December 21, 2018
you're a believer who doesn't want to seem anti-science, what can
you do? You must argue that your faith - or any faith - is perfectly
compatible with science.
This claim is called "accommodationism."
relies on observing, testing and replication
to learn about the world.
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I'll construe "science" as the set of tools we use to find truth about the universe, with the understanding that these truths are provisional rather than absolute.
These tools include
observing nature, framing and testing hypotheses, trying your
hardest to prove that your hypothesis is wrong to test your
confidence that it's right, doing experiments and above all
replicating your and others' results to increase confidence in your
Of course many religions don't fit that definition, but the ones whose compatibility with science is touted most often:
...fill the bill.
The edifice of religion differs from science by additionally dealing with morality, purpose and meaning, but even those areas rest on a foundation of empirical claims.
You can hardly call yourself,
After all, why accept a
faith's authoritative teachings if you reject its truth claims?
Two ways to look at the same thing,
never the twain shall meet.
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Many theologians emphasize religion's empirical foundations, agreeing with the physicist and Anglican priest John Polkinghorne:
The conflict between science and faith, then, rests on the methods they use to decide what is true, and what truths result:
In contrast to the methods of science, religion adjudicates truth not empirically, but via dogma, scripture and authority - in other words, through faith, defined in Hebrews 11 as,
In science, faith without evidence is a vice, while in religion it's a virtue.
Recall what Jesus said to "doubting Thomas," who insisted in poking his fingers into the resurrected Savior's wounds:
needed the proof, just like a scientist,
and now is a cautionary Biblical example.
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Why do they think these
are true? Faith...
Indeed, new sects often
arise when some believers reject what others see as true. Lutherans
split over the truth of evolution, while Unitarians rejected other
Protestants' belief that Jesus was part of God.
There is no one answer to
any of these questions. All is mystery, for all rests on faith...
Often they point to the existence of religious scientists, like NIH Director Francis Collins, or to the many religious people who accept science.
But I'd argue that this
is compartmentalization, not compatibility, for how can you reject
the divine in your laboratory but accept that the wine you sip on
Sunday is the blood of Jesus?
Can divinity be at play
in one setting but not another?
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But in the past every Westerner was
religious, and it's debatable whether, in the long run, the progress
of science has been promoted by religion. Certainly evolutionary
biology, my own field, has been held back strongly by creationism
Religion and Society - The Problem of Evolution in America),
which arises solely from religion.
There's a huge disparity in religiosity between American scientists and Americans as a whole:
Whether this reflects differential
attraction of nonbelievers to science or science eroding belief - I
suspect both factors operate - the figures are prima facie evidence
for a science-religion conflict.
Religion and science, he argued, don't conflict because:
This fails on both ends.
First, religion certainly makes claims about,
In fact, the biggest opponents of non-overlapping magisteria are believers and theologians, many of whom reject the idea that Abrahamic religions are,
Nor is religion the sole bailiwick of "purposes, meanings and values," which of course differ among faiths.
There's a long and distinguished history of philosophy and ethics, extending from,
...that relies on reason rather than faith as a fount of morality.
All serious ethical philosophy is secular ethical
This leads to a mind (no matter how scientifically renowned) at war with itself, producing the cognitive dissonance that prompts accommodationism.
If you decide to have good reasons for holding any beliefs, then you must choose between faith and reason.
And as facts become increasingly important for the welfare of our species and our planet, people should see faith for what it is: