Bias and the Science & Religion Discussion
How to Understand the Reliability of the Bible as Compared to Scientific & New Age Beliefs
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Science describes how natural materials and forces behave. Religion asks questions about the origin and destiny of the universe and life, and inquires into life's purpose, truths, and morality, if any. As a result every ideology, from Atheism to Christianity and Scientism to Deism, can be explained as a religion. No amount of Rationality can get around the fact that the underpinnings for our beliefs do not rest on solid evidence. Unavoidably, the science and religion discussion is of importance to everyone.
Using the comparison description of bias (see: Quick Intro page) the relationship between various "domains of thought" - as in the science & religion discussion - shows virtually identical strategies are used for establishing the truth of a matter. This can be seen in the graphics below where each domain (Science, Religion, and Everyday Life) have corresponding starting points, actions, and results.
This is not meant to imply that a person making an everyday or religious decision is an academic equal to a specialist scientist; it means that one can not pre-judge based on the topic of the domain itself. The impartial use of logic and the facts must make the distinction.
* Assumptions required for Complex Science - See page: Bias in Science
The starting point for each domain is essentially the same - tentative assumptions. They each allow actions to move forward so issues can be examined positively. Science focuses on describing the physical world, everyday life covers a multitude of topics primarily about human relationships; while religion inquires about the ultimate reality and purpose of one's life and how to decide what is right and wrong. Bias will intrude into every area of inquiry such that human rationality and logic will always need to be questioned.
Everyone needs to make assumptions - but they becomes biases when they are not adequately examined to see whether they are true, or not. This is the case for scientists, the religious, or for everyday life
The Science & Religion Discussion is resolved by how scientific explanations shall be explained. There are two possible versions. Scientific endeavours are to be explained by reference to:
1] natural causes and events only; or,
2] natural causes and events as far as feasible.
Version One is most often referenced by scientists. Version Two is what often happens in reality.
If a Naturalist invokes version two "natural" is redefined and it is deemed to be science;
if a Theist invokes version two then it is deemed to be pseudoscience or religion.
ONLY PROCEED WITH OPEN MIND
The side-by-side comparison, above, can be extended when the science & religion discussion is recast in technical language. The question then becomes: Is the real world better described by: 1] the idea that the universe and life are a result of chance and natural emergence (directionless naturalism); or, by 2] the mathematics and observation that the many structures we see in the physical world cannot reasonably be a result of directionless events?
Both science and religion have problems in addressing the question above. Both rely heavily upon experiences (observations based assumptions) because being rational and logical are not enough to provide a clear-cut answer - hence the philosophy alert, above. Religions accept happenings that are not known by Foundational Science, and much of Complex Science (See Bias in Science) is founded upon concealed assumptions triggered by theoretical ideas. For example Naturalism, which relies upon science, claims that science is the only source of knowledge. Ironically, the scientific method can not be used to support that claim.
There are further problems for related beliefs: those who reject the idea humans can choose their thoughts and actions, fail to see they are choosing to believe this (determinists). Those who think humans don’t have a mind separate from a machine-like brain can’t see they are using their minds to believe this (materialists). Those who are sure there is no such thing as right and wrong, are unable to notice they are making a judgement when they say this (relativists).
The two camps can best be compared by inspecting any biases that support them. Let’s look first at those established upon the idea of logic and the science of directionless naturalism. Complex Science tends to use naturalism or chance as a foundational assumption and then claims it is a robust conclusion. Christian beliefs support the idea that structure and logic are inherent in the universe. This idea has logical support which includes the physics - not the philosophy - of fine-tuning, the concept of Information, and the law of entropy.
Interestingly, it was these beliefs that provided the key for modern Foundational Science to progress so rapidly - as can be read about in the biographies of Bacon, Galileo, Boyle, Leibniz, Newton, Maxwell, Faraday, Boole, Heisenberg, and many of their contemporaries. Being logical, being cautious about who to trust, and not being biased are still necessary components of the belief. The advancement of Complex Science allowed the idea of directionless naturalism to take centre stage. The problems associated with assumptions and hence biases (see Bias in Science) were apparently overlooked. So when the perspectives of bias in the current culture and science are combined it could be said Christianity gets a raw deal as compared to competing ideologies.