Why Science Is Not in Conflict with Religion

SCIENCE AND RELIGION have had a long, rich history of conflict, most famously with the case of Galileo, who was found guilty of heresy for discovering one of the basic truths of our solar system. Likewise, Charles Darwin has been vilified for the last 150 years for discovering a fundamental concept that underlies all of biology and medicine and unifies all of the life sciences. Certainly, there was a time when almost all scientists were theists. But that was also a time when almost all people at every level of society were theists. To publicly disavow the existence of God was, at best, to ensure ostracism and, at worst, to be forced to choose between death and renouncing the evidence compiled through a life’s worth of work.

Certainly, this is no longer the case, and many scientists today don’t believe in God in a traditional sense. (According to a 2009 Pew Research Center survey, 41 percent of scientists don’t believe in God or a higher power). But the issue at hand isn’t one of belief, which by definition is subjective and prone to intense biases.

Instead the issue is an epistemological one: Can science and religion be reconciled, or are they contrasting concepts at their very core? A quick Internet search will yield hundreds of articles falling on either side of the issue. Most notably, Stephen Jay Gould—the renowned paleontologist and evolutionary biologist, and the 2001 Humanist of the Year—argued that the two comprised non-overlapping magisteria. In Gould’s view science and religion were mutually exclusive, the former dealing with the natural world and the latter with questions of a spiritual nature, and thus the two shouldn’t be in conflict. There are currently many science communicators who take a similar view, which I suspect is a function of their desire to see science more widely accepted by a religious populace—one that may not be well educated in the field and is likely to have some resistance to it.

abrahamic_collageMy contention is that, ultimately, the existence of a deity is a question of science. Some may be surprised by this because they recognize that science is the systematic study of phenomena in the natural world while religious belief deals with the supernatural, or powers and entities outside the spectrum of what we would consider our natural reality. Yet this is not the case. All religions, particularly the “big three” Abrahamic religions, make claims about the natural world that clearly fall under the purview of one or more fields of science. For instance, almost all religious traditions involve a creation myth regarding how the universe came into existence. We have scientific disciplines devoted to investigating such questions, e.g., cosmology, astronomy, and physics. Almost all religious traditions include stories of how life originated and how life forms came to be as they currently are. Again, we have biology, abiogenesis, chemistry, and physics to methodically address such questions.

Beyond the questions of the origin of the universe and of life, all religions make claims that their deities influence events in the natural world. A “miracle” is believed to be just that—when a god or a saint intervenes in some way in the natural world, and thus science can gather evidence as to the accuracy or the lack of legitimacy of those claims.

At a more mundane level, most religions assert that their deity regularly intervenes in daily occurrences by choice or in reaction to followers’ prayer requests. This may transpire when their god influences the outcome of a natural disaster or a life-threatening accident, which would require a manipulation of physics (a tree not falling on the bedroom where someone is sleeping, for example, or a car crash that destroys the vehicle but leaves the driver’s area intact.) The intervention may come in the form of someone recovering from an illness or disease, which would require the deity to tamper with biology and/or chemistry. Just the act of prayers being answered in any way suggests that the person is using thoughts in the form of language (cognitive psychology) produced by chemical and electrical activity in the brain (neurobiology) to telepathically communicate with a supernatural being who will then alter events in the natural world by influencing physics, biology, chemistry, and so on.

stockdevilAs much as theists would choose to deny it, all of these are questions of science, because even if their deity is a product of a supernatural realm, possibly an alternate universe that we cannot detect or measure, once that entity begins to interact with our reality—our natural universe—then it becomes a question of science.

Theists cannot simultaneously insist that they have answers to fundamental questions regarding natural phenomena while also insisting that their claims cannot be examined by science. If such claims are examined, theists can’t reject the findings because they’re inconsistent with their subjective beliefs. And of course, religious assertions have never stood up well to scientific scrutiny. Never has a scientific theory, or even a hypothesis, been replaced with a more viable supernatural explanation. You won’t find any studies on intelligent design published in any credible scientific journal anywhere. Its proponents don’t even have testable hypotheses. Thus, intelligent design doesn’t come close to qualifying as science, nor can its explanations be viewed as legitimate in any objective way.

Some claim that research has shown that prayer is beneficial to people’s psychological well-being. While there are correlational studies that may conclude this, let’s not forget there are many activities that have been shown to be positively correlated with psychological health or cognition in some way, such as solving puzzles, learning a new language, sleeping, reading, exercising, and so on. So theists shouldn’t deceive themselves into thinking that such findings are evidence of a supernatural being.

There are also experimental studies, the type of studies that can identify cause and effect, that have tested the power of prayer using control and treatment groups to see if there was some measurable impact due to prayer. Without exception, those studies have found no effect of prayer, and those individuals in the control groups who weren’t prayed for actually had better outcomes in most cases. Beyond that, the hard sciences have consistently falsified a long list of claims from religious texts: the age of the universe and of the earth; the origins of humankind; the orientation and structure of the solar system; the possibility of stars falling to Earth; the possibility of a snake talking; the possibility of a worldwide flood and all the animals on Earth descending from pairs that were placed on a boat together just a few thousand years ago; and the list goes on.

But because the existence of a god is ultimately a question of science, one should not mistakenly think that it’s incumbent upon scientists to disprove all religious claims. Just as it is inappropriate (not to mention illogical) to ask for empirical research to prove the nonexistence of mythical creatures such as leprechauns, mermaids, and ogres, it is likewise inappropriate to claim that science must prove the nonexistence of a god. The burden is on the believers to provide valid replicable evidence for their contentions, and neither faith nor their holy book qualifies as meeting the threshold for that evidence. This is a point that has been emphasized ad nauseam in a variety of forums, and one theists often simply refuse to acknowledge because doing so would leave them with two options, both unpalatable to their belief system: they would either have to provide verifiable evidence for their claims or they would have to question and/or abandon them.

"Eve" by Henri Rousseau

“Eve” by Henri Rousseau

A common tactic of apologists is to find an area of science that has been shown to be inaccurate or that we have yet to figure out and then argue that it’s evidence of God. This is different from the “God of the gaps” in a subtle way. Most commonly, the God of the gaps argument suggests that for each phenomenon as yet unexplained by science, the possibility exists that a god is hiding somewhere in that vacuum of knowledge and that this god is ultimately responsible for those unexplained occurrences. But as human knowledge increases, those gaps decrease, ensuring an ever-tightening window for the possibility of supernatural forces. For example, because scientists can merely speculate about what occurred, if anything, prior to the expansion of the universe (or Big Bang), theists who don’t reject the science outright hold out hope for the possibility of a deity who got the ball rolling, so to speak.

But a more ominous extension of the God of the gaps, and here’s where the subtle difference lies, is when theists argue that a gap in scientific knowledge not only allows for the possibility of a deity, but is direct evidence of one. In this scenario the theist attempts to find a flaw, a single incorrect data point, such as a long debunked hoax in the historical fossil record for evolution, and assert not only that that single error invalidates a scientific theory that has been verified by several different fields of science, but that the only other plausible explanation is that an invisible, undetectable deity is responsible for all of existence due to some unexplained mechanism such as using mental telepathy to create all life and matter. As absurd as this logic would appear to the rational thinker, it lies at the core of a great deal of denial of scientific evidence—not just for evolution, but for the expanding universe, for climate change, for the very definition of a scientific theory. And once denial has set in, then confirmation bias takes hold and the denier begins to search for pieces of information, no matter how lacking in credibility, that will support his or her worldview. This is the essence of indoctrination—to be convinced of an absolute truth sans evidence of any sort and then to retain those views at all costs in the face of substantial evidence to the contrary. If the theist is to accept the findings of science in general or certain fields in particular, then he or she would be confronted with the cognitive dissonance of their belief system not matching the reality that they accept.

Ultimately, there is no conflict between religious claims and science. The conflict is in the mind of the theist who desperately attempts to preserve his or her belief system. Because religions make claims about the natural world and their god’s manipulation of it, science can test those claims just like any others. We can test whether prayer works, or the age of the earth, or whether a person could breathe for days inside a large fish. When science tests these claims it does so objectively, with accurate findings as the only goal. Yet over the history of humanity, religious claims have been shown to be spectacularly lacking. If, however, a claim cannot be tested, if there is no testable hypothesis, such as the claim that in my attic lives an invisible magic dragon that is entirely undetectable to humans by any means available in the natural world, then such a claim should have no place in rational discussion and should not be given credence as having any relation to reality. It is a prospect not worthy of serious consideration.

Science will continue to advance. Predictions will be made and conclusions drawn, many that are accurate but others that will be in need of revision as further evidence is compiled. Humans will continue to gather information about every aspect of the natural world, and if findings don’t correspond with or support religious beliefs, as has happened throughout history, then the theists do themselves and humankind a disservice by denying objective evidence. The scientific process is neutral; it is objective and seeks only to discover new information, and thus is not in conflict with any entity besides itself as it self-corrects and achieves greater accuracy over time. If there is indeed a conflict, that conflict was fabricated by those whose agenda is driven by subjective beliefs and who fight to preserve positions that are no longer tenable in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

  • YF

    I think the title of this essay is a bit misleading. As the author himself notes, the conclusions of science are indeed in conflict with (and hence have debunked) the claims of religion. For a book length discussion of this point, see Victor Stenger’s God, The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows that God Does Not Exist.

    • willknutsen

      Logic shows that there cannot be this god thing in “things that exist”, because if this so.called god, before the so.-called creation, was everything -which the concept of “before creation” presumes- how could there be made more of everything? I rest my case. And this logic is copyrighted to me, so please say so when using my words. And thanks before hand!

      • Dija Neaux

        I don’t believe you’ve researched whatever can be copyrighted.

        • willknutsen

          That “copyright” thing was humor. Perhaps you have heard of it?

    • Harrytttttt

      Agree with YF. The author is waffling; see especially the title and last paragraph. I know many rational people (including some fellow scientists) who nevertheless have supernatural beliefs or at least hold out as agnostics rather than atheists, despite the complete lack of verifiable evidence to support any supernatural notions. Certainly this is a logical contradiction or conflict. It is my theory that these smart people have simply not focused on the question enough to draw a proper conclusion. At some point in their life they became comfortable with their supernatural notions and really don’t want that to change. Some are even afraid to consider it seriously because they suspect that the only logical conclusion is atheism, which has always scared them.

  • Schuh

    It is not the case that “all religions” make supernatural claims about the natural world and “all religions” claim their deity intervenes in the natural world. Many religions are non-supernatural and non-theistic, including many Unitarian Universalists, Quakers, some schools of Buddhism and Hinduism, and nontheistic, humanist, and secular movements within mainstream Christianity and Judaism. Dr. Cuevas’ critique may apply to supernatural theists, but many people of faith experience no conflict between science and religion because these areas of exploration do not overlap for them, as suggested by Gould.

  • Sukhamaya Bain

    Indeed, there is really no conflict between most religions and sciences; they are just mutually exclusive. The God-fearing religions are absurd imaginations, and sciences are findings that are based upon facts and logic.

    The real conflict that humans need to focus on is actually between religions and humanity. Most of the religions and their traditions include a lot of inter-religion and intra-religion injustice and hatred as well as hatred against the non-religious. Most religions are grossly unjust to women. At their fundamentals, the Abrahamic religions are a curse to people who are born in them; as abandoning them is punishable by nothing less than death. It is good for humanity that most people that were born in those religions do use some common human intelligence and actually do not follow many of the grossly inhuman edicts of their inherited religions. However, it is not good enough when the majority among the religious continue to practice the unjust religious edicts, and keep soft-corners for the minority who practice the grossly inhuman religious edicts.

    • cgosling

      I could not have said it any better. Thank you.

    • Harrytttttt

      Wrong. The whole basis for religious belief is that there is something supernatural that is nevertheless real. These are not “Nonoverlapping magisteria” as Gould said; he was just an evolution pacifist. He was tired of arguing with irrational people. To the extent that religion and science both claim to say anything about reality, there is a clear conflict.

      Faith and wishful thinking are in stark conflict with verified measurable repeatable observations subject to review and critique. Why don’t you want to acknowledge the many conflicts/contradictions between religious beliefs, stories, and principles vs science and rational thinking? The conflicts are many and obvious. Take life after death as the clearest example; it’s absolutely in conflict with science, and yet it causes suicidal massacres every day.

  • Dija Neaux

    People are revisiting the centuries old arguments re: science v. religion. You guys will be better recognized when simply helping your neighbors financially. You guys waste too much energy over small shtty stuff. The article’s author makes money successfully inciting this stupid discussion regarding stupid differences in beliefs.

  • Theoldlady

    There is a whole lot of science in the bible. They go hand in hand. Pick one up and read it sometimes.

    • Timothy Little

      Indeed, there are a great many scientific claims in the bible. Most have been roundly debunked. And when that happens, apologists rush in to defend their truths by changing meanings..
      From Jacob’s spotted/striped sheep which is debunked by genetics, to the ‘lesser light’ (moon) in genesis (moon is not a light — it’s actually a dark). Then there’s bats not being birds, four-legged insects, saying that the stars in the sky will one day fall to earth (rather impossible), and so on.

      • Theoldlady

        Purpose of the Bible

        Of course, the Bible was not written as a work of science nor was its purpose to describe the workings of the physical world. It was written to explain spiritual principles – the nature of mankind, the nature of God, and how people can have a personal relationship with God. However, when the Bible describes the physical world, it is accurate. The purpose of this page is to illustrate some of the remarkable examples of scientific principles described in the Bible hundreds to thousands of years before they were proved to be true by science.

        The Bible and Science

        Scientific Principle Biblical Reference

        Cosmology/Astronomy

        Time had a beginning 2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 1:2, 1 Corinthians 2:72

        The universe had a beginning Genesis 1:1, 2:4, Isaiah 42:5, etc.3

        The universe was created from the invisible Hebrews 11:34

        The dimensions of the universe were created Romans 8:38-395

        The universe is expanding Job 9:8, Psalm 104:2, Isaiah 40:22, Isaiah 42:5, Isaiah 44:24, Isaiah 45:12, Isaiah 48:13, Isaiah 51:13, Jeremiah 10:12, Jeremiah 51:15, Zechariah 12:16

        Creation of matter and energy has ended in the universe (refutes steady-state theory) Genesis 2:3-47

        The universe is winding down and will “wear out” (second law of thermodynamics ensures that the universe will run down due to “heat death”-maximum entropy) Psalm 102:25-278

        Describes the correct order of creation Genesis 1 (see Day-Age Genesis One Interpretation)

        Number of stars exceeds a billion Genesis 22:17, Jeremiah 33:229

        Every star is different 1 Corinthians 15:4110

        Pleiades and Orion as gravitationally bound star groups Job 38:3111

        Light is in motion Job 38:19-2012

        The earth is controlled by the heavens Job 38:331

        Earth is a sphere Isaiah 40:2213 Job 26:1014

        At any time, there is day and night on the Earth Luke 17:34-3515

        Earth is suspended in space Job 26:716

        The physical laws are constant Jeremiah 31:35-3617

        Earth Sciences

        Earth began as a waterworld. Formation of continents by tectonic activity described Genesis 1:2-9, Psalm 104:6-9, Proverbs 3:19, Proverbs 8:27-29, Job 38:4-8, 2 Peter 3:518

        Water cycle described Ecclesiastes 1:7; Isaiah 55:10, Job 36:27-2819

        Valleys exist on the bottom of the sea 2 Samuel 22:1620

        Vents exist on the bottom of the sea Job 38:1621

        Ocean currents in the sea Psalm 8:822

        Air has weight Job 28:2523

        Winds blow in circular paths Ecclesiastes 1:624

        Biology

        The chemical nature of human life Genesis 2:7, 3:1925

        Life of creatures are in the blood Leviticus 17:1126

        The nature of infectious diseases Leviticus 13:4627

        Importance of sanitation to health

        Numbers 19, Deuteronomy 23:12-13, Leviticus 7-928

        • Harrytttttt

          Please share more “remarkable examples”, because your list is meaningless.

          In all human history, despite gazillions of attempts to identify it, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to even suggest the possibility that spirits are real.

          There is no evidence that time had a beginning. The concept is not scientific.

          There is no evidence that the universe had a beginning. The concept is not scientific. Rather, the evidence just seems to support that there was a “big bang”; we don’t know anything about what was happening before that.

          How old is the earth and universe? The conflicts are many and obvious.

          • Theoldlady

            Facebook Creation versus Evolution.

  • Timothy Little

    So, is the article saying that there is no conflict, but that science is in rather more progressively complete contradiction to religion?

  • hypermach

    I completely disagree. Religious truth is based on a metaphysical belief regarding the nature of truth. That is, there is an ultimate source of absolute knowledge. Science is based on a completely different and exclusive understanding of the universe. Both cannot be true. Knowledge is either handed down or sought from rational observation. To say they are separate magisteria ignores the fact that they make competing claims and disregards the origin of the controversy.

    • JC

      The article does not make the case that religion and science are non-overlapping magisteria, nor does it argue that both could be true. It actually argues just the opposite- that science can test the claims of religion just like any other claims (thus they are not non-overlapping). Because religions make claims about the natural world, science can test them and conclude they are not true.

      • hypermach

        Faith by definition accepts certain proposals without, and in spite of, proof. This is the fact that religious apologists get wrong. Spirituality is not a theory about the world to be proven or disproven. From a rational perspective we see a god of gaps hiding from the light of reason. From a spiritual side there are competing views of the world, one no more true than the other, one view is “ours” the other is “theirs”. These zeitgeists do not compete; they do not breathe the same air. The problem with the idea of conflicting world views is that it obscures the real conflict between the rational and the irrational. How can we understand and solve problems in the world if nearly half the population simply agree, without question, with authority?

  • realist1953

    Mr. Cuevas seems to be a religion ‘apologist’ (I think that is the modern term for him) – or at least someone trying to “resolve the differences” by claiming that miracles are “testable” in some way.

    The very nature of a “miracle” depends on the definition – a person getting well, in hospital or not, can be tested, while “Jesus on toast” is not. News has recent stories about ‘person had incurable cancer but now has no trace we can find’ IS testable, if we have the Science to find all the ways a person’s body can be triggered to fight the disease (new T cells, or whatever).

    But the 6000 year old Earth IS NOT, because the religions refuse to accept Standard Science like carbon dating (one infamous video is the guy saying “if the bible say 2+2=5 I’d accept THAT as REAL and try to change my views of Real Life to match); they say “god made the universe with all these things AS THEY ARE so as to ‘test your faith’ – god made all the lead we find and created the breakdown of uranium as it is just to test us all.” With That as their “Facts”, there is no changing their beliefs – it’s like a child who lost races before, but with new shoes he wins, but when someone says it’s because all the others had run races recently and WERE worn out, he says “naw-aww, it’s my new shoes” (even though the ‘old shoes’ were barely used, and far from ‘worn out’).

    So – “Can science and religion be reconciled”? NO.

    • JC

      An apologist is a theist. Nothing suggests the author is a theist. In fact, the opposite is the case. The article also does not state that science and religious belief can to “reconciled”. It simply makes the case that science is neutral and tests claims objectively and that most religious claims have implications in the natural world which can be tested (and ultimately fail those tests) just like any other claims. Whether theists choose to accept those findings is irrelevant to science.

      • Harrytttttt

        Scientists should not consider these contradictory claims to be irrelevant to science. Why would any good scientists be so gutless? The whole purpose of science is to increase the knowledge of reality. In the face of contradictory claims about reality, scientists should be the first and loudest to yell, “Bullshit!” Ethically, scientists have a duty to speak up on such matters. We have all been too tolerant of this religious crap for far too long, and it is threatening humanity.

        • JC

          Did you read the article? It doesn’t argue that religious claims are irrelevant to science and states exactly the opposite- that religious claims fall under the purview of science. It also argues that scientists can and should continue to falsify religious claims. It seems like you are somehow unknowingly agreeing with what the article states, just in a less articulate fashion.

    • Ralph1Waldo

      Fundamentalists refuse to accept science. All religious people are not fundamentalists by a long shot, and many (if not most) religious people do accept science.

  • Harrytttttt

    Bullshit. Almost all religious claims are claims about reality, and therefore testable or subject to rational scrutiny. Science and religion are in stark contrast, and there is no reason for humanists to deny it.

    • JC

      Again, the article clearly states that all religions make claims about reality and that those claims are testable, and thus again, you seem to be agreeing with the article without realizing it somehow. The dispute is whether that constitutes a conflict. Arguing there is a conflict between religion and science is like arguing there is a conflict between Pinocchio and the periodic table.

      • Harrytttttt

        JC, I see by your comments that you believe that you have been misunderstood. I can accept that. I agree with almost all of the content of your article! But then I think you draw the wrong conclusion and have put on a misleading title. See the comment by YF, which I agreed with.

        The way you present your case is confusing, at least to some of us, as evidence by other commenters here. You say “science is neutral”, but I would ask, “neutral with respect to what?” My point is that science should not be neutral with respect to claims about reality. Although it’s OK for science to be neutral with respect to the height of the pope’s hat, or the size of matza balls. You say , “… most religious claims have implications in the natural world which can be tested (and ultimately fail those tests)” OK, you’ve identified the conflict. In fact, your article does a good job of highlighting some of the most important conflicts through history. You then say “Whether theists choose to accept those findings is irrelevant to science.” Scientists can choose to ignore these bad arguments, and you apparently agree with that. I simply disagree. I am with Harris, Dawkins, and Russell — I think we have a duty, as rational scientists, to say “Bullshit”. Why? Because religion (and irrationality) is bad for humanity. Belief in clearly incorrect “facts” is bad for humanity.

        • JC

          I’m not sure I would say that I was being misunderstood. The premise is clearly supported, though it is a somewhat nuanced position. It’s probably that I would assert that the article was misrepresented by several commenters. For instance, a couple people have used the term “apologist” in reference to the article. That suggests they either did not read the article or do not understand the meaning of that word. In this context an apologist would be a theist who defends or supports religion, and there is absolutely nothing in the article that suggests that.

          If you ever publish in popular venues like this then you should understand the value of using a provocative title. But I do maintain that the premise is correct- there is no conflict between science and religion. Science is neutral in that it does not emanate from a political perspective nor is it steered by a subjective belief system. I would think that any scientist would agree with this. When religious claims about the natural world are tested, science does not do so with the intention of proving atheism right or proving theism wrong; it simply does so to test the accuracy of the claim and come to realistic conclusions about the natural world. It’s not a conflict that science has universally disproven theistic claims. Science is simply doing what science does. The conflict is in the mind of the theist who refuses to accept evidence. The political and societal implications are real, and that’s where there are undoubtedly conflicts, but that is a separate issue from weighing claims in an objective, systematic process.

          By suggesting that there is an inherent conflict between the two, it elevates religious belief and creates a false equivalency, as if the two were separate but equal belief systems. They are not, and I choose to dismiss religious belief as nothing more than harmful delusion.

      • Harrytttttt

        “The dispute is whether that constitutes a conflict.” You and I are agreed that we are in dispute over this point.

        If Pinocchio made claims about chemistry, then your analogy would work, otherwise it’s off-base.

        Arguing that there is a conflict between religion and science is a very real thing, if the religious side of the debate really does make claims about reality. All religious fundamentalists do this, and that might be 25% of all humanity. I’m just guessing at the # here, but it is not insignificant.

        You and I are agreed that such debates are very one-sided. Yet religious fundamentalism persists. The good news is that it continues to decline, at least in western civilization. Why? Almost certainly a result of education.

        We scientists have a duty to point out the flawed thinking.

  • unclesharvey1

    Off the top of my head I report this:

    I was challenged in a university class to reconcile science and religion—in fact I may even have provoked the professor to present this challenge to me. He did not believe I was capable of meeting the challenge. Turns out he congratulated me for succeeding.

    My statement is that something brought about the world and universe as we all experience it. Likewise something brought about science: the physics, the chemistry, the religions, and the stupid persons, and their beliefs, the accidents—i.e. all of it, good and bad (according to our beliefs). To argue about the separate aspects is merely to engage in a sort of fugue. For instance, let’s take our experience with food. We all eat it. Some of us are capable of preparing it, and some of us are gourmets, some of us are gourmets that innovate and win prizes for our excellent created dishes. Some of us argue about which restaurants are the best – those arguers are engaging in fugues, like those of us who argue about which religion is the best—who said what and such about this or that religion and which aspect of it. Being a person who is the gourmet innovator, who eats, goes to restaurants, prepares and innovates–I SAY THAT persons who argue about which restaurants are best, are simply engaging in a sort of fugue. As with the food, whether science or religion is argued—“Let’s stop, and get on with what matters; lets get on with the level of excellence we are capable of achieving.” We all seem to seek the level at which we are capable of doing (and maybe the best we can do is argue about the merits of the restaurants in Cleveland). There are those who close their eyes to the truths of the natural world. There are those who simply do not pay attention, they are too busy with other matters–like putting food on the table for their family–which is admirable indeed. There are those who seek to educate themselves about new scientific advancements; they are consumers of TED talks, who read scientific magazines, consult the internet, and engage in comments about what they learn. We at higher levels of scientific involvement, can also engage in those lower echelons of consumerism of science. Then there are those of us who indeed ARE scientists. There is a great difference between those who merely read or attend TED talks and those “who do” and are capable of setting up hypotheses and going about testing them. Even those who do set up hypotheses and testing often are asking the wrong questions and coming to wrong conclusions. And all of us, on what ever level, are part of what has been created somehow in our world. So I do not wish to engage in fugues about this (food or religion) or any other broad topic. I wish to move on and search for greater truths, create interesting good recipes, look for ways to cultivate better vegetables, (for instance), etc. . . . . . . . And we, who are indeed at lower levels of science (and religion)—[and I think that is every one of us], or any other topic, can bow and congratulate Einstein for his greater insights. He, and his ideas and theories, were created somehow, they came from somewhere, too. So science and religion are part and parcel of the same thing. Yay!!

    Don’t try to engage me in fugues!

  • AlanGJones

    The title of the article annoys. Huh? A crude grab of the reader’s attention. The “scientific process” is said not to conflict with theism. Of course processes and world views and ways of thinking are not agents and can’t have conflicts. But either/or thinking theists make the findings of science into attacks on their beliefs and conflicts result when they expect others to comply with their Truths. Perhaps a future article will show how scientific styles of thinking have matured away from the either/or thinking of theists.

  • Ralph1Waldo

    The author’s approach has a major flaw: the inference that the Abrahamic religions are, intrinsically, scientifically testable claims about the natural world. This smacks of scientism and a lack of understanding of history and religious scholarship. Fundamentalism, which is a modern phenomenon and a product of an age when scientific certainty about things exists, makes such claims about the natural world. But religious scriptures are mythic literature which has not always been taken literally or understood to convey “scientific” accuracy. And today many religious moderates and progressives would easily reject the notion that religious texts make scientifically testable claims.

  • Joyce Patterson

    Religion is not a matter of science. The scientific method is testing theories for flaws and falsehoods. It deals only with falsifiable theories. If a theory is not subject to being falsified, nothing can be said about its truth. There is no way of knowing.

    Existential statements are not falsifiable. If the theory is that something “is” or something “exists” there is no way to falsify this unless the tester is omniscient. The existence of God is an existential matter, not falsifiable and thus not a scientific matter.

    The existence of God is also unfalsifiable because it claims supernatural aspects which can never be falsified by observable facts. If observable facts could falsify the existence of god it would mean that God is a natural, not supernatural phenomenon. It would mean god is subject to nature. A god that is subject to nature is just a natural phenomenon.