Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Difference between science and religion

  1. May 19, 2003 #1
    The important difference between science and religion is that religion comes with ABSOLUTE statements, that neither can be proved or disproved, and science evolves from relative truths and statements, that can be testified and proven false (which means: science has to develop, in order to replace (partly) untrue theories, and replace them with better ones).
    Science does not claim it has absolute knowledge on anything. Religion claims it has.

    All scientific theories are in principle disprovable, and in the end all theories will be disproven (at least it can be shown there is a limiiting case in which the theory does not work).

    Religion can in principle not be disproven. Which does not contribute either to it's proof. It is also unprovable.

    if something is neither provable nor disprovable, then it is useless.
    It can only have value to people who pefer to be ignorant, and don't want to get into complicated knowledge, and prefer to believe in something that is disprovable.

    Science is for people that realize that in order to aquire knowledge, some work (sometimes a LOT) has to be done! And even despite you put in a LOT oif work, someone else my disproof all (or part) of your work! That is : you have to try even harder!

    Religion is for people who claim to know EVERYTHING ABSOLUTELY ("God created the world", for instance ) without having done any work to get to that opinion, and for which nobody can give any disproof. So it is a very safe position. You don't have to do WORK for entitling yourself an opinion on matters that seem important, and nobovy can force you to do some work for finding a better opinion, cause there lacks the ability to disproof you.

    What a comfortable position!
  2. jcsd
  3. May 19, 2003 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    You are exaggerating somewhat. Science isn't immune from faith "problems"; it essentially assumes a priori that the scientific method and statistical reasoning are the correct foundations of a belief system, and it refuses to accept any arguments that are not based upon those principles.
  4. May 19, 2003 #3
    Hold on, there are no "scientific" and "non-scientific" methods of investigating nature.

    There is only one - objective observation of facts (=measurement with independent from human senses devices and tools like meter stick, spectrometer, etc).

    The less human senses and feeling mess with observations, the better (more objective). By the way, in science human messing is called "instrumental errors", or "errors of observation".
  5. May 19, 2003 #4
    Indeed. Science isn't immune from 'faith' problems, as science is excercised by humans, which are not entirely free from 'faith'.
    But science understands that, and deals with that accordingly.
    It is formalised in way of making assumptions, and explicitly making assertions on under what conditions they fail or work.
    Last edited: May 19, 2003
  6. May 19, 2003 #5
    1. Of course there are different ways of investigating nature.

    If I walk in nature and watch some natural phenomena (for instance the amound of seagulls I see) I could then claim , that the population of seaguls is diminishing each year.

    Science would deal with this same issue in another way, and try to find more objective ways of calculating the seaguls.

    2. Instruments also have intrinsic errors correlated to them, because no instrument can measure with infinite precission. Not all measurement errors are 'human' errors.
  7. May 19, 2003 #6


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    science is based on human subjective observations, religion is based on human sujbective beliefs...
  8. May 20, 2003 #7
    What are Humans?

    What the heck is a human being anyway? If it weren't for the fact that we were alive and human in the first place, we wouldn't be discussing any of this "stuff" in the second place! Which is to say, the only reference point we really have -- as "subjective" as it may be -- is the fact that we're human. So why can't we look at it from this standpoint, within context and focus on wholeness, rather than dissecting and overanalyzing things? Does life really need to be all that complicated? ... And why do we need so many "experts" to tell us otherwise?

    "Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)
  9. May 20, 2003 #8
    Science is not. It uses independent from human or alien or other animal devices. Like a meter stick, a balance, etc.

    Several humans and several kind of aliens may not agree on the name of the color of He-Ne laser line, but taking a spectrometer they all get same value of its wavelength (say, 633 +/- 1 nanometers) no matter which units of length they use or what kind of device they employ to measure wavelength.
  10. May 20, 2003 #9
    What if the aliens define wavelength only in terms of color?
    You might say it is 1.298 meters but the aliens say; no, it is heidkuigekii778
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2003
  11. May 20, 2003 #10


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    it is the human's subjective interpretation of those measurements that remains consistent among us that we then call as facts...no other creature or life form on this planet uses a meter stick thermometer to determine a measurement, so science is what human beings use to understand our world...the meter stick and other measuring devices were "invented" by humans (not by aliens or animals) as a standard way to remain consistent in communication with other people...
  12. May 20, 2003 #11

    Completely fine. Their spectrometer then is called "colormeter".

    Then obviousely that 1.298 meter = heidkuigekii778
  13. May 20, 2003 #12

    Suppose we are not able to find a common ground at all. What if they don't understand wavelength except as a tingling sensation in their antennae when they traverse the galaxies?

    What I mean is that we, as humans, have come up with a certain way of looking at the universe which we think has the best chance of being universally understood by intelligent life. Is there any chance we could be mistaken?
  14. May 20, 2003 #13
    Do you care who invented a meter stick or a thermometer if both human and alien agree that say wavelength of, say, 2-3 transition in hydrogen is 655 nm no matter how you measure it?
  15. May 20, 2003 #14
    Are you saying something along the line of;

    Religion is based on the observations of a primitive society and is never tested. Science is based on the observations of an advanced society and is constantly tested.
    -Michael Pain
  16. May 20, 2003 #15
    Original poster said:

    "Religion can in principle not be disproven. Which does not contribute either to it's proof. It is also unprovable."

    Explain this statement further, please. Are you saying also that religious mythology can also not be disproven?

    SOmething that is false is unprovable.

    Something that is true must ALWAYS be provable. So I disagree completely.
  17. May 20, 2003 #16
    This is cool. I suggest to cast these words as a flashing HTML logo for this "Religion" forum.
  18. May 20, 2003 #17

    Religion is based on the observations of a primitive society and is never tested. Science is based on the observations of an advanced society and is constantly tested.
    -Michael Pain

    While Pain said it, you brought. That is NIIIIIIIIICE.

    I would also add something about mythopaths and religious idiocy, heh but that's me. good quote! maybe I put it somewhere.
  19. May 20, 2003 #18
    I'm glad it is appreciated...

    I was going to use it as my sig quote a few weeks ago but thought it would tick too many people off...

    I was 'itchen' for an opportunity to use it, haha
  20. May 20, 2003 #19


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Incorrect. One of the more interesting proofs of mathematical logic is the demonstration that any sufficiently expressive (consistent) theory must contain a true statement that cannot be proven from the axioms of the theory.
  21. May 21, 2003 #20
    Yes, but since we know the theorem is true, we must know that from outside of the axiomatic logic, else our statement of it being true would not be founded on anything.

    Provability is not to be limited as proof on the basis of axioms and rules, it is clearly shown here, that we can escape from such axiomatic rule schema's to test a theorem.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook