On the conflict between science and religion

It’s often said, ‘Sure, other people’s religion conflicts with science, but they aren’t representative of the majority. Besides, my religion isn’t in conflict with science!”

Here’s a simple test to find out if your religion conflicts with science:

1) Do you believe in miracles?
2) Do you believe in a creator who directed evolution?
3) Do you believe prayers work? (And why doesn’t your god heal amputees?)
4) Do you think faith is a virtue?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these, and you derive your answer(s) from your religion, then your religion does conflict with science. Let me explain.

1) A miracle is a suspension or interruption of a physical law or constant. The whole idea in science is that physical laws and constants are true at all times and in all places. If you believe they can be arbitrarily interrupted, your belief is in conflict with science; science does not allow for the interruption of, say, the speed of light in a vacuum. You can believe that the speed of light in a vacuum can be changed by your god, but (aside from having no evidence for such a claim) your belief is one that is anti-scientific.

2) Evolution is a natural process that is based upon the changing of allelic frequencies within a population over time. It happens as a result of genetic change and interaction with the environment. It is a natural process that is contingent upon a long series of chance happening and natural selection; under the same environmental conditions, a re-running of the history of life would give different results. You can believe your god made it so humans (or any other animal) would be inevitable, but your belief is anti-scientific.

3) The science is in and prayer does not work. You can still believe it does, but your belief is anti-scientific.

4) Science is a valuing of reason, experiment, and, ultimately, evidence. Faith is the anti-thesis of this. You can still believe faith is a good thing, but your belief is anti-scientific; it is not a belief that is found within science.

Bonus conflict: Philosophy

Do you believe in the philosophical reasoning of the First Cause? This is the argument that says everything has a cause and thus the Universe has a cause. (And then it is randomly declared that God is eternal.) This goes against science because Newton told us that everything which has a force has an opposite and equal force. This is dependent upon observations made within the Universe. Your philosophy goes beyond this evidence and makes a conclusion which is independent of the sort of reasoning Newton used. In other words, if you say the Universe has a cause because everything else has a cause, you aren’t making sense. Everything within the Universe has a cause. That’s all science tells us. We can presume a reason for the Universe since it, well, exists, but we cannot use the scientific reasoning used by Newton; he was talking about forces within the Universe.

7 Responses

  1. I agree, and I’m sick of hearing religious moderates constantly remind us how their particular and very moderate belief doesn’t conflict with science.

    Any god which possesses any of the traits of omnipresence, omniscience, ability to create something from nothing, ability to hear thoughts or even spoken prayers from outside the range of the sound, etc, is by definition anti-science.

    They’re, of course, free to believe it, but please stop claiming there is no conflict with science. But even worse is all the scientists and rational people just ignoring or even agreeing to this. Claiming that religion is compatible with science is an excellent way of sneaking it in the backdoor of modern, educated society, and we shouldn’t just let these lies pass.

  2. a god who directs evolution isnt anti scientific, to say that god directed evolution is more simply put “god exists”. theres no way of proving he does or he doesnt, even scientifically.

    and prayer has probably been tested as a way of getting specific results or something. prayer is sometimes thought of as a way of meditation, and studies have shown that those who meditate become happier, sleep better, and enjoy other positive benefits as a result.

    everything has a corresponding, equal but opposite force. so if force is 4, equal and opposite is -4. 4+(-4)=0. thats pretty interesting. stephen hawking recently said that the sum total of energy in the universe is zero, and that seems to consistent with newton. maybe there is no need for a first cause. maybe things just are. i mean, its a bit much to say that things could just come into existence somehow, but if no energy is required, no first cause is required, maybe things within existence have cause and effect, but the existence itself is just that, existence and nothing else.
    let me know what you think

  3. i think what you mean by anti-science is “outside the reach of current science”

  4. a god who directs evolution isnt anti scientific

    That’s the point: yes “he” is.

    The only difference between the creationist God and the evolution-directing God is that the evolution-directing God is not anti-evolution. To assume evolution is all of science, however, is clearly wrong.

    A God that directs evolution but possesses the ability to hear a sound outside of the range of the sound (prayer) is still anti-science, no matter if the idea does not conflict with evolution, because science makes it very clear that sound is just air moving. If there is no air or if the air is not moving, believing there is still sound is anti-scientific.
    Same with a whole bunch of other traits that all the common Gods today are said to possess.

    Of course the religious people can just fall back to the old “God is love” argument or similar bunk, that reduces their deity to something quite commonplace and powerless – but we all know that’s not what they truly believe.
    Nevertheless, only then is a God not anti-science.

  5. ok, having a god that can “hear” prayers is a lot different than what i was saying, which was that there are positive biological effects of “prayer” when done correctly. thing is, like youre saying, you dont “hear” things that arent sound, which is produced by the vibration and movement of particles. to say that god “hears” is just projecting an anthropocentric view of god, saying that god must function using the same senses as us. if there really were an omniscient, or all encompassing god, which i think for there to be it would have to be a panthistic god, then that god, as the universe itself, would have acess to a hell of a lot more information, and levels of information than whatever it is that we as humans can experience or observe directly. its not that hes hearing non-sound. thats a category mistake. what they mean is that their prayers or thoughts are influencing something other than just themselves and what we can see

    but look, to say that a god of any form is anti-science, in the true sense of that word, is simply ridiculous. the scientific method is one that requires testing or observation in order to reach some sort of conclusion. anti science would be a method that denies the importance of these methods in determining an answer for any given question. when science cannot hope to test a given hypothesis, this hypothesis being the existence of god, then it would be anti-science to try and make a claim about it. science isnt going to say you cant prove either side of the global warming debate, so it doenst exist, its going to say look, heres our information, and what weve determined based on that information is that global warming is either true or false. we dont have any information with which to derive a conclusion regarding god., so its premature to try and make any judgements.

  6. if there really were an omniscient, or all encompassing god, which i think for there to be it would have to be a panthistic god, then that god, as the universe itself, would have acess to a hell of a lot more information, and levels of information than whatever it is that we as humans can experience or observe directly.

    Exactly the point. This God would have to have access to information and data that could not exist according to science.
    Science is again very clear: if someone speaks or thinks a prayer, there are only very few possible ways it could reach someone else, regardless of their means of reception, and a God which was not omnipresent would have to be able to receive these prayers by some means outside the range of anything science agrees could exist. That’s anti-scientific.

    An omnipresent God would of course not need this, as he could clearly hear prayers and read minds everywhere, but omnipresence is in itself anti-science.

    but look, to say that a god of any form is anti-science, in the true sense of that word, is simply ridiculous

    I believe I already answered that before. Yes, you can always fall back to claiming that God is just a feeling or something similar, which would of course make him scientifically possible, but at the same time completely powerless. This is the problem with the word “god” – there is no hard definition of it.

    But as soon as we claim anything godly about this god, such as creator powers, the ability to hear prayers or knowledge about the future, he’s no longer scientifically possible.

  7. i dont think its that hes not scientifically possible, hes just not scientifically measureable or testable.
    its not that the reality from which the information might be derived cannot exist, but just that we have no scientific way of deriving that information, if it does in fact exist.

    so what you mean by anti science isnt that it contradicts science, but just that its currently outside the range of science?

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