Infanticide VS the Atomic Bomb

Greetings and Salutations skeptics,

While watching a debate between William Lane Craig and Christopher Hitchens, a particular question was put forward to Hitchens by an audience member. it went along the lines of “If you are so critical of all of the harm caused by religion, then surely you must be more critical of the atomic bomb, created by physicists, the most dangerous weapon in all of history”. In today’s blog post, I will answer the question, and point out a vital difference between the screw-ups of religion and the screw-ups of science.

When Hitler decided to wipe out the Jews, as well as other historical events enacted for purely religious reasons, the decision was made to intentionally perform violence against a particular race, religion, culture or age group. These groups of people made the choice to go out and kill, abuse, rape, torture, pillage or conquer particular people for religious reasons.

When Physicists embarked on creating the atomic bomb, they were simply doing what scientists do, following the evidence to see where the research leads. By looking at Einstein’s most famous formula, it is obvious that a great amount of energy is potent in every atom in the universe, so physicists decided to go out and test it, to see how they could tap into this energy. It could then be argued “Why didn’t the physicists just stop at nuclear power stations, and avoid an atomic bomb?”

Well, its not that simple, seeing as the same mechanisms are used in both apparatus, and they are both using the same underlying physics, but there was reason behind the decision to create an atomic bomb. It is the same reason that almost every dedicated scientist has for creating ruthless killing machines, they are trying to end warfare. By creating the atomic bomb, physicists where aiming to end world warfare, by making it so ruthless, so destructive and so vile that it just could not be done. The same aim was shared by Alfred Nobel, who created dynamite. It didn’t work with dynamite, it just made war more efficient, but it worked with the atomic bomb, eventually. Warfare between the large countries is impossible today, as any one of them could wipe out an entire country with its nuclear arsenal, so they have to be very friendly with each other.

There is the vital difference, religious people are simply going out, to kill or harm a particular group of people, where as physicists are just following the research where the evidence leads, and trying their hardest to end world war. It is only symbolic of the underlying process of religion, as opposed to science.

Science is a process of testing a hypothesis critically and rigorously, and drawing from those tests a theory or subsequent hypothesis, which you test again, and again, to try and best understand the reality we live in. There is no a priori assumption in science. Whereas in religion, there is one big assumption, god. All of religion revolves around the god hypothesis being true, and any evidence for god presented by religion has been cherry-picked to prove the a priori assumption which is god.

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21 thoughts on “Infanticide VS the Atomic Bomb

  1. I think you missed the point of the comparison.

    In both cases, horrible actions took place despite the motive. While completely wrong in their actions, the Crusades etc. were under the auspice of converting people in order to “save them.” They, admittedly were wrong and picked a terrible way to go about it, but their intentions were “good.”

    And while, perhaps the “motive” of the creation of the atomic bomb was to stop wars, its sole design – intended use – was to do one thing: kill massive amounts of people, quickly. Don’t kid yourself, the scientists knew this full well, and knew that it would most likely be used.

    The point, I believe – of the offered challenge in the debate – was to point out that good things can be used in bad ways, despite or because of motives.

    You say, “There is the vital difference, religious people are simply going out, to kill or harm a particular group of people, where as physicists are just following the research where the evidence leads, and trying their hardest to end world war. It is only symbolic of the underlying process of religion, as opposed to science.”

    The scientists making the first atomic bomb had no delusions as to what it was going to be used for – killing massive amounts of people in a near instant amount of time. This was what they were going after. They were looking to create that very thing. Their researched was used to find that very purpose! They weren’t just following evidence, they were actively looking for it, they were trying to find the way to the bomb…

    While I disagree with my whole heart with religious people who are simply going out to kill or harm – I’m not deluded to the fact that the scientists working on the bomb were just “following their research.”

    They were purposefully CREATING a very destructive thing. And while it may have ended wars between large countries who posses them (a good thing?) there is still violence in the world, still a lot of killing. The creation of the bombs haven’t stopped that. In fact, it’s the creation of the smaller bombs (grenades, rockets, etc) and ammunition, etc. that allow such violence to continue to such a degree.

    Now, please don’t think I’m attacking the scientists, or science…I’m not. I love science!

    What I’m trying to point out is that the comparison was that of results. Remember, those in the crusades (and even now with militant Muslims) believed they were doing the work of God. Clearly they were wrong.

    Scientists thought they could end wars by creating a large enough bomb…they were wrong too. Wars still happened (Korea, Vietnam, Iraq…), violence still rages everyday – and science created violent tools (better weapons, ammunition, bombs, etc). And now, because of the creation of such bombs there are countries such as N. Korea and Iran that wish to make their own such…to end wars you think or to expand power?

    As you said, “the decision was made to intentionally perform violence against a particular race, religion, culture or age group.” RE: religion.

    The intention of the bomb was to kill massive amounts of people in the quickest amount of time (innocent people too, remember). That WAS their intention – and we saw what those intentions lead to…and what those intentions may reap later on should N. Koren and Iran make them as well…that is, if a war isn’t started with either one, before that happens.

    The difference, I see, is that us religious folks can look back and see where others of our faith had gone wrong – for whatever their reasoning – where as, even in your post here, do not lay any fault with the scientist who created first the A-bomb (which should have been good enough – yet, we needed the H-bomb). They were just following scientific evidence, as you say…thus taking away any responsibility they have in what they purposefully created – that’s being a bit one sided, I think.

    Anyway, my two cents.

    Take care.

    • You are using an example which is slightly, but critically different. Scientists created the atomic bomb with killing people in mind, but created it so it was so devastating that nobody would use it. But we did. The intention of the scientists was to save the world from modern warfare by making the A-bomb so destructive it could not be used. They tried to save peoples lives. The same was the goal of Nobel when he created dynamite.

      On the other hand, Christians and Muslims go out TO KILL PEOPLE, not to save people from being killed, but to kill them. Religious people attempted to kill people of other religions.

      Scientists wanted to end world war being creating such a horrible weapon such that it would not be used. Yes they had destruction in mind, but that was the point. Religious people just go out to KILL people.

      • Well, in thinking more about the original questions and then yours and my replies, I believe we are all doing something incorrectly.

        We are comparing two different things. One is an ideology – for simplicity sake. The Christian faith, for example, has a set of dogma and doctrines, etc. Where as science is NOT an ideology. Thus we are not truly arguing apples to apples.

        However, I will take issue with your statement of “On the other hand, Christians and Muslims go out TO KILL PEOPLE, not to save people from being killed, but to kill them. Religious people attempted to kill people of other religions.”

        For one, many Christians and Muslims go out of their way to save people from being killed. One large organization World Vision, does this, as well as individual churches sending missionaries out into the world to save people. So this blanket statement in not accurate. This has been since the dawn of Christianity as well – while not as well known – I offer you to go and search early Christian history for the humanitarian efforts that were done.

        Second, when you say –“ Yes they had destruction in mind, but that was the point. Religious people just go out to KILL people.”

        This is not completely correct either. Religious people who set out to kill have a purpose in mind for it. A religious call or order – such as we find in militant Islam. They are not out to “just go out to kill people.”

        However, again, you fail to recognize the faults of humans using science as well – Eugenics for example – people were “just following” the evidence of science to weed out those who were “less than.” They used science to argue for sterilization, etc.

        Now, science, correct – doesn’t necessarily provide the motive such as an ideology would. But that doesn’t mean scientists and those using science are free from blame or praise from what they discover and create – such as bombs that kill massive amounts of people in a very short time.

        Unless you want to argue that bombs are good and should have been created and still to be created to even more destructive degrees.

        But again, we are not discussing the same when we speak of science and religions. Science is a systematic tool for discovering knowledge in our natural world – it is not an ideology, unless someone subscribes to scientism.

        In the end, and my main point, is “science” is not free from horrible applications as we find in religion as well. And in some cases, it can be more disastrous as it’s an ideology that USES what science created, such as American politics and beliefs that eventually used the first A-Bomb.

        So, if you were to argue that religion is bad because of how some people follow it or use it, we can certainly argue the same thing in regards to science and scientific discoveries such as the A-bomb and its offspring.

        • I NEVER said that all religious people where bad, nor did I ever say that all scientists where good. But what is true is that religious people, while following their ideology, want to kill people. Not all religious people will, but some do, and its definitely something which could easily be condoned by the bible. A scientist never creates or designs something to kill people… With killing people in mind. The difference is blatant.

          Infantice – religious people went out to kill people of other religions FOR THEIR RELIGION.

          Atomic bomb – scientists who were designing a weapon to HOPEFULLY stop world war had their weapons used by politicians as the scientists never intended.

          Hindsight is the best decision maker, and you can easily see how scientists could reasonably expect their weapon to stop world war, if you look at it from a pre-A-bomb worldview.

          Eugenics was NOT science. It was a political ideology which the russian government forced upon scientists during the eugenics era.

  2. (gonna make a new thread here so we don’t have to squint)

    First, I never meant to imply that you were saying that all religions were bad, if that was the message you got, I apologize for not being clearer.

    “A scientist never creates or designs something to kill people… With killing people in mind. The difference is blatant.”

    Oh, scientist do exactly that! The creation of all the following nuclear missles? Advanced weaponry the US military loves to use…all created by scientists and engineers knowing full well they could and would be used to kill people.

    In addition as we have seen with the A-bomb. Now, true THEY aren’t the ones that are going to use the bomb, but the SOLE purpose of a bomb is to kill – nothing less. The designers and creators of this were not blind or ignorant to this fact. They were, and still are, using science to create something that will allow an ideology (politics) to use it how it sees fit.

    “But what is true is that religious people, while following their ideology, want to kill people. Not all religious people will, but some do, and its definitely something which could easily be condoned by the bible.”

    I agree with you up until “condoned by the Bible” perhaps this isn’t the word you truly wanted to use. The Bible can neither condemn or condone and action. It can be used, yes, to defend an action – as we both have seen. But that doesn’t make the action right. People do this with all ideologies and beliefs – they use bits and pieces to rationalize away their action, this is not just found in religion.

    And it’s sad when people abuse the Bible in such a way – it’s sad when people do it with any belief or ideology.

    “Infantice – religious people went out to kill people of other religions FOR THEIR RELIGION. “

    Yep, happened and sadly still happens.

    “Atomic bomb – scientists who were designing a weapon to HOPEFULLY stop world war had their weapons used by politicians as the scientists never intended.”

    That’s to say the scientists didn’t THINK the weapon would be used at all – I give them more credit than that. Regardless of how they wanted it used, they knew how it could be used.

    “Hindsight is the best decision maker, and you can easily see how scientists could reasonably expect their weapon to stop world war, if you look at it from a pre-A-bomb worldview.”
    only if it was used (as the enemy would most certainly need to know it worked to be afraid of it.)

    Seems your willing to give political ideology a pass for killing, but not religious ideology.

    Lastly, since it didn’t really work (oh maybe we don’t have “global wars” at present, but there have been wars, millions killed, innocent lives still lost. American soldiers are still dying in combat (and the US made the A-bomb). So if hindsight is the best decision maker…was it a good decision to make the A-bomb?

    “Eugenics was NOT science. It was a political ideology which the russian government forced upon scientists during the eugenics era.”
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eugenics
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics

    I suggest you read the article. It’s quite a bit more than just what you stated.

    But again, you seem to skirt around admitting that science can be used for bad – sure you admitted not all scientists are good, fine – but even with Eugenics you try to pass it off as if it wasn’t a serious consideration among scientists – it was taught in universities! It was a very serious consideration!

    That’s why I say we are arguing the wrong things – science itself is a non-biased entity. It’s not, unless one believes in scientism, an ideology or a belief. It’s one path to knowledge.

    However, this path allows people to implement some bad things for political or social reasons.

    Hopefully I’m wrong, but you imply that you are fine with wars over political ideology just not religious.

    In either case, I would like to know if you think the creation of the A-bomb (and all the followed) was a good thing and 2) if it’s use was a good thing.

    • There is a key difference, and it is critical. The decision to use the A-bomb was a political decision, not a scientific one. The decision to go out and kill people was a religious one. There is no more to it, the A-bomb has politics to blame for being used. You seem to associate scientists and their science with their political views and their politics.

      Science can be used to rationalise a worldview, just like anything else, including religion. That’s not science’s fault. But the USE of the A-bomb was political, not scientific. No scientist thought that the best test of an A-bomb would be to drop it on Hiroshima.

      The decision to construct an A-bomb (wether they new it WOULD be used for killing or not) was a JUDGEMENT CALL, not a scientific decision. Science does not, and cannot deal with judgement calls, anything that is a judgement call is out of the realm of scientists.

      It wasn’t scientists fault the A-bomb was used, nor was it science’s fault. It was politicians and politics which used it. Yes they used science, but it was not science or scientists who wanted a bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

      The crusades on the other hand, were a decision made by religious people, using religion to justify it.

      Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)

      Whoever sacrifices to any god, except the Lord alone, shall be doomed. (Exodus 22:19 NAB)

      If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. (Deuteronomy 13:7-12 NAB)

      That sounds like a pretty good condoning to me!

      Religious people use religion to justify their killing, and do it in the name of religion.

      Scientists have their research used by politicians and engineers under the orders of politicians used to commit sometimes horrible deeds, NOT in the name of science, NOT to advance science, NOT by scientists doing science, but by politicians who are only following their political (and sometimes by extension, religious) ideologies.

      I am not condoning scientists to research whatever they please for scientific research if it has obviously harmful implications (not suggesting there is any happening at the moment, just saying) or condoning the creation of the A-bomb. Nor am I suggesting that all religious people have at some point killed a non-believer or worshipper of other gods. Nor am I suggesting that religious people should. I only state that science cannot be used to justify harm, and that religion quite easily can.

      • “There is a key difference, and it is critical. The decision to use the A-bomb was a political decision, not a scientific one. The decision to go out and kill people was a religious one. There is no more to it, the A-bomb has politics to blame for being used. You seem to associate scientists and their science with their political views and their politics.”

        No, I’m not putting science and politics together. What I’m pointing out is that the scientists knew full well what they were developing and knew what it’s purpose was for – to kill massive amounts of people in a short period of time. That was the actual purpose – you are using their ideology (that it’s creation may end wars) to defend their creation of such a destructive thing. I leave ideology out, they knew what they were making: a massive killing machine.

        “Science can be used to rationalise a worldview, just like anything else, including religion. That’s not science’s fault. But the USE of the A-bomb was political, not scientific. No scientist thought that the best test of an A-bomb would be to drop it on Hiroshima.”

        Correct, that was all I was getting at – just like religion can be used to rationalize an action, science can be used as well. And like the fact it’s not science’s fault, it’s not religions either.

        Regardless of what the scientists were thinking or hoping, they knew what they were creating and what its purpose was for. Just like every other, better, more destructive bomb and armament built after it.

        “The decision to construct an A-bomb (wether they new it WOULD be used for killing or not) was a JUDGEMENT CALL, not a scientific decision. Science does not, and cannot deal with judgement calls, anything that is a judgement call is out of the realm of scientists.”

        Correct, never said it wasn’t outside of the scientists control – but they knew what they were building and that it COULD be used for its intended purpose. They KNEW this.

        “It wasn’t scientists fault the A-bomb was used, nor was it science’s fault. It was politicians and politics which used it. Yes they used science, but it was not science or scientists who wanted a bomb dropped on Hiroshima.”

        Correct. I agree. As my point was that science can be used for destructive purposes as we have seen, and rationalized just like religion can to the same.
        This was perhaps the point of the questioner in the debate where this began. Let’s remember, science is NOT an ideology – however ANY ideology can use science for its own purposes as we have seen.

        “The crusades on the other hand, were a decision made by religious people, using religion to justify it.”

        And politics as well. Correct.

        “That sounds like a pretty good condoning to me!”

        Cherry picking quotes is fun, I know… and we can discuss them if you wish, but they do not condone actions. However, these are RULES that you listed. In addition, these are within a covenant between God and the Nation of Israel. Which is a whole different discussion. Certainly while people USE the above to justify their actions, the above DO NOT condone their action.
        To condone an action one must accept or allow an action, sometimes reluctantly – not dictate. As an action may not be dictated, but can be condoned. Bible cannot condone. It’s a book. It can guide or be misused, but it cannot condone an action. To condone is AFTER the fact, not prior to, or as a direct order.

        “Religious people use religion to justify their killing, and do it in the name of religion.”

        Yep, I admitted as such. Same with ANY ideology. And science can and has been used by all ideologies to promote said ideology.

        That’s why I said the issue isn’t completely comparative, as unless one follows scientism (using science AS an ideology).

        However, this doesn’t mean both cannot be used for destructive purposes – as we have seen.

        “Scientists have their research used by politicians and engineers under the orders of politicians used to commit sometimes horrible deeds, NOT in the name of science, NOT to advance science, NOT by scientists doing science, but by politicians who are only following their political (and sometimes by extension, religious) ideologies.”

        Correct. No issue there, that wasn’t my argument. But don’t delude yourself into thinking the scientists 1) didn’t know what they were creating, 2) willingly created it. 3) science like religion cannot be used for horrible reasons.

        “I am not condoning scientists to research whatever they please for scientific research if it has obviously harmful implications (not suggesting there is any happening at the moment, just saying) or condoning the creation of the A-bomb. Nor am I suggesting that all religious people have at some point killed a non-believer or worshipper of other gods. Nor am I suggesting that religious people should. I only state that science cannot be used to justify harm, and that religion quite easily can.”

        Oh, but science HAS been used to justify harm – as we have seen. In fact it was the science of evolution (at the time) and genetics that birthed Eugenics. Farmers and scientists were using genetic science to created better animals, and the same thought it could be applied to humans.

        http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/nc-eugenics-survivors-seek-justice/Content?oid=1330583

        http://www.yourdailyjournal.com/view/full_story/19104214/article-Eugenics-survivor-remembers–You-won%E2%80%99t-have-%E2%80%98bread-eaters%E2%80%99?instance=popular

        Heck, just look back at all the “science” that was used to treat folks with mental illness – all “remedies” were justified under the “it’s scientific” banner, yet some of these way were just horrific, as I’m sure you would admit. But they were “scientific” at the time, and thus justified in their use.

        You may not like that fact, but to deny it is not to be honest with it. As long as there are humans with ideologies there will be science used to promote said ideology, sometimes in bad ways.

        Same goes for religion.

        Same goes for ANY ideology – point in fact, it wasn’t religion that created the A-Bomb. It was political ideology as was the use of it. In fact, most wars are over political ideology – rather than religion.

        So while I agree religion can be used and justified for evil things, we must not forget that politics, in fact, has a far worse track record in this area as well – but that’s for another time.

        Certainly the difference is, religion is an ideology, where as science can be used by ANY ideology – and has, including it’s own – “scientific”

        What I’m trying to point out, is if you are saying that religion is bad because of what it can be used to justify – science falls into the same category, as we have seen with the A-bomb and with Eugenics.

        Both can be misused for bad purposes, but we either blame both for this, or we blame neither. You still seem to wish to blame religion, but keep science free – but that’s to ignore reality. That’s to ignore the fact that science can and has been misused 1) for it’s own reason, 2) for political reasons, 3) even for religious reasons.

        Is that science’s fault? If not, then why is it religion’s fault for its misuse? Especially, as it pertains to Christianity.

        • Of course they knew what they were making, they weren’t ignorant. But they did not think that it would be used. They knew they were making a killing machine, but they expected it to be used as a threat, not a weapon.

          Its pretty damn easy to justify killing and evil from the bible, its dificult in science because there is no science holy book and science says nothing about what to do, just what happens.

          If it isn’t condoning then what is it? “Kill those who do not believe” that is a book which defines an ideology, telling those who believe the ideology, that they should kill atheists and those of other religions.

          You seem to be dancing around the fact that the bible, the koran, and many other religions HAVE EXPLICIT INSTRUCTION TO KILL A CERTAIN PEOPLE, whereas nothing of the case occurs with science. People can use the products of science e.g. The atomic bomb for destruction, but this is not the recommendation or best option presented by science. Scientists made the atomic bomb 1) to test the power of the splitting of the atom (following the research) 2) to create a killing machine so powerful as to end world war.

          You try to ignore the intent of scientists in the creation of the atomic bomb. They made it TO STOP WORLD WAR. it didn’t happen. Yes they knew it was ruthless, but their intent was to stop harm with it. You can easily tell by the fact that scientists tested the A-bomb in a safe, deserted place so as not to harm anyone. If their intent was killing, they would have tested it out on their enemies. Politicians killed with the A-bomb, not by justifying it with science and science facts, but by using the products of scientific research.

        • The reason your comment didn’t show up straight away is because you are commenting with email not a wordpress account so every time you post to a new thread I have to moderate it. Sorry, that’s just the easiest way to keep spammers and nut-jobs off the comment section. Once your approved, its all good if you’re on the one thread. So just use that.

          • “Cherry-picking refers to scientific research champ, not bible quotes. If its a quote from the bible its a quote from the bible, and its the word of god (apparently).”

            http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cherry-pick

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherry_picking_%28fallacy%29

            Cherry picking can refer to any selection of any information that one prefers to picking certain information, facts, etc. over others, simply because one prefers such evidence – science isn’t the only place cherry picking can happen.

            Bible quotes included.

            In fact, cherry picking is a gambling strategy as well (I guess – I don’t gamble)

            • Cherry picking IS very broad, but its barely cherry picking in the bible, when there is SO much stuff in the bible which recommends the killing of another man, for whatever reason. There are much more examples of encouraging death to your fellow man in the bible than there are examples of the bible condemning killing.

              However, this whole topic is unnecessary, because the question at hand is not whether the bible is overall a good or bad text to live your moral life by. The question we are discussing has more to do with how easy it is to justify killing from the bible vs science.

              Over history, religion has been a constant source of combat, argument and death of minorities. Science however, is only responsible (according to you) for eugenics, and the atomic bomb.

              The atomic bomb, you can agree, was not fully the result of science. If science had full control of the atomic bomb, then the atomic bomb would remain only as a threat to countries who are looking to become involved in major world war. It was only when politicians and politics became involved when the atomic bomb was used for killing purposes. You cannot sincerely argue that scientists where mostly responsible for the use of the atomic bomb on places like Hiroshima.

              Eugenics is not, and was not, accepted science in any place other than Russia where it was primarily used, and it was only because of strong political pressure by the Russian government that Eugenics became the official science of the East for years.

              I still feel that I can honestly challenge you to find any example of a developed and accepted science which has caused major harm to humanity, without a strong influence from politics.

              • You have a very interesting take on eugenics. Could you link up some articles and other references that support your position that eugenics wasn’t all that “accepted” anywhere but the Soviet Union.

                The links I provided you – in the post that wasn’t approved – have shown this not to be the case. So I would be interested in sources you have to support your position.

      • My last post didn’t for some reason (if it shows up eventually, I’m sorry for the repeat)

        However, this post will be different than my original – I’m going to work backward. You state at the end, “I only state that science cannot be used to justify harm, and that religion quite easily can.”

        Yet, at the start of this post you say – “Science can be used to rationalise a worldview, just like anything else, including religion. That’s not science’s fault.”

        Those contradict each other. If science can be used to rationalize a worldview/ideology as religion can, than it can be used to justify harm as well as religion can.

        But I agree with you – it’s not science’s fault. Neither is it religions.

        As with the scientists developing the A-Bomb – I leave politics and their hopes and ideology OUT of the discussion. I have only stated they KNEW what they were developing – a very destructive device, and using science to do so. YOU have used their “hopes” of it ending war to defend the use of science in this manner, while not condoning it. Certainly political ideology was used to rationalize the eventual use of the bomb, political ideology, I would argue, is more to “blame” for wars than religious ideology. WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq I, just to name a few – Spanish American war, Civil War, many wars in Europe prior to WWI, etc. All rationalized by political ideology.

        In any event, my point has been that science can be used to rationalize bad endeavors, such as the A-bomb and Eugenics, as I have shown.

        As for your Bible quotes – while we can look at them if you wish, do NOT condone actions. What you listed were commands, within a covenant between God and Israel. they do not condone an action – as to condone, an action must be done first…An action can be condone DESPITE a command to the contrary at first. However, again, as I said, what you presented does not fit the bill – they are covenant commands.

        Certainly they can be misused by someone to commit those actions, but that wouldn’t be the fault of the commands would it?

        My point is simply this: you seem to be willing to give science a pass for its misuse, however not religion. If science cannot be blamed, why MUST religion?

        Either they are both at fault for their misuse, or neither are.

        And throughout its history, science HAS been used to rationalize harm to others – sure, maybe for altruistic purposes, however, we know that isn’t always the case. Prior to WWII and the A-Bomb, crude chemical weapons were used – created by scientist and improved upon, not to “end all wars” but to WIN – that is to kill and defeat, or harm.

        In fact, this is exactly what the military uses science for! To help kill the enemy in better, quicker ways. And it’s justified (according to the military and the government)

        In the A-bomb case, the scientists KNEW what they were creating – despite what they HOPED would come from its creation, you don’t seem willing to admit that simple fact.

        I’m not dogging science, but I’m trying to show you that you don’t give the same pass to religion as you do to science – that is, if someone misuses religion it’s religion’s fault, if someone misuses science it’s only THEIR fault.

        Maybe you see it that way, but that’s being biased and not looking objectively and admitting a fact about science – it can be misused.

        I don’t blame science, I blame people that misuse science. I don’t blame religion – I blame those who misuse religion.

        You seem to just want to blame religion along with the person, yet give science the pass. If I’m wrong, please correct me.

        • ” I only state that science cannot be used to justify harm, and that religion quite easily can.”

          Just quickly to address this further.

          I agree that people can misuse their religion to “justify” harming others, but this doesn’t just happen with religion. This happens with ANY ideology.

          Even your ideology can be taken and misused to cause others harms. (note, I’m not saying YOU do any harm, but your ideology can be misused as such)

          That is a problem with ideologies and beliefs (including religious). they can be cherry picked, taken out of context, bent to one’s personal will, etc. to “justify” an action, but does that make the ideology or belief bad or invalid?

          of course not.

  3. Hey, I will address the rest of your reply soon. Just a quick question: why are their ethical rules and standards and even laws regarding science and scientific experiments?

    • I don’t really know, I don’t know much about the philosophy of science, but I assume a few reasons:
      1. The law – we can’t risk human life for scientific research when it breaks the law (I say ‘when’ because there are examples of sympathetic use, where a drug which has not fully passed market testing may be used on a person who is soon to be dead who agrees to have the drug tested on them for scientific purposes (and the hope of a “miraculous” last minute cure))

      2. Morals – the risk vs benefit of some unethical tests do mean that a scientist cannot do the test in good conscience.

      3. Compassion – (this is mostly in the medical world (as is all of these)) Science experiments often don’t flesh out to be a successful and fruitful test or useful drug, so scientists cannot rightly think that they can carry out tests on innocent humans which might lead to a dead end.

      • Well, I decided to create an account, so we don’t have to deal with the whole “approval” bit. So here is my post (3rd times the charm)

        “Of course they knew what they were making, they weren’t ignorant. But they did not think that it would be used. They knew they were making a killing machine, but they expected it to be used as a threat, not a weapon. “
        Whether or not they expected it to be used, they knew it COULD be used as a weapon and made it as destructive as they could. It was used, and because they made it such, it worked as it was intended to work.

        They used science to create a bomb to kill massive amounts of people. No, they themselves didn’t use it, but they knew it could be used and they still created it. Whatever their “justification” was, they created it knowing full well it COULD be used. That the ultimate choice was not in their hands.

        “If it isn’t condoning then what is it? “Kill those who do not believe” that is a book which defines an ideology, telling those who believe the ideology, that they should kill atheists and those of other religions.”

        I explained what it was – commands. What you quoted were commands given to the Nation of Israel under a covenant. There is a difference between a command and condoning an action. If I or you were to take those actions you quoted, the Bible would NOT condone it.

        (Nor could it anyway, as it doesn’t have the authority to do so – only God would have the authority to condone it.)

        It’s the context in which the commands were given which is important to understanding them – not just WHAT they say. Thus the wording I use: cherry pick. Of which you did. You plucked them out of their context to try and show your point.

        Again, we can get further into them if you wish – however, a command is NOT the same as condoning an action AFTER the fact. Like I said, you may be wishing to use a different word than “condone.”

        “You seem to be dancing around the fact that the bible, the koran, and many other religions HAVE EXPLICIT INSTRUCTION TO KILL A CERTAIN PEOPLE, whereas nothing of the case occurs with science.”

        True science doesn’t give commands or orders – it says nothing about morality either, as we agree. Thus, rules and regulation are put in place to keep people from doing harm for scientific purposes – since one cannot look to science for moral guidance.

        And yes, the Bible tells a specific group of people, specific actions to be taken against specific people for a specific reason. Now, if you would like to make the argument that I as a believer still have to follow those commands, I would love to know your reasoning for this.

        If you aren’t wishing to argue it, then why did you use those quotes, as those quotes (while can be misused by others to “justify” their actions) are not for everyone, but for specific people at a specific time for specific reasons and NOT for everyone, or anyone outside of those parameters.?

        However, that’s not what we are discussing at present – we are discussing whether or not science can be misused as religion is misused, and mis-justified as well. The answer is yes, yet you haven’t really been able to admit that.

        “You try to ignore the intent of scientists in the creation of the atomic bomb. They made it TO STOP WORLD WAR. it didn’t happen. Yes they knew it was ruthless, but their intent was to stop harm with it.”

        I’m not ignoring their motive – I’m pointing out what they USED science to create. You are using their motive to “justify” their actions and free them (and in a way science) of responsibility. Science CAN BE used and justified to kill and harm. The creation of the A-bomb and EVERY other bomb, rocket, mine, grenade, etc. built after that, have those specifics intent to WIN wars. That is science being used to kill people.

        So I asked you why are their ethical standards, rules and laws?
        You say, “I don’t really know, I don’t know much about the philosophy of science, but I assume a few reasons:

        1. The law – we can’t risk human life for scientific research when it breaks the law (I say ‘when’ because there are examples of sympathetic use, where a drug which has not fully passed market testing may be used on a person who is soon to be dead who agrees to have the drug tested on them for scientific purposes (and the hope of a “miraculous” last minute cure))
        2. Morals – the risk vs benefit of some unethical tests do mean that a scientist cannot do the test in good conscience.
        3. Compassion – (this is mostly in the medical world (as is all of these))

        Science experiments often don’t flesh out to be a successful and fruitful test or useful drug, so scientists cannot rightly think that they can carry out tests on innocent humans which might lead to a dead end.”

        First, let’s see what you didn’t say. You didn’t say ethical standards, rules, and laws are intrinsic to science. That is, these boundaries are found within science.

        So you agree that science has no boundaries within it. They must be put in place.

        So we then ask the question, Why?

        If, it’s as you claim – difficult for science to be used to justify evil, harm, killing, etc. Then boundaries place upon science should be a moot point, hardly necessary at all.

        Yet, the very fact that we feel the need to place boundaries on science would say otherwise.

        Is it because it would hinder knowledge?
        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/8702999/Unethical-scientific-experiments-going-to-extremes.html
        Seems these boundaries hinder our scientific discoveries.

        Remember too, you said that science doesn’t tell us what to do (morally). This holds true for the opposite – science doesn’t tell us what NOT to do either.

        So again, why the boundaries?

        Even your list shows that science CAN BE used for harm as there is nothing within science itself to tell us otherwise.

        Hence, we impart ethics, standards and laws.

        Obviously science CAN easily be used to violate someone’s human rights – thus, we make such experiments illegal. Same with experiments and studies that harm people in many various ways, to discover the effects of such harm on people.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unethical_human_experimentation_in_the_United_States
        http://www.haaretz.com/news/four-top-doctors-arrested-over-illegal-human-experimentation-1.200939

        So, while you won’t outright admit it – though your list shows you see it – science CAN be used for harm and killing and violating rights of people quite easily (if not more so due to lack of a moral grounding intrinsically existing) just as religion can be used for it as well.

        So, love science! But do not be ignorant of what science can be used for and what it can justify. Never ignore the potential of harm of anything, due to its misuse.

        It can be misused to “justify” evil acts just as easily as religion can.

        (not to mention the discussion of how science or anything be “evil” – this presupposes a morality beyond opinion, but that’s for a different discussion)

        The real heart of the matter is where does the blame ultimately lie?

        • Yes, they new it could be used for destruction. But they never intended it to actually kill anybody, how many times must I repeat myself with that?
          Scientists deal with things that could destroy humanity every day, super viruses, nuclear power stations, proton colliders, very very very powerful laser beams. But they use it how they intend it to be used, to learn more about the universe.
          Even though the intent was slightly different, learning as opposed to ending world war (yes that was the intent (yes they were to do it by making a hugely threatening weapon, it seemed logical at the time and is still a logical thing to believe today (if the a-bomb stayed in the hands of scientists, not politicians))) they were still doing the same thing, not damaging humanity.

          Intent is the point, intent is what matters, intent is important.

          Why does it matter if you can or cannot learn moral values from science? You can’t learn moral values from a football match, that doesn’t make football bad or not worth the time, or overly dangerous. Yes there are risks in football and science, but there are also benefits, you might occasionally get concussed playing football, just like bad things in science happen, but science and football are still fun/good.
          FYI : you can learn some morals from the bible, evolution teaches us to value our own species, and the rest of biology teaches us to value other species. But that’s beside the point.

          You challenge me to reason as to why you should follow THE BIBLE. Last time I checked with a priest, ALL of the bible is gods word. ALL christians (gods children) are the children of israel.
          This sounds all sweet and nice in church when the pastor only reads the good bits, but it really sounds horrible when you look at some parts of the bible. (Its gods word, its in the bible) (if its for israel, christians are still children of israel).

          You missed the ball. “You can use science to do bad things” no shit (Pardon). But you aren’t using ‘science’ though, when you create a mine/dynamite you’re using ‘reality’, which just exists, wether you look at it with science or not. Maybe the scientific method was used to create the a-bomb/dynamite/mines, that’s because the scientific method is how reality is tested. Not because science says to create mines.

          When new war technologies are created (with the purpose in mind to kill, not stop world war), they are not decided to be made by scientists, the scientists are told they have to do it by the politicians who can’t stand to have a ‘nuclear weapon gap’.
          But this has to do with the a-bomb, not other war technologies. The a-bomb was different, because it was created by scientists, not engineers under the governments command. Scientists thought that creating the a-bomb would end world war by making it too horrific to be carried out. Just like a mr. Alfred Nobel with the creation of dynamite.

          I’m sorry, I thought I justified that I am not qualified/competent/confident to answer your question on the moral boundaries of science, so listing what I do or do not say and using that to attack science itself is a tad strawman.
          I will say though, that while you can point to examples of scientists doing unethical experiments, and while unethical experiments may hold new knowledge, these are bad judgement calls by scientists themselves, not science.

          That is because science is a process, not a moral guide. That is the distinction I have laid out from the start.

          Science = process
          Religion = commandments on living of live/morals

          I have implied this through comments in this thread, but its obvious now I have to state it cold.
          Science is a process, you cannot make judgement calls using science, science is just how you figure stuff out, you can apply it to whatever you want, but its not the fault of science.
          Religion, on the other hand, gives some explicit instructions on how to live life, some of which are gruesome/obviously immoral/inconsistent. Now, unless you are going to discredit ALL of the old testament, and by extension, Jesus and the new testament, you must accept the horrible commandments of the books of leviticus, exodus etc.

          I do admit that sometimes (emphasis on sometimes) the enterprise of science (emphasis on enterprise) has become involved in unethical experiments, especially in medicine. Bu this is not sciences fault, nor is this the fault of unrelated scientists, nor is it the fault of the enterprise of science. It is the fault of the scientists who break the law. That is their fault, not science’s. People will break the law in every facet of life, science is no exception, just like priests and little boys, neither are the fault of science or religion, but the individuals involved.

          But this comes down to what science is vs what religion is.

          Science never tells you that you have to do anything, other than formulate a hypothesis and to test it rigorously. Its just a process. Its not at fault for individuals who break the law using science.
          Religion, however, does tell you to do things, and these things are on occasion, horrible.

          Back to my first examples. Science (and the enterprise of science) never told physicists they had to investigate and create atomic weapons. That was a personal judgement call of those involved and the demands made by politicians.

          Religion, however, did tell the crusaders to take their land back as their own. That was still a judgement call by the religious leaders of the time, but none-the-less it was a decision which was 1) allowed by the bible 2) suggested by the bible 3) justifiable by the bible.

          Sorry for the long wait on the response, hope the comment trouble has cleared up. I have not, and will not, approve your other comments as you have reiterated them here, and I need not respond to them all.

          • “yes they new it could be used for destruction. But they never intended it to actually kill anybody, how many times must I repeat myself with that?”

            —I understand that, have agreed with you. The issue is that they KNEW it COULD be used and yet still created it. REGARDLESS of their motives, they knew it could be used for destruction and designed it specifically to do what it did. You are trying to use their motives to show that science can’t be used for harm…but it was used for harm. The bomb was used as it was designed.

            Science was used for that, like it or not.

            “Even though the intent was slightly different, learning as opposed to ending world war (yes that was the intent (yes they were to do it by making a hugely threatening weapon, it seemed logical at the time and is still a logical thing to believe today (if the a-bomb stayed in the hands of scientists, not politicians))) they were still doing the same thing, not damaging humanity. “

            —Interesting, so you don’t think a scientist would ever use a weapon? Scientists are not infallible, Jack, they have political leanings as well. And just because they are scientists, doesn’t mean they are better or more apt for political decision making.

            Like I posted before, their creation of the bomb has lead to more powerful ones, in addition, other countries are now trying to create their own bombs – via science, in which many people feel they might use to harm humanity.

            “Intent is the point, intent is what matters, intent is important.”

            No issue there. But their intent was two fold 1) to create a very devastating weapon that if used would do more damage than we’d ever seen up to that time. 2) hope it would not be used.

            You want to forget about intent number one and just focus on number two.

            But BOTH must be looked at, especially number one.

            They USED science TO CREATE the A-bomb. That was the POINT. To create the most devastating bomb ever conceived. Knowing full well, what the bomb could do IF it was used. And KNOWING full well that after its creation, the use was out of their hands.

            They didn’t use science to create something that would disarm the enemies bombs did they? No, they opted for something destructive.

            “Why does it matter if you can or cannot learn moral values from science?
            You can’t learn moral values from a football match, that doesn’t make football bad or not worth the time, or overly dangerous. Yes there are risks in football and science, but there are also benefits, you might occasionally get concussed playing football, just like bad things in science happen, but science and football are still fun/good.”

            If you can’t learn morals from science, then science CAN BE used immorally – which has been my point from the get go..you still have yet to be able to admit that. You seem to think science CAN”T be used immorally. Well, if science says nothing about morals, and moral restrictions are needed (as you agree they do) then it follows that science CAN BE used immorally.

            I never said science was bad either. In fact, if you remember I said I loved science. But there are risks and people can misuse science – that has been my entire point, yet you still have yet to even say that much. Risk?

            How about abuse and misuse? Of course, otherwise there is no need for ethical restrictions are there?

            ”FYI : you can learn some morals from the bible, evolution teaches us to value our own species, and the rest of biology teaches us to value other species. But that’s beside the point.”

            Evolution teaches NOTHING about valuing our own species. Evolution is free from value. It only offers a theory of how the life we see today came to be. Not why, or what value we have or what we have to offer. Evolution is a theory of a process of how we cam to be. It cannot provide us with any standard of “value”. Nor does biology teach us the value of other species…value goes beyond their scopes.

            “You challenge me to reason as to why you should follow THE BIBLE. Last time I checked with a priest, ALL of the bible is gods word. ALL christians (gods children) are the children of Israel. This sounds all sweet and nice in church when the pastor only reads the good bits, but it really sounds horrible when you look at some parts of the bible. (Its gods word, its in the bible) (if its for israel, christians are still children of israel).”

            No, I asked you why I should follow THOSE SPECIFIC commands. As I said, they were specific commands given to specific people. Given that you, I assume, haven’t studied the Bible recently, I would suggest that while you might have heard the Priest say we are all God’s children – as we are ‘grafted’ in as Paul said.

            You still need to provide reason for why I must follow those commands, as they were given under specific direction and a specific time, to a specific people.

            Especially since Jesus is the “new covenant” thus removing the old one.

            Rather than just making a flippant statement as it suits your fancy, please provide me with an actual argument as to why I should follow those SPECIFIC commands.

            I agree, people can use them incorrectly.

            However, are you actually arguing that I must follow those still? In fact, it’s simple yes or no…but if you do say yes, I would expect a better answer than what you provided.

            ““You missed the ball. “You can use science to do bad things” no shit (Pardon). But you aren’t using ‘science’ though, when you create a mine/dynamite you’re using ‘reality’, which just exists, wether you look at it with science or not. Maybe the scientific method was used to create the a-bomb/dynamite/mines, that’s because the scientific method is how reality is tested. Not because science says to create mines.”

            —There at least you finally said that science can be used to bad things! Which was my entire point. Science can be used to harm people. True. Science HAS BEEN used to harm people. True.

            Just like religion has as well been misused.

            You, however, aren’t willing to give religion the same pass that you give science. As I linked, “unethical” science could garner us a lot of information, yet would harm people.

            Science doesn’t command, no, but neither does the Bible. God does. People misuse the Bible just as they misuse science.

            The key question is “why?”

            But if you ignore what can be done in the name of either, you will never get or understand the “why?”

            And that’s dangerous.

            “I’m sorry, I thought I justified that I am not qualified/competent/confident to answer your question on the moral boundaries of science, so listing what I do or do not say and using that to attack science itself is a tad strawman. I will say though, that while you can point to examples of scientists doing unethical experiments, and while unethical experiments may hold new knowledge, these are bad judgement calls by scientists themselves, not science.”

            Correct!!!!

            Just as the bad actions are caused by the individual follower NOT religion.

            Especially Christianity.

            People in both cases are the cause of the problem, NOT the entity (science, religion) themselves.

            You blame religion, but give science a pass.

            It’s people, Jack, in both cases that do bad, unethical things with the justification of their choice being scientific discovery or religion or because they are just assholes.

            Does religion run a bigger risk?

            Perhaps, but is that religions fault or the persons?

            “That is because science is a process, not a moral guide. That is the distinction I have laid out from the start.”

            Correct, and if you read back my 2nd post on this, I point this out as well that science is NOT and ideology, however it can be misused by it.

            “I have implied this through comments in this thread, but its obvious now I have to state it cold.
            Science is a process, you cannot make judgement calls using science, science is just how you figure stuff out, you can apply it to whatever you want, but its not the fault of science.”

            Correct! On this we have always agreed. You will not find in any of my posts disagree with this, in fact I have nothing but agreed and pointed this out repeatedly. Only now have you admitted this.

            ”Religion, on the other hand, gives some explicit instructions on how to live life, some of which are gruesome/obviously immoral/inconsistent.”
            Which one?
            Christianity?
            Islam?
            Judaism?
            Mormonism?
            You lump in all into one, which isn’t fair. Each religion is quite unique

            “ Now, unless you are going to discredit ALL of the old testament, and by extension, Jesus and the new testament, you must accept the horrible commandments of the books of leviticus, exodus etc.”

            I need not discredit anything. CONTEXT, Jack, is key. You have pulled the quotes out of context.

            I will freely discuss the issues of the OT in light of the NT any day, because one must look into the CONTEXT of the OT.

            I’m pretty sure you have not done much study of the OT, or understand it’s full context. Yet you feel more than confident that you understand the context and meaning and what is expected of a believer in God.

            Again, if you would like to make an argument (more than just “a pastor said once…”) as to why I as a Christian must follow those commands, I’m all eyes and ears. But to make a claim as you have… I would have to ask the following.
            1) do you study the Bible on a regular basis?
            2) Have you looked into the context of what you have cited or just like to cut and paste?
            3) What do you know of the ANE?
            4) Of your studies, what have you found that compels a believer such as me to follow these very specific commands to very specific people?

            That is my challenge to you, since you insist on making such statements about the Bible and the OT especially – and remember this is in light of the NT and Jesus.

            If you’re not willing to do that, I suggest for integrity sake then that you detract your statement. As to make such a claim you should be able to back it up with more than what you have, and should be willing to.

            “Science never tells you that you have to do anything.”

            Correct, so it’s open for misuse.

            “Religion, however, does tell you to do things, and these things are on occasion, horrible.”

            Again, here you must show how it applies today, and exactly what horrible things does my religion tell me to do?

            ”Religion, however, did tell the crusaders to take their land back as their own. That was still a judgement call by the religious leaders of the time, but none-the-less it was a decision which was 1) allowed by the bible 2) suggested by the bible 3) justifiable by the bible. “

            I’m with you up until you state 1) allowed by the Bible. 2) suggested by the Bible, 3) justified by the Bible.

            You have to make a better argument than just pulling quotes out of context.

            In all three cases I would say NO. And we can go over them.

            The crusades were NOT allowed, suggested or justified by the Bible.

            Did those in power misuse the Bible?
            Yep.

            But if you really want to argue your case, you need to put up actual reasoning, show how the commands you posted are still valid and binding today and that my not following them is in direct violation of God’s commands.

            That is, your challenge is to tell me how I am wrong about my faith and about Christianity and the commands of Jesus and the context of the OT.

            This will be interesting should you take up the challenge.

            If you choose not to, then I suggest you not make such claims you aren’t willing to defend.

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