Re: virus: Does God really exist?

Reed Konsler (
Wed, 21 Aug 1996 23:35:18 -0400

*****Tedlick Badkey
>...However, I do think
>that any social structure will develop a religion of one sort or
>another, either as a means to control the population (Judism-- sp?), or
>as a method of explaining the unknown (what we now debunk as
>"mythology", such as ancient Greek or tribal religions). With this in
>mind, I stand by my assertion that science is the religion of today's
>society as a whole.

One thing I think we should be wary of is the statement "religion of one
sort or another". Chemistry is, to an extent "Physics of one sort or
another". But I think the categorization that seperates those disciplines
is appropriate if diffuse. In a sense religion is just "philosophy of one
sort or another"...but there is a needed distinction.

In the same way science and religion attempt to address some of the same
questions, and thus are the same sort of thing in a sense. But they are
significantly different; in methodology, in theory, in scope, in
context...enough that I disagree with the assertion "science is the
religion of today".

This is not to say that science has some claim to absolute objectivity,
generality, or moral has none of these. The methodology is
just different. It's an interesting metaphor, but a misleading one. It's
misleading becuase a priest is both a source of wisdom/knowledge and a
counselor/teacher. Scientists are not neccesarily the latter, and do not
claim to be.

It isn't like you can't be a religious scientist, I know four peers who are
perfectly scientific in their work-lives and at the same time very devout
Catholics (don't ask me how they do that, I'm just passing on an

Religion presents a set of models that describe reality. So does science.
The difference is that the models of science can be used piece-meal. Some
are contradictory or internally inconsistent (hey, nobody is perfect). The
set of scientific models of reality is not a clear, consistent picture of doesn't have to be, no one should claim it is. They're just
models. Is the world made up of little atoms? If I act as if it were so,
I have tremendous predictive and manipulative power. The model is
accurate. Is it true? Who cares? Science isn't about finding the
absolute truth, it's about finding a reasonably good approximation...making
a good map.

Religion aspires to an alltogether higher plane of ontology. A religion is
(or claims to be) a true, consistent and entirely accurate description of
reality. It need not (so it is claimed) be questioned, and must not be

I'll admit it, I believe in atoms. I'll never really see one, but I
believe in them. And when I really think about it, it's because somebody
told me it is so (a teacher probably) and I accepted it. It turns out that
I've yet to encounter anything to shake that faith. Atomic theory really
is the simplest way to explain and predict what I do every day.

I can't say the same about God.

Reed Konsler