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Science vs Religion or Scientists vs Religionists?

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on August 12, 2007

…Dawkins replies “What expertise can theologians bring to deep cosmological questions that scientists cannot?”

“Neo-Darwinism, with its random mutations and lack of any goal, “cannot be reconciled” with the theological teachings of the Torah.

“…this “need” among theologians and scientists to “reconcile” evolution with theology, or in some cases prove that they are the very opposition of each other, raises another question: Why this almost obssessive urge from either side, position in this?”

The quotes in Green and Red above represent an Atheistic and a Theistic approach to the issue of Science and Religion on the Topic of the Origins of Life, the Universe and Everything.

The quote in blue is me looking at the brawl from the out-side.

Many years ago I resolved the seeming conflict between Science and Religion by looking at what questions they answer respectively on the matter. I think perhaps I intuitively knew that the conflict lies not between the two Disciplines, but between the Disciples of both, because the answer to the conundrum of Science vs Religion I found looks as follows:

Torah/The Bible/Religion answers the Questions Who and Why?

Science/Evolutionary Theory answers the Questions How, When and Where?

Put like this there is no conflict, because in this “model” both Science and Religion are doing what they are designed to do. If we let them do that all is well. Because Torah doesn’t say one word about exactly how G-d did it – except alluding to ideas Science has already established (such as man being made from clay, which can very well be the “primordial soup” Science says all life came from) and Science doesn’t say one word about Who did it, though the very study of the mechanism of Evolution can lead individuals to the conclusion that some Prime Cause is behind it all. However neither Science nor Religion/Torah needs the other for verification or validation.

The problems start when we try to mix them, like Intelligent Design is doing or make them, two inanimate disciplines, responsible for what is really the doing of their animate proponents.

How ridiculous does that look? Two puppets on strings being forced to whack away at each other by Puppet Masters, not seen by the Audience, yelling at the top of their lungs:

– “Your puppet is beating my puppet!” Whack, whack!

– “No, your puppet is beating my puppet!” Whack, Whack!

– “Look what your evil g-dless puppet did, it broke the arm of my puppet!” Whack, slap!

– “Grrrr, that does it! Your brainwashed, fundamentalist puppet is going to Die!” Slap, whack!

Intelligent Design/Creationism doesn’t work, not primarily because it’s not scientifically sound, but because it attempts to create a synthesis of two ideas, substances that are not designed to be mixed, using tools that are alien to one of the substances, Science.

ID/Creationism presupposes a Prime Cause – that is after all why it exists, there would be no need for ID if that was not its prime purpose – but since a Prime Cause cannot be proved or disproved ID/Creationism violates the first premise of any scientific statement – verifiable evidence.

Science cannot answer ontological or theological problems, and Religion cannot answer scientific problems – both can lead towards the understanding of the other, and they do so frequently, but they cannot take over each others’ role in human life and be expected to lead anything anywhere. They work best side by.


10 Responses to “Science vs Religion or Scientists vs Religionists?”

  1. Hello,
    I just posted an article (Aug. 9th) copied from an associated press science writer-suggesting new finds might alter thought on Darwin’s theory. You might find it interesting. – Blog “Relax its just life”.
    I am a Christian sister who knows we all worship the same God.
    Have a wonderful day!

    Edited because somehow it ended up on another entry than it was originally posted on/Admin


  2. todaii said

    An another thorny subject !! 😉


  3. maliha11 said

    if you want to understand the real truth behind the true difference between science and religion i would advice you to read the translations of some Quranic verses that explain a lot to you…. or read some books by Dr. Zakir Naik, he is an amazing scholar.. best of luck to you. 🙂
    maliha siddiqui


  4. raphael said

    The following blog actually reconciles science and religion using an ancient symbol intentionally obscured because it represents the KEY to Universal Movement.

    The symbol discussed on that blog shows how science is now unlocking ALL of its ancient ‘Chinese secrets’.
    Would appreciate a link.
    Would you like to be a link to a truth?




  5. Now, Raphael, it might have eluded you – but I have already reconciled science and religion, without any ancient symbols.

    Well, that’s not entirely true – I did use one very ancient tool – it’s called logic.


  6. Maliha,

    No, I don’t want to read the Quran, and nor do I think it will bring me closer to an answer to a question I have already answered for myself.

    Perhaps that fact eluded you too, and you are just here to try and pull me away from the faith of my ancestors – tough, it ain’t working, in fact, it’s having quite the opposite effect.

    Funny though, I didn’t imagine Muslims to be the missionary types, like Xians, you some sort of hybrid?


  7. Todaii,

    Thorny? Nah, just bumpy 🙂 Thanks for coming by and giving away a smile 🙂


  8. Marsha,

    For the basic layman this sounds like something literally earth shaking, but all it’s going to do is have people sit and re-draw the Evolutionary Tree so it reflects that Homo Habilis and Homo Erectus lived side by side for 11000 years. It adds to our knowledge base, but it doesn’t change anything vital.

    Here’s what Dale Husband shared on the topic:

    “…knowing that members of one species (Homo erectus) lived at the same time as members of another species (Homo habilis) does not rule out the possibility that one could have evolved from the other. Did wolves become extinct just because dogs evolved from them? No, because dogs and wolves evolved to occupy different niches in the ecosystem. Likewise, it is possible that Homo habilis arose first, and later Home erectus evolved from them even while the two species lived side by side for a short time. Does a father cease to live just because his son is born? Of course not!

    And because of the random element in evolution, it DOES tend to branch out like a tree in all directions rather than going in a single direction for a line of organisms. Depictions of men evolving from apes or one-toed horses evolving from four toed horse-like animals are simplistic distortions of the more complex reality of how evolution works.”

    Let’s just hope the “drawing-people” can afford the ink…


  9. Jon said

    Torah/The Bible/Religion answers the Questions “Who and Why?“

    Science/Evolutionary Theory answers the Questions “How, When and Where?“

    I’m not sure I understand your dichotomy. First of all, not every question makes sense to ask. If I ask, “Who made the river run?”, I’ve made little sense. No one made the river run. If I ask, “Why does the river run?”, I have made sense, but I’ve asked a scientific question. The river runs because it flows downhill.

    Now, you could answer, “Who makes the river run?” by saying “God, because he created the processes which cause it to run”. But you could answer any question about the river in the same way. “Where does the river come from?” It comes from God, who made the universe. “How does the river run?” It runs because of God, who created the processes which cause it to run. Et cetera. You could answer any question that way by appealing to God.

    So in the end, your dichotomy seems overly ambiguous. Science does sometimes answer why questions and who questions. Religion and theology, if you believe them true, do sometimes answer how and where and when questions.


  10. “You could answer any question that way by appealing to God.”

    Yes, but only if I presuppose that G-d exists.

    Religion presupposes that G-d exists, but this cannot be scientifically proven, and since Science in and of itself is agnostic and dependent on that which can be scientifically established, Religion doesn’t have any meaningful bearing on Science.

    The point I am making lies in what you say in the last paragraph “if you believe them true” – i.e you’d have to accept BELIEF as FACT from a scientific point of view for Religion to answer any “how and where and when questions” scientifically in order for the equation to compute.

    That is the reason why f.i ID is not meaningful as Science – it does presuppose a Prime Cause – there would be absolutely no need for ID to exist as an idea to explore if a Prime Cause was not presupposed, as an agnostic Evolution Theory is already there to explain the hows, wheres and whens.


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