03 October 2012

Arrogant Science--Opinion

I hear people often speak of science arrogantly. They say things like science is better than religion because it changes when it is wrong, or I like science because it actually explains things. Those statements are irritating for a couple of reasons. In the case of the first statement, it’s not saying that science is good because it recognizes when it is wrong, it’s actually saying science is better than religion because religion is wrong, but too dumb to realize it. It’s also usually said with a condescending tone that implies that people who believe in a religion are ignorant, and wrong. In the case of the second statement, where people like science because it explains things, people are implying that science is better than religion because science explains things whereas religion does not. But that’s not true! Science does explain a lot of things but so does religion. Science explains why two single strands of DNA are paired together to form a double helix, but religion explains that it’s wrong to kill and eat another person and what the meaning of life is. Do you really want to play the doesn’t explain anything card?

It’s these little tiny slights that compound over time to abrade away at the barrier where religion and science meet; that point of contact gets raw and painful to bear and is taxing to take passively. And the worse thing about it is if you were to confront someone who uses the phrases I outlined above, they would not back away or try to tone down their slights. If anything, they will probably come around full-swing and attack bluntly.

I stand on that line between science and religion. I recognize the importance of science and I recognize the importance of religion, and I cannot in good conscience relegate science to center-stage and pretend that science is somehow better than religion. Science explains how things are, religion fulfills, what I thinks is the greater question, why things are. It is good to memorize words, but it does no good if you don't know their meaning.


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