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I think since the rapid increase of science in Victorian times, there has always been a conflict between science, that relies so much on what can be empirically proven, and faith, that relies on belief in things invisible and unexplainable. This has led some contemporary scientists, such as Richard Dawkins, to argue that "science has disproved God." However, personally, I do not find that there is a conflict in my own mind. There will always be limits to scientific knowledge, however advanced it becomes, and those gaps can be satisfied by an understanding of religion as expressing what is beyond empirical proof and knowledge.
Since science is based on hard evidence and proof, and religion is based on evidence as well as faith (which some would call blind), it is understood that many will think the two are in conflict with one another. However, there are many scientists who are also very spiritual and religious people. Just as one can not "see," "smell," "touch," or "hear," true love, we all know when it has taken place in the overall effect of feeling, knowing, and blind faith. Such is the blend of science and religion--some evidence will be blatant and some of the belief will be based on blind faith which may or may not be proven with hard evidence later.
I have to agree with the above posts the American society seems to think that science and religion are in conflict with each other. Maybe it is because we live in a country with the division of church and state, and the constant media attention to when this idea comes into question. Maybe it is because we are a country of many religions, but also one of great scientific advances. Somehow Americans cannot reconcile the two. I really think this is an inept attitude because it really is based in blind faith (be it in science or in God) rather than thought or discussion or compromise. My experience is that depending on where you live in America, you either live in a wholly secular society where religion is a very private matter not to be discussed or dealt with in public or in a very religious society where church attendance and belief in God is simply expected an accepted. The fact that in this day and age we are still fighting over evolution and that religion and science cannot find common ground is just sad.
I think it is considered unusual when a person beliefs in God and science. Although the two are not mutually exclusive, many people believe they are. I personally think this has to do with the American focus on technological and scientific advancement historically. On the other hand, many Americans have also considered strong faith American historically.
I am reminded of Albert Einstein's quote that science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind. There is no need for a conflict between the two; however there sadly is by those who refuse to consider any sort of middle ground. Those who favor religion over science and believe that anything that disagrees with their position is simply wrong per se are burying their heads in the sand. Those who insist that science has all the answers and completely contradicts (and thereby disproves) religion are presumptuous and lacking in true scientific curiosity. There is a certain hubris on both sides, sadly. There is no reason why each side cannot accept the explanations of the other; that the proven laws of science were created by a higher authority. Until the two sides agree to find common ground, the dispute will continue.
I would argue that, in American society today, the relationship between belief in God and science is portrayed as conflictual. In other words, we portray this as a situation in which the two things are mutually contradictory and belief in God and belief in science cannot be reconciled with one another.
I believe that this is the fault of both sides. Both sides have set out to argue that belief in their ideas necessarily precludes belief in the other set of ideas. They do not look for common ground and, instead, go out of their way to come into conflict. One example of this is the way in which Richard Dawkins is so adamant about the idea that there cannot be a god. He does not go around saying that science cannot prove or disprove God. Instead, he is militant on the idea that there is no god. This sort of attitude (combined with the skepticism about all science on the religious right), leads to a sense, in our society, that belief in God and belief in science are mutually exclusive.
The reasons for the conflict are well known and have been discussed many times historically. Science, without actually planning to, keeps discovering things that force people to re-evaluate their world view. Starting with the destruction of the geo-centric model 500 years ago and continuing to this day.
In all other western countries this conflict is very minor, but in the States it is a very controversial topic because of the fundamentalist nature of many Americans, who, unable to understand or accept Darwinian descent, have an organised and well-funded campaign to destroy the theory of evolution. In order to destroy evolution they are forced to attack that many other corroborating scientific subjects as false (radiodating, genetics, astrophysics, anthropology, geology, paleontology, archaeology, etc, etc, etc) This defence also includes anti-science propaganda, the demonising of scientists and the fermentation of an anti-science culture.
As science gets more and more advanced, this desperate defense of creationism is getting more and more creative, unethical and downright duplicitous, with highly polished psuedoscience reaching a wider audience than the truth. The assault on science is also highly politicised as creationists attempt to use politics, law and the education system to conduct their 'wedge' strategy. This strategy has been clearly written down and its ultimate objective is to make society reject evolution (and, therefore, all science).
While the rest of the world stares in bafflement, many duped Americans are preparing to march us back to the dark ages in order to protect their beliefs from scientific discovery.
This confilct is not a question of equal view-points or interpretations. This is an organised assault on progress and rationalism in order to defend an ancient text that is unable to maintain its absolute veracity in the modern world. And I for one find this assault extremely worrying, and highly embarrassing for America.
One example of this is the way in which Richard Dawkins is so adamant about the idea that there cannot be a god. - Pohnpei
Dawkins does not argue that there cannot be a God. He never has and he presumably never will. He is an extremely well-educated academic and he would never be so slap-happy as to claim proof of an abstract negative. He argues that the experiences felt by believers are delusions and that 'God' in any form is highly improbable, but especially in the form proposed by the numerous 'holy' books.
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