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.

It’s only clever when we do it

Suzanne Franks has another post about ‘mansplaining‘.

Over at the mansplaining thread, you can read literally hundreds of hilarious, annoying, frustrating, heartbreaking stories of how women are constantly subjected to intrusive, incessant, insensitive, inane mansplaining. Interspersed you will also find comments from d00dly d00ds whinging away about how awful it is that women are talking so MEAN about men, and their mansplanations about how mansplaining doesn’t exist. Then some douche tried to coin the phrase femsplaining.

Well, if she’s going to phonetically spell things and replace numbers with letters, I just don’t know how I’m going to compete.

I’m not about to defend the use of the word “femsplaining”. If it means to reference a particular ideological group that addresses dissent with condescension and disdain, then it may be accurate, but it isn’t useful. These are caricature feminists. They represent a minority which has developed a sort of in-group mentality, not some mainstream way of thought that is going to change much of anything.

The reason, though, that I don’t want to defend “femsplaining” is that it’s as dumb as “mansplaining”. Each loose (and always piss-poor) definition allows an extension that goes beyond sex and gender. In fact, at least one user picked up on this fact. Even the tried and true caricatures have pointed out in several places that ‘mansplaining’ is not specific to men. One is only left to wonder why they would bother even using it at all. (I think I just mansplained?)

Oh, and this isn’t a post for mocking ‘mansplainers’. While Franks and friends are interested in furthering their fuzzy community feeling by screeching “You don’t geeeeeeeeeeettttttt iiiiiiitttt!!!”, I am not. The caricature Gish Gallop is getting tiresome. “You don’t get it, you don’t get it, you don’t get it! This is mansplaining, this is sexist, these pictures are ALL misogynistic. Your perspective is bunk! Bunk, bunk, bunk! Almost all people think like you do! (Because I know how you think, you straight, white male – and I know your sexual orientation, didn’t you know.)” …well, let me just respond to your first point by saying…”MANSPLAINING!”

Finally, dissent over language does not equal some big, sexist conspiracy. Sometimes terms just suck. Get over it.