Science and religion are often cast as opponents in a battle for human hearts and minds.
But far from the silo of strict creationism and the fundamentalist view that evolution simply didn’t happen lies the truth: science and religion are complementary.
God cast us in his own image. We have free will and intelligence. Without science we could only ever operate at the whim of God.
Discussion of the idea that our universe is fundamentally intelligible is even more profound. Through science and the use of mathematical rules, we can and do understand how nature works.
The fact our universe is intelligible has profound implications for humankind and perhaps for the existence of God.
Does science work?
It’s very clear that science “works”. We can explain and predict how nature will behave over an extraordinary range of scales.
There are various limits to scientific understanding but, within these limits, science makes a complete and compelling picture.
We know that the universe was created 13.7 billion years ago. The “Big Bang” model of universal creation makes a number of very specific and numerical predictions which are observed and measured with high accuracy.
The Standard Model of Particle Physics employs something known as “Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking” to explain the strength of the laws of nature.
Within the Standard Model the strength of these laws are not predicted. At present our current best theory is that they arose “by chance”.
But these strengths have to be exquisitely fine-tuned in order for life to exist. How so?
The strength of the gravitational attraction must be tuned to ensure that the expansion of the universe is not too fast and not too slow.
It must be strong enough to enable stars and planets to form but not too strong, otherwise stars would burn through their nuclear fuel too quickly.
The imbalance between matter and anti-matter in the early Universe must be fine tuned to 12 orders of magnitude to create enough mass to form stars and galaxies.
The strength of the strong, weak and electromagnetic interactions must be finely-tuned to create stable protons and neutrons.
They must also be fine-tuned to enable complex nuclei to be synthesized in supernovae.
Finally the mass of the electron and the strength of the electromagnetic interaction must be tuned to provide the chemical reaction rates that enables life to evolve over the timescale of the Universe.
The fine tuning of gravitational attraction and electromagnetic interactions which allow the laws of nature to enable life to form are too clever to be simply a coincidence.
Is intelligent life special?
It has taken 4.5 billion years for humans to evolve on earth. This is more than 25% of the age of the universe itself.
We are the only intelligent life that has existed on the planet and we have only been here for 0.005% of the time the planet has been here.
This is a mere blink in the age of the galaxy. If some other intelligent life had emerged elsewhere in the galaxy before us, why haven’t we seen it here?
To me this is a strong argument that we are the first intelligent life in the galaxy.
Designed for life
One interpretation of the collection of unlikely coincidences that lead to our existence is that a designer made the universe this way in order for it to create us; in other words, this designer created a dynamic evolving whole whose output is our creation.
Many take exception to this idea and argue instead that our universe is but one of an uncountable multitude that has happened to create us.
Other ideas are that there are as-yet unobserved principles of nature that will explain why the strengths of the forces are as they are.
To me, neither argument is in principle against an intelligent design.
The designer is simply clever enough to have devised either an evolving multitude of universes or to have devised a way to make our present universe create us.
We do know a lot about the design of the universe, so clearly the design is in good measure intelligible.
But why is it that we can understand nature so well?
One answer is that evolution favours organisms that can exploit their environment. Most organisms have a set of “wired” instructions passed from earlier generations.
Over the evolutionary history of Earth, organisms that can learn how to manipulate their surroundings have prospered.
Humans are not unique in this trait but we’re definitely the best at learning. So in other words nature has built us to understand the rules of nature.
Mathematics and science
All of this rests on the predictability which results from nature obeying rules. As we’ve learned about these rules we’ve discovered that they can be expressed in purely mathematical form.
Mathematics has a validity that is independent of its ability to describe nature and the universe.
One could imagine mathematics with its complex relationships being true outside of our universe and having the ability to exist outside it.
The outcome of humankind’s investigations into nature is science. And the fundamental tenet of science is that there is an objective reality which can be understood by anybody who is willing to learn.
A universe without laws?
The only way I can imagine a universe without rules is for every action to be the result of an off-screen director who controls all.
Such a thing is almost beyond comprehension as everything would need to be the result of premeditation.
Events would appear to occur by pure random chance. Furthermore the level of detail required for godly oversight is absolutely beyond human comprehension.
Each of the hundreds of billions of cells in our bodies operates within a complex set of biochemical reactions, all of which have to work individually and as well as collectively for just one human body to function.
So for a start our offscreen director would have to ensure that all these processes happen correctly for every one of the trillions of living organisms on earth.
We are all the stuff of the universe, absolutely embedded within, and subject to, the rules which govern nature. Because we’re self-aware, one can argue that the universe is self-aware.
Without an intelligible design it would be impossible for humans to have free will as all actions would be as a consequence of the will of the director. Free will is a fundamental element of Christian doctrine.
The Christian statement “God made man in His own image” implies both free will and intelligence for humans. Intelligible design is thus a necessary condition for the existence of a Christian God.
Given we are intelligent, we can imagine sharing this aspect with a God who made us in “His own image”.
Free will is only possible in a universe with rules and hence predictability.
Intelligence has application beyond our physical universe – which is indicative, but not proof of, God to me.
On the other hand, the existence of a God providing free will to humans requires the existence of science.
Otherwise we could only ever operate at the whim of God.
Science and religion go hand in hand.
We all know the subjective reality of experience. I personally feel the power of the redemption which is at the core of Christianity.
Each of us has access to that through our own free will to exercise choice.
This article is dedicated to the memory of Reverend Jim Martin.
Are science and religion compatible? Leave your views below.
Religion and Science
What most people tend to forget without religion we would not have science. The first literature humanity read were the Book of Gods. And the main foundation of science, which people tend to forget, is Islam. With Islam you start to learn about the Cosmo's, we get medical improvements and we learn more about our purpose. For example, Why does Allah (God) talk about the bee and emphasis the importance of the bees in the Quran? Later in the 20th century we find out that we need Bees to pollen ate our flowers and plants in order for the world to work, without the Bees how would the natural world work.
Without A Doubt
I have never seen a reason to form battle lines between the two. After all they are both searching for the same thing and I see no reason to limit your own perspective. To search for truth but limit the places you are willing to look is a very illogical place to start. Quite frankly it is close minded and doing yourself a great disservice. As a Christian I find the study of the world we live in to be very enlightening, interesting and solidifying in my faith in Jesus Christ. Faith does not have to be blind.
To challenge what you believe weeds out what is false and roots you in what is truth. I feel the reason so many people on both sides are so touchy about what they believe is because they do not water their roots.
It isnt God vs Science
Evidence for God is scientific. God himself is not scientific. Evidence for big bang is scientific, the big band itself is not scientific. Being religious does not mean you will have conflicting beliefs with science. Science does not speak against God, science is merely knowledge attained via observations. There is no bad friction between God and science.
"Science without Religion is lame; Religion without Science is blind"
The key to GROWTH, which is the goal (or should be the goal) of both, Science and Religion, is OPENNESS. To discount either Faith or Science is closing the door on a possibility...And answers can not be found unless doors are unlocked, and opened.
However, it is difficult to receive information without a bias. There is so much, including how we communicate, that distorts the truth behind the "clues" we are presented with.
Those who advocate science and shun religion, communicate a strong message to discount other possibilities, and vice versa for those who advocate religion and shun science.
Those on the "No" side, argue that Science is always questioning and Religion/Faith claims certainty, which is a completely invalid argument as not everyone who practices either Science or Faith practices it the same exact way. If Religion claims ultimate certainty while Science does not, then those who are Religious/Believers would not practice Science...And yet a lot do. The issue is the way in which Faiths are communicated to others and how they are received by others.
In addition, there are just as many "Scientists" as there are Religious folk who claim something to be "impossible".
The issue is EGO, not the subjects themselves. I don't see much of a difference between the two, besides the way that our society portrays each. When it comes down to it, both focus on that there is a bigger picture...Much bigger than us, and that, BOTH take FAITH to practice and learn from/about. Scientific discoveries most certainly can NOT be done without some sort of blind faith (in an idea).
Faith is at the root of both. The details of whether a "God" or particles floating around in the Universe are responsible for why we are here is irrelevant, and just a name... Just a name.
A True scientist can not advance in his findings without an open mind to all possibilities... Just as a True holy man can not promote the good and faith that his world is based on without the same open mind.
The human tendency to categorize and judge is a downfall, as well as the ego. It isn't science or religion that is the problem.
Humans have the tendency to search for the truth. They want to know about the truth behind the world and its existence. Know that the truth does not only compromise of the natural world. Science and religion are not as separate as one might think because they both minister towards man's craving for the truth. As a million different truths around the universe coexist, the same thing goes for science and religion.
At first glance, one might think that these two entities contradict each other. For instance, science has theories like evolution and "big bang" while religions have other explanations. But one must bear in mind that Science explains only of the natural world, that is, the world around us. Religion digs deeper, trying to explain the purpose and meaning behind the natural world. Questions about life could not only be answered by science alone or religion alone. There are many forms of questions, like "what", "where", "who", "when", "how" and "why". And come to think of it, not all of the questions starting with this words could be explained by science alone or religion alone.
Where Science ends, Faith begins. :)
Yes they can
Science and religion are one in the same. The only difference is in the way they describe their theories. Which contain similarities so similar that you would believe they are one in the same. Science clearly states that everything was created by and is energy, religion says god created and is a part of everything. Ask yourself what properties does energy have, well energy is infinite, it cant be created or destroyed, always has and always will be. God can be described similarly so similar in fact that they could be called coexisting or one in the same as depicted above. By the way I am 14
Knowledge is a given, wisdom is another story...
I could give you a long reason why I, an error filled mortal being believe that Science and Religion can coexist, but the opposition wouldn't care reading...
So I'll leave this little rhetoric...
If a person is given a note about a map that leads him to the path of great enlightenment and this person searches far and wide for this map until he finds it, should he doubt this map and analytically rule out the existence of the path? A percentage of his inner mind tells him this map is not what he expected, it has many missing pieces and they seem to lead to another path entirely. Yet the map is in front of him... Should he now doubt the way? Now when he is closer than ever in understanding what the note said and what the Author of the note meant?
Opinions will clash... Words will fly from one side of the argument to the other.
But hey, the debate goes on :)...
Religion and science agree more than they disagree.
While many people think that because we know how to make a sun it automatically cancels out God having made them. "Let there be light" could be what was said as god collected thousands of hydrogen atoms into a nebula using gravity, and crushed them together to get the necessary nuclear reaction to create a sun. The iconic picture of evolution, the ape slowly standing straight, could also be how he molded Adam from the earth. In fact, the earth he molded Adam from could simply be taking two single celled organism and creating a multi-celled organism from it. A study has found that quite some time ago a very simple organism just happened to mutate in such a way as to have multiple copies of its brain being made. This was the beginning of the formation of human intelligence and reason. How do we not know that God caused that mutation while he formed Adam.
Science and religion are like friends studying same class
Friends who study in the same class, help one another to understand the lessons. In the same way science and religion go side by side to make known the existence of GOD. Science would say, when it rains, it is from the cloud. But where the cloud comes from? Here comes the Religion that says it is the creation of GOD.
Religion and Science can coexist
According to French philosopher Bruno Latour in his book "On the Modern Cult of the Factish Gods", both science and religion are at their core human constructs of reality. Religion itself is defined as being a set of human beliefs that are used and created to define and better connect with a deity or community. Science is a human construct in that the conditions in which scientific advances are made are not spontaneous confluences of circumstance, but rather the premeditated effort of the people trying to made these advances. Think of the light bulb - Edison didn't just spontaneously find out that electricity flowing through a filament creates light, but conducted experiments in which he successfully made these circumstances. In saying this, Latour is showing that science, religion, and in reality all knowledge, is at its most basic level constructed by humans. Because science and religion are at their essence the same thing, i.E. Ways to interpret the world albeit in different ways, working together would be a far more constructive path to follow. Constructive debate and commentary from both fields about the other needs to happen in order for both to make advances.