Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 166 (8187 total)
Current session began: 
Page Loaded: 12-18-2014 9:15 PM
67 online now:
AdminAsgara (Asgara), Coyote, Dr Adequate, DrJones*, Faith, jar, NoNukes, Percy (Admin) (8 members, 59 visitors)
Chatting now:  Chat room empty
Newest Member: sausan
Post Volume:
Total: 744,087 Year: 29,928/28,606 Month: 1,657/3,328 Week: 433/674 Day: 76/70 Hour: 1/5


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
1
23456
...
21NextFF
Author Topic:   Is Science a Religion?
Open MInd
Member (Idle past 2184 days)
Posts: 261
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 1 of 313 (380094)
01-26-2007 10:55 AM


Since the concept of a creator is not scientific, it follows that science must exclude a supernatural creator from any of its components. What we have is a subject matter that tries to describe the world without a creator. Without using the concept of a creator or any religous principles, science seeks to explain the entire world.

Obviously, if science seeks to formulate laws upon which the world is run on a daily basis down to the atomic level, where can religion fit in? Where does this supreme being assert his control?

Scientists cannot say where a supreme being takes over the controls of the atoms because that is never scientific. Because science must explain the entire world and its origin without using any religous factors and rather using formulated "Laws of Nature", science is its own religion.

Edited by AdminPD, : White Space


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Chiroptera, posted 01-26-2007 1:51 PM Open MInd has not yet responded
 Message 4 by crashfrog, posted 01-26-2007 1:55 PM Open MInd has not yet responded
 Message 5 by Archer Opteryx, posted 01-26-2007 1:56 PM Open MInd has not yet responded
 Message 8 by subbie, posted 01-26-2007 3:27 PM Open MInd has not yet responded
 Message 9 by Doddy, posted 01-26-2007 6:04 PM Open MInd has not yet responded
 Message 65 by nyenye, posted 02-01-2007 9:05 PM Open MInd has not yet responded
 Message 78 by Rob, posted 02-02-2007 1:11 AM Open MInd has not yet responded
 Message 122 by RAZD, posted 02-03-2007 1:22 PM Open MInd has not yet responded
 Message 274 by sidelined, posted 02-06-2007 7:20 PM Open MInd has not yet responded

  
AdminPD
Inactive Administrator


Message 2 of 313 (380144)
01-26-2007 1:45 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
Chiroptera
Member (Idle past 1101 days)
Posts: 6202
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003


Message 3 of 313 (380146)
01-26-2007 1:51 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Open MInd
01-26-2007 10:55 AM


Welcome to EvC, OpenMInd.

Here is how Wikipedia defines religion:

Religion is the adherence to codified beliefs and rituals that generally involve a faith in a spiritual nature and a study of inherited ancestral traditions, knowledge and wisdom related to understanding human life. The term "religion" refers to both the personal practices related to faith as well as to the larger shared systems of belief.

It also adds:

In the larger sense, religion is a communal system for the coherence of belief—typically focused on a system of thought, unseen being, person, or object, that is considered to be supernatural, sacred, divine, or of the highest truth. Moral codes, practices, values, institutions, traditions, and rituals are often traditionally associated with the core belief, and these may have some overlap with concepts in secular philosophy. Religion can also be described as a way of life.

This all seems like a reasonable description to me. So how does this science fit into this definition of religion?


But government...is not simply the way we express ourselves collectively but also often the only way we preserve our freedom from private power and its incursions. -- Bill Moyers (quoting John Schwarz)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Open MInd, posted 01-26-2007 10:55 AM Open MInd has not yet responded

crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 313 (380147)
01-26-2007 1:55 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Open MInd
01-26-2007 10:55 AM


Boy, religion is a funny thing, isn't it? Even if you develop your body of knowledge soley by auditable, non-supernatural means; even if you replace nonsense with fact; even if you do the exact opposite of what religion typically means, somehow you have it anyway.

Religion is typically defined as:

quote:
Religion is the adherence to codified beliefs and rituals that generally involve a faith in a spiritual nature and a study of inherited ancestral traditions, knowledge and wisdom related to understanding human life. The term "religion" refers to both the personal practices related to faith as well as to the larger shared systems of belief.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion

Science doesn't involve codified beliefs, science doesn't involve ritual, science isn't a personal practice of faith or a shared system of belief. So in what sense is it a religion? The tortured logic of your post is all but impossible to follow.

Science isn't any more a religion than a teapot is a religion. A religion is simply not what it is.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Open MInd, posted 01-26-2007 10:55 AM Open MInd has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by Archer Opteryx, posted 01-26-2007 2:18 PM crashfrog has responded

Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 120 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006


Message 5 of 313 (380148)
01-26-2007 1:56 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Open MInd
01-26-2007 10:55 AM


No
Science is a method, a way of proceeding.

It is not a religion, which involves a priori beliefs in supernatural forces.

Your own description of science, imperfect though it is, acknowledges it as a method. Your conclusion thus does not follow from the statements that precede it.

___


Archer

All species are transitional.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Open MInd, posted 01-26-2007 10:55 AM Open MInd has not yet responded

Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 120 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006


Message 6 of 313 (380152)
01-26-2007 2:18 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by crashfrog
01-26-2007 1:55 PM


Why must the teapot be a religion, anyway?
crashfrog:

Science doesn't involve codified beliefs, science doesn't involve ritual, science isn't a personal practice of faith or a shared system of belief. So in what sense is it a religion? [...]

Science isn't any more a religion than a teapot is a religion. A religion is simply not what it is.

Now that the question posed in the OP has been answered, I wonder if we might entertain a more interesting question related to this topic.

Why does this dead 'science is religion' canard get trotted out all the time? It scores no points in debate. Why is it so important to some people to assert this?

I submit that this tired bit of blarney nourishes at least three illusions:

1. The illusion of equal footing. Two sets of conditioned beliefs duking it out is one thing. It's another when you have a set of conditioned beliefs on one side and a set of genuine discoveries on the other.

2. The illusion of understanding scientists. This is a comforting illusion to a person who has no clue, really, what makes them tick.

3. The illusion that scientists are godless. The scientific method limits itself to natural explanations. If you can persuade yourself that the method is a 'religion' you may safely regard all scientists as godless by choice. This allows one to ignore the truth: scientists very often profess real religions--Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism--even as they go about their research.

__

Edited by Archer Opterix, : Clarity.

Edited by Archer Opterix, : typo repair.

Edited by Archer Opterix, : typo repair.


Archer

All species are transitional.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by crashfrog, posted 01-26-2007 1:55 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by crashfrog, posted 01-26-2007 2:46 PM Archer Opteryx has not yet responded
 Message 33 by Open MInd, posted 01-31-2007 4:12 PM Archer Opteryx has not yet responded

crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 313 (380162)
01-26-2007 2:46 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Archer Opteryx
01-26-2007 2:18 PM


Re: Why must the teapot be a religion, anyway?
Why does this dead 'science is religion' canard get trotted out all the time?

To equate science and religion. People know that science is important, and that they probably ought to know something about it.

But science is hard, and so if they can convince themselves that their religion is the same as science, well, religion is designed to be easy to learn. So they think they've found the loophole.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Archer Opteryx, posted 01-26-2007 2:18 PM Archer Opteryx has not yet responded

subbie
Member
Posts: 3359
Joined: 02-26-2006


Message 8 of 313 (380174)
01-26-2007 3:27 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Open MInd
01-26-2007 10:55 AM


Since the concept of a creator is not scientific, it follows that science must exclude a supernatural creator from any of its components. What we have is a subject matter that tries to describe the world without a creator. Without using the concept of a creator or any religous principles, science seeks to explain the entire world.

Obviously, if science seeks to formulate laws upon which the world is run on a daily basis down to the atomic level, where can religion fit in? Where does this supreme being assert his control?

The concept of the christian god as creator is not scientific. However, it does not follow that science must exclude a supernatural creator from its components. Science is a method of studying and learning about the natural world. If there is evidence found in that study that would support a hypothesis of a supernatural creator, science can pursue that evidence. It has not done so yet because there is no such scientific evidence. Science does not "try to describe a world without a creator," it tries to describe the world based on what we see. Because we see no scientific evidence of a creator, science proceeds on the basis of there being no creator.

It's also not true that science tries to explain "the whole world." The whole world includes questions of morality, of right and wrong. It includes questions of purpose, of meaning. These are questions that most people reserve for religion, and questions about which science says nothing. They are not within the sphere of what science does.

Scientists cannot say where a supreme being takes over the controls of the atoms because that is never scientific. Because science must explain the entire world and its origin without using any religous factors and rather using formulated "Laws of Nature", science is its own religion.

Scientists can say where a supreme being would "take over the controls of the atoms" if the supreme being left behind evidence of doing so. In the absense of such evidence, science concludes there is no such being exerting such control.

Science is not a religion, as others here have said, because it does not concern itself with matters of faith, of morality, of purpose. Certainly, one can put one's faith in the scientific method and choose it as one's primary source of knowledge about the world. And, to the extent that one does that, I suppose it's not entirely inaccurate to say that someone has faith in science over religion. However, the defining characteristic of science is not the fact that it doesn't address questions of faith, morality, etc. In my mind, any system of knowledge that does not address these types of questions cannot be classified as a religion.

Mathematics tries to explain certain things about the real world without using any "religious factors" and instead uses its own theorems, axioms and laws. Would you call math a religion?


Those who would sacrifice an essential liberty for a temporary security will lose both, and deserve neither. -- Benjamin Franklin

We see monsters where science shows us windmills. -- Phat


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Open MInd, posted 01-26-2007 10:55 AM Open MInd has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 24 by arachnophilia, posted 01-30-2007 2:42 PM subbie has not yet responded

Doddy
Member (Idle past 2431 days)
Posts: 563
From: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 01-04-2007


Message 9 of 313 (380211)
01-26-2007 6:04 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Open MInd
01-26-2007 10:55 AM


Though our prophets are far more accurate, our healers are far more effective, and explanations for phenomena far more satisfying and far less contradictory, there is no faith/unfounded beliefs nor worship nor prayer in science. Thus, science is not a faith system, so not a religion.

Open Mind writes:

... must exclude a supernatural creator from any of its components.

I think what you have there is metaphysical naturalism, not science (which is based on methodological naturalism).

Edited by Doddy Curumehtar, : added part on naturalism


"Der Mensch kann was er will; er kann aber nicht wollen was er will." (Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills.) - Arthur Schopenhauer
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Open MInd, posted 01-26-2007 10:55 AM Open MInd has not yet responded

  
Open MInd
Member (Idle past 2184 days)
Posts: 261
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 10 of 313 (381138)
01-29-2007 11:33 PM


Some misunderstandings about religion.
Many of the people on this board seem to misunderstand religion, and seem to have overlooked my point. Religion seeks to explain the universe. It is obvious that religion is not just a jumble of stories, myths, and practices that make no sense but are followed out of tradition. Religious beliefs must all have reasons behind them. The reason why people become part of a religion is because they truly believe that the religion has a sound explanation for the mystery of this universe. People all have questions like: Why does the world exist? Who made it? Who controls it? What keeps everything going? What happens after death? The religion to answer these questions in the best manner will be followed. Science does not avoid these questions in the least bit. Rather, science tries to answer every one of these questions based on the five senses. Science can therefore be considered a religion that believes in a strictly physical world and one that hides nothing from the five senses. If science would consider a supernatural being not bounds by the constraints of humans to be a possibility, many of the scientific principles can be challenged. A good example is gravity. Maybe there are little spirits that hold people to the floor and a supernatural being, undetected by man, is controlling this spirit. Science has not disproved that possibility. Rather, the religion of science may not "believe" in such things. Science can be classified as a religion that worships the five senses.
Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by Taz, posted 01-29-2007 11:41 PM Open MInd has responded
 Message 14 by subbie, posted 01-30-2007 1:10 AM Open MInd has not yet responded
 Message 15 by Vacate, posted 01-30-2007 1:19 AM Open MInd has not yet responded
 Message 17 by Larni, posted 01-30-2007 7:21 AM Open MInd has not yet responded
 Message 18 by Chiroptera, posted 01-30-2007 7:48 AM Open MInd has not yet responded
 Message 19 by purpledawn, posted 01-30-2007 8:16 AM Open MInd has not yet responded
 Message 20 by nator, posted 01-30-2007 9:14 AM Open MInd has not yet responded
 Message 21 by Archer Opteryx, posted 01-30-2007 10:01 AM Open MInd has not yet responded
 Message 22 by Archer Opteryx, posted 01-30-2007 10:21 AM Open MInd has not yet responded

  
Taz
Member
Posts: 5064
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 11 of 313 (381141)
01-29-2007 11:41 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Open MInd
01-29-2007 11:33 PM


Re: Some misunderstandings about religion.
Ok, I'll accept your explanation of religion for now. Based on what you said, and based on your current religious belief, what would the explanation your religion gives for planetary movements? In other words, according to your religion, how are the planets being kept in almost circular paths (I don't want to use the word orbit because that's a scientific word) around the sun?
This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by Open MInd, posted 01-29-2007 11:33 PM Open MInd has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by Open MInd, posted 01-29-2007 11:49 PM Taz has not yet responded

Open MInd
Member (Idle past 2184 days)
Posts: 261
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 12 of 313 (381145)
01-29-2007 11:49 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Taz
01-29-2007 11:41 PM


Re: Some misunderstandings about religion.
Can one actually prove that the Earth does circle around the Sun without science? Maybe the entire universe is rotating around Earth?
Maybe the supernatural being is holding order in the universe because he is trying to conceal his existence?
This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by Taz, posted 01-29-2007 11:41 PM Taz has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by iceage, posted 01-30-2007 12:10 AM Open MInd has not yet responded

  
iceage 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2437 days)
Posts: 1024
From: Pacific Northwest
Joined: 09-08-2003


Message 13 of 313 (381153)
01-30-2007 12:10 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by Open MInd
01-29-2007 11:49 PM


Re: Some misunderstandings about religion.
Openmind writes:

Maybe the entire universe is rotating around Earth?

Ya sure boss. I have a device that detects the earths rotation rate of 15 degrees per hour. But maybe god is just faking out the the rate gyro's.

And maybe there really is intelligent falling and gravity is just a godly delusion to keep things orderly.

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/39512

It is a wonder that we can send probes to Mar's when we have the wrong frame of reference.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by Open MInd, posted 01-29-2007 11:49 PM Open MInd has not yet responded

subbie
Member
Posts: 3359
Joined: 02-26-2006


Message 14 of 313 (381163)
01-30-2007 1:10 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Open MInd
01-29-2007 11:33 PM


Some misunderstandings about science, and terminology
There is plenty of fodder for quite fascinating discussions of the parallels between religion and science. And there are undoubtedly certain similarities between the two that one could explore in great depth. However, in doing so, there is a danger of letting the parallels and similarities overwhelm the discussion and blur the very significant lines between the two that ultimately prevent them from meeting.

You describe science as a religion that worships the five senses. This, I think, is one place where you ignore a significant line. Science does not worship the senses. Not in the traditional way that we think of worship; services, hymns, sermons, etc. Nor in any kind of more abstract way where the sense are themselves elevated to a place of sanctity. Science views the senses as tools for gathering information about the world. However, in that process, science understands that these tools are inherently fallible. People make honest mistakes, and people fool themselves into seeing something that isn't there when their desire to see it is so strong that it almost overpowers them. This is a big part of the reason why science demands repeatability and confirmation of results before any conclusion gains broad acceptance.

If you want to talk about science worshipping anything, I think the closest you can come is to say that science worships the scientific method. One can describe science as placing faith in the ability of people using the scientific method to arrive at reliable conclusions based on the evidence that we have available to us to date. However, in think even this goes too far, and any such description conflates two very different meanings of faith.

In the religious sense, faith, at its core, means believing where there is no evidence, or even in spite of the evidence. There are many here who decribe themselves as "scientific creationists" who don't doubt for a minute that life evolved on this planet as the ToE explains. However, despite the evidence showing that it all could have happened without intervention from any supernatural being, they still attribute it all to god. Many people of faith have said that they believe in their faith and will do so regardless of what evidence is brought forward to challenge it. This is religious faith.

The scientific method, on the other hand, is a practice that scientists have developed over time, and trial and error, that is our best attempt to gather information and systematise it in meaningful ways so that we can learn about the world and pass that learning on to others. Scientists rely on information, hypotheses and theories that have been challenged and survived the challenges. In this way, one can quite reasonably say that science has faith in the scientific method and the results that it produces. But this faith is vastly different in kind from religious faith. Faith in the arena of science is always tenuous, subject to new information, or better theories. If science worships any god, it's pragmatism. As long as the scientific method or any particular scietific theory works, and nothing does the job better, we stick with it. But if something starts to break down, or if a better idea comes along, science will abandon the old to go with the new and improved. Science is a very fickle parishoner.

And let me iterate my point from my previous post. I reject the idea that science believes a priori in a strictly physical world. Science by its very nature must restrict itself to what can be observed, either with the naked senses or with sense enhanced by reliable instruments. But that does not mean that science believes that the non-physical world does not exist. It simply means that science doesn't deal with it, except to the extent that the non-physical world impinges on the physical world in some manner that leaves behind evidence that we can evaluate.

To take your example, you are entirely correct that our understanding of gravity may be wrong, science accepts that as an axiom. And, while most here regard it as so implausible that it merits only humor as a response, science does not rule out the possibility that pixies might be behind it all. However, unless and until these pixies leave behind some evidence of their existence, science will disregard them. And, if science can devise a reasonably plausible alternative to explain how gravity works that does not depend on invisible pixies, science will not spend any time looking for evidence of them. The pixies will need to come knocking on science's door.

Science certainly does not believe there is nothing hidden from our five senses. There are a great many things that science cannot look into, and may never be able to. If our universe did indeed begin with a big bang, and that's when the physical laws of our universe were created, it's very difficult to imagine how we could ever look back beyond that moment of creation. However, science does not reject the notion of the existence of things that it cannot look into. Science simply takes the attitude that if we cannot look into them, then there isn't anything for science to say about them.


Those who would sacrifice an essential liberty for a temporary security will lose both, and deserve neither. -- Benjamin Franklin

We see monsters where science shows us windmills. -- Phat


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by Open MInd, posted 01-29-2007 11:33 PM Open MInd has not yet responded

Vacate
Member (Idle past 1123 days)
Posts: 565
Joined: 10-01-2006


Message 15 of 313 (381165)
01-30-2007 1:19 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Open MInd
01-29-2007 11:33 PM


Re: Some misunderstandings about religion.
Open Mind writes:

A good example is gravity. Maybe there are little spirits that hold people to the floor

How do we explain why they keep messing with the clocks inside the satellites to produce just the effects that Relativity predicts? Are they also the ones that bend the light around massive objects such as the sun? Sneaky little buggers.

Can one actually prove that the Earth does circle around the Sun without science?

Nope. Can we explain why a lazer pointer works without quantum physics?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by Open MInd, posted 01-29-2007 11:33 PM Open MInd has not yet responded

1
23456
...
21NextFF
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2014 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2014