Chapter 2: My take on Science vs religion

Posted: February 6, 2009 by datechguy in catholic, opinion/news
Tags: , ,

I was answering a comment in the Ben Stein thread it hit me that the answer was the post I’ve been meaning to write on the subject so I’ve promoted and expaned it.

It is rightly said that if one is not willing to have your religious belief challenged then it must not be worth much. If you can’t defend your faith it is unlikely to be worth defending

I think that is true for science as well. In fact science progresses by the process of idea, observation, experiment, deduction, and reassessment repeated over and over again.

This process has three results:

Affirmation of some existing conclusions
Rethinking of some existing conclusions
Totally new directions that we’ve never thought of

All these things have one core component; the pursuit of truth. As truth is the reason to be Christian the pursuit of scientific truth must be embraced.

This is as opposed to “scientific” ponzi schemes such as global warming where the amount of money involved and political considerations skews the actual pursuit of reality.

Bottom lines good science:

Is willing to accept that new data or evidence may take current assumptions and throw them for a loop.

Understands that such new data or evidence has to stand up to a higher level of scrutiny than current assumptions in order to replace them.

Without both you stop becoming a scientist and become an advocate in a white coat trolling for cash.

One can’t touch the subject of Religion and Science without dealing with evolution so here goes…

You may or may not know the Catholic Church doesn’t reject evolution:

Pope Pius XII described evolution as a valid scientific approach to the development of humans in 1950 and Pope John Paul reiterated that in 1996. But Ravasi said the Vatican had no intention of apologizing for earlier negative views.

“Maybe we should abandon the idea of issuing apologies as if history was a court eternally in session,” he said, adding that Darwin’s theories were “never condemned by the Catholic Church nor was his book ever banned.”

nor does it evevate the intelligent design or creationism to the level of science:

He said arguments “that cannot be critically defined as being science, or philosophy or theology did not seem feasible to include in a dialogue at this level and, therefore, for this reason we did not think to invite” supporters of creationism and intelligent design.

If you haven’t yet figured it out the Church maintains evolution doesn’t conflict with God as creator. A Catholic can believe evolution or not church doesn’t care.

As for myself here are my thoughts:

It would seem that the law of conservation of matter and energy demands the existence of the infinite so I don’t understand why so many in science reject the idea of an infinitely existing God?

Natural selection is a simple observable fact. It should be accepted.

As for evolution it seems to me that mathematically the odds of positive mutations necessary for evolution are pretty low particularly in higher life forms, however new evidence particularly highlighted by Charles Johnson in his posts on the subject show that these odds might not be as low as one thinks. Per the rules above we must go were the evidence leads us.

My gut and my math says there are issues with evolution but that doesn’t make it any less science. Without strong evidence to the contrary it should be accepted as our best current bet. That doesn’t mean you can’t be skeptical I am a bit but the evidence is what it is.

That doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t pursue other ideas and theories, once you stop challenging things you stop scientific inquiry. People with different ideas should pursue them per the rules above to their hearts content but as a rule if you are going to overthrow existing science you’d better have better science. A LOT better science (see above).

Just because you don’t totally understand the working of something doesn’t make it any less real. And remember all this statement applies to both science and God.

  1. A scientific approach would not accept evolution because there is not strong evidence to the contrary. That would beg the question and maybe even include an appeal to authority. The accepted standard is sufficient evidence to prove its truth not lack of strong evidence to the contrary.

  2. […] Chapter 3 Christ By datechguy My religious series continues. Previous chapters are here, here, here and here. […]