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Random thought

Arguments about science and religion being compatible seem silly to me. On the one hand, they are two different “ways of knowing” (I’m trying to be charitable to religion here) and people use both of them to make claims about the natural world. It seems that by definition they could produce different conclusions and therefore are irreconcilable.

On the other hand, few actually seem to look at it like that. Why would you? There’s no reason to ever accept a conflict. If the history of religion says anything, it’s that it can say whatever you want it to. If you want it to justify slavery, it does. If you want it to justify abolitionist impulses, it can. Civil rights? Gay marriage? Scientific progress? Murder? Pacifism? You can use it to justify whatever side of whatever issue you want. That’s ignoring the phenomenon of rejecting scientific findings that conflict with your religion, too. There’s no actual logic involved with religion, so changing your mind doesn’t invalidate anything. You were just wrong. I’m not saying that’s easy, just that you’re only rethinking a conclusion, not a process.

To an atheist, the former is fairly obvious. But it’s a perverse perspective to have if you’re religious. So I don’t think those debates are particularly interesting.

Categories: Religion
  1. Widowmaker
    January 20, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Science is much like a religion in itself. It has a creation story, and it often requires blind faith. Religion does not need a god to be a religion (see Buddhists). Scientific discoveries are just one day/year/decade from being unproven. Truth becomes relative. The Bible has not changed since the New Testament Canon ended in the 2nd century AD. Most of the time, people who have a blind faith in science worship a much stranger religion IMHO than Muslims/Jews/Christians/etc. I get a chuckle watching the sheeple trying to put square pegs in round holes on many scientific fallacies because it was a slap to their religion.

  2. January 20, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    That’s another part of these debates I find silly: superficial claims that science is just like religion. It’s almost like they have no idea what they’re talking about.

  3. Bob
    January 20, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    The Bible has not changed since the New Testament Canon ended in the 2nd century AD.

    Not true, Widowmaker. Canonical orthodoxy was not declared until the 4th century CE. Even then, it was by Roman imperial fiat, not divine intervention; and the Roman church did not have authority over Eastern churches, which further divided among Ethiopian, Coptic, Syrian, Byzantine, Armenian, etc. To this day, literary traditions constituting what is today referred to as “the” bible continue to be numerous and ongoing. One “church” continues to argue with its neighbors concerning what “the” bible means. “Apostolic authority,” “papal infallibility,” etc. remain dogmatic within certain sects merely because they are based on purely sectarian dogmas.

    Scientific discoveries are just one day/year/decade from being unproven.

    That’s good! That means we still have room to grow!

  1. January 23, 2009 at 8:47 am

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