Monday 13 June 2011

Religion does not like Science

Jerry Coyne and Russell Blackford tackle a Huffpo article by Michael Ruse on religion and science's compatibility. It's not very a very convincing article especially with comments like this,

"But is there not the uncomfortable worry that religion -- theology -- is always going to play second fiddle, having to give way in the face of science? ... It may be true that this is a one-way process, but in no way does this imply that theology is inferior."

Yup, it does kind of imply that actually.

Religion seems to have at least four stances with regard to science.

Science as heresy. See christianity's history in Europe with astronomy as a prime example. Arguably creationists fall in this category too, though I'm more thinking of when a religion has the temporal power to kill or imprison those it decides to define as heretics.

Science to be denied. Creationists are the prime example. Their strange twistings of science, but only of those parts that are problematical, are a wonder to behold. I look forward to somebody showing that something like gravity is incompatible with the bible and seeing how they deny that...

Science to be impugned. As religion surrenders its explaining power to science, it attempts to belittle science. The attitude is that science may be able to explain questions like how we came about, the laws of physics, how to fly, how to make effective medicine etc, but that they still hold authority over important questions like the kind of sex God wants to see in bedrooms around the world (He's a bit of a prude apparently). More seriously though, they try to claim morality and ethics as their own, disenfranchising anybody coming from a non-believing scientific background as having anything worthwhile to say about these subjects.

Science to be pwned. This is the attitude of those who realise the truth of science and so have to demonstrate that their religion already knew all of science before science existed. Thus we have Hindu Science and Islamic Science, amongst others no doubt. It is bizarre to read how the Rig Veda has amongst other things the correct value for the speed of light, while a new one to me, the Koran had geology sorted out long before Lyell et al did.

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