Reason, Religion, and Science

Speaking strictly for myself, I would think that most people out there eventually arrive at a set of axiomatic beliefs which constitute a world view, and this would be a context for what explanations they consider to be plausible for nature.

I agree with you.

Science is a systematic set of approaches for explaining the workings of nature. That’s it. It shouldn’t be used to prop up any particular religion, political affiliation, ideology or “worldview” over any other. Everyone in science brings ideology and beliefs to the table but our goal as scientists should be to overcome our biases not embrace them and use science to legitimize them.

And no, there is no empirical evidence for the resurrection. It’s a supernatural event described in a religious text. I don’t see why people have such an issue with just believing in the theological necessity of it without proving it like it were a literal historical event.

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If people didn’t take science seriously enough, they wouldn’t bother whether their views are supported by science or not.
This would mean lesser influence for scientists and lesser funding for science projects.
Why would you want this?

I really don’t care what you choose to believe just so…

  1. You aren’t harming yourself or others in the name of those beliefs.
  2. You aren’t coercing others to accept your beliefs.
  3. You aren’t misrepresenting your religious beliefs as something they aren’t.

I don’t care what your personal theological beliefs are but I would caution anyone who allows their theological beliefs to intrude on the science whether those beliefs are Christian or whatever.

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People should take science seriously as a means to understand nature, not as a device to lend credibility to one religious view over and above any other.

This is a naive view.
Governments consult scientists about laws, education policies, strategies w.r.t global warming and a plethora of other subjects.
Scientists influence the beliefs of people in all the above and more including theology
Why do you object to people responding?
Isn’t it a natural thing?

Of course they do because knowing how the natural world actually works is a vitally important part of making policy. It’s not however the only important part of making policy. Science doesn’t dictate any values or morality it only can tell you how nature works.

I agree with you. I am just explaining to you why science becomes a part of ideological, political and religious debates…
And I am pointing out it’s a side effect of a good thing.

I’m not saying science doesn’t or shouldn’t enter into these sorts of debates. If your beliefs make a claim about the natural world then that’s sort of thing science is built to address. But that doesn’t mean you can use science to prop up one theological view over another.

I don’t necessarily care what you believe or why you believe it but if you say the earth is 6,000 years old then that claim by itself science may address. Your theology that underpins that belief is not.

For the record I’m not fond of those who say science would dictate that people should be atheists either.

And I am telling you, its impossible to have one without the other.
This is because science is not a monolith and scientists are part of the community. These conversations will happen and there will be scientists who hold different viewpoints/interpretations of the data. (atleast for some things).

This is a good thing… even if you dont like it so much

Who are scientists to dictate what people should be…
However, Scientists have a right to believe what they will and defend their beliefs.
This is also inevitable.

Somewhat analogous to math where axioms cannot be proven, worldviews in the abstract are not supported one way or the other by empirical science. More loosely however, a worldview can encompass religious belief, and eventually wind up codified in something like the Answers in Genesis statement of faith. Here we move from axiomatic beliefs to the realm of evidence, and Gould’s non-overlapping magisteria is breached. All that evidence, the observations, experimentation, and measurements, tell us that the AiG statement of faith fails to align with the facts. It would be better if they just shunned science as evil and ignored it, than indulged in all the distortions and fabrications.

Natural phenomena has either a natural cause or a mystical explanation, and the record is clear that understanding nature has only ever progressed with naturalistic conjectures. Conversely, mystical suppositions have be detrimental to the advancement of science. Of course, most classical, and many current scientists, believed in God, but they did not proceed on the basis that angle wings animated the world.

I dont think you can make this an either/or statement.

How do you know something doesn’t have a natural cause as well as a mystical explanation?
For example, when a person has a thought or an idea, there is a natural "cause in terms of how his neurons behave. Assuming there is no mystical explanation such as an immaterial spirit does not automatically follow.

@Ashwin_s let me give you an example and you tell me if you think this is appropriate.

A creationist writes a paper they are characterizing as a scientific paper that they say provides evidence to delimit the created kinds, the original organisms created by divine intervention from a Judeo-Christian God. In that paper they say that humans must be considered their own created kind and cite a Bible verse to support that claim.

Is this really a scientific paper? Would the reader not have to first subscribe to the authors particular religious beliefs in order to accept their arguments? Is this appropriate in your mind to mingle religion and science in this way?

Do you suggest a ban on these activities? I believe people have the freedom to investigate “nature” on their own terms. And of course, scientists have the responsibility to clearly explain what is science and what is not. And the freedom to refute claims which they are convinced are pseudoscientific.
It’s a free market, and it should remain so.

Edit: Besides, scientists are an empowered lot. You guys are not the underdogs here who cannot protect their own turf. You have all the money and power.
So, I dont see it as a big deal.

I would not tell God what He can and cannot do, so one might argue God could work through nature in some transcendent way that we cannot distinguish. There are even theologies somewhere out there which hold that if God did not actively sustain nature, that it would all just vamoosh away. Still, He seems to have given us an orderly and self-contained universe which yields its secrets to scientific investigation. Theology, folkways, superstitions and untested musings have been fruitless.

You didn’t really answer my question @Ashwin_s. Is this an appropriate way to do science? Yes or no? No one is talking about banning anything merely identifying what science is and what it is not and when it is abused for religious and ideological purposes.

Fruitless in what?

According to you, what’s the purpose of theology?

How did you make this judgement?

I am absolutely on board with this, maybe more so that most. Recognize, however, that exercising that freedom does not confer an obligation to others to take them seriously, to recognize their legitimacy, or for that matter even to acknowledge their existence.

I’m not dismissing theology, only claiming that it has not been a successful methodology for determining natural law.