The View From 1776

Science vs Religion, Part 2

From an intellectual viewpoint, there is no inherent conflict between religion and science.  Trouble comes from the efforts of atheistic materialists to hijack science.

As noted in Science vs Religion?, religion is obviously no impediment to scientific study of the natural world.  All of the 17th century’s groundbreaking discoveries and applications of mathematics to the natural world were the work of devout Christians.  In only one case ? Galileo ? was there conflict with the church, and that was primarily a political matter.

Galileo’s fight with the Church was not solely the result of his heliocentric theories.? One of his personal friends, the local bishop, had supported publication of Galileo?s scientific work.? But, after his friend became Pope, Galileo published a satirical work in which some church doctrine was presented as foolish.? It was one thing to publish scientific papers, quite another to ridicule the Pope and the Church during the Reformation’s spiritual and political warfare.

Religion looks at the big picture, science at particular natural instances.  Mathematics is a bridge between the two: applicable to particulars, but drawing its theorems from extrapolations into the immateriality of mental constructs, as did Plato with his paradigm of Ideal Forms. 

In the 17th century, when natural science emerged as a new paradigm, religion and science were understood to be equally valid ways to study God’s creation.  The laws of mathematics and natural science had, after all, been created by God as part of the whole universe.  The emerging paradigm of scientific experimentation was not conceived by seminal thinkers like Francis Bacon as replacing religion and classical philosophy.  The physical sciences were, instead, to be a supplemental method to determine the nature of the physical world.

Religion, and the closely related field of classical Greek philosophy, are concerned with ultimate questions: who are we?  whence came we? whither shall we go?  why do humans uniquely among God’s creatures construct political societies?  what is the highest aim or purpose of humans and political society?  how may we best attain them?

Science seeks to answer more immediate questions: how do things in the material world work?

In physics, the sub-field of cosmology deals with the structure, origin, and natural laws of the whole universe.  The best known cosmological hypothesis is the Big Bang, in which the universe and time as we know it commenced with the explosion of unimaginably dense matter in a colossal release of energy at the sub-atomic level. 

The Big Bang requires that all of the laws of physics, mathematics, and chemistry be in existence prior to the Big Bang.  This means, inescapably, that God existed outside of time and outside of the universe, and that the Mind of God is the source of all the natural laws and mathematics that form the subject matter of the physical sciences.  God is what Aristotle called the Unmoved Mover where the buck stops, the source of all energy, of all potential and actual movement in the cosmos.  Matter being just another form of energy, God is also the source of everything that scientists study to understand the laws of nature.

Thus, when atheistic materialists, aka socialists and liberals, denounce religion and Greek philosophy as ignorant superstition, they are sinking their own canoe.

From the standpoint of atheistic and materialistic liberals, however, it is necessary first to destroy Western civilization’s paradigm of religious morality if they are to replace it with atheistic materialism.  Hence the unending assaults by the ACLU and other socialist organizations.

Liberal-socialism is a simplistic, one-dimensional paradigm in which human nature is a variable that can be changed by external, material forces.  The whole of Western socialism (of which American liberalism is a sect) depends upon the theorized ability of intellectual planners and bureaucratic administrators to perfect human existence by centralized planning to create the necessary external, material forces.  Diktats from regulatory bureaus theoretically will restructure society, alter working and living conditions, and equalize income levels.  Manipulation of DNA and cloning are to be ultimate material forces to conform human nature to the design of socialist intellectuals.  Individual initiative and personal responsibility will be replaced with socialized, collectivistic dependence upon the political state as the final source of authority in all matters of human conduct.

It is for this reason that liberals have labored, since the 19th century, to decapitate Western civilization by discrediting God and the Judeo-Christian religious tradition.  To that end, they hijacked science by claiming that Marxian socialism is the ultimate science from which all else flows.  Since late in the 19th century, American universities have taught that to be a progressive, scientific person of the modern world one must be a socialist.

If, however, liberals were actually to adopt the methods of science to which they give lip service, they would analyze the real-world experiential data of 200 years and draw the scientific conclusion that liberal-socialism is both a pipe dream and a savagely destructive religion.  Without it, the totalitarianism of Soviet Russia and National Socialist Germany would have been impossible.

If liberals were to become truly scientific, we could then return to the cumulative wisdom of Western civilization.  Religion and philosophy would study humans’ relations to the Divine and to each other, and science would stick to discoveries relating to the God-created material world.

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