Science and Religion, again

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neil degrasse tysonThis is a wonderful talk in all sorts of ways. What is missing, what is ALWAYS missing, is the recognition that the entire realm of religiosity is not reducible to the naive belief in an “invisible friend in the sky”. This naive (fundamentalist) idea of ‘God’ as a kind of super-human “out there” someplace, who causes things to happen and can be appealed to to give us stuff (like Santa Claus) is of course a laughingstock to rational scientists. But when a Meister Eckhart spoke of the divine, this is not what he was referring to. When Rumi wrote his poetry, this is not what he was talking about. Even today, as an example, this is not what the Dalai Lama is talking about. It is true that religion and science can never get along if religion insists that it has a place in explaining how the material world works, and science thinks it has a right to explain to us the meaning (or an allegedly “proven” lack of meaning) of life. Both sides need to mature and speak to each other like adults. They then may realize that the so-called ‘conflict’ between them is just a silly straw-man. Their work has nothing to do with each other! But to be a whole human being requires us to ponder and appreciate both endeavors — not by just blindly believing what we are told, but by truly pondering, deeply, and by thinking for ourselves.