Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Negative Aspects and Attitudes of Science versus Religion

God with scientific instruments as geometer
God the Geometer
Throughout history - with the exception of the Middle Ages - science and religion have been at odds with each other. While religion tended to lean toward refinement of the spirit and was rather engulfed in spiritual matters at the expense of earthly matters (I am considering most Western religions), science instead chose to accumulate knowledge and to form its theories based on physical bodies. Science preferred and valued events rooted in material evidence, observable facts that could be reproduced and replicated through controlled experiments.

Religion became more and more rule-based and dogmatic and thrived mainly on authority and hierarchy. In its negative forms, it developed a specific stance of mind, the “holier-than-thou” attitude. A priest because of his study, knowledge, experience, contact with the Almighty presupposes special abilities and the right to not only teach, but to actually preach. He considers himself as authorized to show and reveal to the rest of humanity the supposedly wrong and sinful paths and traps that we get lost and ensnared in.

Science, on the other hand, grew more and more confident, and to a certain extent it became too engulfed and self-absorbed in its deterministic factual ways. Science, again in its darkest moments, has become arrogant with a “know-it-all” attitude; supposed superficial superstitions are dismissed as mere child's play and fancy, yet at the same time, science overlooks the fact that it has become trapped in its own myth and superstitious force. Science in its rigid form is happy to limit itself to only those events seen and measured, but remains unresponsive to anything that defies its paradigm; it rejects and brushes off the invisible as nonexistent.

The ideal would be, as in most cases, a moderate approach, the middle way. There is a fine, yet distinguishable line between teaching and preaching, and, at the same time, nobody enjoys a patronizing voice. Render to religion what belongs to religion, and science to science. Both have made valuable and insightful contributions to the human condition; both are essential for life, and none can really exist or survive in isolation from the other.


John said...

I just took a minute to read this, but is so good, I want to write a detailed response.

This is one of your best works ever, Arash. It is articles like this that keep me coming back.


Arashmania said...

Thanks so much, John! I really appreciate it and very much look forward to your response!

mediabeing said...

And I say Bullshit, Arash!
Religion comforts...but it also cripples! Quit trying to be a diplomat. Some things outlive their usefulness.
Religion was once a tool; now it's crippling chains.
Religion is a scam; a racket.
Please get free and live that way.

Arashmania said...

Thanks for your vociferous input, mediabeing. However, the problem is that science has become the new religion; in its more radical form, it is throwing out the baby with the bath water. I doubt science will ever figure it all out and those gaps can be filled with religion.

As to being unfree, I must disagree as well. My interpretation of religion does not restrict me, but rather liberates. Sure, if you are talking about dogma, you are right, but would not science be another type of dogma, the dogma of observable facts?