93 Comments

Science and Religion: Compatible or Not?

Ok, this is a post to tackle a few issues.  #1, Bishop Rick did request a post: “Personally, I would like to see a post that shows how evolution could fit inside the Genesis account of creation. I predict a lively discussion there.” I did do a post on Evolution, but he didn’t know me then (My blog was very new.)  However, it was quite lively over at Mormon Matters! This current post can also be considered a follow-up to my previous post on Science and Religion.

Also, the conversation veered off the road on my Malay post, going into the space-time continuum.  So, since I like to compartmentalize things, I thought I’d open up a new post where space-time continuum, advanced civilizations, etc can be talked about.  So, this is basically a science post where you can post anything to do with science vs religion.  I don’t care about threadjacking here, as long as it shows some reference to science.  I do want to pull a quote from Nachminides, as we start this discussion.  I posted this previously on my DNA post:

“Although writing more than 700 years ago, [Rabbi Moses] Nachmanides’ message is even more clear and relevant today.  His writings directed the person of faith to realize that there is much more hidden than revealed, both in the traditional Biblical writings and also in the natural world.  Our challenge is to continually study and investigate both realms, with the realization that apparent conflicts are merely artifacts of temporary incomplete understanding in one or both realms.  This avoidance of intellectual pride, allows the person of traditional religious faith to work comfortably within the framework of rigorous scientific hypothesis and empiricism.  This is also in keeping with the rationalist approach in Maimonides’ Guide for the Perplexed.”

So, Bishop Rick, before you get started on Evolution/Creation, please read this blog post from S Faux, Biblical Genesis Corresponds with Evolution. I’m no expert, but Faux is an LDS professor at a university in the midwest.  I think he presents a pretty compelling argument, especially for those like you who view the creation story as non-literal.

For those wanting to discuss space-time continuum, feel free to continue the discussion here.  (I want to quote Doc Brown from Back to the Future, “1.21 jigga-watts!!!  He mispronounces it badly, it should be giga-watts.)  Perhaps we need a flux capacitor to truly understand all the implications of the Theory of Relativity.  Star Trek handles time travel pretty well too, and can go back or forward in time relatively easily.  Of course, don’t forget Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure!  Someone mentioned that people don’t go into the future, but I think that is because we have no idea what needs fixing in the future.  It’s much easier to look on the past and fix that instead.

Anyway, I think science and religion ARE compatible, but sometimes it is hard to see how.

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93 comments on “Science and Religion: Compatible or Not?

  1. Sxark, do you have a Messianic complex? Or is it a Mosaic complex? Or a Nephi-ic complex? My oh my, you have quite the overdeveloped ego, don’t you? Perhaps a healthy dose of humility would serve you well.

    Are you trying to suggest that your advanced civilization position is your original thought?

    Frankly, your arguments for this advanced civilization idea are actually hurting your position. Your justifications are not persuasive at all, so I’d say you’re losing the debate.

  2. MH:

    I never said or suggested that the position of an advanced civilization was an original thought of my own. That is preposterous.

    You give validity to the argument of the existance of an advanced civilization by stating that it has merit.

    Then, in almost the same breath, you say that the person bringing forth this idea in the discussion, loses the debate because of the manner, [according to your frame of reference of reality] – it was presented.

    Why are you stuck on personality differences instead of looking at the immense possibilities awaiting us all if we pursue the thread of an advanced civilization and what it really means to science and religion?

  3. Sxark, do you want constructive input or not? I could just as well stay silent, if you prefer. Your infatuation with “winning” the debate is tiresome–hence part of the personality differences that you mention. Your elevation of yourself above others with your “eyes can’t see, people fear my logic” comparisons are not only not helpful to your position, but irritating as well. Please refrain.

    I guess the problem I have is with your tactics, rather than your point of view. Let me address your question in comment #46 on page 1:

    So, would you agree that an adequate synopsis has been presented [by me, myself, & I] – for those with little or no faith, that it is now easier for them to believe in “God”?

    It seems to me you are all asking us to congratulate you on your superior logic and communication skills. Your very biased question implies that faithless people must now believe in God because of your “adequate synopsis.” Sorry for giving you some feedback which is contrary to your perception. Your adequate synopsis isn’t adequate for me, and I actually lean toward your advanced civilization idea.

    This blog is supposed to be a forum to share and learn, not win a debate. If you’re looking to win the debate, then you’re in the wrong place. I’ve had arguments with many people here, and never felt the need to ask if I won the debate as you did above: “did I win this debate, – despite the poor manner, in which it was presented?”. Usually, it just seems to be a stalemate, though I do feel enlightened by those I disagree with.

    If you prefer, I won’t give you any more feedback.

  4. MH:

    Your buttons have been pushed, and duly noted.

    However, I do not understand how my synopsis concerning an advanced civilization is not adequate for you,- when you still state, that you lean to the advanced civ. idea.

    Personalities and frivolous answers aside, – where has the logic thread gone wrong?

  5. Honestly, I am not following your logic–you lost me. Perhaps it is because you are a philosopher, and I am not. I think we’re speaking different languages.

  6. MH:

    I would be flattered if you could give me an objective response to the issues raised in #8, p.1.

    As far as I’m concerned, all of your blogs – in its entirety, qualifies as philosophy, as long as the Socratic method of dialog is encouraged and maintained.

  7. Sxark,

    Here are some problems I see with your anti-Darwin stance. First, as Narrator said, Independence Day is fiction. Why do we always assume alien life would be hostile anyway? Perhaps they are searching for us, just as we are searching for them. Are we trying to be hostile to other life forms?

    Two, the size of the cosmos just can’t be comprehended by us. We really have no concept of how large the Cosmos is, with multitudes of universes and galaxies. To limit our frame of reference to just our universe really limits our understanding of all the complexities of the cosmos. If we believe religion, then God says he has created plenty of other worlds, and earth is just one of many. Perhaps these worlds are so spread out that our puny minds can’t contact them, due to our primitive technology. For example, we have no way to travel at light speed, and that seems to be a pre-requisite for finding life at a great distance away.

    Three, while our technology has grown significantly in the last say 500 years, I completely disagree with your statement, “Humans, according to evolution, cannot keep pace.” Where did evolution ever say this? Where does evolution say that machines will take over? That sounds like movie fiction talking again.

    As I’ve stated several times, I’m neither pro-evolution, nor anti-evolution. I think S Faux presents a compelling case that evolution and the creation in Genesis can coexist. Have you read his post?

    I’m not clear on your position regarding evolution. It sounds like you are anti-evolution. Is this correct?

  8. The main problem I have with the advanced alien civilization theory is that it fails to answer the question, “Why am I here?”. It removes the religious aspect from the discussion and replaces it with a civilization that just happens to be technically advanced. I am still here as a result of evolution, but have now been found by an advanced civilization. There is no purpose for this relationship as it currently exists. Why all the stealth communication? Why not share the technology? It simply doesn’t make sense from a melding science and religion standpoint.

  9. BR:

    …an advanced civ that ALSO formed by evolution, thereby bringing us back to the problem of recursion again.

    Sxark: I have tried not to dwell on the errors you have made, but since you want an objective response, I’ll try to give you one, but I’m not going to get involved in a long discussion. I can’t teach a physics tutorial here, so this will be my last response on the subject.

    The Fermi paradox refers solely to advanced civilizations that exist within the universe and arise in the normal context of evolution. They are creations, not creators.

    I repeat, none of these advanced civilizations could have created the universe from which they arise. Therefore, the advanced age of stars is irrelevant to the scenario you propose. That factoid only relates to the possibility that a civilization powerful enough to visit us and be incomprehensible to us may exist. Such a civilization would be significantly less than what people normally imagine as the creator of the universe.

    You have also pointed to the movement of matter at greater-than-light speeds as evidence for such an advanced civilization. It is also irrelevant. The significance of light speed in your mind is a misstatement of what relativity allows and requires. There is nothing at all unnatural about space “inflating” (the generally accepted term) so that regions separate at greater than light speed. Hence there is no “problem” that needs explaining.

    MH: Light speed is not a barrier that matters all that much IF technological civs last roughly the time humans have been on this planet (and, that, of course is a big IF). One of the other properties of relativity is that time “slows down” as people or objects “speed up”. It takes zero time for an object moving at light speed to cross the entire universe, so one can imagine (and NASA has) technologies that can entend our ranges into the cosmos far more than we would think.

    The boundary between science and science fiction is pretty fluid.

  10. MH:

    I have not read S. Faux yet. I’ll make it a point to do so.

    The theory of evolution is certainly compelling, especially when taught by a believer in the theory.

    The “super growth” of tech, that I’m concerned about, is in the last 50 years.
    Its moving in a geometric pattern, with only one indication of slowing down.

    It slows down only by man’s inability to keep up.

    There is an interesting [1980] book by Marilyn Ferguson, “The Aquarian Conspiracy”, which postulates that the creation of the United States with its freedoms under its constitution, permits like minded individuals to gather together etc., and that this is a precurser to the human race evolving.

    It is simply unwise to discount hostile intentions from any alien encounter.

    I agree with your second premise. The cosmos is just too big for us to comprehend.
    We need help from its creator to comprehend it.

    If we need help from the creator to understand the cosmos, then do we also need help in gaining a testimony concerning faith, the atonement etc.? Are there any laws the creator wishes us to follow? The questions go on and on.

    And the creator is only the leader of an advanced civilization that is now easy for us to assume to exist because of what we now know about the cosmos. [the Fermi paradox] Fermi came to his conclusions, by assuming faster than light speeds.

  11. Firetag:

    How could you possibly put a limit on what an advanced civ. could or could not do, without assistance from the advanced civ.?

  12. Sxark: You placed the limitation on your advanced civilization (not FT) by claiming the Fermi paradox as supporting data.

    Also, has it ever occurred to you that the creator of your advanced civilization may have been mortal…and has gone the way of all stardust?

    How are you going to communicate with him/her now?

  13. BR:

    I would’t dare put any limitations on the leaders of an advanced civilization, who have the power to turn me into stardust.

    The Fermi paradox only states the possibilities of other civilizations existing.

  14. Sxark,

    Two things: (1) looking at a 50 year time frame when the earth has been around anywhere from 6000 to several billion years old seems like a highly unrepresentative sample.

    (2) I haven’t read the Fermi Paradox either. But from the comments above FireTag specifically said the advanced civilization is incapable of creating itself. Don’t you view this as a problem?

  15. MH:

    1. Earth does not have a time period, [time before Noah – excepted] such as the last 50 years where technology has advanced so rapidly. One could say that the 1st industrial revolution was the begining of this rise. The analogy of Pres. Washington and the Pharoes of Egypt, traveling to their palaces in the same manner and using the same type of plumbing, is of interest.

    2. The advanced civ. probably did not create the planet it comes from but could it advance so far, that one day, it could create a planet, or even, a universe?

    I hadn’t really thought of advanced civs. in that manner.

    I only postulated that an advanced civ. is very likely to exist. This is backed up by the Fermi paradox – which goes further and wonders why we haven’t been contacted by anyone, when the evidence appears overwelming that these advanced civs. must exist somewhere, because of all those stars. – And Fermi was only talking about the Milky Way.

    I make a small jump from there to agreeing with the ancient and modern day scriptures that say, not only was the earth and man and this universe created by an advanced civ., but that we are also responsible for following their teachings to use faith, be a “witness”, learn what the atonement means, and on and on.

    So I conclude that science is, but a mere, tool of religion. But what religion?

  16. Doesn’t sound like Mormonism to me.

    Maybe its Alienism.

  17. Sxark, I remind you that we have no idea how the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids. Perhaps they have a 50 year period of explosive technological advancements. Once again, I reiterate: looking at a 50 year time frame is not a representative sample. You’re jumping to some conclusions that are not supported by your assumptions.

    You seem to liberally mix science and religion together. I think you would do better to pick one or the other and take it as far as you can. I’m sure a gap will exist, but you seem unaware of this gap, due to your constant mixing of religion with science. As such, I think you do both a disservice.

  18. To all:

    I’ll give MH a small point for bringing up the Egyptian pyramids. We still don’t know how they did it. But it still does not compare with the range of technology of the last 50 years.

    In reference to part 2 of #16.- Please consider the following quote:

    “Do you know that it is the eleventh hour of the reign of Satan on the earth? Jesus is coming to reign, and all you who fear and tremble because of your enemies, cease to fear them and learn to fear to offend God…”

    It doesn’t matter who said this.

    For it is written, by the ancients, that this leader of the advanced civ. becomes aware of the life force of a small sparrow as it falls dead to the ground. Evidence of a power one should not contend with?

    Laugh and ridicule – at your own risk.

    I will side with science being a mere tool of religion and this concept is not a “disservice” to religion.

  19. Sxark: What is the risk?

  20. BR:

    I’m already in enough trouble and have alot of explaining to do if I suddenly leave this dimension and move to the next.

    I don’t want to add to my troubles by misuseing what little faith I have left, trashing scriptures, prophets, etc. or promoting ideas that God does not exist.

    The written evidence of the past may show that the leaders of the advanced civilization have a sense of humor, but they also have been known to react in a very unpleasant manner when their characters have been besmirched.

    They have given mankind alot of gifts, such as how to obtain eternal salvation etc.

    I shudder to think how they must think when they see others, not only throwing these gifts away, but encouraging others to discount the value of these gifts.

    I just hope I can overcome my own weaknesses, so that I may be perfected and thus prepared to meet the leader – when he returns in great glory.

    What is the risk? – is a question to be answered by the individual who asked it.

  21. Sxark, I think you have a very primitive view of the advanced civilization–much more so that Bishop Rick, FireTag, or I.

  22. MH:

    Well,..I only started to explain it at the lowest common denominator.

  23. Sxark:

    It sounds to me that you fear punishment more than you understand grace. I’m sorry for you, Brother.

  24. If I have to live in fear of a God that is going to judge me based on whether I accept or don’t accept hearsay, then there is no purpose in life beyond this sphere.

  25. FireTag:

    Not so. Refer to #20. I fear that I may have offended the one that gave these gifts to mankind thruout our history.

    It does appear that the leader of the advanced civ. has feelings. “Thou shalt not have any gods before me…for I am a jealous God.

    If the leader expresses such a feeling, then imagine how dissapointed the leader must feels when we squander the gifts that have been given us.

    Grace…has its limits. I side with “Faith without works, is dead”. I understand that by grace, I will live forever.

    B.Rick:

    Hearsay…is the key word. Hearsay, in a court of law, has a certain definition.
    Eyewitness accounts is acceptable in a court, where the eyewitness is subject to cross examination.

    A formula has been given to mankind, so that one can attain a “witness” to the truthfullness of things seen and not seen.

    The advanced civilization is so advanced that it is difficult for us to understand the full ramifications of this formula, without their direct assistance.

    What a marvelous gift this is. All you have to do – is follow the formula.

    Residents of the advanced civ. do it all the time. Why not take advantage of this?

    Your going to have life beyond this world, thru grace, whether you like it or not.

    Might as well enjoy the ride.

  26. Sxark: The formula you refer to is not reliable. Too many people use that formula and receive different answers. Please don’t tell me that they must not have followed the formula correctly. That response is disingenuous.

  27. BR:

    You speak of the formula as not reliable, in the absolute sense.

    It can also be said, that too many people that use the formula receive the same answers.

  28. Reliability is absolute.
    If the correct answer is only obtained some of the time, by some of the people, it is impossible to determine which times to rely on it.

  29. BR:

    Reliability is absolute, if the rules are followed. If you feel that is disingenuous, then that is a personal observation, not an absolute observation.

    Grace is absolute. It is simply a gift from the leader of the advanced civilization, to you. – given without any requirements on your part to obtain it.

    In your particular case, it may indeed be more difficult to use this formula in its proper manner, than it would be for others who are trying to use it for the 1st time.

    This is a personal issue, – between you and the leader of the advanced civ. – who is no respector of persons and gives freely to all who asks in a sincere manner.

    Sincere manner? – another personal issue.

  30. What a pile of malarchy.

  31. BR:

    You may identify concepts as “piles of malarchy” now. But if small bits of irrefutable evidences start popping up all over the world – supporting this formula, will it not be more difficult for you to use the formula, since you have now labled it as a “pile of malarchy”?

    Hopefully, you were only referring to my description as a “pile of malarchy”, and not the formula itself.

  32. Sxark,

    When you start showing your arrogance, it is a real turn off. When you think that your inspiration regarding religious matters is better than someone like Bishop Rick, you’ve turned the religion vs science debate into a “I’m more righteous than you” soapbox. I think you’re the one full of malarky at this point.

    Your explanations regarding grace are terrible. I urge you to re-read the Book of Mormon position on grace and get a better understanding of it. You’re way off base in 22 and 27 above.

  33. And one other thing. Since this post is about religion and science, it IS ok to refer to God, rather than the leader of the advanced civilization. Not only is your name cumbersome, it is tacky.

  34. MH:

    Wow! You really hurt my feelings with that one. Boo-Hoo.

    However, after reading D&C 19: 29-33, I realize that I have been way out of line, from the begining of this blog until now.

    I feel somewhat vindicated by D&C 59:21, but not much.

  35. By Grace, I was only referring to the immortality of man granted by Grace, which is a free gift.

    Of course there is much more written about Grace and disagreements, have arisen among some denominations.

  36. Let’s just say I wasn’t referring to the formula.

  37. BR:

    Good answer…a wise answer.

    Therefore, it would be a benefit for all, to use the formula, in science and biblical or BofM archeological studies…or in anything, for that matter.

    Its simular to placing Socrates in the middle of Times square. He would never be able to deduce what is going on inside those buildings without:

    [1] Some contact with someone from this present time frame.

    or,

    [2] Using a formula that describes all things.

    Some say they can use this formula, while others say they can’t.

    However, the source of the formula says that everyone has the capability to use the formula.

    Unfortunatly, the formula is not presented to us on a silver platter. Which, ultimatly, may be in our favor.

    No pain – no gain.

  38. Big flaw in that formula is that it may as well be saying, “must be this tall to enter”. I cannot believe that something so flawed could come from an omnipotent being. No amount of wordsmithing from you is going to fit that square peg in my round hole.

  39. Br:

    Another gift from the creator: The freedom of choice.

    Why limit your choices?

    Your round hole, as you put it, was constructed by yourself.

    Its as if, you are creating the standard by which you will learn truth.

    When, it is said, that God made the standard, which you are free to use in your quest for truth.

  40. Sxark: I think this conversation is pointless.

  41. BR:

    Then I rest my case with D&C 59:21 and conclude that science should be now, and ultimatly will be, a tool of religion.

  42. Case dismissed.

  43. Here is the way I figured it happened. Adam’s and Eve’s physical bodies were the immortal offspring of out heavenly father and a heavenly mother. They were place on a world that was already populated by millions of homo-sapiens who were genetically adpated to the various environments of the earth. In fullfilling the mandate to multiply and replenish ther earth, Adam’s descendants intermarried with the other homo-sapiens. Eventually making all homo-spiens on the planet literal descendents of Celestial ancestors. Because of Adams special parentage, he and his direct descendants were able to live very long lives. After the flood, Noahs offspring intermarried with other humans which caused the life expectancy to drop.

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