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I know it sounds weird, but Religion and Science can coexist.

Last posted May 03, 2012 at 02:42AM EDT. Added Apr 14, 2012 at 01:17AM EDT
55 posts from 26 users

Although I’m Christian, I’m going to try to see this situation from both sides.

Alright, so the first example of religion coexisting with science is the Big Bang. I do believe that a Big Bang happened, and that it created the universe. However, what was there before it? I know that there’s plenty of theories out there, but just like religion, it’s hard to prove things to happened so long ago. The Big Bang could have been God, or some other religious being, creating the world.

The second way in which religion and science can coexist is evolution. I also believe in evolution, but also in God putting everything on Earth. He could have created things on Earth and let them become new kinds of species as time went by. The Bible says God created the Earth in its entirety in 7 days (including the day of rest), but the “7 days” hypothesis is probably not true. The Bible was written so long ago, and it’s hard to truly know what people meant or what actually happened through recordings of history.

For the idea that life exists elsewhere in the universe is still a mystery to me. If God created the universe, then he must of surely created the other lifeforms that dwell across it. Even if there is no mention of life forms outside of Earth (or Heaven / Hell, I guess) in the Bible, there is most likely life somewhere out there. Going back to the bible being so old, it’s hard to get the truth from a book that was written so long ago. I’m sure that trying to translate the messages from prophets and the like didn’t always work either. Ever play that Telephone game in elementary school? It’s kind of like that. I’m positive stories and tales changed dramatically over the course of time through word of mouth and wrong translations.

I’m not saying that other ideas are false. I’m just trying to point out that there’s some ways in which religion and science are hand in hand, and how it’s just another hypothesis. I’m also trying to shine some light on this idea, showing people that you can’t be so close-minded. Trust me, both sides can be stubborn. It’s hard to have a conversation with fellow churchgoers and have them go, “Evolution? Pffft. That’s bull.”

I’m sure I’m going to get flamed, trolled, and ridiculed, not to mention being proven wrong in every way possible.That’s what happens when you try to make sense in such controversial topics like this. Thanks for taking the time in reading this.

Apr 14, 2012 at 01:17AM EDT
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We nearly touched upon this subject in this thread

However you will notice that thread got locked and for a good reason.

While I’m fine with this subject and I certainly do believe this “science vs religion” war is complete farce I simply don’t think it is an appropriate topic here on KYM.

You can PM or discuss it on my wall with me if you like but I think it’s best if you take this to a religion forum


I’ll just quote what I said in that thread and leave it at that. Agree or disagree if you please. It’s all perspective

Religion = Theories of what exists within the non-observable universe and exo-universe

Science = Facts about what exist within the observable universe only

These don’t necessary need to conflict at all. But attitudes, understanding and the Us vs Them mentality trigger conflict anyway. As far as I can see, science and religion only conflict when people allow one or the other to govern all aspects of their life instead of just the aspects they individually cater towards

Many Christians (particularly protestants) have already figured this out and are able to have their religious cake and eat it on a science platter (You just don’t hear about them on FOX news)
Here’s how you do it: Abandon the implication that science is “Blue Team” and religion is “Red Team” and allow both to be of value towards you, so long as each respectively compliments different area’s of your thinking. I.E: Religion compliments what you think about morality, philosophy and the supernatural while science compliments what you think about reality and the universe itself. Different area’s = no conflict.

Example: Many Christians fully accept evolution. But understand that the theory in no way invalidates God and has nothing to do with Biblical teaching, so why argue about it? The fact that the Bible says we came from dirt doesn’t have to be taken literally. In fact, it’s completely irrelevant.

Last edited Apr 14, 2012 at 01:28AM EDT
Apr 14, 2012 at 01:24AM EDT
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I expected it to come down to something like this. I would take it to a religious forum, but you either find trolls or crazy Bible-thumpers. It sucks that people just can’t have a public, intelligent conversation on the issue. But yeah, I’ll just keep everything to myself. Might as well lock this.

Apr 14, 2012 at 01:28AM EDT
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Such is life. I don’t think I ever have seen an intelligent conversation on the matter and I am not sure I ever will. But at least you know you aren’t alone in your thinking.

But yea, on this forum it may be better to keep it to yourself.

Last edited Apr 14, 2012 at 01:35AM EDT
Apr 14, 2012 at 01:34AM EDT
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Well I for one believe the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.


No, your theory is fine. You’re not targeting anyone, or assuming your idea is 100% correct and everyone else is wrong like some atheists and religious zealots, and for that I commend you. However, we at KYM steer clear of such topics. Please bring it to some other forum, and I hope you can enlighten them on your ideas.

Apr 14, 2012 at 02:51AM EDT
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Can two sides of a quarter co-exist?

Yes, but only in the most depraved way.

Apr 14, 2012 at 08:26AM EDT
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My props to you lad! If there was more sense like, not everything would be so bad.

Apr 18, 2012 at 05:05PM EDT
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You wanted to know about what came before the big bang, right?

The Big Foreplay.

Apr 18, 2012 at 05:49PM EDT
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You know another way how god and science can coexist?
Two words:

The Force.

Last edited Apr 18, 2012 at 06:35PM EDT
Apr 18, 2012 at 06:34PM EDT
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Before I get going here I want to clarify that I’m not saying that your ideas are wrong. I’m just giving my opinions on the subject, so please don’t see this as some kind of attack on your beliefs.

[TL;DR INCOMING]


Alright, so the first example of religion coexisting with science is the Big Bang. I do believe that a Big Bang happened, and that it created the universe. However, what was there before it? I know that there’s plenty of theories out there, but just like religion, it’s hard to prove things to happened so long ago. The Big Bang could have been God, or some other religious being, creating the world.

I’m not going to even pretend that I understand any of the hardcore maths that goes into solving big bang cosmology, but I have read a little on the subject (by which I mean I’ve barely read anything, but enough to get the absolute basics). As far as I know, current theories suggest that the big bang lead to the creation of both space and time. Most people see it as the spontaneous creation of matter in a vast empty void, but that’s not the case at all. There was no void before the big bang, and there was no ‘before’. That might seem hard to believe, but that’s only because human minds have only evolved to understand the world directly around us. That’s why such things as special and general relativity and quantum mechanics seem so unusual to us. Under this framework, there couldn’t be a plane of existence in which a creator could exist (at least none that we know of).

There’s also that old problem of ‘if God made the big bang, who made God?’. You may solve one problem by introducing a God, but in doing so you just create further problems. I’ve heard some people say ‘it makes sense since God is eternal’, but a being with an infinite lifespan doesn’t seem to make sense to me.

I don’t think scientists have any watertight theories as to why the big bang happened, but I don’t think that means we should fill the blanks with the God(s) of our choosing. I think we should just leave that as an unknown for now, and let the researchers do their thing.


The second way in which religion and science can coexist is evolution. I also believe in evolution, but also in God putting everything on Earth. He could have created things on Earth and let them become new kinds of species as time went by. The Bible says God created the Earth in its entirety in 7 days (including the day of rest), but the “7 days” hypothesis is probably not true. The Bible was written so long ago, and it’s hard to truly know what people meant or what actually happened through recordings of history.

I have quite a few friends who also believe this, but I’ve never found the explanation very satisfying. If we believe that life can evolve from simple forms into more complex forms over time, why should we suppose that a God decided to start things off half-way through the process at some arbitrary point in time? If evolution happens spontaneously, we wouldn’t even need conscious intervention to get things going. It could just happen by itself as long as the right conditions are present (though we don’t know exactly what those conditions are. Abiogenesis research is a total bitch from what I’ve seen).


For the idea that life exists elsewhere in the universe is still a mystery to me. If God created the universe, then he must of surely created the other lifeforms that dwell across it. Even if there is no mention of life forms outside of Earth (or Heaven / Hell, I guess) in the Bible, there is most likely life somewhere out there.

This is a situation where I simply don’t hold an opinion. I’d like to be able to say ‘it is most likely that life exists elsewhere’, but there’s no evidence to back that statement up, so I’d just be bullshitting myself. However, I don’t think there isn’t life out there either; I just admit that I don’t know one way or the other.


I’m not saying that other ideas are false. I’m just trying to point out that there’s some ways in which religion and science are hand in hand, and how it’s just another hypothesis.

I don’t think religion and science can work together, but only because they work in completely differently ways. They have worked against each other in the past (and in some cases continue to do so), but they don’t necessarily need to be in conflict either. The problem is that science is about building upon old ideas with new evidence and theories. Religion doesn’t seem to update itself in this way, and it isn’t so thorough in making sure it’s actually correct. For this reason, I don’t see how religion can contribute to the scientific method.

Last edited Apr 18, 2012 at 06:37PM EDT
Apr 18, 2012 at 06:36PM EDT
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I honestly want to see Fandroid post in here since I know his opinions on this.

Last edited Apr 18, 2012 at 06:56PM EDT
Apr 18, 2012 at 06:48PM EDT
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Algernon wrote:

Before I get going here I want to clarify that I’m not saying that your ideas are wrong. I’m just giving my opinions on the subject, so please don’t see this as some kind of attack on your beliefs.

[TL;DR INCOMING]


Alright, so the first example of religion coexisting with science is the Big Bang. I do believe that a Big Bang happened, and that it created the universe. However, what was there before it? I know that there’s plenty of theories out there, but just like religion, it’s hard to prove things to happened so long ago. The Big Bang could have been God, or some other religious being, creating the world.

I’m not going to even pretend that I understand any of the hardcore maths that goes into solving big bang cosmology, but I have read a little on the subject (by which I mean I’ve barely read anything, but enough to get the absolute basics). As far as I know, current theories suggest that the big bang lead to the creation of both space and time. Most people see it as the spontaneous creation of matter in a vast empty void, but that’s not the case at all. There was no void before the big bang, and there was no ‘before’. That might seem hard to believe, but that’s only because human minds have only evolved to understand the world directly around us. That’s why such things as special and general relativity and quantum mechanics seem so unusual to us. Under this framework, there couldn’t be a plane of existence in which a creator could exist (at least none that we know of).

There’s also that old problem of ‘if God made the big bang, who made God?’. You may solve one problem by introducing a God, but in doing so you just create further problems. I’ve heard some people say ‘it makes sense since God is eternal’, but a being with an infinite lifespan doesn’t seem to make sense to me.

I don’t think scientists have any watertight theories as to why the big bang happened, but I don’t think that means we should fill the blanks with the God(s) of our choosing. I think we should just leave that as an unknown for now, and let the researchers do their thing.


The second way in which religion and science can coexist is evolution. I also believe in evolution, but also in God putting everything on Earth. He could have created things on Earth and let them become new kinds of species as time went by. The Bible says God created the Earth in its entirety in 7 days (including the day of rest), but the “7 days” hypothesis is probably not true. The Bible was written so long ago, and it’s hard to truly know what people meant or what actually happened through recordings of history.

I have quite a few friends who also believe this, but I’ve never found the explanation very satisfying. If we believe that life can evolve from simple forms into more complex forms over time, why should we suppose that a God decided to start things off half-way through the process at some arbitrary point in time? If evolution happens spontaneously, we wouldn’t even need conscious intervention to get things going. It could just happen by itself as long as the right conditions are present (though we don’t know exactly what those conditions are. Abiogenesis research is a total bitch from what I’ve seen).


For the idea that life exists elsewhere in the universe is still a mystery to me. If God created the universe, then he must of surely created the other lifeforms that dwell across it. Even if there is no mention of life forms outside of Earth (or Heaven / Hell, I guess) in the Bible, there is most likely life somewhere out there.

This is a situation where I simply don’t hold an opinion. I’d like to be able to say ‘it is most likely that life exists elsewhere’, but there’s no evidence to back that statement up, so I’d just be bullshitting myself. However, I don’t think there isn’t life out there either; I just admit that I don’t know one way or the other.


I’m not saying that other ideas are false. I’m just trying to point out that there’s some ways in which religion and science are hand in hand, and how it’s just another hypothesis.

I don’t think religion and science can work together, but only because they work in completely differently ways. They have worked against each other in the past (and in some cases continue to do so), but they don’t necessarily need to be in conflict either. The problem is that science is about building upon old ideas with new evidence and theories. Religion doesn’t seem to update itself in this way, and it isn’t so thorough in making sure it’s actually correct. For this reason, I don’t see how religion can contribute to the scientific method.

You are not Verbose. Stop imitating him.

Apr 18, 2012 at 06:51PM EDT
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Also, if religion can’t coexist with even itself in peace, I don’t see why we should expect it to coexist with anything else in a peaceful manner.

Apr 18, 2012 at 06:57PM EDT
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Quote from one of my friends: “The Big Bang was God getting his paints out.”
--

But seriously, most of the conflict coming from the Religion debate is the fact some people think the bible is 100% accurate and will not be told otherwise. If people could just be a little bit more flexible…

Apr 18, 2012 at 07:01PM EDT
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Natsuru Springfield wrote:

Quote from one of my friends: “The Big Bang was God getting his paints out.”
--

But seriously, most of the conflict coming from the Religion debate is the fact some people think the bible is 100% accurate and will not be told otherwise. If people could just be a little bit more flexible…

That’s often the problem in my eyes. By being open-minded, everyone can get their say in. It’s terrible to see groups such as the Westboro Baptist Church doing things such as holding signs saying that “God Hates Fags”.

Apr 18, 2012 at 07:49PM EDT
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I know this doesn’t apply to many faiths, but as far as Christianity is concerned (since that seems to be what most of the discussion is about), if God created us in his image, I feel like God and humanity would have a similar sense of reason. Since reason is what separates us from pretty much everything else I feel it’s a slap to God’s face to just blindly follow religion, no matter how good you are at it. I feel if you apply reason and reason that God doesn’t exist, God would be like “At least you aren’t ig’nant,” assuming you had some reasonable reasons to reason God doesn’t exist.

Also, found my old copy of Jurassic Park. It’s been tore up to hell. That’s worse to me than when the same thing happened to my bible.

Apr 18, 2012 at 08:07PM EDT

I honestly think they can. I have this theory to explain this, but be warned it’s really idiotic. I think god is one big troll. When you live as long as he does (and with so much power), you got to get bored. So he decided to mess with us. He created an intelligent species in a world that doesn’t make any sense to see how it would grow. Probably wanted to see how we would grow, handle problems, or if we would snap at the ever expanding ideas before us. If I was god, I would see this as a lot of fun, being a super troll. I would also get to watch some incredible debates unfold.

tl;dr version. gods chill and likes to have fun experiments in his infinite free time. These experiments include putting humans in a huge world of conflict and questions.

This is my favorite theory. It’s very stupid and silly, but above all, it agrees with both sides and doesn’t make my head hurt.

Apr 18, 2012 at 09:57PM EDT
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Honestly, religion and science can coexist. There is no science text book that says “There is no god” and there is no ancient text that says “science is the work of the debbil”. The only problem I see is people who think the Earth is only about 6,000 years old. I don’t believe in a deity, but it’s perfectly fine if you do. We can all live together.

Apr 18, 2012 at 10:12PM EDT
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Trash Boat is (spoiler) W.W. wrote:

I honestly think they can. I have this theory to explain this, but be warned it’s really idiotic. I think god is one big troll. When you live as long as he does (and with so much power), you got to get bored. So he decided to mess with us. He created an intelligent species in a world that doesn’t make any sense to see how it would grow. Probably wanted to see how we would grow, handle problems, or if we would snap at the ever expanding ideas before us. If I was god, I would see this as a lot of fun, being a super troll. I would also get to watch some incredible debates unfold.

tl;dr version. gods chill and likes to have fun experiments in his infinite free time. These experiments include putting humans in a huge world of conflict and questions.

This is my favorite theory. It’s very stupid and silly, but above all, it agrees with both sides and doesn’t make my head hurt.

Exactly what I’d do. If I were God, one day a man would wake up, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast and walk outside to find his car upside down for no reason. Harmless trolling to see how they’d react.

Apr 18, 2012 at 10:13PM EDT

@Algernon

Good post, but I feel you may be missing the point. You are making arguments that religion cannot be used to contribute to scientific consensus and you are right about that due to the fact that religion and science deal with very, very different things.

However this isn’t really about how science and religion directly interact with each other. This topic is about being able to believe in both your religion (which ever chosen) and what science has discovered without feeling like you must choose between one or the other

Stereotypes dictate that if you believe in a religion, then you must disregard everything we have discovered about the past and take an ancient written text as the whole complete truth of how history unfolded.

Reality tells a different story. Many Christians like myself are perfect examples of people who don’t have any problems believing both scientific truths and God at the same time. The methods for doing so vary greatly and I won’t go into too much detail at this point.

I believe that is what me and Chokesmurf really wanted to make a point about.

Last edited Apr 18, 2012 at 10:19PM EDT
Apr 18, 2012 at 10:17PM EDT
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Trash Boat is (spoiler) W.W. wrote:

I honestly think they can. I have this theory to explain this, but be warned it’s really idiotic. I think god is one big troll. When you live as long as he does (and with so much power), you got to get bored. So he decided to mess with us. He created an intelligent species in a world that doesn’t make any sense to see how it would grow. Probably wanted to see how we would grow, handle problems, or if we would snap at the ever expanding ideas before us. If I was god, I would see this as a lot of fun, being a super troll. I would also get to watch some incredible debates unfold.

tl;dr version. gods chill and likes to have fun experiments in his infinite free time. These experiments include putting humans in a huge world of conflict and questions.

This is my favorite theory. It’s very stupid and silly, but above all, it agrees with both sides and doesn’t make my head hurt.

I remember seeing an image that went well with this theory.
I can’t find it anymore, but it said something along the lines of “Play the Sims. You now know why God does bad things.”

But yes, this one seems the most plausible of any theory. But there’s one thing I don’t really like about it: It makes God imperfect. If you’re immortal, and supposedly all knowing, you should probably know good from bad, be able to make great decisions for the human race instead of throwing them into turmoil.

Another thing I don’t like about the God thing in general is the “created in his image” part, going off of the whole “imperfection” argument. If God is perfect, why’d he make us so incredibly fragile? You can die from almost anything. You should be much sturdier, yes?

Unless of course, like you said, God is an uber-troll who’s testing us. Maybe he didn’t make us in his image. Maybe we’re all made to be as terrible a race as possible – like making stupid creatures in Spore. Maybe there’s an even better alien race out there. Maybe it’s even here on Earth. Oh god, what if Orangutans were the ones?

All in all, I like the theory. Not sure how I feel about God and Science together. But after all of history, it doesn’t seem right to trust any faith – it doesn’t sit quite right with me. I can’t just be an Atheist one moment and then become a God-ophile the next…

Apr 18, 2012 at 10:26PM EDT
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Chokesmurf wrote:
The Bible says God created the Earth in its entirety in 7 days (including the day of rest), but the “7 days” hypothesis is probably not true.

While I agree it’s not 100% clear if the first two chapters of Genesis are to be taken literally, many Christians have issues with what evolution has to say about Genesis 3 and other passages referring to “The Fall of Man”. Christianity’s focus is that Jesus died to fix the problem of Original Sin created by Adam’s disobedience. Romans 5:12 says, “…by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men…” The suggestion is that death was not part of the natural order until man ruined creation, but without death there is no “survival of the fittest”. So it’s not a matter of a literal six-day creation, but that without the metaphysical implications of Original Sin, it’s not clear what the purpose of Christ’s life was.

Ever play that Telephone game in elementary school? It’s kind of like that.

I have objections to the “Telephone Game” analogy. There are web sites that address this issue in great detail, but there are two main points to consider about the Bible. The first one is that while the Torah is about 3,000 years old, there is no book in history that has been copied as meticulously as that particular document. The Dead Sea scrolls attest to this, showing that 2,000 years of transcription resulted in a very small number of accumulated errors. (Although admittedly, there were errors; when I went to see the scrolls in San Diego years ago, my wife--raised in a conservative church--was shocked to find there were errors at all.)

My second objection is the “Telephone Game” analogy just doesn’t fit. People seem to have the idea that modern Bibles are a translation into modern English from King James English, translated from German, translated from Latin, translated from Greek, translated from Hebrew. This isn’t true. Bibles are always translated from the best sources available, and since the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls, modern translations don’t depend on those intermediate translations, but go back to those earliest documents. So it’s the telephone game if instead of whispering the message, you copy it on a piece of paper and pass that on, and the guy at the end of the line digs in the trash for the written message from ten people down the line to compare it to the one handed to him directly and make educated guesses about what is correct.

If God created the universe, then he must of surely created the other lifeforms that dwell across it.

Not necessarily, but it makes for interesting conjectures that I think most sci-fi writers miss. In Heinlein’s book Methuselah’s Children, (which I mentioned sometime earlier this week) the main characters land on a planet where the intelligent inhabitants can speak English before they arrive. The folks from Earth ask them how this can be, and they are told that the gods told them that the Earth-people were coming, and helped them to be ready to welcome them. I won’t give away any more of that story, but it is an interesting one. So many sci-fi writers seem to be atheists, and assume any extra-terrestrials we meet will not have religion, and this will somehow verify that there is no God. I think both of those assumptions rule out interesting story possibilities that do get examined by (Anglican) C.S. Lewis in Out of the Silent Planet and sequels, or (Mormon) Orson Scott Card in Speaker for the Dead and its related books.

Trust me, both sides can be stubborn. It’s hard to have a conversation with fellow churchgoers and have them go, “Evolution? Pffft. That’s bull.”

Definitely. Something that has really been frustrating to me as a Christian is dealing with fellow Christians who deny any possibility of evolution whatsoever. It’s just one of a handful of words (along with “feminism”, “communism”, and “carbon-dating”) that they’ve somehow learned is a bad word, and they close up when they hear it and never listen to what it really means. Of course, on the other side are people who will tell you, “Science has proven God doesn’t exist!” indicating that they really don’t know what most of those words actually mean either.

It sucks that people just can’t have a public, intelligent conversation on the issue. But yeah, I’ll just keep everything to myself. Might as well lock this.

I have no intention personally of locking this, as I thoroughly enjoy these conversations. Theists, atheists, and agnostics should all be willing to question their beliefs, as should scientists.

Enough for this post; got to get to responding to Algernon…

Apr 19, 2012 at 01:40AM EDT
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Algernon wrote:

Under this framework, there couldn’t be a plane of existence in which a creator could exist (at least none that we know of).

While you’re right about the nature of the Big Bang, and that time and space did not exist before it, the fact is that most theists believe God exists outside of space and time, so this is no problem metaphysically.

There’s also that old problem of ‘if God made the big bang, who made God?’.

Which is a very good question that I don’t understand why it supposedly makes theists uncomfortable. It’s a perfectly reasonable thing to ask!

…I don’t think that means we should fill the blanks with the God(s) of our choosing.

I’ve known a lot of people that have the attitude/belief that God is wherever the gaps in scientific theory are. I ask them, “So does that mean whenever science learns something new, God shrinks?” I think it’s foolish to try and use science, which is about natural phenomena, to make statements about God, a supernatural phenomenon. I believe that religion serves a purpose, but that purpose is not to be found inside a laboratory. The separation of religion and science is, in my mind, even more vital than the separation of church and state, which I see as very important. In either case, it’s for the protection of both sides.

If evolution happens spontaneously, we wouldn’t even need conscious intervention to get things going.

Yeah, but not only is abiogenesis troublesome (but not insurmountable), but the fact that something is not needed doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. Evolutionary theory could have been developed without Darwin’s input, but that doesn’t mean Darwin was just made up.

They have worked against each other in the past (and in some cases continue to do so), but they don’t necessarily need to be in conflict either. …I don’t see how religion can contribute to the scientific method.

I don’t think religion can contribute to the scientific method, because the scientific method is fine as it is. I do think that religion as an institution can have some important influence over science as an institution, and vice-versa. You could think of it in some sense that science is like humanity’s logical thought processes, while religion is humanity’s feelings. We’re not really complete and balanced without both parts. While science exists to simply find out whatever it can, there is nothing inherent in the scientific method that calls for moral constraint. So religion (and secular morality as well) serve as a system of checking against scientific excesses. Stem-cell research is a good modern example of this balancing: science says, “Hey, let’s see what we can do with these embryonic stem cells!” and religion replies, “Woah, did you say embryonic? This is not a good idea!” These are two extremes on the issue, and probably neither of them is right, but they pull against each other until a compromise is reached.

In the end, though, I do think Chokesmurf is right that religion and science can coexist, but I think each of them will always be challenging the other, and that’s as it should be for the good of both.

Once again, for those who didn’t find this tl;dr, I offer even more on my blog.

Last edited Apr 19, 2012 at 02:30AM EDT
Apr 19, 2012 at 02:17AM EDT
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@Brucker

I love you.

…shit where did that come from? What I mean to say is that is very some constructive input you have given and I commend your thinking. Algernon has provided some pretty good input too. I only have one thing to add on this part here:

There’s also that old problem of ‘if God made the big bang, who made God?’

Which is a very good question that I don’t understand why it supposedly makes theists uncomfortable. It’s a perfectly reasonable thing to ask!

This is one of those questions that realistically can only be answered with “We have no idea”. It’s a bit unfair to expect thiests to have an answer to that, just as it is unfair to ask athiests what existed before the big bang. But there is somewhat of a pseudo-answer that I can give to that question.

Basically to ask what created God, is to imply that there was ever a point that God did not exist. But understanding what a God is and how God is sometimes described as existence itself (I.E: God is the universe) would it be unreasonable to assume that God always and indefinitely existed?

In other words, there was never a beginning. Nothing created God because he was already there. His existence is infinite. Such a thought sort of blows the mind but when talking about deities, you are dealing with something we cannot comprehend anyway.

So that can be your answer to that question if you are crazy enough.

But I don’t think it is too irrational to assume that because there is a growing belief that the universe infinitely existed too. EG: The big bang was simply the end of one universe and the beginning of another. It was all part of an infinite cycle. If that’s plausible then I guess my idea is too

Apr 19, 2012 at 03:52AM EDT
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Why does it sound weird for you?

For me, science explains the work of God. Not that i belive in God, i’m an atheist, but if he would be real, science would explain his work. Thats why i don’t understand sciencetist bashing from christians, they work against god or whatever. If i would belive in God, i still would belive in science, that it explains the work of God “in a way we understand”.

So for me it isn’t wierd at all.

Apr 19, 2012 at 05:05AM EDT
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I really need to get my friend to read your post! Thanks.

Apr 19, 2012 at 08:29AM EDT
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@Blue Screen (of death)

Okay, I was trying to keep it short, but I’ll expand on that point.

The classic cosmological argument is that everything in the universe has a cause. If you follow the chain of causality backwards, it’s not possible for it to extend infinitely, so there must be a single uncaused cause, commonly known as the “Prime Mover”, at the end of the chain. Theists of course argue that this Prime Mover is God.

There are several problems I have with this. First, how do we know that everything has a cause? This seems like an assumption without proof, but I’m not sure one can know this a priori. Second, does it make sense to say that everything has a cause, and then in the next breath turn around and suggest an exception to the rule? Once you philosophically open that Pandora’s box, who knows what might come out of it? More on that in point four. Third, why is it impossible for the chain of causality to go backwards without end? Many philosophical systems assume that the universe is made from a causality chain that loops, but I myself don’t see why it’s unthinkable that there is no beginning even without looping. Fourth, if there is one thing that exists without prior cause, then why not multiple things? Even if one accepts the premise that causality must have a beginning, why must this beginning be singular? Case in point using evolution: There is a sort of unstated assumption that all of humanity must have a single ancestor that was the first human to evolve from some proto-hominid species; but whoever that first human was, they had to have at least one mate in order to pass on their new, unique human genes, and that mate could not have been human. So most likely, all of humanity is descended from a single human male and a handful of non-human females, meaning multiple root causes of humanity.

Okay, that tangent was too long; where was I? Fifth, in identifying the Prime Mover as God (and probably the God of the Bible) aren’t we making another unwarranted assumption? Perhaps God is not the Prime Mover, but just another link in the causal chain. Sixth, as Algernon pointed out, since time itself was created at the Big Bang, it’s unclear if talking about what existed “before” the Big Bang has meaning, so in some sense, doesn’t placing the Prime Mover outside of time cause problems with the very concepts of cause and effect? We tend to accept that causes come before their effects, but if there is no “before”…?

There are probably more things that could be said in response to this argument, including giving a link to a post in my blog on this very subject, but I’m just going to leave it there at this time.

Apr 19, 2012 at 11:40AM EDT
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Blue Screen wrote:

Good post, but I feel you may be missing the point. You are making arguments that religion cannot be used to contribute to scientific consensus and you are right about that due to the fact that religion and science deal with very, very different things.

However this isn’t really about how science and religion directly interact with each other. This topic is about being able to believe in both your religion (which ever chosen) and what science has discovered without feeling like you must choose between one or the other


Yeah, I guess I sorta did go off on a tangent there. I may as well give the topic another shot:

I attended a very, very religious school, where our principal would regularly inform the entire school that evolution was a load of bull and that the universe was 6000 years old (considering I live in the UK, this made my school very unusual). As a result, I think I’ve had a slightly warped view of modern Christianity for most of my life, where it’s intolerant, archaic, and in direct conflict with pretty much everything we know from science.

However, my view of modern Christianity has changed substantially since I started studying at university level. I’ve made a number of friends who are studying sciences with me at uni and are also Christians. I’ve spent hours debating these sorts of subjects with them, and I think I’m starting to understand their views a little better. Unlike the über-Creationists from my old school, they believe in evolution and the big bang, they (rightfully) think gays deserve rights, and they don’t believe that the Bible is a completely accurate account of human history (they believe most of it, but see Genesis as an allegory as opposed to historic fact). In this form, I see no reason why science should conflict with Christianity. I wouldn’t say the two work hand-in-hand, but there’s definitely no conflict.


Brucker wrote:

Case in point using evolution: There is a sort of unstated assumption that all of humanity must have a single ancestor that was the first human to evolve from some proto-hominid species; but whoever that first human was, they had to have at least one mate in order to pass on their new, unique human genes, and that mate could not have been human. So most likely, all of humanity is descended from a single human male and a handful of non-human females, meaning multiple root causes of humanity.

There never was a ‘first human’. We like to separate species into distinct groups (for convenience more than anything), but in reality they evolve by gradual transitions. Never in history has one species given birth to another species. Instead of a non-human giving birth to a human like you said, a non-human will have given birth to something slightly closer to what we call a ‘human’, but it would still be within the same species. We couldn’t possibly isolate the point when something stopped being a proto-hominid and started being a hominid, because that point in time doesn’t even exist. The choice to call one fossil ‘hominid’ and another ‘proto-hominid’ is completely arbitrary, and these distinct classifications don’t exist in nature.

Apr 19, 2012 at 02:14PM EDT
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@Algernon:

Objection sustained. I knew I shouldn’t have used that as my example; it was problematic for more reasons than that.

You’re right, the evolution from non-human to human was of course a gradual process that involved all sorts of small genetic shifts over millions of years. The point I was trying to make (and again, even if I succeeded, it was quite clumsily) was that some of those genetic shifts weren’t a matter of simply selecting for less hair or more upright walking from the existing gene pool, but rather were probably a matter of a random mutation that meant something like a more specialized brain. At the moment in prehistory when one of those significant mutations arose--one that really set the individual carrying that new gene apart from the rest of the hominids--that individual carrying that gene was a distinct ancestor of all that would later be humanity. (After all, natural selection works on the individual level, not group level.) However, being a unique individual with whatever trait it was, he would have had to mate with individuals that did not have the trait, and therefore were not in that section of humanity’s “family tree” except through “marriage”.

Actually, the idea for that comparison was in part from an article I read years ago that had some odd things to say about human evolution. In particular, the article was saying that some biologists had determined somehow that after humans’ ancestors had split off from chimpanzees and the two had become distinct species, there was genetic evidence that there had been later interbreeding between the two species, and modern humans are actually partially descended from chimps. Two things about this seemed strange. For one thing, I thought it was odd that this was a surprise, since to me it makes sense evolutionarily that in the early stages of a new species branching off, interbreeding with the former species is almost a necessity for survival, since population levels of the new species would be small at first. The other thing, and the more prominent one, was just wondering how they could tell? If there was some chimpanzee genetic material present in all humans, how could they tell that it was the result of later interbreeding rather than just residual genetic material from before humans made the split from chimps? The article didn’t go into the technical side of it (which I probably wouldn’t have understood anyway) so I have no idea.

Apr 19, 2012 at 03:39PM EDT
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As a mere mortal human being, I won’t pretend to understand how the universe works. In essence, we are too ignorant to find out how everything works in the universe.

But we’re gonna damn well try.

Apr 19, 2012 at 04:15PM EDT
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BRUCKER HAS A POSSE wrote
“the fact is that most theists believe God exists outside of space and time”

“It was an All-in-One and One-in-All of limitless being and self -- not merely a thing of one Space-Time continuum, but allied to the ultimate animating essence of existence’s whole unbounded sweep -- the last, utter sweep which has no confines and which outreaches fancy and mathematics alike. "- H.P. Lovecraft, Through the Gates of the Silver Key

Apr 19, 2012 at 04:50PM EDT
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@Dr. Coolface:
See, it’s awesome stuff like that that makes you a Gold Member of KYM. What would we do without you?

@thread:
I just realized that I had perhaps an even better post on my blog that really addresses the exact subject of this thread, even to the point of containing this sentence:

You see, the very point I wish to make here is that science and faith are not opposing sides such that one must choose one or the other, but two separate things that can and should coexist in harmony.

Now, of course I’m going to drop a link here and suggest people read it, but I know a lot of you won’t, so I’ll do two things. I’ll entice you to read it by telling you that there is at least one grammatical error in the essay that I still haven’t gone back and fixed; find it and you get the prestigious prize of telling Brucker the grammar Nazi that he screwed up. Also, I’m going to copy an allegory from that essay in hopes that it can be a launching point for discussion here:

There once was a community of mice who all lived inside of a piano. Every day, as the mice went about their business, beautiful music floated down from above them and filled their world. The mice had come to believe that there was a being who was larger and more intelligent than them who lived outside of the piano, and this person, the Great Musicmaker, made the music because of a love of beauty. Some mice decided one day to go and try to find the Great Musicmaker, so they climbed up the insides of the piano to see what they would see. Eventually, they came to a large cavern filled with strings and hammers. As they stood there wondering what they were seeing, the music began playing. They were shocked at what they saw, and they returned immediately to the rest of the mice. Once back, they reported, “There is no Great Musicmaker, only hammers striking strings!”
Apr 20, 2012 at 02:38AM EDT
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CLYDE (Joe's Nightmare) wrote:

I remember seeing an image that went well with this theory.
I can’t find it anymore, but it said something along the lines of “Play the Sims. You now know why God does bad things.”

But yes, this one seems the most plausible of any theory. But there’s one thing I don’t really like about it: It makes God imperfect. If you’re immortal, and supposedly all knowing, you should probably know good from bad, be able to make great decisions for the human race instead of throwing them into turmoil.

Another thing I don’t like about the God thing in general is the “created in his image” part, going off of the whole “imperfection” argument. If God is perfect, why’d he make us so incredibly fragile? You can die from almost anything. You should be much sturdier, yes?

Unless of course, like you said, God is an uber-troll who’s testing us. Maybe he didn’t make us in his image. Maybe we’re all made to be as terrible a race as possible – like making stupid creatures in Spore. Maybe there’s an even better alien race out there. Maybe it’s even here on Earth. Oh god, what if Orangutans were the ones?

All in all, I like the theory. Not sure how I feel about God and Science together. But after all of history, it doesn’t seem right to trust any faith – it doesn’t sit quite right with me. I can’t just be an Atheist one moment and then become a God-ophile the next…

You raised some incredible questions, as well as some interesting responses.

I’ve never seen an orangoutang to anything bad. Then again I haven’t really ever seen an orangoutang. Maybe they’re God’s number one.

My theory doesn’t make God imperfect though. Before he created the world (and human’s) he had angels. These angels were perfect beings and experiences no turmoil. Eventually God created human’s, his reasoning is unknown, But they had free will. He was probably really bored of such a controlled environment.

Here’s some evidence on God’s uber-trolling.

Eve bit the apple. Due to this, God creates a shitstorm of consequences (for biting a apple. I know, its a lame excuse. Why the hell did you put the apple in front of her. That’s like putting a self destruct button on a ship, right next to the turn on button.) He also wiped all life on earth with a huge flood because humans were bad (not even as bad as they are today. He also killed thousands of innocent raptors.) He also told this one guy to kill his son, then at the last second admitted to trolling. The list goes on and on.

He may be perfect and all powerful, but this doesn’t make him moral, or make good choices for the human race. The human race to God is like a fish to you. It’s so cool in the beginning, but now your tired of cleaning it’s tank. You almost want it to die. You start having fun with it by shocking it’s water and making it fight with other fish.

So yeah, God’s playing Sim’s with humanity. In this theory, God creates science because 1. It’s complex and interesting. 2. it trolls the human race.

In other words, I’ve stated two options. God is either A) An orangoutang, and the science/religon debate continues.
or B) The Great and Powerful Troll. Science and disaster are examples of god creating amusement for his infinitely regenerating humans. The science/religon debate goes out of existence and instead we focus our time on love and tolerance.

Apr 20, 2012 at 08:53PM EDT
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Blue Screen (of Death) wrote:

@Fluttershy

Hahahahahaha…

…that was a joke right?

A joke, and a wish. It’s silly and completely not true, but it would be nice if things could be so simple.

Apr 24, 2012 at 12:37AM EDT
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Meep Meep Meep Meep Meep Meep Meep Meep

(That was Vazquez’s idea by the way)

Last edited Apr 24, 2012 at 03:31AM EDT
Apr 24, 2012 at 03:29AM EDT
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That’s right Beaker. Science trumps religion and we can show them right now. Can you hold this for me Beaker?

Apr 24, 2012 at 03:35AM EDT
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Aaaand there goes the seriousness of this thread. Oh well, back to the usual.

Sure, I’ll hold that live cable carrying 2000 amps of elec…wait…

Apr 24, 2012 at 03:47AM EDT
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Talking a lot about this in a class I’m taking this semester.

Christianity in general provided such a foundation for natural philosophy. Some of the greatest Christian thinkers of the past 2000 years have called God the “Embodiment of Logos,” that is, that God as the highest form of Reason had reasonable creations, i.e. science.

But yeah, I generally think of it this way:

1. Science attempts to describe HOW things happen.
2. Religion and philosophy attempt to describe WHY things happen.

They’re two totally different aspects of inquiry. Evolution is a wonderful theory and I subscribe to it, but it doesn’t attempt to explain why there is an evolutionary mechanism in place to begin with. For instance, why did living beings develop eyes or ears or any sensory organs? How did the primordial soup suddenly realize, “There is an observable universe that I want to see, so I’ll evolve myself an eyeball to translate lightwaves into the viewable spectrum.” Same goes for hearing.

There had to be a spurious action-- the “Unmoved Mover”-- that willed life to erupt out of the stagnant world of purely elemental matter. That’s just my opinion. I’m very scientific, but I also believe in a God (whatever that may look like). You can get into all of the awful speculative details of the nature and qualities of God (like most of this thread), but those are all kind of pointless in the grand scheme of proving that a Creator EXISTS (or existed, or is God AS Creation, or God IN Creation, or whatever). Basically, don’t discount the idea that a supreme being that spurred the Big Bang to occur (again, science explains THAT the Big Bang caused everything, but doesn’t explain WHY, or even what the spurious action was that caused it), or willed life to exist.

Let’s just try to get on the same playing field that order does not emerge from chaos without willed force.

Last edited Apr 24, 2012 at 03:46PM EDT
Apr 24, 2012 at 03:40PM EDT
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@BassCadet:
I like the way you think. I’m guessing you didn’t go to my link above, and your wording is just coincidental? I like that kind of coincidence.

Following up from my allegory about the mice (again, see my last post in this thread) I wrote in my blog:

What’s the point of this story? The point of this story, and all that I am writing here is that the question of HOW things come to be is a separate one from WHY things come to be. When the mice looked on the hammers and strings, they understood the HOW, and were somehow blinded to the WHY. Likewise, in our world, many people examine the world and find “There is no God, only space-time and matter and forces, and all can be explained by gravity and chemistry and quantum forces.” I’ve said it many times; yes, all can be explained by those things, but only the HOW of those things.

But there is an extension to this allegory that perhaps fits to the modern world. Suppose the mice chose to continue to believe in the Great Musicmaker? Really, they would be right to do so, wouldn’t they? Where they would be wrong is if they denounced those mice who claimed that the strings and hammers existed, and said that is was wrong to believe in the existence of strings and hammers. That would be putting so much emphasis on the WHY that there was no room for the HOW.

It is my belief that everything that exists, exists for a reason. It is also my belief that this reason is twofold: one aspect is WHY the thing exists, and one aspect is HOW it came to exist. Those two aspects may be and probably are strongly intertwined, so I see no reason why either one should be divorced completely from the picture.

In other words, it is my opinion that people who say, “I don’t need God; I have science!” as well as those who say, “I don’t need science, I have God!” are both missing out on seeing the whole picture.

Apr 25, 2012 at 01:11AM EDT
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As you can see Beaker here relied on faith and I relied on science.
Faith didn’t stop him from getting zapped but Science will give him a skin-graph
So in conclusion : Science 1 – Faith 0

Apr 25, 2012 at 02:40AM EDT
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Oh god, guys.

What if we don’t exist?

What if I exist, and nothing else does?

What if I’m god? What if everyone is god? WHAT IF EVERYONE IS AN INDIVIDUAL GOD THAT DOESN’T EXIST!?

In all seriousness:

Nobody has any clue about anything that does something/nothing/everything. So shut up and start doing stuff.

Apr 25, 2012 at 07:49PM EDT
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ConnerABacon wrote:

Oh god, guys.

What if we don’t exist?

What if I exist, and nothing else does?

What if I’m god? What if everyone is god? WHAT IF EVERYONE IS AN INDIVIDUAL GOD THAT DOESN’T EXIST!?

In all seriousness:

Nobody has any clue about anything that does something/nothing/everything. So shut up and start doing stuff.

I can honestly say that I’m glad our ancestors didn’t take that attitude over the thousands of years that came before us, or we’d be some fucking boring ass humans. Try pushing that attitude on the long list of great thinkers that formed the foundation of modern society, however indirectly it may appear.

Seriously, to inquire about the nature of things is part of what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. To stretch our mind into the complex, the unknowable is vital to the evolutionary process of humans (See: Neo-Darwinist; Moral Grammar; Theory of Mind; etc.).

Finding the answer isn’t the important part. Engaging in logical, philosophical thought is one of the noblest things you can do with that blob of brain. We definitely wouldn’t be here, on the internet, if everyone was satisfied with, “Well guess we’ll never know so what’s the point… ;_;”

Last edited Apr 25, 2012 at 11:00PM EDT
Apr 25, 2012 at 10:58PM EDT
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Skeletor-sm

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