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If science was like religion

15 July 2013, 09:34

Some time back I wrote a piece called, If Atheism Was a Religion, and surprisingly few mamparas showed up to advertise their ignorance opposing the thesis.

Could it be that the hard-of-thinking are slowly beginning to learn?

Or. perhaps, like vampires avoiding garlic, we can keep them at bay and keep them honest by steadily laying out the case against religious brain antifriction in such simple terms that even the slowest among them gives it a wide berth.


Well; today, in that tradition, I thought I’d share another simple observation: To show how the honesty in the way science operates, reveals the dishonesty in religious machinations.

How many Christian’s have you come across who say that the other 30,000 variations of Christians aren’t really Christian?
And here, I’m not talking about the ‘habit’ of Christianity we see in the more mature versions of the cult – the Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists or whatever; they’re not really in argument.  I’m talking about the feral offshoots from America’s bible belt; the free enterprise evangelical nutcases.  And, of course, the fez-n-ninja brigade also claim half the time to be the epitome of peace… insisting that the bombers aren’t really of their ilk.  Hmmmm…..

One has to look at a belief system that has just one thin book telling a fairly simple plot as its common basis, and marvel that so many variations of interpretation could be derived from it; all disagreeing over the minutia and all discarding one another as not truly worthwhile.  I wonder what it says about the story itself and the chances of it being inspired and constantly endorsed by a notional god, a creator of the universe and spacetime no les, when this kind of disagreement can arise; and not just disagreement, but murderous enmity.

But let’s Juxtapose that catastrophic failure in comprehension with the way the sciences conduct themselves:
From time to time in science, two or more competing hypothesis will disagree really get stuck into one another - but at no time does one group say that the other "are not really scientists".  Bohr vs Einstein vs Shrodinger got heated; but, no war was declared; we don’t today see the followers of these competing ideas still doggedly holding their positions.  No.  The matter was resolved by debate and experiment.  Truth – real truth, in the form of hard data and predictive precision and result – carried the day.

And so it is that we see how actual facts and actual honesty, and not the lip service religions pay, are the hallmarks of a valid system.

And when the facts of one group carry the day, the vanquished don’t splinter off with their nay saying die-hard denialist renegades and make war on the victors so that the two sides never agree again.  No.  They act like actual adults and applaud the superior version and fall in line with it.

I tested this article in a Facebook group and had just one die-hard attempt a denial of it.
In the vein of the old adage “if you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people”; it might be that theists are and remain theists simply because they don’t read and/or comprehend much, and especially detail.
Simple and obvious as my above comment seems to me, he managed to totally misunderstand it and post the following link and a response to the matter that tells me he just doesn’t ‘get’ it:
“Mememan - You live in a dreamworld. For just a few scientific controversies, see the link [given above]. Interestingly enough is the comment that heliocentrism was first denied by scientists, and was later opposed by the religious community....
Add to those the animosity between Faraday and Davy, the mistreatment of Harrison and his watches in the search for accurate longitude calculations, the treatment of Cecilia Payne who had to change continents to be able to study….” …. Yapity-yap-yap…
on he went missing the point.

It’s missing the point by a light-year.

Nobody says individual scientists are angels without egos nor that they ahve perfect scruples.


So my answer is as follows – and, in the complete absence of his response, I’d be most interested in yours:

“Perhaps I and we, the rational, do live in a dream world – and, I try with vigour to avoid nightmare world that religion brings – need I mention Dark Ages, Crusades, Inquisition, Conquistadors, Witch Trials, Ireland, Balkans, Middle East, Apartheid, etc.

Well – in your reply to me, you may notice the operative word in your links as provided was: "was" and "past" – “past controversies in science”

Also - what the article linked suggests as a 'present' controversy - Climate Change… except… Errrr... there is no controversy among qualified scientists... yes... lawyers and economists and religious fools deny it; but among scientists... no controversy – so we can file that one.

But – per the scientific ‘controversy’ of heliocentricity, aving to delve back to 1543 and Copernicanism to find a controversy rather scraping the barrel, wouldn’t you say?

And, sadly, yes; the misogynistic attitude of scientist’s from past ages is an undeniable blight; it’s origins tied up in the general miscongynistic attitudes of our Abrahamic heritage and culture. Fortunately we now live in an increasingly honest age and our cultures are less and less tainted by the stain of Abraham and his cruel desert-tribe patriarchal nastiness.

The individual egos and dishonesty of scientists themselves is an unfortunate hangover of our evolutionary path as humans. Fortunately, the scientific method and peer review process dismantles these frailties and self-corrects the process and outcome as the decades go by. The enterprise of science in the long run is what is important here, not the individual role players. Given your emotional attachment to prophets, ‘hidden’ guiding hands, and secret power plays within strict hierarchy; and not to omit the cult of personality you’re so fond of; I do appreciate that it would be hard for you to grasp this democratized and self critical mechanism.

Let me put it to you this way: If religion were either based on reality or even honesty, when, say, Martin Luther nailed his gripes to a church door - there would have been vigorous debate (which is not quite as exciting, I grant you, as twitching flesh freshly opened by a whip or that lovely braai aroma from burning living flesh).
The debate and debacle may have gone on a while, but, eventually, the outcome would have been concluded on the evidence and the merits Luther proposed; consensus would been reached and whichever of the doctrines was disproven would have been set aside yet kept on file for later reference and periodic review; but the correct path would have hence-forth been pursued.
No schism would have occurred; the two temporary meanders of Christianity would have rejoined into a single river of knowledge - or, as you prefer it... that wonderful though unreliable emotion you call 'faith/belief'.

Indeed – taking the idea of consensus based on truth to its natural conclusion: there would be no Jew or Moslem versions of the Abrahamic monotheistic "breakthrough" in notion. Further to that, there would be no other religion but the super-Abrahamic concoction; imagine it – no Shinto, no Buddhism, no Sikhism. All people would actually be aligned on a single path of knowledge.  What a concept hey.

If it's still not clear what I'm saying, and why I'm saying it, let's consider what it would be like if science acted like the petulant and fickle child that religion is;
Science would now also be fragmented into 30,000 murderously opposed sects all squabbling about their take on heliocentricity, proffering as their preferred method of argument not the data, but rather "strong inner convictions" and “ancient assertive texts“ and “vouchsafes“, etc.

I trust you see the comedy in science acting this way; I appreciate that with so much emotion invested in your preferred delusion, it is not quite as easy to see in yourself - but I hope this juxtapose helps and acts as something of a mirror.

But what do we see now in on the once popular belief? Well - when last did you hear any mention whatsoever of heliocentricity?

Why no more mention? Because it is disproven in its entirety and there is no group of scientists feels the compulsion to make morons of themselves still mumbling about it.  Further to the point, we don’t even see the sect that once pursued the heliocentric model now, faced with the data disproving it, agreeing that it is perhaps “not to be taken literally, but rather as a metaphorical” mumbo-jumbo.

So. Thank you for the links my friend. You precisely prove the point I originally made by adding your voice in desired opposition.  And, with your brain so addled into 'boys club' and secretive cabal thinking as it is; I forgive you your ridiculous trespass and attempted besmirchment of the noble and true practice of science”



As I was about to publish this, my good friend appeared and attempted a standard diversionary response:
“So, science is allowed to have mistakes from the past, but Christianity has to forever be bowed (sic) by its past errors, science is allowed mistakes because it is executed by humans, but Christianity is not allowed the same excuse?”

My response:
“If only religion made mistakes, but had the character to 'man-up' and say.... "ooops.... mistake!" and toss it out.

Let me give you some examples – and let’s hear some ripping:

"And in the beginning... and man made from dirt... and Eve made from ribs...." etc.
All of Genesis... pure bull... the facts from a dozen sciences agree and contradict it - Religion needs to sit up and say "Okay... god didn't write it and, much as we'd love to keep the chapter in for nostalgic reasons - we must replace it now with the Big Bang, quantum, physics, cosmology, biology, tectonics, geology, and of course - evolution - for they are right... we were wrong" – Rip-rip-rip – and the thin book becomes thinner and more honest.

Next... Exodus... darn... In a Century and a half, no archaeologist has ever found any shred of archaeological evidence of the Israelites en masse in Egypt building the pyramids.  And it’s not their methods, because they have found plenty of evidence of Egyptian labourers doing national service who built the monoliths. Okay... out Exodus comes – Rip-rip-rip.

Next – The Book of Joshua: The sun couldn't have stopped in the sky... we're tossing it out and can only, embarrassedly, ascribe the story to some bad camel dung in the hookah - Rip-rip-rip..

Next... a Global Flood... Ooops... okay... the darn scientists went and figured out that the oceans (including the plankton that make the other 50% of oxygen not made by now-drowned-forests) would die in a freshwater flood (which 40 days of rain is). Oh, dear, what to do?  - Rip-rip-rip. It was a local flood, sorry about that - probably in the area of the present day Black sea - Rip-rip-rip.

There’s no need to stop here – these are just some obvious examples to get you going.

That sort of honesty and attitude that could make religion honest - without then, as I said earlier, backing away and re-characterizing everything disproven in metaphoric hues.”

But let’s part with a smile now:

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