Friday, September 11, 2015

Dis/Proving God:Science and Faith

I think we often forget that science is not the antithesis of belief. Science often depends upon belief in order to progress.

In around 400 BC, Democritus Posited That matter was composed of atoms and empty space. He had no tools to see an atom. He was acting on belief. And educated belief, based on observation and keen analysis, but a belief nonetheless.

In 1803 John Dalton proposed "Atomic Theory", going beyond the original hypothesis of Democritus, and Isaac Newton (1700'ish), to give detail about the role mass played in atomic composition.

In 1873 James Clerk Maxwell proposed that the empty space was in fact electric and magnetic fields. In 1894 G.J. Stoney, based on prior experiments with Cathodes rays, concluded that electron were particles.

Moving forward to 1903, and H. Nagaoka suggested that Electrons orbited positively charged particles in flat rings.

Niels Bohr in 1922 Modified this model to present electrons as orbital shells around a nucleus.

None of these individuals saw and atom, or an electron.

They acted on a belief, performed experiments observed and measured. There were times when experiments or theories were wrong. The first experiments using cathode rays to prove negatively charge particles failed. That didn't cause all of science-dom to declare electrons a myth (Though there were scientist who did not accept atomic theory as valid). Instead they reevaluated their model, discarded some theories about the properties and behavior of the particles, developed new tests, and moved forward. Electrons behavior changed from flat orbit, to spherical orbit, to sort of smeared out in a shell above a nucleus.

Today their are scientific theories, beliefs regarding other as yet undiscovered (much less seen) particles, such as the graviton - a theoretical particle responsible for gravitational force.

Belief is an entirely acceptable, even necessary facet of scientific discovery.

Religion makes an equally foolish mistake in attempting to ignore or discount science. Or basic logic.

I have on occasion asked a question, because it is one I find interesting to discuss... "How do you reconcile the Old and New Testaments? Specifically, in the Old Testament, God seems very wrathful, and quick to punish: examples include Lot's wife who was turned to salt for 'looking back'. To boys were eaten by a bear for making fun of a prophets bald headed-ness, A prophet chastises the king for not killing every man, woman, child, cow, etc... Then in the New Testament, Jesus, spend his time among sinners, inviting them to follow him, teaching everyone to love one another, and forgiving the very people who crucified him."

I have received some very thoughtful responses to this question. I have also received responses like "Who are you to reply against God?" and "They don't need to be reconciled". If I as a religious person, see a discrepancy in scripture, or teachings, etc... It does not prove that God doesn't exists, but it does say that there is an error either in the scripture/teaching, an error in my understanding of the scripture/teaching, or an error in my understanding of the nature and/or character of deity. To ignore the discrepancy is... blind faith... stupid faith.

So then, we accept the possibility that one or more deity may or may not exist.We recognize that, as we have insufficient resources to prove any case, we must therefore consider all possibilities. That doesn't mean we believe all possibilities, but we accept that each individual has the right to believe as they will. We respect the beliefs of others, seek common ground where possible, accommodate where possible.

How then can we hope to find any truth, personally or collectively. By utilizing a scientific principle of seeking patterns, commonalities, threads of truth.

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