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Science and religion

  1. Sep 4, 2010 #1
    I really don't know where forum to post that, so if I posted in the wrong forum, please move...

    I read (but I don't remember where) that the science (i.e. physics and quantum physics) is arriving at the same conclusions that religion arrived.

    Does anyone know any example of a conclusion that science arrived that had previously arrived by religion?

    (Sorry for my bad english)

    Thank you,
    Rafael Andreatta
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 4, 2010 #2


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    No. Do you have any examples that you wish to discuss?
  4. Sep 4, 2010 #3


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    There was a book written quite a while ago, The Tao of Physics, that tried to link physics with Eastern philosophy. It was quite popular when it was released.

    I tried to read it a long time ago, but was unable to get through it. I just don't see the point. Physicists don't need reassurance that their science has parallels in religion and/or philosophy, and those who are faithful don't need science to shore up their beliefs. But that's just my $0.02 :smile:.
  5. Sep 6, 2010 #4
    How about the Big Bang? The ancient work The Secrets of Enoch describes "all of creation" coming out of an "invisible" object with a "fiery light" inside. The description of what the universe came out of is consistent with the description of a black hole -- an object which cannot be seen with gravity so strong that it prevents light from escaping.

    The claim that the universe came out of something is common to many religions, but the object is most commonly referred to as an egg probably because new animals come out of eggs.

    The idea of humans descended from apes or apelike animals was espoused by the ancient Tibetan religion long before Charles Darwin was born.

    The Mayans were apparently very well versed in astronomy.

    Keep in mind that those who studied the physical world in primitive societies often claimed religious knowledge to increase their credibility and discourage competitors from learning by observing physical phenomena.
  6. Sep 6, 2010 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    Which religion? And note the difference between arriving at a conclusion, and belief based on a claim. Religions don't really arrive at conclusion in this regard. Religion begins with conclusions, or more precisely, definitive statements.

    Given that we have so many religions in the world, a few are bound to have beliefs that seemingly coincide with scientific findings, from time to time. But this too is problematic because we start interpreting religious claims, and comparing those interpretations to factual scientific statements. Those same religious claims might easily be interpreted in other ways, in the absence of the scientific statements.
  7. Sep 6, 2010 #6


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    Gary Zukav, The Dancing Wu Li Masters... that's what got me into physics. It did a bit of the same as the Tao of physics (drawing comparisons between eastern mysticism and western science).

    Here's a couple of the basic claims that authors often imply are parallels between science and eastern mysticism:

    (from the wiki on "Quantum mysticism")
    1) and 2) are about disturbing experiments by making measurements.
    3) and 4) are physicalism (don't see what they have to do with QM necissarily, but mind is brain is biology is chemistry/physics is quantum physics I think is the general idea). For instance, Bruce Lee: a Taoist and a holder of a philosophy degree, believed that you had to perfect your body to perfect your mind (i.e. proper nutrients, exercise, lead to a healthy mind.... which has been shown to be true).

    5) no idea....

    6) the whole idea that quantum mechanics (and even a lot of classical physics) is completely unintuitive.

    7) I don't know, do we make observations on the particles that make up our body? I think we do... but that's speculation.

    8) wow, no idea what this has to do with quantum or any physics...

    9) This was more relativity, not quantum... and I think it pertains to time not being absolute, so the correct statement would be "there is no time as we perceive it".
  8. Sep 19, 2010 #7
    1) & 2) Most politicians seem to operate outside of reality.
    4) If I chop off my head, I'll still be able to think, but only 80% capacity?
    5) ye gads... If I fall asleep, I'm dead?
    7) If I change my thought from "I shouldn't walk out in front of that truck", my body would probably be changed.
  9. Oct 22, 2010 #8
    All of the phenomena discovered by scientists are impersonal, inanimate, reproducible, materialistic, and infinitely repititious. The biochemicals, curved space-time continuum, stress-energy metric tensor, force fields, super strings, and elementary particles that have been uncovered and analyzed all exhibit the properties mentioned above and because of the conservation of matter and energy laws which state that matter and energy are not created or destroyed but merely change form, there is no known instant of creation since the matter was simply bundled in a singularity that preceded the Big Bang and expanded from that central point of origin. Now, the elementary particles that are the basic building blocks of the universe are definitely not thinking beings or alive, they are mindless and dead and everything uncovered by scientists so far fit this system when broken down to the fundamental level, even the human mind. So religion cannot fit into such a system because it espouses the existence of spirits and deities whose bodily and mental functions cannot be broken down to basic materialistic processes but can still achieve more complex functions. This is completely unrealistic from a mathematical, scientific, and logical perspective because every complex system must be reducible to its functioning component parts and without these basic constant, repetitive and partially indeterminate functions, a more complex operational system cannot be assembled. This is also true with mathematics and logic because more complex formulas and propositions cannot be established without first assembling simpler functions such as using the repititive addition of like values to achieve multiplication and repititive multiplication of like values to get exponentiation. A simpler function on its own cannot process thoughts or even be considered alive for that matter because living and thinking are the product of a combination of plenty of simple physical processes to achieve a higher more complex process.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2010
  10. Oct 22, 2010 #9


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    Wow, thats a big surprise. Usually they are at each others throats :wink:

    I know people have been trying to "reconcile" the 2 for some time, the so called middle ground. But I dont think thats possible.

    Precisely because science and religion have fundamentally different approaches to arriving at the truth.

    Religions (and here I mean organized theistic religions) do it based on say so. Some holy book or godman/godmen declare certain truths and they are believed/accepted by the followers.
    This process of course does nothing to remove subjectivities and the effect of human fallibility. On the contrary, it relies on our human tendency for deception and wishful thinking.

    Science tries to arrive at the truth by means of the scientific method, which involves postulating scientific hypotheses (which need to have falsifiability and verifiability clauses to be valid), and then trying to find evidence supporting these hypotheses. The process is then subjected to intense periodic peer review and critical scrutiny, and successful hypotheses are those that survive this process.
    In practice the process is open to human fallibility because scientists are human and often tempted or prone to deception. But the scientific process is our best bet today to try and arrive at the most objective truth.
  11. Oct 28, 2010 #10
    Science and religion are in essence two different aspects of the same thing. Both have the same purpose, to make sense of the world around us.

    In both ancient and modern times, people have been making observations. They try to find out possible causes for the phenomenon based on the observations. It is interesting to note that both religion and science do this under the crucial assumption of cause and effect. Then after reflection and study theories are put up.

    Now comes the moment which separates religion and science.In ancient times there was no international scientific community as we have today. Therefore these theories did not have any standardized procedure of being proven. These theories gradually integrated themselves into the popular culture of the region and over time became religion.

    There was no distinction between science and religion in ancient times. What we call religion today was science 500 years ago. Who knows, Einstein might become a folk hero half a millennium later.
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