Talk:Science as religion

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This totally doesn't belong under Evolutionary Biology. Let's move it to sociology, philosophy, or religious studies. -Tom

Hmm. I have to say that if the goal is really to "understand the relationship between science and religion", using the title "Science as Religion" is not a good start... - dcljr 08:03, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

"using the title 'Science as Religion' is not a good start" <-- why not? --JWSchmidt 12:32, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
Well, the stated goal of the project makes it sound like it's trying to be an unbiased investigation, but the very title of the project (not to mention the first source article linked to) is very one-sided. Not only does it rhetorically subjugate science to religion, it confuses (in my opinion) what science and religion actually are (simply put: science is not a kind of religion, by the very definitions of the two concepts that people generally accept). Now, I'll assume that this title was chosen because it's actually the very idea that science is a kind of religion that this module is trying to address. If so, this needs to be more clearly explained in the description of the project. In other words, are you actually investigating science or a certain perspective some people have on science? The distinction is an important one. In the first case ("let's investigate science as a kind of religion"), the exercise is starting off with a strong underlying assumption (I would say a false premise) that needs to be questioned. In the second case ("let's investigate this idea that science is a religion"), the description of the project should be rewritten to clarify this as being the objective. And finally, if the goal is as currently written ("let's investigate the relationship between science and religion"), why start out by defining that relationship a priori in the title? - dcljr 22:06, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
If I still haven't made my objections clear, I can simply edit the description of the project in a way that I think is more appropriate, assuming you want to keep this title. - dcljr 22:11, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
I agree that many people who claim that science is religion are probably either confused or trying to confuse others. An exception would be those who suggest that science can be combined with a sense of wonder and in so doing satisfy many of the same emotional needs that for some people are satisfied by religions. Some people claim that science is a religion and this learning project was created as a place to investigate that idea.
Agreed, reading through title, and going on to read through the page it seams very bias. The only reason I ended up here at the discussion page. RichMac 03:12, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
As the comments on the Talk:Darwinism as religion page pointed out, the idea that science is religious seems to be a strictly American phenomenon. Perhaps it would be less inflammatory to name the course something like "Science and Religion in America" (or maybe "Science and Religion in the United States"). Furthermore, the idea of "science as religion" don't seem to come from anyone who could be considered an "expert" in any scientific field, but rather from conservative political writers. This isn't a problem in itself, but their points are hugely flawed (implying that evolution is some sort of overarching theme in all of science rather than a specialized topic, so clearly geologists must be experts in evolutionary biology too) or patently false (claiming that most of the evidence for evolutionary biology "has been revealed as hoaxes and fakes", as if a broad field of scientists have nothing better to do than continue their long running joke). There doesn't seem to be much of a point in a course which discusses the merits of articles written to attack biology by authors who don't know the first thing about biology. I do, however, think this course could still be useful as a possible study on how this phenomenon began, why it's isolated to the US (or if it is; as a USian I can't speak for everyone else), its effects on US politics, its effects on how the world views the US (for example, on Talk:Darwinism as religion, someone stated that they have a separation of church and state in Switzerland, implying that we do not. Does the rest of the world view our church/state separation as weak in some sense?), etc. From a sociological perspective, the topic seems rather interesting, and I wouldn't mind learning about it. It also seems like the approach would make it much easier to maintain a NPOV. --Nick Driscoll 21:00, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Maybe this should be merged with the [Darwinism as religion] page? Right now, the content of the 2 pages is pretty similar.

In my view, "Science as Religion" is a large topic and Darwinism as religion is one specific example of how some people have tried to link a particular type of science to religion. Rather than merge, we just need to expand the list of topics on the "Science as Religion" page. For example, I think there could be a "lesson" dealing with claims physicists have made about how their work reveals something about god. --JWSchmidt 23:33, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
Nietzsche would be good to bring up—he put Science (and Reason) in the same category as religion, and rejected both on the same grounds. The Jade Knight 02:33, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
A lot of people confuse Naturalism with Science. Is that what you mean by "Science as Religion"? Also, "Science as Religion" does not automatically mean "Religion as Science", which is arguably another matter. The Jade Knight 08:23, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
If I were to Assume Good Faith and try to find a core of rationality behind the idea that we can constructively view Science as Religion, I would start with the fact that it is possible for people to try to adopt a scientific approach to understanding the world and then stop questioning the foundations of science. In my view, the results of science are always tentative. The history of science is full of examples of scientists being sure that they knew something, but a few years later they find out that they were wrong. So I think some people can make science look like a religion if they are not willing to admit that the results of science are simply the best ideas that we can come up with today, and our current ideas might later be shown to be incomplete or otherwise misguided or wrong. Another main issue is the distinction between "natural" and "supernatural". Much of what we call "religion" touches on the idea of there being "supernatural" features in the world. I think there needs to be a more developed science of the supernatural. It the very least we need to study why people are often attracted to a supernatural "explanation" of some phenomena. I suspect there is a fairly simple biological and sociological account of why people adopt belief in the supernatural. If science can reveal the biological and sociological basis of belief in the supernatural then I think that will help people think more clearly about the relationship between religion and science. --JWSchmidt 16:26, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
Another interesting tidbit: DesCartes used the scientific method to attempt to prove the (quite supernatural) existence of God. In his mind, at least, he was using perfectly rational and skeptical science to get to this point. He more or less came up with the modern scientific method, but saw no need to limit Science to something Naturalistic. This also may be very relevant to the discussion. The Jade Knight 18:35, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Is this the argument you are thinking of? "[S]ince I am a thinking thing, and have in me an idea of God, whatever finally the cause may be to which my nature is attributed, it must necessarily be admitted that the cause must equally be a thinking thing, and possess within it the idea of all the perfections that I attribute to the divine nature." (Trademark argument) --JWSchmidt 04:03, 27 October 2006 (UTC)


  • We need a definition of religion here. (e.g. w:Religion#Definition of religion, but not as clear-cut as the definition of science below)
  • We need a definition of science here. (e.g.w:Science)
  • I think they are different, and neither is a subset of the other. Perhaps someone can explain whether one is a "subset" (loosely speaking) of the other.
  • There may be scientific theories fitting both definitions, and darwinism may be example. But then the title should be Scientific theories as religions.--Hillgentleman 04:29, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
A relevant definition of religion (based on Mirriam-Webster) has been provided here. However, defining religion is an inherently troublesome affair. The Jade Knight 18:54, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Bias[edit]

It is biased to focus upon Darwin's theory whilst excluding all other scientific theories in the debate. As far as one can tell the whole argument hinges on the premise that a theory that fits all the facts may not be true and a supernatural influence is the actual answer. For this reason I have included gravity in the discussion as it illuminates the whole argument. Newton's theory of gravity was demonstrated to be incorrect - so the most current theory of gravity, by Albert Einstein, is used as a very serious example. It is the example that gives modern science its own creation story (the big bang), so I feel it is the most important theory to discuss. (Others may wish to include quantum mechanics or electromagnetism - all theories that just happen to fit observations amazingly well!) Astrophysicist 11:03, 19 February 2007 (UTC) (The preceding unsigned comment was added by 88.104.51.69 (talkcontribs) )


To me it smacks of satire, which would belong under Literature or Folklore, not here. The Jade Knight 06:09, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
The matter is serious. It appears that the 'Science as Religion' article merely concentrates on one particular scientific theory. This led me to believe that it is a cover for ID, and low and behold the rest of the article is about evolution. The scientific method is larger than any one theory and advances by disproving a particular theory in favor of one that more closely fits observations. Gravity is a prime example where Newton's theory of gravity was superceded by Einstein's. Gravity is also important in the discussion because it is a powerful predictive theory that leads sciencists to conclusions about the nature of the universe - the big bang etc. There could indeed be elements of religion in such thinking as it leads to a possible point of creation. From another angle, if one does not dismiss ID then one cannot easily dismiss IF so easily. Indeed if there is any weight to ID then IF becomes more probable - totally directed by a 'higher power'. I am in no way mocking Wikiversity, indeed I am defending it by ensuring a balance is achieved. I have helped build several pages when it was part of wikibooks already and am keen to continue. (The preceding unsigned comment was added by 88.104.51.69 (talkcontribs) )
People believe in ID; no one seriously believes in IF. As such, it is impossible to compare them as similar belief systems. If you wish to make such a comparison, it will need to be on entirely different grounds. You're welcome to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of Naturalism, if you like, or of ID, or of Atheism or Agnosticism, or of Buddhism or Islam—but please do not bring in something which is satirical in nature and designed explicitly to mock the views of another and claim that it is an equal example. The Jade Knight 02:55, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Question: what is going on here?[edit]

Can somebody please explain me (an experienced Wikipedia writer) what this course/page is about? This is as far as I know not a subject taught in schools or universities. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Andries/Definitions_of_religions and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Andries/Theories_of_religion 24.132.223.160 19:11, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Within science there are some fundamental ideas that are adopted by most scientists but which are rejected by others who prefer religiously-motivated alternative ideas. For example, Darwinism as religion explores the claim that evolutionary biology is little more than a religion that is forced upon school children. This claim is an interesting attack on conventional biological thought that is part of on-going attempts to put religious ideas on equal footing with science in competition for coverage in schools. This learning resource is a starting point for discussions that explore the relationship between science and religion. --JWSchmidt 22:54, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Anything as Religion[edit]

Once you would be able to associate with "Religion" a specific way to deal with a topic x, you can issuisize any x under the label "x as religion". You can misuse the discussion "x as Religion" with the objective to make people believe, that "x is a religion" - rather that discussing an inappropriately religious way to deal with x. This could happen here in wikiversity to science and darwins findings. You can treat science and darwins theories "religiously", but that doesn't turn these categories into a religion. One should not allow this "Science as Religion" project to be the trojan horse of those, who want to assimilate everything, which is not religion yet, into their religious model of reality.

Economics as Religion as an example: Economics can be and has been dealt with as if it was a religion. There surely is a belief system in economics. But the popular claim, that economy is a religion goes to far and is dishonest. Economics as religion simply is bad economics (besides lots of good economical research, of which we have plenty), as in general science as religion simply is no science and thus has to be distinguished from science which still deserves to be called science. --Snark 17:27, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Well - deep subject. What must be asked is "What is Religion?" It is in most cases a personal and subjective belief system, a world view or a way of life. The root of the word is related to a Latin term - ligo which is the same root found in the word "ligament" for instance. It means to "re-link" presumably to "God" or the "Divine" - a creator and subject/object of worship (worth-ship). The very etymology of the word, religion suggests that mankind was once linked (connected, tied, bound...) to a supreme being, but somehow that link became broken. Religion then encompasses a myriad of attempts to re-establish the original connection to the Godhead. These attempts range from atheism (relinking to the void) to pantheism (relinking to anything) to monotheism (relinking to the real God, whomever He/She/It is).
My personal choice is the re-linking to God the Universal Father who was manifest to me (and many others) through a visit to the planet some 2 millenia ago by a certain Jesus of Nazereth whom we understand was, is, and will always be the first-born Son of God. He is not, therefore only the healer of the breech, but is Himself, the Link. In our belief the link was broken as a result of the rebellion of a certain angel (lower diety, demigod...), Lucifer (The devil, Satan, Beelzebub...) causing what we know as the "Fall of Man". The whole package works for me, so that's what I use. But, science or anything else as religion is nonsense to me. --CQ 18:45, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
I do think that many take Naturalism religiously, and that for them it thus functions as a religion. This is not the same thing as "Science", and it is somewhat more difficult to think of something like the Scientific Method as being a religion in and of itself, though it could be perhaps adhered to "religiously". The Jade Knight (d'viser) 16:44, 25 August 2009 (UTC)