There are many people who desperately want religion and science to be compatible, having been one of them I see why they want this.

However wanting something to be true doesn't make it true.

Usually people try to make this work by explaining away (or trying to) where religion and science contradict eacch other (eg. by saying genesis allows for evolution).

I've happened to entertain the idea that this goes deeper; that religion and science are fundementally opposed.
The basis of each goes against what the other stands for, i.e. science is based on free inquiry and needs to be questioned in order to function properly where religion requires faith and does not do well when questioned.

What do the rest of you think?

Views: 592

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Four words say it all:

Faith Is No Reason.

This is the basic equation: irrationality versus rationality, fact as opposed to myth, substance against wishful thinking.  To have faith is to believe because someone else said so, no questioning, no examination, nothing.  To know is to observe, apprehend, examine, analyze, deduce, and most of all to question.  This is anathema to faith, where you believe what you are told, regardless of how absurd the belief may be, where, indeed, their holy books elevate belief above knowledge for reasons as ridiculous as the concept is.

Science and religion are utterly at loggerheads, from where I sit.  You'd have an easier time getting oil and water to mix.

Technology and religion can work together.  Science and religion can't.  


The only reading of Genesis that allows for evolution, is one where Genesis is considered metaphor.  Religion claims knowledge from supernatural sources.  Science does not allow supernatural input.  Science seeks knowledge.  Religion opposes knowledge.  Science is physical.  Religion is metaphysical.


You are right, the basis of each goes against what the other stands for.  A scientist who is religious is compartmentalizing.  Any religionist who claims to follow science, is also compartmentalizing.

Of course religion complains of being attacked.  They're being called on their bullshit, and when told to put up or shut up, they have nothing of substance to offer, yet cannot stop blabbing.  Their god or their savior or their prophet told them to spread the word, so spread it they must.  Their belief has reached the point of delusion, where what they believe is true, MUST be true, and anything or anyone who says otherwise indulges in heresy, regardless of proof.

We're dealing with the longest standing lie in the history of mankind, here.  It has existed for millennia and has the weight of that time in its social inertia.  If it could exist without spreading, without indulging in proselytism, without insisting on its own misguided dominance, it might be tolerable.  All the evidence and history says it CANNOT.  We're living in the time of the showdown between rationality and irrationality right now, and the outcome of that showdown will determine humankind's direction for uncounted years to come.

Pardon me if I sound melodramatic, but that's how I see it.

As regards children, that may be the next argument in this business.  Would teaching an unproven or questionable doctrine to a child, insisting on that doctrine and indeed, indoctrinating a child before he or she has the means to evaluate it for him or herself, amount to a violation of that child's civil rights?  In a society where religion is an option and not a given, such a train of thought should at least be considered.  Religions will protest, of course, since childhood indoctrination in religion is one of the primary means they employ to survive and expand, yet the untoward impact of religion on unsophisticated youth is well documented.

How the rights of children might be codified regarding early instruction would be a neat knot for someone schooled in the law to unravel.  About all I can do here is acknowledge the existence of the knot and the need for it to be examined.

" ... this doctrine states is that absent abuse, neglect, dependency, or a parent's inability or unwillingness to carry out normal day to day decisions concerning a child's welfare (food, clothing, shelter, and "basic" education), a parent has superior rights to direct and control their children over anyone else on the planet."  When a child's right to learn facts not approved by the parent's belief system, such as evolution, ancient earth, and finding truth through science, this  limits the child's occupational options to a huge degree.  Indeed, a strictly limited education can preclude acceptance into a legitimate university program.  Such a case would be an aggressive stance for a lawyer to take, but I think there is some argument here.

A showdown would be nice, but religion is so evasive.

It is a privilege to live in a time where religion has lost its grip on the world and there is a contest rather than reason being punishable by death.

It depends on what one means by religion.  Einstein was religious in a way, and he had passionate convictions about how physics would work, that amounted to a kind of faith.  I read that when developing his theories, he would choose the most beautiful way, considering that to be the right way. 

And scientists can be kind of culturally religious, enjoying the traditions of their religion. 

Some liberal Christians seem to be essentially atheists, without supernatural beliefs, although they would passionately deny being atheists. 

By religion I mean something that requires belief in the supernatural and (most relevant to this disscussion) revealed knowledge.

As for people who do not believe but practice religion, (speaking under correction) they often "believe in belief" and do not have as much reason to oppose or reject science.

But, what is "supernatural"?  A cellphone would be a supernatural object to someone who was from a pre-technological society.  We have faith that it isn't supernatural.  Most of us don't know much about what exactly a cellphone is doing, but we trust that it comes from people who made it by reasoning and experimenting. 

Phenomena can be transferred from supernatural to natural by knowledge and exploration and reasoning. 

I think what you are talking about is whether one believes knowledge that comes from inner experience as a valid way of knowing the outside world.  

People can find things out about themselves by prayer or meditation or visions.  They can find out about their buried feelings, what they really want in life, find compassion and love for others.  And people can find things out about human nature, this way. 

But when people take their inner experiences as a valid way of knowing the universe, it's a mistake.  Doing that doesn't account for one's subjectivity, ignores the possibility of illusion. 

Mistakes can be fruitful, for scientists too.  Einstein DID have a faith that the universe worked a certain way, which didn't come from reason or experiment.  It was just his conviction.  It may have been misleading, for example he Believed that "God doesn't play dice with the universe" and it led to him rejecting quantum mechanics and being somewhat marginalized as a physicist later in his life.  But his faith may also have helped him in developing his relativity theories. 

Many scientists passionately believe in some theory, even when evidence piles up against it.  It's all the different scientists conflicting and discussing that gives science a long-term ability to figure out the truth, not any individual scientist being super-rational. 

As for whether religion necessarily conflicts with science, that depends on the religion.  I could make up a religion that doesn't conflict with science.  Perhaps our universe was designed by aliens long ago.  Perhaps our whole universe is a ball rolling on a floor in some higher universe, with a baby alien giggling at it.  You could believe that without cognitive dissonance. 

I found out about my subjectivity when my experience of the world changed a lot, because I quit eating gluten and a lot of other foods I had immune reactions to.  And many years before that, many things changed because of meditation.  I had, and I still have sometimes, spiritual experiences, a sense of the presence of God, different sometimes than others.  But I never took these experiences as evidence of the nature of the universe, objective reality.  It really is going too far, to do that, and it's going too far to take someone else's spiritual experiences as showing something about objective reality. 

So because my subjectivity changed, I got a sense that I was subjective.  This isn't something people naturally start out with, it's natural to take your subjective experience as having a kind of authority.  But science somewhat counteracts that illusion. 

ps One thing about science is that the scientific method, experimenting and testing, works better when used with non-conscious phenomena.  If you tried to experiment with a super-intelligent being, it could be experimenting with YOU, or changing the result of your experiment for its own purposes. 

So when religious people object to experiments "demonstrating" the non-power of prayer, they have a point.  How can anyone know that God would answer prayer in a scientific experiment, just like a personal prayer?  Maybe God would have a preference for the result of the experiment. 

The two don't inhabit the same sphere. They have separate domains and function separately when functioning properly.

The word belief shouldn't be associated with our knowledge of  physical reality. You don't have to believe in science or evolution for it to be true, it just is. So, you can't say your religious beliefs include something that has been proven false. That's not a belief, that's just disregard for reality. 

Believing, and religion in general seem to fare better when they try to resolve the problems of what this reality means to the person experiencing it. Science can say exactly what we are and where we came from, but is silent on who we are or why we are or even how we can be. That's where religion/philosophy take over. Science could tell someone that they have a year to live. But, they would still want to know if they lived a worthwhile life, were they good or bad people? Science has no answer for that. 
Belief is properly used when you believe in things that are outside of the boundaries of science, but are still important nonetheless. I believe that seeing color is a beautiful way to interpret the visible light spectrum. I believe that mankind will choose to benefit one another with knowledge of science instead of choosing extinction.

There are those who would say that nothing is outside the bounds of science, e.g. morals are ways of thinking given by evolution (similar to instincts) and emotions are down to brain chemistry.

I agree with the above two examples and "the bounds of science" have a habit of expanding. Then again, philosophy is difficult to express in terms of science and the scientific method does not seem useful for all questions. I'm not sure and am bias as I am a scientist.

In short I think you have a point.

I don't mind leaving room for philosopy, it is based on reason and logic.

Also philosopy is compatible with science, being based on reason and logic and scientists use philosophy, for things like ethics, to justify some assumptions (esp. in stats and mathematics) and so forth.

I'm not sure if or how phliosophy uses science and would like to know if anyone would care to comment.




Update Your Membership :



Nexus on Social Media:

© 2020   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: The Nexus Group.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service