Politics Magazine

Science Vs. Religion? – Modern Koans

By Andrew Furst @a_furst

Question: Why are some convinced science is in direct conflict with the the existence of Almighty God as Creator?

My response:Science and religion are institutions. Conflict between them occurs when their missions conflict.

Science, has as its mission – implied by its method – to hypothesis, test, and adjust our hypothesis until we can establish a theory that is predictive, consistent with all data, and supported by a wide variety of evidence. Science is a well tested and successful method for arriving at an understanding about how the world works.

Religion, has as its mission – implied by the meaning of the word – to reconnect to the divine. Generally it is metaphysical in nature.

I think there is overlap in some areas, but not all:

  1. If you are trying to validate religious ideas about the world- science can be useful. For instance, if you asked the question “Was the universe, earth, and man created in 6 days?” – science has much to say about that. Here there is overlap and for people like Ken Ham, there is conflict.
  2. If you’re trying to validate metaphysical ideas – science is silent. There is no room for testing or universal truth determination with metaphysics. Here there is a clear separation. If you’re trying to detect the holy spirit in someone, you’re not going to find it using the scientific method.

If you want to ask the question “Does God exist and did he create everything” science can be informative and steer you away from fruitless avenues of exploration.

  1. It can tell you that you can’t have certainty about the answer in the same way you have certainty about the acceleration due to gravity.
  2. It tells you that there cannot be evidence for metaphysical claims.

Here is where scientists and religious people come into conflict. When religious people make truth claims about metaphysics, scientists correctly call them out. When scientists demand truth claims about religion, religious people call them out. When people are inconsistent with the boundaries of their institutions, they seriously muddy the waters.

What do you think?  Are science  and religion mutually exclusive?  Does science tell us anything about God? Can religion tell us anything about the physical world?

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Modern Koans is an ongoing series that recognizes that good questions are often more important than their answers.

The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man. ― G.K. Chesterton

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The post Science vs. Religion? – Modern Koans written by Andrew Furst appeared on Andrew Furst.

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