Re: Science and Religion

Martin Cohen (mcohen@UCLA.EDU)
Sat, 7 Oct 1995 11:54:59 -0700

J. Rotholz reply to D. Read:

>It seems to me that religion comes very close to fulfilling these
>criteria. Most religious activities are open to public scrutiny and find
>a verification of sorts through the replication of religious experience
>among those "outsiders" who come to an experiential religious knowledge,
>thereby "verifying" the given religious belief(s) on a personal level.
>Most religious groups actively invite nonbelievers to put their claims to
>the test. And somewhat like the scientific method, religious movements
>which fail to deliver a verifiable experience (of God/peace/etc) fall by
>the wayside like disproven scientific theories.

There is no systematic criteria for religion. The verifiable experiences
are emotional in nature, and subjective. The same religious act may evoke
one experience for you, and yet leave me cold. Within the rules of
scientific systems, we can all make independently observe the same
phenomonon, and then argue over the significance of the observation. But
in religion, I cannot validate your experience, nor you mine. My atheism
does not invalidate your religiosity any more than your religiosity
invalidates my atheism.

Martin Cohen