Let Me Ask You A Question – 10/2/17


Let me ask you a question:

Can science and religion coexist?  

55 thoughts on “Let Me Ask You A Question – 10/2/17

  1. They can if they can remember that they belong to different universes of discourse, different modes of imagining and understanding, and neither confirm nor disprove one another. One is essentially prose and the other poetry.

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    • Okay. What about the physicist who happens to be Catholic or Muslim. It’s easier to discuss groups of people and defining them as one or the other. But what about an individual? Can the ideologies of each live inside the same person without causing conflict? Or does one have to choose one over the other?

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      • The conflict arises when the champions of the two think they are speaking of the same realm of experience, the same sort of epistemology. Here, for example are the words of a physicist who was a firm Christian believer who sought to discover the deep beauty of what he understood as God’s creation:

        “All my discoveries have been made in answer to prayer.” – Isaac Newton

        Newton, Galileo, Copernicus, Brahe, Leibniz, and more modern scientists have seen their studies as seeking to know their God more fully. In a way, they were responding to the challenge of the voice in the whirlwind when Job demands explanation, “Do you know …”.

        The problem of religious rejection of science comes when the metaphors of myth and legend and parable, which are meant to teach deep truths of the heart are taken as literal facts of history and the physical world.

        And, Science is not an ideology. It is a system of testing whether ideas about how the world works are reliable guides for prediction and control of events. Thinking of it as an ideology or, worse, a theology is a huge error.

        Religion asks, “Why?”
        Science asks, “How?

        Those who keep that difference clear can live with a foot in each context.

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      • The very definition of ideology is:
        the science of ideas; the study of their origin and nature.
        I would argue that science is one of the most accepted ideologies on the planet.

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      • I had not run into that definition of ideology before, so I looked it up. Miriam-Webster lists it as “archaic”, as a branch of philosophy that seems related to epistemology, another category that crosses fields of study from metaphysics to neuro-psychology. [I love dictionaries]

        In current usage this one fits better: “a system of ideas and ideals, especially one that forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy.”

        Many scientists have, and do, try to maintain that science is, in that sense, ideologically neutral, but of course personal values and beliefs, and those of the sources of funding to pursue research inevitably creep in.

        Many religious folk would also deny that their positions are ideological, that they are revelations of God given facts and rules.

        All in all, quite the muddle with no end in sight.

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      • I agree, no end in sight. Do you think someone who holds to science and is also religious must make concessions to allow for both in their mind? Wouldn’t one be constantly at odds with the other? This has always fascinated me. I was a higher-level math major in college and I found it incredibly contradictory.

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      • Some do seem able to integrate the two, and others do it more by compartmentalizing. A lot, I suppose, depends on their view of scripture, doctrine, and theology. For someone who would insist on a literal rather than metaphoric interpretation of scripture (any scripture, not just Biblical), the conflict would be intense and resolvable only by serious mental gymnastics.

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    • How are the cohabitating? Has science accepted religion? Or vice versa? I would argue the opposite. How does the world of science discuss faith? And how does religion justify miracles versus scientific methods?


  2. This is a loaded question. To answer it, I would change the word ‘religion’ to ‘faith’ or ‘positivity’. I have worked in and around the healthcare field for over 30 years and have heard many doctors and nurses talk about how faith and prayer can give a patient an edge.

    That being said, there are some religions that believe that the power to heal is enhanced by faith. I worked on a project involving 7th Day Adventists and found their religion to be a central part of the work they do at some of the leading hospitals in the country.

    Then there are Christian Scientists and others that don’t believe in medicine and rely only on faith to heal. This is ridiculous. I like to think that, if their is a higher being, the power of doctors to heal is viewed as a positive.

    As for religious figures blaming violence or hurricanes on lifestyle, if there is a Hell, they have a seat reserved for them.

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      • I’ve known plenty of deeply religious doctors. My dad had leukemia and his oncologist came to our Catholic church to participate in a Novena (intense prayer service) for my dad when he was sick.

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      • True. A physicist might not believe the Earth was created by a kindly old man in seven days, but some believe that the Big Bang may have been caused by some intelligent force. Are there scientists that are atheists because of what they believe, of course. I do think, however, that one can strike a balance between science and faith. As for science and organized religion, there has always been a struggle there as the religious leaders throughout history have always feared science disproving beliefs.

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      • I always find your latter statement interesting about religion. If someone knows 100% that their beliefs are real and true, then why be worried about anyone being able to disprove? lol

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