God, Science, Politics, And Reality.

Tam suggested going here…  Tam, I hate you.  My quickie hit to the comments rapidly evolved into a full post.  So here goes. 

First thing. 

“No. Science is natural philosophy. Religion is (for lack of a better way to express it) supernatural philosophy. The two don’t mix well because the fundamental assumptions used in each are incompatible. This is why both Jerry Falwell and Richard Dawkins are both tools.” Jeff the Baptist

While I agree with the last sentence, I don’t agree with the premise. 

Science and religion tend to actually get along rather well when politics are left out of the equation.  But when one side or the other has an agenda to push rather than a doctrine to explain, then either turns into a freak show where the other is demonized.

The fundamental assumptions in each are only incompatible if your background in either science or religion is skewed.  Both try to explain the world we know and experience.  Therefore the fundamental assumption of both religion and science is that the universe can be explained.  One does it through empirical analysis of the world and one does it through analysis of God and man’s interactions.  There is over lap but there are limits to both that the other has to take over on.  The divergence of fundamental assumptions arise when Religion believes science has no sway over it and vice versa. 

The problems arise when science plays with morality or religion plays with data.  And that usually happens when someone’s political fly is open (read, “being fundamentalists”).  Hence we have Dawkins types who can’t fathom that Neo-Darwinism doesn’t have all the answers just as Ptolemy didn’t and no mater how many epicycles you draw into the diagram, it just keeps coming up short.  And we get the Falwells of the world who pointedly ignore facts like carbon dating and universal age and pretend that Genesis explains it all. 

Sad truth is that when you look Genesis cosmologically and not with a fundamentalist’s myopia, you end up seeing that for a bunch of goat farmers in the middle of the desert, they didn’t do a bad job of getting the order of things.  Were they historically correct?  No.  But being a Christian, that doesn’t mean I have to cover my ears when someone unearths new bones that prove something; if only that we are really really really old.  And as a person who knows the value of science, that doesn’t mean I can’t thank God that he got that udder idea out of his system before he got around to human females. 

One more thing, the “controversy” over inoculations has a little less to do with crazy anti-science uni-bomber types as it does people’s genuine fear over what could happen to their children.  A few hundred years back when kids were produced in job lots to make sure that there were some left after Murphy and nature had their go at the brood, no one would have really been up in arms about this.  But now that there are fewer kids and we tend to get a bit more attracted to them, when someone in a white coat screams “shenanigans” about something that affects kids, people freak. 

BPA free plastics are another example.  I’m not sure on the science, but now BPA is bad for your kids too. 

In practical terms, if someone wants to NOT vaccinate their kids until after 2 years old and the rug rats aren’t in public day care, who cares?

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4 Responses to “God, Science, Politics, And Reality.”


  1. 1 og October 13, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Pretty well put. And I have to agree; science and theology are only incompatible if your view of either is flawed.

  2. 2 Laughingdog October 15, 2009 at 10:43 am

    “Therefore the fundamental assumption of both religion and science is that the universe can be explained. One does it thought empirical analysis of the world and one does it thought analysis of God and man’s interactions.”

    I think you meant “through”, not “thought”.


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Dante…

Conservative, educated, understands history, distrusts government, distrusts politicians, dislikes pop-culture, and carries a firearm. In short, I'm what The Framers of The Constitution were counting on and everything your government wants you to fear most.

The only thing I don’t have to complain about is some GI taking up space in my living room. I’ll let you know about the Civil Courts if someone ever owes more than $20 to me. ---If you didn’t get that one; sue your Civics or US History Teacher.


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