God never asks that we kiss our brains goodbye…

vic-church.jpg

My good friend Randy, who wrote this great article, found this interesting church sign in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia. I don’t understand why a church would put up such a statement. Is it a denial of irrationality of belief? An ambiguous admonishment to not do drugs, drink and drive, or the like? What’s more, couldn’t they have chosen better wording, or a different statement altogether? Maybe something about loving your neighbour, for instance. In any case, I’m sending this picture over to Crummy Church Signs.

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Comments
20 Responses to “God never asks that we kiss our brains goodbye…”
  1. Brian says:

    I think it means that God expects us to use our brains instead of automatically believing everything that we are told – in church or otherwise.

  2. portorikan says:

    I think it’s probably a response to the groupthink mentality many Christians can have. If one person says something, they just all agree because that person said it, or because a friend of theirs heard someone say something, and they trust that person, and then it spreads.

  3. David Tyler says:

    I think the idea is that most churches ask you to give up thinking for yourself regarding God…that they (those other churches) have done all of the thinking for you and there’s no need for you to question their conclusions.

    Kind of like this poor soul asking: “Do people who aren’t Christian deserve be tortured in hell?”
    http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread328114/pg1

    The pictured church is announcing that they are open minded.

    I agree however that it could have been better worded…

  4. Scavenger says:

    Evolution demands that we kiss our intelligence goodbye.

  5. ronbrown says:

    False. Evolution is a known historical fact validated by independent converging evidence from molecular biology and genetics, comparative anatomy and embryology, the fossil record, and geology; evolution as a fact is also supported by artificial life computer modeling and mathematical modeling. Any talk you hear about evolution as a theory—and that’s a scientific theory (i.e., a model for explaining observations that is based on and supported by evidence—in the case of evolution, the evidence is overwhelming), not a lay theory—is referring to theory of mechanisms (e.g., natural selection and genetic drift). Historically, evolution can safely be called a fact in the sense that there is so much evidence in its favour that it would be ridiculous to not belief in it—at least until some new piece of evidence and/or argumentation is discovered that genuinely puts evolution into doubt, which has not happened.

  6. portorikan says:

    That’s a good attempt to explain away the theory of evolution. I do find it hard to believe it’s actually a proven fact.

  7. Del says:

    I’m new to this blog. Hello!

    I think the sign is an attack against secular slanders, such as accusing Christians of having a “groupthink mentality.” The secular media gives certain Christian crackpots too much attention, as if they represent all Christians. Most devout Christians spend a great deal of time in study and thought, pondering a truth that the world cannot understand .

    This is a Presbyterian church. Perhaps the pastor has been studying John Calvin recently. If it were a Catholic Church… Augustine, Aquinas, John Paul II, Benedict…

    If you are a smug secularist, I hope YOU have some smart people to read!

  8. ronbrown says:

    Portorikan:

    Hi. Seriously, all biases aside and with honesty: the scientific community overwhelmingly views evolution as a historical fact. I’ll go into it a bit more here.
    As people like Steven J. Gould (late eminent paleontologist-biologist) have pointed out, there is a difference between terminology in science and general society when it comes to theories and facts. In general society, we tend to view theory and fact as existing along a continuum of certainty and evidence. A theory is something that could be as minimal as something we just thought of on the spot as a potential explanation for something. It could require as little as zero evidence. A fact, though, is something for which the evidence is overwhelming and cannot reasonably not be believed in. In science, “theory” and “fact” are not on a continuum. They refer to qualitatively different things. Facts are simply the data. Examples of facts: when you pick up an apple on Earth it falls to the Earth (and two minutes ago when I let go of my sock it fell to the floor), things more dense than water sink in water. While facts refer to data, theories are attempts to explain data. So gravity is a theory for falling objects, for instance. No matter how much evidence a theory is supported by, it will never be a fact because a theory is an explanation of data, not data itself.

    Stephen J. Gould, in an oft-cited passage explained what I just explained above and then went onto say that evolution as history is comparable to objects falling. The evidence for both is so strong that it would be ridiculous to not believe them, unless something comes along to disprove them.

    Evolutionary theory, as I said above, refers to theories for explaining the fact (data) of evolution. Evolutionary theory attempts to explain the mechanisms for evolution. The two most powerful mechanisms for evolutionary change are natural selection and genetic drift. Genetic drift occurs when certain members of a species diverge from others and form a separate population of breeders that over time can diverge from the other population if, for instance, the two groups experience different ecological challenges, different random mutations, or if the drifters just happened to be different in some way from the group, etc.

    So, when creationists say that evolution is just a theory they are misrepresenting evolution in more ways than one. By suggesting that evolution is like any lay theory, they are misrepresenting the history of evolution: it is a fact; and they are misrepresenting the evidence for the mechanisms: mechanisms such as natural selection are strongly supported scientific theories.

    If you would like to read more on this, Google “Stephen J. Gould” or “Laurence Moran” + “evolution fact theory”

  9. ronbrown says:

    Del, I’m no more smug for pointing out the unreason in Christianity or any other religion than you would be for pointing out the unreason in believing that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is God or that leprechauns direct human cognition.

  10. People who are convinced of one idea will ignore or even be blind to evidence that contradicts or at least puts doubt into their belief, thats true for Christians and Atheist alike. Evolution is an idea spread by science-priest, at least thats what The Moody Blues says.

    “How is it we are here, on this path we walk,
    In this world of pointless fear, filled with empty talk,
    Descending from the apes as scientist-priests all think,
    Will they save us in the end, we’re trembling on the brink.”
    The Moody Blues – How is it (We are here)

  11. ozatheist says:

    “God never asks that we kiss our brains goodbye”

    so why do they?

  12. ronbrown says:

    Sandy: Why are you saying this? I know you personally and I don’t think you believe what you just said. Scientist-priests? That’s an insult to scientists. Scientists come to their positions by rigorous research, intellectual honesty, and a thus, a willingness to follow the evidence wherever it may lead.

    I agree that some atheists are resistant to evidence against atheism. When I encourage people to detach themselves from their beliefs (as such attachment is potentially dangerous in that it is a potential source of vulnerability, anxiety, dogmaticism, narrow-mindedness and social problems) as I often do on this blog, atheists are also in mind.

  13. As i know you as well I suspect you had a chance to read that article in Scientific America Mind about females in science, it brought up various points about the sexism that is present in scientific culture, particularly when it came to fund and publications which brings into doubt your claim of intellectual honesty and integrity. If it is possible that research is denied publication simply because it was created by a woman then it is very possible that other publications could also be denied for equally arbitrary reason.

    A large quantity of funding for various projects comes from private corporations, research that is bad for a company maybe denied publication or funding could be stopped, this creates a situation where it maybe necessary for a research to skew their results.

    It has been documented and reported that a proportion of research paper contain false information, usually in the numbers obtained from the data, this is done to help skew the results so that they suit the hypothesis, obviously large changes are not necessarily made but there is a presence. Along with the point, as I am sure you will point out paper must be peer reviewed, which is true, but a reviewer is not going to know the results or expected results, they will be involved in the field and have an idea and understand of the procedures but will not be an expert on the experiment they are reviewing.

    And now to the Science-Priest, these will be the most esteemed scientists in any of the many different fields, they hold a lot of power and influence, what they say will be taken as gospel till proved wrong. Of course most things are eventually proved wrong but there influence last for some time. Take for example the Behaviourists, as the predominate theory of the time those ‘Priests’ essentially prevented any research that went against it from even being conducted. The influence can still be found, look at research into animal emotions, which has only come back into favour in the last 10 years or so, it was held back by the Behaviourist-Priests.

    My point being, just like a church where the people at the top control the information that goes out to the peons the scientific community and its Priest control the studies and funding that is possible. Of course there is a lot more to this but I’ll stop here. Evolution theory is no exception, look at how string theory has changed phyisics.

  14. (I KNOW YOU ARE READING THIS) I want a response, its no fun if I’m doing it alone. My point is simple ‘one shouldn’t throw all their eggs into one basket.’ I am very aware that science is a valuable tool but extreme faith, it really is faith, in science or any other faith is dangerous. In my previous comment I proposed reasonable doubts of the scientific institution. All people care about power and some are willing to do bad things for or with it. As long as an institution involves people it can not be perfect.

  15. ronbrown says:

    Sandy: I’m away from home for a few days. I will reply tomorrow.

  16. Bill says:

    Ron, you have made it abundantly obvious that you are as closed-minded and blindly enamoured with ‘science’ and attached to your beliefs as any christian that you attack on this blog. It’s pathetic. You ignore the strongest arguments against your view, criticize the stupidest possible reading of the Bible and ignore the mountains of scholarship that confirms it as being historically accurate. Its like you read the Bible as if you just learned English yesterday. You have this blind faith in science that is evidenced by how you kiss the proverbial arses of scientists who could ‘never’ be biased. You take exception with Sandy’s comment about scientist-priests…how about Carl Sagan and his “The Cosmos (notice the proper noun) is all that is, all that was, and all that ever will be”; sounds pretty religious to me. I’ve seen more critical thinking coming out of the south end of a north-bound bull than I have on this blog.

  17. ronbrown says:

    Sandy:
    I haven’t read that article yet, but will. I don’t doubt that there problems in science—political issues like sexism, where funding is coming from and the motives of the funders. Certainly. I would definitely have less trust for research done by GlaxoSmithKline scientists than impartial scientists. And there is even reason to be skeptical of these scientists sometimes. I was at a presentation at U of T last night by David Calquhoun. One of the points he made was that a current problem in science is that some corporations are managing to solicit fake authorship by university professors on studies that support claims that they want supported.

    That being said, though, it is still the case that evolution is the only account of life that is evidentially-backed—and it is backed HUGELY, as you know. And there is no reason for this aside from the evidence. There is plenty of funding for people who want to disprove evolution. Despite this, the best that any of these anti-evolution people have come up with is Intelligent Design Creationism—a joke of a theory that depends on arguments from ignorance and willful ignorance of evolutionary biology.

    Behaviourism may actually be a case in accordance with scientist-priestism. I’m not saying that it is, but it may well be. Behaviourism is now described as “the dark ages of the Cognitive Sciences”. I don’t know the entire history of it, though. I’m not sure why they were so against internal representations—other than saying that because we can’t see it, it’s not scientific. Actually, if I recall correctly, one of the reasons for the upholding of strict behaviourism was because a number of psychologists were trying to gain the respect of the other sciences. One way of doing this, they thought, was to focus more on materialism than on the airy-fairy mind. Behaviourism was knocked down by strong evidence for the need to posit internal representation, such as that by Chomsky who showed that linguistic grammars are rife with internal structure and cannot be learned in an unstructured empiricist manner.

    Bill: Wow. Yes, I am closed-minded and blindly-enamored with science. Yes, that’s what I am. I’m sorry that my unwillingness to hold beliefs without evidence does not conform to your liking. What are these strong arguments against my views? What are the “smart” readings of the Bible? Where are these “mountains of scholarship that confirms it (the Bible) as being historically accurate”? Rather than being mountains, it appears more like a prairie land with the occasional hill being created by a house of cards that is taken down by the softest of sneezes.
    And I like how you criticize science by comparing it to religion—it’s like you have an implicit understanding, though you won’t admit it, that religion is full of dogmatic anti-intellectual shit.

  18. Stoobs says:

    RE: Science priests. It’s true that some scientists have developed reputations over the course of their life, which cause their theories to be given, prima facia, more attention than those of unknown scientists. Where this differs from religion is simple.

    In science, a person who sets out to find evidence that Einstein was wrong, and succeeds, will have managed a great accomplishment, and while in the short term he will face a great deal of challenge, in the long term his theory will be reviewed and tested, challenged, and ultimately, if experiment bears it out, it will replace the existing dogma. Yes, it often takes a generation for a new scientific theory to take control of the mainstream, but this is a good thing. It is right that when a claim is unusual, it be examined rigorously and skeptically before it is embraced.

    Compare this, however, to what would happen if some scholar decided to write a paper demonstrating that, for example, the pope was wrong about something. Or a paper arguing against a claim made in the bible. In religion, arguing against authority is simply impossible – no one would be reading the paper, testing its claims against those of the pope, and making thier decision based on the evidence. In a generation, the challenger would be, at best, forgotten. The only way religion is ‘reformed’ at all is by schism.

    Ultimately, science is based on the idea that human understanding of the universe is perfectable in principle. Religion is based on the idea that it is perfect.

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