Science Versus Religion: Part 1 of 2
There is no doubt that shared knowledge is based upon a shared definition of terms, so here are definitions of two important terms or words that are fundamental to an understanding of what follows.
Science: According to the two-volume World Book Dictionary science is defined as “knowledge of facts and laws arranged in an orderly system” but it is the word ’facts’ in the definition that is of paramount importance.
Religion: From the same dictionary comes, “a belief in God or Gods”. No matter how many other dictionaries you consult, the word “belief” is universally predominant in all the definitions.
A vital element in a belief is that it is actually an accepted opinion about something, but that does not make it factual. A ready historical example of an incorrect belief was that held by ancient European mariners, particularly those from the Mediterranean who believed that the earth was flat. That belief was so strong that it does not require much imagination to conjure up the negative effect it had on marine exploration and knowledge. History books are riddled with stories and aspects of such negative beliefs. Expanding that into the religious arena it is both fortunate and amazing that present-day scientists were able to ignore these beliefs and venture into the unknown of space.
In my own case, I ignored what I had been taught and believed and accepted what I had accidentally discovered. As regards research, why bother to do any research if you are not prepared to accept the findings, no matter how challenging your sacred beliefs. Archimedes had a major impact on scientific knowledge and principles because he accepted what saw when he reportedly stepped into his bath and recognized the principle of water Displacement.
To sum up and compare the two above highlighted elements, science is based upon known facts and religion is based upon beliefs. The meaning of the words “knowing” and “believing” is separated by a gulf of infinite dimensions. Knowing is the product of personal experience whereas believing is accepting knowledge expounded by others. A ready example in everyday life is this is the case of someone being told that lemon, for instance, is very tart, in other words, bitter and sour, so that although they accept the other’s opinion it remains a belief. However, it is only when they taste a lemon themselves that that belief turns into knowledge.
Every activity from an erupting volcano to a fly being swatted by a human hand requires and utilizes energy. Further to that, unless energy is applied to a material object it will neither move nor change and the human body is, of course, a material object. There are two forms or sources of energy affecting a human body, internal and external. An example of the latter is a body being subject to physical force such as being pushed by another, which can cause it to move. An extreme example of an external force affecting a body is provided by a bullet from a gun, the impact of which, can even cause death. A more subtle form of external energy, are flows of invisible energy from a heat source such as a fire or strong sun rays. Each can result in either bodily damage or a sense of comfort. If feeling cold in a shaded spot, moving out unto the sun can be pleasantly warming, but exposing your body to direct sunlight in hot weather can cause tissue damage called sunburn.
As regards internal sources, the energy self-generated within all life forms, be they human, animal or birds etc are created by the ingestion and digestion of other life forms, be they animal or vegetable, which are broadly categorized as food as long as they are not poisonous. The energy internally generated allows humans to operate our bodies in the manner that we do.
Mankind: If you look at the species called Man and recognize that that word includes male, female and child, you are viewing a mechanism of awe-inspiring and infinite wonder, beauty, function and complexity. There is not one artificial construction, no matter how incredibly brilliant as a masterful piece of engineering design and construction, that can be even remotely be compared to the intricacies involved in the functioning of a healthy human body. Such a body commonly referred to as a person is a composite of two elements, the physical body and its control mechanism, which activates it.
There is no limit to the amount of data that the control mechanism is capable of storing whereas even the most powerful computer has a limited capacity and that will always be so.
As an aside, after I reached retirement age, with an interest in philosophy, I decided to enrol at a university where one of my tutors during a lecture stated that computers had developed to the point that they could think, they could turn themselves off and on, so that when I queried who plugged them into the power and who designed them in the first place I naturally received a chilly response except the other students. He obviously had some academic credentials otherwise he would not be lecturing but when it came to understanding life and living he certainly had his head in the clouds. Although I completed the year and was eligible to continue I decided that university was not for me.
Faced with the conundrum of the ‘origins of the species’, a phrase coined by Charles Darwin, mankind down the ages have attributed human life forms to be the creation of a super being that western or Christian civilization calls God. Other civilisations, one for one, have their own various names for their concept of a God such as Islam’s Allah, but the very idea of a superior all-powerful entity has obviously, at least to me, rising from the almost universal belief that there must be a superior being pulling the strings as it were, so before reading further it must be stated that my view of life is the product of the extreme ‘out of body experience’ narrated in my book “Turning Upsets into Positive Energy”. The experience changed me from being a confirmed atheist or agnostic to what I am today, which is certainly not a Christian nor a follower of any other religious belief system but probably best described as a free-thinking realist.
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