On Science And Religion

On Science and Religion

Bringing god[1] into a conversation totally misses the point of Science.

Science is a system of acquiring knowledge based on scientific method, and to the organized body of knowledge gained through such research. In other words it is the act of testing theories and gaining information from those tests. A theory proposes an explanation for an event, that's all it is. This theory may or many not be useful; a useful theory is logically consistent[2] and can be used as a tool for prediction.

If I throw a ball and I notice how it move through the air I may propose the following theories:

  • God moved the ball, it was his will.
  • All objects always travel in a parabola
  • Thrown balls move in a parabola
  • All objects move according to Newtons law of gravity

It doesn't matter which one is correct, they all explain the action; hence they are all valid theories (at this point). Now if we were to do further testing we might see that bullets travel pretty much straight, helium balloons and magnets don't really follow any of the above rules. From here we can refine the theory. None of the ideas are completely thrown out; we know that for that ball, in one experiment, all those theories could be true. As we perform millions of experiments on thousands of things our confidence in the theory goes up.

The second theory proposed above can be dismissed as it is not consistent with a lot of experiments. In the same way we should dismiss saying that it was god's will; yes it is logically consistent but it provide no ability for prediction. Stating that something is gods will is useless as a theory and it is for that reason that it should be dismissed.

What we are left with is an understanding of the world that we know might be wrong, but there is overwhelming reason to believe it. Yes, Newtons law of gravity doesn't work in certain conditions, that means we have to study those conditions and find a theory that does fit. But, in the mean time it makes sense to say that Newtons law of gravity is true.

The same applies to Maths, it doesn't matter if Complex Numbers exist, they are useful. They are the easiest consistent way to work certain things out.

Following the same line of reasoning, Evolution is the easiest consistent way to explain the fossil records with the added bonus of all the extra understanding that accepting Evolution brings.

You can also apply the same line of thinking to "that just how the world is". That doesn't help us understand anything and should be discarded.

So should the theory of God's will be taught in schools? No, it serves such little value as a theory that it is irrelevant. Unless we can use this knowledge as a prediction tool or practically then it has no purpose.

[1] By god I mean any creator(s) or supernatural being(s).
[2] By logically consistent I mean that it doesn't contradict any other generally accepted theories.

From here the logical question to ask is 'what is the evidence for the age of the earth, and what alternative theories have been proposed?'. You might come across carbon dating, plate tectonics, and the big bang theory. When you have each bit of evidence you can evaluate it. Remember to keep in mind that if a theory is accepted by the science community that many people have devoted their lives to working out the best theories to explain that phenomena.

From here the logical question to ask is 'what is the evidence of evolution?'. Well a quick google search gave me the following website: evolution.berkeley and wikipedia, I suggest you check them out.