Aparthib Zaman

Often there are attempts by some apologists of religion to link science with a religious verse and claim originality of religious verses on the discovery of scientific truths. This is a flawed attempt, as I will argue below, that is often made by apologetics of all religions. If one likes to see science in anything they can see it anywhere. One "Joe Schmoe" may have said "All is relative" before Einstein's theory of relativity was known. By this stretch of imagination that Joe can legitimately claim that he already knew about relativity and claim originality. Any vague phrase, puns, allegories, quote etc by humans, scriptures etc can be customized and made to fit any scientific principle when that scientific principle is phrased in a very general way for popular consumption, hiding the underlying precise sense and formulation of these principles. By claiming these scientific principles were already contained in the revelations one is basically denying the painstaking research has helped unravel the complex workings of the laws of nature and reality.

None of these scientific discoveries were inspired FROM, dependent ON, or UTILIZED, any of the religious revelations. If religious revelations could not and did not lead to any of the discovery of these scientific truths in a stand alone way then by any criterion and logic they cannot be used to vindicate science. There are many unanswered questions in the basic understanding of the universe. Why can't the verses of scripture throw any light on them? For example we don't at this time know for sure if the universe is closed, open or flat. No body has dared any prediction to that effect based on any revelation. But if the Answer is ever found out by science I am sure someone will dig out some vague words of a verse from some book of some religion and claim to " see" the answer there that science has finally managed to find. Its always AFTER the fact that these semblances are found. It has never been found BEFORE the scientific discovery. Is that a coincidence? I don't think so. Nobel laureate Physicist Dr. Abdus Salam warned against people trying to explain Big Bang using verses from Koran, saying that the current version of Big Bang is the best known scientific explanation for the creation of the universe. What if a better scientific explanation than Big Bang is found tomorrow? Should the verses be changed to accommodate the new scientific view? Obviously not. It shows the inherent contradiction this leads to. Religious revelations can never vindicate or falsify science. The truth or falsity of a scientific principle lies within science itself. Religious scriptures cannot speak of any scientific principle. Religious revelations are absolute directives and narratives for humans to follow as faith unquestioningly. Many revelations clearly contradict many accepted scientific principles. No scientist of any repute have ever tried to substantiate scientific principles by religious beliefs. Most scientists and theologians would rather not mix faith with objective and rational field of science. Koran/Bible/Gita etc are not books of science. Any coincidental vague semblance between a verse and a popular phrasing of a complex scientific principle is solely due to the very general and vague wordings admitting of any interpretation that one chooses to impose on it. All one needs is some vague reverse fitting argument to connect the two. One can find Quantum Mechanics in Tagore' s poems if they really insist, or relativity in the Buddhist Monk Nagarjun's writing. Just seeing what one likes to see because of a preset belief in the revelations of a favoured religion doesn't make it so by any objective criterion. Faith and logic are incompatible. If faith could be validated by logic (correctly applied with incontrovertible evidences) then it would not be labelled faith but a universal natural principle/phenomenon. Faith that religious revelations contain scientific fact can never be justified by facts, evidences or logic. Some superficial similarities using only words cannot qualify for a proof or evidence. One must be reminded that the mark of a genuine proof, evidence and logic is a consensus that crosses all racial, ethnic and religious boundaries. That is not to say that a consensus is the only criterion of validity, but consensus necessarily follows from logic, evidence and facts. A sound logic using facts only can validate any conclusion. A fact by definition is an incontrovertible observation based on sense perceptions. That's why the laws of science are universal. We don't have an Islamic principle of Relativity, or a Hindu Quantum Mechanics or Christian Law of Evolution. All these scientific principles are convincing to scientists of all denominations. The logic and evidences speak for themselves, no belief in any religion is required for the acceptability of scientific principles. A majority of the scientists and theologians agree that science cannot be corroborated by religious revelations or vice versa. Only a handful of scientists (Almost all of them of questionable credentials, some with mediocre credentials) and zealous followers and apologetics of religious seem to be obsessed by the effort to link the two, which of course they are entitled to with full rights as a free human being as are the skeptics and more moderate followers who disagree and point out the flaws in this effort. There is some inherent inconsistency in this approach to validate religion by science. First, we know that in almost all religions this attempt is made. They are all equally convincing (or unconvincing, take your pick). So, there is no rationale to accept the reasoning of one religion over the other, on grounds of pure logic. Since all the religions are based on the assumption that the others are wrong (in the sense that their holy book is the only one containing the word of God) they can not all be right. But since the reasoning used to validate revelations with science are no better in one religion than the other there is no basis of selecting one as right. Follower "A" of religion "X" will of course only accept the reasoning to link religion "X" with science. Follower "B" of religion "Y" will believe in the reasoning of religion "Y" to link their revelation with science and so on. A valid logic and evidence linking any religion with science should be accepted by ALL, i.e by any follower of any religion, or a skeptic/non-believer. But that obviously is not the case. So none of the reasoning in any of the religions are based on sound logic or argument. Now let me raise the issue of the need to assert the "perceived" link between religion and science. First of all faith in a religious revelation is unconditional. One places faith in the revelations due to being born in that religion and due to reinforcements by society, surroundings and culture etc. ( This is a good example of "meme" in action. One can read the idea of memes in Richard Dawkin's "The Selfish Gene" or Susan Blackmore's "The Meme Machine"). Some examples and references of various "A"s from various "Y" s trying to find science in their respective revelations will follow later in this post. Once one stakes their faith in their revelations, the next step is to look for confirmations, reinforcements of that belief. It is a self feeding mechanism whereby an apparent similarity between a revelation and science strengthens the faith which in turn motivates one to "search" for more similarities and the reinforcements add up in a runaway fashion. Now the question is even if one chooses to reinforce this faith by " seeing" the similarities, do they need to declare that similarities to anyone? I would argue NO. If the faith is strong in one's mind then announcing the supposed similarities between revelations and science is not needed to strengthen the faith. A strong faith does not and should not require a public affirmation or sanction. Now if these announcements are made to convince others about the validity of the revelations then the obvious conclusion is that it is not succeeding. It is not convincing many of the moderate religious followers, let alone the skeptics. Majority of the scientists are not convinced (even for the religion that they are born in). Some of the few pseudo and mediocre scientists that do try to prove the truth of revelations with science do so out of some vested interests and are actively funded and supported by wealthy religious organizations or individuals. Others quote the similarities in a metaphorical sense to emphasize that science is encouraged by revelations which is noble in intent but flawed by any logical criterion. A motivation to pursue science is better obtained by exposing the young minds to the beauty of nature and universe through popular science books, movies, field trips etc. My purpose is not to disrespect religion or its revelation, but to question the attempt to reconcile the two in an illogical way. They can be irreconcilable and yet can continue and thrive as separate ways as long as one does not get in the way of the pursuit of the other. Below are some examples of attempts to validate (or reconcile) religious revelations with science covering a cross section of religions. I am excluding Islamic attempt since there is no shortage of that here. More than one readers have aggressively tried to sell that. All the following appear quite convincing, but not enough to pass logical scrutiny to validate their respective revelations and make a logical person believe in them. If one has to accept the " reasoning" for the divineness of revelations any specific religion then in good conscience one has to accept the divineness of the others as well, since they are equally valid in their reasoning:

1. Genesis and the Big Bang : The Discovery of Harmony Between Modern
   Science and the  Bible -  Gerald L. Schroeder

2. The Science of God : The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom
      - Gerald L. Schroeder

3. Thinking About Creation : Eternal Torah and Modern Physics
   - Andrew Goldfinger

4. Vedic Physics - Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Subhash Kak (For online details
   of this book see http://www.goldenpub.com/)

5. The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern
   Physics and Eastern Mysticism - Fritjof Capra [ A best seller first
   appeared in 1975 by a top Theoretical Physicist]

6. http://www.ozemail.com.au/~vsivasup/science/index.html (Modern Physics
   & Hinduism)

7. http://www.hvk.org/hvk/articles/articles/articles/0798/0043.html
   (Sankhya Philosophy & Physics)

8. http://www.saigon.com/~anson/vbud/vbpha014.htm (Science and Buddhism)

9. http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/7348/physics_metaphysics.html




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