Science v Religion

QUESTION: Dear Mr. Armstrong,
I have been an avid reader of your blog for over four years after watching The Forecaster on Norwegian TV in the fall of 2015. First, I would like to commend you for your tireless work, your integrity and your courageous struggle for justice and freedom of speech. Your voice is a breath of fresh air at a time when so much brain power is giving in to political correctness and group thinking under the purview of scientific consensus.

During my studies, I became aware of the limitations of academia early on in terms of open critical processes. As I investigated the situation within other disciplines as physics, cosmology, geology, climatology, archaeology, history, biology and medicine, I found serious issues of dissent that was not common known and most often not mentioned in the professional literature.

In my further attempt to understand how this could be possible, it gradually dawned on me that the Western scientific tradition had been reduced to an orthodoxy. Just like any other organization having a predictable resistance against change, protecting itself against the loss of influence and power resulting from being exposed as a promoter of heresy. Partly commercial since depending on grants and external funding, willing to compromise with its own integrity and important social mission.

Since then, of course, everything has only got worse. Critical questions are increasingly ignored or ridiculed, and alternative research dismissed with contempt and excluded from funding and publication under the pretext of a lack of anchoring in consensus. As if the scientific method is a democratic process leading to unassailable dogmas decided by the votes of an academic priesthood.

This leads me to my first question inspired of your blog post about The Decline & Fall of Religion from January 7th. Could the Western scientific tradition have grown into a believe system and thus actually a new religion? For what is really a religion other than an interpretation of reality, sprung from the quest of man to understand himself and his own context? At first offering a new and more powerful set of explanations, but later just to fall as victim of the same corrupt orthodoxy as the model of explanation it once defeated.

As when mathematical reasoning was accepted as a scientific proof in order to understand the universe, or when the limitations within the scientific method, being strictly materialistic, was suggested and by time widely accepted as the very boundaries defining reality itself. Giving rise a atheistic scientific tradition believed to have the power to explain the reality without any supernatural causation.

If this is correct, when did this shift in the cycle of religion take place? What about 1860 which your blog post shows as an important turning point in this cycle? The year when Charles Darwin’s book The Origin of Species reached the bookshelves in Europe (first edition published 24. November 1859). A book that is supposed to offer an explanation for the existence of life simply from natural causes, and which gradually emptied the churches of the West as the believers converted to science through the educational system of academia. A shift that probably has changed and shaped the West more than any in the time after 1860. First through the industrial revolution as a powerful demonstration of the possibilities and legitimacy of the new worldview.

Later through the ideas of among others Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud leading to socialism, the dismantling of the traditional family structure and the sexual revolution. And finally the post industrial society with the educational revolution lifting billions out of poverty and into the growing mega cities of our time.

After all, does not academia bear all the hallmarks of being a religion with its self-importance, dogmas, traditions, rituals, clergy, heretics, exclusion and even venerable buildings and costumes with weird hats?

Would love hear your thoughts about this perspective, and how it might be linked to the downfall of the West.
KAK

ANSWER: Yes, I believe your analysis is correct. Science became a sort of anti-religion. In economics, science became all about the power of the state to manipulate society while ignoring any connection to any other field. It was Albert Einstein who actually commented on the observation you have made. He said in his essay “Science and religion,” published in 1954, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

I actually have no problem with Darwin despite the fact that nobody has ever discovered the missing link. There were clearly three primary species: Homo sapiens, Neanderthals, and Denisovans. There is also genetic evidence that there was interbreeding. Nevertheless, all the evidence Darwin gathered did not deny divine intervention. Evolution does exist insofar as the biological organisms do undergo their own cycle of evolution just as viruses do. Even humans have grown larger over the centuries. Above is the door entrance to the church built during the 4th century over the place where Christ was born. Walking through various ancient places, one notices how much smaller people were. Most Egyptian pharaohs were about 5’6 at best. A giant was someone about 6’1.

Stephen Hawking perhaps said what you are noticing: “There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, and science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.” That stands in contrast to what Isaac Newton said on the subject: “Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who sets the planets in motion.”


You are correct that from 1860 onward, there was a major turning point in religion on our model. Indeed, the emergence of “science” took on the position of the anti-religion to many people. This was a major crossroads in religion and we should also include the rise of the anti-religious elements within science. That anti-religion movement was probably best articulated by Karl Marx.

 

To me, understanding cyclical movement is by no means anti-religion. We are looking at how the universe functions. Even the idea of the Big Bang, to me, is simply a cycle where everything moves from the center, contracts back to its origin, and explodes once again. None of those scientific discoveries provides any confirmation that there is no God. There is nothing that explains how everything works that would deny the existence of God. They are not mutually exclusive. Thus, the climate change fanatics are really just pushing their agenda which denies the nature of everything and, like Marx, assumes humans are in control of everything.