Are Religion and Science Against Each Other?

Posted on Apr 26, 2013 in Arguments, Featured, Religion and Science | 0 comments

Are Religion and Science Against Each Other?

Science is Not “Against” Religion

Scientific discoveries and theories may disagree with all or parts of certain religious beliefs, but it would be quite wrong to conclude that science must be against religion then.
For one, science and religion do basically have the same goal: to correctly explain what is. They simply apply very different methods in achieving this goal. Religions use revelation along with tradition and authority to establish truths while science uses evidence.
The two also tend to live in different realms. Science can only really deal with falsifiablefalsifiable - adj. capable of being tested (verified or falsified) by experiment or observation claims (such as “the earth is round”) while religious beliefs generally concern unfalsifiableunfalsifiable - adj. not capable of being proved false claims (such as the existence of a supernatural being). This is perhaps how some scientists can also be religious and remain functional in both domains.
If anything, science is indifferent about religion as it is indifferent towards any opinion. No matter who believes what, science will always only agree with what is suggested by the evidence. The more evidence, the more science is sure. Any evidence to the contrary and science would immediately reject the notion as wrong. Science would gladly confirm any religious belief if the evidence was there proving it as truth.
Science is not and never should be some conspiracy out to show God doesn’t exist or disprove religion. If it did, it would cease being science as currently defined.
To quote Richard Dawkins:

“Science replaces private prejudice with public, verifiable evidence.”

–Richard Dawkins

It’s really just that simple.

Is Religion “Against” Science?

This might be more of a gray area, but at the very least religion can not be completely against science.

How could learning more about the universe–God’s wonderful creation–be bad? If a religion was the absolute complete truth, applying science should only help people learn about the mind of God and validate religious claims. It would also be very difficult to be against that which seems to improve the quality of life, save lives, and always proves itself to work.

Of course, this is not quite the whole story. There are at least two types of occasions where religion will tend to oppose science:

1) When the conclusions of science disprove religious beliefs the natural position of religion will obviously tend towards opposing the science.

Religion clearly has more skin in the game. Unlike science, much of a religion is its set of beliefs that have already been established. The implications of any religious belief being wrong are much more disastrous. What would it mean if a holy book inspired by God was proven in one instance to be absolutely wrong? One belief being proved wrong naturally introduces doubt in the entire set of beliefs and makes blind faith in the religion much more difficult. Science, on the other hand, practically rejoices in being proved wrong as it is not a set of beliefs but rather a method of discovering truth.

In addition, religion tends to support the idea of always remaining faithful while also standing up and defending the beliefs no matter what. Sometimes it will resort to suggesting that there is a conspiracy or that an evil force is behind the blasphemy with the intention to corrupt the faithful. Certain religions even have scripture specifically addressing that those who create lies against the beliefs are wicked and should be punished. This is absolutely not the case of indifference we had with science.

2) Religion also strongly objects when science starts infringing on the moral implications of religious beliefs.

An example here could be embryonic stem cell research. If a religious belief (humans have souls) is not identified by science, then religion will have to be against science when it tramples over the morals involved with the beliefs. Once again religion usually has more at stake here: the abandonment or even the wrath of God, the punishment of eternal torture, the destruction of the world, etc.

Religion is Not (*Always) Against Science

So to be perfectly honest, religion is not necessarily against science–but only as long as it fits within its belief system.

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