Can science and religion coexist peacefully?

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kowalskil
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Can science and religion coexist peacefully?

Can science and religion coexist peacefully? This is a good question to start an interesting discussion. See how it was answered by many smart people at my website:

http://csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/life/donotmix.html

Please share this link with others, when appropriate. Thank you in advance.

Ludwik Kowalski
Professor Emeritus
Montclair State University, NJ

jackclj
jackclj's picture
Good question! I am amazed

Good question! I am amazed that you received no replies for that.  I'll give it a try...

So, to the question: ''Can science and religion coexist peacefully?'', I'd answer... yes! Religion adjusts itself to trends (often a bit late but they do). For reference, I suggest reading The Evolution of God by Robert Wright, or just go through the reforms (Google Consil of Trent or Vatican II reform for example). Religion as already evolved in a way that it is completely distorted from what is was or was meant to be. It just needs to go a couple of steps further to accept things like preservative (they're getting there), abortion and stem cell research. Do not forget the sad fate of copernicus just a couple of centuries ago. The church once completly prohibited to question God's way ... or nature in other words. Leonardo Da Vinci had to hide to make his anatomical observations, Darwin was publicly persecuted for his theory ... Once upon a time, the world was at the center of the universe, it was flat, Man was at the top of the creation and the mass had to be said exclusively in latin, back facing the crowd. Things have change... and I believe they still will...

Interestingly, I believe this is a very strong argument against believing in ''old'' religions like Judaism, Christianism and Islam. At least in the form that they have now evolved. If those religions are from God and that God is perfect, therefore how don't see why or how they should be changed. But they had to change it because it was ''made up'' by the people of an era, for those very people of that era.

Anyways, just a couple of quick thoughts...

kowalskil
kowalskil's picture
 Thank you for the

 Thank you for the interesting comment. Yes, starting from scratch is usually easier than repairing accumulated problems. But this may not be true in the case of this special issue.  

Ludwik
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Sanu
Sanu's picture
I think they can coexist

I think they can coexist harmoniously. In fact, they can not exist without eachother if I may say so. Science is everywhere in religion. Many scientific discoveries were stated previously in many religious scriptures, before the discovery was made.
A nice link http://www.cis-ca.org/index.php.

jackclj
jackclj's picture
First, I think I should

First, I think I should clarify that I don't pretend to know the answer to questions about religions and that my comments are only my opinions, and most importantly, that none of those comments are meant to harm anyone in their beliefs. I'm just an atheist that truely likes to discuss the role and place of religion in history and in our society. That said, here's my comment

During the dark ages, much of the classical knowledge from the Roman era was put aside in Europe while it was preserved and enhanced in Islamic regions. The Renaissance could not have happened (or at least not on that scale) if it weren't for those people. But I'm not convinced that :'They can not exist without eachother', or even that it's favorable to have both. In short, science is trying to explain facts by repeated observations and measures, religion doesn't have anything to do with that (besides the fact that it can oppose to it or encourage it...). Science can attempt to understand or prove/disproof religion (demonstrate historical validity of scriptures, understand how the brain computes beliefs...) but again, this is not essential for science as a whole.

Actually, there has been a very long time when there wasn't a clear cut between religion and science. Both were aimed, together as one, at understanding the world. So maybe that's more what you meant by :'They can not exist without eachother', which in this case should maybe be :' they could not have existed without each other'. Again, I could be completely wrong...

P.S. Your link looks very interesting, however we don't have access to those articles if we're not suscribers but if you possess an article from that journal that you think would be particularly relevant, I would be very interested in reading it!

kowalskil
kowalskil's picture
 Here is updated version

 Here is updated version (with my comments in red):

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http://csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/theology3.html

Ludwik

jackclj
jackclj's picture
Very interesting indeed! I

Very interesting indeed! I really like those replies and your comments. Especially Comment 20 in which I think the goal  is not harassing people but understanding why they believe. I completely agree with his comment but I think your reply isn't totally bad either.

But I guess the question here is rather if science and religion can coexist than do you believe or not. And on this subject I think that your clain that theologians should limit their claims to the spiritual world while scientists should limit their claims to the material world is very interesting. Aren't you intersted in studies done on prayers vs patient recovery/healing. Or on the biochemical and neuronal machinery involved in belief? Isn't that science looking in the ''spiritual'' world (spiritual in hyphens because I'm talking about obervable events). I would really like to hear you on that because it comes back very often in your comments.

Good Afternoon!

Christian

kowalskil
kowalskil's picture
 You wrote: "

 You wrote: "
I think that your claim that theologians should limit their claims to the spiritual world while scientists should limit their claims to the material world is very interesting. Aren't you intersted in studies done on prayers vs patient recovery/healing. Or on the biochemical and neuronal machinery involved in belief? Isn't that science looking in the ''spiritual'' world (spiritual in hyphens because I'm talking about obervable events). I would really like to hear you on that because it comes back very often in your comments."

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Material aspects of effects of prayers should be studied by scientists while spiritual aspects should be studied by deists. This division of tasks should be possible, at least in principle, when there is no competition for the one-and-only-one, truth. Conclusions reached by Deists and conclusions reached by scientists would not be in conflict, BY DEFITION. That is what I mean by mutual independence of two worlds--material and spiritual. I wish I knew what to do to establish such mutual independence, probably not sooner than in the next century. 

jackclj
jackclj's picture
Fair enough! Now I think I

Fair enough! Now I think I understand why you put so much emphasis on that. It makes sense that in the same way that it makes no sense for me that religion tries to answer questions of the material world, I guess it doesn't make sense for ''people of faith'' that science tries to investigate the ''spiritual world''. They can try but it can never really make any sense because of their respective definitions.

Do you have any book to suggest that agrees with your views of religion versus science? So far my lectures have been pretty much one sided (Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Robert Wright...) cuz everytime I've been trying to read books written by ''believers'' I have been frustrated by the huge flaws in their argumentation. But you seem to be more thorough and down to earth in your mind scheme, which in my opinion makes it more interesting for discussions.

kowalskil
kowalskil's picture
 It is not my field and have

 It is not my field and have no book to suggest.