Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Science and religion--a different set of rules

I really like discussing science and religion. I went so far as to write my thesis on the topic at BYU. (Not that it says much!!) But Sonnet's post reminded me that it continues to be an important conflict that influences people's faith, including my own. My take is that truth is eternally in harmony with itself (I'm probably paraphrasing a quotation here) and whenever there is a perceived conflict between science and religion, we shouldn't be too eager to make conclusions. History is full of conflict between science and religion, and frequently religion ends up putting a lot of effort into an apologetic that becomes unnecessary a hundred years down the road when the science becomes more clear and it turns out the entire nature of the conflict has changed.

As far as the specific question of evolution goes, I liked this site that I recently found. The site quotes the D&C where it says specifically that all things will eventually be revealed, including, "Things which have passed, and hidden things which no man knew, things of the earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof--". I never considered that that scripture may be referring to questions of science that "no man knew." There's also another website that seemed pretty comprehensive in addressing science questions that are relevant specifically to an LDS view. You can find it here.

Another point about science and religion that I learned in a class called, remarkably, "Science and Religion", was that they are hard to compare because they each have a different set of fundamental rules. For example, science assumes a set of natural axioms are true in order to make sense out of the universe. Physical laws are followed everywhere and at every time in the same manner. The borders of the universe--both spatially and temporally are instances where this assumption breaks down (at the time of the big bang, for example), but typically we assume that it is true because science doesn't really work without it. Religion, however, doesn't really need that same assumption. And hence, we shouldn't get out of sorts when the product of religion and the product of science don't mesh perfectly all the time.

Anyway, it's a good topic.

1 comment:

Mark said...

I think it is interesting when history is full of conflict with history. I also think it is interesting when science says "we have disproven ..." when they really mean "we haven't seen it (yet)."