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Senate Is there a conflict between Religion and Science?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Ghost, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. timmoishere

    timmoishere Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 2, 2007
    With every other object and phenomenon in our experience, we use the scientific method to determine whether it exists or not. For example, X rays are invisible, but we know that they exist. We can devise scientific experiments to prove that they exist. Then, once proven to exist, X-rays can be used predictably in all sorts of beneficial ways.


    If you would like to hypothesize that God exists, then you should say to yourself, "Let's devise a repeatable scientific experiment to provide evidence that God exists." Every experiment we devise demonstrates, yet again, that God is imaginary.

    Isn't it odd that God, unlike everything else in our universe, has been put into a special category? When we talk about God, we are supposed to do so "philosophically." Why? Why not treat God just like all other objects and devise experiments to detect his presence or absence?
     
  2. Lowbacca_1977

    Lowbacca_1977 Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 28, 2006
    Hypothesizing possible explanations is not at all something that science looks down its nose at.
     
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  3. LostOnHoth

    LostOnHoth Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 15, 2000
    Thank you for sharing.
     
  4. timmoishere

    timmoishere Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 2, 2007
    Agreed. Science entertains all possibilities, and only rejects those that have been shown to have no foundation. Knowledge is an ever-growing, ever-expanding thing. It is not (and should never be) static. And so as new information is discovered, it is feasible and even encouraged, to reevaluate all previous hypotheses. And those that are still foundationless will still be rejected in the same manner.
     
  5. Kimball_Kinnison

    Kimball_Kinnison Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 28, 2001
    This shows that you don't actually understand the scientific method, especially its limitations.

    Consider this article from the AAAS (the publishers of the journal Science) about a forum they hosted in 2011:
    Simply put, the scientific method doesn't work for everything, and that isn't a matter of putting "God, unlike everything else in our universe" into "a special category". The flaw in your reasoning is in thinking that the scientific method is the basis for what we know about "everything else in our universe". That's a false premise.

    You have essentially made the scientific method into your God. You have made it the thing that you place your faith in, without understanding or recognizing its limitations or its central purpose. It isn't an all-powerful tool that can do everything. It is one tool, and only one tool, that is best suited to only certain categories of problems.
     
  6. Sarge

    Sarge Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 1998
    Let's do a scientific analysis of art. Or love, or beauty, or laughter, or music.

    Science is a wonderful tool for studying scientific things, but there is infinitely more to life than science. And the things that matter most go beyond science.
     
  7. timmoishere

    timmoishere Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 2, 2007
    Yes, science can determine that art, love, beauty, laughter and music exist. All of those things have measurable quantities. Yes, even love, which, when you get right down to it, is a chemical reaction that can be measured.

    Whether or not a thing exists is definitely in the realm of science.
     
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  8. Kimball_Kinnison

    Kimball_Kinnison Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 28, 2001
    In other words, you reject the entire idea that there is a Demarcation Problem regarding what is or is not science. You have simply decided that everything that exists is science, and everything else must necessarily be false. That seems to me to be an almost outright rejection of one of the core tenets of the philosophy of science.
     
  9. SuperWatto

    SuperWatto Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 19, 2000
    If we give neuroscience some more time, I'm pretty sure that it will map all there is to map about art, love, beauty, laughter, and music. To bring these concepts up as proof of a deity is a bit poor in my opinion.
     
  10. LostOnHoth

    LostOnHoth Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 15, 2000
    I think the main area of "conflict" arises where certain medical advancements are deemed to contravene religious beliefs. Stem cell and IVF technology immediately springs to mind. The actual conflict arises when religious organisations actively seek to prevent the development and commercial application of medical advancements. Personally I believe that religious people are free to not avail themselves of medical technology which conflicts with their own religious beliefs and should therefore not interfere with the commercial application of medical technology which benefits people who do not hold the same religious beliefs. I'd hate to see a cure for cancer being squashed because of the religious beliefs of a segment of society.
     
  11. Saintheart

    Saintheart Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2000
    Not the belief so much as the applied teaching that arises from it. For example, the Catholic Church's stance on abortion and euthanasia doesn't arise from the fact that abortion invalidates belief in God or Jesus as the Messiah. Where the conflict arises is from application of the ethical systems taught by that religion -- in the case of the Church, that life begins at conception and that life is sacred from the moment a zygote forms to the point the heart/brain stop working and the soul departs. Most of the morons out picketing abortion clinics are not doing so because they threaten the fact of God's existence, it's because they believe abortion is a great evil which they're duty bound to combat. This is not to try and derail the thread or defend their actions, merely to point out the distinction.

    Although putting a finer spin on it: what do people say the conflict is between ethical principles in, say, medicine or indeed research, and science? Seems to me ethics ain't built on much more of an objective foundation than religion except in the most glaring cases where a particular practice doesn't advance the cause of science. Take the Hippocratic Oath: "First do no harm." Not quite "Love thy neighbour", but you might argue it's no more defensible. Thoughts?
     
  12. Lowbacca_1977

    Lowbacca_1977 Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 28, 2006
    Well, I would say that it really comes down to that science or medicine or the like there isn't inherently ethics of any fashion. Ethics can, however, be applied to how it is carried out. The big difference between the way ethics are applied from something like the Hippocratic Oath and from religion are that I think there's a better case to argue for the axiomic need of things like the Hippocratic Oath than simply citing everything back to the Bible.
     
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  13. Jabbadabbado

    Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Mar 19, 1999
    Medicine is in general a great example for why ethical/moral systems arise as a general consequence of social interaction without any need for an appeal to an absolute supernatural moral authority.
     
  14. Vaderize03

    Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 25, 1999
    Actually, neuroscience is, at its core, nothing more than the study of the wiring of the brain. We can map out circuit paths, but without a deeper understanding, we still won't know a thing about the battery.

    That being said, my personal belief is that there is more to consciousness than just electrochemical reaction, ie the brain expresses consciousness in the same manner that a TV translates a broadcasted signal. There is some evidence in quantum theory to potentially back this up, but our understanding is far from complete.

    Where a conflict arises here is when religions claim proof of validity from as-of-yet evolving science. For example, nothing that I've said above is in any way supernatural. While I don't believe the brain generates consciousness, I absolutely do believe it creates mind. They are not the same thing; consciousness can be summed up as "exist/aware", whereas mind is "I am".

    They are not the same thing, and this is where a lot of religious thinking fails.

    If, ultimately, consciousness is discovered to be a fundamental part of the universe, I believe it will fall firmly within the realm of as-of-yet undiscovered science; that is, there will be a model within the framework of testable physics which defines it. Until we are able to expand our vision beyond what our technology can currently measure, there will be things that appear to be magic to us. The question is not "is there conflict", but "what is one's worldview?"

    Both science and religion give me hope. They complement each other, not stand against one another. They are at war only within the human mind, which is ultimately an emergent property of the electrochemical circuits of the brain shaped by genetics and environment, powered by the underlying field of consciousness which is as much a part of the structure of space as the speed of light. At least in my opinion :).

    Peace,

    V-03
     
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  15. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Not really, no. Impartial, unobserved measuring instruments are valid observers from a QM standpoint, that's the reason Schrödinger's Cat isn't a valid argument against the Copenhagen interpretation. Nature apparently doesn't really give a **** if the thing looking at it has a brain or not. The model could change over the years, I'm not disagreeing with your general thrust (Although unlike a lot of my fellow Buddhists I'm highly skeptical of any notions of any sort of collective consciousness, lack of evidence aside it strikes me as egotistical), but to the extent of our knowledge you don't need to think to get probability wave collapse.
     
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  16. Vaderize03

    Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 25, 1999
    That's highly debatable depending on who you talk to you.

    Check out "The Quantum Enigma" by Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner, or google Hal Puthoff's work with Ingo Swann and SQUIDS; it's decades old, but points to some interesting potential connections between subatomic particles and consciousness, as well as providing some mind-bending implications for the concept of non-locality. Also look at Dr. Stuart Hammeroff's work with Sir Roger Penrose on Objective Reduction and microtubules. It's great stuff.

    You stated my point very well, which is that if we discover a deeper meaning, it's likely to fall within the framework of physics, as opposed to simply being "supernatural." Inherently, something is only supernatural until we figure out how to explain it.

    Peace,

    V-03
     
  17. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 13, 2008
    I'm familiar with the arguments in favor of quantum consciousness, I really don't like them.

    Also, Hal "Uri Gellerr is the real deal" Puthoff is probably not someone you want to cite. Ever. Just... for the record.
     
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  18. Vaderize03

    Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 25, 1999
    Lol. He is certainly controversial, I'll give you that.

    Penrose and Hammeroff, though, are not, or at lest not as much.
     
  19. Obi-Ewan

    Obi-Ewan Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 24, 2000
    The thing is, science invites you to try and prove it wrong.

    The last time a church admitted to its mistakes, they told us Mary Magdalene wasn't a whore, which many haven't yet accepted.

    Religion and science are concerned with different things entirely, and I find it exceedingly tiresome when people on either side insist on pitting them against each other or convincing themselves that one should replace the other.

    Science claims with quite convincing evidence that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old. Radiocarbon dating, using upwards of 40 different isotopes, all points to that age. Samples have been subjected to every imaginable accelerant and still their rate of decay remains constant and predictable. Religion insists that God, for some reason, merely made the rocks in which archaeologists dig appear to be that old for some strange purpose, or that the apparent billions of years of age are the result of Noah's flood, and that the Earth is only 4,000-6,000 years old.

    I do believe, however, that despite its faults, the Catholic church has been willing to acknowledge this fact. For some reason the later denominations are more insistent on Biblical literalism.
     
  20. TOSCHESTATION

    TOSCHESTATION Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 17, 2003
    "because Science good religion bad"
     
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