Talk:Relationship between religion and science/Archive 4

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Galileo affair, Catholic Church, heliocentrism ...

Article states "In the Galileo affair, the acceptance, from 1616 to 1757, of the Greek geocentric model (Ptolemaic system) by the Roman Catholic Church, and its consequent opposition to heliocentrism, was first called into question by the Catholic cleric Copernicus, and subsequently disproved conclusively by Galileo, who was persecuted for his minority view".

First, the sentence is an abomination of anachronisms. How could the Church's "acceptance, from 1616 to 1757, of the Greek geocentric model" be "first called into question by ... Copernicus", who died in 1543?

Second, what did Galileo disprove? Not that the Sun moved around the Earth, nor that the Earth was stationary. I believe the Tychonic system was favored by the Church very early on, and Galileo had no proof of its incorrectness. It's misleading to suggest Galileo was persecuted simply for his minority view in believing in heliocentrism, and even more misleading to suggest he was persecuted for believing something he had proof of. Vanyo (talk)

Hey Vanyo, thanks for posting your concerns here first. This is where editors can discuss their concerns. In terms of what you noted, please feel free to edit the section as you see fit (just provide citations for the claims or provide reasons for removing content). I have done research on Galilo's affair and agree with much of what you have said. I personally had not looked at that information in this article. Some context can be found in the Galileo Galiei page.Ramos1990 (talk) 06:30, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Hi Vanyo, Ramos1990, could you both be more specific in your criticism of the cited passage above? As to the 1616, this could easily be changed, though the date probably refers to the decision reached by the Church in 1616 that heliocentrism was "absurd," "foolish," and "formally heretical," and to the pope's demand that Galileo "abandon these opinions."
Perhaps a better wording would be, "In the Galileo affair, the acceptance, until 1757, of the Greek geocentric model (Ptolemaic system) by the Roman Catholic Church, and its consequent opposition to heliocentrism, was first called into question by the Catholic cleric Copernicus, and subsequently disproved conclusively by Galileo, who was persecuted for his minority view". The second date of 1757 seems to correctly locate Pope Benedict XIV's suspension of the ban on heliocentric works, and mentioning this avoids the complicated issue of exactly when "the Church" officially (and wrongly) endorsed the Ptolemaic model.-Darouet (talk) 19:59, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
Greetings Darouet, Vanyo had more say on the point. His issue is on how it does not make sense for the Church to accept the Ptolemic model only after Copernicus published an alternative model. There are a few issues in the wording which is WP:Original Research or WP:SYN. I will correct them. For instance, some of the sources currently cited such as [1] is not a reliable source. This is the only source that maybe hints at "and its consequent opposition to heliocentrism, was first called into question by the Catholic cleric Copernicus, and subsequently disproved conclusively by Galileo, who was persecuted for his minority view". The other sources (Ronald Numbers) notes that Catholics were supportive of the heliocentric system too and (Nauka Zhizn) does not mention the Galileo affair.--Ramos1990 (talk) 21:34, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for removing bad references. I agree that this sentence needs substantial alteration, and presentation of the Galileo Affair should be more to the point to avoid confusion. One thing that would be especially helpful would be the inclusion of portions of the text of the inquisitions findings in 1616 and also 1633. Anyway we can work on this. -Darouet (talk) 06:56, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

Catholic Teaching On Science & Religion

I added a reference to Catholic teaching. Since each church has their own views and practices, it seemed reasonable. I'm a little puzzled why the link to the page Catholic Church and evolution seems to be broken. Comes up in a standard search just fine. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Yobbo14 (talkcontribs) 18:25, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

I am wondering if

"Science is a religion" would fit into here? Einar aka Carptrash (talk) 01:01, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

No. HiLo48 (talk) 05:00, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
General principle I think here is go with a rule of preponderance, with intended meaning is a modern one that has them separate, and discussion of commonly recognized large bodies interaction rather than smaller odies of either side or individual exceptions. I agree they would both be similar in the sense of both having dogma, articles of faith, authoritarian edicts, organized rites, mythology, etcetera and in the definitions sense of (a) body of knowledge, (b) practice and (c) organized body. Plus what is officially recognized as religion gets interesting these days with Jedi recognition in UK, and census answers include 'atheism' as a faith, and parody pastafarianism or ordination by mail deals and so forth. That might make it worth a side mention at the start about what the article will be looking at for 'science' and 'religion' and 'relationship' but to assert broadly that "science is religion" is not something you'd seem likely to find serious authoritative cites for. Markbassett (talk) 18:13, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

The Demarcation Problem

You are hereby notified that "some people may now claim that the Demarcation Problem has lost its existence, has been solved". Hint: HDM. This may affect how this article is written. Thank you. (talk) 18:56, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

Lead re Integration; adding category

The lead says "relationship as one of 4 categories: conflict, independence, dialogue, and integration" but the body only shows three categories, if you count what 'dialogue' is as substantive. There's no cite for what those 'recent discussions' are so I cannot fill in what was intended. Instead, I'll change the lead to "verying categories of relationship" to remove the count, and add "Cooperative" section as a logical next step in the sequence and oone I could find cite for... Anyone who knows where the 4-count was from please add the cite, or if you see 'integration' please add a section for it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Markbassett (talkcontribs) 04:06, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

I have added a 'cooperative' section, which is what I found that seemed a match to the opening section 'historians discredit conflict thesis' and was a logical part of the progression from the first 3 sections. Markbassett (talk) 19:03, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

Changes to the lead, and other possible changes

I've just substantially re-worked the lead, which was problematic for a number of reasons. The previous lead introduced the relationship between science and religion by referring, first, to the Demarcation problem, instead of giving a general description of the issue. The previous lead did not, and still does not, in my opinion, give a fair summary of the entire article: this is a requirement for wikipedia's manual of style and still needs to be addressed. The previous lead also made the claim that religion acknowledges "reason, empiricism, and evidence;" this is maintained by many theologians both now and in the past, and by some historians of science, and even by some scientists writing about their faith. It is, however, denied by many others, and so is hugely controversial: there is no reason to endorse the claim here. I'll write more on this below.

I think that this article could benefit from two things, principally, and I will hope to help in the coming weeks/months:

1) A discussion of more history, for instance describing the Galileo affair and Galileo's complex relationship to the Catholic church. There are many ways this could be done, and I'm sure we can find a path amenable to all.

2) A discussion of contemporary conflict over issues involving evolution, stem cell research, contraception and public health, administration of antibiotics, acceptance of science relating to geology, cosmology and the history of the universe, etc. There is a wealth of material both in books and in newspaper articles relating to this.

Also, it seems as though the article has many subsections, and perhaps we could find a way of condensing or otherwise organizing these? -Darouet (talk) 21:19, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

I forgot to add material from two of Carl Sagan's books, and from Paul Kurtz's volume on Science and religion, to give a brief illustration of how respectable publications would contest the notion that religion "acknowledges reason, empiricism, and evidence," such that we shouldn't endorse such a view here. Other authors (Dawkins, Dennett, Pinker) whose perspectives deserve at least cursory mention here, are far more confrontational, but I particularly like Sagan.
In Science and Religion: Are They Compatible? (Prometheus Books, 2003) Paul Kurtz collates a series of perspectives on religion and science, most of which would contest the contention that religion acknowledges reason, empiricism, and evidence. After describing fideism, or faith without reason, etc., Kurtz writes in his introduction,

Most of those who believe in the traditional religions do not base it on pure fideism alone, but on reasons and evidence. Indeed, no less an authority than Pope John Paul II maintained the same in an encyclical entitled Faith and Reason… Skeptics might agree with the pope's defense of reason and scientific inquiry, yet question whether these do indeed support his own beliefs. Thus for the skeptical inquirer acquiescence to the fideist's rationalization for his beliefs is mistaken. Similarly, in answer to those theists who maintain that there is adequate evidence and reasons for their belief, skeptical inquirers should not simply ignore their claims, saying they are beyond scientific confirmation, but should examine them…

— Paul Kurtz, "Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?" p.20
Later, he writes,

Science (and reason) must not yield any of its own ground. Science is based foremost on evidence, not authority or revelation. In science, nothing is taken on faith, while in religion, faith is at the heart of belief. In science all knowledge is tentative, continually subject to revision when better explanations and evidence (always aggressively sought) are acquired; religion asserts the presence of unchanging and unchallengeable eternal truths. Science proposes explanations about the natural world and then puts those hypotheses to repeated tests using experiments, observations, and a creative and diverse array of other methods ands strategies. Many religions discourage skepticism or critical examination of cherished precepts. This commitment to test the validity of ideas and claims separates science from religion.

— Paul Kurtz, "Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?" p.28
I won't quote now from other authors in the volume, except to give a brief sentence from Pinker, in which he writes that according to polls, "more than a quarter of today's Americans believe in witches, almost half believe in ghosts, 69 percent believe in angels, 87 percent believe that Jesus was raised from the dead, and more than 90 percent believe in a God or universal spirit." I've seen some polls on this and I think some deserve mention in this article.
Addressing possible evidence for God's existence and religious faith in his book "The Varieties of Scientific Experience," (Edited by Ann Druyan, Penguin Books, 2006), Carl Sagan writes,

I therefore conclude that the alleged natural theological arguments for the existence of God, the sort we're talking about, simply are not very compelling. They are trotting after the emotions, hoping to keep up. But they do not provide any satisfactory argument on their own.

— Carl Sagan, "The Varieties of Scientific Experience," p.165
Sagan spends a whole chapter of that book, or arguably the whole book itself, addressing the what he calls "The God Hypothesis" and the relationship between empiricism, reason, religion and science. He writes more on the subject in his book "Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark," (Random House, 1996). From that book,

Think of how many religions attempt to validate themselves with prophecy. Think of how many people rely on these prophecies, however vague, however unfulfilled, to support or prop up their beliefs. Yet has there ever been a religion with the prophetic accuracy and reliability of science? There isn't a religion on the planet that doesn't long for a comparable ability - precise, and repeatedly demonstrated before committed skeptics - to foretell future events. No other human institution comes close.
Is this worshipping at the alter of science? Is this replacing one faith by another, equally arbitrary? In my view, not at all. The directly observed success of science is the reason I advocate its use… There are no forbidden questions in science, no matters too sensitive or delicate to be probed, no sacred truths.

— Carl Sagan, "Demon Haunted World," pp.30-31
After describing the manner in which the scientific method compels scientists to question their theories using empiricism, Sagan writes of religion,

This is one of the reasons that the organized religions do not inspire me with confidence. Which leaders of the major faiths acknowledge that their beliefs might be incomplete or erroneous and establish institutes to uncover possible doctrinal deficiencies? Beyond the test of everyday living, who is systematically testing the circumstances in which traditional religious teachings may no longer apply? … Despite all the talk of humility, show me something comparable in religion. Scripture is said to be divinely inspired - a phrase with many meanings. But what if it's simply made up by fallible humans? Miracles are attested, but what if they're instead some mix of charlatanry, unfamiliar states of consciousness, misapprehensions of natural phenomena, and mental illness? No contemporary religion and no New Age belief seems to me to take sufficient account of the grandeur, magnificence, subtlety and intricacy of the Universe revealed by science.

— Carl Sagan, "Demon Haunted World," pp.34-35.
We don't need to accept these views here, but I'm just pointing out that we can't simply write about religion acknowledging reason, empiricism, and evidence as if that's the position advanced by this encyclopedia. -Darouet (talk) 21:42, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Greetings Darouet, I think it is a decent start on the lead, however, I find most of it is very problemaic as pretty much most of it focuses on the issues related to conflict thesis which are not the majority of the article. Here is what is on the lead right now:
Science and religion pursue knowledge of the universe using different methodologies. Science acknowledges reason, empiricism, and evidence; religions are generally grounded in revelation, faith and sacredness. Conflict between religious and scientific world-views, associated with the Scientific revolution and the Age of Enlightenment, led scholars such as John William Draper to postulate a conflict thesis, holding that religion and science conflict methodologically, factually and politically. This thesis is advanced by contemporary scientists such as Richard Dawkins, Steven Weinberg and Carl Sagan. Conflict is also proposed by many creationists. While the conflict thesis is often accepted by a majority of the public, it has lost favor among many contemporary historians of science. The Galileo affair in the 17th Century has been extensively studied both by those accepting, and by those rejecting the conflict thesis.
Many theologians, philosophers and scientists in history have reconciled their religious faith with science. Biologist Stephen Jay Gould, other scientists, and some contemporary theologians hold that religion and science are non-overlapping magisteria, addressing fundamentally separate forms of knowledge and aspects of life. Scientists Francisco Ayala, Kenneth R. Miller and Francis Collins see no necessary conflict between religion and science. Some theologians or historians of science, including John Lennox, Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme and Ken Wilber propose an interconnection between them.
Public acceptance of generally accepted scientific facts may be influenced by religion; many in the United States reject the idea of evolution by natural selection, especially regarding human beings. Nevertheless, the American National Academy of Sciences has written that "the evidence for evolution can be fully compatible with religious faith," a view officially endorsed by many American religious denominations.
Much of this misses the points that are made in other sections of the article such as integration and collaboration. For instance in terms of the public perceptions it is clear that there really are no general conflicts with the sciences, only on one topic which is not representative of the sciences as most sciences have nothing to do with evolution, for instance. Nor were most religious people historically against evolution either (The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design - Ronald numbers). Also, the sources you mainly used here in the talk page ("Demon Haunted World" and "Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?") are not done by experts in the history of the sciences or religions nor are their views representative of the majority of scholars such as historians of science who argue for a complex rather than simplified compatibility or conflict extremes.
The Sagan and Kurtz sources you noted are indeed committed to conflict thesis mentalities and are reflect only of a minority contemporary view, rather than the majority of current or historical views. For instance, Oxford and Cambridge researchers on Atheism have noted the opposite relations than what is normally assume [2]. A better source on both religion and science can be found in "The History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition: An Encyclopedia (Garland Reference Library of the Humanities)" edited by Edward Larson which includes a grip of experts in both religion and science. In an abridged version of this encyclopedia:
While some historians had always regarded the Draper-White thesis as oversimplifying and distorting a complex relationship, in the late twentieth century it underwent a more systematic reevaluation. The result is the growing recognition among historians of science that the relationship of religion and science has been much more positive than is sometimes thought. Although popular images of controversy continue to exemplify the supposed hostility of Christianity to new scientific theories, studies have shown that Christianity has often nurtured and encouraged scientific endeavour, while at other times the two have co-existed without either tension or attempts at harmonization. If Galileo and the Scopes trial come to mind as examples of conflict, they were the exceptions rather than the rule."' Gary Ferngren (editor). Science & Religion: A Historical Introduction. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-8018-7038-0. (Introduction, p. ix)
In terms of what you wrote, "I'm just pointing out that we can't simply write about religion acknowledging reason, empiricism, and evidence as if that's the position advanced by this encyclopedia." I am afraid that we cannot argue that religion does *not* acknowledge these as there are strong traditions of rationalism and evidence throughout the history of religion such as the fusions of theology and logic via Thomas Aquianas' impacting works or Isidore of Seville's encyclopedias of everything, Augustine's works on theology and nature (which popularized the "Handmaiden concept" of science to religion for most of Christian history) etc. The history of science or religion is not cut and dried and these ideas (faith, reason, evidence, revelation, etc.) were not treated as being mutually exclusive in history and even among contemporary publics. The situation is pretty complex. For instance, in terms of atheists and agnostics, an independent sociologist has noted "Nor is it likely that most atheists and agnostics base their decision to not believe in the gods on a careful, rational analysis of the pertinent philosophical and scientific arguments. As noted earlier Europeans score about as poorly on tests of scientific knowledge as do the more religious American population...most people do not care all that much about scientific rationalism, which explains why three quarters of Americans and many other Westerners believe in something paranormal aside from gods." (Atheism and Secualrity Vol. 1, P. 171)
The relationship between religion and science is not cut and dried and no concepts are mutually exclusive either. The lead in this article should reflect the complexity of the relationships already noted in the article. It should not emphasize the conflict thesis as this would lead readers astray from the contents of the article. I will re-edit a few things later on. I hope my input helps.--Ramos1990 (talk) 22:03, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Greetings, Ramos and Darouet. I'd like to make a comment on the type of sources used in the article. Above, Ramos wrote:
Also, the sources you mainly used here in the talk page ("Demon Haunted World" and "Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?") are not done by experts in the history of the sciences or religions nor are their views representative of the majority of scholars such as historians of science who argue for a complex rather than simplified compatibility or conflict extremes.
The Sagan and Kurtz sources you noted are indeed committed to conflict thesis mentalities and are reflect only of a minority contemporary view, rather than the majority of current or historical views.
I think the views of eminent scientists - especially those who have written extensively on the relationship of science and religion - should be given significant weight in the article, along with people whose specialty is confined to the history of science. Sagan, Dawkins, Hawking, Gould and Weinberg have written significantly on the relationship between science and religion. Since they are some of the world's foremost experts in their respective fields of science, and have expanded into writing about science in general, their views are certainly worth detailing in this article. -Thucydides411 (talk) 23:17, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Greetings Thucydides411, thanks for your input. I agree that scientists certainly have a place in the article, under the "Perspectives of the science community" section. One could even include the commentary from scientists who are involved in both theology and science from history and today such as Isaac Newton, Blaise Pascal, Francis Bacon, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, James Prescott Joule, Lord Kelvin, Werner Heisenburg, Max Planck, Francis Collins, Kenneth Miller, John Polkinghorne, etc. However, emphasizing only those on one side of the extremes (Sagan, Dawkins, Hawking, Weinberg) in the lead would be incorrect. Of course religion and science are not studied exclusively on the opinions of scientists or reigionists either. Many other dimensions exists for both too (historical, cultural, theological, anthropological, sociological, lingustical, etc.) Most of the article focuses on other dimensions and perspectives which should be noted in the lead. Since the lead is supposed to summarize the contents of the article, not put undue wight towards a minority view such as the conflict thesis, then the lead would need some adjustments.--Ramos1990 (talk) 00:22, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
In my list of scientists who write on religion, I did not try to select writers who are hostile to religion. If I had, I would have omitted Gould. In fairness, I could perhaps add Francis Collins to the list as a modern scientist who writes positively of religion. However, my selection more simply reflects the widespread lack of religious belief within the scientific community (about 93% of the American National Academy of Sciences (NAS) professes disbelief or agnosticism according to a 1998 letter in Nature: [3]). The Nature letter concludes with the following remark:
As we compiled our findings, the NAS issued a booklet encouraging the teaching of evolution in public schools, an ongoing source of friction between the scientific community and some conservative Christians in the United States. The booklet assures readers, "Whether God exists or not is a question about which science is neutral"[5]. NAS president Bruce Alberts said: "There are many very outstanding members of this academy who are very religious people, people who believe in evolution, many of them biologists." Our survey suggests otherwise.
This alone should make us be more careful when we try to determine what is the majority view, and what is the minority view on science and religion. There seems to be a difference between those who approach the question of science and religion from the theological and historical disciplines, and those who approach the subject from the scientific discipline. Before labeling the conflict thesis a minority view, we should endeavor to see if it really is the minority view across disciplines. In the article, it might be worthwhile to note that the conflict thesis is a minority view among historians of science, but not among scientists who write on the relationship between religion and science. -Thucydides411 (talk) 02:29, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
Greetings Thucydides411, I hear you. Yes, it is worth noting that the conflict thesis, is a minority view among historians of science, but a popular view in popular imagination. I however, would be careful with the Nature study on the NAS as actually being representative of scientists views in general. National societies such as the National Academy of Science and the United Kingdom's Royal Society are not actually not representative of the views of common scientists per se as their statements/trends are not binding on common scientists, their opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of common scientists in a given community since 1) membership to these societies are often exclusive, 2) their commissions and functions are explicitly focused on serving their governments only, not necessarily the people or general scientists, as is dictated in their charters, and 3) they have never "shown systematic interest in what rank-and file scientists think about scientific matters". (Fuller, Steve (2007). Dissent Over Descent. Icon. pp. 25). Not only that but if you read the "Studies on the views of scientists" section of this article you find that scientists are more divided evenly between atheists, agnostics, and theists/spiritualists. In reality, even measures of scientists views on religion do not necessarily indicate that lack of religious affiliation resulting from a conflict mentality. Elaine Ecklund's research on "elite" scientists views shows that much of the lack of religiosity, in those that are not religious, is due to upbringing in nonreligious homes and other factors, not from reflections from the sciences.
Majority views should be taken from wider sociological research as it often provides much wider samples and are more appropriate to reflect what are the more likely majority views among issues of the sciences and issues on religions. In a battery of sociological studies it is crystal clear that religious people themselves from all over the world do not have any intrinsic conflicts with the sciences, even though they may popularly believe that everyone else might have some conflicts besides them. I have edited the lead a bit to reflect the contents of the article as a "conflict minded" lead would be misleading. Feel free to contribute what you wish. --Ramos1990 (talk) 03:41, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

Hi Ramos, this will require a lot more discussion (and more sources brought into the article), but a few points should be considered. First, evolution is not "one topic which is not representative of the sciences as most sciences have nothing to do with evolution," but rather the unifying theory of biology. As the National Academy of Sciences pamphlet "Science, Evolution and Creationism" explains, it is also inextricably tied to chemistry, physics, geology and modern medicine. This isn't a subject of scientific debate. The rejection of evolution on religious grounds is therefore not trivial, but critical insofar as anyone might be concerned with public education, public health, public policy, and public ethics. I know you agree these are concerns of encyclopedia editors. I suggest that we therefore directly address religious response to evolution, contraception, stem cell research, religious views on the education of women, etc. (and these views are diverse), rather than dismissing them as inconsequential.

The work of Ronald Numbers, Gary Ferngren, David Lindberg, and Richard Olson is fascinating, but their views on what has been called the "conflict model" are not universally accepted within the History of Science. Within history proper, and among scientists, their views have some adherents, but generally less support than in the "History of Science" proper. Writing that "historians of science no longer support" the conflict model, and that the model is popular in the "imagination" of the public only, dismisses historians of science who disagree, and belittles the public. It also ignores scientists and historians who maintain, in various forms, that religion and science have come into conflict and still do today.

Perhaps it would be worthwhile to cite a few reviews of works that have addressed the "conflict thesis?" In his 1987 review, Frank Turner welcomes Lindberg and Numbers' "God and Nature: Historical Essays on the Encounter between Christianity and Science." He does not simply accept their rejection of what they call the "conflict thesis," however, writing, "it is perhaps appropriate to begin to exercise just a bit more caution. It would be ironic and wrongheaded for intellectual historians and historians of science to conclude or even to imply that ideas are not important or do not in and of themselves produce social, political, and cultural consequences that may give rise to conflict. Intellectual conflict can and does have its basis in society, but the outcome of social conflict can and does influence what ideas may be acceptable, debatable, and even publishable. Various modes of religious faith and science can and have coexisted, but it is far from certain that the scientific enterprise can flourish in a church-directed culture."

John Lynch's 2000 review of Fergren's "History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition" finds the work a "good place to start" for those wishing to understand historiographical approaches to science and religion, "a debate that is not likely to be resolved in the near future." Lynch notes that Ferngren's volume includes contributions describing these different approaches, calling Draper and White's "confrontational," Gould's "muddled," and the "syncretic viewpoint of many theologians and thinkers supported by the Templeton Foundation." Lynch writes that "Interestingly, a number of prominent anti-Darwinians are also represented," including the creationists William Dembski and Stephen Meyer, "notable for his attempts to inject Christianity into scientific discourse." Lynch calls his contribution to Ferngren's volume "a masterpiece of evasionary rhetoric." Not that both Lynch and Turner appreciate these books but take issue with some of the perspectives they advance, and don't endorse them.

A generally positive view of Lindberg and Numbers' historiography is given by Thomas Dixon's 2005 review of their book, "When Science and Christianity Meet." Strongly stating that the field no longer backs generalizations regarding the relationship between science and religion, Dixon writes that "over the last two or three decades this 'complexity thesis' has become a new orthodoxy in religion-and-science historiography." Dixon is skeptical however of "Lindberg and Numbers claim that recent scholarship has been produced by historians who have 'laid aside apologetic and polemical goals, choosing to understand rather than to judge,' " arguing instead that

The key to understanding this new anti-conflict historiography lies, appropriately enough, in thinking about the local circumstances of its production. "When Science and Christianity Meet" arose from a conference initiated by the Program of Dialogue between Science and Religion of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, with support from the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences in Berkeley. Of the eleven contributors, nine are based in institutions of higher education in the United States. This book, then, is not simply an exercise in value-neutral empirical research. It is the product of a time and a place where the idea that there is a conflict between science and Christianity is widely held, by creationists and others, with troubling political and educational consequences.

— Thomas Dixon, review of "When Science and Christianity Meet," 2005

Dixon does conclude that "the scholarly and persuasive essays" in the book "are excellent places to start."

It is perhaps because of these particular origins described by Dixon that Arthur Falk, reviewing the same book, detects "an alternative master narrative peeking through that untidiness" of history as presented by some authors in the volume edited by Lindberg and Numbers. Falk describes the Lindberg / Numbers narrative as being "as much half-truth as the master narrative it was supposed to replace," and caricatures it as follows: "Who is to blame for the perception of conflict between science and religion? It is not the scientists who make their discoveries; their work often supported theology, if not always. It is not the clergy and theologians who often were also scientists. It is rather those very few but extremely noisy atheistic, anticlerical ideologues who soured the harmonious relation of religion and science, and turned it into something nasty. Their agenda of secularization had nothing to do with science and everything to do with their own egotistical personalities. Who are they? The philosophes of the French Enlightenment, the brash Irish and English duo—Tyndall and Huxley, and in the United States, the racist Glidden and that provocateur president of secular Cornell University, White. And the less said about Freud and social so called “science,” the better. These ideologues have only themselves to blame for today’s fundamentalist backlash. End of summary."

Falk warns the reader, "There is some truth to the story, but the main alternative master narrative contains much truth also, and several articles [in the volume] support it."

Given the scholarly reviews cited above, Maarten Boudry's 2011 review of a book by Alvin Plantinga deserves some mention:

There has been a veritable cottage industry of books purporting to demonstrate that, for various reasons, science and religion are really in harmony. To a skeptical observer, the very frequency with which these books are published suggests that the appearance of conflict is a hard one to dispel.

— Maarten Boudry, review of "Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion and Naturalism," 2011.

These are only commentaries responding to this particular vein of "History of Science" work, and there is much more available to us.

I agree with Thucydides and think that the views of major, influential scientists such as Dawkins, Weinberg, Sagan, Hawking, Pinker, Coyne, and others must be mentioned here. These are professionals who have dedicated their lives to thinking about and studying these issues, and as Sagan's books attest (cited above), these authors are very knowledgeable. Criticisms of their writings are important, but they have been made in the context of critical acclaim.

You both may or may not be acquainted with Jonathan Israel's extraordinary series of tomes on Enlightenment philosophy, science, and theology? Israel comes from an entirely different perspective, and is not so much interested in supporting a "conflict" or an "integration" thesis (like many historians he's uninterested in this approach), but tries to faithfully reproduce the period of which he writes:

It was perfectly logical, then, that the first stirrings go the Radical Enlightenment, and the esprit philosophique it proclaimed, arose amid a generally perceived need in the 1650s to revise and adjust the relationship between theology, philosophy, and science. It was inherent in the situation, furthermore, that theologians should figure centrally in the great intellectual debates of the Early Enlightenment and that theological issues should remain basic to the concerns of all the principal participants - philosophers, scientists, and statesmen no less than theologians - and to the concerns of all three main camps, moderate mainstream, Radical Enlightenment, and Counter-Enlightenment, that emerged in Europe and America from the ensuing controversies.
Theological debate, then lay at the heart of the Early Enlightenment… It was neither science, then, nor new geographical discoveries, nor even philosophy, as such, but rather the formidable difficulty of reconciling old and new in theological terms, and finally, by the 1740s, the apparent collapse of all efforts to forge a general synthesis of theology, philosophy, politics, and science, which destabilized religious belief and values, causing the wholly unprecedented crisis of faith driving the secularization of the modern West.

— Israel, "Enlightenment Contested," 2006, p.64

In all his books, it is clear that Israel is describing a complex intellectual interaction between different European ideologies reacting to science, defending faith, developing ideas, etc., and that conflict is rampant. But Israel does not specifically endorse a conflict thesis and I'd be surprised if many historians were interested in that formulation.

Greetings Darouet, excellent commentary. Lets stay on track here. This part of the talk page focused on the the lead only. I think the lead as it stands is pretty neutral and generic and captures many dimensions in this article. On another related issue, it is ok to note the commentary of notable scientists in this article too, as I said earlier in the "Perspectives from the scientific community" section. No problem. On the lead you can include scientists that side on some view like the conflict thesis currently has - but as a list only and it should be brief. I think we all agree here.
In terms of the other topics (evolution, conflict thesis, complex thesis, etc.) we should probably start a new thread to not mix issues. These topics were originally introduced in the first re-draft of the lead and they kind of went away from the original focus. --Ramos1990 (talk) 18:01, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

Miscellaneous stuff

Greetings Darouet, I am making a new thread based on the comments you made in the last thread above. I don't think that this will require much discussion as I think we are both ackowledging the diversity in the researches.

I will say a few comments to you last comments in the discussion above: Ok, in terms of conflict model views, the conflict thesis historically speaking is indeed a minority view, not the majority view among historians of science per the references already noted and your mentioning of Thomas Dixon's comments on the complexity thesis being popular in the historiography of science and religion. However, just like in any other fields of research, you can never have perfect universality in any ideas. The reviews you noted on various writings are interesting and do reflect the diversity of comments on the complex historical relationships between religion and science. However, there is also some interesting comments on the work you originally used. In a review of Paul Kurtz' "Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?", apparently not many have reviewed this book, made some interesting observations:

The publisher of this collection of 39 articles is dedicated to protecting and promoting secular humanism. Most of the articles come from the journals Skeptical Inquirer and Free Inquiry; they are short and competently written by scientists and professors for laics. - Professor Arthur E Falk, Quarterly Review of Biology, 2004

Indeed most entries in that book do have an anit-religious sentiment and bias and very few proponents of opposite views actually get any attention to represent their views of science and religion.

Perhaps a good collection on the current issues is "The Nature of Nature: Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science" which has many entries from all sorts of dimensions.

I have noticed that in much of the issues of supposed conflict today only involve only one topic - biological macroevolution. In reality any issues of conflict really funnel to this one small topic within the sciences as many entries in "Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?" or "The Nature of Nature: Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science" or most other contemporary books pretty much spend countless pages on this one issue. Of course in reality no has ever denied evolution at all, only versions of it as even young earth creationists note the distinctions and ambiguous uses of "evolution" [4]. Of course, even the history of creationism (i.e. The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design - Ronald Numbers) is quite complex and not reducible to simple evolution "denial" or "acceptance" as evolution is constantly used in diverse ways to imply different circumstances in very ambiguous ways. A good history various versions of evolution is "From the Greeks to Darwin: An Outline of the Development of the Evolution Idea" by Henry Fairfield Osborn.

Last time I said, evolution is "one topic which is not representative of the sciences as most sciences have nothing to do with evolution." I stand by that because literally evolution (macroevolution to be more precise) is not used in most of the sciences at all. Historically, even before the Modern Synthesis in the 1940s, fields such as genetics, zoology, biochemistry, speciation, medicine, geology, paleontology, organic chemistry, population genetics, genetic engineering, etc. were developing just fine without the overall metaphysical construct of macroevolution we have today. Also, since freelance macroevolution is about origins, not about present processes per se, then it is definitely not used in most sciences in any significant fashion. Origins research in general is a small percentage of research, as the vast majority of scientific research has to do with operational aspects of the sciences today. Biological research topics such as horizontal gene transfer, mutations, population genetics, organic chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, every branch of medicine, etc. and even ones in cosmology and geology are all pretty much using principles and tools from chemistry and physics as the core foundations of these researches. And of course there are thousands of other fields in the sciences which do not interact with each other by and they all stand alone from needing to use concepts like macroevolution. Examples are genetic variation, statics, dynamics, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, inorganic chemistry, siesmology, botany, relativity, cancer research, anatomy, quantum mechanics, chemical kinetics, subatomics, every branch of mathematics, materials sciences, electrochemistry, physical chemistry, analytical chemistry, surgery, immunology, microbiology, pediatrics, dentistry, psychological analysis, neuroscience, environmental sciences, zoology, veterinary sciences, genomics, acoustics, computer sciences, sociology, anthropology, economics, cosmology, astronomy, nutritional sciences, archaeology and well.... thousands of other fields and thousands of sub topics. If anything it is tools from various fields that have been used to try to explain macroevolution, than the other way around. Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics - the three foundations of all the natural sciences don't use macroevolutionary thinking as a core or as a basis at all. It is no wonder that Karl Poper once called all-purpose evolution a "metaphysical research program".

Though I agree that there are issues on "contraception, stem cell research, religious views on the education of women, etc. (and these views are diverse)", it sure seems odd to hear you say that belief or disbelief in macroevolution actually influence the views on these issues. Issues of public education, public health, public policy, and public ethics are not directly affected by views of evolution, but by personal ethics, personal reasoning, and money. Does anyone literally make ANY decisions based on macroevolution? It sure seems odd to assume this position or to even imply that belief in one small negligible theory will make or break humanity. Evolution is not a worldview, but one out thousands of other theories and fields in the sciences. So though it may seem like it matters, converting people to believe in all-purpose evolution (though most accept many non controversial aspects of it already inevitably as no one has ever denied changes occur), it really is socially negligible. For instance, though America has a significant rejection of evolution, America has been at the top in terms of adult science literacy since 1988 (Hobson, Art. 2008. "The Surprising Effectiveness of College Science Literacy Courses". Physics Teacher 46(7): 404-406) and according to the National Science Foundation: America has the same science knowledge base as Europe (which has higher belief in evolution); the US has more interest in science than Europe; the majority of Americans show strong support for the sciences and funding research; American visit more science institutions than Europeans; Americans have more favorable attitudes towards science and technology than "more" secular regions like Europe, Russia, and Japan (National Science Foundation. 2012. "Science and Engineering Indicators 2012" Ch.7). I see no good reason to assume that more belief or less belief in evolution will make any tangible difference in any society. Most social life has nothing to do with origins or evolution at all.

Not only that but religion seems to be flourishing and multiplying more than ever today than was postulated by sociologists in the last century and before. The alarmism that one hears by scientists and non-scientists over evolution sure seem to be more based on imagination than empirical reality or considerations of empirical data. One thing is for sure, most scientists do not study science from a sociological stand point and this does make it difficult to believe what they say on some of these issues. The National Academies can say whatever they want, but since they have never shown interest in surveying general scientists on scientific issues, their opinions are strictly theirs and are not translatable to most views held by scientists automatically. The fact that the membership to these organizations is by invitation only, their charters explicitly say they exist to serve their political governments, and the fact that researchers do not adhere to or cite their publications in their own research means that their views are not law. Ironically, my boss is an active member of the Royal Society and he never appeals to their publications for anything literally! It just a nice club to be in I suppose. Generally scientists who actually perceive conflict treat both science and religion as being two monolithic objects with uniform attributes and characteristics. In the context of empirical data from the sociology of religion and studies in public perceptions of science, neither scientists in general or religionists in general are ever that rigid.

Sorry for the long post, but there is quite a bit of material to note. Overall, for the article, you can stick in stuff on the contemporary issues you think would help make the article better. I'm down for it. You mentioned some already (evolution, stem cell research, etc). Maybe you can call the section "Contemporary Issues". Just a thought. --Ramos1990 (talk) 20:31, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

Ramos, I would like to respond to a few points you've made above.
I said earlier that we should not disregard or minimize the work of scientists who write on the relationship between science and religion, and I gave a list of scientists who have written on the matter. You criticized the list, saying it leaned heavily against religion. My response was that I had not cherry-picked, but that the list is representative of the general view of scientists. I cited a letter published in Nature that reports that 93% of NAS members report no personal religious belief. You replied that the NAS and Royal Society are not representative of ordinary scientists, and cited the noted creationist Steve Fuller to back up this view. The national academies of science typically assemble the most highly regarded members of various scientific fields. What their membership thinks on religion is an important bellwether of the religious beliefs of leading scientists, notwithstanding the critiques of anti-science campaigners.
On the issue of evolution, you seem to underestimate its importance to biology. It is often called the unifying idea of biology, because it explains a large set of seemingly disjointed facts in various subfields of biology. It is not "one small negligible theory," unless you consider biology to be a small, negligible theory. This position will not be saved by separating out micro- and macro- evolution. The distinction between micro- and macro-evolution, which you mentioned above, does not come from evolutionary biology, but rather from creationist apologetics.
I will go back and gather together some material that would enrich the article, but I wanted to clear up these points beforehand. -Thucydides411 (talk) 17:27, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
Very good discourse on these issues Thucydides411. Let me clarify some minor points: Steve Fuller is a secular humanist, not a theistic creationist. More wider samples of elite and general scientists scientists exist (i.e. Ecklund, Elaine Howard (2010). "Science vs. Religion : What Scientists Really Think". New York, NY: Oxford University Press; "Scientists and Belief". Pew Research Center. (2009); Neil Gross and Solon Simmons (2009). "The religiosity of American college and university professors. Sociology of Religion, 70(2):101-129.) and they do show more even distributions than the Nature study which is quite limited to only a few scientists and only one organization. The nomination process for the NAS is done by internal membership nominations (as it is for other national societies), not by democratic votes of most scientists in universities or industry or laboratories, as is seen in their election process page [5] - "Consideration of a candidate begins with his or her nomination. Although many names are suggested informally, a formal nomination can be submitted only by an Academy member." These national societies' main functions are to provide opinions for legislation for their respective governments, but, of course, they are not the only opinions considered in legislation or by the public. I own a few publications written by NAS members only that people can buy. If you read some you will notice that they are pretty generic and broad, not rigorous like in a journal research article, as they are used for political considerations and public relations. PNAS, the journal published by the NAS, is one of the few things that actually include contributions from non-members (aka most common scientists including elites who are not part of the NAS). The NAS overall provides one opinion, not the only one - as most other scientific national societies (i.e Royal Society) provide their own opinions too. And the NAS doesn't depend on their contributions and they don't depend on the NAS' contributions. Also let us not forget that the opinions by members in these organization do change through time. For instance, the published opinions of members of the Royal Society today are different than the opinions of members of the Royal Society in 1700. I would not hold these kinds of societies in high honor any more than any other scientific organizations that exist.
In terms of evolution, well... see the actual pages on "micro-" and "macro-" evolution: Microevolution, Macroevolution. These are not creationist terms. Of course evolution is important to biology but it is irrational and foolish to assume that evolution IS biology. Biology is split up of hundreds of subtopics and categories which are not dependent on evolution at all - they are all dependent on underlying ideas of physics and chemistry inherently. Evolution is indeed negligible for the most part even in biology, as most of the research is not about origins, but about conditions today. Even comparative studies on life forms is NOT exclusively evolutionary as is clearly seen by uses of it in the history science (i.e. "Systema Naturae" or "Philosophia Botanica" from Carl Linaeus, "De Motu Cordis" by physicians like William Harvey etc). As I said earlier Historically, even before the Modern Synthesis in the 1940s, fields such as genetics, zoology, biochemistry, speciation, medicine, geology, paleontology, organic chemistry, population genetics, genetic engineering, etc. were developing just fine without the overall metaphysical construct of macroevolution we have today. Rapid empirical verification of this point can be achieved by consulting even pre 1859 scientific literature in medicine, anatomy, zoology, botany, taxonomy, microbiology, genetics, organic chemistry, biochemistry before Alfred Russel Wallace and Darwin wrote their ideas. Consider "Systema Naturae" or "Philosophia Botanica" from Carl Linaeus, "Zoological Philosophy" by Lamarck, "De Motu Cordis" by physicians like William Harvey, Robert Hooks microbilogical/microscopical studies, etc. Biology for sure was doing fine before Wallace and Darwin and before the Modern Synthesis in the 1940s. The Modern Synthesis is what most people think of when they consider the metaphysical research program called "evolution". In reality no one has ever disagreed with "evolution", only certain parts. However, there may be confusion on the very concept of evolution since is used today as an ambiguous "all purpose, all powerful, all creating" thing. Sometimes when people talk about evolution, they seem to be implying that people either accept or deny that change occurs, which is a false dichotomy and stupid to assume as even strict creationists constantly remind of actual diversification. Overall, I find it odd that the only places where editors in wikipedia assume conflict between religion and science are only on a small handful of topics in the sciences and by these they extrapolate to all of the sciences, subfields, and even science itself. Really odd....
Pardon if you thought I accused you of cherry picking scientists against religion. It really was no ones fault, after all some scientists that have a religion-evolution fetish get most of the popular attention. I simply made a note of -if we add some more voices to the article (some are already in the article) then we should all balance out with diverse opinions. Hope there are no hard feelings. I think both your insights and Darouet's insights are helpful. --Ramos1990 (talk) 21:14, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
Newton, Lagrange, Hamilton, Maxwell. Physics for sure was doing fine before Einstein, Schroedinger, Dirac and Heisenberg and their quantum physics came along in the 1920s. It's just that Quantum Mechanics underlies all of physics nowadays. You can ignore it in your day-to-day work in certain fields - say heliophysics - but if you want to know why the atomic and molecular spectra are the way they are, or what drives the fusion at the center of the Sun, you need to go back to Quantum Mechanics. The situation is very similar in biology. You can study the anatomy or a particular species, or a particular molecular pathway, but if you're interested in why the anatomy is the way it is, or why the pathway is the way it is, you are confronted with the problem of the evolution of those features. But really, you're not doing well for yourself by trying to minimize the importance of evolution in biology ("Evolution is indeed negligible for the most part even in biology, as most of the research is not about origins, but about conditions today") or by claiming that "no one has ever disagreed with 'evolution', only certain parts." It makes it look like you have an axe to grind, since the dispute over evolution is one of the major historical examples of a factual conflict between religious beliefs and scientific theories. -Thucydides411 (talk) 23:08, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree that quantum mechanics underlies much of physics today, but even physics and quantum mechanics are not treated as reducible or interchangeable to each other, nor are physicists constantly talking about quantum mechanics when they explain phenomena from every single branch of physics from statics to dynamics to electromagnetism to fluid mechanics to thermodynamics to statistical mechanics etc. The same stuff ends up applying to chemistry which has an underlying atomic and quantum theory underneath it too. Even chemists don't explaining everything in terms of atomic theory or quantum mechanics either. They don't reduce things like biologist often do. In both Physics and Chemistry there are courses that focus specifically in quantum theory, however, the vast majority of courses in both fields don't emphasize nor do they explicitly involve quantum theory. If you have majored in biology I am sure you will notice that evolution is not explicitly taught in pretty much every single course. Instead, usually there are a few courses that focus specifically on that on topic, then they move on to other topics.
By looking at the function of all the parts of a cell one is not necessarily doing work on evolution - one is doing work on the functions of a cell, when one looks into structures of proteins - one is looking into the structure of proteins, etc. You are confusing biology AS origins research. This is absurd since literally most of the research on life is not about explaining origins. Look at medical journals and see how much they focus on origins as their research - its very little. Or veterinary sciences which deal with all other life forms - again very little. How about dentistry, orthopedics, anatomy, molecular biology, population genetics, horizontal gene transfer? These mostly focus on functionality, synergy, utility, decay, side effects, physical development, not on origins and even less on distant origins. One of the biggest problems with some biologists and some other scientists is how they use "evolution" in an ambiguous "all purpose" thing. For instance, sometimes it means natural selection (which even young earth creationists clearly accept [6]), sometimes it means change though time (who really doubts this?), sometimes it means progress and betterment through time, sometimes it means common descent, sometimes it means ancestry, sometimes it means getting rid of old and useless things, etc. This makes communicating about it very difficult since too much bait and switching occurs when people discuss it. Often times evolutionary talk sounds like advertising for a worldview rather than an actual theory. This ambiguity does not exist with say more well defined theories such as quantum theory or atomic theory or chemical kinetic theory of gases or electromagnetic theory. These theories are quantitative and predictive inherently, not merely metaphysical constructs or rearrangements of hierarchies of things in nature. If you look at the history of the idea in "From the Greeks to Darwin: An Outline of the Development of the Evolution Idea" by Henry Fairfield Osborn you will see that ideas on change and adaption are pretty ancient and have a long history, not a recent one. Also don't forget that "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution", which is a popular belief among biologists today, came from Russian Orthodox Christian named Theodosius Dobzhansky not some dude who felt he had conflict with science or religion. Its ironic.
The ambiguity in the topic of religion and science article is not merely in the arbitrary metaphysical concept of evolution, but there is another bigger problem. When people talk about religion they never seem to specify which one they are talking about or who specifically they are talking about. Which religions do these issues apply to? All of them (including Hua, Native American religions, Taoism, Confucianism, the Church of Satan, Raelianism, Humanist congregations, African tribal religions)? Or just a few? Do these conflicts transfer over to polytheistic, monotheistic, pantheistic, and atheistic religions (animisms, ancestor-spirit, etc.)? Also which demographic? Is it fundamentalists? moderates? liberals? Sociologists have noted that in many discussions on religion, there are many irrationalities that people often make such as assuming that religion is a monolithic thing with actual consistent traits across times and cultures. Mark Chaves has written an excellent paper on the "religious congruence fallacy" (Chaves, Mark. 2010. SSSR Presidential address rain dances in the dry season: Overcoming the religious congruence fallacy. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 49(1):1-14) which discusses why assuming that religions and religious people are all following things in a linear congruent fashion is absurd. Psychological studies he notes show the reality of incongruence in people in general. In reality religious people are very variable and and so are the secular too. The conflict between science and secular (nonreligion), as opposed to religion, can be seen a historical assessments on atheism [7]and recent sociological finds such as global data from 1981 - 2001 - Instead, as is clearly shown in Figure 3.3, societies with greater faith in science also often have stronger religious beliefs." and "Indeed, the secular postindustrial societies, exemplified by the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, prove most skeptical toward the impact of science and technology, and this is in accordance with the countries where the strongest public disquiet has been expressed about certain contemporary scientific developments such as the use of genetically modified organisms, biotechnological cloning, and nuclear power. Interestingly, again the United States displays distinctive attitudes compared with similar European nations, showing greater faith in both God and scientific progress. - Norris, Pippa; Ronald Inglehart (2011). Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide (2nd ed.)pp. 67–68.
Nor is it likely that most atheists and agnostics base their decision to not believe in the gods on a careful, rational analysis of the pertinent philosophical and scientific arguments. As noted earlier Europeans score about as poorly on tests of scientific knowledge as do the more religious American population...most people do not care all that much about scientific rationalism, which explains why three quarters of Americans and many other Westerners believe in something paranormal aside from gods. (Atheism and Secualrity Vol. 1, P. 171). Why do we find this trend of conflict among less religious countries and nonreligious people too? The secular certainly don't show much improvement compared to the religious in dimensions of science like attitudes and interest in it. It is important to compare scientists views with nonreligious people too to see if they fare any better than the religious, no? --Ramos1990 (talk) 01:37, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

Hi Ramos, I don't think it's our job, here, to figure out whether religious or non-religious people have better knowledge of science. We do have data presented on this page about how scientists are less religious than the public, and top scientists least religious of all. Science and Engineering indicators that you mention can also be found here (I suppose that some people are happy about these results, but the scientific community laments our poor standing globally). What's important is that there are plenty of scientists, including very religious ones, who understand that evolution (or "macroevolution" as you call it) is an integral part of science altogether. That's because:

  • The fundamental science contributing to evolutionary biology spans every level of physics, chemistry, and biology.
  • Evolution informs all areas of biological research, and much of biology and medicine.
  • Scientists, like most people and also religious people, care about the origin of all life in the universe.

That's why the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) writes that "Evolutionary biology has been and continues to be a cornerstone of modern science" (you can freely download this publication here). This document furthermore states, "The rapid advances now being made in the life sciences and in medicine rest on principles derived from an understanding of evolution." Regarding the integration of evolution with other disciplines, the NAS writes,

The evidence for evolution comes not just from the biological sciences but also from both historical and modern research in anthropology, astrophysics, chemistry, geology, physics, mathematics, and other scientific disciplines, including the behavioral and social sciences. Astrophysics and geology have demonstrated that the Earth is old enough for biological evolution to have resulted in the species seen today. Physics and chemistry have led to dating methods that have established the timing of key evolutionary events. Studies of other species have revealed not only the physical but also the behavioral continuities among species. Anthropology has provided new insights into human origins and the interactions between biology and cultural factors in shaping human behaviors and social systems.

— National Academy of Sciences, "Science, Evolution and Creationism," 2008.

As the authors explain, rejecting the great age of the earth allowing what you describe as "microevolution" to lead, over time, to "macroevolution" would "mean rejecting not just biological evolution but also fundamental discoveries of modern physics, chemistry, astrophysics, and geology."

According to my 3rd edition textbook "Evolutionary Biology" by Douglas Futuyma, and according to Jerry Coyne's popular "Why Evolution is True," macroevolution is just microevolution over time. These are currently considered the gold standard in texts, both scholarly and popular, on evolutionary biology. -Darouet (talk) 09:45, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

P.S. If Fuller is not a creationist, his book "Dissent over Descent argues for creationism and certainly is. Michael Ruse called it "completely wrong [and] backed by no sound scholarship whatsoever," and The Guardian called it "an epoch-hopping parade of straw men, incompetent reasoning and outright gibberish... It's intellectual quackery like this that gives philosophy of science a bad name." -Darouet (talk) 17:12, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Greetings Darouet, I agree that it is not our job to figure out whether religious or non-religious people have better knowledge of science. This is why I called this section "Miscellaneous stuff". Its not necessarily about the article and since some deviating issues were brought up then this is where we handled them. Thanks for the NAS refs. I agree that macroevolution usually is assumed as microevolution over time and I do have all the references you have noted on it too. But with artifical selection and genetic engineering microevolution and macroevolution would end up being redefined to more immediate changes in a very short periods of time, no? I'll leave it at that. In terms of the NAS, thats cool. Even though most scientists in the US do not adhere or rely on the views of the NAS, its an interesting way of framing the issues for public discourse and legislation - which their core function. Even by what you quoted, it is clear that some of the sciences have been applied to shed insights on biological evolution (as they are also applied to thousands of other theories that have nothing to do with biology or even evolution). However, the quote does not say that biological evolution has contributed to developing the techniques and tools and most theories or laws used in anthropology, astrophysics, chemistry, geology, physics, mathematics, and other scientific disciplines, including the behavioral and social sciences. Its a one way street not a two way street. Since all of these disciplines developed independently before and after the Modern Synthesis in the 1940s or even before and Wallace and Darwins publications, then it is clear that evolution is not the core idea in science or the core idea used in most fields of science. Its important no doubt, but it is irrational to treat it as any more special than say the kinetic theory of gases. Even quantum theory which is quite important does not get as much advertisement in public discourse or even by the NAS. I wonder why they don't make a pamphlets for most other theories like they do for biological evolution. Hmmmm........
In terms of Steve Fuller, he notes his secular humanism in the book and in a interview in the Guardian [8]. Of course him and Ruse don't necessarily like each other as they duked things out in court before so Ruse's comments are expected. Similar debates have occurred between Ruse and anyone who disagrees with him on these issues such as Larry Laudan. In terms of the other reviews, of course, the readers who don't like his thesis will say generalizations to mar any work. Its quite popular in book reviews to praise your friends and smash your enemies. This is why I don't believe reviews or commentaries at all - they don't clarify the real merits of actual works. Furthermore, by looking at the books the NAS published, their election processes, and the fact that they don't provide data on rank and file scientists (non-members research this more) validate the points irrespective of Steve Fuller's comments. Indeed if you read up on the charter and functions of the NAS you will see that they mainly serve the government and are bound to work on government relates issues and projects, not on the wide diverse interests of private and non-member elite scientists. Its one organization among many, not the leader, not the ultimate as many high ranking scientists do not get elected to these organizations. The NAS always elects a low percentage of women for instance, which probably reflect masculine bias of election than democratic merit based election (see women and science forum from Nature with many good discussions [9] and [10]). It cannot be that women are that insignificant in the sciences. Oh well.... Actually low percentages of women seem to be prevalent even among supposed marks of excellence such as the Nobel prize too. This is why I honestly don't care about such cultural symbols or organizations, they don't mean much and most hard work in research is never publicly recognized. The enterprise of the sciences is strictly a social activity so its expected that objectivity is often lost or justified in very ideal ways, not necessarily reflecting the complexity of reality.
I would be very careful in labeling people creationists (not sure if you are using this as a neutral term or a s a bad term) since not all who support ideas of design are theists or religious. For instance, books like "Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design" is by an atheist philosopher of science, David Berlinski is an agnostic that is a fellow in the Discovery Institute, and Steve Fuller is a secular humanist. So probably should be more careful in making wholesale generalizations on these issues. You can read "The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design" - Ronald Numbers to see the complexity of creationism and how it changed many times just like the sciences changed through time. Neither one is exclusively static or reducible to the false dichotomy of "either creation or evolution".
Thanks for the miscellaneous talk.
All that I have mentioned in this Miscellaneous section up to this point, is not meant to be about what should or should not be included in the article. As long as the sources are relevant to the scope of the article, there should be no problem with inclusion.--Ramos1990 (talk) 18:24, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
I would have thought the answer to this question is evident:
"Even quantum theory which is quite important does not get as much advertisement in public discourse or even by the NAS. I wonder why they don't make a pamphlets for most other theories like they do for biological evolution. Hmmmm........"
They don't make pamphlets supporting the teaching of Quantum Mechanics in public schools because there's no concerted, religiously motivated effort to replace education on Quantum Mechanics with theology. If Quantum Mechanics directly contradicted scripture in some obvious way, there probably would be an effort to replace it with pseudoscience. -Thucydides411 (talk) 19:38, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Hey Thucydides411, yeah that was a rhetorical comment. The fact that most theories in the sciences don't get the theory-pamphlet treatment is because there are no issues with the overwhelming vast majority of theories in the sciences. This may be painful for some to swallow because exaggerated conflict is indeed popular in imagination, not reality. Reality sure is complex to the point that even the secular (nonreligious) have conflicts with minor aspects of the sciences too: genetically modified organisms, biotechnological cloning, and nuclear power to name a few. Overall, as I noted earlier, religious people tend to score higher in positive attitudes towards science when compared to secular people. So the situation is not linear and not reducible to religion bad, secular good, or vice versa. An interesting article on prevalence of pseudoscience beliefs in some of the most "nonreligious" countries like Sweden would surprise you (Sjodin, Ulf. 2002. The Swedes and the Paranormal. Journal of Contemporary Religion 17(1): 75-85). Again, reality is more complex. If you look at most general controversial issues in the sciences they generally revolve around bioethics or anthropocentric issues. And its not a one way street.--Ramos1990 (talk) 20:15, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
I don't understand. When you say your statement was rhetorical, does that mean you did not mean to imply that the NAS has an axe to grind, and is trying to propagate the metaphysical beliefs of its members? Some of your previous statements have been to this effect, i.e. implying that biologists are giving evolution too much weight in order to push a naturalistic worldview. Also, when you say that "there are no issues with the overwhelming vast majority of theories in the sciences," do you mean that there are no religious objections to them, or do you mean to say that there are scientific problems with evolution? I'm just wondering what you mean here. -Thucydides411 (talk) 23:14, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Hey Thucydides411, please pardon any lack of clarification, only the statement you quoted form me on making a pamphlets for other was meant to be rhetorical. In terms of the NAS, all was pointing out (I didn't bring up the NAS initially by the way) is that they are a good source for general discussions on some issues in the sciences, but they are not the final word since they do not necessarily reflect the general research interests of general scientists in the population nor do they have representative proportional diversity among themselves (# of women members, racial distribution). Also, they cannot possibly represent every dimension of science alone. Their function, per their charter, is to assist in government policy and provide some general guidelines and suggestions for multiple topics that are relevant to the government. Since biological evolution has reached national interest in the past, then it makes sense that they put some opinions on that issue. So I was simply pointing out different aspects of the NAS and how they are not the final authority on any science issues. They contribute to discourse on many important issues, but anything they say - good or bad; true or false ; representative or not - is ultimately not the final word. However, some people do treat them as an ultimate authority when talking about some topics like evolution. But then they deviate from what they say to claim things the NAS never supported.
Some cite the NAS when arguing for a conflict thesis as if the NAS supports it - which it doesn't. This is the problem. If you read the NAS official stance on science and religion, it clearly states that they assume no conflict and their view is NOMA [11]. This means that the NAS does not support "metaphysical naturalism" - which is a worldview that is often mixed up with biological evolution as bait and switching. Indeed, many who imagine conflict end up arguing, at least subliminally, that metaphysical naturalism is what MUST follow from belief in biological evolution and that if people deny biological evolution then they deny metaphysical naturalism. In other words, the subliminal assumption is: rejection of evolution = religiosity = anti-science and acceptance of evolution = irreligiosity = pro-science. This is how many people treat the issues!!! Many interchange "evolution" with "science" too!!! My points have been that people are really all over the place and we need to keep parameters separated, not clumped up. Accepting evolution does not equate to having no issues with the sciences and rejecting it does not equate to having many issues with the sciences either. The counter intuitive finds from research on public perceptions of sciences I have provided on religious and nonreligious countries and the history of science and atheism shows that reality is not linear or clear cut but complex and even counter intuitive. There are cross overs and overlap. Science, religion, creationism, evolution are not mutually exclusive things as Christians in America for instance have various views on evolution [12]. For sure, people do not go around spliting things in life as "scientific" or "nonscientific" or "pseudoscietific" either. There was a study (I gotta look for it again) that compared Europe and China and, strangely enough, though Europe has more science knowledge than China, China has more agreement with heliocentrism and evolution than Europe! Anyways I think you see the point - this stuff is not linear or systematic in people's minds or cultures and partial information from here and there make up how people generally perceive things like "evolution".
I asked the rhetorical pamphlet question, which you quoted, to make a subliminal counterpoint about: if there really are multiple conflicts between every aspect of science and religion then why haven't other pamphlets been made on other theories from other branches of the sciences, aside from 1 topic - biological evolution? Apparently no other religion and science topic has reached the attention of the NAS besides that one. Perhaps the ambiguity in all of this lies in the terms and concepts. "Evolution" means many things to different scientists so when that term or its variants are used to communicate it to the public it is not always clear what they are specifically saying and how far back in time they are talking about. Probably was not a smart thing to use such as broad word and broad concept to describe something that is supposed to be more specific. And the use of teleological language to communicate non-teleological things makes it more awkward to listen too, no?
I hope this clarifies my view for you.
Probably no one will care about this, but I tried searching on Pubmed (which is an excellent database for science articles) for an estimate of academic research papers on various topics. Here is what I got as an overall number of articles for: "chemistry" - 3,081,159; "physics" - 303,038; "medicine" - 3,167,630; "psychology" - 935,010; "mathematics" - 188,086; "sociology" - 984,864; "biology" - 992,853; "paleontology" - 13,669; "evolution" - 335,366; "evolution animals" - 137,974; "evolution plants" - 35,273; "evolution species" - 85,193; "evolution of life" - 24,790; "evolutionary history" - 11,810; "evolutionary origins" - 2,997; "natural selection" - 71,985; "natural selection evolution" - 21,336; "evolutionary biology" - 31,603; "evolutionary psychology" - 2,948; "adaptive evolution" - 8,831; "origins" - 38,655; "origin species" - 20,851; "origins species" - 4,596; "origin of life" - 30,092; "earth history" - 1,540. So when it comes to the topic of evolution, it appears that the majority of the articles out there on that topic are not origins research. Since "evolution" is very broad, the 335,366 articles found for "evolution" would include non-biological-evolution articles like chemical, cosmological, geological, cultural, historical, and social evolution articles. These are not treated the same way as biological evolution of course.--Ramos1990 (talk) 09:16, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
As an editor of this encyclopedia and someone who edits on topics related to science, you should bring yourself to understand this theory, which is the foundation of biology. The NAS pamphlet I linked is a good place to start. -Darouet (talk) 19:09, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
Appreciate the suggestion. But, actually I have done extensive amounts reading on science, biology, and evolution on top of other subtopics and branches in both the natural and social sciences. I have read the ones you mentioned on evolution, by the way. My library is saturated with books and research papers on these including historical works from historical researchers (ancient, medieval, modern) from most branches of the sciences. But as is clearly shown above, evolutionary biology is not the majority topic in biological research. Its a common metaphysical principle that many scientists have (in their different understandings of evolution), but it should be remembered that popular belief does not always mean popular focus in actual research. Afterall, "mechanics" is a foundation of physics, but the amount of mechanics related research papers produced are a small portion of physics papers overall. As an editor that focuses on many science related articles too, I would encourage you to research the history of science from primary sources themselves or secondary sources or current histories of science. Perhaps you can look into he history of biology and medicine specifically (as you are quite interested in these). Many subfields have their own history of course (anatomy, zoology, genetics, microbiology, agriculture, organic chemistry, biochemistry, etc). In your context, the historical zoological works by Carl Linnaeus and Lamarck would provide an interesting contrast to modern versions of the developments of life. I already mentioned a good book on the history of the evolution idea by Henry Fairfield Osborn, which I think is quite good as it surveys ancient, medieval, and modern versions of the idea.
You will be surprised how much research is very diverse and how much of it did not and even today (you can read recent articles from various journals like I normally do) does not have much to do explicitly on evolution (as origins which is what you seem to be meaning when you use the term). Of course everyone believes in some version of evolution inevitably since even if we assume young earth creationism, the incredible diversification that had to occur from the "kinds", as they call it, needs to be accounted for and they do by various genetic and environmental principles like natural selection, genetic drifting, extinction, etc. From modern history we have one important lesson, it took about 90 years for one version of evolution to be synthesized with multiple fields in biology (the Modern Synthesis) so we can see that biological ideas were independent themselves from various versions of evolution from the start. They still are. Thanks for the chat. I hope you have a great day.--Ramos1990 (talk) 21:59, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
  • On this comment "The same stuff ends up applying to chemistry which has an underlying atomic and quantum theory underneath it too. Even chemists don't explaining everything in terms of atomic theory or quantum mechanics either. They don't reduce things like biologist often do. In both Physics and Chemistry there are courses that focus specifically in quantum theory, however, the vast majority of courses in both fields don't emphasize nor do they explicitly involve quantum theory." Actually, physics is possibly the most reductionist of the sciences, and with it follows chemistry. Chemists do try to explain things in terms of atomic and molecular theory by the use of quantum mechanics; it's known as theoretical chemistry. Do chemistry 101 and you can't get by without a good deal of quantum mechanics being thrown at you (I'm a little bit confused by this since you state you are a Chemist on your userpage).
On "nor are physicists constantly talking about quantum mechanics when they explain phenomena from every single branch of physics from statics to dynamics to electromagnetism to fluid mechanics to thermodynamics to statistical mechanics etc" An unfortunate choice of examples, considering we have Quantum electrodynamics and quantum mechanical treatments of statistical physics. Fluid dynamics, classical electrodynamics etc all presume the system behaves classically.
We have the correspondence principle; quantum mechanics makes the same predictions as classical mechanics when we look at the macroscopic world (and so quantum mechanics is not used in these fields as it is unnecessary complexity for making predictions). That is, both predict the same things in the macroscopic world, but one is more mathematically convenient to work with. You can't compare what occurs in physics in relation to quantum mechanics, to biology and evolution; I think that is a poor analogy. Evolution underlies and provides the foundation for all modern biology, and the evidence for evolution comes from all the sciences. Rejection of evolution requires rejection of nearly all of modern science (and many creationists do reject most of science; because it supports evolution, not because they intrinsically disagree with it). It will be, generally, a one way street of evidence and support from chemistry and physics to biology, because both of these subjects provide the foundations upon which biology is built. Evolution pops it's head in every topic in biology, even topics where it's not immediately obvious such as medicine (bacteria and viruses evolve). IRWolfie- (talk) 21:34, 14 March 2013 (UTC)
Hey IRWolfie, Interesting points. However, I think they were all addressed already. In reality people and scientists in their actual research, do not think in such reductionist terms for the vast majority of the time. Rather, in general, ideas are partial and specific, and only some try to make bigger connections to other ideas or reduce concepts to metaphysical constructs of science. You can take many courses in chemistry or physics without even 'explicitly' talking about quantum or atomic theory for instance. Some aspects from these are generally assumed without formal justification or never explained in actual educational practice. In fact, even when these are taught, most people never make or notice the connections between subjects in their own fields throughout their studies because each aspect of physics and chemistry practically stands on its own - at least that is how it looks like form the perspective of the individual. Its essential to make that distinction between what should happen and what actually does happen. in physics, the fact that alternatives like classical mechanics provide reliable results for most common problems faced in the real world should signify that quantum theory is not the only, let alone the most, emphasized subject in physics, for instance.
The correspondence principle that you mentioned does not necessarily transfer over in most people's minds or in the minds of engineers, chemists, and physicists who use classical mechanics or quantum mechanics to some degree. I am talking about how ideas are conceived by individuals in real time. It would be an error to assume that everyone who uses classical mechanics has quantum considerations in mind when trying to solve actual problems and vice versa. It would also be an error to assume that anyone who works stoichiometric problems has atomic considerations in mind too. Every question has an angle, depending on the context one needs or is looking for. One should not assume that fields or subjects are kept as rigid packages in people's minds. People and scientists are generally pragmatic and partial with many gaps in their thoughts. That is, their mindsets are not holistic or reductionist when it comes to solving problems and answering actual questions. Many topics do overlap, but that does not mean they will be treated in a reductionist or explicit fashion.
Certainly most scientists and people are not thinking in terms of theories of everything. There are gaps between thoughts. That is why creationists overwhelmingly have very positive views and attitudes towards science while having doubts about evolution. Evolution (however you define it) is one aspect of science not the only, let alone the majority, of science. Views on it fluctuate just as theories on behavior and theories on nutrition fluctuate in people's minds. You can check out academic studies on public attitudes on science (some are on the article already) and ask why in countries which have more evolution beliefs and "secular" tend to have much lower attitudes towards science than countries with more "religious" people and creationists. I think all of these points were already addressed in the posts above. --Ramos1990 (talk) 00:53, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
I won't address the first two paragraphs here to try and keep things relevant to religion and science (but I can elsewhere if you want to ask me on my talkpage) On your last paragraph. I think you are missing the point when you look towards public attitudes on science. You should be looking at the views of scientists towards evolution, which have only strengthened as the evidence has increased. I think comparing it to psychology or medical advice about nutrition is a little odd, and I don't see the comparison; the modern synthesis has an impact throughout biology, whether directly or indirectly.
Currently the article mentions mostly an all or nothing approach to conflict. It proposes two viewpoints; either that there is none, or there is continual conflict. It does not address conflict on a number of specific issues for example (a declaration by a religious authority that there is no conflict is not the same thing as there being no conflict). Americans have a lot of respect for science (I assume this is what you are referring to with regard to religious nations), but they are also some of the most ignorant of it. The issue is already summarized here: "Americans generally respect science, but often "reject science in favor of the teachings of their faith" when evidence contradicts their belief." IRWolfie- (talk) 11:29, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
Hey IRWolfie. Well, the views of scientists are not uniform throughout all fields. Simple cases can be found in individual views of scientists on nutrition and psychology. In reality, most scientists(that are not nutritionists or psychologists) do not have some rigid or uniform understanding of the issues in psychology or nutrition science, for instance. The normative ignorance that scientists have on issues outside their own fields is partially due to the specialization of science education. Most scientists are not experts outside their own field so it makes no sense to treat scientists a uniform or monolithic unit of belief, belonging, and behavior. Just by reading some research in diverse fields one can see that divisions of thought are the norm among scientists (as is also the norm in the opinions of the public).
Since you spoke of "creationists" as a monolithic unit of thought, which was incorrect as they are incredibly diverse, I decided to mention some studies that show incongruence of thought among people in the public. For instance, America is one excellent example of higher pro science attitudes while believing different narratives of evolution (ranging from no intervention to partial intervention). However, many other "religious" countries follow the same positive views of science trend while many less religious countries follow the negative attitudes trend (see Inglehart and Norris which document 20 years of cross-national data and note that secular countries have consistently had lower attitudes towards towards science and the least religious countires like Denmark and Norway tend to conflict with issues like nuclear energy and biotechnology.) And America is one of the most scientifically literate nations in the world by the way (contrary to what you believe). In terms of adult science literacy, America has scored at the top since the late 1980s [13]. Disbelief in some idea does not translate to wholesale disbelief or ignorance of everything. Lets not forget that even very secular countries have been shown to have prevalent levels of belief in what you would probably call "pseudo science" (Sjodin, Ulf. 2002. The Swedes and the Paranormal. Journal of Contemporary Religion 17(1): 75-85), but I would not say that the Swedes are more ignorant than Americans. Most industrialized nations have the same science knowledge, according to the National Science Foundation assessment and UNESCO, but each country varies in attitudes towards science. There is a collection of studies on this if you are interested (Bauer, Shukla, and Allum). The actual data shows that people are more diverse than is imagined.
I agree that if you want a talk page would be ok to discuss more (though I think I have cited enough lines of evidence show that science is not a linear worldview). This Miscelleanous section has gotten to be pretty long. I probably will archive it in the next few days. Just a few thoughts.
Hi, you missed the main point of my comment which is the second paragraph related to the article, IRWolfie- (talk) 15:37, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
Oh, did you mean on the minor issues where opinions of people in the public diverge? Sure it should be ok to add some sections on topics where people have different views or disagreements. I think I already addressed the Americans as being scientifically ignorant pretty well since empirical studies show the opposite for instance on adult science literacy and even the Pew forum notes that conflict with models in science are "not common" at all. Other empircal studies have also concluded that Americans do not have epistemic conflicts with science at all, but in some cases there may be moral objections. This normally occurs commonly among religious and nonreligious groups as they are both influenced by stuff in this world more than beliefs concerning another one. Only on one issue has deviation been based on direct spiritual understanding - evolution (however this generalization is poorly defined in the research as there are diverse conceptions of both creation and evolution). That's it. We can probably discuss, in that section, issues where nonreligious people conflict with science as well as many do have problems with genetically modified foods, nuclear power, vaccination, etc. Europeans in general (some sociologists treat it as a generally a secular region) have been declining in attitudes and interest in science overall for a few decades now and even the European Union is having trouble recruiting young Europeans (which are the most secular) to major in science and technology careers. In contrast young people from more religious countries tend to have higher attitudes and interest to getting a science and technology career. Lots of interesting sociological research on these things. Nice chat.--Ramos1990 (talk) 17:37, 16 March 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Sorry, but your last statement that participation and interest is declining in Europe is in direct contradiction to the evidence. [14]: "When comparing the results of the EU15 average for 2005 with those of the EU15 average for 2001, we can observe certain significant discrepancies. In general, we can note that levels of interest for developments in the suggested fields have generally risen somewhat". "in 1992 almost half of Europeans read articles on science in newspapers, with a rate of 45%, only one out of every five (21%) indicated that he/she read scientific articles in science magazines. Although in this year’s results we cannot distinguish between newspaper articles and magazines, we can nevertheless note an increase in the number of Europeans who read articles on science at a regular basis or occasionally, be it in newspapers, magazines or on the internet, at a rate of 59%". "Although the responses to this statement are somewhat more divided, a majority of citizens in the European Union (52%, unchanged since 1992') agree that science’s benefits are greater than any harmful effects it may have." Emphasis mine

Also, note from [15]: 36.2% (32% temporary visas) of science PhDs, and 64.6% (58.6% temporary visas) of PhDs in engineering are from foreign students, not American students at all. If not for foreign born students, there would be a shortage of scientists and engineers in the US. Arguing that Religiosity encourages participation in science is contradicted by the fact that scientists are less religious than the general population. The reasons why people go into science or not in Europe are most likely not related to religion but socio-economic issues; "will I get paid well if I go into science and is it worth the tough work", and probably similarly for the United States, so I find this a red herring. I'm also a little skeptical of [16] considering he only cites himself and Miller, and no other research in the field; it sounds like this doesn't respect the viewpoint of researchers in this area; considering that it also directly contradicts with the eurobarometer, which involved questioning people about scientific subjects (19% literacy in the UK according to Miller, contradicted by 45% literacy in reply to questions in the Eurobarometer). Considering also that the eurobarometer had 45% agreeing with "We depend too much on science and not enough on faith", to not be consistent with assuming that all Europeans are secular. In fact Religion_in_the_European_Union#Religiosity: 77% of Europeans are religious. IRWolfie- (talk) 18:38, 16 March 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for your input. However, I mentioned two parameters in my previous post to you - interest and attitude, not participation. And I mentioned that some sociologists treat Europe as a secular region overall (Zuckerman, Paul, for instance). More on this below. There are indeed other studies which do speak on the situation in Europe. Some useful recent ones from many different expert researchers on public attitudes and understanding of science are found in "The Culture of Science: How the Public Relates to Science Across the Globe (Routledge Studies in Science, Technology and Society)" edited by Bauer, Shukla, and Allum. Some of the articles focus on Europe as a whole or individual regions or countries. One of the entries summarizes: "At the beginning of the 21st century, Old Europe is more scientifically literate, positive attitudes remain stable, and interests in science is declining." One of the reasons for decline in overall interest is "Increased familiarity with science dents the high expectations people might otherwise entertain." In individual countries this trend of ambivalence or decrease in attitudes can be seen in studies on individual countries such as France. According to an article in that collection, the following view holds true in France since 1971 to today - "There is today a certain emotional reaction against science and technology and some serious criticism of them. It is realized that the immense social benefits that have flowed from science are sometimes accompanied by social drawbacks." This theme is found in other studies in the collection on other European countries by other researchers of public perceptions of science. There seems to be lots of ambivalence for diverse reasons of course. The European Union's "Europe need more Scientists!" report [17] discusses the general falling rates of Europeans in science careers. Obviously some countries will and do vary, but it is quite revealing what is happening in Europe.
I would not say that religion or secularity are direct causes of fluctuations in attitudes of populations on science, but since many imagine that religion diminishes science, then it makes sense to compare and contrast with places where religiosity is lower and see how that fares. Its about the same - and certainly not superior.
In terms of scientists views, well, most scientists are not the most educated in religions or politics or history or other spheres of human experience so their personal views on it whether good or bad are not necessarily indicative of reflective thinking and careful analysis on such topics. On a study on social and natural scientists from 21 elite universities noted that 14% of the scientists were raised with no religion and that those who have had less exposure to religion tended to see conflict with religion (Ecklund, Elaine Howard; Park, Jerry Z. 2009. "Conflict Between Religion and Science Among Academic Scientists?". Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 48 (2): 276–292). There are also other studies which showed that even elite atheist scientists do take their children to religious services for diverse reasons (Ecklund, Elaine Howard; Lee, Kristen Schultz. 2011. "Atheists and Agnostics Negotiate Religion and Family". Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 50 (4): 728–743). Since scientists are not generally experts in things outside their fields any more than other professionals (lawyers, bankers, chefs, politicians, teachers, etc) are experts outside their fields, then one should not treat them as if they are gurus or truth seekers in all matters of life. Looking at how scientists in general address religion in Christian or theistic contexts even when discussing religions from non-Christian or non-theistic cultures should give a red flag that they are commonly not well educated in matters of religion overall. So why act like what they say on matters outside their fields are somehow more truer or more reasonable automatically? Their personal beliefs are really all over the place as is evidenced by the fact that many studies (in the article already) show that belief in God, lack of belief in God, and don't know are pretty evenly distributed to about one third each. They certainly are not uniform on this one simple question in multiple studies.
In terms of European religiosity, well there are different ways to understand it. I personally am not sure about how religious Europeans are as they have very intermixed concepts and personal preferences (See "Secularism & Secularity: Contemporary International Perspectives". Hartford, CT: Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture (ISSSC). Edited by Barry Kosmin and Ariela Keysar. 2007). Indeed many of the diverse researchers in that collection do talk about the nominal religiosity in Europe such as high identification as Christians while not personally belonging or believing in a "religion" is is commonly understood.
In terms of the US and foreigners in science, well I am not sure how this makes America look bad. 63.8% of doctorates are received by American citizens. That's great. Why should foreigners be seen as a bad thing? The attitudes towards science from foreigners is a very good thing. Many come from less developed countries so the fact that they have any enthusiasm, for whatever reason, for studying science should be praised, not treated as a bad thing. If anything it shows that we who live in industrialized nations are too hedonistic, selfish, and less willing to work hard for higher goals in life. Doctorates are not the most essential and practical degree to get in industrialized nations for diverse reasons, it seems. The essentials is in the bachelors degrees in my view. In Europe there is some decline (based on the EU report above): "For several years now there have been warnings from universities that the number of students has been declining sharply in certain disciplines, namely physics, chemistry and mathematics. In some countries, there seems to be increasingly pronounced evidence of a decline in young people’s interest in studying science and retaining the option of pursuing science-related careers." In America there is some increase (based on National Science Foundation [18]): "The number of S&E bachelor's degrees has risen steadily over the past 15 years, reaching a new peak of about half a million in 2009." There are other pieces of info that are quite interesting in both NSF and EU reports.
So there are lots of interesting twists and turns in research and nothing is really cut and dry or simple. Rather they are complex. You can see American attitudes on science and some interesting comparisons with other regions like Europe in the NSF report [19]. In terms of Miller's research since the late 1980s, its pretty reliable since its has compounded data from at least 20 years from diverse nations on adult science literacy. He is an expert in adult science literacy. But you are free to disagree. So sorry for the long post.--Ramos1990 (talk) 18:12, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Small clarification; I'm not saying it makes Americans look bad, but that the argument that religion encourages participation seems odd considering the very high amount of foreign graduates in science and engineering that the US requires. One would think the most overtly religious industrial nation wouldn't require that, IRWolfie- (talk) 10:14, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Like I mentioned above religiosity and lack of it are probably not a direct cause for for most of the trends (positive or negative) one finds in these topics. Most people do not think in terms of religion or secularity when making career decisions or thinking on science, mathematics, engineering, law, or any other professional career. It is also erroneous to believe that people believe things in linear fashions in terms of belonging, beliefs, and behavior and they all affect each other directly. These 3 dimensions are incongruous in people's lives. However, with all the discourse it should be clear that in reality religion is not a problem for science and secularity is not utopia for science either. People will agree and disagree with things for numerous and multiple reasons, not a single one. For some alternate demographics in seculairty you can see [20] to see how other studies have measured religiosity and secularity, as I mentioned before. I am not convinced that foreigners diminish American interest in science and engineering. Clearly the number of bachelors in science and engineering have been steadily rising for 15 years and this is consistent with American interest in the public in science and engineering. Also, foreign students on temporary visas earned a larger proportion of doctoral degrees than master’s, bachelor’s, or associate’s degrees. Indeed the numbers decrease dramatically as one goes to the bachelors degree level. For instance the NSF report says, "Since 2000, students on temporary visas in the United States have consistently earned a small share (3%–4%) of S&E degrees at the bachelor’s level." In terms of masters degrees, "Foreign students make up a much higher proportion of S&E master’s degree recipients than of bachelor’s or associate’s degree recipients. In 2009, foreign students earned 27% of S&E master’s degrees." Not too bad at all.
Furthermore, according to the NSF the amounts of foreign students getting doctorates in S&E are not unique to America: "In Switzerland and the United Kingdom, more than 40% of doctoral students are foreign. A number of other countries, including New Zealand, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, and the United States, have relatively high percentages (more than 20%) of doctoral students who are foreign (OECD 2010). The United Kingdom has been actively expanding its position in international education, both by recruiting foreign students to study in the country and expanding its provision of transnational education (British Council 2011). Foreign student enrollment in the United Kingdom has been increasing, especially at the graduate level, with increasing flows of students from China and India. In 2008, foreign students made up 47% of all graduate students studying S&E in the United Kingdom (an increase from 32% in 1998). Foreign students now account for nearly 60% of graduate students in mathematics, computer sciences, and engineering." In Canada, 22% of doctoral students in S&E were foreign. In general, many foreign students end up in US and Europe all throughout: "Other top destinations for international students include the United Kingdom (12%), Germany (9%), and France (9%). Together with the U.S.,these countries receive more than half of all internationally mobile students worldwide." Obviously foreigners end up in other European nations besides these too. Indeed, Uk, Germany, France, and most of Europe are treated as secular regions by some sociologists like Zuckerman and independent researchers like Paul. The fact that 60% of doctorates globally are foreigners is an interesting common trend among industrialized nations.
In industrialized nations it seems that getting higher education is important, but getting the highest degrees may not be as important for diverse reasons (rising costs of graduate degrees, previous accumulated debt, family formation, taking advantage of early employment opportunities that pop up, etc). For foreigners getting a doctorate may be more rewarding than for domestic citizens. Since America is literally built on foreigners historically and currently, as it is a unique nation made up of immigrants, foreigner demographics is not surprising nor does it reflect lack of domestic interest in science. Many foreigners end up having family or relationships in America or are linked by family in America before they begin college. Its also not surprising that the UK and the US share a good chunk of foreigners due to their influence globally and historically.--Ramos1990 (talk) 18:12, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

Plantinga reviewed

  • Discussion moved for readability. IRWolfie- (talk) 18:00, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Alvin Plantinga (2011), Where the Conflict Really Lies. Science, Religion and Naturalism Oxford University Press, USA. 376 pages; ISBN-10: 0199812098; USD27.95 Reviewed by: Maarten Boudry. H/T Larry Moran. See also John S. Wilkins & Paul E. Griffiths, Evolutionary debunking arguments in three domains: Fact, value, and religion, PhilPapers. . . dave souza, talk 19:53, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

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Plantinga has received scathing reviews from a number of sources, and the discussion of his distortion of science is particularly important. For this reason his critics, who are well respected, should not only be referred to but also quoted. I'm going to restore some of what was deleted but try to shorten from the previous version, as I believe that was Ramos' intention in changing content. Also, I think editorial policy on wikipedia is to avoid "some people say" as much as possible, so I'll delete that. -Darouet (talk) 06:49, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

Umm -- how about just skipping the whole catfight as NOT RELEVANT. The section is supposedly about what the "Dialogue" relationship is, and to that end it why does it need to go insult by insult over a book. Seems like the whole para of plantinga and insults could be deleted, it's not providing any points other than he wrote a bokk and some others hate it. Why is that helpfull ? Markbassett (talk) 03:44, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Greetings Markbassett, I see what you mean. Most of the paragraph, are about reviews of the book (both good or bad), not the content of section which is Dialogue (which Plantinga's book focuses on). With that paragraph focusing more on what others think of the book than the actual topic of Dialogue looks like WP: Coatracking. It may deviate too much from the topic of the section. Do what you think is best and we can go from there. --Ramos1990 (talk) 04:10, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
Those aren't insults, but critiques by scientists and scholars: they all might have deep affection for Plantinga personally while arguing that his books amount to religious apologetics, and are hostile to science. If we maintain Plantinga's perspective we should maintain the critiques of his work. While we could expunge all reference to him entirely, I think that his views, and the critique of them, are illustrative of the discussions in this area and therefore of interest to readers. -Darouet (talk) 14:54, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
I will revert to my last edit because the critiques and supportive review are not significant on the subject, but on Plantinga. They probably don't belong here because they take too much space deviating from the topic to focusing on him. They, however, are more appropriate to place in his biography article or an article on his book. Furthermore, there is another major reason why I will revert. There is a major error - the Plantinga reference is NOT his book "Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion and Naturalism", so all the criticism and support sources are not aiming at the correct reference. The Planinga source in the section is a Stanford Encyclopedia entry on the subject [21], not a recent book. --Ramos1990 (talk) 16:54, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
If the argument is the same then it's relevant. Arguing that they aren't relevant just because this is from the stanford encyclopedia rather than his book on the same topic seems a tad pedantic. If his work is heavily challenged, then not mentioning that obviously violates neutrality, IRWolfie- (talk) 17:40, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
I agree with IRWolfie- that keeping his views while expunging criticism would violate neutrality. The authors are not criticizing Plantinga personally: they are rather criticizing his ideas about religion and science, the subject of this article. Scientists don't care when theologians write about theology, and no scientist will review Plantinga's Warranted Christian Belief. But when Plantinga expresses the same - and apparently anti-scientific - views in a book about religion and science, those views are reviewed and criticized by philosophers and scientists. -Darouet (talk) 17:57, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

For one thing, I am not attempting to expunge criticism or be unfair because one source (Justin L. Barrett) was supportive of Plantinga's book (which is not the source in the article) and I still removed it. Since the criticism and supports are aimed at a book that is not mentioned in the section, then one can either reword or remove the contents or add the correct source in there somewhere. As it stands, these "reviews" like a left over from some bad previous editing. Just because something is in an article for a long time does not automatically mean that it should stay there and vice versa. Its not a good criterion for measuring quality here. Furthermore, looking at the disputed references one by one:

(Boudry) - the source focuses on the reviewing a book (not the actual Stanford Encyclopedia source in the Dialogue section). One can reword this so it does not look like it is critiquing Plantinga's Stanford Encyclopedia source, because it is not.

(Schuessler) - this is a biographical sketch on Plantinga which is personal and very positive. It sure does not really talk about his ideas in a negative light, but some personal perceptions from others are negative (which are irrelevant to the scope of the section in the first place). This is WP:coatracking. This needs to be removed for sure.

(Scott) - this article has potential, but it should be really reworded since it does not focuses on Plantinga much. It has a wider scope than this and probably can be integrated properly in the same section.

(Barlett) - same comments as the Boudry.

The issues are the same: bad editing and bad referencing on these sources. Furthermore, I am not so sure book reviews merit much attention in this article because in principle many of the sources in the whole article have diverse reviews if one goes out to look for some. Everyone has an opinion on any given book, but we must not make it a habit of transforming things in the article as being about reviews. Reviews of specific books and people belong more appropriately in biography pages or pages on the actual books (if they are available). --Ramos1990 (talk) 19:10, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Dennett is an important philosopher, and Ruse an important historian, of science: both of their comments speak directly to Plantinga's view and misunderstanding of science, presented in this article. You're arguing that Plantinga's anti-scientific viewpoints (he doesn't understand how evolution works) should be presented to readers, while informed commentary on those beliefs should be struck out. All of these reviews explain Plantinga's misconceptions, and the reviews are sourced so that readers can look them up if they like (and they should). -Darouet (talk) 19:32, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
Dennet and Ruse do not say anything significant on Dialogue, but they do say things on Plantinga (which belongs in the Plantinga article , not here). How are the comments from Ruse and Dennet, which are not the focus of the Schuessler source nor do they explicitly critique his concepts on the topic, worth posting on here? This is coatracking - deviating form the topic at hand to a different topic. Somehow I get the feeling that you have a personal vendetta with Plantinga as you seem to have an obsession with slandering him at any given cost. I am not opposed to criticism of his views, they just have to be better worded the sources have to have proper weight on the appropriate subject, not deviating to another topic. Furthermore, your recent edit says "Philosopher Alvin Plantinga has written a series of books arguing that there is superficial conflict but deep concord between science and religion, and that there is deep conflict between science and naturalism.[27]" Ref 27 is NOT a book, its an internet source! This has to be corrected. The paragraph still looks very odd and very poorly worded even after the recent edits. I will work on these to balance out the paragraph soon.--Ramos1990 (talk) 20:26, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
I don't have a vendetta against Plantinga and he isn't being slandered. Regarding the Ruse and Dennett: they are commenting to the NYT on Plantinga's views and recent book, explicitly described in the article. Ruse, Dennett, and Plantinga are all discussing the relationship between religion and science. Perhaps you should create a new article titled "Theological perspectives on the harmony between religion and science." In that article we could avoid all criticism of theology.
Please do remove the internet source; I had thought that you wanted it there. -Darouet (talk) 20:32, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
Kindly, re-read the article on Dennett and Ruse. Clearly it says "When Mr. Plantinga and Mr. Dennett (who said he has not read Mr. Plantinga’s new book) faced off over these questions..." shows Dennet hadn't even read the book! Ruse's three sentences of Plantinga are not relevant either for the scope of this article nor does he even discuss the books or Plantinga's ideas. Perhaps the NYT source fits better in the Plantinga biography page, but clearly not here. I am not trying to make it difficult, but I am trying to make this article better by keeping what is relevant in the scope of the section and the scope of the article. Criticisms are welcome, but one should also be prepared for counter-criticisms and even information that flat out contradicts particular criticisms. --Ramos1990 (talk) 21:19, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
The article introduces Plantinga, his book, and solicits Ruse and Dennett for commentary, which they provide. Dennett hadn't read Plantinga's book but evidently knew his work well enough to criticize his appeal to divine intervention in evolution, and call him an apologist (which is a critique of his apologetics, i.e. ideas). Plantinga's ideas about deep harmony and discord are bogus: the man doesn't even understand biology. -Darouet (talk) 04:03, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
That is why that source does not belong here. Their feuds or personal views of each other are not relevant to the contents of the article or the book as no specific notable ideas are focused on in any significant fashion. Rather one liners are used, which do not amount to significant or enlightening information on significant science/religion issues or even the book which was not really commented on by either Dennett or Ruse. Whether Plantinga seems to know quite a lot or very little on biology is not our concern here and of course disputable. But this is what happens with many book reviews - smash your enemies at any cost and praise your friends at any cost. That is why these sources are usually not the most reliable sources of valuable information on serious topics - they deviate too much and sometimes border on gossip. However, they are great for idle talk. --Ramos1990 (talk) 05:11, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
There seems to be some considerable controversy with his ideas, I don't think you can deny that. If his ideas are controversial and probably limited to himself, why are we mentioning them at all? IRWolfie- (talk) 18:32, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
His ideas border on a fringe theory, and it's inappropriate to mention them without qualifying them, and perhaps to mention them at all. Ramos you don't have consensus for the changes you've made. -Darouet (talk) 19:29, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps WP:FRNG is relevant here. Plantinga rejects core aspects of biology and Ramos1990, without consensus, has removed three well sourced criticisms from Eugenie Scott, Daniel Dennett and Michael Ruse. Ruse told the New York Times that Plantinga "significantly" alters science in "unacceptable ways" and "isn't a friend of science;" Dennett said that he's an "apologist" but not a serious philosopher. Scott wrote that Plantinga invoked miracles and "theistic science," a form of "creationism," which wikipedia rightly considers to be pseudoscience. This is all terribly relevant and it is troubling that Ramos1990 is presenting fringe views, in an article dedicated in part to science, while insisting on eliminating criticism. -Darouet (talk) 22:40, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

Greetings. I think some details are being overlooked. 1) I have not remove Eugene Scott's source. Its integrated in the same section as its focus is on the science and religion movement pretty broadly and applies to "Dialogue". Its relevant. 2) It appears that Darouet is having problems understanding that the Dennett and the Ruse commentary are not really relevant here as the NYT source is not even written by them, their comments are short and about Plantinga as a person (not relevant to the article which focuses on Dialogue and relationship between science and religion) as none of his specific ideas get criticized in any significant fashion. Sure, Plantinga's views are disliked by some (as he is a notable figure in these topics), but the Maarten Boudry's reference already deals with some of them more appropriately and in more significant detail than Dennet or Ruses' few sentences.

Furthermore, in the NYT source Plantinga does say some quick remarks about Dennett too, criticizes like-minded individuals,and criticizes how evolution (which is noted that he has no issues with at all) is treated as if it were exclusively about and for both naturalism and anti-theism by Dennett and his homies. All of this mix makes the source not proper to anything useful to the article or section on wikipedia - it does not add anything new to the table aside from some personal feuds which are not really relevant. The NYT source definitely reports more positive things about Plantinga than anything else so emphasizing 'only' the minority view in the source is not proper either (WP:UNDUE). Since there is already a better counterpoint to Plantinga via Boudry, I am not sure what the complaining is all about. Plantinga's academic source (Stanford Encyclopedia entry) may not be to your liking, but you have to admit that it is indeed relevant to the "Dialogue" section as it brings diversity of thought (as do all philosophical works), he is a prominent academic on these issues, is very well sourced, and the entry is peer reviewed. Therefore, Darouet's passionate dislike of Plantinga is not really a good reason to remove the source at all. Apparently anyone who has different ideas than a conflict thesis mentality is treated as "fringe" supporter. Which is absurd. The Stanford Encyclopedia reference has its academic merit irrespective of personal agreement or disagreement of the contents since it touches on distinctions between raw concepts and metaphysical add-ons and how mis-association of these cause mistakes from a reasoning standpoint.

I am sure you can find more detailed and scholarly references criticizing Plantinga and those would be acceptable to put on here. If there is a need, sources can be consolidated too. By the way, I did not post Plantinga's source. It was posted by someone else. I merely tried to polish this section and remove the horrible and sloppy editing that was already there. 3) You must understand that I never insisted on eliminating criticism. Rather, I insisted on eliminating book reviews on a book that was not cited in the first place. This is how this got started. I even eliminated the positive book review! For the same reason. It just didn't make any sense why book reviews would exist when the book was not even mentioned. We have to weigh the focus and the prominence of ideas in the sources in context of the article scope to establish relevance. What do you think on the following scenario: if, in an article where Eugene Scott says something relevant to a topic, would it be acceptable to keep references that had commentary by prominent figures like Plantinga saying things like she "significantly" alters science in "unacceptable ways" and "isn't a friend of science"; that she's "a materialist"; and "distorts science to her own way". I would say no as these hypothetical references would not be relevant to that topic either. There is a difference between academic debate on a topic and personal commentary on others. There is a major difference between discussions on a topic and discussions on a person. As it stands, the section looks more balanced right now. I hope you can at least understand my perspective. --Ramos1990 (talk) 01:24, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

I can understand your perspective, and know you're bright, and well-read. But you are wrong to think I dislike Plantinga, or to assume Dennett, Ruse or Plantinga dislike one another; there is nothing personal about these conflicts over ideas. Plantinga's views are hostile to science and distort it; respected figures in science have stated as much; on a page dedicated to science, we have an obligation to let readers know this. Again, you have made removed this criticism without consensus. You have removed Scott's specific criticism of Plantinga and justified yourself by stating that you added her more general criticisms elsewhere. Understanding your perspective while disagreeing, and without dislike of Plantinga, I am saying that you need to restore the criticism of Ruse and Dennett. -Darouet (talk) 16:30, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for understanding my reasoning. I apologize if I misunderstood you. I understand your sentiments, however, for the above mentioned reasons the NYT source does not really add anything meaningful or detailed enough to mention in this article. Ruse and Dennett's views in the source are WP:UNDUE weight since you only wanted to mention the minority view in that source. The more prominent view in the source is Plantinga's criticism of them and like minded people. Which goes against what you would like happen. Dennet says irrelevant things about Plantinga: Mr. Dennett was even harsher, calling Mr. Plantinga “Exhibit A of how religious beliefs can damage or hinder or disable a philosopher,” not to mention a poor student of biology. Evolution is a random, unguided process, he said, and Mr. Plantinga’s effort to leave room for divine intervention is simply wishful thinking. “It’s just become more and more transparent that he’s an apologist more than a serious, straight-ahead philosopher,” Mr. Dennett said. And Plantinga says irrelevant things on others like Dawkins and Dennett: "Mr. Dawkins? “Dancing on the lunatic fringe,” Mr. Plantinga declares. Mr. Dennett? A reverse fundamentalist who proceeds by “inane ridicule and burlesque” rather than by careful philosophical argument." None of this really is relevant to any of the ideas in this wikipedia article. We don't want to include sources that focus too much on personal perceptions, accusations, labeling, etc. Its clear they don't like each other, but what does that have to do with the relationship with science and religion? It has more to do with the relationship between Plantinga and Dennett, which is deviating from the scope of the article already. The NYT source clearly focused more on the Plantinga-Dennett relationship than either the book or actual concepts in Rel & Sci such as naturalism. That is why I still think it is not relevant here and needs to stay removed.
Sources must be mentioned neutrally and that means mentioning the wider context of what the source says. It would give readers the wrong impression of the source as being against Plantinga when it clearly is not. I am sure you can find an actual source that is written by Dennet or Ruse that is more focused on criticizing actual points Plantinga raises. That would be acceptable as that "source" would have appropriate weight - just like Boudry's has more appropriate weight - though this could be reworded better to reflect what the source actually says in context of the scope of the Wikipedia article topic. However, in order to lay this to rest and move on, I will re-add the NYT source, but include the prominent view as well since you really want this to be in there. Eugene Scott's ref is very good for where it is at. We don't want to give the wrong impression of what that source mainly focuses on - the science and religion movement, not Plantinga, either. --Ramos1990 (talk) 18:48, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
Hi Ramos, sorry I haven't responded - real world work! - but I really respect your understanding here, I would make a few edits to your last change and will try that when I've time; you can see what you think when I do that. Briefly, I think certain specific language (exact wording) by Scott and Dennett should be preserved because they mean specific things from a scientific perspective. Thanks again. -Darouet (talk) 21:42, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

Misleading text regarding the position of the National Academy for Sciences on this articles topic

With regards to the Relationship between religion and science section, someone has add the following quote with regards to the NAS statement regarding evolution and also the distinction between religion and science:

"The official position of the National Academy of Sciences is that religion and science are compatible since both are separate and address aspects of human understanding in different ways."

Now I don't really understand this, it seems like someone is trying to suggest that this is the "official position" of NAS. However, looking at a larger section that quote comes from:

"In science, explanations must be based on evidence drawn from examining the natural world. Scientifically based observations or experiments that conflict with an explanation eventually must lead to modification or even abandonment of that explanation. Religious faith, in contrast, does not depend only on empirical evidence, is not necessarily modified in the face of conflicting evidence, and typically involves supernatural forces or entities. Because they are not a part of nature, supernatural entities cannot be investigated by science. In this sense, science and religion are separate and address aspects of human understanding in different ways. Attempts to pit science and religion against each other create controversy where none needs to exist."

Reveals that this wasn't exactly the official position of NAS, as that quote is qualified first with the "in this sense". I really feel like this quote as it is now misrepresents/misinforms the reader on the "official position" of NAS. I wonder what else is in this entire article that misrepresents... (talk) 14:17, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

I agree, also further, even if the page said that science and religion were compatible, it wouldn't make it an official position. Everything that is on an organisations website does not represent their official position, IRWolfie- (talk) 14:57, 1 June 2013 (UTC)
Probably can just reinsert with simpler wording - that this is a statement made by the NAS concerning the relationship between science and religion. Of course, the fact that they emphasize the NOMA viewpoint is relevant to mention since it discusses the relationship from the organization's standpoint which is related to the viewpoints from the the Independence section of this wiki article. The organization made the declaration in their own writings and on their own site on that specific issue so it should not be problematic to say that this is their position or statement as an organization at least [22]. Therefore, this is not misinforming at all. Since some have tried to put science as inherently conflicting with religion by using information from the NAS, then it sure seems reasonable to actually mention the statements the NAS' has actually made on the issue too, no? Obviously every statement made by the NAS is not binding on any scientist at all nor is it the final word on anything, but the validity of what it says is not something we would be able to determine here at wikipedia. I personally could go either way keeping it with reword or leaving it out. --Ramos1990 (talk) 04:44, 3 June 2013 (UTC)


Perhaps my rendering of Kierkegaard's point was not the best, but he did reflect what it means to do theology in an age when sciences define our understanding of the world. He came up with the solution of subjective truth. For him, theology is subjective truth and science is objective truth. Tgeorgescu (talk) 21:58, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

Greetings Tgeorgescu, I think your post was quite interesting and informative, but it did not focus the relationship with science explicitly. Its sure did elaborate on his view on religion though. If you can find a source which combines both from Kierkegaard's point of view, please go ahead and put it in the article. --Ramos1990 (talk) 22:07, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

Denial of evolution

In the section "Public perceptions of science", it states "Evolution is the only issue where a significant portion of the American public denies scientific consensus for religious reasons." This statement is too simplistic. Denial of evolution usually implicitly includes denial, or at least deep misunderstanding or ignorance, of many other issues (e.g. the Big Bang, abiogenesis, uniformitarianism). --Euniana/Talk 22:33, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

I agree. Any suggestion? IRWolfie- (talk) 00:18, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
Might need an additional source, but I think a followup sentence briefly mentioning the implications of evolution denial, maybe with a link to evidence for evolution as an example of what it entails. --Euniana/Talk 00:43, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
Source states, "Only on one issue does a significant portion of the public deny a strong scientific consensus for religious reasons: evolution." Furthermore, in a Pew research source it is clear that evolution is the only one where consensus is denied for religious reasons alone [23]. Other topics there (Homosexuality, Global Warming) have weaker correlations and the agreements and disagreements are from multiple social sources. "Unlike evolution, no scientific consensus exists on the causes of homosexuality – or at least no consensus that has been broadly disseminated. Likewise, the link between religion and views on this issue is not as close as the link between religion and views of evolution." and "Furthermore, these links between religion and views of global warming — which are smaller to begin with as compared with the links between religion and evolution or homosexuality — mostly disappear when other factors that help shape views on this issue are taken into account. Statistical analysis reveals that views on global warming are much more closely linked with demographic and political attributes than with religion." Near the end of the article, it states: "With evolution, there is a clear and strong objection to the scientific consensus among people who accept a literal interpretation of the Bible. Significant numbers within other religious groups believe that evolution occurred, but was divinely guided. In contrast, beliefs about global warming appear to be only tangentially related to religious beliefs. And on the issue of homosexuality — where a scientific consensus has yet to form and where significant cultural traditions may continue to influence individual attitudes — religious beliefs are strongly related to opinions, although even the non-religious are conflicted." The only topic that stands out as definitive is evolution. All others are more spurious and less directly/exclusively correlated.
Perhaps mentioning these other topics in the article would help in making contrast between topics in research. Both these studies do look at multiple topics and usually focus on the "hot" ones. The Big Bang, abiogenesis, and unfromitarianism, are not among the hot topics as having these ideas does not make one anti-religious or anything of that nature. Perhaps you are thinking of metaphysical naturalism, an atheistic philosophy (not a scientific position or concept), which I am sure many religious people would disagree with. In contrast, mere naturalism is not really a problem for anyone. --Ramos1990 (talk) 08:00, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
The issue is that the source is only looking at polls for 3 topics, and did not look at other scientific topics, IRWolfie- (talk) 11:29, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
To Ramos1990: the main problem is evolution-deniers don't just think of evolution as changes in allele variation over successive generations. Many subscribe, e.g., to a Kent Hovind-esque 'six definitions of evolution', which rejects everything from cosmology to geology. There's also Ben Stein, who has on many occasions criticized evolution for not explaining gravity, thermodynamics, or the laws of physics. It's quite clear that they use evolution as a by-word for scientific investigation of the distant past. So the statement that evolution is the 'only' thing contested by most Americans is just not giving the whole picture. --Euniana/Talk 16:54, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
Hey IRWolfie and Euniana, the Pew study report shows some contrast on "hot" topics in public policy which are not that much in the first place. They indeed do identify other topics in there too which you have mentioned before, but in all reality the public only has a very small range of topics introduced to them in a general fashion in the first place. Euniana's concerns about the ambiguity of evolution in the study is not valid since they clearly specified evolution of "Humans and other living things" specifying evolution to be biological, not cosmological or chemical or other variant meanings of that term. I agree that "evolution" is an overused term for many things and it is quite ambiguous, in most usages, but the study clearly specified which version it was talking about. The Pew study and the source in the article are both done by the same authors.
No study can exhaust all minor details of topics (most people are not aware of the subtopics either) for sure. However, any agreements or disagreements with consensus on some topics do not correlate with perceptions of science automatically. It an error to assume such as direct linkage. After all, the most religious countries have more positive views and are more optimistic of science than non-religious countries globally. Furthermore, challenging or disagreeing with consensus is not anti-scientific at all since Nobel prize winning researchers often have complained that their ideas were rejected and resisted by publishers because they deviated from "accepted facts" (consensus). Here is the extensive quote on the "Culture of Science" source which should clear up a lot: "Our review of three important issues on the public policy agenda in the United States suggest that although there is a potential for broad religiously based conflict over science, the scope of this conflict is limited. Only on one issue does a significant portion of the public deny strong consensus for religious reasons: evolution. The significance of this disagreement should not be understated, but it is decidedly unrepresentative of the broader set of scientific controversies and issues. As already noted, it is difficult to find any other major policy issues on which there are strong religious objections to scientific research. Religious concerns do arise in connection with a number of areas of life sciences research, such as the effort to develop medical therapies from embryonic stem cells. But these are not rooted in disputes about the truth of scientific research, and can be found across the spectrum of religious sentiment."
They also mention "It is also worth remembering that religion has no special claim to beliefs that run counter to strongly corroborated factual evidence. Psychological research has finds that people sometimes believe what they want to believe when they want to believe is compelling to them - for whatever reason, whether religious or not. In this respect, the examples of of religious faith trumping scientific truth do not constitute a special case of the rejection of string evidence of truth." One interesting contrast is that in the US, non-religious people are no more likely than the religious population to have New Age beliefs and practices.
In [24] they specify: "At the same time, such conflicts – where scientists and people of faith explicitly disagree on concrete facts – are not common in the United States today. Indeed, the theory of evolution as a means to explain the origins and development of life remains the only truly concrete example of such a conflict. To a lesser extent, faith also plays a role in shaping views about the nature of homosexuality and, to a much smaller degree, global warming." --Ramos1990 (talk) 18:57, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
I can't say I'm convinced that the average evolution-skeptic can overcome their preconceptions of what evolution is that easily. That's why I think something more nuanced here is absolutely necessary. For example, what's the percentage of people who reject evolution for religious reasons but accept nontheistic abiogenesis? Logically, that number can't be very high. Since Gallup polls indicate roughly half of the American population subscribe to some form of Young Earth creationism, they would also by default reject uniformitarianism and the Big Bang. If we take the Pew report at face value, we have a contradiction. --Euniana/Talk 00:09, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
Well, people do not have complex or even the most detailed views and nuances of views on evolution. Not even researchers themselves since the concept is applied to so many topics in such causal ways that serious considerations of minor details are not really commonly looked at. This usually happens when anyone gets comfortable with the ideas they grew up with. Perhaps you are reifying metaphysical naturalism (a non-scientific concept and not a requirement for science either) into your understanding of what science is. If you ever get a chance to look at research in the sociology of religion or just sociology in general, you will find out that people have incongruent beliefs all the time. It is the norm. They do not have systematic and uniform agreements and disagreements like you are imagining. Which is why Young earth creationists can disagree with biological evolution and believe in a young earth and still show strong support for the sciences. Its also the reason that secular atheists create and participate in religions too (Raelianism, Church of Satan, Unitarian Universalism, Ethical Culture, etc). I am sure you can agree that agreeing or disagreeing with some part does not automatically mean that one agrees or disagrees with other parts or even the whole.
Beliefs people have are not rigidly and systematically linked to other beliefs automatically or "by default" nor do people have wholesale agreements or disagreements with everything about an idea. A simple example of incongruence is the fact that though the National Academy of Science has a majority membership of people who do not have a belief in god and are for all practical purposes are "not" religious, they have produced very pro-religious materials such as claiming that there is no conflict between science and religion because each one focuses on different aspects of human experience. Beliefs do not automatically lead to another for sure. I am sure everyone would agree that helping others is a good thing, but translating that belief into action or behavior in an individual is complex and often incongruent. Otherwise, we would see more people helping others, no? The general idea of natural order is not something anyone has any problems with. Its a basic belief everyone has on reality. However, you may find people rejecting metaphysical worldviews like metaphysical naturalism because metaphysical naturalism is a doctrine and belief system. Rejecting metaphysical naturalism, of course is not even close to rejection of science since science is not an atheistic enterprise. Its pretty much theistically and atheistically indifferent - which is why both atheists and theists use it all the time to support their views. The fact that the originators of the modern versions of the ideas you mention: the Big Bang, abiogenesis (via spontaneous generation), and uniformitarianism were all Christains/religious, if you read up on the history, should clear a few things up. So the assumption of wholesale and systematic denial is very much improbable. --Ramos1990 (talk) 01:51, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
That isn't really what's being argued here. What I'm saying is, if nearly half of the American population are Young Earth creationists, then they form the majority of anti-evolutionists in the 74%. By definition, YEC rejects uniformitarianism; they have to believe that rates of radioactive decay and the speed of light differed in the past to support a young world. They also have to reject many foundational concepts in geology, e.g. stratigraphy and the geologic time scale. They may not say it, but most anti-evolutionists question more than just evolution. It's not really relevant that these scientific ideas came from religious scientists when there are large numbers of people who question them on religious grounds. --Euniana/Talk 15:24, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
Hmm....the fundamental concepts do not seem to be the issue. Its usually the uses of assumptions and extrapolations that are disagreed with in general, no the raw concepts themselves. They all have some utility somewhere, but not everywhere! In context of Uniformitarianism, Stephen Gould wrote in his work "Punctuated Equilibrium": "I made a personal discovery (as others did independently) that became important in late 20th-century studies of the history of geology. I had been schooled in the conventional view that the catastrophists (aka "bad guys") had invoked supernatural sources of paroxysmal dynamics in order to compress the earth's history into the strictures of biblical chronology. I read and reread all the classical texts of late 18th and early 19th century catastrophism in their original languages and I could find no claim for supernatural influences upon the history of the earth. In fact, the catastrophists seemed to be advancing the opposite claim that we should base our causal conclusions upon a literal reading of the empirical record, whereas the uniformitarians (aka "good guys") seemed to be arguing, in an opposing claim less congenial with the stereotypical empiricism of science, that we must make hypothetical inferences about the gradualistic mechanics that a woefully imperfect record does not permit us to observe directly." One can see that assumptions and extrapolations play a massive role in both interpretations and that evidence is not unidirectional nor obvious.
Look at YEC on natural selection for instance [25] of a case in point of how assumptions are the culprit, not the concepts in and of themselves. Rates are always debatable in unobserved periods of time since of course we do not have direct information on them. It is what makes origins research quite volatile and prone to changes with diverse opinions in between. No evidence ever speaks for itself and is prone to be interpreted in diverse ways. Either way one must keep in mind that the majority of the sciences have nothing to do with origins research nor are these historical questions the goal of the vast majority of sciences or scientific research. So conclusions people reach on these speculative fields, whether good or bad, are not really representative of peoples views on the majority of the sciences which are about measurable and observable phenomena today. Hope this clarifies a bit on my side. --Ramos1990 (talk) 21:57, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── You seem to have moved off on a bit of a tangent there. The issue is that YECs do reject other aspects of science to fit their world view, thus the current text is misleading. IRWolfie- (talk) 18:24, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

I was addressing Euniana and your extrapolated concerns - which are beyond what the sources say at this point. The current text in the article is not misleading, pretty much is a copy and paste of what the sources say on evolution (which is extensively mentioned in the previous statement in the WP article). The sources in the article clearly state that evolution is the only concrete example of conflict on consensus views in the US and that it does not representative of science as a whole or most other scientific issues. This is pretty much in line with wikipedia protocol in representing the sources adequately for what they say, no? Of course you, Euniana, and I discussing tangential issues would be more WP:SYN, but I do not plan on putting our ideas in the article, unless a source mentions such claims. Both sources mention that conflicts do not come mainly or exclusively from religious sources either. They both note that psychological data has shown that people have conflicts for many other reasons and that conflicts involving religion are not at all special or qualitative different. It is what the sources say, no? --Ramos1990 (talk) 21:54, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

We should put in a subsection on religion's most contribution to science: evolution denial. It really needs to be mentioned here. Denying the theory of evolution in liu of scripture is a huge part of the relationship between religion and science, especially from Christians and Muslims. Where should we insert the new subsection? Off the top of my head, I think we can easily get some material to support this from Dawkins, the NAS website and perhaps one other source, can anyone else think of a good one? Perhaps some christian apologist historian or scientist to poopoo it and explain it all away?Greengrounds (talk) 18:10, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

I think it would make sense to have such a section. But it shouldn't make it look as if there is an inherent anti-evltionism in christianity or any other religion. Millions of Christians are happy to believe in evolution and god at the same time. Not all Christians are creationists, and not all creationists are anti-evolutionists, and not all anti-evolutionist creationists are Young Earth Creationists.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:21, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Agreed. The christians that reject a literal interpretation of scripture generally don't have a problem with accepting science. Same with the muslims. There must be something inherent to those religions that makes many of their followers reject evolution, because there are so many of them, but all we can do here is present facts. Where do you think the section should go? It would be easier to do a universal section that covers christian and islamic rejections together. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Greengrounds (talkcontribs) 18:28, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Agree with Maunus. Sections should be general. If Greengrounds is going to add it, it should show both the positive views and negtive views on evolution in general, not have the section be slanted only to denial since again, many Muslims and Christian do not deny evolution wholesale even Intelligent design proponents. It should not be too extensive as that could result in WP:COATRACK. Perhaps we can mention the Christians that helped make the idea of Wallace and Darwin possible such as Charles Lyell or Robert Chambers or even medievals like Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. Ronald Numbers in his study on the creationism mentions that all serious Christian scientists by the end of the 19th century had accepted or sympathized with the theories evolution. But one must be careful not to do WP:SYN on such a hot topic. Other articles focus on that topic specifically and extensively so linking to those would be the best option many of these cases. Of course wholesale denial of evolution is also a myth and so these perspectives should also be mentioned if you choose to go with it. --Ramos1990 (talk) 18:55, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Obviously this article is Christian POV in some parts, this article needs to be Neutral POV

I made an edit where I undid some block quoting from an obviously non-neutral source, and a quote that sets the tone for the article. Most of the people used here are theologians, not scientists. This is especially evident in the section on Influence of a biblical world view on early modern science. This section should be slimmed down as it is full of controversial statements that would not be agreed upon by non-christians. I mean, this article goes out of it's way to try and say that most early christians did not think the earth was flat. When I tried to remove the block quoting, user Tgeorgescu undid the edits. Also he undid an edit where I was trying to bring the aforementioned section back in line. It is bloated with christian POV garbage, stuff that would be laughed out of the academy of science. Maybe we could have some input from some people who are actually in the academy instead of "theologians", who by the way are NOT scientists.Greengrounds (talk) 00:17, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

NPOV does not mean that non-neutral views cannot be quoted or described. I haven't looked at the article yet, but will proceed to do so.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 00:40, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Having read the section in question I don't see a POV problem. It attributes views very clearly to those who espouse them. If there are any views you feel are not sufficiently represented you should present sources so that we can integrate them.[this editor is not a theologian or a christian, not that it matters].User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 00:50, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
I have done so.Greengrounds (talk) 04:35, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Greengrounds, you had deleted mostly historians of science views like Floris Cohen and Gary Frengren (both of which had quite relevant statements to the sections they were in). Since you did not really provide a reasonable justification for removal it was reverted. Obviously both sources were reliable academic sources there were relevant to the topic and they both provided a contrast to other opinions in the sections (i.e. conflict thesis and Christian influence in making modern science). Also as Maunus has noted, the viewpoints are clearly attributed to those who made the statements. There is no POV problem here. The only issue here may be that you may not like what they say WP:IDONTLIKEIT, which is not a valid reason for removal of content. Please keep in mind that even having a section on conflict is already a POV so other responses to the POV are expected. There should be no problem in these sections as long as the attributions are made clear, the sources are relevant to the section or topic, and that the sources are reliable.
Perhaps the Cohen paragraph can be condensed a bit? For the Gary Frengren quote, we can probably remove the quote box and leave it as so that it does not stick out so much. On another issue, I am not sure why you are complaining about theologians here. You deleted the views of historians, not theologians. Please keep in mind that it is generally in Christian cultures that the issue of religion and science emerged as a topic, not in most other cultures, so research on the history of science and religion tends to focus on Europe and Christian culture. Most sources you will find on the topic by non-Christians and anti-Christians tend to revolve almost exclusively on Christian/European/American cultures too. We have more information available on European/American Christian culture than on any other regions so this kind of focus is expected. If you find other reliable academic sources which say the opposite to what Frengren and Cohen have to say, then please add them to the article.
In context of the Academy of Sciences, would you like to add their position on the relationship between science and religion? Clearly they support a NOMA position [26], not a conflict position. But I leave that to you.--Ramos1990 (talk) 01:33, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
I note that editors of this page are remarking that Greengrounds is deleting historians on dubious grounds, misapprehending wikipedia policies on NPOV, and may not be well informed on the issues on which he is editing. That editor is currently the subject of multiple complaints regarding similar behaviour (see here). If abusive posts on this or your own talk page or if misquotation of sources, deletion of content against consensus, POV pushing, use of unreliable sources, insertion of contentious material, or other non-compliance with wikipedia guidelines is repeated here, please advise the discussion on the Administrator's noticeboard and in the meantime, please continue review his edits closely. Ozhistory (talk) 03:15, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Ozhistory for the heads up. We will keep this in mind. So far Greengrounds has followed Wikipedia protocol on this article, but we will keep our ears and eyes open. --Ramos1990 (talk) 03:21, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Ozhistory I have already asked you twice to review the Wikipedia:Harassment and Wikipedia:Harassment#Wikihounding. Take good care to modify your own behaviour. Following me around to different talk pages like you have been doing, is not very Wiki like.

Wikihounding is the singling out of one or more editors, and joining discussions on multiple pages or topics they may edit or multiple debates where they contribute, in order to repeatedly confront or inhibit their work. This is with an apparent aim of creating irritation, annoyance or distress to the other editor. Wikihounding usually involves following the target from place to place on Wikipedia.

Greengrounds (talk) 04:24, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Ramos 1990, I agree with your assessment 100% and I see you made that change. Of course, NOMA does not mean there is not conflict between science and religion, and as you can see the Academy of science has ruled out intelligent design and creationism as scientific theories, so anybody who holds those theories to be true, would really have a conflict with science on their hands, wouldn't they? I'm glad you made the edit, but I think we can expand on it a little bit more. Where NOMA draws the line, and I think we need to make that evident is that "faith" is not science.Greengrounds (talk) 04:29, 1 September 2013 (UTC) Ramos1990 (talk) Also, I don't like it because it is not written from a neutral POV. Well, certain parts aren't, and I've made a contribution on the biblical world view to science. Though you may think scholarly opinion on this is all wine and roses, there is a historical context that needs to be mentioned here, and there are other opinions on the matter, opinions that see the "biblical world view" as a hindrance to science. I have included a short history on the matter, and I would also like to include some more scholarly opinion on the matter, which will run in stark contrast to the heralding of christian science as the saving grace of all modern science that is espoused in that section and in the article in general.Greengrounds (talk) 04:35, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Greengrounds, you are making false allegations, or again misapprehending wikipedia guidelines. I have advised other editors on this page of the complaints from multiple editors against you because, as an experienced editor, I wish to maintain article standards in articles in which I am interested, or of which I have knowledge. I am not in the least motivated by wanting to "irritate you". Multiple editors have noted you are frequently deleting reliably sourced material and inserting poorly written or sourced material across multiple articles. In these circumstances it is safest for all concerned if "many eyes" are on the ball, hence I have advised editors on this page, at the Historicity of Jesus page and the current admin notice against you of questions raised about your edits. Ozhistory (talk) 04:52, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
I've highlighted the part that you are violating: the singling out of one or more editors, and joining discussions on multiple pages or topics they may edit or multiple debates where they contribute, in order to repeatedly confront or inhibit their work. Please focus on the topic on this talk page. If you have nothing to add, then add nothing.Greengrounds (talk) 05:03, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Greengrounds, Neutral point of view means per WP:NPOV "representing fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without bias, all of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic." The significant views can be all over the place (from full blown peace to full blown war and everything in between) and there is no problem in citing them, as long as they are from reliable sources, but it is important to condense your additions to get to the point while reflecting what the source says and attributing who said what. Also please add page numbers to your citations from books so that others can pin point where you got the information. Also be careful not to do WP:SYN and WP:OR. Look at WP:BUTITSTRUE to prevent some issues in the future. I don't assume everything is "wine and roses" on the section, and I also do not assume everything is "poop and garbage" on the topic either.
In terms of the NAS, their views are their views, and they are not binding on anyone nor any scientists. Obviously most scientists never read or adhere to their opinions and NAS certainly does not have immutable statements. Other academies of sciences in other nations are certainly not bounded by anything they say either nor is the NAS bounded by what other academies have to say. They are just like Nobel prize winners - negligible and unrepresentative of rank and file scientists and not really representative of most scientists views on ANY particular topic. But still with the current assembly of the NAS, they certainly disagree that science or religion are not in conflict inherently at all. Which is why they state "Attempts to pit science and religion against each other create controversy where none needs to exist." But this is not binding on anyone either. --Ramos1990 (talk) 05:38, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
At the risk of boring other editors, I will persist a little further against Greeengrounds' false allegation. In saying above "I've highlighted the part that you are violating", Greengrounds you are demonstrating again your inability to read a understand a source, or reproduce it on a page accurately. Wikihounding is defined unambiguously as requiring "an apparent aim of creating irritation, annoyance or distress to the other editor". When looking at such definitions, you cannot read one sentence in isolation from an ensuing sentence. Furthermore, the definition specifically states that "Correct use of an editor's history includes (but is not limited to) fixing unambiguous errors or violations of Wikipedia policy, or correcting related problems on multiple articles". In the opinion of multiple editors, including admins, you are repeating unambiguous errors or violations of Wikipedia policy across multiple pages, which is why your edits on this and other pages have been raised here. Accordingly, multiple editors are watching and requesting that your edits on these pages be watched. Ozhistory (talk) 06:13, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Influence of a biblical world view on early modern science

A few early Christians, influenced certainly by Aristotle and Plato, were willing to accept new ideas from science that contradicted scripture, particularly such ideas that evolved from the Greeks of the time, such as ideas of the earth's sphericity. However,the majority of Christians promptly rejected the idea, it seemed to them to be fraught with dangers to their interpretations of scripture. Among the first who took up arms against it was Eusebius, who endeavoured to turn off this idea by bringing scientific studies into contempt, and Lactantius referred to the ideas of Astronomers as "bad and senseless," and he opposed the doctrine of the earth's sphericity both from Scripture and reason. St. John Chrysostom and Ephraem Syrus also exerted their influence against the scientific evidence of the earth's sphericity. Other early Christians, Theophilus of Antioch in the second century, and Clement of Alexandria in the third, with others in centuries following, in the face of current scientific theories, which they viewed as heathenism, drew from their Bibles a new Christian theory, based largely on the Genesis account. In the sixth century this christian theory culminated in a complete and detailed system of the universe, claiming to be based upon Scripture. The sacred Christian theory struggled long and vigorously but in vain, as authorities in later ages, like Albert the Great, St. Thomas Aquinas, Dante, and Vincent of Beauvais, felt obliged to accept some scientific theories. However resistance was met, from Martin Luther, Melanchthon, and Calvin were very strict in their adherence to the exact letter of Scripture. In the times immediately following the Reformation matters were even worse. The interpretations of Scripture by Luther and Calvin became as sacred to their followers as the Scripture itself. When Georg Calixtus ventured, in interpreting the Psalms, to question the accepted belief that "the waters above the heavens" were contained in a vast receptacle upheld by a solid vault, he was bitterly denounced as heretical.[60]

This is what I introduced to the article. Ramos1990 (talk)

Changed it to this: According to Andrew Dickson White's conflict thesis from the 19th century, few early Christians were willing to accept pagan ideas form the Greeks and many Christians through the ages rejected the sphericity of the earth. Dickinson also argues that immediately following the Reformation matters were even worse. The interpretations of Scripture by Luther and Calvin became as sacred to their followers as the Scripture itself. For instance, When Georg Calixtus ventured, in interpreting the Psalms, to question the accepted belief that "the waters above the heavens" were contained in a vast receptacle upheld by a solid vault, he was bitterly denounced as heretical.[60] Today, much of the scholarship in which the conflict thesis was originally based is considered to be inaccurate. For instance, the claim that people of the Middle Ages widely believed that the Earth was flat was first propagated in the same period that originated the conflict thesis[61] and is still very common in popular culture. Modern scholars regard this claim as mistaken, as the contemporary historians of science David C. Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers write: "there was scarcely a Christian scholar of the Middle Ages who did not acknowledge [earth's] sphericity and even know its approximate circumference."[61][62]

Notice that the tone is now changed and key words like "Few christians were willing to accept "pagan" ideas from the Greeks" pagan ideas that the world was round? I have changed that to "scientific ideas" from the Greeks. Moreover, the new revision skips over all of the early christians, their names, their wiki links who's "biblical views" were in conflict with science. Now, what is the problem here? Are we not allowed to see that early christians from 100AD through after the Protestant reformation rejected science for scripture? This tradition continues to this day (read the 40-50% of Americans who are YEC) The "conflict theory" has nothing to do with this book by White. White presents history here. For Ramos1990 (talk) to interpret this through the "conflict theory" is incorrect. Secondly, the article constantly heralds the "flat earth myth" thing which says that history incorrectly recorded Columbus and his contemporaries as flat earthers. That may be true, but not much before that, they were flat earthers, as evidenced by White's historicity. If you need me to source all of the assertions presented by White I can. That's no problem. But it seems like you removed most of it because Wikipedia:IDON'TLIKE.Greengrounds (talk) 05:19, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

This is to condense the sources to the just the core of what they say and to note the core claims. Obviously this article is NOT about only the view of one person or historian so we need to keep the information to the point so that other points of view get mentioned. This is the point of NPOV. To collect many insights/perspectives on one topic is the point of an encyclopedia. I think you may be confusing "Political correctness" with "NPOV". They are not the same. It is important to state who said the claims also and to also cite pages for the specific claims. Since you added the information, you need to cite the pages that corresponds to certain points. In the case of Andrew Dickinson, his book is part of the conflict thesis - which is no longer supported by the majority of historians of science. He makes certain claims as a historian (such as sphericity of the earth being unbelieved by most people in the past). Modern historians have assessed his claim and have concluded that the spherical earth was widely believed in the middle ages (mainly through Aristotle and Ptolemy which were extensively studied in the medieval period) and also through lunar eclipses showing the spherical shape (shades of shadow), etc. Ergo the flat earth myth.
The whole section on Biblical influences has positions by individuals and contrasting positions by other individuals on similar topics so it makes sense to represent other contrasting significant views. WP:NPOV "means representing fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without bias, all of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic." In some cases there are contrasting significant views, in others, not that much. But in this case there are a few. To leave those out, knowing they exist would be against NPOV. Also the job of a wikipedian is not to evaluate if something is true or false WP:BUTITSTRUE. Rather our job is to find a reliable source that is relevant to the article and to cite the source in context of what it says, and not go beyond that. Scholars do not agree on everything so why should we expect to agree one everything here too? The goal for this encuclopedia and for us a wikipedians is to reliably mention multiple perspectives, if possible, and leave it at that. --Ramos1990 (talk) 06:01, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Rejection of scientific principles for scripture, persecution of scientists throughout the ages.

This article, sadly does not mention the rejection of scientific principles by religion throughout the ages, nor the persecution of scientists. The mention of the many people who rejected the theory that the earth is spherical seems to be taboo here, as evidenced by their removal in revisions of my edits. Also, there seems to be little to no mention of the rejection of a heliocentric earth, particularly in the "biblical wold view" section. That section, btw seems to be in need of a different title.

It does however, proudly make the uncited claim that "galileo, copernicus, etc." were christians, but it (laughably) leaves out details of their persecution and/or murder by christians in the name of scripture.Greengrounds (talk) 06:39, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

I would recommend you read up on some current research in the history of science. White's book is not taken seriously by researchers today since it does have some pretty significant mistakes. Some of the myths that are espoused by the White-Draper thesis are assessed by multiple historians of science in "Galileo Goes To Jail and Other Myths About Science and Religion" Edited by Ronald Numbers. Ronald Numbers is an agnostic by the way. Of course there are other resources that available too on these topics, but this collection addresses many of the misconceptions about the history of science and religion. For example, the flat earth myth, Giardo Bruno was a martyr for modern science, and Galileo was imprisoned and tortured for his inclinations to Copernicus. Of course some of these reifications exist through White's books. I have read both volumes myself and so it would be a good learning experience on your part to read more on the history of science from diverse sources that are also more current historical studies and then come up with your own conclusions on the issues. --Ramos1990 (talk) 07:23, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Though White may be associated with that theory, the historacal facts presented in my edit are not contested. The historicity of that book is not contested, and can you back that up that it is not taken seriously by researchers, or is that just your opinion. It came recommended byNeil deGrasse Tyson, so I'll take his word over yours on it's scientific appeal. I agree with you though that the book is old, and i'd be happy if we moved that entire paragraph, including the rebuttals that you have provided over to the section on conflict theory, perhaps you'd agree.

As for Galileo, it has noting to do with White's book as it is cited here, so that's irrelevant. Also, I think the section we've been editing is getting derailed. We should be presenting facts relevant to the subtopic, which was something along the lines of "The contributions of a Biblical world view to modern science" I've already said I have issues with the POV of that subtopic as a whole, since IMO it should be titled "hindrances of a biblical world view to modern science". To be NPOV, it would have to be somewhere in between these two POVs. Secondly, AFIK Wikipolicy is that scholarly opinion is not the only thing that should set the tone. A few pundits' comments here and there is fine, but at some point as an Encyclopedia you have to present some facts. That the churches have and continue to reject science for faith is a fact, and it needs to be presented here. That Galileo was a victim of a "biblical" world view, that gave god and his interpreters ultimate power and made outsiders into heathens and heretics. I'm not saying we have to present that fact in a certain way, but I am saying we have to present the fact that yes, some scientists were killed and shut down for their "proving scripture wrong", and some scientists even today are faced with the same type of persecution from various religions. So that's why I started introducing Galileo to that section. As for White, if you are contesting the historicity or POV of some of his stuff, that's fine, I will work on finding other sources, and thanks for the help and the rewrite, but we might as well put it in the Conflict theory section. Greengrounds (talk) 10:27, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

I am sorry to say, but White's History of Warfare literally is half of the Conflict Thesis along with Draper's writings. They are always named in combination as the White-Draper thesis or the Conflict thesis. This is well known and repeated in the 4 refs from historians of science in the article that say that modern historians no longer support it. Indeed White and Draper do have a tendency of not doing a good job in writing history in an objective fashion and they are selective in their sources without calibrating with other sources on the matter. David Lindberg who is a well established historian of science, provides a break down of some of the errors in the claims [27]. I already mentioned a recent collection from many historians of science that focus on the myths found in White's book and others like him, called "Galileo Goes To Jail and Other Myths About Science and Religion" Edited by Ronald Numbers. Indeed Numbers says, "Historians of science have known for years that White's and Draper's accounts are more propaganda than history" (p.6) and provides references on that point to back it up. The collection also details the myth that some scientists were persecuted for their scientific ideas. The Church never really made doctrines of either Geocentrism or Heliocentrism or evolution or any other "controversies" and so there was no theological source for persecution. Copernicans were never persecuted for heliocentric views and Copernicus himself in the preface of "Revolutions" dedicated his work to the Pope. If persecutions did occur, then where is the list of martyrs? Also the historical fact that from the early church period, pagan scientific sources were studied and used (and preserved!) in the writings of members of church speaks volumes to the amount of acceptance for ideas they had. Things like this is what makes the conflict thesis so absurd. Galileo was an idiot for taking advantage of the Pope's personal blessing to write on the heliocentric system. Pagan sources were obviously used to learn scientific information and it is Christians who transmitted Greek and Roman science texts to Arabic (for Islamic science) then to Latin throughout the middle ages. So I take the word of multiple well established and reliable historians of science on this because they study the history of science from the direct primary sources and are experts in sciences at different periods (ancient, medieval, pre-modern, and modern). Tyson is a scientist, not an expert or a reliable source for the history of science as he has not shown to have read primary sources to make his assessments of his beliefs concerning the history of science. I myself have read many primary sources from ancient, medieval, pre-modern, and modern periods from all sorts of scientists in these periods and yes, the conflict thesis in White and Drapers accounts (I've read both) are pretty indeed inaccurate/exaggerated.
Of course, non of this means that we should remove White from the article. It just means that you should probably be aware of academic assessments of his account. I agree that the White addition and the counter opinions belong in the conflict thesis section better, but then again it does contribute to the "Influence of a biblical world view on early modern science" too. The section title is ok because it is generic. The influences can be either good or bad. By renaming the section to what you propose "hindernaces of biblical..." would indeed potentially make a POV issue in which we would have to add another section for the opposing views. We should leave the section title as general as it currently is. Good luck on your search for academic backing of White's book. You will need it as I could not find a credible historian of science to back him up. :) --Ramos1990 (talk) 16:51, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
There's a bit of confusion here, in that the "conflict thesis" was never mentioned by White or Draper nor described exactly as such. The term became a way of understanding the relationship between science and religion, within the academic "history of science" community and among some theologians, in the past few decades. That said, plenty of people held attitudes similar to White and Draper before and after them, and their works were considered the most condensed expression of that view at the end of the 19th century.
I would say that in the scientific community, while nobody mentions the "conflict thesis," as many people hold views similar to it as don't, and this can be seen in the writings of Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, Steven Weinberg, Alan Sockol, Lawrence Krauss, etc. Their views have almost no representation in this article right now.
Furthermore, plenty of theologians, especially in a historical sense, found themselves hostile to scientific ideas or methodologies, and their views also have little representation here.
All that said, complaining won't get anyone anywhere: if you have an edit you think would benefit this article, you should implement it. But you can't expect other editors (like Ramos1990) to add content that they feel is unwarranted, or about which they have less expertise. -Darouet (talk) 18:39, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. We already have some comments from scientists throughout the article on what they personally believe on the relationships. So this should not be an issue as all "significant views" are already on the article from one extreme to another. Of course atheism has had problems with scientific consensus in the past as well when theological ideas were dominant too. This cuts both ways. See historical perspectives on atheism and science here [28]. The same stuff on editors applies to all other editors, including Darouet. The resistance of the Big Bang by many scientists who were comfortable with an eternal universe and did not like the implications of an origin are a more recent example of conflict from that end. Of course there were others too like in Soviet sciences in USSR and China. Its all over the place really. --Ramos1990 (talk) 19:05, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Darouet (talk) Yes, the rejection of science for scripture is something that has been happening forever. And is still happening today. I'm looking for "reliable" sources that show that.Greengrounds (talk) 21:43, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Hi Greengrounds; I think that general (academic) surveys of European intellectual history since the Middle Ages are your best bet. Carl Sagan also writes a lot about this. -Darouet (talk) 00:35, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
See Carl Sagan. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:02, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Nyborg study

User:Maunus What method did you use to determine that "Nyborg is not a reliable source"? The study was published in Intelligence, which is a peer reviewed scientific journal. That is as reliable as we can get on Wikipedia, no? Many of the studies and stats in this article come from much more dubious sources, so if we are setting the standard that studies published in peer reviewed scientific journals are "not reliable", then we have allot of work to do in removing those other sources. Please explain your logic here, and what your plans are, moving forward. Are we to remove studies from less scholarly sources as well, or are we to re-introduce the study from Intelligence? Greengrounds (talk) 21:06, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

The fact that Nyborg has been accused of scientific fraud repeatedly. If you want to defend science against religion you should at least use studies by scholars who are considered competent scientists.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 21:09, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Like I said, it was published in a Peer reviewed scientific journal. In order to back that up, you'd have to come up with some evidence that the study is not reliable. If peer reviewed scientific journals are not considered reliable sourcing, then we have allot of work to do with this article. That someone was "accused of fraud" does not mean that his Peer reviewed work is unreliable. Greengrounds (talk) 21:16, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

He was not just accused, he was fired for it. Seriously, he is not a worthy champion of science.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 21:27, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Hmm...the study is on intelligence which are not directly related to the the topic at hand - which is science and religion. This is WP:COATRACK. I think I did something like this myself in this article a few years ago with intelleigence, and I removed it because it was not related to the topic. These studies best belong on the religiosity and intelligence page. --Ramos1990 (talk) 21:22, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Yes, you may be right. But there are several references to studies, like Is Religion Dangerous? by Keith Ward which are suspect, doesn't look like they are peer reviewed, and would fall into the same category as this one. Weren't you the one that introduced this section? Anyway, all i'm looking for is consistency in the way we apply our standards, so if you guys don't like this study, that's fine, and maybe we need to remove the sections on statistics because you're right they are highly susceptible to coatracking. In fact, most of the coatracking has already been done. Perhaps it's time we remove those sections entirely, at least so the article is consistent.Greengrounds (talk) 21:30, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

No, the "scientific studies on religion" section has been there for a long time and I have not read the sources for them either. I didn't really contribute there, except maybe once a long time ago on an already existing point. It always looked weird to me as it doesn't really address science and religion. Its kind of a tangent of miscellaneous stuff. Maybe we should delete that section as it may be coat racking or just an awkward leftover of many previous edits. Lets give it some time to see what others think on this. All other sections seem relevant though. --Ramos1990 (talk) 21:37, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Well, I have not heard any objections to deleting the lingering "scientific studies on religion" section per coat rack, so I will go ahead and delete it, per me and Greengrounds. Please feel free to revert if someone wants to keep it. --Ramos1990 (talk) 18:35, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Nyborg's study may be unreliable, and if that's the case, retractions, responses, or something similar should be provided to demonstrate that his study is unreliable.
That said, I would argue from an editorial perspective that we should refrain from citing the Nyborg study here. It is intuitively problematic: there might be a dozen mitigating factors including social background, income, education level and geography that would influence the outcome of the study. It is also likely offensive, and I don't think we'll learn anything more about the relationship between religion and science by reviewing articles about religion and intelligence. Lastly, though Nyborg's biography on wikipedia looks like a bit of a train wreck, much of his (controversial) seems to entail finding various populations, including women and immigrants, less intelligent than... native male Danes? -Darouet (talk) 00:30, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
It ok Darouet. Its not in the article anymore. Nyborg does have some questionable research under his belt and does think that intelligence is measurable enough to say significant things about people's intellectual capacities based on social inclinations and genetic makeup (race and sex). --Ramos1990 (talk) 02:04, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

Any differences between science and religion?

Earlier versions of this article (until this edit by Ramos) noted some simple differences between science and religion, without casting any judgement on these differences. After I restored that description recently, Ramos removed it, explaining that this was based on past talk page discussion. That discussion can be found here and does not demonstrate any consensus to remove a description of some differences between science and religion, so I've restored the old material.

I don't find this derogatory in any way towards religion or science, and it will be helpful for readers, hoping to learn about the relationship between religion and science, to have a few words actually describing what each is. -Darouet (talk) 14:53, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

The issue is in the claim science has different methodologies than religion. As I mentioned in the archived discussion, since theology has fused all sorts of things from empirical evidences to revelations and vice versa (natural theology and the history of theology and science (Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine) for instance), the list of "methodologies" should not be there since as religion overlaps science in methodologies. Individuals have mixed all the methodologies as well such as Francis Bacon in his work on the scientific method. Also where in the article does it really specify the methodologies for both? There is no section on it specifically. The statement was likely a remnant from previous edits that was never corrected. The intro should be a summary of the article, no? If any distinctions are semi valid, its natural and supernatural even though naturalism is also in important part of religion as well. What do you think? I think by mentioning that science generally investigates things in the natural world and that religion gives some significant attention to things beyond it, would make much more sense instead. And is broad enough to fit in the intro.--Ramos1990 (talk) 22:14, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
Hi Ramos, I agree with much of what you're saying: the Christian intellectual tradition has many examples of great philosophers who pioneered aspects of logic, natural sciences, and of course employed reason. You mention Thomas Aquinas... and could have also mentioned Roger Bacon, William of Ockham... I'm sure you know many others. Furthermore, scientists themselves have traditions that are a part of their work.
That said, religions all have faith, and most have revelation, whereas science is clearly grounded entirely in evidence, empiricism and reason as a means of employing them. Is that contested? Addressing the many different views on reason even within Christianity alone would be a minefield, and I think the "generally" qualifier at the sentence's beginning makes it clear that there are exceptions, while allowing readers to have a sense of typical distinctions.
In this sense, I don't think we can call earlier versions of the article an accident: that previous, and now current, description of differences has a valid purpose.
We could write a section on what religion and science are, generally, with a short paragraph for each. If we did that, and wrote a paragraph describing each, would you have proposed text (something rough) that you think would work? -Darouet (talk) 19:37, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
Well, glad to hear your response. For the sake of the intro, I think we can just amend it to say Science and religion have generally included approaches to knowledge of the universe in diverse ways. Science acknowledges reason, empiricism, and evidence and religions have included revelation, faith and sacredness. We can remove the "despite these differences," clause and leave the rest as is. I think this makes it more clear and general and is more appropriate for the intro. What do you think? In terms of the paragraphs on what science and religion are, the ideas for both seem to be scattered all of over the article already, and their interactions of course. It may be a good idea to give a general intro to both enterprises of human activity by just taking some parts of the intro pages in science and religion. It should be short and linked to the main articles, if you want to take that route.--Ramos1990 (talk) 20:41, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
I think that some of what you propose would help, but think that the "diverse ways" statement is just obfuscating. What about,
"Science and religion generally pursue knowledge of the universe using different methodologies. Science acknowledges reason, empiricism, and evidence, while religions include revelation, faith and sacredness. Despite their differences, most scientific and technical innovations prior to the the Scientific revolution were achieved by societies organized by religious traditions."
That would leave the differences somewhat more ambiguous, and include your proposal to use the word "include," which is truthful, and would help the reader understand differences without stating that religions don't include reason. -Darouet (talk) 21:01, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
Ok. Sounds good to me. I will make the minor change. --Ramos1990 (talk) 22:11, 9 October 2013 (UTC)