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Feb 27 2011

Tell Me Again that Science and Religion are Compatible

But before you do, consider this (h/t):

The official Vatican position on evolution tilts towards intelligent design. Its point man on the subject, Cardinal Schönborn, says: “Scientific theories that try to explain away the appearance of design as the result of ‘chance and necessity’ are not scientific at all, but, as John Paul put it, an abdication of human intelligence.” Ouch.

These are folks who have a fundamental, willful, and very large blind spot.  They deliberately twist science to fit their own dogma.  And that is something that’s absolutely incompatible with science.

NOMA my skinny white arse.  As Jerry Coyne sez:

So yes, the true biological view of evolution as a materialistic, unguided process is indeed at odds with most religions.  Organizations that promote evolution, such as the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), prefer to avoid this critical point: all they care about is that evolution get taught in the schools, not whether believers wind up accepting the concept of evolution as it’s understood by scientists.  (If all they want is evolution to be taught, that, I suppose is fine. But it’s not fine if they want public understanding of evolution.)

And it’s not fine when millions of people are told by their pope that science ain’t science.  That twisted, skewed view of what science is matters.  That twisted, skewed view leads people to mistrust and misunderstand science.  It leads them to believe science can be bent to their own wishes, no matter what the evidence is. 

That’s not science.  That’s religion trying to steal science’s respectability after having lost its own.  It’s pseudoscience, and it’s right on par with the cons, crooks and crazies who snatch a few words out of a science dictionary to try to make their wackaloon theories about homeopathy or magnetic bracelets sound plausible to people who don’t know any better.

It’s nice that the Catholic church is so cornered by reality that they’ve been forced to swallow a little bit of science in a desperate attempt to stay relevant and retain their power.  But it’s giving them indigestion.  And anyone who believes that science and religion are perfectly compatible isn’t paying attention to reality.

1 comment

  1. 1
    aek

    (nodding my head vigorously in agreement – OUCH!)It occurs to me that if the christian scientists and the scientologists were savvy enough to co-opt "science" and use it as their chief means of persuading people to come over to the dark fact-free side, that perhaps we should "borrow" the most effective tactics for reason, science and civilization's own ends.Some of those include having beautiful, lofty "church" spaces where the speakers (who would be scientists and scholars) are elevated in pulpits. There would be an order of service to provide ritual, comfort and congregation identity. There would be associated schools of children and study groups and social events -the equivalent of church sunday schools, potlucks, socials, prayer circles and groups. All designed to build affiliation, loyalty, community action, financial support and marketing (proselytizing, visiting the sick, the poor, social justice activities).And there would be music. Lots of great music. With hymns. Who writes science hymns? No Onward Science Soldiers and Ave Einstein come to mind. We need some smokin'anthems.One of the problems has been that scientists and scholars are much too diluted in society, and they don't have the time, support or inclination to be virtual town criers about science in general and their work specifically.But building community is a fundamental critical necessity, IMH (if wordy)O.

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