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Non-overlapping magisteria


TheBeardedDude
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I like the quote by Stephen Jay Gould where he describes Science and Religion as "Non-overlapping magisteria." What Gould means by this is that both science and religion have fundamentally different ways of looking at the world and trying to evaluate it. As a consequence of this, science won't accept faith as a reason for believing something. So science will never accept religious assertions/beliefs. And for religion, it doesn't utilize science nor was it founded on or by scientific principles. So religions will never amend their belief systems based on scientific tests/experiments because faith-based belief isn't about validated and evidential beliefs.

 

An example would be the biblical flood story. Geology can show that this isn't a true story, but that won't cause a believer in the flood to abandon it. Because believing it isn't based upon a scientific understanding of the world, it's based on a religious interpretation of the world.

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The core problem with this idea is that the magisteria DO overlap, and they overlap quite often. Religion makes specific claims that are testable in the real-world. The moment they do, they enter the realm of science and are subject to its razor.

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The core problem with this idea is that the magisteria DO overlap, and they overlap quite often. Religion makes specific claims that are testable in the real-world. The moment they do, they enter the realm of science and are subject to its razor.

 

 

Sure, religions make claims that are testable, but being tested and failing to be substantiated isn't going to cause religion (or the religious) to abandon them. Because religions and religious beliefs are not based on evidence or scientific inquiry, they are based on faith.

 

(apparently I only get a limited number of posts as a new user and this is my last until tomorrow it appears)

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Sure, religions make claims that are testable, but being tested and failing to be substantiated isn't going to cause religion (or the religious) to abandon them.

For some it will. That's why we must focus continuously on the value of critical thinking and empiricism.

 

(apparently I only get a limited number of posts as a new user and this is my last until tomorrow it appears)

I'm not sure, but it's possible the rules in the Religious and Politics forums may be different. You will likely be good after 5, 10, or maybe 30 posts depending on admin settings.
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The core problem with this idea is that the magisteria DO overlap, and they overlap quite often. Religion makes specific claims that are testable in the real-world. The moment they do, they enter the realm of science and are subject to its razor.

 

The depressing thing is that many religions not only encroach on the scientific magisteria, it's own domain is severely impoverished.

 

There is the general notion that our scientific acumen far exceeds our spiritual development: misguided men with guided missiles and all that. I blame religion because this is exactly what service religion is supposed to be providing to humanity and has so abjectly failed.

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They are non-overlapping until they are. If religion wants to say it deals with faith-related beliefs that do not manifest in the natural world, fine, no problem. Except that this is not what they do. For instance, we currently have a stigma on teaching evolution in public schools because religion literally believes that 6,000 years ago, an invisible wizard made one man out of dust and one woman out of his rib, and that was the origin of our species. Nearly every branch of science suffers because the majority of the human population cannot give up the religious ambition to curtail science, both in research and education. Undoubtedly the biggest reason people deny many scientific facts is for religious reasons. If religion would stick to metaphors and such and leave science and education alone, there would be no problem. But we have adults all around the world who refuse to give up their fairytales and imaginary friends, and adopt an evidence-based view of the natural world. I personally would have way less of a problem with religion if it would just stick with metaphor and spiritual matters and got out of the business of trying to influence popular belief about science and the natural world. Unfortunately, they are very overlapping magesteria and Gould was smoking something when he wrote his book.

Edited by Tampitump
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They should be non overlapping, Science covers anything that's open to direct or indirect experimentation and religion covers everything else.

Unfortunately, religion gets understandably pissed off when they realise that there's essentially nothing left for them- the so called "God of the gaps" problem.

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Unfortunately, religion gets understandably pissed off when they realise that there's essentially nothing left for them- the so called "God of the gaps" problem.

 

On the contrary it should make them pleased. No longer do they need concern themselves about the workings of the world or whether or not sky daddy exists, scientists have it covered. That leaves them free to focus on the important things like building bridges across severed communities, finding peace in a harsh world ans such.

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On the contrary it should make them pleased. No longer do they need concern themselves about the workings of the world or whether or not sky daddy exists, scientists have it covered. That leaves them free to focus on the important things like building bridges across severed communities, finding peace in a harsh world ans such.

Nope, those things are part of science- specifically sociology psychology and ( to a degree), economics.

That's the problem; the realm left for religion is practically nothing.

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Nope, those things are part of science- specifically sociology psychology and ( to a degree), economics.

That's the problem; the realm left for religion is practically nothing.

 

The application of sociology and psychology are all we need to solve the middle-east crisis? Forgiveness is something you can learn in a text book or through a controlled trial?

 

By economics i take it you mean that a certain level of material comfort is required for most people to find peace? Sure but We could achieve it with wealth redistribution. Right now we have the resources to raise the global populations material being. What's stopping economics? Could it be that some people never learned to share or not to exploit?

 

I'm not saying religions generally address these issues well, but they could if they'd just grow up. There's a space at the table of rational discourse for religion: if only they could put away childish things.

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