I would like to propose a three-pronged approach:
(A-) From the historical point of view, the answer is Yes.
Thomas Dixon, in his very good and concise introduction "Science and Religion", writes: "Although the idea of warfare between science and religion remains widespread and popular, recent academic writing on the subject has been devoted primarily to undermining the notion of inevitable conflict. [...] there are good historical reasons for rejecting simple conflict stories." - - -
The same conclusion can be found in Peter Harrison's detailed historical analysis "The territories of Science and Religion" : "...the idea of a perennial conflict between science and religion must be false (...)".- - - -
And John Hedley Brooke in "Science and Religion" :
"The popular antithesis between science, conceived as a body of unassailable facts, and religion, conceived as a set of unverifiable beliefs, is assuredly simplistic." - - - "... an image of perennial conflict between science and religion is inappropriate as a guiding principle.".
(B. The personal point of view. - Again the answer is Yes.
There are real scientists who believe in a personal triune God, and in Jesus as their savior, and in the Bible as the word of god... and all the rest of Christian creed and dogma. These scientists assure us that they do not have 'split personalities' and I have no reason to doubt their testimony. They believe that God created the universe and life, and they see it as their job to analyse and describe and understand His creation. How they manage to do this without mentioning the Holy Spirit or the Divine Logos in their papers is up to them. Obviously they are able do this and they are respected by their peers.
(C.) The methodological point of view. - Here the answer is No!
Christian scientists may not have 'split personalities', but they have to practice what I would call a methodological atheism at work. As they enter the lab, they have to keep God out of their mind, or to encapsulate their belief. There is simply no possibility whatsoever to mix their work and their faith. Science as a method and religion as a faith can never form an alloy. Christian scientists may be motivated by their faith to work as scientists, to better understand His creation, but this motivation is confined to the personal level (B.)
The contents of their faith must never contaminate the method they have to apply so that the results of their work count as "science". The career of an evolutionary biologist would be over the very moment s/he opines publicly something like "The known mechanisms of evolution can only account for micro-evolution, but in order to explain macro-evolution we need a transcendent and divine force."
There is nothing to reconcile. Science and religion are in different categories. It’s like asking if art can be reconciled with mathematics.
Science deals in objective reality. It makes observations of nature and discovers mathematical equations that model those observations. Science is good at describing what is, but does not deal in the WHY. It would be futile to ask a physicist why space is granular, why time does not exist, or why matter pops in and out of existence. It just does.
Religion, metaphysics and philosophy are free to deal in the subjective reality. Religion in no way presents a credible body of logical, testable assertions. That’s not what it’s about. Religion is about awe, enlightenment, self-realization, awareness, appreciation and gratitude. It is true that some religious organizations promote a God concept, but that concept merely represents a metaphorical symbol for the overwhelming reality beyond the space/time/matter model of our senses.
It does not surprise me at all that half of all US scientists today say they believe in God, and I am not surprised that nearly all the founders of modern physics expressed deep religious sentiments.
Here’s Niels Bohr:
Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.
I think you are a Christian apologist. I see this common theme in your posts and I think that you are trying to introduce and insert an entering wedge using cherry-picked sources to support this. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Neil deGrasse Tyson all have written excellent books regarding this subject from the perspectives of their expertise in evolutionary biology, neuroscience and astrophysics. They believe basically that religion and science cannot be reconciled.
Also, we know that by history, religion has controlled inquiry and discovery so that religion cannot be assailed. This is why the Renaissance was encouraged by the Reformation.
In your argument, Point B for the most part can nullify Point C. A Christian scientist may be able to compartmentalize their belief so that the scientific method can be pursued, but the confirmation bias is always present. Rather than say "here is the evidence, find the conclusion", they are likely to say "here is the conclusion, find the evidence".
The brilliant Francis Collins may very well best represent this dichotomy. As the father of the Human Genome Project, I cannot help but think that he set about to confirm that evolution was set in place by God. He espouses this view. However, by so doing he invalidates much of the Bible account of Creation, thus bringing theological doubt to the very writings of his faith. By so doing he also invalidates science by asserting that evolution was kicked off by God, for which there is no known evidence that God exists. Thus, Francis Collins, the brilliant scientist, uses his faith and assertions to justify the origins of his scientific discoveries, and keeps humanity in chains to religion by sophisticating it and bolstering it with DNA science.
I would like people to consider the Bill Moyers interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson regarding this subject.
I'm going to go with NO.
Science admits when it's wrong about something, and offers new evidence to
prove or disprove any scientific assertion. It is constantly questioning, researching, experimenting, and working toward answers.
Religion asserts that gods exist, and insists on it's adherents to have "faith", and
not to question it's teachings, or it's hierarchy. It's gods are infallible and unknowable.
It's "holy" books are complete fiction, and have cannibalized and plagiarized every ancient text that came before them.
It consistently fails to produce one scintilla of credible, verifiable evidence to prove it's assertion ANY gods have ever existed, at any time, anywhere.
Religion....a magical construct to explain unknown phenomena, and comfort the fearful.
Science. theories proved by observation, measurable results, replication, and Peer review, with applications in the real world.
You may Wish they could be reconciled...........
I've said it before, and I will say it again (and someone said it before me)
If civilisation ended tomorrow, and we had to start over, eventually, all of our scientific knowledge would be re-created, and would be exactly the same as it is today (well, the stuff we have right)
Religion would never be re-created exactly the same.
I go one step further.. I believe that anyone professing a believe in the supernatural, , can never reconcile with science.. So (call me narrow minded if you must) but all religious people are either, ignorant fools, or the worst kind of deceivers and liers controlling an agenda for their own benefits.
Good points all, but I think your concept of “Christian”, while probably fitting the majority, does not include possibly the “best” Christians, who by literalist standards are probably atheists. Famous, distinguished Christians like Bart Ehrman, Karen Armstrong, Chris Hedges, Elaine Pagels, etc. who most likely don’t believe in a literal sky daddy, but are passionate supporters of the metaphorical truths contained in those traditions.
All one has to do to dissolve 100% of the perceived conflict between science and religion is to come to understand that the ancient stories were allegories about human psychology, whether their writers could grasp that fact (they couldn’t) at the time or not.
The silliness of the science/religion “debate” is like vociferously declaring Picasso an incompetent because “women don’t really have both eyes on the same side of their face!”
Sorry, but "B" of the 3 pronged approach (personal point of view) is invalid. If some scientists say they "believe" in the triune god, they are speaking of their RELIGIOUS BELIEFS. They are not speaking as scientists. Unless they (or anyone else) can inform me of a single speck of evidence of god (much less a triune god !!!!), then this "reconciliation" is only between 2 groups of people....religious people who also do scientific work....and religious people who do not. The actual field of science is not represented here.
The entire question is fallacious. '"The known mechanisms of evolution can only account for micro-evolution, but in order to explain macro-evolution we need a transcendent and divine force..."' This is ridiculous. In what sense does evolution on any level need to be "explained" by a divine force, unless one is assuming that evolution has an ultimate goal? Evolution explains itself. Natural selection over generations results in complex forms of life arising from simple forms of life. There's no need for a further explanation, unless one starts with the a priori assumption that human life was the goal to begin with. It wasn't. But for an accident of history, we could have been miniraptors debating why hairless mammals never got farther along.
“Science as a method and religion as a faith can never form an alloy.”
I would have to take issue with this. It depends on how you envision “religion” and “faith”. There is no universally accepted definition of these terms. To my thinking authentic faith is not about believing unsubstantiated notions about the material world, but rather about believing that enduring peace of mind can be had in a chaotic and contentious world. Religion at its core, I believe history will bear out, is the practice that brings us closer to this peace. No unscientific assumptions are required. In fact, I will argue, the closer to science you stick, the sooner you will get there. An alloy of science and religion is not only possible, but the optimum path to peace. Warring factions do not contribute to peace.
Once science starts looking for/ at the nonphysical then yes.
Until then they are polar opposites; the study of the physical world (science) Vs the study of the nonphysical world (theists).
Bring the nonphysical into science and science will discredit religion quickly
This is probably getting near some of the core of the issue, but I think that there is important nuance that needs to be added in each case—nuance which is critical in understanding this fuzzy area of potential conflict.
Read Richard Carrier's The Scientist in the Early Roman Empire. Early Christian values (and New Testament ones) do—on history—clash with proto-scientific ones. The value hierarchy is distinct in ways that caused Christians to leave aside operational science.
Personally, I don't think your C entirely stays separate from A. The Christian "method" of knowing by revelation and the scientific method of empiricism are directly at odds; take the story of Doubting Thomas for example or Colossians 2:8.
Going back to your second point, I do think that, given the Bible is a big book and Christianity is a widely varying belief system, plenty of people in their connection with science and religion probably don't find any conflict between them in their daily lives.
This, however, wasn't the case for me. I threw a science book away once because I was worried at the time that my mind and connection to God would be corrupted by intellectualism. I'm not kidding! And that was heavily motivated by other antagonistic sayings by Paul (in addition to the brain-washings of Young-earthers). (As crazy as this all sounds in retrospect!)
While my own Christian experiences are not necessarily common, I highly doubt that such anti-intellectualism (including with science) is very unusual, particularly given the prevalence of Creationism, Supernaturalism, and other kinds of simplistic magical thinking in the Christian movements.
Playing Jesus's advocate for a second... There are some Christians who use stray Bible verses (out of context, of course) to support their personal applications of good empiricism, rational consideration, with a sense of open curiosity into their engagement with science. So here they do manage to synthesize a valid scientific process out of beliefs (they think are supported) in the Bible. In those instances, they would not really agree that calling it "methodological atheism" is valid. (This is one reason why the term is "methological naturalism" which is more appropriate in reference to the scientific process.)
So, I think you are correct in the essence of things in positing A. being yes, B. being yes, C. being no, yet I do think that all three are what I would call "soft" yeses/noes in the sense that they are only partly true/false with substantial situational counter-examples to them as a rule.
It is important to keep these nuances in mind and on the table, or else the simplistic A & B you put forward will rightly not connect as being correct with other ex-Christians, and your simplistic C will get your remarks similar reactions from some honest and intelligent Christians.
But, I will say, it is annoying to hear people talk as if it is absolute noes on all three accounts, when that just isn't the case, or (somehow!) absolute yeses.
As you know me fairly well by now, Matias, you can expect that I might disagree. On the whole, I consider religion and science to be at odds with one another, if for no other reason than the means by which each arrives at factual claims about the universe. The epistemology of religion is fatally flawed.
When considering a statement of fact made in the teachings, doctrines, revered books and dogmas of any religion, one simply needs to ask, does the statement or claim in any way impinge on science? I’m quite willing to consider a religion which is devoid of the following terms and, as such, doesn’t endorse or believe in them: sacred, worship, miracle, holy, pray, divine, faith, sanctify, sin, heaven, hell, prophecy, clergy, laity, deity, just to name a few. Find me a religion, Matias, that doesn’t have these negatives, and I might be interested. Until then, in the words of my avatar, ‘My own mind is my own church’ and ‘The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.’ In my religion of one, there is no need to reconcile with science!