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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 prefer 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
    I don't see these 2 things as competitors like you apparently do. There is a difference, but pointing them out is like pointing out the differences between an automobile and an orange. It's NOT like comparing an automobile and airplane as you seem to think. I also think that you can post this type of definitional thread as information without insulting people. Calling religious people ignorant based on a competitive comparison(an automobile is better than an Orange) to science is just meant to inflame people.

    And BTW, according to your definition, you are religious. Because materialism cannot be proven or disproven and you clearly "believe" it to be true. So I guess that makes you ignorant.

    Actually, all kidding aside, as you say Science deals with what can be disproven. Religion can attempt to answer the questions that science does not. So the 2 don't necessarily have to be mutually exclusive or contradicting. Some people can drive an automobile and eat an orange at the same time.
    Last edited: May 19, 2003
  4. May 19, 2003 #3
    Re: Re: Difference between science and religion

    Now you are insulting and impying things I did not say.

    I just said in order to get knowledge through science, you actually have to workout your brains, and hands (do measurements), for religion, all you have to do is 'belief'.

    You are making moral judgements here.

    Who claims that working is morally better, and having instantanious absolute knowledge through belief, without the hard work, is worse? It costs terribly less energy to be a believer then to aquire knowledge through science, I can tell you that!

    I just suppose that a religious person is in fact more clever, having all knowledge, without having to do anything for it! I can see the sense of that! Science aquires through hard labour only a relative truth. Religion on the contrary finds the instantanious and absolute truth of all times! Just a matter of belief!
    It must be science people, must be crazy, and very uneconomical!

    NB. The fact that these are competitive strategies, follows from the undoubted fact that there is only one world, the one we live in. nevertheless there are two different and distinguishable approached to it: science or religion.

    Yeah I know. I have to convince myself everytime that the chair I sit on, is realy there, and not a figment of my mind. I even preach for it's existence, as for the rest of the world.

    You mean that I belief in matter like that?

    You are ridiculous.

    As a matter of fact, for the existence of God there is none, zero, nada proof. It's just a matter of 'belief'. And the fact one cannot 'disproof' religion does not mean that this contributes to only the slightest fraction of a bit to it's proof.

    Matter on the other hand (for which there is btw neither a disproof)has overwhelming evidence for it's existence, not only from direct perception (the things we can see, touch, smell, hear), but also from scientific investigations, the hard labour we have developed in last centuries to actually figure out how the material world works.
    We know for instance that the sun is not a red disk above the horizon, but a gaseous sphere, in which nuclear fusion processes occur, causing the heat and energy.

    Now, I know. All this what science has found, ain't nothing, compared to religion. Just theories which are approximately right, and which all will be disproven one day. Religion has an instantanious and absolute answer to everything, and is incomparable better then any science. And think of how much more economical it is to belief something, then to actually find things out through hard labour, which might be wrong!

    Purely thought on economical terms, religion far outdates science!

    And to reflect to the world of reality, outside of our minds and moral judgements, just investigate the number of people who are believers and the number of people that are non-believers.

    It can be shown, that there is a majority of people that took the more economical approach!

    We can't have moral judgements on issues like this. Neither as we can have moral judgements on issues like what is better: a dinosaur or a mamal? Allmost all dinosaur gone extinct, and mamals survived and ultimately formed into a species called Home Sapiens.

    Let nature provide it's own judgements on things.

    Right! You just said it. Science deals with things that can be known, and for which there can be proof and disproof. Religion deals with 'things' outside of that. Because there is no proof or disproof possible, it urges one to belief, cause there is nothing you can base yourself on.
    We also think of things, which are outside any evidence, perception or observation, as non-sensical.

    Sometimes abreviated as: non-sense!
    Last edited: May 19, 2003
  5. May 19, 2003 #4
    First off, I want to warn against getting to deep into either of the fields (Science and Religion) when discussing them from an "outside" (broadly Philosophical) stanpoint. Inspite of my warning in advance, it will probably still happen, but at least I can say "I told you so", when it does .

    Now, I'd like to clear up that Science and Religion are not definitely at odds with each other, as you claim. Yes, all Religions are based on an "absolute" premise, but so is Science. Science is based on the "absolute premise" that the objective universe can be understood by man. Of course, this is the assumption that one makes, when undertaking any branch of Philosophy, but I'm just explaining that the two have the same basic premise.
  6. May 19, 2003 #5
    Re: Re: Re: Difference between science and religion

    No. I didn't. Allow me to demonstrate.

    Well thats just pointing out the difference between the two and I can agree with that but here is what you actually said....
    This is clearly attempting to compare the 2 to say that one is better than the other. And even insults people in the process.

    You do. See above.

    Now this is just down right contradictory. Are they clever or are they ignorant? What exactly is your point?

    They do not have to be competitive strategies. There is only one world but science and religion have their own scope for application in that world. You have said that science is about what can be disproven. That's its scope. So every question that can be asked in which the answer cannot be disproven is NOT IN SCOPE for science. You keep implying that there is some hard work to be done. And that these religious people just don't want to do it. But there is no work that can be done. That is the scope of religion. The two things do not necessarily have to overlap or compete. So if you are asked a question that has no scientific answer, the only thing you can do is form a belief.

    It amazes me that for someone who's apparent day job is to post pages and pages of "stuff" about materialism that you have absolutely no conception of the real philosophical issue.

    You can call me ridiculous based on common sense if you want. I might do the same. But common sense is not sufficient in philosophy or science (it once believed the world was flat). I'll say this to you one more time...YOU CANNOT PROVE THE EXISTENCE OF THE MATERIAL WORLD YOU ARE PERCEIVING. It cannot be done. The counter argument to materialism is that every thing is just in your perception. Since every single bit of "evidence" you mention has to be gained through perception, then this evidence is nothing of the sort.

    You cannot take your eyeballs out to see what they look like because as soon as you do, you have nothing to see them with. I do not understand why you cannot get this. I don't want to get into this particular debate with you. The main point is that to hold the belief in an external world is a belief. Not knowledge. Thus makes one ignorant by your standards.

    Ditto on materialism.

    All of this evidence was gathered through the senses. So it doesn't provide credibility to anything. Think.

    So is this the 1% telling the 99% that they are wrong? lol

    This post of yours is littered with judgements. It is difficult to deny.

    Another example:

    This I can accept. But then here is the judgement that followed....

    So are you judging or not?
  7. May 19, 2003 #6
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Difference between science and religion

    That is your interpretation. And I don't mind that you interpret it like that. But I did not say that one is better as the other. I can not be a judge on that.

    You seem to think that there is a sharp contradiction between being clever and being ignorant. Can't it be that being ignorant can sometimes coincide with being clever?

    You seem to think that I have moral judgements on religion, and that I would have implied that 'having a field of occupation' that implies one 'not to have to work', is morally wrong. Again, this moral judgement, I did not make.

    Are dinosaurs better as mamals? I behold from a moral judgement of that, I just reflect that Nature caused almost all dinosaurs to go extinct, while mamals developed further into for instance humans.

    If two people each find a profession, and one of them has to do hard labour for little money, and the other finds a good paying job, requiring very little hard work to be done, which one is 'better'?

    You make to hasten conclusions about things, and imply a moral judgement in things, on which perhaps no moral judgements should be made.

    Yeah. Hard work for little money....

    But now I can accuse you of making moral judgements, or so it seems...

    The field of knowledge that deals with the real existing material world, is called science. For science, we can actual get out behind our desk, and investigate the natural world, perform tests on it and so forth. The same can not be done with religion. For religion to be true, one has to acknowledge two 'facts' : one, an actual material world, existing independendly and outside of our mind does not exist. two, an absolute idea, deity or whatever higher concept, does exist, and which existence is outside of any observational evidence or perception.

    It's not just from common sense that I acknowledge the fact that an actual world, outside of my own mind and independend of it, realy exists. It is not just naive realism (the world is what I perceive it to be) that makes me urge to conclude that a material world, has existence of it's own.
    Instead the gradual built up system of knowledge through science, is the main form of evidence for this, cause it presents a coherent picture of the real world. The investigations are too profound and too coherent, to just form substantial or coincidental evidence, wouldn't you think? Which is not an absolute statement, but is all built up from relative knowledge, which gradually comes closer to truth.

    There exists mirrors, by the way, so I can see myself in a less painfull way. But perhaps you never saw yourself in the mirror?

    Ignorance, as I used it, is the rejection of the long and hard work of scientific knowledge, and replacement of that with a thought system which is either indefinate in regard to wether or not a world outside our perceptions of one, realy exists, or ends up in solpisism (the 'belief' that outside of own's own mind, nothing is realy existing).

    Science gathers also evidence outside of the human senses, and does that in a repeatable and controlable manner. Just way too coherent, to be dropped as 'coincidental'. The investigation of the material world, is very structural and profound. The knowledge that ultimately comes out, is very profound, not to be thought of lightheartedly.
    And besides, we don't have any better means of aquiring knowledge.

    I tried to present just plain facts. Any moral judgement is within the beholder. There is no 'moral judgement' outside of that, is it?
    It's all happening there in between your ears, don't accuse me for what happens between your ears. If your point of view is that there is no certainty that anything outside of one's own head/mind, can not be stated with certainty, how come you be so sure of what my mental state of mind would or would not be? Seems you are contradicting yourself here.

    Are you?

    I just made a point about the fact that something, that is not observable to one's senses, is non-sensory. In the flow of time, this concept has lead to the very common term: non-sense. It indicates a phenomena that is beyond the senses.
    Apart from these facts, I did not make judgements, but you seem to belief I did. Again you contradict yourself, cause it seems to imply you can state with some certainty, you know my state of mind, while somewhere else you state, you are not absolutely sure that something outside one's own mind, has any existence at all.


    Now, in all reasonability, you cannot know about me physically, neither my state of mind, since they do not belong to your own internal state of mind. Still it seems to me, purely based on your speculation that I even exist, and have a state of mind, that you know what kind of state of mind I have! A clear contradiction!
    You are PURELY SPECULATIVE on that!
    Last edited: May 19, 2003
  8. May 19, 2003 #7
    Science and religion both help us with a degree of practical understanding about the world and are fallible. Science tends to believe what is provable through numbers, expirimentation, and observation-seeing is believing, whereas religion requires only faith that following the principle will lead to a first hand understanding of their truthfulness-experience.
    I choose both- I need all the help I can get.
  9. May 19, 2003 #8
    That is something else, as you base yourself on previous knowledge, and extrapolate from that. We have "experience" in how scientific theories evolve, so we can have some thoughts (with lots of uncertainty) where a scientific theory evolves into.
  10. May 19, 2003 #9
    Science and religion clearly logically contradict each other.

    Science does not accept existence of things contradicting facts (like Adam from clay, Eve from rib, 6000 year old universe (and Earth), biblical miracles (like Moses holding Sun to prolong daylight, Jesus walking over water, moving lake mass at will, resurrection, etc), hell, heaven, life after end of life, etc.

    But religion does. It says: trust us and ACCEPT all we say to you WITHOUT proof and CONTRARY to facts.

    In brief, science deals with FACTS, religion - with NO FACTS.

    Because criteria of thuth is observed fact (by Marx), then science is more true than religion. In reality - way way way more.

    Also, you may notice than science works (see various objects around you - car, TV, phone, computer, videogame, medical devices, drugs, food, cloth, houses, etc) while religion does not (no prayer saved life or created/built anything). Even prayers of millions ("God help the king") can't help more than a little tiny (but scientifically engineered) pill.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 19, 2003
  11. May 19, 2003 #10
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Difference between science and religion

    OMG. This is an awful attempt to try to change mid course Heusdens.

    All of this is just back tracking. To be honest, If I actually try to believe that this was the real message of this posts then the post becomes a "gee whiz" worthless post. What was the point if not to make a comparison and a judgement?

    I knew you were going to say that. Just goes to show that you don't understand the use of analogies. Just so you can get the point let the analogy be "you can't take your eyes out to see what they look like when they are not in use because you have nothing to see them with." It still gets the point across. Try to think about this. The whole point is to be able to acquire knowledge about the eye without the help of the eye. A mirror cannot be used for this. This is what makes the analogy work for perception and the external world issue. The question is how do you gain knowledge of the external world without the use of perception?

    But see thats just the point. You say

    " Ignorance is the rejection of the long and hard work of scientific knowledge, and replacement of that with a thought system"

    And what I've been trying to tell you is, that is not what religion is necessarily about. Religion doesn't have to say anything about scientific knowledge because the questions that religion answer cannot be answered by science. You're use of the term religion is a very narrow one that is not completely accurate.

    It is impossible to acquire evidence outside the human senses. How about an example?

    If this is true then this thread has no point.

    LOL. Come on Heusdens. At least live up to the intent of the post even if you can't defend it. The words "ignorant" and "non-sense" have very specific uses in communication regardless of where their roots are from. And the point of a forum is to communicate.

    Statements like this just convince be further that you aren't thinking about anything I'm saying and my initial interpretation of this post is correct. It just makes me question your sincerity of open-minded discussion.

    I never said I believed that there was no material existence. I only said that you cannot prove it. Big difference! Unlike yourself, I don't have a problem admiting that I hold certain beliefs. I believe that you do exists in material form and I also believe your intent for this thread was to ridicule religion.

    If I may, let me say that perhaps if you posted less and concentrated more on trying to understand others and working on making your own posts more cohesive then these issues could be resolved.
    Last edited: May 19, 2003
  12. May 19, 2003 #11
    Alexander, let's forget for a moment that Heusdens didn't intend this thread to be a judgement thread on religion because it seems he fooled you to. Let's just go with it as if he did intend it that way. Otherwise I'm not sure there's anything to say. It's basically a pointless post.

    I understand everything you're saying. Let me just back up and try to provide a little context to my thinking. I'm tired of seeing post like this in the philosophy forum. There really is not alot that the concept of religion has to do with philosophy. So what I am trying to do is put it into it's proper place. Religion does not belong in a thread titled "Science vs religion". The two cannot be compared. The approaches that you mention are true but the reason they cannot be compared is because science and religion answer different questions.

    If Science says that the earth is round and religion says that the earth is flat, then I would agree with everything you said. But religion doesn't have to address anything about the shape of the earth. Religion can focus on things that science does not. If you're going to understand what I'm saying, you first have to admit that certain questions are not in the scope of science. Like the existence of a god. Science says "nothing" about the existence of god. God is out of scope. Most people here would agree with this. But I'm not so sure about you since I've noticed your understanding of common terms has differed in the past.

    Comparing science and religion is much like comparing an Automobile and an Orange. The two things have entirely different objectives. You guys seems to be comparing the two as if they are a Honda and a Toyota.
  13. May 19, 2003 #12

    Tom Mattson

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    They cannot be compared globally, but they certainly can be compared locally. Science and religion come head-to-head in their attempts to explain natural phenomena. To "put it into it's proper place", it would seem, one should seek to narrow the scope of the thread only to those questions which science and religion attempt to answer, and on which they disagree.
  14. May 19, 2003 #13


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    Greetings !

    I agree with heusdens' original post.
    Who told you that !?
    Science TRIES to explain, it doesn't say it CAN
    and MUST be able to. In fact, so far it says
    it is most likely that it CAN NOT explain all
    things to mankind, because science uses reasoning
    systems the common thing about which is the
    fact that they seemingly can not fully explain
    the Universe.

    Live long and prosper.
  15. May 19, 2003 #14
    I agree with this completely Tom. It's good when someone takes the time to understand.
  16. May 19, 2003 #15


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    Tom, does science (ideally) include
    ANY apparently absolute assumptions,
    in your opinion ?

  17. May 19, 2003 #16

    Tom Mattson

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    As to assumptions, science assumes that the laws of nature are the same everywhere and everywhen, and that that we can determine better and better approximations to them by the hypothetico-deductive method.
  18. May 19, 2003 #17


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    But, would it be wrong to say that these
    assumptions appear to be indicated to us
    by the data input we have and hence we
    accept them in a probablistic manner
    rather than having them as an enitial
    absolute perspective ?

    What I mean is, science assumes a great deal
    of things, but it does not appear to
    assume things that can not possibly be altered
    or appear wrong according to the data input,
    does it ?

    Live long and prosper.
  19. May 19, 2003 #18
    Notice Heusdens, that there is no mention of assuming materialism.
  20. May 19, 2003 #19


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    Could someone explain to me once and for
    all what materialism is in your opinion ?!
    I see it mentioned here all the time by
    those who support religion to indicate
    the opposite view. What's your STRICT
    definition for it ? Or is that supposed to
    be vague too like religion itself ?
    What's a "material" world ? I never saw
    a single scientific definition of a "material"

    Peace and long life.
  21. May 19, 2003 #20
    What are you talking about? Science says ALL it is about Gods. About their origin, their creation, their existence in ancient and modern time, and their deaths. All there is about them.

    Indeed, if you open 4-th grade school textbook "Introduction into nature study", you'll read in the very first chapter that ancient people, who did not know what propels Sun across sky, hypotized that it is God and they named him Ra (I think, but I can be mistaken - it was long ago when I read this textbook), then phenomenon of thunderstorm was hypotized to be God's Zeus hands activity (beating ghong and somehow making big static sparks by friction) and so on. There were whole manuscripts about various Gods explaining how things works (say, modern Maya explain day-time phenomena by 70 gods and night-time - by another 200 gods). With time as people learned more about nature these mythical creatures were retired. But manuscripts are still there (Iliada, Bible, Quran, etc) and some people who do not know or do not understand why Sun crosses sky still believe in various superstitions like gods.

    So, science explained psychological phenomenon of gods (as being just personal ignorance causing various superstitions and myths) long long ago, and moved on to work on useful issues.

    What to discuss about superstitions?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 19, 2003
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