The myth of the incompatibility of science and religion

One of the questions in the survey about non-believers joining or not joining groups asked about whether science and religion were compatible.

The question "are science and religion compatible" is nonsense, because it suffers from the fallacy of overgeneralization. Obviously, most religious believers have no problem with 99.999% of what they learn from science, otherwise they would not use cars, or refrigerators, or cell phones or plows or wheels or weather charts.

Of course, the Amish reject much of 20th century technology, but that proves my point. The Amish have decided, from the perspective of their religious views, that they do not want to integrate certain technology into their lives. The Amish do not say that the science underlying internal combustion engines is untrue, they reject the use of certain technologies because they believe that their simpler life makes it easier for them to carry out God's will. They use paint and wheels and horseshoes and textiles, all of which are the products of scientific reasoning. So the religion of the Amish is not incompatible with science.

The same holds true for creationists. Their religion is not incompatible with science. If it were, they would reject all of physics, chemistry and biology, which they don't. In fact, the YEC's spend a lot of effort trying to show that their beliefs are scientifically-based. The reason they fail, of course, is because they are arguing from their conclusions, which is a logical fallacy - a pretty common one, really, and one that even supposedly rational atheists are not immune to. To say that the religion of creationists is incompatible with science is untrue. What's true is that their religious beliefs cause them to reject specific conclusions about certain scientific phenomenon.

The vast majority of scientists hold some sort of religious belief, yet they turn out excellent results that get published in peer-reviewed journals and are used by other religionists to develop new technologies and medical products and procedures that we non-believers use every day. If you, dear reader, believe that religion and science are incompatible, then I expect you to live by your beliefs and reject every piece of technology and every industrial product in your life (including the computer you are about to use to tell me I'm full of hooey) until you can prove that the science involved in its creation was not tainted by the incompatible beliefs of religionists.

Thanks for reading.

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I doubt most scientists are religious.....

This is comedy of course.

Most scientists are religious. Oh, I never knew that. Now you are showing me one from 100 years ago that was religious. OK. Then I suppose we can have that "faith" element called "Intelligent Design" taught in science class to our school children. Yeah, we want them to be able to make a choice, right? ROTFLMAO! Faith elements are not science.

What's next? Bringing in Shiria law. I'm sure they would have a lot of fun argueing this with you.

Most scientists are not religious! 

Religious belief

Scientists and Belief

This is old data. I am certain both the general public and scientists are moving away from belief in god (which one they didn't say). 

Sorry Dennis, I should have put this as a reply to Dustin. 

What year was that data taken Joan?

Dustin, it was NOVEMBER 5, 2009; I am embarrassed that I used that data. I was in a hurry. Me Bad! But it is interesting to compare Pew's data then and the data that

Anthony Jordan used: National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society the number of believing scientists are nearly the same, about 7%.

It is interesting to remember, that the hard sciences have a very low rate of believing in a god and the physicians who come face to face with death in their practice have a higher rate of belief. I first heard that statement by Neil deGrasse Tyson, and I am not sure where he got it. I'll see if I can find it.  


The percentage of religious scientist, according to the last study I read, was only about 10% which seems to make your statement false at best.

k.h. ky Yes, one can come up with many different numbers. How does one count a flock of turkeys in the forest? Just about as accurately as a cohort of scientists who are religious. 

The point is, a lot of people put their faith in something they can't see, touch, smell, taste, hear, feel emotionally nor can anyone standing beside them in any measurable way. Perhaps there is a parallel universe. I don't know and probably will die not knowing. It doesn't bother me that I don't know; what does bother me is when someone else has experienced one or all their senses stimulated by some energy and expect me to sit on the bench with them and act as if I have the same experience. 

I don't know the answer. I don't care that I don't know it. I will go ahead and do what I am doing as long as I can and as long as it brings me a sense of pride, respect, dignity, and joy. 

I agree Joan. It was ME's statistic I was objecting to. I, like many others, believe ME is a theist trying to convert us poor, lost,, soul's.

The apparent thrust of ME's argument is that, since since believers can make use of science and scientists can be believers, there is no conflict between science and religion.  This is a false dichotomy.  How people behave and what they believe has no necessary correlation to the field they are working in or the relative merits of that field.  People can either choose to have facts inform their beliefs or indulge in compartmentalization when they experience cognitive dissonance between their belief and reality.  If a belief ever once altered reality all by itself, I have yet to see an example of such.

Meantime, science remains the discipline where observation, experiment, analysis and peer review are the primary tools by which it understands reality, whereas religion continues to rely on ancient supposedly "holy" texts, subjective experience and personal revelations, none of which can survive the scrutiny which science applies to it.  The products of scientific investigation are reliable and verifiable, and when mistakes are made, they are admitted and corrected, because those actions advance understanding.  Religion attempts to represent itself as absolute, changing only reluctantly and with glacial slowness, and its observations about reality fail far more often than they succeed.

One is based in reason, the other in faith, and as I have quoted here multiple times:

Faith Is NO Reason.

As per usual, Loren said it perfectly! :)



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