jump to navigation

Science, Religion, Truth and Values September 12, 2009

Posted by Geekgirl in Commentary.

Today’s blog is not about any research. It’s time for a word from your friendly science blogger. I have something to say.

For reasons I have never understood, Science is a threat to some religious folks. It turned out the earth isn’t flat, the earth goes around the sun and the weather is an atmospheric, meteorlogical phenomena, despite the recent claims of ministers in both Minneapolis and Maine, claiming that bad weather is God rendering his opinion on Lutherans allowing gay clergy and Maine allowing gay marriage.

There is something deeply ironic, oxy moronic and disturbing about this. And if it weren’t real, I would be laughing.

What is science about? As a scientist for more than 30 years of my life, I have an answer. It may not be the answer. Scientists may quibble with my wording. Certainly eloquence is not my forte.

Science is about the quest for understanding and truth. What is real? Science is based on proof. Proof that one’s conclusions about observations are  the only conclusion. That implies proving that other conclusions are not true.  Proof that there is a cause and effect relationship, not just a correlation. One of my favorite Einstein quotes is that “All it takes is one ugly fact to ruin a beautiful theory”.

And yet, when scientists write, they write cautiously. They write their conclusions in research papers like this “These data suggest…” “These data imply…” So why do they do this? Because they know that tomorrow, there could be new information that makes their conclusion wrong. Science is never ending. The deeper we dig, the more likely we are to find an exception to every scientific rule. The world is not made of simple yes or no rules.

Religious fundamentalists, on the other hand, have taken an approach in the opposite direction. If the Bible says it, it is true. Never mind that they have no clue who wrote it, why it was written, nor can they prove that the translation is correct. And even if it were, a lot of it still doesn’t make sense. They cover their ears when science is put in front of them, yet they just open their mouths and drink the Biblical holy water literally.

Case in point. Let’s just start with Genesis. God makes Adam and Eve. They have two sons, Cain and Abel. Cain kills Abel. Cain takes a wife. Wait, what? Where did she come from? I remember, at the age of nine, asking my dad, who was raised as a Southern Pentecostal, and his answer was Cain married a monkey.

Hmm. Sorry dad. Monkeys and humans can’t procreate. The Bible clearly says they produced a child named Enoch.

Genesis 5, verse 5 and all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years and he died. So I asked my dad, at the age of nine,  how could people live so long back then but now they are lucky if they live to the age of 90? His answer? They counted years differently. Then I had the nerve to ask a question during church, at the age of nine. I don’t remember the question. I do remember the minister telling me that I was not to question the word of God.

I refused to go to church again and a scientist was born. Now, about 45 years later, I attend the United Church of Christ. Because they are sane. They see the Bible as metaphor and they understand it’s cultural context. They use the lessons of love and acceptance, of helping others, and transform those lessons into actions in their every day life. Because if you don’t do this, why are you religious? I like the UCC. I don’t believe that Christ was born of a virgin, nor do I believe that Christianity is the one true faith. I like the UCC for how they use these stories to change our world into a better place, for how they create a sense of community. It’s the only church I know that celebrates Darwin’s birthday.

What’s my point? Religious texts and scriptures are historical. They were written by people in ancient times, who had nothing but superstition to explain the events around them. Is there a God? I really don’t know. Science can neither prove nor disprove this.

Can we learn things from religions? Sure. Many verses in the Bible are beautiful and inspirational. Love one another. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Judge not, lest ye be judged. Let he among ye who is without sin cast the first stone. Great rules to live by.

Personally, I would love to see the leaders of the worlds religions start to separate their historical mythology from their beliefs and focus on values that include all people. Morals are not exclusive to any one religion. Atheists are among the most moral people in the world. They don’t need the threat of hell to make them behave.

We need a new world faith. Faith in humanity. One that takes a pledge of including all people. One that pours their money into helping people, rather than politicians and fighting same sex marriage. One that works hand in hand with scientists to use the creativity of scientists to make the world a better place.

I’m not a Pollyanna nor do I have rose colored glasses. It can be done. Each of us wakes up every morning and can choose to do no harm. If you wake up this moment and decide to be the best person that you can be, all other decisions are easy.



1. sexgenderbody - September 12, 2009

so very well put.

thanks, geekgirl

2. Why is it that all different cultures develop a religion? | Philosophy Happiness - September 13, 2009

[…] Science, Religion, Truth and Values « LGBT Latest Science document.write(''); Share and Enjoy: […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: