#Phe - NOMA- na!# Doot doo dee doo-doo.

Am going to spend this afternoon in the company of a friend from work, a muslim as it happens, and as part of Cambridge University's "Festival of Science" - I am going today to see a talk/debate: "

"Can we live in a world of non-overlapping magisteria?"

with atheist comedian Robin Ince as chair.  Should be good.


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Comment by Richard ∑wald on March 19, 2012 at 11:24am

I think Gould's "non-overlapping magisteria" was probably his second biggest "blunder". On par I think, with Dawkins' "Spectrum of Theistic Probability". Well intentioned, but in the end …utterly useless proposals.

Comment by Richard Healy on March 17, 2012 at 8:06pm
At SB,

I always liked it in "Jaws" when Quint drops the shark cage while loading it onto the boat before the set off and let's rip with a "Somofabitch!"


okay so to answer myself the last page and a bit has been a report on events and brief and enjoyable tangent into creative cursing.
Comment by Richard Healy on March 17, 2012 at 8:01pm
Steph, what do you think the last page and a bit of comments is about?
Comment by Richard Healy on March 17, 2012 at 3:34pm
"Hellfire and Buggery" is a favoured phrase, round these parts. ;) Say with with a growl and with gusto and it really does the job.
Comment by Richard Healy on March 17, 2012 at 3:22pm
Afterwards me and my friend from work segued to a nandos (i.e for a rather nice chicken ceaser salad, he for a burger that took forever to arrive) - to continue the disucssion. We both agreed that Christianity makes no sense. He however hasn't read the Old Testament and I haven't read the Qur'an so we are going to swap. I'll give him my bible and in return I'll get a qur'an to read.

We had one amusing exchange talking about 'revelation': - wouldn't it be good he suggested if we could have another to settle the matter? I agreed - it would be very useful, and isn't it odd that all the really impressive miracles kind of stop once we enter into historical periods of people writing stuff down?

"Of course" he pointed out, "we muslims believe the qur'an is the last revelation and so completes Christianity."

He didn't take too kindly to my pointing out that The Mormons can now lay claim to the latest revealed religion.

"but that's so obviously false" he protested.

I agreed: "I'm just saying if I go by not what I think is ridiculous but taking these professions of faith at their word, then Joseph Smith received the most recent revelation from abrahamic divine agencies, who told him where the golden plates were buried and how to translate them.

"Yeah but not many people believe that!"

Not the point! I replied and they have a presidential candidate so it's not an insignificant belief - my point is only if we go by what was revealed when then The Mormons, excuse me, The Church of the Latter Day Saints are the most recent. Now if you're asking, I think Mormonism is so transparently a fraud perpetrated by a conman is becuase it is so recent - the reason why I think the myths of other religions gain more credence is mainly becuase they are older and so harder to determine exactly what happened.
Comment by Richard Healy on March 17, 2012 at 2:50pm
bugger - it's lopped off the end of my post.

Imagine if you will, that there was incontrovertible proof of - ooh I dunno ... intercessory prayer. You prayed and somethign happened in your favour. Do you really think the religious would go "non-overlapping magisteria, we don't care."

Of course not.
Comment by Richard Healy on March 17, 2012 at 2:45pm
Oh the Muslim also at one point averred that evolution happens but not the humans.

Also there was quite a pointed question from a member in the audience to the Christian about the nature and importance of 'facts.'

If it could be proven that the resurrection didn't happen, would you give up your faith?

The reverend merely replied that if that were the case he'd have a lot to think about.
Comment by Richard Healy on March 17, 2012 at 2:41pm
It was not a debate per se, but more a conversation between An anglican Reverend, a Muslim cleric (I don't think he was an immam) and Evan Davis - an ex MP but an outspoken secularist, skeptic and atheist.

Robin Ince chaired - but bless 'im couldn't help but weight in once or twice, and you could tell he wanted to really get stuck in too but more than once had to stop himself.

At one point after the muslim cleric stopped speaking he said, I've got Sighing tinittus in my ear" referring to Evan Davis's habit of pulling faces whenever the religious lot said somethign outrageous.

The conversation didn;t really manage to stay on whether or not there were non-over-lapping magisteria or not, in fact the entire event kind of demonstrated that there is no such thing since the other sides were eager to claim 'feelings' as evidence and the muslim got away with saying the account of the embryological development in the Qur'an was proof of it's divine revelation - and no-one challenged him on it! Grr!

It then segued into talk of religious scientists and the claim by the muslim that all science come from religion.

This topic was in my view poorly dealt with focussing solely on religious scientists as well as the cultural conditions that to be educated was to be religious as it was an entry recuirement to higher learning - nevertheless, now well away from the topic of NOMA - this was IMO missing the much wider point.

Historically yes, science and religion were much closer and notably of course in the 10th - 12 Centuries, Islam was pre-eminent in both translating the ancient greek texts and updating them as wel as making significant strides in all fields of medicine (most medieval textbooks on anatomy and physiology of the enlightenment were written by muslims) and their engineering achievements are significant. Since when however it's all kinda been downhill...

However it was the claim that religious scientists make their scientific discoveries becuase they are religious.

We have a test case in Issac Newton (appropriate since I'm Cambridge) he had a major intellectual bust up with leibniz over whether or not the kinetic energy was equal to the velocity of mass squared or not.

Newton thought not - Leibnitz thought so. Take two cars colliding moving with an energy of 100 is opposite direction according to Newton the two opposing focrces would cancel each other out - energy had just been lost from the universe!! His solution, since his universe was a mechanistic engine was the God was required to 'wind it up' occasionally. So here we have a direct example of where a scientific giant's religious belief directly impact on his science.

We now know Newton was wrong kinetic energy is equal to the velocity of the moving mass squared e = mv^2 - this is why Einstein in his equation squared it (in case you'd ever wondered); drop a lead weight of 3 into a bucket of sand it will create a crater of 9 of displaced material. This is how the world works and Newton was wrong and his theology is complicit in his making that error.

However that example never got used, but I'd have used it becuase it completely contradicts what the Muslim guy said - not ALL science comes from religion, there was a period of history where science, philosophy and religion were broadly the same thing but as time has developed so they have separated, if you want to make an historical point, that's fine, but to argue that all science is religious is flatly false, and it isn't true that relion leads you to the correct answers as Issac Newton (as superlative a genius by just about any measure you care to devise) is a clear example of!

Anyway - the topic of noma or not, really didn;t get much of an airing, so I didn;t get a chance to use what I consider to be the knock-down argument against Noma, which is that it doesn;t go the other way.

Imagine if you will, that there was incontrovertible proof of - ooh I dunno ... intercessory pray
Comment by Sandi on March 17, 2012 at 7:10am

Please post an update after. I would love to hear it.

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