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Censorship Science

Censored Religious Debate Video Released After Public Outrage 717

First time accepted submitter tkel writes "On October 12, 2011 Theologian John Haught publicly debated prominent evolutionary scientist and atheist Jerry Coyne at the University of Kentucky. Although both agreed to a videotaping of the event, Haught later prohibited its release because he felt he had been treated unfairly. Coyne released blog posts addressing the matter as an offense to free speech. Reviewing their new status in the blogosphere, Haught and his associates at the University of Kentucky have decided to release the video."

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Censored Religious Debate Video Released After Public Outrage

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  • by pwizard2 ( 920421 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @02:22AM (#37930820)
    Here's something that blows the creationist’s mind: vestigial organs/parts. If a creator independently designed each organism, then lots of stuff that shouldn't be there somehow made it into the finished product. This excellent article explains it better than I could: []

    Creationists also have a hard time talking their way around the massive problems with Noah's flood: []

    Full disclosure: I used to be a born again christian, (these days I consider myself an agnostic... I don't really know if there's a god or not) but sites like these really opened my eyes. Most people only believe because they are told the same things over and over again from childhood and free thought is discouraged. I don't know if ministers/seminaries are ignorant of the true history of Christianity or if they are aware and simply covering it up to maintain control over people. Bible "study" is simply re-indoctrinating yourself over and over. Once something happens in your life to make you start questioning what you've been told, your whole worldview inevitably falls apart. It's only a matter of time.
  • by nmb3000 ( 741169 ) <> on Thursday November 03, 2011 @02:26AM (#37930848) Journal

    It's also interesting to read his open letter to Coyne [] that is posted along with the video.

    He may be wrong, deluded, full of himself, or just lying, but I have a strong sense that the reporting of this whole event was very badly skewed against Haught. At least now, with the presentations and video made available, we can see how it really played out.

  • by pwizard2 ( 920421 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @02:54AM (#37931030)
    In my case, I don't WANT to piss off my family. My dad has been an atheist for years so he wouldn't care, but my mom has always been hyper-religious and I don't want to strain that relationship. I was "in the closet" about my beliefs for some time even though I continued to play the part. Eventually I just couldn't take it anymore and I came out. She took it hard and tried to "scare" me back into the fold but time heals all wounds. The Pauline doctrine is a huge part of what broke my faith... to actually adhere to it you would have to essentially stop being human, and telling yourself that you were a worthless "sinner" over and over again and perpetually begging for forgiveness is incredibly damaging.

    If there is a god, I'm very certain that it isn't the spiteful yahweh god of the old testament. Even Jesus seems to be a composite of lots of earlier pagan traditions. Lots of what he said can be traced back to earlier philosophers and the similarities are so uncanny that it's basically plagiarism. (another good site is [] ) Even when I was still indoctrinated I noticed lots of inconsistencies in the New testament but I was conditioned not to ask questions and just accept it.
  • by wvmarle ( 1070040 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @04:51AM (#37931564)

    The blog posting by Coyne was, at least to me, also not very trustworthy. It was so full of mudslinging and name calling that he really lost credibility to me in this matter.

    Having read Coyne's blog post linked to the previous /. post, I almost start to fully believe remarks like

    I have had wonderful conversations with many scientific skeptics over the years, but my meeting with you was exceptionally dismaying and unproductive.

    by Haught. I haven't watched the video, and have no intention to do so, as both parties and actually mostly Coyne have not given me the idea that this would be a really interesting debate where people would respect one another's viewpoints, listen to them, and reply to them rationally. And that's the impression that I got from Coyne's blog post. Which was, as a whole, totally unprofessional, and using language and arguments that I would not expect from a good debater.

  • by Slashdot Assistant ( 2336034 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @05:18AM (#37931672)

    The fundamentalist-atheist claim that religion and science are fundamentally at odds is no less a religious belief than traditional theistic religions, and more to the point, is an utterly arrogant belief that effectively spits on the countless contributions of the religious to the very foundations of science as we know it today. And although it is held with the same arrogant religious fervor as the beliefs of the most devout faithful, it is a comically naÃve belief built on nothing more solid than smugness and the believer's own desire to feel superior to someone else, usually to make themselves feel less inferior. Frankly, whenever I see such rubbish, it almost makes me ashamed of the human race as a whole.

    As Einstein put it, "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." Claims to the contrary demand extraordinary proof.

    This whole discussion is muddy as Hell. I'll make my position clear:

    Religious people can do science. The church has historically supported science, mainly by virtue of it providing the only centers of learning. Religion can inspire a desire to understand creation. How much of this though is due to religion being the only game in town?

    Religion and science can be fundamentally at odds; heard of young earth creationism and Biblical literalism? How about the persistent Catholic belief of transubstantiation? What about the Scientologist's e-meter, or the claim that praying can alter physical reality? It is not fundamentalist atheism to say that beliefs such as these are incompatible with science, but even so, a creationist could do science so long as they don't insert their beliefs in to their work. That is the important distinction. One may as well ask if rape is compatible with being a good doctor? The answer is yes, so long as the doctor doesn't rape any of his patients. Bacon had a mustache. Are mustaches compatible with science, well yes, except perhaps if the scientist uses their mustache in lieu of beakers and a bunsen burner.

    Oh, and Voltaire said "A witty saying proves nothing." Einstein's beliefs are notoriously difficult to pin-down.

    These people need to be seen in their culture. Could Michelangelo have been a great artist without religion? Sure, so long as someone else was around to act as a patron.

  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @05:25AM (#37931708) Homepage Journal

    Even Jesus seems to be a composite of lots of earlier pagan traditions. Lots of what he said can be traced back to earlier philosophers and the similarities are so uncanny that it's basically plagiarism.

    Not just what he said. There are also stories much like his or parts of his all around the middle east at that time. Basically, The Life of Brian is probably the most accurate movie regarding the proliferance of people a lot like Jesus.

  • by thomst ( 1640045 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @06:37AM (#37932002) Homepage

    Religion and science can be fundamentally at odds; heard of young earth creationism and Biblical literalism? How about the persistent Catholic belief of transubstantiation? What about the Scientologist's e-meter, or the claim that praying can alter physical reality?

    Er ... you're comparing apples and iPods, friend. Creationism, Biblical literalism, and belief in transubstatiation and the physical efficacy of prayer are all examples of faith in things for which there is no physical evidence. Scientology's e-meter, by contrast is a device that measures galvanic skin response. It is not based on faith at all, but on medical/forensic science, combined with a decision tree of common neuroses. That's the devilish thing about it (and the reason why Scientology is so adamantly opposed to psychiatry - because they rightly see it as their competition!): the e-meter/decision tree combination is actually pretty effective at identifying common neuroses in people to whom it is applied. And human nature is such that, having been forced to confront neuroses that they've been repressing, most folks immediately feel better about themselves - and they give Scientology the credit for that, and get sucked into the progressively-more-expensive process that leads to the revelation (at the highest and most expensive end of the scam) that Xenu entombed Thetans in an ice volcano (!) and so on.

    Disclaimer: I am not a Scientologist, nor do I in any way endorse Scientology as a religion or a lifestyle. I do, however, prefer any discussion to be based on facts, not propaganda.

  • by flappinbooger ( 574405 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @08:15AM (#37932488) Homepage
    I'll "come out" and chime in on this.

    I'm a Christian. There, I said it. I've been hanging out on Slashdot for over 10 years. And I'm a Christian. Hold on, I'm not done yet.

    I am a degreed engineer from one of the top private engineering schools in the country. I watch sci-fi. A lot. I believe in Evolution. I don't think humans evolved from pond scum OR monkeys. I believe in God. I believe he is on our side and is in favor of us. I believe God made the universe. I believe in the Bible. (See below) I have experienced things in my life which reinforce my beliefs. I know strict interpretation of the Bible says the earth is 6000 years old. I wasn't there then, I'm not going to argue about it. I'll leave that to people like Kent Hovind, he likes to argue.

    I hate "religion". Religion has done more to harm people and discredit belief in God more than anything. Religion does not equal belief in God nor is the opposite true either. Religion is something people created.

    I am suspicious there are important parts of the Bible that have been removed. There are things we've forgotten and not been told. I believe that there are certain parts of eastern mysticism that the Christian ought to pay attention to, such as meditation and the energy points in the body. See David Sereda regarding spirituality across religious boundary lines.

    As a Christian, an Engineer and a Technologist I point to the spooky stuff in Quantum Physics as an olive branch between the two camps. There is a God, and we don't understand enough things yet to make science agree with that.
  • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @09:40AM (#37933614)
    I view it more in terms of 'if you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.' To someone who thinks of everything in life in religious terms, it'd hard to comprehend science as anything but another religion competing for followers.
  • by Dcnjoe60 ( 682885 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @10:24AM (#37934296)

    I always find it deeply amusing when bullies play the victim card.

    - school prayer
    - one nation, under god
    - in god we trust
    - commandments in the courts
    - opening prayer in congress
    - christmas and easter notional holidays

    The problem is that what you list is the based on the agenda of right wing Evangelicals. There are many more christian denominations and groups in the US that do not push those items. With regards to the original topic on the debate, Haught is roman catholic and none of those items apply to the catholic church. Just as not all Muslims are terrorists, not all Christians are extremists.

  • by Medievalist ( 16032 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @11:08AM (#37934964)

    Your statement describing "the problem with religion" does not distinguish between some religions (i.e., the science-denying, intolerant ones like Baptist Christianity and Orthodox Judaism) and all religions (which would include religions that specifically endorse the scientific method or have no such conflicts, for example Unitarian Universalism and some of the various later forms of Judaism popular in the USA).

    You've also made an error of fact, although it's understandable - I assume you've got better things to do with your time than hang out in Bible Belt tent revivals, so you weren't aware that Bible Belters quite often do rail against Buddhists. This is why such a big deal was made about Al Gore being friendly towards Buddhists during the Gore/Bush presidential race - he lost votes among conservative Christians in the so-called "heartland". Many fundamentalists will tell you quite sincerely that both the Buddha and Mohammed were direct manifestations of Satan, and that all non-Christian religions should be suppressed violently by the state. Some of them feel that way about the Pope, too.

    If you avoid contact with religion you are unlikely to be able to speak authoritatively about it. This is a basic philosophic principle that scientists should not forget; purposeful ignorance does not grant enlightenment. Unfortunately, in the western world, everyone gets their faces jammed into Christianity all the time - governments directly sponsor it, through the scheduling of school holidays and other cultural events - so everyone tends to think they have lots of contact with religion, when really they've probably only had contact with one or two tiny, stagnant tide-pools in the vast sea of religious thought.

  • you don't often see Bible Belters railing against Buddists.

    Only because there aren't enough Buddhists in the Bible Belt to make it worthwhile.

    I'm not sure what a "Buddhist Fundamentalist" would look like -- the core of the Buddha's teaching (the Four Noble Truths) has fsck-all to do with metaphysics. You can be a Buddhist and an scientific atheist at the same time with no conflict. Even the Dalai Lama, head of one of the more woo-woo sects of Buddhism, has expressed admiration for the scientific method and said that if science is in conflict with Buddhism, then Buddhism has to change.

    Point is, not every religion is like Bible-thumping Xianity. Religion, literally, means "reconnection" ("to tie again"), not "belief in supernatural forces and invisible omnipotent beings".

I've got a bad feeling about this.