Religion vs Science


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            For I am both studying in SC 200 class and Religious Study course,  I begin to wonder the relationship between science and religion.  Remember we talked in the class that science can have nothing to do with faith. We learned the topic about "Do payer really heals" in our science class, and it is my first time to experience the use the scientific methodology in the realm of religion. Then when I learned St. Thomas Aquinas, a important thinker in Christian history in our religious class, I started to know that maybe we can combine science and religion together, just like St. Thomas combine reason and faith together.

            Do you believe in God? Or do you put your faith in science? Some argue that it has to be one or the other--that either you accept scientific dogma or give yourself over to dogma of the religious sort. Others see no contradiction between reason and faith, and are just as comfortable with the Big Bang as with the burning bush. However, no matter what your individually think of, this question seems to exist for over thousands of years.

            At the very beginning, I looked into the articles written by someone that hold the opinion that science and religion is incompatible. Most of them thinks that science operates in the natural, not the supernatural, but the religion focus almost on the supernatural miracles. Here is an example which stated in one of these articles,  I choose this example because we've already learn the "dark energy" in the class given by Dean Larson.  "When cosmologists reference 'dark energy' and 'dark matter' in reference to the so-called 'missing mass' needed to explain the structure and motion of galaxies and galaxy clusters along with the expansion of the universe, they do not intend these descriptors to be causal explanations. Dark energy and dark matter are merely cognitive conveniences until the actual sources of the energy and matter are discovered. When religious believers invoke miracles and acts of creation ex nihilo, that is the end of the search for them, whereas for scientists the identification of such mysteries is only the beginning." Science picks up where theology leaves off, that is the point of this comparison.  There's a saying from Michael Shermer the Founding publisher of the Skeptic magazine, "If no empirical claim is made that science can address, then there is little more to be said on the matter. If specific claims are made in the name of God and religion then let's hear them and put them to the test." So, in their opinions, science and religion are incompatible for they focus on different religion.

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            However, I  hold the different opinion. When we talked about modern science, we can easily to find that it was developed in the context of western religious thought, even was nurtured in universities which were first established for religious reasons.  And it also owes some of its greatest discoveries and advances to scientists who themselves were deeply religious. For example, Roger Bacon, a Franciscan, also pioneered the scientific method in 13th century. What's more, George Lemaître was Belgian priest and also, a scientist who first developed a mathematical foundation for the "Big Bang," in 20th century. These cases suggest that people of faith have played a key role in advancing scientific understanding. To be sure, it was religious fervor that led Giordano Bruno to be burned at the stake for his scientific "heresies" in 1600. However, it pushed ahead the religion into a new era then, it did change the faith in people's mind.  In the article of Kenneth R. Miller, the professor in Brown university claims, to insist that conflict is unavoidable is to ignore the common history of science and religion as well as the reality of scientists who see their vocation as perfectly consistent with their faith. A Dutch historian, R. Hooykaas had the argument that a biblical world-view holds all the necessary antidotes for the hubris of Greek rationalism: a respect for manual labour, leading to experimentation and a greater level of empiricism and a supreme God that left nature "de-deified" and open to emulation and manipulation. This argument, gives support to the idea that the rise of early modern science was due to a unique combination of Greek and biblical thought.

            Undeniably many differences between the issues is encompassed by science and religion. Few people ever take the time to realize how similar in nature the two really are. However, when we look in to this nature, we can find that both science and religion have their own set of books from whence all their information is drawn, philosophies of life and death, instructions and jargon. As what I learned in a paper, " It's actually a little creepy to think of how similar these two spheres really are, for science is a religion in and of itself, and religion is a type of science. Perhaps the reason why these two fields can never seem to quite get along is because they are too similar in their nature while being dissimilar in their specific outlooks."

            In my personal view, religion and science related to each other in many ways as I mentioned in the former article, there are people raised in religious backgrounds who find science to be more practical and logical while still keeping their faith in religion. The most important point is that what most people don't realize is that a majority of scientists are religious, not atheists.

 Source from:

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/1747

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relationship_between_religion_and_science#Influence_of_a_biblical_world_view_on_early_modern_science

http://ncse.com/religion

http://www.sacred-texts.com/aor/einstein/einsci.htm

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/religion-science/

5 Comments

This is one of the most interesting and informative blogs I've come across while in this class. I am a religious person myself and when we went over the topic of prayer in class, I was offended that anyone would even question prayer in the first place. I think it's so hard for people to recognize and accept what you are explaining in this blog because no one wants to question the church and/or God. This long time discussion has evolved so much, centuries ago God was responsible for everything, from growing abundant crops to curing the sick. We now know science has allowed us to manipulate genes and the life cycle of plants to grow food. Science also discovered cures and vaccines to keep people healthy and help us live long lives. Therefore, science only battles with religious views when science is in the hypothesis/experimental stages of the scientific theory. Science does not yet have a proven explanation, so society falls back on the explanation that it is God's doing. As I said, I am a religious person and believe in religious explanations for certain situations, but not all. For example, heaven. A place certain religions believe is where people go after they die to be with God. How could science possibly prove the existence or non existence of a spiritual place?

Personally, I tend to lean closer to the science side of this type of argument. Like the previous commenter inferred, there are plenty of things science cannot explain. Ideas like "heaven" and "hell" have basically protected religion from the field of science because it's impossible to scientifically prove it. However, as you look at the progression of science dating back to thousands of years, there seems to be this list of ideas that religions have presented to the world (the sun revolves around the earth, the earth is flat, etc.). These ideas were prevalent because science couldn't explain it, until one day they were disproved. Maybe as time continues to progress alongside with the advancement of science and technology, more and more religious ideologies will be disproved by science. I guess only time will tell.

"How could science possibly prove the existence or non existence of a spiritual place?" Well, it is definitely a good question, maybe one day we can know what will happen after our death, then we may possibly get the point.
And I remembered I have read an article which post an theory that after people's death we will enter into another space whcih has dimension prior to ours. However, I thought the another space may also be the heaven as well.
"I guess only time will tell."(PAUL MACKEY)

Your post proved to be very concise and interesting! So thank you. For the sake of adding more to the conversation, I'm curious if you've ever heard of Christian Science? It was created by Mary Baker Eddy in 1879 and centers around prayer. She believes that God intended for humans to learn about their world and their bodies. She created Christian Science for the people who believed in the healing of prayer AND metaphysical healing.

Source: http://christianscience.com/what-is-christian-science/about-the-founder-mary-baker-eddy

Religion and science are ultimately incompatible. First off, you're making a mistake by attributing whatever science hasn't explained yet to God. Another is that you're saying because many of the scietists happened to be religious throughout history, that somehow gives credibility to their religion and that is just bad science. And if you bother to look at history, religion only supports science until something is put forth that would violate the faith of that religion. For example, when fossils were first being discovered, Christians argued that they were put here by the devil to test their faith I_I. Religion is in no way science. Scientific inquiry asks a question that is not known and then sets out to test for whether or not it is true. Religion says it already knows. If you look at George Coyne in Bill Maher's "Religulous" he admits that there is no science in the Bible, although he has tried to bridge the gap between science and religion. Religion can't be scientific because the science it is trying to incorporate into its theology wasn't know at the time its text was written. Before chemistry we had alchemy, before astronomy we had astrology. Your claim about most scientists being religious I would argue is more about conformity. It also depends who you look at. The American Assn. for the Advancement of Science only have 51% of its members believing in God. The Royal Academy in Britain has less than 5% of its members believing in God (google royal society and belief in god). and believing in God and being religious are two different things. As far as prayer goes, there are studies that support and studies that deny it. I would say that it works for some people but only because of the psychological response in their brain. People have been known to get sick just because they think they are sick. It's like the lottery, you can't win if you don't play. I think you mentioning Giordano Bruno works against you. If a religious text was really written by God or at least divinely inspired and not man then why does it have to evolve? If God is right and this is his word why does it change over time? People who are trying to combine science and religion are unable to separate their human sense of reason from their faith and that is because the 2 are ultimately incompatible. It has happened to many great scientists. Neil Degrasse Tyson gives a good presentation on youtube about ID and how it affected people like Newton and Galileo. Combining science and God without religion would be a different concept itself. People know some of the things in religion are crazy and so they attempt to rationalize believing in it by using science but you can't. That's why it is called your "faith". And as far as the afterlife and different dimensions is concerned,there is no evidence the 2 are related. There is no desire stronger among humans than to conquer death because we fear the unknown. It's self-preservation. Religion ultimately fails because it supposed to be an infallible work on things like reality, life, and the universe but science can change with being hypocritical. Religion tries to make science fit with its tennets because they are able to change and religion is not, it will continue to have problems.

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