Prayer or Science?

W Credit: CNS photo/Kham, Reuters

In our local newspaper, a recent article on the editorial page caught my attention. It was entitled, “Coronavirus is what you get when you ignore science.” A NY Times opinion columnist was the contributor.

Here are some of the first few lines:

Let us pray now, for science. Pray for empiricism, epidemiology and for vaccines. … Pray for flu shots, herd immunity and washing your hands. Pray for reason, rigor and expertise.  … Pray for the NIH and the CDC. Pray for the WHO.

And then this …

And pray not just for science, but for scientists too, as well as their colleagues in the application of science

From the context of the rest of the article, I don’t think the writer was being sarcastic (as I originally surmised). In fact, he made it clear later on that science is often “actively undermined, underfunded, ignored and suppressed.”

However, for me personally, those first few lines were dripping with irony.

As many of us know, the tendency to berate and discount science is prevalent among a large percentage of Christian believers. This isn’t to say they point to all facets of science as being morally deficient, but they DO contend that -GOD- is above, beyond, and superior to anything science can offer. (In fact, some cults faiths refuse to even acknowledge medical science, in particular, and rely instead on the power of prayer to heal themselves and loved ones.)

So one can’t help but ask … why aren’t the churches filled to the brim with -GOD- believers who are PRAYING for the virus to cease and desist? Could it be because the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) takes no prisoners … has no concerns about one’s faith (or lack thereof) … and hears no prayers?

Perhaps, in this instance, when Christians feel an overwhelming need to pray, it should be (as the columnist wrote) for (gasp!) Science and all that entails since -GOD- doesn’t seem to be making much headway in curtailing the spread of Covid-19 among the various inhabitants of this planet.

Our Existence

Courtesy of

On another blog, there’s been an ongoing discussion between some atheists and a Christian related to our “existence;” that is, our “beingness” — why we are here, why we are alive and living on this planet. Some would describe it as a discussion related to Ontology: The metaphysical study of the nature of being and existence; that is, study based on hypothesis or theory rather than experiment.

As would be expected, there is a rather significant difference of opinion between the two factions.

The atheists naturally consider science as the most important element of our existence because it IS based on experiments. They assert it is the discipline of science that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions, not only about ourselves, but also about the universe we live in. They further contend it is science that has allowed us to survive, as well as improving our lifestyle in the process.

The Christian naturally downplays this perspective and repeatedly accuses his detractors of believing in “scientism,” which has been defined by some as “a scientific method that has no (or few) limits, can successfully be applied to almost all aspects of life, and provides an explanation for everything.” It has even been referred to as a RELIGION and that its followers worship science, its rituals, and its results! The following from Wikipedia is notable:

According to Discovery Institute scientism is an effort to use the methods of science to explain and control every part of human life, in other words, the misguided effort to apply science to areas outside its proper bounds.

Moreover, the blog owner believes philosophy (the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics) plays just as important a role defining our existence as the discipline of science.

He emphasized his perspective by offering the following quote on his blog by Stephen Barr, author, and professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Delaware. I find it very telling …

“There’s a misconception that’s actually at the root of the science-religion tension. Many people think that nature and God are in competition, that if something has a natural explanation that God had nothing to do with it. And, if God did something, it’s supernatural, so it’s an either-or. And, so the more science can explain naturally the less there is for God to explain. But that’s a complete misconception because God is the author of nature.

(Emphasis added)

I close this post with a quote from the referenced blog owner: Science cannot prove that we have a complete picture of reality.

Considering the preceding discourse, what are your thoughts?

Rebuffing Science

There are those in the Christian world who strongly refute science and prefer to replace it with a belief in a supernatural creator who, according to them, is in control of everything that happens and/or has happened.

Some go so far as to deny things about this world/earth that science has proven (with incontrovertible evidence) to be true. As an example, they will deny the earth is a sphere or that it revolves around the sun. Further, they will deny evolution and cling to their belief that Adam and his rib-wife were the first humans to exist on this planet.

Yet they take advantage of a world surrounded by the science they rebuff. Nearly everyone drives a car, uses a microwave, makes calls on a cell phone, sends messages via computer, watches television, keeps cool or warm with air conditioning, records events and people with cameras, stays healthy (or gets well) through medicine … and other scientific activities too numerous to mention.

One can’t help but wonder — since so many choose to cling to beliefs prevalent during biblical times, why then do they not live like the Amish people, who reject “modern conveniences” and live a more simple life? Or more to the point, why don’t they take seriously the words found in their revered book, such as

Look at the birds in the sky. They don’t plant or harvest or gather food into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. You are more valuable than they are, aren’t you?

So don’t ever worry by saying, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ … Surely your heavenly Father knows that you need all of them! 

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

It seems apparent that when push comes to shove,  the primary reason behind a belief in a supernatural entity is because it assuages one’s conscience, i.e., it makes one “feel good.” And so long as it doesn’t take away the enjoyments offered by modern living, it’s totally acceptable to hold onto the archaic beliefs put forth in an 2000+ year old book.

The Big Bang Singularity

I recently started following a very talented poet/writer. I don’t recall how I came across his blog, but I have really enjoyed his posts. I was particularly intrigued by one of his newer ones that he entitled, “Possibilities? Forget it.” After you read the post, I think you’ll appreciate his choice of words for the title.

I decided not to simply “reblog” what he wrote because (1) it’s not very long, and (2) I hoped by sharing it here, you will be more inclined to comment. However if you want to take a closer look, here is the link to the posting. Now … read and enjoy.

Do you believe in the Big Bang Theory? I’m not talking about the infantile and incredibly irritating television show, to be clear.

I’m no scientist but it seems to me that if everything originated from that singularity ( I mean everything) then everything can be traced back to it.

I just had a glass of water. Why? I was thirsty. Why was I thirsty? Because it’s been a hot day. Why has it been a hot day? Well … this time of year the planet’s relative position to the sun ….. blah, blah, blah, blah, why? why? why? why?

Answer: The Big Bang. You can save a lot of time with those endless kids questions by skipping straight to this at the first mention of the word ‘why’.

Let’s look at it from the other direction. Let’s start at the Big Bang.

Kapow! Light and matter come into existence. One bit of matter hits another bit of matter and then there’s little collisions everywhere. Cause and effect. Cause and effect. Cause and effect. So everyone of these little incidents through the eons leads to a hot day after which I poured myself a glass of water. Along the way planets were formed, species were developed, Kings married Queens, and so on. I delude myself that it is my decision whether or not to drink the glass of water. Rubbish. The events leading up to the inevitability of me drinking the water were set in motion at the Big Bang.

So …… there are no possibilities. There aren’t even any probabilities. Everything is a certainty. If I could feed the whole thing into some sort of super computer I could tell you in advance what colour socks you are going to wear tomorrow (blue, by the way). But, then again, if I was in a position to predict everyone’s sock colour then I should have been in a position to predict that I could predict everyone’s sock colour. I admit that it can all get a bit confusing. But so it was always meant to be. And it is possible that, in an act of civil disobedience, you choose to defy me and pick another sock colour. Have I changed the course of history by making predictions about it? No. That was always going to happen.

I think I might have spoken about this all before. I’m sorry that I am so fucking boring. And predictable.

And if you find all of this a bit depressing then let me assure you that it can get worse. Do a google search for ‘Big Bang Theory’. The first five pages will mention nothing about the nature of reality. All they will want to talk about is that fucking stupid television show.

But maybe that, in itself, is an observation upon the nature of reality.

Reblog: Other Ways of Knowing

Steve has written what I consider an EXCELLENT post related to “scientism” — a word that is often flung around on some Christian blogs.

So now you know …

Class Warfare Blog

In the on-going conflict between science and religion that either doesn’t exist (because the two are compatible) or shouldn’t exist (because the two are incompatible), science types, like me, are accused of scientism, the thrusting of science into areas of human discourse where it doesn’t belong and, more specifically, stepping on religion’s toes. How dare, the critics say, science tell us anything about morality or aesthetics or … religion?

There are, they say, “other ways of knowing” than science. With regard to religion, specifically. they mention: faith, dogma, scripture, personal experience, and revelation.

So, let’s look at this.

First, what we call science is what originally was called “natural philosophy,” which was a branch of philosophy, just like ethics, politics, epistemology, logic, metaphysics, and aesthetics. When the scientific method was devised to make studying the natural world more effective, many of the categories of nature (chemistry—the study of the…

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