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Science and Faith-meant to work together or oppose?

Science and faith...A sometimes controversial topic that arouse both sides with facts an opinions that science and faith cannot work together...But have we ever looked beyond this and asked can science and faith work together to explain what the other cannot? What's your take?

  • Jun 2 2013: How could valid science and valid religion be at odds?
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    Jun 8 2013: Saying science and all the conflicting mutually exclusive religious beliefs are equally faith based is like saying using science to build Apollo space craft to fly to the moon takes the same level of faith as praying to a god to teleport your self there.

    When I take antibiotics I hope they work. This not the same as praying an infection away.

    Working towards growing artificial limbs and organs is not the same as praying for an amputated limb to grow back. Never happened as far as I know. Ask in my name and you shall receive. Believing a god can grow your arm back, now that takes faith. Believing your particular religious tradition, denomination, and interpretation is the right one. That takes faith.

    I haven't been alive long enough for pluto to orbit the sun. In fact the orbit takes longer than we have known pluto exists. I guess it takes some faith to believe the scientists calculations how long it will take. Is that really the same type of faith as believing in one of the thousands of gods and goddesses and millions of sects with conflicting dogma and various supernatural claims.
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      Jun 8 2013: In what scripture is there any science?
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          Jun 8 2013: Chris,

          Could you please point to a couple of examples of clear science in scriptures? I have read the bible cover to cover and saw no such evidence... But maybe you've read it more times or more thoroughly and can point me to some clear examples of the science that scriptures hold.

          I am also scientifically adept and read many scientific publications on just about anything and I haven't found a single one that is viable that supports the scientific correctness of any holy scriptures. Again, if you know of any such work I'd be really happy if you could point me to it.

          My avatar does not show Jesus, but I hope that you can assume from my statement that I have some familiarity with the bible.
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    Jun 7 2013: Absolutely. It was the church that controlled science. We have been trying to use science to prove god since philosophy was created
  • Jun 6 2013: Faith and science are polar opposites. One relies on proof and facts, and will admit mistakes, the other relies on a want or need to believe.
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      Jun 7 2013: Yes, what lastname said!

      Science adjusts its view based on what’s observed, faith is the denial of observation so that belief can be preserved.
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    Jun 4 2013: This quote shared by Clifford Stoll at the end of his TED talk:

    "All truth is one. In this light, may science and religion endeavor here for the steady evolution of mankind: from darkness to light, from narrowness to broad - mindedness, from prejudice to tolerance. It is the voice of life, which calls us to come and learn." Judge Cuthbert W. Pound Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals
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    Jun 3 2013: Should hospitals oppose crystal healing?

    Yes, if crystal healing claims it can cure a disease without proof to back it up, why?, because someone with curable illness could try the crystals and wind up dead.
  • Jun 3 2013: But dont scientists themselves also disagree on issues?
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      Jun 4 2013: Yes, they do.
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      Jun 8 2013: Scientists do get it wrong and disagree at times.

      About half the scientific conclusions published in medical journals later get shown to be incorrect or only partially correct.

      The thing is they follow the evidence, testing their hypothesis, building a better understanding.

      The fact that scientists get it wrong and disagree on some issues does not mean there is a reasonably sound and improving base of scientific knowledge. The earth rotates the sun, not the other way round. We use science for technology that works.

      Theists also disagree. They believe in different gods and goddesses. Even people who call themselves Christians disagree and set up rival factions and denominations. Some who claim to be Christians think Jesus was a god others don't. Some take genesis literally and others don't. Some have personal experiences or revelations or intuitions that they interpret into conflicting claims.

      The theist world based on subjective experiences, personal interpretations and contradictory writings and dogmas, which I suggest is far more unreliable than science.

      IF religious beliefs and practices are becoming more benign. well and good. Europe had centuries of religious conflicts. The middle east is a religious mine field. Thousands of "wirches"killed (still happening in PNG). Suicide bombers and jihadists. Pogroms against Jews. The Jews doing over the Palestinians. The hate against homosexuals. The sexism. Scriptures commanding adulterers, homosexuals, sabbath breakers, and unruly children to be killed. Women as chattel. Triablism reinforced by religion. I suggest the clash of human rights versus religious intolerance and ignorance still continues today. Thankfully some doctrines have aspects promoting peace. Unfortunately the Abrahamic ones in particular have a lot of vile iron age morality. Still even Buddhists in Myanmar are killing minorities.
  • Jun 3 2013: I'm not sure what you are asking here. Faith and Science are opposite poles of the continuum that is the search for knowledge. Science observes and looks for behaviours and then postulates rules that allow predictions.
    Faith postulates an explanation for a behaviour and/or event that may or may not already have a scientific explanation and does so without any evidence.
    They can barely co-exist and I don't see how any useful conclusion can be drawn by using both religion and science on a topic to end up with a predictive system.
    Perhaps you can offer a hypothetical example???
    • Jun 3 2013: Your comment is most valued Gordon but dont you think that there are certain questions that may arise that faith or science cannot answer but they need eachother to solve because everything on this earth has a balance. Like take for example ying and yang isnt there a possibility that science and faith are thr natures to balance eachother ou?
      • Jun 3 2013: This is my question back to you. I can not anything that faith has answered and so I can not extrapolate it's help in a scientific endeavour.
        There are many answers that science can not currently answer. But they are being worked on by someone somewhere.
        Faith, unless I have not understood anything for 60 years, is based on unquestioning belief in the writings of an assumed authority. Generally this authority is hundreds of years dead and from a non-scientific environment.
        How can faith add to a conversation when it has not evolved or advanced since the middle ages?
        Can you offer a hypothetical question that faith is required in crafting a solution that is acceptable to both faith and science?
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      • Jun 7 2013: Hardly. Faith says that praying will make it better. Your kiss is just applied psychology.
        And not all parents will do both which you know if you have been reading the newspaper recently.
        I can't imagine that you disagree with faith being an unquestioning belief. It allows no discussion and will not change with evidence.

        As an aside, I often wonder what bone in your head makes you (religious types) quote singleton verses from the bible out of context and usually very little relevance?
      • Jun 8 2013: First of all I am not trying to be rude. I am pretty sure that would be more obvious were it happening.
        Secondly, Mathew 18:3 states that a person will not get into heaven unless they drop their existing worldly vanity, wealth and riches and adopt a humble attitude, drop your competitive spirit and accept that everyone is equal and drop any envious feeling towards others.

        I doesn't actually refer to children getting scrapes on their knees.

        See..Religious type quoting the bible out of context and relevance
  • Jun 2 2013: Both faith/religion and our quest for knowledge through scientific endeavors seems to be manifestations of the same thing; namely our drive to understand the world around us. And so i cant see they shouldn´t be able to co-exist.
    The only problem that i can see is that faith, classic religion in particular, tends to make it harder to accept better explanations, because one believes that the explanation that one possess is given by some divinity. Therefore i hold that for religion and science to work together in a meaningful way the individual must accept, that his or her faith might not always produce the right answer.
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          Jun 8 2013: Chris while you may believe there is science hidden in religious writings I suggest even if there is, modern science is doing just fine figuring stuff out without referring to religious writings.

          Do you need a modern scientific understanding to interpret the religious writings?

          Or can you read the religious writings unaided without a modern understanding and learn about chemistry, physics.

          Have these writings led to any scientific discoveries or technology or are you just taking your understanding from modern science and interpreting the scriptures to fit.

          Honestly I suggest any book could be interpreted to find some parallel with modern science. Just like tarot readers can look at a set of cards with and string together some intuitive story
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    Jun 8 2013: I suggest some can make a person accommodation between the 2 that works for them.

    Scientific findings may take precedence in the sphere of the universe we reasonably know to exist and faith may work around it, like the Anglican and Catholic churches accepting evolution and an old universe but still have theist beliefs.

    Others look to their religious dogmas first, like the bible is literally true and try and twist science to fit their beliefs.

    I suggest either science or faith can be pursued fine without the other. Just the scientific path will lead to technology that work such as medical treatments, penicillin etc whereas praying to a god to heal an infection works about the same as not praying. Faith alone may lead to a disconnect with reality and conflicting subjective views.

    I suggest with all our cognitive and social and psychological weaknesses, the modern scientific process and critical thinking in general have been the most profound human inventions, and the most powerful tool we have to reliably understand the universe and ourselves.

    Evidence versus relying solely on intuition, authority or subjective experiences and traditions.

    I agree with some below that in many ways faith based beliefs and evidence based beliefs are two completely different approaches. Although I acknowledge most theists or new age spiritual people or pagans etc mix a bit of both.

    I suggest the assertion that accepting naturalistic scientific evidence based findings as the best we have, and accepting we don't have all the answers, with faith in conflicting theist dogma, myths, different, supernatural agents.

    Faith in a donkey speaking, that the sun stood still in the sky, that jesus lives on planet kolob, that a flood covered the entire planet, and relying on an all powerful god concept that can be used to explain anything, and that you know what this being wants us to do, or any other contradictory religions related supernatural beliefs and explanations is not the same level
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    Jun 3 2013: Science when discussed gives rise to new ideas.

    Faith when discussed give rise to new ways of disagreements.

    Discuss science, avoid discussing faith.
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      Jun 4 2013: "Discuss science, avoid discussing faith"

      Adesh, I disagree with this statement.
      Discussing faith openly allows others to understand your belief system, and wouldn't that make for better communication between humans?
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        Jun 5 2013: Mary try disussing faith "openly" with persons of 2 major religions other than yours and let me know your experience.
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          Jun 5 2013: Adesh, which would you like to hear about?

          The conversation I had with the Egyptian man who is a Coptic Christian, or the one with the Indian nurse who is a Seikh, or the one with the Catholic deacon serving in the Sudan, or the one with the wife of a Baptist minister, or the one of the Hindu woman from Guyana?
          Or perhaps the ones with Jewish individuals, or born again Christians, or agnostics?

          In the last 21 years of my life I have had hundreds of conversations about faith with hundreds of individuals face to face, and on-line. Here in this country and abroad.

          I think it all depends on how you enter the conversation. Do you converse with others to show them you are right, and they are wrong? Or do you enter it with a spirit of sharing your beliefs, and to ask questions of the other individual?

          I find it rewarding to talk about faith. It allows me exposure to other's belief systems. And it allows me to see the similar mind sets that make us all seek a higher force. In the end I have been all the better for it.

          [edited name of country, my brain remembered the wrong name]
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    Jun 3 2013: Science and faith works perfectly well if not mixed and allowed to work indipendently.
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    Jun 3 2013: Hi Dana,
    In their purest forms both science & faith are a search for the truth. Science figured that we could put a man on the moon. It did all it's sums, then took a leap of faith & got the tea shirt. Both science & faith were required; most scientific discoveries require faith.
    Some religions run on pure faith; ie they have no scientific backing whatsoever. However many 'religions' are based on scientific evidence. My own Christianity was motivated by trying to understand what makes the universe tick.
    Where controversy tends to arise is when scientific data may be interpreted in more than one way. Then we have two sets of scientists of differing faiths contending for the high ground. Then we have to examine both sides of the argument & decide for ourselves; ON FAITH.

    • Jun 3 2013: Thank you Peter. I agree with you because of the fact science needs faith and faith needs answers to whatever questions it is may not be exactly answered
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      Jun 8 2013: Peter, they took some risks to get to the moon, but they did not pray themselves to the moon. They used science and technology.

      It never seizes to amaze me how some theists try to position accepting science as the best imperfect explanations we have and technology and human applications of it being fallible, yet we all hop in the car or train expecting it wont break down with faith in core supernatural claims.

      You probably believe in angels and demons and resurrections and speaking in tongues, an invisible spiritual realm and many other things for which there is no compelling evidence. And other things such as a 10,000 year old universe that clearly conflict with the best scientific understanding we have.

      I know evangelicals have spent decades coming up with ways to make some observations fit their dogma. In fact you can explain any natural phenomena or observation if you have the concept of an all knowing, all powerful being that could have made the universe look older than it is. I can interpret the tides as being due to natural forces and processes or I can say an invisible undetectable tide spirit controls the tides using the sun and moon. There are invisible beings responsible for gravity.

      Some creationist memes don't stack up against all the scientific data we have, like bacterial flagellum being irreducible, then we find they are etc etc.

      I suggest that not all interpretations of what we observe are equal.

      Again faith in the supernatural, or conflicting religious writings and dogma is an order of magnitude more subjective than a reasonable skeptical view that science offers the best explanations, and the subtleties around the well trodden and what is cutting edge.

      I guess you are skeptical about Muslim interpretations. To me the Christian ones have the same sorts of issues as the Muslim ones.
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    Jun 3 2013: G'day Dana

    Where did modern day science derive or evolve from initially? Philosophy & mysticism so yes they did work together just fine once & I think they can again. Science today is finding a lot about spiritualism altogether that it's not all hoogly-boogly stuff but of course this also proves to the spiritualists it's not of some divine providence either.

  • Jun 2 2013: Yes it is proof that science and faith can work together