20 January, 2014

Neil deGrasse Tyson opines that faith and science cannot be reconciled.

While deGrasse Tyson raises some valid points, ultimately I do not agree because he is misinterpreting what the Bible is. It is not a book of science but a book revelation containing religious truth. Still, his argument is important to understand irrespective of where you stand on this issue.

What do you think?


  1. I thought Dr. Tyson was clear in distinguishing fundamentalist who treat the Bible as science from enlightened interpreters who don't. Thinking that science and religion can never be reconciled is because of the track record, the explanation from science has always held in the long term. In a quote which I wish I could find and properly reference someone said that there has never been an explanation science had, however, tentative or incomplete where now we say no, that was wrong, religion's explanation is better. Whereas we can think of many that go the other way. It's not saying the religion has no domain, only that it's is losing or has lost the domain of any field that affects this world or human nature. It's been reduced to the spiritual and them metaphysical.

  2. @ Rationalist : You claim that those who treat the contents of the bible as science are un-enlightened ones and that those who don’t are ‘enlightened’ ones. Is this assertion based on reason, intuition or faith?
    “ The explanation from science has always held in the long term.” To which explanation and of what are you referring to? The earth is flat? The erath is positioned at the center of the universe and everything revolves around it? Nothing in the universe can travel faster than the speed of light? All objects in the universe behave in accordance with Newton’s laws of physics? All particles everywhere always behave like particles and not like waves? All order in the universe is based on derterministic principles? All that exists is visible and verifiable? There are many scientists who theorize that nothing concrete exists at all. Any scientist would claim that only a child could believe that the material universe exists in the way that we perceive and think it does.
    The truth is more likely, that there was a time when religion relied very heavily and mistakenly on scientific discovery to help interpret and ‘prove’ the ‘facts’ contained in scripture- which in turn lead to an intolerance for scientific discoveries that falsified previous scientific discoveries. So ‘religion’ is not in opposition to science , only to the advancement of science, but throughout the ages scientists have and continue to be also explicitly opposed to new scientific discovery that undermine the principles they have established and have built their careers on . No one scientist can verify all the data necessary to formulate any particular theory he/she operates under, he/she must accept in faith the myriad of pre-determined axioms.
    I don’t know what “ domain” you are referring to and the reference religion being ‘reduced’ to spiritual is incoherent. Surely you aren’t implying that all being can be reduced to matter? That’s a claim that goes contrary not only to religious belief but also to intuition, metaphysics and science ( with the exception of very ancient science.)
    So many ‘ religious followers’ of present day are so because they believe no that the bible is a science text but more because it is a history book of factual events in time rather than finding and experiencing the truth through the importance of the myth and metaphor.
    Most atheists in the world are so because they don’t believe ‘the historical and factual events) in the bible.
    Both groups believe that -rather than a vessel for truth- myth is a lie. Perception of reality is relative and each group perceives the others view just as childish and foolish.

  3. Larry. I was repeating Dr. Tyson's division into those who adopt a more literal compare to what he would call enlightened. I wouldn't have used the word enlightened, although I can see why he might. I would have said metaphorical view if the Bible. And it's not an easy demarcation. Catholics, for instance, do not maintain a literal view of creation and accept the age of the Earth and evolution. On the other hand Catholics take the Eucharistic pronouncements of Jesus literally while Young Earth Creationist Protestants take it symbolically. (That has always amused me, but that's more history than theology).

    To have an explanation from science, one must have evidence to back up the explantion (the corner stone of modern science). The pronouncements of a flat Earth or Geocenrtricsm were made without evidence and are not science. Science, as it is known today is a relatively recent development (400 years old or so). Before that we could have Aristotle declaring that heavy objects fall faster than lighter ones, merely from thought, not from experience or testing.

    I do maintain that all being can be reduced to matter, because there is no evidence of anything non-material. The last great holdout, the mind, has been shown by modern neuroscience to be the operation of the physical brain. It's disquieting for many, just as it was for those who when first hearing of evolution recoiled at the idea of a common kinship with animals. But as best we can tell, it's the truth, and the truth is setting us free from our preconceptions.


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