Re: Science and religion

Fri, 21 Oct 1994 13:53:44 EDT

----------------------------Original message----------------------------
On Thu, 20 Oct 1994 12:52:21 -0500 you said:
>The only difference between science and religion is that science *must*
>strive to correct itself. A true scientist should not only try to prove
>his theory, but should also try to falisify it. A religion could never
>withstand such attempts at falsifiabilty. I challenge anyone to name a
>(surviving) religion that emphasises finding new religious truths through
>exploration of other religions. Science, on the other hand, needs to

Off hand I can think of several--Ba'hai, for one. There's aspects of
universality, or systems of in Vedanta Hinduism, among Quakers and
Unitarians, and if I keep thinking on it I'll
probably come up with some suggestions arising from Buddhism, too.

As for seemingly contradictory causal explanations...(gravity or Allah,
for example)? They're only contradictory if you assume they belong
within the same system of knowledge. They don't. When I know my
blood type (B+) means I've no Native American heritage (if I understand
blood type distribution), that's one system of knowledge--the laboratory.
But when a Native elder comments that my questions tell him that I am/was
Native once because I could only ask those questions if I had once-upon-a
time lived those events...? I know I have to shift systems of knowledge.
To metaphor, not lab. So I shift. I know I'm shifting. But if
don't shift and shift fast I will not be able to understand what
the elder is trying to tell me about reincarnation beliefs among the
Odawa. It's the same with the arts. Metaphor is as valid and necessary
a system of knowledge as the lab. We need to be skilled in both as
researchers. I'm a historian--of religion and art--with a strong
social sciences bias.

best wishes,
Maureen Korp, PhD
University of Ottawa


>seek out other 'truths' in order to come up with an 'objective' truth.
>James Lett discribes scientific falsifiablity in his _The Human
>Enterptise_ much better than I can do here. According to the definition
>of religion given by Geertz, it would seem that science *is* a
>religion. When a scientist, states a theory with such conviction that
>the scientist will not accept any other interpretations of the theory,
>then the theory is faith. It is just as good as saying Allah wills it.
>Why does my pencil fall when I drop it? Because of gravity or because
>it is the will of Allah? Using the correlation bit in previous
>messages, gravity doesn't necessarily cause objects to fall. A
>scientist who *really* 'believes' in gravity should spend time
>trying to prove that gravity isn't the cause. We don't understand
>thouroughly the nature of gravity. We also don't understand the nature
>of biology. When the human factor is involved, data can be pretty
>screwy at times. What Rushton has given to us as more than just a
>correlation may or may not be so. Until it is proven that the correlation
>holds true for all people, or at least several million cross culturally, I
>will not put my 'faith' in it. People have been dropping things since we
>first had people, and as far as I know, none of those things has fallen up.
>I can put my faith in that.
> Leo T. Walsh (