Science and Religion

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Carmel Mar Thoma Church

Parish Study Forum, August 22, 2016

Science and Religion

Vinod Johnson

From the beginning of civilization and humanity there was conflict between religion and science.

Religion has corrupt practices and science also had its transformation.

Convergence and divergence are seen in both religion and science.
Vinod Johnson explored what is ‘truth’, what kinds of truths are knowable, the principles under which science and logic operate and the truths that fall within and outside the purview of science.
We are often thrust into a world where there is a conflict (perceived or otherwise) between science and religious revelation. Conflicts particularly arise in those areas where empirical truth is seen to contradict Biblical revelation. To a lesser or greater degree conflicts also arise in understanding the role that science plays or ought to play in the development of moral behavior. The first step in dealing (if not resolving these conflicts) is to understand what we mean exactly by these magisteria of science and religion and if/how they overlap or don’t overlap.

His session primarily focused on questions, not answers. His effort was not about ‘proving’ the existence of God and ‘proving’ our articles of faith, but he laid down with examples, pictures and diagrams and helped us to understand the many underlying assumptions we make when we discuss science and religion and question how these assumptions may/may not be wrong.

What is knowable (Epistemology)
Epistemology is the study of what is knowable.

Vinod illustrated his point with the The floating man”. If floating in space, he may not affirm his own existence.

Augustine of Hippo said, “If I am mistaken I am”. He quoted Adhi Shankara and brought the point no one thinks ‘I am not”
Slides of 4 people pulling the cart with Jesus in the middle he explained the relationship between arithmetic, logic, astronomy and geometry. Modern computer science is related to arithmetic and logic.
His talk included the clockwork universe, Hilbert’s program. Kurt Gödel’s Incompleteness theorem, reality and Eucudean, unprovability of parallel postulate.
One aspect of science is prediction, falsification and repeat.
Can we falsify God?
No we cannot falsify God.
Problem of Induction: chicken farm example- owner comes and give food, it is a fact, but one day the owner kills the chicken. It is a problem of induction.
What is knowable?

Revelation through nature

Revelation through Bible and Jesus

Revelation through the community

Revelation through believers
What is good?

Vinod’s illustration was the black hole. Black hole bents light. Is it good?

His slides of Good Samaritan and Resurrection of Jesus explained values, facts and actions.

We act on values. Faith and scientific method have actions and consequences.

Open discussion

  • Jesus died – action created a value. We hope most of our actions follows our values. Cross was a reflection Jesus’ values. Value precedes action for honest people.

We cannot apply scientific values of the faith. It is a cycle of thoughts.

  • Supremacy of religion Vs science

Religion and science are two separate things like apples and oranges. Science is changing. There is no Supremacy of science or religion.

  • We always fall back to GOD. When science and medicine fails (e.g. Cancer treatment) we fall back to God. But that is individualistic approach

  • Science and religion has a common purpose- primarily helps people physically and spiritually.

  • Science help improve religion and religion improve science. I biology logically explain the religious aspects of some scientific base. Cloning is an example.

  • Religion has a science of irrationality.

  • Jesus miracles can be explained on a scientific basis. Science has a lot of answers but a lot of gaps too. Sometimes scientific method are not the real answer and miracle happens.

Vinod concluded, “Each of us has values which differentiate between individuals, society and community”.

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