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Albert Fuglsang-Madsen

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Has/Is Religion really a hinderance to science? What are the consequences?

Personally, I believe religion has always been a hinderance because religion always have been very unreasonable and thereby impossible to discuss things with, because everything was already settled.

Through time the church has hunted down scientists and people who believed in Darwin or back when they believed the Earth was flat and some said round.

What do you think the world would look like if religion hadn't existed?
Do you think religion is a result of primitivity?
That the human brain finds peace within rules and discipline -- that the only reason religion exist is due to these primitive needs to find irrelevant meaning?
Do you think religion today still is a hinderance to science?

Personally I believe that overall, there are more negative outcomes of religion than positive. I'd love to be proven wrong. Can you do that? (And the answer HAS to be open to discussion. NO MORE Religious "It's like that because I say so, and I won't believe otherwise and shut my ears to anything that contradicts me and the belief system I have chosen.")

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    Feb 10 2013: You know, sometimes I get mad at the Greeks for separating them in the first place. Both religion and science try to explain who we are and how we walk in this world. I sometimes think if they had stayed together religion would have moved forward with science instead of staying in the bronze age.

    But in the current time, of course religion hinders science. But science without some type of ethics is evil and there are many many examples of this. Right now in the US, religion provides one method for ethical review. Unfortunately it oversteps its bounds. Embryonic stem cell research for instance.

    Maybe some day in the future we can have them intertwined again. Science is quickly becoming a religion anyway.
    • Feb 11 2013: Stop saying that science is a religion! It has none of the characteristics of a religion or rather all of the characteristics that religion does not have.
      It is based on empirical evidence.
      Theories must account for observed events.
      Theories must be falsifiable and as many attempts to disprove a theory are done as to prove it.
      If observed facts show the theory is wrong, it is considered wrong and thrown away
      There are no authorities in any science. Everything can be questioned.
      It doesn’t matter what you believe. If the evidence proves otherwise you must change your way of thinking.

      What religion (that actually calls itself a religion) has any of those characteristics?
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        Feb 11 2013: Oh please. Religion and science both try to answer the same questions. Both offer explanations for cosmology, a theory of life, a theory of our origins, a reason for existence. Both value life, specifically HUMAN life above all others. Talk about a whacko belief system.

        The high priests of science use mathematics and data to define reality and truth which in the past were domains of religion. All the little disiples look at the mathematics and data and go "oooh it is reality." Yet still cannot explain how we fall in love. Maybe it is not real. There are theories of how we fall in love which formulate the belief system. Just like the theory of creation. Pick one. Any one cause they are all about the same.

        Both scientists and people of faith are passionate about their belief systems and will defend their view of the world. Ad nauseum. Science gives comfort and gives us a sense of control. In fact, a whole lot about science is about control. That is why it appeals to people. But control is an illusion so maybe science is an illusion just as much as religion. The really sad part is when the high priests of science use that illusion and put out bad science.

        Tradition is highly valued in science as it is in religion. Just try disproving a theory. You had better have the right training and credentials and you better know the right people or you will be disregarded. Disproving highly held traditional beliefs in science is not easy.

        Religion tries to define what is good and evil. Well science uses philosophy to answer those questions. Ethics are finally being integrated into science but we have for so long seen unethical research and manipulated data there is a real distrust and disbelief. To disbelieve something, you have to believe it in the first place. The establishment of right and wrong is final piece where science crosses the last bastion of religion. Telling us how to act and behave has now become the domain of science. Religion at last
        • Feb 11 2013: Oh right...In the beginning....good answer.
          Please name any scientific advances propsed by Religion this year (or any year for that matter)
          Pick a topic. Cosmology does not address love and would be ridiculed if it tried.
          Not control...understanding.
          Disproving a theory is how you get a Nobel Prize. Its not easy, but anyone can do it. There are no authority figures in science.
          Science may be interested in tell us how and why we act the way we do, but it is not interested in telling us what to do.
          There are good people and bad people in every endevour, religious, medical, psychological and scientific. That's because they are people.

          What has made you so strident about science. Were you bitten by a nerd as a child?
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        Feb 11 2013: LOL I am a nerd. But I am not a blind nerd. Of course science tells us how to act and behave. It tells us what to eat and what not to eat just like religion. It tells us to wear seat belts. It tells us what laws to pass. And on and on...

        I disagree. Only the high priests of science can change a theory. You are out of luck if you do not belong to that club. Nobel prize is not the be all end all.

        Religion has not made any scientific advances because it is split from science. But science is definitely a religion. You either believe it or you do not.

        All science is about control. Just try to set up an experiment without addressing the parameters of error. You are judged by other high priests based on your ability to control. It is all about control.
        • Feb 11 2013: What are the reasons that science tell you what not to eat vs the reasons that religion may do the same. Do you not see the difference?
          On your second point you are flat wrong. Anyone can change a theory, you just have to have a better theory. Actually in this context the word should be hypothesis as theory means some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. You would have to come up with a hypothesis and then others would prove it was more correct than the existing theory. I'm sorry if that is too complicated for you but then you only want good theories not opinions or belief system.
          Science need not be split from religion if only religion was not so quick to condem and supress knowledge gained through science. Remember Galileo, how about evolution?
          Your example of setting up an experiment without considering error makes no sense. Why would you perform an experiment without considering where error can creep into your system? You would not. That does not make you a control freak
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        Feb 11 2013: Science is based on reason. So the reason science has reason is because that is how it arrives at telling us what to eat. I wonder if anyone eats wheat germ any more? Amazing how so much science puts money into peoples pockets from fake sweetener makers to supplements. I have a suspicion that reason is also why eating habits are incorporated into religion. Maybe the high priests of the Jewish nation saw that people who ate pork tended to die from tricchinosis. Maybe they thought they had better weave that in to their religion to make people stop eating it. Not very much different from today only the religion is different.

        I am not wrong about theory. Just look at history http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superseded_scientific_theories
        Name any one of those superseded theories that were overturned by lay people. Heck, name ANY theory that was overturned by a lay person. They call it peer review for a reason. Peer review establishes the boundaries of the club. In the real world, if you have information that would turn over a theory you go to the biggest guy working on that theory. And if he decides your information is worthy, he might present it, typically as his own to 'give it credibility.'

        Like I said, science was split from religion back with the Greeks. Somewhat earlier than Galileo. It was hardcore divided by then.

        I am not a control freak but I know a ton about control. I know how it is done and ALL science does it. In fact, you are not a scientist if you do not control. The other thing to point out is that all science has error so we never say the results of an experiment are true. See science fakes you out that way. Claiming to establish truth by proving the not true. (see null hypothesis) You can't get more faith based than that.
        • Feb 11 2013: The term science was coined in 1833. Before that everyone was considered a Natural Philosopher or some even more ancient term.
          I would hardly call shills for big pharma and food companies scientists. They are certainly not on par with physicists or cosmologists.
          Copernicus for example who overthrew the Ptolemaic theory of earth centred solar system.
          He was a mathematician, astronomer and jurist with a degree in law. A lay person as far as astronomy went.
          This wasn’t new though since Aristarchus came up with it first (320 BC) although didn't understand gravity and couldn't defend it against "common sense" of Aristotle.
          The whole concept of science and scientists has been evolving over the last 2 or 3 hundred years and what we consider the scientific method today really doesn't apply to far into the past.
          I doubt very much that the split between religion and science split back at the Greeks since people like Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Boyle were all Christians.
          The split has come since then as science moved on to explore more and more of our universe and religion has stood still and railed against their control being eroded.
          If you know so much about control you should look at organized religion. It is a second government that no one needs.
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        Feb 11 2013: Religion and science were split well before Copernicus et al. They were two distinct disciplines and the leaders in each were not the same people. You needed special training by then to be one or the other. They did not work interdisciplinary outside of the need to tell each other they were wrong.

        I love how you stratify science. It is good science if it comes from physicists but poorer (or somehow defined as lower) science comes from big pharma. Hmm you must be aware of some criteria for stratification that I am unaware of.

        Copernicus was all you describe and by virtue of the description was not a lay person. He was highly educated for the time in multiple disciplines. Does not fit my definition of lay person and does not equate with "anyone can change a theory."

        I agree with you that science has been changing over the last 2-3 hundred years. It is becoming more like religion. Understand that I do and love science to a fault. But that does not mean that science is faultless. Don't tell me to stop calling it a religion because outside of a diety, it pretty much is. The no-god religion.

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