Ask A Genius 459 – Religion, the Scientific Framework, Physical Models of the World, and Diminishment (1)
November 30, 2018
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Scott Douglas Jacobsen: One of the main conflicts over time has been religion and, well, theology which comes from religion and changes in the scientific framework of looking at the world, which is a refinement of looking at the natural world.
Often, this has led to a diminishment of religious authority as a say on what the world is or looks like.
Rick Rosner: The authority is on what set of beliefs that you give yourself over to. To the huge percentage of Americans who profess to believe in some fully Christian point of view, then the scientific view does not hold sway, except insofar as science giving so much to the world and then you’re denying what you find convenient.
Historically, it starts with a beginning. There was no religion or science. But religion got there first in terms of philosophy. In that, it is easier to construct a system of belief that doesn’t have to account for the entire world.
It doesn’t have to be a full on match; I am putting myself in a cul de sac here. With religion, you can make a set of stories about the world, which would fit whatever aspects of the world that you need.
But it doesn’t have to be subject to any form of rigorous logic. Religious institutions and churches come into being. They get a lot of leverage over people’s lives and beliefs, and have all sorts of authority in various ways.
The Greeks and the Romans did not embrace a program of experimental science to any significant degree; they did not science. But it wasn’t part of an overall philosophical push; that science can be used to fully understand and explain the world.
So, there were little outbreaks of science. As far as I know, there was no thorough conflict with religion. But then you have a religion that has been in place for a millennium or more, like the Catholic Church, and with Copernicus and Galileo, their view of the world is challenged.
Catholicism and others have had a long time, like 1,200 years to fully being fleshed out. But you can imagine a younger version of Christianity not having a problem with the Earth orbiting the Sun.
It is not anti-Christian at the root. God made the Sun and the Earth to orbit around it, for us. That does not seem too blasphemous. It did bug powerful Catholics, though.
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American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
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