Science and Religion

Discussion in 'Every Day Debating' started by Dark Lord Sauron, Jan 17, 2007.

  1. Dark Lord Sauron

    Dark Lord Sauron Lord of Middle Earth

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    Many people, both religious and secular, believe the differences between science and religion to be irreconcilable. Perhaps the most well-known example of this is the clash between the theory of evolution, a primary paridigm of biology and the book of Genesis in the Bible. This discussion was brought up again, recently, with the debate of whether or not to teach intellegent design (which is really Creationism 2.0) in schools. Upon examining the issue, I came upon the book of a rather prominent geneticist by the name of Francis Collins.
    For those of you that are unfamiliar with Dr. Collins, he helped discover the gene that caused cystic fibrosis and is the head of the Genome Institute for the United States. He lead the worldwide effort known as the Human Genome Project. Collins' scientific credientials are certainly quite impressive, but what caught my attention even more than the aforementioned accolades was the discovery that he is also a man of strong Christian faith. Even more than that, he believes religion and science compliment each other and can exist simultaneously without compromising the integrity of either discipline. I was sceptical at first, so I e-mailed Dr. Collins and asked him how this could be so. To this, he replied that he had just written a book on the subject and that, I should read that and then come back to him if I had any questions. I immediately ordered the book, entitled The Language of God from Amazon.com and read it in about a day. And then I saw what he meant; it is indeed possible for science and religion to coexist harmoniously. The best illustration, I believe, comes from the confrontation between Christianity and Evolution mentioned above. First, it is necessary to except evolution as fairly close to fact; Collins gives quite a lot of genetic and fossil examples to this effect. Now, it would seem that evolution, which operates by a series of random mutations, would greatly contradict the idea of a divine entity "pulling the strings" of the universe, but this contradiction is easily overcome. Science, by definition, deals only with the observable, testable natural world. According to the observations our limited human intellects are capable of, the changes in evolution do indeed appear to be random, however, if a divine being created this "natural world" he would have to be outside such a world. It is certainly possible that all of these seeming random changes in evolution are, in fact, part of this omnicient beings master plan. Science, constrained to the observable and testable natural world, is not concerned with what is outside the universe and so, delivers the scientific theory of evolution, which, from a scientific perspective can be completely correct and completely accepting of religion.
    Of course, there is still the issue of the "Young Earth Creationist" perspective which follows Genesis exactly and believes that the earth is only a few thousands of years old. To combat this objection, Collins turns to a theologian who lived long before evolution came about, Saint Augustine. Augustine could not possibly be influenced by evolution and so, can deliever a fairly unbiased opinion with reguard to interpreting Genesis. In one of his writings (I do not have an exact quote, so I am paraphrasing), he says, in effect, that Genesis may well be figurative and that the Hebrew word for "day" used in Genesis is the same that would be used in the expression "in my grandfather's day", which is not indicating that "my grandfather" only lived twenty-four hours. He also uses the rather poetic nature of Genesis as support for this opinion.
    I am curious to this community's opinions on religion and science. If anyone has questions, I will help where I can, however, I recommend reading The Language of God if you are serious about this subject. Also, after you read the book, Dr. Collins himself will probably be more than happy to answer any questions you have. His address is francisc@mail.nih.gov .
     
  2. Dwimmerlaik

    Dwimmerlaik Captain of Despair

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    well i believe in god, and that he created the earth, but it makes sense that the animal best suited for its environment will survive and reproduce.
     
  3. Harbringer

    Harbringer New Member

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    Science proves the Bible wrong on many accounts, but that doesn't deny the existence of God, it all comes down to believing in God or not.
     
  4. Harbringer

    Harbringer New Member

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    How do you explain evolution? Its a proven fact that animals evolve to suit their environments. Natural selection and all that.
     
  5. Dwimmerlaik

    Dwimmerlaik Captain of Despair

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    i never said it wasnt a proven fact that they evolve. i said i believe that God put the animals there to begin with.
     
  6. Harbringer

    Harbringer New Member

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  7. Bard

    Bard Erchamion

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    I've seen peole tie religion and science together, and I really could care less if they do so. The only thing that does is legitamize their beliefs. I'm all for people finding things to back their beliefs up.
     
  8. Jendra

    Jendra Jendra

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    See, the thing about Creation vs. evolution is that both require faith because none of us were here to see it. I take the stand of Creation.

    I used to major in Chemistry. I now have changed to history, but the things I remember from Chemistry...wow. Things happen on such a small and precise level that there's got to be Someone behind it. Every branch of science boils down to the physics behind it all, the physics at the atomic level, and all of that is too...measured for it to have happened by chance.
     
  9. Cascador

    Cascador Who's Anakin?

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    It requires faith? Maybe...But there's also physical evidence....and I don't see physical evidence of a God but I do see evidence of evolution....
     
  10. Harbringer

    Harbringer New Member

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    I don't think Science needs faith, it has facts.
     
  11. Jendra

    Jendra Jendra

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    Evolution is not a fact...it is a theory. Darwin himself rejected it on his deathbed. I personally don't see any physical evidence for evolution. I do, however, see in the intricacies of life the hand of a Creator.
     
  12. Bard

    Bard Erchamion

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    I'd have to say that everything needs some faith to become a serious alternative. Look at the major religions, for instance, they were small until people had faith in them and they became more accepted. I don't think science is any different in this situation.
     
  13. Taria

    Taria Dark Doll

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    I work on a scientific institute so I guess that it reqires from me to be pretty much realistic (nahhhhhh...).
    To me sceince is always a step shead from religion. I prefer to have reliable evidence and explanations of things and events. However I do believe in God in a way. Or some higher force if you want. I don't think that Bible is more than a story and I don't think that God lives in a chirch. Furtermore I don't think that there are several Gods: one for Orthodox, one from Catholics, one for Muslims, etc... I think that there is something, some balance in nature, call it as you like.
     
  14. Cascador

    Cascador Who's Anakin?

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    actually more Gods would explain more...the Romans and the Greeks seemed have figured it out...I mean you ask yourself why is there so much misery in the world...why is there war, because there is a God of War...they had a God for everything...But from the Christians no offense I get an explenation that doesn't make sense...that God gave us free will.
     
  15. Bard

    Bard Erchamion

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    That explanation makes sense to me, actually. Is it so far fetched to believe that we can do as we please? If I was part of a religion that had a god I would want to have choices.
     
  16. Cascador

    Cascador Who's Anakin?

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    That we have free will is not hard to believe...But it doesn't make sense that there is still war then...if God created us, he must have created our feelings...why doesn't a straight man to kiss another man's butt...it's called homosexual...it's a feeling in his lust, lust is a feeling. And they must be created by God for we cannot create other feelings ourselves...like feelings other animals have, that we don't...so why did he create the feeling that we have the urge to fight ourselves?
     
  17. Padmé

    Padmé Mrs Cascador

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    Religion is based entirely on faith..... Blind faith

    Science of course is based on facts, and coming from a family of scientists, I know which field I'm going to side with.....
     
  18. Cascador

    Cascador Who's Anakin?

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    I know it can sound offensive when Padmé says blind faith. But isn't that true? I mean...what proof do you have to put your faith in God except the Bible, which isn't very good proof actually cause many things have been proven wrong. I'm not getting into it, cause I'm not good in explaining...Padmé is, but she doesn't see the point to lol
     
  19. Padmé

    Padmé Mrs Cascador

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    Indeed, cause at the end of the day you waste your time as people either don't listen or don't want to listen. And even if they did, not as though they are going to turn around and say, you're right! To hell with religion lol
     
  20. Sorcha

    Sorcha Moderator Staff Member

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Hope

    Also, there's tons of physical evidence for evolution. It may be a theory, but in science, that's as close to fact as you can get. Even when I was a Christian, I believed in evolution. Why? Because the two are not mutually exclusive. The account for creation is similar to other accounts of creation, and jives more with the ancient view of the world. I'll try to find some resources, but I have class in a moment. My religion professor believes in evolution, and he's a Presbyterian minister, and he has a doctorate in Theology I believe. Like I said, I'll find some resources.

    Basically, he said that religion and science can be together, they just shouldn't try to do the other's job. Religion explains the why, science the how. By the way, I still believe in God, just not the Christian version. It seemed sort of pertinant this information is coming from a theist.