The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Do science and religion have any common ground?  (Read 23965 times)

Offline acecharly

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 171
    • View Profile
Do science and religion have any common ground?
« on: 21/03/2012 00:16:15 »

Is there anything in religion anybody has heard that makes them think there may be something in what is being said here. My kids go to a youth club run by a church and knowing the vicar Ive have had many hours of deep conversation whereby we cross our scientific and religious viewpoints he im sure was trying to bring me into the fold where as i was listening to find some means of correlation two things he said spring to mind

God is the light..........now were all fans of that light stuff in here, possibly more about the speed of it and weather it has mass lol but none the less we can possibly assume he travels well fast!!!

and another

God made us inside a perfect sphere and lives on the outside and that he lives outside of time.........what a weird thing i said so everything has already happend then and he said yes id imagine this is true because if you were in this universe it isnt possible to have made it.

Any ideas are welcomed

cheers
Ace


 

Offline syhprum

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3818
  • Thanked: 19 times
    • View Profile
Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #1 on: 21/03/2012 07:27:07 »
The only mention of "god" in a science forum should be in relation to mental disorders or psycotropic drugs
 

Offline Soul Surfer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3345
  • keep banging the rocks together
    • View Profile
    • ian kimber's web workspace
Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #2 on: 21/03/2012 09:20:53 »
I do not believe in any sort of God that acts on the universe or our world.  That must take its chance with the way things work.   I also do not believe in anything "supernatural"  or an afterlife.  Everything that happens is natural and when you are dead you are dead and the only thing that you can leave behind is your influence on others and the world.   But I do believe in "Religion" and the need for everyone to realise that there are things beyond one's selfish desires and needs and humanities selfish desires and needs and also that it is important to come together as a community and recognise this and express their feelings and wishes for the future.  The concept of "God" is a useful symbolic way of expressing this simply.  I am therefore a practicing member of the Church of England  (because this is the local brand and they were prepared to accept me as a member on the above terms)  and attend an early morning said service every sunday and major sevices on festivals and support them with money.

Religion is therefor more to do with social groupings and science understanding how things work and they meet at the point where science tries to understand social groupings.

I feel quite strongly that without the development of the concept of religion, mankind would not have developed much beyond the hunter gatherer stage of evolution.
 

Offline syhprum

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3818
  • Thanked: 19 times
    • View Profile
Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #3 on: 21/03/2012 09:32:46 »
Interesting, Are you required to recite the creed or at least make some acknowledgement when it is recited ?
I will be in Indinapolis in May staying in the home of a lay preacher (it is hard to avoid religion in America) I too will attend church but on the clear understanding just for the gospel music.
« Last Edit: 21/03/2012 09:37:47 by syhprum »
 

Offline acecharly

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 171
    • View Profile
Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #4 on: 21/03/2012 10:51:28 »
If i did not make it clear in my opening statement I am not religious apart from the occasional wedding and christenings I believe that it was a cleverly designed instrument for controlling the masses.

I dont believe in any guy with a white beard. I think looking up at the sky at night how insignificant we as people are with the vastness of space and all its truly wonderous delights set out before our eyes. Why this being would be a person is beyond me.

Never the less id like to think that when we died it was not the end and so really all i was asking is can we find any common ground before we can truly dismiss any possibilty

When we look at Quantum Mechanics we can find major conflictions with the macro universe we observe is this not similar to this thread as we have many physicists at CERN looking for a god particle.

cheers
Ace
« Last Edit: 21/03/2012 10:54:11 by acecharly »
 

Offline David Cooper

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1505
    • View Profile
Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #5 on: 21/03/2012 22:06:41 »
I feel quite strongly that without the development of the concept of religion, mankind would not have developed much beyond the hunter gatherer stage of evolution.

My immediate thought was that it's more likely that religion held us back, but maybe the truth is somewhere in between. Gods were invented when early man shouted into caves and heard spirits shouting back out, so I suppose we should maybe think of religion as being a primitive kind of science - a genuine attempt to explain phenomena that were very real.

The trouble we have with religion is that it has always stepped beyond science in making claims that cannot be proven - the voices from the cave must belong to spirits because it's so obvious that we've decided it's true, whereas with science we would say that the voices from the cave might belong to spirits, but that we should always keep an open mind on the matter as there may be alternative explanations, and it's this approach that is most likely to lead to someone thinking up the idea of the echo.

The biggest problem with religion is where it involves assertions from people which must simply be believed because their origin is "holy". Laws made up by philosophers get tied to God and become fixed - because they supposedly come from God they cannot be wrong, so we end up getting stuck with them despite all their obvious imperfections as soon as the philosopher/prophet dies and is no longer in a position to correct them.

In answer to the O.P. - there is a lot of good wisdom tied up in religion, so it's easy for people to get sucked in and to think it's all good, but a huge amount of it is awful and damaging, and frequently plain immoral. Morality is the business of minimising harm, but many religious laws go directly against that. It would be far better if people realised that religions are nothing more than philosophy and that everything has to be tested on its own merits before being applied to the real world.

Let's steer away from the law side of things though and concentrate on the aspects of religion relating to what we are, where we came from and where we are destined to go to next. Is it possible to make a new soul from nothing? Is it possible for a soul to disappear from the universe and never exist again? The answer to both questions is almost certainly no - you can't make something out of nothing and you can't turn something into nothing. If you have a box of eggs which you can't detect, but you can detect an egg if you remove it from the box and you can detect the hole that's been left behind, then you may believe you've created both an egg and a hole out of nothing, but you aren't seeing the full picture. Put the egg back in the hole and you might imagine that you've turned them back into nothing, but again you'd be wrong. You existed before this life and you will continue to exist after it. Is it not obvious that if all the material of which you're made could be put back together long after your death such that it created a functioning human animal again (and with all the atoms in the same relative places as they were in the past) you would be forced to return to the world of the living?

Another thing you might want to consider is this: it is impossible for God to qualify as God - all he can possibly be is a natural creature who inhabits the same natural system as we do. The divide between natural and supernatural is a complete non-starter: if things can interact, they necessarily belong to the same system. If they didn't belong to the same system, they could have no mechanisms to allow any kind of interaction with each other. This means that at best, "God" would just be a very powerful alien being, and if he thinks he's a god, he's well and truly up himself.
« Last Edit: 21/03/2012 22:11:07 by David Cooper »
 

Offline Soul Surfer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3345
  • keep banging the rocks together
    • View Profile
    • ian kimber's web workspace
Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #6 on: 21/03/2012 23:27:30 »
Syhprum.   With regard to creeds etc  I say them with meaning and quite happily.  All words are symbols of meaning and most religious words are in fact metaphors for describing things that cannot easily be described at all.  In context many religious works in the past were never intended to be factually precise at all.   For example the two distinct and different creation myths in Genesis are ways of expressing human relations and the hierarchy of existence.  Reading the standard creeds in this sense makes them quite acceptable and understandable in my context and approach to religion.  To go into it in much detail would be rather a lot for these pages and not really relevant to them here are a few simple descriptions expressed in a conventional Christian context

God the father:     The entire content and activity of the universe or multiverse.
God the son:      Life as on this planet as represented for us by the life of a wise individual in the past
God the holy spirit:   The evolutionary process that started with the father and lead to the son

Eternal life:  life as it continues through generations not the life of any individual
Resurrection:   the effects that the teaching of an individual can have after his death

Judgement:  The results of all our actions will always affect everyone else for good and ill
Forgiveness of sins:  To do nothing can often be as bad or worse than making a mistake

David I do not go along with a lot of your verbal mumbo jumbo.  Let me clarify why I feel religion was so important in ensuring the development of mankind.  Hunter gatherers rely on small mobile family groups co-operating to succeed.  To create a technological society we need co-operation between very large groups of people.  A common religion and worship creates this bigger bonding needed to achieve big projects that go well beyond the lives of individuals








 

Offline Geezer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8328
  • "Vive la résistance!"
    • View Profile
Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #7 on: 22/03/2012 00:51:41 »

All words are symbols of meaning and most religious words are in fact metaphors for describing things that cannot easily be described at all.  In context many religious works in the past were never intended to be factually precise at all.
 

Obviously, you have not been hanging-out with too many lay preachers in Indianapolis   :)
 

Offline yor_on

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 11987
  • Thanked: 4 times
  • (Ah, yes:) *a table is always good to hide under*
    • View Profile
Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #8 on: 22/03/2012 01:14:48 »
We all need to believe in something. Some believe in science, other believe in God. If it's honest, coming from your own feelings and needs of/for a purpose and if it won't harm your neighbor? Science brings with it both good and bad and the truth is that whether it is good or bad often depends on the judgment of history. If we want to believe that to be a scientist is any better than being a true believer in God then we need moral standards for their inventiveness, but I don't see that.

A man or woman that believe in a personal God though, often have just that. But you need to be a individual, believing in it personally from your heart to earn my respect. I give very little for those organized religions though, that more often than not only seem to care for one country/belief/etc at a time, deeming all differing to be 'evil'. Good exist as do Evil, it may be that it is us that created those ideas, but they exist for us. And most of us know the difference. I've meet good religious people, and I've meet good non-religious people too.

But what you get encompassing the good ideas of a religion, in your own personal way, can make a very efficient bulwark against moral corruption.
 

Offline Pmb

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1838
  • Physicist
    • View Profile
    • New England Science Constortium
Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #9 on: 22/03/2012 16:46:19 »

Is there anything in religion anybody has heard that makes them think there may be something in what is being said here. ...
There is something called the Multiverse theorem. It means that different areas of the universe has different physical constant, or it could mean that there are multiple universes. That can be used to form the basis of the Anthropic Principle. It's not to much of a leap to a God creating the universe. See

An obstacle to creating a universe in the laboratory, by Alan H. Guth and Edward Farhi

See http://home.comcast.net/~peter.m.brown/Guth_Farhi.pdf

The authors concluded that it is not yet known if one can be created. The following may give you a good idea as to how this plays out. I might not understand it all 100% but what I do know of it is that, if true, it doesn't take an all powerful being to create a new universe.

Best wishes

Pete
 

Offline Airthumbs

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 958
  • Personal Text
    • View Profile
Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #10 on: 22/03/2012 17:13:54 »
The only common ground here is the letters "I" and "N" and "E".  Speaking from a non intellectual point of view that is.........  :P
 

Offline Pmb

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1838
  • Physicist
    • View Profile
    • New England Science Constortium
Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #11 on: 22/03/2012 19:03:03 »
The only mention of "god" in a science forum should be in relation to mental disorders or psycotropic drugs
I wasn't aware hatI hjad a mental disorder. But if I did I probably wouldn't know it. lol
 

Offline David Cooper

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1505
    • View Profile
Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #12 on: 22/03/2012 23:04:39 »
David I do not go along with a lot of your verbal mumbo jumbo.

How do you know? You haven't seen any.

Quote
Let me clarify why I feel religion was so important in ensuring the development of mankind.  Hunter gatherers rely on small mobile family groups co-operating to succeed.  To create a technological society we need co-operation between very large groups of people.  A common religion and worship creates this bigger bonding needed to achieve big projects that go well beyond the lives of individuals

If you look at just about any hunter-gather society, you'll find them drowning in religion - it was never lack of religion that prevented the birth of large civilisations. Most of the progress we're making today is being driven by atheists while the religious hold things back.
 

Offline Soul Surfer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3345
  • keep banging the rocks together
    • View Profile
    • ian kimber's web workspace
Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #13 on: 23/03/2012 00:12:15 »
David you may be interested that I have just found the first reasonably serious scientific paper dealing with my suggestion that religion drove social cohesion and development it is in 17 March issue of New Scientist which has a special section on the science of religion it is called "the idea that launched a thousand civilisations"  Up until now I thought i was in a minority of one with this idea.

Dont understand your comment re mumbo jumbo.  I was talking about all your stuff about souls and eggs you can't detect etc  It just seems meaningless.  Maybe it is.

« Last Edit: 23/03/2012 00:17:50 by Soul Surfer »
 

Offline David Cooper

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1505
    • View Profile
Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #14 on: 23/03/2012 20:35:59 »
David you may be interested that I have just found the first reasonably serious scientific paper dealing with my suggestion that religion drove social cohesion and development it is in 17 March issue of New Scientist which has a special section on the science of religion it is called "the idea that launched a thousand civilisations"  Up until now I thought i was in a minority of one with this idea.

That does sound a bit more interesting now. Did they provide any evidence or was it all speculation? You'd be hard pushed to find a primitive society with no religion which has remained primitive due to its lack of religion, because religion is a natural consequence of people attempting to work out how things came to be the way they are - primitive tribes without religion probably never exist. The mechanism they appear to be pointing to is social cohesion which is enabled by religion, but atheists have absolutely no difficulty with social cohesion, so it looks to me like a religious scientist trying to promote religion.

Quote
Dont understand your comment re mumbo jumbo.  I was talking about all your stuff about souls and eggs you can't detect etc  It just seems meaningless.  Maybe it is.

My point is that you can't make something out of nothing, or turn something into nothing - particles supposedly spring into existence and back into non-existence again, but that "nothing" isn't nothing - it's just something that science can't yet get a handle on. We cannot just disappear after death and be banned from existing ever again, so the idea of life after death in religion needn't be in conflict with science (see the title of this thread). Even if you are determined to believe that things really can be created out of nothing and that we have made that trip ourselves, there's absolutely nothing to stop us repeating that trick after death. Religions are interested in where we came from before this life and where we'll go to after it, and science should be interested in that too, but the usual message we get from non-religious scientists is a magical belief in a one-way trip into non-existence with an eternal ban on repeating the trick of making the journey in the other direction.

Ask these people (who think that once they're dead it's all over and they will never exist again) what would happen if all the atoms they were made of could be stuck back together in the same arrangement again such that a person who looks identical to them is recreated, fully alive and believing him/herself to be the original scientist, and see if they think it would mean they could come back into the land of the living or if they believe it would have to be someone else.

Mumbo Jumbo? No - it's an invitation to discuss the topic of this thread.
 

Offline LetoII

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 64
    • View Profile
Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #15 on: 24/03/2012 01:12:44 »
there are many patterns in religion from which one can learn i'd say.
just like with science.

P.S. if you can't make something out of nothing then this whole place could never exist...

« Last Edit: 24/03/2012 01:14:32 by LetoII »
 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #16 on: 24/03/2012 02:04:18 »
it is hard to avoid religion in America
It isn't that hard to avoid.
If you see a building with a plus symbol on top...
It doesn't mean they have their math straight   [xx(]
 

Offline acecharly

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 171
    • View Profile
Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #17 on: 24/03/2012 20:49:10 »
One thing I always notice is a lack of open minded people when it comes to religion. It does not matter what the scientific community were ever to bring forward. Nothing would change the viewpoint as somewhere in a religious text would be some wa to describe the finding made. Where as the scientific community would welcome a god with open arms if this god were scientifically proved to exist. I may be missing something here in this world but i really like the idea of seeing something proven and not just have belief in something that cannot be proved, it simply leaves to many opportunities for abuse this is how the masses have been controlled for centries as i mentioned earlier. Something else i notice nowadays is how many of us in the UK who are christians only go to church for weddings and funerals etc. This leaves a big problem for those incharge of society as this was the job of the church here years ago. I believe the government is the new religion turning us into a nanny state ours seems to start as many wars as religion has and still does.
« Last Edit: 24/03/2012 20:55:36 by acecharly »
 

Online Bill S

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1807
  • Thanked: 11 times
    • View Profile
Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #18 on: 27/03/2012 19:37:40 »
Quote from: SS
I am therefore a practicing member of the Church of England  (because this is the local brand and they were prepared to accept me as a member on the above terms)

Many years ago, when I started reading about Hinduism I came across a comment to the effect that it was much like the Church of England in that you could believe almost anything and be Hindu, or C of E.  I have had to wait all these years for confirmation. :)

Quote
A common religion and worship creates this bigger bonding needed to achieve big projects that go well beyond the lives of individuals

True! Just think of the Crusades, the “rape” of the Aztecs and the Inquisition for a start.

I’m not saying that religions are all bad, I’ve seen a lot of the better side, but we should be able to achieve social cooperation without the fear of Hell and other controlling devices, not to mention the divisiveness and hatred that often accompany religious practice.
 

Offline Æthelwulf

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 358
    • View Profile
Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #19 on: 27/03/2012 20:47:26 »
In the end, quantum physics united with relativity will have to answer the same question philosophy tackled before experimentation could prove any facts. The quantum movement will have to take philophical approaches to make sense of questions which mankind have asked for centuries. I suppose religion is very philosophical: If not, the Bible itself is made primarily of philosophical questions and stories.
 

Offline damocles

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 756
  • Thanked: 1 times
    • View Profile
Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #20 on: 27/03/2012 22:06:39 »
Many years ago, when I started reading about Hinduism I came across a comment to the effect that it was much like the Church of England in that you could believe almost anything and be Hindu, or C of E.  I have had to wait all these years for confirmation. :)

Interesting! My vicar would put you into a class and have you ready for confirmation in about 6 months.

;)
 

Offline damocles

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 756
  • Thanked: 1 times
    • View Profile
Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #21 on: 27/03/2012 22:47:06 »
Seriously, though, I would suggest that science and religion have nothing in common. But not on the basis that most of the discussion here is taking. I would maintain that science can only provide a basis and a methodology for understanding the physical world around us. I would maintain that there are important truths and issues that are outside the realm that science can explore -- not just outside its present incomplete scope, but beyond the capability of science to address.

Scientism -- the belief that science can address all of life's issues -- is a religion. One of the prophets of this religion is Richard Dawkins. I could cite Julian Huxley as a prophet from an earlier age.

I fail to see how anyone who lived through the cold war period with the evil of "mutually assured destruction" hanging over our heads could seriously embrace scientism. On the one hand we had the adherents of this system telling us that nuclear weapons and nuclear technology are not evil. We could use a series of nuclear explosions to make an inland sea in Australia, for example, and provide an improved climate and win a large amount of new agricultural land. It was only the nasty politicians who were trying to misuse the technology. Science is morally neutral. But on the other hand they were claiming that science could provide a sufficient answer for the whole of life's questions.

But even earlier than the nuclear issues we had the evil of "social Darwinism". This was a notion that the "how it is" of evolution by survival of the fittest was a "how it ought to be". The culmination of the evolutionary tree was supposed to be humanity, and the culmination of humanity was expressed in the Northern/Western European racial mix. Government policies in my own country were for about 100 years based around the notion that the Aboriginal peoples were an inferior breed, doomed by the laws of evolution to rapidly become extinct. The whole evil of the "master race" concept arose from this sort of thinking, which in turn had its origins in science-as-religion.

I have heard lots of powerful and effective arguments about how immoral a lot of "christian morality" is. The most telling have in my experience been posited by humanists rather than the scientism crowd. But there are glaring weaknesses in the humanist position as well.

As far as I am concerned both morality and aesthetics are important aspects of life, and ones that by their very nature cannot be addressed by science. I am proud to be a scientist who is a believing Christian, and a member of an Anglican Church, of liberal Anglo-Catholic practice.
« Last Edit: 28/03/2012 01:39:20 by damocles »
 

Offline Pmb

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1838
  • Physicist
    • View Profile
    • New England Science Constortium
Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #22 on: 28/03/2012 00:24:37 »
The only mention of "god" in a science forum should be in relation to mental disorders or psycotropic drugs
So sayeth the aetheist.
 

Online Bill S

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1807
  • Thanked: 11 times
    • View Profile
Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #23 on: 28/03/2012 00:48:51 »
Blaming science for the misuse of atomic energy is very much like blaming alcohol for drunkenness, or blaming God for the bigotry and hatred perpetrated in the name of religion. 

BTW, Damocles, your bishop would be about 64 years late with the confirmation.  :P
 

Offline damocles

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 756
  • Thanked: 1 times
    • View Profile
Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #24 on: 28/03/2012 01:34:08 »
Blaming science for the misuse of atomic energy is very much like blaming alcohol for drunkenness, or blaming God for the bigotry and hatred perpetrated in the name of religion. 


Bill, I agree. My point was quite a different one -- I see the misuse of atomic energy as a clear example of the fact that science does not provide a basis for the consideration of moral issues. If you read carefully you will find that I was not "blaming science".
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: Do science and religion have any common ground?
« Reply #24 on: 28/03/2012 01:34:08 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums