Why are Religion and Science such bitter adversaries?

dimstar29.jpgScience and Religion or Religion and Science, why can’t we all just get along? Recently in the great state of Kentucky, a not so great Grand Opening took place. Biblical Literalists opened the Creation Museum, and scientists from around the globe laughed for about four days. I don’t have too many intellectuals at my work place but if I did, I’m sure I would have heard at least one of the exponentially growing number of jokes related to the “Museum”. Biblical Literalists made statements such as, “we’re taking the dinosaur back”.

So why the great divide? I am no professional scientist, but I do believe in Science. When I sit in church I do not find it necessary to hide that fact; since I am in church I obviously believe in God as well. My mind does not spend hours a day badgering itself over this dichotomy, so why the antagonism between Scientists and Religious believers?

I recently had a discussion at work with a ‘true believer’ about the possibility that Christ’s bones had been found. I was upset that the news had not been released sooner. My co-worker was distraught that the news had been released at all. He felt that the idea of finding Christ’s ‘human’ remains would cause Christianity to fall apart. I felt this was absurd. Do Scientists hope to cause the church’s collapse?

I don’t think so. I believe that it was Benjamin Franklin who said, “Science without God, is pointless”. I agree completely. I feel that every scientific discovery is yet another piece of evidence of God’s existence. This God is supremely intelligent and has left a trail of bread crumbs for us to follow toward our own enlightenment. If I were to concoct a puzzle and leave it for my child to unlock, when they succeeded they would feel closer to me because we shared a common thought process. This is the way I feel when I learn a new method for solving equations or a new bit of information about how the cells of animals react to a certain stimulus. I feel that I am closer to God for having been able to read and understand the language which he left for me to decipher.

Whether you agree or not, anything taken to extremes is self defeating. All Biblical Literalists use modern technology in some form. All Scientists want to believe in a heaven, most cannot bear the idea that sooner or later their ‘genius’ will be lost to the void. Let’s work on some common ground, or at least a level of tolerance.

Biblical literalists, do not for a second think your belief in the ideas represented within the Creation Museum will become the accepted curriculum for public schools. My tax dollars are for education, the type that allows the children being educated to succeed in the real world. The justification for your ideas has to be better than ‘cuz I say so’.

Scientists, do not underestimate the sway that religion has over people. It won’t be so funny when the ideas represented in the Creation Museum are believed by a majority of the population. Keep up the flow of supportable data, most people are able to determine the truth from fact.

The Big Bang, a snap of God’s fingers?



~ by DimStar on June 4, 2007.

16 Responses to “Why are Religion and Science such bitter adversaries?”

  1. I absolutely agree with you, there is far too much antagomism between religion and science. Science and religion work together, with science acting as a tool to enable us to understand and appreciate all the God has created. God has left small “clues” for humans to piece together to get some idea of the world around us, past and present, but being the amazing power that God is, He has also just created things instantly leaving no evidence behind. I belive in God and I believe in science as God’s tool to mankind.

  2. I enjoy modern technology and go to church, so what?
    To believe in no God or after life makes this world cold and alot less bearable/tolerable.

  3. Dim,
    Well said. These days, I’m so contemptuous of religion (because of the evangelicals and Biblical literalists), which makes coming across this post a breath of fresh air. Keep up the reasonable discourse, and I hope that it rubs off on others!

  4. you continue to pleasantly surprise me with the insight you share so freely. keep it up! it’s nice to have a place to go where calm is acceptable.

  5. Dim,
    You have posed some interesting questions about science vs. religion. “WE” haven’t been able to get along since Darwin expressed his views on evelution, and the main stream science community pushed religion away as a possibility. Not too many years ago science was a tool to explain religion and now it is used simply as a way to belittle those with a differing belief. Even Darwin was a Christian and later said he made many mistakes in his book. Why was it the world laughed at the Creation Museum when the majority of the world believes in “God” and most religions have a creation story. How many Christians laughed at the Museum of Natural Science in D.C.
    Your reader Dan proves my point nicely. He is contempuous of people like me, who have read and believe in what the Bible says. I wonder what he knows about the whole scientific movement of intelligent design. This is where scientist, who are unable to explain how we evolved into such complex orginsism when the most efficient organisms are the single cell bacterias and parasites that live in our bodies, ask the big question. Why. They also are still trying to explain how the Big Bang was triggered and for what reason. It may have been a snap of the fingers.
    Thank you for your thoughts Dim. I wished more in the science community would take time from their busy lives of trying to disprove religion and look at two small facts. 1)most religions embrace science and hungerly use it, after all God did make us smart. 2)there are more people of faith than those without. We too pay taxes (simple math says the lions share) and just want an equal share of what we think to be right taught in schools. We don’t use the phrase “cuz I say so” we choose “you haven’t proven me wrong, maybe I’m right. ”
    Keep up the thinking and writing. I’m enjoying reading your stuff.

  6. Mark,
    To the remark directed at me: What part of me saying “Keep up the reasonable discourse” to this blog’s host did you not understand?

  7. Also, Mark – to the “scientific” movement of intelligent design – please don’t call it scientific. It’s no more scientific than astrology, alchemy, or Lysenkoism.

    Compartmentalize if you have to – but religion is not science, and science is not religion.

  8. I think everyone here at Jones Town agrees, actually I know we do because we’ve discussed it, that we have no problem with God, nor do we see a problem with God and Science co-existing.

    Our problem, and fear, stems from the “religious”. If you want to believe the earth is 6000 years old, and that Adam and Eve road around on Velociraptors, that’s fine. The problem arises when these beliefs are taught as “science” because, as Dan said, they are not “science”, whatsoever.

    When people build museums that attempt to pass off religion as “science”, and these museums are geared toward children, as I parent I must say, “Oh Hell no!”

    Believe what you want, power to the people! But you are not teaching my child such nonsense, and I’m fairly certain “most” people agree, whether they are Christian or not.

  9. I agree, Fairlane, I don’t mind what someone believes, and I wouldn’t criticise it. But I can’t deal with creation stories being taught in science classes as “science”. It’s not science, it’s faith. There’s the rub. I would be very seriously upset if someone was teaching my daughter religious teachings as “science”.

    Science and faith are based on different philosophies.

    Faith is not about proving something is real. The whole point of faith (eg, Book of Job) is that you believe in God regardless, even if someone is trying undermine your faith or trying to prove that you should not believe.

    Science is about advancing a hypothesis and trying to prove or disprove it. Karl Popper’s theory of falsibility says that you can never say that a scientific theory is 100% accurate, all you can say is that on the evidence now available to us, it seems that X is the case.

    Science cannot disprove religion because religion is not about “proof”. In any case, an omnipotent God can come down and break every scientific rule in the book if He wants to do so.

    Nor can faith enter into science, because the whole point is that you should have an open mind and not have a belief that something is true. That’s not to say that you can’t be both religious and a scientist at the same time, but I think they need to be carefully distinguished.

    So have a creation theme park, by all means. Just don’t pass it off as science! Come right out there and say that it’s a matter of faith.

  10. The animosity is not a result of Darwin, nor of evolution theory. The animosity came when science was replaced with “science”.

    Most of what gets passed off as science today is really just a religion. Scientific method requires developing theories, conducting research and experiments, collecting data, and objectively comparing results with theories.

    When critical flaws in carbon dating methods became apparent, all of the conclusions drawn from those dating methods should have been tossed out or re-evaluated. Unfortunately, “scientists” get funding for new ground breaking work that furthers their field, regardless of truth; so, they continue ‘drinking the cool-aid’.

    A secondary problem is religions latching on to a philosophical concept as part of God’s word, even when it is not in scripture.

    The concept that heavenly bodies were perfect orbs came from Ptolemy, but once the “infallible” Pope said it was fact it became impossible to refute. Galileo was priveledged enough to have read scripture at a time when it was not readily available, and found that his telescopes did not defy God’s word; however, he did defy the Pope (and important political forces) and landed in a state of arrest. 500 years later, it was decided that he was not a heretic.

    I would consider myself a fundamentalist and I have never seen true scientific research that violated the basis of my faith. I have; however, seen spiritual action that we can not yet explain by science (maybe it will catch up later.)

    As you said: we should stick to the facts for both.

  11. Dan,
    It wasn’t the “reasonable discourse” statement I took offense with. It was the contempt you openly stated against me and my beliefs. If you want to Believe in science, that has to continually change what it says to be right, feel free. Just don’t have comtempt for me becouse I use it but don’t worship it.
    Just an idea. Before you bash the museum and what it “says” go see it. It may change your mind. Some of these responses are very off the mark.
    Oh, and Dan, I have no contempt for you, even though I’m a Blible literist. The Good Book says to love your neighbor and pray for them. That means you too.

  12. “If you want to Believe in science, that has to continually change what it says to be right, feel free. Just don’t have comtempt for me becouse I use it but don’t worship it.”

    Are you amish? How are you using your computer if you don’t believe in or accept science?

    Seriously Mark, every bit of technology that we enjoy owes its existence to science. And since you’re obviously using some of it (or you wouldn’t be on the internet), then you are clearly a hypocrit. Yes, I find that contemptuous.

    Incidentally, do you believe that the earth is flat, too?

  13. “Believe in science, that has to continually change what it says to be right, feel free.”

    This statement demonstrates several things;

    1) You apparently don’t even have a basic understanding of science. Science isn’t “always changing to be right”, at least not in the context you imply.

    Science by its very nature is malleable. If it were “static”, like religion , about 99% of the advancements you now enjoy, which make your life more convenient etc, would not exist. Science “changes” because of advancements, new discoveries, new theories, constant questioning, and the pushing of boundaries. Your statement is propaganda.

    2) Either you were in a rush and didn’t think about your statement or you have little knowledge of the Bible you profess to “follow literally”. The Bible has also changed numerous times. Many things in the Old Testament were either excluded altogether in the New Testament or amended. Eating shellfish used to be “abomination”, not in the New Testament. Why? Why don’t Christians stone their wives who commit adultery? It says that’s the punishment in the Old Testament? Why don’t you kill children who “dishonor” their mother and father? If you’re married, do you stay away from your wife and isolate her when she’s on her menstrual cycle? If not why not? It says women are “unclean” during their menstrual cycle. Why do you think that belief changed? SCIENCE!!!

    Christians cannot even decide on a Universal Bible. There are several versions of the Bible and each sect of Christianity claims they are using the “Right” one.

    There is no such thing as a “Biblical Literalist”.

  14. Fairlane,
    I disagree – I think that one can be a Biblical Literalist – but you’re correct, one much choose their version of the Bible, much less their religion (for instance, why not the Vedas?). I think that what you’re trying to say is that it’s a subjective and self-constructed reality (as opposed to objective).

    I think it’s rather akin to choosing what text you were brainwashed to, and becoming resolutely opposed to all other ideas. It’s an intellectual form of blindness.

  15. I still don’t agree. If you followed the “Bible Literally” you’d constantly contradict yourself, which is of course what we see from Christian Fundamentalists. They live in a world of “doublethink” and are forced to rationalize their behavior, beliefs etc or to amend them in some way.

    I do agree it is entirely subjective, but of course the claim made is that it’s “absolute”.

  16. Oh, I see what you’re saying. Good point on the internal contradictions, I hadn’t been focusing on that.

    But if that’s the focus, then I think that all theists (be they literalist or not) make contradictory rationalizations, do they not? That is the case made by anthropologists like Scott Atran, who generally study the phenomenon of religion, in any case. More specifically to Christianity, the Gospels contradict each other to a surprising degree, such that one must wonder whether any of them is a reliably accurate tale.

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