Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Science vs. Religion

I seem to have read and listened to a number of things in the 'Science vs. Religion' debate recently. Are they compatible? Are they complimentary? Are they 'non-overlapping magisteria'?

Reflecting on these questions I have come to the following conclusions:
  • Science and religion must be compatible if and only if we live in a universe with a supernatural component, that is, if there is a God.
  • Science and religion must be incompatible if and only if we live in a universe with no supernatural components, that is, if there is no God.
So, fundamentally, believers in any religion can come around to believing that religion and science are compatible and complimentary - because their world view requires this. However, materialistic 'hard line' atheists will, if they think logically, come to the conclusion that religion and science are incompatible - their worldview requires this.

The answer to the question is therefore: it depends who you are and what you believe.

This is not very useful. To me it looks like we're asking the wrong question here. The question is not are science and religion compatible, the essential question is this: Is there a God? If you can answer that question, then the other question is solved along with it.


KWRegan said...

I've said in talks that `science' and `religion' should not be in the business of building bridges to each other. Rather, their practitioners should each build bridges to what I call "experiential knowledge" and "modeling", which are what most of everyday life consists of and which basically were science before Galileo's method took hold. See slides 6 & 7 of this talk and the voice-over notes for them, which I've begun writing.

Beau said...

I find it interesting that Stephen Jay Gould, the evolutionary biologist who came up with "non-overlapping magisteria", was an atheist. I tend to think he had no real interest in the "magisteria" of religion. He was just trying to think up a clever way to get creationists out of his hair.