I am.,

This conversation is closed.

Read my words and then tell me if science is a religion or not.


So I'll come right out and say it.
Science is a religion.

Why do I believe this to be true?
Because a religion can be a way to live for some, an explanation of life to others.
It is usually also meant to improve living, most religions have goals, end destinations like for example heaven or enlightenment.
One could say it depends on your definition of religion.

Science strives, or at least should strive, to improve life, explore reasoning etc etc.
It is also a way of life by a lot of people these days.
Science is trying to explain life.
Science is often held back by dogma's aswell as some religions are being held back. (in my experience)
Evolution and other scientific theories compete with religions sometimes.
Its one of the thousands of ways of looking at life and explaining it.

Its not often that people can have two different religions at the same time, though maybe this is explained by the fact that people don't usually look at science as a religion. (applied on to those with a religion)

I would love to hear more well constructed cons especially, since I am pretty empty here on the con side.
Also pro's would be welcome ofcourse.

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    Jul 29 2011: You can call it whatever you want dear.What matters is that you never stop searching for the truth.Have a nice day.
    • Jul 29 2011: Yes well I was not asking for any opinion on what matters, I was trying to discuss wether or not science itself should/could be looked at as a religion.
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        Jul 29 2011: Do you want it to look like a religion?
        • Jul 29 2011: Not really, I perceive it as one.
          Not that I bind myself to any religion however.
          And I agree to seek truth and knowledge.
        • Jul 29 2011: I fully agree with you, Arne,
          I believe that reality is better described in terms of "both"/ "and' rother than "either"/"or"
          And both believers and atheists suffer from the same "inbox" condition,
          which makes them difficult to talk to :-)
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        Jul 29 2011: If that's the case,than a religion it shall be.Have a nice day Arne.
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        Jul 29 2011: I think it should because it requires faith
        You cannot prove everything.
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          Jul 31 2011: And when it can't prove it, it doesn't claim to prove it. Science doesn't pretend to have it all figured out, it's an incremental process. No faith needed for theories.
  • Aug 6 2011: Science defines a system of knowledge based upon all things provable.
    Religion defines a system of beliefs based upon the un-provable.

    Science cannot be a Religion, because it is made of Fact.

    To believe there is no higher spiritual force or God, is already defined as Atheism.
    Atheism is also, NOT Science. To be simply unsure of the existence of God is Agnosticism.
    Neither is Agnosticism a Science. To believe in God or a higher force is Faith - sometimes expressed within Religion, sometimes not. Faith is NOT Science.

    To say "I believe in Science is incorrect"
    Science does not require belief - it requires understanding of factual data.

    There is NO good or bad here.
    Just correct use of language & definition.
    If Science could be defined as a Religion, it would NOT be Science.
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    Jul 29 2011: i guess you could see it as, older religions once seeked the truth, allegedly found it, and stopped. science has picked up the torch again and probably one day will claim to know, and stop as well, leading to a new search. or not, idk anything.
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    Jul 29 2011: Oh come on!
    Science: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science
    Religion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion

    I rest my case!
  • Aug 6 2011: Science is definitely not a religion. Other's here have explained this all too well.
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    Aug 3 2011: The difference between science and religion is obvious. Religion proclaims the ultimate truth while science knows anything to be true until they know better. Science is open for questioning and religion not. What more difference can there be?
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      Aug 2 2011: Sounds about right.
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      Aug 4 2011: Hi Eric

      "absolute proof or contact (even better) with another intelligent life form."

      Christianity claims just that; contact with another intelligent life form. If SETI received a list of prime numbers from outer space it would doubtless accept that as proof of extra terrestrial intelligence. We have decoded our DNA & found encyclopedic information therein. For some of us that is adequate proof of ETI but strangely for others it is not. We're a strange bunch !

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        Aug 4 2011: For some of you who don't actually don't work in the field of genetics and have actually never set eyes on a stretch of genetic code maybe.
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        Aug 4 2011: The Vatican has it own observatory Christianity is now look in to space to find some one to convert if ET was to land on earth the religious bunch would probably dispute ETs theory’s and say O you were created in the image of gods brother bob and fashioned out of adams other rib
        Sorry if it offend any one religious its just the mentality of some extreme people in my view
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          Aug 4 2011: Prime numbers...are you familiar with Carl Sagan's novel 'Contact' by any chance?
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          Aug 4 2011: Yes, that's right :"some religions would suffer cognitive dissonance and adapt the interpretation of their scriptures accordingly" it happened and it happen now , the religion , in fact our understanding of religion (saying it more correctly I think) suffered and will suffer cognitive dissonance : we are influenced by the time we live in therefore our understandings of religion (the books ) is influenced by the time we live in (it is influenced by the science known in our period too or it should be) .
          And about christians having contact with something extraterrestial : I don't think so , I think Peter used a literally interpretation of the Bible ( I think here is a problem with the language used and I also think there is no reason to talk about it with the non-christians, I don't know why Peter have done that ? ) .
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          Aug 5 2011: Hi Eric

          1. It proves to me that there is a master engineer. What would it take to convince you? I doubt if he could come up with anything more complex, that we could get our head around.

          2. God has proven himself to me many times, & to millions throughout history.

          3. Isn't it great how the mechanics of the universe are comprehensible to us. No earthly use in passing on our genes, but great for getting at the truth.

          4. People have ducked & dived over the years I agree. I sometimes get labelled a flat-earther due to church folks trying to prove it from the bible when it was all the vogue. Now we have popes & the like advocating evolution to appease the latest craze. The bible hasn't changed, the earth has always been round, & the creatures made by God in the first week. Non-Christians are susceptible to the herd instinct as well.

          5. I think you will find that many Christians are continually assessing their position in the light of current facts. If you have any that you would like me to consider then feel free.

          @ Eduard . Our creator (Jesus Christ) does not live on this planet at present. Therefore He is 'Extra-Terrestrial'. One day He will come on the clouds & land on earth, then there will be no doubt about who He is .

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          Aug 6 2011: Peter:
          Right in that point of history there will be no doubt about who He is (will be too late perhaps to find out) , but now there is no contact between us and extraterrestial beings (except perhaps spiritism).
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          Aug 6 2011: Hi Eduard

          I think it's just a language problem. I agree we have no contact with extraterrestrials as such. However we do have contact with God, He has given us ample proof in the form of DNA code. I was making the point that a simple message transmitted by an extraterrestrial would get our attention, but we do not accept such a clear sign of intelligence as DNA code. It's a paradox.

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          Aug 6 2011: Lately I have read an interesting book on religion and extraterrestrials and that man was created to bear the yoke(do the work) of the gods or extraterrestrials Its the 12 planet by zecharia sitchens He think he has deciphered Sumerian text and symbols thing like the sign for health two snake weaving in a double helix in use today and was in Egyptian times and as far back as Sumerian does it represent dna ? I don’t necessarily think his translation are right but it was an interesting read
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          Aug 6 2011: I don't know more than the basically things about the DNA code and I didn't read your comment (sorry ), I read only the Eric's one ................ I just wanna say that the christians don't have to accept if there aren't proofs for extraterrestial beings that we have had contact with them ( you know how everything in someone's mind can be turn against christianism ).

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          Aug 5 2011: Hi Eric

          The main reason this has importance (or not) lies in the truth (or not) of our ability to overcome death. So it is either A. Not important, or B. The only thing that matters. I'll assume you go with 1.

          1. Personally the whole setup is far too sophisticated to have happened by chance.

          2. The bible is full of history, much of it written before the event. It can be checked out. If that's not proof, then I can't prove Julius Caesar existed either.

          3. If the driving force of evolution is merely to propagate our genes, then where did we get such a surplus of brainpower that let's us understand the universe at all ?

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          Aug 6 2011: Hi Eric
          4. Correct! People have been fighting for eons about religion & any other reason they can come up with. People are funny that way; maybe there's something wrong with us.

          5. It's good to keep up to date, but I'm not aware of any modern discovery that would conflict with the bible. I am aware that there are web pages full of supposed candidates, but those I have checked don't hold water.

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          Aug 6 2011: 6. I'm not aware of any other human being in history who even claimed to be God, let alone one as well documented as Jesus. Many of the people who actually saw him after he rose from the dead died a martyrs death rather than recant. Note, they did not die for something they 'believed'; they died for something they actually witnessed. Pretty dumb if they knew they were lying.

          I agree with you regards religion; there is a lot of junk out there. Just be sure that it's not masking reality from you.

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          Aug 6 2011: I would hate to think folks who know me regard me as 'religious' in the accepted sense of the word. I never have, nor ever will be religious. My interest has always been in the nuts & bolts of it. What are we, what are we doing here, & where are we going ? How does the science stack up when it comes to the creation-evolution debate ? For me if it doesn't make sense in the real world, then I'm not interested; superstition doesn't come into it. The fact that the Middle East situation was foretold centuries ago, I find impressive.

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          Aug 6 2011: That's cool. Check it out, does it stand up to scrutiny in the real world. Only what is true & real is worth bothering about, & each of us can only answer for ourselves.
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          Aug 6 2011: Hi Eric
          I didn't have time yesterday, hopefully I've answered the majority of your points now.

          The bible indicates that there will be animals in heaven, but whether they will be the same ones as are on earth at present is unclear.
          Enjoyed chatting.

          Live long & prosper,
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          Aug 5 2011: I'll reply here to the message a few posts above. Contact is one of my favorite sci-fi books. You should absolutely read it. If not, you can watch the movie (not nearly as good though). But any way, the aliens contact planet Earth using prime numbers.
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    Jul 31 2011: I changed my mind, science is not a religion. I can explain why by using your example, where you said "Its not often that people can have two different religions at the same time" Well let's pretend science is a religion, and you choose christianity over science. Well on sunday morning, you wake up, brush your teeth, eat breakfast, and then go to church. The minute you walk into the church you are contradicting your self. Because the church, was not built with christianity, it was built with science. The mathematical, physical, chemical and biological facts required to be able to construct a church demonstrate that science cannot simply be a religion. It is the study of the natural world. Not a religion.
    • Jul 31 2011: So wait, construction is science?
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        Jul 31 2011: What was the process by which the properties of given materials was discovered. How did they get the arches and columns just right so as not to crumble? How do they know what to use to maintain it without eroding it? All these are questions answered with SCIENCE :-D
        • Jul 31 2011: So cooking is science aswell?
          Really depents on your perspective on science, because cooking and construction these days have nothing to do with it.
          Its just the construction of the thing, not the invention.

          In a certain way, yes, it would be science.

          But only the practise of known methods, not the inventing of methods.
        • Jul 31 2011: Cooking and Construction are absolutely based on scientific discoveries.

          I think the problem here is that you drew your conclusion before you asked the question. You seem only interested in reading and or supporting facts and opinions that support your predetermined conclusion.

          If you are asking the question then you need to be open to expanding your existing method of thinking because a question where you can only accept one answer no matter what facts or evidence are presented.. well.. its like how you have to approach religion..

          My assumption is that you are a very religious person (not denominational, just religious) and are looking to validate your thoughts that science is a bad thing. This does not do anyone any good and i hope you honestly think about what i said and look at how you are approaching this in the mirror and ask if you really wanted to hear anything other than validation of what you already thought.
  • Jul 30 2011: Almost no scientists or religious people would go so far as to simply "equate"
    Science and Religion.
    And neither do I,
    but to continue this discussion in fruitful way, let's agree that finding the similarities between two
    is not humiliating for either.
    Just forget about religious fanatics, the falsehood of some religious institutions, it's just the reflection
    of the state of our humanity,
    think about religion as a teaching, which depth is yet to be discovered.
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    Jul 29 2011:  
    “Its one of the thousands of ways of looking at life and explaining it.”

    But it (the Scientific Method) is the ONLY way where things can be tested and measured, with repeated results — where debunking current knowledge and theories improves the whole system. Try debunking religious theories, most believers would get defensive or just kick and scream.


    • Jul 29 2011: I fully agree with you.
      Yet who are we to say its not another form of religion?
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        Jul 29 2011: People who understand the English language and the concepts certain words refer to or not.
        • Jul 29 2011: Sorry come again? I didn't understand.
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          Jul 30 2011: Arne, your argument is a little like saying, "I think cats are dogs." Then you point out some similarities: both have four legs, tails, fur, two eyes, etc. Who are we to say cats are not dogs? Words have meanings that are pretty well defined by conventional use. By convention we make a distinction between the process of seeking knowledge via scientific inquiry and that of faith. Just because there are similarities and overlap does not mean they are equal.

          I think a better line of inquiry would be: how are science and religion similar and different? Does scientific knowledge depend on any sort of received truth? Why can't scientific truth ever be "necessarily" true and why does this matter? These are all much more interesting questions than the little linguistic game of reassigning verbal categories.
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        Jul 29 2011:  
        Do you ever see Sikhs inside a Catholic Church? Do you ever see Jews in a Buddhist Monastery? Do you ever see Scientologists in a Mormon Temple?

        Science is open to everyone. Science has no bubble. Science is not a religion.
        • Jul 29 2011: Hmm good point I'll give this some thought.
          Thoough I do know of some religions in which individuals are not necessarily ok with science.
          Some deny healthcare because of trust in God.
          That could be considered your bubble.

          Will get back on this later.
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          Jul 29 2011: Where is it written that religions are inherently closed? I agree that in being constructed there are certainly prescribed "borders" where religion is concerned; but I hardly think that being "open to everyone" makes science NOT a religion. Haha. It's highly structured, it doesn't allow for certain philosophies/understandings/lifestyles, and these days it is quite authoritarian. Why, pray tell, is there a need for a "Militant Atheist?" Sounds like "religious fervor" to me (much like "Bible thumpers," or "Bible toters").

          "The Truth" hardly needs to be combative, because "The Truth" just is. Whether people like it or not, acknowledge it or not, "The Truth" does not stop being what it is. If science is "The Truth," it doesn't really require militants. It requires facilitators in understanding and communicating, if anything. A militant is hardly that in most cases.

          Mind you, I am not religious or scientific. I am more like an .... Indigenous Cosmogian (that's a copyrighted phrase people, don't go "borrowing" it without asking).

          Further, I see Buddhists everywhere actually. Buddhism does not have a "God," so many Buddhists would argue that they are an organized faith, not a contrived religion.

          Also, what about Daoists? I have also seen Sikhs in many places.

          Perhaps, Emo Bear, it is that you do not often find yourself in any of these places? If not it would make sense that you never saw any other variation of religious person in any of them.
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          Jul 29 2011: Militant atheism, as its name indicates, is a stance taken by atheists, not scientists. That militant atheists often confront religious claims that are presented as scientific claims or that militant atheists tend to be high-profile scientists has no bearing on the inclusiveness or otherwise of science. You will not be denied medical treatment because of your views on religion or politics or whatever.

          Arne, your example baffles me. How does the self-infliction of a bubble affect science's inclusiveness. It's still inclusive of these people, it's just that these people chose not to be part of it.
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          Jul 29 2011: Hello Matthieu,

          Do you think it unfair of me to categorize an atheist as a scientist or science-worldview driven person?

          I do not think they are so far apart. Clearly, by your own example, there are "Militant Scientists" that call themselves "Militant Atheists."

          I am not arguing for or against science's inclusiveness. Though clearly it cannot be all inclusive, can it? By "inclusiveness" I'm not talking structurally in society (i.e. you may not have an abortion to save this mother's life), but theoretically with people who interact with the concepts of science (i.e. you cannot understand/believe in science and believe in intelligent creation).

          Let's discuss :o)
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          Jul 31 2011: That's an association fallacy. Because I'm a militant atheist and I also am a student in the sciences (I'm certainly not a scientist but we'll ignore that detail for now!) doesn't mean a militant atheist is always a scientist or a scientist a militant atheist. Would Francis Collins, the man at the head of the NIH, not qualify for the title of militant scientist (whatever this may mean), despite his unabashed Christianity? What about Dr. Kenneth Miller who won us the Dover Vs. Kitzmiller trial with some brilliant scientific demonstrations and yet is Christian? Also let's not forget that amongst militant atheists are a good measure of philosophers, journalists, artists and other such personalities.

          So yes it is entirely unfair. Especially to call an atheist a scientist. To be a scientist requires a scientific training, it's a job.
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          Aug 1 2011: Hello Matthieu,

          I agree with what you say about scientists and the scientific training required. Good point.

          I did also say, "science-worldview driven person" though. Would you agree that many atheists are "science-worldview driven people?" I'm also sure many of them don't care and don't think about existence zoomed out from their own societal interactions, but I'm inquiring after a particular kind of atheist with this question.

          I know there are Christian scientists, but I would definitely like some insight into how they get along in the scientific community. Is it an "agree to disagree," or do conversations amongst scientists tend to stick to only science? You may not have the answers to these questions, but I'm just posing them.

          As for "militant" anything, I think it is a poorly chosen stance. Militancy has the tendency to ENSURE that the lesson intended is not the lesson learned. It seeks to implement change by force that which can only truly be sustainable through understanding and acceptance. One can have resolve, courage and fierce loyalty to what they believe in...but what is good or useful about militancy? Seems it inevitably leads to blood, guts, less people and even less understanding.
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          Aug 1 2011: Science is not a worldview though. You can be scientifically-minded perhaps. But you can also be artistically-minded and that would not make art a worldview. Of course I would agree that many atheists are science enthusiasts and that these two things can feed on each other, but then what? Many religious people are too.

          I don't know what scientists talk about during their coffee breaks, but when you're doing science, why should your religious views or political inclinations be of any relevance but to yourself? Surely you're not suggesting that religion is a handicap for one who wishes to do science. It would be forgetting devout men who revolutionised the sciences such as Gregor Mendel or George lemaitre who both belonged to religious orders.

          I am sorry, but quite fail to see any reduction that could be made between militant atheism and militant science (what is militant science anyway?).

          Maybe 'activist' is a better word for the kind of militancy we're talking about here. Perhaps it is a bit of a mislabelling that other advocacies such as feminism and environmentalism have gladly suffered too. I certainly doubt that those who are called militant atheists fit in your image of militancy. Not sure how any of this relates to the conversation as hand seeing as we've established that militant atheism doesn't influence the status of science.
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          Aug 1 2011: Militant science would be Hegemonic science.

          Scientific experimentation during the Holocaust, for example. Or how Chinese scientists just mix different animal's DNA to create hybrid animals.

          Naturally, this is my opinion. But you were asking me.
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          Aug 2 2011: So following your line of reasoning which says that militant atheists are militant science by extension, militant atheists like me or Richard Dawkins would be okay with the kind of despicable experimentation that took place during the holocaust? That's just insulting. I'm just going to pretend for your sake you just didn't think this through. You're essentially equating militant science to Lysenkoism which isn't science at all. I'm not sure what you're on about when you talk about the Chinese making hybrid animals, but now I'm not sure I want to know.
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          Aug 2 2011: You telling me you haven't seen the panda dog and all the other easily youtubeable results of unnatural cross experimentation between animals?

          And actually you are right, I kept mixing up militant scientist and militant atheist in my head when I was writing the earlier responses. (Quite honestly though, the way some of you "militant atheists" respond to what people have to say on TED is quite condescending, patronizing and hegemonic. Many of the "militant atheists" interacting on TED feel they have found the truth, so they present it as if all other truths are immediately discreditable. Oppression starts with public discrediting after all, as religion has taught us so well). That being said, you are right that such positions of militancy should not be equated. I will not compare them in the same way again.

          However, militancy always starts out in a righteous format. I'd say be wary of it regardless of the word you choose to follow it.
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          Aug 2 2011: I googled the panda dog. It's a dog whose hair was dyed to look like a panda! Come on!!!!
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          Aug 2 2011: Yeah Sanyu, come on!? Do you even bother to check the critique against anything before sharing it?

          (I know this is Ad Homniem but I feel there is a need for this!)
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          Aug 2 2011: Jimmy & Matthieu,

          Do you mean trust the information flow out of China in order to verify their videos?

          I think it's up for grabs honestly.

          The fact that they may have spray painted a dog to look like a panda, which they very well may have (quite honestly I haven't looked at that video in a few years), does not mean they are not attempting and failing.

          The point of the example was more of the abuse of science. Perhaps Eugenics would have been a more congenial example for you two along with the Holocaust?

          It is a very small fraction of the point I'm making. But I see you must poke where there are holes. Fortunately, and with good guidance and clarity of mind it will continue to be so, I do not allow for many holes when presenting my arguments. It has to do with the fact that I tend to edit them as I interact with people. I see you two struggle with variation in response and I hope that together we might all make each other stronger debaters over time.

          It's 1AM now. I'm to bed.

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          Aug 2 2011: No that's not true actually, you do allow a lot of holes in your reasoning and when this reasoning gets deconstructed, you accuse people of being patronizing and condescending as though this was some killer argument. Saying that you don't trust the Chinese government (these dogs are big fad in Japan too by the way) doesn't somehow nullify how ridiculous that claim was. Take it from a bioinformatician, the kind of hybridization you're talking about is currently impossible and will be for years to come.

          I know what you're referring to with the holocaust. Social Darwinism is a prime example of Lysenkoism (unless maybe you think that science does say that the Aryan "race" is superior?):

          "the manipulation or distortion of the scientific process as a way to reach a predetermined conclusion as dictated by an ideological bias, often related to social or political objectives."-wikipedia

          By the way does that still sound like militant science to you? Surely militant science would stand for an attitude that is very pro-science. Does the distortion of science to fit an ideology really sound like a pro-science stance? If militant science is to be ideology-driven, then by all means we can look not only to political but also religious ideology. What is an example of religious Lysenkoism then? Intelligent Design perhaps? Yes that's a perfect example. So if we piece this grotesque view altogether we find that militant atheist that are by extension militant scientists; which is Lysenkoism, are in favor of Creationism....wait what?

          I think you need to rethink things a little bit.
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          Aug 2 2011: Good Morning Matthieu,

          I'm sure you expect that I must disagree with you. I have no issue admitting when I am mistaken in our debates, but I will only do so to the extent I find reasonable within my own worldview. Not everything you say is gold, particularly to me, and I will not as default accept your truth over my own. To expect me to do so is either presumptuous, simplistic or arrogant.

          Actually though, when I state that many "militant atheists" in TED conversations are patronizing, condescending and hegemonic, I'm telling you the truth. Do you not remember our very first conversation(s)? Didn't you learn something about the way you address what people say in that conversation? (By the way, my closing statement is still coming. I'm just marinating until the proper formation of words comes to me).

          If you don't believe that then I suggest we conduct an experiment.

          How about I create a question topic titled, "In your experience, have you been patronized or condescended to by someone who labels themself a 'militant atheist' within TED Conversations? Do you find that the 'militant' viewpoint tends to flirt with hegemony too obligingly?"

          As to the rest of what you've said up there I say we save it for another topic thread, as we are clearly straying from topic (I played my part in this) and using up posts and topic length to have this conversation that would be better spent on topic.

          Regarding "race," "science" and "superiority," we might better be served having that conversation here: http://www.ted.com/conversations/4089/what_can_science_tell_us_about.html (I have already begun on that topic a bit and would be happy to further discuss there).

          Finally, naturally I need to rethink much. I will be rethinking things and reperceiving things until the day I "die." It is the privilege of consciousness that I have the ability to do so, and a requirement for any evolving being that plans on going anywhere within infinity.
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          Aug 2 2011: I like how you totally avoided responding to my argument and just went into another ranting about your feelings. Maybe you should also measure the consequence of your words. Equating militant atheism with Lysenkoism is pretty brutal. Maybe if you put yourself in my position you'd understand the outrage. Lead by example. You and me, we do the same, you're just in denial about it.

          Also, a passage like "You telling me you haven't seen the panda dog and all the other easily youtubeable results of unnatural cross experimentation between animals?" is presumptuous and deserves all the shooting down it received.
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          Aug 2 2011: Look, dude. I get 2000 characters and it's really not enough to say all I would say in response and to you in general. Particularly in a forum where we are going off topic. If you would like to continue this conversation, then make a topic about it and we can talk it to death there.

          I assure you I'm not ranting, but I see you're a bit bitter about what I wrote. Sure it's not your feelings that are hurt?

          I haven't labeled anything "Lysenkoism," nor have I had the time in between doing my job and going about my life activities to give it the proper research that I'm sure it requires. I'm not going to speak on it until I do so. Particularly with someone who seems to feel they know so much about it. It would be a waste of my argument to speak on the topic prematurely.

          I do lead by example, difference is I'm used to dealing with people not agreeing with what I'm saying and not backing down from what their position is. I think perhaps you are not accustomed to this.

          You can shoot down my reference to mixed animal youtube videos all you want. I've hardly contested to that and I actually don't mind. If it's fake then my bad, but as you saw I could quickly call upon a completely different example to make the same point I was making with the poor example. You're just harping here and probably dislike that I'm often labeling you with unfavorable words. That's fair, but it's hardly my concern what you choose to take personally.

          Last but not least, I see you're not interested in my experiment (or taking this conversation to a more appropriate forum for that matter). I wonder why...
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          Aug 2 2011: Maybe because your experiment would not only be rude, but also against the TEDConversation rules.
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          Aug 2 2011: Clearly being rude is not an issue for either of us. Further, some of the most interesting social experiments involve "politically incorrect" behavior.

          Alas, I'm sure we both feel confidently about what would have been said anyway.

          Keep your head up, Matthieu. I'm sure we'll meet again in another conversation.
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      Jul 29 2011: I am glad you said "most".
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        Jul 30 2011:  
        I have some nice friends who are believers. They follow George Carlin's “Keep thy religion to thyself.” which I respect a lot.
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          Jul 30 2011: Emo....I would not call myself a religious person as far as doctrine and dogma are concerned. I do believe in God (who is not a being like me) and try to live by the Golden Rule. (:>)
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    Aug 2 2011: Science is more based on ideas that are more easy changed than a belief like religion .People are more likely to die for a belief than an idea. No one I hope anyway will die if the idea M theory is wrong or right
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    Aug 1 2011: "Read my words and then tell me if science is a religion or not." - It's not!
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    Aug 1 2011: The religion suppose the existence of a deity or a kind of reality which for us is impossible to be percieved physicaly , in religion everything gravitate around this , unlike science which is based only on measurable facts . Maybe sometimes the science with the religion overlap , in fact in my opinion they overlap all the time , when they don't there is a problem somewhere ............ but it's obvious that the science isn't a religion .
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    Jul 31 2011: My dictionary goes as follows :

    1. the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods
    2. details of belief as taught or discussed
    3. a particular system of faith and worship :
    4.a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance

    I think in this context we need to define science also. There is empirical science, which is the methodical search for advancement in the material world. It merges with engineering to give us all our modern gizmos. It would come under No.4 as I guess as most folk would ascribe importance to it.

    Then there is historical science which attempts to explain what happened in the past. This is a subject much beloved by TEDsters. This is much closer to religion :-
    1. This may include those who 'believe' in panspermia. The notion that we were seeded in the past by an intelligence greater than our own.
    2. This may include evolution from a common ancestor, abiogenesis, big bang, etc. There is no definitive proof, but many scientists buy into the ideas.
    3. Ditto No. 2.
    4. This also fits the definition of religion, as many attach supreme importance to the subject.

    So it is fair to say that there is a big overlap between science & religion. This is clearly understood by the religion side, but doesn't go down too well with the science folks.

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      Aug 1 2011: Panspermia is not a scientific theory or even a hypothesis, it's just an idea. It has been suggested as a possibility, but nobody believes it to be the case (those who do aren't doing science).

      Evolution from a common ancestor is a corollary of the theory of evolution being valid and is backed up by evidence, in particular genetic evidence.

      Abiogenesis is a hypothesis based on what we know is possible according to the law of physics. It is a hypothesis though, which competes with other hypotheses. Which hypothesis becomes a theory will depend on what the science reveals. Maybe we'll never know. Science doesn't claim to be able to find all the answers present or future. All the answers it does not have, it does not ask people to take some pseudo-answer on faith.

      The big bang is a sound theory which has been experimentally demonstrated. You can tune your TV between channels to hear the cosmological background radiation (probably doesn't work if you've got digital TV). Just because you can't understand the evidence, doesn't mean it isn't there (argumentum ad ignorantiam).

      There is an overlap of science and religion. But not in the ways you've suggested. I'd say this overlap doesn't go down to well with you as you cling on to preposterous ideas like Noah's ark, Genesis and Young Earth Creationism, despite the clear scientific evidence to the contrary.
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        Aug 1 2011: Hi Matt

        When does an idea become a hypothesis. Panspermia has been a popular idea for some time now.

        Evidence for one kind of creature becoming something else would be gratefully received by all.

        What law of physics makes abiogenesis possible ? Biogenesis is a law of physics, & of course rules it out.

        Why should background radiation lead one to assume a big bang ? Apparently space is 2 degrees above absolute zero, which could equally be explained by stellar radiation.
        What is scientific about nothing exploding & producing hydrogen which zips away in all directions, then changes vector & clumps together & forms stars with planets twirling round them every which way. Everything roaring through space at great speed, but never running into one another. Contrary to known science and common sense. Oh I forgot, it's the Dark Matter that makes it ok. What is that; we don't know, but it's there all right.

        Oh I hate it when I do that ! I like to be polite, but sometimes need to let off steam.

        Nice to talk

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          Aug 1 2011: In what universe is panspermia a popular idea? In what universe does an idea become a scientific hypothesis on the sole merits that it is popular?

          We've already had this conversation about biogenesis. There is a immense difference between spontaneous generation [fully formed species as we know them arising ex-nihilo](which yes, is obviously impossible) and abiogenesis which is about the assemblage of atoms into self-replicating molecules (which by all accounts is possible given what we know about physics and chemistry). Actually spontaneous generation sounds more like Creationism then abiogenesis. Do tell what the theory behind a woman being made out of a man's rib is. As usual, your incredulity faced with science astounds me given the things you believe without evidence.

          I have given you one piece of evidence for the Big Bang. The synthesis of all the evidence points to a Big Bang. The Big Bang is not an explosion, despite its name given by Fred Hoyle who wasn't a fan (that was before all the evidence came in) and to say that there was nothing before the Big Bang is mere speculation. One cannot determine anything before the Planck limit, some time after the Big Bang. Your description of what happens after the Big Bang is amateurish and wrong which might explain why you're so puzzled. Read some more science, it's never too late.
        • Aug 6 2011: Pete,

          1. You got it wrong. Panspermia is the idea that life came to our planet from another place (example: bacteria falling here transported in meteorites), not that it was "seeded by an intelligence greater than our own." As such, it has been a hypothesis. But the important point is that I can attest that it has never been popular among scientists. I truly mean never, ever. Some famous scientists have thought about it (again, without the "intelligence" bit), but that is far from being popular.

          2. Evidence of one creature becoming something else? What do you mean exactly? Something like a bacterium going from commensal to parasite? Something like a cat giving birth to a dog? If the latter, I would not welcome such a thing. It would mean that there is much more to evolution than we thought. That there might be processes in nature that we had no idea about. We would have to rethink all about how evolution happens, and which processes are involved.

          3. Yes, the laws of physics make abiogenesis very possible (see my other answers below). Biogenesis is not a law of physics. It does not rule out abiogenesis in any possible way. But Matt answered this quite well.
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        Aug 2 2011: Hi Matt

        You are the scientist of the two of us.

        Ist Law of Thermodynamics. "Matter can neither be created or destroyed".
        Where did the hydrogen come from ?

        2nd Law of Thermodynamics. "Natural forces tend towards chaos."
        Where did the organisation come from ?

        Boyles Gas Law(s). "Gas will expand to fill the space it inhabits."
        Why did the gas cease expanding & 'clump'?

        Law of conservation of momentum. "A body will continue on it's trajectory unless acted upon."
        Why did the hydrogen change trajectory ?

        Ditto angular momentum.
        Why is everything in the universe not spinning in the same direction?

        Sure I'm amateurish; I'm an amateur. Serious scientists have come up with these basic laws, they work in the real world, and have stood the test of time. Am I missing something, or are the Bangers stomping all over them? Simple questions, how about some simple answers.

        As for Genesis, I take that on trust, because God has been faithful to me. I admit much of my belief relies on faith. You claim the mantle of science, so you should have answers to the above inconsistencies.

        ps. Biogenesis is the theory that living things come only from other living things. That's never been proven wrong either.
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          Aug 2 2011: All the laws of physics apply within our universe so the 1st law of thermodynamics is not violated in any way. I've already made the point (although you stubbornly ignore it because after all, you can only work with what Creationist websites give you) that there is no certainty as to what happens before the Planck wall. That from nothing came everything is not at all a requisite of the Big Bang theory, even if it's what is popular belief (not science).

          The 2nd law of thermodynamics states that in a closed system, entropy tends to decrease". This is exactly what is happening, entropy is globally decreasing in the universe. This does nothing to the capacity of a system to organize itself, but obviously the energy exerted in getting to that state of organization will be partially lost because of this law. Seriously Peter, why would science derive a law that is contradicted every second of every hour by our observation of the universe? Did it ever occur to you "mmmh maybe I can't piece this and that together because my knowledge is incomplete"?

          That's not Boyle's gas laws. Are you having fun throwing these laws at random at the problem? Where do you get these anyway?

          The two following objections are based on your understanding of what happened which is wrong.

          The serious scientists you refer to are the same in the case of those laws and in the case of the Big Bang theory. The distinction you insist upon in your head only exists in your head. The scientific community is not separated by science that Peter Law believes in and science that Peter Law doesn't believe in. Those are not inconsistencies of science you speak of, they are the inconsistencies in your knowledge. But you're right, I do claim science as a beacon of truth and I do believe that it trumps ridiculous Young Earth Creationist claims.

          ps. No and stubbornly repeating it won't make it true.
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        Aug 2 2011: Hi Matt

        So because the 1st law is violated outside this universe that's ok ? Ok i'll give you that.

        I think you're getting mixed up. 2nd Law states entropy (disorder, randomness, useful energy) will INCREASE in a closed system. The universe is a closed system. If it gets more organised (entropy decreases) then it goes counter to the law.

        Boyles Gas Law boils (sorry) down to the equation. Pressure x Volume = Constant. So as the volume increases (driven by the pressure), the pressure decreases. In a vacuum, to maintain the constant the pressure can never reach zero, so the volume always increases. (Theoretically). Therefore my shorthand about gas expanding to fill a void. Like you say, I'm an amateur.

        I learned these things in physics at school 40-odd years ago, before websites were invented. My head is just fine, there are two schools of thought on this; I'm in the other one, that's all.

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          Aug 2 2011: Yes I meant increasing sorry, it's order that decreases. Entropy increases globally even if it may decrease locally (at a cost of course).

          For gases in the Universe you have to take into account the forces of gravity. Boyle's law will work fine on Earth where pressure is set.
        • Aug 6 2011: Pete,

          1. The first law is conservation of matter and energy. Matter can transform into energy and vice versa.

          2. The second law is what makes everything possible. It is not about disorder, but about probability. That everything tends to a more probable state makes energy flow in one direction, like water will pour down, which makes any process possible. Otherwise we would not be able to channel energy for anything. This is why high-quality energy makes life and evolution possible, as well as our machines possible. Thus, entropy ***explains*** life and evolution, rather than contradicts any of them. Your quacks got it all wrong out of misunderstanding (most probably on purpose) and clinging too hard to that misfortunate use of the word "disorder" when referring to entropy.

          3. Boyle is fine for your little gas container, not for a universe and quantities of mass way above anything Boyle ever worked with.

          4. Momentum? Hydrogen and everything "change direction" because of gravitation. Gravitation is what "acts upon."

          I will make it easy for you: when we fire a cannon, why does the cannonball fall back into earth rather than go and escape our planet? What's acting upon it to change its trajectory? You might now see that you had answers to your "mysteries" all along.
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        Aug 3 2011: Hi Matt

        Glad we got that sorted. What I am still waiting for is a scientific explanation of the points I started with.
        Let's just go with the 'clumping' gas problem.
        We have pressure moving the atoms apart, we have the force of the explosion moving them apart. The only gravity in existance is within the atoms themselves. Why should they (scientifically) come together ?
        I hunted down one answer which invoked Dark Matter, but to me that's just like saying 'God did it'. Have you got a rational scientific explanation ?

        • Aug 6 2011: Pete,

          We went through all of this. Don't agree with me. That's fine, but not paying attention? Well, let me refresh your memory:

          Gravitation makes those "clumps." The link you found about "dark matter" is, first, a link to popular science, second, about a recently discovered clump, not about every clump ever formed in the history of the universe, let alone the first ones (I don't know if dark matter matters or not for the first clumps, but gravitation alone explains them, no need for anything else).

          The thing you should remember: your quacks love the idea that were it not for whatever acceleration during the Big Bang the universe would have collapsed back into a singularity by its own gravitational pull. Your quacks use this to conclude "designed." Remember? So, even quacks accept, from time to time, that lots of stuff can collapse by its own gravitational pull.

          Little randomness in the expansion and formation of hydrogen atoms, during the Big Bang are responsible for "clouds" of hydrogen compacting into heir own gravitational field. There is no arguing against facts Pete, lots of matter will collapse because of gravitation. We see clouds of matter starting to collapse by their own gravitational pull all over the universe today. They look exactly as predicted by gravitational theory. No way around. Again, facts trump misinformation. Stop thinking of the universe as your household little gas container. They are far from being comparable. Just look at a little bit bigger scale, our atmosphere. Do you really think our atmosphere's atoms are perfectly and evenly distributed? Do you see that our gravitational pull keeps it from escaping completely from the planet? Imagine much more mass than our planet and you might start to understand. there is no mystery whatsoever as to why hydrogen would collapse all the way to form stars.

          Please understand scale first. I repeat, scale.
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        Aug 7 2011: Hi Gabo
        A lot of stuff. From the top :-

        Panspermia : Regardless of the meaning of the word, it is not empirical science. It is an idea.

        Macro Evolution : Any creature changing to any other creature with new features, not programmed in the original. If it can happen by 'mutation by way of natural selection', shouldn't we be able to do it in the lab?

        Abiogenesis : It has never been done, it cannot be replicated, what makes it scientific ?

        First Law. I agree, but the Big Bang seems to require creation.

        2nd.Law I agree, it is like water flowing down a hill. As it flows the potential for useful work is degraded. The universe is degrading, the sun is degrading, my body is degrading. The only way round is to apply energy in a targeted fashion, which will give a temporary reprieve eg. photosynthesis. If you are right about evolution via mutation, then we have a downhill cause producing an uphill effect. Not impossible I grant you, but against every other principle that we can observe. We should be able to observe this happening.

        Clumps : Why exactly does scale matter ? We have a hydrogen atom with gravity G, and repellant force R. R is always greater than G, so what will attract them ? these atoms are spread more thinly in space than in any lab. Granted once the heavier elements come along we have the possibility of attraction; but in a space vacuum with only hydrogen present? Where is the evidence ?

        To me this is just simple physics, I don't need quacks at all. If you can show me that there is another law relating to gas in a VERY BIG vacuum then I will try & get my head around it, but so far I have not found one.

        • Aug 7 2011: Hi Pete,

          Panspermia can be empirical science if people find ways to test it. But the point was: it has never been a popular idea.

          "Macroevolution" happens over eons. Yet, we have witnessed lizards evolving new intestines structures passing from a carnivorous diet to a herbivorous one. In the lab we have produced completely new protein activities with random mutation, selection, recombination. What problem thus for "macroevolution"? We don't expect though an instantaneous passing from one form to another. Clear?

          Abiogenesis is scientific because we can test features that make it possible.

          I don't see why the Big Bang would require "creation."

          2nd law. Nothing mysterious about energy going downhill to get something else going uphill. It happens all the time. Examples: water gets into clouds, our machines work, life reproduces. Actually, much more energy goes downhill than whatever gets uphill. What's the problem thus for evolution? There is enough energy to produce lots of variable individuals for selection to prune. Some scientists have calculated how much energy would be required, and, even in its worse case scenario, there has been many times more energy coming from the sun, than would be required to evolve life on earth.

          Scale matters because at such scales randomness will do much more than you expect, because as huge numbers of atoms are present they'll exert much more gravitational forces to the point they'll overcome any repeal. Atoms spread thinly in space will not clump Pete. But atoms concentrated in places will. Atoms are not uniformly distributed (randomness). Also, remember that the universe was not instantly this big, meaning even further atom concentrations at the beginning.

          We witness clouds of hydrogen collapsing today. We witness the matter spread by supernovae re-collapsing today. The equations about the process predict exactly what we see. What other evidence do you need? Simple physics is for simple problems, not for universes.
        • Aug 7 2011: Pete,

          I can't find any easy way to explain what seems so clear. Maybe there is something missing in your education. I would not dare to ask you to just believe me. What I ask is that you should not use arguments for which you will not understand the answers. That would be dishonest. If you require much more study, then study. If you don't have the time, then don't study, but stop acting as if there are no answers. Answers are there a plenty, but you refuse to understand them. I have tried. I don't know what else to do, other than ask you not to act as if I explained nothing. Should I find a simpler/clearer way to explain it, I will. But for now it seems like there is an unsurmountable barrier in the way you see things that will not let you see the mistakes in using simple physics that fail even at the smaller scale of cannonballs shot in this planet. Basic physics principles might be correct to a point. But the situations you imagine are not. You fail to see the bigger picture in the same way a naive student might fail to calculate a cannonball's trajectory because of thinking of momentum alone while forgetting friction and gravity. Nothing else I can do about it.

          Best and have a great week.
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        Aug 8 2011: Hi Gabo

        We could bat this back & forth for ever; hopefully folks enjoy reading it. Maybe we should start the mutual frustration society. We are certainly at opposite ends of the spectrum.

        You have a good week too Ol' Buddy.

        • Aug 8 2011: Hi Pete,

          I don't see why you would be frustrated. I understand everything you said. That I know it to be plainly wrong should not make you feel frustrated. If you feel frustrated instead because what I explain shocks with your beliefs and misconceptions, then it is not my fault, but yours. I give you this further bits: Why is it so hard for you to acknowledge that large scale makes a difference in the pictures you draw? You don't even need new laws applying only to gases in a huge void. All you need is understanding that there is more than just one thing going on at such scales and quantities. Why won't you understand that a student will fail to calculate a trajectory when taking into account one law of physics alone while real life involves more than just one thing interacting? Why would you talk about scientific theories being against scientific principles and common sense, when it is scientists who work these things out and when "common sense" can be trumped by reality? You have heard all of this, yet you cling to ignoring what we say, then rinse and repeat as if we said nothing?

          I seriously doubt that you were convinced by the bible about the existence of any gods. I seriously doubt that you search for truth. You accepted your beliefs as truth, then accommodated everything else into it. Otherwise you would read much more carefully. Otherwise, at the very least, you would understand that scientists know science much better than your quacks and than yourself. Could they be wrong? Sure, but do you seriously think that quacks know science better than real scientists? Do you seriously think scientists would be wrong in your favour? More importantly when I have shown you so clearly about their "mistakes"? (Even if you don't understand most of what I say, you sure understand one or two things, don't you?)

          Anyway, yes, I feel frustrated, but mostly because I give you an answer, then you repeat your "point" instead of trying to understand what I said.

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        Aug 8 2011: Hi Gabo

        I'm afraid I just don't agree with you on clumping. I understand about the canon ball; we have the earth exerting gravitational force on it. I can understand present time gas clouds being pulled into stars, black holes, even planets. Makes perfect sense.

        However at the BB what we are talking about is hydrogen atoms flying off in all directions from a central point. There is nothing else, just hydrogen atoms. Hydrogen atoms repel one another in a vacuum. They are in a vacuum, therefore they repel one another. On top of this they are flying through a vacuum propelled by an explosion. They will just keep going, there is no friction to stop them; there is no gravity to stop them. It doesn't matter whether they are uniformly distributed or not, they will just keep going. Very soon they will be thousands of miles apart.

        There are many problems with the BB, of which this is only one. Many scientists realise this. I am an amateur, I realise that, but the fact that lots of scientists know better than I do is not the answer. What is the force that regular scientists say is responsible for turning the hydrogen from it's chosen trajectory ? I thought that was a simple question, when I put it to Matt, but as yet neither of you have come up with an answer. I could just believe you, but that would be faith,

        • Aug 8 2011: Of course we have given you an answer in several different forms: gravitation. This is exactly why they clump together today, that's exactly why they clumped together back then. Matt also told you that the BB was not an explosion. The BB is an expansion of the universe, meaning it was not hydrogen flying in all directions in a vacuum (read about the BB from reputable sources, why keep a straw man in your mind?), but appearing and distributing in space as space was being made itself. Imagine all the matter in the universe in a much smaller universe. Hydrogen was not present from the very beginning, but formed during the first stages of the BB (from energy, and it was not just hydrogen but helium too). I told you that concentrations were unimaginably higher since the universe was not this big, and that huge concentrations of hydrogen will collapse under their own gravitational pull (which is perfectly well established). What else is there to miss?

          That hydrogen would form clumps is not a problem for the BB at all. No a single scientist would say such would be a problem with the BB unless it is one who ignores physics. Why do you repeat this despite so many answers? Yours was a simple question charged with misconceptions, and I tried to fix the misconceptions and gave you a simple answer: gravity, gravity. It is humungous amounts of hydrogen, thus gravitational pull. I am not asking you to just believe me, I am asking you to understand that your question has an answer, and that it is up to you to understand the answer. I can't do anything else. How can you say we did not answer? What's then all those posts above? Empty space?

          Darn Pete, this went over my tolerance limit. I'm off for a good while. Just read what I and Matt told you then I double dare you to say again that we did not answer. Say that you don't understand and that you don't believe us, that will be fine, but saying that we did not answer. Come on ...
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          Aug 10 2011: You know Peter, I keep thinking back to that comment you wrote about discovering the Bible at a later age in life and being absolutely taken aback by how well it fits with our scientific knowledge at the time. All I can say is that our conversations reveal how flawed your understanding of science is, so supposing your conversion story is true, you owe your Christianity to a misunderstanding. Not that I didn't realise this earlier. I still remember that brilliant conversation where you revealed that you use to believe in evolution and that made you view black people as inferior. That's something that's not easily forgotten, that was a gem. Here it is in fact:

          "When I was young I guess I was an evolutionist. I believed; like many others; that black people were 'less-evolved"; that made sense. We were also taught that we had dozens of body parts that were no longer required, & most kids had their tonsils out. Today of course we know that all humans are exactly alike, & all our bits have useful functions. Now we are told that we have 'junk DNA'; ie stuff left over from our evolution; Oh Yeh!"
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        Aug 10 2011: The question !

        Clumps : Why exactly does scale matter ? We have a hydrogen atom with gravity G, and repellant force R. R is always greater than G, so what will attract them ?

        The Answers !

        because as huge numbers of atoms are present they'll exert much more gravitational forces to the point they'll overcome any repeal. (10^10*R > 10^10*G)

        We witness clouds of hydrogen collapsing today (Heavy elements exist today)

        Maybe there is something missing in your education.
        you should not use arguments for which you will not understand the answers. (?)

        Answers are there a plenty, but you refuse to understand them. (?)

        Why is it so hard for you to acknowledge that large scale makes a difference in the pictures you draw? You don't even need new laws applying only to gases in a huge void. All you need is understanding that there is more than just one thing going on at such scales and quantities

        Sure, but do you seriously think that quacks know science better than real scientists?

        and that huge concentrations of hydrogen will collapse under their own gravitational pull (which is perfectly well established).

        It is humungous amounts of hydrogen, thus gravitational pull.

        So it seems Boyle's Law breaks down at massive scale, can anyone cite any references for this? All the places I try seem to treat it as a 'given'. Surely there must be some hard science/maths behind the assumption ?

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        Aug 10 2011: Hi Matt

        Glad you are entertained by my musings. You are too young to have been around in the 50's & 60's, but you maybe read that we had just been through a war with some guy determined to build the 'Master Race'. I didn't take biology, but it was heavily influenced by a book called :- "The Origin of Species, by The Preservation of Favored Races". You may have heard of it. The same book kept cropping up in my search for the truth. It was becoming unfashionable to talk about it, but if this book was true, then we should expect humans to be at different levels of evolution.
        Today we know what the bible told us all along; that all men are equal; is biologically accurate. So it lets guys like you take a cheap shot at folks struggling to work it out in the past.

        Why not educate me further & give an answer to the question above; it's been bugging me for ages.

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          Aug 10 2011: Hitler didn't take biology either and last time I checked Darwin's work said nothing about Aryan superiority or Jewish inferiority. Shall we measure the truth of science by the lunatics who failed to understand the science? Do you honestly think that social Darwinism has anymore scientific validity then say Deepak Chopra's quantum healing therapies?

          The book, as you refer to it as though it was some mysterious book nobody has heard of, only mentions human beings in a sentence which starts with "light will be shed on the origin of Man". To say this heavily influenced eugenics is a tall order. Also the fact that you talk about humans beings at different levels of evolutions proves to me that through all these years you still, still don't understand evolution. What levels? Relative to what? We're talking real evolution, not pokemon.

          Having said all this, you confirm what I said, that your vision of science was colored by the prejudices of your time and not actually strict good science. Also you can give me all that blabla about the Bible having said all along that human beings were equal but I fail to see any example in history where Christians as a united front were ahead of their time in a way that other groups weren't

          And today many of you still won't accept that homosexuals be given equal rights. Equality of all men. Yea, give or take a few exceptions...

          Also, Man created in God's image but Woman made out of a man's rib? Interesting metaphor for equality...

          No I will not answer your previous post because it's a pain in the arse to be told that you didn't provide an answer when you did. Also this is my last post to you here.
        • Aug 11 2011: Pete,

          The complete title of Darwin's book is: "On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life."

          I know you took your lines from creationist propaganda, but you should be a bit more careful before blaming Darwin for Hitler on the basis of a misunderstood title. For honesty's sake I invite you to read any of the editions of the book found for free right here:

          I dare you to find there anything justifying Hitler's genocide, or the idea that some humans are "more evolved" than others. But do it yourself. Twisted quackery is not allowed. Please also investigate how the word "races" was used in Darwin's times, a word referring to species varieties, but abandoned much later when it became so associated with human group discriminations. Darwin tried hard to show that we were united by our common origins. He worked hard to show that apparent differences (those he witnessed in his times) were cultural rather than biological and that there was no reason for discrimination. You would be astounded by such a guy talking so openly about our unity in times when racism was perceived as a given.

          I know about the many quotes twisted by your quacks. I invite you to go to darwin online, and find the quotes in context. Read them very carefully and what's around. Get your own conclusions and stop repeating lies handed down to you by demagogues.

          You of all people, knowing about the difference between eisegesis and exegesis, should know about putting texts into their proper historical context. More importantly if you witnessed turbulent times yourself. Times that changed even innocent wording for fear of confusion. Make your life count Pete. Believe in God as much as you want, but have your experience teach you better than quackery does.


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    Jul 30 2011: Science could be categorised as a religion, however, no other religion has as many proofs than that of science. Modern science finds a theory, experiments and tests the theory, and then makes a conclusion as to whether the theory fits the phenomena. Most religions are usually passed down over the last hundreds/thousands of years yet science has always been around, developing technology since the beginning, be it a rock used as a chisel or an international space station.

    Another important point to consider is: Science is the study of chemistry, physics, mathematics and technology. Religion is not a study but more of a philosophy of life and it's origin.
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    Jul 29 2011: The essence of the belief system that I have grown into and the NDE (http://bit.ly/NDEresearch) which I would call the "anomaly" of all belief systems (belief systems being only based on "faith") and non-theist convictions (the anomaly of scientific evidence of higher dimensions) has so far shown me our fundamental unity.

    It seems that our aversion to "religion" does not warrant labeling science as such and more so when our scientific minds are more elegantly expressed with impeccable humanism.

    On the other hand, our aversion to "science" does not warrant labeling religion as such and more so when our understanding are more elegantly expressed with selfless service.
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    Jul 29 2011: Science tolerated, tolerates and will tolerate people who took ,takes and will take all it's advantages, to enjoy those full then just rejected, rejects & will reject it, that tolerance is not there in religion. So science is not a religion.
    • Jul 29 2011: Well even if that is true, I will not go into that, that would only prove its different from most religions as we know them. Does not necessarily prove that it is not a religion.
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        Jul 29 2011: I agree you can defintely disagree.
        My view is Intolerance, Blindness are two salient features of religion & Science stands high opposing those.
        So Science is not religion.
        • Jul 29 2011: Yes agreed, blindness and intolerance can oftenly be applied on religion these days.
          Not all religions however.

          And science itself, this very day, has much potential.
          But is far from perfect.
          It is not fully used to serve mankind.
          Oftenly it is used for profit rather than progress.
          Same for religion however, the profit thing.
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        Jul 30 2011: Arne, when you say "Not all religion however"
        Can I get your perspective which religions (as defined by dictionary not in the sense of this debate) are free from those two features & how ?

        This debate is not about perfection of science or whether it serves fully mankind or not (though mankind possibly getting all the best out of science so far not denouncing other subject like, art , literature, sociology, economics etc etc).

        When we call something to be PERFECT the no notion is no need of change , which science is not, it eveloves with better understanding , with new findings , with renewed curious effort of scinece etc.
        Yes in present economic system success comes only if it is profitable that applies on all most everything.
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      Jul 29 2011: You paint with an awfully broad brush.
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        Jul 30 2011: That's the BIG Picture
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          Jul 30 2011: Salim...Maybe you are not seeing the whole Big Picture ?
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        Jul 30 2011: Not may be Helen, it's certainly, I am evolving, not static not blocked not blind so my BIG Picture will evolve as will be knowing more.

        Who saw the whole BIG Picture do you know ?
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        Jul 31 2011: Didn't I include myself beforehand with certainity ?
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    Aug 19 2011: Next up, Read my words and then tell me if art is a religion or not. Another pointless debate based on some lose similarities between the two concepts that have nothing to do with their actual nature. Get ready for a total redefinement of what the words 'religion' and 'art' in the sole attempt to be absolutely right. It's just so cool to say something that sounds controversial.
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      Aug 21 2011: I would have to say art is the closest thing to religion there is. When you get someone with no creativity put a blob of paint on canvas give it some weird meaning and all the rich hobnobs pay mega bucks for it. If the so called artist was to die they may become idolised and the price of that blob of paint increases insanely. It sounds like most religions to me
  • Aug 13 2011: Wowee. THIS conversation has really veered off topic. No complaints though - very interesting debate!
    • Aug 14 2011: Well, I think it was quite easy to show that science is not a religion. Also, the veering off topic was kind of predictable. While I don't think that Arne had any other thing in mind but what his perception of the issues were, there are religious groups desperately trying to convey the message that either science itself, or some scientific theories and findings, are religious in nature or at least in the background. This in order to be able to ban the teaching of whatever scientific findings they don't like for conflicting with their religious beliefs. Thus, it is only natural for creationists to come and see what this is about. After all, they hear that science is a religion from the pulpit. Since, of course, people with scientific inclinations will come to set this straight, well, you get the recipe for this "creationism versus science" discourse.
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    Aug 6 2011: If Science is a religion then Scientist are Gods?

    imagine the host of myth buster, make it the whole crew of the show playing, experimenting our life?

    Its true that we want to improve life, like doctors for example... life is not always a happy ending that everytime we leave
    the hospital everything is a-okay. Imagine yoursefl a surgeon trying to save your patients life but at some point you failed.

    It is in our good intent to live a good life thats why we appreciate what Science can offer to us but still it is based on a "trial and error" approach until perfected. lots of sacrifices have to made which i dont aggree for lots of injustices will happen.

    Science can be manipulated and there are lots of people who have been left out there that can end up being your chimps and hamsters in your so called "laboratory experiment", your playing god experiment. like the example above at some you will fail.
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    Aug 5 2011: Hello Arne,

    i chose to "tear down" your pros.

    "Science strives, or at least should strive, to improve life, explore reasoning etc etc."
    - you cannot say that science is similar to religion by saying that they both explore reasoning. Religion does not explore reasoning, but instead explores sophism that is the opposite of reason. Secondly, you can't say science improves life and therefore is a religion. The toaster or the television surely improved our life and you probably do not idolatrate these objects.

    -"It is also a way of life by a lot of people these days. "
    and so is parachuting and we don't call it a religion, but a way of life. Furthermore, people don't leave according to science laws... because there are none.

    "Science is often held back by dogma's aswell as some religions are being held back."
    - i think that the only scientific dogma is that there are no miracles, only unexplained events. And this dogma does not hold back science, on the contrary, it "incentives" scientists to dig deeper, to find an explanation to everything.

    "Evolution and other scientific theories compete with religions sometimes."
    - i don't agree. i don't want to seem offensive, but i think scientific theories can't even be compared to religious theories and for the sole reason that religions do not present any kind of proof. Their theories are based in faith and scientific theories are based in scientific principles. Math cannot be compared to guessing.
  • Aug 4 2011: I thank all of you for your input.
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    Jul 31 2011: Faith is needed to be a scientist.
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      Jul 31 2011: Actually it's not Helen http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faith#Criticism
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        Jul 31 2011: Jimmy...Actually I think you have to have faith in yourself to be a scientist. I go with Socrates "The only thing we know is that we do not know" We all live by faith. Nothing comes to us directly. And that's my definition of faith. It does not necessarily associate itself with religion.
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    Jul 31 2011: Salim....You asked me so I told you. Unless you know it all and have nothing to discover then you really don't have the "Big Picture" (:>)
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      Aug 2 2011: Definitely I am not a "Know It All Person" but even than I have my BIG Picture with in my limit in my own way , which other may find difficulty to see whole, that's usual also.
  • Jul 30 2011: Religion is a belief, a community, a feeling, an explanation, and many other things to various people, it is a noun.. A person, place, or thing, All religions consist of all aspects of a noun

    Science is a process, this is why it is actually called "The Scientific Method" it is a verb.. an action, something that is done not something that exists as a person place or thing.

    Religion is to Science as Countertops are to walking.

    What i believe you are confused about is certain theories that have been hypothesised (sp) based on the Scientific Method, these theories are not Science as a noun but rather the products of Science the verb.

    Now if you were to confront a specific scientific theory as a religion you may have a few points here or there, but my attempt here was only to help explain what "science" means in more lay man terms to clear this up. Science is not any certain belief discovered /through/ the scientific method and the method says that if we can explain it better tomorrow, we will.
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    Jul 29 2011: Thanks
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    Jul 29 2011: Really, Quantum physics says that all things are inter linked in the universe and that one atom here can impact another atom farther away and tests have been run to prove it but it also states that observation impacts the tests. How does observation impact a test if belief that it will is not part of the equation? Is not most of quantum physics explained via math and is not math a belief system after a certain point when it is based in logic? Please help me understand as my understanding comes only from reading popular literature that is supposed to explain quantum physics
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      Jul 29 2011: If you so sincerely wish to delve into the depths of mathematical formulae, you will find a small set of axioms which are necessarily assumed to be true or self-evident. Science itself must also make a few assumptions. Do their presence make quantum mechanics a belief system based on little or no hard facts? Of course not. I think that you also misapprehend what is meant by observation. This is observation in the sense of interference. Obviously if you're dealing with very small objects, the mere fact of observing this object will change some of its properties because what you are using to observe it interacts with what you are observing. Belief doesn't come into it. What is this popular literature you have read? Is it books? articles? websites? In case you're interested, Oxford University has lectures on quantum mechanics available for free on Itunes U.

      As for evolution, I bet that part of your motivation for disbelief is religion, although feel free to clarify what it is that you object to in this field. As a bioinformatician I'll be more apt to giving you answer than on the subject of quantum mechanics.
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        Jul 29 2011: Evolution fails at least one of the thee tests of science. It must be able to be proven false, it must be repeatable, and it must be able to be quantified. It is belief because it is not repeatable. I do not believe it because it is also fraught with a history of hoaxes (see pilt down man), and speculation (see any drawing of the ascent of man). Assumptions border on the edge of faith and faith is religion to some degree. I can assume that you are human because you wrote your answer and I have seen a picture but I have no objective scientific proof of your humanity. I cannot observe you in the present. We make assumptions to make life make sense. Belief does come into everything including observation see occam's razor. The simplest thing is usually right. These very small objects are defined as both waves and particles how can they be both? Belief says they can be both at the same time. Maybe they are waves when we need them to be waves and particles when we need them to be particles see double slit experiment. Thanks for sharing your thoughts
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          Jul 29 2011: The main claims of the theory of evolution, that of random mutation and natural selection have been repeatedly observed throughout the 150 years the theory of evolution has had to blossom. That there have been hoaxes (which have been eventually discovered through the scientific method I might add) and misrepresentations of evolution (the ascent of man drawing erroneously suggests that humans evolved from chimpanzees which is ludicrous) only reminds us that science is a human endeavor that occasionally suffers from the irrationality of Man. But the scientific method is a self-correcting mechanism and to suggest that evolution may be just an interminable string of hoax sounds like science is one huge conspiracy web which it isn't.

          We can agree that assumptions border on the edge of faith. You must assume that the laws of physics are unchanging for example. But these assumptions have worked so far. They are not entirely baseless, at least up until now. There is nothing wrong in having faith in something that works. Now, is faith religion? No way. Belief is not religion either. You can have faith or believe in something which is demonstrably true. I want to contrast this with what you initially said. There's a substantial difference between being based on a methodology that makes some assumptions and being a belief system with hardly any or no evidence.

          I know about Occam's razor. Again, for the quantum mechanics, refer yourself to someone who knows better, but don't assume that because it baffles you, it's to be taken on faith (it's a logical fallacy). There are many real-world applications to quantum mechanics and that in itself shows quantum mechanics is a valid theory. I use theory in the non-colloquial sense of the term of course.
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    Jul 29 2011: I have read your words, science is still not a religion. Finding common traits between two institutions does not make one of them the other. I have made this point multiple times for atheism, environmentalism and socialism, there's a set of attributes A that make a religion, there's a set of attributes C that make science, that science and religion share a set of traits B that don't overlap into A or C makes neither the other. But I don't think we even need to go that far, because a lot of your points are hardly true.

    Science seeks to understand how the world works. While improving life is a product of science, it is not the most immediate goal at hand, especially when dealing with theoretical science, which may only have an application 50 years down the line. It does not seek to provide improvement on moral grounds which is what religion seeks to do (although by all means, science, like any form of knowledge, can inform morality). Any vague resemblance between religion and science here is superficial.

    Science can be a passion, something you're excited about, but that doesn't make it a way of life, it just makes it a passion of yours. I love science, but it's not a way of life, just like Star Wars isn't a way of life. The only way science becomes a way of life is if to do science is your job.

    The third point is a perfect example of spinning a neutral sentence into a religiously loaded concept simply by adding words with religious connotation. What you mean to say is that sometimes the ego of scientists and academies get in the way of new insights. The scientific world is by no means entirely independent of human politics. It is not however part of the scientific method to unquestionably accept the unknowable or to refuse to change when evidence to the contrary presents itself.

    If Intelligent design seeks to explain the natural world, then surely this is religion mascarading as science and not the other way around. Fighting on the same ground, doesn't mean shit.
    • Jul 29 2011: Just because the two are very different doesn't mean one can't look at both as a religion.
      And it can be a way of life, people who strive to use logic in daily life for example.

      And like I said before, it also depends on your definition of religion, what it is to you I suppose.
      Our definitions are different.

      And there is also the thought that science and religion are completely opposite to each others.
      We'll, science and spirituality. But in the most common religions there is almost no spirituality.
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        Jul 29 2011: I have no interest in a debate about semantics so I'll end my contribution here. I was under the impression that we were working with a common definition of what science is and religion is. If you need to redefine religion to make your case, what is the point of this conversation?
        • Jul 29 2011: Well the common definition lacks detail, and differs a lot in my opinion, there is no common definition.
          Thank you for sharing your opinion.
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        Jul 29 2011: That's just not true at all but whatever.
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    Jul 29 2011: Religion is based in faith in the unseen, some areas of science are also a religion like quantum physics, and evolution both based on a belief system with little or no hard facts yet conclusions are drawn and taught as facts by some teachers.
    • Jul 29 2011: Yes these teachers are likely to do this once they fully believe in it, and don't know the dangers of spreading a theory as a certain truth.

      Nothing is certain, but don't live your life in uncertainty either.
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      Jul 29 2011: The fact that you think that quantum mechanics is a belief system based on little or no hard facts when a lot of technology out there makes use of it, such as the transistors in your computer, testifies to the fact that you don't know your science. Now maybe your teachers aren't good, but you've got the internet. Please check your facts before you have a go at one of the greatest theories of the 20th century.
      • Jul 29 2011: Matthieu, are you looking for progress or personal gain.
        Because you don't talk like someone who wants to teach something.
        Yet you do teach apparently.

        Different perspectives should be respected by different perspectives.
        Puzzle piece after piece, the puzzle starts to grow, a puzzle full of experience and knowledge.
        The puzzle is in a way always complete, it is you.
        But it also grows, maybe even changes.
        And last but most important: everybody can experience the puzzle in different ways.

        So its more helpful to be constructive in my experience.