Can Science Explain Everything including Religious Beliefs?

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    Jul 10, 2014 4:23 AM GMT
    NYT: Gary Gutting: What do you think of the claim that scientific accounts provide all the explanations needed to understand the existence and nature of the world, so that there’s no need to posit God as the ultimate explanation?

    I don’t think science can explain everything. As far as I am concerned, if you want God to have a crack at the job, go right ahead!

    Michael Ruse: Let me start at a more general level by saying that I don’t think science as such can explain everything. Therefore, assuming that the existence and nature of the world can be fully understood (I’m not sure it can!), this is going to require something more than science. As far as I am concerned, if you want God to have a crack at the job, go right ahead!

    G.G.: Could you say a bit more about why you think that science can’t fully explain everything?

    M.R.: In my view, none of our knowledge, including science, just “tells it like it is.” Knowledge, even the best scientific knowledge, interprets experience through human cultural understanding and experience, and above all (just as it is for poets and preachers) metaphor is the key to the whole enterprise. As I developed my own career path, as a historian and philosopher of evolutionary biology, this insight grew and grew. Everything was metaphorical — struggle for existence, natural selection, division of labor, genetic code, arms races and more.

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/07/08/does-evolution-explain-religious-beliefs/?ref=opinion
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    Jul 10, 2014 4:45 AM GMT
    Science doesn't explain everything, but it sure does a better job than any religion.

    That's not to say there is no god - I don't know - but if there is one, he's probably laughing at the people who ridicule the advances made by science.

    LOL-Happy-Jesus.jpg

    jesus_o_770064.jpg
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    Jul 10, 2014 4:53 AM GMT
    I don't think science is capable of ever explaining everything.
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    Jul 10, 2014 5:11 AM GMT
    Scruffypup saidI don't think science is capable of ever explaining everything.


    This. I have a huge amount of respect for science, but it will never be able to explain everything.
  • Elian

    Posts: 60

    Jul 10, 2014 7:54 PM GMT
    Mmmm I'm new here but feel the urge to answer this one.

    Science Might not be able to explain everything but if there is some kind of limit it would probably have more to do with the amount of information that a human brain can store and process not because of cultural conditioning. If adhere to the don't believe anything until you have proved is truth, then culture has nothing to say there (If what culture has made you believe is wrong... well, its wrong.. full stop)

    But don't get me started with religion. Just have a look at all the happiness religion has brought to the world.... Religion, in my opinion is just a tool to discriminate against other people with impunity, to empower people that have not done anything to deserve it and to prevent people from acting against injustice under the promise of an afterlife or something similar.

    Religious beliefs do not explain anything as it is really the same way fairy tales don't.

    Also the promise of an afterlife or eternal punishment shouldn't be the main reason for being a good person. Adults should take responsibility of their own actions and their consequences.So for me the don't do to others what you don't want done to you is the way to go (the same sentence applies in affirmative tooicon_razz.gif)

    Yay! My first post is a rant!
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    Jul 10, 2014 8:48 PM GMT
    Elian saidYay! My first post is a rant!
    Welcome to RJ! Looks like you're gonna fit in just fine. icon_twisted.gif
  • WrestlerBoy

    Posts: 1903

    Jul 10, 2014 9:28 PM GMT
    "Science Might not be able to explain everything but if there is some kind of limit it would probably have more to do with the amount of information that a human brain can store and process not because of cultural conditioning. If adhere to the don't believe anything until you have proved is truth, then culture has nothing to say there (If what culture has made you believe is wrong... well, its wrong.. full stop)"

    Well, we're gonna get along just FINE, Elian icon_smile.gif

    Because that's a lot clearer (and more perceptive) than beloved Michael Ruse:

    "Knowledge, even the best scientific knowledge, interprets experience through human cultural understanding and experience...."

    Knowledge interprets experience through....cultural understanding and...experience?

    I bet he sees by... seeing, too.

    My point is that I agree with you: It will be limitations on the information our brains can store and process that will prevent us from "knowing", not because of "cultural conditioning."

    And welcome to RJ!
  • Aleco_Graves

    Posts: 708

    Jul 10, 2014 9:36 PM GMT
    Taking part in this forum is only asking for trouble... icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Jul 10, 2014 9:39 PM GMT
    Neanderthal brain was larger than the modern human brain yet we displaced them.
  • WrestlerBoy

    Posts: 1903

    Jul 10, 2014 9:40 PM GMT
    Aleco_Graves saidTaking part in this forum is only asking for trouble... icon_rolleyes.gif


    "Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly,
    ‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;..." icon_smile.gif
  • WrestlerBoy

    Posts: 1903

    Jul 10, 2014 9:42 PM GMT
    woodsmen saidNeanderthal brain was larger than the modern human brain yet we displaced them.


    What do you mean "bigger"? As in sperm whales and elephants have "bigger" brains than we do?
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    Jul 10, 2014 9:48 PM GMT
    The examples you gave including Neanderthal who is our closer species indicate larger brains do not explain understanding.
  • WrestlerBoy

    Posts: 1903

    Jul 10, 2014 9:51 PM GMT
    woodsmen saidThe examples you gave including Neanderthal who is our closer species indicate larger brains do not explain understanding.


    Are you just talking physical size now, or are you talking neurological function?
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    Jul 10, 2014 9:56 PM GMT
    Elian said "if there is some kind of limit it would probably have more to do with the amount of information that a human brain can store."
  • WrestlerBoy

    Posts: 1903

    Jul 10, 2014 10:01 PM GMT
    woodsmen saidElian said "if there is some kind of limit it would probably have more to do with the amount of information that a human brain can store."


    Right. This isn't my field, but I think it might be his. Again, I think it's the neurological development of the brain, not the actual physical size, that matters, but I am just guessing. He'd have to help us here.
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    Jul 10, 2014 10:04 PM GMT
    Well size is important in the sense that a bacteria is not going to be smarter than a modern human. But what is it that we have that makes us vanquished Neanderthal who had bigger brains than us.
  • WrestlerBoy

    Posts: 1903

    Jul 10, 2014 10:14 PM GMT
    woodsmen saidWell size is important in the sense that a bacteria is not going to be smarter than a modern human. But what is it that we have that makes us vanquished Neanderthal who had bigger brains than us.


    I promise I'll make this interesting. Did you know some evolutionary zoologists (although others disagree) think domesticated dogs are responsible for our being able to... speak?

    Why? Because with our ancestors, there jaws were SO big, their TONGUES must have been a lot bigger. This allowed them to yell (like really roar), to warn the others of oncoming dangers (lions attacking, for example).

    Then the dogs came along, and started living with us around the campfire. It was then the dogs that began to do the barking, to warn us of danger. As a result, we didn't have to ROAR anymore... so our jaws and tongues got smaller. And only with that smaller tongue were we then able to tighten the muscles in it to manipulate it to form... individual, highly differentiated sounds... eventually words.

    So, we can speak... thanks to Fido!!!
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    Jul 10, 2014 10:47 PM GMT
    WrestlerBoy said
    woodsmen saidWell size is important in the sense that a bacteria is not going to be smarter than a modern human. But what is it that we have that makes us vanquished Neanderthal who had bigger brains than us.


    I promise I'll make this interesting. Did you know some evolutionary zoologists (although others disagree) think domesticated dogs are responsible for our being able to... speak?

    Why? Because with our ancestors, there jaws were SO big, their TONGUES must have been a lot bigger. This allowed them to yell (like really roar), to warn the others of oncoming dangers (lions attacking, for example).

    Then the dogs came along, and started living with us around the campfire. It was then the dogs that began to do the barking, to warn us of danger. As a result, we didn't have to ROAR anymore... so our jaws and tongues got smaller. And only with that smaller tongue were we then able to tighten the muscles in it to manipulate it to form... individual, highly differentiated sounds... eventually words.

    So, we can speak... thanks to Fido!!!
    Woof!
  • Elian

    Posts: 60

    Jul 10, 2014 10:49 PM GMT
    WrestlerBoy said"Science Might not be able to explain everything but if there is some kind of limit it would probably have more to do with the amount of information that a human brain can store and process not because of cultural conditioning. If adhere to the don't believe anything until you have proved is truth, then culture has nothing to say there (If what culture has made you believe is wrong... well, its wrong.. full stop)"

    Well, we're gonna get along just FINE, Elian icon_smile.gif

    Because that's a lot clearer (and more perceptive) than beloved Michael Ruse:

    "Knowledge, even the best scientific knowledge, interprets experience through human cultural understanding and experience...."

    Knowledge interprets experience through....cultural understanding and...experience?

    I bet he sees by... seeing, too.

    My point is that I agree with you: It will be limitations on the information our brains can store and process that will prevent us from "knowing", not because of "cultural conditioning."

    And welcome to RJ!


    That's pretty much what I meant yeah. But it is not my field (studied it a bit but specialized on a completely different thing.

    I also think that this Michael Ruse has a point but that the kind of science he is talking about (influenced by your culture and beliefs) is bad science. Which is as useful as god science until it clashes with your beliefs/pride and you start loosing you time trying to find a way to rationalize how that fits with what you thought was true icon_razz.gif
    Sadly that kind of science is the most common one.

    And thanks for the welcome! in spite of my atrocious typos. I'll blame my English for that, its easier hehehe
  • Elian

    Posts: 60

    Jul 10, 2014 10:51 PM GMT
    woodsmen saidElian said "if there is some kind of limit it would probably have more to do with the amount of information that a human brain can store."


    Yeah, size do matter but organization matters way more. Probably our brains are way better organized (in a more functional way) than neanderthal ones were or our neurons are more efficient. This is just a conjecture, maybe neanderthals had the potential of outsmarting us, but bigger is not always better (pun not intended). Nowadays my phones is thousands of times more efficient in processing data than a room-sized computes years ago.

    Also, I might be wrong in this one, but I recall reading that we have Neanderthal genes so they are probably also our ancestors.

    Anyway I think if you do science strictly, willing to admit you were wrong and actively trying to prove yourself wrong (which is how it should be done) culture doesn't limit you. Just my opinion though.

    Wow, that was long! I'm sorry about rewriting the bible (pun intended)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 10, 2014 10:54 PM GMT
    Just remember that science is a recent human invention. We existed based on our beliefs for a long time with great societal civilizations for millennia.
  • Elian

    Posts: 60

    Jul 10, 2014 11:36 PM GMT
    That's true and religion can be very useful to unite people to pursue common causes (and to get then to cooperate).

    Good morals and ethics can be drawn from every religion. But i think that while it may work for a while, metaphorical explanations for things are only valid until the truth is discovered. Non-judgmental religion based in love... nothing against it, its a good thing for many people. Religious people that refuse to change their minds even when irrefutable evidence is provided, or to even consider studying it... sorry, not for me. Sadly the later seems the general trend.

    I still think a god may exist and that we just are not able to prove it yet. But respecting human rights and living a happy life is enough for me. I don't need a good to try to be agood person.

    I think this (rather cheesy)video matches quite well my opinion:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6w2M50_Xdk
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    Jul 10, 2014 11:41 PM GMT
    Also the irony is that the history of science is a history of finding God through a unifying hypothesis. Michael Faraday, a great man of science and others believe this is the ultimate truth. Unfortunately in our days people have turned this on its head by saying that the existence of science disproves the existence of God--a fallacy in my mind.
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Jul 10, 2014 11:54 PM GMT
    I think that discussion misunderstands the difference between science and religion. Science uses observation in order to explain some event. Religion requires no observation at all. It's not a question of whether we will be able to observe everything. I believe that the more we discover in science, and at the same time religion doesn't attempt to observe, the more we move away from religion because our explanations become more scientifically based, and therefore, religion becomes observably archaic.

    Here we are in the 21st Century, and more people are ridiculing Leviticus.
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    Jul 11, 2014 12:04 AM GMT
    I think the life of Michael Faraday shows that scientific truth is entangled in beliefs. A case in point is his attempts to persuade the scientists of his days that there is an electromagnetic field to widely held derision of scientists.