This paper will examine the scientific view verse religion. I feel their support for the big picture is shallow and untenable. I believe in science but I also have faith.
Scientific research has lead to dramatic and more humane treatments of persons suffering from mental disease, depression, and physical injury. The reputation of scientists has reached an all-time high.Majority of Americans have said they trust the scientific community more than almost anyone, including the Supreme Court, organized religion, Congress, teachers and the U.S. military. Many of these Americans believe that these scientific advances are leading them to a better world.
The questions: What is man? What am I to do? What am I to hope for? A number of scientists and their fans seem to consider these questions to be the clearest manifestations of the human spirit or our nescient childhood. The scientists said “ Now that we are scientists, we can put away childish things, including the concepts of God, the human soul and the moral responsibility.”
An advocate of this view, M.I.T. Professor Steven Pinker, argues that science is itself an evolutionary development of the brain. He claims the mind evolved to provide just experimental accounts of the world. He believes that questions of religion and philosophy about the meaning of the world and human existence, are not truly meaningful ones. Pinker said, “ religion and philosophy are but the primitive responses to the unknown.” (Common Wealth p15)
There are alternative theories that involve science and religion. For example, Raymo’s “new creation story.” According to this story, nature did its own creating through unintelligent material processes, particularly the Darwinian mechanism of random mutation and natural selection. He believes that God was only involved in the beginning, in setting up the laws and thereafter nature runs by itself.Raymo viewed humans as the universe becoming conscious of itself through evolution, while prayer consists of miracles, and giving praise and thanksgiving to nature. (National Review p32)
Scientists begin to worship their own concepts, proclaiming limitless philosophical systems rather than concentrating on what the data is really showing. Scientists cannot prove that known natural forces can produce complex biological organisms. No one has demonstrated that chemical evolution cannot even begin to account for the information content of the simplest organisms. There is no actual evidence of natural selection having substantial creative power.The only examples available are those of variations in fundamentally stable populations.
In scientific perspective, molecular revolution has revealed an unforeseen domain of complexity and interaction more consistent with technology than with the mechanical viewpoint. Scientist have come to realize that cells thoroughly protect themselves against the kinds of accidental genetic change that, according to conventional theory, are the sources of evolutionary variability. The current knowledge of genetic change is fundamentally at variance with hypothesis held by neo-Darwinists.
Everyone is in search of the their truth. Understanding, the very rich and varied world, in which we live, the need for these insights of both science and religion are necessary. Each is in search of the truth however; they survey different aspects of experience. According to J. Polkingborne, “scientific facts are never plain, unvarnished observations; to be interesting they must already be interpreted.” That interpretation requires an interweaving of fact and opinion.
Religion on the other hand, is concerned with the search for motivated belief. Faith does not involve closing your eyes and believing impossible thing because some unquestionable authority tells them to do so. It is the quest for an understanding of human experience rooted in worship, hope and the history of holiness represented by the great religious figures of world history.
Science limits itself to treating the world as an object, which can be manipulated and put to the experimental test. Religion is concerned with personal encounters, which can only be treated as their own reality. The scientific testing has to give way to trusting in the unforeseen.
There are many questions, which arise from science but which go beyond its narrow power to answer, which seem to many of us to point in a religious direction. Scientists are extremely impressed by the wonderful rational beauty of the physical world as it becomes revealed through their investigations. Science is possible because the universe is a creation, and we are made in the image of the creator. (Omni p4)
Body-soul dualism resides as the core of our culture. The majority of Americans believe the in an immaterial self that comes into the being whole and entire conception and survives the physical erosion of the body. It is extremely enjoyable to believe that we reside at the link of a chain of material creation. Science instead offers, a speck of self, formed from cosmic dust in a meaningless world. (3)
Science is not going to go away. It is far too fruitful a way of knowing to be denied by human curiosity. Even if driven underground from its established position, it will survive. There is little chance that science will be suppressed by the dominant culture; it is way to useful. Who is prepared to turn over their medical and technological establishments to revivalists. The source of our intellectual malaise is not science but our lingering commitment to a philosophical dualism that has proven to be scientifically insolvent; therefore, the tension between our way of knowing and our way of believing.
Scientific truth says there is no such thing as a disembodied self. Human bodies are a mess of chemicals and our minds are full of electrical circuits. Scientists have examined the human machine and found no ghosts. They understand the genetic self is determined by a chemical code that can be read and amended. Soon, genetic engineers will be able to add or subtract features from our physical selves. Consciousness can be turned on and off or altered chemically. Memories can be jogged electrically. (11)
Many of us were raised to believe in a self that only resides temporarily in our physical frame. We were taught the idea that our soul survives our body’s death and lives forever. This idea of immaterial, immortal self is among the most cherished of human beliefs. We strive and cling for this belief, desperately wanting it to be true.
Science and religion are very important aspects of our culture. We trust science enough to help us maintain good physical conditions. Many of us rely on religion to maintain healthy morals and inner peace. I am a firm believer in not questioning faith. There are endless possibilities to what might have started human existence.
Our culture is based on creation, we learn and understand the values that are embedded in our society. If the Lord had not created the commandments, our life as we know it, we would be surrounded by evil. Faith is the trust in something that we cannot physically see or prove. Faith and spirituality are found in the in the heart of the individuals experience.It is upon the believer to identify their faith. Spiritual people cannot share their faith with others; it comes from with in.
In this paper, it has been hard for me to prove faith because you can’t. If we could prove faith, I wouldn’t be writing this paper. However, I have faith because of something that happened to me a few years ago. I had been an atheist all my life. I had always questioned whether there was or wasn’t a God. There was a time in my life, when I hit rock bottom. I couldn’t deal with anything or make sense of I was here on earth. My life didn’t have much meaning. I had never prayed before this night, I had never had enough faith to pray. Finally, my life was in shambles and everything I tried to do to improve it failed. One night I decided to pray for inner peace and guidance through these rough times I was having. As I started to drift off into sleep, I could hear very faint singing in the background. I remember seeing a white swirling cloud, complimented with the beautiful singing in the background. I can remember thinking to myself, either I am going to die or this a sign from God. The next day, I felt better than I had ever felt. I felt strong and had a desire to improve myself. I will never again question the power of the Supreme Being. I have been filled inner peace, that science could never replace.
Bennett, J (1998). Neuroscience and the human spirit. National Review, V50 pg32 (1).
Coyne, P (1993).God on our side. New Statesman & Society, V6 pg42 (2).
Cauthen, K (1997). A doctrine of God. University Press of America, Pg77-107.
Johnson. P (1998). Overestimating the power of science. Commonwealth, v125 pg15.
Polkingborne, J (1994). Alone is never enough: seeing the world through both eyes. Omni, v17 pg4.
Raymo, C (1994). Science vs. religion. Commonwealth, v121 pg11.