science vs. religion

So here are the two flowcharts describing religious and scientific methodologies that have been going around the web (pharyngula, boingboing). Both charts seem to be adequate simplifications of their subject matters.

However, though it is obvious whose side the chartist was on, it should also be pointed out that religion is being described as a (very flawed) scientific endeavour. Of course, in an age of science, it is natural to compare everything to science and – usually – find it lacking. But please note that the religious diagram does not describe what religion has itself set out to do (whatever that is), but what scientists would like religion to try to do – and appropriately claim it fails to do.

A short word on the origins of this problem: back in the days of science’s early victories against religion (Copernicus and co.) science became the default best way of describing the world and religion thus came to be understood as simply bad science. The problem is that religious people bought this idea and, instead of working on turning religion into something that has nothing to do with science (abandoning their claims to _provable_ truth), they tried to take religion head-on, claiming that religion was true (science) and that science must therefore be wrong. This was naturally a loosing battle.

Today we must remedy this error and finally abandon religion’s claims to provable truth and concentrate on its much more useful features. Science is better at producing useful truths than religion is. And if the religious will recognize that there is no reason to be at war with science, perhaps they will become overall less belligerent.


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