God and Science Don’t Mix


God and Science Don’t Mix .

The idea was first published in 1934 by J.B.S. Haldane in “Fact and Faith” and is quoted as follows:

My practice as a scientist is atheistic. That is to say, when I set up an experiment I assume that no god, angel or devil is going to interfere with its course; and this assumption has been justified by such success as I have achieved in my professional career. I should therefore be intellectually dishonest if I were not also atheistic in the affairs of the world.

Yet many scientists say that they are Christians or believe in some other Religion.  How can that be?

When doing their scientific work they are rational and don’t assume that there is any mystical force at work. Yet on Sundays and whenever the subject comes up, they about-face and say (in effect) “Not everything is subject to the rules of reason! I have Faith”.

There is no easy answer to this although Lawrence Krauss does discuss the issue and in debating with two Catholic theologians, he discovers they resort to arguments that things like the Virgin Birth are not to be taken literally. Tell that to a Fundamentalist!  But it is becoming generally accepted that we must be rational so modern Christians have to resort to picking and choosing which things in the bible to believe.  How do they decide?  Well “the Church” or the “overall bible teaching” or even the “Pope”  provides the answers.  And the answers depend on the religion, the context and even who exactly you are talking to.  All this is a totally foreign concept to a rational scientist – hence science is indeed incompatible with religion.

Picking up the thread, PZ Myers of the blog Pharyngula comments that religion ” (is) a set of answers, and worse, a set of procedures, that don’t work. That’s the root of our argument that religion is incompatible with science.”

“Religion keeps giving us different answers. Very different answers. They can’t all be right, and since no two religions give the same answers, but since science can generally converge on similar and consistent answers, I know which one is right. And that makes religion simply wrong.”

Why should we care about the  incompatibility of science and god? Because the world would be a better place if it was based on reason and not faith.  As Krauss concludes in his article: “The current crisis in Iran has laid bare the striking inconsistency between a world built on reason and a world built on religious dogma.

“Perhaps the most important contribution an honest assessment of the incompatibility between science and religious doctrine can provide is to make it starkly clear that in human affairs — as well as in the rest of the physical world — reason is the better guide.”

By Lawrence Krauss