Science and Scientism

The people I really do dislike are the morally unimaginative kind of evolutionary reductionists who, in the name of science, think they can explain everything in terms of our early hominid ancestors or our genes, with their combination of high-handed tone and disregard for history. Such reductive speculation encourages a really empty scientism.

Bernard Williams

It is fashionable to love science, to be a supporter of cutting-edge technology, to show off your knowledge of the latest news in the scientific development, to be a so-called science-lover, and to be proud of it. These all is fine as long as there is love to people in your everyday actions. A real scientist will never show off, will display the most humble attitude you ever observed and will calmly talk to anyone with love and understanding.

Unfortunately, it is easy for a half-educated person, who lacks understanding of love but think of themselves as of a scientist, to slip into scientism. Science is meant to help people to live with more happiness, while scientism brings nothing more than confusion, fighting, and obsession.

In most cases, a scientismist would also be an atheist. The distinction of scientismist and scientist frequently emerge in religious discussions. If a scientismist comes to such a debate, they only embarrass themselves and make ordinary people be dissatisfied with the real science.

The other way around is also a recurring problem of the same kind with religionism. Unfortunately, poorly-educated religious apologists frequently make unsupported claims of scientific expertise and make knowledgeable professional people turn away from religion.

It is the worst when a scientismist meets with a religionist, which is, unfortunately, not so rare to observe. Both groups have to be careful not to fall into any -ism and must show respect to, as well as an understanding of, each other.

The most frequent misperception in the debates between science and religion is probably Darwin’s theory of evolution. A scientismist insists that this teaching proves that no God exists. A religionist attacks the basic ideas, as well as personally Darwin, and rely on the existence of God to disprove the doctrine. In fact, both are wrong, Darwin’s findings are correct, the evolution did take place, but it all has nothing to do with the existence of God, which neither gets proved or disproved this way. The best priests I’ve observed never mention Darwin or anything in which they are not experts. They only talk about people relationship, the way to deal with each other and the way to cope with life problems. It is the only real thing, for which people come to a church or any other religious institution.

Darwin’s theory is only one example of a wide range of confusions. However, there is a common keystone in the majority of such reasonings. In order to prove the existence of God, a religionist finds a scientific fact which describes something that has an extremely low probability to occur by a random incident. Examples are numerous, DNA, sizes of Sun and Moon versus their distances to Earth, power in Newton’s gravitational law, etc., etc. To a religionist – this is the proof of God – in no way it could happen on its own.

As the science advances, the number of such low-probability facts rapidly grows, which some interpret as that the science keeps providing more and more of various proofs of the existence of God.

In fact, I am not aware of any proof of God’s existence, which is not based on some kind of low-probability reasoning. It is a common way and the only kind of proof in the circulation. If the reader is aware of some other kind, please, share with me.

Is any of that provides a real proof? No, because they forget about huge and possibly infinite timeframe under consideration, about huge and possibly infinite size of Universe, and about possibly huge or infinite number of Universes in existence. In one of the universes and after long enough waiting time a low-probability event can still happen at random, and will even surely and inevitably happen sooner or later.

Why is it important to talk about this? Because we need to find a way to live together without hating and killing each other. We must accept that we will never prove or disprove God. It simply need not be our task. If God wanted to give us proof, they would give it to us in a clear, understandable and unambiguous way for everyone, which apparently has not ever happened yet. We should let it be a business of God, while we should stop arguing about this at once. See more on this topic in the section “Role of Religion.”

How to stop it? Good education learned in the childhood, which includes knowledge about all religions (including atheism), is the answer. That is why it is important to bring the availability of education for every child on Earth to the same level. See more on this topic in section “Education.”


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