Archive for October, 2010

Science nil – Faith nil

Friday, October 29, 2010

My friend P pointed me towards this mash-up that turns scientific soundbites into song. It’s strangely poignant, all the more so because pop music and science are conventionally such a terrible match.

It is posted on Youtube, which means of course that there is a ferocious debate in the comments section beneath about the merits of religion vs those of science. Is it obvious why this debate is pointless? No? Really? Here it is.

The existence of God cannot be proven or disproved. It is the impossibility of such a proof that makes religion faith rather than fact. Scientists are not concerned with faith in the spiritual sense, only with probabilities, and so cannot answer questions about the existence of God. Scientists can say that there is no evidence for God, but given that the faithful avowedly don’t need or want evidence, that changesĀ  nothing.

Equally, theologians have no means to try to explain the mechanisms of the universe except by claiming divine insight, which cannot be tested or replicated. It does not make theologians redundant. There is still a human need to answer questions that are unlikely ever to be answered definitively, like “Why are we here?” and “Where do we go when we die?”. Their answers to these questions are not scientific, but they are not intended to be.

Science and theology are wholly independent of one another. To compare them is like comparing scissors with paper (not in the scissors-paper-stone sense, necessarily, although that would be an interesting argument). By arguing, pro-science debaters are distracted from their mission to gather knowledge, and pro-faith debaters betray a lack confidence in their beliefs.