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    • One of the age old debates out there is can science and religion co-exist? If so, how? A lot of this seems to stem from theories about the very origins of our existence. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all teach that God created the heavens and the earth while science tries to explain how we all got here without any divine assistance. 

      As a religious person who respects science, it can be hard to find a healthy relationship between the two. I personally believe God created the heavens and the earth, but I also am not one who believes in day age creationism, namely, that the earth was created in six 24 hour periods. 

      My belief is the creation of the earth was a gradual process that took place over a series of periods and that God had other purposes for the earth before putting humans on the earth. That’s how I am able to square away the geological timeline of everything with science. Still, there are times where science and religion do seem to clash. Most notably with the theory of evolution. 

      Being more transparent, I do not ascribe to the belief that God used evolution to put man on the earth. Having done a fair amount of scientific research into the matter, I am yet to be convinced that the theory of human of evolution is true. I’m open to the possibility that God used it,  but I just haven’t seen the evidence that supports it upon doing a lot of research. There seems to be too much guess work. While microevolution/speciation is observable, the leap from that to macroevolution feels like too large of a leap for me to make. Just based on the data that I’ve come across. 

      If you don’t believe in God, then the theory of human evolution is all that you have. If you believe in God, more possibilities exist, including the possibility that God used evolution. A possibility I am open to but haven’t seen the evidence for. 

      Anyways, I do feel like the evolution debate is at the heart of the religion versus science debate and I think it’s unfortunate because it has created many people to not see the good in the other, pending on what side of the coin they line up on. Many who line up with the side of religion tend to ignore the beauty of science and all that it can teach us about the world around us and God’s sheer majesty. 

      Those who line up on the side of science tend to feel like a belief in God somehow devalues science or that science must hold 100% of all the answer to life questions. Perhaps the origins of our existence isn’t really a question science is cut out to answer, giving room for religion to play a role in our lives. 

      Of course, there are many people like me who try to appreciate both science and religion and wrestle with how to make the two as harmonious with each other as possible. I do think there is a way that both can play an active role in our lives. 

      Anyways, that’s more than enough of my own thoughts on the matter. What say the people of Cake? How do you feel science and religion should best be reconciled with each other? 

    • The thing that science will always have, and religion will never have is: "I don't know". And that creates far more possibilities than religion can ever have.

      Religion is a tribal construct and wired into our brains. If, and when, we evolve past the desire to make tribes, religion will fade away.

    • I don't really see any reason why religion and science can't coexist. I believe in my faith (Islam) and I also believe in science (obviously, as my education is in biomedical science). If anything, learning about the intricacies of life at the molecular level only reaffirms my faith that someone must have created everything in this world. The way that life works, from as small as DNA all the way up to the larger organism level, can't be by chance.

    • Nice post and an interesting question.

      I'm a bit curious about one thing that you wrote. You say that you are not convinced of human evolution because you haven't seen enough evidence to support it. Yet you are willing to believe in many aspects of religion including a version of the creation story with absolutely no directly visible evidence.

      So, for you, what is the difference between the two. Why does one need absolute clear proof while the other needs none?

    • The Bible teaches that God does not want man to rely on those things which are observable without revelation for knowledge of God's character and will. It also teaches that the fact of his existence is manifest in His creation.

      This predetermination by God affected how He created the world. He created the world in such a way as to ensnare those who insist on rejecting God's revelation through their own intellectualism.

    • As a non-religious person, here's my hot take on this: religion and science can never be reconciled completely, because in a way they are trying to do the same thing - explain the world we're living in.

      Whether it is the God of Thunder vs. electrostatic discharge, or Ra, Chandra and Ares vs. the solar system, or the Big Bang vs. Creatio ex nihilo - at the core of all of these examples is something that people wanted to have an explanation for. Religion is basically a collection of first hypotheses for all of these things, while science is pretty much about trying to falsify all hypotheses until that is no longer possible.

      In the end, someone who wants to believe will always either find a way to incorporate whatever scientific result may pop up next into their belief system, or will outright disregard it as heresy - whereas someone who puts their trust in science will always tell you about Occam's razor and how that means that any explanation including some omnipotent being creating stuff out of sheer boredom is unnecessarily complex and thus unlikely to be the case.

    • In this era, today. I do hope people received suficient education to understand they only need to look at religion purely as a cultural and social construct and wish majority of it would be only that. That's exactly what should be reconciled and the world would be a much, much better place.

      Over millennia it has brought humanity a much needed reason to live, and justified why to behave "humanely", though not without some horrible abominations and pitfalls. Beyond that, religion is all about indoctrination, and today that shapes society in manipulative forms such as for elections purpose or other political reasons. There is nothing common between any science and religion, but perhaps the most possible scientific branch closer, would be psychology, and arts.

    • It is comments like this that make religious people suspicious of sending their children to institutes of higher learning

      @cvdavis recently wrote:

      One of my professors vehemently denied sexual dimorphism among humans
      for example and when I referenced assorted well regarded scientists she
      refused to pass my paper. Everything had to be as she preached it. This
      was in a masters class.

      Anyone who views the purpose of education to be to compel people to see things the way that they see things has the same mindset as a Joseph Stalin or as the society in Orwell's 1984.

      Your attitude is like the leaders of religious cults, you want to get everyone to think alike. Like "Speedlearn" in "The General" episode of the 1967 British television series "The Prisoner."

      It is true that almost all religions are the result of man's choices and are therefore "social constructs" but that does not mean that all religions are.

    • Science by definition is something that should be demonstrably proven. Religion is where faith comes in.

      That of course doesn’t mean religion can’t be true. But yes, great point.

    • Yeah, there is always going to be some friction, there. My hope is that by learning more about science and embracing science, it can help religious people draw closer to God. And in turn, it can help non-believers reconsider the possibility of intelligent design.

      One thing I would say is that there is a place for both. Religion deals much more with why are here kinda stuff and science deals with the how does everything we observe actually work kinda stuff. We need both viewpoints out there and discussions in order to have a more well-rounded view of the world around us.

    • Great question. I was hoping someone would bring this up.

      My belief is that when it comes to the origins of man and the origins of life on earth and how we got here, regardless of what viewpoint you take, it requires faith and is in the realm of religion and not science.

      In other words, my belief that God created the heavens and the earth is a matter of faith and not science. I can't prove that God created the heavens and the earth. That requires faith on my part. Similarly, the belief that all life came about via unguided macroevolution is also a matter of faith and not science. You can't prove either one.

      So, if I'm going to choose between the belief that God created all things and is the source of our existence or the belief that we all just got here via unguided means, I'm going to go with the first option that God was behind it. I find it much easier to believe in a creation process that was under the direction of God than a random process that was unguided and yet resulted in such complexity and richness of life. Believing in one or the other requires faith and is a matter of religion is my point.

      Speaking more to the belief in unguided macroevolution as a whole, upon doing a fair amount of research into the matter, I haven't come across any evidence that convinces me that all living things share one common ancestor. All that we can observe in science is that bugs remain bugs, birds remain birds, dogs remain dogs, whales remain whales, fish remain fish, etc.

      We haven't been able to observe the transition process that is alleged to have happened by those who believe in the unguided macroevolution theory. People point to microevolution/speciation, but that's always about things changing and evolving amongst their own kind. Bugs change and evolve, but they evolve into another type of bug. Same with birds and the other types of animals that I listed earlier. To me science is something that we must be able to test and observe. We can't do that with unguided macroevolution. Therefore, it shouldn't be considered a scientific belief but rather a religious one.

      So, I fully acknowledge that my belief in God creating the heavens and the earth cannot be proven by science and is a matter of religion. I just wish those who believe in the theory of unguided macroevolution could also admit that their belief is religious and cannot be proven by science.

      The reason why I think this is so critical is I think a lot of religious people have lost faith in science because of the theory of unguided macroevolution. If more scientists could admit that a belief in unguided macroevolution isn't science and is instead religious, that would invite a lot more religious people to partake in observable, demonstrable science and take it seriously.

    • Dracula's comment doesn't strike me as being the same as a cult leader trying impose their own constructs on others. He said, "I hope people . . . understand . . . " It doesn't sound like he's trying to impose anything. He even admitted religion has done good in the world. I think it's more akin to how the vast majority of people today understand the earth is not flat and kind of wish that everyone understood that.

      It's interesting that you used the quote from cvdavis because when I read it I do see your point about imposing beliefs on others, but I also see a parallel between some religious people who, when presented with strong evidence contrary to their beliefs simply discard it without a second thought because it doesn't support their views. "I believe it because it's true/It's true because I believe it."

      By that same token, the Bible must be true because God said so, right? Or the gospels are true because Jesus lived. So much great stuff has been written about him and he has a huge following. And there's even evidence supporting it. Or at least there's evidence that people of the time believed it. Is there evidence that doesn't simply point to people in the Bible that actually did exist in the real world? Most people were not able to write, so the records passed on were the ideas that a select few felt compelled to preserve. How do we know that the stories of the Bible are accurate if all we really have are documents that support it? There's a gravesite in Japan that is said to be Jesus' real resting place. It's not very likely to be true, but can it be proven to be false? Greek mythology had worshippers. There's physical evidence of that but it's generally understood now to simply be a way for the people of the time to make sense of the world. With sufficiently cloudy history, anyone can claim a story to be more than just a human construct. Or embellish a story that does have factual beginnings.

      Just as a disclaimer, I'm not interested in debating whether there is sufficient evidence to prove any religion one way or another. I know that nothing I say will change your beliefs. I'm not trying to change them. I just saw some points in your comment that I felt warranted another viewpoint.

    • Yeah, there is always going to be some friction, there. My hope is that by learning more about science and embracing science, it can help religious people draw closer to God. And in turn, it can help non-believers reconsider the possibility of intelligent design

      But "embracing science" and "this is too complex, so there must have been a Creator at work" seem to be mutually exclusive statements. Also, "too complex" according to whom? Using what metric? Meaning 'unlikely to happen' or 'impossible to happen'?

      Stating that individual changes within a population can happen, but ignoring the possibility that, over time, enough of these individual changes can happen for two sub-populations to eventually become incompatible with each other is basically splitting the whole theory of evolution in half, dismissing one of those parts and then arguing that the remainder can't explain everything we see. In my opinion, that is not "embracing science".

    • Anyone who views the purpose of education to be to compel people to see things the way that they see things has the same mindset as a Joseph Stalin or as the society in Orwell's 1984.

      This is a sure way to identify someone with extremist views. They always set up a straw man in order to assert that anyone who doesn't agree with them must be an extremist at the other end of the spectrum.

    • I'm in a funny position because I love some religions for the people, the community, the traditions, festivities, costumes, service, dietary beliefs and all the rest. And I was an earth scientist whose job depended on understanding that the earth and everything in it evolved over a very, very long time with the very same natural processes we can observe today.

      I've always squirmed over the battles between religion and science because I feel science has a way of coming out on the right side of history after a very long, drawn-out, and sometimes bitter debate that alienates both sides. Science tends to take the path of a butterfly in a field, advancing here a little, there a little, taking some wrong turns, correcting itself often, but enlightening us over a long time as it moves from one side of the field to another.

      Religion tends to dig in its heels until the evidence is overwhelming and then just stops talking about it.

    • My personal impression is that the 5 religions in America I'm pretty familiar with vary widely in their trust/suspicion of science. Mainstream Jews (not orthodox) strongly embrace science; Seventh Day Adventists mostly do; Catholics are in the middle but the current Pope seems to lean into it; Mormons are distrustful of science and evangelicals are even more so.

      Interestingly, the progression I just described is also reflected in their political leanings, from blue to red.

    • One of the problems in comparing religion to science is that science tends to produce a precipitate, metaphorically speaking.

      Religion on the other hand, when speaking generically, tends to become less and less settled as the centuries go by. Rather than religions becoming fewer and fewer, they become more numerous and more diverse in their teachings.

      The result is a Signal to Noise ratio which is more noise and less signal as time goes by.

      There is a reason for this and it was explained back in the first century when the original apostles were still alive. The proliferation of religions which have sprung up in the last 1990 plus years is a result of human desire and self-centeredness—and it will continue to increase.

      Science is not like that. When a scientist fudges the data due to a personal agenda, his/her failure to be objective eventually results in a rejection of his/her work by the scientific community in general.

    • You don’t understand evolution well enough and too much of your ‘research’ is from the religious promoted sort. Once you mention macro vs micro evolution it demonstrates a serious misunderstanding on your part. Anyway your motivated reasoning is getting in the way of your ‘research’. I’m not going to explain where you went wrong as there are many great books on evolution written by preeminent evolutionary scientists and if you truly care to understand evolution then you’d read them. Not the ones promoted by churches and such.

      That aside, even if a person accepts the current scientific consensus that humans evolved, that still doesn’t preclude the possibility for there being a god. I mean after all the whole idea of a god is unfalsifiable so no scientist can disprove gods existence. Of course neither can or has anyone proved gods existence beyond a very confident belief or feeling that he exists. Heck, credible historians can’t even prove or disprove that Jesus was a real man so of course gods existence is well beyond that. No old book (Bible) proves much of anything.

      Religion and science can coexist, it’s when religion starts to poke its nose into science that scientists start to fight back against religion. Think Dawkins et al. Over time, science explains more and more of the things that were once the domain of religion. And this trend will continue. I doubt however that science can ever explain everything and thus religion will survive. Add to the fact that there are so many ignorant people out there and you can imagine a continued cyclical rise and fall of religion over time.

      Ignorance and motivated reasoning are the main reasons why religion continues strong today. Try reading Joseph Henrich’s book the weirdest people in the world. It’ll give you some insight into how religion has shaped society and history around the world.

      Freedom of religion should be promoted and protected but so should science be taught along with history, physical anthropology, evolution and critical thinking.

      I have never met someone who didn’t accept evolution who could actually explain it well to me. I suspect I never will though some people simply refuse to accept evolution because of the cognitive dissonance in creates for them. Believe what you will people but don’t go being anti-scientific or anti-evolution in order to accept the belief in god.

      People have limited time in their lives and they should spend time learning about whatever strikes their fancy if they want to study nonsense astrology for example then let them do it. Most times their ignorance hurts no one. Well except when a pandemic strikes. Or when they vote in a scientifically illiterate leader like Trump. Doh.

    • Evolution does NOT occur by chance. Any time someone says that it demonstrates they don’t really understand the role of chance in evolution. They therefore don’t fully understand evolution.

    • The bible is an old book with plenty of myth and stories in it. Logical fallacy of argument from authority comes to the fore when looking to the Bible for any truth. Study of the Bible as an authority requires faith and a lot of blinding ourselves to reality.

    • This wasn’t science that was being taught at the higher institution. Rather it was anti science. It should also be noted that the other professors in the department told me that they would argue my case with the dean. You see we all are at times on the low end of the dunning Kruger chart. Higher institutions help us recognize this. On average you get a lot higher up the critical thinking and knowledge hierarchy when you attend a secular university rather than do your ‘research’ on social media or in a dusty old book. Nothing wrong with self reflection but there’s a limit if you seek to discover reality. That being said, many people are happier in their ignorance than they would be without it. Religious believers are in my opinion lazy learners. Why keep going or learning when they’ve found some ready made answers? Particularly when those ready made answers can give them the hope of ever lasting life, happiness and the ability to see lost loved ones. Me, I prefer to study science when there is never a final answer dogmatically ascribed.