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Forums > Social Discussion > Religion and Science......

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Location: Western Cape
Member Since: 17th Apr 2005
Total posts: 5
Posted:This is a topic i regularly get to debate about with fellow students. Why do Science rarely make any mention of a higher power ie. God, Allah, or any deity for that matter when looking at things like Evolution?

Here's my opinion:
'If we have to bring religion into science and make a statement, say from a christian point of view that 'Because there is a God, the evolution theory is totally wrong', then other religions will begin to interpret sicence according to their own views and beliefs.

The only reason why science doesn't make any mention about religion, is so that we can all have a unified view on say evolution, or laws of motion ect'

Now, what do you believe? What's your opinion?

we are all one...as we are part of space, space is also part of us.

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 13th Jun 2001
Total posts: 2830
Posted:Thanks Selenia, you write very well and your explanations have helped me gain a clearer understanding of the spirituality of Gaia. I think I will I spend more time in the forest where I feel closer to mother nature smile

If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh


Location: bristol
Member Since: 15th Sep 2004
Total posts: 503
Posted:why, why, why do people continually misinterpret me:

'Trees always cheer me up no end.

As do flowers, birds, and the smell of grass.

There is no reason in the world you can give me that i cant believe in this.

I honestly dont understand why your not willing to let other people improve the quality of their lives throught there own beliefs quiet. '


1. I'm not trying to give you a reason not to believe in the beauty of trees, the uplifting nature of the smell of freshly-cut grass, etc.

2. Nor am I unwilling to allow people to improve the quality of their lives through their own beliefs: people are free to believe whatever they want, and I'm not going to force them to do otherwise. If religion makes people's lives better, then fine - indeed, I think that's a good thing in many cases. The sole issue over which I was arguing was that of confirmation as regards science and religion: I was claiming that there was at least one difference between science and religion, to wit: scientific claims are confirmable, religious (by which I mean specifically religious, as opposed to the bits of practical advice - like 'don't lie' - which crop up in most religions) claims are not.

3. In your case, ado-p, I want to dispute this claim:

'. . . if I believe in it, and it works for me, then it is confirmable. For me.

But confirmation is a matter of *truth*, while 'it works for you' is a matter of utility. For instance, if your belief that the Earth was flat 'worked for you' - I don't know, but suppose you just wanted an explanation of your limited experience - that might make the belief *useful*, but it *wouldn't* make it *true*.

Put another way, it's simply not the case that 'things working for you' provides confirmation. It might give you more reason to believe them - after all, if your belief was false it would be less likely to be useful, at least in some cases - but that falls short of confirmation, since it doesn't entail the truth of the belief in question.

Here's an example: suppose that if you knew how much your friends gossiped about you behind your back, you'd become paranoid, and your interactions with them would suffer. I'm not suggesting this is the case, but it is at least possible - so take it as a hypothesis. In this case, it is in your interests to believe that your friends never say anything bad about you: indeed, this belief 'works for you', since it safeguards the relationship between you and your friends - a relationship which you value. So in this case, you believe it, and it works for you, but it CAN'T count as confirmation, since - ex hypothesi - the belief in question is false.

Do you agree?

4. Lastly, re: Sethis':

'I mean, does anyone know what I'm talking about when I say: Theravada, Mahayana, Zen (Jodoshu and Jodoshinshu), Pure Land, Tao etc etc. The answer is that they are ALL denominations of Buddhism, and in the same way as Christian denominations, many of them have entirely opposed viewpoints.'

Yes, I do: I studied Buddhism for three years before coming to the conclusion that it was misguided. I won't go into the details, but I'm happy to discuss via pm or email. However, I think you've misplaced the religious element in Buddhism: some variants of Buddhism have a pantheon of gods, demons, Hells, Heavens, etc, and *those* seem like religious elements. Nirvana, on the other hand, does *not* translate as 'heaven'; Buddhism has a place for heaven, and it's distinct from Nirvana. Nirvana translates roughly as 'extinguishing'; the idea being that the roots of suffering - that is, attachment - have been extinguished in the enlightened person. That's a psychological idea, and definitely NOT the idea of having 'transcended reality as everyone else knows it'.

As you say, don't talk about it if you don't know about it.

ture na sig


Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh
Member Since: 15th Apr 2005
Total posts: 1189
Posted:Poor quiet, I know how frustrating it is when people start argueing about religion whilst demonising the skeptic as some kind of cynical, irrational fascist. hug I understand what you're trying to say and agree.

According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...


Location: York University
Member Since: 16th May 2005
Total posts: 1762
Posted:Sorry I was being unclear, it's probably my fault. What I was trying to demonstrate is that *certain elements* of *certain denominations* of Buddhism have totally religious elements. Perhaps a better example of this would be Pure land, where the only method of gaining entry to the Pure land is by having faith in Amidah Buddha (who created the Pure Land with his accumulation of Karma). When "Faith" is the central tenet of a belief system, it is difficult to see how it CAN'T be described as a religion.

I apologise for the example of Nirvana, I was writing in my 15 minute break so really didn't have time.

Vanise and Quiet, I'm not accusing you, or indeed anyone else of wilful ignorance, but I get irritated by people (NOT you) who say that something isn't valid or "real" because they have a limited understanding of the subject. Sorry if that's a misinterpretation of anyone's statements.

Vanise, what denomination were you a part of? (I hope it wasn't Pure Land, because then one of us has got their facts wrong)

*smile everybody* (we're all friendly here, right?)

After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.


Location: Finland, Lappeenranta
Member Since: 26th Apr 2005
Total posts: 28
Posted:I was just thinking... I don't think religions suppoused to be explained by science, in the early beginning of the religions, there was no science to explain things. People made explanations, which included higher powers and became religions of that time. People want an explanation to things, that's why we have a science.

Even science has been wrong, it has had some arguments that has been proven to be wrong after people has found more informations, have learned more and equipments has got better. That has changed religions too.

Maybe the chaos between religion and science is so huge now, because science can prove many things, but still not the life itself. It can't create life, it can't restore it, it doesn't even know yet, what it is, where and why. We can keep a body alive, but we can't 'wake up' it, if the life has gone. People need an explanation to the life. (( I hope you get what I mean))

And of course there is the scare of death, which is very important to survival of the species. Humans are intelligent, we think about things, we scare death and don't want to die, we need to be sure, that we can survive even there. Science doesn't help us there, but since it can't explain the life, it sure doesn't know what happens to our person after death. At least i think most of the religion people see it that way.

I know, you didn't ask that. wink Just a thought.

Damn, my thoughts are still kind of unfinished, but I gotta go. ((Kid to the kindergarden, me to gym and so on)) grouphug And yes, we're all friendy here, this is just a interresting conversation between friends, right? wink

EDITED_BY: Selenia (1116392501)


Location: Ohio, USA
Member Since: 24th Mar 2003
Total posts: 674
Posted:Quiet is correct in that heaven and Nirvana are two seperate things. There are heavens and hells, but Nirvana surpasses all of them. Heavens and hells are distractions from the goal (in this case Nirvana). Now one COULD make the argument that what is meant by the two terms BETWEEN religions on an esoteric level is similar, but then thats a whole nother discussion...

In addition, Taoism is a completely seperate religion from Buddhism, but the two are fused into one in Zen Buddhism, as they do have similar elements. Of course Im talking about philosophical Taoism and Buddhism, not the religious versions which, as quiet quite accurately points out, do in fact have pantheons of gods. Take for instance, Tibetan Buddhism and several forms of Mahayana Buddhism.

The claims of the philosophical schools are... well philosophy moreso than religion. Of course, meditation is a bit more than just sit down and you'll relax... meditation is meant to give one much more control over their perceptions. Essentially, you learn to turn off things in your head (senses first, then thought, etc. etc.), thus becoming much more sensitive to things both external and internal, and being better equiped to examine everything. The disillusion of the self is also part of this. Just wanted to point that out since it was way to oversimplified.

Here's a rather simple claim: people have souls which survive the death of the body. This falls into two categories obviously, personal souls and universal Soul. One being akin to the mind and identity of an individual and the other being more like the electricity that brings "life" to your computer. For the first, we can offer support by experiences with ghosts. For the second, science's own measurements of energy leaving people at the point of death. These are unusual events that seem to support the thesis that something survives us after death, whether or not it is us in any identity sorta way.

Science is limited to the material realm (for now). In fact there have been arguments made for the spiritual realm being bound in higher order dimensions, etc. which science itself can support to a point (that there ARE higher order dimensions), but not completely (they are rolled up into really really tiny balls... or something weird like that... hard to picture things in that many dimensions). If we are MERELY physical beings, then it would seem that science should be able to raise itself to the level of confirmation of every humanly experienced event. Assuming of course we're not living in an idealist universe where we create everything and all that exists is our minds of course.... in which case science is just measuring the rules by which we've built our own world or the way our perceptions work within the minds framework... hmmmm early morning musings...

Religions, however, posit something BEYOND a mere physical existence, and thus confirmation by scientific means is taken away, and a different means of confirmation is needed. There is also the possibility that the chemical changes that occur are not causing the experience but are a result of the experience (oh boy, thats a whole nother can of worms Im sure quiet is tired of, hehe smile ). Drugs having similar physical effects are not necessarily causing the same experience... just some thoughts.


Location: bristol
Member Since: 15th Sep 2004
Total posts: 503

'For the first, we can offer support by experiences with ghosts. For the second, science's own measurements of energy leaving people at the point of death.

As regards the first, what we have is something which seems like 'experiences with ghosts'. But that's not the same as actual proper experiences with ghosts; indeed, they might well be figments of our imagination, and, in the absence of solid confirmatory evidence, we would do well to think that this is the case. Like Hume said, you've got to weight the way things seem against the likelihood that they are as they seem.

As regards the second, it's not enough to talk of 'energy leaving people at the point of death'. Energy leaves us all the time (in the form of infrared radiation, for instance). For this to indicate something like a soul passing away, the energy would need to sustain a pattern of some description, and *this* has not been confirmed. Indeed, I'm not aware of any evidence in favour of this.

My position is that confirmation by scientific means is the only means of confirmation, and - absent an example to the contrary - I see no reason to think otherwise. I interpret 'scientific means' broadly, to include, for instance, mathematical proofs.

I doubt that science is just measuring the rules by which we've built our own world: for instance, a voltmeter doesn't measure the rules by which we've built our world, but rather differences in electric potential. Indeed, if you think that science deals with our rules, then you're tasked with explaining why it is that no scientific experiment is set up to measure these rules.

Lastly: 'If we are MERELY physical beings, then it would seem that science should be able to raise itself to the level of confirmation of every humanly experienced event.'

What does this mean? Do you mean confirmation that what we experience actually has happened? Or confirmation that we have experience?

ture na sig


Location: Finland, Lappeenranta
Member Since: 26th Apr 2005
Total posts: 28
Posted:I was watching this sciencedocument once, about brains and brainactivity. There they said, I don't remember exactly how it goes, but that scientists and doctors have found, that near-death-experienses causes some brainactivity kind of... float away... and returning when death has withdrawn. And just floated away in death. That returning-part is the important part. I don't mean, that it just starts working again, I mean, that they explained, how it floats back like it had been leaving. I guess it was... maybe BBC or Discovery...

Please, stop me when I start to sound too childish. biggrin

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