Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

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JonBanes
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Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby JonBanes » Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:27 am UTC

I don't know if this has come up as a specific topic thread, but I want yous guys' input.

Can religion and science really be reconciled? There are two main branches of western thought, Abraham and Socrates, which gave rise to the western religious traditions and the scientific method, respectively. Can we get these men to agree or is there a fundamental difference between these philosophies.

I'm going to define Religion here as any philosophy that uses the idea of faith as a necessary tenet.
And Science is something roughly like the use of logic and reason to make conclusions about the universe based on observable events.

If you want to propose different definitions please do so, but please answer the main question after you do.

To me, faith means the abandonment of reason, and reason means the abandonment of faith, so these two tines of western thought are not compatible, but what's your take?

I don't want anyone to point out how many people are religious and use science or vice-versa. Please tell me what you believe, not what the aggregate says. I have no interest in arguments from peer-pressure. And of course, no off-topic posts, don't get carried away here.

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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby dedalus » Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:59 am UTC

I'm pretty sure this topic would have come up before, but there's a good answer from what I can see:

Science is the study of the natural world, religion is the philosophy that we were created by a supernatural force. Thus, as science cannot currently study anything outside the universe, or prove that nothing exists outside the universe, it is most certainly not incompatible with a divine being. A better argument here might be: 'Do you believe an all-powerful being to be not as powerful as to have created everything studied by science, and do you believe an omnipotent being to be not as intelligent as to have designed all the complexities of this world.' Indeed, plenty of scientists are made even more religious simply because of the complexity and beauty inherent in many parts of their study make it seem unlikely that they were created by pure chance.
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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby General_Norris » Thu Jun 18, 2009 7:07 am UTC

They are mutually exclusive as science requires you not to take something as true until you have evidence of it which is uncompatible with faith.

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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby dedalus » Thu Jun 18, 2009 7:28 am UTC

GN: No, scientific theories cannot be accepted as fact until backed up by proof. So, a theory of religion is by definition an unscientific theory unless god comes down and proves his existence. However, the reason behind it being unscientific is because it falls outside the boundaries of science. This doesn't mean that religion is exclusive to science, simply that religion is not part of science.
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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby the_phoenix612 » Thu Jun 18, 2009 7:38 am UTC

The fundamental difference between science and religion is that religion teaches that the "easy out" is acceptable.

Anything too complicated is explained by "god did it" and it teaches kids lazy problem solving. It also leads to lots of difficulty trying to investigate new ideas alongside religionists, as science takes time and religion is immediate.

Science's goal will always be to cast light into shadows and explore the unknown. By its very nature, religion requires the shadows and the unknown to survive. I don't see how they can co-exist peacefully.
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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby SummerGlauFan » Thu Jun 18, 2009 7:47 am UTC

They are not mutually exclusive. Religion is philosophy, which while not exactly related to science, is by no means in opposition.

Oh, and fyi, there's a difference between blind faith and, for lack of a better term, reasoned faith. Blind faith is sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling "NANHNAHNAHNAH!"* whenever something you don't agree with/that challenges you comes along because you like it and follow it without question ever.

Reasoned faith is "I don't know everything about this, but I've seen/learned enough to think this is the best way to go, and I probably will learn more. Oh, and I'm not going to just blindly swallow what someone says to me about this, either." This kind of person is likely to do some research and thinking whenever they come across a new tenet of their faith, or if something comes along that challenges any pre-conceived notions.

See the difference?

*Not exactly, but you get the hyperbole, yes?

Edit: phoenix, no, just no. Many, many religions value their followers learning (even if, *gasp* the subject is not in their scriptures). Stereotyping based on the most radical/stupid members of a large group of people never works.
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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby the_phoenix612 » Thu Jun 18, 2009 7:49 am UTC

SummerGlauFan wrote:They are not mutually exclusive. Religion is philosophy, which while not exactly related to science, is by no means in opposition.

Oh, and fyi, there's a difference between blind faith and, for lack of a better term, reasoned faith. Blind faith is sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling "NANHNAHNAHNAH!"* whenever something you don't agree with/that challenges you comes along because you like it and follow it without question ever.

Reasoned faith is "I don't know everything about this, but I've seen/learned enough to think this is the best way to go, and I probably will learn more. Oh, and I'm not going to just blindly swallow what someone says to me about this, either." This kind of person is likely to do some research and thinking whenever they come across a new tenet of their faith, or if something comes along that challenges any pre-conceived notions.

See the difference?

*Not exactly, but you get the hyperbole, yes?

Edit: phoenix, no, just no. Many, many religions value their followers learning (even if, *gasp* the subject is not in their scriptures). Stereotyping based on the most radical/stupid members of a large group of people never works.


At the very core of anything based on the supernatural is the unexplainable. If the unexplainable is explained, what is left?

That is the ultimate collision between religion and science. They can get along for awhile, but one is committed to the destruction of what the other is based upon.

Unless we're talking about non-dogmatic religions?
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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby SummerGlauFan » Thu Jun 18, 2009 8:00 am UTC

the_phoenix612 wrote:
At the very core of anything based on the supernatural is the currentlyunexplainable.


fix'd. Just because we don't currently understand how something was done, and even if said something was done by a more powerful being (i.e. God) doesn't make it magical or impossible to know. It especially doesn't mean we should not try to figure it out (a.k.a, science).

While I know this varies from religion to religion (and denomination to denomination), good religious practices don't stifle their followers' desire or ability to learn.*

*Yes, I know some religions (more appropriately, some leaders of some religions) have tried to stifle learning, it is generally frowned upon (i.e., considered abhorrent), especially today.
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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby the_phoenix612 » Thu Jun 18, 2009 8:03 am UTC

SummerGlauFan wrote:
the_phoenix612 wrote:
At the very core of anything based on the supernatural is the currentlyunexplainable.


fix'd. Just because we don't currently understand how something was done, and even if said something was done by a more powerful being (i.e. God) doesn't make it magical or impossible to know. It especially doesn't mean we should not try to figure it out (a.k.a, science).

While I know this varies from religion to religion (and denomination to denomination), good religious practices don't stifle their followers' desire or ability to learn.*

*Yes, I know some religions (more appropriately, some leaders of some religions) have tried to stifle learning, it is generally frowned upon (i.e., considered abhorrent), especially today.


Religions were invented for the same reason science was: to explain the unknown. Are you disputing that?

If and when every phenomenon can be explained rationally, what role does religion play? Its lifeblood drained, I see it wasting away...
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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby dedalus » Thu Jun 18, 2009 8:08 am UTC

TP, your arguments require the assumption that when everything is explained god will not exist.

I'll agree that there's plenty of religious people who are anti-science, but that's just because science invites logic and reason, whereas a lot of religious causes dont prize this amongst their followers. Oh, and following most holy books religiously will lead you into conflicts with science. But the idea that the entire universe was created by a divine being(s) does not contradict any current evidence or theories. If you think it does, I'd very much like to hear examples.
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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby Phill » Thu Jun 18, 2009 8:09 am UTC

the_phoenix612 wrote:At the very core of anything based on the supernatural is the unexplainable. If the unexplainable is explained, what is left?


I strongly disagree with this. I can't speak for other religions, but Christianity (the religion I follow) is not based on 'the unexplainable'. It's all about man's relationship with God. So what if we now know more about the natural world. Makes absolutely no difference - the view of most of the Christians that I know (and many of the early natural philosophers, the roots of modern science) is that there can be no conflict between the natural world and the Bible because they are both written by the same hand. (But don't get me started on those creationist nutcases :P )

There are some people who assert that scientific knowledge is the only valid kind of knowledge (logical positivism). I always like asking them if they can justify that belief using science :D

There's a good book called 'Rebuilding the Matrix' by Denis Alexander which argues that religion and science can co-exist, I found it quite helpful.

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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby Snowflake » Thu Jun 18, 2009 8:20 am UTC

the_phoenix612 wrote:Religions were invented for the same reason science was: to explain the unknown. Are you disputing that?
Side story: religion was an error made by the masses that turned the original teachers' spiritual teachings into religious dogmas.

Spirituality is about living "god" (god meaning the truth of our nature). However, the masses misunderstood their spiritual teachings and made them into beliefs. Believing in a mental abstraction of a "God" is a poor substitute for living god itself.

Thus, what's known as "modern religion" opposes science by its very definition.

Phill wrote:Makes absolutely no difference - the view of most of the Christians that I know (and many of the early natural philosophers, the roots of modern science) is that there can be no conflict between the natural world and the Bible because they are both written by the same hand.
The problem is much of what the bible described is impossible by modern science.
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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby Phill » Thu Jun 18, 2009 8:25 am UTC

Snowflake wrote:The problem is much of what the bible described is impossible by modern science.


You speak of miracles, I assume. I'd say that the goal of science was to describe how the universe usually works.

If there is a God then miracles are eminently possible - particularly if they occur for a specific purpose. I don't think science has much to say on the matter - other methods must be used to determine whether they probably happened or not.

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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby Bluggo » Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:16 am UTC

JonBanes wrote:I'm going to define Religion here as any philosophy that uses the idea of faith as a necessary tenet.

Just chiming in to say that this definition is, I believe, almost completely wrong: the concept of Faith does not even appear in most religions to begin with.

Religions are extremely complex cultural phenomena, and cannot be meaningfully reduced to sets of beliefs; sure, some religions - for example, most brands of Christianity - place much importance on certain assumptions about the nature of the supernatural, but this does not by any means capture their whole scope.

To make an example, some days ago I was reading about Unitarian Universalism.
As far as I can see, its belief system amounts to little more than "people should try not to be dicks", but nonetheless it certainly is a full-fledged religion - and one that is obviously compatible with a scientific worldview, no matter what you take "scientific worldview" to precisely mean (and this is another issue which would deserve a way more careful analysis, by the way).

So, if the question was "can some religion be compatible with science?", the answer is definitely "yes".

Then, one could try to ask whether religion X is compatible with Science, but again, one must keep in mind that religions evolve - for example, I would argue that Catholicism today is mostly compatible with a scientific worldview, but Catholicism as it was intended during the Middle Ages definitely was not.
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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby dedalus » Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:18 am UTC

Snowflake wrote:
the_phoenix612 wrote:Religions were invented for the same reason science was: to explain the unknown. Are you disputing that?
Side story: religion was an error made by the masses that turned the original teachers' spiritual teachings into religious dogmas.

Spirituality is about living "god" (god meaning the truth of our nature). However, the masses misunderstood their spiritual teachings and made them into beliefs. Believing in a mental abstraction of a "God" is a poor substitute for living god itself.

Thus, what's known as "modern religion" opposes science by its very definition.

Phill wrote:Makes absolutely no difference - the view of most of the Christians that I know (and many of the early natural philosophers, the roots of modern science) is that there can be no conflict between the natural world and the Bible because they are both written by the same hand.
The problem is much of what the bible described is impossible by modern science.


I don't really see your logic towards the conclusion you reached here snowflake. Also, we're talking about religion being compatible with science, not the bible being based on historical or even believable fact. The interpretation of the bible is what causes most divisions in christianity.
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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby General_Norris » Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:00 am UTC

Phill wrote:I strongly disagree with this. I can't speak for other religions, but Christianity (the religion I follow) is not based on 'the unexplainable'. It's all about man's relationship with God.


God as in "the inexplainable" since we're talking about a religious god and not a methaphisical god.

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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby Shpow » Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:03 am UTC

Definitely not. Quite the contrary actually, I say they're complimentary. Religion and Science aren't two approaches to the same thing, but two approaches for the two main (or possibly ONLY) components of life. The physical and the spiritual. Religion should NEVER, EVER be used to explain scientific things. The world wasn't created in six days, Adam and Eve never existed, Poseidon doesn't control the tides, Zeus doesn't throw lightning, Fujin doesn't blow the winds and Tengu don't shapeshift. The reason why Religion shouldn't be used exclusively is because we, as humans, have the means to understand, develop, revamp, reinvent and improve the world around us. The means generally known as 'science'. Science explains how the universe came to be, how we exist in the universe, how we breathe etc,.

However, science can't explain why we're here OR what exists beyond the physical. That's up to philosophy, or Religion. That's the aim of Religion, having faith in something that science can't explain, because it feels right, it feels real. It's the one thing science can't REALLY explain. Unless dying to find out what happens after still falls under the scientific method. Still, would be hard proving it to other people.

My main point is that with both Science AND Religion can be followed in one's life. Is it not possible for a God to create the Big bang?
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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby dedalus » Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:18 am UTC

Shpow, you just put all my ideas in much better terms then I could ever say myself.
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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby Shpow » Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:14 pm UTC

Thanks n_n. Mainly I had a good education in this thing, that and all the years I've spent exploring these things. I can be stubborn at times when I've found my preference to a belief but I enjoy these discussions. These are all fairly common topics (some a bit more elaborate than most). But I'm having fun with you guys, I just love this forum to bits
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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby DSenette » Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:35 pm UTC

You speak of miracles, I assume. I'd say that the goal of science was to describe how the universe usually works.
i think this gets to the root of the science v religion issue

strange shit happens daily in science....in fact a LOT of things in science happen and no one knows WHY or HOW for years...they just know it did happen...

some dude walks out of the desert and turns a bunch of water into wine....based on known science...this is "magic" and cannot be explained

some lady is playing with some rocks....and notices that they gave off some kind of energy of their own.....at the time....magic

what's the difference between the two? one of them we've been able to study and find a reason (somewhat) for the rays caused...the other isn't observable... does it make the former "unprovable"? not particularly...if some guy turned water to wine today there would be scientists crawling all over it and surely they'd find an explanation (even if it's not complete)....would that make it any less "magic"?

science can show WHY radioactive material emits rays to a point... i.e. it's the decay of the material etc.. etc.. but can they explain why that stuff starts in the first place?

every bit of science that has ever been is based on a currently unproven idea that's worked through until there is some form of proof (affirmation or negation)....just because no one has found a way to prove that there is or isn't some form of higher being(s)/force doesn't mean that there won't be a time when i can be proven

science is the act of postulating a concept/theory/idea and trying to prove/disprove it....therefore religion (non radical, non totalitarian religion) is a form of science in it's own rite....it's an attempt to study things that are observed and find the cause
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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby Indon » Thu Jun 18, 2009 3:27 pm UTC

All sciences require the assumption of certain fundamental axioms about reality in order for, well, science to be able to function. From there, science strives to explain phenomena using theories, and testing and revising those theories based on further data.

You can apply this methodology to religion by expanding the fundamental axioms involved, but it will probably lead to one of two results:

-Your additional axiom conflicts with data (Example: a belief that the universe is 6,000 years old) and will need to be reevaluated and ultimately discarded.

-Your additional axiom does not conflict with data (Example: A deity seeded and/or created the universe) but has no further impact - as such, it is an extraneous axiom and holding it is unneccessary. From there, occam's razor indicates that you shouldn't bother with it.

A third scenario is possible but has not been observed from any religious axiom, nor any axiom that I know of in the last couple hundred years, the current philosophical basis of the scientific method being rather well-established:

-Your additional axiom produces a system more capable of producing theories consistent with observed data, implying that it is at least useful and possibly necessary.

the_phoenix612 wrote:Religions were invented for the same reason science was: to explain the unknown. Are you disputing that?


Many religions are more proscriptive than they are descriptive, so while this tends to be true, it is not ubiquitous to all religions or necessary for any given religion.

However, science is never proscriptive in nature (In this respect it would be trivial to demonstrate that a purely proscriptive religion would be compatible with the purely descriptive scientific method), so in the interest of staying on-topic I'm solely discussing descriptive religious elements.

dedalus wrote:TP, your arguments require the assumption that when everything is explained god will not exist.


Or that, if the existence of a deity is proven, it will no longer be a religious subject, as it will become a scientific one. But that's more a semantic argument.
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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby Zcorp » Thu Jun 18, 2009 8:51 pm UTC

@OP
Depending on your definition of religion, science is religion. Then if your looking to attach faith as a prerequisite for religion. You probably need to define faith.

You need to come up with more useful definitions of science and religion for this discussion to do anything useful. It is already far from using your definition as it was inadequate and now people are just using their own subjective definitions resulting in debate, which is far from your original intention.

And this discussion did come up during tangents in a few of the religious discussions.

Here are a couple different definitions of religion:
Dictionary.com wrote:a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

This definition needs to define belief to be useful. But if look at the intent and change 'beliefs' to 'knowledge and ideas' it fits science very well. Oh it needs to define supernatural as well. Supernatural:
wikipedia wrote:The term supernatural or supranatural (Latin: super, supra "above" + natura "nature") pertains to an order of existence beyond the scientifically visible universe.

Science works to understand the nature and the purpose of existence. It looks at things that are supernatural; and tries to make them scientifically visible. Has devotional observance; the scientific method. Contains a moral code governing human affairs; The humanities.

thefreedictionary.com wrote:A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.

Science generally shys away from using the word belief which is all to often confused with the words conviction, knowledge or idea. It also does not like the word worship. It would generally be not compatible with this definition. Using science as a tool for gaining knowledge and understanding requires its practitioners to be adaptive. Beliefs and worship generally do not include adaptation. But I can believe or even have conviction that everything is is of nature, at which point others may label me as a Naturalist. But naturalism is not mutually exclusive from science.

So as a short answer, no religion is not mutually exclusive. However, there are some religions that are.

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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby guenther » Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:57 pm UTC

the_phoenix612 wrote:Religions were invented for the same reason science was: to explain the unknown. Are you disputing that?

I will dispute this. My theory is that religion is about a way to live life while science is about learning how things work. Thus religion is wisdom and science is knowledge. They are two different tools designed to do two different things. When they collide, we experience pain, but then they find a balance again and continue coexisting.

Science's rigorous, systematic methods map out reality-based knowledge giving us insight in how to further take advantage of physics, chemistry, biology, etc. But it's very poor at providing wisdom since our values are really invented concepts, not physical properties. We can scientifically make measurements of our values based on the perception of people ("Which type of car do you like more?"), but that changes too much across people and time for science to map out much detail. We can scientifically analyze costs and benefits ("Should I save up for a car or take out a loan?"), but we have to use our intuition-based values to decide if the costs outweigh the benefits.

Conversely, religion is about providing a system of living life. A particular religion will contain a body of knowledge, but it's more concerned about being believable than being reality-based. I suspect it relates to and uses knowledge in two ways. First, we often store units of wisdom by embedding them in stories. Sometimes we use directives ("Thou shalt ..."), but giving an example can help us relate. Second, how we view the world very much affects how we behave. If we feel that goodness is a fundamental value in the universe, we're more motivated to do it. Doing something important is easier than doing something irrelevant.

If religion were fundamentally about knowledge, then it would have faded as the body of science grew. But despite growing pains, it remains quite strong and has just had to restake it's turf. The origin of man is really not that important to Jesus' message of how to live life, and I doubt it would be a part of the Bible if we knew back then about evolution.

In response to the OP, I'm not sure if he is directing his question at the society level or at one individual mind. For one person, it can be a hard balance, but many people will testify that it is possible. At the societal level, we have a long history of science and religion coexisting quite happily. Christianity now has almost completely retreated from claims about the measurable universe. In a generation or two it will have to give up our origin story as well, and I bet it won't diminish it's relevance to people's lives.
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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby Nath » Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:12 pm UTC

Several of the posts here have been along the lines, "science deals with the physical world; religion deals with the supernatural world". The thing is, 'supernatural' is one of those words that can be useful in day-to-day conversation, but breaks down if you look at it too closely. If an entity physically exists -- a ghost, a god, a unicorn, whatever -- then it's a part of the natural world, and can be studied as such. If something does not physically exist, it is fictitious.

Most religions make claims about the nature of the physical universe. Blind acceptance of these claims is inconsistent with scientific methodology; in this sense, science and religion are incompatible.

Many religions also contain ideas that have nothing to do with the physical universe -- recommendations for how to live your life, for instance. This aspect of religion is compatible with science.

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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby the_phoenix612 » Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:16 pm UTC

Nath wrote:Several of the posts here have been along the lines, "science deals with the physical world; religion deals with the supernatural world". The thing is, 'supernatural' is one of those words that can be useful in day-to-day conversation, but breaks down if you look at it too closely. If an entity physically exists -- a ghost, a god, a unicorn, whatever -- then it's a part of the natural world, and can be studied as such. If something does not physically exist, it is fictitious.

Most religions make claims about the nature of the physical universe. Blind acceptance of these claims is inconsistent with scientific methodology; in this sense, science and religion are incompatible.

Many religions also contain ideas that have nothing to do with the physical universe -- recommendations for how to live your life, for instance. This aspect of religion is compatible with science.


that was my point.
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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby dedalus » Fri Jun 19, 2009 2:38 am UTC

Nath wrote:Several of the posts here have been along the lines, "science deals with the physical world; religion deals with the supernatural world". The thing is, 'supernatural' is one of those words that can be useful in day-to-day conversation, but breaks down if you look at it too closely. If an entity physically exists -- a ghost, a god, a unicorn, whatever -- then it's a part of the natural world, and can be studied as such. If something does not physically exist, it is fictitious.

Most religions make claims about the nature of the physical universe. Blind acceptance of these claims is inconsistent with scientific methodology; in this sense, science and religion are incompatible.

Many religions also contain ideas that have nothing to do with the physical universe -- recommendations for how to live your life, for instance. This aspect of religion is compatible with science.

Well, this argument is delving into the specific rather then the general. If we talk about many religions (religions being different to religion), islam, judaism, christianity, scientology, the history of the universe they give generally cannot be backed up by any method of academia. I have heard tell that there is historical evidence for jesus and possibly even a massive flood on the scale of noah, but definitely, any attempt to prove the literal interpretation of the bible etc runs into the problem that it's proved beyond doubt that the earth let alone the universe is a bit more then 6000 years old.

But if you define religion (non-plural) as the belief that there is a conscious entity that operates outside the laws of the universe and created us all, then this is consistent with any and all scientific theories until we can find some way of performing experiments outside of our physical dimensions... this may well prove to be impossible. Indeed, even if we do do these experiments and find that there exists no god in an nth dimension outside our own, there will always exist the chance that one exists in another dimension yet unknown. The main reason why religion is not a scientific theory is because it is by nature unfalsifyable... we can say that god created the universe, but if the big bang created the universe, maybe god created the big bang, but if the big bang is explicable by some other mechanism, maybe god created that mechanism etc etc. Religion can always expand the extent to which god created everything by going one step beyond the realm of science; by nature god is all-powerful right? Thus, any arguments against gods existent cannot be of scientific nature 'god doesn't exist because of this proven scientific theory', instead they have to be philosophical 'god cannot exist because life is unfair' etc. As philosophy and science occupy two different spheres of thought, they coexist because they don't overlap.

As such, the argument given here must be an argument on religion via religions. It seems that as science continues to disprove the historical part of religious books e.g. the bible, the religion changes to focus less on that and more on the teachings and wisdom: as Guenther says:
guenther wrote:Conversely, religion is about providing a system of living life. A particular religion will contain a body of knowledge, but it's more concerned about being believable than being reality-based. I suspect it relates to and uses knowledge in two ways. First, we often store units of wisdom by embedding them in stories. Sometimes we use directives ("Thou shalt ..."), but giving an example can help us relate. Second, how we view the world very much affects how we behave. If we feel that goodness is a fundamental value in the universe, we're more motivated to do it. Doing something important is easier than doing something irrelevant.


So yes, Nath and the_phoenix, your arguments are logical and make perfect sense, but we're not really debating 'x religion isn't historically correct'. A more interesting debate would be towards whether a religion e.g. christianity is good/correct without this historical accuracy; and I'm pretty sure there's a thread regarding this. But we're debating exclusivity, not whether they're correct, and the two terms are slightly different; exclusivity means that whilst one exists the other cannot, rather then simply being wrong.
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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby the_phoenix612 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 3:46 am UTC

Oh, where to begin ...

1) Don't quote the entirety of a long response that directly precedes your post. It's right there. Quote relevant portions that you're responding to. Which brings us to ...

2) Take the time to actually respond with something meaningful, rather than just belittling other participants with non-contributory quips.

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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby popprocks » Fri Jun 19, 2009 4:52 am UTC

Science does not need religion to be validated.

Mutual exclusion is up to interpretation, but the only way science and religion can be included in one concept is through fantastical redundancy.

Suppose I say, "If you put a boulder on a mountain, it will roll down because of the force of gravity."

Then, a theist says, "If you put a boulder on a mountain, the force of gravity AND unicorn-riding pixies will pull make the boulder roll down."

I presented a logical, scientifically accepted theory.

The theist presented a theory that mutually included science AND religion. His statement seems ridiculous and you question his sanity. Why?

Science is already able to explain very, very many ideas in a testable, evidence-based fashion. The reason people made up religion was to explain ideas in an evidence-less fantastical way in order to make themselves feel more knowledgeable about their surroundings (Ex: the seasons are because of Persephone; if we kill infidels, we will be rewarded by Allah; the earth was magically created by God). When you put both in the same place, you end up with a redundant explanation, part of which is valid and part of which is not. When you try to stew in pixies-on-unicorns to my theory of gravity, or when you try to put the hand of God in my theory of evolution, you are only stewing nonsense into sense; fantasy into nonfiction, subjective thoughts into empirical evidence.

"This scientific theory is very logical and I accept that it could exist entirely on its own . . but God helped too" is a sad statement indeed.

With that said, science cannot ever prove or disprove god, because as dedalus wrote earlier, there can always be another dimension, or maybe God is nonphysical, or maybe God is inside the sun or some stupid crap. However, just because science cannot DIRECTLY counter theism in general does not mean that they are compatible, even a little. Scientific theories are published with the assumption that no deity was involved with the phenomenon in question. Taking a good theory then adding a God is like writing "1 + 0" whenever you want to say "1;" You get across the legitimate, substantial portion of the statement, "1," but then add "0" (your God of choice) just because you feel like it. Adding zero is unnecessary, it's unwanted, don't do it.

The only reason somebody would want to add zero would be because they really, really want to believe that the zero is truly there. SAD.

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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby Nath » Fri Jun 19, 2009 6:24 am UTC

dedalus wrote:But if you define religion (non-plural) as the belief that there is a conscious entity that operates outside the laws of the universe and created us all, then this is consistent with any and all scientific theories until we can find some way of performing experiments outside of our physical dimensions... this may well prove to be impossible. Indeed, even if we do do these experiments and find that there exists no god in an nth dimension outside our own, there will always exist the chance that one exists in another dimension yet unknown. The main reason why religion is not a scientific theory is because it is by nature unfalsifyable... we can say that god created the universe, but if the big bang created the universe, maybe god created the big bang, but if the big bang is explicable by some other mechanism, maybe god created that mechanism etc etc. Religion can always expand the extent to which god created everything by going one step beyond the realm of science; by nature god is all-powerful right? Thus, any arguments against gods existent cannot be of scientific nature 'god doesn't exist because of this proven scientific theory', instead they have to be philosophical 'god cannot exist because life is unfair' etc. As philosophy and science occupy two different spheres of thought, they coexist because they don't overlap.

There are two problems with this.
  • My point wasn't that science can be used to disprove religion. As you point out, this can't be done, since most religions make unfalsifiable claims. They are inconsistent only in the sense that accepting claims on the basis of faith violates the principles of the scientific method. The problem is that certain religious beliefs can't be scientifically justified; it's not that they can be scientifically proven to be false.
  • I don't buy your premise that science and religion deal with non-overlapping domains. (Also, let's not equate philosophy with religion.) Science and religion both deal with questions of what's true and what's false; what exists and what doesn't. (Religion also deals with various other questions, of course.) It makes no sense to say that something exists 'outside our universe', or 'doesn't obey the laws of physics'. Everything that exists affects us, directly or indirectly, is part of the universe. Everything obeys the laws of physics; when something appears not to, we need to refine our approximations of the laws. If god exists, he or she or it is in the realm of science. Everything that exists, and everything that might exist, in in the realm of science.

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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby dedalus » Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:37 am UTC

I don't hold that Science and religion vie for the same territory. Most of science is about explaining the world, most of religion is telling people what to do, and giving hope that there exists a greater purpose. I don't think most modern religions make any claim to explain that 'this is how the world is' except for the metaphysical: e.g. 'God wanted bush/obama/whoever to win', 'Allah has put the western world in power to test our faith', 'By accepting this suffering I will gain untold wealth in heaven' etc etc etc (These are just examples that sprung to mind, they're not meant to be taken as stereotypes of any such religion). Apart from the idea that there is some divine being that started the whole thing off, most sensible modern religions will agree with scientific principle, and so they should. I can understand the idea that god was originally used to explain everything that couldn't be explained at the time, and now that we can explain most of those occurrences they're no longer blamed on god, but that's really not the whole purpose to religion, and there's always going to be a question of 'why'... 'why do symmetry-breaking mechanisms occur in the universe', 'why do quarks exist', 'why did the big bang happen', and religion can be used to explain that (maybe you buy it, maybe you dont, personally, I'm ambivalent). So yeah, as science continues to answer each 'why does this happen' question, religion instead moves a step backwards, to the 'but why does that happen' question. Seeing as the perennial 'why' will never completely be answered by science (as only maths teachers can impart universal truths to their students), religion will continue to occupy the space that science can't answer.

@poprocks: If you put a boulder on a mountain, and it rolls down because of the force of gravity, what causes the gravity? I don't need no unicorn-riding pixies to make the boulder roll down a mountain to prove god, who says god didn't make the gravity?

Nath wrote:The problem is that certain religious beliefs can't be scientifically justified; it's not that they can be scientifically proven to be false.
But I can create a religious belief that justifies all science: 'God created the universe and made it follow the rules we see now'. If you think about the Venn Diagram, the circle of religion encompasses all of science. However, it's easier to say they don't overlap, because anything that is explained by science is explained by religion in exactly the same method.

Oh, and religion is philosophy:
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn wrote:Philosophy

doctrine: a belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school
the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics
any personal belief about how to live or how to deal with a situation; "self-indulgence was his only philosophy"; "my father's philosophy of child-rearing was to let mother do it"


Science and religion both deal with questions of what's true and what's false; what exists and what doesn't. (Religion also deals with various other questions, of course.) It makes no sense to say that something exists 'outside our universe', or 'doesn't obey the laws of physics'. Everything that exists affects us, directly or indirectly, is part of the universe. Everything obeys the laws of physics; when something appears not to, we need to refine our approximations of the laws. If god exists, he or she or it is in the realm of science. Everything that exists, and everything that might exist, is in the realm of science.

Phew, you've got a lot of work to do proving all those claims. Science holds a bound at the measurable universe, for the same reasons that the copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics came to the decision that science cannot determine the nature of subatomic particles, only their behaviour. It's well known that in many cases the laws of physics could quite well break down: E.g. around the time of the big bang. You cannot prove that everything is held within this universe unless you define 'the universe' as holding everything, in which case I'll stress 'observable/measurable universe'.
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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby Nath » Fri Jun 19, 2009 8:20 am UTC

dedalus wrote:I don't hold that Science and religion vie for the same territory. Most of science is about explaining the world, most of religion is telling people what to do, and giving hope that there exists a greater purpose. I don't think most modern religions make any claim to explain that 'this is how the world is' except for the metaphysical: e.g. 'God wanted bush/obama/whoever to win', 'Allah has put the western world in power to test our faith', 'By accepting this suffering I will gain untold wealth in heaven' etc etc etc (These are just examples that sprung to mind, they're not meant to be taken as stereotypes of any such religion). Apart from the idea that there is some divine being that started the whole thing off, most sensible modern religions will agree with scientific principle, and so they should. I can understand the idea that god was originally used to explain everything that couldn't be explained at the time, and now that we can explain most of those occurrences they're no longer blamed on god, but that's really not the whole purpose to religion, and there's always going to be a question of 'why'... 'why do symmetry-breaking mechanisms occur in the universe', 'why do quarks exist', 'why did the big bang happen', and religion can be used to explain that (maybe you buy it, maybe you dont, personally, I'm ambivalent). So yeah, as science continues to answer each 'why does this happen' question, religion instead moves a step backwards, to the 'but why does that happen' question. Seeing as the perennial 'why' will never completely be answered by science (as only maths teachers can impart universal truths to their students), religion will continue to occupy the space that science can't answer.

Nath wrote:Many religions also contain ideas that have nothing to do with the physical universe -- recommendations for how to live your life, for instance. This aspect of religion is compatible with science.

I'm not saying that religion and science deal with identical domains. I'm saying that there are areas of overlap, and that in these areas, science and religion have conflicting methodologies for gathering information. Many modern religions do make claims about the physical universe. You can dismiss these claims as 'not sensible' -- I certainly do -- but they are still a part of religion. I'm saying that this aspect of religion is incompatible with science.

I'm not sure I fully follow your point about the perennial 'why'. Sure, behind every question there is another one you could ask. This is true of both science and religion. Using religion to answer the questions science hasn't yet answered is just a modern version of blaming thunder on the gods.

(I also have something to say on the merits of having a religion tell you what to do etc., but this probably isn't the thread for that :).)

dedalus wrote:Oh, and religion is philosophy:

Religion is a tiny subset of philosophy. They are not synonyms. A lot of science is also within the realm of philosophy.

dedalus wrote:Phew, you've got a lot of work to do proving all those claims. Science holds a bound at the measurable universe, for the same reasons that the copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics came to the decision that science cannot determine the nature of subatomic particles, only their behaviour. It's well known that in many cases the laws of physics could quite well break down: E.g. around the time of the big bang. You cannot prove that everything is held within this universe unless you define 'the universe' as holding everything, in which case I'll stress 'observable/measurable universe'.

The laws of physics do not break down. Not even at the big bang. People often talk about the laws of physics breaking down, but what that really means is that our models of the laws of physics break down.

As for the observable universe vs. the 'entire' universe: if something can affect us in any way at all, then in some sense it is observable. If god is outside the observable universe, it couldn't possibly have affected us in any way, and thus might as well not exist. Anything we believe about it, whether through faith or speculation, is completely unsupported by the evidence, since there cannot possibly be any evidence.

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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby dedalus » Fri Jun 19, 2009 10:27 am UTC

Nath wrote:I'm not saying that religion and science deal with identical domains. I'm saying that there are areas of overlap, and that in these areas, science and religion have conflicting methodologies for gathering information. Many modern religions do make claims about the physical universe. You can dismiss these claims as 'not sensible' -- I certainly do -- but they are still a part of religion. I'm saying that this aspect of religion is incompatible with science.

Once again, dealing with religions (plural), rather then religion(encompassing). Many modern religions make claims that I'd use much stronger terms then 'not sensible'... right now I can't think of a religion that doesn't have such ideas. But, the idea of religion itself; that there is some being that created the universe in whichever way the universe was created, and made human's souls, and this isn't disprovable by science.

Nath wrote:I'm not sure I fully follow your point about the perennial 'why'. Sure, behind every question there is another one you could ask. This is true of both science and religion. Using religion to answer the questions science hasn't yet answered is just a modern version of blaming thunder on the gods

Well, the point people are making is that as science answers the questions that were originally answered with the all encompassing statement 'by the will of god', religion is slowly eroded. I'm saying it's not, as the questions merely change in their content of what god did. Yes, it's a modern version of blaming thunder on the gods, but if that's all you associate religion with, then that hasn't exactly changed.

Nath wrote:The laws of physics do not break down. Not even at the big bang. People often talk about the laws of physics breaking down, but what that really means is that our models of the laws of physics break down.

Define laws of physics. Popular scientific theory is definitely saying that as the universe gets towards the planck length the laws of physics we currently associate with cease to work. Yes, we can attempt to explain the changes etc, but physics still hasn't yet come up with the big answer to the question 'why are we here', or 'why did it all start' except for 'because'. So, the differences between the areas science and religion approach are that science asks the question 'how does the world work', and religion asks the question 'why does the world work'.

Nath wrote:Religion is a tiny subset of philosophy. They are not synonyms. A lot of science is also within the realm of philosophy.

Religion is aphilosophy. Philosophy definitely is not religion. I apologise here though, leaving out the a gives it a different meaning; will edit.

Nath wrote:As for the observable universe vs. the 'entire' universe: if something can affect us in any way at all, then in some sense it is observable. If god is outside the observable universe, it couldn't possibly have affected us in any way, and thus might as well not exist. Anything we believe about it, whether through faith or speculation, is completely unsupported by the evidence, since there cannot possibly be any evidence.

Just because it hasn't yet, doesn't mean it wont. If you're saying god didn't effect us in any way, I'll say that god created the universe via the big bang, and we can observe him because the universe exists. Prove me wrong. And if we're giving god any form of intelligence let alone omnipotence, then we're allowing him the ability to not have interacted with us yet whether or not he has the capacity to.
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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby Nath » Fri Jun 19, 2009 12:21 pm UTC

dedalus wrote:Once again, dealing with religions (plural), rather then religion(encompassing). Many modern religions make claims that I'd use much stronger terms then 'not sensible'... right now I can't think of a religion that doesn't have such ideas. But, the idea of religion itself; that there is some being that created the universe in whichever way the universe was created, and made human's souls, and this isn't disprovable by science.

Nath wrote:My point wasn't that science can be used to disprove religion. As you point out, this can't be done, since most religions make unfalsifiable claims. They are inconsistent only in the sense that accepting claims on the basis of faith violates the principles of the scientific method. The problem is that certain religious beliefs can't be scientifically justified; it's not that they can be scientifically proven to be false.

I know you responded to that, but your response was the scientific method can be justified by religion. I'm claiming that the reverse isn't true.

Science is a method for gathering knowledge. Religiously-acquired knowledge doesn't meet the standard required by the scientific method, even if it isn't directly contradictory. This is the sense in which they are incompatible.

dedalus wrote:Well, the point people are making is that as science answers the questions that were originally answered with the all encompassing statement 'by the will of god', religion is slowly eroded. I'm saying it's not, as the questions merely change in their content of what god did. Yes, it's a modern version of blaming thunder on the gods, but if that's all you associate religion with, then that hasn't exactly changed.

Oh. Sure, I agree. People can always find something new to make up :).

dedalus wrote:Define laws of physics. Popular scientific theory is definitely saying that as the universe gets towards the planck length the laws of physics we currently associate with cease to work. Yes, we can attempt to explain the changes etc, but physics still hasn't yet come up with the big answer to the question 'why are we here', or 'why did it all start' except for 'because'. So, the differences between the areas science and religion approach are that science asks the question 'how does the world work', and religion asks the question 'why does the world work'.

I understand 'the laws of physics' to refer to the set of rules describing how the universe works. We don't know these rules; we cannot directly observe them. The best we can do is observe the universe, and make models that approximate the true rules (i.e. make accurate predictions). The models break down in exceptional circumstances, but the true rules, by definition, are always right. One of the main objectives of science is to make the models more and more similar to the true rules.

As for 'how' vs 'why', I actually had a paragraph in one of my earlier posts dealing with this very question, but took it out because it didn't seem very relevant to your post :). The thing is, most of the big 'why' questions are actually meaningless. Asking 'why?' usually assumes the existence of an intelligent decision-maker, and asks about its motives. If the decision-maker physically exists, then its motives can be studied by the scientific method. If not, to ask 'why?' is to anthropomorphize a physical process.

dedalus wrote:Just because it hasn't yet, doesn't mean it wont. If you're saying god didn't effect us in any way, I'll say that god created the universe via the big bang, and we can observe him because the universe exists. Prove me wrong. And if we're giving god any form of intelligence let alone omnipotence, then we're allowing him the ability to not have interacted with us yet whether or not he has the capacity to.

I guess my post was unclear. I'm making no claims about whether god did or didn't affect us. I'm saying that if he affected us in any way (say, by causing the big bang) or can do so in the future, then he is by definition part of the observable universe. Equivalently, if he is not in the observable universe, then he could not have affected us in the past and cannot do so in the future.

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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby dedalus » Fri Jun 19, 2009 12:30 pm UTC

Nath wrote:Equivalently, if he is not in the observable universe, then he could not have affected us in the past and cannot do so in the future.

Ummm... what? double what on the second part.
Nath wrote:I know you responded to that, but your response was the scientific method can be justified by religion. I'm claiming that the reverse isn't true.

Well, I made the point before that science is included in religion, not the other way around. Thus, all the bits that religion doesn't simply explain by saying 'it's science, it works (bitches)' aren't part of science, they're simply part of religion. Thus, just because religious thought isn't scientifically rigorous doesn't mean they're exclusive.
The thing is, most of the big 'why' questions are actually meaningless. Asking 'why?' usually assumes the existence of an intelligent decision-maker, and asks about its motives. If the decision-maker physically exists, then its motives can be studied by the scientific method. If not, to ask 'why?' is to anthropomorphize a physical process.

No, the answer to 'why', when it can't be explained by science, usually involves invoking said existence. Hence, religion was formed. And why do you think we can study his motives via the scientific method?

You're consistently arguing that because religion isn't scientifically verified that it can't co-exist peacefully with science, whereas one of the main points of religion is its basis in the uncertainty in life.
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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby Phill » Fri Jun 19, 2009 1:03 pm UTC

Nath wrote:I'm not saying that religion and science deal with identical domains. I'm saying that there are areas of overlap, and that in these areas, science and religion have conflicting methodologies for gathering information. Many modern religions do make claims about the physical universe. You can dismiss these claims as 'not sensible' -- I certainly do -- but they are still a part of religion. I'm saying that this aspect of religion is incompatible with science.


Taking the discussion back slightly - I just wanted to say on this topic that most religions don't make claims about the physical universe per se. They do make claims as to things which have happened historically that might have been miraculous. I do not see this as contrary to science.

I can't speak for other religions, but I guess if I mention mine (Christianity) you will doubtless think of evolution as being the 'sticking point'. Richard Dawkins and the Answers in Genesis crowd have a lot to answer for - there seems to be a perception in popular culture that science and faith are in conflict, and I think it's mainly down to their efforts. My view is that Christianity is perfectly compatible with evolution, or indeed any scientific theory.

There are also the miracle stories. Again, I think these don't fall within the realms of science: if God does exist, why should it be impossible for miracles to happen? You have to evaluate historic miraculous claims using other tools - historical, theological, philosophical etc. Science simply cannot have anything to say on the matter.

Let me give an example - the resurrection of Christ. Obviously we know that dead bodies don't come back to life. Scientifically you could describe what happens at death, what might cause a body to die - after death you could describe the decomposition process. But that has no bearing on whether Jesus came back to life or not. You have to evaluate that claim based on the historical evidence, the context of the history of Israel etc etc. Whatever you think about the resurrection itself, I don't see how science can have any bearing on the answer.

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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby General_Norris » Fri Jun 19, 2009 1:08 pm UTC

Thus, all the bits that religion doesn't simply explain by saying 'it's science, it works (bitches)' aren't part of science, they're simply part of religion. Thus, just because religious thought isn't scientifically rigorous doesn't mean they're exclusive.


But there's nothing that is not part of science. Nothing at all. Thus, they are exclusive.

In fact even if our science doesn't have an answer that doesn't mean it's going to accept Religion's answer as valid. Science can't know when the universe was created but it knows it can't be known so whatever Religion says is not acceptable.

Phill wrote: There are also the miracle stories. Again, I think these don't fall within the realms of science: if God does exist, why should it be impossible for miracles to happen? .


If you don't accept empirical data as evidence then you can't aceept science but you also can't accept history or anything other than "Cogito ergo sum" (Don't bring Ortega here)

If you accept it then you must accep science and then the Bible is an invention.

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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby dedalus » Fri Jun 19, 2009 1:23 pm UTC

General_Norris wrote:But there's nothing that is not part of science. Nothing at all. Thus, they are exclusive.

You're going to have to prove that. There are many disciplines that have nothing at all to do with any method of scientific thought.
General_Norris wrote:In fact even if our science doesn't have an answer that doesn't mean it's going to accept Religion's answer as valid. Science can't know when the universe was created but it knows it can't be known so whatever Religion says is not acceptable.

Once again, there's a difference between exclusivity and incongruity. Science =/= Religion. But, Science and religion are not mutually exclusive.
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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby Phill » Fri Jun 19, 2009 1:38 pm UTC

General_Norris wrote:If you don't accept empirical data as evidence then you can't aceept science but you also can't accept history or anything other than "Cogito ergo sum" (Don't bring Ortega here)


If there was empirical data available I would accept it. But the Bible was written in pre-scientific times - there is no empirical data. That's not to say we should throw everything out, as I said before - you have to use other means to determine what is true or not.

History is not scientific data but it can still be examined critically and we can get a good idea of what happened.

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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby Nath » Fri Jun 19, 2009 2:40 pm UTC

dedalus wrote:Ummm... what? double what on the second part.

Are you confused about what my quote means, or why it's true? I'll clarify accordingly (in about ten hours; it's late).

dedalus wrote:Well, I made the point before that science is included in religion, not the other way around. Thus, all the bits that religion doesn't simply explain by saying 'it's science, it works (bitches)' aren't part of science, they're simply part of religion. Thus, just because religious thought isn't scientifically rigorous doesn't mean they're exclusive.

I've said repeatedly: sure, scientifically-acquired knowledge and religiously-acquired knowledge they aren't necessarily contradictory. The conflict is in the methodology. The scientific method says that for information to be reliable, it has to be gathered in a certain way. If you follow the scientific method consistently, you have to abandon certain religious claims as unverifiable. Not provably false; just unverifiable.

Think of science and religion as machines that take statements as input, and label them as 'true', 'false', and '(currently) unknowable'. You could come up with a religion that gets all the 'true' and 'false' ones right, by using science. The problem is that it labels some of science's 'unknowable's as 'true's and 'false's. 'There is insufficient data to come to a conclusion' is as strong a position as 'true' or 'false', and as important to get right.

dedalus wrote:No, the answer to 'why', when it can't be explained by science, usually involves invoking said existence. Hence, religion was formed. And why do you think we can study his motives via the scientific method?

Science is a methodology to study anything that exists. If it can be studied, it can be studied scientifically.

Could you clarify what you mean by 'invoking said existence'?

Phill wrote:Taking the discussion back slightly - I just wanted to say on this topic that most religions don't make claims about the physical universe per se.

The claim that an intelligent entity created life/earth/the known universe is a claim about the physical universe.

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dedalus
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Re: Religion and Science, Mutually exclusive?

Postby dedalus » Fri Jun 19, 2009 3:05 pm UTC

Nath wrote:Are you confused about what my quote means, or why it's true? I'll clarify accordingly (in about ten hours; it's late).

Both, that quote needs to be generally elaborated on.
Nath wrote:I've said repeatedly: sure, scientifically-acquired knowledge and religiously-acquired knowledge they aren't necessarily contradictory. The conflict is in the methodology. The scientific method says that for information to be reliable, it has to be gathered in a certain way. If you follow the scientific method consistently, you have to abandon certain religious claims as unverifiable. Not provably false; just unverifiable.

But, I don't see how the conflict in methodology causes any exclusivity. Sciences methodology is right for some things, religious methodology is right for some other things. Over time the boundaries might change, but the two can co-exist quite peacefully.
Nath wrote:Science is a methodology to study anything that exists. If it can be studied, it can be studied scientifically.

Yes, but to do that you'd firstly have to find and interview a god, and we don't have them handy. Maybe in the long run we can, but seeing as we can't definitely pin anything down to the work of a divine being, we'd find it even harder to explain why they're doing it scientifically.

Oh and by 'invoking said existence' I meant that when people (and I'm assuming people are religious here) can't explain something, they usually fall back on the 'god dun it' ideal.
Nath wrote:The claim that an intelligent entity created life/earth/the known universe is a claim about the physical universe.

Yes, but by definition as said intelligent entity created the known universe that entity would be by definition outside the universe, and that's what most of this debate is revolving around.

Honestly Nath, I agree with 90% of your arguments, I think we're just arguing semantics here.
doogly wrote:Oh yea, obviously they wouldn't know Griffiths from Sakurai if I were throwing them at them.


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