Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Higgs Boson particle walks into a church...

      So I have been fighting with people on the internet again.
     I need to stop doing this, but it is just so tempting.  I am always so right, and the people must know.

     What is troubling right now is this article.  Don't get me wrong; I have no problem with Mr. Gresko being atheist, or raising his kid without religion.  That's fine.  What troubles me is that Mr. Gresko is under the impression that people who believe in religion don't believe in science.  (It may be only implied in this article, he certainly states it quite clearly in his other entry on faith, stating:  To be frank, religion comes from an era of ignorance. People didn’t know how the seasons changed, or how weather patterns evolved. They invented the existence of higher powers as the ultimate explainer as to why it got cold in the winter, eclipses made the world disappear, or why volcanoes exploded.)

  Well, hang on.  Mr. Gresko's ignorance is not what is troubling me.  I don't really care that Mr. Gresko thinks a belief in religion and a belief in science are mutually exclusive; what actually troubles me is that a lot of people seem to be under that impression.  What is that about? Where did that come from?  Religious institutions have had a leading role in creating modern scientific thought. Galileo, Kepler, Descartes, Darwin, Newton; they were all religious.  I mean, yes, some of them were threatened with death by the Church, but that doesn't mean religion itself is against science, and certainly the scientists themselves were very religious.  And those are just the Christian scientists!  While Europe was in the dark ages (admittedly a tense time for the Christian Church and science), science was going full blast in the East with absolute support from religious/political leaders.  Why are people not thanking us religious for our generous contributions to the science everybody seems to like so much?
    For the record, my religion was not developed as an explanation for "why it got cold in the winter, eclipses made the world disappear, or why volcanoes exploded".  My religion was created to express an awe in the world and to guide people to live within the principals that work in unity with that wonder, beauty and power.  Catholics not only believe in science, many seek it out as a means for communing with the sacred.  There is a Pontifical Academy of Science, a Vatican institution to promote scientific and mathematical inquiry, that has been around since the 1600's.
And our Pope is a chemist.
    We Catholics do not lack in the area of critical scientific thought.  So, why is it that so many people are under the impression that the religious are these ignorant sheep who blindly accept what is spoken to them from the pulpit?  Where did that idea come from?  Was it the whole Galileo thing?  I mean, come on!  People just need to let that go.
     Honestly, I think the misunderstanding about faith and science is two fold. First, I think there is some confusion with regards to the word "faith".  I think that a lot of people believe that if religion relies on something that has no physical evidence, then it must have some kind of disdain for physical evidence.  That's just silly.  Just because you think something is beautiful or awe inspiring, that doesn't mean you think it was created by magic.  You can have a sense of sanctity of human life, and still understand cell division.  There is really no conflict there.
     Then of course, the second element that might suggest there is a conflict between religion and science are the people who go around screaming about the conflict between religion and science: or as I like to call them- stupid people.  They certainly do get lot of news coverage.  After all, the news station that runs a story about how Catholics embrace modern scientific thought are probably going to sink in the ratings that night.  But its not really fair to equate all Christians with people who think science is straight from the bowels of Hell.  I feel like that should be obvious, but maybe not.
     Are there people who think that the Kardashians are just your typical Americans?
     Well, if there are they had better not post anything offensive on Facebook because I can be pretty feisty.

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