Talk:Relationship between religion and science/Archive 2

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Models, Metaphors, and Useful fictions

Both science and religion rely on what some critics term useful fictions ( Find sources: "useful fictions" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · HighBeam · JSTOR · free images · free news sources · The Wikipedia Library · NYT · WP reference ), Fictionalism I suspect a good section on this topic is quite possible. Perhaps religious metaphors and scientific metaphors along with comparisons of their models belong in a different section. The lede definitely does not do justice to the extant scholarship on comparing the methods of science and religion. It's absurd from this perspective in fact. --Firefly322 (talk) 18:20, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Differences between Empiricism and realism ( Scientific realism or Critical realism ) should also be covered in the article if not in this section. --Firefly322 (talk) 18:38, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Collusion of religion and science

Viewed from feminist theology, both religion and science are seen to be in collusion in excluding women from positions of leadership and respect. This polemic is intriguing because it also provides unexpected evidence towards positive relationship religion and science. This view in some form should be included in the article--Firefly322 (talk) 11:33, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

The attitudes of scientists towards religion

This section starts off with supposed views held by Sigmund Freud, yet neither the article on Psychology of religion nor on Sigmund Freud mention them. WP:UNDUE?? Suspect editor projected the Great chain of being (Scala naturae) ideas onto Freud, perhaps confusing him with Julian Huxley who at least has a link on his article page, which again Freud doesn't. Leading with psychology is probably fine, but I suggest replacing start of section with mention of and link to Psychology of religion. Does anyone agree? --Firefly322 (talk) 16:32, 19 July 2008 (UTC) Moreover, section is sourced with The Evolution of Life on the Earth Stephen Jay Gould, Scientific American 1994. I've read through the source and done searches on it. No mention of Great chain of being (Scala naturae. Doesn't look like Stephen Jay Gould supports Freud as a spokesman for a relationship between religion and science. --Firefly322 (talk) 16:52, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Undue weight?

The section on Bahá'í view seems out of place in the article. So far, I've never seen it mentioned in any major book or journal. --Firefly322 (talk) 00:36, 20 July 2008 (UTC) Isn't Bahá'í routinely compared to Raëlism? It's odd. --Firefly322 (talk) 15:42, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

No it's not. Take a look at the Baha'i Faith article and you'll see that it bears no relation at all.
I don't think that a heavily referenced, three-sentence paragraph in an article wherein the vast majority of the religious perspective is Christian can fairly be called undue weight. MARussellPESE (talk) 16:47, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
This issue is really one of sources. Are there any historically significant scientific figures who have been influenced by Baha'i Faith? Apparent answer: No. Are there any historians of science that write about Baha'i Faith? Apparent answer: No. Neither Galileo nor Newton nor any of their contemporaries (scientist or priest) could have had anything to do with the Baha'i Faith, because it simply didn't exist. --Firefly322 (talk) 22:19, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Firefly, you need a little more support than a simple assertion to make a contested removal. This particular argument fails Ignoratio elenchi. Whether or not Galileo had ever heard of the Baha'i perspective is irrelevant. This article isn't about the calcified arguments over the center of the universe, but one that discusses both the history and the current direction on a very complex subject. The final independent clause of the introdution — "scientific knowledge has had effects on religious beliefs" — is actually quite germane to the Baha'i Faith. That a mainstream world religion would posit that religious belief that is contrary to science is superstition is in itself notable. Does the Church take such a clear-cut position? MARussellPESE (talk) 18:07, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Whatever problems User:Marusell thinks my argument has is beside the point. The reality outside my argument is that inclusion of the Baha'i Faith is clearly and obviously WP:OR due to lack of scholarship in the very important and serious area of science and religion. Were there an academic or scholar in-good-standing writing about the relationship between science and religion in terms of the Baha'i Faith, then it could be included. Until then it has no place here because inclusion constitutes WP:OR.--Firefly322 (talk) 21:32, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Wish you'd do some research on the references before you call it OR. Your comparison of Baha'i to Raëlism strongly suggests that you're not familiar with this. There are two secondary sources already cited: Smith and Mehanian & Friberg. How many does it take?
Both secondary sources directly address the points made. The Hatcher article goes into even deeper depth. Passes WP:V and is not WP:OR. The primary sources are not necessary. MARussellPESE (talk) 22:07, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
I have. See Criticism of religion#Criticism of the concept where Baha'i and Raëlism are compared. --Firefly322 (talk) 19:18, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Peter Smith is a religious studies scholar. He means doesn't come in contact with the the Religion and Science scholarly community. Mehanian and Friberg are probably the same, though I haven't looked them up as I have Peter Smith. Hans Kung actually mentions Baha'i on page 105 of Christianity and the World Religons (1986). But it's not enough for it to be mentioned in this article as well. --Firefly322 (talk) 19:18, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
The only parallel that makes between the two is that they both post-date the foundations of modern science. That's hardly a broad comparison.
What policy requires that articles be sourced only from works directly out of the academic field? Most of the references cited in this article, or most articles, wouldn't pass that narrow a test.
By this logic, if bona-fide secondary religious sources are out, then any similarly sourced reference to Maimonides, Aquinas, the Church, Fundamentalist, etc, would also have to be removed. Remove them and the article falls apart.
The Baha'i view, as presented, is

Dawkins & Gibbon

I have just reverted the insertion: "According to Richard Dawkins, in 1776 Edward Gibbon first made the perdiction that science would lead to the demise of religion. <ref> [[Unweaving the Rainbow]], Houghton Mifflin, 1998 </ref> Sigmund Freud has asserted that science will help people to grow out of their childish religious delusions."

As far as I could ascertain from a Google & Amazon book search, Dawkins never made the first assertion. And the Freud claim is unsourced. HrafnTalkStalk 12:00, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

The scientific community's perspective

Plan to rework much of this section based on these Science articles:

  • Science 15 August 1997: Vol. 277. no. 5328, pp. 890 - 893; "SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY: Science and God: A Warming Trend?" Gregg Easterbrook
  • Science 12 September 1997: Vol. 277. no. 5332, pp. 1589 - 1591; "Letters: Science and Religion"
  • Science 13 December 1957: Vol. 126. no. 3285, pp. 1225 - 1229; "Science and the Citizen" Warren Weaver
  • Science 25 April 1958: Vol. 127. no. 3304, pp. 1004+1006; "Letters: Science and Religion" --Firefly322 (talk) 13:08, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

A badly written laundry list of names and books, containing no information about the scientists' opinions on religion and science

This edit by Firefly322 is not "WP:IMPERFECT", it is a badly written (e.g. repeating the same clumsy phrase twice in the same sentence, ungrammatical (even using a 'Greengrocer's apostrophe') list of names and book-titles, which contains no information about the scientists' opinions on religion and science. I have done my best to rectify the bad writing, but (lacking primary or secondary sources on the subject) cannot correct these paragraphs' profound lack of useful information. It does not serve any purpose in this article, but Firefly322 insists on edit-warring to retain it. HrafnTalkStalk 15:41, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

It also includes some absolutely gushy and completely unencyclopedic descriptions ( "which remains one of the clearest Christian manifestos ever written by a well-respected scientific figure" & "Wren used his talents to create a sort of symphony of belief"). Such flowery speech should not be used without attribution (preferably as a direct quote), and even then very cautiously. HrafnTalkStalk 15:50, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Incidentally, this edit also links to one of Firefly322's other creations, The Christian Virtuoso, which should be illuminating on this editor's standards (for a lengthier example, see Issues in Science and Religion). HrafnTalkStalk 15:55, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Third Opinion

As pointed out above, the material in question does sorely lack information about these various scientists' opinion on religion and science. Adding some information would make it relevant. Perhaps their affiliation with a particular society is less interesting than whatever their opinions on religion may have been?

Also, I gather it should read the 17th Century, and not the 16th Century. I find the writing a bit wordy and not to the point, but it's not awful. At least one editor has been highly unrestrained in use of language on this discussion page. Dare I say uncivil?

Digressing a bit, this article has some good stuff in it, but in terms of writing, its worst flaw seems to be poor organization. Whatever the case, it's needlessly tiresome to read. Calamitybrook (talk) 01:33, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

McGrath footnote

I am removing the footnote that states "As Alister McGrath points out in The God Delusion this definition would exclude Deists and people like Einstein who believe(d) 'in Spinoza's God' " as:

  1. McGrath did not write The God Delusion (thus it is unclear whether McGrath is quoted in this book, or if The Dawkins Delusion is meant).
  2. It provides no formal citation that would enable this information to be verified, and thus allow this inconsistency to be resolved.
  3. McGrath's opinion is contradicted by Einstein's own words: "The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses"[1]
  4. Unless MCGrath was speaking of this the exact wording in the surveys (which is unlikely), this footnote would appear to be synthesis.

HrafnTalkStalk 16:43, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Ill-considered edit that editors are edit warring to reinsert

  1. If anybody had bothered to read NationMaster they would have noticed "NationMaster makes use of encyclopedia content from Wikipedia".
  2. Neither Bahá'ís nor Muslims consider the Bahá'í Faith to be part of Islam. In fact the former article explicitly states "Its religious background in Shi'a Islam is seen as analogous to the Jewish context in which Christianity was established."
  3. Attempting to place a citation in a section-header is a really silly, ugly & a WP:POINTy idea.

HrafnTalkStalk 19:17, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

Recent lede edit

Any credible academic or historian is going to see the lede as erroneous. Today, no credible historian believes in the Conflict thesis. To put it in the lede suggest that the editor who did so doesn't really understand the article well-enough to be writing the lede. --Firefly322 (talk) 17:20, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

The earlier lede is characeristic of majority of the sources on this topic, while the current is more towards original research in comparison.

The relationship between religion and science takes many forms as the two fields are both broad. While some scholars assert that they are independent and rely on entirely different and incomparable methods (e.g., cf. scientific method and prayer), others assert that there are significant parallels in method and purpose (both being pursuits of truth), though they do address different questions: religion focuses on meaning, science on the natural world. Though religion has components that have no counterpart in science, there are scholars such as Michael Polanyi who have argued that both involve a moral commitment.

Historically, science has had a complex relationship with religion; religious doctrines and motivations have sometimes influenced scientific development, while scientific knowledge has had effects on religious beliefs.

--Firefly322 (talk) 17:30, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

this version of the lead has several problems (which prompted me to make changes in the first place). setting aside grammatical issues (minor, but it doesn't flow very well), this miscasts the relationship (it's not just SciMeth vs. prayer, and meaning vs. the natural world doesn't quite capture either side correctly). however, I do think the edits made later we're too heavy on the conflict thesis and magisteria, which I've moved down in the lead a bit. what other changes do you think need to be made? --Ludwigs2 23:58, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
The other lede took on the difficult task of treating science and religion as monolithic terms. A task which can really only be done when reading a lot of scholarship on this topic. The current lede shows no understanding of getting down to scholarly-based essentials of these terms and comparing them. Instead, the lede is unnecessarily difficult philosophy and ideas that are superficial and unhelpful to the reader in understanding what scholars are really saying about this topic.--Firefly322 (talk) 14:45, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
When you write (it's not just SciMeth vs. prayer, and meaning vs. the natural world doesn't quite capture either side correctly). In fact the article is not about sides, again this is not an article about the conflict thesis. It's about an actual scholarly-based relationship. And there is largley a consensus among scholars to draw this relationship in these terms such as meaning. --Firefly322 (talk) 14:56, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Hey guys.... I think that we're doing good. I understand the point that focusing on Gould and the conflict thesis seems overboard, but you have to realize that the prevailing notions of this "relationship" are actually this way. It think the edits to this point are great. Just keep reorganizing the points: we're going to get to the best point eventually. ScienceApologist (talk) 03:05, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

From a scholarship point of view, compared to the other lede, this one is actually quite a bit worse. --Firefly322 (talk) 14:45, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Merge proposal

Resolved: This article still needs cleanup, but I have brought over everything that seemed well-cited and relevant. - Eldereft (cont.) 04:55, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

An article has recently been created called 'Religion and science community', which would appear to be merely about the scholarly community that investigates the topic of this article.

I am proposing merging it here as:

  1. It would be very rare for it to be appropriate for a community of academics in a field to have an article separate from the article on their field of study, and this would not appear to be such a case.
  2. As far as I can see, none of the cited sources make any detailed discussion of this community, rather than their field of research (which is the topic of this article).

HrafnTalkStalk 07:51, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Agree. It should be merged. If it develops into something substantial, it can always be spun off again into a daughter article. Guettarda (talk) 14:09, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

  • Support merge. It fits nicely into the section called "Dialogue", but also agree that it could perhaps be later spun off if it develops to be better than it is. --Bduke (talk) 22:34, 3 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Support I see no reason why that should be a separate article. Aunt Entropy (talk) 23:09, 3 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Support as per everyone above. --Ludwigs2 02:24, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Reverted addition

Biblical literalism has led to creationism; Schleiermacher's religious experience--his definition of religion as "a feeling of absolute dependence" has been implicated as a factor in the causes of World War I, which is often taken to be the underlying motivation for Karl Barth's early scholarship and the whole neo-orthodoxy movement; and taking the current state of scientific knowledge as truth as in scientifc imperialism sets up problems like clock-work universe created by God based on Newton's laws, which the continuing evolution of science tends to date such efforts. (Netwon's laws now seem far from the ultimate truth, given the later scientific advances of electromagnetism, relativity, and quatum mechanics.

This is:

  1. Unsourced
  2. Contains some quite impenetrable jargon and name-dropping
  3. Is mostly a single meandering sentence
  4. Is grossly over-linked -- including even linking to truth
  5. less importantly, contains multiple spelling errors

I would request that it be rewritten as well as properly sourced, before being re-added. It is not WP:IMPERFECT, it is unreadable. HrafnTalkStalk 13:27, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

RE: name-dropping, it needs to, at the very least, say who Schleiermacher & Barth were, and explain their views -- not merely give a cryptic quote on one. HrafnTalkStalk 13:34, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

I would further point out that hidden comments (i.e. <!-- Comment -->) are not an appropriate means of referencing page numbers (or anything else). Please follow WP:CITE.

And in response to this ill-considered and sophomoric piece of WP:BAITing -- yes, English is my first language, and I am sufficiently proficient in it to identify badly written, uninformative turgid prose when I see it. HrafnTalkStalk 17:47, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Hrafn - just wanted to chip in my agreement with you. I mean, I think I see what s/he's after, but man... airlines charge penalties for packing that much luggage in one bag; maybe we should too... Face-smile.svg --Ludwigs2 23:38, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

bad reverts

Orange Marlin - I'm going to try to copy edit that section so that it's usable, which is the way this is supposed to work. if you revert it again, I will report you ANI for disruptive editing. get it? I'm going to now reinstate it, and copy edit, so please stop edit-warring. --Ludwigs2 00:32, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Regarding reverts (copied from user page)

Regarding your (Orange's) revision to this article [2], User:Ludwigs2 [3] has already reverted but still I don't understand your (Orange's) claims of WP:NOR, WP:SYNTH, WP:NPOV. All the points made and the general langauge used is from John Habgood and he is simply summarizing the work of other scholars and historians. And later scholars have made the same points one can be fairly certain. But even without having looked at a source, from a close reading of the article it should be clear that what was written is faily unobjectionable and unlikely to be OR. Though I guess I should be honored if you think I'm that wise. Is that the language? I'm no doubt following a Habgood's book sytle instead of a more encyclopedia type of style. Still, it's not OR or Synth. --Firefly322 (talk) 00:36, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Concerns over the nature of reality revisions

Some questions about the revision:

  • Isn't the English phrase questions about the nature of reality nearly equivalent to Greek-in-origin word ontology? If so, why beat much of the readership up with such esotericism?
  • What's the source for early scientifc ontology being explicitly opposed to Christian Theology come from?
  • Christian Theology - excluding those fundamentalist churches whose aim is to reassert doctrinal truths - has likewise softened many of its ontological claims, due to increased exposure to both scientific insights and the contrasting theological claims of other faiths.
  • Non-Christian faiths have historically integrated well with scientific ideas, as in the ancient Egyptian technological mastery applied to monotheistic ends, the flourishing of logic and mathematics under Hinduism and Buddhism, and the scientific advances made by Muslim scholars during the Ottoman empire.
    • This sounds a bit optimistic. Have a source? --Firefly322 (talk) 04:23, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

New section

The attitudes of religion towards science

Respect of its greatest critics

A number of religion's greatest critics have received high praise from devout apologists. Feuerbach, Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, and Richard Dawkins have all received such praise. [1] [2] A modern quip about Richard Dawkins is that "if Richard Dawkins didn't exist, [it would be necessary/ someone/God would have] to make him up." [3]

These remarks, like those about Feuerback, are not intended to be a refutation of Nietzsche. One cannot refute somebody who resolutely pushes religious scepticism to its extreme limit. One can only watch him coming full circule, and becoming more and more obsessesd by the God whom he thinks he has rejected. And this is one of the great arguments for the truth of religion. It is only a very shallow kind of scepticism, a deliberate concentration on the surface appearance of things, which can feel satsified when it has dismissed the whole religious side of life as worhless. Scientists, particularly young ones who are in the first flush of excitement about their discoveries, are especially liable to mkae this sort of mistake. Practical questions about the precise relationship between one things and anotehr seem so much more manageable and profitable, that the more searching philosophical and religious questions look as if they can safely be dismissed. But nobody can really be concerned about the truth without being concerned about it religiously, as Nietzsche himself demonstrates. This is why sceptics of his calibre show up the superficiality of much modern religious doubt in a far more telling manner than could be done by any amount of religious exhortation.

— Lord and Reverend John Habgood[4], former president and current member of the Religion and Science Forum
  1. ^ Science and Religion, Habgood
  2. ^ The Disguised Friend: Darwinism and Divinity arthur peacocke
  3. ^ Find sources: "If RIchard Dawkins didn't exist" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · HighBeam · JSTOR · free images · free news sources · The Wikipedia Library · NYT · WP reference
  4. ^ Science and Religion, 1964, page 87

Plan to add the above section, it could still be a bit rough so please comment.--Firefly322 (talk) 04:53, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

  1. "Greatest critics"? In what sense? Darwin wasn't especially critical of religion. And are Feuerbach and Neitzsche among the greatest critics of religion among scientists?
  2. Are you really referencing the quote about Dawkins to a 1964 book?
  3. What does the quote have to do with the section title? It seems unrelated. Guettarda (talk) 12:16, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
And are Feuerbach and Neitzsche among the greatest critics of religion among scientists: According to John Habgood, they are because whoever today's best cristics whether scientist or someoen else they use Feuerbach and Neitzsche work (their arguments). The quote is the summary of Habgood's Religion and Science Chapter entitled "The Limits of Doubt," where Habgood unites Feuerbach and Nietzsche as those who "push religious scepticism to its extreme limit." Darwin was later on involved or at least had associates that did critize religion. This sentence would be better broken down into separate ones with clarifications. Not referencing this Dawkins quote to a 1964 book. I've read essays that mention Dawkins in this way and I verified that such a statement is in currency with a find command: Find sources: "If Richard Dawkins didn't exist" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · HighBeam · JSTOR · free images · free news sources · The Wikipedia Library · NYT · WP reference. --Firefly322 (talk) 12:58, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
"verified that such a statement is in currency with a find command"? What are you talking about? To begin with, whatever you did didn't work, since there are no links in the article. Secondly, if you read the documentation on {{find}} it say "It should not be used in articles themselves". Guettarda (talk) 13:15, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Parallels in methods

Many language philosophers (e.g., Ludwig Wittgenstein) and religious existentialists (e.g., neo-orthodoxy) accepted Ian Barbour and John Polkinghorne's type II categorization of Independence.[22] On the other hand, many philosophers of science have thought otherwise.
  1. The opening pair of sentences convey absolutely zero information. "Some people accept [something], others don't". Ummm....OK. What is "Barbour and Polkinghorne's type II categorisation of independence? And is the Barbour ref being used to support the statement that "language philosophers and religious existentialists" accept Barbour and Polkinghorne's "type II categorization of Independence" (in which case, isn't it a rather dated reference?) or is it being used as a ref to establish what Barbour and Polkinghorne's "type II categorization of Independence" is (in which case, the first statement is unreferenced.
  2. Why do we care, in an article about the relationship between religion and science, what language philosophers and religious existentialists think?
  3. "Many language philosophers (e.g., Ludwig Wittgenstein) and religious existentialists (e.g., neo-orthodoxy)" - is that grammatical? Neo-orthodoxy?
  4. Is Barbour making the assertion that there is a parallel? If so, shouldn't you be reporting on what Barbour had to say? As it stands the paragraph reads like WP:SYNTH. Guettarda (talk) 12:37, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
It's a summary that can be improved. I suggest looking at the reference itself to satisfy your concerns and see that this section follows the source and is truly WP:IMPERFECT. --Firefly322 (talk) 12:43, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
So what - you're saying "screw you, I'm not telling"? That's a rather uncollegial attitude. Guettarda (talk) 12:53, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
I don't think asking a fellow editor to read a source to satisfy concerns is uncollegial at least not ones engaged in working on an encyclopedia. Also not looking at sources and expecting nothing to require some reading is un-collegiate. Besides, why are you obviously not assmuing good faith WP:AGF? And stating something unWP:CIVIL. Those statements really destroy the value of your reputation and contributions to wikipedia at least so far as WP:5 is concerned. --Firefly322 (talk) 13:05, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Did you write that section? If not, then the comment was not directed at you. If you did, then why do you refuse to clarify what it is you meant? I made a simple, good-faith request. If you wrote that section, it should be trivial to clarify what you meant. You flat-out refused. Calling your refusal uncollegial isn't uncivil. And responding with threats and bluster? Another step in the wrong direction.
So - are you willing to clarify what you wrote? Guettarda (talk) 13:31, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Not refusing anything. Demanding that another editor do something right now tests the patience of the core WP:IMPERFECT editing policy. This section is already tagged. Many sections in the article need attention. But what I'm not willing to do is ignore what I consider a clear violation of WP:AGF. Once that was done it called this whole discussion into question. I believe that when an experienced editor violates WP:AGF or WP:CIVIL that their rest of their immediate work should be called into question, which is what I am now doing. --Firefly322 (talk) 13:42, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
You are welcome to your beliefs, however false they are. However, it doesn't mean anyone else will believe you. KillerChihuahua?!? 14:23, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Firefly: the purpose of an encyclopedia is to convey information. if someone doesn't understand what we've written (be it an editor or a reader), it is our responsibility as editors to explain, expand, and clarify. it's supercilious to expect or request that another editor go and do research on something that you've added to the article. Guettarda's question was valid, and if he doesn't get a decent response on the talk page he is perfectly within his rights to remove the phrase as unencyclopedic. and if he doesn't, I might. as a rule, it's best to write articles so that a relatively intelligent high school student can understand it without too much difficulty, which is not the case here. ok? --Ludwigs2 19:27, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Actually, I think there's a problem here. Both the lede and the rewrite of the nature of reality are actually almost impossible to understand for a high school student. These inconsistencies in your actions and words in this case seem quite problematical. Ludwigs, I have doubts that your edits were honestly made in good faith. I will continue assume good faith, but I have my doubts as to whether you have the best interests of wikipedia in mind. --Firefly322 (talk) 10:00, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
Also the fact that I raised several important question about the rewrite of the nautre of reality and that these were overlooked by both you Ludwig, Guettarda, and KillerChihuahua, suggest that there is not so much a real concern with the article, as there is a POV dispute. Are you all non-religious editors who tend to edit religious articles? --Firefly322 (talk) 10:05, 13 September 2008 (UTC)


I removed the "Overview" section, since it (a) wasn't an overview of anything, but rather a list of four journals, and (b) there are no supporting references that these 4 are really the place to find this debate. There are footnotes that reference individual articles in the latter two journals, but that's just anecdotal support. Guettarda (talk) 12:51, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Actually, I'm not sure what the overview section was about. I had thought that User:Hrafn actually created it and added the current scholarship section to it (need to check the edit history to figure out who exactly, I'm not sure, but unless I'm loosing my mind, it certainly wasn't me). I did write the current scholarship section, but I had placed it much further down in the article, which is more where it is now. --Firefly322 (talk) 10:12, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
It was in fact created by User:Hrafn, here's the diff: [4]. I agree with Guettarda that User:Hrafn may have been premature in placing this section in such a prominent location. Still, I'm not sure how actual references to articles in journals can be considered as anecdotal. The generalization suggested by the current scholarship section may have been weak that much I can agree with Guettarda on. But I've rewritten it to remove those implications (clearly the journal Zygon and the journal Science aren't usually comparable in content). --Firefly322 (talk) 10:18, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Current scholarship

I think it's a huge improvement to move the "current scholarship" further down, out of the overview. But it still needs some refs that support the assertion that this is where the current scholarship is - the links are just anecdotes. Guettarda (talk) 19:02, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Ken Wilber

Is Ken Wilber really deserving of a place in the lead? Color me unconvinced. ScienceApologist (talk) 23:13, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

I'm open to alternate possibilities. Wilber (though I'm not a big fan) is one of the more prominent advocates for integrating spirituality and science. --Ludwigs2 23:41, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
Arguably, someone who won the Templeton Prize is a bit more prominent than this guy. ScienceApologist (talk) 23:46, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
are we excluding someone who won the templeton prize? this isn't about who has the biggest approval rating, this is about representing the views that we need to represent. I'm really no sure what you're arguing here. --Ludwigs2 00:00, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
The lead is supposed to summarise the article. Since Wilbur isn't mentioned in the body of the article, he shouldn't be mentioned in the lead. As the article stands now, no, he should not be mentioned in the lead. Guettarda (talk) 02:26, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
patience - I haven't gotten around to editing the body yet. if you remove him now, I'll just end up readding him later (unless I find a better source for that perspective, of course). --Ludwigs2 05:38, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
No sense in keeping a rank amateur like Wilber in the lead. I'm removing him. If it turns out that you find some reliable source which says that he is a pre-eminent theorist on this subject, add it to the body and we'll come to a consensus as to whether he belongs in the lead. ScienceApologist (talk) 14:54, 18 September 2008 (UTC)


User_talk:Ludwigs2 what is your vision for this article? When you say "I haven't gotten around to editing the body yet.", what is it exactly that you plan to do? Since this is the lead article to the Science and Religion category, it should be summarizing the tertiary sources (WP:PSTS) such as Ian Barbour's Issues in Science and Religion or the work of a former president of the Religion and Science Forum John Habgood. To someone like myself who is reading and summarizing such tertiary sources, your recent edits don't seem to be summaries at all nor do they reflect the themes, style, or trends in the major tertiary works, again like those of Ian Barbour or John Habgood. Perhaps this should be taken to WP:mediation cabal soon just to prevent major issues later on. For I really do dispute your recent edits as being something like WP:OR instead of summary. --Firefly322 (talk) 14:53, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

While I think an overarching vision is important, there's a problem with relying too heavily on sources that are almost half a century old. Guettarda (talk) 15:37, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

Edit History comments

[5] These references are completely legitimate. They do add value to the article and help readers to understand where quality, peer-reviewed articles on religion and science can be found. I'm putting these references back. If there is still disagreement, then can we at least agree to seek WP:3 resolution? --Firefly322 (talk) 18:37, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you're talking about. I fixed the formatting of the references, so that there only three links, instead of the twenty-three links that there are in your version. None of the content was removed, I was just cleaning up messy formatting.
Now, obviously those links shouldn't be in the article. Using a series of anecdotes to support an assertion violates our policy on original research. But that's a minor problem - all I was doing was trying to clean up messy formatting. So why do you believe that we should have twenty-three links, when three links would convey exactly the same information? Guettarda (talk) 20:31, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Let's try and clear this up before a WP:3 post. First, can we clear up what u mean by anecdotes? If English is your first language, then can you explain more precisely what here is an anecdote? --Firefly322 (talk) 20:37, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
No, let's deal with the first issue first. What is the advantage of 23 links, when 3 links can convey the same information? You reverted my attempt to clean up messy formatting. Why? Guettarda (talk) 20:44, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Sorry you've used the word anecdote(s) at least three different times [6], [7], and [8]. So based on the number of times you've used it, it seems quite important. If it's not and you don't want to explain it, then I think you're comments and editing here are borderline tendentious. So please explain what are the anecdotes here. --Firefly322 (talk) 21:28, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
As I said, deal with one thing at a time. I take that this means that you have any reason for your reversion. OK. Guettarda (talk) 22:08, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
I see that you have reverted yet again. Would you please explain why you believe that the references should be formatted one way and not the other? Guettarda (talk) 04:18, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Citation format

When using cite web, for example, the format for the first citation of a reference is:

<ref name="name">{{cite web |url= |title= |author= |work= |date= |quote= }}</ref>

Subsequent citations of the same reference are in this format:

<ref name="name"/>

See Federal Realty Building for a concrete example of how this is done. Of two references used in the article, one is cited three times and the other four times. As can be seen in the {{reflist}}, all seven are linked in two lines for the two sources.

For more complex cases in which the template {{rp}} may be used for distinct pages cited from the same source, see the Romany Marie article for examples of how this is done. — Athaenara 04:43, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

I think you missed the point. The "dispute" is whether this format or this format is preferable. My point is that the shorter format (which was recommended to me in an FAR) is preferable. Firefly has reverted back to the longer version, but is unwilling to explain why. Guettarda (talk) 05:02, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Looks like the issue just zoomed on over my head and mine was not the WP 3O sought. I relisted it and edited this subsection heading to reflect that. — Athaenara 05:14, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Personal observation: the no original research policy seems blatantly violated either way. It would perhaps be acceptable for a term paper but not for an encyclopedia. — Athaenara 05:24, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Guettarda appears to be correct that no information is lost in the alternative citation format. However, I personally am not familiar with grouping disjoint references in this manner. Guettarda, could you cite precedent on WP for this style perhaps? I also agree that using this grouping to justify the claim being made is a form of WP:SYN. Perhaps this would be more appropriate as a list within some "further reading" section of the article? -Verdatum (talk) 16:58, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Third Opinion

Guettarda's approach is to use a footnote to collapse the citations for readability which doesn't seem unreasonable given the number of citations and is an acceptable way to cite sources (per guidelines). Of course, when you have a footnote, a bland list of references is not a great idea either (distinct referencing styles are never good in an article), so, perhaps a better approach would be to use the footnote to elaborate on the text and to use that opportunity to indicate why 23 citations are necessary. --Regents Park (one for sorrow) 17:46, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Sourcing issue

OK, hopefully that means that the first issue is settled. Regarding the second, I'm not sure what you want me to explain. The section is about "current scholarship" and it asserts that current scholarship related to the topic is published in Zygon, Theology and Science, and also in the American Journal of Physics and Science. The first two parts of the statement - that it is covered in Zygon and T&S has no supporting citations. While it's possible to peruse the ToC of either journal and conclude that yes, articles related to R&S are published in these two journals, including them in this article under the header "Current scholarship" implies that these are notable publications...we wouldn't list the 21st and 2nd most important journals, and ignore 1-20. So what is the basis for including these two in the article? It isn't clear at all.

I'm far less clear about the inclusion of Am J Phys and Science. What is the basis for including them? Is their level of coverage unusual, given their scope? Sources should support the assertion being made in the article - in this case, the (implicit) assertion that there's something notable about the level of coverage of R&S in these journals. References should support that assertion. But instead of references that make the case, there examples articles related to R&S in these journals. In other words, you have supplied anecdotes when what is needed is evidence. If you don't understand this, then I suggest you read this article. Or you might just want to read our policy on original research. Guettarda (talk) 22:39, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

I think your missing the point about the article. It's the relationship between religion and science. Articles about religion and science belong here. Or alternatively are you just trying to cause trouble? There are no anecdotes and there is no original research. We need to take this WP:3. --Firefly322 (talk) 01:17, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Not all articles about religion and science belong here. Nor do a random collection of articles. Material included should be verifiable, and should be notable. It should also not violate the "undue weight" provision of our WP:NPOV policy. Guettarda (talk) 04:18, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Third opinion about scientific journals

I think it's interesting and notable that serious journals that have historically focused on scientific topics to the exclusion of religion would consider the topic of the relationship between religion and science to be important enough to publish things about it. The citations given are useful examples that support the assertion made in the article (that these journals have published things on the relationship between religion and science). On the other hand, the claim is relatively minor and uncontroversial. I found it jarring to see that the citation for this minor claim contained such a long litany of examples. They aren't all necessary. Just pick out a couple that are most relevant and leave it at that. =Axlq 04:58, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Weinberg, "Without God"

The New York Review of Books has published a new essay by Steven Weinberg, "Without God", in which he discusses the cause of conflict between science and religion. It is his argument that the conflict is not primarily about "contradictions between scientific discoveries and specific religious doctrines"; rather, he presents four different areas of conflict:

  1. Explanatory power. Early religion gained much of its strength from its ability to explain mysterious happenings such as disease and natural disasters. With the advance of science, we no longer look to religion to explain these things; we have naturalistic, physical explanations that work.
  2. The role of man. Religion usually casts humanity as a central player in the universe, frequently holding that the universe was created for mankind. Science, particularly cosmology, shows that humanity does not occupy a special role: Earth is not the center of the universe, and humans are just one species among many.
  3. Natural law as limit on the will of God. Weinberg discusses this primarily as a tension between Islam and science, in the work of al-Ghazzali, "the most influential Islamic philosopher". al-Ghazzali holds that the notion of natural law, or fundamental regularities in the universe, contradicts the doctrine that God is absolutely free.
  4. The nature of authority. Religion frequently refers back to some absolute authority, whether in the form of a prophet, a leader such as the Pope, or a holy book. Scientific use of authority differs from religious use in two ways: first, any authority may be later proven to have been wrong; second, we expect this to happen, as science progresses -- "today any good graduate student understands general relativity better than Einstein did."

This essay, by a notable participant in the science/religion conflict, seems like it should make a good source for this article. --FOo (talk) 21:00, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Steven Weinberg is an outspoken atheist scientist. Perhaps a more specific section on atheist scientists who share his view might use this source. Nevertheless, since he's an atheist, I'm not sure that he can honestly and sincerely say very much about the relationship between religion and science. Moverover, because Weinberg's essay is about conflict or as stated about the "science/religion conflict", his essay seems well outside the consensus already reached by the vast majority of well-respected members of Academia, which has concluded that such a thesis of conflict is crude and that the interactions between science and religion, as fairly judged by objective historical evidence, are far more complex. --Firefly322 (talk) 13:31, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
I suppose I don't consider that to be a very helpful response; indeed, it borders on the ad-hominem. In this essay, Weinberg is not attacking religion; he is trying to describe some sources of conflict between science and religion. Specifically he's rebutting the common notion that science/religion conflict is chiefly about points of disagreement between scientific discoveries and religious doctrines. Someone whose notion of science/religion conflict comes from the creation/evolution dispute or the popular (erroneous) conception of Galileo's troubles would easily believe that the only reason science and religion ever conflict is because scientific discoveries disagree with religious teachings. Weinberg is pointing out other, more important areas of disagreement. --FOo (talk) 21:06, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
Weinberg's article on wikipedia is quite explicit and matter-of-fact about him being an atheist, so that must not be what you mean by this being a borderline ad hominem attack. There's two problems with this Weinberg essay. Just on WP:SOURCE and WP:RELIABLE grounds. Weinberg's essay is published in New York Times and outside journals like Zygon or attending conferences like European Society for the Study of Science and Theology (for example, Lewis Wolpert has done this and nevertheless, his attidude towards other scholars as reported by the scholars themselves makes it difficult to use and justify his material in encyclopedic article.) Also Weinberg's ideas about the nature of authority (as discussed by William G. Pollard below) in religion and science do seem rather uniformed if not unsophisticated. Religion and science scholarship isn't just about a great scientist, which Weinberg truly is, commenting on religion or philosophical matters, it's also being recognized by peers in this other field (not just media pundits) and subjecting themselves to this other school of thought. Weinberg does not appear to be doing that. Although on the opposite end of the spectrum belief-wise Weinberg is similar to Henry F. Schaefer, III, who is also a great scientist, is also not subjecting his religion and science work to leading peer-review/conference process, and also holds views in this area that seem uniformed.--Firefly322 (talk) 00:23, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
The part of your earlier comment that struck me as ad-hominem was: "Nevertheless, since he's an atheist, I'm not sure that he can honestly and sincerely say very much about the relationship between religion and science." The implication seems to be that atheists who speak and write about religion and science do so dishonestly and insincerely; or, to paraphrase, that only religious believers have anything legitimate to say about religion and science. Was that your intention?
By the way, the New York Review of Books is not the New York Times. --FOo (talk) 02:31, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Authority in science and religion

Just to follow up on the idea of authority in science and religion that the Steven Weinberg essay raises, here's a quote from William G. Pollard's essay who argues that Weinberg's idea to be false. This is from Pollard's book Physicist and Christian (pages 23-24, 66-67 )

(pages 23-24)

All of this has a bearing on the widespread notion that re-

ligion necessarily imposes a rigid strait jacket on the intellect in contrast to science which is intellectually free and unhampered by any authority. In my own experience of incorporation into both communities, such a notion is completely false. In both cases it was necessary, first to accept and willingly conform to the discipline of the community, then to respond to its authority before the community could bestow upon me its power of liberating the intellect to carry out really fruitful inquiry. The tendency is to underrate completely the toughness and difficulty of really fruitful intellectual activity in either science or theology. Without a firm foundation on which to stand, one simply cannot grapple with experience in the tough and sturdy way which is required for real understanding. But such a platform cannot be had apart from the discipline and authority of the community. A completely free intellect operating in a lone and isolated self, cut free from every tie which binds into community, is an impotent thing tossed to and fro by every wind and wave. I could not even begin to do physics until I had given myself fully and freely to physics. Neither could I begin to do theology until I had given myself fully and freely to Christ in his Church.

The authority and discipline which every community exercises

over its members represents at once the primary source of its power and vitality and, at the same time, its most fearful danger. When the community is dynamic, vigorous, and full of vitality, its authority and discipline are so gladly and spontaneously ac- cepted by its members that they are scarcely conscious of it. This is the case with science today, and it has been the case with the Church in all of its past periods of greatness. The vitality, genius, and brilliance of the intellectual activity of the Church during the fourth and fifth centuries matches that of theoretical physics in the nineteenth and twentieth. If one wishes to really understand

authority, discipline, dogma, and orthodoxy in the Church in a

way which brings out their necessary character and fruitfulness, one must study such a period in the Church's life as that.

(pages 66-67)

Let us consider the same question in terms of the conditions under which one can possess the Marine spirit. Here it is quite evident that the only way for a young man to have the Marine Corps spirit for himself is to actually become a full member of the Marine Corps. He must start from the beginning, go through boot camp, subject himself to the authority and discipline in- volved, until finally the day arrives when he is taken in as a full- fledged marine. Then, and then only, can he have for himself the spirit of the Marine Corps. Moreover, when that time comes the spirit is simply given to him without effort or striving on his part. It simply comes to him as an integral part of the process of his incorporation into the Corps. Clearly by the very nature of the case only marines can have the Marine spirit. All the rest of us must of necessity merely observe it from the outside without possessing it for ourselves. In recognizing and accepting this simple fact, we do not, however, rebel against it as though it were an arbitrary requirement unjustly imposed upon us. It is ob- viously not a question of justice or rules at all, but something essential to the nature of the Marine spirit itself.

(Based on Pollard's rather standard argument that draws a parallel between a scientist and a Marine "subject[ing] himself to authority and discipline involved", which Weinberg should certainly be aware of as an important member of Academia, his essay may be dilberately disengenuous on this point about authority in science. --Firefly322 (talk) 14:00, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

COI Hazard

[9] was added by the author apparently. Link in article to this essay by this author/editor may be acceptable or not. Not sure. --Firefly322 (talk) 13:34, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

Recent thought. This link was WP:COATRACK. --Firefly322 (talk) 00:00, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
I looked into this briefly, it doesn't appear that the author is a major figure in this area. I think not a link farm applies here, there isn't any reason to link to every opinion on this matter. --Leivick (talk) 21:41, 27 October 2008 (UTC)


This article contains a lot of quotes. Many are quite large and should probably be shortened. It might be better to rework the material into our own prose and reference the work quoted, with a quote in the ref. Alos, per WP:MOS, "Unless there is a good reason to do so, Wikipedia avoids linking from within quotes" - we should probably remove many of the links that are in these quotes. Finally, there are multiple links to the same articles, and this is against linking practice. I thought I should bring this here first before making any wholesale changes. Thanks, Verbal chat 14:47, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

As there's been no comment on this I'll make some of the changes and tag the article for help removing/integrating the quotes. Verbal chat 20:06, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Pew in the lead

Can anybody tell me why the fact that "The Pew Forum has published data on attitudes to religion and science" belongs in the lead? Is this really a crucial top-level fact about the "relationship between religion and science"? This should either be eliminated altogether, or be expanded later in the article into a section on levels of popular support for various R&S positions. HrafnTalkStalk 02:49, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Science template

Do people consider template:Science to provide relevant information to this article? It seems a tad on the scatter-shot/overly-generalised side. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 04:17, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

Definition of Science

The current wording "science relies on observable, repeatable experiences" excludes historical sciences, like archaeology and biological evolution. Finding a better wording may take some time. (talk) 17:20, 11 March 2009 (UTC)


I think that the word Magisterium would be appropriate when talking about the scientific community, in this article, in other articles and in other writings and publications, because of the consensus approach within scientific circles that often mirrors that of closed communities (cf Consensus Patrum). I think that this was Paul Feyerabend's fundamental epistemological criticism on the pretensions of modern science, namely that of constituting a scientific society by using the same kind of social control tools as that of religion. Feyerabend compares Science to a Church or Community and cynically says that the only reason that there have been conflicts between Church and Science is because both of them are structured like Churches. [10] ADM (talk) 16:20, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Deletion of brief section on Hindusim

Another editor recently made this edit, which included some lengthy unsourced material, and was (rightly, I believe) reverted. However, recognizing that there might be some useful material contained within the deleted edit, I added back a much shorter version, marked with a "fact/citation needed" tag. That, however, has also been reverted, on the grounds of WP:BURDEN. Noting that WP:BURDEN does allow for "fact"-tagging, and in the spirit of WP:DEMOLISH, I question whether that second reversion should stand, or whether we should restore the short version and give it a chance to be sourced. On the other hand, I realize that it is possible that the material might be suspect in ways of which I am not aware. Therefore, I'm raising the question here, in talk. Should the material be restored, or not? --Tryptofish (talk) 17:54, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

There hasn't been a reply here yet. I've looked at the pages to which the deleted passage links, and it looks to me to be unlikely that the statements in the shorter version that I suggested would be likely to be challenged as an untrue characterization of the views of the Swami who is cited (although I'm far from an expert on the subject). I'm going to restore the passage, still tagged for citation needed, for now, and would ask that anyone who disagrees to talk here, rather than reverting. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:52, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
  1. WP:V: "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth" -- thus whether it is an "untrue characterization" or not is not relevant.
  2. WP:BURDEN: "The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material." Simply adding a {{fact}}-tag does not obsolve you of this burden.
  3. Normal practice is to {{fact}}-tag pre-existing unsourced material and to simply revert unsourced new additions. If you're adding new material, you should already know what the source for it is (if you don't then the material is WP:OR), and be able to produce it on demand.

I am therefore removing the material again. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 18:12, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

  • I am disappointed by the tone of your response, and particularly of your edit summary. Perhaps there is a misunderstanding: I have the impression that you think that I am the editor who originally added the material. In fact, it was Wiki6billion, not me. Therefore, I was not the one adding the material, and my putting the fact tag there is really no different than whoever put a fact tag on the very similar section about Buddhism, immediately above.
  • Your response seems rather Javert-like, particularly given the fact that I raised questions in this talk in a very reasonable way, and you did not bother to reply over a couple of days, only to revert within minutes when I restored the material. Please understand that I am just trying to be constructive. Anyway, this is not worth any more of my time, and I am now walking away from it. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:01, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
I just want to say thank you to PhilKnight, who has just made what I think was a very helpful edit to the page. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:09, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
  1. Neither I, nor WP:BURDEN particularly care whether the material was originally added by you or by Wiki6billion (although I was in fact aware of the fact). That policy explicitly covers of "restor[ing] material".
  2. No, it is not "no different than whoever put a fact tag on the very similar section about Buddhism" -- as that did not involve restoring material.
  3. If you didn't want me to be curt with you, then you shouldn't have edit-warred to restore material in violation of policy.
  4. I would further point out that you did not raise this issue on talk until after you had both readded the material in violation of policy and I had reverted it. Thereafter I did not revert again without first explaining my reasons here.

HrafnTalkStalk(P) 19:19, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

All I'm going to say is you have a strange concept of edit-warring, and of civility. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:26, 15 May 2009 (UTC)