Science vs. Religion

In an online discussion about the anti-science sentiments of the religious right, someone pointed out this “miracle“. In summary, this Wikipedia entry is about an event that was prophesized by three peasant children, and then witnessed by upwards of tens of thousands of people. The event was documented by a number of people and it is hard to deny the event’s occurrence.

The implication is, that if there is no god, then how would one explain this? Can science explain this? Maybe science is wrong, and there is a god?

I don’t see scientists scrambling to cover their kids’ ears, and worried that they’re somehow going to be marginalized because maybe, yes maybe, there are things that scientists still can’t explain and don’t understand. 

That’s what I have been unable to grok about ultra-religious folks. Science’s ability to explain something doesn’t and shouldn’t threaten your belief in a supernatural being. A couple of centuries ago, science knocked the Earth out from the center of the universe, and despite the furor, religion still exists, God is still believed in, and the most damage probably came from the resistance of religion to these new ideas (resistance in the form of burning someone at the stake, coercion under torture, excommunication, etc.)

While I don’t believe this myself, I don’t understand why believers would have any problem accepting that what their god wrote in their holy book, is a very simplified account of how Earth came to be, and not a manual for how to recreate the process from fermions and bosons. Just like when I explain the Internet to the kids by saying, “it’s like a bunch of tubes and pipes” (thanks Ted!) and not going into detail explaining p-doping and n-doping of silicon wafers….

While I am at it, why do religions assume that god’s unit of time is the same as ours? Yes, we managed to all agree worldwide (as far as I know), that a year is 365 days. For god, wherever god is, a year could be a gazillion of our years. And if god created the world in 7 days, it really could be a few billion years.

So why is it that religious people are threatened by scientific discovery? Is it because they themselves feel like their faith is dangling by a hair-thin string and anything that contradicts will create a mental core dump?

I’m firmly out in the science camp, but I would welcome a godly miracle any day. I don’t feel that it would make my belief in science any less. I won’t feel any contradiction – heck, show me something get repelled by gravity, or a person who falls off a building and bounces like a ball and lives, or a flashlight that can darken whatever it’s pointed at. Maybe science couldn’t explain those. Maybe they contradict scientific laws. But it won’t make science wrong, or a my interest in science a mistake. Same thing for religion. If you truly believe, truly have faith, then science should not be a threat. In fact science should make your creator seem even smarter and more amazing. How cool is a god who made water expand at freezing? I bet most gods wouldn’t think of that and their attempts at creating water-based planets ended with blocks of ice (thus losing the local science fair at god school). 

-mz

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~ by mz on October 29, 2008.

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