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  • Nearly two decades ago,

  • the late biologist Stephen Jay Gould said that science and religion were two separate things.

  • He called them "non-overlapping magisteria", or NOMA.

  • He said that science could answer

  • what happened, and how it happened.

  • But the why it happened,

  • and the morals and implications of it, those were the purview of religion.

  • A lot of people believe that he was right. I mean, obviously

  • there are a lot of great scientists out there who also happen to be religious.

  • They found a way to reconcile the two worlds pretty well, at least in their own minds.

  • Or they just learned to compartmentalize it really well.

  • But I don't think those two worlds are actually compatible.

  • I think if you're a devoutly religious person,

  • and someone who accepts the scientific method,

  • something's gotta give. Whenever science succeeds,

  • religion loses,

  • because a gap of knowledge that was once unknown,

  • has now been filled by something that's not God.

  • Part of the problem with NOMA

  • is that science actually does have something to say about morality. I'll talk about that in a second.

  • And we know religion has plenty to say about what happened and how things happened.

  • The magisteria overlap all the time.

  • And they can't both be true.

  • Religions make claims about the natural world all the time.

  • Not just about the afterlife, but about how our current world actually works.

  • Creationists do this, saying the world is 6,000 years old, and that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time,

  • and there was a great flood.

  • People who believe God performs miracles do this --

  • they say that God healed somebody in a way science can't never possibly explain.

  • These are testable claims

  • -- and they have been tested. And religion had lost every single time.

  • We know the universe isn't 6,000 years old. The evidence for that is overwhelming.

  • We know intercessory prayer -- when you pray for someone who doesn't know you're praying for them --

  • has no statistically significant effect.

  • We know literal actual miracles don't happen.

  • You know, if someone's cured of some disease,

  • there's either a scientific explanation for it...

  • or, if we don't have one at the moment, I would bet good money that we would have a good scientific explanation,

  • if only we had a little more knowledge than we do right now.

  • And, like I said, science does have something to say about morality.

  • Sam Harris wrote an entire book about this very concept. It's called The Moral Landscape.

  • One of the ideas he talks about in the book is about how science can actually

  • tell you what increases and decreases people's pleasure,

  • and we can work in our lives to make sure the good stuff happens more often.

  • And I'm just skimming the surface here.

  • The point is that science and religion don't occupy different worlds.

  • The point is that science and religion don't occupy different worlds.

  • They're in this together.

  • And I believe we have to choose one or the other.

  • Do you put your faith in evidence... or faith?

  • The choice seems pretty obvious to me.

  • Don't get me wrong: There are brilliant scientists out there who stick to science in the lab,

  • but who still hold the belief in God.

  • They accept the evidence for evolution, but believe God put the whole process in motion.

  • They accept the Big Bang, but believe God started it all.

  • They run controlled experiments in the lab,

  • but believe in God because of a feeling they have.

  • I think all of that is just intellectually dishonest.

  • And it only gets worst the more devout you are with a specific religion.

  • I don't think you can actually believe Jesus was born from a virgin mother

  • if you actually understand and accept how biology works.

  • You can't believe that Muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse,

  • because pretty much all of that is physically impossible.

  • You can't believe Jesus rose from the dead,

  • if you understand how death works. It doesn't work that way.

  • You get the idea. This notion that science and religion are truly compatible,

  • it sounds nice,

  • but is an idea that it's just well past its expiration date.

  • You can say you believe in both,

  • but don't expect people to take you seriously if you do.

  • My name is Hemant Mehta and I write at FriendlyAtheist.com

  • Leave a comment below and we'll sure to check it out. And don't forget to subscribe.

Nearly two decades ago,

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Science and Religion Are Not Compatible

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    Caurora posted on 2017/11/14
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