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Re: [Provocateurs] Fw: Science & God Belief

From: Ramji
Sent on: Friday, March 29, 2013 10:07 AM
I think you need to be clear about what you mean by "faith".  If you are talking specifically about traditional religion, they probably are incompatible.  But from a point of view embracing a contemporary spirituality, yes they are.  As I mentioned in the last meeting, the tendency is to think it is all about "no belief at all" or belief in a "dualistic spirituality, embracing a personal concept of God."  There's another point of view ... nondualism. Not the "everything is an illusion" concept of Shakara's Advaita philosophy.  Perhaps more toward pantheism or panentheism.  But even these are usually dualistic (spirit and matter).  But if one sees God as the 'driving force' in evolution and as First Cause, but not separate and different from creation, then certainly they are compatible.  By compatible I do not mean that science needs to embrace spirituality, but that's one's spirituality can and should embrace science. 

On Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 8:31 AM, Caleob King <[address removed]> wrote:
"Belief in god" is a big umbrella. Big enough, I'd say, to fit a few dedicated scientists under it. After all there are plenty of ways   to believe in a deity - and some of them are compatible with the universe as we observe it. I can even respect their willingness to put aside their beliefs in order to progress the state of human knowledge. As usual, I'd argue that god isn't the problem - faith is.

I propose that science is completely incompatible with faith as a pathway to knowledge. As long as it is taken seriously, faith will always be a substitute for good evidence and a way to discount evidence already gathered. To the extent scientists do not apply faith to their specialized area of expertise (and researchers are very specialized so this is often possible) than its effect can be minimized, but that is a best case scenario. 

Although a person's professional life might be dedicated to the observation and improvement of winter wheat pesticide resistance, and in this narrow field apply science without the interference of their faith, in their wider lives they take on a variety of roles. This researcher may also be a citizen, a mother, a teacher, a lover, a philanthropist, and an artist. To fulfill these varied roles well this scientist must have a coherent view of the universe - which in my opinion precludes applying reason and evidence in a patchwork way.

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