Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
“It appears that Stephen Jay Gould was correct after all” exclaimed team leader Ken Collins.
Gould’s model of ‘Non-Overlapping-Magisteria’ or NOMA for short, has long been held up as a solution to the vexed question of demarcating the roles of naturalism and faith. Gould’s model involved the idea that religion and science occupy two separate spheres of influence – or ‘Magisteria’ as Gould termed them.
Problems with the model, however, arose from the definition of the aforementioned ‘Magisteria’. While the ‘Scientific Magisteria’ was rapidly identified and defined as “everything in nature amenable to empirical analysis”, the Religious Magisteria has, until now, remained elusive.
The reason for this mystery is apparent in the newly acquired definition of 'Religious Magisteria'.
‘The Religious Magisteria contains everything not empirically measurable, which does not interact with the Scientific Magisteria at any level’
The announcement of a complete absence of interaction between the two Magisteria, was initially greeted with enthusiasm by many religious scientists - although the reaction was cut short when some awkward implications of this model was pointed out.
In related news the Templeton foundation has today announced their support for an entirely new project, this time in search of the ‘Slightly Overlapping Magisteria’.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
“The way to deal with superstition is not to be polite to it, but to tackle it with all arms, and so rout it, cripple it, and make it forever infamous and ridiculous. Is it, perchance, cherished by persons who should know better? Then their folly should be brought out into the light of day, and exhibited there in all its hideousness until they flee from it, hiding their heads in shame.
True enough, even a superstitious man has certain inalienable rights. He has a right to harbor and indulge his imbecilities as long as he pleases, provided only he does not try to inflict them upon other men by force. He has a right to argue for them as eloquently as he can, in season and out of season. He has a right to teach them to his children. But certainly he has no right to be protected against the free criticism of those who do not hold them. He has no right to demand that they be treated as sacred. He has no right to preach them without challenge.”
– H L Mencken, “Aftermath” (coverage of the Scopes Trial) The Baltimore Evening Sun, (September 14, 1925)
Great news for Mooney and Kirshenbaum
Carl Sagan has returned!
Scienceblogs.com have been running the following image for a while now, featuring Carl Sagan, which links to a ridiculous Intelligent Design site called Cosmicfingerprints.com run by someone called Perry Marshall, an ID creationist (and an engineer!).
Marshall uses all the usual ID arguments (DNA code from a mind, random mutation etc).
Except this time who is there helping him?
Carl Sagan, the ultimate accomodationist - Lady Hope style.
Take that atheists.
Monday, August 10, 2009
The much anticipated result of theology’s hottest competition was announced today to a waiting audience of world religious leaders.
Papal spokesman Monsignor Francisco Pompino, read from a prepared statement:
“The argument provided by Blaise Pascal has weathered over three centuries of theological debate. It has been one of the strongest intellectual weapons in the church’s armory for over three hundred years, convincing countless individuals that the interests of their immortal soul lies not with abandoning belief but with accepting His existence. As Pascal wrote, treating the belief in God as if a wager, belief is the more logically beneficial option, for “if you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is.”
In accordance with this wager, our Most Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has today conveyed to the assembly of cardinals a personal revelation he received directly from the Lord God Himself. God, who apparently speaks with a Welsh accent and a slight lisp, revealed that Pascal was indeed correct. Not only this but Pascal, in writing the famous wager, was merely relaying “a bloody great hint” direct from above.
As such, those who accepted the God of Pascal would be granted eternal paradise and those who rejected the Holy Churches teachings would indeed “burn in hellish agony for all eternity”.
Monsignors Pompino’s announcement was marked by a mix of wild applause from the gathered Roman Catholic clerics but shocked silence from the leaders of the other major religions. Speaking in hushed tones Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Wudja-Ah, leader of the Islamic Shiah muslim population, explained, “but it cannot be. Our heaven is so much better than the Catholic heaven, and our hell? Their hell has burning but do they stop to give new skin every now and then? No! Ours does and yet they win? Can we ask for a recount?”
Protests also erupted amongst the gathered Mormon, Sikh, Jewish and Hindu leaders, furious that their choice had been overlooked. Secular figures also expressed some surprise: Richard Dawkins, author of ‘The God Delusion’ when asked for a comment could only muster “oh bugger”.
While some commenters voiced suspicions that Gods revelation seemed to favor followers of the Pope’s own church over all others, their objections were silenced when Monsignor Pompino revealed that God pointed out an important section in the fine print.
“In order to collect on the wager, the participant must have accepted, as Lord, Pascal’s God and followed all his rules”
“Unfortunately”, explained Monsignor Pompino, “this meant the winners are confined to those who believe in strict 17th century Catholicism.” “But we thought we were doing the right thing moving on from there - Vatican II and all that” stated the clearly emotional spokesman. “I mean, who actually believes all that medieval stuff any more, really.”
Despite this unexpected development at least two individuals have reached the Vatican claiming victory, namely the actor and director Mel Gibson and his father Hutton.“No comment” said the elder Gibson as he passed the waiting reporters, while his son was equally reticent, only pausing to state a cryptic “lets see that traffic cops face now!”.