Are science and religion reconciliable? -

JustFuckinaDude

"Why can't you act like a regular sociopath?"
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While I’m not very well versed in the more advanced sciences such as string theory and such, the thought that perhaps science and the concept of a “deity” are at least theoretically possible (if unlikely) to be reconciled was rolling through my brain the other day. (I’m using Abrahamic examples as it’s the one I’m most familiar with, but the ideas apply across all religions)

From my admittedly shallow understanding of M-theory, 11 dimensions are possible; a being able to navigate them would be “God” like to our limited senses.

A successful parthenogenic pregnancy in a human would require an absurd amount of things to be abnormal, but given enough chances, any abnormality could happen. What if that’s so vanishingly rare that it’s only happened once?

Along the same vein, a proposed solution to the Fermi Paradox is that intelligent life requires so many things to happen in a specific way in specific steps so as it make it vanishingly rare; but again, given an infinite amount of chances, it’s bound to happen at some point.

Since consciousness isn’t exactly well understood, what if the sincere belief in a religion causes some sort of electrical or biochemical change that essentially guarantees that as we die, we perceive “Heaven” or “hell” as our brains shut down?

What if that “deity” would only use natural methods to communicate with us? For example, I’ve seen hypothesizing that Moses was high on something psychoactive and ran into a natural methane pocket that combusted for some reason?

I don’t know, just curious what others might think.
 

Positron

Anti-intellectual; pro common sense
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I'm not sure if I want to reconcile Religion and Science.

Along the same vein, a proposed solution to the Fermi Paradox is that intelligent life requires so many things to happen in a specific way in specific steps so as it make it vanishingly rare; but again, given an infinite amount of chances, it’s bound to happen at some point.
But we cannot observe an infinite number of planets. Due to the limited age of the Universe and the limited speed of light, the number of planets we can potentially observe will be unimaginably huge, but it is still a finite number.

Parthenogenic birth occurs in insects and reptiles and I can think of no reason that it cannot occur in mammals, but then human has not appear on the scene for very long so I don't expect to see it.

As for Fermi's Paradox, some really outlandish solutions (discussed in the intriging but rather polemic book The Great Silence - The Science and Philosophy of Fermi's Paradox by Milan M. Ćirković) is very redolent of theism. Hypertechnical civilizations, people propose, will be able to alter the law of Physics to make themselves effectively undetectable (in a scenario the book calls "A New Cosmogony") or else "transcend" to another level and thus has nothing further to do with our Universe (Rapture? Nirvana?). Whether such thinkings reflect our yearning for spirituality in this hyper-secular age, I leave it for others to discuss.
 

mindlessobserver

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Arguing they need to reconcile implies they are or need to be in conflict in the first place. The idea of some kind of endless war between science and religion really does not hold up if you actually look at the history. Even the most famous example used to describe it, the trial of Galileo, is wildly misunderstood. Galileo was not done in because he said the earth went around the sun. He was done in by palace intrigue where his enemies in the papal court convinced the pope that he was "the simpleton" in Galileos book on the issue. The pope thought Galileo was mocking him personally. More broadly most of modern science got its start from religious colleges. Particularlily in the West.

At the end of the day science and religion are trying to do two different things. Science seeks to orient reality in an understandable way, and religion seeks to orient the metaphysical and dreams in an understandable way. We need both IMO. I would not want to live in a world without dreams anymore then I would want to live in one run just with them.
 

Dom Cruise

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The way I think of it is this, just like we can peer at germs, microbes and amoebas, so too are there beings up on a "higher plane" than us, Angels, Demons, God, Satan.

In the case of Demons they may feed off of negative emotions and Angels act sort of like white blood cells against Demons acting as a sort of virus.

And to get an idea of God, basically imagine the universe as one big brain, with every atom acting like a neuron.

Or think of it this way, everything seems to work on a dual nature, right? Light and dark for one example, so why wouldn't there be the material and the immaterial, the physical and the spiritual?

At the end of the day with metaphysics I don't know what one can and can't say is possible, anything seems possible to me, it's pretty dang clear to me that our knowledge of the totality of how reality works is severely limited, where would science be 1000 years from now and what sort of stuff that would sound far fetched to us now seem a lot more plausible then?
 

Lemmingwise

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The key element to reconciling old religions and modern science is quality historiography. Your suggestion of exchanging natural explanations for unnatural ones (moses receiving messages from heaven), isn't rigorous enough, because first how does one establish that he did indeed have that experience in any way comparable to the way it has been recorded? I mean, there's disagreement over when exactly he lived, with differences of about 300 years between them.

From a scientific point of view, it's often hard to say anything with certainty, and before you start inventing unnatural explanations for something, it's first important to establish what we can know about what did occur.

That lack of knowledge and certainty is precisely why I believe religion is valuable, but only if you don't let it limit your thinking when we CAN know things with some certainty.
 
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Kari Kamiya

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Isn't that what Christian Science is all about?

I don't get how it is a lot of religious folk seem to fear or hate science when science is nothing more than learning how it is the universe and everything in it works. I mean, weren't there monks and friars back in the day practically scientists or historians in some form or another? Gregor Mendel was both a practicing friar (whether he personally believed in the teachings or not) and a scientist, after all. It's quite possible that deities are all scientists to some degree, adorned in white lab coats or not (think that's what those white robes are, smocks?)--in fact, religion could argue that God is the founder of science. Ergo, when you study science, you are coming closer to knowing of God. Yet apparently there are scientists out there trying to prove there is no God or whatever, when I think they just aren't any closer nor further from discovering the existence or fabrication of God.

Not sure if "reconciliation" is the right term to use, but finding compromise or a middle ground wouldn't hurt. People can believe in whatever they want to believe, and you're always going to have those assholes abusing the power of science and/or religion for personal gain. It's nothing more than a pipe dream at this point, but really, no one should be given the evil eye for being religious or for dabbling in the sciences, or for having the best of both worlds.
 

Zarael

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Absolutely. Science as we know it today is the study of how the physical universe behaves. Religious people don't deny that the physical exists, of course, it's right there! We only say that the underlying nature of the physical is from God. Science is throwing a ball and noting that it creates an arc every time. Religion is understanding that the balls behavior is because God ordained it to be that way. Science is very good at measuring, modelling and predicting physical phenomena, but it has almost nothing to say on why those phenomena are the way they are.

The core dispute between the religious and the non-religious is not that science can provide knowledge of the physical universe, because it clearly can, anyone who disputes that has rocks in their head. The issue is whether the physical universe is all there is. It's an epistemological battle that has been raging for centuries now. Positivists say we can only go as far as the scientific method allows via empiricism, no further. Rationalists say we can extrapolate on our knowledge and come to real conclusions about the universe based on logic.

In fact Alvin Plantinga suggests that modern science helps theism far more than it does naturalism, even going so far to say that it completely refutes naturalism.

If you want to be a materialist more power to you. I can't, because materialism leads to absurd conclusions. To wrap this up I want to quote a section of St Basil the Greats Hexaemeron that shows this dispute has going on since forever and will probably continue as long as humans exist.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. I stop struck with admiration at this thought. What shall I first say? Where shall I begin my story? Shall I show forth the vanity of the Gentiles? Shall I exalt the truth of our faith? The philosophers of Greece have made much ado to explain nature, and not one of their systems has remained firm and unshaken, each being overturned by its successor. It is vain to refute them; they are sufficient in themselves to destroy one another. Those who were too ignorant to rise to a knowledge of a God, could not allow that an intelligent cause presided at the birth of the Universe; a primary error that involved them in sad consequences. Some had recourse to material principles and attributed the origin of the Universe to the elements of the world. Others imagined that atoms, and indivisible bodies, molecules and ducts, form, by their union, the nature of the visible world. Atoms reuniting or separating, produce births and deaths and the most durable bodies only owe their consistency to the strength of their mutual adhesion: a true spider's web woven by these writers who give to heaven, to earth, and to sea so weak an origin and so little consistency! It is because they knew not how to say In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Deceived by their inherent atheism it appeared to them that nothing governed or ruled the universe, and that was all was given up to chance. To guard us against this error the writer on the creation, from the very first words, enlightens our understanding with the name of God; In the beginning God created. What a glorious order! He first establishes a beginning, so that it might not be supposed that the world never had a beginning.
Written around 360AD.
 

Astro Galactic Megalul

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Arguing they need to reconcile implies they are or need to be in conflict in the first place. The idea of some kind of endless war between science and religion really does not hold up if you actually look at the history. Even the most famous example used to describe it, the trial of Galileo, is wildly misunderstood. Galileo was not done in because he said the earth went around the sun. He was done in by palace intrigue where his enemies in the papal court convinced the pope that he was "the simpleton" in Galileos book on the issue. The pope thought Galileo was mocking him personally. More broadly most of modern science got its start from religious colleges. Particularlily in the West.

At the end of the day science and religion are trying to do two different things. Science seeks to orient reality in an understandable way, and religion seeks to orient the metaphysical and dreams in an understandable way. We need both IMO. I would not want to live in a world without dreams anymore then I would want to live in one run just with them.
TMW fedora-tipping atheists are the ignorant ones. Your assessment is on point.
 

The Mass Shooter Ron Soye

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Fuck science. Fuck religion. They're both changeable dogmatic horseshit. Engineering and spirituality for the win. Their processes either work or they don't.
You can do science and share results without journals, grants, or gatekeepers. If your ideas are reproducible and useful, people will eventually appreciate them.

You can also start your own religion. Bonus points if you become the leader of a sex cult.
 

Positron

Anti-intellectual; pro common sense
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TMW fedora-tipping atheists are the ignorant ones. Your assessment is on point.
It is very easy to reconcile anti-religion with anti-science: their meeting point is egoism.

Religion says humans are important but only insofar as they are part of a higher plan. Fedoras say fuck that.
Science says humans are not important: we are just one of the thousands of biological systems known and we are still held bidden to biological laws. Fedoras say fuck that shit; I am the sex I claim to be.
 

Dom Cruise

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Fuck science. Fuck religion. They're both changeable dogmatic horseshit. Engineering and spirituality for the win. Their processes either work or they don't.
Science is great but what people are too quick to forget is that it's an ever evolving, ever changing thing, where science is at now isn't where it was at a century ago and it won't be where it's at now in another century.

But there seems to be an attitude today that where science is at now has basically figured almost everything out and because there's no concrete evidence for the existence of the soul or God or anything else supernatural at the moment that means it definitely doesn't exist.

Basically there are 3 big questions in life, the how, the why and the what.

How did we get here?

Why are we here?

And what happens after we die?

As far as I can tell science has no answers for those 3 question, only theories and assumptions at best.

For all the talk of evolution no scientist can tell you how exactly life on Earth actually began, it was simply too long ago, all we have are theories, so even if you totally accept the theory of evolution there's still the big question of how exactly the process began.

As for the "why" the scientific answer seems to be "it just is" and the irony of that is one of the criticisms leveled against belief in God is "if God created the universe, then who created God?" and the answer to that is usually "God just is", but how is that really any different than simply saying "the universe just is?"

And finally the big question of what happens after we die, some people of course assume the answer is just "nothing" but that's an assumption, no one can say for sure.

Look, if we're talking actual ancient Religious texts I think it's fair to say they are "flourished" in the way ancient people's culture simply worked, that is to say myth, metaphor, parable, so maybe one doesn't have to take everything at face value, but the actual core of what they are talking about, the actual messages and meanings, I think there is a lot of truth to be found there.
 

Idiotron

The last sane person on Earth
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You can create a religion in which god created us to explore the universe, learn about it and understand it.
A religion that puts the pursuit of knowledge at the front.
Knowledge is salvation.
God demands that each next generation knows more than the previous one until we know everything there is to know, then we will meet god.
 

Hellbound Hellhound

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It is possible to be both religious and scientific, but only insofar as those ways of thinking don't have to come into conflict. In my opinion, they are not truly reconcilable.

The fundamental difference between religion and science is the order in which evidence and conclusion are prioritized. Science starts with the evidence and then attempts to derive a conclusion based upon that evidence, while religion starts with a conclusion and then attempts to find evidence to support that conclusion. The nature of the conclusions they reach is thus totally different. When the evidence is prioritized, the conclusion is relatively objective; when the conclusion is prioritized, the evidence is relatively subjective.

This is a major problem for the religious approach, in my view, as there is often a glaring disconnect between religious claims of universal truth, and their provincial relationship with the truth. A Christian or a Muslim may be absolutely certain that their view of reality is correct, but only because they have been raised within a culture where they have been taught to embrace the conclusion they've reached. The scientific approach lacks these trappings.
 

GethN7

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I don't see the conflict, and I say this as a Christian.

The Bible has nothing by God saying we shouldn't try to understand the world around us, and while it also says some mysteries will never be known until God reveals them, there is no condemnation for trying to figure things out anyway.

Science wants to understand the tangible world. Religion is generally concerned with the next, and I see no reason for a blood feud between either.
 
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