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What Truths Has Religion Discovered?

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Posted by John Morgan Powell on February 14, 2001 19:30:54 UTC

When you say "invisible" I assume you mean outside of the visible frequencies. These other radiations are certainly observable (i.e., radio, microwave, IR, UV, X-ray, Gamma rays).

I agree that we weren't designed to understand quantum mechanics or, I could add, travel to the Moon. Earlier in my life I considered it evidence of God the fact that we seem to be better adapted for modern civilization than natural selection seemed to need.

For a science producer and lecturer you seem surprisingly uncommitted to science. Are you promoting science on Public Radio and at Harvard or are you promoting a "nobody knows" attitude? Is your degree in science, education, or philosophy?

Some scientists might doubt it, but I can imagine how Harvard might allow such an open mind about the importance of science to be taught to their students.

I think you unfairly degrade man's knowledge because we've been unable to physically travel far.

Consider the young adventurer in ancient times. As he leaves his village to learn more about the world around him, his superstitious family and friends warn him: "You've only seen a small part of the world. Don't expect the principles you've learned here to apply out there. You'll likely come across gods and monsters beyond your imagination. Be sure to take plenty of magic potions and spells. Don't travel too far or you'll fall off the edge."

The laws we observe on Earth appear to work throughout the universe. As far as we can tell there are no religious principles in action. The fact that we haven't gone to distant parts of the universe ourselves doesn't mean we should give credibility to superstitious beliefs in gods and monsters.

Mankind has much to learn. Science is a "candle in the dark" (Sagan). Religion and pseudoscience are impediments to progress.

What facts about nature did religion discover? If God exists and reveals truths to His faithful, what truths have been obtained by this means? If we don't expect to get significant knowledge from religion, then let's discard it for the outdated philosophy it is. Let science take its rightful place as the standard of truth in our modern age. It may not be the only way to learn, but it's the best we know.

John Powell, Ph.D. Physics and Astronomy (BYU)
Instructor Utah Valley State College
powelljo@uvsc.edu

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