What is Science & What is Religion

From Reddit.com

Scientific Zealot:

No, you’re having a relationship with an imaginary being. I assume throughout your life, almost each and every day, you’ve come to certain events that make your belief in your god even stronger. Just like you, I come across bits of knowledge and thinking that reaffirm my belief in no god. I mean, come on, do you honestly believe a being with all the power in the world would care about whether or not someone has homosexual sex? Think about it, literally.. What’s going on? Some atoms rubbing together? Chemical reactions in the mind (orgasm). Do you really think that someone with infinite knowledge would be surprised that Eve ate the apple? Why tell the story? Why test them if he knew it would happen? NOTHING adds up, man.

Your religion is a bronze-age myth. Nothing more, nothing less.

Sorry for sounding like I’m insulting you, but this is merely my opinion.

Me:

The myriad manifestations of spirituality is an integral part of all human societies, and is something upheld by the vast majority of people on the planet.

For you to dismiss this out of hand, as “nothing” immediately reveals your bias in this respect. The simple fact of the matter is that you have chosen to focus only on physical phenomena while completely disgarding everything else.

You and I both are well aware of the fact that there is much more going on in a human relationship than the mere physical and chemical interactions you have described. In fact, there is almost a limitless potential in such unions, yet this is outside the realm of science to prove or disprove.

Science is merely a means of observing physical phenomena as a means to predict what will likely occur in the future, and spirituality, by its very nature, falls outside the scope of human science, as there are currently no means by which to measure spiritual phenomena, nor will their likley be.

IMO, you are encouraging a great fallacy in thinking that science in its present form can even come close to describing the sum totality of our reality. Hence the need of religion in human societies. Both science and religion have purpose and limits, and when we become too engrossed in one we might very well be ignoring the bigger picture.

Scientific Zealot:

You need to refine your comment and make another one, because all I’m seeing is jumbled BS

Me:

If you can’t respond to my comment, then why did you? I mean, it is written in English, though the grammar may not be perfect. But since when is that a requirement here?

I’ll try again though:

You yourself have said that you come across faith-promoting bits every day, but your faith seems to be in “science”. Of course there isn’t just one scientific school of thought, there are many, and the conclusions reached by the various proponents of “science” tend to change on a regular basis.

You then put forth several philosophical and religous questions as straw men, attack them with your “science”, and conclude with finality that the spiritual spectrum of human existence is all just a myth.

I’m sorry, but your hypothesis is lacking and cannot be proved or disproved because you have made the mistake of utilizing science for something it was not designed to do. Consequently your post from above would seem to be little more than a bunch of jumbled BS.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the fields of social science/psychology/etc. have not had a Newtonian, much less an Einsteinian, breakthrough as of late, have they?

Scientific Zealot:

Because you didn’t even come close to responding to mine.

Do you know why I focus on physical phenomena? Maybe it’s because it’s the only testable phenomena. Maybe it’s because it’s the only phenomena you can have faith in. Why put faith in something you can’t see or understand? or measure, for that matter. With your concept, it would be reasonable for someone to believe me telling them that there are four red elephants standing on each other while producing exact copies of “The Vagina Monologues” in the room behind me. Most people probably wouldn’t believe me, because I’m not deemed a credible source. Your idea of a credible source is a bunch of old text written by several different people over a rather long timespan. Oh, and they called it the word of god. teehee.

“You and I both are well aware of the fact that there is much more going on in a human relationship than the mere physical and chemical interactions you have described.”

And this much more would be…?

You know why we can’t measure spiritual phenomena? BECAUSE IT DOESN’T EXIST. Its as simple as that.

What is this “sum totality of our reality” you speak of? And why is it necessary for humans to need religion to explain this? There are scientific methods of explaining everything you see. Everything you feel. That is a fact. Your brain is nothing more than a chemical machine, and your spiritual experiences are nothing more than chemical interactions in your brain.

And what is the bigger picture?

Your comment was full of holes. You should have been a little bit more descriptive.

Just because you think you feel something in your head doesn’t mean it’s real. We all have imaginations, buddy.

Me:

Again you have made a mistake. Simply because something cannot be tested by “science” does not mean it does not exist. There are almost certainly physical aspects of the universe/reality that science cannot yet measure, yet they still exist.

The universe does not change according to science, but science always progresses by making new observations about the universe. For you to say that spiritual phenomena cannot exist because science in its current state cannot measure them is, in a word, retarded, and by doing so you are rejecting the very methods and principles that true science is founded upon.

Sounds like the words of a zealot if I’ve ever heard one.

Scientific Zealot:

Well, when the day comes that there are published experiments proving the existence of some supernatural phenomena, you can bet your ass that I’ll refine my ideas. And you’ll be right. You’ll be so right.

Now, let’s wait for it to happen.

Me:

And I’ll likewise be waiting for the day when God, spirituality, etc. are all absolutely refuted in one grand stroke as you seem to have implied has already occured.

Therein lies your conundrum, and it is indeed yours, not mine. Maybe that’s because I haven’t made the sad mistake of confusing religion with science.

And even if there were published experiments I doubt you’d come around. There would be always be some other interpretation or rebuttal you and your unblinking faith could conveniently take refuge in. Such is the nature of science. Funny though, in that respect its kind of similar to religion.

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5 Responses to “What is Science & What is Religion”

  1. Truth Seeker Says:

    Great job with the typically smarmy atheist!

    I will keep this as a source for future arguments with “non-believers”

    I hope you don’t mind, but here are a couple of thoughts :

    – Did (infra-red, micro-wave, electro-magnetic) info. exist before Science could measure it ?

    – Science tells us that life can only come from life. Nothing can not bring about life………. nothing can create itself.

    – Science tells us that energy can neither be created nor destroyed….. living creatures obviously have energy…… where does that energy go after death since it can not be destroyed?

    – Atheists argue that the Bible is not valid…… Over time, however, Archeologists have discovered that the Bible is not only “valid” but one of the most accurate books ever written………. On the other hand, Science Books become obsolete every ten years.

    Sorry, I guess that was more than a couple.

    Thanks!

    P.S. Since God is primarily love, I have had some success (though they never admit it) by asking Atheists to prove to me that love exists. Love is something almost every Atheist believes in that can’t be Scientifically proven.

  2. schex Says:

    Glad you enjoyed this

  3. perspicio Says:

    I enjoyed your post & appreciate your point. The corruption of science begins subtly. Nip it in the bud, I say.

    I had a conversation along these lines not too long ago. (It’s here, if you’re interested.

    The essence of the matter, as I see it, is that “sciencism” is a departure from science itself because it assigns a belief value (negative though that value may be) to ideas that are not accepted by the scientific community. Rational thought does not permit this conclusion. It is just as rationally, and therefore scientifically, irresponsible to disbelieve something that is not refuted by empirical evidence as it is to assign a positive belief value to something that is not supported by empirical evidence. Non-belief is the appropriate position in such cases.

    People who profess to be rationalists need to understand the limits of that rationalism. It is a wonderful tool – one of our very best. But belief in rationality is prima facia pseudoscience.

    Incidentally, I disagree strongly with the first commenter, Truth Seeker, who seems to be using your arguments to support his beliefs, but who appears to ascribe to those beliefs without empirical evidence. (The second and third bulleted thoughts are manifestly incorrect.)

    Truth Seeker, it’s very irresponsible to read something with the sole intention of validating one’s own point of view. This is one of the primary ways we deceive ourselves. You are guilty of the same logical fallacy as the pseudoscientists. You wield rationality incorrectly. Having a sword doesn’t make you a swordsman.

    The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.

  4. Generic Scientist Says:

    As an actual scientist (not a science zealot…whatever that is), there are a few statements that caught my attention.

    “The myriad manifestations of spirituality is an integral part of all human societies, and is something upheld by the vast majority of people on the planet.”

    This assumes that the myriad manifestations of spirituality are all related. And just because it’s upheld by the vast majority of all people on the planet (argumentum ad populum) is not an argument in its favor; it is a logical fallacy. The fact that many people believe something does NOT make it true.

    “The simple fact of the matter is that you have chosen to focus only on physical phenomena while completely disgarding everything else.”

    Give me an example of another type of phenomenon and I will discuss it where your other commenter could not, or did not. Be specific.

    “Science is merely a means of observing physical phenomena as a means to predict what will likely occur in the future, and spirituality, by its very nature, falls outside the scope of human science, as there are currently no means by which to measure spiritual phenomena, nor will their likley be.”

    That definition of science sounds ok, but I like this one better: science is the effort to create an explanatory model of the observable universe. The spirituality that I believe you’re talking about makes a lot of claims that ARE part of the observable universe, and they are testable.

    “IMO, you are encouraging a great fallacy in thinking that science in its present form can even come close to describing the sum totality of our reality.”

    The goal of science is not to describe the sum total of reality. It only strives to make a model of the observable universe. We might all literally part part of “the matrix” similar to the way it is portrayed in the movies. However, if it is unknowable that the observable universe is merely a computer simulation, then that possibility is a moot point.

    “Hence the need of religion in human societies.”

    Need? I don’t see how you demonstated a need for religion.

    “…and the conclusions reached by the various proponents of ‘science’ tend to change on a regular basis.”

    This is a strength of science, not a weakness. The model of the universe that is presented by science is constantly being refined and made better through more observation and testing. The statements made by religion are the immutable words of god. That creates the sad situation where, when we find out that something in these ancient texts is wrong, it causes some people to continue to believe in things that contradict the observed facts.

    “Again you have made a mistake. Simply because something cannot be tested by “science” does not mean it does not exist. There are almost certainly physical aspects of the universe/reality that science cannot yet measure, yet they still exist.”

    Name one. Keep in mind that you ended with the words, “…yet they still exist.” That’s a pretty definite declaration.

    Your commenter said,
    “Well, when the day comes that there are published experiments proving the existence of some supernatural phenomena…”

    vs.

    “And even if there were published experiments I doubt you’d come around.”

    What both of you missed is that if there were published scientific research confirming the existence of something “supernatural”, it would no longer BE supernatural. It would be “natural”; something observed, tested, and explained by science. Lots of things we can explain today were “supernatural” 5000 years ago.

  5. schex Says:

    “The fact that many people believe something does NOT make it true.”

    It could also be said that the fact that many people believe something does NOT make it FALSE. And to expand on that idea, they fact that many people not only believe, but act on and integrate religion into their lives, as a system which provides a myriad of benefits both physical, and *yes*, even spiritual, could be considered correlating evidence in support of my original statement.

    You said that I failed to demonstrate a need for religion. But you see I don’t really have to. There is plenty of evidence in support of my belief that there is a need. Religion is pretty much a universal constant in EVERY human society, and human societies develop according to human needs.

    As I’m sure you know, the scientific method is not a means of “proving” a given hypothesis, but a way of disproving others until only a few likely candidates remain. Fortunately, were I to tackle the hypothesis that “There is no need for religion” (which is essentially a null hypothesis), it would easily fail given the available data (i.e. the universal nature of religion stated above).

    Now let’s take another hypothesis: “There is a God” and using the scientific method attempt to disprove it as in the previous case. But the problem I now run into, scientifically speaking, is that I am longer dealing with a null hypothesis. I am not saying there is NO God, but that God can and, consequently, does exist. Given the available data, which is sorely lacking considering humanity’s rather limited perspective of the universe,
    I cannot dismiss this hypothesis.

    But were I to implement religion, I could (and actually have) confirmed that there is indeed a God through spiritual means. And similar to the scientific method, this technique is repeatable and the means through which it is employed are shared with as many people as possible through the various organizations and structures of religion.

    While this may not seem tenable to you, as a scientific non-zealot, it works for me as a human being. Because, you see, Science and Religion are both tools that humanity has developed over the course of its existence and they BOTH have purpose and justification in their implementation.

    While Science disproves certain things (a very useful function), Religion PROVES others (also extremely useful) and I would be a fool if I were not to take advantage of both. The conflicts appear when the two become uncomfortably intertwined, each attempting to dictate the terms of the other.

    In the case of the Scientific Zealot, he? in the same discussion (on the Reddit link at the top) makes the claim that one day human beings will live forever due to technological advancements in medicine, and that this achievement is humanity’s ultimate goal. Clearly, he? has taken current scientific trends and created his own personal religion, while at the same time denouncing all others due to various theorems put forth by religion being “proved false” scientifically.

    If this is the “religion” science has to offer, you’ll excuse me if I look elsewhere to more refined and definitely more rewarding systems. And to expound on that, simply because one explanation put forth by religion is refuted scientifically, that event does not invalidate the religion as a whole, just as a scientific theorem that was once accepted wholesale by the academic community being discarded for a better one, does not invalidate the scientific process as a whole. In fact, discarding theorems and testing new ones IS the scientific process. You’d think so-called “scientists” could grant even a fraction of the leniency they have for their own discipline to other methodologies, but sometimes they lack that objectivity.

    I understand that a few hundred years ago, religious institutions made the mistake of attempting to curtail science, and exhort undue influence over it. Naturally, there was a backlash against this, which has culminated in our modern age into a tendency by some to dismiss any religion not “controlled” by science as “impossible”. But proving something to be “impossible” is not as easy as it sounds.

    Let’s not make the mistake of jumping from one extreme to the other. I recognize the value of both Science and Religion, and I consider that to be true progress. If you can’t do the same, due possibly to your “scientific” bias, then just as in the case of the Zealot, it is your loss, not mine.

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