Ask A Genius 331 – Science and Religion (1)
October 25, 2017
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Scott Douglas Jacobsen: One of the main conflicts over time has been religion and theology, which comes from religion, and changes in the scientific framework of looking at the world, which is a refinement of the way you’re looking at the natural world. Often, that conflict has led to a diminishment in the religious authority on the say of what the real world is or looks like.
Rick Rosner: Okay, the authority depends on what set of beliefs you give yourself, over to the huge percentage of Americans who prefer to believe in some fully Christian point of view. Science doesn’t hold this way, except for a sense of uneasiness, but you’re just wrong given its science that’s generated so much in the world.
You’re denying the parts you don’t find convenient but, I mean historically. It goes like this: I think in the beginning there was no religion or science, but religion got there first in terms of laws in that people believed it’s easier to construct the system of beliefs that don’t have to account for the entire world, don’t have to be a full-on match between – well, I put myself in kind of a sac here – but with religion you can make a set of stories about the world that whatever aspects of the world you need.
It doesn’t have any kind of rigorous logic and the religious institution, churches come with leverage over people’s lives and beliefs, and have all sorts of authority in various ways and then when people start doing the experimental, the Greeks and the Romans were not, they didn’t embrace it.
They didn’t thoroughly embrace the program of experimental science. They did science. But it was part of an overall philosophical push that science will be used to fully understand and explain the world, so there were little outbreaks of science but they didn’t as far as I know thoroughly conflict with religion, but then, later on, you start as a religion that’s been in place with the policies for over a millennium when you have persons like Copernicus and Galileo starting, and so there are doctrines that are now fairly locked up.
Copernicus and Galileo came up with stuff that kind of rub the doctrine the wrong way, the people who advocate with power who advocate for these doctrines the wrong way. Their religions have had twelve hundred years to become fleshed out and with twelve hundred years to be fleshed out so you can imagine a younger version of Christianity not having a problem with the earth going around the sun.
I mean there is nothing inherently un-Christian about that it doesn’t have to conflict with Creation. God made the world and the Sun that we orbit around for us. He created Humanity. I don’t think there is the level of conflict that we’ve seen in the past few hundred years between religion and science because science didn’t fully encroach upon the world, and science wasn’t seen or embraced as a program fully explaining everything until I don’t know, sixteen hundred, seventeen hundred, eighteen hundred, I don’t know.
Yet people who would argue that Newton was more religious than scientific and he believed that he was doing God’s work by doing science, that God wanted us to understand the world and that was part of working on his behalf almost like God helps people who help themselves.
I knew he was one of the first guys. People that come up with the scientific theories have little scientific theories. But his really in a way wasn’t, it was fairly concrete and made concrete predictions about the entire universe.
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American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
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