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Featured Coming To Terms: Religion vs Science

Discussion in 'Science and Religion' started by sealchan, May 22, 2019.

  1. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    In discussions regarding the relative merits of science and religion, I find that there is a sense of common ground between the two such that each can be seen as competing modalities. Yet in arguing about their relative merits each side tends to overstate their own favorites virtues and overburden the opposing sides with its vices. As such we have the perfect recipe for talking right past each other. In this thread I hope to lay out some of the aspects of religion and science that make them comparables even as they also get characterized as opposites and incompatible by many.

    Both religion and science are "ways of knowing truth". As such they can be characterized as having a methodology for the individual to use to determine is and is not true or real. Science is centrally identified as having a concise methodology. Religion, depending on the religion, does not necessarily focus on the expression of a methodology but one can generally be determined for the sake of argument.

    Both religion and science are "institutionalized" meaning they are supported and maintained by institutions which manage and promote the practice and interest of their "way of knowing truth". As institutions with members both religion and science then also have a presence and influence in politics. The institutions then can shape public policy and they represent an authority or power of representation on behalf of its members.

    Religion and science are multi-disciplinary meaning that science has a number of specialties which focus on a certain range of phenomenon whether physics or chemistry or psychology or sociology. With respect to religion we have the major and minor branches of a variety of religious traditions. As a corollary we can also say that both religion and science have their "hard" or strong forms and their "soft" or weak forms. For science the disciplines that are most able to make use of the experimental process are seen as stronger forms of science even as good scholarship which gathers and categorizes data more than performs repeatable experimentation is still seen as good "science". In religion we have active participants who participate fully in a particular religion's "methodology" and espouse that religion's "myth" as instructive but there are also others who find value in method and myth but do not implement it fully in their own personal life. They may be seen as "spiritual but not religious" perhaps.

    Now when comparing and contrasting the two I often find that on the one side science promoters retreat to a position where they claim science is only a methodology and they target religion as Institutionalized. When a religion promoter tries to hold science accountable for its influence on society the science promoter cries foul and says that science is not responsible. When a science promoter critiques a religion as having a inherently deficient "way of knowing truth" it fails to come to an agreement with any given religion-promoter what they would agree on it that religion's methodology for determining truth.

    Another disparity I find is that science promoters claim the whole of its multi-disciplinary approach while religion promoters often claim only the particular belief system of their religion. But I think that in spite of any given believer wants to promote, for the sake of a balanced argument they must also promote all sincere religious systems when comparing their own to that of science. This leaves many exclusionary believers in a difficult position, but that is a secondary concern if they wish to promote religion per se against the multi-disciplinary character of science. They should acknowledge that whatever claim to truth they espouse for their religion, a non religion promoter is going to look at that as merely one in a range of methodologies available. Failure to do so is to already hobble one's self in the argument.

    My hope is that this thread can inspire debate about the above and serve as a reference for critiquing other exchanges which seek to come to a sincere discussion about why people find value in religion and in science and how we might come to better mutually understand each other should we take up a position as a religion promoter of science promoter...which is something I can quite easily find myself switching between depending on the "center of gravity" of any particular thread.

    Any and all sincere comments welcome.
     
    #1 sealchan, May 22, 2019
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
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  2. Gerry

    Gerry Well-Known Member

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    “Both religion and science are "ways of knowing truth”

    I cannot see this.

    Science attempts to reach ‘truth’
    Definition of science:
    the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

    Religion attempts to get as many followers as possible to believe the same thing as the creator (of the religion).
    The beliefs of said creator may not have any relationship to ‘truth’
     
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  3. Gerry

    Gerry Well-Known Member

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    Moving on,

    In science, all scientists use the same basic principles and methodologies to obtain ‘truth’

    In religion, every one uses different principles and methodologies (again, those of the religion’s creator). This will result in many (thousands) truths, not the single truth that they all allegedly seek.
     
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  4. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Truth : that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.
     
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  5. leov

    leov Active Member
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    Physical vs metaphysical.
     
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  6. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    Thinking in terms of "team science" or "team religion" makes everyone dumber.

    They aren't analogues, and when they are turned into coalitonal precepts people lose the ability to be reasonable about the other.
     
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  7. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    Two things:

    Have you tried getting a believer to formulate their faith as a methodology?

    Have you considered that even rolling dice can be used as a methodolgy for determining truth?

    First I think that in order to have a good discussion one should make a sincere effort to establish common ground. You can quickly eliminate those whose methodology is "whatever the Bible says" of course but for the rest the former is a strawman argument.
     
  8. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    Without getting into any particular detail, I agree with the thrust of the OP. You've very carefully worded your points which I find helpful.

    Specifically you've "scare" quoted "ways of knowing the truth" because what both see as truth differ.. As long as the two are considered "orthogonal" to each other, we avoid unproductive arguments since, in essence, science is about discovering laws specifying how existence works and religion is focused on the "who", "why" and on specifying what people should be doing to be in alignment with the "who" and "why".
     
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  9. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Well-Known Member
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    That is essentially my view also. Too ill to participate much.
     
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  10. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    Yes, there is the recognition that science and religion focus on different domains of knowledge.

    I might agree that science deals with the physical while religion deals with the metaphysical but how might you argue to a science promoter that the metaphysical realm has any truth or value?
     
  11. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    Science only gets at physical truth.

    That which cannot be explained by science and is vitally important to life is the domain of philosophy of religion. Qualities of being, morality, justice and anything along those lines of what is a good life to live is in the domain of philosophy, and religion.

    Religion thus far has not done sufficiently what it should do. Promote good living through the exploration of the spiritual aspects of being.

    I would say the word spirituality has a lot of garbage attached to its definition. A physicalist can be as spiritual as a non physicalist. Nonetheless there are relevant words, and descriptions of being that come from religion.

    Religion speaks in a totally different way then all other subjects.

    I do not think that science and religion should crosscut into each others domains.

    It is the ambition of many science minded people to supplant religion with science. That is only hubris and very short sighted.

    There is real power in religion and a lot of people find meaning in it they would not otherwise have. Science is never going to supplant religion with physical explanations of being. There is always going to be the explanatory gap between the spiritual and the physical.

    To simply do away with religion is to do away with half of reality. The reality of qualities of being namely.

    About 80 percent of religion is mythology but the other 20 percent is of vital interest and inquiry.
     
    #11 osgart, May 22, 2019
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
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  12. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    How do I feel about this?

    Science is a method to verify claims made about truth.

    Religion creates a truth belief which for the most part can't be verified.

    For science to be credible, it has to be verified. Not all scientific claims are/can be verified. They can be shown to be false.

    Religion generally makes truth claims that are impossible to prove as false. So the claims stick around and people choose to accept the claims or not at their own discretion. Whatever feels to be the truth to you.

    Science, you can't rely on your feelings. Well you can initially, when you make the claim but you are likely to be shown to be wrong. IMO, through the process of science, it's been shown that feelings are not very reliable as far as the truth goes.

    Religion for it's core truths has to rely solely on feelings. Religion is kind of awkward when science is around.
     
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  13. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon Veteran Member
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    Science makes no attempt to attain 'truth.' Scientific methods at best approach an approximation of 'truth' through the falsification of theories and hypothesis concerning the.nature of our physical existence.

    Most religions appeal to tradition, sense of community and belonging, and emotion to justify their beliefs, with logic and reasoning. I do not see principles and methodologies beyond this. Religions do have similarities based on the desire of immortality, and heirarchial continuity of culture. This relationship and evolving continuity religions can be explained by either simply the natural evolution of human culture over time. , , or by Progressive Revelation of human spirituality and the journey of the soul over time explain the evolving change of the spiritual nature of humanity over time. The claims of the individual religions express only the culture and identity of the time they began, in the world fail to explain the diversity of the religions of the world evolving over vast amounts of time thousands of years or more, and and space of human history from a universal perspective we can envision today.
     
  14. leov

    leov Active Member
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    Physical is part of metaphysical. Physical may appear independent but it is not so, there is a tie which may be not noticeable by physics, may be less by QM. Material science study physical events and spiritual base of physical may not be important for the study as spiritual base is not manifested in material world.
     
  15. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    I like the myth part the most myself. I would argue that the greatest benefit is derived from the leverage that myths provide at an unconscious level of the psyche. It is the universal mythic motifs across religious traditions that are, perhaps, the most objectively efficacious.
     
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  16. Amanaki

    Amanaki sotāpanna

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    In my understanding of all religions, they do seek the same truth, but there is used different teaching and techniques to gain the inner wisdom to understand the full truth.
    You can look at it as a mountain where there are multiple paths leading to the top. and at the top is the ultimate truth. So each path has its own teacher or God/Buddha/Dao and so forth. For the teachers who them self must have climbed the mountain toward ultimate truth they reach a level of inner wisdom, but non of them reach exactly the same point on the mountain (path of wisdom) So when they do teach the followers, even they would feel they see the ultimate truth, they can only see(understand) up to the level they reached in their cultivation,
    Meaning an enlighten being (teacher) can not see what is abovet their own wisdom level, but they do see everything on their level and below.
    (this is how i understand the systems of the different religions)
     
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  17. It Aint Necessarily So

    It Aint Necessarily So Well-Known Member
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    You must be using a different definition of truth than I use. Yes, I know that people look to the Magic 8-Ball ("Reply hazy, try again") for truth, but they won't find it there.

    For me, truth is the quality that facts posses, facts being linguistic strings (sentences or paragraphs) that accurately map some aspect of our reality that can be experienced. The truth of the alleged fact is determined by testing it to see if it can be used to predict or control outcomes.

    For example, what makes the statement, "I live five blocks north and three blocks east of the pier" true or not depends on if walking five blocks south and three blocks east from my front door gets me to the pier. If it does, I am in possession of a correct idea that I call a fact, meaning a true or correct belief.

    If that's not the kind of thing you mean by truth, then what you are calling truth isn't of much value.

    You can't unless you can also supply convincing evidence.

    I don't understand comments like that. I can't remember finding any myth helpful. Maybe a morality fable from childhood, but certainly not since then.

    Agreed. The secular humanists do the best, with some atheistic philosophies such as atheistic Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism doing pretty well.

    What would be the loss if religion disappeared from the world? People would learn to live without it as every secular humanist has. That seems like a benefit.

    I found not of it vital, nor even useful.

    Disagree. Religion has little to do with reality apart from the reality that people are willing to believe things without sufficient supporting evidence. Religion as I'm accustomed to it is about people claiming that an unseen sky ghost orders you to do this and forbids that. That's not reality.
     
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  18. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    Religion deals with qualities of being and how they motivate us to become what we become. Religion talks of how beings can possess virtues or vices, and that we can choose for ourselves the best paths to take. Religion teaches us that life has intrinsic value and worth.
     
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  19. Gerry

    Gerry Well-Known Member

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    What is the definition of “a believer” ?

    By the way, your dice comment hit close to home for me.
    I found truth at a poker table once. (I played a LOT of poker in my past). Well, more than once, but one stood out. And it came from the hand that was dealt, not from any player.
     
  20. Gerry

    Gerry Well-Known Member

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    I know what you’re saying and agree. My comment was not meant to be a total end-all answer. Only a quick thought.
     
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