Science and Religion: One Paradigm?

 One of my major blogging and writing experiences is on “Gather.com”, a blogging site that encourages interaction and correspondence. I was catching up on my gather mail this morning and ran across this post. I responded, in part, but I chose to expand my thought in a separate post.

…can the two hypothesis [science and religion]ever be resolved into one paradigm? Your thoughts please?

I’m actually not sure it really matters. I think this question in itself makes assumptions that I’m not willing to go forward with. Since there are multiple paradigms within both religion and science, the model of a single paradigm enveloping our perspective on the universe seems, to me, rather silly to even posit. The question I would ask instead: why do we think we should even try to resolve our perspective into one paradigm? Isn’t “diversity” considered a positive thing these days? Why do we see this “resolution” as a positive move forward?

If it’s to get things done, then we don’t need to worry. That is the realm of the scientific. Even people who don’t believe in evolution have had to act as though they do believe when enjoying the benefits of what has come out of that study (the discovery of genes, mutations, genetic engineering, etc.). Or at least they re-write history as much as they can to make it seem that that they were always in agreement. I think the usual way they express this is that God uses evolutionary principles… or “natural” principles, as they are now fully accepted. They miss the point that if Darwin had never posited the theories of evolution and natural selection, and others had not wondered how they worked, we would never have figured out the details of how mutations work and can have beneficial impacts.

If it’s to avoid wars: it won’t happen. Look at history. Religion might be deemed as one of the great “causes” of war over the centuries, but it is far from the only one. The World Wars were not religious conflicts. I cannot think of a war caused by conflict between science and religion. Wars are caused by human greed and desire for control.

If it’s to be consistent in schools: again, it won’t happen. Most of those causing current conflicts at the educational level are simply unwilling to give up control over the next generation. That is why there are religious and secular schools: to indoctrinate the next generation as early as possible, so children grow into adults who continue to passionately fight for the “rights” of their leaders to control the masses.

The central issue (which is completely ignored by the original question) is not one of whether the two can be “resolved” into one paradigm (since many of us have already done that) but whether we can respect those who disagree with us. It is precisely because of the diversity of paradigms that exist today that we have as much potential for reaching into the future as we do. We do not need to (and should not have to) reduce the perspectives around the world in order to thrive.

Just look at the comments in the original post. There are very few about reconciliation of opposing ideas (which is what I believe the original question had to do with). They are almost all about defending one side or the other, about who is right (for this reason) or wrong (for that reason). Many of them poke fun at the “obvious” holes in the other side, without really understanding the other side at all: which leads to conflict.

I, for one, do not believe that science and religion “will be resolved to one paradigm”. They are two different perspectives, and do not need to be “resolved”. Even if someone came up with a way to do so, too many of us have too much invested to abandon the fight of “right” against “wrong”. However, each of us can, and do, “resolve” them internally. None of us do that the same. Where this becomes important is in the question of whether or not we can accept and respect how others have approached (and answered) the that resolution. It is not so much about eliminating the cause of the conflict, which will always be there: it is about reducing our need to fight about that cause. If we can agree not to fight about such disagreements, we will have made a major step forward.

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