Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Accomodationists Divide

Accomodationists put forth the idea that science and religion are compatible. At the crux of the argument is the fact that several prominent scientists (Ken Miller, Francis Collins) are religious. The accomodationists would have us believe that because there are religious scientists therefore religion and science are compatible. Guess what, NO. Now, let us see why.

Science is in the practice of empiricism, testing hypothesis, experimentation, and independent validation. While religion (which depending on what you define religion as) is in the practice of belief without evidence, a priori reasoning, revelation, and faith.

Some religions such as the Abrahamic religions purport facts about the world that are in direct conflict with science (6000 year old earth, efficacy of prayer...). These are obviously incompatible with science.

While it is possible to come up with a religion that does not come into complete conflict with scientific facts such as the theoretical "last Thursdayism" (where a person believes in a God who created the world last Thursday with the light from stars on it's way, thoughts planted in our heads and things in their current places), but guess what last Thursdayism is an untestable hypothesis therefore, NOT SCIENCE.

Anyway you look at it a scientists who is religious does not practice science when he/she is practicing their religion. So, until a specific religion provides evidence and testable hypothesis for it's claims that are demonstrably true, religion and science will remain incompatible.

Science organizations such as the NSF, NSCE, NAS should not be in the business of telling religious people that their religions are compatible with science, otherwise known as "lying for science". It is not only dishonest and obviously false, it creates a negative atmosphere where people are not made to confront their false beliefs head on. If a person is told that his beliefs are compatible with science when they are not, what is the probability that this person will even question the validity of their beliefs? Science organizations should not be in the business of taking theological positions and should remain indifferent to religious beliefs and just promote science, instead of telling religious people what to believe.

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