Does Religion Hate Science?

Sumitta,

What I have seen in this world is that there is a lot of hate from both sides of religion and science but in my eyes they are pratically the same thing. Other religions hate science because it goes against all that they believe. Whereas buddhism embraces it because we don’t believe that “God” created the universe. It had to come from somewhere and when science answers these questions then an understanding of the universe becomes more clear. If you believe that “God” created Adam and Eve, then the scientific proof of evolution threatens your beliefs with facts and not fiction.

The issue isn’t whether some religions hate science, it is an issue of paradigms of understanding the universe. One only uses evidenced based observation and testing, and the other uses faith that there is more to the universe than is observable. In most aspect, science and faith do not conflict: but in some areas they do.

The problem with religion is that is takes the stories of that faith as gospel. The problem with science is that logic can be wrong, the universe has aspects that are unknowable, and accepted beliefs are changed.

—-

Dear Dhamma Follower,

We KNEW that atoms were the smallest matter of the universe. We KNEW that Newtonian physics was all there was. We KNEW that the Ptolemy model of the heavens was correct. We KNEW that the universe was a sphere (until just a few years ago). Scientists have faith in what they can dissect and understand– but that doesn’t mean that they understand correctly.

So faith goes on ….well faith: faith in their spiritual training. And science goes on … faith: faith in their intelligence.

Even in Buddhism there are those who see stories of the devas and demons as fundamentalists and absolutely true: not parables. There are Buddhists who believe in alternate universes and heavens. Buddhists believe in rebirth through the mechanics of Dependent Origination. These are areas where scientists may disagree.

No one hates science. I am sure that Christians, Muslims and Buddhists all love cars and computers, etc. They disagree with the unknowable truths, where we all have to put our “faith” into what we believe to be true in those areas.

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Categories: Buddha, Dharma, Divorce, Ethics, Four Noble Truths, Kharma, Lifestyle, Mahayana, Meditation, New Age, Noble Eightfold Path, Philosophy, Theravada, Tibet, Virajana

Author:Sumitta

Joshua Hudson is a license clinical social worker with post graduate certificates in mental health. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, he has worked as an healthcare advocate for the Department of Veteran Affairs, Director of Psychological Health for the Air Force, in-patient counselor for inpatient adolescents, child and family therapist; and currently is a Prevention Interventionist for the Air Force creating programs to reduce interpersonal and self-directed violence (e.g. Sexual assault, suicide, alcohol abuse, domestic violence, etc.) in the military Joshua spent twenty years in the Navy as a combat photojournalist and public affairs officers. He was a senior account executive for a marketing company and managing editor for various national publications. He continues to write on myriad issues from engaged living and resiliency to spirituality and meaning making. He is also an organized minister by the Pittsburgh Buddhist Center and International Order of Buddhist Ministers. Currently, he lives in Bury St. Edmunds in the United Kingdom with his daughter; but still keeps residence in Pittsburgh.

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4 Comments on “Does Religion Hate Science?”

  1. ultimateserge
    June 18, 2010 at 12:05 am #

    Nice blog, but how can logic be wrong? If logic was wrong, it would not longer be respected as logic.

    Just because we may lack the ability to understand the phenomena, doesn’t mean logic is flawed or logic can’t acess it, but it means human knowledge with the application of logic can not access it.

    • June 18, 2010 at 12:37 am #

      Logic is a process of reasoning, but most people think if we use the word “logical” that the foundation and conclusions must be factual. Logic can often be wrong– even when the premises are true.
      –“Cutting people is a crime. Surgeons cut people. Therefore, surgeons are criminals.”
      — “If it rains, the ground gets wet. The ground is wet, therefore it rained.”
      — Person A claims: “Sunny days are good.”
      Person B: “If all days were sunny, we’d never have rain, and without rain, we’d have famine and death. You are obviously wrong.”

      Here are simple logics where logic is wrong. If you were to ask any mathematician or astronomer the nature of the universe, they would have given you the Ptolemy model of the universe where the Earth was the center. Ask anyone today, and we would say that the sun was the center of the solar system and the solar system is part of a greater universe. In 1000 years, we cannot say that the paradigm will not shift again just because it seems logical and true today. This is because “there is more in this universe than dreamt of young Horatio!”

      So we must never assume that the end of our vision is the end of knowledge. Some science 1000 years ago is blatantly false today. And in turn, much of our understanding of our religions today did not exist 1000 years ago.

      For a Christian example, before Dante’s “Inferno” very little of Hell was ever talked about. Dante’s description of it being cold and the devil being blue was the de facto image people had for hundreds of years. Today, Hell is a prominent fixture in Christianity and the devil is red residing in the burning furnace of torment.

      Science and Religion are both evolutionary and rely on their faith in the premises of their arguments to be true. Often these premises are unprovable.

      • ultimateserge
        June 18, 2010 at 12:48 am #

        See, one of your examples is: “If it rains, the ground gets wet. The ground is wet, therefore it rained.”

        I say, “If it rains the ground may get visibly wet. The ground is wet, so it rained.” SUch an altered statmenet does not display logic’s inability for reasoning, but rather my inability to apply logic correctly.

        Logic and reason can not be wrong, they have to be right by default, it is rather application of it that can be wrong.

      • June 18, 2010 at 2:03 am #

        Actually, there are entire college courses on logical fallacies. Logic itself is not the cause or effect of reasoning– it IS reasoning. When the conclusions of logic are wrong it is because there is error: either in the premise, the application, or the conclusion.

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