"A prize-winning quantum physicist says a spiritual reality is veiled from us, and science offers a glimpse behind that veil. So how do scientists investigating the fundamental nature of the universe assess any role of God, asks Mark Vernon.
The Templeton Prize, awarded for contributions to "affirming life's spiritual dimension", has been won by French physicist Bernard d'Espagnat, who has worked on quantum physics with some of the most famous names in modern science. "
A fascinating article on the interaction between quantum physics and religion.
Interesting article, where do your beliefs land on this question?
What do you get if you divide science by God?
(just kidding, Mr. Knowles)
The Vedas the oldest religious text means knowledge or science.I believe they are inter compatible.
I have no problem with science and religion having a healthy respect for each other, but there are too many people seeing it as either/or.
IMO, part of the problem is that there has been a decline in philosophy. Most scientists have little knowledge of scripture, and most 'religionists' do not understand scientific protocols. Therefore, discussions go nowhere very quickly.
Philosophy provides a common language, but is woefully neglected in most of the Western World.
Today I can read only spirituality or philosophy and science, everything else bores me.
Martin Rees probably has the best view of things. It's from people like him, who have no assumptions to challenge that we will come closest to the truth. In essence he knows what he does not know.
What an interesting article. Thank you for posting it.
One of the saddest things about the supposed fight between science and religion is that so many of the people involved in it seem to have a very limited understanding of both. Science and math present so many interesting questions that could provoke fascinating metaphysical discussions, but it rarely happens. Quantum physics is weird stuff, and there's lots of fodder there alright, although usually when laymen start speculating about the spiritual implications it drives real scientists nuts because we get it all wrong--I mean, it's difficult material to understand.
If it wasn't weird, there woudn't have been so many prizes for them And actually, when a layman talks to an expert in any field, he usually drives the expert mad
That's why the first comment after the article -- the one from the Hindu -- made so much sense to me, as it was all-embracing rather than trying to articulate the difficult stuff. I tried reading Brian Green's Elegant Universe once -- about string theory -- and all I could manage was the realization that I'm really reallllly stoooopid when it comes to science. But I love the imagery of it!
I wouldn't worry, Teresa - I studied science and have trouble getting my head around string theory.
Agree with Pam - there really is no need for science and religion to be at extremes. Most of the great scientists of antiquity were also theologians and philosophers. Politics and control messes the whole thing up!
I have that book. Would love to read it (and have read snippets) when I find the time to learn the languages I want to learn, lol, and start writing that novel...oh, and do the illustrated kids' book. It's funny, because I like science--I mean the theories at least--and whenever I took an interest survey test or whatever those were- in school--science was oddly the strongest interest in my survey. But I always gravitated toward anything creative.
String theory. Is that the idea (that includes) a multitude of universes or planes?
It's the theory that is easy to get knotted. Otherwise known as Gordian String Theory, it can only be cut by Occam's Razor. The best thing to do is to slice it thinly and serve with ginger pickles.
It's very weird, and often counter-intuitive. I wish I knew more about it!
"So true! I wish I was smarter. I try to keep up, but when I talk with anyone who truly understands science or math, I know I am as irritating as the next person."
My definition for a pseudo intellectual is someone you can't understand. They think complication is equivalent to intellectualism. Who understands economics? No one. Not that it could not be made easy to understand. It is Voo Doo to keep the populace ignorant so they can scam the world. If you can't understand someone they are probably scam artists. Can't have a democracy when you need intellectual elitists to run everything, which the commoner is too dumb too understand.
That's a really good point. I know this is true at universities. Did you ever notice how a professor who writes a popular book that sells well and uses plain language to explain a topic is usually reviled by his or her peers?
Seriously, in academia, it's the kiss of death to publish a successful mainstream book.
That's messed up.
My old professor always said that academia is so bitchy because the stakes are so low. . .
No matter if you look at the "science" aspect, or the "religion", you ultimately end up having to take it by faith anyway. None of us (common people) understand "string theory" nor the complex mathematics that goes with it.
I note that it is a THEORY. The word itself is 2/3 God.
Here's my (cheap) attempt to tacle that one.
http://hubpages.com/hub/God--Between-th … e-Electron
I think that is where much of the difficulty lies. Some people, faced with something beyond their understanding still feel the need to take sides. Why bother, when it is possible to learn to be perfectly comfortable with simply not knowing. And that's not giving up either - by acknowledging that we don't know, we are much more likely to continue trying to understand. This healthy agnosticism is equally applicable to science and spirituality. Unhealthy partisanship leads to conflict which always reinforces unhealthy partisanship.
I was not so much "taking sides", but making the point that we take things by faith. You either believe what the scientist tells you, or you don't. None of us have the time nor the capabilityto research all things.
You can choose to be sceptical, or doubting, too. It's ok with me.
Well it is fair to say you have taken sides without understanding. I am not so sure there is a side. I personally do not see how scientific understanding would prevent you from an irrational belief anyway. All you have to do is say, "Well, this is how it works, but god did it." and you are good to go.
Although - by your own admission, you do not understand the scientific side of it - but rather than do some research, you have decided to discard it and just go with faith in a god.
And because you have taken sides based on a pre-existing belief - you assume that is what everyone else does. Because you do not understand evolution for example - you have decided that no one else does and therefore they just have faith. Not that they have done any research and allowed themselves to be convinced in a rational way.
That was the beginning of what we now call "The Enlightement" ... Newton, Pascal etc. all started with a presumption of the existance God and started saying, "Gee, how did God make that work?"
Unfortunately some of the conclusions their data was leading to was at odds with conclusions that were keeping certain individuals in power (both in the church and on the thrones of Europe).
Thus what could have become a better understanding of both God and His nature (as intended by the original researches ... see some of Newton's brilliant theological work.) instead launched what is now a presumption of an inherent conflict between God and Science.
That is the problem with taking everything on faith alone. And despite your recent post about everything being taken on faith, I only ever really hear that argument from believers in a god, because it somehow brings a faith in a god up to the same level as believing you will fall to your death if you step out of the window of a ten storey building. Therefore just as valid.
As for science clashing with god - it depends on the level of irrationality of your beliefs. If you are firmly convinced that we were created in our present form you are inevitably going to see any evidence to the contrary as a threat to your belief system. Which must then come crashing down as it is based on false information. Hence the aggressive attacks on evolution as "just another religion."
If, on the other hand you are prepared to accept the wonders of the natural world as they are, rather than as you would like them to be, you can then rationalize your belief in a god by saying what I suggested. As the catholic church and many other believers have done. And as we expand our true knowledge of the way the universe works, those beliefs will have to get pushed further back in time until eventually you can say "Well, sure there was a big bang, and the universe is billions of years old - but god did it. "
Ah, but reversing the context ... I only here THAT argument from disbelievers in God.... because somehow taking only those things which you've experienced such as falling from a buiding to your death is some how more valid than experiences others have had that you personally can't measure ... It's contextual. And each of us considers our own frame of reference to be the "correct" frame
And everyone knows MY frame is the only correct one
Well, I haven't personally had the experience of falling to my death, but I have faith that it will happen should I choose to step out of a ten storey window. I suspect you do to.
This is a good example of how polarizing a discussion kills it off and prevents any new insight. I don't mean that either Mark or BDazzler are personally trying to kill discussion, I mean that what usually happens in the "religion versus science" debate (if you can call it a debate) is that religionists don't bother to read any science and scientists don't bother to read any religion yet both presume to understand the other and just start off with "you're wrong."
No wonder nothing good comes of that.
I saw this great show on PBS about absolute zero and I had a ton of ideas and questions I wanted to talk about in the area of metaphysics and religion but could I find anyone willing to investigate absolute zero and talk about it in the context of specific religious texts?
Just as a matter of interest - why would you want to do that? I assume you are talking about absolute zero as in temperature? What insights were you hoping to gain from a theological perspective on a physical phenomena that was not discovered until well after the theologies were written?
Well, when I was watching the program, I was struck by how the closer we get to absolute zero the more the 'laws of physics' don't apply but quantuum mechanics does apply. So substances can be two things at once (I'm probably boogering this up badly) and also, the closer we get to absolute zero the harder it is to get all the way there. So I got to thinking about how that has implications for metaphysics--like, religious overviews of 'reality'--because clearly it's not static and the more you know about it the weirder it gets.
I know, it doesn't appeal to everyone. I'm really quite irritating to live with because I go off on these tangents that seem so f#*king fascinating to ME but everyone around me is like, Pam, take a pill...
Carl Sagan wrote some cool popular science books, like "The Dragons of Eden" that address religious dogma and science together, and I always liked that stuff, even if he was kind of goofy with his "billions, and billions..." thing. I thought the movie of his novel, "Cosmos" was fascinating--the scientist comes out looking more deeply religious than the minister in the flick even though she's an atheist, because it turns out that she has a more profound respect for mystery and the unknown.
Some people play tennis. I do this.
I do it, too, Pam! You didn't, lol, 'booger' it up badly. I have had some of the exact same thoughts (I would probably have more if I actually read the whole text of An Elegant Universe, ) It seems like it is all a matter of lenses, macro and micro--and not that truth is malleable, as postmodernists would have us believe (ie, that everything is culture and individual specific--there is no truth--which is actually a simplistic human indulged wrapper), but that is layered like an onion. Whereby both absolute mechanical physics (or as a metaphor, absolute laws) and quantum theory (or the ability to effect change by energy=thought) co-exist as truth.
What has always fascinated me is that I believe you can actually see these things in nature--and that as an artist, not a scientist. I had this cool book--Art in Nature--or something like that, showing the same structures in various macro and micro phenomena. So that the same branching mechanism (whatever and why ever) that exists in dendrite frost on a window, also exists in the formation of tree branches; the law of tension rings can be found in some seeds and butterfly wings--and over and over again--same laws governing like but different things. Freaks me out (in a good way). I guess I'm something of a mystic--which I have no problem rectifying with either 'side' here--science or God.
Wow, wish I discovered this thread sooner!
Everyone here has given me a lot of food for thought. I've researched a lot of different religions (Mayan, Hindu, some Jewish, Christian, Sumer, Egyptian, Greeco/Roman, etc) and find that the commonalities that exist between multiple cultures (some of them who weren't around when others were) proves that someone, somewhere messed with us.
I happen to believe it's probably something of an ET, and not a demigod. (Don't you find it odd that the Vatican now says if/when we find alien life it wouldn't destroy the idea of Jesus?) The reasons for me are numerous, but it truly doesn't matter what it is. As much as I disagree at times with the concept of "Intelligent Design," I have to say that the more I read about the inner workings of our Universe the more I see that its designed so beautifully and with great utility.
I don't think science is opposed to religion. Many scientists are religious. In fact, many PAST scientists were devout in their worship. To divide science is to miss the point entirely. Many of the best in their fields are always open to new ideas and new lines of thinking. While some ardent members of academia may bash the idea of spirituality, the best entertain the possibility.
True science isn't about faith, unlike religion. Its about creating a dissertation and trying to prove it through an experiment. By publishing your work out in the open, you're putting it out there to be tested. Far too often are people bogged down by silly semantics...
Lita, I think we could easily waste an afternoon talking about this stuff! lol!
It's funny you mention the postmodernists and webs. I've always thought that another interesting avenue of discussion where science and religion overlap is cognition--how dp people create systems of meaning? Is it purely psychological or is there a physiological component? If there is a physiological component, does it have a structural similarity to anything else we see in nature?
Thanks for throwing me a rope!
Yes! I really do this stuff quite a bit rather than play tennis (well, I've been known to do that, as well, but there are no courts around here).
Don't now if I'm that good at it, lol, but anyway:
Brain structural theory suggests that the human brain, indeed, is layered like an onion. So that there is a primitive reptilian-like brain (giving us the basic F's--feeding, fighting, F-ing, breeding) covered over by a mammalian brain (responsible for basic social structuring and emotions that all mammals share), that covered over by the complex reasoning part of the brain that we most associate with being human. Some philosophers (and some druggies--but hey, there must of been some overlaps then, ) out of the 60's and 70's suggested that the Amyglada--the most primitive structure in the brain responsible for fear or, sex, ie could in our advanced species act as a switch either backwards (to fear) or forwards (to transcendence) depending on what the individual chose (free will). I found it fascinating--and yes I do have a bibliography, lol, I just don't feel like re-researching it at the moment. But these are ideas very similar to the ideas found in Tantricism--only with a hard physiological/scientific component attached.
As for postmodernism as a theory/philosophy, I probably give it too much of a bad rap--some of those thinkers did, in a positive light, effect the break down (deconstruction) of a lot of absolutes in thinking and culture that perhaps needed to be broken down to see further. I just do not believe that there is 'no truth,' as it seems nihilistic and also almost an adolescent phase of a theory... I somewhat believe all theories and systems of thought--Enlightenment to Existentialism, etc., etc., are all human wrappers--it seems we take from each one of them some truth into the future, as all are still with us today--but as with all 'isms,' when the become codified and dogmatic, they lose truth.
Yeah, and see how much more interesting that whole exchange was than, "You're wrong." "No you are." "No you are." "I know you are but what am I?"
That's all I was saying really. Read some SPECIFIC science and some SPECIFIC religion and then it's more interesting.
I feel the same way about postmodernism BTW, but it was fun while it lasted and it gave a lot of philosophy grad students some interesting (and stupid) thesis titles.
This is why I don't hold you (or anybody else) accountable for my experiences. I've seen what I've seen and I interpret it how I interpret it. My sanity has aboslutely been called into quesiton. Believe me or not, it doesn't hurt my feelings.
But taking it back a step ... suppose I tell you that it will take 12 seconds for you to fall and you will hit the ground softly ... But in actuality it takes 2 seconds and splat! You're just as dead and it turns out the my calculations were based on observations of someone with a parachute. Oops different conditions .. radically different results.
Yet that one "simple" error ruins my scientific reputation. Turns out the science was fine, it was just misapplied.
It' not science I lack faith in ... it's the generic "scientist" enshrined by the press it's the conclusions politicians and the public draw from science. Falling from the building is observable by all ... but measuring the distorion of space due to gravity takes faith in someonbody who knows more about it than I do. That's why it took our buddy Einstein so long to be accepted. NOW he's simply quoted.
Back to LG's original post though ... The response to the meaning of the quantum phyics is clearly impacted by the context of the person interpreting it. And it's very interesting regardless of the context of interpretatin and conclusions.
That is exactly how I feel about it. Well said.
I was not so much "taking sides", but making the point that we take things by faith. You either believe what the scientist tells you, or you don't. None of us have the time nor the capabilityto research all things.
You can choose to be sceptical, or doubting, too. It's ok with me.
So, what part of this is so disagreeable? If you do the scientiffic research/test yourself, you "know". If you rely on others, you take it by "faith".
Hey guys....The word FAITH, is not just used in "religion", or is that news to some?
I wouldn't say it is disagreeable - but it is entertaining that you have persuaded yourself that faith in millions of different experiments that show proof of scientific theories is the same as faith in a god.
I only ever hear that from you guys.
Not only that, but you are so convinced - you are not even prepared to do any research to satisfy yourself if the science is plausible or not, because it disagrees with what you already have faith in.
You really "believe" that don't you?
Why are you so against "faith"? It's not a religious word.
I am not against "faith" per se. But I think you are trying to fit everyone else into your box. As far as you are concerned faith is the same regardless of the level of faith required.
I have "faith" that evolution is an ongoing process. Because I have read numerous scientific papers on the subject, have personally witnessed the effects of adaptation to change, the theories put forward are plausible, and the bulk of the scientific, geological and meteorological world accepts evolution as a plausible working theory.
Yet you bring that down to the same level as your belief in a god because as far as you are concerned it is the same. Any thing you have not witnessed and measured yourself is purely a matter of "faith." No common sense or judgment involved.
Perhaps we should start using different levels of "faith"?
Yes, but we need to be clear what you mean by 'or you don't' because it covers two states:
1 - you believe the scientist is wrong
2 - you reserve judgment
Unless you have the time and ability to perform your own analysis, the second option is more sensible.
There is also probability to consider e.g.
Do I think the light will come on when I press the switch? - yes (probably)
Do I know it will come on? - no
So while we live our lives making lots of reasonable assumptions about the world, we are never justified in claiming knowledge where there is room for doubt.
I don't find you personally to be disagreeable.
I like how Paraglider put this because it closely reflects my own views but he said it more elegantly than I could have.
It's not true that science operates on faith. I can see why you think so, but I believe you are referring to the fact that even though I (or anybody for that matter) can't personally research every scientific assertion I can choose to believe it anyway because I have faith in the scientific method. But the methods of science are nothing like the methods of religion.
This semantic trick of reducing science and religion to equivalent untestable 'beliefs' won't wash. You can test the claims of science and confirm or refute them. You can't test the claims of religion--You believe them or you don't. So the two are quite different.
2. Interpretation of Facts
3. Conclusions drawn from the interpretations
4. Context for those conclusions which include:
C. Family Background
D. Econmic status
E. Pre-Existing Ideas
F. etc. etc. etc.
Example for both religion and science:
The "fact" is that somebody wrote the bible.
The "fact" is that somebody wrote down some temperature measurement.s
Example of interpretations:
God exists and reveals his nature.
The world is getting warmer.
Examples of conclusions:
Get right or go to hell
Stop driving cars or the world will heat up so much that we'll all die.
I don't think it's necessary for me to give examples of context.
We accept "facts" If we don't meaure the data ourselves or get the divine revelation ourselves we have "faith" in the recorder of the data.
From that point on we start interpreting based on previous conclusions, interpretaitons and current and previous context.
This inevitabley leads to error in both science and theology.
Don't know about absolute zero but seems to me temperature is the key to life in the universe, the degrees between the cold of space and solar heat.
Well, there are some interesting theories that if we could achieve absolute zero, things change and slow down, allowing us to observe more closely. And some interesting altered states i.e. not liquid, not solid, not gas.
"I've researched a lot of different religions (Mayan, Hindu, some Jewish, Christian, Sumer, Egyptian, Greeco/Roman, etc) and find that the commonalities that exist between multiple cultures (some of them who weren't around when others were) proves that someone, somewhere messed with us."
I watch every one of those shows on the Discovery Channel, but I'm not convinced---I just love those parapsychology, cryptozoology, ET and alien shows even though I know they aren't going to show me anything that really floats my boat. (I used to be a Creature Feature fan too!)
Do you think there could be other explanations for those commonalities? I do.
Same answer - you're probably telling the truth but I have no way of knowing.
If you'd said you were born of a virgin, my answer would be - you're most probably not telling the truth but you might just be THE ONE
BINGO. There are some things that you either take "by faith", (believe what someone has said) or you don't.
There are heaps of things in life we cannot prove, the virgin birth among them.
Ah, so what you are saying is you should not apply any common sense, or rationality to your faith. Even though it might be physically impossible - you believe it anyway. And every decision as to whether to believe something or not is exactlky the same.
Light coming on when you flip the switch.
Exactly the same. Pure faith.
How would you differentiate between the two? Knowing that you can repeat the light switch example, but cannot substanciate my date of birth, (if that is my correct DOB.)?
Well, I can substantiate your birth date if I so choose.
Send me your name, address, place and date of birth and I will check it out.
I would also accept a certified copy of your passport.
But, if you start claiming something physically impossible that there is no proof for - like you were born of a virgin for example, then we would be getting into the grey area you are talking about. dj said he was born of a virgin, but I don't think that is possible, but I will believe it anyway.
Are we beginning to see the difference yet?
Why the BINGO? I'm not disagreeing that there are heaps of things we cannot know. But in such cases, it's not necessary to fool ourselves into thinking we can know. Leave the open questions open, that's all.
Of course, to get through life, we have to talk loosely; we can't be precise or pedantic about everything. But it's good to understand that this is the case, and when someone says 'Jesus was born of a virgin' simply say 'Oh' and leave it alone. Arguments along the lines of - was! wasn't! was! wasn't! add nothing to the sum of human knowledge.
I will certainly take your word for it. But I will not be basing any decisions whatsoever on it. I probably won't even send you a birthday card.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster created the Universe.
Do you believe that?
I should add that the reason it is so important to stress that science can only address testable hypotheses while religion proceeds on faith is that when religionists collapse science and religion into the general category of belief, insisting they are interchangeable 'choices' when it comes to systems of belief, then we end up with Creationism taught as science, and Creationism is not science.
You can teach Creationism as part of a course of the history of ideas, or in a course on the philosophy of knowledge, or in a comparative religion course, but you can't teach it as science because it can't be tested.
Religion and science are NOT two belief systems. Religion is a belief system. Science is a method of inquiry.
Creationism may not be science, but neither is spontaneous generation of life, in some primordial "goup", or puddle.Neither can be scientiffically tested nor proven!.Neither can the myriad of species of life be "proven" to have evolved. It is an untestable "thory".
So, whatever part you can't prove by the scientiffic method, has to be accepted by faith, or rejected as determined by the individual.
As I said, there are a lot of issues in life that don't fall into that sort of (teastable) category.
Evolution has been tested and challenged over and over, dj. Just because you choose to pretend it hasn't will not make it the same as blind faith.........
I "believe" you want the irrational belief forum. One up in case you missed it
The goup theory (now there's a title!) is based on testable hypotheses. The God-did-it theory is not. I'm not saying you don't have a right to believe God did it, I'm just saying that's not a scientific statement so you can't teach it in a science class.
Science is not based on 'faith'--theories are overturned all the time by new discoveries. Religion tends to stay static in terms of core beliefs over many centuries, sometimes over thousands of years.
Primordial goup/spontaneous generation of life is not testable!
It was (if it ever occured) an event in the past. No scientists were present to see or test it. They have not as yet ( to the best of my knowledge) "created life" in a test tube, or lab. The "jury is still out", and no final verdict is on the near horizon.
By definition a theory isn't testable. That what makes it a theory not a fact. But you can base a theory on facts, on data, on experiments. Science bases its theories on those sorts of things, religion does not.
Sorry Pam, but that really isn't correct. By definition, a scientific theory is testable, but the tests are attempts at falsification, not verification. You cannot prove a theory true (which, I think, is what you meant) but you can absolutely prove it false. Scientific knowledge is "that which has been postulated in falsifiable form, and not yet proven false".
You are so well spoken on this topic. You said what I meant.
The creationism thing annoys me. It makes our whole country look stupid. Plus, it's quite bullying IMO. It's this small group of fanatics thinking they have the right to prescribe what's right for the rest of us. No one is even telling them not to believe it, just that it doesn't belong in our public school system in science class.
Around the mountain we go again. Science has NOT "proven",nor demonstrated in any way shape orform, the origin of life on the planet (or anywhere else for that matter). Therefore, there is no difference in "thoeries". Evidence for (small incremental) change, called evolution, is another topic.
One may appeal more to some, and the other more to others.
As for creationism making your country look stupid, I think you could have chosen from a lot greater list to make that point. The us has exported a lot of good stuff, but equally as much (if not more) trash. For those of us looking in from the outside, itmay be clearer than for those within.
What do you not understand about the theory of evolution not trying to explain abiogenesis?
You discard evolution because it does not explain the very first spark of life as we understand it? Is that right?
And I assume that you now accept that The Flying Spaghetti Monster Creation story is just as valid as yours?
You ever hear of Horus?
I know - lots of questions. I am trying to understand your constant attack on science.
Do you really feel your faith that threatened by science?
OK. But I still don't understand why you are grinding this axe for science. Why do you even care what scientists believe (or don't) about God? What's wrong with having your religion and leaving other people to their own beliefs or lack thereof?
I mean, for example, I don't want personally want to take calculus ever--it sounds dreadful and boring--but I don't feel the need to discredit it by making God the supreme calculus teacher. I'm thinking, God is probably OK with some guy teaching that, so why aren't you?
I just enjoy the discussion. That's probably the biggest part. Just like non-believers challenge me with thier prespectives, I am trying to do the same.
I see it as (simply sateted), we are all asking the "same questions" but coming up with differeing answers.
As a scientist, I have explained to you many times that Science is NOT in the business of 'proving'. Our aim is to postulate and to disprove false theories. Blunt question - do you understand that?
Now, while we have not been able to demonstrate how life first appeared, we have certainly been able to show a continuity of life, backwards in time, to simpler and simpler forms, in fewer and fewer locations. And the time we are talking about here is lo-o-ong compared with the biblical creation myth, but sho-o-ort compared with the demonstrable age of the Earth.
Or maybe you don't even accept that?
I understand your meaning of "falsification". However, that changes nothing. If you take the 6,000yr hypothesis out of it, no-one has (as yet), falsified the creation theory. To do so, would produce an unfalsifiable alternative. There isn't one.
The articles in wickipedia (abiogenesis) clearly states the various conjectures on the "possible" appearence of life.
If you read up on the structure of a single cell, .....well see the quantum leap neccessary to accept any one of them as actually viable, is.....leaps of faith greater than the one I have to exercize in my position. (As disagreeable and distasteful as it may be to you).
I don't think you do understand 'my' meaning of falsification. It requires a theory to be put forward in falsifiable form, i.e. in a way that implies absolute consequences that can be tested. The 'creation theory' is not stated in this form. It is simply a story that reads like a piece of fiction, except that some people choose to believe it.
Also, to falsify a theory does not produce an unfalsifiable alternative. For example, Newtonian Mechanics replaced earlier theories but was itself falsifiable, though the falsification took centuries to arrive. When it came (courtesy of Einstein) it too was stated as a falsifiable theory, not as a 'truth'.
I think most peoples problem ( who object to ID, or creationism) is a small (for want of a better word) image of who God Is. Get a bit of a handle on that, and it won't be so far fetched, I promise you!!!
I was not aware I had a problem.
Interesting that you think anyone who does not agree with an irrational, faith-based, bronze-age myth has a "problem."
You are deffinitely "most people".
You can count yourself out of the group if you like.
But, now that you mention it, you just proved my point !
Well you specified that most people (who object to ID or creationism) - that would include me. It is rather laughable that you think I have a problem. Why is that?
I think most peoples problem ( who object to ID, or creationism) is a small (for want of a better word) image of who God Is. Get a bit of a handle on that, and it won't be so far fetched, I promise you!!!
I draw your attention to the latter sentence.
Ah - going for the condescending "if you just open you eyes you will see that I am right and you are wrong." approach. very nice.
Still not sure why you think I am the one with the problem
No, No, No! Not condescending, and not me right, you wrong. Just like anything in life, we limit the possibilities, by small thinking. You ridicule God, because to you He (your perception of Him) is ridiculous. Based on the names you have given Him, and imagery, I don't blame you. BUT, that's not the (One) of whom I speak.
Ah - I am the one who is thinking small then. No - nothing condescending about that.
Speaking of thinking small - allow me to introduce you to a scientific theory - the theory of evolution. And trust me when I say it is vital to think small to understand how we really came to be.
So - what you are saying is that if I swap my perception of a magical all powerful super being that is in everything in the universe and created us in his image for a bigger image of a far more powerful, far more magical even more super duper being that is in everything in the universe I will some how be able to grasp the idea that this new even more super being quietly whispered his words of wisdom into some one's ear and they wrote the bible so I could be saved from the sin I was born into. And this super duper being needed to pretend to be his own son (only one he could have apparently) to save me from the sin I somehow bought down on myself by being human. And all the rubbish I have previously believed about the earth being millions of years old and us evolving is a lie. Ah - got it now thanks.
You state it so well.
If I didn't know better, I'd be inclined to think I pushed one of your hot buttons. (Sorry if I did).
Ever heard the term "the devil's advocate"? That's the "game I was playing. Sorry you missed that too.
Actually you did - Not that I was offended any more than I usually am by the believer's "If you just open your eyes and stop being so small-minded you will see that there is a god and I am right."
But I wasn't kidding about thinking small when it comes to evolution. Try thinking millions of tiny little changes rather than jumping to one huge change.
The issue I have with this aspect is the lack of a "real" explanation of how life first "arose". It is scientiffically impossible. You have to overcomew that hurdle before "any evolutionary changeis possible.
My other "problem" is that not enough time has elapsed for so much perfection, balance, harmony, co(and inter)dependence and diversity. Lets not even talk about intricacy, and complexity.
But, I must retire, I have a BIG day ahead of me. Thanks for the chat.I'll check back another time.
I think actually the reverse is true--that people who can't reconcile science with a belief in God have a small idea of who God is. Literal interpretation of scripture is way more toxic intellectually than any scientific theory IMO.
It's not that hard to reconcile science and religion, but you do have to expend some effort. If you start with the premise "Science is wrong," then of course you'll never get there.
I don't want anything in a school curriculum that encourages children to stop thinking or questioning. If you do, you can always send your kids to a private, denominational school.
Absolutely (not much room for theory there), Paraglider. What I truly don't understand is some people's lack of understanding of basic literary devices (and I suppose I have to spell it out and say--in the Bible). Things such as metaphor, simile, exaggeration, mythos, parable, creation story, etc.
Now, life for me would be millions and millions of years less interesting without knowledge of these devices.
Literary devices are part and parcel of what I do. However, if you are implying that the Biblical account(s) of creation are still true because they are merely extended metaphor, you'll find as much disagreement from the fundamentalists as from the agnostics.
I'd rather subscribe to the view that the bible is something of an accident. It didn't have a lot of competition in the early days, and it did get hooked up to some pretty powerful military regimes. Word of god? Not very likely
Paraglider, I don't really think that the texts included in the bible had no competition. There was plenty of competition, even among the practitioners of a single sect, which books would be included and which would be left out. Also, bear in mind that there was more than one version of each of the texts that were included, and words were changed here and there that helped to bolster the followers of one doctrine at the expense of another. Even so, you don't necessarily get a totally coherent and internally consistent picture, because some texts have to limit themselves to the facts known historical events which for their contemporaries could not be falsified.
Can't say I've gone as far as to compile a theory, lol, on the Bible, in all honesty. Do know that there are many texts across cultures and times with unifying themes not mentioned much in 'Western' discourse. See lots of metaphors, even in nature, even in science. But then what do you expect of a poet, ?
Am with you on the military regimes, fundamentalists, as well as even an extended metaphor as THE word of God.
Aya - not a lot doesn't equate to nil. The bible did not have a huge amount of competition.
Lita - by any standards, its success was as phenomenal as it was lucky.
Wow - I just joined HubPages, and am sorry it looks like I missed when this thread was really hopping.. oh well, I was fascinated by some of the chat from Mark Knowles, aka-dj, pgrundy, BDazzler, et al. In case any of you guys ever check back in, I typed up a little something and tried to name it something bland, and non-controversial, like "Murdering god, for fun and profit".
Seriously though, I think a lot of this discussion is very much tied into semantics, and different semantic beliefs we all have. This piece tries to point out a couple of the semantic traps we've (society) fallen into regarding religion, science, faith and belief.
It's not trivial to explain, so if you can take a minute to check it:
Wow, I will definately be reading the article. I need some brain food
I just read the question and pop came an answer in my head so I did not go through any post and just thought to reply.
Science/God = Science/Undefined
Science/God = 0 (A big ZERO)
Isn't that simple mathematics? What you guys have been discussing till now?
I wish it was that easy. Your first statement, S/G = S/U means that you're saying that god is undefined. True maybe, but science is too. And why did you pick undefined? I probably would have picked infinity...
Anyways, I'd argue that science isn't what most people think it is. Science today isn't what science was 100 years ago (or a thousand), in many ways.
So, I'd suggest we define what science is first, probably be a lot easier than agreeing on what god is
Well I agree, science is not what it was 100years back but definitely at any point of time it has a solid definition and everything in science has a solid definition but same is not the case with God. It is what it was 100 years back or 1000 years back or even 10000 years back; UNDEFINED. It is nothing and that is why I thought to call it undefined instead of infinity which has a definition.
Infinity = (Anything that has a known value)/Zero. Here we have both the numerator and denominator well defined as result, infinity is defined too.
Actually, infinity is indefinite, not defined IMHO (and websters opinion too I think).
As far as defining god, just pick one, any one, and it has definition (even if that definition is "infinite"). This is similar to using US based science as a basis for science (you probably wouldn't want to use the aborigines of new zealand as the basis of science - but still, as long as you pick a current example for comparison, it's defined).
But I think I agree with your point... If either term, "science" or "god" is undefined/indefinite, then the answer to the question is kaput.
Which takes me back to my original point, defining the terms would be a good first step...
"Zero is such a crazy concept,
Aryabhatta taught man there is no need to regret."
The sage taught the world zero.
I think it's actually the opposite. Science is constatnly changing, evolving, learning more. You said yourself it's not the same now as it was 100 years back. How can science have and everything in it have a solid definition if it's constantly changing?
God doesn't change. He's the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. In 1 Sam. 15:29 the Bible says, “Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind." In my opinion, that's the true and only definition of infinity. God just doesn't have a known value in scientific terms because He can't be tested, he is omnipotent. Nothing in the Bible has changed
Science/God = Science/Infinite (not zero)
Science/God = God (infinity)
That is also simple mathematics, only more accurate.
If you pick infinity, which is n/0 and then divide with it, the denominator becomes the nominator and you are left with Science x 0/n, which is essentially Science x 0 = 0. Ta-da!
Of course, there's the basic problem that science and religion cannot be reduced to mathematical values, so this whole thread strikes me as disingenuous. Division isn't really a metaphorical function.
String theory is a fascinating subject. Not many people can claim to understand it, not even from reading a book or two, so using it to support your bias isn't exactly helpful.
Science today isn't what it was 100 years ago because of new discoveries. What science is, is defined, but science itself is always changing.
"What do you get if you divide science by God?"
= Scholasticism/staggmentation/dark ages.
In the middle ages it was a central tenet of Christianity that God was truth. Science was welcomed and encouraged as a path to truth and hence to God.
The issue nowadays is the literalism of popular religion.
Popular sentiment has more interest in comfort than in truth and ill-educated, populist preachers have no capacity to lead.
I think there are two different ways to look at it.
If you think God is more then science then you get pagans.
If you think science is more than God then you get religious fanatics.
Sorry, but I think you got it the wrong way round.
"If you think God is more then science then you get religious (fanatics).
If you think science is more than God then you get pagans.(or is that rationalists. . .no, no,atheists.)"
A bit of misunderstanding then. The question was what if you DIVIDE science by God?
I think the equation(if such a thing could exist), would = "GOD".
Everything starts(ed) with Him, is upheld by Him, will finish with Him, and it is both "about" Him, and "for" Him.
aka: I am certainly open-minded about that one.
Have to agree with Paraglider about the misinterpretation of the scientific method - I have just been writing guides on how to write research papers. One of the first thing that science students are taught is that, even if your experiment does not yield positive results, you have still learned something.
It is not about right and wrong answers, just answers
I hope you meant that for "science experiments" only? Wrong answers can be (very) serious in many circumstances.
ok - let me try again, less literally...
“Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.” - Albert Einstein
So, it sounds like old Al is saying that if you DO divide science by religion, you get something that is neither lame nor blind.
What that is, I'm not sure. Today, the secular and scientists seem to be off on their own, repudiating religion and god, even going so far as to compare the faithfuls beliefs with spaghetti monsters.
But if you look carefully at the history of science, you'll see that it's science which is full of phantoms; flat earths, epicycles, ether, bohrs atomic model, and more. Even theories like special relativity are now showing cracks, their predictions amiss. And their errant theories appear to be nothing more than secular spaghetti monsters...
http://hubpages.com/hub/Murdering-God-- … and-profit
That's a huge misunderstanding of what science does. It postulates theories in falsifiable form. And it rejoices when they are falsified because that is how knowledge grows. Successive theories improve on earlier ones, explaining their errors and including their successes.
I have no misunderstanding of (or issues with) what science "does", or how it does it. Increasing "knowledge" is of course good. What's troubling though, is that far too many people consider science as composed of "facts". While "data" may be "factual", the "theories" and even "laws" of science clearly are not.
Call the religious fanatics "spaghetti monster" believers if you like, but the atheists/scientists are not much more than "flat earthers" -- willing to believe whatever conjecture they happen to have that fits their current day observations. Once they have enough supporting observations, they call it a fact, or even a law.
Then, again and again, theory after theory, law after law; from the earth is flat all the way up to Einsteins theory of general relativity (gravity, yes the theory of gravity - which is failing now given recent Pioneer space probe data) inevitably we discover the earth is not flat.
Which means that our science really is nothing more than a sacred collection of "spaghetti monsters". The flat-earthers as I call them (science fanatics - and they ARE fanatical about their science) are now running around screaming about "global warming"- and how it is a fact (oddly, their yelling about the very same earth that their kind once said was flat).
I understand the history and semantic meaning of science well. It's the "flat earthers" that don't.
If you are a believer you can sometimes blame God for what happened to you, but at the same time need God to believe that what happened serves a higher purpose.
Most scientists that I know do not bother trying to disprove God because most do not care one way or another. I know many priests and bishops, and they do not care about debunking science. Sadly, it is yet another debate that has been polarised by a few extreme voices.
Throughout history, Science and Theology have usually worked pretty well together. For me, the lamentable decline of philosophy is the catalyst - without it, scientists and theologians do not share a common language.
IMO: Science divided by religion, or religion divided by science, should equal philosophy
Well, seeing in that one of the most debated topics the two have in common is life, I would say
Science/God = Life
I don't know if it makes sense, but it's what popped into my head. That's one of the biggest debates between the two - how did life start, how did we get here?
But I also agree with aka-dj:
To bring this back to the original question... Earlier I asserted that to answer this question, we would need to define science and religion.... There's considerable disagreement on those definitions...
Given that, perhaps it's not possible to answer this question, or other questions that try to get to the roots of the relationship between science and religion. At least not to the satisfaction of the fanatical.
And that's what actually is important here.
Consider such a simple question as: Do you believe in gravity?
Then why are so many successful researchers still writing mainstream books or contributing to them as consultants or artists?
For example, Michael J. Benton has written and helped edit numerous popular books and articles in addition to being a very successful researcher on Mesozoic diversity. Tom Holtz wrote a great Dinosaur Encyclopedia targeted for kids and has been a consultant on numerous children's books and is still a well-regarded meat eating dinosaur specialist. Greg Paul, an artist, has written at least two popular books on dinosaurs and has written numerous technical articles as well. There are endless more examples...
Why do so many people love to write uninformed statements in these forums? I do not understand this at all.
IF!....Homo/sapiens,sapiens exists long enough to become as successful at evolving as the shark and the alligator, future human species will consider the "genius" of today to have been nothing more than thoughtful, but primitive "groping."
The "atheist," the "skeptic," the "Platonist," the "believer," the "pantheist," will be considered to have been members of an infantile, evolving species that was as confused, innocent and inept as a newborn baby.
We will be considered in the same context as we consider inhabitants of the "stone age."
But Qwark, we already were closer to the alligator and diverged!
Wow! Science and religion? Well here's my take on the whole thing. Science is the attempt to control and manipulate the physical outside world we live in and as a general rule we do a pretty good job of that. I think the average person has a decent enough grasp on it by the time they leave high school.
religion on the other hand is mans attempt to answer the raging questions inside himself, trying to make sense of his own purpose in this world. Everyone needs a purpose, right? Or do they? If man were not so caught up in wanting to know his place in the universe would there even be a need for either of the 2 disciplines? Many people believe that it has to be one or the other, however that simply is not true. I believe that we are all looking for the god inside ourselves, and if we look hard enough and open ourselves up to all the tools we have been given we will discover that we had the answers all along.
It is through science that god has given us the tools to understand ourselves and to become more like himself. Some think that we are stepping on god's toes with science, I say we are becoming his greatest students and he is proud of us.
I once used to divide science by god, since becoming agnostic, the equation has more or less flipped for myself. Looking at religion as fact is far-fetched for me, I've to take the subject with a grain of salt then fill the space with possibilities.
So to answer the opening question. Science/God = Nothing
Science/god coincides with science/0. God exists in the minds of man as an abstract concept, ergo, science/by an abstract concept = *0.
*(simply imagination and hope.)
ooooo this is a huge thing that is going on these days. Like evolution and stuff! Great!
My mathematics is not so strong but let me calculate .....
Science/God = zero because any number(science) divided my infinity(God) would result in zero .....
Science and "god" are at opposite ends of the reality continuum.
Science is defined as: "knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through the scientific method."
There is no definition of this "god" thing except in terms of opinion or guess.
Science deals with REALITY, the concept "god" deals with IMAGINATION and HOPE.
When we think about the micro world of physics we must understand that there are no limits to the boundries of the micro and macro worlds. We can only imagine them in terms of ten to the one hundreth power and beyond. That concept is far beyond contemporary man's ability to understand. When we try to consider THAT concept, man regresses to his primitive characteristic of relying on the "supernatural" for help...or becoming insane.
Man is in his infancy as a species. His abilities regarding epistemological concepts is immature.
At this moment in his evolution he is still a primitive animal searching. When answers can't be found, he conjures up the supernatural for momentary solace.
At this point in geological time, serendipity is our creator!
"Man" will progress intellectually. He will, one day, solve the enigma of creating life. He has another couple billion years to bring that prediction to fruition.
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