dilemmanade
Friday, June 29, 2012
 
Science vs. Religion

Science is a way to organize your thinking/believing. A very powerful way. It is attractive to a lot of smart people in great part because they like stuff to make sense, not on the authority of a preacher or an old book, but on logical grounds.

Religions are also ways to organize your thinking/believing.

To some who are scientifically oriented, science and religion are exclusive of each other: Everything can be explained scientifically, given time, and religion represents an outmoded, illogical, repressive method of organizing your thinking/believing.

And that's kind of compelling.

But not everything can be explained scientifically. (Why is there something instead of nothing? Where's the disproveable hypothesis that'll settle that issue?)

More importantly, for many the thought that there is no long run justice (heaven and hell, karma, whatever) is very much an unthinkable one. I for one absolutely refuse to accept that idea. Not out of fear, but out of repugnance.

Finally, as an organizing principle science doesn't tell us why we should help a little old lady cross the street. Religion does. Sure, an atheist would help a little old lady cross the street, but coming up with a "scientific" reason for it would require a whole heap of unscientific crap like utilitarianism or facile evo-psych dressed up as science.

Both ways of organizing your thinking/believing have their merits. Ultimately science should stay out of the god question, sticking to observable, measurable phenomena. And religion should stay out of the evolution question, sticking to the unknowable and matters of virtue.
 
When life gives you dilemmas, make dilemmanade.

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