Bridging the Science-Religion Divide

Is there “a philosophical incompatibility between religion and science. Does the empirical nature of science contradict the revelatory nature of faith? Are the gaps between them so great that the two institutions must be considered essentially antagonistic?” These were the questions raised by Jerry Coyne, a professor at the University of Chicago, in a long and meaty book review (“Seeing and Believing”) appearing in The New Republic. Over at the, a number of scientific thinkers, who regularly engage with these essential questions, have offered their own thoughts on the matter. You’ll find short pieces by Stephen Pinker, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, George Dyson and others. This one passage by Karl Giberson particularly struck me (though it’s not exactly a reflection of my worldview):

Empirical science does indeed trump revealed truth about the world as Galileo and Darwin showed only too clearly. But empirical science also trumps other empirical science. Einstein’s dethronement of Newton was not the wholesale undermining of the scientific enterprise, even though it showed that science was clearly in error. It was, rather, a glorious and appropriately celebrated advance for science, albeit one not understood by most people. Why is this different than modern theology’s near universal rejection of the tyrannical anthropomorphic deity of the Old Testament, so eloquently skewered by Dawkins? How is it that “science” is allowed to toss its historical baggage overboard when its best informed leaders decide to do so, even though the ideas continue to circulate on main street, but religion must forever be defined by the ancient baggage carried by its least informed?

The world disclosed by science is rich and marvelous, but most people think there is more to it. Our religious traditions embody our fitful and imperfect reflections on this mysterious and transcendent intuition—an intuition that, as articulated by some of our most profound thinkers, seeks an understanding of the world that is goes beyond the empirical.

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  • David Hockey says:

    Religion looks backwards. Its explanations are based upon what people ages ago thought. If this information was God-given, then what is the basis for changing it? (If it was not God-given, then any change is, surely, OK.)

    Science looks forward. Its understandings are based upon observations. Modern instrumentation and increased mathematical abilities inevitable uncover more accurate information and better explanations become possible. Thus it is rational to update science.

    Religion and science can be unified, if errors are recognised and overcome. (I attempt some of this in my book, see

  • socratus says:

    Science and religion in tandem can become a great force
    to liberate the mind and help the humans to a fuller and better
    understanding of reality.
    / Sikh Religion and Science
    by G. S. Sidhu M.A; FIL (London) /
    === .
    Why every religion wants support from science ?

  • socratus says:

    The God spoke in the darkness: “Let there be light !”
    . . . . . . . .
    And the God said in the darkness:
    Let there be light: and there was light.
    So, we must examine three conceptions: God, darkness and light.
    In the darkness it means in the spacetime of dark mass/ energy.
    The spacetime of dark mass/ energy it means in the Vacuum.
    The Vacuum is the Infinite/ Eternal Homogeneous Space
    of the lowest ( the background ) level of Energy: E= 0.
    The Vacuum is the Infinite/ Eternal Homogeneous Space
    of the lowest ( the background ) level of temperature: T= 0K.
    The God is hidden into the Infinite/ Eternal Homogeneous
    Energy Space and we don’t know that to say about Him/ Her/ It.
    But we know, that according to Quantum Physics a virtual
    energetic particles can exist in this Infinite/ Eternal
    Homogeneous Energy Space.
    So, we can suppose that, maybe, from these virtual energetic
    particles the God created light/ quantum of light.
    So, in the beginning God created the Light.
    How did He do it?
    The Bible explain us that the God created the light very easy.
    God simply said: ‘Let there be light: and there was light.’
    And for many years everybody adopted this convincing proof
    without any doubt.
    Only poor Einstein had doubts. He wrote sadly :
    ‘ All these fifty years of conscious brooding have brought me
    no nearer to the answer to the question, ‘What are light quanta?’
    Nowadays every Tom, Dick and Harry thinks he knows it,
    but he is mistaken. ‘
    But Tom, Dick and Harry laughed.
    ‘What cannot the old Jew understand?’ they said bewilder.
    ‘ Isn’t clear that quantum of light is a simply wave-particle,
    of course, simultaneously ?’
    . . . . .
    And now one part of mankind ( Religious part ) believes that
    God created the light in very easy way.
    And the other part of mankind ( Scientific part ) believes that
    the light is the quantum of light which simply has his own
    wave-particle abilities, of course, simultaneously.

    These two great Mystical beliefs govern on the planet Earth
    without understand each other. This is situation that we have now.
    Best wishes.
    Israel Sadovnik Socratus

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