A humble Friar named Roger Bacon pioneered the scientific method, a Belgian priest named Father George Lemaître was the originator of the Big Bang Theory, and Father Gregor Mendel was the world’s first geneticist.
Religions are not superstitions — they are social technologies
About 40,000 years ago there were only about 2,000 breeding Homo Sapiens left. Humanity was on the verge of annihilation. In order to survive, humans starting perfecting ritual systems to ensure cooperation, prevent infighting, and thwart extinction. These ritual systems evolved into religions. For more on this topic start by reading Supernatural Selection by Matt Rossano.
The religion that changed the the world most dramatically — in ways that have never been equaled — is Christianity. Christianity invented some of the most incredible social technologies ever devised, such as organized charity, women’s rights, orphanages, universal human rights, higher education, libraries, and more. Read Dominion by Tom Holland for more details.
Christianity is not at odds with science
BioLogos was founded by one of the top biologists in the world, Francis Collins. He led the Human Genome Project and now directs the National Institutes of Health. In 2006, he wrote the best-selling book The Language of God in which he tells the story of his journey from atheism to Christian belief, showing that science is not in conflict with the Bible, but actually enhances faith.
For more info on this topic
Read my post Mythbusting Anti-Christianity or watch my Christianity for Doubters video series:
“‘Knowledge’ has killed the sun, making it a ball of gas, with spots; ‘knowledge’ has killed the moon, it is a dead little earth pitted with extinct craters as with smallpox; the machine has killed the earth for us, making it a surface, more or less bumpy, that you travel over.”
~ D. H. Lawrence, from “A Propos of Lady Chatterley’s Lover”
Apparently this quote is famous or infamous, depending on whom you ask. I guess it’s been used by Luddites and anti-science people to rail against scientific advances, which isn’t my point at all. And I don’t think that was Lawrence’s point either.
I think we should by all means continue to make scientific advancements — I just think that we shouldn’t allow those scientific advances to cloud our view of a universe that is beautiful, amazing, and awe-inspiring. We should never allow anything to cover our eyes. No advance should obstruct our wondrous inner vision. As William Irwin Thompson said, “we have separated humanity from nature, subject from object, values from analysis, knowledge from myth, and universities from the universe.”¹
Perhaps Lawrence should’ve added these simple words at the beginning of his statement: “We have allowed…” Because that’s what we’ve done. We have allowed knowledge to kill the sun, the moon, and the earth, or at least nearly so.
And I don’t think we’re going to be able to bring them back from the brink without uncovering our eyes.
¹ This is from The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light, one of my favorite books. Highly recommended.
Thanks to my son for pointing me to this must-read article at Scientific American. It explains the history behind the current state of affairs — climate change denial, vaccine phobias, the ‘marriage of industrialist money with fundamentalist values,’ etc., and explains the dangers it poses to us all.
Reading the article I wonder, as I have many times before, why people like me (occultists and practitioners of alternative religions) are so pro-science. I have friends of almost every alternative stripe — Occultists, Voodooists, Wiccans, you name it — and they seem much more pro-science than the mainstream. How can believers in magic ally with the enemies of ‘magical thinking?’ And yet I very rarely find climate change denial and opposition to stem cell research among the alternative crowd.
I don’t worship science or believe that we can ‘science our way out’ of climate change because I think population growth and social issues will outstrip scientific reductions in carbon emissions. But denying the validity of science isn’t helping anybody.