I never knew I would be posting this anytime soon. However, there is no fitting time to post it than now. Today (January 11), Google celebrates the legacy of a man who is known as the Father of Geology, Nicolas Steno. I came across this article written by a Journalist for LA TIMES, and it doesn’t take a wise man to notice the bias of the writer.
This has been sitting in my draft folder for a while, and it’s for the members of both sides who think Science and Religion are at odds with each other.
What role does each play? Are they actually united in their pursuits? Or do they clash in their pursuits? Does one need the other? Should we advocate A Marriage?, A Divorce?
First, let’s consider the ROLE and PURSUIT of each:According to the dictionary,
1. a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws.
2. systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.
1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
In essence, Science is concerned about the pursuit of observable phenomenons, while religion is concerned with well, not necessarily observable phenomenons. One is entirely physical (this-worldly) in its pursuits, and the other is spiritual (other-worldly) in its pursuits. Or at least that’s what it seems at first view, and normally there shouldn’t be a clash, as long as each is focused on it’s pursuits.
So we’re done!
Lol, of course NOT. Any sensible person knows it’s not as easily defined as that. There are times when the lines that are drawn as barriers (if you may) get blurred. And this is due to the fact that the Spiritual does have something to do with the Natural, or why would it be called SuperNATURAL?
Well, you get the point.
This clash, or unity as we see envision it happens, usually due to the fact that the natural world can be viewed in light of the supernatural. The spiritual controls the physical or the natural; since Man himself is a spirit occupying a body. Most supernatural things are often most expressed in the natural sense. The natural man by nature can’t grasp the supernatural entirely. In this, he is limited. The supernatural is what drives the ordinary man to transcendence, where he feels unnatural, so to say. Un-natural in the sense that he doesn’t consider himself as JUST natural anymore. He’s something more. It would have been much more easier if Religion was just for people who won’t have to deal with the Natural world; but the truth is they still have to. They still have to deal with things from the natural perspective of the world. The Natural world in essence is enjoyed by the spiritual man from the perspective of the supernatural. Hence, where the unity and the clash emerge.We can’t leave the Natural world just for the sake of the Supernatural cos in a sense, supernatural cannot be supernatural if there is no Natural, and we have to understand what Natural is in the first place, in order to at least grasp it. Supernatural is defined as “pertaining to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law or phenomena”, while Natural is defined as ” pertaining to nature or the universe”. So in a way, they do go hand in hand and have significance to each other.
Science as I’ve come to know it (considering that I’m a Scientist myself) is just a tool, not a philosophy or end all-be all paradigm that is used to explain any phenomenon that is observable and measurable in the Natural world; with reliability and accuracy. In other words, it is an evidence based tool made by Human beings to explain what can be observed in this physical realm. All it does is to record what it observes. And since spirituality is not something that can be measured, Science has nothing to offer us in that respect. And as much as I know, Science is not even interested in that! Real scientists know that.
So yeah, there shouldn’t be a clash…and there isn’t.
Most religious people often see Science as this evil beast that is about to eradicate Religion. But the truth is that it is not. Sometimes we place too much power in the hands of a tool created by humans that we forget that the universe is beyond our comprehension. And this, real scientists also recognize. They know that we can’t explain everything…but the few things they are able to, they strive to.
In conclusion, Science is just a tool…NOTHING MORE! Sometimes it gets it wrong, sometimes it gets it right! Cos it’s an invention of Man…and Scientists who created it know this…and it’s not a hidden fact that a theory is only right…until it is disproved. But for now, enjoy this invention of Man. Let’s not praise it, and give it too much power, it’s just a tool.
Image from inkingrey.com