Science and religion conflict

It’s popular amongst theists to claim that science and religion do not conflict. They recognize the basic validity of science, so for religion to be in conflict with it would undermine their most cherished beliefs. This is why we get these inane rationalizations from places like the Catholic Church which say that evolution is true yet it somehow can work with theology. It obviously can do no such thing, but that isn’t about to stop the Pope from pretending like the Bible supports the theory. That’s really the way they all do it: get the facts from science and then change the theology to match it. I understand the hands of believers are being forced, but their ruse is just too transparent.

But with things like evolution, it isn’t that hard to twist the theology to fit the facts. There is no method whatsoever within theology that can show any holy writ to be accurate or not, so changing it around on a whim is not that difficult. But what about more fundamental issues? If there is some fact which contradicts something that believers absolutely cannot do without, then we really could stop with these silly claims that science and religion do not conflict. Fortunately for you, dear reader, I have just the example:

Science says the laws of Nature cannot be broken. Ever. Never ever. Go on, ask any physicist or cosmologist or astronomer. Or just look at the evidence yourself. The physical laws are the physical laws and they change for no one. But what do religions say? They say God intervenes. Whether he does it by answering prayers or by directing evolution, he takes the known laws of physics and causes them to go on a path, according to all religions, in a way they otherwise would not have gone. That is not possible according to science. And, yes, every religion with a god has some fundamental dogma within it which says that its god has interacted with the Universe in a way that alters its physical laws on some level.

This is startling?

I figured anyone remotely knowledgeable about the Bible knew this:

A dull-looking chart projected on the wall of a university office in Jerusalem displayed a revelation that would startle many readers of the Old Testament: the sacred text that people revered in the past was not the same one we study today.

Scholars at Hebrew University have been working on tracing the history of the the Old Testament, attempting to reconstruct the most original version of it possible.

The project’s scholars have been at work on their critical edition of the Hebrew Bible, a version intended mainly for the use of other scholars, since 1958.

“What we’re doing here must be of interest for anyone interested in the Bible,” said Michael Segal, the scholar who heads the project.

The sheer volume of information makes the Bible Project’s version “the most comprehensive critical edition of the Hebrew Bible in existence at the present time,” said David Marcus, a Bible scholar at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, who is not involved with the project.

Unfortunately for Christians and Jews, some important alterations have been found:

A Microsoft Excel chart projected on one wall on a recent Sunday showed variations in a single phrase from the Book of Malachi, a prophet.

The verse in question, from the text we know today, makes reference to “those who swear falsely.” The scholars have found that in quotes from rabbinic writings around the 5th century A.D., the phrase was longer: “those who swear falsely in my name.”

In another example, this one from the Book of Deuteronomy, a passage referring to commandments given by God “to you” once read “to us,” a significant change in meaning.

These are not mere grammatical changes. The Christian and Hebrew bibles provide no methods whatsoever for determining what is true and what is not. All they have is simple faith, something which informs them of nothing, and every day it becomes more and more academically well known that such faith is premised on inaccurate grounds. Without 100% accuracy, they are left with virtually nothing more than mere guesses. I don’t know about everyone else, but guessing and faith have never inspired much confidence from me.

Of course any thinking person already realizes that these writings were never divine, and that the grounds in which they are based were never valid in the first place, but even if we bend over backwards to grant the believer as much ground as possible, the validity of his beliefs is nonexistent. Just look at this special pleading, or rather, special declaring:

“A believing Jew claims that the source of the Bible is prophecy,” said the project’s bearded academic secretary, Rafael Zer. “But as soon as the words are given to human beings — with God’s agreement, and at his initiative — the holiness of the biblical text remains, even if mistakes are made when the text is passed on.”

In other words, “We know these words are wrong. And we know the intentions of the original (human) authors are wildly different from what we’ve always thought, but c’mon! It’s still holy. After all, these bibles say so. Now excuse me while I go check out the original manuscripts in which that tautology is made…”