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Science as a Religion

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posted on Apr, 19 2021 @ 03:57 PM
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In another thread, a poster and I got into an argument over what science is and what religion is. He seems hesitant to start a thread about his religious belief in science, so I decided I would. This is, after all, a topic that holds grave implications for society.

Full disclosure: I am a Christian, non-denominational. I believe there is a being we loosely refer to as "God" who goes by many names in many cultures, and who created this wondrous universe we find ourselves in. I believe He, through men inspired by Him, wrote books to document what He has done for man to know and what He expects from His creation. I believe He sent His son, a name referred to as "Jesus of Nazareth," to atone for the sins of mankind.

That is my religion. There is little to nothing that someone can say to make me doubt God's existence.

I am also a scientist, technically an electrical research engineer (retired). I have worked internships for NASA, developing and prototyping systems for high-altitude cosmic sensors on the EUSO (Extreme Universe Space Observation) project. I have 40 some-odd years experience doing electronic research, design, and prototyping free-lance. I hold a BSEE, Magna Cum Laude from UAH (the University of Alabama in Huntsville), additional honors obtained during that tenure, several Associates degrees from a local community college, and was short only the thesis for an MSEE in Control Theory and Communications when I was forced out by health issues. I also have a strong background in higher mathematics, physics (including quantum physics) and chemistry. I am an avid fan of both Nikola Tesla and Albert Einstein.

Suffice it to say, science is and has been my life.

Science, in the framework I use the term, refers to the ongoing search for knowledge surrounding various phenomena using what is referred to as "the Scientific Method." This is a methodology upon which scientists rely in order to ensure their analyses and experiments are conducted with a minimum of internal bias. As humans, we all have biases, but the Scientific Method serves to help remove those so the search for that which is true can proceed on course. The following principles are the heart and soul of the Scientific Method:
  • Researchers conduct research into areas of interest to them and publish reports on these experiments and analyses in scientific journals. This is referred to as "publication," and is a method to allow others who have similar interests to both know what they are doing and to try and replicate their work.

  • When other researchers attempt to analyze or replicate the works in the journals, it is called "peer review." The purpose of peer review is to allow others to prove or disprove the hypotheses presented. Usually, a paper will draw both confirmations and condemnation from peers. Each of these reviews then is published and peer reviewed by others.

  • Eventually, a theory will be obtained in this way which seems to fit the observed phenomena.

  • A theory is still subject to peer review. Nothing in science is exempt from peer review. Many hypotheses have undergone peer review after decades. As technology advances, so does the ability to design experiments to test research.

  • There is no select group of individuals who are allowed to conduct peer review. Anyone can do so, and there is not even a requirement that such reviews be published. Publishing a review just makes it more available to others. The only requirement is that the reviewer be versed enough in the subject to understand the paper.

  • Conclusions at the end of papers are not the important part of the paper. Conclusions are opinions of the author based on the research performed and the results obtained. Those opinions may well be informed opinions, but that does not mean they are beyond scrutiny. They are still opinions.

  • The most important parts of the paper are the methodology used and the assumptions made. The methodology may be flawed or may omit certain influences that were not accounted for. The assumptions (and all statements have assumptions) may be incorrect or just incomplete, failing to allow for other possibilities that the author was unaware of at the time.
There are a few things that the Scientific Method does not allow for:
  • Consensus. There is no rule that says because most scientists accept a study that everyone must accept that study. As a matter of fact, this is entirely antithetical to the concept of peer review, because it would disallow peers from disagreeing with the results of the study.

  • Peer restrictions. A peer need not hold a specific degree, a specific job, a specific title, nor any other pre-qualification save one: they should be able to understand the material presented. Even if a peer does not understand the material, they may still review... their review will simply not be taken seriously by others.

  • Prior acceptance. If someone wishes to perform a study about the presence of peacocks causes objects at the earth's surface to fall up, they can do so! Now, there are standards to publication; editors of journals do peruse the submitted papers and can (often do!) raise concerns prior to publication. The researcher than responds with logical, reasoned explanations as to why he/she used the methodology they used, how they arrived at their conclusions, the assumptions made, etc. This is called a "defense," and would be familiar to anyone who achieved post-grad studies in science. The thesis and dissertation are not simply written and graded, but must be defended before a board of the University faculty. Believe you me, they will try to rip any study to shreds.
I have also come up with a guideline for how many religions work:
  • God can never be questioned.
  • Only the Chosen may interpret what God says.
  • The Chosen tell the masses what they need to know.
  • Any deviation from the words of the Chosen is blasphemy and must be condemned at every turn.
  • Devotees are typically so blinded by their faith they cannot see their own flaws in reasoning.
As one can easily see, there is a wide gulf between religion and science. It has been said that science is the search for knowledge, while religion is the search for wisdom; I believe that to be true. Thus, science and religion can co-exist, even within the same person, as they concern a search for different things.

However, as of late, I have noticed a growing trend in our society: the trend to treat science as a religion. The use of "scientific consensus" to defend a paper is the biggest mistake I see. As mentioned above, the very concept is antithetical to the Scientific Method, as it does two things that are forbidden by the Scientific Method: it discourages peer review, and it places the result of research in the hands of a select group of researchers instead of allowing it to be openly considered for what it is. That one concept would, if allowed to continue, break the search for truth that is at the heart of science.

> -- >



posted on Apr, 19 2021 @ 03:57 PM
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> -- >

Understand that, at different points in history, "scientific consensus" has gotten it so wrong as to be laughable today.
  • During the Black Plague in Europe, the "scientific consensus" was that the bubonic plague was caused by "bad blood." This necessitated the removal of this "bad blood" from ill patients. Of course, today we know that bubonic plague is spread by fleas which live on rats, which are attracted to human waste. We also know that without sufficient blood, the patient will quickly die.

  • At one time, "scientific consensus" was that the earth and other planets all revolved around the sun. Even the galaxy itself was thought to revolve around the earth. Of course, today we all know the earth and other planets revolve around the sun, which itself revolves around the galaxy, which revolves around the center of the local cluster, which revolves around the center of a supercluster, which probably revolves around something else.

  • In the early 1900s, a brash upstart named Albert Einstein dared to challenge what is likely the greatest "scientific consensus" of all time: Isaac Newton's Laws of Motion. These laws had been proved over and over across the span of centuries, by reviewers across the globe. Anyone challenging these laws at the time was ridiculed, including Einstein himself. Today, of course, we know that Newton failed to account for a uniform speed of light, which becomes significant as one approaches the speed of light.


Were it not for the Scientific Method, Europe might have been wiped out by the bubonic plague. Were it not for the Scientific Method, we would never have been able to go to the moon. Were it not for the Scientific Method, we would not have cell phones in every pocket and GPS to tell us how to navigate.

In short, the Scientific Method is the basis for every scientific advance that has ever been made. It cannot survive where "scientific consensus" rules.



Another thing that I find worrying is this concept of "this person published the paper and I like the conclusions, so it must be right. How dare anyone question such a smart person!"

Well, I dare. As a matter of fact, I consider it not only my right to question a paper, but actually my duty. If I do not question something that I find potentially amiss, I am neglecting to do my part in the continuation of the search for knowledge.

So is anyone else who dares not critically examine a paper before accepting it.

Now I know many papers are filled with details that make for laborious reading, and often someone may be unable to understand the mathematics or principles being used. That's fine; but if one finds themselves in that position, they cannot contribute to the discussion in a meaningful way by trying to claim that no one else can understand and therefore one must take the study on "faith." Faith is the stuff of religion, not of science.



There is one more thing that I want to address before I end this OP, and this is not so much a complaint with readers of papers as it is with writers of papers. As I got deeper and deeper into science and engineering, I developed three "rules"... partly out of my warped sense of humor, but also to remind me of things I need to remember. The First Rule of Engineering is applicable here: "If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with BS."

Simply put, much of the scientific research published today is purposely written to be as confusing to most readers (even peers) as possible. The thinking behind this was stated very plainly by one of my post-grad control theory professors: "Always write as technical as possible. If they can't understand you, they will assume you are smart." Rare is the principle that cannot be clarified greatly by using less technological and better known words.

So I say unto those who want to read the papers but feel they cannot: you probably can, if you can manage to skim over the technially-confusing mumbo jumbo. If it's that hard to understand, it was likely included not for content, but to make the author look "smart."

I urge everyone who is reading this to take a moment and look inside yourself... look at your posts, not as a thing to be defended, but as a thing to be examined. If you are using the words "scientific consensus," you are speaking of a religion wherein you have replaced God with science and are worshipping at the altar of one of the scientists you agree with. If you think a paper should be accepted on faith, recall that faith concerns religions, not science. Another phrase to look out for is "follow the science." That has come to actually mean one is following a scientist, not the science. Following a man, any man, blindly is worship. So is following scientific papers blindly

A religion need not place faith in a deity per se. It can be worship and blind devotion to any power or any thing. Cults are the result of such blind devotion to a man who abuses that position (the proper course in that situation is to actually refuse the offered devotion as improper). Make no mistake: science can become a god. When that happens, one is dangerously close to cult status.

And I do reserve the right in the future to call out those who are practicing a religion instead of actually speaking scientifically for their religious actions... especially when they start insisting it is science.

TheRedneck



posted on Apr, 19 2021 @ 04:03 PM
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a reply to: TheRedneck

I can't really think of anything I could say that would really add anything to this.

All of this is pretty spot on and well said.

S+F



posted on Apr, 19 2021 @ 04:08 PM
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Science requires us to ask questions and challenge beliefs. Nothing should ever be ‘settled science’. We should always be open to and welcome new evidence.

Ultimately science and religion are two sides of the same coin. Both systems challenge us to understand ourselves and our world and are best applied free of dogma and the understanding that our beliefs will change over time as we advance in both knowledge and insight.
edit on 2021/4/19 by Metallicus because: Paragraph



posted on Apr, 19 2021 @ 04:24 PM
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a reply to: TheRedneck

Good stuff Red , and thank you for the write up very impressive .

I look at Science the same as I look at religion .

They are both Methods or Beliefs Created by the minds of humans , In short it is simply a bunch of things we think we know until something comes along that changes what it is that we think we know.

New Maths , New Religions , Further evolution of the human mind .

Honestly though my signature says it all in simple terms .



posted on Apr, 19 2021 @ 04:30 PM
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Consensus of the time often interprets science. Research is very often interpreted for prestigious gain or financial gain, and the parameters set in scientific research set the playing ground for interpretation, also funding can influence interpretation and parameters of the research.

I like science but I often question the interpretation of the evidence, I see deceit being used way too much to steer it. It kind of depresses me that this happens but that is the way it is.

People seem to be making science a religion which sucks because they are purposely interpretating the evidence to fit their beliefs. The medical industry is not science, if it was, they would be telling us how to fix the conditions but instead design medications off of common chemistry to profit from it. I am sure there are some countries that are not allowing profits to distort science so badly, but they are not in the news.

Peer review is done using the same parameters of the research which will allow the same outcome. So, I consider peer reviewing a little better, but it still has flaws. They need to have a lot of people reviewing all the research to properly assess the variances in the research that lead to different conclusions. Science is controlled by money too, research is expensive and if there is no gain from research it is not funded.

Belief in a supreme consciousness of everything, referred to as belief in god, is not in conflict with science. In fact much of the research done is funded by those who believe in god. Religion is different than belief in god, religions tend to try to make god match what they believe, god is the god of every single thing, the collective consciousness is not limited to mans consciousness. How many microbes on this planet compared to the number of people? We are just a tiny part of life in this universe, I am sure even in a planet we consider dead, there could be life beneath the surface where it is warmer. There are living microbes in samples they have extracted from drilling cores deep in this planet and they did not understand how they live there, but there is oxygen in rocks too.

Maybe I may not be considered a Christian by some because I believe Jesus was a Messiah...someone who was filled with the spirit of god, but I still believe in god and believe the ten commandments are something that is important in society for us. I do not believe deceiving others is a good thing either, yet nowadays it is so much an accepted part of societies that people do not believe it is wrong. But that is my opinion, one that many people would not consider good, the conditioning we have been taught for thousands of years is far from reality. But society accepts it broadly because it rewards them for following along.

At least in this country we have the right to freedom of religion, I would have been blackballed fifty years ago for not believing what the Church was pushing as reality. Even though I research scientific research in depth and compare evidence, I have no degrees so I am not considered worth listening to by most. Fourteen years of reading research and I will never be considered as anyone in the field of biological science because I have no degree in the field...which is fine with me, even people with multiple degrees are being called conspiracy theorists if they go against the ones running the game.



posted on Apr, 19 2021 @ 04:33 PM
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The medical industry is not science, if it was, they would be telling us how to fix the conditions but instead design medications off of common chemistry to profit from it.
a reply to: rickymouse

Boom , Well said and so very true.




posted on Apr, 19 2021 @ 04:41 PM
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a reply to: Metallicus

"Settled science" is another one that I missed, so thank you for including it. Science can never be "settled"; the second it is deemed "settled" it becomes dogma.

I will argue one minor point: in religion, there is by necessity a certain amount of dogma. After all, we are speaking of a being so much more powerful than us that He created a universe we cannot yet even explain. I'm not really sure we have the ability to comprehend the universe. So a being so thusly powerful would, I believe, see the need for a certain amount of dogma: information we might not be capable of understanding, but which we can still obey.

I tend to think of our relationship with God as akin to (a least superficially) the relationship between a robot I created and myself. As its creator, I highly, highly doubt I could imbibe said robot with intelligence even remotely comparable to mine, and it would thus be unable to understand why I told it to go recharge at a certain point every day, or why I want it to perform certain functions. To it, those would be dogma because it could not understand why. To me they would be purposeful commands with reason behind them.

That's one interesting way of looking at the difference between religion and science. With religion, the concept is that we are in desperate need of a higher consciousness to guide our lives because there are aspects beyond our ability to comprehend. With science, we are seeking knowledge using our own means. Science can sometimes tell us the "how," but only religion can tell us the "why." To return to my metaphor above, I could imbibe my robot with the ability to self-navigate terrain (actually something I am working on for deep space exploration). I can teach it the "how." But I cannot teach it, and it cannot fully know "why" I want it to travel to a specific place. It must accept the commands to travel on "faith" that there is a reason.

TheRedneck



posted on Apr, 19 2021 @ 04:45 PM
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originally posted by: dug88
a reply to: TheRedneck

I can't really think of anything I could say that would really add anything to this.

All of this is pretty spot on and well said.

S+F



Yep!

*APPLAUSE*



posted on Apr, 19 2021 @ 04:52 PM
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a reply to: rickymouse

A very apt reply. Thank you, sir.

The problem with perfection in science is that science is run by imperfect humans. We all need things... food, clothing, shelter, transportation... ad we must work to get those things. A scientist does not work for free; the cost of equipment can be hundreds of thousands of dollars. So yes, the money gets infused into the research. At least with peer review, competing interests have an opportunity to preset their own findings.

I am lucky: over the years, I slowly accumulated the tools I needed. I made many of the more expensive tools myself. Now I have a lab that is overall as well-stocked as a NASA lab or a UAH lab... better in areas I have specific interests in.

Believe it or not, we share many religious beliefs (and so no one is confused, I am using "religion" and "belief in God" interchangeably here. I understand the difference you point out and do not disagree with your assessment, but there's going to be enough confusion created as soon as the science worshippers find their way here). I may not believe the Ten Commandments are necessarily critical to pleasing God, but they certainly are a welcome assist to that end.

For what it's worth, I have read your posts on nutrition for quite some time now. I do consider you to be an expert in that field, degree or no.

TheRedneck



posted on Apr, 19 2021 @ 04:57 PM
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Dinosaurs were all slow, cumbersome beasts that lived in swamps. The primordial earth was covered in them, and that was good because otherwise dinosaurs' weight would crush them like beached whales.

They still taught that when I was in 1st grade.

Consensus though.



posted on Apr, 19 2021 @ 05:07 PM
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I am actually writing an essay about this exact topic, about the religion of "science falsely so called."



posted on Apr, 19 2021 @ 05:45 PM
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God is just a name for science we haven't puzzled out yet. It's called god of the gaps for a reason.



posted on Apr, 19 2021 @ 06:38 PM
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a reply to: ketsuko

Great example... I remember that, but you must be a little younger than me. They were portrayed as slow and clumsy all the way through school when I went.

I loved dinosaurs, but I hated that they were big and clumsy... when information about them being agile, efficient creatures started coming to light, I was overjoyed!

TheRedneck



posted on Apr, 19 2021 @ 06:41 PM
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Big Science and the Cult Strategy ... 👁️




posted on Apr, 19 2021 @ 06:42 PM
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a reply to: TheRedneck

Science has its origins in faith. Our ancestors had faith in the seasons but they also developed astronomy to attempt to understand it all. Religion is often a case of refining beliefs.

I'm reminded of something in Islamic teachings that basically says it's not for a person to judge if another is a Muslim. Science on the other hand fundamentally asks you to question and judge, repeating things so as to increase one's understanding. Saying things like science is my religion isn't very scientific at all, that said it's not exactly different from the historical paywalls that the likes of priests hid behind.

Trusting in the scientists or the theologians is an indication of faith and it doesn't seem to me that the people who practice such things have an active interest in understanding. Is scientific method and ritual really all that different? I know the answer but I'd personally ask that someone practices and explores themselves.

Advanced sciences do often need to be interpreted by the elites of said fields but as you more eloquently put it, there's no reason why the average layman can't understand it other than the systems in place encouraging said scenarios. Didn't Jesus despise that intellectual protectionism? Because that's what it is. Demanding that understanding can only come from certain avenues is imho the opposite of what the process is all about.

It's good to get things wrong, it's a part of growing and understanding. I love cooking and I rarely read recipes but there's a lot of methods that I'd have to spend a life perfecting if I was to do it all independently, in those situations it's wise to rely on external information. Ultimately though the proof is in the pudding.

In short, science is not a religion but it doesn't stop people applying blind faith to it. Which isn't very scientific.

Science gave us pesticides... But it also gave us the ability to understand things like the three sisters technique which is a great natural alternative with basis in faith. They're not schools of thinking that should be pitted as enemies. I'll leave it there...



posted on Apr, 19 2021 @ 09:50 PM
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a reply to: RAY1990


Science has its origins in faith.

Actually, that is a misconception. The Scientific Method developed as a response to religious dogma. People wanted to know how things worked, and experimented behind the church's back. Eventually, enough people were researching so the church simply couldn't keep up with those it felt deserved prosecution.

Public perception helped as well. I mentioned the Black Plague earlier... the concept of "bad blood" actually was based in religious teachings, originally intended to promote piety because the "bad blood" was a judgement from God. It was Michel de Nostredame (aka "Nostradamus"), of all people, who introduced the concept of hygiene being the root cause of the plague, angering the church. He saved many lives with his science, and gained much respect among the people for it, but it also made him fear for his life when he began to prophesy.

The church has always feared science because science will not bow to dogma. That's actually something I could never understand: if the church believes its own dogma, why would it be afraid of being proven wrong? But... that's for another thread.


Trusting in the scientists or the theologians is an indication of faith and it doesn't seem to me that the people who practice such things have an active interest in understanding. Is scientific method and ritual really all that different? I know the answer but I'd personally ask that someone practices and explores themselves.

Yes, the Scientific Method is far different from ritual. A ritual uses symbolic imagery and demands that ritualistic practices be performed exactly the same way without question. The typical purpose of a ritual is to remember some historic event in the religion... for example, Passover commemorates when the Jews were spared the plague of the firstborn dying in Egypt during the time of Moses. They were instructed to make a mark above their door and the spirit of death would pass them over, hence the name.

Christianity has many rituals as well. Perhaps the best known is the saying of "grace" before a meal. I personally never put much stock in this ritual (for a variety of reasons), but I do observe it when others wish. That's just being polite and respectful.

On the other hand, if I wish to test out a hypothesis, I have no set method I have to use. I determine the method myself, based on a desire to discover the truth about whether or not my hypothesis works. Whether or not my method is proper will be determined by peer review. Others will examine my work and, if my methodology is flawed, they will reject it.


It's good to get things wrong, it's a part of growing and understanding. I love cooking and I rarely read recipes but there's a lot of methods that I'd have to spend a life perfecting if I was to do it all independently, in those situations it's wise to rely on external information. Ultimately though the proof is in the pudding.

I have to stop here to mention that I admire that ability. I am quite likely the world's worst cook, and I actually envy those who can create a meal that is palatable. Strangely enough, I am pretty good at setting up chemical apparati, but cooking seems to evade me... despite it being, in essence, chemistry.

Good reply; thank you.

TheRedneck



posted on Apr, 19 2021 @ 10:08 PM
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a reply to: TheRedneck

The asteroid impact theory was a big thing when I was in 3rd grade. It was brand new on the scene and a big deal.



posted on Apr, 19 2021 @ 10:11 PM
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Over the years my position has become that God ultimately set the universe in its place and wrote the rules by which it operates. Science is our quest to understand those rules, but like anything, our understanding is imperfect and always shifting and changing as we come to new understanding. That totally OK and as it should be. We'll never know it all, and there's plenty to discover, but only if we keep our minds open to it instead of closing them off to scientific dogmas.
edit on 19-4-2021 by ketsuko because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 19 2021 @ 11:09 PM
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Thank you.




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