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The Priest Vs. The Advocate Of Scientism Essay, Research Paper
The Priest vs. The Advocate of Scientism
I have been faced with many questions throughout life that I have been unable to answer. I have also been offered several different options to use as ways to answer these questions. Many people have turned to “Religion” to answer some of these questions, and some have turned to “Science”. Through much deliberation and research, I have come to agree with the advocates of scientism. I have partaken in many great debates arguing my beliefs, but none as interesting as the one I had with a Priest. This Priest asked me to explain my position on the nature of science, the creation of the universe, and the existence of God.
The Priest first asked me to explain my take on the nature of science. I told him that science and religion attack life’s questions differently. Science tries to answer what happened, and how it happened. Religion, looking at the same question tries to answer why it happened. For example, Religion looks into why the universe was created. An advocate of scientism wants to know how the universe was created, and what created it.
Over time science has proved several things that religion strongly believed in to be false. For example, some religions believed God created the universe in six days, and rested on the seventh. Due to developments in science, this is no longer thought to be true. In 1920, Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe was expanding, which was the first evidence of the Big Bang Theory. The Big Bang theory was later supported by Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Now the Big Bang theory is widely accepted by both religion and science. The priest then looked at me and asked a question I cant answer, “Why did the Big Bang take place.” He said, “The hand of God played a part in causing the Big Bang”. I replied, “In science, we don’t worry about why it happened, but rather how and when.” I then told him that Steven Hawking sees science as writing god out of the picture, and eventually the Theory of Everything will disprove the existence of a god. The priest quickly replied quoting Paul Davis saying, “that the beauty and order of the laws of physics themselves suggests that there must be something behind those laws.
This conversation took a turn, when I stated, “I do believe there is a God, but my God is a set of mathematical equations.” I got this idea from such great minds as Stephen Hawking and Leon Lederman. They both use the word “God” as an abstract principle of order and harmony, and as a set of mathematical equations. The god equation is better known as the “Theory of Everything”. The Priest told me that even the well-known Steven Weinberg, an advocate of scientism and the Theory of Everything, does not believe in this different definition of the word God. Weinberg states “if language is to be of any use to us, then we ought to try and preserve the meaning of words, and “God” historically has not meant to laws of nature.” The Priest used the words of Steven Weinberg to argue that I am using a play on words, just like Hawking, referring to the “mind of God”.
The existence of God and the creation of the universe can be discussed in the same argument. I stressed my point by telling the priest of the word of the late astronomer and atheist Carl Sagan. Carl Sagan said, “Since the birth of the universe can be explained by the laws of physics alone, there was nothing for a creator to do, and every thinking person is forced to admit the absence of God.” The priest then told me that science has helped prove the existence of god. He stated that many scientist-theologians believe that evolution provides clues to the very nature of God. He continued to tell me that the chaos theory is being interpreted by many as opening a door for God to act in the world. I then replied by stating the thoughts of Steven Weinberg again, saying the more the universe becomes comprehensive through cosmology, the more it seems pointless. I explained by saying that people use religion to explain their purpose in this universe, and as science continues to disprove religious belief, people will realize there is no purpose in their being. Once again the Priest quickly responded by telling me the thoughts of John Polkinghorne. Polkinghorne conspires to plant the idea that the universe did not just happen, but that there must be a purpose behind it.
This great discussion continued when I told the priest that to be a true atheist, one believes in several truths and recognizes that there are other possible truths. To be a true theist you must believe in one truth, and that truth is God. The Priest then asked me how I, and other atheist and advocates of scientism react to religious experience. I told him that in Scientism only material things are real. Since religious experiences cant be proved the must not be real. The Priest then asked, “How can an advocate of scientism prove that religious experience is not real?”
Unable to answer that question, I began to tell the Priest of my feeling of people using god as a father figure. Going along with Freud, I believe that the people of this world may need and strong, dependent father figure in their lives. They may turn to God to fill this void in their lives. The Priest answered that argument by saying that religion and God gives people hope. God gives people order and an explanation in their lives, and offers them purpose and hope of an after life. I then combated the Priest’s argument by saying that some people only believe in God because they were conditioned to by their environment. If people just took the time to look at the facts, and took the chance to question their beliefs they would soon become advocates of scientism.
After talking with this Priest, I came to realize several things. The most important thing that I did take from this debate was that neither science nor religion could prove anything. The understanding of scientism forces one to believe that they will find the theory of everything. The use of religion is forces one to believe in the existence of god. Ether way, both sides are based on beliefs. Neither side has proved the other side wrong. This leads me to agree with the Pope in his letter to Reverend George V. Coyne, S.J. In this letter the Pope writes that religion and science need to work together to come to an understanding and collaboratively interact to reveal those limits which support the integrity of either discipline. In the overall spectrum of time, science is an extremely new discovery. We as a world have made great strides in proving things false that were once widely accepted. In time I believe that the Theory of everything will be found, and give understanding to all of life’s unanswerable questions. Who knows, maybe in two hundred years people will be looking back and laughing about the people who believed in a God, just like we laugh at the people who thought that the world was flat.
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