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Is science & religion compatible?

Shouldn't religion be classified as 'Paranormal : fraud' along with psychics, mediums, spiritists & mystics?

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Religion is not compatible with science. And yes it is a fraud like psychics and mediums.

Donto101 Level 7 Apr 25, 2018

If I owned a bookstore, I'd put the Bible in the Fiction section.

Nebroxah Level 6 Apr 26, 2018

Galileo certainly thought so.

No, that's not a snarky back handed slap up against the church. Back in his day, if you wanted to pursue science, you went the way of the church. In fact, his day, and his input, were part of the turning point of this. Renee D'escartes, Tycho Brahe, and a bunch of others were, if not devout, trained in the church schools. None were academic slouches. The church, in fact, embraced "natural science" (physics, which included astronomy) up until that time.

According to a book, Infinitessimals, the concept of being able to cut things into smaller and smaller pieces is what tipped the balance as it implied things divine, to some clergy. They asked Galileo to weigh in on it. Galileo saw nothing extraordinary about the concepts and much to explore. He thought it should be embraced. The Jesuits opposed it and they won the day. What happened to Galileo you know (this is not directly related to his excommunication but it is a nail in that coffin).

From that time forward, the Italian churches and schools (almost one and the same) were not allowed to study or access this information and... Italy has not been a mover or shaker in the science scene since. Up until then, they were the center of the science scene.

Said scene moved North and soon thereafter a young philosopher by the name of Newton took this idea to the limit (pun intended) and designed the Calculus... 20 years later, Leibnitz was to publish his works which were entirely the same (no one stole from anyone, it's just another interesting story of the times and kind of implies that new ideas happen holistically when the right information is available to ponder).

Long and short of my long winded post is that science and theology worked hand in hand for a long time prior to this. It was the clergy that made a fateful, and egocentric, decision about the center of our universe and the implication that certain things are not to be known... which stalled the Italians for 700+ years... on the science scene.

Edit: just cleaned up some of the text as, upon reread, it was a bit confusing and fixed a grammar error. Note that this is gelled from recollections of the book Infintessimals (Amir Alexander [], and my reading of history for many years. It's been a while since I read the book I am directly speaking too and the Jesuits were by no means the only actors in opposition to this idea, or to Galileo, but I recall they played a key role, according to Infinitessimals.

Gnarloc Level 7 Apr 25, 2018

@atheist Having not read that set of myths ( smile001.gif )... I disagree... but, my disagreement is in the interpretation of possible intent versus actual, literal, word. I take a look at the concept of Kosher (I know, judaism but go with it) and ask "why?" What benefit does a clergy get by writing that pork is not kosher in his nascent 'good book'?

His goal is to have a strong and fruitful flock, the more in his flock, the more support he has from said flock. It's a symbiotic relationship.

So, said learned scholar notices that people are dying and further makes the connection that all of the families that are dying in this particular fashion are families that have access to, and eat, pork... so, ban it. He further notices that some of the families don't suffer from said disease, either at all or very rarely, and watches their food preparation practices and decides that these methods ARE kosher. Why? So his flock is healthy.

Now, he hasn't a clue about disease or what the mechanic is behind why this is happening, other than that eating pork = higher risk of what we now know is trichinosis. However, he IS able to make the scientific observation of cause and effect, and some estimation of correlation and further to refine his theories. The evidence of said science is in the writing of the rules behind what is proper 'kosher' behavior and what is not.

Sure, it is couched in terms of mythology and commandments, but the fact is we have the "Laws of Physics", such as the laws of thermodynamics (or thermogoddamics) and etc that we use in science... the difference is not really there, in the reasoning, the difference is in the wrapping. Ie: which book the reasoning is published in.

Note too that the 'good book' is written for every man as not even all clergy are all universally the same level of 'intelligent' when it comes to critical thinking. What I mean is that they did NOT know what was going on but had pretty good theories that fit the evidence. We now have MUCH better theories and MUCH more evidence.... Hmm, where I am going is this: don't assume that they have our knowledge, they didn't. How would YOU explain to your 300 BCE (give or take) flock these concepts? Would you talk to them about bacteria and viruses? Nope, you don't know about them. But something you can NOT see or touch is doing it and how do you explain to them so that they... flourish?

Think about it. Give the original writers of these myths the benefit of the doubt, or, better still, imagine YOU are the one writing it and what your goals must be if you write this passage this particular way... AND if you restrict your knowledge to what they had then, is your writing a layman's explanation of the science you have discovered to help save them, or are you just fucking with them? I see it as writing things in language that their contemporaries understood and would follow.

@atheist But why foods then? Think it through, imagine you are the leaders of these peoples, what are your goals in that particular era? Why not some strange idol? Why focus on food? What benefit do you get from putting your efforts there?

While you are doing this, think like someone who doesn't believe, per se, but is in charge and in charge because your followers believe your clap trap. Don't get me wrong, it's possible, probable, that the authors believed their own folderol but they put a lot of effort into it, and scrutinized every word for maximal effect... remember, writing stuff down back then was the work of the wealthy, NOT everyone. So, why spend the expense to write these words?

@atheist I still think some of my reasoning was baked in there... I won't argue with your point.

Long and short is that there is some 'science' behind the moves, if none other than just logic.

Is there science of any kind behind religion? No. Well, other than the science of herding sheep to maximal profit (which could be inclusive, meaning the sheep and priests, or exclusive, meaning only the priests).


Easy to answer. NO. Science is based on evidence and proof, while religions are only "belief systems" based on accepting what the religion trains you to accept to satisfy emotional and psychological needs, by just taking comforting man-made stories on faith. They are fundamentally irreconcilable as Hitchens used to say. The God believers are free to accept many ideas of Science as well of course, but the religion itself must adhere to its doctrine that "the God named (insert your favorite one here) did it!"


Of course not! religion doesn't understand science! Religion is Mythology!


Not compatible. At all.

KKGator Level 9 Apr 26, 2018

It very much depends on the extent to which you take your religious beliefs. If you believe that God made the world 6,000 years ago in six days, that there was a global flood, that Earth is flat and/or that all animals were created as they are now, then that flies in the face of accepted scientific fact and all the available evidence, so you necessarily cannot accept science without suffering cognitive dissonance.

If you believe in any form of interactive god, you need to accept that its interactions have not been empirically demonstrated, only anecdotally. So, you're accepting something based on faith and not the scientific method. It stands apart from science, and doesn't stand up to science, but it doesn't interfere with science.

If you're a deist, who just thinks someone or something kick-started the universe then left us to it, same as the above.

So yes, science and religion are compatible, but only as long as your religious beliefs are vague enough not to contradict modern science.


As Christopher Hitchens once said: They are not only incompatible, but irreconcilable.

MJF6922 Level 5 Apr 26, 2018

@atheist " And the lion will lay down with the lamb but the lamb won't get much sleep " Woody Allen


I think that when a religion is taught through a mythos it can work for a society as long as it's plausible or believable within the science of its time. But when the science of the day proves the myth to be a myth, false, not something that really happened, that shakes the very foundation of the religion. That's when the religion needs to go the way of mythology and allow its lessons to be taught in a literary sense, rather than in a literal sense. We see that happening already, I feel.

Religions based on a supernatural creator, like our Abrahamic Monotheism, which are not supported by the science of the day, and are subject to the scrutiny and skepticism of a modern worldly internet society, should be classified as paranormal.

With the "Rise of the Nones" growing higher in the more educated countries, monothesism will be a thing of the past someday, and the religious texts will be in the Mythology section of the library.

Julie808 Level 7 Apr 26, 2018

Science is compatible with anything that’s demonstrably true and incompatible with anything that’s demonstrably false. Science does not speak directly to the existence of god(s) one way or the other; it makes no attacks on any of them, but if it attacks the foundations they were built on, then those foundations ARE demonstrably false and it stands to reason that at least THOSE gods who stand upon shoddy premises don’t exist.
THOSE religions are incompatible with science because they attempted explanations that turned out to be misguided. They claimed objective truth, but objective truth doesn’t falter under increased scrutiny and doesn’t wilt under brighter light.
Science is a remarkably simply test; if true, you pass and if not, then not. Anyone that claims that science attacks their religion is just complaining that the test is too hard and admitting that they (the authors of said religion) didn’t study for it.


Science and religion can totally exist in the same way bacon and sausage do. Science explains natural phenomenon, religion explains the motivating impulse behind it all and outlines a system of social behavior to foster the continued survival of a culture thousands of years ago. Some of it is outdated and needs revision, but as long as you let science have its sphere of influence and religion its, they can coexist quite fine. It's when religion tries to do something science has already proven reliably and repeatedly simply by merit of anecdotal evidence from eyewitnesses 1700 years ago regarding events 2000 years and 4 language translations ago that the two start to conflict.

geist171 Level 6 Apr 25, 2018

@kcuhcortsa my point is that if one chooses science, with its focus on replication of observation and the work that explains how things work is a better system of understanding the world and natural phenomena than religious narrative, which is largely or entirely reliant on anecdotal evidence in the form of oral narrative tradition, but faith/religion/spirituality does not intrinsically require that facet to serve an anthropological purpose. Removing the elements of religion which attempt scientific explanation and leaving behind the moral, ethical, and social ideologies as intended by religious systems, using religion as philosophy, I suppose. So I suppose I've kind of argued against myself, and will have to change my statement: yes, but only if you gut religious paradigm to suit a hybrid model.


They are as compatible as the differing questions they try to answer. How and why.



Skyfacer Level 7 Apr 27, 2018

I think the question you're really asking is "Are science and fundamentalism/literalism compatible?" and the answer to that is so obvious as to not need asking. But the way you have worded your question makes it sound like you are asking "Are science and art compatible?" which is an equally unnecessary question for the opposite reason.

skado Level 8 Apr 26, 2018

@slavenomore I'm guessing (since there is no scholarly consensus) that your definition of "religion" falls closer to fundamentalism/literalism than to art, in which case I would have no argument with what you're saying.


Many great scientists have been religious but it can interfere with their work. Darwin studied for the clergy. Einstein rejected quantum theory "I refuse to believe that god plays dice with the universe". My own namesake lord Kelvin was a bit of a religious nutter. Though this is priceless, how many colours are there in the spectrum of light? Seven you answer as you go though "Richard of York gained battles in vain" Wrong, take a look again (dig out your dark side of the moon album). There really are six but Newton thought 6 was the devil's number so he split purple into indigo and violet to make it 7.

273kelvin Level 8 Apr 26, 2018

Reading down here it gets confusing when people answer the title of the post without addressing the actual question extrapolated under it.

For clarity here, my answers are based on the question

Shouldn't religion be classified as 'Paranormal : fraud' along with psychics, mediums, spiritists & mystics?

Is science & religion compatible? which I have addressed elsewhere and to which the answer is obviously, not under any circumstances.


Put it this way
everything that is described as a godly miracle in the bible, is described as black magic in the same book when anyone other than a Israelite or Christian does it.

Oddly most Christian claim belief in magic is blasphemous, even though the bible acknowledges it enough to order the death of its practitioners


not christian,maybe Hindu,as they believe in other beings from space

Why not Christian?
The Bible has witches, prophets, soothsayers, spiritualists, unicorns, leviathan, magic, flying men, ghosts , demons (various), angels (various), magic fish, curses, charms, talking donkeys and snakes, Behemoth .....

I could go on but all that sounds a bit Harry Potter-ish to me.


Only to a cognitively dissonant mind.

David1955 Level 8 Apr 26, 2018

There are a lot of good debates on this one. Daniel Dennett does a good job with these.


No they are not. It takes a whole lot of cognitive dissonance and mental gymnastics to say they do.


Yes, absolutely. One standard interpretation of quantum mechanics is that the material world can't exist without conscious observers. That's pretty much what George Berkeley, Bishop of Coyne contended in the early 18th century, and it is amazing to me that Bishop Berkeley's theory is still viable three centuries later. Perhaps that explains why Berkeley college at Yale and Berkeley California were both named after him.

doug6352 Level 7 Apr 25, 2018

Absolutely not.


Science is compatible with religion only to the degree that the religious person is willing to admit that much of the dogma and scripture are nothing more than cultural myth.

wordywalt Level 8 Apr 25, 2018

@atheist hmm


Asking a question is often seeking to collaborate ones answer. You may be thinking that Christians cannot be scientific to which I would mostly agree but there are many religions. Some are more open to science for example Deism is very compatible to the scientific method.

Lukian Level 8 Apr 25, 2018

@atheist how about Shinto and Buddhism. Islam was the most scientific religion at one time.

@atheist Off the bat,you are comparing a belief system to a rational system which are non-comparable (apples and oranges) but it is a question that is asked often and so I gave my answer(s). These 2 things can only be comparable if one allows the other one to be tolerated. Science cannot work rationally as a religion because it's a belief system but religion can accommodate science as a belief system and the examples I and others gave you demonstrate that. As long as religion accepts that god works in mysterious ways both science and some (maybe most) religions can be compatible from a religion's point of view.
EX: DaVinci was a openly gay scientific artist but the church believes his work of art was divinely inspired. Scholars think there are many anti-religious messages in his work. Michaelangelo's work The Creation of Adam is now perceived as a joke (God is in a cerebellum meaning God is the creation of the mind) yet a divine work of art from religions stand point.

@atheist So your original question is nonsense then.

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