Updated: May 17
Many battles throughout history have been written into epic sagas. Some of these battles have made extraordinary impacts on societies across the globe, sometimes for good and sometimes not. The battle between those who profess Science and those who stand by Religion may not always be physical skirmishes, but this head-to-head bashing has been happening for ages. What seems to be missing is the common ground where both viewpoints can exist, and simple choices can be made. It never has to be an all-or-nothing situation, because, in truth, none of us were around at the beginning to say what happened for sure. Keep this in mind while I look at varying aspects of both sides of this contentious debate.
In dealing with either of the sides, there are holes or gaps in the explanation which become apparent with a modicum of digging into the evidence. Whereas the religious viewpoint (and I will stick with the Judeo-Christian belief structure found in the Bible for this text) has found several points validated in recent history through excavations and such, there is always the point of proof. From the scientific side, there will always be certain things that can’t be replicated or explained away to fit into the natural selection theory or the survival of the fittest theory. I will give an example later in this discussion.
The point of this is to focus on how the two can intermix instead of being an all-or-nothing situation. Let’s keep one thing clear – none of us alive today was alive during the creation of this universe, whether by a supreme being or naturally occurring fashion. None of us presently alive can say with 100% surety that their system of information MUST be true, and therefore:
We can say how things happen today based on the way things occur in this time frame. We can monitor decays of compounds or molecules over half-lives and time them. We can project into the future that things will happen a certain way IF EVERYTHING STAYS THE SAME as it is now. Again, I cannot emphasize that enough – it’s as if everything as we know it stays the same as it is now. That’s the problem with predicting how things happen outside of our written time frame – we don’t know if all of the rules apply the same.
Take, for example, and bear with me, a supreme being caused matter to exist. After that, he/she/it structured the matter according to what is written in the Bible, placing every star in the sky. Knowing what we know now about the effect of large masses separating at the speed of light, would that not influence the “age” of the molecules and compounds in the local area? Could a billion stars being flung into the sky cause the earth to age a billion years by the way we measure time now? I don’t know, do you?
Science does not exist on its own. It is a tool we use to expose things that are already there. Throwing things together to make something new is a creation and it can be scientifically measured. However, science is the tool used to measure, not the medium of events. Religion is also a viewpoint used to explain events we were not there to see. Someone who is religious does not have to leave their brain at the door every time they enter a church. They can use the science available as a tool also.
There is a recent study showing that our observation of a particle in superposition will collapse that state and render it to a fixed position. Because we are made up of molecules similar to the measuring device, and other things around the particle, what makes our observation affect the particle in this manner? Physicists are starting to allow for “consciousness” to be a factor in this collapse. But how is consciousness any different than a scientific name for a human soul? There are things in the world that science cannot measure, and we are reaching some of those limitations. With all our technology and decades of research at the top levels, we still cannot explain how a single memory is stored in the brain. We can fabricate a memory, grow a memory, see how memories are formed structurally, but still not know the actual process that goes on to store a memory. Could who we are and what we remember to be a combination of our physical grey matter and the ephemeral consciousness?
Some negate a belief by exemplifying a situation that cannot happen within the constructs of that belief. For the naturalist, it may be pointing to the religious person and requesting proof of a higher being. The religious person could, in essence, respond that everything is proof. This is a highly unsatisfactory answer if you’re a naturalist. However, by the same token, when the naturalist is given the example of the parasite Ribeiroia and asks to backward-engineer how that happened given the theory of evolution, naturalists are stumped.
This particular parasite’s life cycle is as follows: Adult worms live inside predatory birds or mammals, where they reproduce and deposit eggs in the intestinal tract of the animal. The feces of the host need to end up in the water (ponds or lakes) for the eggs to hatch into a ciliated free-living parasite that infects the ram’s horn snail, colonizing its reproductive tissue. After six weeks, the parasite converts to another stage of worm which can exit the now-sterile snail and infect amphibians or fish. In amphibians, they stage near where the hind legs produce in the tadpole and cause either superfluous limbs or no limbs at all when grown into the frog state. In the fish, it will attach to the gills, lateral line, or scales. Both situations are to cause the animal to be slower than their unaffected kind and easy for birds or other animals to catch the prey, creating the cycle again.
This parasite, which doesn’t have a mind of its own, goes across three or four species which according to naturalists developed millions of years apart. It’s a paradox of the highest order for an evolutionist to unbuckle. Aside from the differing species, how would the parasite “know” to do anything? Sometimes evolution is given a brain and personality, but in its strictest form, it has neither.
So, next time a video pops up on the queue for religion vs. science, you’ll know that neither side has a firm grasp on anything in the past. It's simply a belief of one path of origination or another. Anything you attribute to that belief is faith.