Posted by: notdeaddinosaur | May 13, 2016

Science & Religion

The great divide: science and religion. One of my new favorite blogs, Science ACEs, recently took on this topic. Here’s what they said. This is my take:

There is no conflict between science and religion (or at least there shouldn’t be) because they have fundamentally different purposes.

Science is the word we use to describe the process of discerning the physical world around us. We use our senses to make observations, which we then use to make hypotheses, which we then test with further observations, which we call experiments. Gravity, temperature, microorganisms, photosynthesis, and many other things and processes that exist can now be described with great accuracy thanks to science. Science is the only way to understand the universe around us; what it is and how it works.

Religion isn’t really about understanding. Religion is about emotion. Religion can (or should) provide hope in times of fear, comfort in times of grief, and even greater joy in times of happiness. Religion provides an emotional context to the world around us, and helps us come to terms with the unknown.

Ah, the unknown. That’s where science and religion come to blows.

Science says there is no such thing as “the unknown,”  only “the not yet known.” Religion butts in where it shouldn’t by claiming to know “everything,” even when most of it consists of making stuff up. This is the opposite of science, but when you don’t understand or refuse to believe science, it’s all you’ve got.

Science steps on the toes of Religion by discounting its importance to very large segments of humanity. The definition of faith is “not requiring proof.” Whether or not I understand how sunlight is refracted by atmospheric water vapor, seeing a rainbow still feels holy.

Intellect and emotion are the yin and yang of the human psyche. As humans, we do ourselves a disservice when we try to divorce ourselves from either. I have no qualms about considering myself a scientist into the very fiber of my being, while still lighting a candle and reciting ancient Aramaic words on the anniversary of my mother’s death.

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Responses

  1. You’ve said it beautifully! We most certainly can be scientists while maintaining our faith!

  2. Agreed. People should be allowed and encouraged to use the proper tool at the proper time.


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