and its discoveries can be misunderstood or misused by others, but it’s still far better at improving the human condition than any other methodology ever conceived.

            I do not want any person of faith to have anything to do with my life, or my child, or my social systems, or my laws…. Mac.

    • In reply to #12 by walking monkey:

      I am confused about a couple of things that I am hoping someone can help me with. Since when did having a religious affiliation mean that you did not or could not appreciate science? From my perspective, the only difference between an atheist scientist and a theist scientist is their view of the ori…

      I think you might be confusing Deism with Theism. Theists believe in an interventionist god who has rules which you must follow, if you do so you must believe in scripture (unless you are prepared to risk his wroth). Deists are unlikely to be particularly bothersome as the origin of the universe has little to do with day to day medial care (although it does reveal sloppy thinking which I for one don’t welcome in people with my life in their hands).

      In terms of a hospital I don’t particularly think this is relevant however.

      When the Catholic Church opposed Galileo, was it because they didn’t believe he was right in supporting Copernicus? I suspect not, because all they had to do was look through a telescope themselves and see that the phases of Venus and Mercury PROVED he was right.

      No, it was political. They could not allow the population to see that they could be wrong or their authority would mean nothing. It is the same problem now with hospitals. Do you seriously believe the current Pope (or any of the recent Popes) believe/ed Abortion say, in the case of ectopic pregnancy is really murder? In that position (Pope) we are dealing with highly educated individuals. So why do we see Catholic (and other religious) hospitals refusing to treat these sorts of conditions.

      You may say, they do where I come from (perhaps some do), but why doesn’t the Catholic church change its position publically on these things if that is the case. Condoms are okay, It is okay to have an abortion if the mothers life is at risk. It is okay to assist pain free death in consenting adults at a time of their choosing etc. No in every developed nation or Earth the Catholic church opposes reform in these areas.

      They will not change their position not because they are true believers (I think), but rather because their standing among the true believers in their congregations would be worth naught. Look at the Anglican church, the more they move towards the light (rationality) the more they loose membership to more evangelical, charismatic churches. While the Catholic Church maintains their dogmas, which I am arguing they must to survive, the more they will be forced to let those interfere with science based medicine and the developing humanism in our societies.

      This is why they should not be allowed near sick people.

      On your point about evolution meaning we shouldn’t care for the sick. You are wrong on a number of counts there. a) Caring for the other guy is in our own self interest in general. b) Many of us would not exist if it hadn’t been for some medical intervention in our ancestors (both ancient and recent). So there is specific self interest in many cases. c) Astronomers KNOW that metorites have been linked to mass extinctions in the past. This does not mean they advocate mass extinctions now.

      • No, I have a fairly good grasp on the difference between theism and deism. I would take exception to your assertion that theism has an interventionist god whose rules you must follow. This is a little overly simplified. I think it would be safer to say that “religion” has created rules that you must follow. Faith based theism can be whittled down to two rules, love God and love others as yourself. I know we would disagree on the former. I am confident we would agree on the latter.

        As to the Catholic church I cannot comment to their motives. I suspect that at least some of your claims may be accurate.

        In reference to caring for the sick you right:

        a) Caring for the other guy is in our own self interest in general. How is investing billions of dollars (per year) to prolong the inevitable in the sick/weak/elderly better than allowing the diseases to run there course and invest the money in feeding children in third world countries. Moreover, if sickness and disease are tools utilized in the natural selection process to strengthen the species why would you want to cure them. It seems to be a contradiction.

        b) Many of us would not exist if it hadn’t been for some medical intervention in our ancestors (both ancient and recent). So there is specific self interest in many cases. I would agree. But what you are communicating is, because the medical intervention benefited me the expense was worth it. Translated, the money to ensure my existence was a better expenditure than feeding a starving child.

        c) Astronomers KNOW that metorites have been linked to mass extinctions in the past. This does not mean they advocate mass extinctions now. I am not sure how this point fits into your discussion so it is best I leave it alone.

        In reply to #16 by Reckless Monkey:

        In reply to #12 by walking monkey:

        I am confused about a couple of things that I am hoping someone can help me with. Since when did having a religious affiliation mean that you did not or could not appreciate science? From my perspective, the only difference between an atheist scientist and a theis…

        • In reply to #21 by walking monkey:

          Faith based theism can be whittled down to two rules, love God and love others as yourself. I know we would disagree on the former. I am confident we would agree on the latter.

          You asserted that you cannot see any conflict between thesism an science. You may have a fuzzy theisim (or know thesists) that is all nice and mild and doesn’t believe the very speicific texts of the Bible or Koran or any other religious text, Your two rules are your interpretation. The texts leave open many other very specific commandments and examples to back up many a theological evil. It is the TEXT and Dogmas made by theologens that are speicifically why catholic hospitals cannot let go or abortion even in ridiculous cases like ectopic pregrnacy where the fetus is doomed anyway. So my definition stands because it relies on the reality of the practice of religioins runnning hospitals NOW. As for you taking offense, unless you are a catholic director of a hospital I don’t see how.

          a) Caring for the other guy is in our own self interest in general. How is investing billions of dollars (per year) to prolong the inevitable in the sick/weak/elderly better than allowing the diseases to run there course and invest the money in feeding children in third world countries. Moreover, if sickness and disease are tools utilized in the natural selection process to strengthen the species why would you want to cure them. It seems to be a contradiction.

          Caring for the other guy includes in my book the third world. Evolution equiped us with brains capable of keeping us alive. Using those brains to cure oursleves and others is one of the reasons we are here. On the savana we didn’t wiat until we were stronger than lions, we used our big brains to invent spears and gang up on the hunters.

          b) Many of us would not exist if it hadn’t been for some medical intervention in our ancestors (both ancient and recent). So there is specific self interest in many cases. I would agree. But what you are communicating is, because the medical intervention benefited me the expense was worth it. Translated, the money to ensure my existence was a better expenditure than feeding a starving child.

          Is that the only option?! How about we stop spending hundreds of billions of dollars on war in the middle East for a resource we are at some point going to have to stop using anyway? Would that not feed many millions of starving children. How about the catholic church stop telling lies about contraception and start allowing women in these counties some reproductive freedom so they can afford to feed their families? This is pure and simple a strawman.

          c) Astronomers KNOW that metorites have been linked to mass extinctions in the past. This does not mean they advocate mass extinctions now. I am not sure how this point fits into your discussion so it is best I leave it alone..

          No let’s not. Knowing how something happened eg. Asteriods have impacted the Earth in the past. Or Evolution casued, and casuses untold missery in the animal kingdom does not mean I need to embrace it as a lifestyle. Or in the case of asteroids choose to embrace our fate, I would hope you could see the benifit in attempting to develope ways of moving killer asteroids out of Earths path. In the case of evolution I don’t have to accept every way it has functioned as a lifestyle. I don’t release hyeana’s in my back garden to chase my children to see if I can push evolution along. Evolution is how we are like we are, it shaped us one horrible death at a time. Understanding this does not mean I need to embrace it as a guiding principle in health care or anything else.

          • Actually, I have a very firm theistic worldview which may be interpreted as naive or simplistic but it works for me. I also have an equally firm appreciation of the scientific process. The amazing thing is that I have yet to encounter a law of science (verified by empirical evidence) that contradicts my theistic/biblical worldview. I do struggle with scientific theories that are promoted as fact. (see post #17) Even Dr. Hawkins, in “The God Delusion”, while mildly condescending is only prepared to say the God most probably does not exist.

            I applaud science. I am not the slightest bit intimidated by it, nor do I want to squelch the scientific search for knowledge. Seeking to understand the universe as created/evolved is an exciting frontier. Dark matter/ Boson Higgs particle/ string theory while admittedly beyond my capabilities in many cases are endeavors that I encourage and applaud. Why would we not want to understand our world and universe better. So on this note keep up the great work. Most great successes come from inadvertent failures in other areas.

            The concept of “faith thinking” has been bantered about. I think the definition of “belief without evidence” is probably the most workable. My only question is, are we talking about empirical evidence or inferential evidence. Empirical evidence leads to scientific laws that can be verified. Inferential evidence leads to more questions and I would submit, “belief without evidence.”

            One of the common threads that has permeated almost every discussion that I have read speaks to the abuses of organized religions. It is a legacy that I am not proud of. Horrific events have been perpetrated, all in the name of God. My theistic/biblical worldview causes me to evaluate each of these events based on a sound hermeneutic. I ask the tough “WHY?” questions. When I don’t get good answers I ask tougher questions? I only ask that you allow me the same thought process that you allow the astronomer. That is, recognizing that an event has happened in the past doesn’t mean that we agree with or want to promote the events or its outcome.

            When speaking of abortion and the catholic church I can only provide my perspective ( I am not Catholic). Their perspective is founded on the process that life begins at conception (a concept that I think we would all agree on) and that all life is precious. When we start to interact with scenarios for when we would entertain abortion we start to diminish the value of life. I know this poses the question of whose life is more valuable, the mother’s or the unborn child’s, so we choose to err on the side of protecting those who cannot protect themselves which validates the principle that all life, mother and child, is precious. The scary part is that when we open this door and allow for exceptions we cannot close the door. All we can do is open the door further. This is how abortions committed to protect the mother evolve into an acceptance of late term and partial birth abortions.

            I will close with a thank you to those who have taken the time to interact with my ideas. I knew we would not agree and that’s OK. You have forced me to think through some of my ideas. And in some cases throw out some of my arguments. I joined this discussion because I wanted to be challenged. I have no patience for silent acquiescence. So thank you for patients and push back.

            1:2, the chances that God exists, either he does or he does not.
            1:25852016738884976640000 the possible combinations of our 23 chromosomes to line up for life as we know it.

            (In reply to #22 by Reckless Monkey:

            In reply to #21 by walking monkey:

            Faith based theism can be whittled down to two rules, love God and love others as yourself. I know we would disagree on the former. I am confident we would agree on the latter.

            You asserted that you cannot see any conflict between thesism an science. You may hav…

          • In reply to #26 by walking monkey:

            Actually, I have a very firm theistic worldview which may be interpreted as naive or simplistic but it works for me. I also have an equally firm appreciation of the scientific process. The amazing thing is that I have yet to encounter a law of science (verified by empirical evidence) that contradicts my theistic/biblical worldview.

            No, that’s likely true, you cannot disprove a negative. And as discussed there are many interpretations of the biblical texts which are mild and harmless and while not dispovable by science still make truth claims about the universe that you have failed to support. So provided you’re prepared to admit that there is no more evidence for your beliefs than unicorns we can agree there is no scientific dis-proof of them either.

            Were I part ground with you more strongly is in your suggestion that there is evidence that implies the existence of god. I know you signed off and appreciate you engaging with me (genuinely). But I’d really like to press you a bit further as I can only go on what you’ve written here I can only assume you are refering to your comment about chromosmes

            1:2, the chances that God exists, either he does or he does not. 1:25852016738884976640000 the possible combinations of our 23 chromosomes to line up for life as we know it.

            Now here you’ve made a massive error of misapplied statistics. You are taking the result of organisms that have been subjected to natural selection for billions of years and presenting that as evidence of a deity. It is nothing of the sort. This arragement is not a fluke each gene has been selected again and again because it increased survival chances of the organism to allow it to reproduce before it died. In addition to this there are billions of billions of organisms most with different genome to the others this is not unlikely but very definitely going to happen if you have say sex. This is a suffling of the genes each child has a shuffling of the genes of their parents. So very few organisms have exactly the same genome as the other. Even bacteria gain mutations along the way making them non-identical to their cloned copies. Now if you wish to calaculate the actual odd of life arrising on Earth you cannot do it until you discover exactly how it was done. Until then such statistics are completely meaninless. If you know exactly how life arose and therefore what the odds where then go an publish a scientific paper and pick up you nobel prize.

            I do struggle with scientific theories that are promoted as fact.

            Which are they?

            As for the slippery slope arguement. The problem with religion and the religious is instead of us going through these thorny issues for oursleves churches are attempting to control everyone else based upon their views and this is leading right now to much uncessesary suffering. Its time we grew up and started to address our differences without the theological interference.

          • Thanks for the feedback. I didn’t think I was attempting to disprove a negative. Admittedly, I am not really sure what you mean. All I was stating was that I have an equally firm appreciation of my theistic worldview and the scientific process. Where science is concerned I like empirical evidence. It is something concrete that I can grasp onto. I have no issue with inferred evidence but I find that it only leads to more questions. These questions are good because they propel the scientific process further.

            I would submit to you that there is as much empirical evidence to prove the existence of God as there is unicorns as there is the evolutionary process. These is lots of inferential on the first and third point (we would probably disagree on the first) but nothing empircal. That is why at best Dr. Hawkins can only offer that God most probably does not exist (see The God Delusion). I appreciate and respect his honesty on this point. As an evolutionist, you can look at the inferential evidence but a some point (if you are honest) you have to change from “I know” based on empirical date to “I believe” based on inferred evidence.

            This last point was brought to my attention as I read The God Delusion. What really caught my attention, aside from the condescension and insults was Dr. Hawkins’ use of the words think, feel and believe instead of know.

            Referencing the #’s at the end of my posting my point was fairly simple. Where God exists the options are fairly simple, either he does or he does not ( there is nothing empirical about this – it is a belief statement). I am comfortable making that claim. The second # is the potential combinations that our chromosome structure had to go through for us to get to where we are. I have no idea what the odds are life evolving on earth. I do know that there was only 1 chance out of 25852016738884976640000 for our current chromosome structure to align itself as we know it. It doesn’t prove or disprove the existence of a deity. It is only a very large number outlining the probability that life evolved.

            I’ll take your reference to the Nobel prize as a good natured barb. I’ll leave that award to greater minds than mine.

            I do agree that religions at times sometimes interfere when and where they shouldn’t. The benefit of this interference is that, if offered with a humble spirit (often not) it can cause us to look at situations from a different perspective. At this point I can only provide my own approach using the example of abortion. It won’t be a surprise that I disagree with abortion. But I respond to this situation in three ways. The first is that I help fund a home that provides alternatives should a mother choose. Secondly, I offer my opinion when asked. Thirdly, when I encounter a lady who has had an abortion I show her a biblical agape love. One of my favorite teachings of Jesus is, “let him who has no sin cast the first stone.” (forgive the paraphrase)

            Thanks for the input. It makes me stronger. It makes me do more research and ask tougher questions. Also, thank you for suppressing the urge to respond with name calling and insults.

            In reply to #32 by Reckless Monkey:

            In reply to #26 by walking monkey:

            Actually, I have a very firm theistic worldview which may be interpreted as naive or simplistic but it works for me. I also have an equally firm appreciation of the scientific process. The amazing thing is that I have yet to encounter a law of science (verified by…

          • In reply to #36 by walking monkey:

            Thanks for the feedback. I didn’t think I was attempting to disprove a negative.

            First I genuinely appreciate you engaging us on this site, it shows good faith on your part to be prepared to challange your own beliefs and it gives me a chance to like you to sharpen my arguements. Having said that…

            No I wasn’t suggesting you were trying to prove a negative but if god doesn’t exist then he/she/it is a negative (non-existent) science can keep looking under rocks and god could always be hiding around the next one. It is therefore the faithfulls responsibility to prove the existence not expect science to dis-prove it. So I was stating that even if science has failed to dis-prove something it means little as they have also failed to dis-prove unicorns and every other deity ever dreamt up.

            I would submit to you that there is as much empirical evidence to prove the existence of God as there is unicorns as there is the evolutionary process. These is lots of inferential on the first and third point (we would probably disagree on the first) but nothing empircal.

            You’re wrong here, I assume you are making the mistake of assuming because we don’t see whole species transition (due to our short lifespans) that therefore evolution can only be infered. Not so.

            1) we have masses of transitional fossils showing exactly what Darwin predicted.
            2) Our genome shows very clearly the path we have followed. That is as species seperate their DNA diverges obviously if a new species emerges it will have more in common with a group that shares a common ancestor. take chimps and us, we diverged from our common ancestor about 6 million years ago. This means chimps are very closely related in terms of DNA. This does not have to be so. You could get a chimp with the same genes but shuffled in a different way. Some genes could for example appear on chromosome 16 instead of 12 and they would still make a chimp. The empirical proof that we and chimps share a common ancestor is that our genes and the chimps occur in the same order on the same chromosomes. With one exception. Chimps have an extra chromosome, this in the past has been used to argue that we are not related. The evolutionist suggested that a pair of chromosomes fused. What would we expect to see if this was true? We would expect that the genes would be the same (a few differences we are about 98% similar) at the site of fusion on both sides of the fuse point. This was a falsifiable claim that if tested and found to be false would have brought evolution into question, however the squencing of the genome found that indeed this was the case again providing empirical evidence that this is exactly what happened. Similarly the predicted sequencesof evolution based upon the fossil record have been born out by the genetics.
            3) evolution has been tested in the lab using bacteria before our eyes.
            4) evolution is proved every time a species of insects develops immunity to pestercides, viriuses like HIV change to evade treatment and so on. I could go on and on needless to say there is plenty of empirical evidence to prove evolution is true.

            A good scientific theory should be falsifiable – that is I should be able to tell you how to dis-prove it if it is wrong. This is why we do experiments. In evolution there are many ways to falsify the whole theory. One would be to find organisms like mammals (comparitively recent) occuring in the fossil record before bacteria. That this has never happened is very strong evidence in favour of evolution.

            So as much as I can know anything I can know evolution is true. While being happy to toss it out if someone can find evidence that contradicts it.

            This last point was brought to my attention as I read The God Delusion. What really caught my attention, aside from the condescension and insults was Dr. Hawkins’ use of the words think, feel and believe instead of know.

            Okay, so a couple of things here. One, Richard Dawkins does have some jabs at the religious, however considering the way religions have treated and in many cases continue to treat those that disagree (I know you are not one of these) that is mild compared to say burning at the stake so I hope you can take it, but its only criticism no-one is saying you can’t return fire if you feel the need, Richard is far more interested in the truth than protecting religious senibilities. As forhis use of think, feel and believe, this was a personal opinion and arguement. This is entirely appropriate. He does not claim to know there is no god just that the evidence is non-existant.

            …Where God exists the options are fairly simple, either he does or he does not ( there is nothing empirical about this – it is a belief statement). I am comfortable making that claim.

            As am I he either does or does not, same applies to faeries, unicorns, Santa Claus so it doesn’t say much.

            The second # is the potential combinations that our chromosome structure had to go through for us to get to where we are. I have no idea what the odds are life evolving on earth. I do know that there was only 1 chance out of 25852016738884976640000 for our current chromosome structure to align itself as we know it. It doesn’t prove or disprove the existence of a deity. It is only a very large number outlining the probability that life evolved.

            I’m afraid you’ve missed my point entirely. I’ll try to explain in a different way. You cannot suggest the odds of the current combination of genes in our chromosomes as any particular order as the odds of life having existed, for one you have a slightly different genome to any other person who has ever existed (unless you are an identical twin). What were the odds that ‘you’ ever should exist? your father contributed at least 3million sperm at your conception, your mother provided one of 300 000 eggs any delay in the moment that your conception occurred would have meant a different 3million sperm, possibly a different egg. Now work backwards to the odds of your parents even meeting, and their parents. The odds of you existing are stupendously low yet here you are. This is because the odds of you existing are low the odds of someone existing are very good. So your use of the statistics are meaningless. To define the odds of existence you need to first know how what is needed for a self replicating organism, it probably wasn’t DNA, it may have been RNA or something else entirely. We don’t know, until we do we have no way of calculating any sort of odds. Looking at modern DNA of a complex organism has had billions of years to evolve is completely meaningless, until you know how life actually started. It may be (I suspect likely to be) inevitable given the circumstances.

            I’ll take your reference to the Nobel prize as a good natured barb. I’ll leave that award to greater minds than mine.

            No so much a barb at you as trying to highlight that people who present information about odds of chromosomes as if this was necessary for life to form are claiming more absolute knowledge than they have the right (I’m assuming you got this from somewhere). No scientist is claiming to know how life started. By placing odds on its likelihood of evolution based upon number of genes in the chromosomes they are by definition claiming knowledge that they have a right to, they haven’t done the work, if they had they’d have a noble prize.

            As for abortion, I’m not particularly in favour of late term abortions either, I do think at a certain point a foetus deserves a chance to the life it has been given through no choice of its own. However, there are situations where the mothers life is threatened by the pregnancy, or threatened by not having an abortion. A good case in point is a mother having a cancer that required chemotherapy. If she carries the child full term the cancer advances and she dies, if she has the chemo the child dies but she may live. This is a difficult situation that I feel I have no right to decide on, this should rightly be between the mother and her family and her doctor to wiegh up. When the Catholic church (or any other) jumps in and starts throwing guilt around or in fact refusing treatment I believe they commit murder.

            I am happy not to throw insults at you or anyone else, I occasionally slip or get a bit acid, but it is not in my nature. Most on this site are the same. What you should also remember for most of us this site allows us to vent to people who understand our situation often surrounded by people trying to control our lives and fearing being a social outcast if we admit to atheism.

            All the best
            I do agree that religions at times sometimes interfere when and where they shouldn’t. The benefit of this interference is that, if offered with a humble spirit (often not) it can cause us to look at situations from a different perspective. At this point I can only provide my own approach using the example of abortion. It won’t be a surprise that I disagree with abortion. But I respond to this situation in three

          • More food for thought. Thanks. Keep up the good work. Not sure what your training is but if you are a scientist/student keep asking the tough questions and never give up trying to understand the universe that we live in. I hope you find the scientific answers that you are looking for. My instincts tell me you will only find more questions but that’s not all bad. From an academic perspective I cannot think of a better legacy to leave the next generation then the answer to a few tough questions and some even tougher questions for the next generation to wrestle with.

            In reply to #38 by Reckless Monkey:

            In reply to #36 by walking monkey:

            Thanks for the feedback. I didn’t think I was attempting to disprove a negative.

            First I genuinely appreciate you engaging us on this site, it shows good faith on your part to be prepared to challange your own beliefs and it gives me a chance to like you to sharp…

          • In reply to #26 by walking monkey:

            When speaking of abortion and the catholic church I can only provide my perspective ( I am not Catholic). Their perspective is founded on the process that life begins at conception (a concept that I think we would all agree on)

            This is nonsense! Life began with abiogenesis. Sperms and eggs are life just as cells are.

            and that all life is precious.

            No it isn’t! Single cells in Eukaryotes are not whole organisms. You kill cells with the same DNA as fertilised eggs, every time you brush skin cells out of your mouth when you clean your teeth!

            When we start to interact with scenarios for when we would entertain abortion we start to diminish the value of life.

            No we don’t! This is just a confused definition of “life” based on a wilful lack of understanding of biology.

            I know this poses the question of whose life is more valuable, the mother’s or the unborn child’s, so we choose to err on the side of protecting those who cannot protect themselves which validates the principle that all life, mother and child, is precious.

            Catholic dogmas have certainly killed mothers who needed abortions to save their lives, but again this is ignorance of biology.

            Zygotes, blastocysts, and early stage embryos are NOT “children”. They are bunches of cells – which often abort naturally without anyone even noticing. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002398.htm

            With deformed embryos, or where mothers are under-nourished or stressed, miscarriages can spontaneously occur as a natural process.

            The scary part is that when we open this door and allow for exceptions we cannot close the door. All we can do is open the door further. This is how abortions committed to protect the mother evolve into an acceptance of late term and partial birth abortions.

            This sort blanket approach is simply ignorant. I would argue against late term abortions, as most legislation in civilised countries does, but to try to slide this back to conception is just bigoted dogmatic ignorance. – Just like opposition to contraception and “Morning after pills”.

            Biology should be learned in biology classes or medical schools. Not from ignorant priests or preachers!

          • In reply to #26 by walking monkey:

            Actually, I have a very firm theistic worldview which may be interpreted as naive or simplistic but it works for me. I also have an equally firm appreciation of the scientific process. The amazing thing is that I have yet to encounter a law of science (verified by empirical evidence) that contradicts my theistic/biblical worldview. I do struggle with scientific theories that are promoted as fact.

            like evolution and the big bang… They ARE fact.

            “A theory isn’t just something a scientist thought up in the shower this morning”
            Issac Asimov

            (see post #17) Even Dr. Hawkins, in “The God Delusion”, while mildly condescending is only prepared to say the God most probably does not exist.

            I’d say he didn’t exist in the same sense as unicorns and pixies don’t exist. For once Dr Hawkins is being too tactful!

            The concept of “faith thinking” has been bantered about. I think the definition of “belief without evidence” is probably the most workable. My only question is, are we talking about empirical evidence or inferential evidence. Empirical evidence leads to scientific laws that can be verified. Inferential evidence leads to more questions and I would submit, “belief without evidence.”

            I don’t see the distinction. Could you give examples?

            One of the common threads that has permeated almost every discussion that I have read speaks to the abuses of organized religions. It is a legacy that I am not proud of. Horrific events have been perpetrated, all in the name of God. My theistic/biblical worldview causes me to evaluate each of these events based on a sound hermeneutic. I ask the tough “WHY?” questions.

            persecution of the Other. Abuse of power. Religion is just another tool that can be deployed by socipaths for their own ends.

            When speaking of abortion and the catholic church I can only provide my perspective ( I am not Catholic). Their perspective is founded on the process that life begins at conception (a concept that I think we would all agree on) and that all life is precious.

            why does God kill so many babies then? Every woman that has a late period is seeing the consequences of the murder of an innocent. Wow your God is nasty!

            When we start to interact with scenarios for when we would entertain abortion we start to diminish the value of life. I know this poses the question of whose life is more valuable, the mother’s or the unborn child’s, so we choose to err on the side of protecting those who cannot protect themselves which validates the principle that all life, mother and child, is precious. The scary part is that when we open this door and allow for exceptions we cannot close the door. All we can do is open the door further. This is how abortions committed to protect the mother evolve into an acceptance of late term and partial birth abortions.

            • danger to the woman’s health
            • severe handicap (suppose its going to be born without a brain)
            • less severe handicap (downs, spina bifida)
            • rape
            • incest

            I will close with a thank you to those who have taken the time to interact with my ideas. I knew we would not agree and that’s OK. You have forced me to think through some of my ideas. And in some cases throw out some of my arguments. I joined this discussion because I wanted to be challenged. I have no patience for silent acquiescence. So thank you for patients and push back.

            1:2, the chances that God exists, either he does or he does not.

            so there’s a 33.333…% chance that God exists. So are you willing to offer me 2:1 odds that a fair penny will come up heads? :-)

            1:25852016738884976640000 the possible combinations of our 23 chromosomes to line up for life as we know it.

            these numbers are always wrong. Usually both the maths AND the biology is wrong

            1. we have 46 chromosomes
            2. where did that number come from? Ah 23 factorial. How many ways to arrange 23 items!
            3. You are aware that chimps have 24 chromosomes (from memory). Are they not alive? Bacteria don’t even have chromosomes.
            4. small changes and selection is much faster than mere random shuffling. No biological processes works by random shuffling.
            5. many different arrangements would work just as well. In fact with chromosomes ANY of the 10^22 arrangements would work if we all used the same arrangement.

            do you believe any evolution occurred? Are mammals related in some sense? Rats and mice? beetles?
            how old is the earth?

            Faith based theism can be whittled down to two rules, love God and love others as yourself. I know we would disagree on the former. I am confident we would agree on the latter.

            I’m not sure I do actually. Some people aren’t very nice.

            I prefer “do as you would be done by”

        • In reply to #21 by walking monkey:

          No, I have a fairly good grasp on the difference between theism and deism. I would take exception to your assertion that theism has an interventionist god whose rules you must follow.

          Why? – There are thousands of versions of theism, and many of them are on record as having these interventionist requirements written into their dogmas and doctrines. Are you just using “faith-thinking” to deny this?

          List of deities

          Names of God

          This is a little overly simplified. I think it would be safer to say that “religion” has created rules that you must follow.

          Religions have! Thousands of rules which contradict each other, and over which they have killed people or fought wars.

          Faith based theism can be whittled down to two rules, love God and love others as yourself. I know we would disagree on the former. I am confident we would agree on the latter.

          These may be your interpretation, but there are thousands of other theist views and numerous versions of gods.

          As to the Catholic church I cannot comment to their motives. I suspect that at least some of your claims may be accurate.

          Why “MAY”? I pasted quotes from Vatican records. This is what scientists and historians using evidence do. Faith-thinking just makes stuff up or copies it according to how it feels, or how it suits the argument of the moment.
          That is the nature of “faith” – belief without evidence.

          Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence – http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Faith.

      • In reply to #16 by Reckless Monkey:

        In reply to #12 by walking monkey:

        I believe that the strategic mission of Catholic Church is to share good news revealed by Jesus Christ and later through the Holy Spirit, to the ends of the world and to all people. Hospitals, Education, Social Justice and similar projects came in as an extension of Good Samaritian and Christ expression of walk the love talk – on “I was a prisoner you came and consoled me” , I was thirsty you gave me water… These investments and efforts were relevant when the Church had sighted in its market, prisoners, thirsty, poor, naked, starved, denied justice, denied human dignity… The early christians at the time of Apostels sold their private property and pooled their resources for the church and its causes and was almost like a common body coporate with common wealth and mission than private wealth. Each for all and all for each kind of property rights and social capitalism. Almost like a later day communist capital structure with capital subscribed by all according to their means. The leadership, initiative and strategy was responding to the needs and the gap, between what was provided by the State and Society was sometimes filled in by Church from its ability to mobilise resources. Church also was competing with State to provide these goods and services. Much before private sector entered these services, church did invest and maintain and showed leadership in many marginalised societies across the diversity of the world. Church did not have political power all the time and in all the markets it was operating – rather political power came to it and off it went at different times in history. Entry and Exit from segments and markets was based on its internal strategy based on reason, need, meditative prayer and revelation by the Apostels, Church Fathers , Leaders, lay mission leaders, etc. The making of the Clergy was from among a non- clergy person, sometime even atheists. The dynamism of the Church vis-a-vis its internal and external stakeholders has to be really disclosed and acknowledged to have a balanced view, else the algorithm of rationality and scientific enquiry will be lost in this forum. Let us put the facts , history and impacts in right ratio, true and fair and balanced.

        Johnson Edakulathur , Belmont WA

        • At the risk of sounding obtuse, what point are you trying to make?In reply to #39 by Johnson Edakulathur:

          In reply to #16 by Reckless Monkey:

          In reply to #12 by walking monkey:

          I believe that the strategic mission of Catholic Church is to share good news revealed by Jesus Christ and later through the Holy Spirit, to the ends of the world and to all people. Hospitals, Education, Social Justice and simi…

  10. Walking Monkey: 1)A religious affilation doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate some types of science, but it means it’s a major flaw in one’s logic, so all your work will be suspect. BTW their view of the origin of the universe is just one result of that flaw, but there are many others. 2) It’s a contradiction that a religious hospital sole purpose is to prevent a theist from dying and going to heaven. Evolutionists believe that survival of fittest is the driving force behind evolution, but that has nothing to do with how we treat each other. That is a major flaw in your logic (an example pointed out in #1).

    • Is it a flaw in their logic because it violates a scientific process or principle or because it disagrees with the evolutionist standpoint? If the former I agree with you (any examples would be appreciated). I am also curious about the “types” of science that theists can and cannot appreciated. What is the basis for this claim. I would think that both sides, if following scientific process, would be able to appreciate all types of science. The conclusions/implications might be challenged but the process would be welcomed.
      Another point to consider is that religious hospitals don’t prevent theists from dying, they prevent all people (regardless from dying regardless of their presuppositions) from dying.
      Finally, millions of children die each year of starvation while billions of dollars are spent each year to hold off the evolutionary process (sickness, genetice flaws etc. used to weed out the weak) This seems like more of a contradiction.
      In reply to #13 by joe.piersons:

      Walking Monkey: 1)A religious affilation doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate some types of science, but it means it’s a major flaw in one’s logic, so all your work will be suspect. BTW their view of the origin of the universe is just one result of that flaw, but there are many others. 2) It’s a contra…

      • In reply to #15 by walking monkey:

        Is it a flaw in their logic because it violates a scientific process or principle or because it disagrees with the evolutionist standpoint? If the former I agree with you (any examples would be appreciated). I am also curious about the “types” of science that theists can and cannot appreciated.

        It depends on the nature of the theism, but at a very basic level there is a long tradition of RCC anti-science dogma over-riding scientific evidence, and “faith-thinking” over-riding logical reasoning.

        the First Vatican Council in 1869–70. The council has a section on “Faith and Reason” that includes the following on science and faith:

        • “9. Hence all faithful Christians are forbidden to defend as the legitimate conclusions of science those opinions which are known to be contrary to the doctrine of faith, particularly if they have been condemned by the Church; and furthermore they are absolutely bound to hold them to be errors which wear the deceptive appearance of truth.” (Vatican Council I)

        • “10. Not only can faith and reason never be at odds with one another but they mutually support each other, for on the one hand right reason established the foundations of the faith and, illuminated by its light, develops the science of divine things; on the other hand, faith delivers reason from errors and protects it and furnishes it with knowledge of many kinds.” (Vatican Council I)

        There have been some recent gestures towards accepting the science , but the official RCC position of “theistic evolution” (with its god-did-it intrusions) is not a scientific theory.

  11. Faith has no place in a medical environment, it is too dangerous. There have been several deaths in the last couple of years in the UK caused by religious crackpots persuading HIV sufferers to give up their medicines to show their faith in a god and that would lead to a cure by prayer. All it has led too is premature death.

    I am sure their will be some apologists trying to persuade us that hospital chaplains do good. Perhaps one or two do but on the whole the godheads in hospital are a nasty, arrogant menace. As a 50 plus year old haemophiliac I have a pretty good experience of quite a few hospitals and the ways they try to force faith on us.

    Up until I was about 30, all my admission notes registered me a C of E, despite the fact I have stated I was an atheist since I was six or seven, even my mother, a church-going christian, argued with the staff that I should be logged as an atheist but they always refused. Atheism was not on the form, neither was none, so they used to say “Oh I’ll put you down as C of E then.” This meant I had to fend off a variety of smug preachers and some frighteningly weird visitors from god. There also used to be Sunday services on wards which, if bed-ridden, you could not escape. On one orthopaedic ward, filled with people encased in various sorts of plaster and unable to walk, the preacher chose the theme “Take up thy bed and walk” for his sermon.

    Things have improved, I can now make sure I am logged in as an atheist and the god crew are supposed to stay away from me, although not all of them do as faith-heads see the ill and disabled as easy picking for their chosen religion – they do dot pray for us, the prey on us.

    A final point, in the UK hospital chaplains can earn more than senior nurses and in an NHS with serious funding issues this is a disgrace.

  12. A few years ago as I reclined in a hospital waiting for a triple bi-pass operation I was (unsolicited) approached on two separate occasions by ‘pastoral’ people. I would have enjoyed a conversation about my forthcoming possible demise and health concerns but as soon as I (tactfully) explained my non-theistic inclination they both retreated with a speed that would put Ursain Bolt to shame. Drove home the observation that the involvement of religions and health care is mainly an evangelical exercise, with little humanitarian motivation. There is a similar situation in religious based social care operations.

  13. It has been mentioned in various posts but not as a separate discussion. My gynecologist is through a Catholic hospital and I am starting to question whether I will stay with her for much longer. When I called the hospital to make an appointment for a mammogram, the phone recording commented something on the lines of healthcare within their spiritual views. I don’t really like what this implies. I am happy with the healthcare that has been provided; they are one of two hospitals in the area with digital mammograms. Fortunately I have the year to find new options.

  14. I live in a town where Catholic Health Initiatives made sure through bullying tactics that it was the one hospital for the entire county. They slowly gobbled up every outlying clinic, save for the one at the indian casino, so if you want local hospital care that’s all there is. I have had occasion to need the services of that hospital intermittently over the past 10 years and it takes a veritable hissy fit, repeated daily, to keep clergy members from visiting. I finally had to resort to staying in my room on one visit because if they catch you roaming the halls, you’re fair game.

  15. “Is it a flaw in their logic because it violates a scientific process or principle or because it disagrees with the evolutionist standpoint?”

    It violates a scientific process, one is revealed knowledge (non-scientific), the other is rationalized knowledge. That is, for revealed knowledge one starts with a conclusion, then finds evidence to confirm the conclusion, for rationalized knowledge one starts with the evidence then finds a conclusion..

  16. “1:2, the chances that God exists, either he does or he does not. “

    That isn’t correct, it like saying what is the probably an invisible martian is following you around all the time, it is not 1:2.

    • In reply to #29 by joe.piersons:

      “1:2, the chances that God exists, either he does or he does not. “

      That isn’t correct, it like saying what is the probably an invisible martian is following you around all the time, it is not 1:2.

      Then there is the question of which god to pick from the thousands available?

  17. “Their perspective is founded on the process that life begins at conception (a concept that I think we would all agree on) “

    All religions (ok at least the major ones, Jews, Christians, Muslims ) don’t. At least according to their scriptures. Old Testament laws always was eye for an eye, life for life, but if you hit a pregnant women and she miscarriage, you just had to pay a fine (Exodus 21:22), so obviously the old testament writers didn’t think a unborn child was equal to an individual person yet. Numbers 5:21-28 details a chemical abortion if the husband thought his wife’s baby wasn’t his. Muslims believe 120 days before fetus had a spirit, for Jews it was 40 days. In Numbers 3:15 God did not considered anyone under 1 month to be person (not counted in the census).

    That someone becomes a person at conception was never supported by any Ancient religion, I don’t believe it ever will be by society.

  18. Not just hospitals; there was the dentist to whom I went for a consultation who, before checking me out, asked if she could pray with me. Not wanting to alienate her, I agreed, thinking I’d get a moment of silent reflection . . . what I got was a 15 minute SERMON from her on staff ‘pastor’….

  19. In reply to #12 by walking monkey: “From my perspective, the only difference between an atheist scientist and a theist scientist is their view of the origin of the universe…”

    As the French say ‘Vive la difference”. This opposition in starting premises makes for huge differences in understanding everything that follows, since the underlying explanations are very different, highly contradictory, and in the case for creation, have no facts, evidence, mechanisms, and do not even amount to an hypothesis, never mind a scientific theory – the definition of which you don’t seem to understand, according to other parts of your Comments.

    WM Comment 15. “I am also curious about the ‘types’ of science that theists can and cannot appreciate.”

    I fail to understand how a theist can fully and deeply appreciate any branch of science, especially biology, since they believe that god created everything, ex nihilo, in a few days – and if you don’t believe this foundation of Christianity, you’re not a Christian. If you’re not a Christian, what flavour of deity-worshiper are you, since the same questions apply?

    WM Comment 17: “Another point to consider is that evolution, abortion and contraception are philosophical discussions, not scientific discussions.”

    You claim, as a theist, to be able to understand science, and yet you assert that evolution isn’t a scientific discussion? Well, that says it all, doesn’t it?

    WM Comment 17: “It seems to me that where the origin of the universe is concerned both sides have to exercise considerable faith.”

    There’s that goddidit mindset again. Theists have only faith to build their castles on, whereas science has many kinds of connected facts, experiments, theories and hypotheses to work with and, without faith, are getting very close to having just a few closely-connected explanations for the initial expansion of the universe from ‘nothing’ – and be very careful how you visualize this ‘nothing’….
    This also explains why Prof Dawkins – note the title and the spelling – uses words like “believe, think, feel and luck”, which are not at all unscientific to a rational non-theist mind.

    WM Comment 21: “if sickness and disease are tools utilized in the natural selection process to strengthen the species, why would you want to cure them.”

    Theists tend to personalize natural processes, and think of them as designed for a purpose or destination. Sickness and disease are a ‘consequence’ of evolution, which can lead to selection, but are not ‘tools used to strengthen’ the species. That’s what I mean by a goddidit-slave not fully understanding evolution….

    WM Comment 26: “I do struggle with scientific theories that are promoted as fact. Even Dr. Hawkins, in ‘The God Delusion’, while mildly condescending. is only prepared to say the God most probably does not exist.”

    Oh dear – theories aren’t facts, they explain how multiple facts work in larger systems. Are you sure you appreciate science like you claim? Prof Dawkins is being a scientist when he correctly states that gods ‘probably’ don’t exist. That’s basic honesty and integrity, but doesn’t imply that the probability is anywhere near 50:50, which you would know if you have read (and understood) more than 1 of his 17 books, all of which I have.

    WM Comment 26: “My only question is, are we talking about empirical evidence or inferential evidence.”

    Can you define ‘inferential evidence’. I think you mean something you thought about, then use the resulting conclusions as an assertion?

    WM Comment 26: “..the Catholic perspective on abortion is founded on the process that life begins at conception …. and that all life is precious.”

    First, as A4D pointed out, life is continuous, and has been since abiogenesis around 3.5 billion years ago. Catholics, by accepting the fact of evolution, need a time when the ‘soul’ is ‘injected’ by ‘god’, and popes have decided that’s a pretty good place, without any evidence of course. The other claim is that ‘all life is precious’, which takes a tumble when the baby is delivered, or is found to be a non-believer, or if it follows a different flavour of god delusion, or doesn’t support the Catholic business with blind faith – and money, of course – or is very naughty and needs to be sent to Hell, or executed by the ruling theocracy, or the faith-infected ‘secular’ government in many cases…..

    WM Comment 17: “What exactly is ‘faith thinking’ “?

    I think you need to take off your reality-filters and re-read your own Comments for some very clear examples of those deeply-flawed processes…. Mac.

    • How would you differentiate a theist and an atheist scientist if you were to remove any discussion regarding the origin of the universe? Provided both follow a generally adhered to scientific process you couldn’t.

      Regarding the “types of science.” You have managed to be condescending but you have failed to answer my question. I am still curious, what types of science am I not able to appreciate and perhaps more importantly, why can’t I appreciate them?

      Perhaps you can enlighten me regarding the rational meaning of believe, feel, think, and luck. As well, how are these words/ concepts utilized in the scientific process?

      What does ‘sickness and disease are a “consequence” of evolution” mean? Is evolution an active process that has a goal in mind to strengthen each species or is it a passive process? Maybe I am misunderstanding your point but it seems that the notion of “consequence” is a passive process. This thought process seems to contradict evolution as it has been explained to me.

      And here I thought “theories” caused us to ask questions and preform experiments. I always thought it was the results of these experiments, inferred and empirical, that help us to understand and link together facts in a larger system. (forgive the pettiness)

      The concept of “all life being precious” within the context of the abortion is referring to human life. Maybe I should have stated it more clearly. Every human life is precious from conception forward. I don’t care about a person’s race/religion/gender/scientific predisposition etc . . ., their life has value.

      I am still waiting for an explanation or example of “faith thinking.”

      Finally, take the time to read Reckless Monkey’s last response to my comments. Would that all parties, on both sides of this discussion, could follow his lead. He presented an apologetic that was concise, well thought through and genuine. But more importantly, he/she presented an argument that will give me opportunity to do more research and ask more questions.

      In reply to #37 by CdnMacAtheist:

      In reply to #12 by walking monkey: “From my perspective, the only difference between an atheist scientist and a theist scientist is their view of the origin of the universe…”

      As the French say ‘Vive la difference”. This opposition in starting premises makes for huge differences in understanding e…

      • In reply to #42 by walking monkey:

        How would you differentiate a theist and an atheist scientist if you were to remove any discussion regarding the origin of the universe?

        This is the difference between a deist and and an atheist. Theism comes with a lot of extra supernatural baggage and dogma.

        walking monkey @26 – My theistic/biblical worldview causes me to evaluate each of these events

        Provided both follow a generally adhered to scientific process you couldn’t.

        This presumes that theists follow scientific methodology in the proviso, so it is a circular argument which excludes the “faith-thinking” “biblical worldview”, from its definition! “Faith-thinking” is the essence of theism, so this begs the question about adhering to scientific processes.

        Theists using “faith-thinking”, are not following scientific processes. They are using intuitive assumptions and uncritically accepted dogmas, for at least part of their thinking (as explained @14 ). This is why their dogmas bring them into conflict with objective scientific evidence.

        The concept of “all life being precious” within the context of the abortion is referring to human life. Maybe I should have stated it more clearly. Every human life is precious from conception forward. I don’t care about a person’s race/religion/gender/scientific predisposition etc . . ., their life has value.

        This again begs the question, and is based on the lack of a clear definition of human life. As I explained earlier, @33, this is based on sloppy “faith-thinking” about mythical souls, and ignorance of biology. It was also explained @37.

        CdnMacAtheist @37 – Catholics, by accepting the fact of evolution, need a time when the ‘soul’ is ‘injected’ by ‘god’, and popes have decided that’s a pretty good place, without any evidence of course.

        Every human life is precious from conception forward

        This is just repeating ignorance from popes and preachers. Single cells at conception, or clumps of cells without brains, are not human beings. http://www.richarddawkins.net/discussions/2013/8/8/separation-of-church-and-hospitals#comment-box-33 Neither were pre-human ancestors millions of years ago.

        I am still waiting for an explanation or example of “faith thinking.”

        I gave you the RCC one which conflicts with both science and logical reasoning @18.

        http://www.richarddawkins.net/discussions/2013/8/8/separation-of-church-and-hospitals#comment-box-18

      • In reply to #42 by walking monkey:

        ‘How would you differentiate a theist and an atheist scientist if you were to remove any discussion regarding the origin of the universe? Provided both follow a generally adhered to scientific process you couldn’t.”

        Many theist dogmas don’t accept the actual age of the universe, the fact of evolution, the theory of evolution by natural selection, the fact that humans are evolved primates, or that there is apparently no need for any supernatural supervision in natural processes.

        Most theists don’t accept that there is no actual evidence for Jesus Christ, God, Allah, souls, heaven, hell, resurrection, miracles, limbo, purgatory, virgin birth, the flood, the garden of Eden, Moses, Abraham, or many other mythical stories that are proclaimed to be factual in the holy books.

        Therefore, theists are not following the scientific method, which uses a hypothesis to seek evidence to then construct a falsifiable explanation, as opposed to searching for facts to confirm an unfalsifiable assertion constructed without supporting evidence.

        WM: “Regarding the ‘types of science’. You have managed to be condescending but you have failed to answer my question. I am still curious, what types of science am I not able to appreciate and perhaps more importantly, why can’t I appreciate them?”

        I don’t think I was condescending, just being clear in my answer and my question back to you. You may be able to ‘appreciate’ science, but taking the first points above into consideration, without a lot of cognitive dissonance, I don’t see how you can ‘fully understand’ science, especially biology, geology, cosmology, etc. unless you are dismissing, or personally reinterpreting, the ‘true’ dogmas of your religion….

        WM: “Perhaps you can enlighten me regarding the rational meaning of believe, feel, think, and luck. As well, how are these words/concepts utilized in the scientific process?”

        I think you’re capable of checking a dictionary for those word definitions, and I’d like to see where those words were used in a scientific process, as opposed to explaining to book readers how some areas of scientific theories work.

        WM: “What does sickness and disease are a ‘consequence’ of evolution mean? Is evolution an active process that has a goal in mind to strengthen each species or is it a passive process? Maybe I am misunderstanding your point but it seems that the notion of ‘consequence’ is a passive process. This thought process seems to contradict evolution as it has been explained to me.

        It appears that you think that evolution functions with a goal, or purpose, in mind? If so, you have a very poor understanding of evolution, and need to read very carefully a scientific explanation of evolution by natural selection, and not listen to whoever ‘explained’ it to you. This is a very clear example of why I don’t think you ‘understand’ science.

        WM: “And here I thought ‘theories’ caused us to ask questions and perform experiments. I always thought it was the results of these experiments, inferred and empirical, that help us to understand and link together facts in a larger system. (forgive the pettiness)”

        Hypothesis: ‘A supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation.’ Hypotheses are questioned and tested. The results of many successful hypotheses are collectively explained by theories. Forgive my pettiness, but how can you properly appreciate science without understanding these fundamentals, that I found definitions for in about 10 seconds?

        WM: “The concept of ‘all life being precious’ within the context of the abortion is referring to human life. Maybe I should have stated it more clearly.”

        I didn’t say anything about non-human life in my comment, so what’s your point?

        WM: “Every human life is precious from conception forward. . . . their life has value.”

        Since about 70% of pregnancies result in spontaneous abortions, then your God is the biggest abortionist in history, after he injected their souls into them at conception, according to your infallible popes?

        WM: “I am still waiting for an explanation or example of ‘faith thinking’.”

        You may not be able to see them, but your Comments have many of them. I wonder if your “firm theistic views” are as unconsidered as your concepts of science are? You can be as offended by my statements as you like, but that’s what happens when you make such uneducated comments on a Reason and Science forum.

        I’m just a regular guy, high school educated and apprenticed in a blue collar manufacturing, who educated myself into Engineering and Technical Sales in very exotic industries, by not limiting myself to only 1 book, or blinding myself by filtering my education through the ‘revealed truths’ of a faith business.

        I’ve been learning about science for most of my 63 years, and I consider my Comments very carefully before submitting them, since I know there are many far more knowledgeable RDF Members than I am – at least 5 of them have Commented here, some responding to you – and they’ll take me apart too if I’m not careful with my responses, as has happened before, thus helping with my education…. 8-)

        You should enlighten yourself with a lot more rational education, which may be difficult until you are cured of your God Virus, and I wish you well on that journey to reality, which can turn out to be far more awesome and satisfying than any little god can be…. Mac.

        • You have managed to respond to several of my comments but you have failed to answer my questions.

          Regarding theists and science I think you are stating that you can follow the same scientific process as an atheist. I can arrive at the same conclusions based on empirical evidence but if my presuppositions don’t agree with your’s than just or can’t appreciate science.

          In reply to #44 by CdnMacAtheist:

          In reply to #42 by walking monkey:

          ‘How would you differentiate a theist and an atheist scientist if you were to remove any discussion regarding the origin of the universe? Provided both follow a generally adhered to scientific process you couldn’t.”

          Many theist dogmas don’t accept the actual age…

          • In reply to #47 by walking monkey:

            You have managed to respond to several of my comments but you have failed to answer my questions.

            Regarding theists and science I think you are stating that you can follow the same scientific process as an atheist. I can arrive at the same conclusions based on empirical evidence but if my presuppositions don’t agree with your’s than just or can’t appreciate science….

            Walking Monkey,

            Your second paragraph is grammatically poor and very hard to understand, so I can’t answer those 2 ‘questions’….

            I think I have responded in depth to and answered your questions rather carefully and thoughtfully. I’ve tried to give you clarifications on specifics, insight and honest advice about actual science. I don’t see any responses to specifics from you to my Comments, or answers to any of my questions?

            Your stream of Comments on RDF appear to be a case of the Dunning-Kruger Effect (look it up….)

            Can you identify what type of Christian you claim to ‘firmly’ be, and how thoroughly you have studied your faith’s holy texts, and how closely you follow all their revealed truths? Can you name some of the science books you have read, from which your scientific concepts are constructed?
            Can you identify your education history, achievements, and your approximate location, so I can see what level of competence I’m dealing with?

            The extensive hours I’ve spent responding to you have, apparently, been a waste of my time, although more practice in rational thinking is always valuable for my own personal education, plus there are others who can learn from these exchanges, as I did while observing before becoming an RDF Member, and still do on every visit here.

            I also note that you haven’t responded to any Comments by Alan4discussion, who has also spent some time on your misunderstandings, and ignorant (see the definition, since it’s an observation, rather than an insult) assertions (check that definition, too, along with hypothesis, evidence, theory, cognitive dissonance, understanding vs appreciating, etc.) A4D has also clearly explained ‘faith thinking’ to you in several ways, seemingly with no positive effect on your comprehension of that process, which you show several symptoms of in your Commentary.

            My library of 450 books, all of which have been read from 2 to 5 times, have illuminated my appreciation of ‘Life, the Universe and Everything’. Can you even place or understand that quote?

            Stop wasting my time until you have looked widely and deeply at what you perceive as truth and reality, and answer more of the questions posed in my and other Responses to you…. Mac.

          • Oh dear – theories aren’t facts, they explain how multiple facts work in larger systems. Are you sure you appreciate science like you claim? Prof Dawkins is being a scientist when he correctly states that gods ‘probably’ don’t exist. That’s basic honesty and integrity, but doesn’t imply that the probability is anywhere near 50:50, which you would know if you have read (and understood) more than 1 of his 17 books, all of which I have CndMacAthiest comment 37.

            You summed up my primary point best, “gods ‘probably’ don’t exist. That’s basic honesty and integrity.” If your statement is accepted as accurate than can I safely conclude that stating that gods definitely do not exist is lacking in basic honesty and integrity?

            In spite of overwhelming evidence that validates evolution, the very best you can provide me is a “probably.” And perhaps that is my point. You just don’t know. At some point, what you know has to give way to what you believe (albeit, based on your interpretation of evidence). At this point, you have to start exercising faith.

            You are right, I have not spent a great deal of time interacting with your comments. This has been primarily because I have been focusing on Reckless Monkey’s comments. The ideas he has presented are substantial enough for me to interact with. but also I have not found his ideas and concepts to be dismissive.

            Referencing my presuppositions, I have only ever stated that I am a theist and that I have a theistic/biblical worldview. I have never stated that I am a Christian. The only qualification that I placed on my belief system is that I am not Catholic. I have purposely done this. I wanted to focus on what we know, based on empirical knowledge/evidence. not what we believe.

            In reply to #48 by CdnMacAtheist:

            In reply to #47 by walking monkey:

            You have managed to respond to several of my comments but you have failed to answer my questions.

            Regarding theists and science I think you are stating that you can follow the same scientific process as an atheist. I can arrive at the same conclusions based on em…

          • In reply to #50 by walking monkey:

            WM, your first two paragraphs show clearly why I’m not wasting any more time on your ignorant faith thinking…. Mac.

          • In reply to #50 by walking monkey:

            Oh dear – theories aren’t facts, they explain how multiple facts work in larger systems. Are you sure you appreciate science like you claim?

            You really are showing your ignorance of science while projecting this at others.

            In spite of overwhelming evidence that validates evolution, the very best you can provide me is a “probably.” And perhaps that is my point. You just don’t know.

            That is a regular theist misapprehension! 99.99% probability does not equal “don’t know”. It is as certain as anything else we describe as “facts”! There is a similar position with the “theory of gravity”!

            At some point, what you know has to give way to what you believe (albeit, based on your interpretation of evidence). At this point, you have to start exercising faith.

            There is a big difference between confidence in 10,000 scientists independently repeat confirming evolutionary processes in thousands of different species, and theists picking their pet version of a god out of their own subconscious.

            You summed up my primary point best, “gods ‘probably’ don’t exist. That’s basic honesty and integrity.” If your statement is accepted as accurate than can I safely conclude that stating that gods definitely do not exist is lacking in basic honesty and integrity?

            99.999% certainty that a lack of evidence and debunking of specific theist claims, rounds up to “gods probably don’t exist”. (Strangely theists usually have no problem in agreeing that other people’s gods don’t exist, and do not see a need to go down the list of thousands of gods “DISproving” them all.)

            A 0.0000001% that some god might exist, if some people wish hard enough, is not an equivalent claim, or a basis to dispute the higher probability evidenced in the material working of the physical universe.

            Referencing my presuppositions, I have only ever stated that I am a theist and that I have a theistic/biblical world-view. I have never stated that I am a Christian.

            A theist “biblical world-view” is a specific Xtian feature. No other religions – not even Jews or Muslims accept all of the bible, so you are just being obtuse in refusing to define your position.

            The only qualification that I placed on my belief system is that I am not Catholic. I have purposely done this.

            A negative definition is meaningless – (“My chair is not a water tap” – Gives no details of the chair! )

            I wanted to focus on what we know, based on empirical knowledge/evidence. not what we believe.

            No you did not!

            You wanted to hide your position to avoid having to defend it, when you have no empirical knowledge/evidence to support it, while at the same time challenging the well evidenced position of others.

            You continue to do so, expressing your faith-based biases in questions and assertions, while avoiding refutation by refusing to openly define them!

          • In reply to #47 by walking monkey:

            You have managed to respond to several of my comments but you have failed to answer my questions.

            CdnMacAtheist has responded and answered questions, but you have not responded or followed up on my clear answers and explanations.
            You are still stating a deist position while claiming a theist position, but withholding details of the nature of this “Biblical theism”. (Biblical theism, varies from fundamentalist Biblical literalism, to dismissing as rhetorical anything which is not to the believer’s liking, and “interpreting” the rest to conform with personal views.)

            Regarding theists and science I think you are stating that you [I?] can follow the same scientific process as an atheist. I can arrive at the same conclusions based on empirical evidence but if my presuppositions don’t agree with your’s than[then] [I] just (or) can’t appreciate science.

            [I think this is what you meant.] If you let your presuppositions over-ride scientific evidence, then you can’t appreciate the scientific methodology which is the core feature of science.
            I have explained this cognitive dissonant process of flipping between rational thinking and “faith-thinking” very clearly in earlier posts and links @14 and 24, and posted links to them @46, just before you commented on a lack of answers to your questions @47.

            but if my presuppositions don’t agree with your’s than[then] [I] just (or) can’t appreciate science.

            Scientific evidence and theory (evidenced to round-up probability into fact for practical purposes) are not “our personal opinions”, and as such are not equivalent to you personal presuppositions. The difference between evidenced, rational, scientific thinking, and theist faith-thinking “intuitive revelations” and uncritical acceptance of dogma, have been very clearly explained. The irrational anti-science pronouncements of the self proclaimed “infallible” Pope Pius IX, were linked @18 very early in this discussion.

            In order to have a rational debate on your presuppositions, you need to give up the vagueness and deist pretensions, and state them clearly.

          • In reply to #49 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #47 by walking monkey:
            “……… In order to have a rational debate on your presuppositions, you need to give up the vagueness and deist pretensions, and state them clearly.”

            Hi Alan.

            I just read Comment 50 by WM, and am baffled at this latest example of his ‘thinking’. He tries to conflate that one can’t scientifically disprove a claim for the existence of a ‘god’, with the fact of evolution, and how we have to have ‘belief’ due to lack of empirical evidence…. LOL.

            We both know how much ‘faith thinking’ (WM, that’s belief without evidence) drives these ignorant assertions, but he can’t see that, only saying that we’re being dismissive…. Obviously he doesn’t see or understand the D.K. Effect, and has a massive lack of understanding of the sciences he thinks he ‘appreciates’.

            WM: “Referencing my presuppositions, I have only ever stated that I am a theist and that I have a theistic/biblical worldview. I have never stated that I am a Christian.”

            I don’t know how someone can have a biblical worldview and not be a Christian – despite there being 1000′s of sects of Christianity – unless it’s some perversion of it I’m not aware of so far….?

            Note that he doesn’t answer anything else I asked about his education or location, or how well he knows or follows his faith, or what books he used to construct his views on scientific knowledge, or clarify his views on evolution, or what theories are, or what inferential evidence is, etc . . . . !

            WM: “I wanted to focus on what we know, based on empirical knowledge/evidence, not what we believe.”

            I don’t often see statements that show such a poor understanding of what ‘empirical’, ‘knowledge’, ‘evidence’, and ‘believe’ mean.

            WM: “You are right, I have not spent a great deal of time interacting with your comments. This has been primarily because I have been focusing on Reckless Monkey’s comments. The ideas he has presented are substantial enough for me to interact with. but also I have not found his ideas and concepts to be dismissive.”

            Actually, Reckless Monkey’s Comments state clearly in several places that WM is wrong, straw manning, missing the point, and dismissive of his assertions with clear explanations why. I guess WM just cherry-picked his battles, as faith-heads often do, since they don’t have any effective ammunition against Reason and Science…. Cheers, Mac. 8-)

          • In reply to #51 by CdnMacAtheist:

            In reply to #47 by walking monkey:
            “……… In order to have a rational debate on your presuppositions, you need to give up the vagueness and deist pretensions, and state them clearly.”

            The old trick of deliberately refusing to state a position on issues, to avoid having to defend the untenable, is a well known ploy to shoot from cover at the views of others in a biased debate.

            Hi Alan.

            I just read Comment 50 by WM, and am baffled at this latest example…

            Actually, Reckless Monkey’s Comments state clearly in several places that WM is wrong, straw manning, missing the point, and dismissive of his assertions with clear explanations why. I guess WM just cherry-picked his battles,

            The absence of response to my explanations and refutations, – even after back-referencing and re-linking them, tells its own story of “faith-thinking” ignoring evidence which is not to its liking, on the grounds that it is “dismissive”! (ie. inconsistent with “faith” derived – preconceived base referenced dogmas; – as in my Pope Pius IX link.)

            The refusal to engage or understand, is further exemplified by the claims that explanations have not been given, even when multiple versions have been provided. The “faith-thinking re-set button”, keeps periodically tripping in long threads, to blank out evidence.

            This is a good illustration of why “faith-thinkers” are dangerous in medical situations.

          • In reply to #59 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #51 by CdnMacAtheist:
            . . . This is a good illustration of why “faith-thinkers” are dangerous in medical situations.

            Hey Alan,

            With regards to the subject of the OP, I agree with your comment above, but I also think that in many cases, ‘faith-thinkers’ ARE the medical situation…. 8-) Mac.

  20. With all due respect, your question is absurd. You assume that there is a conflict between faith and science and hence believe that a religiously aligned hospital is some sort of contradiction. I suggest you study a bit of western civilization. You’ll discover that the origin of both modern science and hospitals is grounded in the Church. That of course does not cut to the question of whether or not God exists. It is merely a historical fact that points to the error of your thinking. Hope the delivery went well.

  21. Hi walking monkey,

    At some point, what you know has to give way to what you believe (albeit, based on your interpretation of evidence). At this point, you have to start exercising faith.

    Yes, but if that point is actually just the “evil demon” at the controls then what has evolution to fear from it? Or to put it another way, you’ll have to question a whole lot of other stuff besides evolution if you’re not exercising faith* until the point at which you must accept anything at all is real and that is making you question evolution. (But we should be able to get out of there without faith too.)

    If you’ve got another point further out from that which is relevant to evolution then I think it would be relevant to this discussion. If you can select a line of evidence and reasoning generally used to demonstrate the truth of evolution and show the point at which faith is required that would be useful.

    —-//—-

    *I’d like to question what it means to exercise faith, but I’m going to be lazy. Besides I think we are thinking generally the same thing when we use it here.

  22. In reply to #54 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #50 by walking monkey:

    Hi Alan,

    There are some interesting, stimulating and challenging Discussions on RDFRS, but these exchanges with WM weren’t among them. Even among the faith-heads who have come here with their ignorant assertions, this one wasn’t even memorable…. 8-)

    Getting back to the OP (sorry Mods), the separation of church and hospitals has historical difficulties, since back in the day ‘hospitals’ were like inns, where the suppliers to large construction projects were given ‘hospitality’ – food, drink, meeting rooms, stables, and beds. I had lunch in one in 2010, in front of the large walled Abbey and Monastery built at the 1066 Battle of Hastings site.

    Since large construction projects were financed by or controlled by the powerful state religion, the connections were intimate as the medical side of hospitals developed over the centuries. These historical linkages were hard to sever as medicine and education gradually discovered they had no need for the magic of creation, faith or prayer, while the vast tax-free riches of dominant faith businesses were still able to finance and dictate policy at hospitals and schools.

    This situation is gradually changing as religiosity declines – partly through secular education, partly the exposure of the falsity of gods, plus increasing freedom from the mind-enslaving dogmas of religions, and the revelations of immoral fallibility in its management.

    Just as the inclusion of Bishops in the UK government – and the infiltration of religion into the US government – is questioned and gradually dismantled, the separation of religion from medicine and education proceeds, ever so slowly, but the pace is picking up in many civilized countries – with some notable and scary exceptions.

    Remembering that monotheism has had 2000 years to psychologically fine-tune its memeplexes, it will take a while yet to dismantle them, and to wait for their faith slaves to die off. Removing the abusive religious indoctrination of innocent, pliable children will help, but faith viruses are strong and (ironically) the evolved sub-species are well tuned to their environments, so eradication is difficult, as we see with other debilitating infections around the world.

    So, for the sake of humanity and a viable future, let’s keep charging up the hill, eh – Mac…. 8-)

    • In reply to #55 by CdnMacAtheist:

      …Just as the inclusion of Bishops in the UK government…is questioned and gradually dismantled, the separation of religion from medicine and education proceeds, ever so slowly, but the pace is picking up in many civilized countries – with some notable and scary exceptions…

      A good post, CdnMacAtheist, but people don’t often understand the bishops point. There are no bishops in the UK government. Any Prime Minister could appoint one to a government post, of course, but I’m not aware it’s happened. I think you’re referring to the 25 seats in the House of Lords that are occupied by the two Archbishops and 23 of the bishops of the Church of England. (There are some 760 seats in the House of Lords, most of which are occupied by political appointees.) The HL is the upper chamber of Parliament, but has rather limited legislative powers, the power lying with the House of Commons, whose 650 members are all elected.

      The fact is that 25 ‘lords spiritual’ don’t affect anything. It’s a historical relic, existing only because England has an established church. Scotland doesn’t. Again, the last time that I know of when the C of E interfered with policy was during the 1936 abdication crisis. But an established church gets a say in parliament. It’s time it stopped, of course, and I’d not be surprised to see the C of E disestablished before long (there’s often talk of further reform of the HL).

      None of this is to defend the role of the church at all – I’ll be happy to see it end – but it would be wrong to think that the C of E plays an important role, constitutionally. Other faiths don’t get a look-in, of course.

      • In reply to #57 by Pabmusic:

        In reply to #55 by CdnMacAtheist:

        …Just as the inclusion of Bishops in the UK government…is questioned and gradually dismantled, the separation of religion from medicine and education proceeds, ever so slowly, but the pace is picking up in many civilized countries – with some notable and scary…

        A good post, CdnMacAtheist, but people don’t often understand the bishops point. There are no bishops in the UK government. Any Prime Minister could appoint one to a government post, of course, but I’m not aware it’s happened. I think you’re referring to the 25 seats in the House of Lords that are occupied by the two Archbishops and 23 of the bishops of the Church of England. (There are some 760 seats in the House of Lords, most of which are occupied by political appointees.)

        There are however quite a number of unelected Lords in David Cameron’s Cabinet.
        http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/sep/06/cameron-cabinet-reshuffle-full-list-government-ministers

        The HL is the upper chamber of Parliament, but has rather limited legislative powers, the power lying with the House of Commons, whose 650 members are all elected.

        It can delay and obstruct any item of legislation, often to the point where it is dropped. The “Lords Spiritual” can and do, speak for or against legislation, and lobby other politicians from their religious view-point.

        There have been various proposals to reform the House of Lords, reducing the number of members, but these seem to constantly stall before being put in place.

        • In reply to #58 by Alan4discussion:

          In reply to #57 by Pabmusic:
          …There are however quite a number of unelected Lords in David Cameron’s Cabinet…

          Yes, as there usually are in any government. No bishops or other religious people appointed for religious reasons, though – and I can think of no government that has ever included one, though the PM can appoint people who aren’t even in Parliament (this has happened several times). But that’s not the point.

          The issue I was talking about was that of the 25 Lords Spiritual (the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Bishops of London, Durham and Winchester, and the 20 most senior bishops of the C of E after them) who by right sit in the House of Lords as 25 of the nearly 800 members. Nothing to do with the executive, but part of the legislature.

          The whole of the HL is unelected, so that’s not the issue, but there are historical relics, particularly the hereditary peers, the Lords Spiritual and the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary. The number of Lords Spiritual (ie: the C of E bishops there as of right) has fallen from being the majority of all peers (before 1539) to 25 (since 1847). Since 1999, the number of hereditary peers has been limited to 92 (with replacements being by votes among the house), and Royal Peers have been excluded altogether. The Lords of Appeal in Ordinary are appointed and are limited to 12.

          An anomaly in the 21st century? Certainly, but given that parliament can trace its existence back a thousand years, it’s hardly surprising. Reform happens slowly and spasmodically. I’m sure the Lords Spiritual will disappear eventually – probably when the C of E is eventually disestablished (the last time this was seriously considered was 1922) – but it’s a slow process.

      • In reply to #57 by Pabmusic:

        In reply to #55 by CdnMacAtheist:

        …Just as the inclusion of Bishops in the UK government…is questioned and gradually dismantled, the separation of religion from medicine and education proceeds, ever so slowly, but the pace is picking up in many civilized countries – with some notable and scary…

        Hi Pabmusic,

        Having left Scotland for England at 20, and on to Canada at 24, I didn’t get involved in UK politics much. In Canada we have a politically appointed Senate, which is relatively restricted but still has effects on government policies, which I thought was the case in the House of Lords.

        A4D in comment 58 indicates that the House of Lords actually is similar, so I’m sure those Bishops have effects, and are lobbying others in more powerful positions – as is their wont whenever they get the chance, due to their traditional sense of importance and the falsely inflated numbers in their flock, as shown by the 2011 RDFRS Survey…. Mac.

        • In reply to #61 by CdnMacAtheist:

          In reply to #57 by Pabmusic:

          In reply to #55 by CdnMacAtheist:

          Yes, CdnMacAtheist, you’re quite right and I’m not disputing that. I also think it’s wrong that the C of E is represented in the Lords. So we are in agreement. I just think that 25 out of 760 (even assuming they attend regularly) is not very significant. But they could make a difference in a tight vote, I suppose. But the Lords rarely holds sway: it’s the Commons that counts.

          My (rather trivial) point was that the Lords Spiritual are not actually part of the government, but part of the legislature (and a fairly insignificant part at that).

  23. In reply to #55 by CdnMacAtheist:

    I’m still curious to know though what evidence for evolution requires faith. Maybe in another thread.

    —-//—-

    I think you are right regarding the adaptability of religion. It certainly seems like it should be able to stay around for the long haul. But there seem to be good reasons to think it can and will adapt to be more inline with our feelings and thoughts about how best to construct peaceful societies.

    Religion can inform from another position besides the favored one it’s enjoyed for too long.

    • In reply to #56 by Sean_W:

      In reply to #55 by CdnMacAtheist:

      I’m still curious to know though what evidence for evolution requires faith. Maybe in another thread.

      Hi Sean,

      I don’t follow your question above, since I clearly don’t think or say that in any of my RDF comments anywhere!!

      It was Walking Monkey who claimed that, in his Comment 50, 3rd paragraph. I can only suggest that you ask him, and good luck, since he is reluctant to answer any questions with any rational logic or scientific clarity…. Mac…. 8-)

      • In reply to #60 by CdnMacAtheist:

        In reply to #56 by Sean_W:

        In reply to #55 by CdnMacAtheist:

        I’m still curious to know though what evidence for evolution requires faith. Maybe in another thread.

        Hi Sean,

        I don’t follow your question above, since I clearly don’t think or say that in any of my RDF comments anywhere!!

        Oh no, I know you didn’t say that. I brought it up in response to you because you mentioned getting the thread back on track, and my question about what evidence for evolution required faith was off topic.

        —-//—-

        BTW, I enjoy your posts. Your writing is clear and straightforward. -cheers

  24. In reply to #70 by Sean_W:

    In reply to #60 by CdnMacAtheist: I don’t follow your question above, since I clearly don’t think or say that in any of my RDF comments…

    Hi Sean,

    Thanks for the clarification since, as you say, I try to be clear and straightforward – (retired) Scientific Instrument Makers / Quality Assurance Metrologists / Technical Sales Engineers need to be very clear in what we say or write, because mistakes can be VERY costly, especially in the Transportation, Military, Nuclear and Aerospace Industries where I spent my career. I can’t even write well, but my printing and sketches are very good, and nobody ever had difficulty deciphering things I put on paper by hand.

    I’m sure those faith-thinking assertions that evolution requires faith will resurface elsewhere, and we’ll all be more than ready to illuminate that ignorance through education, using Reason and Science…. Mac…. 8-)

  25. “I would submit to you that there is as much empirical evidence to prove the existence of God as there is unicorns as there is the evolutionary process.”

    If that were true scientist would believe in God and unicorns.

  26. Years ago, I read an article about a time when a young atheist sat beside an old man who was praying the Rosary on a train. The younger one went on an on about why he thought science was incompatible with religion and why rational people would reject religion. After the old man said that he didn’t know about the kind of science the other one meant, a business card told the atheist that he had been talking with Louis Pasteur.

    Someone here says that a hospital is no place for religious faith. Does that mean that a hospital should forbid chaplains to work in it? Maybe they should have turned the Catholic chaplain away when he came to give a close, dying friend of mine the last rites? If that happened, the place would have heard from another friend of mine, from a lawyer.

    • In reply to #75 by WMcEnaney:

      Years ago, I read an article about a time when a young atheist sat beside an old man who was praying the Rosary on a train. The younger one went on an on about why he thought science was incompatible with religion and why rational people would reject religion. After the old man said that he didn’t know about the kind of science the other one meant, a business card told the atheist that he had been talking with Louis Pasteur.

      It sounds like another “faith-thinking” made up theist fairy tale, which tries to use a celebrity scientist as a badge of authority for superstition! The modern meaning of term “science” was only invented in the 1834.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural-philosophy

      Modern meanings of the terms science and scientists date only to the 19th century. The naturalist-theologian William Whewell was the one who coined the term “scientist”. The Oxford English Dictionary dates the origin of the word to 1834. Before then, the word “science” meant any kind of well-established knowledge and the label of scientist did not exist. Some examples of the application of the term “natural philosophy” to what we today would call “natural science” are Isaac Newton’s 1687 scientific treatise, which is known as The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy and Lord Kelvin and Peter Guthrie Tait’s 1867 treatise called Treatise on Natural Philosophy which helped define much of modern physics.

      The term “Natural Philosophy” rather than “science”, was still generally used in 1867.

      http://www.biography.com/people/louis-pasteur-9434402

      Pasteur had been partially paralyzed since 1868, due to a severe brain stroke, but he was able to continue his research.

      Louis Pasteur – 1822 – 1895.

      Someone here says that a hospital is no place for religious faith. Does that mean that a hospital should forbid chaplains to work in it? Maybe they should have turned the Catholic chaplain away when he came to give a close, dying friend of mine the last rites? If that happened, the place would have heard from another friend of mine, from a lawyer.

      No one said chaplains or priests could not attend hospitals as visitors to members of their own religions. What is objectionable is that they should be employed by the public on the staff of hospitals, and make unsolicited approaches to sick people who may not want to be pestered with supernatural nonsense.

      That is the problem with theism being mixed with science – Theists make stuff up to justify their dogmas, instead of checking facts!

      • In reply to #76 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #75 by WMcEnaney:

        What is objectionable is that they should be employed by the public on the staff of hospitals, and make unsolicited approaches to sick people who may not want to be pestered with supernatural nonsense.

        A very good point Alan. Despite always making it clear I am an atheist and do not want to see any chaplains I am nearly always pestered by one at least once on my hospital stays. The religious seem to be no respecters of privacy.

        I do not have a problem with the religious receiving a visit from there own vicar, priest etc but it should not be paid for by the NHS. As I have previously stated, a chaplain can and often does earn more than a senior nurse. It is also worth noting that catholic priests often charge for administering the last rites.

        Unfortunately, this is another example of how selfish the religious are, expecting special priviledge and funding and then complaining when their unsolicited approaches are rebuffed by patients who do not want to be pestered.

        It should be also be noted that although visiting rights are much better than they used to be, there are still some restrictions. I can recall friends being refused admission to my ward as it was outside of visiting times, despite the fact they had travelled a long way after work to see me, but, at the same time, volunteer faith visitors being allowed in and annoying the majority of the patients.

        A hospital is a place for trying to cure the sick not for proselytising. Allow visits from clergy to those who want them but under the strict condition they do not approach any other patients and, of course, they are not paid for visiting.

    • In reply to #78 by WMcEnaney:

      Some evidence for what I said about Pasteur:

      http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11536a.htm – THE CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA

      Pasteur’s faith was as genuine as his science. In his panegyric of Littré, whose fauteuil he took, he said:

      Happy the man who bears within him a divinity, an ideal of beauty and obeys it; and ideal of art, and ideal of science, an ideal of country, and ideal of the virtues of the Gospel.

      These words are graven above his tomb in the Institut Pasteur. In his address Pasteur said further “These are the living springs of great thoughts and great actions. Everything grows clear in the reflections from the Infinite”. Some of his letters to his children breathe profound simple piety. He declared “The more I know, the more nearly is my faith that of the Breton peasant. Could I but know all I would have the faith of a Breton peasant woman.” What he could not above all understand is the failure of scientists to recognize the demonstration of the existence of the Creator that there is in the world around us. He died with his rosary in his hand, after listening to the life of St. Vincent de Paul which he had asked to have read to him, because he thought that his work like that of St. Vincent would do much to save suffering children.

      Pasteur was brought up and indoctrinated as a Catholic as was usual at a time when Xtianity dominated educational establishments and peasant life. He obviously, with cognitive dissonance, compartmentalised his science and his “faith {like} that of the Breton peasant”. He also suffered the disability of a severe stroke in later life, which would restrict his travel and activities.

      Indeed the linked explanation of term “science” on your above link leads to a mixture of the pre-scientific age antiquated use of the term (Which I pointed out) , and the the RCC pseudo-scientific redefinition of it!

      As for the second link:

      http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/rosarymarkings12.html

      As I pointed out, the language on this link is inconsistent with the terminology of that period. There is no citation as to its source, so it indeed has the characteristics of a made-up story, preaching an underlying agenda. Such stories throughout history (starting with the bible), have been uncritically accepted by believers exercising their cognitive bases and wishful thinking.

  27. I do not mind names, allthough naming hospital after a significant scientist is more appropriate. But, as long as representatives of this or that religion, including chaplains appointed by my secular (yes, officially) state leave me alone, I do not mind. However one day a woman with whom I attend physical theraphy (and she is more or less familiar with my health problems) asked me to explain my sleepy looks, I told her I had been watchin Atheist Experience on YouTobe. She told me I had significant problems to consider than to waste time on those atheists. Well she is otherwise a nice person, but still, why so many people believe that illness is a reason to turn into a Christian. Well I have acquitance, a Franciscan monk, who become a monk after having learned about his incurable deadly ilness, but this depends on a person and, at least, those people preaching about Jesus should better avoid those smirks as if they knew better.

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