Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Science and Religion

Education And Science Essay

Science and Religion

  Science in its earliest form was an attempt by man to understand nature and to more systematically exploit its bounties to satisfy his instinctive need for food, shelter and protection. This prehistoric man was a scientist to the extent that he could distinguish plants and animals that were useful from those which were deleterious. He learnt to make fire and built crude implements. The ancient Chinese, Indian and Arabic civilizations not only cultivated crop plants and domesticated animals, but also accumulated a fair level of knowledge of physical as well as natural environment. This scientific beginning freed man from the drudgery of a hunter and food gather. Setting down in groups and cultivating his own food gave him the security and desire to pursue a lifestyle quite different from his ancestors. This inevitably led him to the subtler things of life languages writing arts, music, love and ethics.
One of the secrets of man's ascendancy has been his cohesion, he could not have survived without his tribe and the tribe in turn smoothened and perpetuated itself through intrinsic bonds. This give rise to immense subjective power of the laws that guaranteed cohesion. Nobel Prize winner biologist Jacques Mond has postulated that such social bands over stretches of time ''must have influenced the genetic evolution of the innate categories of the hung brain. This evaluation 'must not only have facilitated acceptance of the tribal law but created the need for mystical explanation which gave it a foundation and sovereignty. It is his search for explanation the profound disquiet which forces us to search for the meaning of existence. It has created all myths all religions all philosophies and science itself.
Thus science and religion have a common origin of the process of civilization which distinguished man from the apes. Science enabled man to practice and propagate religion gave him the conditions, including cohesion necessary for pursuit of science.
  Throughout history religion has tamed wild passions refined man's soul and energized man to advancement. Religion apart from the oldest and the holiest tradition of man is also the ultimate binding force, a powerful ethical deterrent and the regulator of human conscience. However much one may glamorize science wealth and riches man starved of spiritual sustenance and the guiding hand of the guiding had of the Providence is say to say in an unchartered desert.
Militarization catastrophic economic disorder psychic on the widest possible scale piling up of nuclear bombs and an unbridgeable gulf between the rich and the poor characterize the industrial mass society to day in Europe and America. According to London TIMES, the gap between the rich and the poor has become so great that the world's 358 wealthiest people have assets equal to the combined income of 2.3 billion people half of the global population. How can the society of man survive by preaching God on Sundays only while practicing gospel of Mam man for the rest of the time? Most religions preach righteousness charity tolerance love and peace rather than national and social pride or war as a means to settle differences.
Viewed in this back drop no wonder Islam a religion of peace moderation enlightenment and progress is being seen as the future religion of mankind. Devoid of any intricate theology unnatural conformity and manifest contradictions. Islam is an impairing and motivating force in central Asia, Africa, the Far East, China, India, Turkey, Iran as in Europe and America. It has survived political and economic onslaughts as well as military crusades to emerge even more dynamic it is indeed the only religion today, which has the potential to meet the modern challenges facing mankind to day.
In ancient civilization scientific thought flourished hand in glove with religious activities. Discoveries were considered revelations and scientific knowledge represented the Greatness of God. Arabic mathematician Al-Biruni insisted that his experimental work was subject to the moral principles of Islam.
The Greeks about 2000 years ago were credited with initiation of systematic investigations and application of Aristotelian logic in their Endeavour to understand the universe. These methods gained momentum throughout the middle ages but reason played subservient to the orthodox religion. Whatever scientific knowledge has gained by man during this period was interpreted in the praise of God. Thus when in 1543, Vesalius, a Belgain physician, published a book on human anatomy based on dissections and personal observations he was driven to wonder at the handiwork of the Almighty b means of which the blood sweats form the right into the left ventricle through passages that escape human vision. Pursuers of science also avoided topics that might impinge an the realness of religion. For example in 15th and 16th century scientists totally denied the existence of sex in plants since even a mention of it considered in appropriate and obscene.
It was under such circumstances prevailing during the early sixteen century that the Polish-German mathematician and astronomer Copernicus earned the wrath of society by stating that the earth is not the center around which the sun the plats and the stars revolve. This was a serious challenge to cosmological teaching of medieval church.
Religious bigots were further enraged when the double motion of earth (a daily rotation on its own axis and an annual rotation around the sun) was put forth as explanation for the diurnal and annual changes which were till then considered handiwork of the heavens. A few years later Italian astronomers Galileo discovered that the planet Jupiter had satellites revolving around it and argued that the sun and not the earth was the center of the solar system. The scientific establishment and the Roman Catholic Church both promptly denounced these findings as ''false and apposed to the holy scriptures.'' Galileo was tortured and forced to retreat in 1633 by pronouncing that all his finding which were contrary to the holy scriptures were erroneous and based on hearsay. The Pope even forced closure of a formal academy started by his students in 1656.
For from slowing down the arch of science the religious fundamentalism of medieval Europe seems to have provided the right setting for the growth of modern science. Hereafter the divergence between religion and science between sharp and the conflict gradually snow balled into a two sided ''Warfare.'' When Newton propounded his laws of attraction of gravity. Leibnitz described them as ''subversive of natural and inferentially of revealed religion.'' Newton held that the majestic works of nature not only attested to his existence but also spoke of his glory. However he rejected the possibility of control of day to day events by God. In 1796. Scottish naturalist James Hutton adopted the Newtonian view that God always acted through natural laws and dismissed the theory of repeated divine control of events as ''Undemonstrable speculative and unnecessary.''
The relationship of science and religion today is like that of a divorced couple. The hardly interact or pore any threat to each other's existence yet in some way they thrive on each other's weaknesses and assets. Millions belonging to all religions successfully juxtapose independent scientific and spiritual viewpoints. Some even regard science as a purgatory of religion constantly weeding out that which is wrong. Nevertheless the controversy that all once engulfed society still rages in individual minds particularly those of the scientists. The dispute whether or not there is a God is now to be resolved at personal level. It is interesting to note that scientists as a group hardly react to religious ideologists although as individual they may hold strong opinions.
Ironically in US there still exists a Church lobby which seeks legal intervention to exclude study of evolution in American schools. Having lost t the trial in 1925 the fundamentalists forced several publishers to omit evolution from the school text books. A few months before the 100th death anniversary of Darwin in 1982, the fundamentalists raked up the controversy again this time at Arkansas University establishment demanding equal treatment to the evolutionist and creationist view point. However the Federal judge ruled it unconstitutional as it would force biology teachers to journey into religion in science classroom. It is equally revealing that the more recent resistance of religious groups to a scientific advancements such as heart transplants test tube babies and gene splicing has been lukewarm and only symbolical.
It is interesting to note how modern scientist as individuals respond and pray indifferent manners to religion and God. Einstein believed in Spinoza's God, who reveals himself in the harmony of all beings'' and not in God who concerns himself with the fate and actions of man. India born Noble Prize winner in Physics Professor Chandrasekar Raman was an atheist. Pakistan born Noble Prize winner in Physics Professor Dr.Abdus Salam was exiled from his home hold he belongs to Ahmedia Movement.
Western religious leaders generally opine that the scientific approach has depreciated man. In the words of Francis Gerlad Endley. astronomy preclaims his microscopic size biology claims that he had animals at beast for first cousins in evolutionary series and chemistry affirms that he is a compound of hydrogen. oxygen carbon and other elements. In his opinion if we added to the theoretical degradation of science the fact that it has supplied the weapons whereby the human race can be liquidated the indignity is complete.
Several philosophers have also emphasized that science is inadequate as a way of life. It cannot give a truly meaningful explanation of any subject of inquiry. Science is unable to answer the mind's questions why which is quite as legitimate as what and how. This is because it eschews both value and causation.

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