Saturday, April 26, 2008

Science and Religion

My mom's memory is not what it used to be. I find that we often have certain conversations over and over again. One that stands out in particular is our discussion on evolution. As soon as I mention the word, my mother instantly responds in disbelief as though she has been conditioned to be universally opposed by the church. So I ask her who said that Adam and Eve weren't really hairy. She laughs a little, and that opens her up to further conversation.

There is no hard line between science and religion. The more I study physics, the closer I feel I get to that which is called the metaphysical. Metaphysical is a term we use to label the stuff that we do not fully understand. These things have been explained away with religion since the beginning of time. If we don't fully understand something, it must be of some mystical origin. The thing is, though, that over time we learn more and more, the mystical becomes demystified, and then it falls under the label of science rather than religion.

Another controversial topic between me and my mother is that of the big bang. So I ask her who said that the big bang did not occur at the tip of God's finger. More laughter, but again we are able to talk about something she would otherwise completely shut out. Imagine a world where religion and science work together. If this were the case back in the time of Galileo, we would have been open to the truth about the Earth revolving around the Sun. In the future, we could eliminate so many of the roadblocks that now impede the path to discovery and advancement of understanding.

The challenge is simply to be open minded. I consider everything to be possible. I also consider that anything that we believe to be fact can, at some point, be proven false and then later true again, and so forth. Current theories are simply just that, theories. We can never know exactly what happened unless we were there to observe for ourselves. Even then, we cannot fully trust our memory as our perception will certainly have skewed our view of actual events.

The point to all this is just to realize that science is humanity's way of trying to understand the universe that we live in, not to explain away religion. Religion is a human construct, and there are many variations. In my opinion, no religion is better or more correct than another. We are all entitled to our beliefs based on our own individual experiences. My experience leaves me right on that imaginary line between science and religion. It is an amazing vantage point from which to view the universe. I can see both sides of the story and how they intermingle. It is deeply fascinating.