Thursday, May 31, 2007

Science Is Not Religion

PZ Myers rules:

There is a fundamental contradiction [between science and religion]. Faith says that the way to get answers is by revelation, accepting authority, and dogma. Science says that the way to get answers is by examining the evidence critically, testing hypotheses with experiment in the natural world, and by constantly reevaluating and revising our ideas to make them more accurate. It isn't just that the two arrive at different, conflicting answers—for instance, that the earth is 6000 years old vs. 4.5 billion years old—but that their methods conflict. Scientists will not accept a random idea because someone contemplated and decided a deep "Truth" appealed to him: a kernel of observation and evidence is required.

It is disingenuous for Brownback to claim that science and religion do not contradict each other, given that religion contradicts itself. Which "same god" created the material order? Allah, Jehovah, Vishnu, Thunderbird, Jesus, Ymir? Which sect's interpretation will we accept: Catholic, Protestant, Sunni, Shi'a, Scientologist, Mormon? There are even two accounts of the creation in the book of Genesis that differ from each other greatly—which one is the "spiritual truth"? Most importantly, how will you objectively evaluate these explanations? [emphasis in original]

I couldn't have put it better myself. Myers rips apart an editorial by Senator Sam Brownback, printed in The New York Times. Read the whole thing.

And this hits on something that really bothers me -- when people call science a "religion." Science and religion couldn't be more opposed to one another even if they got up and clashed swords. Science is the antidote to religious inanity.

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