Hi everyone.

I am a grade 12 student in Red Deer Canada and i am unfortunate enough to be in a catholic high school. That means that taking religion class is mandatory for me. I currently have an assignment in which i have to respond to several quotes about religion vs science. It is my hope to put together a really well organized and logical argument from an atheist point of view. I have my own ideas, but i think it would be really cool to get some other perspectives, ideas, and arguments on the topic. I don't want to bash or insult religion i simply want provide well organized arguments against it. I will post the two quotes that I am supposed to respond too, and I would really appreciate it if anyone and everyone would give me their perspectives.

"In many academic and theological groups, an awareness is maturing that science and faith are not opposed to each other, but, on the contrary, need and complete each other."
Pope John Paul II    

"Science without religion is lame,
religion without science is blind."
Albert Einstein

Those are the two quotes I must respond to. I'd really appreciate it if i could get some comments ofer other perspectives and insights. If anyone is for some reason opposed to using any of their opinions in my assignment simply let me know in a comment and ill respect that. Itd be really great if we could get a good discussion going here.

Thanks in advance.

Views: 542

Comment by Logicallunatic on April 18, 2012 at 11:58pm

Science uses real testable observable evidence. Religion has no evidence, it only has faith which is belief without evidence. Science asks questions that may or may not be answered through the rigours of the scientific method, whereas religion gives mythical answers that - not only cannot be tested - but may not even be questioned. 

Science is about understanding the world. Religion is about emotions - mostly fearing the threat of an imaginary god. Science looks forward with courage, curiosity and hope, and religion looks backward with fear, ignorance and superstition. Faith is holding us back.

Religion prevents us from teaching the ethic of scientific co-operation in place of the old fierce doctrines of sin and punishment. It is possible that man is on the threshold of a golden age; but, if so, it will be necessary first to slay the dragon that guards the door, and this dragon is religion.

--- Bertrand Russell

Comment by Unseen on April 19, 2012 at 12:00am

If you want to believe that God created the universe out of nothing by a sheer act of divine Will, then you have to admit you believe the universe was created by a magical sorcerer.

Comment by Jack Howard on April 19, 2012 at 1:58am

Sadly, you have an impossible task. All religious organizations freely and viciously criticize any and all opposed to their mean-spirited superstition. Any opposition to religion is seen as "insulting" and "bashing" by the church.

Nevertheless, you seem sincere, so here are some ideas.

On the first quote. For hundreds of years, the church insisted that they were infallible and science was flawed (flawed is the churchs favorite vague and ambiguous way to criticize any world view that is not their own). Now that science has repeatedly shown how often the church infallibility is wrong, they reluctantly accept science. Note that science has no need of religion. In all arenas where religion was thought to provide answers that science could not, more and more answers come from science, and it never goes the other way. I'm not sure what you wish to express about the first quote, but hope the preceding may help.

On the second quote. Einstein repeatably stated and wrote that he did not believe in the biblical god. His god was the god of Spinoza, essentially that the universe was awesome and did not require any supernatural entities.

Also, Einstein was a great physicist. But this in no way qualifies him as an expert in philosophy. He is often deliberately misquoted and misinterpreted by religious trading on Einsteins intelligence so as to falsely show Einsteins support for the biblical god, which he did not support.

Good luck, you will need it.

Comment by Laura Dijksman on April 19, 2012 at 3:00am

"In many academic and theological groups, an awareness is maturing that science and faith are not opposed to each other, but, on the contrary, need and complete each other."

The pope can hope for this but I think this happens only in theological groups as they are slowly losing ground to defend their view on the mechanisms of the world. Academic groups would have no use for religion to get their work done.

Science is based on evidence and the ability to repeat tests. A hypothesis is formed, tests are done to see if it works and the hypothesis will be confirmed or will be adapted. Those tests are reproducable and if they don't have the same result each time, the hypothesis can not be confirmed. The hypothesis is gravity: drop an apple, it falls down each and every time, whoever drops the apple, whereever it gets dropped and no matter from which height, under every circumstance the apple will drop: gravity proven.

Religion does not work this way. There is a hypothesis, god exists, but so far there has been no test that can be reproduced, nor has there been a single act of god that has had the same outcome. Take prayer (i wrote wishes here first... that's how prayers ended up in my mind) : no prayer has the same outcome. They can be reproduced but the outcome is totally random. Some wishes are fulfilled while other more important wishes are not. Religious people hide behind the rule that gods ways are not to be understood by men, but that's not science, because except that it has been written down in a book 2000 years ago, there is no evidence of god saying that. Therefore religion does not have a place in science. There simply is no evidence that it works.

Comment by Peter Norling on April 19, 2012 at 7:28am

I think Nessrriinn shortened in a good way. But if you would like to read it in it's context:

"Now, even though the realms of religion and science in themselves are clearly marked off from each other, nevertheless there exist between the two strong reciprocal relationships and dependencies. Though religion may be that which determines the goal, it has, nevertheless, learned from science, in the broadest sense, what means will contribute to the attainment of the goals it has set up. But science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion. To this there also belongs the faith in the possibility that the regulations valid for the world of existence are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason. I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound faith. The situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. "

Comment by Tobie Barb on April 19, 2012 at 12:50pm
Definitely critically asses the Einstein comment with the knowledge that it is generally accepted he was a deist believing in the fundamental laws of physics as the true god (one which would therefore not intervene or care for han affairs as a theistic god would) . Perhaps what Einstein is proposing here is that science beyond human subjectivity (I.e. religion) has no meaning but human subjectivity can offer us no true knowledge of the world. As to the other quote simply place the counter argument that religion must relinquish any knowledge claim if it is to be considered within a sicientific framework. Perhaps search a few quotes defining the scientific method and show just how the claims of religion are opposed to this method. As a secondary piece of advice don't be too harsh and do show their side of the argument ( in so far as their is one) aka. Try to leave out things like an explanation for the evolution of the eye and simply state that some believe that science will not and cannot all questions in our lives and religion can be a powerful force for good in some people's lives (as much as I'm sure you'd feel bad writing it, it would probably get you some brownie points)
Comment by Tobie Barb on April 19, 2012 at 12:51pm
Again keeps us up to date as the essay comes along.
Comment by Violet Chartreuse on April 19, 2012 at 2:22pm


For hundreds of years the church was opposed to science: torchering, killing and imprisoning the greatest minds of it's time.  As they have come tripping along with the times, it seems that they would now like to usurp the scientific method and call it their own.  The truth is, after all, in this age of instant communication and shared knowledge, blatently obvious. Science is truth. 

Here in the midwest, surrounded by devout Christians, they tell me on a regular basis that "God GIVES all that information, knowledge, and talent TO the doctors and scientists.  It all comes from God."  (facepalm)

Sam Harris has a quote that says something like (and I am paraphrasing) -- "List one thing that we once had a scientific answer for that we had to abandon because we now have a religious explaination for it.  there just isn't one."   God is the thing humans use to explain things that science has not yet been able to explain.  That used to include things like: thunder, earthquakes, epilepsy, stillborns, sneezing, eclipses, you get it... I could go on and on.  Now, since science has explained so very much about reality he is virtually only responsible for creation!  That's it!

This video might be a little off topic, but it shows just what "God" could have done if he wanted to, had he been a more "scientific" kind of guy.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOfjkl-3SNE

Good luck in writing your paper.

Comment by Joel Richards on April 19, 2012 at 4:22pm

Thanks everyone for the comments its been a big help and you all have very good ideas and thoughts. I think i will do my assignment along the lines of how science is based on things that are measurable, where as religion is a leap of blind faith. The two cannot compliment each other in the same way logic and irrationality cannot compliment each other.

Comment by Helen Pluckrose on April 19, 2012 at 4:34pm

I like this quote '

Science adjusts its views based on what's observed.

Religion is the denial of observation so that faith can be preserved.

(Tim Minchin)


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