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The Religion of Science

  1. May 25, 2003 #1
    Science as we know it and think of it began 3-400 years ago and progressed steadily until around the turn of the last century. Science had a number of greats but probably none greater than Issiac Newton who discovered gravity by as the legend goes having an apple hit him in the head. Presumably apples didn’t fall from trees prior to Newton’s discovery of gravity or surely someone else would have noticed a few thousand years earlier.
    By the 1900 physicist especially considered their work nearly done. They knew everything that they needed to know and would therefore soon know everything. Then along came a number of heretics. Foremost among them was Einstein who discovered first Special and then General Relativity by proving that everything was relative doing away with most of Newton’s work. About the same time came Schrodinger who invented or discovered Quantum mechanics by putting a cat in a box with a “diabolical device’ and then totally baffled all of his colleagues by telling them that there was no way that they could know whether the cat was dead or alive. These two great heretics brought about the Great Reformation of Science. All science prior to that time was forever deemed Classical Physics and all after was called Modern Physics.
    The Great Reformation invalidated and did away with all of the centuries of work, inventions and discoveries of all whom proceeded it. Einstein Theories of relativity were so esoteric and complicated that is was said that only three men completely understood it, Einstein himself of course and someone named Eddington. No one, especially Eddington, knew who the third man was. Now of course everyone understands Relativity the gist of which seems to be that no one can tell how fast he is going unless he looks out a window and no one canever know what time it is even if they look out the window as all of their clocks will be wrong. He also did away with Newton’s gravity by showing that space was bent, twisted and deformed by matter and everything tended to run down hill as a result.
    The importance of Quantum Physics cannot be understated because it revolutionized modern science by coming up with the uncertainty principle, hence Schrodinger’s cat. The uncertainty principle stated that we do not and can not know everything about anything or anything about everything. Particles are not really particles unless we are looking at them but when we are not looking they turn into waves that can be two different places at the same time and interfere with itself, just like little boys.
    The Holy Grail of modern science is GUT, Grand Unified Theory in which all natural forces are united and described by one formula. They have done very well to date and have all of the forces unified except for that pesky demon gravity that Newton let out of the bottle and even Einstein could not get back in. Personally I think a good healthy dose of laxative would help all of them and do away with their GUT problems.
    If Gut is their Holy Grail then their ultimate goal, their Nirvana is TOE; and, we occidentals think the Buddhist inscrutable for contemplating their navels. TOE is the Theory Of Everything.
    Notice how they love acronyms, more about that later. Once more they think they are on the verge of knowing everything. Is this déjà vu all over again or what.
    Now a bit about the structure of Science. One cannot become a scientist unless one devotes a considerable portion of their lives studying at one of their temples. The highest most holly of high priests of science are the pure mathematicians. They may be likened to our Zen Buddhist monk who do nothing but sit around all day meditating. Pure mathematicians work with runes and arcane symbols that originated in ancient Greece and Arabia and are for the most part incomprehensible to most people. They spend their day writing down and manipulating these arcane symbols and runes that have no know meaning and no relationship with anything at all in the real world. In short they dedicate their life doing that which no one understands and that which has no use whatsoever.
    The next group in the priesthood of science hierarchy is the pure research scientists. They of course feel that they should be the highest and most holly of high priest as the pure mathematicians are not technically scientists at all. They have a point mainly because their research budgets exceed those of many small undeveloped countries. However if the criteria is how few understand what they are doing and how useless their work is then the pure mathematician wins hand down. The pure research scientist’s main goal in life is to spend more and more money building bigger and bigger devices in order to find smaller and smaller particles by making them go as fast as they can them smashing them into one another and count the pieces left over much like little boys with their toy cars, trucks and trains. Their other most important mission is to publish more books, and papers faster than others.
    The next group down the line is the applied scientist. This is the first group who is actually do anything worth while as they work to apply the work of those above them to the real world and do or make something actually useful. This of course diminishes their reputation and stature in the society of scientist. One can usually tell the stature and rank of a scientist by counting the number of acronyms behind his name
    Then there are engineers who are not even considered scientist because they actually do things in the real world. They are often supervised by applied scientists who may on occasion if no one is looking actually do something themselves blurring the division between scientist and engineer. The engineers main job is to take the product, theories, of applied scientist and change them however necessary so that they might actually work and make drawing and diagrams of machines or devises or things.
    The lowest level is the lay level of technicians, who are not scientist at all but they may be engineers, who are essentially necessary to the whole process by building what the engineers design then make changes until it actually works and performs their proper function. On very rare occasions the changes made all along the way have actually made there way back up the system forcing the pure scientist to change their theories. Rather than dismay and embarrass them this causes the scientist immense delight as that gives them an excuse to spend more money and write more books.
    As real religions have been around for as long as mankind, at least ten thousand years and has been proven to be true by the testimony of millions and science has only been around for a few hundred years and is supported by the testimony of only a relative few who no one but their acolytes pretend to understand; and, even they or their interpreters admit that they do not and can not know everything about anything or anything about everything, thus painting themselves into a corner; I feel that the Religion of Science is just another inexplicable fad and will soon go the way of all fads fading away into history just as the Pythagoreans did, thank God.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 25, 2003 #2
    Despite any similarities they might have, science is not a religion. You can make a religion out of science, just as you can make a religion out of pac-man if you want, but science itself is not a religion. Religions all worship a God or Divinity, in other words:

    The religious do it with worship.


    Scientists do it with objectivity.

    Think I'll design a T-Shirt.
  4. May 25, 2003 #3
    Enjoyable reading Royce !
    But, like Wu Li said; science is not a religion. Though with the way some people carry on you would think it was

    I’d like one of those with philosophers in it that you hit me with in another thread, haha.
  5. May 26, 2003 #4
    Yeah. The topic title makes the post not worth reading. Looks good but, shoulda chosen another topic.
  6. May 26, 2003 #5


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    One more difference between science and religion:

    Science is pretty much defined by a method of inquiry, plus a constant test of all assumptions made.

    Onthe other hand, religion (by its very essense), is based on the idea that "absolute truth" has been revealed by some absolute entity (god, nature, the universe, math, etc.), which implies that it does not make sense to question it. Rather, the logical think to do is to find out a way to make human thinking compatible with revealed truth.
  7. May 26, 2003 #6
    There's no point in comparing religion to science. They have zero in common. It's like comparing time and bananas. It's pointless.
  8. May 26, 2003 #7


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    Newton's contribution did not consist on noticing that apples fall. Instead, he realized that the falling of apples and the orbit of planets' satellites were governed by the same physical interaction, and correctly described them. He put on the same foot the falling of bodies and the movement of the planets, and showed how Kepler's laws were a corollary of one simple interaction.

    It is hard to emphasize enough the fact that, while doing so, he showed that the behavior of heavenly objects was the same as that of earthly objects.

    Classical mechanics was not "done away with". Einstein successfully described the deviations that exist wrt Newtonian predictions when high speeds are involved and when experimental precision is far better than that used in most engineering applications (even today)

    GR and QM did not invalidate CM. They are refinements, but a physical theory is a predictive model, and CM is still as valid as always for many applications. Nobody on his rigth mind would design a desk using a quantum field theory description of every quark used for it. The adequate model for this would be CM and maybe thermodynamics.

    The gist is that, even if you look out a window, you can only say how fast you go with respect to an object you choose.

    The point is not that all are wrong, but that there's no "universal correct time" to decide if any clock is right or wrong.

    This is so general a statement that it is true regardless of QM!
  9. May 26, 2003 #8


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    As you'll read later, I disagree with some of the statements you make, however, there is a way in which I agree with what you are saying. I wrote about this at some point on PF2, I think.

    In the middle ages (and much before), wizards, alchemists, druids and others were organized in brotherhoods. They did their best to find how to harness the powers hidden in nature. They found many of those secrets and, out of necessity, invented ways to describe them, with words and symbols that were only meaningful to the initiated.

    They chose apprentices and tought them what they learned. After many generations, much knowledge started to pile up, and they found what they were looking for: ways to control and use the forces of nature.

    I sometimes think of science not as a religion, but as the legacy of wizards. Magic. Real magic.
  10. May 26, 2003 #9
    Is there a difference between science and religion? ...

    Science represents the outer Masculine form, or shell, derived from the Feminine inner essence or "spirit" -- i.e., Religion. Of course if the "life within," religion itself, dies, then it would all have kind of a hollow ringing inside now wouldn't it? Hmm ...

    While I guess without science or religion, then we would all be a bunch of monkeys now wouldn't we?
  11. May 26, 2003 #10
    Humans did not seperate them from their apes fellow because they started science or religion, but because they practiced labour and the use of tools.
  12. May 26, 2003 #11
    Do you mean as God commanded Adam to work by the sweat of his brow? (Genesis 3:19).
  13. May 26, 2003 #12
    No, I mean the http://csf.colorado.edu/psn/marx/Archive/1876-Hands/" [Broken].
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  14. May 26, 2003 #13
    Yes. Science = facts, religion = no facts and even CONTRARY to facts.
  15. May 26, 2003 #14


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    Please enlarge the font, make it move across the
    screen and post it again ! Because some people
    here just don't get it and thus provide a reason
    to other people to start threads on subjects
    such as this one. :wink:

    Live long and prosper.
  16. May 26, 2003 #15
    Wouldn't do any good. They are so busy denying everything anybody else thinks, knows or believes they will never get it. Getting it lends credence to someone else and that's impossible for them.

    "People who think that they know everything are a consant irritant to those of us who do."
  17. May 27, 2003 #16


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    And yet, their views do not reflect the perspective
    of the majority of scientists or indeed of science

    Live long and prosper.
  18. May 28, 2003 #17
    Yes. Basicly when you don't question/test anything then you create a religion. If you question and test everything then you create a science.
  19. May 28, 2003 #18
    Another gross over-simplification that denies the fundamental distinctions. This is most certainly not a scientific statement, but a misleading emotional one. Again:

    The religious do it with worship,


    Scientists do it objectively.
  20. May 28, 2003 #19
    Another one who does not see the difference between science (fact) and religion (myth).
  21. May 28, 2003 #20
    Science is not fact and myth is not religion. Thus we have words to distinguish them which scientists acknowledge and use properly.
  22. May 28, 2003 #21
    What are the relgious doing, exactly, that wouldmake it worthy of being spoken of in teh same sentence as science?
  23. May 28, 2003 #22
    Considering at least eighty percent of the US alone is religious, evidently a great deal. Among other things, they help pay for and otherwise support the sciences. Some of them, in fact, Are scientists.
  24. May 28, 2003 #23
    But what does their religion have to do with it?!?
  25. May 28, 2003 #24
    Part of religion or better spirituality is living and a way of life that strives to be virtuous and productive as well as worship. My son once said; "My whole life is a prayer." He had been exposed to religion (organized) but not raised particularly religiously. It was simply a way of life for us. Not going to chuch all the time, we hardly ever went to church, but of trying to live a good honest produtive spiritual life. It wasn't a big deal. It just was.
    We accepted it as a part of our life.
  26. May 28, 2003 #25
    What I am sayingis that a scientist goes out and does research, gathers information, and performs experiments. Religious people pray. One of those two methods provides concrete answers to specific questions, while the other provides a warm fuzzy feling and nothing else.
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