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The Denver Atheists Meetup Group Message Board General Discussion › Is blind belief in scientists (not "science") different from any o

Is blind belief in scientists (not "science") different from any other blind beliefs?

A former member
Post #: 2
I started a discussion in the meetup about AGW, that went a little too long for meetup comments, so I want to open it up here to see if there is any interest in discussing this.

The assertion is - scientists are human, and can lie. Peer reviewers are human, and can get into groupthink. They all may be getting paid to support one side of a position, and may be corrupt.

In particular, with regards to Climate Change, there is a lot of money supporting the alarmist position. For instance, Exxon has paid several hundreds of millions of dollars to alarmists. Many prominent climate change deniers are on record claiming that they have never received money from oil or coal industry etc (a few have, but it's invariably in thousands of dollars, as opposed to tens and hundreds of millions of dollars for alarmists), and no journalist has been able to say otherwise, except for innuendo and suggestion.

So anyway, atheists refuse to believe in deities. But isn't "scientists" simply a term for a new plural deity for many people? Note that this is different from "science". Science is a way of thinking. Trust and faith in "scientists" is just trust and faith in scientists.

Is any atheist that believes in AGW without studying the science, just because 97% of scientists say it's true, any different from any true believer of Christianity or Islam?

So why should AGW believers be considered atheists? Haven't they just replaced one kind of superstitious blind faith by another? Isn't blind faith and trust in scientists, simply a pure replacement for earlier religions?
A former member
Post #: 1
Mukesh, I am going to submit a video series here by one of my favorite scientific skeptics. The gentleman in this video series covers the climate proponent scientist and the skeptical one. It also covers the fallacies made by Al Gore as climate alarmist and the fallacies of the Queens science adviser as a science denier. It is educational, cynical and well informed. As I stated before, the climate changes and there have been discoveries to show that there have been up swings and down swings through the centuries of this rock we live on. My only request is after you have viewed the video series is to try to keep your condescending remarks to yourself and I will keep mine in check as well. I am no scientist but I am an engineer and have the ability to review the work of those in the science community and make a decision on whether the work is technically accurate or if it is bullshit. I know how to review their sources and locate any peer reviewed material they might suggest they have. At the end of this series potholer54 list all of his sources and each are verifiable and up for your scrutiny.­ p.s. - I am an atheist. For many years I was a religious individual. A youth group leader, a deacon, and being groomed to become the church leader of the denomination I attended service at weekly for many years. I know what faith is and means. I no longer have a faith and am therefore an atheist. Please do not try to insult me with claims of faithfulness and I will not accuse you of the same. If you have a viewpoint that disagrees please submit you sources. I will thoughtfully look at them and let you know if I agree or disagree but I think the video series I submitted to you will be enlightening and informative for you.biggrin
A former member
Post #: 1
Scientists are not "gods", so, it's not logical to compare someone's belief/trust in something demonstrable (their lifework), with something that is not. Of course scientists are human, capable of lying, being wrong, etc.; so what? There are lies and mistakes in every profession on the planet; that doesn't mean we throw the baby out with the bath water. There is enough real documented evidence that something is going on with the climate, that it deserves reasonable attention and reasonable action. Maybe it's not the end of the world, but, there certainly isn't any harm in wanting to learn more about it or try and make it a better place to live if we can.
Oh, and I am a former christian/seminary student and now an atheist. My interest in climate change hasn't the first thing to do with my belief that there is no "god". They have nothing to do with each other. I am also not sure how a lecture or two, on ANY given subject, makes someone an extremist or alarmist. If there is more than one lecture/gathering about evolution; does that make the attendees worshippers of evolution? How about lectures/meetings about the separation of church and state? Does going to those make us blind followers of keeping religion and government separate? I'm baffled why this even needed discussion in the first place.
A former member
Post #: 3
John, A "god" is something that one puts blind trust and faith in. If you put blind trust and faith in pink unicorns, then pink unicorns are your "god" and you are not an atheist. If you put blind trust and faith in "scientists" (as opposed to treating them as a source of possibly true information) then you are not an atheist.

I am happy to discuss the science, of course, though that is slightly tangential to this debate of what is an atheist, and whether an atheist can only refuse to believe in "god", or must an atheist also refuse to believe in "allah", "pink unicorns" and other things?

If you want to discuss the hard science (no, there is not enough documented evidence, there is $7+ billion per year worth of grants by US government alone, then Exxon et al are paying lots of money to get into taxpayer funded energy schemes, and "scientists" and journalists are lying like crazy because of all that money floating around) and if you have physics background, I will be happy to discuss my views, here is a brief summary: http://mukeshprasadus...­ and http://mukeshprasadus...­. It does require a basic physical understanding of what the climate change theory is in the first place.

As to why we even needed this discussion, it seems to me relevant as to the question of what is an atheist, and is it enough to just superficially reject a specifically Christian concept of "god", or is it about rejecting the idea of deep and blind unquestioning faith in a super-source.

But as far as attending lectures/gatherings, are you suggesting the topics of such a lecture/gathering should be sacrosanct, and questioning them like I am doing is "not good"? Um... a heresy? Do you feel that way about all gatherings (cannot be questioned), or only climate change related ones?
A former member
Post #: 4
Allen, I am not trying to insult you, but please recall that you accused me of dishonest intentions in joining the group... I was merely trying to defend myself, and I realize that that defense may have come across as insulting. But I really didn't join the group with any thoughts of climate change, a climate change topic was quite a surprise to me. Since it was there, and since I do have very strong thoughts on the matter (in fact I consider myself an authority in some parts of in, albeit an unpublishable one - but then again, I don't put blind faith in "publishing", "peer review" etc either, so to me personally it is irrelevant), I was moved to defend my position. The question I do think is highly relevant - is an atheist someone who has rejected one specific christian word "god", or does it go any deeper than that at all? If it goes deeper, I don't see how you can replace "god" with a similar faith in generic "scientists" and still claim to atheism. Of course, "atheism" is just a label, and it may be that all atheists will say that they merely need to address only the christian concept of "god" (and maybe throw in "allah" and a few more), and then they can place faith in other things. In which case, my idea of free-thought will need another word, that's all.

But I do want to get some opinions on it, what is "faith" and "superstition" to self-proclaimed atheists?

As to the video, thanks for the link, but it's really hard to have discussions about a video, is there anything this person has written that summarizes his views?
A former member
Post #: 1
Atheism is not defined as a lack of faith in everything, it is a lack of faith in a supernatural entity. If you didn't have some sort of faith in the world and people around you you wouldn't live very long. We have faith that the sun is going to come up every day, that our grocer is not going to poison us, that we won't get hit by a car when we walk outside, that the air and water we take in is safe, etc. etc. These are all ways of having blind faith in one aspect of another with no proof that the way it was yesterday will be the way it is today. You are trying to extrapolate an argument from a narrowly defined context where it is appropriate (religion) to a broader spectrum in order to fit into your personal belief structure. The problem is when you make that extrapolation to something that is not appropriate then you have to extrapolate it to everything that is not appropriate and the argument breaks down. We live in a community with a division of labor and are social creatures, we put our trust in professionals everyday, all the time including scientists. This trust is a sort of blind faith but if you believe that as an atheist you cannot trust anything than good luck with that.

Skepticism and blind faith are not opposites. You can absolutely have blind faith in something and still be skeptical about the details. For instance I trust that the food I eat every day will not kill me, however; I am skeptical about the state of agri-business in this country and do a lot of research and advocacy to find out what is wrong and how it can be changed. Even in religion the most devout are skeptics. The concept of skepticism is to question everything which could in turn lead to a stronger faith through a better understanding of your own belief structure.

As for climate scientists you are making an awfully incendiary accusation that an entire (and large) community of climate scientists are greedy and corrupt. Scientists have been trained their entire life to be skeptics and to analyze data and facts and that it is unethical to fudge numbers. You are essentially saying that 97% of climate scientists (and only climate scientists) have decided to abandon their life's work for money. I for one have more "faith" in humanity than that. You also take issue with the process of peer review and publication but one thing you conveniently ignore is that a major tenant of the scientific process is to report 'repeatable' evidence and you don't get published without it. So if the entire thing was a scam than anybody should be able to take the evidence easily refute it.

The biggest thing I don't understand about the whole AGW debate is the motives. Who stands to benefit from AGW? Companies that will profit off renewable energy and scientific innovation on all fronts, right? These entities have not had money and power historically required to drive this multi-billion dollar 'scam'. So who is behind it? The power and money for the last century has lain with oil and gas companies who have everything to lose from AGW being true because not only will their business collapse but it would be all their fault. According to Occam's razor if anybody is controlling the climate science it would be oil and gas who have both the resources and a motive. I also don't understand why so many people are so adamant about arguing whether or not AGW exists. Lets say for a minute that you are right and that 97% of climate scientists are greedy and corrupt and that the undeniable global temperature rise is not anthropogenic. Where does that leave us? On a planet that is still getting hotter and relying on energy sources that are still finite. So why not use resources to research renewable energy and innovations in design and systems on all fronts. These are good things in a vacuum and have not received the deserved resources for way too long because the proven greedy oil companies have been hogging resources and power and suppressing innovation for years because it will hurt their profits. So even if 97% of climate scientists are greedy and corrupt and AGW does not exist than the 'scam' will be worth it if it stimulates the innovation required to progress out of the age of non-renewable energy.
A former member
Post #: 5
Andrew, You have very nice faith in various things, and I see your point - but then, why single out your priests as somebody not to have faith in? If you have trust and faith in your grocer and are not going to question GMO food because after all, they can't be poisonous if they are found on grocery shelves... Why do you refuse to extend the same courtesy to your priests? They are nice folks, they can't be lying, can they?

If you think my accusation is awfully incendiary, you must live quite a sheltered life. Or perhaps, the controversy over climate change is awfully controlled so both sides are not seen at all.

In fact, the climate change establishment started off with similar "awfully incendiary" accusations that any "deniers" only deny because they are funded by oil and other interests. There are no facts behind these accusations, no serious denier can be named, no evidence beyond a few thousand dollars has ever been found, and that few thousands isn't usually tied to serious denial.

If you read these articles (I have), after a lot of sound and fury, we arrive at something like "Koch brothers paid $25,000 to Heartland Institute" [to deny climate change.] Honest readers are left scratching their heads... Noooo.... not that much! Not twenty five whole f* thousands!! Are these journalists innumerates, idiots, or just plain crooks? In the end, I am left with no choice but to go with "just plain crooks". The average reader, unfortunately, goes with the sound and fury, with no thought to the numbers involved. And that's exactly the intention of the "just plain crooks".

I (deniers) on the other hand, can actually name names and amounts that are verifiable - e.g. Steven Chu, $225 million in grant money from Exxon, James Hansen, regular income of over $1 million per year for several years, in _personal_ money from climate change activities... Al Gore.. never mind... And there is a lot more in verifiable and actually significant amounts.

So both sides have made "incendiary" accusations, but only one side has truth.

You do have the interesting question - who stands to benefit from AGW? Ok, take Solyndra. Did the government just "lose" half a billion dollars of taxpayer money? Usually, you don't "lose" money, it goes somewhere. I think it's fair to assume that the half a billion wasn't "lost" in the sense of misplaced. It actually went to the executives and investors of Solyndra in various forms.

The more general answer is that the "cap and trade" will be highly beneficial to lots of people. It's a case of "eliminating the middleman". It's pure and direct "tax the poor, give to 1%" solution with very little government intervention. Government won't keep any of that money, it will only decide who gets it. And it's not hard for the 1% to redirect that flow to themselves. Does that help answer "who benefits"?

And it hardly hurts that the 99% is practically begging to have that money taken, and ready to attack those who stand in the way. Now that, is a good marketing scheme. Pure and simple, have the poor send their money directly over with nothing in return, and even have them fight each other to send it over.

The planet is warming? Actually, no. It's not. Even James Hansen (the original climate change alarmist) had to admit it is not. The fact that you think that the planet is warming, speaks volumes about the power of the climate change alarmists to make sure the public is not aware of actual scientific facts.

Will the "scam" be worth it? Like all "scams", you can't plant cotton and expect grapes - dishonest schemes don't have good end results. The climate change "scam" seriously pulls resources from real issues. The "non-renewable energy" is a total non-issue with the new oil discoveries and developments. There is enough energy for centuries, and there is work ongoing in other fields that will find replacements much before that. The only contribution of the scam is to misdirect research. Research in blind alleys such as wind and ethanol is continuing, not because it makes sense, but because of politics. Research in other useful arenas suffers. Without the climate change bandwagon, the research would have proceeded more normally. These are not "good" impacts.

You might as well say that "religion" is false, but has good impacts, why then are you an atheist?

False concepts of religions have demonstrably bad impacts, exactly the same with climate change.
A former member
Post #: 2
Mukesh, which is it? Your either a skeptic who doesn't support either side or your a denier. You said in the meet up comments that you did not support either side but up above in the comments you claim to be a denier. You claim people in this community are religious fanatics dye to a belief in climate change. You give a link to a couple of you blog posts that have some other links, supposedly supporting you position, but those links don't even support what you are saying in you blog( with the exception of your link to the Christian Science Monitor in where you claim deniers are being un-honest). You claim that you were only defending yourself from my questioning of your intentions when it was you who started the comments on the attack. You say you have a money trail to support your claim of atheism "faithfulness" in climate science as if we are blind and ignorant bit never do you share sources. Please back up your claims or all I can assume is that you like ignorantly claim people are ignorant because you see a light they do not. If you are not religious yourself stop trying to use the "atheists are religious too" attack that is used to try and belittle a group of people who do not believe in a supernatural deity. If you are truly an atheist and a skeptic quite making these ad-hominem attacks. You are gaining nothing by attacking our character and not focusing the policy of this debate you created.
A former member
Post #: 6
Allen, That's a very good question, and I appreciate your actually taking the time to read my articles on the subject!

As to your question about my being skeptic/denier, I have researched this subject matter in great detail, and I have arrived at certain conclusions. One of which is that AGW is completely, without reservations, without doubts, false. So since I would "deny" AGW, I would be consider a "denier", and in this I stand with deniers.

At the same time, as my blog states, I do not stand with denier/skeptic mainstream position, because I have found that to be incorrect as well - because they also share some "faith" which my research shows to be incorrect.

I am not seeing "lights" here, all this involves a lot of painstaking thorough work, that I can explain to anybody who has the necessary physics background (or is willing to acquire same) and is willing to discuss the subject matter and has an open honest mind about it.

I do share sources on my blog for the important stuff. Some of it is my own work, and there is no other source, it's just logic that I provide - right or wrong. Much of the other is stuff - not science and therefore not central to my thinking - that I came across during my research on climate change. If that becomes important, I can search for those again.

I am not saying "atheists are religious too" at all. The point is, atheism is in opposition to religion. If it does nothing except create a new religion with scientists as priests and "whatever scientists say" as a new supernatural god, what good is atheism? Except for an extremely narrow definition of rejecting the christian concept of god, it seems to me an honest atheist should reject blind superstition belief in anything else as well. After all, if one doesn't believe in reason as an alternative to faith, why would one be an atheist? Hopefully it's more than for trivial word games?

My roots are in atheism, I became an atheist when I was eight. However, I do have a lot more life experience now, and I am a lot less categorical about things now than an eight year old. While it's trivially easy for me to reject bearded people sitting somewhere in the blue sky (which "blue sky" is just an optical artifact) near earth who you meet after death - I do not reject existence and rules of existence - some of which rules we are discovering via the scientific approach. I do not reject human morality and ethics and the nature which created those.

So basically, I am not attacking "atheists", in fact I am saying I may be atheister than thou :-)
A former member
Post #: 7
I located one of the sources I mentioned above, it shows what I mean:­

Notice the headline: Koch Brothers donated big to ALEC, Heartland Institute. Notice the sub-headline which mentions $24 million. Then notice how "big" the donation to "Heartland Institute" is in the fine print. A whopping $25,000!

Unfortunately, most people don't take the time to read the numbers or gauge their level. Salon is depending upon this tendency of readers. The readers will take home the impression "Koch Brothers gave many millions of dollars to climate skeptics".

I have seen this kind of stuff all over, I can find more if anybody is interested.
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