To much my dismay, my conception of what the relationship between science and religion should be; has not changed through the duration of this class. Not because the professors lack the knowledge to show definitive evidence of an ultimate choice, it's because, there is no ultimate choice. Our god given right to free will keeps humanity forever locked in spiritual turmoil, a faith driven perpetual argument inhibiting us from ever coming to a decent conclusion.
Free will gives humanity a consistent dose of maddening controversy, but without it our world would be hive-mindedly obsessed by God's will; making life an eternal, boring day at Sunday school. The way I see it, once one accepts Life's constants, the only thing left to do is to continue on and live it. Even though my views haven't changed concerning the relationship between science and religion, I have gained substantial knowledge that now allows me to back my views with factual evidence. Whereas faith is intrical to religion, factual evidence is faith for science, the glue that binds truth to the scientific method.
Science is fallible, replicable, and testable, it is a dynamic, ongoing, responsive process; religion is not. This problem and resolution regarding religion is best stated in this poem by Phillip Appleman. "On all the living walls Of this dim cave, Soot and ochre, acts of will, Come down to us to say: This is who we were. We foraged here in an age of ice, And, warmed by the fur of wolves, Felt the pride of predators Going for game. Here we traced the strength of bulls, The grace of deer, turned life into art, And left this testimony on our walls.
Explorers of the future, see how, When our dreams reach forward, Your wonder reaches back and we embrace. When we are long since dust, And false prophets come, Then don't forget that we were your creators. So build your days On what you know is real, and remember That nothing will keep your lives alive But art- the black and ochre visions You draw inside your cave Will honor your lost tribe When explorers in some far future Marvel at the paintings on your walls. " The central idea is the need for a lasting documented impression which remains consistent throughout history.
Untaintable evidence is what allows for your story to be told without third party interpretation. Some of what is preached in religion is falsified by inaccurate history resulting from lack of widespread use of the written word. This deficiency of substantial fact and evidence is what allows humanity to question the word of God. If there were undeniable evidence that divine creation actually happened, no one would question it. Darwin's study of human evolution gives us all a place to start from. His semi-universally accepted theory allows us to throw out a lot of the deistic, scripture based, take-it-for-granted facts.
His theory is hugely important not only for the scientific data, but because it birthed a mainstream idea that the bible is fallible. People were forced to accept that some of the word of God as depicted in scripture is not entirely accurate. This subliminal infection was the fuel for the already present flicker in the minds of many suspecting church goers. Darwin enabled people to second guess what was preached on Sunday's. Darwin's delay is understandable; I imagine that it's a heavy burden to father the virus that could potentially destroy Christianity.
By no means was it his intention, in fact he strove to purge his theory of spiritual content, nevertheless he most defiantly became Christianity's enemy number one. To go down in history as the father of evolution, a. k. a. the Anti-Christ may to some be, an unsought legend, to give him credit; Darwin was as confused as the rest of us. He didn't attempt to influence people's religious beliefs; he was a simple scientist trying to publish the findings of his life-long voyage. Darwin was agnostic, more specifically defined as a strategist, or he desperately tried not to piss anybody off with obstructing views.
The whole subject of God is too profound for human intellect" Darwin's own words relating to the idea of dogs vs. Newton, or, humans understand God about as well dogs understand Isaac Newton. Being as important and fragile the issues were surrounding evolution, finding inkling into Darwin's spiritual beliefs through his literature is sparse to say the least. The last paragraph in the Origin of Species is the only evidence that I have found. "Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely the production the higher animals, directly follows.
There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or only one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed laws of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and wonderful have been, and are being, evolved. " One breath, the unexplained power that precedes evolution is the important point to ponder. This original awe inspiring gift is not something that anyone can overlook. Some may say that creation is of no importance to them.
If spirituality were so easy to shuffle off, unimportant, there would be no need for the endless scrutiny this topic demands. I believe that no reasoning being, is capable of a Godless existence. Even without conformity to any religion, everyone will at some point, seek their creator. Imagine facing death, a situation where you or anyone else, can do nothing to affect the outcome. The imminence of death conflicting with the ever present demand for continuity. Fear is the catalyst, mortal fear, the kind you don't confuse with anything else. This is where God comes in; always.
Even with as much stress that has been put on Barbour's categories of the big relationship, I've come to the conclusion that it's not the dialogue between science and religion that should be considered most important. In my opinion, the way we should go about educating what these heavyweights have to offer is the key to the problem. Much of the world's population has been unduly influenced for most of their lives. Sundays become habit, the malleable minds of unsuspecting children constantly bombarded by stories of a great man. In my view, this subjective influence is the reason why science and religion are in conflict.
If children were taught all of the major religions, they would not have one monotonous source of influence, but from many different sources where a true medium of religious ideals could be extracted. This way the world's population would be more focused on their own religious beliefs instead of focusing on their neighbor's. My idea here is that both science and religion have a fair deal of evolving to do before they consider a relationship. In my experience, I've found it best to define my physical world through the consistency of science and rely on spirituality, to navigate the endless depths of my inconsistent human mind.
To put this all in perspective, we have and will always depend on science to solve all the riddles of our world, yet, the age old question which pierces through, plaguing, is no closer to being solved than the first day it was asked. This eternal question which when solved would give absolute understanding and meaning to it all, can only be answered by a being that we have no proof even exists. The only proof we have is the perceived lack of proof itself. And that makes all the difference.