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Philo and Sophia

There Is A War Going On Between Religion And Science. Is A Truce Possible


by Ian R Thorpe.

The war, let's be honest, is between religious fundamentalists and science fanatics. Each is straying into the other's territory. But both are out of order and should leave the unanswetrable questions to philosophy. Can there be a truce, can the two coexist?

There Is A War Going On Between Religion And Science. Is A Truce Possible

"Religion's truce with science can't hold". a commentator in The Guardian asked. The first question the better informed reader might well ask is "What truce."

Any scientific project seeking to explain the great questions posed by the human condition is doomed to failure and will conclude with the well worn phrase "more research is needed." Any religious belief seeking to explain the 'how's of the universe is encroaching on the territory of science and for those seeking truth science will always win.

One of the most tedious and most often repeated questions in the public debate about faith has been "are religion and science compatible?" It is a question to which there can be no definitive answer and because that is the case, the question will not go away?

The usual answer is that religion and science are compatible because they are not talking about the same things. Religion does not make empirical claims about how the universe works, and to treat it as though it did is to make a categorical error. Therefore the solution would be for each to respect the other's boundaries allowing them to co - exist in a kind of truce like North and South Korea.

The biologist Stephen Jay Gould proposed such an arrangement when he argued that science and religion have non-overlapping doctrines. In his book Rock of Ages, Gould wrote that science deals with "the empirical realm: what the universe is made of (fact) and why does it work in this way (theory). The magisterium of religion extends over questions of ultimate meaning and moral value. These two areas do not overlap, nor do they encompass all inquiry." In short, science is empirical, religion is ethical.

A similar approach was taken by by the physicist John Polkinghorne and the mathematician Nicholas Beale in their book, Questions of Truth. They put it thus: "Science is concerned with the question, How? By what process do things happen? Theology is concerned with the question, Why? Is there a meaning and purpose behind what is happening?"

It should be a simple distinction but maintaining it proves to be very difficult indeed. Many "why" questions are unanswerable and therefore stray into a very grey area. If you ask: " When iron it heated to almost white hot why does plunging it into cold water to cool it rapidly give us steel (a primitive form of steel) while allowing it to cool naturally returns it to it's original state. Science can answer that at high temperatures certain molecular changes occur and rapid cooling fixes these changes. That explains the process, the how. Why it happens is a different matter and while scientists tie themselves in knots trying to provide a credible answer to questioners, to say "because that's what God intended" is just a cop out.

This example proves there are many things in the world that are not understood, we use them, we benefit from them but we do not understand the forces at work.

The books by Gould and by Polkinghorne and Beale have both been around a few years and we could say of their reasoned approach, that was then, this is now. In the last decade a conflict has broken out between science and religion. This stems from an almost evangelical faith among some scientists that science can answer any questions and in a cop out of almost religious proportions they simply dismiss any questions that they have no answer for coming up against a resurgence of religious faith in response to the failure of science to build a perfect world.

It is necessary to understand that scientific "why" questions do not imply any deliberate action intent. We can ask why the dinosaurs died out, why smoking causes cancer and so on without implying any intentions. In the theistic context, however, "why" questions are usually about intent. Of a number of people with the same disease and given the same treatment, why do some die and others survive. The answer must involve causation and intention otherwise it is not an answer. The only answer that does stand up in most cases is "We don't know."

"We don't know" may satisfy those of us who have studied Hindu or Buddhist philosophy, the Stoics of Ancient Greece or the European pagan tradition but humans are by nature explanation seeking animals and most have not learned to override that impulse.

This means that if someone asks why things are as they are, what their meaning and purpose is, and the respondent puts God in the answer, it almost inevitably lead to a claim that God has set things a certain way way, or intervened in some way, to make sure the divine purpose is achieved. The neat division between scientific "how" and religious "why" questions therefore turns out to be not so neat.

A lot depends on what we mean by 'science'. If the objective of science is to uncover the laws that govern the universe and nature then no-one of any faith should have an issue with that If however the question to be answered relates to the history of the universe we are on entirely different and much more treacherous ground? Question Big Bang theory and the Science Inquisition will jump on you crying "heretic" and demanding that you be burned. And yet supporters of Big Bang theory have had to invent black holes, dark matter, dark energy and inflation (with no evidence whatsoever other than that they must exist or the equations on which our whole model of the universe is based simply fall apart.

Evolution is a theory that flatly refuses to be evidenced by the fossil record unless you begin with the a priori assumption that the theory itself is true even though there is plenty of evidence to indicate that it is a nonsense. Question evolution however and you are again branded a heretic, young earth creationist and a "right wing nut job." And yet although creatures evolve, like Big Bang, the theory is full of holes. This is largely because Charles Darwin's original theory which was based on empirical evidence has been stretched to include ideas like abiogenisis, the notion that life emerged spontaneously as a result of a chemical accident.

Religion should have no problem with real, empirical science. Where there is a problem between the two lies in the area of pseudo - science, theories based on unproven and unprovable assumptions which are used as prisms through which the evidence is filtered and subjectively interpreted and presented as to "proof" that the theory is correct.

It is somewhat astonishing that may well educated people cannot, through the endless circular reasoning involved, understand and accept that humans are unscientific creatures and the mind will see what it wants to see.

From this we see how devotees of "science" don't actually understand what it is (not a political position, a method of working or a dogma but an affirmed body of knowledge based on evidence) but, led by their hatred of not knowing everything they are actually turning it into a religion.

In an approach he calls anthropic fine-tuning, the Christian physicist, Paul Davies, offers us "The Goldilocks Enigma": the conditions in the universe are just right for life to have evolved, and had a few things been just slightly different at the Big Bang, none of us would be here. At the moment, there is no generally accepted scientific explanation for why or how this is so and even big bang theory has been shown to be more full of holes that a kitchen sieve so as the vast majority of scientists totally reject any alternative to Big Bang (the only evidence of which is gathered from mathematical speculations the question "How did life evolve in the universe can only be answered with a resounding "We don't know." To answer otherwise requires an act of faith, a belief in something for which there is no proof.

Taking off his physicist's coat and donning his theologian's hat, Dr. Polkinghorne (sic) answers the "why" question by saying that the life-enabling laws of physics are "graciously provided by the creator". Not only does this introduce a theological why where we'd normally just look for a scientific why, it is also a claim about how the universe came to be the way it is, namely, by divine fiat. It trespasses onto the "how" territory of science, but since it cannot explain the mechanism by which God intervened, nor test the hypothesis that he did so, it is no substitute for a proper scientific answer. On the other hand the scientists currently chasing the epheremeral Higgs Boson, the sub atomic particle which they need to prove exists otherwise the whole scientific theory of how the universe works will simply fall apart and we are back to God or the stoical "it works."

There are ways of understanding religion that do not fall into this God versus science trap. Brauch Spinoza's "God-or-nature" approach, the divine could act with a purpose that was, at root, simply the playing out of natural forces. But the theistic God is "behind" what happens, not simply part of it. This is very close to the Hindu / Buddhist / Pagan idea of "the oneness, a whole of which we are all part.

Alternatively many people of faith say that religion is not about belief at all, and so never explains anything in terms of agency-why. By following that line we can see that any religious belief that involves an interventionist, physically present God and claims that the sacred texts of that faith hold indisputable truths about why things happen, must also be encroaching on questions of how they happen too. And if that is the case the comfortable peace which many claim should exist between science and religion just isn't possible.

The religious believer could bite the bullet, accept that religion does make some empirical claims, and then defend their compatibility with science one by one. But the fact that two beliefs are compatible with each other is the most minimal test of their reasonableness imaginable. All sorts of outlandish beliefs that the Apollo moon landings never happened, that a marginal increase in the CO2 component of air will certainly cause a global catastrophe, that weather can be controlled so accurately we can rely on the wind to generate all the electricity we need, are scientifically feasible, but that hardly makes them credible. What really counts, what should really make the difference between acceptance and rejection of an empirical claim, is not whether it is compatible with the existing science, but whether an evidence-led, rational examination a problem that offers a better solution than competing alternatives.

So the fact that science is compatible with religion turns out to be a comforting red herring. We should be asking is theoretical science compatible with reality.

How easily science and religion can rub on together depends very much on what kind of religion and what kind of we're talking about. If it is a kind of religion that seeks to explain the hows of the universe, telling us God created everything in seven days, or ends up trying to inculcate such ideas by suggestion, then it is competing with science. In the same way when scientists start trying to control nature and resort to telling lies in order to justify their meddling in what does not need to be meddled in and their refusal to seriously consider possible consequences claiming they are scientists and know what they are doing, then the two are invading each other's territory. If the religion is of a kind that doesn't attempt to explain the hows of the universe, and the science seek to understand nature rather than controlling it then the science v religion debate can move on, free from the illusion that the outcome rests on one question with one answer.

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KEYWORDS: science, scientists, religion, faith, philosophy, belief, god, spinoza, truth, christian, hindu, buddhist, theology, daily stirrer, ian thorpe, ianrthorpe

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Hollande Survives Confidence Vote As France Slides Deeper Into Chaos French President Francois Hollande suvived a 'no - confidence' vote today but now faces deepening divisions within his own party as well as in the French population. Continuing mass protests by students and trade union members showed the battle of over his reforms to the country's labour laws are far from finished. Hollande has hardened opposition to his reforms after bypassing the French parliament to push them through.

After Yugoslavia NATO changed from a mutual defence alliance to an organisation for military aggression.
After the break up of the Soviet Union, a point in history when many in the west mistakenly thought Russia had ceased to be a major power and the USA unilaterally declared victory in the cold war, people around the world looked forward to an era of peace and prosperity. They could not have been more wrong, in fact even the most cursory examination of history will show that Russia has seldom been an aggressor.

American GM Wheat Losing Out To Russian Organic Wheat In World Markets We've been trying to get the truth out on GM crops, loved by American corporate business, rent-a-quote scientists and politicians for several years. The massed ranks of big money and big politics are still ranged against us but it seems that one again we the New Media are winning. The more the 'experts', professors and politicians tell us genetically modified crops are good, the mor suspicious we become.

Former Equalities Chief Says ‘Superdiverse’ UK Will ‘Burn’
Unusually for a left wing figure and to his great credit, Mr. Phillips was admittting he had been wrong to argue in favour of mass immigration from theocratic Muslim nations, expressing his disgust at the racism, anti – semitism and wave of violent and sex crimes, and observing that he doubted Muslims can ever integrate into western society because of the difference in the mindset.

After Yugoslavia NATO changed from a mutual defence alliance to an organisation for military aggression.
After the break up of the Soviet Union, a point in history when many in the west mistakenly thought Russia had ceased to be a major power and the USA unilaterally declared victory in the cold war, people around the world looked forward to an era of peace and prosperity. They could not have been more wrong ...

European Parliament President Says ‘Vast Majority Of Europeans Do Not Want Borders’
The Europhile German Social Democratic Party (SPD) politician stated that if the populist, anti-mass migration Norbert Hofer becomes president "this will change Europe’s character". Last month Hofer came top in the first round of the Austrian elections, and in two weeks voters will go to the polls for the second round, to choose between the right wing FPO figure and his Green rival Alexander Van der Bellen as the nation’s next head of state.

Armed Forces Minister: Obama ‘Woefully Ignorant’ of Threat EU Membership Poses
Referring to a statement Mr Obama made in the Telegraph on Friday in which he said: “The European Union doesn’t moderate British influence – it magnifies it,” she responded: “Unfortunately this opinion betrays a woeful ignorance of the practical reality of the EU’s impact on our security, and the interests of the U.K. and the US.”

Wall Street 'Whistleblower' Exposes Clinton Foundation Fraud

The woman is a phoney, a self interested, self aggrandizing elitist with a sense of entitlement the size of a galaxy. Whatever Hillary does, and whatever minority group the claims she is acting in the interests of, you can bet the main beneficiaries are Hillary Clinton, her family and her cronies.
No surprise then that a whistleblower has exposed Hillary's charity, 'The Clinton Foundation as a fraud.

De Dollarisation Accelerates As Russia Prepares To Launch Ruble-Priced Oil Trading Platform Russia is ready to take the next step towards killing the petro-dollar and dumping the US$ as global reserve currency, a move we reported last year. Vladimir Putin's ruble-based pricing of its domestically-produced oil is on the verge of realization. SPIMEX (The St. Petersburg International Mercantile Exchange) is actively courting international oil traders to join its emerging futures market ...

Google Now Has Access To Millions Of Patient's Health Records


A controversial deal between tech giant Google and the National Health Service (NHS) will allow artificial intelligence units access to 1.6 million confidential medical records. Since 2014, Google has partnered with several scientists in an attempt to understand human health, but a new report reveals the data gathering goes far beyond what was originally anticipated - well now there's a surprise.

How Facebook, Instagram, Google, and Twitter Use Censorship to Kill Free Speech
A new study by Onlinecensorship.org — a collaborative effort between the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Visualizing Impact reveals that social media sites and search engine operators have been collaborating closely with government agencies to control the type of content we may see online. Most readers will know of people who have been kicked off the social networking site for designated periods of time for ‘violating community standards' ...

EU Commission Backs Turkey Visa-Free Travel Amid Terrorist Cautions
As if the EU does not have enough problems of its own, the Bureaucrats of Brussels seem determined to take on the middle's east's perpetual violent chaos by granting Turkey the right of visa - free movement throughout the Schengen zone for its 70million citizens and tens of thousands of jihadists

German Justice Minister Runs From Stage As Angry Audience Members Yell "TRAITOR!"
The peoples' pushback against European federalisation and genocide of Europe's white working classes by flooding nation states with third world immigrants continues to gather pace as, with the onset of warmer weather, the flow of illegal immigrants into Europe starts to increase towards last year's levels.

TTIP document leak - A preview of the corporate fascism treaty from War On Want
The Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) was teetering on the brink of failure before Greenpeace Netherlands obtained a massive swathe of leaked documents that prove the treaty is, as many people feared, a corporate power grab rather than a free trade arrangement. This exposure will not stop the fascist regimes of the European Union and the United States trying to push it through against massive public opposition. The ruling elites have only contempt for democracy and the people

The ‘Colossal Unmentionable’ of the Climate Fraud
An incisive analysis from The Wall Street Journal that shows who and what will benefit from the great climate change scam (clue, it will not be the climateor the environment and it will certainly not be people like you and me.)

US-Created System In Iraq Is Collapsing: Protesters Storm Parliament
Less than two years ago, the US set up a puppet government in the mid-east state of Iraq when, following US pressure, on August 14, 2014 then prime minister al-Maliki agreed to stepped down and be replaced with Haider al-Abadi. Today, the regime is in chaos and the system set up by the US is collapsing. Yesterday protesters loyal to popular Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr broke through a security cordon into the Green Zone, home to government buildings

So Long, Schengen: Six EU States to Resurrect National Borders in Mid-May

The governments of six European state have announced they will reinstate border controls as the immigration crisis starts to gather momentum once more with the onset of warmer weather. The authorities of Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden are in favor of extending the temporary border controls within the European Union, which are due to expire in May, in the framework of the Schengen Borders Code rules, German media reported Saturday.

Obama Admin Denies Saying “No Boots on the Ground” in Syria After Saying It 16 Times This is our second report today that catches Barack Obama and his administration of 'homies' in a blatant lie. The first related to the TTIP trade treaty, this one concerns the decision to deploy American ground troops in Syria, after Obama had repeatedly stated there would never be any US soldiers on the ground in Syria

The Oligarchy Is Tottering - Trump Tramples The Neocons' "False Song Of Globalism"
Donald Trump scares the global establishment as do the anti Federalisation parties in the EU. We take a long and detailed look at why, and exactly what the globalist agenda would have meant for freedom and democracy had people not wonken up and opposed it in vast numbers. Kudos to the Islamic Jihad too, medievalist religious nuts they may be, but they resisted American attempt to impose western consumer culture on them.

The Pretensions Of Pop Culture And The Death Of Intellect

... It’s part of a distressing pattern these days of overwrought commentary about popular culture. As well as Beyoncé thinkpieces there are the Stars Wars thinkpieces, of course, and the Lana Del Rey thinkpieces or, God help us, even Kanye West thinkpieces. Don’t get me started on the fact that “thinkpiece” is now treated as if it were a single word...

FBI Drops Hints They Are Ready to INDICT Hillary Clinton
Sources close to the FBI investigation into Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's offences relating to national security when she was Secretary of State say the Feds are ready to indict the frontrunner in the nomination process on charges relating to classified information.

Europe Rejects Obama Doctrine - US Exceptionalism Is Not Acceptable
With a backlash against his efforts to bully Britons into voting to remain in the EU pushing the leave campaign into a narrow lead in opinion polls Obama's vistit to Europe last week could hardly be described as a success. And now he has been told a foreign policy based on 'American Exceptionalism' is not acceptable and the USA must abide by the same international law as the rest of the world

Illegal Immigrants, Bogus Refugees and Jihadist Asylum Seekers - Europes Self Engineered Crisis For a UK based libertarian site dedicated to promoting the traditional values of personal and national liberty, freedom of speech and thought and democratic rule accoring to the will of the majority, the social and economic disaster that is the consequence of the European Union's 'borderless world' project is a big news topic that will run for years. Here are the Greeneeth team's posts on Europe's Immigrant Crisis and The Islamification Of Europe

US Threat to Businesses Scares EU Members As Summit On Continued Sanctions Nears
Although the US and EU economic santions on Russia in retaliation for Moscow's annexation of Crimea to prevent a genocide of the ethnic Russian majority by the neo Nazi government installed in Kiev after a US engineered coup deposed the elected government, weaker European nations are spooked at the possibility of US retaliation if they do not obey Washington's diktat

Weather Channel Founder Slams Global Warming Fraud
The climate change lobby have been on the back foot for a long time as eminent scientists queued to be next to point out that when real world observations repeatedly contradict data produced by mathematical models run on university computer systems, any credible research team would take a long critical look at their models rather than adjusting the empirical data so it gives the required answer.

Lifelong Feminist Carmen Paglia Slams Hypocrite Hillary Clinton And Her 'Liberal' Supporters
As strong evidence emerges that the New York Democratic Primary election between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders was rigged by the Democratic Party Nominations Committee in favour of their preferred candidate Clinton, America's hectoring on other nations on democracy are making it a laughing stock around the world.

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