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Science

WSJ Refused To Publish Lawrence Krauss' Response To "Science Proves Religion" 556

First time accepted submitter Kubla Kahhhn! writes Recently, the WSJ posted a controversial piece "Science Increasingly Makes a Case for God", written by non-scientist Eric Metaxas. Noted astrophysicist Lawrence Krauss wrote a simple and clear retort in a letter to the editor, which the WSJ declined to publish, but Richard Dawkins did.
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WSJ Refused To Publish Lawrence Krauss' Response To "Science Proves Religion"

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  • by chinton ( 151403 ) <{chinton001-slashdot} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday January 05, 2015 @10:38AM (#48736623) Journal
    Let me guess, it was written by Oolon Colluphid.
  • A Simple Retort (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thedonger ( 1317951 ) on Monday January 05, 2015 @10:47AM (#48736711)

    The nature of God is such that it cannot be proven. Otherwise, we lose the choice to believe.

    That said, science has yet to prove what the universe is, so how could we expect it to prove something outside of it?

    Note: My philosophy is "when you die, you're dead."

    • Re:A Simple Retort (Score:5, Insightful)

      by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Monday January 05, 2015 @10:57AM (#48736821)

      Note: My philosophy is "when you die, you're dead."

      My philosophy is "when you die, your relatives will throw out 99% of what you own." So throw your stuff out first, live with less and be happy.

    • Re:A Simple Retort (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sbaker ( 47485 ) * on Monday January 05, 2015 @11:07AM (#48736917) Homepage

      You have that a little wrong. God *can* (in principle) be proven. If the sky breaks open, choirs of angels break forth, a 10km-long arm reaches down from the skies and an 8km golden-haired, bearded face looks down upon humanity and utters words of unshakable truth...then God is proven.

      God cannot, however, be DISproven. It's an unfalsifiable hypothesis. So, you're right, science cannot ever say, definitively, that god doesn't exist. It also can't disprove the hypothesis that the universe was created by an invisible pink unicorn...or any other random idea that humans might come up with that entails a literally omnipotent/omniscient being.

      But that COMPLETELY misses what this is all about. The original WSJ article is a non-scientist claiming that science has indeed proven the existence of god. That's quite clearly incorrect...and I think you'd have to look very hard to find a competent scientist in the fields involved who'd agree with that claim. So WSJ (essentially) published something that's completely untrue, incorrect, misleading - just plain *WRONG*...and journalistic integrity says that they should now be working very hard to fix that...not rejecting a perfectly sensible response from someone who knows exactly what he's talking about.

      So bad on WSJ...and at least we can make that badness clear by discussing it here.

      • by gtall ( 79522 )

        Well, in my mind, Jesus will return some day. There will be rolling peals of thunder, clouds will part, the trumpets will blare, and He will majestically float to Earth. He'll be meeting and greeting..."Hi ya, how ya doing?" After a few hours of this, He looks at his watch, and says that time is awasting. The peals of thunder start again, the trumpets blare, He majestically floats upward, the clouds close in. And His promise of return has been fulfilled. He's a busy guy.

      • If the sky breaks open, choirs of angels break forth, a 10km-long arm reaches down from the skies and an 8km golden-haired, bearded face looks down upon humanity and utters words of unshakable truth...then God is proven.

        Or not.

        We can do that with CGI now. In 100 years, maybe we'll be able to do it live-action.

      • Re:A Simple Retort (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Monday January 05, 2015 @11:20AM (#48737059)

        God cannot, however, be DISproven. It's an unfalsifiable hypothesis.

        Well, up to a point. Many theologies try to make claims that amount to predictions: God will answer your prayers etc. So far, none of these have passed the test, thus demonstrating that whether God is real or not, the theologies that try to make us believe that he is, are not true. Most people would long have abandoned a concept with such a poor track record. The only reason why some people hold on to this, as far as I can see, is bullying: every time you dare raise the question of why God never answers even the most reasonable prayers, or the most desperate ones, or indeed any prayers at all, you are met with "How dare you test God?!? Who are you to demand any proof of God?!?". Bullying, plain and simple. If God was real and cared about us, he wouldn't be so petty, I'm sure.

      • You have that a little wrong. God *can* (in principle) be proven. If the sky breaks open, choirs of angels break forth, a 10km-long arm reaches down from the skies and an 8km golden-haired, bearded face looks down upon humanity and utters words of unshakable truth...then God is proven.

        Sounds like a bad acid trip, or a good rock concert. With sufficiently advanced technology you can do a lot of showmanship to claim to be god.

        Proving that, however, is simply not possible. I would immediately assume any such

      • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday January 05, 2015 @11:24AM (#48737103)

        God cannot, however, be DISproven. It's an unfalsifiable hypothesis. So, you're right, science cannot ever say, definitively, that god doesn't exist.

        True but science CAN definitively disprove specific claims about the nature of god. There are innumerable and fairly specific claims made in religious texts detailing the nature and actions of god(s). Many of these are of such a nature that they are falsifiable and thus can be subjected to scientific inquiry. Unsurprisingly most of these claims regarding god turn out to be made up nonsense when looked at objectively or have been so twisted from the actual facts as to be effectively unrecognizable from what actually occurred.

        So if someone wants to make a completely vague assertion that there is a god and make no specific claims regarding the nature of said deity then no, science cannot disprove that. (though it doesn't mean we should believe said claim either) But it's hard to make a believable story about god without adding some details to the story and that is usually where the wheels come off. Claims about the physical world we live in can (frequently) be tested and dismissed as the made up poppycock that they so often are.

      • "You have that a little wrong. God *can* (in principle) be proven. If the sky breaks open, choirs of angels break forth, a 10km-long arm reaches down from the skies and an 8km golden-haired, bearded face looks down upon humanity and utters words of unshakable truth...then God is proven."

        No, God isn't proven. It might very well be an alien.

        • by Copid ( 137416 )
          If you want to go that route, at some point you just throw up your hands and say nothing can be proven, which is OK, but it kind of makes the word "proven" useless in general conversation. I mean, the flu may be caused by advanced aliens as well, but we're OK with calling the germ theory of disease more or less proven.
          • If you're going to invoke an omnipotent being who has no limitations on his possible actions, then no, such a being could never be proven, since every possible observation would be compatible with his existence.

            Special effects, no matter how elaborate, do not constitute a proof of God.

        • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

          It might very well be an alien.

          The PC term is "undocumented".

      • I completely disagree. A f**kn light show in space, does not prove God. Give me $1,000,000 and I could do what you propose. Meanwhile, God can be disproven, easily. If you can logically explain everything up to now, without the need for God, then he is disproven. Right now we have up to a few milliseconds after the big bang explained. We cannot fully explain what created the big bang, or what created the thing that created the big bang, or how something either always existed, or how nothingness birthed some
      • You have that a little wrong. God *can* (in principle) be proven. If the sky breaks open, choirs of angels break forth, a 10km-long arm reaches down from the skies and an 8km golden-haired, bearded face looks down upon humanity and utters words of unshakable truth...then God is proven

        No you have only proven an entity is capable of that. You have not provided evidence that that entity is a god or similar avatar. Misquoting clark : sufficientely advanced science can look like magic. How do you prove that enti

    • by halivar ( 535827 )

      The nature of God is such that it cannot be proven. Otherwise, we lose the choice to believe.

      I am sitting in a chair. The chair is observable, provable, and I know for certainty that is it holding me up. It requires no faith, and in fact my consideration of the chair is nothing more than an afterthought. I take this chair for granted, and it is thus not quite so important to me as the things I cannot see but fear: my bank balance, flu strains, how my puppy is doing at home when I am not watching her. A god who is observable and provable, with enumerable powers, isn't really a god at all, is he? It

    • by neo00 ( 1667377 )

      The nature of God is such that it cannot be proven. Otherwise, we lose the choice to believe.

      Belief is not a choice.

      For example, you don't have the choice to believe that you exist. You either believe that, or don't.

      If I wake up one day and say today I'm choosing to believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I'd be just pretending to believe in Him. Of course if I actually truly believed in His Noodly Appendage, then I wouldn't have the choice to simply un-blieve in Him anytime I like. Otherwise I would just be pretending.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 05, 2015 @10:51AM (#48736755)

    I would now expect nothing less from the WSJ, once it became a sister publication to the Boston Herald or the New York Post or any of the other myriad rag sheets put out by that wonderful, effervescent, owner, Rupert Murdoch.

    • Exactly. WSJ is now just a version of Fox News with wood and brushed metal paneling on it, aimed at a wealthier set of idiots looking for their reality-incompatible worldview to be confirmed.

    • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

      And like Fox news, the WSJ doesn't believe the tripe in this article. It's just another tactical maneuver to discredit the rest of legitimate journalism for refusing to print reasonable sounding 'opposing views'. To them, it's irrelevant that those opposing views are based on easily countered, cherry-picked data. But the real goal is to lend legitimacy to right-wing pols and think tanks that use the so-called "liberal bias of the mainstream media" as the only evidence that their arguments make any sense

  • by gestalt_n_pepper ( 991155 ) on Monday January 05, 2015 @10:55AM (#48736803)

    It was bought by Murdoch in 2007 and it's editorial director fired in 2008. Since then, it's just another mouthpiece for conservative Republicans (Murdoch also owns Fox News). The Wall Street Journal purchase was made to make Murdoch's news organizations look respectable.

    As is turns out, it was just an expensive suit on a cheap hustler who got lucky enough to get rich with media organizations after inheriting the family business from his father.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Monday January 05, 2015 @11:02AM (#48736871) Homepage
    Institutions like the Wall Steet Journal no longer exist to serve meaningful information to people in order to assist in their formation of knowledge, wisdom, or even understanding of the wold around them. Thanks to clenchfist profiteering as a normative model of business in the 21st century we get articles about things that drive advertising revenue and in turn function as a means to consumption, not knowledge. Taking a cursory glance at the WSJ we have 'us stocks drop sharply' 'A Nonprofit Restaurant Falls to the Minimum Wage ' and 'Russian Fund Boss Vanishes '. the wallstreet journal, as does every other news outlet controlled by our modern robberbarons, pedals fear uncertainty and doubt as a model through which products and services are delivered, not practical or even contextual study of matters at hand

    actual, useful information about how god is not in fact validated, or even designed to be validated, by science will not be tolerated. There is no product to be consumed or shared in this, and it may in fact be slightly detremental to the seasonal consumption holiday in the united states and other nations to simply tell people there isnt a valid point to be had in adhering to a religeon outside of subjugation. being told that a system of detection, observation and analysis has confirmed a superstition serves to re-enforce a behavior that benefits no one but plutocrats and oligarchs.
  • This Again (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dontbemad ( 2683011 ) on Monday January 05, 2015 @11:03AM (#48736891)
    It really is tiring to see such incendiary articles posted to slashdot. I mean, whether religious or non, is anyone here hoping to have an intelligent or civil debate on the subject? Aren't you just allowing the editors to prove how well they are doing to their Dice overlords by pointing to a piece such as this and saying "look, 600 comments! think of all the ad-revenue this article must have generated!"

    If you want to be religious and non-scientific, do that. Likewise, if you choose to be scientific and non-religious, do that as well. One can also be both or neither, and those are both valid options for how one should live his life, too. However, it serves no purpose but to further degrade the quality of this site when we engage in such a meaningless flame-war, especially when it is generated by such blatant pandering.
    • by abies ( 607076 )

      I disagree that it is easy to be both scientific and religious. These traits are strongly inversely correlated. One of the basic tenets of religion is to accept certain truths without questioning them, which is an antithesis of good science.
      Yes, there are some good/very good scientists which are also _somewhat_ religious. But very good and _very_ religious/devouted at same time.. not common, at least not after XIX century.
      [cue some clueless fellow claiming Einstein to be religious person]

  • by l0ungeb0y ( 442022 ) on Monday January 05, 2015 @11:06AM (#48736909) Homepage Journal
    ergo unbiased, fair and balanced Op-Ed does not exist there
  • The reply (with which I agree) is that it's silly to calculate the probability of life out of context when you don't know what context(s) allow life. Take a simpler example. Assume I tell you to pick a random number between 1 and a quadrillion. You pick 709,108,554,989,243. Taken out of context someone can ask, "What are the chances that this exact number would turn up, one in a quadrillion!? They're so slim, this can't be random!" In fact you could have picked any of a much larger set of numbers and the sa
  • Frankly it's more surprising that a respectable publication, even a right-leaning one like the Wall Street Journal would think it's a good idea to wade into the religion/science "debate" even in its opinion section. Of course it is irresponsible for a newspaper to not publish articulate expert-authored responses to an opinion piece, newspapers have a responsibility to publish responses written by more-famous and more-qualified persons when the response meets the paper's basic standards. But the WSJ is owned

  • Way to go WSJ...

    There's no point in having a useless debate. I question them posting the original article, but there's no reason to make it worse by pretending there's any way to come up with a retort. Science cannot, ever, prove or disprove religion. Period. Religion cannot, ever, prove or disprove Science. They are polar opposites and not related.

    At best, Science could claim that Religion is an fascinating form of Philosophy and an interesting topic for study. While Religion could say that Science was an

  • by n0ano ( 148272 ) <n0ano@arrl.net> on Monday January 05, 2015 @11:47AM (#48737333) Homepage

    Guys, calm down. This is the Wall Street Journal, the most schizophrenic company in the world. Read a couple of issues of the newspaper and you'll see what I mean.

    Articles - 99% of the paper, well written, fact based pieces on current issues of the day. Not balanced since it's understandably tilted toward the business aspects of those issues but an extremely reliable source of information.

    Editorials - 2 pages, far right diatribes with the basic premise that big business & capitalism == good, everything else bad.

    I don't know how the feature reporters survive in that environment but I applaud them for living in a harsh environment and doing an excellent job.

  • FTA:

    "The appearance of design of life on Earth is also overwhelming," Krauss replied, "but we now understand, thanks to Charles Darwin that the appearance of design is not the same as design, it is in fact a remnant of the remarkable efficiency of natural selection."

    All this says is that scientifically, one cannot prove the existence of God simply trough appearance of design, because evolution is capable of producing the same appearance. It does not say, however, that such an appearance is necessarily

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