The Conflict of Science and Religion

nyt11242007Whenever the word “mystery” is mentioned, it attracts attention, proposing the idea that some secret is about to be revealed by arousing curiosity and influencing motivation. Focus is directed toward “that thing which is not known.” Reflection on the puzzle and how to proceed to it’s resolution instinctively initiate and consume thinking.

Philosophy, religion and science are generated by the same mystery, the meaning of existence. Reason, passion and sensibilities direct the process of unveiling, reflecting the path of history.

However the structure of building is created, the ultimate goal is revelation, personal and societal. The distinctions created by defining the mystery from either three perspectives – philosophy, religion, science, assumes that there are three separate ways to uncover “Truth”.

Religion always has the edge in this “triad “, primarily because the basis of its “Truth” lies with belief, divine revelation, and tradition, while its past is defined by patterned paradox. Philosophy can lead one toward religion, but not necessarily. Mathematics, as philosophy, is science in its purist form, a method of revealing what is not known based on its own symbols. A system which implicitly insists that it is “the most reliable form of knowledge built upon testable hypothesis.” In his eloquent NY Times op-ed piece, Taking Science on Faith (11/24/07), Paul Davies grapples with this subject. “All science proceeds on the assumption that nature is ordered in a rational and intelligible way, defined credibly, based on the fundamental laws of physics, such as gravitation, electromagnetism, and others perhaps to be discovered, expressed by mathematical relationships.”

In the scientific world, questioning the “immutable” laws of physics is not sanctioned. The role of a scientist is to “discover the laws and apply them using mathematical order” to substantiate the basis of existence. It is not for the scientist to question, just “accept it as what it is.”

Perhaps this is where Religion and Science seemingly divergent, merge, defining the paradox as two points on opposite ends of a straight line, linked by 180 degrees.