Will science eventually take over religion? And when?

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Discussion by: daniel.balasa

I believe that in the not so far future religion as we know it will simply by obsolete and become part of history. One of the main reasons that make me to believe that is the fact that religion in its current form is a very static set of values. This set is frozen inside religion by its own “writings” considered to be “the word of god”.  Science on the other hand is a very dynamic set and one of its core values is that nothing is absolutely true, anything may change, can change and will be changed in the case it is proved otherwise.  Science transfer the whole power of the universe in our very hands while religion it taking it away and give it to a God. Science is for people who care about themselves, about the world they are living in, about the others and it is making progress as you read this, while religion is frozen in some books written thousands years ago. Science is for people who like facts and not interpretations, for people who like to understand not to believe, for people who like the truth not someone’s version of it. Science will conquer the minds of everyone eventually.

Do you think that will happen? And when?

56 COMMENTS

  1. I think science and religion play vastly different roles in the lives of people. In places where a community was not defined by religion, it would fall away. If people had no fear of leaving and had other ways of connecting with others (which is something that the US has lost in many ways), there would be little need for it. I’m not sure science’s impact plays a strong role in that as a whole, despite how much some religious groups try to fight against it.

  2. Firstly, science is not about conquering anybody’s mind. Also when you say ‘science is for people who like facts and not interpretations’, you must remember that many scientific models are in fact interpretations of reality which happen to work. With regard to science wiping out religion, as the cutely-named Kim Probable said above, science and religion are very different things in people’s lives and not usually seen as alternatives. Also, many people, even many educated people, do not have the remotest interest in science or what they can learn from it. That’s a point of view I don’t understand, but it undoubtedly exists.

  3. I don’t think science will ever replace religion because they’re two different things, and I don’t think religion is going away any time soon. Too many people want it to be true. I also don’t think all religions are static, if any. Sure, they move slower than the pith drop experiment, but they’re not burning witches too much these days, and in some countries you can even criticize them without dying like in the good old days.

    • In reply to #6 by A3Kr0n:

      I don’t think science will ever replace religion because they’re two different things, and I don’t think religion is going away any time soon. Too many people want it to be true. I also don’t think all religions are static, if any. Sure, they move slower than the pith drop experiment, but they’re no…

      Well, they are burning witches in Papua New Guinea and probably elsewhere, but I have to agree. Mostly religion that is practised in western democracies is not allowed to get away with too much.

  4. I, for one, never ever thought that in my lifetime I would see these things happen: One is the complete rejection of smoking. For example, I remember being on airplanes and having people puffing on cigarettes all around me, etc. Now, it’s nearly a shameful behavior and banned almost everywhere. Second shocker is how swiftly the public is changing its viewpoint towards gay people. In school, I heard frequent gay jokes and loads of snickering about anyone who seemed “different.” Gay marriage would have been the furthest thing from anyone’s mind! Third, who would have predicted a black president in the USA? I certainly wouldn’t have–not with the horrible things I used to hear growing up and into adulthood. I had one prospective employer tell me in the 1980s not to rent apartments to “salt and peppers.” I heard incredibly shocking racist comments, and I live in a very progressive state. So, given just these three situations, I would never say never! (Not that science “will conquer minds,” but that it will become far more favorable, while religion slips into a far lesser place, maybe even being somewhat shunned, especially fundamentalism.)

    Additionally, if surveys are correct, I do think there’s a definite trend away from religion in the Western world, especially by many of the Millennials. This may be towards “spiritualism” or whatever, but there is movement. Also, those who claim to be religious are often simply following traditions, such as holidays and rituals, and are not practicing theists and definitely far removed from fundamentalism. Also, several nations have become quite secular and religion is becoming less and less recognized, and happily they are doing exceedingly well–they’re financially well off, provide great programs for their citizens, don’t create wars, eat babies, etc. Maybe, ultimately, they are leading the rest of us slowly away from religion.

    It seems that the Internet is enlightening many and helps with the movement away from belief as it provides access to other ideas, instead of the closed-bubble of religion.

    I do think that fundamentalism will have a harder and harder course as centuries pass and the ancient texts become increasingly obsolete and bizarre. Even now, one has to wonder how theists can believe each word is the true word of their god because if it was truly obeyed and practiced, the consequences would be prison, humiliation, etc. Anyway, it seems that eventually it will be a mighty chore to still make that claim about inerrant, true word of god, etc.

    So, I’m thinking the Western world will hold onto some of the customs, but religion will take a very backseat role. Along the way, we’ll probably hear increasingly about churches closing due to lack of members, a shortage of people becoming priests, so-and-so politician stated something biblical and made a fool of himself, etc. Maybe another big scandal will erupt and set things spiraling even more quickly away from religion, or climate change will get so out of control that deniers (who seem to be religious?) will have to finally shut up and acknowledge science and admit that humans ARE destroying the earth (as they currently claim only god can do that), but certainly things are changing.

    • In reply to #9 by sherlock12:

      I, for one, never ever thought that in my lifetime I would see these things happen: One is the complete rejection of smoking. For example, I remember being on airplanes and having people puffing on cigarettes all around me, etc. Now, it’s nearly a shameful behavior and banned almost everywhere. So, I’m thinking the Western world will hold onto some of the customs, but religion will take a very backseat role. Along the way, we’ll probably hear increasingly about churches closing due to lack of members, a shortage of people becoming priests,

      Thousands of religions have already become obsolete throughout history so there is a reliable mechanism in place for that to happen. Moreover, concerning still extant religions – they, in Europe, are more and more just cultural shells going through the motions with churches increasingly being converted to concert halls, museums etc. (becoming useful for the first time in their history).

      The biggest turds in the punchbowl there now being:

      1. The gangrenous New Islam which Europeans in paroxysms of cultural relativism, political correctness, western guilt and straight up stupidity have bent over backwards to bring upon themselves. Politician’s or intellectuals who speak out against this are then universally stamped by the media with the “extreme right” label for easy and instantaneous discrediting and dismissal without having to hear their message.
      2. The continued influence of the Roman Catholic Church which after a criminal history spanning millennia still struts its ridiculous stuff, the occasional unflattering media coverage and paltry legal challenges it has had to face overwhelmed by shameless uncritical media celebration especially evident during the coverage of the naming of the new pope.
      3. Putin’s unholy alliance with the Orthodox Church bringing it back to prominence.
  5. Eventually I think that religion in the west will occupy the same sort of space that astrology does in the present day. That is to say, people know that it is nonsense if examined too closely, but take a lighthearted interest nonetheless. Perhaps it will just completely fade into irrelevance as it seems to be with those under thirty.

    Other parts of the world appear to be moving much more slowly. I can’t see religion dying out in the Middle East ( except in Israel ) or anywhere that is likely to impose penalties for free thought.

    There always seem to be avenues for people to exercise their irrational tendencies. Think seances, crystal healing, spiritualism…the list goes on and on. I’m sure these sort of notions will keep springing up as long as humans occupy the planet.

  6. I’d be happy when they stop demanding tax breaks, get out of our hospitals and our schools and stop thinking they have the right to tell us what to think. After that they can do as they please.

  7. Science will conquer the minds of everyone eventually

    daniel.balasa:

    You’re asking if there is an Arrow of Intelligence to be found in our species. Yes, I think there is one but until we understand why evolution left our brains susceptible to irrational thinking in the first place, I can’t be as confident in your conclusion.

    Mike

  8. Belief in the supernatural is the basis for religious belief and it’s expressing itself differently but it’s the same mindset. Organized religion is fading in modern societies but new fads and fancies are widespread. ‘Spirituality’ and pseudo-science are rife. That points to a failure in the education system.

  9. The Evolution of God by Robert Wright was a very interesting book. He does an overview of religion from earliest recorded history. Religion used to be a part of everything. When an island tribe wanted to make a canoe they had to pray to the canoe God first. When someone was sick there were no doctors you went to the priest or shaman or medicine man who was essentially a priest. Early science was just considered natural philosophy which was considered part of the study of God’s divine handiwork.

    The entire history of humanity has been one rather steady trend of religious pseudo-knowledge being replaced by actual knowledge. Its not surprising that the areas that religion still clings to are those that are most difficult to study scientifically: ethics, questions about human purpose, questions about the best way to organize a society, etc.

    I think its inevitable that religion as we conceive of it now will eventually go away. The interesting question is what if anything will take its place. The people who simply dismiss religion as “a load of nonsense” are simply ignorant of the good science that already exists on religion. That science, I’m talking about anthropology and cognitive science research such as the kind summarized by Wright, also by Scott Atran in his excellent book “In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion” or Dan Dennett in his book “Breaking the Spell”. All the research summarized in those excellent books shows that religion isn’t just “a load of nonsense” but has played a crucial role in helping define social norms, support groups, and giving individuals comfort in times of stress.

    I’m fairly certain, as certain as one can be given the scientific study of religion is so new, that something will take the place of religion. Not (at least I hope not) with more supernatural mumbo jumbo but some combination of psychology and social networking, not in the Facebook sense although come to think of it who knows but in providing people with extended networks of people that they implicitly trust. Religion is very good at that, I’ve had a couple of very religious significant others and especially in one case, a born again Christian she was actually, I was surprised and impressed with how she could rely on her church group for just about any kind of help when needed.

  10. In reply to #2 by DonaldMiller:

    If Christianity goes, so goes democracy and the right to pursue scientific research.

    I’ve been fanning some of your comments because I like to see some real alternative views here. But reading your comments for me gives the same reaction as reading a Ron Paul speech. I will be reading and going “yeah, right, uh huh,…WTF?!” So that part of your comment was a WTF moment for me. How in the world can you possibly claim that Christianity equates to democracy and science? It just so happens that Western civilization, which you could argue has done the most science so far, has been predominantly Christian but correlation is not causation. And if anything from Galileo to Darwin and even to Dawkins vs. the Creationists right now if anything Christianity has been in the way of science.

    And the same goes for democracy. There is an excellent book that is impossible to find (the Rockefeller family has influence) called Thy Will Be Done: The Conquest of the Amazon : Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil that documents the very deep ties between the Rockefeller family and evangelical Christianity. How the evangelicals go into South America to “save the souls” of the heathens and inevitably end up being the vanguard for raping the land. And part of that process was close ties between the evangelicals and so called anti-communist groups which were really groups that were fighting against teachers, unions, and others working for basic justice and democracy.

  11. Would a highly advanced Extraterrestrial race still believe in a God,the answer is yes. So the answer is science will probably take over religion on earth eventually but agnostics will always existing within any intelligent race. Therefore it would also be necessary that a religion would co-exist to support that belief.

    A belief in a God, Ape-God / Alien God etc. would always necessitate the need for a religion to exist as is a religion not just a set of defined rules / concepts that are made up to support the beliefs in one God or another…

  12. Eventually, but not for hundreds of years. Poor countries will retain religion until they are rich as religion IS a comfort to people with horrible lives. There is a strong inverse correlation between how rich and well educated a country has and how religious it is.

  13. In reply to #2 by DonaldMiller:

    I believe you are very wrong. Islam, for instance, is an uncompromising religion and leaving it (apostasy) carries the death penalty. Christianity has a vibrant history and in general has grown out of its violent past actions. One can’t say that about Islam. If the Western Tradition is to survive, w…

    And what makes you think we can’t have democracy without Christianity? All strong democracies are secular with strong separation of church and state. It is NOT Christian values that have led us to a better life. Christians have picked up the humanist secular values of the enlightenment, kicking and screaming the whole way. Most Christian churches still discriminate against women and gays.

  14. In reply to #2 by DonaldMiller:
    “Christianity has a vibrant history and in general has grown out of its violent past actions. . . . If the Western Tradition is to survive, we need to respect our traditions.”

    Hello Donald,

    Don’t you mean that Christianity has a uncompromising history, and in general was forced out of its violent past actions? Christianity certainly didn’t give up its domination or its power to enforce mind-dulled life and horrible death voluntarily.

    Can you explain what you mean when you say ‘Western Tradition’? The relatively safe and free West was brought about by the Enlightenment, scientific knowledge and the emergence of secular societies – despite the efforts of fundamentalist religion to retain their control.

    Religious people who aren’t fundamentalist are the ones who don’t follow the revealed dogmas of their faith, and cherry-pick what parts to follow as they become more free and secular in their lives.

    Democracy and the right to pursue scientific research has also been won against the stubborn dictates of religion, so your statement of the opposite is outright nonsense.

    If the US Founding Fathers hadn’t been wise enough to create a Secular Democracy, with a separation between Church and State, then America could be as much a theocracy as most Islamic States are now, and is as close to one as any country in the ‘West’ is.

    So, please explain which ‘Western Traditions’ do you wish to respect and keep? Mac.

  15. In reply to #24 by DonaldMiller:

    In reply to #18 by Red Dog:
    . . . I suppose if someone is enamored enough with it, science can be a kind of religion, as it seems to be with Mr. Dawkins.

    First, I find it telling that you call the religious man Father Coyne, but don’t call the scientist Professor Dawkins….

    Second, using any dictionary definition of religion you like, how can you call science a kind of religion, and give an example of anything Prof Dawkins has ever said or written that fits that definition….

    Third, Father Coyne’s ideas are an excellent example of a faith-head squirming and wriggling to try and make his delusions fit with reality, and if he wasn’t retired he wouldn’t have the guts to try those manoeuvers, since his CEO would treat his disobedience as being worse than kiddie-fiddling.

    Fourth, the Father was Director of the Vatican Observatory – talk about cognitive dissonance in your career…. LOL….

    Last, am I being disrespectful to both you and religion – hell yes, Mr Miller…. Mac.

  16. What function is religion performing you imagine might be taken over by science?

    1. child molesting. The Internet is making it easier for men to find sexually precocious children. The authority of the clergy is not required.
    2. conning the poor out of their money. I don’t see how science could be of use here. Science is about the truth.
    3. making people feel good about scapegoating gays. I suppose science could discover some genes that make people gay, and give them a name that makes them sound like a virulent form of cancer.
    4. overpopulation. Science could make various fertility treatments, including cloning, available at almost no cost.
  17. Yes, I believe that is very possible. But then science becomes the religion, with high priests and deputy priests and what-not. It is human nature to conceal and contrive, and data can lie when you want it to.

    • In reply to #29 by fbinelli:

      Yes, I believe that is very possible. But then science becomes the religion, with high priests and deputy priests and what-not. It is human nature to conceal and contrive, and data can lie when you want it to.

      For instance, though we know about synapses, dendrites, neurochemicals and such, there has never been, to my understanding, an instance of anyone directly observing the transfer of neurochemicals across a synapse. Yet, psychiatrists are trusted to pump all kinds of synthetics, blockers, and uptakes into our brains (not mine, btw, you may be surprised to read) in the name of science. Add to that the weight which a Doctors opinion is given (which is why I really respect Erik Erikson, all that on a Bachelor’s). Now, imagine that a Ph.D. whitecoat Shrink orders his lowly master’s student, Ph.D. candidate to give a five year old diagnosed as Conduct Disorder comorbid with ADHD a dose of anti-psychotics which will mute all the child’s responses. But the candidate recognises that the child is in fact clinically depressed due to overlooked family trauma. The rub for the Ph.D. candidate is that the good Doctor has been treating this child for 6 months without real observation. How often will a situation like that work out in favor of the child? Not in TV Land but in reality, like Detroit, or LA, or New York (keep in mind Willowbrook, 1972, Geraldo Rivera’s huge story on Special Needs abuses in New York).
      False beliefs abound in science and once exposed are hardly brought to light.

      Again, string theory has barely reached the end of one “string”, but apparently there are billions of strings. Plancke’s Constant? Not so constant. But the old beliefs of science are weighted so that one or a few with better knowledge only injure their careers trying to lift the veil of the Holy of Holies.

  18. fbinelli,

    Plancke’s Constant? Not so constant.

    I was just reading about this the other day. Apparently Planck’s formula to find the spectrum of black-body light works because there is a smallest unit of energy. Otherwise he can’t explain why it makes accurate predictions about the energy in black-body light.

    I can only read about this at the popular science level, so the most interesting bit for me is the bit, a smallest unit of energy. Is that really in doubt now?

    • Apparently, Planck’s constant is found to vary inversely with the speed of light. There has been a discovery that the velocity of light has decreased. It is theorized that Red Shift may be due to a decrease in the speed of light, which may discredit Hubble’s Law, and may mean the inverse, that the universe is contracting, not expanding. It’s a little eccentric, but then so were Galileo and Copernicus. Aside, I am a layman in this but it always is interesting to me that things like this suggest that time is practically material, that space and time may be woven in a fabric. I am also a die-hard Christian, so that may also inform your opinion of this.

      In reply to #31 by Sean_W:

      fbinelli,

      Plancke’s Constant? Not so constant.

      I was just reading about this the other day. Apparently Planck’s formula to find the spectrum of black-body light works because there is a smallest unit of energy. Otherwise he can’t explain why it makes accurate predictions about the energy in blac…

      • In reply to #32 by fbinelli:

        Apparently, Planck’s constant is found to vary inversely with the speed of light. There has been a discovery that the velocity of light has decreased. It is theorized that Red Shift may be due to a decrease in the speed of light, which may discredit Hubble’s Law, and may mean the inverse, that the u…

        There has been no discovery that the speed of light has changed. There have been some wild speculation that changing the speed of light in the past would explain some observations, but this hypothesis doesn’t work as well as the current theories.

  19. In the absence of understanding a thing most will buy the best seller that explains it, even if the explanation is untestable and based on make-believe. I am sometimes asked to have a little faith but I always reply “I happily do have faith as a human being with the ability to think for myself”.

  20. I believe science and religion will come together over time. Science keeps advancing and religion – or some religion – keeps changing, all to the betterment of mankind. However, that assumes that both of these human activities do keep advancing. No guarantees.

    • You are right – some religions have changed a lot. Below is a list of apologies made by just one pope!

      Hopefully all religions will in the future change so much that they could hardly be called religions,
      they would end up as providers of charity and community services. Then, I wouldn’t say science and religion
      would come together but at least the religious would no longer feel threatened by scientific progress.
      And scientists would no longer have to waste time repeatedly correcting people who have been misled
      by pastors or religious web sites.

      Of course the hardly-religious might well be scientists themselves or they could make a contribution to
      the debate on the ethical issues of advancements in science and technology.

      .

      The conquest of Mesoamerica by Spain in the name of the Church.

      The legal process on the Italian scientist and philosopher Galileo Galilei,
      himself a devout Catholic, around 1633 (31 October 1992).

      Catholics’ involvement with the African slave trade (9 August 1993).

      The Church’s role in burnings at the stake and the religious wars that followed the
      Protestant Reformation (May 1995, in the Czech Republic).

      The injustices committed against women, the violation of women’s rights and for the
      historical denigration of women (10 July 1995, in a letter to “every woman”).

      The inactivity and silence of many Catholics during the Holocaust (16 March 1998).

      For the execution of Jan Hus in 1415 (18 December 1999 in Prague).
      When John Paul II visited Prague in 1990s, he requested experts in this matter
      “to define with greater clarity the position held by Jan Hus among the Church’s reformers,
      and acknowledged that “independently of the theological convictions he defended,
      Hus cannot be denied integrity in his personal life and commitment to the nation’s moral education.”
      It was another step in building a bridge between Catholics and Protestants.

      For the sins of Catholics throughout the ages for violating
      “the rights of ethnic groups and peoples, and [for showing] contempt for their cultures and
      religious traditions”. (12 March 2000, during a public Mass of Pardons).

      For the actions of the Crusader attack on Constantinople in 1204. (4 May 2001, to the Patriarch of Constantinople).

      On 20 November 2001, from a laptop in the Vatican, Pope John Paul II sent his first e-mail
      apologising for the Catholic sex abuse cases, the Church-backed “Stolen Generations” of
      Aboriginal children in Australia, and to China for the behaviour of Catholic missionaries in colonial times.

      An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie, for an excuse is a lie guarded.
      — Pope John Paul II

      In reply to #35 by joehev:

      I believe science and religion will come together over time. Science keeps advancing and religion – or some religion – keeps changing, all to the betterment of mankind. However, that assumes that both of these human activities do keep advancing. No guarantees.

  21. No. Religion will simply evolve into a view which addresses some of the inconsistencies. I now realize that my former church was the result of apologetics; they were cherry pickers and proud. If they were to get rid of some of the new agey woo, they would grow rapidly. Though a small church, I can see how some of their views have been adopted by more mainstream churches. This “evolving” will continue because it is an economic problem of supply meeting a demand. If the product no longer meets the needs of a consumer, they will shop elsewhere. Churches have had brand loyalty for generations, but this generation is a different consumer. Churches already realize this; it’s change or die for most Christian churches. Islam is a different situation.

    My guess is that non-belief will grow and so will deism. The one main difference between my view and others here is that I do not believe the percentages of non-belief will be much higher that the current “authentic” percentage of nonbelievers. In other words, if everyone were to honestly self-examine their beliefs and live accordingly, the true numbers of non-belief would be exposed. (I personally do not include atheistic beliefs like Buddhism, deism, pantheism, new age, afterlife but no God, etc. along with atheism.) IMO, there will always be a certain percentage of people who will believe anything and others who will be skeptical.

    • In reply to #38 by QuestioningKat:

      No. Religion will simply evolve into a view which addresses some of the inconsistencies.

      Well, this has effectively already happened, so history is on your side. However, it does reveal where the true power lies (with factors outside of religion, which is simply parasitic on those factors), and while I don’t think it will categorically vanish, I do wonder if it will be severely reduced over the next few hundred or even thousand years, assuming nothing catastrophic happens in the interim. Four hundred years ago, people put their moralistic hopes on the division between the orderly heavens above and the chaotic and corrupted earth below. Nowadays, astronomy is pretty mundane and this notion of moral values being rooted in a kind of natural astronomical order is a fringe view at best. The same could occur for many of the anti-science, anti-evolutionary, etc. views currently dominating American politics and culture. Some cultural phenomena tend to be ephemeral precisely because they are based on faulty thinking that can’t survive prolonged exposure and scrutiny. However, so long as its basis is moralistic, there will be a lot of resistance to the change, which is why I don’t think it will happen very soon.

  22. fbinelli:

    Apparently, Planck’s constant is found to vary inversely with the speed of light. There has been a discovery that the velocity of light has decreased.

    False. And fbinelli knew this when s/he made the claim. It’s called lying for Jesus.

    If you can’t beat the science, then misrepresent it !

  23. DonaldMiller:

    When you say that religion is becoming obsolete, it seems to me you are referring to Christianity. If Christianity goes, so goes democracy and the right to pursue scientific research.

    I have to laugh at this statement, when I consider the various obstacles thrown in the way of scientific progress by the Christian churches, especially the RCC. The RCC took some 400 years to apologise for its treatment of Galileo ! When I look at the history of Britain and find all those Christian clergymen keep popping up opposing the vote for workers, supporting slavery, opposing the formation of unions, opposing evolution, opposing equality for women, indeed generally doing the capitalists’ bidding by keeping the workers in their place, I find that Christianity is anything but democratic !

    Pull the other one Donald !

  24. Too specific. Will the human mind continue to work the same way? A mixture of fantasy and pragmatism? When the fantasy (through social evolution) becomes more involved with the realities of the cosmos (via science) then religion will be less tenable. Then there may be ‘religions’ based on science. So, we probably can never stop being human.

  25. I don’t believe so. Contrary to what some people think, many religious people don’t believe simply to explain natural phenomenon they see around them (lightening, floods etc). The scientific method is great at explaining those things and many religious people have no problem with those explanations. It’s the deeper questions of life, those things where the scientific method fails to be able to answer satisfactorily, that cause people to look beyond this time and space continuum for possible answers. Many logically thinking people do not see it unreasonable to assume that there can exist an entity/entities that can exist beyond what we can measure. Atheists may find it impossible, but it is not contrary to the laws of logic or against the rules of reason.
    Notions come, and notions go. Religion may be popular for centuries and then atheism may hold sway for centuries but nothing remains the same forever as we have seen throughout history.
    However, as we become more globalized and atheistic and pragmatic, I can envision a time when the governments/government of the world finds it expedient to outlaw traditional morality/religion and possibly even eradicate it.

    • I think the greatest enemy of religion in the Western world could be apathy. Most people I know never talk about religion, never go to church, and while they might not call themselves atheists religion plays a very small part in their lives.

      If there’s no one in the churches, the religion is on its way out, isn’t it? My concern is that mainstream religion as it exists currently is replaced with more pseudoscience, or fewer numbers of more fundamentalist believers, who have the motivation and political clout to get their fantasies recognised by law.

    • In reply to #45 by Donny10000:

      I don’t believe [that religion will be superseded by science]. Contrary to what some people think, many religious people don’t believe simply to explain natural phenomenon they see around them (lightening, floods etc). The scientific method is great at explaining those things and many religious people have no problem with those explanations.

      with you up to here

      It’s the deeper questions of life, those things where the scientific method fails to be able to answer satisfactorily, that cause people to look beyond this time and space continuum for possible answers

      I’m not sure many religious people think outside time and space

      Many logically thinking people do not see it unreasonable to assume that there can exist an entity/entities that can exist beyond what we can measure. Atheists may find it impossible,

      well this atheist takes a different view. It isn’t the logical impossibility of god that causes me to be an atheist (though I’d prefer the hypothesis that god was embedded in some part of space time and is very powerful). No my dispute is simply the lack of evidence. To me god is as unreal as unicorns and teapots orbiting Saturn.

      but it is not contrary to the laws of logic or against the rules of reason. Notions come, and notions go. Religion may be popular for centuries and then atheism may hold sway for centuries but nothing remains the same forever as we have seen throughout history. However, as we become more globalized and atheistic and pragmatic, I can envision a time when the governments/government of the world finds it expedient to outlaw traditional morality/religion and possibly even eradicate it.

  26. It would be wonderful if it happened but it never will because there will always be gullible people. Also, the brainwashing process in hardcore Muslim countries and parts of the US, not to mention the ‘way of life’ belief of Jewish communities, means that the chain is never broken in these settings.

  27. Hi Daniel,

    I believe that in the not so far future religion as we know it will simply by obsolete and become part of history.

    Religion has been obsolescent for a long, long, time. The fact is it’s still around, so we can’t quite say that it is fully obsolete yet and this seems to say something about religions’ staying power. On that basis, caution on the timetable is well advised.

    … religion in its current form is a very static set of values …

    That clearly isn’t true if we look at the evidence. Whether it’s Mormons suddenly receiving divine word of racial equality or liberal clerics supporting gay marriage there is plenty of evidence to show that religion is a very broad description indeed. Many Islamic sects, by contrast, seems to be re-embracing separatism and inflexible interpretations of scripture. The effect this is having on attendance and identification or membership is unclear. Membership, it would appear – subjectively, is tied more to the level of secular values in the society in which the Muslim, or ex-Muslim, finds themselves.

    Either way, religions do not exhibit a blanket value of being static. The history of most, if not all, religions can be written as histories of schism. Whatever else can be said about schism we can say one thing with certainty; schism is de facto evidence of changing values in some part of the congregation.

    Even those religions that promote the static nature of their values, such as the US Amish, manage to survive by learning other social skills – such as accommodation.

    Science on the other hand is a very dynamic set and one of its core values is that nothing is absolutely true …

    Is it? Science – inasmuch as their can be said to be a ‘science’ as social norm – holds that every description of how and why is provisional, pending new evidence. In addition, much science is known to be approximations; many people still use Euclidean geometry without realising this fact.

    But even with those caveats science does not say that nothing can be absolutely true. It seems incontrovertible that biological evolution is true, for example. It is possible that new evidence might be found that refutes evolution – but given the enormous amount of science that has been, and is being, conducted either to check evolution or which assumes evolution (and thus, if it did not deliver forecast results, might refute evolution) it seems highly unlikely.

    You go on to make some comparisons between religion and science:

    [paraphrased]: Science [empowers people] while religion [empowers a God at the expense of people], Science is [about caring] … while religion is [dogmatic].

    Do your statements set out a case for – as per your headline – science taking over from religion? It seems to me that they do not. Many religious people feel empowered by religion, and many religious people claim divine inspiration for caring.

    Science (the Project, the facts and the descriptions) is a disembodied body of knowledge. On that basis science doesn’t care because it cannot care – it simply lacks the mechanisms to do so. Scientists and other human beings care. Religious people and non-religious people care. Science will not replace religion in the sense of caring for people because caring for each other is simply what we do – it’s part of what makes us human whether we like science, or religion, or both, or neither.

    Religions might simply be dropped, because they add nothing to how and why people care (they may incur a cost because they take time away from caring but, equally, they create support groups so religions’ value proposition is mixed). But that has nothing to do with science and everything to do with religion.

    From this we see that religion and science are often different things – talking about one replacing the other is not helpful because they are not equivalent.

    Science is for people who like facts and not interpretations …

    Science does not own a monopoly on facts. A lot of science is about observing (gathering, collating, classifying and weighing facts) and, ultimately, science is the interpretation of those facts. Science has proven to be the best interpretation of facts because it produces interpretations with a predictive power and a repeatability that are unmatched.

    Science will conquer the minds of everyone eventually.

    Neither the project of science (including all the funders, academics, politicians and institutions) nor scientists have set out any political or military doctrine, or goal, concerning the subjugation or subordination of minds.

    What do you mean?

    Science is helpful in holding religion to account (as with the social value of religions’ management of social care). Some religious sects also insist that their initial scientific ideas – though now redundant – are still true (like some Muslims’ insistence that fresh water and salt water do not mix). These things help us to question the value of religion, the ‘truth’ of religion and the place we give to religions’ in wider society. But they do not put science in the role of usurper of religions’ place.

    Peace.

    • Hi Stephen,

      Science to me is refined critical reasoning. Religion is dogma. Science imply knowledge, skepticism, education. Religion imply early ages (geographical based) brainwashing, non-questioning. Science is UNDERSTANDING (which is continuously getting better) OF EVERYTHING. Religion is BELIEVING (based on faith).

      When I believe in something it meas I hope that something is the way I believe it is. Scientists are tired of believing, they want to know and they are using the ultimate tool that we should call God : THE EXPERIMENT. And, they are getting better at it as we “speak”.

      (THERE IS NO TRACE OF EXPERIMENTATION IN ANY RELIGIOUS WRITINGS.)

      Religion forces me to stop questioning and rejecting religion and that is simply not acceptable for a free mind. In the infinity of NOT BEING I have been given the chance to exercise my existence for such a small period of time, and wasting it without questioning will be a shame.

      The idea behind the question “When the science will take over religion?” come to me thinking that today we have an exponential growth of knowledge that provide the grounds not good to give the birth of a new religion. When we look back in history we can see religions coming into existence and dying while the only thing that change inside them it was the number of followers. That’s why I said religion is a very static set of values. It is funny that all religions “died” because they impose on themselves the inability to evolve. :)

      Science does not hold the ultimate TRUTH indeed, but science hold the best version of it ! Religion hold and expired version of the TRUTH ! When logic kicks in ONE WILL NEED TO USE THE BEST VERSION OF TRUTH AND ONLY THE BEST ! It will be absurd to know the ultimate truth and I think no one will ever find that … but the space between the known truth and the ultimate truth is what SCIENCE is interested in. Religions (in their very beginnings) placed themselves in that space and then they died when SCIENCE discovered that space. Today we are much smarter and we realize that in the future we should not place anything in this infinite space because the EXPERIMENTS show us that anything placed there will be sooner or later revealed.

      And then where all the present religions will disappear, well …SCIENCE will become RELIGION and RELIGION will become HISTORY!
      It is written in the stars !

      May the Force be with you !

      PS: I do apologize for my English using the excuse that it is my second language !

      In reply to #48 by Stephen of Wimbledon:

      Hi Daniel,

      I believe that in the not so far future religion as we know it will simply by obsolete and become part of history.

      Religion has been obsolescent for a long, long, time. The fact is it’s still around, so we can’t quite say that it is fully obsolete yet and this seems to say something ab…

      • In reply to #56 by daniel.balasa:

        THERE IS NO TRACE OF EXPERIMENTATION IN ANY RELIGIOUS WRITINGS.

        Wellll… to be fair, that’s not entirely true. The Bible, for example, talks about how God will do whatever you ask of him as long as you ask in faith, and contains examples of people who prayed with faith and wrought miracles. That could be seen as a form of experimentation. Of course, the vast number of people who have prayed in faith and not received what they asked for could therefore be seen as experimental evidence for the non-existence of God, but I digress.

        Similarly, the Mormon “Doctrine & Covenants” states the following (Section 9, verses 8-9):

        But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.

        But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me.

        Now, granted, one man’s “burning in the bosom” is another man’s “warm fuzzy” (and another man’s “heartburn”), but that certainly does seem to be a pretty definitive statement of experimentation right there. It’s a really, really bad experiment, but an experiment nonetheless…

  28. In reply to #44 by rzzz:

    Too specific. Will the human mind continue to work the same way? A mixture of fantasy and pragmatism? When the fantasy (through social evolution) becomes more involved with the realities of the cosmos (via science) then religion will be less tenable. Then there may be ‘religions’ based on science. S…

    I think the OP’s question is ill-posed. Unless he means religious beliefs (truth claims), science isn’t a “replacement”. Secular humanism is, as it deals directly with the moral, cultural, and “spiritual” aspect of religion.

    Plus, I think it’s a bit broad to oppose fantasy as you seem to be doing, as though it was either/or. Fiction is technically “fantasy”, but that doesn’t mean someone who enjoys a good novel every now and again is not a pragmatist.

    In reply to #45 by Donny10000:

    Science is about establishing the truth, as a subset of reasoning and logic and mathematics generally. Any question is generally a request for true information. Please identify at least one “deep” question that is the exception.

    In reply to #46 by Alexinpessac:

    It would be wonderful if it happened but it never will because there will always be gullible people. Also, the brainwashing process in hardcore Muslim countries and parts of the US, not to mention the ‘way of life’ belief of Jewish communities, means that the chain is never broken in these settings.

    I wouldn’t be so sure. According to poll data referred to in The Better Angels of our Nature by Steven Pinker, many Muslims want a less autocratic government in their own countries, and their main beef with America is not with its democracy, but with the conviction that the Americans have ulterior motives for invading.

    In reply to #47 by bob_e_s:

    I think the greatest enemy of religion in the Western world could be apathy. Most people I know never talk about religion, never go to church, and while they might not call themselves atheists religion plays a very small part in their lives.

    If there’s no one in the churches, the religion is on its…

    I think it’s no so much apathy as the defusing of the belief that one has to be religious to be a good citizen or person. True, apathy towards religion would be the result of such a change in cultural outlook, even a catalyst, but I don’t really think it’s a cause. If anything, apathy would make it easier for religious minorities to push their religions into, say, higher education and public institutions. To be honest, I think what happens in the Middle East over the next few years will indicate how the tide will turn.

  29. I do not think it will ever happen. Take the forme Soviet Union – I had grown in Latvia and graduated from secondary svhool in 1990. And Soviet Union did care about education in science, also by publishing lots of books for general public and making really good TV programs. And what happened after the big conglomerate fell into pieces. Suddenly everybody (almost) has become Christian (or Muslim if living in the East) and as a rule in the fundamentalist way, warning among other things against science, so media are allowed to publish all kind of bullshit which is supplemented by contribution of the publishing houses: so oncologists, for example, are complaining of cancer patients demanding bicarbonate injections instead of the conventional treatment, mothers are depriving children of milk, fish and meat, problems with vaccines, with corticosteoid inhalers for astmathic children, obsession with homeopathy, mending of auras, exorcism etc…. Of course, these ideas are closer to Shamanism than Christianity, but many cannot tell the difference and others think that Christianity is good, but “anchient wisdom” makes it even better ….

  30. In reply to #2 by DonaldMiller:

    I believe you are very wrong. Islam, for instance, is an uncompromising religion and leaving it (apostasy) carries the death penalty. Christianity has a vibrant history and in general has grown out of its violent past actions. One can’t say that about Islam. If the Western Tradition is to survive, w…

    I keep remembering the good town of Durham in Yorkshire wheresome years ago the nice, liberal, white (maybe not Christen) men carried out a true pogrom directed at the local muslims….
    Or take the christians (in my country) flinging shit at homosexuals, shouting that rape victims, including minors, asked for that…- the first is a minority, however the other statement was uttered by our Cardinal….Christians banning health education, demanding kids in the public kindergartens to say prayer before the meal (no prayer, no luch), Christians writing obscenities about parents who were against such practices, Christians insisting on compulsory Bible studies in the schools, Christians telling the sick that visiting doctor is a grave sin…..No, one can, of course, say that these are the wrong Christians (OK there are some different ones)….
    Anyway there is a lot for Christianity to outgrow, even if ascribe such “trifle” things as what happened in the former Yugoslavia to nationalism.

  31. Will science eventually take over religion?

    Yes undoubtedly, because science is everything religion aspires to be.

    And when?

    When everyone gets a decent science education, or when most are clever enough not to need one.

  32. Science will never take over religion. In fact, religion was here first. Religion has been around since as the Bible says the beginning of Earth. I’m sorry to say that with all the questions religion doesn’t answer, science has just as many unanswered questions. Just because you cannot see God, doesn’t mean he isn’t there. You have to take a deeper look to see him. Just as you have to take a deeper look to see microscopic bugs. I am not disrespecting the scientific community, because it is very strong and has helped us in so many ways. But religion will stay a large place in society forever, as a debate against science and a faith for the believers.

    • In reply to #57 by faith:

      Science will never take over religion. In fact, religion was here first. Religion has been around since as the Bible says the beginning of Earth.

      Nope! The Earth was around for millions of years before there was life, let alone intelligent life or religion. Science has a much clearer understanding of the formation of the Earth, than any religion has ever proposed. This is hardly surprising, as science uses investigation and evidence, whereas religions use revelations of faith (Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.). Religions have of course been around long before the times of the bible stories. In fact many bible stories were copied from earlier religions.

      I’m sorry to say that with all the questions religion doesn’t answer, science has just as many unanswered questions.

      This is simply wrong! Religions have made-up answers, many of which have been proved wrong. Science does not “make up answers”. It investigates evidence of reality and draws rational conclusions. It also corrects any earlier mistakes. Science has answered far more questions and far more accurately, than any religion ever has.

      Just because you cannot see God, doesn’t mean he isn’t there. You have to take a deeper look to see him. Just as you have to take a deeper look to see microscopic bugs.

      But with brain scanners, we can see where gods are! The neuroscientists are doing just that, and the sites of the god-delusions in believers’ brains are being identified.

      Based on a previously published study that indicated spiritual transcendence is associated with decreased right parietal lobe functioning, MU researchers replicated their findings. In addition, the researchers determined that other aspects of spiritual functioning are related to increased activity in the frontal lobe.

      “We have found a neuropsychological basis for spirituality, but it’s not isolated to one specific area of the brain,” said Brick Johnstone, professor of health psychology in the School of Health Professions. “Spirituality is a much more dynamic concept that uses many parts of the brain. Certain parts of the brain play more predominant roles, but they all work together to facilitate individuals’ spiritual experiences.”

  33. You say that religion is about belief and science is about facts? What is a fact when it can be changed? Science is a religion in itself, its trying to discover the truth about the universe through exploration. Religion through the concept of god, that delivers rules as to how to live a life of truth. Both are trying to fill a void within us, a void that is unexplained.

    I don’t think science will wipe out religion because it is a religion. I think it may wipe out older religions if they don’t take a lesson from science and adapt their views with the movement of life.

    Power of the universe. How does science give us any power? Or understanding? Science is predicated on the question “why”, just like any religion. Science is smart enough to know that the question why can never stop being asked. Religion is smart enough to know that people are looking for a final answer, so ppl form religion and give an answer…god. Both are trapped. Religion thinking its found the answer, while science forever searching for an answer that will never come.

    I enjoy science because its always moving, always discovering more. Its allows us to define ourselves to a greater extent than we could before. With the increase potential to define ourself, we learn more about how indefinable we actually are. Science is a tool to find oneself, just as religion is. So more power to both. We are mere characters in the story of this universe, we have no real power to do anything other than that which we are meant to do.

    • In reply to #58 by Hence:

      You say that religion is about belief and science is about facts? What is a fact when it can be changed?

      Facts can’t be changed – only our perception of them is changed in the light of new evidence. The probability or any major changes in scientific laws is minimal because of repeated objective testing.

      Science is a religion in itself, its trying to discover the truth about the universe through exploration.

      Finding the truths about the universe by scientific evidenced exploration is not a property of religious “faith”. It is the very opposite! Science also has a moral code of presenting honest information and correcting errors.

      Religion through the concept of god,

      God-perceptions are derived through introspection and revamping earlier introspection from mythology. Unchecked information accepted on faith (belief without evidence or reasoning) has been consistently shown to produce unreliable information. The god-concept is just delusion generated in a believers brain. That is why the are so many contradictory religious beliefs, each denying the beliefs of others.

      That delivers rules as to how to live a life of truth.

      Not quite! Religion delivers an illusion of truth, but as history has shown these are often falsehoods or whimsicality, with the label “truth” stuck on to them. Frequently the religious rules are so out of line with evidenced reality, that they are extremely damaging – propping up corrupt religious hierarchies and causing disputes, oppression, human sacrifices, wars etc.

      Both are trying to fill a void within us, a void that is unexplained.

      This unevidenced asserted theme of false equivalence seems to run through all your posts.

      Science explores voids to remedy ignorance and find reliable answers which can be confirmed by testing.

      Religion just pretends to already have (simplistic) answers and will not admit it does not know. It has the universal “god-did-it-by-magic” pseudo-explanation, which delights the ignorant and preserves ignorance, by discouraging investigation or challenge.

      Power of the universe. How does science give us any power?

      I suggest you study technology!

      Or understanding?

      ..and the numerous specialist sciences for content – and neuroscience and psychology for process.

      Science is predicated on the question “why”, just like any religion.

      Religions often also try to pretend that their homo-centric/egocentric/geocentric/anthropomorphic purposes, are those of the universe, in a universe which has no intrinsic “purposes”. This often manifests itself in “Why?” questions, which regress honestly to “we don’t know beyond this point”, but the ignorant believer then inserts the magic “god-did-it” to pretend they have an answer! All “why?” questions lead to “how” answers or to an honest, “We do not know, but will try to investigate”!

  34. @OP – I believe that in the not so far future religion as we know it will simply by obsolete and become part of history.

    As so many earlier religions have already done!

    Once people learn to think, instead of expecting to be given supernatural purposes, and answers to “Why?” questions, the need for religious crutches, to prop up their concepts of life and the universe, will be redundant.

    Unfortunately many people and many cultures, still have along way to go.

  35. As an aside, prayer seems to be a common factor in all religions. But what actually is prayer? When two people are praying are they using the same technique? What are they actually doing with their minds? Is one of them doing it wrong, the other correctly? How could anyone tell? The ‘black box’ of prayer is often used as a universal amongst the religious, but are they all doing the same thing?. Prayers lack of efficacy as a means of controlling future events is manifest, similar to buying lottery tickets as a financial investment plan, but with less chance of winning. Everybody at times (including the non-religious) intensely wish for desired future outcomes. Is this prayer? Intense wishful thinking?

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