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Religious Doctrine Does Not Contribute To Scientific Knowledge

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Posted by John Morgan Powell on April 10, 2001 17:34:35 UTC

I'm sure that religious people can contribute to science when they use reason and other scientific methods, but I don't see the value of trying to apply religious "truth" to science. It seems a waste of time.

In trying to determine the answers to scientific questions what do we care what the ancient Jews, Indians, Incas, or Chinese thought? They were scientifically-illiterate believers in superstition. They knew nothing about black holes, protons, electrons, or time dilation. We should care what modern educated people think, not their ignorant ancestors.

The curious coincidence that some Chinese believed the universe was Yu-Chou (space-time) and modern science educators talk about space-time is just that, a coincidence. These same Chinese believed all manner of superstitions we now reject.

The fact that the Dogon tribe had a mythical story that the star Sirius had a companion and we now know it does (a white dwarf) is not significant. It doesn't mean we should talk to their medicine men about string theory.

The fact that Joseph Smith suggested that the Sun shines by borrowed light should not motivate astronomers to discount thermonuclear fusion and look for the medium of Kaa-e-vanrash.

It's as fruitless as the early Geologists who looked at Geology through Genesis-glasses. Only the minority "Flood Geologists" still do that.

It's as silly as expecting "Three quarks for Sailor Mark" to represent reality. As a scientist you can adopt the word "quark" for the 1/3 part of protons and neutrons, but that doesn't mean poets have deep scientific insight when they don't even understand algebra.

Any similarities with religious ideas will always be retroactive (coincidences will be found after science discovers the truth) not proactive (religion cannot be used to reliably predict the results of scientific studies).

Don't expect ancient myths to contain scientific insight.

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