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The role of religion in the development of scientific thinking How can these two...

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figlover | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted August 8, 2010 at 8:29 AM via web

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The role of religion in the development of scientific thinking

How can these two seemingly opposite realms of study can contribute to one another's development?

 

Let's break the stereotypical idea that religion oppresses science!

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted August 8, 2010 at 2:19 PM (Answer #2)

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Historically the church was a great scientific powerhouse. It used to love discovering about the world. A thousand years ago all European study and progress was centered around monastic learning. During the primitive eras of the dark ages and medievalism, the church was a beacon of intellectual progress and a lover of new knowledge.

But then the church started to discover facts which made the church authorities uncomfortable. It started with Copernicus (a monk), who proved the Earth was not the centre of the universe. Then Keppler (a monk) provided the incontrovertible mathematical descriptions for the movement of the planets around the sun.

And gradually, during the last 500 years, science has uncovered more and more facts which force the bible (and the koran and torah, etc) to be wrong.

The final nail in the church's love of science was when Charles Darwin proved we are animals who evolved. We are not God's special creation. Since then the church has adopted a conservative and reactionary stance to science and no longer enjoys new knowledge. The church is very scared of science.

Nowadays religion has nothing to contribute to science. There is no scientific subject that can be improved using a religious explanation. But there are countless religious subjects which can be disproved using scientific explanations. It is a one-way street. Science erodes religious certainties and religion is powerless to defend itself. We are entering an era where religion doesn't have any relevance to society. That fact makes billions of people very paranoid and unhappy, but it doesn't change one simple truth... science casts great doubts on the existence of a literal Christian God.

The God of Moses and Abraham is dead; or, at the very least, dying... like it or not, it is the truth.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lfTPTFN94o

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lynn30k | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted August 8, 2010 at 4:03 PM (Answer #3)

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Right you are, frizzyperm. Religions arose, I believe, for the same reason science did--that people like to have explanations for why things are as they are. And when you don't have any understanding of the way nature functions, it is logical to ascribe things to gods or a god. Religion took on a life (or many lives, I guess) of its own, though, and became a way of life, and of making a living, for many people. When we did finally begin to understand how nature and the universe work, it was hard for people to believe that they apparently would not go on forever.

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figlover | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted August 8, 2010 at 6:30 PM (Answer #4)

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Historically the church was a great scientific powerhouse. It used to love discovering about the world. A thousand years ago all European study and progress was centered around monastic learning. During the primitive eras of the dark ages and medievalism, the church was a beacon of intellectual progress and a lover of new knowledge.

But then the church started to discover facts which made the church authorities uncomfortable. It started with Copernicus (a monk), who proved the Earth was not the centre of the universe. Then Keppler (a monk) provided the incontrovertible mathematical descriptions for the movement of the planets around the sun.

And gradually, during the last 500 years, science has uncovered more and more facts which force the bible (and the koran and torah, etc) to be wrong.

The final nail in the church's love of science was when Charles Darwin proved we are animals who evolved. We are not God's special creation. Since then the church has adopted a conservative and reactionary stance to science and no longer enjoys new knowledge. The church is very scared of science.

Nowadays religion has nothing to contribute to science. There is no scientific subject that can be improved using a religious explanation. But there are countless religious subjects which can be disproved using scientific explanations. It is a one-way street. Science erodes religious certainties and religion is powerless to defend itself. We are entering an era where religion doesn't have any relevance to society. That fact makes billions of people very paranoid and unhappy, but it doesn't change one simple truth... science casts great doubts on the existence of a literal Christian God.

The God of Moses and Abraham is dead; or, at the very least, dying... like it or not, it is the truth.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lfTPTFN94o

Hi, thank you for insightful posting

I want to ask some of my doubts.

You said now religion doesn't have any relevance to society. Don't you think this is a bit simplistic statement?

Doesnt religion have value in itself that it gives people a place to lay their faith and devotion? Science is fact with evidence to back up but it is not something to adhere to except for the devoted scienists.

Also, i want to ask about the soul. Scientific subject never have proved nor disproved the existence of soul. Don't you think that there is still a place for religion in this society in this sense?

How about the supernatural phenomenon that the scientists have failed to explain? The existence of ghost, people who forsee the future, heaven and hell etc.

This is a bit out of the topic but these are the doubts that i have come across while reading your post.

Thank yyou~

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted August 10, 2010 at 5:20 AM (Answer #5)

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Hi Maddonna, to deal with your points one by one...

You said now religion doesn't have any relevance to society. Don't you think this is a bit simplistic statement? Doesnt religion have value in itself that it gives people a place to lay their faith and devotion? Maddonna

I didn't say religion doesn't have any relevance to society, I said, "We are entering an era where religion doesn't have any relevance to society." And no, I don't think religion has a value if it only provides false comfort and cosy delusion. People should adhere to what we know is true, not dreams and myths.

Scientific subject never have proved nor disproved the existence of soul. How about the supernatural phenomenon that the scientists have failed to explain? The existence of ghost, people who forsee the future, heaven and hell etc. Maddonna

In a nutshell... What soul? What super-natural phenomena? Seriously. What ghosts? Which mystics who can see the future? What heaven? What hell? All these things are just stories that you have been told. They constantly fail to withstand scientific scrutiny. Scientists haven't, 'failed to explain' these things. All Science's testing of claims of super-natural phenomena has shown they are nothing but superstition and sloppy thinking.

Science can't 100% disprove them, because, if you think about it, you'll see it is impossible to prove something doesn't exist. (Prove there isn't an invisible, undetectable, alien super-computer monitoring everything we do. (You can't.)) But we can show that time after time, scientific studies of super-natural claims show that humans are often completely convinced they have 'strange and mysterious' experiences/powers where there are provably none. And they will block out the plain truth when you prove to them they are wrong... check this out

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ea1alYMKs5Q&NR=1

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 27, 2010 at 1:34 PM (Answer #6)

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Science has long been motivated by religion, as has been mentioned above, as a way to "prove" its authenticity both in history and in nature.  The ability to "date" documents was driven, at least in part, by the desire to authenticate ancient documents--which would also authenticate the veracity of the Bible or other religious documents.  The entire study of the world beyond earth--the universe, the galaxy--is also connected to the Christian story of Creation.  The list goes on.  It's interesting this discussion has come to the soul.  Science has, indeed, delved into this area of study.  I don't have the details as I write, but scientists have documented the existence of something they call the soul.  When a person dies, there is an immediate decrease in weight which cannot be accounted for by anything but the departure of the soul.  The research should be easy to find, if you're interested. 

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picturesque | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted August 29, 2010 at 1:28 PM (Answer #7)

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Some of the theories relating to the creation of the universe have been verified as facts, whereas some others are still being explored. The concept of the expanding universe belongs to the former category, and has been universally accepted by the scientific community as 'fact'. This discovery was first made by Edwin Hubble in the 1920s. Yet some thirteen centuries before this, it was clearly mentioned in the Quran:

And the heaven We built with Our own powers (aydin) and indeed We go on expanding it (musi'un).1

It should be remembered that the concept of the continuous expansion of the universe is exclusive to the Quran. No other Divine scriptures even remotely hint at it. The discovery that the universe is constantly expanding is of prime significance to scientists, because it helps create a better understanding of how the universe was initially created. It clearly explains the stage by stage process of creation, in a manner which perfectly falls into step with the theory of the Big Bang. The Quran goes further and describes the entire cycle of the beginning, the end and the return again to a similar beginning.

 

(Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth by Mirza Tahir Ahmad)

For further knowledge on the topic visit

http://www.alislam.org/library/books/revelation/index.html

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picturesque | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted August 29, 2010 at 1:30 PM (Answer #8)

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The first step of creation as related in the Quran accurately describes the event of the Big Bang in the following words:

Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were a closed-up mass (ratqan), then We clove them asunder (fataqna)? And We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?2

It is significant that this verse is specifically addressed to non-believers, implying perhaps, that the unveiling of the secret mentioned in this verse would be made by the non-believers, a sign for them of the truth of the Quran.

In this verse the words ratqan (closed-up mass), and fataqna (We clove them asunder), carry the basic message of the whole verse. Authentic Arabic lexicons3 give two meanings of ratqan, that have great relevance to the topic under discussion. One meaning is 'the coming together of something and the consequent infusion into a single entity' and the second meaning is 'total darkness'. Both these meanings are significantly applicable. Taken together, they offer an apt description of the singularity of a black hole.

 

(Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth by Mirza Tahir Ahmad)

For further knowledge on the topic visit

http://www.alislam.org/library/books/revelation/index.html

 

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted August 29, 2010 at 2:18 PM (Answer #9)

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So, The Quran got lucky with the spreading universe. But not so lucky with this one...

He [i.e. Zul-qarnain] followed, until he reached the setting of the sun. He found it set in a spring of murky water.
(Surah XVIII ( Kahf) vs. 85-86)

I'm sure you'll have a wonderful, one-eyed, twisted reason why this passage doesn't acutally, actually mean that the Sun sets into water on Earth. I assume you'll talk about poetic metaphors and language for primitive people to understand or something like that.

But in your above post you claim the Quran speaks to the future with its scientific accuracy and that it actually, actually knows that the universe is expansive. So how come the Quran actually, actually knows the universe is expanding, but doesn't actually, actually know that the Earth goes round the sun?

p.s. you wanna talk about flat Earth claims? :-)

p.p.s. The universe wasn't a 'closed up mass of heaven and Earth' before the big bang. There was no mass prior to the big bang because there wasn't any dimensional space. In brief, massively simplified, almost-wrongness; there was potential energy, nothing more. And the Earth didn't start with the big bang. So really the Quran isn't right about the beginning of the universe either.

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted August 29, 2010 at 2:59 PM (Answer #10)

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And what a surprise! (irony)

After claiming the Quran is a wonder of prophetic science, you then recommend a link to a website which denies natural selection. You can't have it both ways Picturesque. You either support scientific method, or you don't. You can't cherry pick the bits that make your dark-age-book-of-stories scientifically credible and then reject one of the most important and profitable subjects in the history of science.

http://www.alislam.org/library/books/revelation/part_5_section_13.html

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picturesque | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted August 29, 2010 at 9:09 PM (Answer #11)

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Natural selection is a theory which has been composed by a human mind and to err is human. Where as the theories described by Holy Quran are perfect and have no errors because Quran is the word of God and not human composition like natural selection.

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picturesque | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted August 29, 2010 at 9:18 PM (Answer #12)

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For frizzyperm

I strongly  recommend you to read this book thoroughly and then debate about this topic. Do not blindly believe scientific theories and remember they are human theories. And you must be aware of the the difference between human and heavenly knowledge.

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted August 30, 2010 at 5:54 AM (Answer #13)

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And you must be aware of the the difference between human and heavenly knowledge. - Picturesque

Of course I am aware of the difference; human knowledge is accumulatory, intelligent, tested, refined and demonstrable. Heavenly knowledge is a load of old, unprovable claims written millenia ago by people who had absolutely no true knowledge of the world.

And you didn't answer my question, as usual.

He [i.e. Zul-qarnain] followed, until he reached the setting of the sun. He found it set in a spring of murky water.
(Surah XVIII ( Kahf) vs. 85-86)

How come the Quran knows the universe is expanding, but doesn't know that the Earth goes round the sun?

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picturesque | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted August 30, 2010 at 6:41 AM (Answer #14)

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For frizzy perm and all

You talk of being highly sophisticated and you have no knowledge about how a language works.

A language such as Arabic is highly metaphoric and literature is full of personification, metaphors and simile etc.

If you stand just near the shore of a sea and sun is setting it would look as if it is going down in the water. So it is the same as has been described by the verse in Surah Kahf and there is nothing for your criticizing soul to get satisfaction from and it only leads to your unawareness of how a language works and functions.

 

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picturesque | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted September 4, 2010 at 8:20 PM (Answer #21)

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Dear Old man

It has always been the style of atheists that they look for cunning ways to deceive innocent people.My explanations have nothing to do with predictions of yours. You are only trying to divert attention from the main point but you have failed to do so.

Listen talk about the facts and not about speculations. There are many people like you in the world who to try to speculate so you are no difference from them.

I have already told you that you are totally ignorant of how a language functions. Now, when you have failed to answer my previous posts, you are looking for silly objections to get the things mixed.

It is not objectionable when a language uses different ways of describing the facts or things. A highly sophisticated language does not always use the same ways to describe things but it has diversity in it.

Its a great quality of a language not to be boring and to be diverse. When a language expresses things and make descriptions in the same ways it becomes boring to the reader.

A highly sophisticated language uses various devices to make the descriptions more beautiful and it has variety of methods to explain the facts.

So what you want is that a language of such a book be so boring that it should not have variety in it and nobody should read it because of being so boring.

 

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alysen31 | Student, Grade 9 | Honors

Posted September 29, 2010 at 3:36 PM (Answer #25)

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I quote Albert Einstein: Religion without science is lame, but science without religion is boring.

I believe there is something of everything that is there when we think about both controversial topics. I guess science does play a bit of a role in religion. If you take a deep think, you'll see too.

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