Science is wrong!

Posted by on April 30, 2011 in Thoughts | 7 comments

Every religion says it is the right one, and there is no way that they can all be correct. In fact, I’d go so far to say that they are all wrong. But… science is wrong too. (!?)

In science and other practices that view and measure the natural world people readily admit that they have only some of the answers to the mysteries of the universe. When new information presents itself, that information is added to the knowledge already gathered, an if it means altering the information we already have to make the new information make sense, then so be it. When new information presents itself, the old is added to and altered to suit the new. This is how we make progress in society.

This adding is not done with a slapdash attitude either. It is done in a way that makes our understanding greater, not by simply tacking an idea onto the end of an already established understanding. We observe, we record, we test, and we adapt.

In religion it is the opposite. Either new information is ignored when it can’t fit into the scriptures, or the information is bent to fit with the ideas in the scriptures. Nothing moves or changes very often, and if it does, it means a splintering of the believers into new sects or versions of the scriptures, one that better suits the people who believe. The Church of England was created so that King Henry the 8th could marry many wives, which was convenient for him. The Protestant Church was created because some didn’t agree with the way the Catholic Church interpreted the Bible. The same is true in Islam, Hindu and even Buddhism.

Religion is like a vacuum, where very little new information is added, and if it is, it’s done reluctantly an within the blinkered ideals already set out in the scriptures or tenets of the religion. This is not how society makes progress.

The fact remains that nobody is right. Science etc. admits this freely, and rather than seeing this as a failing of the scientific method, we see this as an opportunity to find out more, to see the gaps in our knowledge and collectively fill them with facts. In religion, the unknown is far too often thrown into the “too hard” basket, and slapped with the label “God did this”.

Science is an open system, where established rules take new information and add to knowledge. Religion is a closed system which ignores new information if it doesn’t back up already held beliefs, at the expense of progress.

I know this is not all entirely true of all religious people, nor all scientifically minded people, but the systems in place, science and religion, are by their nature, as I have described.

The truths held in science are universal, while the truths in religion are conditional and sectarian. Science sits apart from personal interpretation, whereas religion is all about interpretation. Science adapts while religion stagnates. There is no such thing as Islamic science or Christian physics, science is the same for all of us because it’s laws are universal. Religion relies on the belief of it’s people to continue, and it’s laws are arbitrary.

What science and religion have in common is that they are both, on the surface, ways of seeking truth. One is effective and delivers, while the other placates our seeking with the illusion of truth. The fact is that none of us have all the answers, but I can guarantee that science finds more answers than all of religion combined.

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7 Comments

  1. I too am a non-theist. I do however allow my mind open enough to know that we are way to early in this journey. anything we consider “fact” changes all the time. I daresay what is common knowledge today, will one day be looked at as foolish.

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  2. I think while you are partly right in describing the systems you are wrong in putting them on the same line. As you correctly said: Science is for all of us. But in your post you say: Science is something opposed to religion, its an either-or. I think that is a misconception – at least you are using the wrong word. What you are talking about is Naturalism and not science. Naturalism is the faith that science is the only source of knowledge and that there is by definition no super-natural cause or source of whatsoever. I know that you were also talking about the closed-ness of the religious-books / relevations. You are right in that. But still you can’t just compare that to science because those books are mostly talking about / relevating issues that are not covered by science, topics that need relevation (assuming there is a god..). Science means we are collecting information inside the box we are living in. Faith / Religion / Spirituality means we are accessing information / experience / etc. in areas that lie outside of our natural reach (space / time / physics / etc.). We need both (except the naturalist who by decision/faith declares the second as not existend).
    Of course there are areas where those two areas overlap and influence each other. But thats not an exclusive problem of religion. Its a “problem”of world-view in general. If you are a naturalist your interpretation of the information (not the information itself) is shaped by your basic assumption that there is no supernatural. The same is true for a muslim, a christian, a hinduh. But we all share the same information and science/information/evidence.
    By the way: It is true that there are problems / contradictions / etc. in a lot of religions – but again: this is the same for any world-view. I am not at all saying that every religion is right but that religion (among other things) tries to reach into areas that are outside the reach of science. Exlcuding that area is something you can do if you want. But do not call this decision science – it is faith.

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  3. As a retired teacher I have had to fight ignorance most of my life. For some reason, when concepts, especially in science, become too difficult for the ordinary layman to understand, a lot of people just give up on trying to understand rather than taking in some of what they could realize to be true. Knowledge is a slow accumulation of facts which come together to form concepts and ideas that help us progress. Yet, too many people just don’t want to try because it “hurts their head.” That’s what I remember one student telling me. I do believe a lot of religious folk feel that way, so instead of trying to learn something new, they just attribute it to the invisible deity in the sky! Go figure.

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  4. Its interesting to read this article knowing that it was typed on a computer.

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    • You know this article is in favour of science, right? Or did you not read it?

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  5. Most people seem to be anti-education and anti-knowledge. It’s far easier to say, God did it” than to think. This accounts for all religions and the aggressively ignorant people that subscribe to it.

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  6. I think that this disparity in ways of seeking truth could be one of the roots of the current of anti-intellectualism that’s existed here in the ‘States from the very beginning.

    Most of the candidates for public office have won on populist platforms, rather than the majority of ‘pointy-headed smart alecks educated beyond their intelligence,’ whatever that last is supposed to mean.

    Though clarifications on the part of those using that phrase are hard to come by.

    But at least scientific thinking allows, no, requires, admitting when one’s ideas are mistaken, and moving on from there.

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