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David asked the Naked Scientists: Is Science replacing Religion as a new means of belief? In other words, Science proving religion has no place in regards to life, the planet and the Universe?or Is religions only purpose and function based on the belief of an after-world as a way of softening the prospect of death? (although, I believe it is more to do with social control of a large population).What do you think?
Whilst I woul dlike to think that scientific thinking is replacing religious dogma I find there are a lot of areas where the dogma of religion is used, with scientific words, to support wrong headed bad science.
In addition to the negative outcomes quoted above, some have suggested that religion promotes social bonding, an agreed mode of behavior, and an incentive to overcome our darker impulses in favor of a more altruistic outlook. A belief in god enforces a touch of humility,
There is much in this thread that I read and think: “If only that were true, the world would be a much better place.” It’s very easy to contrast good science with bad religion, or bad science with good religion. We probably all do it at times, just to make our favourite points.Perhaps it is nearer to reality to reason that there is no such thing as good or bad religion, or good or bad science; only good or bad people using both for their own purposes. Take this thought a little further, though, and we may find that Jean Liedloff was right and there are no villains - “just victims of victims.”
I think there is definately bad religion, which tries to regulate birth control and demonise gay people, or which relegates women to second-class citizens and demonises gay people, and that's just two of the major ones. ISIS anyone?
The world-wide occurrence of religion suggests that it confers a significant evolutionary advantage (or at least, it did in the past).
Sharks kill people.....
Logical and mathematical truths cannot be proven by science. Science presupposes logic and math; to try to prove them by science would be arguing in a circle.
Metaphysical truths such as that there are other minds other than my own or that the external world is real or that the past wasn’t created five minutes ago with the appearance of age.
Ethical beliefs about statements of value are not accessible by the scientific method. You can’t show by science whether the Nazi scientists did anything in the camps that is evil as opposed to the scientists in western democracies.
Aesthetic judgments cannot be accessed by the scientific method because the beautiful, like the good, cannot be scientifically proven.
Science itself. Science cannot be justified by the scientific method. Science is permeated by improvable assumptions. For example, in the special theory of relativity, the whole theory hinges on the assumption that the speed of light is constant in a one-way direction from point A to point B, it must be assumed.
we're just one stage removed from animals and we're still trying to throw off our bestial nature.
We've invented ... science and a host of other things that make us more civilised
Quote from: Semaphorewe're just one stage removed from animals and we're still trying to throw off our bestial nature.I agree - most human problems are internal, at their basis. "democracy and human rights and justice and equality" generally change our outward environment. Some of these things can help reduce inequality, which it has done in Nordic countries; but not nearly as much in the USA, for example.They don't address the inner cause of most of our problems.QuoteWe've invented ... science and a host of other things that make us more civilisedThe real explosion since Galileo has been in the "hard" sciences - physics, astronomy, chemistry, geology, medicine, imaging, mechanical, civil, electrical and aerospace engineering, etc. This has been assisted (and enabled, in many cases) by rapid developments in computing.Medicine has helped us live longer, and less troubled by pain.The most successful medical advance has been plumbing, which became fairly effective in the Roman era, and even more effective with the application of the steam engine. This has done more to help human health than most medical endeavours, but it's hardly modern.But none of these really address the inner beast.For these you must look to the "soft" sciences - psychology, sociology, economics, etc.For Psychology, we are still very much in the infancy phase, with theories in the last century driven mainly by guesses and hypotheses, with little objective information until the development of Functional MRI - and it's still a fairly coarse tool, unable to resolve volumes smaller than millions of neurones, or timescales faster than a second.We still have the problem that even today, most experimentally verified psychology is actually based on a study of first year university students. They are forced to participate to pass their course. This has resulted in psychology becoming a WEIRD science - it is very much the study of Western, Educated, and from Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic countries. This is hardly representative of the human population. Economics is still very much a black art. Everyone hangs on every word from the US Reserve about their guesses this month. And economists try to predict the reactions of other people who have also studied economics - a situation very likely to produce chaotic behaviour! But most of our problems are still driven by human greed. It is said that if you want to find the cause of something, follow the money. Certainly large amounts of advertising money have managed to stall any progress on major scientific findings in several important cases.So it's not surprising that it was a religious figure who commented that "the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil".
The world-wide occurrence of religion suggests that it confers a significant evolutionary advantage